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 Post subject: Seasons' Beatings: Commander event report
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-23 5:03 am 

Joined: 2016-Dec-21 12:08 pm
Age: Hatchling
Here's a report from a commander event held last weekend (12/18/16) at Phyrexian Games in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. We had a total of 19 players; as this was a holiday party with potluck food & snacks, and a Yankee Swap, there was no entry fee so the prize was modest - a fatpack of the winner's choice. So, mostly we were playing for pride and to have a good time!

The event structure wound up being 3 pods of 5 players each, plus a pod of 4, with the 4 winners playing in a final round for the prize. I was playing a Gahiji, Honored One token-aggro deck (List here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/ruthless-aggression-2/) built more for explosive plays than politics.

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Round 1
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Keith - Kruphix, God of Horizons
Jamie - Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
Alex - Ravos, Soultender/Tana, the Bloodsower
Brandon - Breya, Etherium Shaper

I mulligan once and keep a hand with 5 lands, for which I am thankful later. Most of the table develops slowly. My only early plays are Voyaging Satyr and Archetype of Courage. Jamie gets a Dimir Signet and an Everflowing Chalice out quickly, followed by Atraxa, a Bloom Tender, and a Nissa, Vital Force. So he's quickly identified himself as the Alpha threat. Brandon summons Breya which should be a strong constraint on Jamie's ability to defend his walkers due to her ability to remove Atraxa at will and repeatedly. I played a morph creature (Hooded Hydra) and passed my turn with 5 mana up so I could flip it if needed.

However, Jamie drops an Armageddon on turn 5 and this completely changes the texture of the game. I flip my Hydra in response. Fortunately that land-heavy start allows me to keep hitting drops and quickly rebuild my mana base. Alex, Brandon and I chip away at Jamie's board position, removing Nissa pretty quickly. Jamie is far ahead of the rest of the table with his artifact mana & Bloom Tender, recasts Atraxa in short order and is able to play Tamiyo, Field Researcher thanks to his first-turn Oath of Nissa.

A timely Shamanic Revelation nets me 5 cards and gives me some decent options going forward. Jamie continues to draw fire from the rest of the table and Vampiric Tutors into Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. He's talked Keith into a soft alliance at this point and uses Ugin's second ability for 4, leaving Keith's Kruphix in play while mostly wiping the rest of our boards. Brandon has rebuilt his mana base well and takes Ugin out with a Spine of Ish Sah. The Shamanic Revelation stuffed my hand with Ramp, so I play Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, and Farseek on back-to-back turns. Jamie plays Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and exiles the top 3 of my library as a little payback for coming after him hard following the Armageddon. Ironically this dug me 3 cards further down in my deck, which turned out to be pivotal.

Nex turn I topdeck miracle an Entreat the Angels for 7. Jamie plays Deepglow Skate to get Ashiok up to its ultimate, exiles all our hands and graveyards as a parting shot but has no answer to the angels. I tack on bonus damage from Gahiji, making his first appearance as a convenient play with no hand. I only needed to send two angels at Jamie, and some basic threat analysis tells me Brandon's the next opponent I need to worry about, so I send 30 damage his way to drop him to just 4 life.

Alex has Tana in play and 4 Saprolings from the previous turn. Clearly I am now the Alpha threat with a horde of angels in play, so I know he's coming at me. To my chagrin, he drops a Beastmaster Ascension! Fortunately Tana and the Saprolings aren't enough to trigger it. I block a Sparoling with Gahiji, but Keith pumps the Sap with Nylea, God of the Hunt to kill Gahiji. We're all in topdeck mode thanks to the Ashiok ultimate. Brandon draws something irrelevant and passes, and while I'm doing the math to figure out of I can take Alex out, I rip True Conviction off the top so I can take out both him and Brandon and leave Keith in a spot where he's topdecking for a boardwipe in Simic colors. He draws and shakes my hand.

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Between Rounds
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We paused partway through round one for the Yankee Swap (see below), and once we got back to the gameplay my pod finished pretty quickly. The second pod wrapped up shortly thereafter.

However, the other two pods...went forever. There hadn't been an announced time limit but as each game lurched past the two-hour mark with no end in site, the store owner had to impose one (he was quite generous; gave them a half-hour to try and wrap things up).

One game was simply a bloated-board-state standoff between a Child of Alara deck, my buddy Mason playing my Animar, Soul of Elements morph/Eldrazi deck, a Sydri, Galvanic Genius combo/control hybrid deck, and another Kruphix deck; the other remaining game was down to three players - my buddy Chris with Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker/Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, Atraxa +1/+1 counters, and Norin the Wary - when an Apocalypse from the Norin player virtually reset the whole game.

