Tuesday, June 1, 2010

PTQ: A Recap

Last Saturday was the Houston PTQ Amsterdam event. Having never played in a constructed event this decade, I was a bit unsure of how to approach the event. The deck I was running was pure rogue; something called Walk Hard. I'll get to that in a moment.

There were 168 entrants, and it was 8 rounds of Swiss play. The card store was bustling with last minute deals and changes. Someone was frantically looking for an M10 dual and someone else was looking for a playset of Vengevine ($40 a pop that day...). I, however, was as calm and collected as I could be. I recognized a couple of guys I had seen at some FNM limited events, but I mainly kept to myself for the hour prior to the start.

I won't go into much detail about my rounds, because my record was pretty abysmal. With that said, I don't think a record of 1-3-2 (dropped after 6) really shows just how close some of the matches were. I could have easily gone 3-2-1 had my luck (and sideboard choices) been a bit different.

The only round of note was Round 1, which put me up against a Jund deck running Sarkhan the Mad and SGC. Game 1 was all him. Leech, Blightning, BBE, and Sarkhan was too much for me to handle. His draw was solid while my draw was land flood and not enough gas to get going. I noticed that after game 1, my opponent didn't sideboard, which wasn't surprising because I think I only played 1 Overgrown Battlement.

Game 2 was a real shock to us both. I got a good draw and was able to land a Nest Invader, an Overgrown Battlement, Howling Mine, and a Garruk. On my turn 6 I went off. I started Time Warping, which drew me into a Twin Cast and another Time Warp. I landed Jace TMS to dig, and caught a surprise Mnemonic Wall. This allowed me to reset my Time Warps to take another 3-4 turns. By the time I ran out of gas, I had taken about 9 consecutive turns and dropped 3 overgrown Battlements, 1 Mnemonic Wall, 1 Jace TMS, 2 Nest Invaders, a couple of Garruk 3/3 tokens, and a Sphinx of Jwar Isle. I still had a full hand and would have been able to repeat the process the following turn. When I passed turn, my opponent conceded.

He ominously said, "Now I know what your deck does."

He sideboarded like a mad-man while I kept my deck the same from game 2. Game three was a good aggro battle. I dropped 3 Overgrown Battlements which my opponent tried to Pulse. I had an Aether Tradewind ready and bounced his largest threat to return my Battlement, effectively saving all my super mana walls. I never really Walked Hard in game 3, but I caught a good mid-game Time Warp and ended up winning with 1 Sphinx on the board and another in my hand. We shook hands and he told me my deck was crazy.

At the end of the day, I ran into my opponent from round 1 again. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him that I had dropped after losing 3. He seemed quite shocked to know I had dropped. He had been undefeated since playing me in round 1. He informed me that he had been telling every person he played that there was this guy "playing some crazy Blue/Green deck that takes like a million turns." That comment made my day!

I'm not sure what the fate of the deck will be, but I still enjoy the underlying concept too much to abandon outright. Perhaps a few tweaks would make it more competitive.

Overall, I really enjoyed the PTQ. Time to see what other events are on the horizon.

Keep Tapping.

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