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Thread: 11th place with U/G/w Infect at Eternal Weekend - A Tournament Recap by Jesture

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    Apr 2014

    Houston, TX


    11th place with U/G/w Infect at Eternal Weekend - A Tournament Recap by Jesture

    My weekend started on Thursday with an afternoon flight to Orlando, Florida to visit my brother. We had an excellent dinner at Rav Pig (possibly short for 'Ravnica Pig'?) and then went to Downtown Sanford to hang out with a couple of his friends at a local bar/coffee shop. We get back to his place at around midnight, and I crash on his couch for ~4 hours before getting up for a red-eye to Pittsburgh.

    My flight touches down at about 9am and I catch a shuttle bus to arrive at the hotel by 10. I spend the next hour freshening up and deliberating between using the down time to catch up on sleep and competing in a Legacy trial to try and earn a bye for Legacy Champs. Doing things sounds better than potentially being bored so I pack up my belongings and head for the tournament hall, picking up some Jimmy John's along the way.

    Decklist (ft. hodge podge of sideboard cards):
    4 Noble Hierarch
    4 Glistener Elf
    4 Blighted Agent
    4 Inkmoth Nexus
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Tundra
    4 Windswept Heath
    4 Misty Rainforest
    1 Forest
    1 Pendelhaven
    1 Wasteland
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    1 Dissenter's Deliverance
    1 Crop Rotation
    1 Stifle
    3 Daze
    3 Force of Will
    1 Spell Pierce
    1 Flusterstorm
    4 Invigorate
    3 Vines of Vastwood
    2 Berserk
    1 Become Immense

    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Null Rod
    2 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Rest in Peace
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Krosan Grip
    1 Nature's Claim
    1 Sylvan Library
    2 Shapers' Sanctuary
    1 Force of Will
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Hydroblast

    My memory's a bit hazy on the trial, but my matchups were as follows:

    R1 DnT (2-1)
    R2 Miracles (2-1)
    R3 Sneak and Show (2-0)
    R4 Esper Stoneblade (2-1)
    R5 Eldrazi Post (2-1)

    (Exact round numbers and game might be slightly off, was still pretty tired at this point)

    Shoutout to my round 4 opponent, 'The Source' user CptHaddock. We had a great match, and a great conversation about our respective decks and the state of the meta game to follow.

    With first round bye firmly in hand, I spend the rest of the afternoon watching my fellow Lone Star Lhurgoyfs do battle in various side events and the Vintage Champs main event. Afterwards, a couple of us make an attempt to visit the nearby Primanti Bros., but make a detour to the Westin's burger bar after the line becomes too much to bear. Quiet evening after this, I'm not thrilled with my decklist for the trial but submit the exact same 75 for the main event tomorrow because I'm too tired to think about what changes need to be made.

    Saturday morning rolls around and I'm feeling great for the first time all week. I grab breakfast in the hotel lobby with my teammates, then take my time getting ready as my first round bye lets me arrive an hour later than everyone else. I get to the convention center at ~10am and hop straight into Round 2.

    Didn't take notes on the matches, but I'll jot down what I remember from each one.

    R1 Bye from Friday trial
    Nothing to see here.
    0-0, 1-0

    R2 Peter C. on Eldrazi Post
    I'm pretty happy with this matchup, as the Eldrazi Stompy matchup has felt even in the past and this deck has traded out some of the faster elements for a better late game. With more time to set up, I feel this matchup leans heavily in Infect's favor.

