This weekend Perra Comics organized its tenth Mox tourney in Barcelona and I
arrived with my Survival-Mask deck as I so often play. I hadn't played for a
month and my last three tournaments I didn't top 8, so I was hungry. Every time
my deck is different and after some e-mail discussions with Vengeur Masqué guru
Carl I decided to play the following:

4 Birds of paradise
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
3 Volrath's Shapeshifter
2 Quirion Ranger
1 Voidmage Apprentice
1 Squee, Gob Nabob
1 Phage the Untouchable
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Anger
1 Xantid Swarm
1 Uktabi Orangutan

4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Illusionary Mask
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
2 Misdirection
1 Time Walk
1 Ancestral Recall

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
4 Tropical Island
3 Taiga
3 Wooded Foothills
3 Windswept Heath
3 Forest

3 Blood Moon
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Ground Seal
2 Stifle
2 Naturalize
1 Xantid Swarm
1 Viashino Heretic
1 Gilded Drake
1 Grim Lavamancer

I cut a Misdirection for a 6th fetchland because I have lotsa mana light
experiences with this deck. See if my mulligan rate gets better now. At the
beginning of the tournament I flash my Pearl and Jet in front of my friends,
asking if anyone is interested for today. One year ago that would have lead to
people jumping at me like women jump at lady's underwear stands during the
Harrod's sales week. Now I got nothing but some contempeous looks.

The first match I don't get paired with some kid carrying a 75 card deck
featuring Thorn Elemental, but against the winner of the last tourney in Perra
with Scepter Keeper. He knows me as well, we are both not pleased with the

Game 1 starts obnoxious because either my opponent or his neighbour starts the
developments with a fart that makes Iraqi chemical warfare looks like Chanel no
5. Also I mulligan a zero mana hand, so much for my tech of 20 non-creature mana
sources. But the 6 card hand is quite good. I MisD his turn 1 Ancestral Recall,
but he has the FoW. Nevertheless I manage to land a Survival. Another fart
happens, but this time it is my brain that does it, as I manage to play
Volrath's Shapeshifter with Anger in the graveyard and attack for 2, while my
opponent is tapped out after playing a Scepter for Accumulated Knowledge and me
with one green mana left. My wife has no problem spending green and I should
have done it as well, making Phage my topcard. Of course next turn my Shifter
gets plowed, my Squee gets purged and after a Skeletal Scrying of 4 and drawing
2 every turn with the Scepter he has mad card advantage and still one purge in
the GY so I scoop it up, disgusted with my own play.

Game 2 I have an opening hand that included a land and a mox and Blood Moon. I
play my land, he plays his land, I don't draw a land, but a Birds so I drop it.
He plays Scepter imprinting AK and next turn I drop Blood Moon. It enters. I'm
happy. Now started the time of me looking for threats and him drawing two every
turn, sometimes discarding one, sometimes discarding two at the end of turn.
Anyway, just a couple of Force of Wills is not enough to stop my deck and I
manage to drop a big threat and finish him off.

Game 3 he goes to six cards and starts with a Tundra and Mox Pearl. I have quite
an acceptable hand as I go Lotus, Blood Moon, he forces, I do the same. Blood
Moon enters. I play fetchland, tap it to play Shaman, drop Mox Emerald and eat
his Pearl. He puts a concession on the stack, I don't respond and it resolves.

Match 2. Against a fully powered metagamed Workshop deck.
Game 1 I have 2 land, Mask and Nought, Survival, FoW and a Brainstorm. Looking
good. He drops a turn 1 Welder. For some reason I allow it and drop a land. He
plays something irrelevant and I Brainstorm into Lotus and Survival, giving me
options. I can go the artifact route and kill with Dreadnought, keeping the
Lotus in hand or drop Lotus and Survival and go for the Phage route. I drop
Mask. He Racks and Ruins it away together with his Mox Ruby. Rack and Ruin
maindeck! OK, so next turn I drop Survival and soon a bird flies over, waving
"hello" at the Welder and a triggered ability ends the game.

