A week ago, I had a plan: I would go to states, practice judge there, take the judge exam, and become a level 1 judge. So, I gave my e-mail address to the local lvl 1 judge, who I intended to hitch a ride with, and went back to my dorm to sleep insult your deck ideas.
Under 24 hours before the tournament, I had still not received any e-mails pertaining to the tournament, so I pm'd him through the judge center and found out that he had lost my e-mail address and that I had to contact the tournament organizer in advance about judging. As it turns out, they already had a full roster of judges, but my ride, who was acting as a judge, had a deck he didn't need and convinced me to go as a participant.
A week ago, he had been building bant auras/hexproof. Fortunately, he had decided to switch to
The decklist went something like this:
2 deathrite shaman
4 shred freak
3 tragic slip
3 sign in blood
3 searing spear
3 pillar of flame
2 Appetite for Brains
4 rakdos guildgate
4 blood crypt
4 dragonskull summit
2 slaughter games
2 mizzium mortars
2 rakdos charm
2 underworld connections
2 sever the bloodline
Don't ask questions about this list, I didn't build it, and it had several mistakes. I probably screwed up a card in my listing.
So, about those rounds:
Round 1 was against B/r zombies, but a bad version. He ran bump in the night and vexing devil. VEXING DEVIL.
Game 1 I lost because I never found a red source. I died with all swamps and 4 red cards in hand.
Lesson to take home: red sources are VERY important. In this deck, it's actually worth running guildgate, and you should seriously consider not keeping redless hands just for that, especially if you have a red card in them.
Boarded in good removal, boarded out slip and appetite. Seriously, slip isn't what it was pre-rotation with mortarpod and fume spitter and delvers and dorks in every deck. Don't run it.
g2 and g3 I won. Evidently having 8 cards in your deck that don't attack, block, or kill attackers or blockers in aggro is a bad idea. Who knew? Oh yeah, and I saw blood artist here. Seriously, don't run that card in the zombies mirror, because very little stuff dies. The "can't block" and "comes into play tapped" clauses ensure that trades are few and far between.
r2 was against some g/w midrange deck, running smiter, borderland ranger, strangleroot geist, and vorapede(?)
g1 double smiter stops my beatdown and starts beating my face in. Ouch. Well, on to g2
In this matchup, I learned about the importance of removal. If they have loxodon smiter and you don't have removal, it's GG unless you have like a super aggro start. Like, even trading a 1 drop and burn spell for it is bad tempo/CA, and trading a crawler and a burn spell is still bad tempo since you can't attack with your other dudes that turn and sometimes they just won't block (which is the correct play.)
I board in good removal, board out slip and sign I think.
Match 2 I don't remember much, but I beat him.
Match 3, he drops some **** including vorapede and smiter, I fail to draw any of my removal spells, and he alpha strikes near the end. I will end up at 4 life, and I can probably kill him on the crackback, but he double selesnya charms it. Handshake time.
R3 is against someone I know from my LGS, and he's playing 5 color control. Unfortunately, one of those colors is thragtusk. If you play zombies enough, you will learn to hate this card.
Game 1 I aggro him out. There's probably more to it, I just don't remember it.
I board in lili, games, and underworld connections, and I take out slip and 3 pillar.
Game 2 I don't kill him with the initial assault, and we go lategame. He hits some big sphinx's revelations, I slaughter games out his thragtusks, ult a lili killing his dudes, and I remember that the only wincon I saw that he still has is angel of glory's rise (no idea why he's running that, literally his only humans were 2 snapcasters. Maybe it's hate against me.) and draw another slaughter games, so I hatch a devious plan: I'll name the angel, even though it's only a 1 of, then force him to deck himself. Nope, elixir of immortality. Yeah, I forgot about that. And as it turns out, I can't beat a control deck lategame after it's cast revelations so big it's needed to discard at the end of its next turn. Really, if you're zombies, end the game as quickly as possible. You will lose the lategame vs control, and they will almost always have some kind of lifegain. Like, don't even try to play around sweepers, if it gets to the point where they can afford a non-miracle'd sweeper, you've already lost.
Game 3, I hit my 1 drop-2 1 drops hand, and he stalls on mana. Unfortunately, he rips a turn 3 terminus, then proceeds to thragtusk into thragtusk into thragtusk on consecutive turns. Ugh. Handshake time.
Fun sidenote: he was actually running door to nothingness in the board. He could usually hit the mana off chromatic lantern, and control decks only have 1 answer to it (detention sphere). He door'd out 5 guys that day. He also ran wolf run to pump has 2 of snapcaster into a gigantic beater, which makes sense if your deck regularly draws through itself, sometimes multiple times.
Round 4 is zombies, which is run by some guy who seems unfamiliar with the rules. Basically, this matchup is all about beating eachothers' faces in. Attack every turn unless you're hideously behind, since then you'll often end up losing tempo to removal or having to block a guy with recursion, side out all your cards that are bad tempo-wise, and DON'T PLAY BLOOD ARTIST. And if you do, don't expect to drain life off it and them pillaring something.