In the end, both games went to time, and each was down to two players, who rolled dice to see who advanced - the Sydri & Atraxa players were the winners (and I belive both were in a position to win their respective games, though the end would probably be a few turns away in both cases and they'd already gone well over the extra time allowed)

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Round 2
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Kevin - Sydri, Galvanic Genius
Logan - Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
Connor - Meren of Clan Nel Toth

I draw a three-land hand including Goblin Assault, Goblin Bombardment, Hull Breach, and an Artifact mutation. I'm in decent shape if I can draw a few more lands or a ramp spell; I proceed to not draw a fourth land until about turn 6, so early on I don't have a lot to do to interact with the table. Connor uses a Verdant Catacombs to fetch Overgrown Tomb, then plays Bayou a turn or two later so I figure out that he's the Alpha threat here. Kevin plays a Demonic Tutor on turn 2 (for a Sol Ring, I believe), I joke that he should search for a land, which turns out to be prophetic as he never locates a source of white mana to deploy Sidri. Logan gets his Atraxa online early, but I'm not representing much of a threat so it never really becomes a factor against me. I drop a Beastmaster Ascension on turn 4 and get 1 counter on it with my first goblin token, but my awful mana situation makes the other players disregard it, an ultimately fatal error.

One of Connor's early lands is a Dryad Arbor, so I am able to at least constrain his mana a bit with Goblin tokens & bombardment. This triggers a back-and-forth that takes up the bulk of the gameplay. I make him waste a Meren activation or two on the Arbor. He drops a Caustic Caterpillar and removes the Goblin Assault, then plays a Disciple of Bolas & sacs a Fleshbag Marauder (which slowed down the other two players much more than I). He's really starting to assemble the value train and I'm worried because he knows I'm up to SOMEthing and has me in his sights. Luckily I've drawn a blowout play if I can keep things quiet long enough to draw some lands - Benevolent Offering and Tempt With Vengeance. Connor has a Crucible of Worlds up, so I mutate it into 3 Saprolings, but rather than put counters on the Beastmaster Ascension to make it appear threatening, I immediately sac the tokens to Goblin Bombardment to remove the Disciple, the Dryad Arbor (yet again),and fling one point of damage at Connor directly.

The following turn I see my chance. Kevin Duplicants Meren on his turn, sending her to the command zone for a third time. Connor taps out to play Sidisi, Undead Vizier (sacrificing herself) and recast Meren (resurrecting Sidisi at end of turn, I think he either had another creature to sac or just declined to exploit). On his end step I play the Benevolent Offering, giving both the tokens and life to Logan, who apart from his Atraxa is rather harmless. I untap with 3 attackers and one counter on the forgotten Beastmaster Ascension. Draw a sixth land which turns out to be crucial and play Tempt with Vengeance for 5; nobody takes up the offer now that they see what's about to happen.

I swing 8 tokens at Connor, who is at 34 life; he blocks two and and is knocked out of the game. I sac both blocked tokens (one was going to die to Sidisi, sacking the other was a minor mistake) to destroy two of the spirits I gave to Logan last turn. I pass, and Kevin drops an Aetherflux Reservoir, threatening to win the game outright as he's at 40 life now. Unfortunately it looks like his hand is full of expensive spells and he still doesn't have a source of white mana for Sydri. He plays a mana rock and goes to 41. Logan hits me with his Atraxa but can't do anything about my board position. He's at 42 life and has 4 blockers though (two ground-pounders in addition to the spirits I gave him & Atraxa). However I've got the backbreaker in hand...Noxious Revival to re-up on Tempt with Vengeance tokens. 11 tokens swing at Logan for exactly 42 net damage....he thinks he'll survive due to Atraxa's lifelink, but I point out that I can sacrifice the token she's blocking to Goblin Bombardment and she'll never actually do damage. Two down.

Kevin has one turn to win with Aetherflux Reservoir, but untaps and just doesn't have the gas to get up to 51 life. He plays a desperate Reshape, actually sacrificing the Reservoir, searching his deck for an answer but can't find one and shakes my hand.

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So, a winner is me! I wasn't expecting that good a showing from Gahiji, especially seeing Atraxa Superfriends in the mix game one, and a tricked-out Meren in game two. The Armageddon permanently directed potential hate away form me in the first game, and some careful play helped me navigate through a slow start in the second.

For my prize, I opened one of the worst fat packs of Kaladesh imaginable. The lone highlight was a Saheeli Rai, but the rest was like Fateful Showdown-Dubious Challenge-Midnight Oil bad. The lone foil was a Thriving Grubs. :) But like I said, the real prize was pride.

Also, I did pretty well in the Yankee Swap. If you're not familiar with these - it's a gift-exchange game where everyone contributes an item of a certain minimum value (cards worth $5 was the announced minimum, but many people went above & beyond). The prizes are concealed in some way, then everybody draws a number. Starting with number one, each player picks a prize, reveals it to everybody, then may either keep that prize or force a trade with any player who has already picked. Then, after everyone has picked, player number one gets to force a trade, making #1 the best number to draw and #2 the worst.

I chipped in an Oblivion Stone as I rarely use the couple I have, and I know it'll be a popular item (it was; several players swapped it throughout the process). I drew third-from-last, so I knew I had a decent shot to get something really cool.The O-Stone, and Umezawa's Jitte, a masterpiece Noxious Gearhulk, and an expedition Sunken Ruins were some of the highlights; I pulled an expedition Mana Confluence, and luckily none of the players who picked after me wanted it more than some other target, so I was more than happy!

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Everyone was generous with the food, most everyone had a good time, so I'd call this event a big success! Eric, the store owner, has been a great supporter of Commander events in the store (including some variations, like Two-headed Giant), so if you're within range I heartily encourage you to check out the event calendar and pay us a visit!

https://www.facebook.com/Phyrexian-Games-308824442471064/


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