Game 2 I draw a zero mana hand. I'm really good at it. So I mulligan and have a
very good 6 card hand without lands. He mulligans to 5 and drops a Waste. I play
two moxes and a Mask, laughing at his Wasteland. He drops City of Traitors and a
Damping matrix that I Force. Yes, I had a decent six cards, because the next
turn I drop a Nought that finishes the game quickly.

Match 3. Against The Perfect Storm
Game 1 I have a FoW so I keep, he start with land, Mox, Mox, Wheel that I Force.
I don't draw good stuff and he goes crazy and Tendrils me to 3. The next turn he
Vamps for another Tendrils and finishes me off.

Game 2 I Mulligan again. Damn. The six card hand could be better but includes a
Stifle so I keep. I get a Mask in play. He goes crazy again, playing Jar before
Wheel, I draw 0 defense but have discarded Anger to his Wheel. He starts going
off. I wait for the finish but then he a makes a major mistake of not saccing
his LED in response to the Jar and he dies out because of lack of blue mana.
Hasted Noughts don't give him a second chance.

Game 3 he mulls to 5 and start with a desperate Sapphire, Petal, LED, Brainstorm
saccing the LED for BBB. He doesn't find good things and burns. I'm a mean SOB
as I drop a Mox and a Gorilla and eat his Petal. He sacs it in response,
Mystically Tutoring for a draw-3. He draws his three next turn and drops a land.
I land Blood Moon. The rest of the game he plays draw-go, playing mountains with
artworks I've never seen on Mountains before, some even had 3 Mine counters on
them. Anyway he manages to FoW a Mask but my threats enter play anyway. The turn
before he wouild die from good old combat damage he screams for Lotus, his deck
responds, but I have the FoW. He shows his hand of double Ritual, Will and

A match I should have lost.

Match 4 against a fully powered agressive MUD variant.
Game 1 shows him dropping a Juggy and a Masticore. At 9 life I drop a Nought,
Juggie crashes into it and I go down to 5 because of Masti. I bash for 12 and
drop another Nought so that's it.

Game 2 is one of "those" amazing matches I have now and then against Workshop
decks. Them having the lock and me twisting and turning. He unloaded his hand
with Sphere, Stack, Damping matrix and mana. I have a Survival in play and turn
3 have to decide if I go for Squee, lose tempo and the permanent war, hoping he
would not have a second Stack, or dropping a Bird and keep up with his
permanents. I do the latter which is the good choice, as he drops another stack.
A couple of turns later we have an empty table. Unfortunately I'm kept with a
Ruby, Mask, Nought and a couple of birds but don't draw a land and he gets two
Workshops, a threat and when he drops Chalice for 1 and a Smokestack I scoop it
up. These are exhausting games, making you wonder at the end if you played it
all correctly.

Game 3 is one of those games in which Nought ends the game before turn 5.

Match 5 against Goblins.
We ID. I win 2-0 off the record.

Match 6 against Dragon.
We ID. I lose 4-1. Ground Seal looks great, but doesn't hurt the drawing engine.
Dragon just drops a Deed and comboes. He draws well, I didn't. Xantids are a
pain. I need more Crypts.

Quarters. Against the same Keeper as game 1.

First game I mulligan, get a hand with 2 mana creatures and 4 lands. Going to 5
doesn't appeal to me. I don't draw enough threats and he can keep up easily.

Second game a Survival lands quickly and Uktabi deals with a Scepter imprinted
with Swords. The path is clear for 12/12 tramplers.

