Elfvalley Cup #9 (AB 7-point Singleton)
Another round of the Elfvalley Cup is in the books and this time there was a bit of a twist in the format. We obviously played with cards from Alpha and Beta only, but using the 7-point singleton ruleset. This ruleset has been worked out and tested by the Dutch Alpha guys, and the points are as follows:
4 points:Ancestral Recall
3 points:Black Lotus
1 point:Balance, Fireball, Disintegrate, Timetwister, Regrowth, Wheel of Fortune, Dark Ritual, Jayemdae Tome, Control Magic, Steal Artifact, Earthquake, Jade Statue, Icy Manipulator, Mox Emerald
I was pretty excited to try this format, and had a number of different decks that I built before settling on this one:
Black is by far my deepest color, and alongside red, probably the color with most playables in AB. Some stuff were missing in my collection, like Kormus Bell, Cyclopean Tomb and Nevinyrral's Disk, but I think the deck turned out pretty solid anyways. The problems black have in regular AB are apparent here as well, dealing with artifacts and enchantments. So I didn't expect to win all matches, but it would probably be some great and close ones. Here's how it went.
Match 1 vs Edo (UW)
I met Edo in the previous Cup as well where he played monoblue, so I expected atleast that color in his deck. His other color of choice was white, which at first glance seems like the best color to pair with blue in singleton. I had a pretty great draw in game 1 and took it down rather easily by playing an early Hypnotic, followed by some removal for his creatures and the Royal Assassin/Icy Manipulator combo to control the rest of the game. In game two Edo was the one with a great draw. White Knight came down early, along with Juggernaut and Serra Angel, and I was smashed to smithereens soon after. On to game three which was a really great and close one. We both traded creatures and removal, and Cursed Land really did some work on his lifetotal. Hid eventually took over the game, and when I was at 8 life and he was at 9, I cast a Drain Life for 7 on him which left him at 1 life after a Cursed Land ping in his upkeep. I had no flyers on the board though, and Serra Angel and her doppelganger could attack me back for excatly lethal.
1-2 Loss (0-1)
Match 2 vs Marius (BG)
Marius was my next opponent. I know he likes to play green and black cards in AB, and this was no exception. We had a great match where in game 1 we had a real Rod(of Ruin)-fight, and Cursed Land again did some real work for me. I also got to attack with a huge, Howling Will-o-the-Wisp, which can be seen below.
Marius hit me back really hard though, when his Bog Wraith got some Unholy Strength and Berserk as well. Excactly lethal was given and my opponent was left on excactly 1 life for the second time in two games! In game two I kept a pretty slow hand, and that turned out to be crucial. Marius played a turn 1 Scryb Sprites, and that took a decent chip out of my lifetotal before I could find some answers. I did however have a Demonic Hordes on the board, which I knew would take over the game if I managed to live long enough. They key play here was when he Regrowth'd a Giant Growth, and made me lose a few creatures in bad blocks. A small Hurricane and an alpha-strike later I was toast, just before he was out of lands and I could take control over the game.
0-2 Loss (0-2)
Match 3 vs Eliot (UR)
Eliot is a new face to me, it was very nice to meet him and cool to have him in the Elfvalley Cup. We talked a bit before the match, and Eliot mentioned that he had a complete set of Beta, so this would be the perfect format for him. He chose to play UR in this Cup, a strong choice with many powerful cards. In game 1 I got stuck on two lands for a few turns, and while he was a bit on the flooding side, he rather easily took game 1 whit a huge Fireball ending it in flaming fashion. In game two I had a better start, and Cursed Land once again proved to be decent. Icy Manipulator stalled the board pretty good, and he never had more than one creature thanks to some spot-removal here and there. After being both Unsummoned and Countered, the mighty Nightmare finally sealed the deal after a timely Raise Dead. Game three was a bit of a bummer for him, as he got stuck on 3 lands and some 4cc cards in his hands. I played an early Sengir Vampire only to see him summon a Wall of Air. I had a trick up my sleeve though as Weakness took care of the wall after having blocked the Sengir which grew to 5/5. After the match Eliot showed me a Psionic Blast that he drew the turn after the Vampire had grown out of reach. The blast wasn't useless though as it took care of a scary large Frozen Shade, but I had Animate Dead to bring it back, and Eliot scooped up his cards soon after.
