Austin PTQ (Vancouver)

Last Saturday I played in my first high-level Magic: The Gathering event – the Austin, Texas Pro-Tour Qualifier held in Vancouver, BC (well, technically Burnaby).

I played a Combo Elves deck with Mirror Entity as my major win condition. I finished 39th out of 117 people and took home 3 booster packs of Magic 2010 for my trouble.

Round 1 vs. Ben (5c Colfenor’s Plans) Draw – 0:0:1
He took control of the first game with 2 Colfenor’s in play. I may have been able to come back if I had fully read the card and realized that he was limited to a single spell per turn. For better or worse, I also used a Primal Command to put a Colfenor’s back on top of his library. Had I chosen a land instead…
Game two I combo’d out fairly early – failing to complete the combo but putting lethal damage on board far too quickly for him to deal with.
Game three took a surprisingly long time. He managed to counter or kill my elves over and over but failed to gain any kind of board position himself. He would have won if there was more time… but there wasn’t.
Ben is a very cool guy who plays once in a while at One Stop Shop. In a previous event he utterly destroyed my Jund Ramp deck with his Sanity Grinding but I redeemed myself by dominating our next match with Elves soundly trouncing his Merfolk. A draw today means our rivalry will have to continue unresolved for a bit longer…

Round 2 vs. Thanh (5cc) Loss – 0:1:1
Game one he stuck a turn six Baneslayer and managed to draw enough board clearing to keep me from comboing.
Game two I flashed in a Cloudthresher in response to his turn 4 Fallout and rode it to victory.
I Path to Exiled his turn 4 Plumeveil to save my attacking Forge-Tender. That gave him his 5th land and resulted in a turn 5 Baneslayer I had no way of recovering from.
Thanh is a great guy and a regular at One Stop. He is an exceptional player and his semi-rogue version of 5cc was very impressive.

Round 3 vs. Chris (Jund Cascade) Win – 1:1:1
Game one I combo’d on turn 3.
Game two he Fallout’d my board on turn three and Bloodbraid Elf into Ram-Gang on turn four.
Game three he got a little mana-screwed and I managed to combo out on turn 7 or 8.
Chris was really quiet and, I think, a little frustrated at the lack of interactivity you get when playing against Elves…

Round Four vs. Oliver (5cc) Win – 2:1:1
Game one he kept missing land drops and it cost him the game.
Game two he managed to take the game with several early counters and a turn 7 or 8 Baneslayer.
(I nearly won this game despite a poor draw due to him failing to accurately count the amount of mana I had available on two different Broken Ambitions).
Game three he misplayed several times and I simply aggro’d him down despite failing to get my combo pieces together.
Oliver was a very nice guy but seemed like a very inexperienced player. He said he had cut his land count back to 24 to make room for more spells…

Round Five vs. Michael (5cc) Win – 3:1:1.
Game one he drew very poorly and wasn’t able to cast Cruel Ultimatum due to his Exotic Orchard not being able to produce the correct colour of mana. Had he simply tapped his seven lands and cast the spell I would almost certainly not have noticed. I may have won anyway due to his complete lack of board presence, but still…
Game two he resolved a Baneslayer on turn 6 and beat me down with it.
Game three he drew nothing but land and I killed him painfully slowly over 7 turns.
Michael is a far better player than I am. He was also very gracious despite what must have been an incredibly frustrating series of games in what should have been a relatively easy matchup.

Round Six vs. Pinco (Red/White Aggro) Loss – 3:2:1
Game one I combo’d out into Mirror Entity and attacked him with five 10/10s on turn five. I think this was the only time that I successfully used Mirror Entity in the entire tournament.
Game two I mulliganed and kept a hand with a single Sunpetal Grove. I used it to Path to Exile his Ethersworn Canonist on turn two but never drew another land. He killed each creature I put out and resolved three Spectral Processions…
Game three was back and forth at first. I misplayed terribly by resolving a Ranger of Eos and not bringing out a Forge-Tender. It would only have bought me one more turn but who knows what I might have been able to draw…
Right from the start, Pinco was a great guy to play against. He had a set of Rock/Paper/Scissors dice to use for randomizing Play/Draw. Apparently ours was the first match of the day where he actually won the roll. I guess if I have to lose what should have been my best matchup of the day it’s better that it was to such a nice guy…

Round Seven vs. Kyle (5cc… what else…) Loss 3:3:1
My only 0:2 of the tournament.
Game one his turn six Broodmate got him there despite my being very near combo.
Game two was very tight. I was quite far ahead on the board but then I misplayed very badly by spending all my white mana on elves rather than casting the Mark of Asylum and/or the Forge-Tender I had in my hand. End-of-Turn he cleared my entire board with a Fallout and then cast a Broodmate for the win.

All in all I had a pretty good time. I definitely enjoyed the pressure to perform and I’m taking away several important lessons:

  1. Combo decks are kinda lame to play against.
  2. A deck like Combo Elves is extremely complex and difficult to play well at the best of times. Adding the pressure of a high-level tournament made it a poor choice for my first event.
  3. The Magic Gods want me to play against 5 Colour Control… a LOT.

2 Responses to Austin PTQ (Vancouver)

  1. Dave Allen May 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Stop making me want to play again! My chequing account can’t afford such a committment to the “craft.”

  2. jared May 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I hear ya. I’ve actually been on a bit of a break from the game for the last month and a bit.

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