Day 2 Blog Archive

Posted in Event Coverage on November 13, 2005

By Wizards of the Coast




Here are the four happy winners from Friday night's dogfight for four three-round byes to the Grand Prix. There were 98 players in the tournament which, of course, ended not too long before the start of Saturday action.

Tom Smart - Goblins

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James Tang - GAT

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Paul Mastriano - Flame Vault

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Noah Long - Landstill

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Sunday, November 13: 8:49 a.m. - Undefeated Battle

Philip Stolze was 9-0.

After nine rounds of action there was only one perfect record remaining in the tournament. Philip Stolze had piloted his AngelStompy - a multi-colored white weenie deck - to a 9-0 record. His opponent for round 10 was also undefeated although Sean Colgan was a couple points behind him in the standings at 8-0-1. Colgan - who had knocked Pikula from the undefeated ranks in round nine - was playing a blue-black-red deck that bore a passing resemblance to Fish. (Back when I was trudging uphill in winter to school every day Fish decks had, you know, FISH in them. Merfolk anyway.)

Philip and Sean were, to use a coverage cliché (its still early, please forgive me), a study in contrasts. Philip seemed very quiet, polite, and very reserved. Sean was very much in your face, jawing with everyone, calling everyone around him his 'homeboy', and kept his energy level cranked somewhere around 11.

Game 1

Sean led off in the first game and Lava Spiked right out of the gate. "Everybody's homeboy Bob," announced Sean as he played a second turn Dark Confidant. Philip calmly played Silver Knight and passed the turn. Sean leaned over the table to double check the Knight's stats. With a handful of Bolts he was not happy about the protection from red.

Unable to kill Philip's critter he opted for Plan B and aimed Chain Lightning at his face. He hoped to find more cards and played "everyone's 2nd favorite homeboy Bob." Philip was out of lands but had a Jitte and bided his time. Sean started ripping three cards a turn - including Standstill and Grim Lavamancer from his posse of Invitationalists. He had what seemed like a big turn playing Cloud of Faeries, his own Jitte, and Grim Lavamancer. Philip was still missing land number three but had another Jitte to crush Sean's surging hopes.

It was turn five and Sean cast Brainstorm seeing three lands. One of them was a fetch land and he could have shuffled to see some new cards. Instead he played a Mishra and said go. Philip equipped his Silver Knight and sent it into battle. Sean nudged his Mishra in the way but forgot it had summoning sickness. That was pretty much the game right there as Philip calmly picked off the two Dark Confidants. The better play for Sean might have been to block with Cloud of Fairies and then Lavamancer his own guy to stop the Jitte from accumulating counters. From there he could hope to burn Philip out.

Sean Colgan is everyone's homeboy.

Game 2

The second game was much more straightforward. Sean shook his head after leading off with Grim Lavamancer. "Do you have Silver Knight? If you have it again I will high five you."

High fives were in order. Turn two Silver Knight was followed by a turn three Jitte. The game was surprisingly close as Sean tossed burn and used his Lavamancer as often as possible but his deck could do nothing to stop the Silver Knight once it got the first set of counters.

After the match spectator pointed out to Sean how he could have played both games differently. In each game he had the opportunity to Lavamancer his own guys to prevent and equipped creature from racking up Jitte counters. He was beside himself as soon as he heard.

"Thank you man. I can't believe I could have won both games. I won't make that mistake again."

Sunday, November 13: 11:15 a.m. - Legacy Deck Tech

As we inch closer to the cut to elimination I wanted to catch up with some of the decks floating around the top tables - especially the deck that is leading the field. Pasquale Ruggiero was playing a red-white Lightning Rift deck and was the only undefeated player after 11 rounds at 10-0-1. His one draw was an intentional one with Ben Goodman in the final round yesterday.

Pasquale Ruggiero

"I was figuring there were going to be a lot of Goblins and Red Deck Wins and stuff like that. Those decks are almost a bye for me. I have a good game against Control also after sideboarding. My only bad match-up is combo but even that can be okay after sideboarding with Abeyance and Rule of Law."

Lighting Rift, Swords, maindeck Pyroclasm, maindeck Rune of Protection: Red, maindeck Vengeance with Slice and Dice also. They can't do much about that.

I am scared of the Ill-Gotten Gains deck. I don't think it is a good match-up for me. Landstill doesn't bother me too much but I am really hoping for a lot of Goblins. Renewed Faith is my only hope in Game 1 if I face the Ill-Gotten Games deck.

Pasquale Ruggiero - Red-White Rift

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Pasquale's opponent for round 12 was Chris Pikula at 10-1 with his homebrewed black-white deck. Chris had been drawing a crowd of admirers and autograph hounds every round but I was able to pry him away just long enough to ask him about the deck.

"Rogue Deadguy Ale: A Homebrew. That's the name of the deck. Basically when I saw Dark Confidant and the announcement of the Legacy format… People aren't used to cards like Hymn to Tourach or Sinkhole, which disrupt you really quickly. Most people don't expect to get a land destroyed on turn two. Ritual, Hymn, Duress or first turn Specter - although that's not great since everyone is ready for Lackey - I just didn't think people would be ready for that kind of disruption. The deck is really good against combo and you have Engineered Plague against Goblins. I thought it would do okay. I actually didn't test that much but when I did test it won."

Chris Pikula - Rogue Deadguy Ale: A Homebrew

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Instant (4)
4 Dark Ritual
Artifact (2)
2 Cursed Scroll
Enchantment (2)
2 Engineered Plague
60 Cards

Ben Goodman

Ben Goodman was quietly lurking near the top tables through the early rounds of Day Two. He was 9-1-1 with his only loss coming early on Saturday to Jeff Rabovsky's Goblins. His draw came in the final round of Day One when he got the ID with Pasquale.

