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Friday Night Lights in Baltimore


Friday Night Lights in Baltimore
Brendan Hurst
Friday, October 22, 2010
[What happens when Brendan Hurst forgets his cards at home the night of FNM, but has a notebook and digital recorder in his backpack? Let’s find out!]

The Stage is Set
Hello and welcome to FNM: Amazing Spiral in Baltimore! I’m Brendan Hurst and I’ll be your coverage reporter as we follow this four round event to see who will emerge victorious. Registration closed only minutes ago, but already the Rotunda Mall play area is abuzz with anticipation. Tonight’s FNM is crowded, with fresh-faced beginners and hardened regulars alike shouting to be heard in the echoing space. From the entrance, ‘Big Head’ Joe Panuska booms “Pairings for Round One!” and the players scramble for seating as the coverage team swoops in on the first Feature Match.

Round 1: Not Quite a Myrror Match
Dave N. (UB Poison) vs Adam S. (UR Myr)

Adam started beaming when he heard the feature match announcement. “We were paired two weeks ago, and I crushed him,” he asserted. Dave could only shake his head in good-natured assent. Adam once again was at the helm of his UR Myr combo deck with Myr Galvanizer and Splinter Twin; unbeknownst to him, Dave had audibled from his previous Mono-Green list into a unique UB Poison build with Distortion Strikes and Steady Progress to push through the final infection.

Game 1
Dave won the roll and started the first real action of the game with and Ichorclaw Myr. Adam responded with a Myr of his own, of the Silver variety. Dave showed he meant business next turn by casting Distortion Strike and Vampire’s Bite on his Ichorclaw before smashing in for half of Adam’s poison total, and threatening more off of next turn’s rebound. Adam could only cast a Myr Reservoir and another Silver Myr before passing the turn back. The unblockable Myr only got in for two poison this turn, bringing Adam to seven poison and a precarious position as Dave added Necropede and Plague Stinger to the board. Adam seemed to have a possible answer when he summoned a Steel Hellkite. “Equal to X, huh?” asked Dave ruefully, “X equals two seems good.” However Dave’s woe proved to be only a façade as he showed Adam how the big steel dragon dies to Doom Blade. Post-combat Dave increased the threat of a poisonous death with another Plague Stinger, the two flying Infectors staring down an opponent at 9 counters. Adam untapped, showed he could cast the KataMyri Damacy in his hand, and shrugged as both players moved on to game 2.
Dave N. 1, Adam S. 0
Looking over Adam’s shoulder before game 2, I saw him take out some of his slower card draw and countermagic for a playset of Lightning Bolt and two Comet Storms, fully ready to cast them with X = 1 if necessary.

Game 2
Adam kept almost immediately, but Dave had to return a hand without any early creatures for a better one. Once again, the two started with Ichorclaw Myr facing down a Silver Myr, although Adam didn’t have a Preordain on turn one this game. It didn’t seem to matter as Adam filled his side of the play area with a Myr Reservoir and Galvanizer. Dave’s turn three was much less spectacular this game, only getting in for a single poison and following up with a Plague Stinger. Quickly untapping, Adam played Splinter Twin on My Galvanizer and used it and the mana myr to make an arbitrarily large amount of lord copies before swinging in with Silver Myr and the original. Dave could only stare forlornly at his tapped lands and the Doom Blade in his hand.
Dave N. 1, Adam S. 1

Dave decided to sideboard after game 2, bringing in a few extra Into the Roils in an attempt to slow Adam’s deck down. Meanwhile, Adam was explaining exactly what he needed for the ways his deck could win: “I could also make infinite mana with two Galvanizers and two mana myr, but Splinter Twin is usually easier. Reservoir does make it simple to get enough myr, though.” Dave responded, “As long as you don’t kill me on turn 4 without even a Preordain.” “Yeah, that was pretty much my god hand,” admitted Adam.

Game 3
Both players mulliganed at the start of game 3, but Dave agonized over keeping a hand that was heavy on Distortion Strikes but light on threats. Finally he kept but didn’t play his first creature, a Necropede, until turn three. Meanwhile, Adam’s Myr army grew and grew, though Galvanizer had yet to make an appearance. Things got worse for Dave, as his Necropede met a Galvanic Blast in response to a Distortion Strike, and he could only pass the turn back. Adam played the myr lord, and suddenly his mana producers were going on the offensive. While Dave played ‘land, go’ holding up an Unsummon to stop the Splinter Twin combo, Adam continued simply attacking with his myr and adding more power to the board. Out of threats and with a Skithiryx trapped in hand, Dave had no defense as an attack was followed by a metalcrafted Galvanic Blast and a Lightning Bolt.
Dave N. 1, Adam S. 2
Following the game, Adam flashed Dave the Splinter Twin in his hand. “I was very worried about Doom Blade, so I just held this back and kept attacking.”
“Not that you needed much with the hand I kept,” replied Dave.
Adam S. wins 2-1

A Post-Match Interview with Adam and Dave

I caught up with both players after their match to hear how they felt the match went.


