Today was the "Power 9" Tournament in Karlsruhe and naturally, I had to go.
Seeing how there are still like no T1 players in my country, I hitched a ride
from Nigel, who's a professional trader.

I have been playing Vengeur Masqué for a while now and I felt it had a good
chance in the meta, especially since Christoph Duncker had won Iserlohn with it
and I also heard it performed well in Moers. Last Dülmen I went 4-3 with it and
in Wittlich I just missed the top 8 with 5-2 (no reports because no notes). Plus
I love the deck, so...

// Lands
4 Tropical Island
1 Wooded Foothills
2 Forest
4 Savannah
4 Windswept Heath

// Creatures
3 Meddling Mage
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
3 Birds of Paradise
4 Volrath's Shapeshifter
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Phage the Untouchable
2 Quirion Ranger
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Uktabi Orangutan

// Spells
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Mox Pearl
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
1 Time Walk
4 Illusionary Mask
4 Survival of the Fittest
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Enlightened Tutor

// Sideboard
SB: 3 Gilded Drake
SB: 3 Ground Seal
SB: 1 Kami of Ancient Law
SB: 2 Oxidize
SB: 1 Viridian Shaman
SB: 3 Rule of Law
SB: 2 Sacred Ground

I chose to go with 3 Meddling Mages main, which, in retrospect, may not have
been the best choice.

Anyways, the trip was rather uneventful, except for Nigels GPS insisting on
telling us to "keep left" whenever we came up on motorway exits. The venue was
rather strange though. Granted, it has two very nice rooms to play in and ample
parking but on the downside, it's located in the middle of an industrial estate
so there was no chance of nipping out between rounds to grab some food. Plus you
had to go down two sets of stairs to the main door if you wanted to smoke
(bummer). People eventually ignored that particular rule and smoked near a
window in the staircase.

As I go to register my deck, I meet up with a few familiar faces from Dülmen and
Wittlich and convince Aurel to play his signature Belcher instead of
Drain-Slaver. Good choice as it gets him into the T8. I then realize that I'm
lacking the two Sacred Grounds for the sideboard, but no worries, Nigel's here,
right? Wrong, he has tons of power, LoAs and whatnot but not a single Sacred
Ground. After some scrambling, I eventually end up buying them for $5 a piece
(German 8th no less).

The tournament finally begins an hour late with a very disappointing turnout of
about 50 players, which also means that only a lotus and a mox will be given out
as prizes (with smaller prizes too of course). Ah well.

Round 1 vs Michael Held playin Oath

We all want sub-par decks in the first round, right? After this round, I wasn't
so sure anymore.

Game 1:

I get Teh BoRkEnZ (ok, not really) start with land, bird, followed by land,
mask, nought. So far so good, he takes 12 to the face but has swords next turn
and plays Rootwater Thief. Yes, in an Oath deck... which kinda explains why Oath
was the last thing I was expecting. Regardless, I resolve SotF and play a
face-down bird. Annoyingly, he has Seal of Cleansing for the survival. Even
annoyinglyER, he plays Armadillo Cloak (I kid you not!) on the Thief and
proceeds to knock me down from 32 to 11 with it while I draw NOTHING of
consequence (him removing those things didn't help either). At some point, an
Akroma or something kills me. Needless to say that this took quite a while

Game 2:

I board in Gilded Drakes (well duh!).

I try to win quickly again with a Shapeshifter/Phage but he has swords again. No
worries, I can live with that. He proceeds to oath up... Questing Pheldagriff!!
The mind well and truly boggles. A turn later, he oaths up a more understandable
Akroma. But fear not, for I'm prepared. Two back-to-back Gilded Drakes grab his
dudes and it should be smooth sailing, right? I mean, come on, I grabbed the
Hippo "just because I could" (TM) and to avoid some possible obscure combo,
that's gotta be game.

Michael is on 7 and looks slightly distraught, casts enlightened tutor and
grabs... Ensnaring Bridge.

