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Clash of Champions

The local store ran an event they called the “Clash of Champions” this weekend. It was Theros sealed and to qualify you needed to have made top 8 of one of the four Theros prerelease events that ran the previous weekend. It’s a cool idea and I’m really happy that the store is trying some new things. “Clash of Champions” might be a bit dramatic, though.

Clash!

Regardless, it was a lot of fun and I sincerely hope they continue experimenting with different types of events like this. Many thanks to the staff for staying well past their normal closing time on a Sunday evening to finish out the tournament for us.

Here is my sealed deck. I won’t bother listing out my whole pool; I don’t think I misbuilt so badly that the other colors would have been better than this. I had a single Divine Verdict plus a couple of other reasonable white cards that tempted me, but I felt blue and red were clearly my two deepest colors.

There were 21 of us, 5 rounds of Swiss + top 8 draft.

Round 1 vs Blue-White: R1G1, I bestowed Thassa’s Emissary onto Prognostic Sphinx. Turns out, that’s pretty good. I also had my Spellheart Chimera up to 5 power at one point, which was not something I could count on game after game, of course, but I think the card is actually very decent even with just 1 or 2 power and I’m glad I ran it. R1G2 I cast my Master of Waves (one of only two times I cast it all day) and got 3 tokens that helped swarm in and end the match. (record: 1-0)

Round 2 vs Red-Green Gods Event Deck WTF?!: Mitchell’s pool had Purphoros, God of the Forge, Hammer of Purphoros and Bow of Nylea, all of which make the typical sealed pool durdle creatures much stronger. I just crumpled to the power level, although I think I had a couple of opportunities to choose better lines than I did. (record: 1-1)

Round 3 vs Black-Red: This turned out to be the pool that I had registered, the big bomb was an Underworld Cerberus. If I were more observant, I could have sussed out that this was my pool before the Cerberus appeared – paying attention to those types of details is a weakness in my game, for sure.

I had probably my worst misplay of the day in this match; I may not remember the sequence exactly, but it involved me missing my 3rd land drop when I did not have to. Something like: I keep a 2-lander (Island x2). Turn 1, Island. Turn 2, Island. Turn 3, I don’t draw a 3rd land, but I do draw/have Traveler’s Amulet. Obviously, I should have cast and activated the amulet, searched out a Mountain and played it. What I actually did was cast Traveler’s Amulet and pass the turn. Total screw-up, I own it. I put my brain on auto-pilot and thought “yeah, I’ll crack this amulet on his end step.” Endofyourturnitis strikes again. I do go on to draw some lands and cast some things but I lose that game. Did I lose specifically because of that mistake? I don’t know, but it was pretty embarrassing either way.

R3G3 is very close, toward the end he has Underworld Cerberus. I’m at 8 life and have a few guys. He’s at pretty low life and has to hold back the 6/6 to block. I think we were both kind of bricking off but I managed to play a couple more guys and I put an Ordeal of Thassa on one of them and an Ordeal of Purphoros on the other. I was tempted to put both ordeals on a single creature, in hopes of triggering them both on the second attack but that would have probably been too greedy. I eventually squeak through the last couple points of damage. (record: 2-1)

Round 4 vs Green: Was this mono-green? I can’t remember. I just remember him casting giant green creatures and crushing me. This felt similar to my one loss last weekend at the prerelease: just big, beefy green creatures that don’t give a fizzuck about what I’m trying to do. It was not particularly close. (record: 2-2)

Round 5 vs Black-Green: Crap, I am drawing a blank and my notes are no good. I forget exactly what this deck was, I might not even have the colors right. I think I remember getting a good Griptide and Voyage’s End on some of his enchanted guys for big tempo swings and I manage to take the match. (record: 3-2)

I limp into 8th place and get to draft.

Side note: I had drafted Theros once prior to this, I had a sweet-looking green-white deck featuring a Spear of Heliod and a Fleecemane Lion. I lost my first round to a hyper-aggro red-white Heroic deck. It was using pump spells and Heroic triggers to deal 7, 9, etc with each attack.

In game 3, I made a mistake by going turn 2, Fleecemane Lion, turn 3 Spear of Heliod. I should almost certainly have cast a Nessian Courser on turn 3 instead of the Spear. I think I was just geeked out like a small child go to “rare, rare, attack” with my draft deck. It didn’t pan out.

The extra creature would have become a 4/4 assuming I played the Spear of Heliod on my turn 4, and would have made a big difference. My point being, this red-white Heroic deck seems like it might be so explosive that even a minor misstep in the first couple of turns can be lights-out. I needed to put up resistance, and a Spear of Heliod cannot block.

Back to the top 8 draft: I P1P1 an Anax and Cymede but end up with kind of a pile. I’m getting multiple Lash of the Whip, for example, and go into black, but also want to play red-white. It’s a bit of a trainwreck, the mana is atrocious (I probably should have run the Unknown Shores).

Round 1 vs Blue-Red: Fleetfeather Sandals were key here. His deck was more controlling, so I was able to get lots of land in play. Then, in the later turns I had mana to cast a creature + equip. I had some durdly bigger creatures that became much more threatening when they strapped on the shoes. Game 3, I closed it out with a 10/10 flying Nighthowler. Rares are dumb.

Round 2 vs Blue-Green: Game 1 I had a good curve of creatures. He was light on early drops and I killed the blockers he was able to play. Game 2, I mulled to 6 and kept a one-lander with a few 2-drops. I was justly punished for it by not drawing a 2nd land and getting killed.

Game 3 I feel like I’m in a strong position for most of the game. However, I do make a pretty bad misplay that gave my opponent 2 or 3 more turns than I needed to give him. I had Anax and Cymede in play, plus a couple other guys, but opponent had some high-toughness stuff that would at the very least block my guys and possibly kill them if he had a trick. I cast a Cavern Lampad as a creature. I think I wanted to build up a swarm and try to trigger Heroic on Anax and Cymede to punch through. However, I definitely should have just bestowed the Cavern Lampad onto the Anax and Cymede, creating a 5-power guy with evasion. Whoops. I ended up having to chip in with the 2/2 Cavern Lampad like 5 times to take the match. Embarrassing, but I got away with it in the end.

Round 3 vs Red-White: Oh, good, the RW Heroic deck. He wins the die roll and runs me over in game 1. I win game 2 with a good curve. Game 3 I mulligan to 5 and lose. I can’t remember exactly what my opening 7 was, but it was lands and spells and I probably (maybe?) should have kept it… maybe? I threw it back because it had no early interaction and I felt like I wanted to be doing things on the first 2-3 turns against this deck.

First place got a sealed box of Modern Masters, and I got a sealed From the Vault: Twenty for 2nd place so that’s pretty cool.

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