L.A. Dreams: I Sealed that GP weekend. (Part 2 of 2)
No alarm woke me on Sunday. I was able to sleep until my body felt satisfied. It was still early enough to get breakfast before the heading to the GP. Amanda was deciding to skip the PTQ while I was going to enter for possible product and because I had no commander deck to play. The morning went by fairly slow consider we also had to check out and find me a way to get a hotel room for Sunday night. After my horrible showing at the GP I was pretty neutral to everything.
I do consider going 4-3 after 2 byes to be a bad showing since it meant no day two. Though I know it isn’t as if I had as much control as I wanted. Saturday came back in flashes all morning while I waited for the PTQ to start. After I was X-2 and @cardboardwitch was X-1 we had a discussion. This memory probably was one that came back to me throughout the PTQ and possibly why I did so well.
Nina told me of a discussion between her and @marshall_LR where she learned Marshall had a Zen master ability to understand when he just couldn’t win. Nina and I both know ourselves as people that want to become better and have a hard time being defenseless. I had been trying for months to never drop a match so I could have a rating that’d grant me 2+ byes. I had strained myself so much that every loss took an even deeper blow. If I lost to luck what was the point of being a good player?
“During a 9 round tournament you will have to win a game you just shouldn’t win.”
After the losses from the GP these words took on a new form. Two of my opponents made day 2. They beat me in games where if I had played a little different I could have won. They won games they shouldn’t have. My opponents are trying to do the exact same thing as me! It felt like the most obvious revelation in the world. I wanted that Zen state that @cardboardwitch and I envied @marshall_LR for. I wanted to play magic and gave up on never being able to lose. I had to embrace losing as part of the same coin as winning. It helped that if I lost I could support my friends that were still playing in the GP.
I sat down for the PTQ deck registration and sat next to a guy that opened Flameblast Dragon, A foil and non foil Rune-scarred demon, Primeval Titan, and pentavus. We were all talking about our pools and what would be good builds. Sitting near the corner meant we all knew there was a chance we would get our pools back. Though I was hoping not to end up with my pool since I didn’t want another failed U/R deck. We passed across the table to double check that the pools were registered correctly. After that we passed to the right. That meant the guy that opened the double demon pool now had his back. The judges called for us to pass to our right again. He now had my pool and I had double demons. I was half expecting for the judge to have us pass again. The call didn’t come. We had our pools.
The deck was stupidly strong. I had a choice in the end whether to run flameblast dragon and 2 mountains or consume spirit. I had almost gone with the dragon until I made the critical decision in building my deck. I played 18 lands. That meant I could run 9 Swamps so Consume wasn’t complete garbage.
1 Pentavus 2 Doomblade 9 Forest
1 Primeval Titan 2 Arachnus Web 9 Swamp
2 Rune-Scarred Demon 1 Wring Flesh
2 Cudgel troll 1 Sorin’s Thirst
2 Greater Basilisk 1 Consume Spirit
1 Stampeding Rhino
1 Giant Spider
1 Brindle Boar
1 Warpath Ghoul
1 Child of Night
1 Llanowar Elf
1 Acidic Slime
If you look through the list you might notice something. I have more lands than I have spells I can cast for under 5 mana. That is why I played 18 lands. If I missed a land drop I was dead. I couldn’t give my opponents free wins when I was already going to have to win games where my opponent
I only mulled three times in the 9 rounds of swiss. 2 of them were in the match I lost so I really wasn’t expecting to win that one. Especially when he played turn 2 armored warhorse turn 4 Gorehorn Minotaur. I had even been able to keep a two lander on the play and win. It was hard for me to miss land drops and almost everyone was playing slower decks. I had an advantage since my late game was so insane.
I didn’t just get lucky. In one game I had both Demons in hand and used the first to search for acidic slime instead of a bomb so I could destroy an Oblivion Ring or Mind Control if he had one. Sure enough he had Mind Control after I played the second demon. I just played magic, got lucky sometimes and kept winning. I wasn’t stressing that I was only allowed to win. I didn’t care what the standings were. I even forgot what my record was at one point when someone asked. I knew I had 1 loss and when he said he was 4-2 I realized we had finished the 6th round. I didn’t even know what round it was!
