Report

Waterbury: Pre-amble
====================

I was pretty hyped about this event a month and a half ago, when I made the
decision to come down and play after having so much fun playing in my only other
event South of the border (Gencon). The idea of facing off against so many of
the brightest minds of T1 Magic, and the chance to meet so many Mana Drainers
made it particularly appealing. I soon found out that Rich and Razvan (Shock
Wave and Razvan on TMD) were interested in going, so we set out to find as many
Canucks to come down with us to rival team Meandeck in size. It was
disappointing to find out that some of our strongest players would not be making
the trip (Lam Phan, Shawn Stewart and Steve Wolfman to name a few), but we did
manage to put together a pretty strong contingent. Apart from Rich, Razvan and
I, we would have Wayne (Moridar on TMD) coming out of retirement to join us with
his highly original halo.dec, as well as Matt Locke (Carthain) sporting his
excellent Salvagers.dec which proved to be a powerful choice for this event.
Rounding out the field were Jon Smithers (jockn) who bussed down all the way
from Ottawa (6+ hours away by bus) to join us (good to have you for the trip
Jon!), and last but not least Erich (Edwrdbear on IRC) from nearby Ajax decided
to give it a go as well.

We decided to forego much sleep and iron-man it, driving down during Friday
night and arriving in time to play in the morning. We set off at 8pm the night
before (5pm for me as I had to pick up the rental and everyone else at the
height of rush hour traffic, go me!), and we were highly fortunate that no snow
or freezing rain could impede our drive down. We arrived 4 hours early so we
could all catch up on a tiny bit of sleep in the van. I couldn't sleep as I had
no idea what I was going to play - after much testing with Dragon against Rich
in the weeks leading up to this event, we concluded that it can be wildly
inconsistent and had a roughly 50/50 record against most of the top decks in the
format (Workshop based decks like Stax and 5/3, MeanOath, Control Slaver etc). I
even decided to pilot WGD in two local tournaments the week before, co-winning
one event after beating Slaver, Oath and Hulk, and getting horribly crushed in
the other by Food Chain Goblins and some weird CoW-Fastbond-ZOrb deck with 3
main deck Cranial Extractions. I lost much of my confidence after that event and
upon hearing that Rich decided not to pilot WGD with me, so before I set out on
this trip I brought my stand-by, a hybrid Landstill deck that was a cross
between traditional Landstill and the U/B CoW Control deck that Rich decided to
pilot.

So as I sat in the van, pondering what I was going to play, I "came to my
senses". I realized that the people that I end up facing will not know how to
play absolutely correctly versus WGD, and perhaps more importantly the metagame
was ripe for the deck to do well. I anticipated that the format would have very
little graveyard hate and direct removal, although I thought there were going to
be more Workshop based decks and Meandeck Oath. The SB reflects this, but
unfortunately it is lacking in the same kind of anti-combo cards that we sported
at Gencon, which led to many successes against Tendrils based decks. I figured
that the primary combo deck would be the slower TPS, so I wasn't too worried,
but I now regret that decision. In any case, the other reason I opted for Dragon
was because I trusted myself to be able to play through any situation, even if
my opponent had ample hate cards for me. I had all the right tools to handle the
hate, and I knew, as it happens time and time again, that the matches are not
decided so much on the hate but more on the card drawing engines and/or the
pressure that can be exerted by the opponent. In fact, the more hate cards come
in, the fewer threats or card drawing I'll have to face, and that's the way I
like it. Plus, I'd be kicking myself for not playing my "signature deck" (which
I really hardly play guys!). If I'm going to go down, I'll go down fighting with
Dragon, sleep or no sleep. And so I decided on this:


5CWGD
======

4 Worldgorger Dragon
4 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Shivan Hellkite
1 Sliver Queen

4 Animate Dead
3 Necromancy

4 Bazaar of Baghdad
2 Compulsion

4 Intuition
3 Lim Dul's Vault
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Ancestral Recall

4 Force of Will
3 Xantid Swarm

1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
4 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Forbidden Orchard
1 Glimmervoid

SB:
==

1 Abeyance
4 Ray of Revelation
3 Rack and Ruin
2 Pernicious Deed
2 Engineered Explosives
3 Chalice of the Void


The five color approach was specifically designed in anticipation of three
things:

1. The lack of Blood Moon - everyone is playing so many basics and fetches in
the environment after all these debates about Trinisphere and how to hedge
against it, which greatly diminishes the power of this card.

