Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided to follow up the first multi-round EDH event on Thursday with another one on Friday. After the results I had with Prime Speaker the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I just tossed the deck in my back and headed out to give it another shot.
What’s the old saying about doing the same thing twice and expecting different results? I forget.
First things first, though-
I was able to do a bit of singles shopping to get the deck that much closer to fully-foiled status; I found good prices on a FTV Sensei’s Divining Top and a Judge Foil Bribery, and moved on to seeking out a foil Oblivion Stone for less than $30.
Of course, I got a little sidetracked; Troll and Toad had a Revised Underground Sea in something near slightly-played condition that was marked at $100, so I jumped on that. I also was reminded by Asa that I was looking for a Forcefield for Memnarch, and good old StarCityGames had several in their “Heavily Played” case; I walked with a properly played Unlimited copy at $55.
At this point, my wallet was bleeding, so it was straight into the events.
EVENT TWO – Prime Speaker Zegana
We had a very small turnout – seven people total – so the event was scheduled for two rounds and two pods. Strangely enough, they seated us in the “Feature Match” area, which was roped off with a giant M14 Chandra at the front. (If anyone has seen the pictures or video of the 20th Anniversary Draft with the 80-pack Rochester thing happening, that’s the area.) This meant that several times during the match, cosplayers of various Magic planeswalkers were brought in to pose for pictures while we were playing.
In the first round, I ended up being seated with a younger kid playing a modified Kaalia of the Vast pre-con, and my nemesis from the day before – Trostani, Army of Token Beats.
This was about where I started to feel like I had brought a Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier to a round of mild fisticuffs. The young gentleman to my right was an incredibly nice kid; maybe ten years old or so, still very new to the game in general. He was very excited to talk to us about his Kaalia deck, which was a pre-con that he had started to modify.
I was thinking about my Mana Drain and feeling bad about what was about to happen.
The Trostani player was back as well. His deck has the capability to explode into a pretty serious creature onslaught, but without the pressure to keep the combo players in check, I was pretty much playing heads-up with him. My plan became “Find Cyclonic Rift or Oblivion Stone and keep the board clear.” – pretty easy for my deck.
As it was, this was unfortunately easier than expected, as he stalled out on lands and never quite got off the ground until it was too late. I was able to establish control pretty early on, finding Rift to do my heavy lifting and being able to recur it via Spelltwine and Eternal Witness. Before long, Kaalia went for a Dragonmaster Outcast, and I played Gather Specimens in response.
The following turn, Doubling Season from Trostani was Commandeer-ed, and with no disruption possible from either player, I was suddenly recruiting two 5/5 dragons a turn. I gained a point for overkill on Trostani (taking an opponent to -20 life or less), and finished Kaalia the following turn, but not before point-farming by Beast Within-ing my own Miren, the Moaning Well (destroy a legendary land.)
Going into the second game, I was tied for points with a Mayael the Anima player, who was then seated across from me. To my right again was the Kaalia player, and across from him, a friend from years past playing Krenko, Mob Boss. Last year, his deck was an aggressive goblin tribal build that also specifically punished blue players (Hello there, Boil!)
This game was much more back and forth. We all faced the constant threat from Kaalia, who started spitting out demons fairly quickly and aggressively swinging. Krenko was restrained from destroying one of his lands (a -1 deduction for taking a player below four lands total), and had to endure the constant beating. Meanwhile, Mayael began to amass a board position. I sat back and waited.
Eventually, I popped Cyclonic Rift off to put things in check, and scored a point for both copying another Legendary permanent (Phyrexian Metamorph targeting Kaalia – damn you, new legend rule!), and attacking someone with their own general (After Mayael killed off Krenko, I had the Desertion ready when he went to recast it.)
At about this point, Kaalia attacked into Mayael, who activated his general in response and got a Hamletback Goliath out of the deal, which grew very quickly. This is important, because a few turns in, I was caught tapped out when Kaalia targeted it with Vow Of Malice.
Intimidate on a huge beater is pretty good against me, apparently.
I secured second place, good for six packs of M14 and a whole new outlook on the Vow cycle. The important thing I noticed, though, was that combo had dried up. I made a mental note to drag Mr. P into the Sunday event (Saturday was right out, due mostly to the previously-scheduled Team Trios event we were potentially playing in, but more because of our dinner/adult beverage/2HG drafting and/or Ascension plans for the evening.)
Which brings us to…
EVENT THREE – Kresh the Bloodbraided
With no dirty combo decks to beat up on, I decided I wanted to let my hair down and play a deck designed to beat with big creatures and be aggressive, so I could enjoy being relatively mindless. I had Kresh and Angus Mackenzie with me (and possibly Karador, Ghost Chieftain) so the choice was relatively clear. (Head over to the “THE DECKS” page for the list I played.)