2-1 Win (1-2)
Match 4 vs Slanfan (5c)
The next match vs against Tolaria.app guru, Slanfan. He usually plays alot of colors thanks to his amazing 40 dual and full p9 collection, and did so here as well. Games were pretty fast as I had good draws and his creatures were rather few and a bit underpowered. Frozen Shade came down in both games and was as awesome as I thought it would be. His Forcefield gave him some breathing space in both games, but eventually my army of creatures came through. He also had some mana-issues, which happens from time to time when your playing all colors. After the match he showed me the big combo in his deck, Time Vault, Animate Artifact and Instill Energy. Really hope he gets to pull it off even though the chances are really slim in this singleton format.
2-0 Win (2-2)
Match 5 vs Dave (GW)
It was then time for my last match of the group stage against Dave Firth Bard, organizer of the Summer- and Winter Derby's amongst other things, and a well-known figure in the Old School community. This was his first Elfvalley Cup, and it was an honor to have him join. Dave's deck of choice was an aggressive green and white deck, and though I can’t remember much of game 1, I did eventually win it just barely. Game 2 was pretty lopsided as he powered out an Ankh of Mishra turn 1, followed by a White Knight and Copper Tablet. It was a pretty devestating start, and when I started to put some creatures and painful lands on the battlefield, he had a Balance to even it out again. Needless to say, I couldn’t recover and he took the game easily. Game 3 was rather exciting as he quickly put a ton of weenies on the board. I had a Black Knight which had to stay home defending, but drew into a Rod of Ruin that killed many of his small creatures. I also had Cursed one of his lands and played a big Drain Life to stay well ahead on life, so the Knight and Curse could chip away on his lifetotal. He couldn’t find answers for all the threats and I won the game a few turns later.
2-1 Win (3-2)
After all matches were done, and all results had been in my favor, I finished in tied 2nd place with Dave. I beat him in our match though, so I was the one moving on to the semifinals, what a luckbox!
Semifinal vs Evert (MonoBlack)
In the semis I played vs Evert, strong player and deckbuilder from the Netherlands. He also chose to play monoblack, which I felt could be trouble for me since he had access to the cards I felt was missing in my deck.
Game 1 turned out to be pretty epic, where I were the aggressor, but he had some great cards that held my forces somewhat at bay. I managed to cast a few good creatures but they couldn’t get much damage through thanks to his Icy Manipulator and Forcefield. I had summoned Lord of the Pit and The Hive to feed him, just to see him get tapped down every turn. I then drew a Pestilence, and had just enough mana to win by pesting at the end of his turn, and then again on my turn. I could smell victory, but then he played Kormus Bell. All swamps were creatures now, and I couldn’t activate the Pestilence more than one turn. I was so put off by this, that I made a big mistake of clearing the board for land at the end of his turn. It took his lifetotal pretty low, but in the end, I couldn’t find enough land to keep feeding my Lord. What I probably should have done was to ignore the Pestilence completely, and keep chipping away with 1/1 lands that could get through his defence, and hope to draw more lands than him.
In game 2 he had a pretty nutty draw, with turn 2 Specter, turn 3 Sengir and turn 4 Clockwork Beast. I had some defence in Will-o-the-Wisp and Wall of Bone, but his big guys ended the game pretty fast.
Here’s what the boardstate looked like just before I died to my own Lord in game 1. Pretty epic:
In the final’s Evert met Thomas who bested Edo in the other semifinal. Thomas came out on top here, winning the last game with a Control Magic’d Lord of the Pit. Magic as Garfield intended. Here’s Thomas’ winning deck:
As always, thanks to everyone who joined, Elfvalley Cup X has already started when I’m writing this, tournament report will follow.