I'll let that sink in, k?

Who in their right mind would play that card in Oath? He did and it royally
screwed me since I'd cleverly boarded out the darned sex-monkey. The game is
thus well and truly stalled and we move into extra turns. At the last possible
moment, I manage to play a face-down puff-daddy who delivers the remaining
damage. Not that Michael didn't try his best, he went so far as to Arcane Denial
his own mox to draw more cards and almost killed himself when oathing with no
blessings left in the library.

So a draw it is. Brilliant game, tons of fun, but of course by far not enough
for my ambitions.


Round 2 vs Tobias Egelhof playing TPS

Game 1:

I keep an ok hand and open with Tropical and Lotus. He has Emerald, Sapphire,
Petal, Sol Ring, brainstorm and Polluted Delta. Mmmh... Next turn, he tries
Tinker, I force, he forces, he has Batman. And despite both brainstorm and
ancestral recall plus a Dreadnought in hand, I find no solution. Sheesh!

Game 2:

I correctly board in Rule of Law but then proceed to draw a hand with Mask,
Nought, Survival, Shapeshifter, Bird and two lands. I keep instead of taking a
mulligan to find Rule of Law or Force.

Turn 1 I have the customary land, bird, go while he doesn't have much. Turn 2, I
topdeck Lotus and proceed to play like an idiot (I'm good at that!). The correct
play is of course Survival followed by Shapeshifter, setting up a turn 3 win
(barring wasteland or something like that from him, which is VERY unlikely).
Instead, for some toally obscure reason, I think that I need to play the mask to
bait counters. Duh!. Mask resolves and I play the nought too. He still doesn't
do much on turn 2, so on turn 3, I knock him down to 7 and follow up with
another play error. Instead of popping the lotus to play the survival, I pay for
it with my land which means I can't play the survivaled Meddling Mage anymore.
Not that it would have mattered since he goes off in such a way that would have
allowed him to bounce the mage.

0-1-1, brilliant!

Round 3 vs Robert Hauschild playing B/r Pox

Down on table lots with the scrubs.

Game 1:

He opens with The Rack, followed on turn 2 by a Hymn to Tourach. This fails to
impress me as I have land, bird, SotF and Shapeshifter in the meantime. He
resolves a Pox but it's not enough as the Shapeshifter turns into Phage to swing
for the win.

Game 2: Nothing to board really, so on we go.

He opens with Ritual, duress (grabbing FoW IIRC) and not one but TWO Phyrexian
Furnaces. Oops. Didn't help that he followed up with yet another one of the
darned things. Fortunately, his Blood Moon on the next turn is far less annoying
since I have birds and moxen. Regardless, the game is stalled with me unable to
draw a creature to activate my survival. When I finally get one after he managed
to waste a Yawgmoths Win (doing all sorts of stuff that didn't help him in the
slightest), I promptly grab a sex-monkey for his one remaining furnace and slap
myself really hard when I realize I should have taken a nought instead. C'est la
vie and the monkey beats him down until I draw another creature.


Round 4 vs Tobias Schein playing Stax.

Game 1:

I win the coin toss and Tobias proceeds to make all the correct plays... one
turn too late for them to matter. I have land, birds, he has shop/sphere. I have
mask, he has chalice for 2. I have nought, he has tangle wire. Long story short,
I eventually tap 3 things, leaving me with a Shapeshifter and two mana. Guess
what, Phage in hand. PWNED!

Game 2:

Tobias opens strongly with a chalice for 2 but it meets my boarded Oxidize while
I also play a mask. He has Thirst for Knowledge (which I let resolve) and tries
for a Joblin. My will is stronger than joblins though. A shapeshifted Phage
comes in just one turn too late since his deck barfed up Platinum Angel. This
stalls the game for a bit and he manages to get rid of Phage when he's on 6 but
I survival up a sex-monkey to kill the Angel. He hardcasts a Colossus with me on
10. No worries though as the Shapeshifter decided he'd like to be Akroma for a
change and swings for the win.


