St Louis has been starving for a decent power tournament, so we managed to
organize a caravan of 8 players for this event. There were 20 players, and our
group was dominantly represented, taking 6 of Becker's 8 prize cards.
Vroman - Ubastax. 1/2 split
Jacob Riehm - "man prison" (RBW-hate). 1/2 split
Blaine Christiansen - UBW fish. 4th
Jim Erlinger - "No Mana No Fear" (Ichorid). 6th
Kevin Brewer - 5C stax. 7th
Justin (ambivalentDuck) - SS. 8th
Ron - Gifts
Nick Calcatera - Dawn of the Dead

I had recently tinkered w my deck for a small local tournament, and hastily
restructured it for a larger metagame setting the morning of, on 4 hours of
sleep. I predicted about half the meta would be fish/combo. w respect to the
former, I re-hired Jens and sundering titan to the team. and for the latter, I
randomly ran 1 tormod main, and reloaded the side w Thought Prisons. fish was
strangely absent in the general field, but I ended up playing both fish-ish
decks we brought ourselves, so that worked out. tormod main was definitely a
mistake. 1ofs are distinctly unreliable in a deck lacking tutor power;
especially zero-coster which does not reward bazaar+welder digging synergy, like
duplicant/titan. Thought prison though was da bomb.
Im faced w the new dillema of Empty the Warrens. The plausible options include:
-engineered explosives (weak in mono-colored deck. plus null rod)
-pyroclasm (sorcery, but decent v fish)
-tremor (cheaper sorcery, but crappy v fish. plus chalice@1)
-slice and dice (sexy instant speed uncounterable cantrip. mediocre v fish, and
costs 3)
-caltrops/ensnaring bridge (worthless. if they dont have to mass-bounce before
emptying their warrens, my board position is helpless anyway)
-tabernacle of pendrel vale. (uncounterable, unbounceable, obvious synergy w
crucible+bazaar search system. marginal v fish?)

so heres list I used
4 bazaar
4 workshop
4 b-ring
3 waste
2 factory
2 mtn
1 strip
1 academy
5 mox
1 lotus
1 sol ring
1 vault
1 mcrypt
4 welder
4 chalice
4 crucible
4 tangle
3 uba
3 smoky
3 nrod
1 dup
1 titan
1 jens
1 trisphere
1 tormod
4 gshard
3 heretic
3 thought prison
2 duplican
2 tabernacle
1 tormod

Jim went with his gut and continued the march of destruction that is Manaless
Ichorid. the only change being the immediate promotion of mega-dredge enabler
Phantasmagorian, over underwhelming Shambling Shells. We surmised that Extirpate
is over-rated, and if anything, people would be enchanted w the new tech and
possibly play fewer Leylines overall, in favor of mini-haunting echos. the
metagame failed to adapt correctly, so with Yosei's flickering in and out of
play, Jim's new slogan was proven correct: No Mana No Fear.

Round 1 Arakkis Gifts win 2-0
Game 1
Arakkis and I have a statistically aberant frequency of facing each other in
round 1 of midwest power tournaments. additionally, I tend to consistently win
the roll and consistently get devastating turn 1 plays like trinisphere, or
double chalice, or today: chalice@0+smokestack.
so that was game 1. It lasted maybe 10 turns, but he never had more than 1 mana
in pool at any time.

the Gifts board plan now has to worry about EtW. I gamble against it, bringing
in just Thought prisons and Tormod. removing: jens, 2x crucible, 1 smoky.

Game 2
I get turn 1 smokestack today like its my job. This time, he manages to build up
to 3 lands, but burns desperation Rebuild in upkeep after I drop Tangle. He ends
up sacking down to 1 mana, and fails to draw the elusive Nuts.

Round 2 Justin SS win 2-0
Game 1
I keep solid hand of [2xworkshop, crucible, tangle, 2xchalice, vault]. I lose
the roll and Justin opens w delta -> swamp -> duress. He surprises me by taking
vault; I assumed to prevent me from playing turn 1 chalice@2. I draw factory and
play workshop crucible. I am then promptly blown out when Justin wastes my
workshop, then EXTIRPATEs workshop. my Big Mana hand has been summarily
executed. luckily I draw in order, sol ring + academy, so I am able to stay in
the game. tangle wire buys some time, but upon fading, Justin dispatches Bob to
the table. I am feeling somewhat comfortable now, w my turn 1 crucible finally
meaningful thanks to factory recursion. Then Justin drops engineered
explosives@0 and casually asks what is the converted mana cost of mishras
factory. I reply, truthfully, "zero". I am reading him now as "punt". I draw
crap, so absentmindedly drop chalice for an irrelevent number. I sucessfuly sell
him on the card-advantage perk, basicaly planning his next turn as clearly as if
I was actually mindslavering him. sure enough Justin sends w Bob, I activate
factory, and Justin detonates his explosives. I point out the non-land
disclaimer on this particular munition and block+pump w factory. this results in
net loss for Justin: 1 explosives, 1 mox, 1 dark confidant; and for me: 1
obsolete chalice of the void.
Justin is left w island, u-sea and fetch. I take the ball and run w it, drawing
wasteland, followed by bazaar. his board is engulfed.

