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World magic championship qualifier II Uruguay – Tripping like a zombie

The second WMCQ is in the books and this is my report of the tournament.

I will actually start the story at a previous tournament, held at a comics convention “Montevideo Comics” 2 weeks prior to the qualifier, which gave the entry money as price to the winner. There I played a rouge blue red deck, commonly referred to u/r delver. I split the prize at the finals as I was not really in the mood to play that day. I wont post the list I played that day, but its fairly similar to this one (http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=416310)

So for the reminder of the two weeks I kept testing that deck, cutting and adding cards to make it more of my liking. But I was never convinced of it. There was just something wrong with it. It had good hands, but it lost a few too many matches. So Saturday night while testing a friend tells me he has another deck he wont be playing. A zombies deck. I took a quick look at it, added a few cards and decided to give it a shot. With less then 15 hours to the tourney I changed my deck. I don’t like to play deck I did not get to test, but I certainly felt a lot more comfortable with zombies than with with the blue red deck, specially because the games against one of the most played decks (blue white delver, expected 40% of the field) was fairly easy.

I was still missing some cards for the complete deck though, so I sent some messages to friends, sadly got no positive responses, and ended up finishing the decklist on Sunday morning with cards I had to spare.

Here is the list I played:

4  Diregraf Ghoul
4  Highborn Ghoul
4  Geralf’s Messenger
4  Gravecrawler
4  Blood Artist
3  Fume Spitter
2  Falkenrath aristocrat
2  Phyrexian metamorph

3  Geth’s Verdict
2  Mortarpod
2  Tragic Slip
2  Incinerate
1  Go for the throat
1  Killing wave

4 dragonskull summit
4 blackwave cliffs
14 swamps

SB: 2 Manabarbs
2 combust
2 bonfire of the damned
1 arc trail
1 nihil spellbomb
1 surgical extraction
1 wrack with madness
2 mind rot
2 distress
1 zealous conscripts

So I started the day, with a incomplete untested deck, I was hoping I would make a positive result, more wins than losses would have been enough to keep me happy. A top8 appearance was my top goal.

33 players started at 10am on Sunday, 7 rounds and a cut to top8.

Round 1 Gabriel Barna, RG aggro

Yay, my almost worst match up to start the day. First game we played he came out blazing, I started to stem the bleeding and was able to play a killing wave with a blood artist in play. He misspoke and didn’t pay any life, thus sacrificing all creatures. I made him stay with that and not back up. He got mad like hell, but finally ended winning this game anyway. I won the second game fast and we were on to the last match.

I started well and he was stuck on lands. When he finally got the lands he played all his awesome cards and I was defenseless, so I again played my killing wave, he paid life and lost life from my blood artist and ended up on 4 life. He attacked and left me at 2 life. I had one chance of drawing out, and I slowly peeled off the top card of my library…. it was a land….wait…. no it was not, there was another on top. I called the judge on myself, I had looked at a card that I should not have, the second from the top. The judge told me I should draw normally and shuffle the land and the rest of my deck. The top of my deck was actually a 4/1 flying hast creature. I WIN! My opponent jumps off his chair, runs around pissed and screaming. I keep my calm and pack my cards in. My first luck out!  and I am off to a 1-0 start.

Round 2 Gaston Comtesse, UB zombies.

Another aggro deck, another bad matchup. There is not much to tell, I draw only 4 spells in the first game and lost. Drew some more spells in the second and won, and only drew 2 lands in the third. He didn’t have to do much, and won an easy game. 1-1

Round 3, Felipe Araujo, WR humans

Whats up with this matchups?? My worst match up comes up, with one of my testing friends piloting it. I just hate this tournament now. He starts as he has to the first game and takes it in a fast fashion. I play pretty well the second game and he has no good response and we are even.

In the third game I come out really fast, beat him a little, he strikes back and gets me down to 5, and plays a creature that will kill me next turn. I look at the top of my deck again, like in the first round (only one card this time though) and I rip the miracle you see on the right. I kill all his guys and swing in for the win.

Another luck-out and 2-1. If lucking out is the only way I can win I don’t think I will get far.

Round 4 – Martin Castillo, GW humans

Yes, amazing. I build a deck against control and all I get is aggro. Its not my worst match up as it is not as aggressive as me, but has a better late game and a few protection from black guys. He kicks my butt the first game swinging for 12 in the air on turn 4 and finishing me on turn 5. I come out pretty sweet in game 2 and roll him over. Game 3 is the grueling one again. He plays a protection from black guy, I make him sacrifice it and beat him with my small zombies. He plays another pro black guy and a huge threat in form of a Hero of bladehold. I kill the hero and keep attacking, but lose a creature to his pro-black guy every attack. At least he can not deal damage to me this way and I finally outdraw him for the win. A not topdecked win for once? 3-1 and on to the next round.