    Peter seems like a great guy. It's bittersweet to win against a friendly opponent, but I was happy to see he made his way into the top 64 by the end of the tournament.
    2-0, 2-0

    R3 Walter H. on 4c Loam
    I'd consider this one of Infect's worst matchups and easily Infect's worst non-blue matchup. I steal a game one as Walter mulligans to 5 and never really gets his footing. Game 2 goes predictably awfully for me with Bobs, Lili's, and Knights grinding me into oblivion. Game 3 looks to be going the same way, but I manage to exploit a small opening as I main phase Pendelhaven an Inkmoth Nexus to prompt a Golgari Charm, then Vines of the Vastwood to survive the charm and play around an on board Maze of Ith with a Berserk in hand for an exact 8 poison lethal.
    2-1, 3-0

    R4 Richard B. on Spaghetti Stompy
    Game 1 I find my main deck Dissenter's Deliverance and use it to destroy a Chalice that's locking me out of the game. Going into game 2 I realize my sideboard map is all over the place and I'm forced to leave in 2 Dazes on the draw against Eldrazi as I have nothing to board in for them. My opponent goes t1 Eldrazi Temple into Mimic as I play a t1 Tropical Island Glistener Elf. His t2 Eldrazi Temple into TKS gets hit by a Daze, then a t3 Ancient Tomb into Walking Ballista X=2 also gets hit by a Daze. I leave this match pretty conflicted, as the lack of preparation did me a real solid in that second game.
    2-0, 4-0

    R5 Roland C. on Grixis Delver
    This one gets really ugly really fast. Roland starts with an early Delver of Secrets followed quickly by a Bomat Courier. A flurry of cantrips and soft permission keeps me from developing while the Insect clocks in, and the ruthless efficiency of Delver gets me to zero before I've seen a third color from his deck.

    Game 2 shows him to be on Grixis Delver, and I put up a better showing than in game 1 but ultimately fall to a twin pair of 3 power flyers.

    Roland was all business during our games, but we have a pleasant conversation about Bomat Courier's place in the deck afterwards. I bump into him a few times later throughout the event, and the conversation continues on to Grixis Delver's identity in the meta and how his list differs from a lot of the stock lists floating around. Really interesting stuff.
    0-2, 4-1

    R6 Jacob K. on Elves
    Jacob flubs a line in game 1 which leads to his Natural Order getting Dazed. In game 2 I set up a turn with a lethal Inkmoth attack, only to be surprised by an Assassin's Trophy. Luckily I have the Force, but I wasn't even thinking about this card when I made my move. We talk about his singleton Savannah and the merits of Archon of Valor's Reach in Elves. I'm convinced that it has enough utility to fit into the main deck, both as a hard castable bomb and as a Natural Order target.
    2-0, 5-1

    R7 Jason P. on R/G Burn
    Jason is sporting a very interesting variant of burn that cuts some of the less efficient burn spells for more creatures and an array of green pump spells. I can't quite recall the events of games 1 and 2, but game 3 goes in his favor off of the back an Eidolon backed up by a Pyrostatic Pillar.

    As an aside, I think the average maturity of people at this tournament was through the roof compared to a lot of other big tournaments I've been to. I called Jason on a missed Eidolon trigger in game 3, and though he wasn't thrilled about it in the moment, we shook hands and seemed to be on really friendly terms after the match had ended. Though I can only speak for myself, I can't imagine a game with a similar judge call to have ended so amiably on both sides at any SCG or GP that I've been to in the past. Shoutout to Jason P., your deck was awesome and it was an absolute pleasure playing against you.
    1-2, 5-2

    R8 Bill S. on Death and Taxes
    Bill is a quiet guy, but he's one of those players who knows his deck through and through. I ask him after the match to confirm my suspicions, but even during the match I'm somewhat unnerved that he seems to make the correct play at every turn and doesn't seem to be surprised by anything.

    A moderately lengthy game 1 goes in his favor after he tutors and equips and Jitte, shortly followed by a vial activation on 3 into Flickerwisp to thwart my attempt at lethal.

    Game 2 goes in my favor, though I don't really remember the details here.