He didn't follow the last 2 pieces of advice, and I scored a 2-1 victory.
r5 was a selesnya midrange, but a slower one than before. He forms a huge board presence involving Trostani and stuff. I'm really far behind, and he has 7 life, an untapped Trostani, manadork, a lot of lands, and a token (maybe the token was tapped, I don't remember). I have 6 lands and 3 1 drops. I aristocrat, swing, he populates, I searing spear his token in response, and that's game. The moral of the story is twofold:
1: If you're winning, play around your opponent's outs. If he'd just blocked, then made a token in response to a burn spell, I would've lost that.
2: aristocrat will win you games you have no business winning. Its ability to push damage through a clogged board, survive sweepers/removal, and suddenly swing for 4 evasion is just too much to pass up. It should be a 3 of, maybe with 1 in the board.
Anyways, side out sign for dreadbore. I think I keep slip in because dorks.
Game 2, I drop a bunch of messengers, and he drops knight of glory and a centaur token. I spear his knight, but I misplay and do it after he attacks. Don't miss stuff like that. He takes my life total down a bunch, and I block his centaur token with a messenger even though he has township to make it survive. This is a good idea, because it makes him spend his entire turn on it at very little cost to myself. Meanwhile, I continue to beat down, then drop an aristocrat and attack. Then, I sac a messenger to it and play another messenger to finish off his life total. Aristocrat is GREAT, and don't forget that you can pitch your messengers to it to finish them off. Also, I have something in my notes for this match about removal being important.
r6 is selesnya ramp. He bitches about terminus, keeps a hand of (he tells me later) 5 land, arbor elf, and farseek. I aggro him out, play appetite for brains, take the only nonland in hand, which is collective blessing, and he topdecks a thragtusk and a garruk. I proceed to lose. Garruk 2.0 is VERY good against zombies. Like, close to unbeatable, especially if they untap with him.
Out goes sign and slip, in come my removal spells. Or maye I brought in bore and slaughter games, I don't remember. Anyways, I win the next 2 matches, using removal to clear the way for alpha striking.
I don't remember much, but I remember that game 3 he keeps a 1 land hand then bitches about not being able to draw land. Yeah, don't do that.
round 7 is jund. At this point, I am really ****ing tired. Like, REALLY tired. Adrenaline has been keeping me awake though. Game 1 he gets an aggresive start involving strangleroot geist and huntmaster. I lose. A note: you can keep instants up for their turn to make sure huntmaster doesn't flip. I made a play in which I kept up tragic slip, then cast it on his huntmaster EOT, not killing it, just stopping the flip. In retrospect, I should've cast it during combat to save myself 1 life, which was really clutch in this case, and probably cost me the game. I also signed in blood him, just to save myself the crucial 2 life and stop huntmaster from flipping. That slip misplay probably cost me the game.
slip and sign out, removal in.
G2, I don't remember the early game, but later I have double shred freak and aristocrat. He golgari charms, I pitch the freaks to aristocrat for 2 counters. He proceeds to die. Don't forget that freak's a human, don't SB in golgari charm vs zombies. Killing crawler is near useless, and other than that there's freak and MAYBE aristocrat.
Game 3 I take his huntmaster with appetite, then slowly beat him down with like 1 guy, then get a messenger. He's at too low life for the huntmaster he draws to save him, even without the pillar I have in hand.
This is the final round. If I win this, I get 24 packs. If I lose this, I cry myself to sleep.
Round 8, I'm playing against B/g zombies, but it's a more slow, midrange deck. So basically it's a zombies deck that wants to block. And it's running slitherhead. Sadly, it doesn't have enough early game stall to not die early, and it's not running thragtusk. Even a giant jarad isn't enough to save him. Also, I'd like to point out that, if you're already in the lead, and your opponent has a slim chance of winning, play around their outs. I didn't do that game 2 (he had a jarad and a lotleth troll in play and I didn't keep back messenger to block in case he had like all creatures in hand and went for pitch all>alpha strike>fling troll. Fortunately, he didn't have that, so I won despite my misplay.
Lessons not mentioned:
1: sandbag your crawlers against decks more likely to have pillar of flame than early blockers.
2: check if you have a zombie before throwing away crawler in combat.
3: sandbag diregrafs if possible after playing crawler.
4: save appetite for the last possible moment.
5: md tragic slip is bad. MD sign in blood is usually going to end up being worse than removal.
6: mortars is OK as just a flame slash
7: bring a water bottle and some granola bars to tournaments. I'm glade I did.
I don't know how good shaman is, even after 8 rounds. When I got shaman, he died quickly and often. I'm not sure how good appetite is, I only drew it in the relevant matchups. It's probably a meta choice, and I'm not sure how the meta will shape up.