Experience the intense excitement of the Magic World Championships from the perspective of accomplished pro player and Great Britain National Champion Craig Jones as he plays and writes his way to the Top 8.
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Sorry, trying to find cards for Legacy deck. Be back later….
Friday, December 7: 10:49 a.m. – Draft 2
Okay, panic over. I have a Legacy deck. I don't know how to play it, but we'll figure that out as we go along.
In the meantime this was my second draft deck:
My first booster gave me Liliana Vess. I did contemplate taking Tarfire and going all-in for Kithkin instead, but a Planeswalker is fairly hard to turn down. Unfortunately I didn't realise until too late that Kang Jisang on my right was in black and so my removal got cut off.
The interesting pick was an Aethersnipe or Cloudcrown Oak, which would have fixed my second colour. I don't like fighting for blue and I've drafted Treefolk a few times so I aimed to get something that gums up the board and let Liliana do her stuff.
It didn't quite come together and the lack of removal worries me. Vigor from the second booster was really nice. Maybe I can ride the bombs home, but it's probably going to be tough.
Friday, December 7: 12:07 p.m. – Round 9 vs. Gene Brumby.
I think Rich Hagon might have already talked about the game's end on the podcast. It turned out to be a little epic.
At some point earlier in the game Brumby countered a spell with Broken Ambitions and won the clash. The four cards milled included Vigor, but neither of us spotted it needed to be shuffled back in until Brumby noticed a few turns later.
We called a judge. Both of us received a warning and I thought the game would be fixed by shuffling the Incarnation back into my deck. This wasn't the case. It was ruled that the Vigor would stay in my graveyard. This benefited me too much as I had Makeshift Mannequin in hand. I felt the correct thing to do at this point was concede the game rather than gain a possible advantage from an illegal game situation.
Brumby's deck was very good. He was unfortunate to mulligan to five in the following two games and still ran me very close.
Obviously we used up all of our extra nine minutes and went into extra turns. This one swung back and forth until a fairly devastating Fistful of Force (with me winning the clash) busted up most of Brumby's team. Afterwards I found Liliana Vess, then Vigor and managed to activate Liliana's ultimate ability in the first of my extra turns. With a board that included all the creatures from both player's graveyard I alpha-striked for a very nice photo-opportunity on my last turn.
Friday, December 7: 2:25 p.m. – Round 10 vs. Mark Herberholz.
I finally got a feature match for the first time in, maybe this year (kind of what you expect for only picking up two points at every PT).
It's already been covered by Josh.
Not much other than to add my deck went nuts and gave me some of the best possible draws. Double forest-walking Loggers meant I just outraced him in the second game (after being comprehensible run over in the first game).
The second I had both Harbingers and was able to set up Battlewand Oak to come in for a ton of damage.
Friday, December 7: 3:40 p.m. – Round 11 vs. Kang Jisang
Oh well, I suppose I was overdue some balance after seeing Brumby double mulligan twice and getting a double god draw versus Herberholz.
Jisang had picked up a nippy little black-red deck. I thought it might be okay for me as I had quite a few high toughness guys to clog up his little beaters.
Unfortunately I mulliganed both games and my mediocre draws saw me get run over very quickly.
Oh well, I can't really complain after the two previous matches. 2-1 is probably very flattering for my draft deck.
Next up I get to play a very complicated Stuart Wright special in Legacy for the first time ever. This might be a little embarrassing.
Friday, December 7: 3:50 p.m. – Round 12 vs. Jan Ruess
Friday, December 7: 3:50 – Round 12 vs. Jan Ruess
By Craig Jones
I lost the dice roll and went second.
I cast Survival of the Fittest on turn two.
I didn't get a turn three...
Nomads en-Kor plus Cephalid Illusionist equals mill your entire deck and then smash your opponent in the face with an enormous Dragon Breathed Sutured Ghoul.
Ah, yeah, the old cards.
Game 2 was a little annoying as I managed to strip Force of Will from his hand and then Intuition for three Survival. I'd got him down to one card I knew in hand (Echoing Truth) and two unknown draw steps. Rather irritatingly those draw steps were Force of Will and Force of Will. My Survival didn't resolve and he was able to keep the Truth in hand.
We kind of played draw-go with some random Squee and Nomads beats at various intervals.
Ruess Cabal Therapy'd me for Triskelion before I drew the sixth land to cast it and then was able to complete his combo before I drew anything good.
0-2 games, 7-5 matches
Friday, December 7: 5:10 – Round 13 vs. Zsolt Tokoli
Apologies, it appears an experiment has gone wrong and Craig Jones has been devolved to a chimp.
Tokoli started out with a Leyline of the Void. That felt like a bit mean. I got Survival down and for some reason decided I wanted to cast Harmonic Sliver when I knew he had Echoing Truth in hand (Cabal Therapy). I never wanted my Chrome Mox anyway.
Uh, what's plan B?
So I've seen a bunch of Cabal Rituals. Must be a combo deck. I suppose I'll Survival up a Mesmeric Fiend and grab the Tendrils.