2. Oath decks - You need white in Dragon to beat Oath, because you need to have
a way to deal with Ground Seal AND all of their counterspells. Rays do an
excellent job of destroying Oath's SB plans, and the wonderful news is that
Seals do not kill your draw engine so you can easily win the war of attrition.
The fact that 5CWGD runs its own Orchards is a huge added bonus.

3. Workshop decks - We thought Rack and Ruin would push this match-up over the
edge. Although our testing didn't bear this out, I still believe that this card
can be a game breaker in such match-ups. Unfortunately, RnRs were pretty dead in
this event, as there were so few Workshop decks.

A fourth point is the considerable ease of casting Vaults, Xantids, and Deeds
out of the SB - the latter two being the primary tools for fighting 80% of the
"hate". Vaults are known game enders in WGD specifically, so having a mana base
to support the casting of these 3 spells was very key to the deck's success.

In retrospect I would have been happy to swap the RnRs for 1 additional Chalice
of the Void and 2 Null Rods, and try to find room for the 3rd Null Rod by
perhaps cutting the 4th Ray.

In any case, I make my decision and confidently write up my decklist. The Canuck
team is wielding some pretty interesting and original builds, including Shock
Wave's ever-morphing Shop-Control, Razvan's Control Slaver with powerful SB
"tech", Matt's very underestimated Salvagers combo, Wayne's "$10,000 solution"
a.k.a. halo.dec, Jon's more standard TPS with some interesting SB cards, and
Erich wielding his SuiTog creation.

On to the games! (forgive me, I didn't write down names)



Round 1: U/R Severance Blecher

Game 1
=====

My opponent is Liz from Binghampton, who tells me that she hasn't been playing
for very long but demonstrates technical precision during play and knows how to
pilot her deck well. We begin and I soon find out that she is very
counter-heavy, stopping many of my tutoring effects via her Mana Leaks, Drains,
and FoWs. She's also using her Accumulated Knowledges to keep rebuilding her
hand, but its mostly for naught. She didn't see any Wastelands (although I only
saw one in the match, so she might have been without a full complement of land
destruction). This was bad news for her, as I was able to easily keep up in the
card drawing department, and once I dropped the WGD in the grave, I was able to
keep animating until the counterspells were all exhausted. A war of attrition
for a control deck that is unable to control Dragon's massive draw engine is
pretty hopeless.

SB in:

1 Rack and Ruin
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Abeyance

SB out:

1 Forbidden Orchard
2 Compulsion
1 Squee

Game 2
=====

Liz SBs in a few cards, and I'm trying to predict what those SB cards might be.
Because she's heavy blue with a minor red splash there is a danger of Blood
Moon, but I'm banking on that card being completely absent from today's meta.
Instead, since she's running Welders, I anticipate Tormod's Crypt but I don't
want to oversideboard with too many Deeds/EE/Rack and Ruins. Her win condition
is relatively slow, and she will not be tapping out to cast any Belchers, which
means I have lots of time to set up and find my few removal spells eventually. I
ditched the Compulsions, as I was thinking that she might be without any
Wastelands.