Third game he starts with land and Lotus. I have the perfect counter: Gorilla.
He drains it and burns for 1. Well done Gorilla. I manage to get Survival in
play, have to pitch a Shifter to get Squee. A second Shifter is Drained, making
me more careful, because now I only have one left. I play morphed Apprentice
which gets plowed. I play Xantid Swarm. Blood Moons and Masks are still hidden.
At one point he Disenchants my Survival, I laugh and show him my hand: I had
three more. We enter the last five turns and the player with the highest life
will prevail. This I will win thanks to a Quirion Ranger that has been doing 1
each turn. I finally try Shifter and it enters and when I drop Nought in the
yard, he extends the hand, telling me that I could have done that half an hour

Semis. Against a home cooked suicide, splashing blue for power and green for
Game 1 I see a pleasant 2 Masks, 1 Nought, 1 Lotus and 1 Survival in my first 9
cards Some of them fall to Duress and Hymn, but there was enough left to make
him lose life in increments of 12. He is a coward for not attacking with his
Negator into my 1cc face down creature.

Game 2 he Duresses me and sees 2 Land, Sapphire, Survival, Brainstorm and some
non-mana creatures. He decides to go for the mana screw and takes the Sapphire.
I savagely topdeck FoW, counter the Sinkhole that I knew that was coming and
drop Survival. I do my Survival stuff, he rituals out a deed and blows up the
world, which included a Mask. But the Survival has provided me with a Birds and
a Shifter that I drop and when I draw something good that does 12 damage he
can't find an escape.

I see that in the other semis the dreaded Dragon match-up is falling to a Goblin
deck splashing white for Disenchants and Seals. He manages to draw enough
Disenchant effects to get rid of 3 Reanimated Verdant Forces. Goblins don't
scare me, though it is a match-up I can easily lose.


Game one shows how easy magic is, I drop first turn Mask, second turn Nought and
two attack phases later we shuffle for game 2.

Game two we both take a mulligan. We both keep our 6. I die to goblins. This had
probably something to do with two forests and a Taiga in play and nothing but
blue spells in hand. The only thing I cast was a Squee that blocked a couple of
times. I checked if I had sided out my Tropicals and fetches, but they were
still in the deck, having a party on their own without inviting me.

We both keep for the deciding game, he hesitated a little, which is good news. I
drop a land and FoW his turn 1 Lackey. Turn 2 I play a Mask. He drops a fetch
and goes for... Plateau? No, he gets a Mountain and drops a Fanatic and a
Prospector. No Disenchant effect. The hesitation nows makes sense. he kept his
hand hoping for the Lackey to resolve. Anyway, now I'm looking at two
unimpressive creatures. Promising. I have no Nought and play a Lavamancer face
down. The 1cc creature scares him and he doesn't do anything this turn.
Excellent, my Lavamancer is active now. I slip a Bird under the Mask, keeping U
open for a Brainstorm/Stifle and R for the Lavamancer. He attemps to Waste my
Tropical and I Stifle. Now I draw a Voidmage Apprentice, play it face down and I
feel quite safe. He Bolts the Apprentice and I turn it face up. I draw a land
and play it. Now he plays a Warchief and attacks with all. The Apprentice jumps
in front of the Prospector and Lavamancer shows his true face and pings the
Warchief. Fanatic is sacked to get the Lavamancer and his board is empty. I
Brainstorm and find two Brainstorm and a fetch. My library is shuffled. Now my
memory gets a bit fuzzy, but I remember countering a Goblin Tinkerer. I found
Survival and dropped a Nought. The turn after I Brainstorn two times, drop Anger
in the graveyard, slip two more Noughts under the Mask and end the tournament in
style with an attack of 3 Phyrexian Dreadnoughts.

I win the Jet and sell it to the shop owner for 200 euros. I'll get myself a
Timetwister on eBay, completing my P10. From the rest I'll go buy a present for
the miss, to ensure she will allow me play many tournaments more

I can't be unhappy with my matchups in the finals. The deck performs well
against most archetypes, except combo.

About the deck: I was happy with the land configuration. Still too many
mulligans for zero-mana hands though. Maybe I'm just unlucky (I sure as hell was
unlucky with dice as only the semis I won the dice roll). The maindeck Swarm
that I tried did not really help me this weekend. Another things is that it
still happens a lot that I get Survival in play, but don't manage to kill my
opponent quickly, because they're so stupid to board in graveyard hate. So maybe
I'll try Gigapede again as extra beatstick. Who knows. Until then.