Friday, November 23, 2007

PTQ Yokohama Report TAS By Pipp Hunn

OMG Japan!

Today’s report is brought to you by the number 6, the letters D and Q and special guest, Gamey McJudge! He’s everything we all aspire to be. Please don’t sue me, Hasbro.

Blasphemous Beginnings

OMG, there’s a PTQ? O lordy, Extended. Beard-crumbs of Allah, wasn’t that the fun format, perfectly balanced, until Rizzo ruined it for everyone with Friggorid? Great flatulent Ganesh, wait, that was one too many Worlds ago. Jiggly Buddha, what’s happening in Extended now? Full sets of Ravnica Duals mean that every deck and its Gate Hound is hybridizing left, right and centre. Tasmanians are going crazy for it, must be our two heads. Tog splashing Deed. Aggro playing Meddling Mages in the board. Affinity running Kataki for the mirror.

Hey, this is great. I’ve got all those cards! But I’m a judge. Turns out I can’t play. Everyone else is so pumped I tie strings around their legs and sell ‘em at funfairs. They deflate rapidly as they realize nobody can play anything – so I come to the rescue and end up lending 31 fetchlands, 5 entire decks, 6 sideboards and enough Baloths, Deeds and Watery Graves to make ssteven to cry at his lost revenue. I make him better by buying about $400 worth of doodles off him, and suddenly everyone’s deck pulls together.

The co. disappears onto MODO and refuses to talk to anyone about Magic. I don’t see him for three weeks as he immerses himself online, testing up to 8 hours a day and discarding decks like Menindian analyzing Gifts plays. He wants to win this more than anyone I’ve seen, and the pile of favors he owes me grows as he churns through Obliterate Tings (with Durkwood Baloth tech), Aggro Zoo and Deadguy Boros right up until the night before, when he throws together Loaming Tog and gets about 5 games’ testing in. The co. reasons Tog has a 60% matchup vs. everything he’ll see on the morrow, and he can rely on playskill to get him through. Too bad he can’t play.

Nobody in Tasmania can play Affinity despite it being the only deck we own copies of, but everyone’s packing Kataki for laughs. About this period I start to feel a little sick. Trying to keep my health up for the event, I buy a Potion of Strength from a traveling wizard. I drink it while chatting online. Most of the ensuing conversations went along these lines:

Gr8Bo1: do you hav the cards
PipTas: Aaah! I just turned into a smurf!
Gr8Bo1: sick
PipTas: help me man
Gr8Bo1: lol
PipTas: this isn’t funny. I’m jumping around on the keyboard
Gr8Bo1: ?
PipTas: typing is really hard.
Gr8Bo1: who said that?
PipTas: I did you ****wit now call for help. The phone is as big as I am
Gr8Bo1: let me guess you took lsd
PipTas: no it was a magician. I thought it was a potion of strength
Gr8Bo1: if you’re out of it how come you can type
PipTas: I didn’t take lsd. Just the potion. Now im like 5 inches high and blue.
*time passes*
PipTas: you arent going to call an ambulance, are you?

Nobody went for help. Luckily the potion wore off in time. I’m going to kill that bastard. (KIDS! Gamey McJudge says: Don’t buy Potions from anyone but a local wizard who is licensed with the MGTAA!)

Nobody else tests at all. As time comes closer we start theorizing in a mass of emails, receiving reprimands from our respective managers for being unproductive. People near me at work get concerned as I burst into tears after someone suggests, for the fifth time that afternoon, that sideboards aren’t really necessary.

Kit (spazmonkey) picks up Tron and likes the look of it. Tyler (Topiary_Avatar) had been leaning towards Boros from very early times, until it became apparent that Zoo was infi better. Concern as my resources were running low, but then we shared the Deadguy list and resolved to play it.
Spazmonkey complains constantly about how bad Chrome Mox is. The co. generously shares Karstens’ list which Kit switches to on the Friday, with a few changes, and keeps with 4 Chalice but drops to 2 Moxen.

Goblinhumper gets around to advertising a couple of weeks beforehand. Noises of interest are made by chumps. Moral quandary: Do you encourage people to play their Zubera deck at an Extended PTQ? (KIDS! Gamey McJudge says: The internet is for decklists! There are other things you can use it for when you’re older.)

