GP Chicago report.
1113 people in attendance.
Playing Hipster Jund http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/chicago-hipster-jund/
Finished 6-2-1 for 164th.
Round 1 - Traditional Jund
I go check my seating and immediately notice that I am paired against one of my friends from Chicago who is a very good player. He is on traditional Jund which is normally a very good match-up for me. Sure enough, we trade blows and bloodbraids. I manage to get him down to six despite the two rakdos charms that I main deck cluttering up my hand before he stabilizes by BBEing into a tarmagoyf to my meager field of a single elf. I evaluate my options and pass the turn back to him. He takes a while to decide to animate his treetop village to attack with so that he can hit me while leaving back a blocker for my elf and suddenly the two charms cluttering up my hand are relevant. On to game two. Much the same as game one, I get him down to six life and he stabilizes by cluttering up the field. I have a huntmaster out and he plays a bob. I draw, look around the field, and pass the turn to flip my huntmaster. Huntmaster flips to shoot the bob and put him down to four. Bob flips a BBE and that is the beginning of a bad day for my friend.
Round 2 - Burn
My opponent is wearing an offensively bright pink shirt and so are his teammates who are rail-birding him during their byes. Game one he mulls to five and throws a burn spell at me. I proceed to rip what’s left in his hand apart with two inquisitions before dropping the pressure, the game is over very fast. Game two he keeps his hand throws a burn spell at me and passes. I inquisition him and see that he kept a hand with a thunderous wrath, a molten rain, a bolt, a lava spike, and a land. I take the bolt so that he can't hit the deathrite shaman that I'm going to play next turn and pass. He plays the land and spikes me. I play the deathrite and inquisition him again to see that he had drawn a second molten rain which I take. He draws and passes the turn having missed his land drop. I draw into the molten rain that I had sided in and hit one of his lands which he sacrifices in response to shard volley me. He eventually draws a second land but it really doesn't matter as I beat down with Finks and BBE while deathrite does his thing. He leaves with his teammates to get a drink at the bar downstairs.
Round 3 - Burn
I was so elated that I was facing burn again that I don't remember much other than playing some kitchen finks and a huntmaster and killing him with 23 life. Game two went much the same with deathrite doing stuff.
Round 4 - Living end
This was not a deck that I was expecting to face. Game one I inquisition and take a cascade spell but can never see a rakdos charm to stop him from resolving living end. I end up with some guys on the field that are smaller than his cyclers but big enough to threaten lethal, he swings with two of his big guys leaving a fulminator mage and two street wraiths back to block. I untap, pulse the wraiths and swing for lethal. Game two he just gets out more big things then I can deal with since I still can't draw a rakdos charm and he gets there. Game three I continue to not be able to draw any charms. I control the board the best I can and slowly attrition him down. Unfortunately time expires and we go into extra turns. Come turn five I have the board well under control and a deathrite shaman out with him at four. No bueno. I don't ask for a concession because it is early in the tournament still and he was a very good player.
Round 5 - Naya pod
Not a good matchup and in hindsight I should have dedicated more SB slots to it. Game one I struggle to keep him under control despite him not comboing off as soon as he could have. Game two I draw a rakdos charm and allow him to combo off. I ask him how many angels he is making and he says five hundred. I then tell him that he is dead. Game three is where it gets interesting and I make probably one of the hugest mistakes I have made in a while. I have double rakdos charm in my hand and I am so focused on being able to do damage with it that I forget that it can destroy artifacts. I go to terminate his angel that is swinging at me for lethal and he redirects it to his spellskite that I should have destroyed first. Not sure if this would have really mattered that much, the board position was pretty bad for me so making the right play here may have only bought me two more turns. But those two turns could have been big. (They would not have been, I looked at what was on top and it really didn't matter, but it could have.)
Round 6 - Tron
Another one of my friends from Chicago. I had helped him make some sideboard decisions on Friday so I knew exactly what he was playing. Deathrite shaman let me get off to a fast aggressive start. He gets tron online on turn three but has nothing to do with it except dig for a threat. I inquisition him and take the pyroclasm that he had been holding onto waiting for me to over-commit. I kill him two turns before he can drop Emrakul. Game two, in comes all of the land hate. He plays a grove turn one and starts digging. Turn two he plays a tron piece and digs some more. Turn three he plays another grove digs some then casts a sylvan scrying to find another tron piece. My turn three I molten rain the tron piece in play. He plays the other tron piece and I sowing salt it. I get down a BBE that starts to do work and play a fulminator to keep him off enough land to cast a wurmcoil engine.
