I’ll tell the whole story, but to avoid leaving you in suspense, I did not win States. The owner of the soon to open Gamer’s Gauntlet, Dan Gillis, won with an interesting U/W control list I might talk about later this week, maybe even interview him just for the fun of it.
Until the week of, I had no idea States was in Fenton, at BC Comix, a store I had never heard of. Hell, until last week, I didn’t know where Fenton even was. Having to go relatively far to play at a place I’d never been gave me an uneasy feeling that only grew worse as Saturday approached. Also worrying me was my deck choice. My list, for refrence:
- 4 Grand Architect
- 4 Heartless Summoning
- 4 Treasure Mage
- 2 Trinket Mage
- 3 Spellskite
- 2 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 4 Myr Superion
- 3 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Platinum Emperion
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Chimeric Mass
- 1 Nihil Spellbomb
- 4 Doom Blade
- 3 Despise
- 4 Darkslick Shores
- 4 Drowned Catacombs
- 3 Buried Ruin
- 5 Swamp
- 7 Island
- 4 Marrow Shards
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus
- 1 Mindslaver
- 2 Flashfreeze
- 2 Nihil Spellbomb
- 2 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
- 1 Despise
- 2 Ratchet Bomb
Being rogue was not the only reason I played this list. It beats up on two of the major players in the meta, Solar Flare and Wolf-Run Ramp, two decks I felt would be all over the place. The question was, was it powerful enough to overcome the various ‘random’ decks people would play? In reality, it only does a somewhat powerful thing, which is putting very cheap fatties into play with little support or long term incremental advantage outside the Mages. I ended up committing to the deck to avoid having too many second thoughts and scrapping it for something really rogue the night before, which likely would have been terrible.
Chase and I drove my car to BC Comix that morning, which is situated in the corner of a strip mall somewhere in Fenton. Here normally I would say something about the store, like how it looked, what they sold, things like that. this morning however, I could not even enter the building. There was an actual line just to get in, and not like a registration line, no, just a line to be inside. The store did have two extra rooms next to it, which had shorter lines to get in, and were done up sorta like how RIW has those room around the corner with nothing but tables in them.
After waiting in line to get in, Gillis, Bill, Chase, and I sat at a miraculously empty table except for a lone guy registering his Solar Flare deck who never said anything to us, and at some point got up and left. The whole place was full, and the table were set up in an awful fashion, with only a gap at one end to get in, so someone sitting in a corner would have to make a dozen people get up, and somehow get out, so the one person could get to his seat. Behind me, in the isle, there was a constant stream of people in line to register, or maybe just try to go anywhere else but where they were; I couldn’t tell.
I played some games against now Champ Gillis, and he beat me up in most of them, and I struggled to win even games where he was light on mana due to his many counterspells and walkers that did little more than buy him time. I truly realized how weak my deck was against a competent player who piloted anything that wanted to play long that wasn’t Flare. After a bit I noticed a deckbox sitting among ours that did not belong. After asking if this was anyone’s deck, I opened it up and leafed through a Solar Flare build, with all the usual stars.
That guy sure is lucky we are nice people. I hate to say it, but I would guess at least half of the people in the room would have stuck that deckbox in their car and played dumb when the guy came back later looking for it. After giving the deck back, I hoped that Karma would repay in kind.
Skipping past the part where I walk to Dunham’s to piss since I am not only afraid to use the bathroom at a store where 290 players are at, but also because I cannot get to it or even know where the hell it is, I arrived back on site to most players sitting down at their tables. Mine was in the just as cramped 3rd room, where, I shit you not, people were seated in what looked like a broom closet with no lights. My insensitive comment during a quiet moment: “Are we about to be gassed?”
My opponent, Bryan, said this was his first big event. He was playing some sort of B/W aggro deck with Mentor of the Meek, Doomed Traveler, Smallpox, Timely Reinforcements, and other assorted fun. Oh, and Bump in the Night, as I found out as I was promptly Bumped on turn one. I had kept a two lander on the play, with tons of action given any third land. Even if I missed a few times, against anything that wasn’t Red or Steel, I would be right back in it. Drawing a Summoning would do it too, so that was 24 cards out of 53 with about three or four shots before I’m too far behind any deck to stabilize. Bryan ended game one at 19 after casting a Smallpox the turn before I drew land three, and beating me down slowly with dorks.
-3 Spellskite, +2 Ratchet Bomb, +1 Despise
I chose to play, played Summoning on two, and three Superions. Well done deck.
Game three I opened with Summoning into Grand Architect, Trinket Mage, and Treasure Mage, and belched the resultant Wurmcoil and Chimeric Mass with 6 counters out quickly. As he was buying time with Timely Reinforcements, I Despised him while he had four lands, revealing some stuff and a Sheoldred. It’s funny, I actually had the brief thought that he just might play Unburial Rites in his apparently mostly Weenie deck, but decided to have him dump it anyway. Two turns later, he reanimated it, while I whiffed a bunch on big threats. Over the next 5 or 6 turns while he chump blocked my Wurmcoil with his animated Mentor of the Meek, my army of Blue men shrank to nothing. He cast a Smallpox and a Liliana of the Veil, discarding another Unburial Rites. I looked at my already cycled Nihil Spellbomb, because why the hell not would I cycle it against this ‘weenie’ deck, and thought about why I even came here. Afterward, he called me a ‘nice and honorable player,’ and stating that it seemed like there are alot of big egos in the room. I thanked him, wished him luck, agreed with his statement about egos, and left.
Sure, I could have played more, but really my deck was not fun to play after that debacle. It had no game in the face of the unknown, as I never knew what to tutor for. Since Bryan played no targeted removal during the match, Steel Hellkite would have won it for me in game three, but I wanted the resilient threat in Wurmcoil, as he could have Doom Blade or Dismember somewhere in that sixty. Who would have known Blightsteel would have been a good sideboard choice as well after seeing what I saw in the first two games? Not me I guess.
Instead of playing rounds of swiss purely for funsies until damn near 11pm, I went home, napped, watched Total Recall, took my fiancee shopping, and got dressed up for a wonderful dinner out. If it wasn’t for that the day would have been a total loss, since the Tigers were eliminated that night, losing by nine runs. I’m sure that’s not really the ending anyone was expecting to read, but that’s what happens when I play Constructed. Seriously, I Top 8’d States WAY back in 2003 with a deck I built the night before, and haven’t done a damn thing in Constructed since. Maybe that’s why I call myself a ‘Limited Specialist.’