My first Grand Prix

I am back from my first GP. It was the M12 Sealed event held in Montreal; for those of you who do not know, sealed is a limited format where you show up, hand them your money, and they hand you 6 booster packs that they expect you to make a 40 card deck out of (Note: they supply you with basic lands, don’t be like that one kid I saw playing Beseiged/Scars Sealed). I had an absolute blast there. Allow me to fanboy out for a few seconds:
1. I met Luis Scott Vargas and talked to him about writing for CFB. He looked confused and a little annoyed- I bet he gets my kind all the time. Not only did I meet him, we were playing at the same table for a good portion of the tournament. (I did fairly well, but not well enough).
2. I met Chippy. If you don’t know, I collect Chippy art. I picked up 2 MTG Replicas that he signed. I feel a little bad that I didn’t get the actual cards signed, but since I picked them up straight from Chippy, I feel that my money went to a better place. He also altered the Lotus Cobra I traded for that day.
3.  My pool was bonkers. Sort of. More on this later.

Anyway, now that that is out of the way, lets talk about things I did poorly. First: I was not adequately prepared for the sheer mental strain that I put myself under on Saturday. I did not bring proper snacks- I brought 5 pieces of fruit and 2 bottles of water for my roommate and I. I SHOULD have brought: 4 bottles of water, 5 pieces of fruit, some low sodium nuts, and maybe some of Norman’s homemade jerky. Second: I didn’t know that registration was cash only so we barely made it into the tournament since the only ATM was on the entirely other side of the convention center. Third: I didn’t appreciate the value of byes. I played 8 rounds of Magic in one day, many of them going to game 3. I played somewhere between 16 and 24 games of Magic- with the extra stress of it meaning something. Four: I lost my sideboard for most of the day. Next time, I will bring the snacks, sleep enough, have cash, and at least try for byes, and I wont lose my sideboard.

So, I bet you are wondering about my pool.
Here is my deck:
Bloodrage Vampire
Blood Seeker
Onyx Mage
Shock x3
Merfolk Looter
Mana Leak
Gravedigger x3
Mind Control
Fireball
Doom Blade x3
Consume Spirit
Skywinder Drake x2
Vampire Outcasts
Phantasmal Bear x2
Phantasmal Dragon

6x Island
6x Swamp
3x Mountain
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb

Pretty sweet yeah? I just wish that I had like… Creatures.

Sideboard:
Dragon’s Claw
Elixir of Immortality x2
Kite Shield
Angel’s Mercy
Arbalest Elite
Armored Warhorse
Auramancer x2
Benalish Veteran
Celestial Purge
Day of Judgment
Elite Vanguard
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
Griffin Rider
Mesa Enchantress
Siege Mastodon x2
Stave Off x2
Stonehorn Dignitary
Timely Reinforcements
Alluring Siren – Would have run this if I had things that could block effectively, also would board in against Phantasmals
Harbor Serpent
Merfolk Mesmerist x2 – Maybe I should have run this? It just seems so weak though.

Negate x2 (1 Foil) – These got boarded in more than anything.
Dark Favor
Disentomb
Hideous Visage x3
Mind Rot – Maybe should have boarded in against the mirror, but I didn’t have creatures to spare.
Taste of Blood
Chandra’s Outrage x2
Fiery Hellhound
Fling
Furyborn Hellkite – Why couldn’t this have been Grave, Inferno, Frost, Jace, or Sorin?
Goblin Tunneler
Wall of Torches
Warstorm Surge – I would have run this if I had creatures… I like turning all my dudes into removal/burn
Bountiful Harvest x2
Brindle Boar
Fog
Hunter’s Insight
Lurking Crocodile x2
Sacred Wolf
Stampeding Rhino
Stingerfling Spider x2
Titanic Growth
Trollhide x2

Looking back at my pool, If I had focused more on red than black, I could have had 2 additional creatures: The Hellhound and the Hellkite. I still think that that is just weaker than the way that I built my deck. I played against a guy with Warstorm Surge and the Hellkite and I handily dispatched him. My deck ended up being very solid, but not as good as I wanted since I did not have anything to do once I got to 6 mana. I could have run my green for the double Stingerflings, but I think that the triple Shock beats that out. My white was also pretty solid, but I didn’t have the fliers and my U/R/B was just too good.

