Report

Like many of my tournament reports, this one opens with Chris and I sitting in
my basement, preparing for the next day's tournament. Chris has built a unique
Tezzeret deck, one with which he ended up being a game away from making Top
Eight at ELD's the next day. I had a gauntlet of decks, and Chris was cutting
through them with his deck. Meditate Remora was the only deck that was going
even with Chris playing Tezzeret.

Before we had started testing, my plan had been to play Meditate Remora at ELDs.
After all, I like the deck a lot and feel very comfortable with it. In the end,
though, I had a few concerns with taking it to this tournament. First, like
Control Slaver, Meditate Remora works only when it is modified and tuned to a
specific metagame. Given that I'd been away for a month, I wasn't positive I
would be able to call the metagame correctly. Second, and more importantly,
there was Duress.

When I built Meditate Remora, Tezzeret decks were built a little differently
than they are now. Back then -- and this wasn't too long ago -- Meditate Remora
could be assured of winning counter wars in no small part because Tezzeret decks
had fewer counters. With an infusion of Duress effects, Tezzeret decks were no
longer as likely to be losing every counter war. Instead, with an equal number
of counters, Tezzeret might better punch through Meditate Remora's counter wall.
This is Chris's theory; and while I haven't had much of a chance to test this
theory myself, Chris said that things worked this way in practice for him.

So, that leads to the question of what to play. I mentioned that in the
tournament results I had been reading, Fish was nowhere to be seen. Workshop
decks weren't exactly winning everything either. Instead, Tezzeret decks, often
infused with Duress, were taking home the victories. Given this, Chris mentioned
that it might be time to play Thoughtcast Painter, a deck we had tinkered with
earlier. That seemed like a very good idea.

So, at four in the morning, this is what I put together. Note that I didn't
invent this deck. No, that credit goes to Cesar Fernandez. He has been doing
impressive things with thoughtcast for a long time, and my list is very heavily
based on his.


// Land
    3 Flooded Strand
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Seat of the Synod
    1 Tolarian Academy
    2 Underground Sea
    3 Volcanic Island

// Mana
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Lotus Petal
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Mana Vault
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring

// Winning
    2 Tezzeret the Seeker
    1 Inkwell Leviathan
    1 Time Vault
    2 Voltaic Key
    1 Tinker

// Card Draw
    2 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Thoughtcast
    4 Thirst for Knowledge
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Fact or Fiction

// Control
    4 Force of Will
    4 Mana Drain
    1 Misdirection
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Hurkyl's Recall

// Other Broken Cards
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Yawgmoth's Will
    1 Time Walk


// Sideboard:
SB: 2 Pyroblast
SB: 4 Ingot Chewer
SB: 2 Yixlid Jailer
SB: 2 Pithing Needle
SB: 2 Relic of Progenitus
SB: 2 Rack and Ruin
SB: 1 Tormod's Crypt

Clearly, I didn't expect much fish. If I had, I would not have played this.
Basic Islands are not found anywhere among the above cards -- Wasteland and
Strip Mine are the same card against this. Gorilla Shaman can melt down Moxen,
and it can also take down lands and even a large component of the draw engine.
And Null Rod invalidates around one third of the deck's cards. Simply put, if
you're considering playing this deck, do so with care.

Round 1: Chris Roberts with Storm Combo
Game 1: Chris does nothing in the first two or three turns and then I get down
Tezzeret. I REB his Chain targetting Tezzeret. Chris resolves Necropotence and
takes eighteen cards, but can't find anything to stop my going infinite next
turn.
Game 2: Chris fizzles trying to go off on his third turn.

Round 2: Andy "Nefarias" Farias with Bomberman
Game 1: I Force Andy's Ancestral. He Thirsts in response, which I Drain. He
Forces my Force, draws three cards, and I Drain his Thirst. He gets Trinket
Mage, and Drains my Fact or Fiction.  He then Vamps, and tries to play a
Salvagers, which I Drain. Andy cycles his Spellbomb, and I play two Thirsts.
Eventually, I win off a hardcast Inkwell.
Game 2: Andy opens with Ancestral, which again resolves. However, that doesn't
stop my second turn combo setup. I lead with a land and a Mox Pearl. Pearl plays
Key, and I Vamp for the Vault on Andy's endstep.

Round 3: Demonic Attorney with Tezzeret
Chris and I decide that it is too early for a draw to be a good idea. We decide
to play it out.
Game 1: I open with Mox, Academy, and Time Vault. Chris Legend Rules my Academy,
and I'm stuck without enough mana for a while. Chris resolves Night's Whisper.
However, I then manage to Misdirect his Ancestral. Still light on mana, I can
still Vamp to get a Key and go infinite.
Game 2: Chris Duresses me and takes a Force of Will. He then makes me throw my
second Force of Will. Then Chris resolves Demonic Tutor and wins.
Game 3: Chris has seen Force of Will and REB in my hand. I get down a quick
Tezzeret on the second or third turn. I untap my Seat and a Mana Crypt going to
five counters. Then I resolve Thoughtcast and draw Petal and Top. These bring me
up to five artifacts, letting me activate Tezzeret's game-ending ability on the
following turn.

Round 4 and 5: ID

Top Eight: Craig Dupree with Accumulated Tezzeret
Game 1: I get Jet, Emerald, and cast Demonic Tutor for Academy. I play and use
Top. Craig is on Library, but my draw is too fast; I get down a Tezzeret in a
turn or two and win off that.
Game 2: Craig Duresses my Force. We both then resolve Ancestral. He Duresses me
again and I Thirst on his endstep. Then I resolve Tezzeret after Forcing his
Drain.

Top Four: Jesse with Storm Combo
As I hadn't expected this match, I didn't even have Duress effects in my
sideboard. I was right about Fish not being that popular, but I overestimated
Ichorid's presence and underestimated that of Storm.
Game 1: I lead with Sea. Jesse Duresses me, resolves Ancestral, and then Time
Twister. He Duresses me again and passes. I do counter his Necropotence, but his
Tinker for Inkwell wins it for him.
Game 2: I open with a Key. Jesse Mysticals for Ancestral which I REB. I Drain
his Xantid Swarm, and he Grim Tutors and passes. I draw and resolve Tezzeret,
which lets me go infinite right away.
Game 3: My notes on this aren't very detailed. I got an early Tezzeret and win
off him I believe.

Finals: Jon Longo with Tezzeret
Game 1: I have a start involving artifact mana and Thoughtcast. I get a Time
Vault next turn. Jon then Drains my Fact or Fiction, I Force, and he Forces
back. He then Drains my Tinker. Jon then resolves Tezzeret, and I manage to find
my maindeck REB off a Thirst to shoot the Planeswalker. John then resolves
Yawgmoth's Will but can't win off it. Then I resolve my Yawgmoth's Will and win.
This was a great game.
Game 2: Jon opens with Lotus, Strand, Emerald, and Thirst. Jon Thirsts again and
plays Thoughtseize. I Misdirect, and he Misdirects it right back. He resolves
Yawgmoth's Will and then a Colossus kills me.
Game 3: I open with Crypt, Seat, Thirst. I then play Lotus. John has Sea and
Petal and Thoughtseizes me, seeing Tezzeret and Yawgmoth's Will. He takes
Tezzeret, but I can still Yawgmoth's Will and return the Blue planeswalker. He
wins me the game.

Huge props to ELD for running this. As always, Eric ran a great, smooth event
with excellent prize support. Props to Cesar for this deck. And Props to Chris
for inspiring me to play this. It was a great call for the metagame.