Oh hey there saltines how is everyone doing? I hope all is well with everyone and that everyone celebrated living in the greatest country on earth! Can I get an eh-men? HA! I’m hilarious. BUT ENOUGH BAD JOKES!
This past weekend I attended the Canadian National event in the grand city of Toronto. I traveled down on the Friday night, and on the morning of the Saturday I took the subway to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the event was being held. With a little under 400 of Canada’s top Magic players all vying for those World Magic Cup invites, I knew the competition was going to be fierce, but I never expected to do as well as I did.
Day one consisted of four rounds of standard, followed by three rounds of draft. Since the tournament organizers were prepared for more people and those people didn’t show up, everyone that attended made day two of the event. Day two consisted of a three round draft, and two rounds of standard before the cut to Top 8. I decided to take my copy of R/G Monsters. So how did we do? Let’s see.
Round 1; Win in 2 vs Esper Control
So here’s the thing about rounds one, two and four; they were all against blue and black based decks that played all very similar cards so I don’t really remember the individual games all that well. One thing I do see from my notes is that I took all three of these rounds in two; probably a good match up for me.
Round 2; Win in 2 vs U/B Control
Another rough match up for my opponent. When I’m mainboarding a hexproof creature that can’t be countered, and have two more in the sideboard for game two, it makes control decks very sad. Carnage Tyrant is the monster that lives under the Scarab God‘s bed.
Round 3; Win in 3 vs G/W Legends
So I go from playing blue and black based decks to the opposite side of the colour pie with green and white based decks. Now this deck presents a real problem for me in the form of Lyra Dawnbringer. Not only does this efficiently costed angel have lifelink, but first strike and flying enable her to deal with my finishers like Glorybringer and Rekindling Phoenix. Game one was quite close as both myself and my opponent took a mulligan to six. We both traded shot for shot until Lyra showed up to stall the game out. My opponent cleverly orchestrated his angel around my fliers to take himself out of alpha strike range, but as luck would have it a top deck Magma Spray and an exerted Glorybringer pushed game two. Game two made me want to die. I had to take a mulligan to five and reluctantly kept a hand of forest, Llanowar Elves, Jadelight Ranger, Abrade, and Thrashing Brontodon. I used my pre-game scry to put another nonland to the bottom of my deck. After three turns of drawing no land, my opponent added insult to injury by hitting my Llanowar Elves with a copy of Ixalan’s Binding. I got my revenge hard in game three. I had sideboarded in two copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and in game three I dropped her on turn three with the aid of an elf. I just proceeded to steam roll my opponent for the rest of the game and take the W.
Round 4; Win in 3 vs U/B Midrange
Game one saw my opponent play very little in terms of creatures. The only thing I saw him do game one was cast a single copy of Cast Down on one of my Jadelight Rangers, but that was about it. Game two was drastically different, with my opponent playing Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Gifted Aetherborn. I dropped a Thrashing Brontodon on turn three to block the two power creatures, but another Cast Down allowed my opponent to continue to boop me on the nose until game two was lost. Game three I managed to get in some early damage with Earthshaker Khenra, then once my opponent had established a wee board state, I finished him with flying creatures.
So just to give a wee bit of context; only two Jack’s on Queen locals made their way to the event on Saturday, myself and a good friend of mine Michael Lewis. Just before the draft, Mike informed me that he wasn’t doing well and decided to drop from the event and head home for some family time. Before he left me to my draft he gave me some tips for drafting Dominaria; what to look out for, what to avoid, and most importantly that Cold-Water Snapper is a spicy nugget.
So I begun my draft by grabbing Jaya’s Immolating Inferno in my first pack. It was at this point that Mike’s voice rang through my head like Professor Oak in the original Pokemon game, ‘this is no place for that’. So instead of continuing on with my red plan, I just decided to start grabbing cards that I thought worked well together, one of such synergistic cards was Cold-Water Snapper. This six mana 4/5 turtle doesn’t look scary, but once it has some auras on it, the hexproof makes it quite the wee juggernaut. Enter On Serra’s Wings, a four drop legendary enchantment that imbues the creature with +1/+1, flying, vigilance, and lifelink. Another cute combo that I noted in the deck was how Raff Capashen could psuedo protect himself by granting the artifact spell Guardians of Koilos flash. By flashing in the Guardians we are allowed to bounce another historic card, like Raff, to our hand.
Round 5; Win in 2, Round 6; Loss in 2, Round 7; Win in 3
So my draft deck worked out well. Artificer’s Assistant makes for a great turn one when your entire hand is full of historic cards. That being said having two out and casting a historic spell is quite the thing to behold. Another solid surprise in the deck was Board the Weatherlight. The ability to dig five cards deep and grab something like Raff, or On Serra’s Wings, or even In Bolas’s Clutches.
So we finished day one at a respectable 6-1, only dropping a round in the draft matches.
My second draft began with cracking a Mending of Dominaria which I took because it’s just straight value. We continued to collect green cards as we drafted three copies of Llanowar Elves, and two copies of Krosan Druid. Our second pack’s rare was unremarkable, however the allstar artifact Icy Manipulator was in there so we first picked it. Throughout the rest of this pack we got passed two copies of Yargle, a Cabal Paladin, and two Guardians of Koilos. Our final pack was when things got interesting. Our third pack’s rare was a Lyra Dawnbringer, and there was no way on God’s green Earth were we passing it, now the question was ‘can we splash it?’. The answer? Two copies of Adventurous Impulse and one Grow from the Ashes meant heck yea we could.