Turns out nobody else wants to lend out stupid amounts of cards, so I’m feeding pretty much the entire PTQ. We hear mainlanders, FILTHY MAINLANDERS, are coming down and everyone’s hackles rise. And considering how hairy us Taswegians are, it got pretty ugly.

Everyone decides to play decks with Trinisphere to beat the mainlanders, who we assume will all be running TEPS. Unfortunately I send my email asking ssteven for 16 Trinispheres to my Asian stockbroker. Because I work in the ATO he thinks I’m talking about the proposed changes to the Chinese Capital Gains tax and starts to panic. By mid-afternoon he’s told all his mates and there’s a global meltdown in prices. Scott pumps his Trinispheres to $5 after I buy half his stock in one transaction, but it turns out it was only a minor correction and the market stabilizes within a week. (COLLECTORS: Gamey McJudge says: Remember, it’s time IN the market, not TIMING the market! Keep buying those tasty tasty boosters!)

Time passes. Suddenly everything explodes. I stop working at work completely, my head starts bleeding all over the keyboard from the stress I’m under there. This lucky reprieve lets me organize all my players from all over the state, fine tuning decklists and suggesting sideboard cards. The co. oscillates between decks so fast he looks like a hula dancer on his wedding night. Acid emails me every twenty minutes asking how certain cards work. Steve is busy in the background working on a blue/black mill deck, I don’t think I saw a Circu in pay all day but he got some nice interactions working with Mesmeric Orbs and Glimpse the Unthinkable. Don’t think he wins any rounds, though.

Guy knocks together something like 40 stone rain.dec which should have gone better than he did on the weekend. He had to mulligan something like nine times in the first two rounds he played, but the interaction between 12 stone rain effects, Trinisphere, and Shivan Wumpus is surprisingly effective win condition.

We run out of cards. Everyone needs Chrome Moxen, chalices, blah blah blah and I simply can’t afford them. I don’t know how I can get a set of Meddling Mages and a set of Lavamancers within a day considering nobody in Tasmania owns them. Delfy_delf appears like a majestically magical weather balloon and sells me his collection for $1500.00. I think it’s worth about $1520 if I resell it so I accept because I need to lend cards to people. Lucky he has playsets of relevant things. I start to sell his collection on the weekend and get rid of most of it for about $500.00.

Last minute testing. Bill and Zeepug rock in and fling decks around. TEPS keeps falling over. We’re amazed at the foiled-out Zoo deck with its’ billion dollars in pimpingness. Reminds us all of how Magically impoverished our self-governed island state is. Sleep is for losers, but eventually we all get some. Brekkie, coffee, piles in car and swing through to event.

The Electric Boogaloo

Apparently I’m MC for the event. I start bustin’ some funky grooves but the sight of twenty nerdy males getting jiggy puts me off completely. I run through rules and announcements instead.

The rounds are due to start nice and early, and as I collect decklists I recognize a few early-morning coffee after-jitters in the decklists. Is that a 4 or a 7? It’s for Savannah Lions, so I’m hoping it’s a 4. I put them aside, plenty of time to hand out punishment for illegibility later. (KIDS! Gamey McJudge says: Write clear and good on your decklist!)

I churn the standard spiel about judging, welcome, my name is Pip, I’ll be the judge for the day. People yell smart-alec comments while I’m talking but my fearsome eyebrows soon quieten things down. Good thing nobody here respects me, otherwise the tournament would be no fun . (JUDGES! Gamey McJudge says: Pip is a very experienced judge. Get your players to like and respect you as a judge before letting them yell rude things during your speeches.)

I skip the safety dance since there’s only one way out of the room in case of fire. I’m so relaxed, I avoid doing the judge shuffle while everyone’s looking at me (two half-steps to the left, squirm to the right, glance down at papers, cough nervously, repeat to counts of 8 until the speech is over).