Round 5 vs Karl-Heinz Rhode playing Keeper

Game 1:

I have a most excellent hand (party on dudes!) with survival on turn 1 and mask
on turn 2. There's absolutely no way he can stop that, especially when he has a
rather slow start.

Unless of course I don't draw a creature for like 4 turns. But what's the
likelyhood of that?

Well, apparently, very high. By the time I DO draw a man, I'm left with no

Game 2:

I play the most excellent Sacred Ground to stop his mana-denial shenanigans on
turn 1 but he has a rather flipping play himself: Scepter with and imprinted
Mana Drain. That doesn't bode well at all since I'll be hard pressed to resolve
anything once he untaps with it.

But... Captain BiZrOkEnZoRz to the rescue! I topdeck crazy mana, find walk,
survival and mask in a brainstorm, proceed to play the whole thing, play a
shapeshifter through the mask and kill him. Mana Drain don't do nothing to my
mask, mate!

Game 3:

He plays mana and not much else while I have tons of mana, mask, survival,
shapeshifter, FoW and BoP in hand after a Brainstorm. Guess what I put back?
Yup, a land the shapeshifter of course. This leads to him having double drain to
counter both my threats and me NOT having the darned card to pitch to FoW. The
game is stalled after I force his crucible and the extra turns are kind to me as
they hand me a draw from a rather crappy board position.

2-1-2 No top 8 for either of us.

Round 6 vs some dude with Scepter/Chant variant.

Game 1:

I make lots of small dudes, he makes a scepter with Fire/Ice. Eek! IIRC,
surivaled sex-monkey deals with it but after he drops a second scepter, this
time with Orims Chant, I'm well and truly screwed. I'm desperately thinking
about options and to add insult to injury, he at suddenly points at a card
that's next to my library saying "Oh, what's that card?", picks it up and, lo
and behold, it's my Ancestral Recall. He calls a judge claiming I had an illegal
deck. Now I'm all for following rules and whatnot, but I'm fairly sure HE
shuffled the deck after I surivaled so how do you think the card ended up there,
mhh? The judge doesn't really care though (like I'd remove an ancestral from my
library on purpose) and says to shuffle it back in.

Trying to put aside this distraction, and with a bit of rancor for such
rules-lawyering, I attempt to salvage the game with a Meddling Mage set to Chant
but he manages to remove it next turn and I concede.

Game 2:

I board in artifact hate and Sacred Ground and open with land/BoP. He makes a
Tundra and casts swords on the bird. I'm now stuck with the option of forcing
the swords or keeping it for a greater threat. The bird goes farming (how does
it do that though? Doesn't it just eat the seeds? Mmmh...). Anyways, my deck
decides to hate me for imposing such a nasty fate on a poor, innocent bird and
refuses to cough up mana or artifact hate so I'm forced to force his scepter
only to be met with his force. Blech, Scepter with imprinted Drain. I'm still
short on mana and he has wasteland so my only salvation is Sacred Ground. This
keeps me in the game despite a second drain-scepter on his side as I manage to
power through a mask (baiting with survival and forcing the second drain). So
far, he hasn't brought on any draw so we're both topdecking and if I can find a
dreadnought or two, I can still win this. Except I don't. In retrospect, perhaps
baiting with mask would have been better but it's hard to say, could have taken
me ages to find a creature and surival up enough threats to overwhelm his
counters whereas a topdecked nought would have won.As it were, he kills me with


Again, I've got very little to show for my effort (except for a hopefully
entertaining report).


- Nigel for the lift and a signed mint Beta Ancestral (traded in yours Glen)
- the dude making cooking the food on location for his excellent spaghetti
- Generally very friendly players
- Aurel and others for making play errors more monumental than mine (conceding
in the top8 because he thought Pyrostatic Pillar would trigger off tendrils and
kill him)


- A lot of people for not turning up
- the organizers for their nut-crazy system for buying food and drinks