Round 5 – Guillermo Gruszka, UW delver

Yes!! Finally. A match up that is favorable to me. I can win this, sadly, its against one of the best local players, last year he won the national championship and has had some good results in previous international tourneys. I do lose the first game against his delvers and angels and am down to almost losing the second one, but have an awesome card to race him with in my blood artist and finally get there for exactly 4 life when he is at 4 thanks to my my double 2/1 attackers that he has to block with his 2/1 mage, sending 2 creatures to the grave and making him lose 2 life to my blood artist. The third and last game game saw him stuck on blue and colorless mana the whole game, and even if it was not an easy match I took it home without a big sweat. 4-1 and very hopeful. 1 more win and I am in.

Round 6 – Pablo Visconti, Wbr control

After an odd pairing chaos I finally sit down against the only 5-0 player left in the field. Pablo “Portu” Visconti is well known for his rouge deckbuilds and original creations. He came with a white based control deck, with red and black splash for removal and Olivia Voldaren. Seems to have worked for him so far as he has only lost one game and never a match. I hate to not know what I am playing against, it makes taking any long game decision a lot riskier. I come out blazing the first game and get my board sweeped a few times. I manage to get some big guys in and he makes a blocking mistake allowing me to take the lead in games.

In the second game I’m a lot more careful with my plays and go for the long run. Eventually I get a nice board and am going in for the kill. He plays a Gideon Jura and makes me attack it, I make a misplay for misreading the Gideon and leave myself open to be killed by him swinging back at me and leaving me at 2 life, a shock would have done the job, but he does not have it.He has to sweep the board and plays out a creature to remove one of the two guys I have standing that survived the sweep (Falkenrath Aristocrat and Geralf Messenger). I draw and attack with my last guy. He does not block and I play out a blocker. He does not draw it and I move to 5-1 beating the only perfect record player in the room.

Round 7 – Guillermo Suhr, UW delver.

We are both in and could draw and take a rest. We prefer to play it since the top seed in the rounds will be able to choose to start or draw in all the games of the top8. Starting is a very important factor for my and his deck, so drawing might actually make us both end up in the middle of the top8 and not be able to choose the starting game. We do split the booster prizes so there is not much more on the line than mentioned starting factor and game on.

I get the lead first game pretty fast, he takes the second and I tell him we could still draw if he decides to. He chooses not to and I beat him in the final match. 6-1 and first seed into top8.

Top8 are:

1- Me (Zombies)
2- Pablo Visconti (Wbr control)
3- Diego Prato (RG ramp)
4- Guillermo Suhr (UW delver)
5- Gaston Comtesse (Zombies)
6- Carlos García (uw delver)
7- Patricio Coutinño (uw delver)
8- Martin Sagastume (ub control)

This is almost a dream top 8 for me. For three reasons. First, my match ups are favorable against 5 of the 7 opponents, and about 50-50 with the other two (zombies and ramp). Second, seeds 1, 3, 7 and 8 are from my testing team!! 4 of the 8 players tested together, and the other 2 players in the team made top 16 missing put for just one win. A incredible performance for the whole crew. Third, my testing friend Diego Prato, with whom I had made the top4 last nationals and we almost met in the finals playing the same deck, was in the top8 again, and our matches were so that we could only meet in the finals again. The game was on again. Finals with Diego were possible.

To the matches:

Top 8, Martin Sagastume, UB control.

If this is not the easiest one for me, its very close. He is on my testing team and we both know this game is almost a walk in the park for me. And so it went. First game he had no real answer for my beats and even if he came up with a good sideboard plan for game 2 playing sangromancer to my removal light post board deck, I was able to play around it, and finally kill it for the win.

The other top8 matches were:

Pablo Visconti (Wbr control) wins against Patricio Coutinño (UW delver)
Diego Prato (RG ramp) wins against Carlos García (UW delver)
Guillermo Suhr (UW delver) wins against Gaston Comtesse (Zombies)

This last one was my favorite, since the only player who beat me in the rounds was out and my match ups were looking a lot better.

Top 4, Pablo Visconti, Wrb control

I won 2-0 against him in the rounds. I know I can beat him again. This should not be too hard. We both had some misplays in our previous match I was not expecting to happen again.