Round 8; Win in 3
I had the God hand in game one. Turn one was forest into elf. Turn two was plains into Grow from the Ashes fetching a second plains. Turn three play a swamp from our hand, and then cast Lyra. It was incredibly explosive and she carried the game to game two. In game two I managed to find Lyra with the help of Board the Weatherlight, unfortunately for me my opponent had a copy of Blessed Light to send her packing. My opponent stuck a copy of Verdant Force and I eventually just got swarmed. Game three I stuck an early copy of Lingering Phantom. Even after my opponent killed it twice I was able to bring it back consistently by casting cheap artifacts like Bloodtallow Candle, and using its’ ability. I had used Divest to peak at my opponent’s hand and I took note of Blessed Light. With Lyra in my hand I wanted him to cast the exile spell on something else, which he eventually did on the Phantom, allowing me to bring out Lyra and finish the job.
Round 9; Loss in 2
Oof these were some rough games. Game one I took a mulligan to six, and I was on the draw so I decided to keep a one land hand with the help of a Llanowar Elf. I also had a copy of Grow from the Ashes so I was fine. That was until my deck neglected to give me lands for three draws, and my opponent thought best to burn my wee elf. Game two was straight insanity. My opponent had four copies of Homarid Explorer, coupled with insane numbers of bounce spells. Things were getting hairy when I cast my Mending of Dominaria. After two turns of being milled into oblivion I drew the last card from my deck as the third saga counter was placed on Mending and I shuffled my graveyard into my deck. But alas, I was at three life and with my opponent having multiple copies of the creature Whisper, Blood Liturgist I got dead.
Round 10; Win in 2
Game one went badly for my opponent as I stuck another turn three Lyra. He scooped on turn four when I cast a copy of Yargle to gum up the board. Game two was another one of those crazy games. My opponent had a Homarid Explorer, equipped with a copy of Helm of the Host. So my opponent was on the heavy mill plan, I had Lyra, Icy Manipulator, Cabal Paladin, Bloodtallow Candle, and some other random dudes. Things changed quickly when my opponent drew and played Shalai, Voice of Plenty, and then equipped her with the Helm. At this point my opponent was at 7, had an entirely hexproof board, and with the flicker effects he for sure had in his hand I was done for. That was until I drew my second copy of Guardians of Koilos. I couldn’t swing in, I could no longer tap his stuff because it was all hexproof, but I didn’t need to. Cabal Paladin deals two damage to each opponent whenever I cast a historic spell, so I played the first Guardians, dealt two damage, and it’s enter the battlefield ability allowed me to pick up my Candle. I played the Candle, shocked my opponent, played the second Guardian, shocked my opponent to one, picked up the Candle and played it again do deal the final point of damage.
Round 11; Loss in 3 vs R/B Aggro
So just for a little bit of context about my round eleven opponent. My round eleven opponent was in pod one for both drafts, while I was in pod two. As luck would have it, he was seat one for all of his draft games and I was seat two. We got to talking and we ended up cheering each other on for a majority of the event, at least until round eleven. We sat across from each other and had a wee chuckle before getting down to business. Turn two of round one my opponent says ‘Listen, I’ve made a huge mistake and we need to call a judge over’. Turns out that he was resleeving his deck before the standard rounds and some of his sideboard stuff got mixed in with his mainboard stuff. A judge came over and issues my opponent a game loss for Deck List Error, and we continued on to game two. I really commend my opponent on calling this out as I would never have noticed, and he could have just kept the Chandra’s Defeats there and used them as they would have helped him greatly against my deck. Mad respect. Game two I got styled on; blisteringly fast games I was left slightly sore. Game three came right down to the wire with me animating Earthshaker Khenras into their 4/4 eternalized forms and my opponent asking me if they were red or black, the answer to which is black. So at this point I am at five life and my opponent is at four. He had just chunked me with a Phoenix and kept a Goblin Chainwhirler back on defense. During his second main phase he cast a second Phoenix to reduce his hand size to one, now there is no way on planet Earth that I could pull this off…or was there? I drew my card for turn….and it was none other than the only way I could win the game, GLORYBRINGER. The plan? Cast it, attack with it, exert it, blow up the Phoenix before blockers and deliver the final four points of damage. The only issue? The one card in my opponent’s hand was Chandra’s Defeat… Well fought and well deserved to my opponent. He and I sat after our game and chatted for a bit, but before we parted ways I made him make me a promise, that he was to win the event. One round and one top eight later, can you guess who won the event?
Round 12; Loss in 2 vs R/B Aggro
I guess this round just showed how much I had lost the wind in my sails. I just got steam rolled both games, and even when I had Rhonas the Indomitable and any four power creature, Goblin Chainwhirler and Soul-Scar Mage turned off the requirement. Possibly the most toxic combo in the current meta is Chainwhirler and Soul-Scar putting -1/-1 counters on all of your stuff, just gross. Oh well, rotation is going to basically wipe this deck from existence, so good riddance to bad rubbish!
So after twelve grueling rounds we finished at 8-4, as we went 4-2 in both standard and draft. As much as our sideboard was built to deal with these pesky red decks, we hardly saw any of our sideboard cards.
With the approximate 400 attendees that participated in the event, we finished in 35th place. 35th stung a little as they only prized out to top 32 and there were a handful of people with my record that made it into the top 32. Regardless, the weekend was a blast and I can’t wait to play more competitive level events again soon!
Thank you for all of your support all weekend long, and until next time; stay salty my friends.