I take the time to introduce the new Penalty Guidelines and talk about how Bribery is a bad thing if it doesn’t involve a judge. I let everyone know about the new sliding scale, where if you want me to DQ or Match Loss an opponent it becomes progressively more expensive as the Top 8 draws closer. Quick chats with players before the first round indicates this new policy is well-received, and much better than the old $50-per-disqualification blanket approach that the DCI supported. (PLAYERS! Gamey McJudge says: Some judges are not as cool as Pip and don’t accept bribes. This means you should only bribe other players and not those loser judges who don’t probably even understand how much you want to win, anyway).

It turns out Kenjihara Mahasooiso has turned up – he sent me an email through our mutual friend, Professor Takeshi Manura of the Tokyo University. Kenjihara is a genetically engineered MTG-playing mutant with a 100% perfect play rate. He has never mulliganed in his life and once topdecked 7 Lightning Helixes in the same draw phase to win a game when an opponent had him down to 15. There have only been three players in the world to deal him more than 4 points of damage a game. He decided to make a name for himself by coming to Tasmania and crushing the co. Needless to say, I’m excited about watching the match.

The first rounds starts and I get Gobinhumper to wander the floor. He manages to not coach anyone within my hearing and, to the players’ credit, they don’t ask too many difficult questions while I’m running through the decklists. I get called up once or twice to answer complicated things like how Trinisphere works and if Bill can really do that when he kills peoples lands with Devastating Dreams. I think Kenjihara was paired against Billy Moreno in the first round. Kenji tricked him into ID’ing somehow.

Round 2 goes in a blur of poking players in the eye as I give out three Game Losses for Illegal decklists. Apparently my repeated warnings during the announcements to get people to double and triple check their decklists, then get a friend to quad and pentuple check them fell on deaf ears. Morons. (KIDS! Judges don’t really think you’re morons. They just don’t like giving you game losses for things that can be avoided. Remember, do what Gamey McJudge says: “Decklist Errors can be missed – get someone else to check your list!)
Kenjihara was paired down against Teferi, who turned up late to the round. Unfortunately Teferi pulled some sort of Jedi Mind Trick on Kenjihara, who sat there not moving for ten minutes until I had to DQ him for stalling.

The co. Force Spikes a Mesmeric Orb at the start of Round 3. He looks up at me fearfully.
“But lord,” he whines, “it crushes me!”
“the co.,” I command, “if I catch you playing counterspells again, you’re out! PTQ’s are for fun!”

Spazmonkey is playing against Adam’s B/W deck in a game 2. She’s up one but Adam is sitting tight on a Jitte’d Nexus, swinging for 5 a turn. Kit has a few lands and slaver in the bin but no outs arrive from the top of her deck for 4 turns, and she falls down.
Jason wanders up and reports he’s beaten Harry. Apparently duress and Destructive Flow trump Tron decks, even if they’re playing Crucible.

Spazmonkey’s third game goes quickly – Adam comes out blazing with a Tomb of Yawgmoth making his Nantuko Shade incredible. Kit flings an Explosives for 2 but stalls on land, while Adam uses his opportunistic window to kill her with a Jitte’d Nexus yet again.

Lunch break, spend infi dollars on food. I try to get some sales going but some arsehole reminds me the next round is starting.

Round 4 and 5 disappear in a haze of belchings. Tyler makes a dramatic comeback by winning his last 2 rounds. Provisional standings put him at 8th and it looks like he’ll stay that way into the Top 8. Adam foolishly offers the ID to the co., who insists on playing it out. We could think that
a) the co. was set to lose points on the draw, and played to preserve his ranking, thus meaning he wouldn’t need to play in Regionals, thus making more room for Tasmanians to get to Nats via Regionals, or
b) the co.’s an arrogant prick and he likes crushing mainlanders to stroke his own gratuitous ego.

Take your pick – although I watch in disbelief as in the third game the co. makes what, to any mortal eyes, might be a play mistake. He has two ‘Tog’s on the board, swings with them, counts his hand and graveyard, and says” discard my hand, remove my graveyard” -which is lethal damage assigned to his ‘Togs, in the Declare Attackers step – into his opponents’ untapped Silver Knight and Spectral Lynx, having just removed the wonder that was in his bin. Adam scoops up his cards before he notices though, and smiles through it all with a grace that is totally lacking in Tasmania’s finest player. The co., in his defense, does admit “I can’t play Tog”.

