Well, I did it -- I played my first ever competitive game of Magic the Gathering! It was exhilarating, what a rush! It was... not as stressful as I thought it would be. So that's kind of a relief. Last week, I talked about the tournament and preparing for my first match here. I ended up playing my first round off stream, but did record it. The next day, I live streamed the recording to watch my games with chat, go over plays to see whether I could have done some things better, and tried to learn and improve for the second week.
Not live streaming the actual match took a lot of stress off me, so that's probably what I'll be doing for the rest of the tournament.
I ended up changing my deck list at the last possible minute. It wasn't extremely different, but I decided to go a bit more aggro with cards like
Mayhem Devil and
Rankle, Master of Pranks. I was slightly worried about graveyard hate with everyone playing Sultai Uro, so I dropped
Call of the Death-Dweller and
Archfiend's Vessel as these would be completely shut down if they were getting exiled.
This ended up being a decent decision as my opponent was playing Mono Green Aggro with
Scavenging Ooze who (as we all know) exiles cards from the graveyard! I had prepped with my deck, and I felt more confident matching up against Mono Green than Sultai Ramp for sure!
I felt pretty good with my opening hand. All my lands would come in tapped, but I felt that being able to scry was valuable and I was on the play, so I kept it.
My opponent dropped a Scavenging Ooze on turn 2 and I had drawn a Kroxa, so I assumed it would get exiled. But I wanted to go ahead and make them discard early, hoping this would slow down whatever they might otherwise drop on turn 3 by using a mana to exile. It worked.
I was able to get
Woe Strider out early, and I had drawn
Claim the Firstborn, so while they only had Scavenging Ooze and 1/1 Human token out, I stole the Ooze. I got in using it to attack, and then sacrificed it to Woe Strider to get in some damage. However, they played a
Questing Beast the next turn, and this was the most troublesome creature for me because most of my stuff couldn't block it anyways. With four lands out, I dumped my entire hand on the board: two
Serrated Scorpions and another Kroxa (not escaped... didn't have enough cards in the graveyard for that yet!). The only thing I had that could block Questing Beast was Woe Strider and that wouldn't even kill it, but even before they went to combat my opponent played a
Ram Through targeting my Woe Strider with Questing Beast. Uh oh.
I sacrificed both Scorpions and a Goat to Woe Strider to get in as much damage as I could (from the Scorpions' death triggers), and got rid of three lands from the top of my library that I did not need. This left me with
Gutterbones on the battlefield, nothing in my hand, and at 11 life against my opponent's 7. BUT both Kroxa and Woe Strider were now in the graveyard with enough cards to escape either one of them. I drew another land on my turn, so escaping was my only option. I decided to escape Woe Strider because I would have to exile it if I had escaped Kroxa. This left Kroxa still in my graveyard to use later if I needed it (was there even time left for this?! Who knew!!!)
Woe Strider could now block and kill Questing Beast, being a 5/4. On my opponent's turn, they went straight to combat and attacked with Questing Beast, making me quite leery as I assumed they held a combat trick. I decided to risk it and block with Woe Strider anyways -- NO TRICK! Damage resolved and they just ended up swapping. At the time, I didn't sacrifice my Goat token to scry, and really I guess I should have. I ended up drawing Rankle, Master of Pranks, got in 3 damage, bringing my opponent to 4 life. Since I had no cards in hand, I made them discard and sacrifice a creature!
THEY DISCARDED A QUESTING BEAST! Wow, what luck, honestly. They had plenty of 1/1 humans to sacrifice, so that wasn't extremely hurtful to their board state, but they didn't have anything out that had reach, so I was feeling good! They ended up attacking with
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig who was a 4/4, I blocked with Gutterbones and they then conceded the game!
I WON GAME 1!!!! Now on to sideboarding...
I have pretty much zero experience with sideboarding, so I just did my best. I considered removing a few smaller creatures who couldn't block Questing Beast to add removal like
Angrath's Rampage and
Noxious Grasp. I wanted to get Embereth Shieldbreaker in, too, for the artifact removal in case I saw
The Great Henge which is A Great Pain.
Here's what I ended up with:
My opponent played first and I didn't like my opening without all my colors, so I mulliganed to six.
Even so, I felt fine with some removal and a Claim the Firstborn. My opponent started strong with
Pelt Collector and Scavenging Ooze out early, but I was drawing Noxious Grasp and
Village Rites, so I could steal something and sacrifice if things started getting a bit crazy. A
Barkhide Troll came out next and I decided to steal the Pelt Collector. My assumption was that they wouldn't block with one of their own creatures (which they didn't) and used Village Rites to get rid of it and get some cards!
I felt like I was getting a bit behind because I wasn't getting out my own creatures, but it was still early and I had removal with both Noxious Grasp and Angrath's Rampage!
