I love the smell of new decks first thing in the morning.
While Legacy MUD isn’t a new deck per-se, it certainly is a rarity to spot it at a tournament these days. And it’s even rarer to see it sitting near the top of the standings this far in to a tournament like this. But that’s exactly where I found Wayne Polimine this morning, playing Cloudposts, Wurmcoil Engines, and freaking Staff of Nin in Legacy.
Appropriately enough, Polimine is in construction. He’s a metalworker. You cannot make this stuff up. Well, you could, but in this instance, I’m not, as I learned when Polimine sat down to share the story of putting a screw through his foot this week.
He’s hoping to put the screws to his opponent, Wayne Polimine. Polimine didn’t quite slip through Day 1 with 9 wins, but his 8-0-1 record was, as the kids say, pretty good. Piloting Esper Stoneblade, Droggitis had Force of Willed his way through the field to the top of the standings.
Droggitis had all the tools to dismantle Polimine’s artifact-heavy list, but the MUD mage had plenty of bombs and disruptive measures to make life difficult.
Both players started off with a little disruption, some discard and creature removal from Droggitis and some Wastelanding from Polimine.
But Droggitis fought through the land destruction and landed a Stoneforge Mystic for a Batterskull, one of the benefits of only needing two lands to operate.
Polimine, on the other hand, needed quite a bit of mana to operate, mana he found at the bottom of a Cloudpost and a pair of Vesuvas. Soon he was able to make as much as 20 mana, which should have been devastating.
Except he didn’t do much with it. Anything, really. While Droggitis was casting Planeswalkers and attacking with Germ tokens, Polimine was passing the turn with a million mana available.
The calm didn’t last long, much to Droggitis’ chagrin.
“Tap 8,” Polimine said, as if it was the most natural phrase in the world. “Sundering Titan.”
The Titan crashed onto the battlefield, destroying three of Droggitis’s lands and gumming up the board for the time being. Jace could bounce it out of the way, but it would be an ineffective half measure that would simply result in Droggitis losing more land. For the moment, the board was at something resembling parity, if board stalls with Jace the Mind Sculptor in play count as parity.
Polimine even found a Loadstone Golemn the following turn to make Droggitis’s life that much more difficult. His options reduced and his mana diminished, the Esper player was forced to start throwing creatures in front of Sundering Titan just to keep Jace…and his hopes…alive.
But Jace did what Jace does and eventually delivered, digging up enough land to let Droggitis start playing spells. He made what seemed like an odd play, however, when he used Snapcaster and Swords to Plowshares to remove the Titan when he could have just played True-Name Nemesis to block it indefinitely. In the process, he cost himself two lands, though he was able to get the board back at a state relatively in his favor. Especially once Polimine was forced to simply play lands and pass every turn with something around 40 mana at his disposal.
Jace and Dustin Droggitis teamed up to take down Game 1.
Eventually, Droggitis decided he needed to start winning and began using Jace’s plus ability to control Polimine’s draws again. Now armed with a hand of two Force of Will and a Swords to Plowshares, Droggis was betting that he could ultimate Jace before Polimine could resolve something relevant.
A few turns and a Force of Will later and that was exactly what came to pass as Polimine was never able to cut through the resistance.
Droggitis 1 – Polimine 0
Sometimes you have to comb through a game to find a key turning point, an important moment that turns the match or defines the pace of the game.
So that happened.
Droggitis 1 – Polimine 1
Now pressed for time, both players hurried to avoid a tie. Polimine was forced to mull to five, but found himself with a hand that threatened a turn two Wurmcoil Engine. Thoughtseize and a Meddling Mage naming the 6/6 stopped that sequence, but a Lodestone Golem stepped in admirably to tax Droggitis painfully.
The Spell Pierces were unfortunate cards in this matchup. Necessary to try and stop early plays like Chalice or Trinisphere, they quickly became dead cards as the match moved to the mid- and late-game.
Even a mulligan to five couldn’t stop Wayne Polimine’s artifact monsters from taking Round 10.
With time called and Polimine down to just his two artifact beaters, Droggitis desperately tried to stay alive by throwing Snapcaster Mages under the bus. However, without enough mana to operate and facing creatures he couldn’t profitably block, the Esper player found himself lacking a way to stay in the game.
And with no time and no turns left, Polimine was able to deal exactly lethal on exactly the final turn.