The Playoffs

We settle down for a Top 8 that looks like:

Nick (Tog) vs Tyler (Deadguy Boros)
Kit (Trashy Tron) vs Tim (Gifts Rock Tog Confinement Blah Blah Blah)
Bill (Aggro Loam) vs Jason (Flow Rock Aggro Beats RAAR)
Adam (B/W) vs James (Tooth and Nail)

Before we start, can I point out how stupid it is having a field comprised entirely of hybrid decks? THANKS, Ravnica Dual lands. Making everything worth splashing makes naming decks hard, especially if you’re trying to differentiate between nine thousand little variants.

Another quick aside, if one would indulge.
Young James ‘Jimmy’ Stait was an up-and-coming young player starting at the same time I was. Due to an alarming enthusiasm for the game, his up-and-coming got up and went, unfortunately leaving Jimmy behind. It went to Japan and infected the bodies of thousands of young Japanese players like an erotic ghost from so many filthy hentais, spurring on the nations emerging dominance through the early years of the century. Jimmy languished behind, sitting on the bottom page of the world rankings. His determination to find a way to make 60 card, 5 colour decks _work_ at Prereleases was an inspiration to many.
But with enough pluck to strip a herd of obstinate chickens, Jimmy never faltered. With a recent crushing of drooling illiterates at the local FNM behind him, he loaded up a Tooth and Nail deck (no sideboard, mind you – a strategic decision) and played at the PTQ.
Jimmy is a man of passions. Friendly like a cheap hookah dealer in the norm, a series of mulligans or vaguely reasonable plays on behalf of his opponents can enrage 'the Jimster' to the point of beating his head through walls and setting small children on fire. Since we've banned children at all non-Pokemon tournaments we manage to keep his throbbing tempers under control. I was pleased to see his opponents remaining gracious through the best of times and through the worst of times, with nary a sly glance as he struggled with the complexities of attacking through an empty board (for 5 turns) or mulliganing the one-landers - tenaciously playing on all the way to the Top 8.


I settle down to watch the Dynamically Dynamite Duo, the Terrible Two, the co. ‘Nick’ Rolf and Tyler ‘Godlike’ Walsh. Both engage in minimal trashtalking as they set the stage.

Jason and Bill are laughing in the background as they both roll consecutive ones. Tyler generously offers Nick a D12, appearing unfazed when he rolls a 10. Tyler announces he’ll play, then calmly rolls off a 12. Nick slumps, dejected, in his chair.
“Why do the Gods love you?”
Numerous spectators shout witty responses but the two have slipped into a legal game state (That was a judge joke. It wasn’t even a good one. I should feel bad about myself.) and suddenly everything is in the removed-from-game zone.

Nick fans an opening hand of double Putrefy, Mana Leak, Damnation, Circular Logic and two lands. He keeps.
Tyler breaks a Flooded Strand into a Sacred Foundry and drops to 17 to play a Savannah Lion. Nick draws a land, drops his Mire and passes. Tyler swings, dropping Nick to 18. He plays the same lands as the previous turns and drops another Lions and a ‘Mancer. Nick cracks the Mire for a tapped Grave and untaps for his second turn on 17, staring a potential 6 damage on the other side of the board.

He draws, drops a Yavimaya Coast and says go. Tyler draws and swings to knock Nick to 13. He drops a third Savannah Lion but this one is quickly Mana Leaked. With Nick tapped out, he drops a Javelineers and passes.

Nick draws and drops a Mire and thinks. His relevant cards in hand are a Damnation which he won’t be able to play until the next turn, a Putrefy and a Circular Logic. He passes to Tyler. Tyler untaps and swings in. Nick cracks his Mire for a swamp and takes 2 pain to shoot the Lions, taking 3 combat damage which leaves him at 8. Tyler shrugs and suspends Rift Bolt, still on 2 lands.

Nick slams down Damnation, and Tyler Lavamancers in response, dropping Nick to 6. Tyler doesn’t have another land but is happy to suspend a second Rift Bolt after the first one drops Nick to 3, and play a Javelineers.