Round 7 - RBW hatebears/zombies
This was a very interesting deck and apparently he had a feature match against a pro in the previous round that he drew. His deck consisted of lightning bolt, thoughtseize, path to exile, lightning helix, grave crawler, tidehallow sculler, Thalia, and girraf’s messenger. I open up with an IoK to see path, bolt, two lands, and two thoughtseize. I probably made a mistake here by taking the bolt instead of one of the thoughtseizes as I certainly overthought the decision tree here as to what he would do with his thoughtseizes and what I had in my hand. He takes the removal out of my hand and deals with my elf and huntmaster. He drops a Thalia. I drop a witness to bring back BBE to my hand. He responds by casting a tidehallow sculler and taking my BBE. At this point Thalia is preventing me from killing his sculler and casting BBE in the same turn which is the only way I don’t die on the next turn. Game two I have a keepable hand but for some reason I think that it doesn’t have enough gas so I ship it and immediately regret it as I’m shuffling and thinking about it more. I keep my six but never draw enough answers or threats and just get rolled. I’m a bit disappointed in this match as I made some crucial decisions poorly and it could have been a very good match as the deck basically operated on the same principles as mien.
Round 8 - Mono white hate
Both games my opponent started the game with a leyline in play. Game one I mulligan and keep a hand with two lands, a deathrite, a kitchen finks, and an eternal witness figuring that my opponent would hopefully play a fetch land and turn on my deathrite for mana. Nope, I sit there with just the shaman in play while my opponent does nothing also until turn four when he drops a chalice of the void set to two (must have thought that I was traditional jund). He then starts beating me down with a baneslayer angel which gets joined by a sun titan. I figure that I'm just dead here but I want to get as much information as I can before I scoop. Then he plays a second flagstones of trokir that legend rule themselves and he grabs two more plains. Now my deathrite shamans (I played a second one at some point) are active for mana so I use one to terminate his baneslayer. I untap cast a kitchen sink and am suddenly back in the game. He attacks with the sun titan, I block and bolt it. His board is now empty and I start beating back. I finally draw a third land and cast another kitchen sink followed up by a huntmaster for more than enough pressure to take him all the way down. Game two he puts a chalice at one and plays a rest in peace to turn my deathrites off. The deathrites are also turned off by Linvala. He plays some runed halos naming some of my guys and also plays this 1/8 wall with cumulative upkeep an opponent gains one life. We both go from 16 to the 30's as he keeps playing pulse the fields to gain him life. Suffice to say this game drags on. I get combusts and terminates to kill his Linvalas and baneslayers. Eventually I draw a pulse and hit the runed halos which he then plays two more of. I get another pulse which I point at the rest in peace so that I can start using my deathrite shamans. We end up going to time and I top deck a combust to stay alive. I could maybe grind him down in a few more turns as he is running out of tricks and I have almost no land left in my deck but it doesn't matter as I won the first game so drawing the second one is just fine with me.
Round 9 - Living end
My opponent is 5-1-2 and got paired down against me. He tries to tell me that if I concede he has a <i>chance</i> at making day two. After thinking about it for about thirty seconds I respond that if it was a sure thing that he would get in I would concede but since it was a question I would rather play but to ask me again at the end of the match. I figure either he will beat me and it won't matter, he will be a good player but I will get lucky and beat him then concede, or he will be terrible and I will just beat him. It turned out to be the last one. His play was rancid, absolutely horrid. He did things like cycle two street wraiths in response to me casting IoK, cast beast within on his own UNtapped lands, and numerous other small things. Despite him being so terrible we still took the entire match time. We were one of the last tables playing so we had a judge come over to watch the end of our match. After I beat him two-oh the judge asks us to fill out the match slip so that they can wrap up. My opponent says hold on, there is still some question of what we are doing, so I explain to him exactly what I was thinking at the beginning of the match and that his play was supper sloppy and that he should take it as constructive criticism to get better. He gets really mad and storms off leaving some of his deck on the table.
I know I'm not perfect as the pod match demonstrated and I'm sure I probably made some other small mistakes that luckily didn't cost me anything but If you are unwilling learn from your mistakes you aren't going to get any better.
Even thou I just barely missed day two I am quite happy with this tournament and my performance. I was not sure what deck I wanted to play in the weeks leading up to the GP so I never got enough testing with any of them. But then Friday I played in two grinders with H-Jund and even thou I didn't win either I knew what I needed and I needed to play Jund. Lesson learned: I am Jund and Jund is me, I know the deck so well that as long as I properly anticipate the meta properly and build my SB and flex spots to accommodate I will do well.
Here is to making day two in the next modern GP I play in.