I successfully talked Mr. P to join in, and he decided to go for broke and play the Ruhan of the Fomori “Coin Flips” deck, actual game results be damned. He was down for a fun time as well.
You can head over to his tournament report here for all the details of round one, in which I shared a pod with him. He captures it better than I possibly could and (spoiler alert) he ended up winning the whole thing. (Nice work!) The critical thing that happened was while we were being locked down under Zur in the first game, or friend Asa was in the other pod with his Yeva, Nature’s Herald deck. That pod featured a Kaalia of the Vast player (not the 10-year-old from the second event) who ramped his general out in a hurry, played Armageddon, and proceeded to beat the mostly defenseless table to a pulp in about ten minutes flat. Our event judge proceeded to report this to our game, as all the judges were doing all weekend, in order to keep us all “in the same game” more or less.
I took a very sharp note of this.
In game two, I was seated with Asa to my right, the Zur player from round one across from me, and the Kaalia player in the forth seat. We got into the game in a hurry; Asa found an early Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary that Kaalia killed in a hurry; this did little to prevent him from continuing to ramp in the way only mono-green decks do. Zur stated that he wasn’t going to “be that guy again”, but did start by finding Diplomatic Immunity nonetheless. I was woefully short on black mana but not missing land drops, and eventually found Cultivate to remedy the situation and get Kresh into play. The first swing was at Kaalia, who had been getting heat from both Asa and Zur.
“Why are you picking on me?” he asked.
“I don’t want to see Armageddon.” I replied.
He seemed a little irritated, but play continued.
Zur continued to find ways to be problematic, finally sticking Pariah and Spirit Mantle on some creature and playing Mark of Asylum to prevent him from taking any damage from anything. I blew a Chord of Calling to find Viridian Zealot to deal with Pariah, but he managed to peel it out of the graveyard somehow and put it back in play. Meanwhile, people were still beating on Kaalia. On my turn, I attacked again with Kresh, and he blew up.
Without going into details, he accused Asa of telling our group from the first game what he was playing, so that “we could metagame against him.” (This didn’t take into account that we were not allowed any deck changes between rounds, but that’s neither here nor there.) He also described this act with a very derogatory term that I don’t care to repeat.
This was about where I blew up at him. I put my hand up, told him firmly by loudly to stop talking, and explained that the term he used offended me greatly and to not use it again.
“Where I’m from, it’s just an expression, man.” He countered.
“We’re in public. Where I’m from it’s offensive and I never want to hear you use it in front of me or anyone else ever again.”
He clammed up. I dealt him seven general damage and passed the turn.
(To be fair, he did apologize personally to me after the round, a gesture I really appreciate. People get heated sometimes, after all.)
Things proceeded further. I killed off Kaalia’s last blocker and dealt him eleven damage, enough for the general damage kill. Meanwhile, Asa had set his sights on Zur, and had found Terastodon to take out Pariah and Mark of Asylum. He followed up with Avenger of Zendikar into Boundless Realms with some other effects to make his huge army of plants 11/11s. Things looked grim. I drew, shrugged, and passed.
Zur, however, untapped and played Detention Sphere. Asa slumped. The game was back on.
Kresh turned his sights at Zur, but met some Claustrophobia effect to tap him down. I sat back and bided my time, letting the other two beat on each other.
Creatures died. Kresh got bigger.
Zur found Replenish at some point, but I drew Blasphemous Act on the following turn. I tapped out, played Eternal Witness for my Zealot, popped off Pariah, and dropped the Act to wipe the board and make Kresh a 68/68. I finished the turn with Charnelhoard Wurm and passed, fingers crossed.
Zur tapped out for a variety of things, found Attunement, and passed.
Asa drew and passed with a blank board.
I untapped and fused a Flesh/Blood at Zur.
“72 to your face?”
He looked at his hand, then at his tapped lands, and nodded, scooping up his cards.
I swung at Asa with Charnelhoard. He played Yeva to block, but the trample damage got through, and I regrew Flesh/Blood.
“76 to your face?”
And like that, it was over.
. . . . .
While I’m a little sad that I didn’t get the experience I wanted to with Prime Speaker, I’m not at all displeased with how things turned out in general. Pastimes managed to turn these events into fun, combo-free games where most everyone had a good time playing fun-but-not-broken decks. I let my guard down and played Kresh, a deck I hadn’t played for two years (it was the deck I brought to GenCon ’11), and loved every minute.
The second game was good for a tie for second and six more packs. Out of the twelve, I pulled the Archangel of Thune I wanted for Mono-White Angels, and got a Mutavault and Scavenging Ooze to ship to more than cover the cost of the two events. Seems good to me.
All in all, EDH at GenCon was a pretty positive experience this year. That’s a nice change.