1 tormod
1 uba
3 null rod
4 chalice
2 tabernacle
4 gshard
1 heretic
2 dup

Game 2
Justin leads w land->go. my hand is [mtn, lotus, workshop, mana crypt, bazaar,
duplican, tangle] I just play welder. he counters w planar void. planar void is
probably the least effective commonly played graveyard hate against welder. I am
sitting on mountain of mana in hand, waiting for either Justin to play a
creature, or for me to draw bazaar and start filtering for threats. Justin plays
lands and counters some of my stuff, which I weld to and fro, around p-void
triggers. this trips up Justin's development and he fails to deliver up any
duplicant targets for quite some time, even after my tangle fades away. finaly
Cutpurse enters line of fire and I get 2/2 body to deploy against Justin's life
total. this, plus an unanswered granite shard goes the distance.

Round 3 Kevin Brewer 5C stax. lose 0-2
Game 1
I keep sub-par hand of [b-ring, vault, factory, crucible, welder, 2xblank
artifacts]. this has fine potential if I draw bazaar, waste, workshop, etc, or
if his plays are vulnerable to welder manipulation. unfortunately I lose the
roll and I get totally outclassed by Kevins development consisting of turn 1
brass+mox+solring->confidant. followed next turn by crucible + strip. then
finally smokestack sends me packing to re-education.

3 uba
4 chalice
4 tangle
1 trisphere
4 gshard
3 heretic
2 dup
1 tormod
2 thought prison (are they better here than uba/tangle/chalice? yes, barely)

Game 2
more of the same. I keep decent, but not explosive, hand, and Kevin whomps me w
another turn 1 confidant. Bob yields him 2xwelder+bazaar+trike. Im sure that 6
damage reveal really stung, until you cleared my board. heretic hit play on my
side the turn before, but was killed in his sleep.

Round 4 Blaine UBW fish win 2-1
Game 1
Im sort of on tilt. I keep rubbish hand with [waste, sol, crucible, 4xlock]. I
win roll and play my mana. Blaine strips my waste, and I never draw another mana
source! inconceivable!

board same as round 2

Game 2
I cant remember my hand, but I think it had crucible+strip. blaine got turn 1
vial, into early confidant, which let him make a game of it. However, I think I
got something stupid like welder+smoky+tangle and Blaine scooped.

game 3
my hand is [welder, workshop, b-ring, factory, mox, uba, dup]
blaine plays land+mox->go. I play turn 1 uba. blaine reveals fetchland and casts
energy flux. Ok so I lose my uba mask. too bad. I play mtn->welder. blaine
starts fielding 2 power men like mad. Im taking beats, but I get up to 6 mana,
and start recurring dup w energy flux on the stack. I clear his board of
creatures, stabilizing at 4 life. I draw jens for only time all day, which gets
me 2 mtns lickety split and now I can pay for flux at my leisure and wreck
Blaine w uba+tangle+everything recursion. energy flux sucks even more now that I
learned the real way it works w APNAP.

Round 5 Jim Erlinger, No Mana No Fear. draw.
Id like to point out that Jim was loyal to the team here, as he could easily
dream crush ubastax at will.