In the early going I run into lots of counters, and even though I resolve an
early Xantid Swarm it is soon met with a Fire/Ice. I have trouble getting my
draw engine going, but at least she's wasting her resources on my set-up spells.
I do manage to get a Bazaar into play and discard a Worldgorger and Sliver Queen
along the way, and then she surprises me by wasting the Bazaar. It's no problem
though, as both of my kill cards are in the grave and I soon find another
Bazaar. After whittling down her hand, I test the waters by casting an animate
spell, which surprisingly resolves. I smell a rat, so I opt to animate up my
Sliver Queen. This puts me in a pretty good position, as I have another animate
in hand along with a Rack and Ruin, and I have a win condition in play. However,
next turn she resolves a Charbelcher and leaves one Volcanic untapped, with 4
cards in hand. I untap and ponder my options. I have 2 Animates, a FoW, and the
RnR in hand after drawing a card, and I have 5 mana open. I could RnR her
Belcher and one of my Moxes (she had no other artifacts in play), but she only
had 3 mana total in play so I wasn't fearing a Belcher activation. I was
debating what to do, and I concluded that she very likely had a FoW but no Leak
or Drain, seeing how she only had one U open. I estimated that her SBing a
Stifle was highly improbable given the deck she was playing, as I couldn't
figure out what Stifle would do for her game against the top deck archetypes.
Based on that probability analysis, I decided to not give her another turn and
cast Animate. It resolved, and I had a final chance of targeting the Xantid. I
threw caution into the wind and named WGD, and she did have the stifle after
all. It was certainly a mistake in retrospect, but one based on a bit of over
analysis on my part. Now the game was essentially over, as there was little
point in floating 3 mana for the second animate, since drawing the game was
impossible given that a Xantid was in the graveyard and I knew that I had no
lands coming up in my next few draws after an earlier Lim Dul's Vault. I also
decided not to use 3 mana for the Rack and Ruin, because if she for some reason
did have the Stifle, I wanted her to Belch me as soon as possible so that we
would have enough time for game 3. Sure enough she Severanced and Belched in the
next two turns, but at least I got to see her entire library. As she flipped
cards I saw absolutely no Dragon hate of any relevance, which either means that
the Stifle was a singleton or that all of her hate cards accumulated in her hand
when she went off.

Game 3
=====

SB in:

2 Compulsion
1 Forbidden Orchard

SB out:

2 Deed
1 Explosives

Since I saw no permanent based hate, out came all of the removal save for the
lone Rack and Ruin. I put back the Compulsions to maximize the goldfish speed,
since we were down to mere minutes to play this final game. I start off lukewarm
by dropping a quick land, Mox, and Compulsion, which resolves. To my chagrin,
she drops a turn 1 Lotus, and now it's going to be very difficult to go off if
she has multiple Drains or Mana Leaks. Time is called soon after, and by turn 3
(her turn) I've managed to cycle away a WGD and hold an Animate, a land, a Lim
Dul's Vault, and some card of no consequence in hand with her having a Lotus,
one blue untapped land, and an untapped Wasteland in play. I have 2 Moxes, a
Mana Crypt and 2 lands in play. I cast Vault at the end of her turn, and set up
my library to give me an Abeyance and Necromancy as my next two draws, and then
cycle via Compulsion for the Abeyance. On my turn after untapping and drawing a
card, I lay my land so that I have an Animate, a Necromancy, and an Abeyance in
hand with just enough mana to cast everything, and this is turn 4. I make a
slight mistake which turned out to be of no consequence in this game by tapping
a land and Crypt for the Animate Dead, making her sac her Lotus and Draining
with one U floating. Now I cannot announce my attack phase, as I will lose the
colorless mana floating from my pool and will be unable to resolve both spells.
So I use up the colorless mana and cast Abeyance, and she has Drain #2. I finish
things off by casting the Necromancy, but she has FoW on top of everything. It
didn't matter very much, but I was hoping that maybe she might concede without
realizing that I cannot actually use Compulsion with no cards in hand. In any
case even if I played it properly by not tapping Mana Crypt, and making her burn
on the U by moving to the second main phase and thus denying her Drain mana, she
had the option of responding to the attack announcement by Wasting an untapped
land, mana shorting me.

Exciting games and some fine play by Liz throughout, who managed to draw a match
that was decidedly in Dragon's favor, especially without much anti Dragon cards
in the SB.