Round 2: “This Match Isn’t Going to Last Long”
Travis H. (UW Control) vs ‘Big Head’ Joe P. (Elves)

Before the start of the round, I asked the Tournament Organizer, ‘Big Head’ Joe, who I should look into for a round 2 feature match. “Me!” he instantly replied; I followed him to his seat.
Big Head Joe has been playing Magic a long time; just ask the length of his DCI number. But just over a year ago he started working with Amazing Spiral in the Rotunda Mall to start organizing Magic events, and the venue has become popular enough that the last FNM was completely free, as a thank you to the community he helped create. Sitting across from Joe was one member of that community, Travis H., a relative newcomer to the Rotunda FNM crowd. A transplant from the burgeoning South-Central PA Magic scene, Travis was eager to display his gaming prowess by knocking off the head-honcho of the Amazing Spiral. This round would be a classic match of little green men versus board sweepers and planeswalkers. Joe opened all bravado: “Don’t worry; this match isn’t going to last long.” Travis seemed ready to let the cards decide that.

Game 1
Joe won the roll and led off with a Joraga Treespeaker, getting ready to explode on turn two. Travis was having none of it, playing a Seachrome Coast and Ousting Joe’s Treespeaker. Joe continued to play 1/1’s for one with an unkicked Joraga Warcaller and the same Treespeaker, while Travis used the time Oust had given him to play a “Baby” Jace Beleren. Once again Joe threatened to explode on mana with an Elvish Archdruid, but once again Travis had the Oust to slow the pointy-eared onslaught. Once “Baby” was dead from using his -1 ability, Travis threw down another haymaker: Linvala, shutting off all the elf mana in play, followed by “Papa” Jace. Left with only lands for mana, Joe continued to add Archdruids to the board in an attempt to push through damage. A Day of Judgment brought Joe back to square one, and Jace was soon joined by Gideon Jura and a Frost Titan. Only able to draw one elf a turn, Joe quickly scooped them up.
Travis H. 1, Joe P. 0
Both players moved to sideboard, Travis bringing in a great number of cards, including a playset of Freezes that he Flashed to the coverage team.

Game 2
Joe immediately kept his hand, as Travis debated a hand with a turn one Oust, but no blue mana or third land. Muttering to himself, he chose to keep. Travis followed up Joe’s first turn Llanowar with a Scalding Tarn off the top! This allowed him to cast Preordain, and he kept both cards on top, causing some mirth in the coverage booth about how nice the top of Travis’ deck is to him. Joe’s turn two Archdruid was predictably Ousted by Travis, and as Travis continued to play ‘draw-go’, Joe attempted in vain to resolve an Acidic Slime past Travis’ counter wall. The next Archdruid did resolve, but with a Linvala on the table for Travis, it was barely above a Grey Ogre in utility. Joe attempted to resolve a Brittle Effigy to deal with the Linvala, but left only 2 non-elf mana open, and Linvala plus Mana Leak kept Linvala in the game. Almost sheepishly, Joe summoned a Sylvan Ranger, searching up the land that could have paid for a Leaked Effigy next turn. Undeterred, Joe continued adding creatures to the board, forcing Travis to pull the trigger on the Day of Judgment he was holding. Immediately, Travis chastised himself for not attacking with Linvala before blowing up the world. A follow-up Frost Titan looked to put Joe in a bad position, but he gamely added more elves to the board, forcing an Ezuri through but losing a Garruk to Flashfreeze. Travis played out a Ratchet Bomb, daring Joe to ever tap out of Ezuri mana and lose his 1-mana elves. With few options left, Joe began to race the Frost Titan with Ezuri acting as if he could only pump himself, but the Ratchet Bomb-backed Titan was too great a threat, and Travis soon closed the door on the match.
Travis H. 2, Joe P. 0
After the match, the usually-gregarious Joe said little, only commenting on the fact that he could have resolved Brittle Effigy had he played more intelligently.
Travis H. wins 2-0

A Post-Match Interview with Travis and Joe

I caught up with Travis after the match to hear how he felt the match went. Joe has some choice words.


Round 3: “This Forest Is Older Than You”
‘Big Head’ Joe P. (Elves) vs. Forrest M. (BG Poison)

“Stop following me, you’re bad luck!” said Joe when he realized he was once again in a feature match. This coverage reporter currently hoped so. Playing with a black-green poison deck of his own creation, new to tournament play, and several years Joe’s junior, Forrest seemed instead intent on having a fair, fun match.

Game 1
Joe started the game with “Forest older than you are, go.” As Forrest responded by slowly filling the board with infectors, Joe pulled further and further ahead on mana, culminating in a Joraga Warcaller kicked thrice on turn five. Forrest could only cast a Corpse Cur in reply. When Joe tapped his land next turn to play a Garruk and an Elvish Archdruid, and audible sigh escaped Forrest’s lips. “That’s the ‘Must be nice’ sound,” Joe said, and attacked Forrest with a pack of 6/6 elves.
Joe P. 1, Forrest M. 0
Between games, Joe continued to mull over his loss to Travis, and the ‘trips’ Mana Leak plus other hate Travis had. Once he was done being a sore loser, the second game of the match began.