Top 8 - Erick Becker, UW grunt-recursion. win 2-0
Game 1
This was possibly the longest, most confusing, game of tournament magic Ive ever
played. I watched Becker pilot his deck in detail two consecutive rounds, so
thought I knew what beat it marched to. the threats consist of obv J-grunts,
plus tinker for the usual cadre of robotic villains. I win roll and my hand is
nutty [2xwelder, lotus, sol ring, crucible, waste, factory]. One welder and
crucible survive to the table. Eric plays land and passes. I rip chalice@2. this
resolves, but is quickly repealed. now begins a strange pattern for the game,
which I will call the "first era". I draw 3 chalices, and cast them I think 7
times, as they are variably countered or bounced. I have at times chalice for 1,
2 and 3 out. but never more than one simultaneously. meanwhile I have nothing
worthwhile in yard, so am bashing for 3/turn w welder+factory. Becker draws a
lot of cards w AKs but seems to be mana screwed. my waste recursion certainly
isnt helping. so half hour rolls by like this, and I get Eric down to 7 life. he
has 3 islands and EOT draws 7 cards via recall+AKfor4. He goes to his mainphase
w 12 cards in hand and thinks for a long time. He plays pearl and some other
artifact mana, and finally drops 4/4 Defender Jotun grunt. This begins the
"second era" of the game. Now that my attack step is shut off, I need to do
something to impact the board. this I do not. theres lots of cards I could draw
that would be awesome, in order of preference:
null rod
I see none of this, instead drawing redundant crucibles/wastes, and welders that
suck up Drains that are being cycled back into his library. I have chalice@3,
and my most recently Repealed chalice is re-cast for 2. Becker drains it and on
his next turn, ends up burning for 2, putting him to 5. then I do make a
seemingly opportunistic play that turns the tide, and prevents him from going
infinite w Time Walks. I weld out his pearl for mana crypt, which crucially
denies Eric white mana outside of vulnerable Tundras, and forced him to waste a
Repeal on his own crypt, bc if he loses even one roll, he will go to 2, and be
in range of a single factory attack, or b-ring ping if I get threshold. by using
this extra repeal on his crypt, he never gets in position where he can get
around both my welder and my factory. so instead he sits on grunt and cycles AKs
and scrolls all night. All Night. Becker is seriously drawing 4+ cards/turn and
somehow not making any progress at all. to give an idea, at one point he had a
grunt survive his upkeep w SIX age counters. that guy cycled 42 cards back into
Becker's library alone. and that was only the most ancient of about 5 grunts
over the course of the game that sat as walls feeding the recursion engine. By
Becker's estimation, he drew over 100 cards this game. contrarily, I am drawing
a completely useless card once a turn, and am mystified what it is that I am
doing that is preventing Becker from trouncing me. with nothing else to do, I
strive to maintain the status quo, by keeping factories, wastes and welder
untapped unless absolutely necesary.
all the other top8 matches have long since finished. a noisy Cube draft has
begun in earnest, while waiting for us. After maybe 10 agonizing turns of this
standstill (which took like 40 minutes to complete) we enter the "third era" of
the game. slowly but surely, due to fetchlands, FoWs and mana burns, Becker is
reduced to 2 life. I am still at like 10, mostly from my own doing. Becker has
been extremely conservative w his attack phase. Finally, I draw my second
factory, which means Becker will have to maintain 2 grunts at once to stay
alive. In order to get something going Eric Rebuilds to get my crucible off the
table (I may be misremembering this last play) and then drains it on the
rebound. Then at last, he fataly misteps. Becker loses track of how much drain
mana he has spent, and burns to death! the third era, and the game, comes to an
anti-climactic conclusion.
As I quipped at the time, Becker spent the whole game running circles around me,
and then inexplicably died of a heart attack from his exertion.

I board in duplicants and tormod in echange for jens, and 2xtangle.

Game 2
Short and dramatic. I get premium hand of [workshop, mox, smoky, crucible,
STRIP, 2xblank]. Becker drops island+sol ring. I play smoky, resolves. Eric
plays tundra and tinkers up... Pentavus. My old nemesis returns when I least
expect it! Im shocked, but at least theres no enemy welder to contend w. Still,
I have this math memorized, and unless becker has lands in hand and rips moxen,
he will still be buried by soot and stripmine. confidence is high. I ramp smoky,
resolve crucible, and strip tundra. Becker makes pentavite, untaps, sacks
pentavite, bashes for 4, and then crucially, misses land drop and faces certain
doom. sack mox, ramp smoky@2, draw crap, strip island. Becker loses board, Im
left w crucible. I bazaar into chalice@0 and then another smoky. game over.

Meanwhile in other top8 news, Aaron Mclean beat Justin w SS; Jacob Riehm beat
Kevin Brewer; and Blaine's fish upset Jim's ichorid.