(draw 1-1-1, record 0-0-1)


Round 2: Control Slaver

Game 1
=====

In my opening hand I drop two Moxes and a Glimmervoid. This totally confuses my
opponent, who thinks aloud and tries to determine what deck I could possibly be
playing. He seems to decide that I'm sporting affinity, and proceeds to drop a
Mox and Tinkers up a Platinum Angel after a bit of Brainstorm manipulation. He's
tapped out and has no FoW in hand, which means I go off by dropping Bazaar along
with an Animate and Worldgorger in hand. He makes me play it out and soon enough
I mill my library into the Hellkite, which fries the Platinum to a crisp before
taking out its anger on my opponent for a million points of damage.

Game 2
=====

SB in:

2 Deed
1 Explosives
1 Abeyance

SB out:

2 Compulsion
1 Squee
1 Sliver Queen

I have no idea what kind of SB hate I can expect from these Slaver decks today -
they could be running anything from Blood Moon to Tormod's Crypt to Stifle,
along with a whole host of other nasty anti Dragon cards. It doesn't concern me
very much though, as they don't run any Wastelands so I'm happy to remove my
Compulsions in favor of permanent removal. My plan is to typically ride the
Xantid and tutor up or draw into either Deed/Explosives or the Abeyance, which
will allow me to go off unimpeded against any permanent based hate. It's all for
naught in this game though, as my opponent mulls his opening hand and ends up
drawing seven cards again. I didn't notice this right away, but I end up
counting his hand after he plays an end-of-turn Brainstorm. We call a judge who
ends up giving my opponent a game loss. I was in decent position at least,
having resolved a first turn Xantid, but I was quite mana shy so it was anyone's
game at that point.

(win 2-0, record 1-0-1)


Round 3: U/G Madness

Game 1
=====

Game one against madness is usually a breeze for Dragon unless they can get
their mana denial going with Null Rods and Wastelands/Strip Mine. However, my
opponent has opted to run 4 main deck Annuls over Null Rods, which are a bit
troublesome as they can counter my Animate spells. This game my opponent gets a
heavy disruption hand and draws three waste effects early on, and Annuls a Mox
as well to keep me mana shorted. I did manage to drop a Worldgorger into the
graveyard via Bazaar before it got wasted, so I just need to find mana and a way
to find my kill condition to win. My opponent, despite his massive early
disruption, could only muster a Basking Rootwalla, so I'm on a very slow clock.
I use that time to eventually draw into another Bazaar and a couple of Cities of
Brass and a Mox. The next animate I cast resolves as he is all out of counters,
and since I have no pain-free way generating red mana, I have to opt for Sliver
Queen along with one million tokens. I pass the turn and he hopes to top-deck a
Wonder, which he doesn't as none are in the main deck. I win a nail biter.

Game 2
=====

SB in:

2 Pernicious Deed
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Abeyance

SB out:

1 Squee Goblin Nabob
1 Sliver Queen
1 Intuition
1 Animate Dead


Game two I manage to resolve the one card that will decide this match-up: Xantid
Swarm. Swarms are necessary to stop his Annuls and any other nasty instants that
he might have boarded in. The Swarm also allows me to resolve Pernicious Deed
unimpeded shortly after I build to 3 mana, so now I have a way to deal with the
Tormod's Crypt that he resolved early along with a late play of Waterfront
Bouncer. I wait until I have Worldgorger, Bazaar, and an Animate spell in hand,
then attack with Xantid, blow the Deed to kill the freshly cast Bouncer and the
Crypt, then go off with an Animate on a Worldgorger discarded via the Bazaar. He
really had little chance after that Xantid resolved, as he had no creature
removal apart from Bouncers and he didn't have any early pressure aside from the
early Rootwalla once again.

(win 2-0, record 2-0-1)

Round 4: SEX.dec

Game 1
=====

Yes, I am facing sex.dec, played by none other than Marc Perez, in a feature
match. Since the video action will soon be released for your viewing pleasure, I
will only mention the highlights.