Nicks turn sees no action apart from laying a land. The rift bolt triggers but hits Nick’s Circular Logic. The Javelineers swing, dropping Nick to 2. Tyler drops a land and passes. Nick takes his turn and Cunning Wishes for a Demise to kill off the Javelineers, Everything in Tylers deck is lethal at this point. Nick drops another land. Tyler runs a Char into a Force Spike. Nick cracks a fetchland to drop to 1 and draws into a Tog, but is defenseless against Tyler’s second Char.

Nick sideboards in 2 Stifle, Ghastly Demise and (Duresses?), taking out a Gifts, Wonder, Stinky Imp, Genesis, Cunning Wish and Damnation. He explains that the cards are too slow vs. Deadguy, the Stifles wil occasionally stop a Lavamancer or act as a strip Mine and the Duresses hit burn.

Nick: So you basically just cream all over my face, right?
Tyler: Yes.
Nick: OK then. I’ll play.

Nick grimaces at a one-lander with Force Spike and Duress before mulliganing. He hides second hand from me but I glimpse multiple lands and a Duress. Evidently worth keeping.

Nick opens with a tapped Overgrown Tomb. Tyler plays a Flooded Strand through to a Sacred Foundry to drop a Lavamancer. Nick grimaces, then Duresses into Molten Rain, Rift Bolt and lands. He takes the Rain, drops a land and passes. Tyler simply drops another fetchland and passes the turn, planning to Lavamancer Nick at the end of his turn. Nick drops another land and Duresses again, leaving Tyler with a hand of 4 lands. Nick falls to 18 from the ‘Mancer.

Tyler draws more lands as Nicks grip evolves into Psychatog and Putrefy vs. his lone onboard Lavamancer. Tyler goes to shoot Nick again, and Nick Ghastly Demise’s the Lavamancer in response. Nick drops his Psychatog and Tyler finally draws an Isamaru, which he plays while laying out more land. Nick Putrefies and swings for 1, dropping Tyler to 11.
Tyler draws another land and plays it with a sigh.

Nick: Is this just rubbing in that I lose the third game regardless?
Tyler: Yes.
Nick: You smug bastard.

The rest of the game is torturous. Nick topdecks consecutive Deeds and follows with more creature removal than he could throw at an army of Goblins, while Tyler struggles to find men on the top of his deck apart from land. Nick calculates that Tyler’s drawn through three quarters of the land in his deck, and reasons he should try and win faster as Tyler’s got ‘nothing but gas to go’. A Lightning Helix delays the onslaught briefly but eventually Nick packs everything into one swing and we move onto game 3.

Lord Jimminston Staitworthy the Third loses his Top 8 game, to the relief of Adam who was playing for the pride of his state and whatever rating he held dear. James stomps over and grouchily returns my deck, informing me that one of the basic forests in there is his. I’m happy to let him have it.

The co.: “I hope we have a good game, but then you get mana flooded and I draw gas, because that’s the only way I can see myself winning.”

Nick opens with Mire, Duress, Stifle, Cunning Wish, Smother, Circular Logic and Tranquil Thicket.

Tyler opens with a Lavamancer. Nick opens with his Mire. Tyler drops an Isamaru and swings with the ‘mancer to drop Nick to 19. Nick grabs a Watery Grace and draws a land, which he plays. His Duress sees a Rift Bolt and land. Tyler keeps swinging and drops a Grunt. Nick smothers it before it can do any real damage, but Tyler uses his window to slide in a Rift Bolt and then tosses a Helix at Nick while he’s vulnerable, dropping him to 6. Nick has the choice to cycle a land end of turn for a pain, which would drop him to 5. He decides to dig and between the cycle and his draw step sees a Last Gasp and a Deed – both useful cards but he needed the Deed and a land in order to drop the Deed and blow it for one, leaving him on 3 against Deadguy Boros – but it’s irrelevant, as Tyler has burn on the top of his deck and Nick has no answers to the onboard threats.