"The deck can cheat on land - it only plays 17 - because I have 11 one mana cantrips. The deck is not quite Gro and not quite Threshold. It wins with Wearbear, Mystic Enforcer and Meddling Mage."

Ben Goodman - ThreshGro

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Nassim Ketita

High Tide was certainly one of the more anticipated combo decks in the weeks leading up to the event. You only need to look at all the REBs and Hydroblasts in every red deck's board to see that. One combo deck that has snuck in the back door, and is less susceptible to red countermagic, is Iggy Pop. The deck is an Ill-Gotten Gains combo deck that Intuitions for Ill-Gotten Gains and casts one with Cabal Ritual and Dark Ritual. Both players discard their hands and return three cards from graveyard to hand for the IGG. The combo player chooses the two rituals and an Ill-Gotten gains. Rinse and repeat. Once all the IGG are removed from the game they can return the two rituals and Intuition and cast Intuition for Tendrils of Agony and cast Tendrils for just enough to kill.

Nassim Ketita, from London, Ontario, had played the deck to a 9-1-1 record after 11 rounds - he had just drawn with Fish in the 11th round. I asked him if he ever had any trouble with control decks abusing his cycle and bringing back a Force of Will and two blue cards each time he tries to go off.

"Not really," explained Nassim. "Against the control decks I play the game differently. I build up a handful of ritual cards and just cast them all at once and double Tendrils. I beat a couple of Landstill players that way yesterday. I saw the deck on and I knew I had to play it. I have always played storm deck but I didn't want to play High Tide."

Nassim Ketita - Iggy Pop

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Sunday, November 13: 12:02 p.m. - Goblins vs. Landstill

Jonathan Sonne

Jonathan Sonne and Alex Lieberman are two players with Grand Prix trophies on their mantles. They were playing in the penultimate Swiss round for the right to draw in the last one. Both players were 9-2 and it seemed like X-3 would be the worst record to make it into Top 8.

Leiberman was playing Landstill tuned specifically for a Goblin-heavy field. The deck relies on Enlightened Tutor to find key one-ofs in each match-up. Sonne was playing Goblins although with more mana disruption than most version - four Wasteland and four Rishadan Port. The match-up was heavily in favor of Lieberman who had yet to drop even a game to the archetype all weekend long.

Alex Lieberman

Sonne took a long Game 1 by building up a massive hand of cards under Standstill. He had Goblin Matron in play and simply sat back and attacked for one every turn. With his full compliment of Ports in play Sonne was able to make sure Lieberman's manlands never factored into the race. Eventually Alex had to crack his own Standstill with Moat. That gave Sonne the critical mass of cards he needed to force through Siege-Gang Commander and throw a single token at Alex who was at two.

Game 2 was just brutal. Despite playing Isochron Scepter with Blue Elemental Blast on it n turn two Alex was overloaded by a Lackey into Siege-Gang draw. Alex was resigned to his fate coming into the match.

"Everyone saw I was playing Goblins and told me I would make Top 8. I told them 'no way…it's Sonne.' Anyone else playing that match against me I am sure I win. I can't complain. I hadn't even lost a game to goblins all weekend."

Jonathan Sonne - Goblins

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Alex Lieberman - Landstill

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Sunday, November 13: 1:37 p.m. - Combo On Combo for Top 8

Nassim Ketita

We already looked at Nassim Ketita's take on the Iggy Pop combo deck in the deck tech section. He was playing in the final round for a berth in the Top 8 against a combo deck we haven't already taken a peak at.

Paul Serignese has been lurking near the top tables all weekend yet his Gamekeepers managed to escape my notice. Paul was playing a combo deck based around Auriok Salvagers and Lion's Eye Diamond. With that he can make infinite mana which he can then use to draw his deck provided there is a Chromatic Sphere or Spellbomb in his graveyard. From there it is just a matter of using the Pyrite Spellbomb enough times to kill your opponent. To get all that stuff set up in the yard - and to find the Salvagers - it relies on Cabal Therapying Gamekeeper.

Nassim was not happy about the prospect of losing this round. He was 10-1-2 at this point and hadn't lost since the very first round Saturday morning. "Yeah, I had no byes. Did I mention that I finished ninth in the Trial?"

Neither player did much on the first few turns. When Nassim used Mystical Tutor to find Cabal Ritual, Paul complained, "You're playing restricted cards - that's not fair."

"Not restricted in this format."

Paul who never misses an opportunity to make fun of his own play laughed as he fetched up a Scrubland, "How fitting." Yet despite his self-mockery he is the reigning NEC Champion and also finished in the Top 8 of his State Championships. Paul cast Cabal Therapy for Ill-Gotten Gains and found one sitting there.

Paul Serignese

Nassim decided to cast Intuition for Ill-Gotten Gains on his own turn - using Dark Ritual - but could not go off without losing threshold and had to wait a turn. It turns out he did not have that turn. Paul played Lion's Eye Diamond and Living Wished. In response he cracked the Diamond and used the mana to play Gamekeeper. He flashed back Therapy and hit his Salvagers. He named Ill-Gotten Gains and although Paul could not go off on his own turn - he was tapped out - he had effectively neutered Nassim's chances.

When the turn came back to Paul he was able to return the Lion's Eye Diamond and demonstrated the infinite loop.

Game 2

The second game was ugly as Nassim mulliganed twice and Paul once. Nassim could only play Pithing Needle on the first three turns - naming Salvagers each time. Paul on the other hand had a Tsunami which wiped out Nassim's board. Without the combo available to him, Paul resorted to beatdown. He Living Wished for Kagemaro and swung a couple of times for the win.

Paul Serignese - Salvage Game

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