In the first game I know I must have a considerable edge, since Marc's deck
seems to be shy on any sort of removal and has a relatively slower goldfish
rate. Plus, the coldness of Marc's hand, the little beads of sweat forming on
his forehead, and the slight tremble in his hand that he quickly tries to mask
betray his nervousness about the upcoming battle (ok, just kidding Marc!!). Game
1 is decided the moment that a Xantid Swarm resolves, although I still have to
play with some precision to set up my kill with Lim Dul's Vault. I have just
enough cards in my hand to find a Worldgorger and Bazaar into the kill, this all
following a string of turns Marc took by replaying Time Walk and beating me down
with Witness and some Orchard tokens.

Game 2
=====

SB in:

2 Pernicious Deed
1 Abeyance
1 Engineered Explosives

SB out:

2 Compulsion
1 Sliver Queen
1 Orchard

I see Marc SBing in tons of cards out of the corner of my eye, which means that
I can probably expect a wide range of hate cards, either permanent-based hate or
instant speed hate. It turned out that he brought in many singleton hate cards,
including one I needed to avoid at all costs: Extraction. I got pounded by that
card in a previous tournament, but I anticipated that few decks would play it,
and that the most likely deck to sport it, TPS, can still be killed by animating
up my kill conditions. I do my standard SB plan by taking out Compulsions and
even an additional mana source given that I'm not going to be bothered by any
Wastelands or other mana denial.

This game I get out an early Xantid Swarm, but I cannot go off because Marc
drops a 1st turn Tormod's Crypt. This delays me for a bit, as I now have to
either find removal, the Abeyance, or two animate spells and two WGDs. I'm also
on the clock because he will either hunt down his Cranial Extraction or Time
Walk me into oblivion. After a flurry of activity on his side (including the
multiple casting of Ancestral Recall, wow) he gets enough creatures down and
Time Walks into victory. I just couldn't get going fast enough and that Crypt
really shut me down long enough for him to punch through enough damage.

Game 3
=====

A bit of an anti-climax, as Marc falls to a turn 2 kill. I start off by playing
Lotus and Bazaar, holding a Necromancy and WGD, along with a Gemstone Mine. He
matches my start with a Lotus of his own, a Mox, and a fetchland. I'm thinking
that even if he has the Extraction, I can draw the game in response. He passes
the turn, and I draw into a Xantid Swarm. I don't tip my hand quite yet by not
Bazaar away the Dragon, as I want to give him ample opportunity to go wrong by
not knowing exactly what's in my hand. On my second turn I play Gemstone Mine
and tap if for a Xantid Swarm, passing the turn. Now Marc is in trouble, as most
of his Dragon hate is instant-based, so he either has to consider FoW, or do
something proactive to contend with the Swarm. He elects to Intuition for the
following: Fire/Ice, Tormod's Crypt, and Ancestral Recall. He has 4 other cards
at this point. Once I see the Crypt I figure that there is a very good chance
he's holding a mana source and a Witness, which leaves a low probability that
the final two cards are FoW and a blue spell. I give him the F/I (I don't mind
him killing my Xantid if he's going to be losing a FoW and another business
spell anyways), and he taps out to Fire my Xantid after fetching. I sac the
Lotus in response and Necromancy after Bazaaring my WGD away, and after Marc's
pause I see that it's all over. An exciting match, although I drew a very
powerful hand to trump his explosive mana start in the deciding game.

(win 2-1, record 3-0-1)


Round 5: Control Slaver

Game 1
=====

This game, along with the next one, must have left the opponent stunned as he
lost so quickly. He drew hands without early FoWs, and I resolved everything I
needed quickly and went off with Bazaar + WGD. He did manage to play a Welder in
the process of losing, so I knew which deck I was facing.

Game 2
=====

SB in:

2 Deed
1 Explosives
1 Abeyance

SB out:

2 Compulsion
1 Squee
1 Sliver Queen

As in my previous Slaver encounter, there is a wide array of SB cards I could
face, and since my opponent dropped an Ancient Tomb in game 1, I thought that
the chances were a bit higher that he would be packing Blood Moons in his SB.
After the game my opponent disclosed to me that he in fact had nothing of
consequence to bring in against me, given that he had to devote most of the SB
to the top tier decks like Stax or 5/3, Oath, and the ever-present mirror. I
nodded sympathetically, smiling on the inside for making the right meta call.