Post-game, Tyler agonizes over removing the co. from contention in the finals. The co. had practiced harder than anyone in Tasmania for weeks before the event, and to lose to a terrible matchup in the first round of finals was a terrible blow. That the co. had lent many of the cards for Tyler’s deck was also in his thoughts:

“Have I a deck to doom my Teammate's death,
And shall that deck give Top 8's to a scrub?
His deck kill'd no men - it's synergy was thought,
And yet its punishment was bitter mulligans.
Who su'd to me for him? Who, when I played Wrath,
Kneel'd at my feet, and bid me be advised?
Who spoke of clans? Who spoke of love?
Who told me of the field in Hobart,
When Zeepug had me down, he rescu'd me,
And said "Dear friend, win, and be a King"?
Who told me, when we both lay 0-1,
Flooded almost to death, how he did concede me
Even in his best matchup, and give himself,
All thin and tired, to the bitter-scrub'd bracket?
All this from my remembrance brutish Wraths
Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you
Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
But when your 'Mancers or your Arcbound Ravagers
Have done a hasty slaughter and defac'd
The precious image of our dear Finkel,
You straight are on your knees for backsies, backsies-
And I, unjustly too, grant it you.
But for my Teammate not a man would speak
Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
Have been beholding him to your life totals;
Yet none of you would once beg for his life total.
O God, I fear the justice will take hold
On me, and you, and all the Top 8 for this!
Come, Inquisitor, help me to MODO.
Ah, poor the co.!
Tyler wins 2-1

I wander over to watch Kit and Tim’s game.
Kit starts up one game from a Slaver lock after mulls to 5. Apparently both of them had been playing terribly: Tim keeps and Kit mulligans to 5 again, saying it seems to work well for her. Kit seems a little light on land in the early game – I am called away by a player asking me a question about the pairings.
I sweat it out in one of those ONoMoments when I realize my Top 8 pairings are incorrect. As I was table judging / note taking for Kit’s match someone else had told Adam and Tyler they were paired against each other. I had said they were welcome to start as both had had a break. Luckily they were only a few minutes into the game so after a quick deliberation we ended that game and Adam and Bill sat down to play each other. Interestingly, both Tyler and Adam were happy with the outcome, both insisting they were in the unfavourable matchup. I felt completely moronic for not checking the pairings but at that point in the day I was as tired as everyone else and took another’s advice instead of checking for myself. (JUDGES! Gamey McJudge says: Don’t be like Pip, all tired at the end of a day! Use drugs!)

Unfortunately no notes for these rounds – Bill and Adam both play very tight over their hour-long pair of games, but Bill can’t find answers fast enough to Adam’s constant threats – Spectral Lynx having Pro Green proves pivotal in the matchup as Bills post-Threshold bears seem a lot less effective.

Kit and Tim enjoy each others company so much they keep playing for another two hours. I wander back over at the three-hour mark having had another two rounds of MTG be completed at that point. Both the first and second games have gone almost to decking. The third is decided when Tim, who had been slowly amassing resources to get off a conferment lock, and drawing out Kit’s Repeals to save her Exalted Angel, misplays in the pivotal turn and taps out his White sources, leaving him stranded with the Confinement in hand staring down lethal on the board.


Kit opens with a land and passes. Tyler responds with a Wooded Foothills into a Sacred Foundry for a Lions (17).

Kit drops a Signet and passes Tyler drops a Javelineers, suspends a Rift bolt and swings, dropping Kit to 18

Kit draws and lays a Petrified Field, and passes again.
Tyler swings, dropping Kit to 12 after the Bolt, and plays out Legionnaire. Kit Gifts end of turn for Tower, Ruins, Crucible and Wrath. She’s holding a Hallowed Fountain in hand. Tyler ponders for a moment and gives her the Ruins and the crucible.

Kit untaps and sacs her Petrified Field to play Tower. Counts 8 mana and passes the turn. Tyler Lava Darts Kit at end of turn to drop her to 11. He swings for 5 and then suspends Rift Bolt, passing the turn.

Kit draws and then lays a Hallowed Fountain. Immediately realizing her mistake, she moves to pick it back up again and apologises to Tyler. I blink, and before I can move Tyler assures he that Backsies in a PTQ are OK. I am surprised at such graciousness but play continues as Kit drops the Tron piece she was holding and Slavers Tyler.

