Myriad Games Four-Way-Split Report

I worked on this deck in person the night before the tournament. I played with
Chris Browne, and my old friends Scott and Dave. Then, after they took off, I
talked with my fellow Reflectionites online to tune the list. I caught four
hours of sleep, and then drove myself up to New Hampshire. This was my last day
in New England before flying back into the Midwest, and my first Vintage event
since GenCon. I was really excited to see everyone and play again.

Here is the deck list I played at Myriad Games:

Mana Base (25):
    3 Flooded Strand
    3 Island
    1 Library of Alexandria
    2 Polluted Delta
    1 Tolarian Academy
    2 Underground Sea
    4 Volcanic Island
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Mana Crypt   
    1 Mana Vault
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Sol Ring

Control Package (12):
    4 Force of Will
    4 Mana Drain
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    2 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Echoing Truth

Draw and Search (15):
    4 Brainstorm
    1 Ancestral Recall
    3 Gifts Ungiven
    1 Thirst for Knowledge
    2 Merchant Scroll
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Recoup

Design Mistakes (3):
    1 Time Walk
    1 Tinker
    1 Yawgmoth's Will

Control Slaver Engine (5):
    2 Goblin Welder
    1 Sundering Titan
    1 Triskelion
    1 Mindslaver

Sideboard (15):
   1 Red Elemental Blast
   3 Empty the Warrens
   1 Tendrils of Agony
   1 Hurkyl's Recall   
   2 Lava Dart   
   4 Leyline of the Void
   1 Shattering Spree
   2 Trickbind

Round One: Derek   Technogeek5000   Drain Fish
   Game One: Derek starts us off. I have an early Thirst discarding Sundering
Titan. Derek Time Walks and sighs as he can't get beyond his second land. On the
other hand, I'm making land drops and find a Gifts Ungiven with Merchant Scroll.
Derek plays a Meddling Mage naming Gifts. He then casts Thirst for Knowledge, to
which I respond by casting my Ancestral. We then have a counter war over his
Thirst, which he wins. A few turns later, I Truth his Mage which resolves after
we both Drain and he Thirsts. I Mystical Tutor for Yawgmoth's Will, play a
Welder, Time Walk, and then Gifts for the win.
   Game Two: Derek gets a Tinker for Colossus, which he Forces past my Force. My
Thirst gives me no answers. Then, facing death next turn, I cast Gifts Ungiven
for Yawgmoth's Will, Recoup, Time Walk, and Goblin Welder. Derek gives me the
latter two which I cast. In my Time Walk turn, I attempt to Weld out the
Colossus. Derek Trickbinds the welding. Then, using all my mana, I flashback
Recoup on Time Walk and get a third time. Derek does not have a second
Trickbind, and his Colossus becomes a Mox. We both play DrawGo for a while, but
I find another Gifts and get Mindslaver and Titan.

Round Two: Charles   Bomberman   Magus888
   Game One: Charles is a friendly student of Music at Berkeley. I start the
first game well with a Merchant Scroll for Gifts Ungiven. I show Charles
Yawgmoth's Will, Lotus, Recoup, and Time Walk, getting the latter two. Charles
soon manages to Wish for a Misdirection for my Ancestral. A few turns later,
with Charles in good shape, with four mana open, I cast Tinker. Holding Force,
Charles decides against countering my Tinker because he had the win next turn
and was not concerned with a Colossus. He did not know I was playing Control
Slaver. I get the Mindslaver, Charles looks very unhappy, and then I make him
deck himself with Salvagers.
   Games Two and Three: I won't bore you with the details of this game. In the
second game, I stare at a handful of uncastable red cards wishing a Volcanic
Island would appear atop my deck. Recoup and Goblin Welder and Red Elemental
Blast took turns mocking me from my hand, with Mindslaver cheering them on. The
second game I mulligan, and miss land drops, never seeing a second land. After
Charles finishes with me, I start to wonder if there are some deep issues with
Control Slaver which the new build has not yet solved. The deck is still mana
hungry; perhaps less so than Gifts, but far more than something like Bomberman.
Further, Control Slaver builds run plenty of cards that are dead and useless in
some situations. While I have tried to make this build use fewer situational
cards, their presence in some number is required for Control Slaver to work as
intended. The fact that the deck worked as intended for the rest of the event
after this does make me feel better about what happened here.

Round Three: Ren with Fish
   Game One: We both Mulligan. Ren Wastelands my Underground Sea. I grab
Ancestral Recall with my land and my Sol Ring powering out a Merchant Scroll.
Ren has a Kataki and a Demonic Tutor for me. On the next turn he Wastes a land
and Time Walks. Then he Seeks me for my Titan. After all of this, however, Ren
does not have a counter for my Gifts Ungiven on his endstep. Yawgmoth finishes
   Game Two: I use Merchant Scroll to find a Force of Will. Ren applies no
pressure while I apply a Gifts Ungiven. That's the game.