Game 2 was even more tragic for my opponent, who mulled to six and started off
with Mox Pearl, Darksteel Citadel, go. I dropped a Bazaar on my turn and passed.
My opponent top decks a Volcanic which he plays, but I know its over. I have a
Gemstone Mine along with two Moxes, a Necromancy, and a WGD with FoW back-up. On
my turn I lay the acceleration and my land, knowing that my opponent will either
Thirst for Knowledge or Brainstorm at the end of turn. He does exactly that
(Brainstorm), and safe from any Stifle or Chain of Vapor nonsense I confidently
go off by milling the WGD and casting Necromancy. He didn't have a FoW.

(win 2-0, record 4-0-1)


Round 6: TPS

Game 1
=====

TPS is always going to be a random match-up, determined largely by which part of
TPS decides to show up. If they get a heavy disruption hand and stall me long
enough, then I might be in trouble. That is exactly what happened in game 1, as
my opponent casts 3 consecutive Duresses, ripping away my Intuition, Necromancy,
and then a Mox. Having my Mox Duressed is a testament to just how bad that hand
ended up being after the Intuition was taken away. He easily resolves Time
Spiral and Bargain afterwards and I don't have a chance in hell.

SB in:

3 Chalice of the Void
1 Abeyance

SB out:

2 Compulsion
1 Forbidden Orchard
1 Squee


Here is where my SB decisions hurt me. I would have loved to have 4 Chalice and
3 Null Rods in the side to smash every single non-Dragon combo deck, but we
opted to SB heavily for Oath and Workshop instead. I would easily trade in the
near useless Rack and Ruins for anti-combo cards, exactly the way we did at
Gencon. At all of the Gencon events none of the faster Tendrils or Belcher based
combo decks could touch us. I had a feeling that I would be in trouble for this
event in the later rounds once I started to run into the combo decks, which will
invariably do well early despite being relatively few in number. So why didn't I
opt for the anti-combo board? I felt that the only combo deck of note that will
show up will be the relatively slower TPS (which was half correct, except I
didn't really anticipate Meandeck cooking up a fast Belcherless Belcher deck
amidst all the rumors flying around in #themanadrain). So, big metagaming
mistake in retrospect, and one that probably cost me top 16 in this event.

In any case, we buckle down for game 2, and I drew a hand that made the entire
trip worthwhile:

Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, Bazaar of Baghdad, Wordgorger Dragon, FoW, Animate Dead, Land

I played the Bazaar and Bazaared, drawing a Lim Duls Vault and another land. I
ditched the lands and WGD, played the Moxes, and animated up the Dragon with FoW
back up. Savage, especially since I needed the Ruby to go off with Hellkite.

As amazed as I am by my fortune this game, I am well aware that the very next
game tends to be this equalizing "downer" with a less than stellar start, and
that's exactly how it turned out. Nuts.

Game 3
=====

The deciding game was all him after an initial critical play, and as it played
out he was either going to completely kill himself with the reckless Bargaining
or kill me just in time. The critical play came after two uneventful turns where
he played land go and did nothing else. I set myself up with a land Xantid one
turn and a Mox Bazaar on the next turn, but I could only manage to ditch a
Hellkite with the Bazaar. The good news was that I was holding two FoWs and a
Necromancy, but the bad news is that he had a full hand. He clearly had no
Duresses, so I was wondering what he might be holding, and thought that perhaps
he was loaded with instant speed hate. Even if he managed to force through a
Cranial Extraction past my FoW, I at least had the Hellkite ready for animation.
What happened on his third turn turned out to be a complete disaster. He played
a Lotus to kick things off, and I debated FoWing it. I was really worried that
if has two business spells in his 7 cards then the huge mana boost might spell
trouble, so I crossed my fingers and FoWed the Lotus. I was non-plussed when it
turned out he only had acceleration in his hand and the lone Bargain, but it
wasn't over yet. He played the Bargain and started to draw cards by paying large
life increments all at once. He built up a massive hand, but he was quickly
running out of mana. With BBBB mana in his pool, he Demonic Tutored, and I
thought it was all over. When he hesitated afterwards, there was a glimmer of
hope. With two mana left and no other acceleration in hand, and five life left,
he then began the agonizing process of drawing cards one at a time to find a
non-land mana source to power the Yawgmoth's Will in his hand. He pays one life
and draws. Not the right card. Pays another life and goes to three. Nothing.
Pays a life again and draws, going to 2 life. His shoulders slump - he drew a
dud. My god, it will be decided on the final card. He pays the life, draws a
card... his reaction, an audible sigh of relief, was all I needed to hear. My
first match loss.