Go with the 1/1 beaters.
Maybe I should Survival for Birds and make Platinum Angel. No, I should just play the Anger, he'll be dead before I need to cast the Angel then. Oh wait I just discarded it. I know, I'll get Triskelion instead.
But wait I've just drawn Brainstorm, I can get the Angel anyway. But... But...
Tokoli drew nothing for about 8 turns while a random chimp beat him to death with 1/1s.
I can't go on.
Stuart Wright's deck 2, Tokoli's horribly misfiring Iggy Pop deck 0.
Now if you excuse me I have a strong urge to go and eat bananas.
Friday, December 7: 6:15– Round 14 vs. Gianluca Filippini
Okay, so I'm only to be trusted with nice simple decks that turn men sideways and throw burn spells at people's faces.
I had a good hand going second in the first game that enabled to me to make Survival of the Fittest on turn one. If played optimally I could have Goblin Weldered a Sundering Titan into play, blown up all his lands and hit him for seven.
For some reason I didn't crack the fetch land for a second Taiga, which meant when I did discard Anger, then Titan and cast Welder, I'd lose haste and wouldn't be able to attack. So after making one mistake I obviously thought I'd make another and discard Squee instead of Anger. Ah yeah, but now I need to discard both Anger and Titan otherwise my Welder doesn't have haste. And I only have one source of green mana.
Pass the turn. Predictably he Swordsed my Welder.
And then I won a few turns later instead. Isn't Survival a good card.
I actually spotted the faster kill with a second Welder and fetching Triskelion to shoot him for 6 this time.
There may be hope for me yet.
Brainstorm found him a fetchland and a Counterspell.
Rather cheekily I had two Welders and did the "blow up all your land hit you with an enormous monster" trick again.
2-0 games, 9-5 matches
Friday, December 7: 7:30 – Legacy Deck.
A Stuart Wright special, one card off from the one he's running:
As for what it does... uh... I'll come back to you later.
Something about welding Titans into play to blow up all their land I think.
Is it good? Well, follow how Stuart Wright does this weekend.
Friday, December 7: 7:39 p.m. – Round 15 vs. Ruud Warmenhoven
Warmenhoven is running the 42-land (or some other unfeasibly large number) deck. This is sort of bad as my deck is designed to blow up all their lands while picking at their hand with discard. That doesn't really work when they have Life from the Loam to get all their land back and don't really care if Life from the Loam is discarded.
Game 1 he made a lot of land, including Maze of Ith to stop me from attacking.
After boarding it gets better as I can get rid of all the discard and bring in Tormod's Crypt and try to set up some recursive graveyard busting with Genesis, Shield Sphere, and Goblin Welder. I also have Wispmare to bust up his Manabonds and Exploration.
Unfortunately the one card I don't want to see, Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, makes an early appearance.
Unfortunately I only realise it late on. Tormod's Crypt takes out Barbarian Ring when it hits the graveyard and I finally get the trike thing going to leave Ruud dead on the very last turn of extra turns.
The draw doesn't really help either of very much though. Ruud needs Top 32 to level up so I concede to give him a chance of playing for it in the last round.
0-2 games, 9-6 matches
Friday, December 7: 9:01 p.m. – Round 16 vs Mike Hron
That's the problem with long games. I looked at my opening hand and saw a Tormod's Crypt. Playing badly is one thing, but forgetting to desideboard is just a schoolboy error.
I call the judge over and dutifully pick up my game loss. It is a bone-headed mistake but I wish there was a way to fix this without hitting an honest player with the game loss hammer. Fixing the sideboard and enforcing a mulligan would be something I'd like to see.
Hron has Ground Seal in Game 2 and I put him on the Enchantress deck I've seen around. I'm able to kill the Ground Seal with Harmonic Sliver, Cabal Therapy to net a Enchantress's Presence and then flashback the Therapy to take out Aura of Silence.
I'm lucky enough to topdeck Squee, Goblin Nabob and use Survival to set up Welder / Titan as an almost-Armageddon. Unfortunately not quite close enough. Hron finds a second Ground Seal to stop my Welder activations and then topdecks Solitary Confinement to lock me out of ways to kill him on just three life. To be fair I'd topdecked the Squee and then a Brainstorm so I can't begrudge him that.
I'm more disappointed by the game loss.
That's two World Championships in a row where a money finish has evaporated in the final two rounds. Last year felt a little unlucky. This was self-inflicted masochism, sadly.
Stuart's deck is very good though. Don't let my 2-3 record put you off. Stuart went 5-0 and barely dropped a game.
My problem was I never found time to practise the deck. There are a lot of interactions to be aware of and you need to establish the correct game plan for the situation very quickly.
Oh well, given my complete lack of preparation I can't really be too disappointed with 9-7.
Ah, but it's not over yet. There's the team event to go, and we aren't doing that badly (largely thanks to Stuart Wright's excellent 12-4 record). Follow the action here tomorrow.