    Game 3 is an interesting affair, as Bill gets down an early Vial and ticks it up to three to start applying pressure with Mirran Crusaders and Umezawa's Jitte. I make an early Brainstorm decision to keep two pieces of artifact removal (Dissenter's Deliverance and Krosan Grip) and use the former to destroy the Jitte to prevent the Crusader from stealing the game. As his vial sits on 3, I begin to suspect that my decision has paid off and I eventually use an end of turn Krosan Grip to destroy the Vial to play around a potential Flickerwisp. Untap, activate Inkmoth, Invigorate, Vines, and exalted trigger is exactly 10 poison with a backup Force of Will to counter his Swords to Plowshares.

    Afterwards, he shows me the Flickerwisp that got stranded in hand when I EoT gripped the Vial.
    2-1, 6-2

    R9 Hank W. on U/R Omnitell
    I'm surprised when Hank leads with Volcanic into Ponder, then pitches a Pact of Negation to Force of Will my Blighted Agent in game 1. Knowing that he's on combo, I quickly cantrip for and deploy another Blighted Agent. Details are hazy from here, but I believe I counter a Show and Tell, then crack back the following turn for Lethal.

    Game 2 goes in his favor. I'm forced to let a Show and Tell resolve, putting in a Pithing Needle to his Omniscience. I name Sneak Attack, and he proceeds to cast Cunning Wish into Firemind's Foresight, setting up a Release the Ants kill with Emrakul on top of his library. Whoops, that ain't Sneak and Show.

    Game 3 is something of a non-game. Hank spends 3 turns cantripping, and I have exactly enough cards in the graveyard for Invigorate into Become Immense with Daze back up to close out the match.
    2-1, 7-2

    Satisfied with my Day 1 performance, I trek back to the hotel and make a trip to the nearby casino with a couple of my teammates to wind down. I leave after dinner, some of my teammates stay and win a fair amount off of Blackjack and Poker.

    Saturday begins very similarly to how Friday did. I wake up, get ready, then eat breakfast with some of my teammates. There's a marathon happening in the nearby area, so we opt to walk to the convention center as the hotel shuttle isn't running that day. After a brief delay for technical issues, we begin round 10 at 9:30am.

    R10 Fucheng J. on B/R Reanimator
    Game 1 is a brief affair as Fucheng mulligans to 5 and can't quite pick up the traction needed to combo off.

    Game 2 has a little more play to it, as Fucheng casts a Dark Ritual, followed by a Magus of the Moon and two open mana. With 2 non-basics and a Hierarch in play I Brainstorm in response to find a Force of Will and Blighted Agent, deciding to let the Magus resolve with the plan to untap and cast Blighted Agent to race. He uses the remaining two mana to Abrade the Hierarch, which I'm forced to Force or be cut off of green and blue mana. The rest of the game goes as expected, as I play the Blighted Agent and end the game 5 turns later.

    Fucheng's a friendly guy, he and I talk for a bit after the match concludes. He's typically a R/G Lands player, but decided to run B/R reanimator for a larger tournament because of the possibility of mental fatigue. I'm whole-heartedly in agreement and explain that that's a huge reason why I'm on Infect.
    2-0, 8-2

    R11 Patrick O. on U/R Delver
    At 15th and 16th place, Patrick and I calculate that there's an outside shot for the winner to make top 8. We decide to play it out, and I'm immediately dismayed by the opening of T1 Volcanic Island into Delver of Secrets. The wizard flips, and the insect begins to slowly but surely chip away at my life total, bringing me closer and closer to being on the play game 2. Once I hit 10 life, he EoT chucks a Lightning Bolt at my face, ignoring the Blighted Agent on board. It's a clear sign that he has more burn in hand and is trying to end the game in quick fashion, so I Spell Pierce it which saves me 3 life. Patrick untaps, swings me down to 7, bolts me to 4, then casts a Price of Progress into my two Tropical Islands. I think I've staved off lethal for a turn by casting a Daze to save 2 points of damage, but he lets the Daze resolve and his last card in hand is a Fireblast for the last 4 points of damage.