(loss 2-1, record 4-1-1)


Round 6: FCG

Game 1
=====

I was amazed after his first turn play of land followed by a Prospector that FCG
could make it this far. I started off with Land, Mana Crypt. He wasted on his
turn, and I Intuitioned up 2 WGD and a Hellkite. Inexplicably he gave me the
WGD, which means on my turn I played land, Necromancy, gg. He made it easy for
me, but even if he made the right play by giving me the Hellkite he was pretty
much doomed. I had a FoW in hand without another blue card, so if I would have
drawn a Bazaar, a Tutor, or any blue card, it was all over (I would FoW his next
creature and animate up the WGD, generating a million red mana and then stop the
loop on his creature so I could hardcast the Hellkite).

SB in:

2 Pernicious Deed
2 Engineered Explosives

SB out:

1 Squee
1 Sliver Queen
1 Intuition
1 Demonic Tutor


FCG is the one deck that I knew would have Blood Moons, but I wasn't too
concerned. I have FoWs and 4 ways to remove both the Moon and all of the Crypts
that he would be siding in. This game was a disaster for him despite the two
hate cards that he got into play. His first turn consisted of Land, Prospector,
Petal, Tormod's Crypt, go. I'm not concerned, as I have both Explosives and Deed
in hand. I calmly play land go. I have WGD and Bazaar in hand, but I want to see
what he's up to first. On his second turn, he misses his land drop, but
sacrifices his Petal and taps out to play a Recruiter. At this point I know
judging by my hand that the game is over. He stacks 6 goblins with the first two
being Lackeys. He passes and I lay a land, Mana Crypt, and a Pernicious Deed.
He's in serious trouble, so he decides to bait the Deed by playing a Blood Moon
off his solitary land, the Recruiter and the Prospector. No problem, the turn
passes to me and I draw into a Lotus. OK, in that case, I decide to play Mox
Jet, Bazaar (which is a Mountain), and hard cast the Worldgorger and say to hell
with the Deed. I had other options but this play easily wins. He untaps and
draws his first Lackey which he casts. On my turn I play the Lotus and
Explosives, which I blow for 1. He sacs the Crypt in response and I believe that
he thought the Explosives was for X or less, but it didn't even matter. I swing,
so he has two turns left. He untaps and casts Lackey #2, which I decide to FoW
out of spite (I had succumbed to FCG in a tournament the week before with WGD,
so I was determined to crush all hope). The FoW wasn't necessary, but I just
wanted to cast one last spell before the WGD sealed the deal.

(win 2-0, record 5-1-1)


Round 8: Goth Slaver

Game 1
======

OK crunch time. I win and I make top 16, I lose and I go home early. Drawing is
out of the question, as the majority of 6-2's won't be making it, let alone any
5-1-2s. So we have to play it out.

The first game is a heartbreaker. It is the game where I have a significant
edge, and one I have to win before all the possible hate comes pouring in out of
the SB. However, my hopes are crushed as I have to mull to 4 cards, with each of
the previous hands not even being remotely keepable. I decide to play it out as
long as possible to see what he was playing, and once I saw the Welders and AKs
I knew I was facing Goth Slaver. Seeing the Underground Sea was important too,
and I decided that it was very unlikely that I would be facing Blood Moons post
SB. He got a chance to see what I was playing in the process, but I anticipated
that he already knew at that point.