He smiles, flashbacks his Lava Dart and sacrifices his Legionnaire to drop Kit to 3, leaving him with 3 lands in play. Tyler then chooses to Rift Bolt his Lions, draws a Lava Dart, The Dart pings Tyler and Kit hastily lets Tyler know that his Javileneer has rebelled, pinging him before it dies. Then he flashes back his Dart to hurt himself before passing the turn.

Kit taps incorrectly in her tiredness and burns to 1 to Slaver Tyler again, which she does. Tyler draws land and Kit drops a Chalice for 2 and a Crucible, allowing her to fully Slaver-lock Tyler on the next turn. She couldn’t lock him again as her mana left her with odd amounts in her pool and she couldn’t afford to burn. Tyler calmly topdecks a land to drop the Molten Rain that’s been sitting in his hand, unusable, for the last few turns and burns Kit for the final point.

They sideboard for the second game. Kit apologises again for her sloppy play, and points out she’s been playing for the last 3 and a half hours straight and Tyler’s had a good two hours’ break. Tyler points out that it didn’t really matter as he’s still a game up going into the second.

Kit drops land and passes. Tyler opens with a Javileneer. Kit fails to draw a second land and passes the turn with a hand full of gas. Tyler drops Kataki which makes Kit’s position fairly untenable. She remarks how incredibly useless her Chrome Mox is at this point. Kit draws into a second and Chalice’s for one, resolving to pay the upkeep to slow Tyler down long enough for her to ply out her gas. Tyler swings for a few turns and drops a Lions. Kit remands it, and the co. has to run over the other side of the room to stop himself laughing. Tyler uses the opening to Char Kit. The remand drew her into a Repeal which she uses, but Tyler has Blistering Firecat to serve for lethal.
Tyler wins 2-0

As they pack up Kit apologises for her sloppy play, citing absolutely no sleep the night previous and the three-and-a-half hour match she’d come out a mere five minutes before her round with Tyler started.


Tyler and Adam sit down. Both of them want to go to Japan. Adam swings out a D30 and rolls an impressive 2 – odds on Tyler to win the roll, which he does comfortably with 6. They take a moment to peruse each others’ decklists. Adam exclaims over Tyler’s singleton Blistering Firecat, which he hadn’t seen before.

Tyler opens up dropping himself to 17 to play a Lavamancer. Adam cracks a fetchland for a swamp, dropping to 19 and Needles the Lavamancer, slowing Tyler’s onslaught. Tyler simply shrugs and swings before dropping a Legionnaire. Adam makes a potentially fatal error when he needlessly cracks a Delta for a Godless shrine untapped. He had miscounted his mana and could have let it come in tapped, saving two precious points of life. He Duresses Tyler and take a Molten Rain, then passes.

Tyler attacks Adam to 12 and lays a Flooded Strand, then passes. Adam cracks another Polluted Delta for a Silver Knight, dropping himself to 9. Tyler chars Adam and of turn, dropping him to 5. He untaps. The board is Tyler with 4 lands verses Adam with an untapped Knight. Tyler declares an attack, pauses, then passes without attackers. Postcombat, he lays a Rift Bolt to drop Adam to 2, then finishes him with the Legionnaire.

Game 2.

Adam grabs a massive pile of cards from his sideboard and starts shuffling. Tyler takes a little longer to sideboard and ends up bringing in his Kataki’s and Jotun Grunts, taking out Molten Rains and one if his Isamaru's.

Adam sideboards: -2 Shade, 4 Duress, 4 (C+? WTF?)
+3 Deathmark, 4 Smother, 1 Needle, 3 G/B.

Adam plays. His opener contains a swamp and Silver Knight. Back it goes, and his 6 aren’t much better. Down to 5, he fans a reasonable hand. Tyler’s happy with his grip.

Adam opens with a Mire and passes. Tyler drops a Sacred Foundry and announces a Pithing Needle on Jitte. Enforcing correct play, Adam says he’d like to respond and activates his fetchland for a Godless shrine. Tyler apparently hadn’t been planning any shenanigans, and decides to name Jitte once the needle resolves.