Game 2
Forrest kept a slow hand this game, and Joe’s hand was anything but. He began with “Forest.”
“Yes?” asked Forrest, and the two laughed at the misunderstanding. A Warcaller kicked once was followed by another Warcaller kicked once and an Acidic Slime, putting Forrest even further behind. Playing out a Corpse Cur without a creature to return, Forrest attempted to bring the Phyrexian plague to Joe’s elves. The elves, however, were a hardy lot; Joe boosted his team with a third Warcaller, this time with four +1/+1 counters on it. Forrest played two infect blockers the next turn, and looked about to stabilize, but Joe slammed down Eldrazi Monument next turn. “What does that card do?” asked Forrest. “It lets me attack for 43 damage in the air,” replied Joe.
Joe P. 2, Forrest M. 0
Joe P. wins 2-0

A Post-Match Interview with Joe…And Noyan?

I caught up with Joe after the match to hear how he felt the match went. Noyan shows up for a small interview of his own. The crowd tries to pretend this is a Top 8 Magic podcast by upping their volume.


Round 4: Grief Unto Others
Noyan T. (Mono-Black Vat) vs Greg K. (Mono-Green Ramp)

A regular contributor to iwantmymtg.com, Noyan is known to the Amazing Spiral crew for two things: original decks, and not getting to play against them. “The more I can say NO to my opponent, the more I like my deck,” said Noyan as he shuffled his Mono-Black Mimic Vat deck, featuring the ability to use Liliana’s Specter to draw-lock an opponent. Greg, who had come to the table with a Mono-Green Ramp list with some spicy singleton additions, despaired at being paired against Noyan. “I took all of the hate out of my deck, it doesn’t interact with other players at all!” he moaned.

Game 1
Noyan won the roll on a shiny D20, stating glibly, “I totally stole this die. You can write that down.” Both players mulliganed, but Greg had to go to five cards before he was satisfied. Noyan smiled, and then revealed why when he followed up a first turn Inquisition of Kozilek for Llanowar Elves with a Duress, stripping Greg of every spell in his hand costing less than six. A Harrow off the top started Greg on the road to fatties (“Five lands on top! Good thing I did this now!”). Noyan began to close that avenue as well, making him discard a Platinum Emperion and using Sadistic Sacrament to strip all but a lone Kozilek from Greg’s deck, all the while attacking with a Liliana’s Specter. Unfortunately for Noyan, when Greg finally reached six mana, his end-of-turn Summoning Trap found the last Eldrazi in Greg’s deck, and after a few turns of drawing only discard spells, Noyan packed it in with no permanents on the board.
Noyan T. 0, Greg K. 1
Between games, Noyan flashed the Memoricides and Consuming Vapors he was bringing in, in hopes of decimating Greg’s army of giant monsters.

Game 2
Both players kept slow hands, each with their first spell ready on turn 4. Noyan drew a Sign in Blood and Mimic Vat to get the action started, and Greg used an Oracle of Mul Daya to put an Eldrazi Temple into play. Greg followed the play with a Garruk into a Harrow, threatening something powerful the next turn. Noyan just cast Consuming Vapors to get rid of the Oracle, and then Sadistic Sacramented away two Emrakuls and an Ulamog. Greg merely untapped and cast Summoning Trap to find his friend, Kozilek. He also made a Beast token with Garruk to protect his friend from Consuming Vapors. Noyan fanned out his hand face up: “I have no way of dealing with Kozilek.” During his turn, the rebounded spell ate a beast, and Noyan triumphantly slammed down a just-drawn Doom Blade. His excitement quickly turned to despair as he realized his error—by not waiting until Greg’s upkeep, Greg’s Non-Active-Player status let him put Kozilek’s shuffle trigger on top of the Mimic Vat trigger, escaping what would have most certainly been death by his own Kozilek’s copies. Instead, Greg lived to Summoning Trap into a Liege of the Tangle, which even a Wurmcoil Engine on Noyan’s side could not stop from awakening Greg’s lands. “How many lands are creatures?” asked Noyan. “All of them!” replied Greg, matter-of-factly. Noyan hoped to get back in the game by using the now-Vatted Liege to animate his own lands, but once again ran afoul of the rules: Greg blocked with an Engulfing Slagwurm, devouring the Liege before any trample could occur. Rocking back in his chair and cursing himself for his sloppy play, Noyan was helpless as 85 power of creatures slammed into his life total.
Noyan T. 0, Greg K. 2
After the match, Greg was elated, and many walked by and gave Noyan a good-natured ribbing for the grief he was in after so long giving it to others.
Greg K. wins 2-0

A Post-Match Interview with Greg and Noyan

I caught up with Greg after the match to hear an extensive amount about how he felt the match went.

Feature: The Final Analysis
So there you have it; due to someone dropping at X-0, Travis H. was paired down in the finals, and emerged victorious. Congratulations to Travis! Special thanks to Big Head Joe Panuska and Amazing Spiral in the Rotunda Mall for a great Friday Night Magic Experience!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Brendan for this entertaining report! You can follow Brendan on Twitter @hamiltonianurst.

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  1. November 16, 2010 at 9:05 am

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