My matches went as follows as best as I can remember please forgive my lack of memory(I didn’t remember to take notes). Assume that I kill everyone with Vampire Outcasts and Fireball unless I say otherwise.

Match 1 Game 1:
I am staring down at a board post Timely Reinforcements and a bunch of black creatures. I have 2 Doom Blades in my hand and need to waste one killing a token. Then Sorin arrives. Guess how many of my creatures have power greater than 2… If you said 2, but one is a Phantasmal, you were right!
M1G2:
I board out two Doom Blades and bring in my Negates. I Negate a Timely, he says fine, then taps 3 mana, and casts Timely. I draw my second Negate 2 turns after Sorin resolves. G.G.
0-1

M2G1:
I dont actually remember this match, other than that I Fireballed Chandra to death.
1-1

M3G1:
He has Furyborn Hellkite. I have a Doom Blade.
M3M2:
He Has a Furyborn Hellkite and domes me for 6 with his Warstorm Surge. I have a Doom Blade. He rips lands.
2-1

M4G1:
This guy walks in with his sleeved Alpha lands. He is playing a G/B thing, and has 3 byes. I take him apart with my shocks and doomblades. Then Fireball him out.
M4G2:
My opponent kills me with Trollhide on a Brindleboar and a Giant Spider. I fireball him to 1 then shock him. He sacs the Brindleboar, and I lose.
M4G3:
I casually mention that either I lost my sideboard or someone jacked it. He calls a judge and the judge says “Ok?” Evil then says that I am in violation of my deck registration, and the judge says, “He is already at a disadvantage, I am not going to penalize him for that.”

Turn 3, I Doomblade his Runeclaw Bear in response to him playing a Brindle Boar. He just looks at me like I am the biggest Scrub alive. But, I don’t have a play before Gravedigger and I need to stabilize. I rip a Dragon, play a land and say, “Go.” He plays Trollhide on his boar, then puts Swiftfoot Boots on it. I am racing him with a Phantasmal Dragon to his Trollhided Boar. He says “Are you sure that you still want to race me?” as he puts me at 2 while he is at 10. I say yes, then on my turn, cast Consume Spirit at his face for X=3, putting me at 5 and him at 7. I bash with my Dragon, putting him at 2. He attacks me back, putting me at 1. I swing for lethal and me must sac his Boar to live. He doesn’t draw anything and the day is mine.
3-1

Match 4: I am at the almost winners’ table!
Game 1: Mind Control his bloodthirsted Berserkers, and Gravedigger Chaining.
Game 2: Bears and Drakes Aggro him out.
4-1

Match 6: This is when I was seated 2 seats from LSV.

Game 1: I lose to Gideon’s Lawkeeper.
Game 2: I aggro him out on turn 5. Double Bears, a Drake, and a Mind Control are pretty sweet.
Game 3: Opening Hand: 3 Island, Phantasmal Bear, Gravedigger, Doom Blade, Skywinder Drake. I only draw black spells for the rest of the game.
4-2

Match 7:
G1: My opponent resolves Inferno Titan, killing my board. I Doom Blade his titan then play a Gravedigger, getting Gravedigger.
G2: Did you know that Jace is good in limited?
G3: Doom Blade his Titan.
5-2

Match 8:
G1: I Fireball and Shock his Arachnus Spinner (complete with Arachnus Web) after it clocks me for 15 (Crown of Empires is really annoying). Mind Control his Djinn of Wishes, and I get a wish off! Unfortunately, he plays Mind Control on the Djinn and I have to Doom Blade it. The Pentavus comes down and ruins my day.
G2: Mind Control the Djinn again! This time I wish for relevant things like Doom Blades and Gravediggers. He loses to a flood of card advantage.
G3: He Distresses me, pulling my Mind Control. I learn once again that Pentavus is really good. I cannot draw my second Island for my (boarded in) Harbor Serpent until turn dead.
5-3 Drop.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have dropped here. I was in the top 120s. If I had gone 6-3 I may have had a shot at playing on Sunday. Unfortunately, I was mentally exhausted and couldn’t even think of playing another match after my 50 minute round 8.

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~ by Andrew Couture on September 19, 2011.

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