Adam follows with a Blinkmoth Nexus and passes. Tyler cracks a Flooded Strand into a Plains and drops Legionnaire. Adam Echoing Decays it while Tyler is safely tapped out at end of turn. He untaps and drops a Spectral Lynx, leaving mana open to regenerate. Tyler spends his turn dropping another land and double-suspending Rift Bolts.

Adam swings with the Lynx dropping Tyler to 13, then plays out a Confidant. Tyler chooses to commit to the burn plan and sends both Bolts at Adam, dropping him to 13 before passing.

Adam lays a Nantuko Shade and swings. Tyler Lightning Helixes Adam at the end of turn, leaving Adam on 8 and himself on 12. He draws for the turn and passes, holding Char and Blistering Firecat on 3 land.

Adam flips a Vindicate off the Confidant and falls to 5. He swings with all his men, dropping Tyler to 6, and goes to Vindicate a Sacred Foundry to cut Tyler off double red. Tyler chars him at the end of turn, leaving Adam at one and Tyler at 4.

Tyler untaps and thinks: with two lands in play, he holds Kataki and Blistering Firecat. He stares down a Shade, Lynx and Confidant – lethal damage on the next swing as he can only play the one blocker. He eventually drops the Kataki and passes.

Adam does some quick calculations and announces it’s basically a coin flip for the Confidant – roughly half his deck is Moxen or other mana sources.

He flips… Withered Wretch.

Arms in air, hurrahs from Tasmanians, great game, so on.
Tyler and I agree I have to go to Japan with him and my budget defenestrates itself.


Crazy tournament, yeah? We hang around for hours. Everyone plays more casual games, trades and even some multiplayer kicks up in the background. I whip out my foiled Battle of Wits and Tim and I duke it out for a while. A couple of spectators comment on my decks’ incapacity to win before turn 30 but it’s clearly about flinging as much bling on the table as possible. Phules.

Drinks? Sounds like an idea. We shamble down to Sandy Bay, the local eatery, pubbery and nightclubbery. We order Pizzas and sit around sharing filthy jokes and random deck ideas for half an hour. Someone with initiative asks where our Pizzas are, and the staff tell us they’ve been waiting for ages. Apparently walking over to our table is too hard for them.

We try and find a reasonable pub. Crawl from one to the other searching for talent but all we find is my exceptionally attractive ex-girlfriend serving at one place. All the guys fall over at once looking at her and we seem very undignified, so after losing at pool to some Asians (is there anything they can’t do?!) we nick off. Spazmonkey clearly pwns her. Ash spends the entire time complimenting me on my choice of attractive, Level 1 Pro Club girlfriend.

Two more pubs and then we end up in Mobius, a smallish underground club where the floor smells like seaweed and the carpet dissolves your shoes if you stand still for too long. Tim busts the funkiest boogie I’ve seen since my years on tour with a dance company. The rest of us feel awkward compared to such a majestic display and watch some drunk chick table-dancing for a few hours. My wisdom teeth explode with pain fairly early on in the evenings so the proceedings glance by in a bit of a blur.

I pike close to midnight and sleep for a good eighteen hours.

Sif PTQ. Lucky Monday’s a public holiday. I eat an entire chocolate cake and drink Southern Comfort and stay in bed all day.


Mainlanders rock. I saw examples of the most gracious play I’ve witnessed in a tournament from each of the visitors. I’m not going to embarrass them going into details, but I was blown away with the sportsmanship, cheerfulness and general good feeling exuded by every visitor. You’re all very welcome to come again.

Um. Just don’t win.

What else?

Team Tasmania is coming to Nationals pumped this year: “Tasmania- lowering the nations’ rating.”

Give me all your foiled Battle of Wits. I need more than 1.

The co. is still the best player in the world. He told me so yesterday.

The Touch is the best song in the world, closely followed by:
Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid
Have some Fun with the Funk – Aaron Carter
Black Ice Cream Song – The Mountain Goats
The German Pokemon Rap
Love Generation – Ministry of Sound
The Trumpet Shall Sound – Handel’s Messiah

But nobody likes my music anyway.

I’ll let you all know how Japan goes.