Saturday, 8:45 p.m. - Friday Night Magic Around the World

Posted in Event Coverage on September 16, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

My last three FNMs - Nottingham, England. Osaka, Japan. And now Sao Paulo, Brazil. Not that these happened on consecutive Fridays - that would be insane - but it's nonetheless an indicator of how lucky I am to be travelling the world watching the game I love.

FNM in Action

In Nottingham, I got handed a Blue-Black control deck that somebody as 'Spike' as I am should never be let near. I confess that I enjoyed going 5-0 rather more than a kindly Uncle Rich figure really should. Truth to tell, it's been a long time since I've had that much fun.

Then there was my Japanese episode, complicated by the fact that it was M12 Draft, days after the set had been released, and using (I still don't know why they did this on the eve of Japanese Nationals in Japan) Japanese cards. Somehow I cobbled together a Blue-White control deck full of high-toughness speed bumps and tough to kill flyers, plus the small matter of three copies of Elixir of Immortality. Even the really good Red-Black deck couldn't get over the humps I kept putting in the way, and that was a ridiculous 3-0.

And so to Brazil, and back to Standard. I travel light, and I always think it's much more fun to be given a 'random' deck anyway. On this occasion, the store owner was kind enough to give me a 'souped-up' version of the New Phyrexia Event Deck that has a turn two kill in it.

Wait, it has a what?

Practicing for a few minutes with the deck, I was rather excited by casting Glistener Elf on turn one, and then laying a Forest followed up by Groundswell-Groundswell-Mutagenic Growth on turn two. This seemed like an exceptionally fine way to play Magic.

Thiago Jachelli

Of course, things don't always work out that way in the field. I began with a match against Thiago Jachelli, who quickly showed me how problematic things were going to get by dumping almost his entire hand into play on turn one. Since he was playing Tempered Steel, I couldn't really blame him for this. Steel Overseer was my undoing in game one, along with a variety of large flyers - which Vault Skirge and Ornithopter aren't supposed to be.

Game two was a bit more interesting when I was able to use Green Sun's Zenith to get Viridian Corrupter, destroying his only blocker and stealing Contested War Zone as a result, but it still wasn't really close. Ho hum.

Then I got to play some of the best (most fun) Magic I've had the chance to play in a long while. Against Leonardo, playing Valakut, I won game one pretty easily, despite an early maindeck Nature's Claim taking out my Ichorclaw Myr when Primal Bellow had made it huge.

Leonardo Martins

Game two was soooo dumb, in all the right ways. On the play, Leonardo cast Melira, Sylvok Outcast on turn two. Hmm. All my guys lose Infect. That's awkward. I cast Rot Wolf and hit him for two. And another two. Then I cast Putrefax and put him to nine. He cast Primeval Titan, and fetched up two Valakuts.

OK then. Vines of Vastwood with Kicker, Mutagenic Growth, Rot Wolf now an 8/8, cast Apostle's Blessing to let it sneak past the Titan, put him to one. I was still on twenty. Then I died.

He attacked with his Titan, fetched two Mountains, dealt all twelve to my face. I valiantly stuck Overgrown Battlement in the way of the Titan, in case he was looking to Lightning Bolt me out. He wasn't. Two trample damage from the Titan took me to six, and his land for the turn Mountain was the last six direct to the dome. An awesome game.


From there it was all downhill. I had my own Melira for his in game three, but he once again dealt all twenty in a single turn with Primeval Titan and Valakut. 0-2. Ho hum once more. At least I was getting my Participation Points...

I won round three when my opponent Jonny failed to find anything good quickly enough with his Valakut deck, and ended up at 1-2. I would have played the final round, but needed to be fresh as a daisy this morning to bring you good people all the fun of Nationals.

As always, FNM provided some great people, a great atmosphere, some fun Magic, and memories to take away. Oh, and it also provided a Portugese New Phyrexia booster. Now, I wonder what country I can play FNM in next...

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