    At the final turn of game 2, I'm at 2 health with a single Blighted Agent and Patrick has a single Volcanic Island untapped with 2 Delvers and a Goblin Guide. I untap with 3 mana available and attempt to Invigorate the Blighted Agent, which is met with a Force of Will. I cast Vines kicked in response to the Force, and Patrick taps out to Flusterstorm with 2 copies on Invigorate and 2 copies of Vines. I have a Flusterstorm of my own though, and cast it for 5 copies with one on each of his Flusters and 1 one his Force of Will to seal the game.

    Game 3 gets to an interesting state with Patrick firing off multiple cantrips and unable to find what he's looking for. We eventually come to a board state with Patrick swinging in for 2 per turn with a Goblin Guide and me chipping back with an Inkmoth Nexus for 1 per turn. Once he gets to 5 poison I have an Invigorate in hand to close out the game, but I'm hesitant to use it offensively as he's been sitting on two cards in hand and 4 open mana for a while now. I'm forced to pull the trigger when Goblin Guide gets me to 9 life and I have 4 nonbasics in play, which means one more swing and a Price of Progress does me in. I go for the lethal swing, cast Invigorate, and Patrick extends the hand, dropping the two cards he was holding to show a Rough//Tumble and Force of Will.

    U/R Delver is one of Infect's toughest matchups, as the glut of removal spells coupled with a fast clock and counter magic can be really difficult to overcome. That said, shoutout to Patrick for a flawless game 1. Despite the loss, it was nail-bitingly close and easily the best game of Magic I played all weekend.
    2-1, 9-2

    A win/loss record of 9 and 2 puts me at 11th place after 11 rounds of swiss. Though I missed top 8 on breakers, I can't be unhappy as this is to date my best large tournament finish. Plus I booked my return flight to depart during top 8, best not to miss that if I can help it.

    Overall the deck choice felt pretty good, as I managed to dodge Grixis Control entirely and only played against Delver twice. Playing a fast and proactive deck is important at larger tournaments, and Infect feels favored against both Miracles and Eldrazi Post, which I feel along with Delver and Grixis Control are currently the four best decks in the meta. There's certainly truth to the legacy adage of 'playing what you're familiar with' as I only decided on Infect after I intially planned to bring U/W Delver, but ultimately went with ol' faithful as I wouldn't have a lot of time to prepare in the weeks beforehand.

    While the archetype itself seems fine, I'm not at all satisfied with my current Infect list and sideboarding plan. The sideboard was just a hodge podge of cards I was testing for Eternal Weekend, and some of those came in just once throughout the entire tournament. Had I not 5-0'd the trial on Thursday, I likely would've spent more time optimizing a sideboard with more ways to combat fair decks and fewer tools to fight combo. I also anticipated a lot more Dredge than I ended up running into, which I'll be careful not to do in the future.

    Shoutouts to Card Titan for hosting Eternal Weekend, Lone Star Lhurgoyfs for being awesome (was great to finally meet all the Austin guys), and to every one of my opponents throughout the entire weekend. Though I didn't mention it in the tournament recap, every single one of my opponent's was a class act and an absolute blast to play against. I have to say it's people like you that make the Magic experience so great, and it was really something special to play 3 straight days of Magic without running into a single bad apple. Stay cool, Eternal MtG community. Y'all are what make this game we play so special.

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    Re: 11th place with U/G/w Infect at Eternal Weekend - A Tournament Recap by Jesture

    It was good meeting you at EW too man! Glad that the weekend ended up going well for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDeleuzeGuy View Post
    I want to play as close to possible a 100% reactive deck that also approached 0% variance in how it played. I want to play magic with as little variance as possible. Also had a foiled out miracles deck that was an investment of about 6 grand that is now nearly worthless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    My original post did that.

    I'd love to have a battle of wits with you but I see you lack the necessary equipment.

    Good day.

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