Round Four: Pat with ELD's Gifts deck
   Game One: Pat is an excellent player, and I can always count on him for an
intense and well-played match. He leads with Library of Alexandria. I have
Ancestral Recall. I know that Pat plays Misdirection, but I decide to play
Ancestral anyways. If I wait long enough to defend my Ancestral against
Misdirection, I'll be buried under Library. So, thinking that the long game
would favor Pat, I went for the Ancestral on Pat's end step. It resolved. I
untapped and Tinkered for a Lotus and cast Yawgmoth's Will. A single
Misdirection or Force of Will would have won Pat the game, but he did not draw
any on three Library activations.
   Game Two: Since Library did not get Pat the first game, Pat opens with
Sapphire, Ancestral, Library on his opening turn in the second game. I try to
stay in the game, and manage to dump my hand to get a Mindslaver into play. Pat
then Mystical Tutors for Rebuild, casts Rebuild, Brainstorms, and hits me with a
lethal Tendrils.
   Game Three: Now I start with a Library and Pat has the Ancestral Recall. I
get out Goblin Welder. Pat casts a few spells on my turn, and I have a small
Yawgmoth's Will which gets me back up in cards after a counter war but does not
end the game. Both Pat and I have Tormod's Crypt in play, and Pat Tinkers for a
Colossus. So, Pat has a Crypt in play, a large Colossus, and an artifact in the
yard. I have out a Crypt, a Welder, and a hand which contains among other cards
a Trickbind. I don't see it. I don't see the answer to Colossus, and Pat hits me
for eleven. I go to my turn, and then it all makes sense. I can't believe I
didn't see it before the large man kicked me in the head. I Weld the Colossus,
and Pat Crypts himself in response. I Trickbind the Crypt, and the Colossus
becomes a Mox. I wish I had seen that before getting hit. We both draw cards for
a couple of turns, until I get a Gifts for the win via Welder. As always, Pat
and I had a good, close match. I won the third game at one life.

Round Five: Craig Dupre with Mountains Win Again
   Game One: This is the round to see who makes top eight. It's nice to feel
that adrenaline-inducing stress again after being away for so many months. I
spend much of this game not knowing what my opponent is playing. Craig Mulligans
and casts Enlightened Tutor for Null Rod. He casts that off Scrubland and
Badland. I Mana Drain a Jotun Grunt, and use the mana to cast Thirst. Craig
applies no pressure for the rest of the game, which lasted several turns longer.
I manage to race the lone Mishra's Factory that attacked me.
   Game Two: Craig opens with a Grim Lavamancer. He Seeks me, but Seek isn't
quite so good against Control Slaver. He takes Mind Slaver. He then Red Blasts
my Brainstorm. I resolve a Thirst for Knowledge on my main phase. Craig has a
Jotun Grunt. I have a Gifts Ungiven for Will, Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and
Demonic Tutor. I win the game with 102 Goblin Tokens in play.

Draw into Top Eight

Top Eight: Brass Man with Repeal Gifts
   Game One: Brass Man beat me the last time we played, so I am hoping to avenge
my loss today. As formidable as Brassy usually is, his Mulligan to five this
game did little to help him. He Mystical Tutors for Ancestral, which I Force.
From there, Brass Man does nothing as I use Scrolls to find Force and Gifts, and
then Gifts for the win.
   Game Two: We both spend the early turns developing. On my mainphase, a few
turns in, I cast Time Walk. Brass Man responds with a Gifts Ungiven. We both
throw counters. Brass Man attempts to crack a Fetchland for the red for a Blast,
but I Trickbind the fetchland and the Gifts is countered. I use Scroll to find
Ancestral, but draw nothing worthwhile. Brass Man then gets an Ancestral Recall
of his own. I get out a Sundering Titan to hit some of Brass Man's land, but the
Titan is returned to my hand. Brass Man then resolves Gifts Ungiven. He shows me
Timetwister, Black Lotus, Skeletal Scrying, and Yawgmoth's Will. Brass Man has
no Black mana on the table, and so I give him the black cards. To do otherwise
would have been certain defeat; this was defeat only if Brass Man recovered from
Titan and found Black mana. Fortunately, he does not have the mana in hand. I
then Gifts for Time Walk, Brainstorm, Ruby, and Mana Drain. Brass Man eventually
finds Black mana, and Duresses me. I have the counter for it, and Brass Man has
no follow-up. On the next turn, I Recoup Tinker and Mindslave him for the win.

Top Four: We Split.

So ends the story of my first Vintage event since Gen Con. I had a great time. I
fly into Indiana tomorrow, and so I'm very glad to have had the chance to play
today. This is something I really miss. I wrote this report to thank everyone I
hung out with and worked with, and also to present Dry Slaver to the Vintage
Community. I have discussed the deck's theory and have given an account of its
tournament performance. I am by no means saying that it is the optimal Drain
deck, or even the optimal Control Slaver build. However, I thought that it was
interestng enough to discuss, and hope to do so here. Any comments or insights
are welcomed.

Dan for working so hard to provide us with a positive atmosphere and a
comfortable place to play. And for giving me a foil Atog.
Sara for making delicious Mana Cookies.
Scott, Dave, Chris, Jeff, Jesus, and Josh for comments and advice for the build.
Derek, Charles, Ren, Pat, Craig, and Brass Man for being sporting opponents.
Pat Broderick again for giving me his Mana Cookie.
Everyone else I got to see in my few weeks here before returning to Indiana 
Mike Lydon, ELD, Dave Feinstein, Cross, Outlaw, Sam Best, The Future, T00L, and
anyone else who escapes my memory.
Team Shortbus, whose influence is clearly visible in my list.
Master Tap, for being the American Badass.

Rich Shay
The Atog Lord
Team Reflection