Game 2
=====

SB in:

2 Pernicious Deed
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Abeyance

SB out:

2 Compulsion
1 Squee
1 Sliver Queen

This game starts off slow for both of us, with him dropping nothing but lands,
Welders, and beating me down for a bit. I drop a Xantid, construct my winning
board position via tutors that are unmolested, and we are soon onto game 3.

Game 3
=====

It turns out that all he had of consequence against WGD were a pair of Aether
Spellbombs, and he unfortunately drew one along with a Welder early. I cast a
Xantid early and had Bazaar, but no Squee draw engine and no WGDs in sight. This
means that I had to wait in order to find both a WGD and some removal (Deed,
Explosives, and Abeyance would all have done the trick). He plays two more
Welders which I like, because any removal spell that I draw will devastate his
side of the board. He only has two artifacts (Mox and Citadel) in play aside
from the Spellbomb, so he is very reluctant to use Spellbomb on my Swarm in a
span of 3-4 turns. This gives me plenty of opportunity to wreck him, but I'm
just not drawing into anything of consequence. The up-side is that he's not
drawing any card drawing spells, so we are both not doing very much. After a
while and with one card in hand (and 3 Welders in play plus the Spellbomb), he
decides to finally bomb my Xantid. I decide not to replay it, opting for an
Intuition instead. He predictably Drains and has no cards in hand, but he
changes that instantly by top decking an AK for 3 followed by a Thirst for
Knowledge. This is going to be trouble. I replay the Xantid, annoyed that I
could only find a Hellkite and a solitary Squee to pitch to my Bazaar so far.
However, it's too little too late, as with his replenished hand he's able to
continue his chain of draw spells, discarding his Mindslaver at the end of his
turn. My only play of note was to Necromancy up the Hellkite and kill one of the
three Welders, but the Hellkite gets bounced and all I have to show for it is an
additional card via Bazaar. He gets me into Slaver lock by Slaving me once and
resolving an Intuition on my turn, making me select his Yawgmoth's Will. That
was all she wrote.

(loss 2-1 result 5-2-1)


I miss top 16 but still manage a top 32 result (I ended up 20-something I
believe), so at least it paid off for those who selected me on their Waterbury
bingo cards Smile. I was happy that the deck was performing consistently for me
throughout the event, and even though it did implode on me in the one match that
counted most when I had to mull to 4, I cannot really complain. The deck is a
bit of a risk to play because, despite all of its power, it can spit out some
god awful hands once in a while. I'm pretty happy in the performance, as I
played some solid decks and made few mistakes to my knowledge. The only play I
regretted was my game losing decision against Liz in the first match, but had I
won that match, it would have changed every subsequent match-up and who knows
what kinds of decks I would have to face. It is perhaps fortunate that I avoided
all of the Stax and Blood Moon packing mono-brown decks, along with the much
faster Meandeck combo deck which would have been a nightmare without my
anti-Tendrils/Belcher SB to protect me in games 2 and 3

I was happy to hear that many of my teammates did so well, with 3 of us
finishing at 6-2 (Rich, Razvan, and Matt) and Jon at 5-3. Wayne started off well
but after disappointing consecutive losses he decided to call it quits for the
team and catch some sleep so he could help out in the driving after the event
wrapped up. Erich was not doing so well early with his Sui/Tog hybrid, but he
stuck it out and I'm sure gained a lot of valuable experience.


After learning that all of our 6-2's weren't making it in, we collected our
prizes and decided to load up on food at the local TGIFs along with the company
of Marc Perez and team Meandeck. We had some interesting discussions on the
state of the format and the b/r lists, making things much more coherent compared
to banging out arguments on the keyboard and posting on the TMD forums Smile.

In conclusion, it was an absolute pleasure to play in one of Ray's tournaments.
It was very well organized, the prize support was amazing, the venue was
top-notch, and the people that it attracted were first class. It was also great
to see and meet many of the TMDers (including many of the Meandeckers and the
only members of TSB that played, Marc Perez and Ben Kowal) and put some more
faces to all the big names on this site. I look forward to future Waterbury
events, and to seeing all of you in the SCG events as well!