Top 4 - Aaron Mclean Ritual combo. win 2-1
Game 1
Aaron mulls to 6. I win roll and start another day at work at Turn One
Smokestack Incorporated. Im only playing 3 smokies today, yet I opened with them
more often than chalice. Im not complaining. This time, though the competition
closes down the plant via pure force of will. he grumbles at his draw for turn
and plays swamp+petal. I drop tangle, resolves. Aaron plays fetchland. I cast
uba mask. resolves. Aaron taps down for tangle, then first try, flips over
tinker. I get welder, score. Aaron flips mystical tutor, and casts it for
Recall. I draw another uba and cast. my welder now has haste, and during Aaron's
draw step I have important decision:
-Option 1: weld out uba in draw step, forcing him to cast recall in response,
and lose whatever non-instants he draws. this will probably result in nothing of
consequence, but tangle will be at zero next turn, and if he is holding, or
flips, bounce, I will be wide open.
-Option 2: assume the Recall wont accomplish much w his mana limited by tangle
and only 3 cards in hand. so wait until endstep to weld out tangle for smoky.
get a soot, and then trade mox for fresh tangle. this will hardlock, assuming he
doesnt go broken off Recall right now.
Option 1 is definitely safer, but Option 2 hardlocks quicker. I probably dont
think it through carefully enough and gamble on option 2, letting Aaron cast
recall in mainphase. He draws land+mox+time walk. oops. now he has 3 mana
available. he casts cabal rit. warning. he grim tutors. shit. he casts lotus w 1
card left in hand. if hes been slowrolling yawgwill, I definitely lose now. but
he cracks lotus for red and goes all in on the Wheel of Fortune, floating 1B.
this is definitely scary but much more containable. hes already played land this
turn, and will only get 1 sorcery speed spell off his draw 7, bc I still have
option to weld out uba. he draws 4 rituals, 2 lands and FoW. all get stuck in
uba limbo forever. relief. he cracks petal for blue and time walks. but now
ubalock is for real, bc his hand is empty. he flips tendrils, I let him go to
mainphase and drain life me for 2, while I proceed w the Option 2 plan for

I think Aaron Mclean is probably the kind of guy who keeps up with the times and
plays Empty the Warrens. Yet since I have yet to have the card resolved against
me, Im unconvinced. I again neglect to board in tabernacle. however, since Aaron
was uproariously impressed with the performance of his Thrashing Wumpus against
Justin's team of small men, just last match, I am sure to bring in my full
complement of dupes. these along w Thought prison, and tormod, replace jens and
all my smokestacks.

Game 2
I keep a hand w [bring, welder, 2xworkshop, dup, waste, factory] not the most
exciting, but I run it. Mclean says land-go. I draw sol ring and drop welder.
then Aaron plays land#2 and cracks petal to bust out w Wheel of Fortune part
two. I lose my workshops, but draw into [2xbring, bazaar, null rod, vault,
tangle, thought prison]. Mclean passes turn w no further action. I play and
activate bazaar, drawing crap, discarding excess mana. then drop vault, tap for
3, weld for sol ring, and play null rod + tangle. Mclean makes 3rd land drop and
passes. I do something w bazaar I think and weld in Thought prison, his hand has
lots of options, I think it was [tendrils, C-ritual, cruel bargain, hurkyls,
mox] I have no choice but to take tendrils. EOT he hurkyls my board, then trades
half his life for 4 cards and hits his combo. I untap facing down 18 goblin
tokens, make a show of bazaaring for an out, and scoop.

I bring in my 2 tabernacles and get rid of titan and 1 crucible.

Game 3
I am ecstatic to draw [sol ring, mox, workshop, 2xThought Prison, 2xTangle]. I
drop turn 1 T-prison (yes its now earned an abbreviation), and see questionable
hand of [grim tutor, hurkyls, brainstorm, other blue spells, saphire, swamp]. I
play it safe and take brainstorm, instead of gambling on him failing to rip blue
mana. The riskier play would have paid off. Mclean drops his mana, and time
walks. he drops mana crypt and passes the turn, having seen two draw steps and
no more lands. I play tangle wire, hoping to tease out his hurkyls, knowing the
odds of him going broken next turn hinge solely on ripping black lotus. It works
and Mclean takes another 2 damage from T-prison. he does not get insanely lucky,
and passes again. I recast T-prison and see he has since accumulated cruel
bargain and necro. If he rips a ritual, things could get ugly either way. I want
to encourage him if nothing else, to take more damage while T-prison is in play,
so I take necro. 8 life for 4 cards is a worse deal than 8 life for 8 cards.
Wow, he does rip the ritual and casts cruel bargain, then sits and ponders for
awhile, while setting up storm count and mana pool w those infamous little
colored dice. but alas, Mclean cant work within the life limits imposed by
T-prison and passes. so I untap and finally drop T-prison#2, seeing chain of
vapor, yawg will and some other black cards. Hes at 5 now w mana crypt in play.
I take vapor, so that no matter what he plays he takes damage, and given his
mostly colorless mana supply, theres no way he can get yawgwill off, in less
than 3 colored spells. He loses the crypt roll, and now any spell he plays will
kill him. scoop phase.

Finals - Jacob Riehm - Split
Jacob has knocked me out of tournaments for many months now, so its good to not
have to face each other until the finals for once. The tournament was lots of
fun, even though the venue was tiny, and the weather was abominable. Congrats to
Eric Becker and the store owner for sucessful event.
I never mulliganed this tournament (though I should have vs Brewer) and even
though Im not entirely happy w this list, it performed admirably.
After discussing the intricacies of how Tabernacle interacts w tangle/smoky vs
fish in particular, Ive decided to switch over to slice-and-dice. plus its 100
times cheaper.