I started game one too slow and he was able to play his Gideon Jura and get it well into the high numbers. I had a reactive hand, but ended up losing the game to the planeswalker. Suddenly, memories of losing to this planeswalker in the last national championship came to me. I lost top4 against a rouge deck with this card in it. Please don’t let this happen again, a 3rd consecutive top4 at nationals is not what I want. I don’t want to lose this being so close and having the edge on this deck again.

In game 2 I come out fast, I get a look at his hand thanks to my sb distress and see he has a wrath but no land to play it. I overextend in the hopes he wont be able to wrath away. He does draw the land he needs, but elects to shock one of my creatures and play a creature of his own. Puzzled by the play I keep drawing and playing spells until both sides of the board are full of creatures. I know he has a wrath and I have a killing wave. I need a blood artist. And we all know what happens when I need a specific card….. I draw it. Play the artist and cast a killing wave for 2. I pay life only for one of my guys, he pays for 2 of his, he loses 4 life to the wave and the artist triggers 7 times….. he dies. If he had paid for only one guy he would have ended on 1 life, still in a very tough spot to my 2/1 intimidate guy. In retrospective, if he had played the wrath he most likely would have won, as he would have the creature advantage and I wouldn’t have has as many guys to kill with the wave.

I take down the third game with 3 Geralf Messengers and a zealous conscript on his blocker.

I win the match and quickly turn around to see if Diego had won his and the dream of playing a final with him would be finally accomplished. He did not. He lost his game to Guillermo Suhr.

Finals, Guillermo Suhr, UW Delver

Now well, playing someone you beat during the rounds for the final match must feel good.

Playing against a deck you built your deck to beat in the finals must feel good.

I started and kept a slow but powerful hand. Played a land and passed. He played a land a dropped delver of secrets.

I played my second land and passed again leaving mana up for an incinerate on his delver. He looked at the top card in attempt to flip the delver and missed, played a ponder main phase, to which I responded with the incinerate. He shuffled his deck and played a land.

I played land and geralf messenger, leaving life totals at 18-20. He played land and geist of saint thraft. I played Falkenrath Aristocrat and swung in with both creatures for 7 damage. 11-20

He attacked with the geist and his angel buddy and took me to 14, played a snapcaster mage on ponder.

I attacked for another 7 and he elected to block the messenger. His life total was down 7 from the damage and to 5 from the returned messengers life loss, then played my second geralf messenger and a second incinerate to finish him off.

Winning the first match turn 5 feels good.

The second game begun with a mulligan on his side, matched by one on my side. I did not want to keep a slow hand an decided to take the risk.

He had to mulligan down to 4 cards and kept. I kept my 6. I came out fast with turn 1 gravecrawler, turn 2 gravecrawler and fume spitter, turn 3 geralf messenger. He could only get a geist into play on turn 3, but was not able to attack due to my impending force on the table. He played a sword and passed. I attacked with everything and he had to block and play a divine offering on his sword to survive. He drew and extended the hand.

That was it, I won a Trip to Gencon to play for Uruguay at magic world cup!! It feels good.

On Saturday night when I got home with the zombies deck I was not happy with the change, not because it was a bad deck, but because I had not tested it enough. My girlfriend told me that I could get the inspiration I need Sunday morning and finish the deck and go on to win the tourney. I told her: “Magic does not work that way”…. apparently it does 🙂

Gaming – New Magic: The Gathering world championships

A few of the magic player who follow this blog will be delighted to read this.

Lets start a few months ago, when we all heard the incredible news from wizards announcing there would be no more “world championship”A lot of us were angry, frustrated and could not understand how wizards of the coast would do this to one of the greatest expressions of the magic year.

Now, we get this news. A different, more vibrant, and easier to qualify world championship. Where only country representatives play, and only for national pride, not for own glory.

Here the link to the news: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/other/122311a

So there will be a world magic championship, where 4 players of every country will be battling and slinging spells. Who will be these 4? One will be the player with most professional points of the season. And 3 will be players who won three different qualifying tournaments held in the country. They will get the invite and the airfare paid to participate.

Here how this looks for Uruguay:

First place in professional points will be the one that got the best spot in the latin american gp or if anyone travels to one or more gps. Also if someone qualifies for a pro tour, he will most likely get the spot.

Grinders:
Theres a minimum amount of competitive points to have to be invited to them. Having 50 points is really not that hard, you could get them by:
1 gp
1 ptq
1 gp trial y 2 small tourneys
1 national
5-10 small toruneys
FNM dont count to the competitive total.

So, the big thing will be winning one of these Grinders. We can assume that those who play them will be the better players, and since the prize is fairly interesting, there will be a lot of practice involved. But hey, someone has to win it, right?

All in all a great way to turn things around. A great game play enhancer and good prizes. Wizards shows us again they know how to do marketing.