I was more focused on how I kept missing how people were doing in other events than on “having to win” in the PTQ. I checked on @livewithfrank about the SCG invitational that he had made top 8 of(and eventually won). Got to meet KYT’s girlfriend and have another interesting conversation.
KYT: “Try to guess how old luis is! Don’t give her any hints!”
Me “Should I take of my hat?”
KYT: “No hints!”
Her: “tweentyyyyy” *nervous laugh*
KYT: “Take your hands out of your pocket and show her!”
Her: *sees my ring. Snap chooses* “Thirty two!”
Another round of laughs are shared before my next round starts.
It gets to round and I win quickly. I sit with the Mana Deprived crew and they talk about how I should be able to draw into top 8 but I really just stayed in my zen mode and didn’t get my nerves worked up either way. Sure enough I could draw into top 8 but I was 7th and my opponent 8th with two people that could knock my opponent out if either of them won. I had no concerns as losing or winning didn’t mean much to me. Though it did mean there would be a strong chance I didn’t top 8 if I did lose.
I won and ended up 1st in the standings after Swiss. I had to go and whine to KYT and the Mana Deprived crew about how much it sucks to have to win another round obviously.
Most of the crew moved off to do some stuff and I ended up chilling with @derfington and the camera guy (sorry I never got your name!). I had a brilliant idea. Almost as brilliant as playing 2 rune-scarred demons, primeval titan and pentavus! Why not be the first person @derfington ever signed, and on camera to boot! After stipulating that no genitals would be allowed we were on! KYT now has footage to upload of this event. Hopefully women now feel more comfortable asking @derfington to sign their cleavage like most rock stars. I was waiting for top 8 and the finals of the GP started. I wanted to watch @insanehayne play!
Sure enough they finish resolving mulligans and the PTQ top 8 is announced.
Long story short. The draft was such garbage I couldn’t help but laugh. My best cards were a Jade mage, Angelic Destiny, 3 sacred wolf and 2 brindle boar.
Somehow I got pretty lucky and made it to the finals. Lucky wasn’t the only factor. I was able to figure out how to win through ridiculously complicated board positions. Even the judges were making jokes about how my Quarter and Semi final matches took so long because of all the attacks that could cost either player the match. Brindle boar proved an MVP in both matches and could have won my the finals.
Game 1 wasn’t really close. I had just started putting pressure on the board and then he played Flameblast dragon and I was dead.
Game 2 involved me going t3 Sacred wolf, t4 Angelic Destiny, t5 acidic slime on his mountain and beating him before he could stabilize with Dragon.
Game 3 he started dealing damage super fast with tormented soul and fireslinger. The first damage I got in was with sacred wolf when I played Angelic Destiny. He played Warstorm surge and I looked at my board since I would need one more turn before I could deal lethal. I missed my second forest so I couldn’t acidic slime his warstorm surge and didn’t draw a brindle boar to bring me above 12. He pings me. Looks at his hand. Brings me down to 10 and cast Grave Titan. It was almost midnight and it took me a second to realize what just happened. I couldn’t help but laugh.
I wasn’t meant to win this PTQ but at least I lost to something hilarious and made it to the finals off tight play instead of just a super sick deck.
I felt worse for everyone that came to cheer me on than I did for losing. I was getting 3 boxes for being first in the swiss. Which had a funny moment when the judges told us the prizes were locked in and that I would be getting 108 packs….and my opponent would be getting 48 packs. The confusion was hilarious and overall the whole thing was fun.
As a side note I have played in two PTQs and have made top 8 of half of them. I’m so skilled at this game.
Maybe I won’t be quitting magic just yet. Though I am not sure I will be able to get enough Planeswalker points to qualify for anything, I will be trying.
I again thank everyone I met this weekend and I’m skipping the hotel adventure I had with @lansdellicious Sunday night. This GP saved MTG from losing at least one player for a while.