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger came out next and I took a big hit from Barkhide Troll and Scavenging Ooze at 4/4 each. I was down to 10 life! But 10 life isn't dead and really isn't even close to dead, so I wasn't giving up. It was my turn and I had to get rid of some of their stuff. Noxious Grasp destroyed Scavenging Ooze (and gave me one life! HECK YAH!) and Angrath's Rampage destroyed Vivien! I had a
Fabled Passage, Woe Strider, and Mayhem Devil in hand ready for my next turn. But ... big yikes. My opponent dropped Questing Beast on their turn, so got in 8 more damage with it and Barkhide Troll. On my turn, I played Woe Strider so I would have blockers in a desperate attempt to stay alive... and desperate it was.
I blocked both, sacrificed my Goat to the Woe Strider, and used Village Rites on Woe Strider, still grasping at whatever I possibly could. I drew
Priest of Forgotten Gods and a Swamp, but it was too little, too late. I couldn't get Priest out fast enough to use her ability, so she was relegated to chump blocker. Opponent cast The Great Henge and it was game over.
I lost game 2.
This was it. Game 3 was EVERYTHING! Nothing before this had mattered at all. One of us was leaving this match the winner, and one of us was leaving the loser. The anxiety was real!
I left my sideboard the same and just jumped right into the game. I was playing first and was pleased with my opening hand... I COULD DO THIS!
I was happy to get Priest of Forgotten Gods and Mayhem Devil out early. I wanted to start doing some damage! My opponent was starting out strong with Barkhide Troll in turn 2 and Lovestruck Beast in turn 3 with a 1/1 Human already out. It was okay, I could take a few hits if needed before I got my Priest cranking! I kept Embereth Shieldbreaker around in case The Great Henge showed up, and was saving Village Rites for a Claim the Firstborn.
I drew Noxious Grasp, but didn't want to use it quite yet, Better to wait for a bigger threat, so I held out and just passed turn. My opponent cast Vivien, Arkbow Ranger again and I had Noxious Grasp to deal with her, but not before she got counters on Lovestruck Beast and Barkhide Troll. I decided to chump block the Lovestruck Beast with Mayhem Devil as I wasn't getting anything to sacrifice, and my plan was to use Village Rites on it get some card draw. What I didn't think about at the time was that my opponents creatures also had trample from Vivien so I still took damage. Big oof. I used Mayhem Devils' ping to kill the 1/1 Human token and hopefully keep Lovestruck Beast from being able to attack again.
I ended up drawing two lands from Village Rites, but one was a scry land, so... there's that? I took the 10 combat damage and was down to 11 life with Embereth Shieldbreaker and three lands in hand. I drew Noxious Grasp which was decent, but I held onto it and passed turn to see what my opponent would do. Which was cast
Stonecoil Serpent as a 1/1.
Okay, actually this was fine, because I could get rid of the Lovestruck Beast with Noxious Grasp and they'd be left with a mostly useless 1/1 and a Barkhide Troll. They cast a second Barkhide Troll at the end of their turn, so I was getting worried. I drew Serrated Scorpion. I can work with this. In fact, this is good!
I had enough mana to cast Serrated Scorpion, Battle Display (the Adventure on Embereth Shieldbreaker), and Embereth Shieldbreaker!
My plan was: destroy the Stonecoil Serpent with Battle Display, cast both my creatures, then on opponents turn, use Priest of the Forgotten Gods to make them sacrifice a Barkhide Troll! I was at 8 life and my opponent was at 20, so it wasn't ideal, but I was still hopeful. Next turn they cast another X=1 Stonecoil Serpent and I made a big mistake.
Instead of using Priest of Forgotten's Ability before this resolved, to force them to sacrifice one of the trolls, I just absentmindedly clicked resolve and now they had a 1/1 on the battlefield to sacrifice at no big loss. COME ON PIXIE, YOU GOTTA BE BETTER THAN THAT. I went through with my plan anyways, drew a
Castle Locthwain, and was pretty upset with myself.
On to my turn! Swamp. With two lands in hand already! I dropped Castle Locthwain and immediately used its ability. Fabled Passage. UGH. I was very far behind and had little to no chance of catching up. My opponent attacked in with everything next turn, cast another Stonecoil Serpent as a 6/6, and I was down to 2 life. I drew Kroxa and had plenty of mana and plenty of cards in my graveyard to be able to cast it and escape it. But unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough to have one big blocker out against four creatures and I lost game 3, making me lose the entire round.
Overall, I was pleased with my performance and I felt like I didn't make any huge, detrimental errors that really cost me the match. I was able to learn from the mistakes that I made, and I'm ready to go into Week 2 and try again!
Here is the original recording of the match, if you'd like to watch that without my commentary... HAH!
Thanks for coming along for this wild ride and I'll be back here again next week with my Week 2 results, so stay tuned!