I arrived in Yokohama the night before the tournament, still jetlagged but ready to play some Magic. Some quick searching revealed that there was a Legacy tournament going on nearby. I packed up my stuff, walked for a while and after losing about eight liters of water, made my way to a shop with lots of people enjoying Legacy. I went 2-1, which was enough to earn my entry fee back in store credit. I picked up some foil Barals to get Gifts Storm ever so closer to full foil and went to sleep. Got up, drank a cup, ran a comb across my head and headed out with my freshly printed decklist from a 7-Eleven to the tournament site.
Ten rounds, they say. It is going to be a long one.
Round 1: BUG Alluren
Game one they lead with some snow lands and Leovold. I get beat down while drawing the mana half of my deck. Hm. I side expecting them on BUG control, and open with a Duress to see they are clearly on Alluren. Oh well, that just means I have an unnecessary Empty the Warrens in my deck. I think about taking Carpet of Flowers or Veil of Summer. I took Carpet to slow them down, but they got another and I was just in a bad position.
Snow in August.
0-2 and I’m 0-1.
Round 2: 4C Control
I’m paired against a foreigner who actually knew one of my GP acquaintances, and we ended up eating steaks after the tournament. Good guy. Game one I Duress away a Wrenn and Six which stalls him enough to let me combo off.
Game two I have this hand after one mulligan:
As practical as I try to be, I am far too superstitious. I believe I’m fucked. Still, I keep, put a Veil on the bottom. He leads with a Thoughtseize and takes Ponder. I topdeck a Preordain, start digging but end up just drawing rituals and artifact mana. Then he taps down to get aggro and I get my Swamp. I start the ritual chain, he hits me with a Surgical to get me off of threshold, but I am able to do enough on the stack to get a lot of mana and cast a big, juicy Tendrils.
Every ANT hand is a keep.
2-0 and I’m 1-1.
Round 3: Dead Guy Ale
This is an interesting matchup that I do not have much experience with. The deck has lots of good white and black hate, but lacks the counterspells to truly keep me on edge. Game one I go for Ad Nauseam and win. Game two he goes real aggro, real quick and I don’t know what hit me. Game three we both mulligan and I have enough to get an end of turn Ad Nauseam against him and win by avoiding Surgical Extraction with more fancy stack play.
The stack is for lovers.
2-1 and I’m 2-1.
Round 4: Sneak and Show
This round was sadly not much of a match for my opponent. I have to try and remember that it happens to everyone. Game one once I figure out he’s on S&S I’m able to push through any potential hate and get an easy win. Game two he mulligans down to five,which _can_ be scary from the deck,but he is struggling to do anything and I get a clean combo off.
Luck is a thing.
2-0 and I’m 3-1.
Round 5: Death and Taxes
If I play game three against D&T it will be a non-game. Ugh. I know,I know,bias,etc.,but it always feels that way. Anyway,this is a great example of hubris,etc,because game one I get a quick Ad Nauseam into a kill and side into a beautiful hand and he mulls twice. I have two lines on my turn two. I could go for a bunch of Goblins or attempt the kill,but I’m dead to a Surgical. Three cards in hand,but he did mull twice so what could they be. I go for goblins but he ends up getting Batterskull into play and Wastelands and Thalia make me unable to play. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. He fucked up by not dropping turn two Thalia and instead decided to Port me. Fine. But _I_ fucked up by not spending my blue mana on a Brainstorm and potentially finding Discard or just having enough of a storm count that my number of goblins might have gotten me the win. See,when he played that Port and passed,I went into auto-pilot. I saw the line,ignoring the Brainstorm in my hand. Whoops. At least I realized where I messed up,right? Game three,like I said,was just a disaster.
Learn from your mistakes.
1-2 and I’m 3-2.
Round 6: UW Stoneblade
There are some moments of beauty,such as when you do not draw lands and your opponent counters two of your brain storms only for you to win by tutoring for a second LED and still having another tutor to combo off. That was a beautiful game one. Game two I play the “What’s the chance he topdecked a Force of Will?”game and lost. Game three I pass the “Do you have hard permission”test.
Batterskull is only good when it gets to attack.
2-1 and I’m 4-2.
Round 7: Grixis Phoenix
I lose the die roll and think I’m playing the mirror until turn two he follows up his LED and Dark Ritual with Buried Alive. But I have the turn two combo kill. Game two goes similarly,but I Brainstormed into three lands,and that’s not going to make for a turn two kill. Game three,ugh. Okay,I realized my mistake,but damnit. I for some reason,with two lands,three Dark Rituals,Thoughtseize,Infernal Tutor and LED put Tutor then LED back on top of my deck after Brainstorming. No! Tutor on top of land! That would have led to a clean kill. Instead this lets them rip my hand apart with Cabal Therapy,and I get beat down by Phoenixes.
Take that extra moment to be sure of your decisions.
1-2 and I’m 4-3.
Round 8: Merfolk
I’m tired at this point,but when they lead on Island and I’m holding three fetches,three cantrips and two discard spells after I draw for turn,I’m feeling pretty good. I lead with a cantrip and they play Chalice of the Void on 1. Whoops. Then turn three they play True Name Nemisis and I know what they’re on and I’m also dead. At least they don’t know what I am playing? When I drew land four I scooped,and maybe I shouldn’t have. I was in a tough position but maybe I could have drawn into something? Fetch,cast stuff into Chalice,maybe draw Cabal Rituals and win? Probably. I let my emotions get ahold of me and I scoop and side into game two. Which I win handily. Game three,however,my hand is just too slow for theirs and I get demolished.
Play out your games.
1-2 and I’m 4-4
Ending 6-4 is the dream now,but I’d be happy with 5-5.
Round 9: Twelve Post
Ah, never mind. They lead on Cloudpost. I make them discard a Chalice,but they play Vesuva,Monolith,Trinisphere and then Karn,the Great Creator locks me out. Game two is more of the same except they see my hand of cantrips and mana with a Sorcerous Spyglass and name Polluted Delta,which I flip off the top. Then they play Karn,get Mycosynth Lattice and wow,that’s a fun situation to be in.
0-2 and I’m 4-5.
Round 10: Mono Black Reanimator
This is always a game of “Who has it?”and boringly enough,I had it. I mean,I am happy,but it’s not exactly exciting. What is interesting is I am not too sure how to sideboard. If anyone has thoughts,please let me know. I boarded similarly to Pox but that could have been wrong. Didn’t matter much other than me being glad I had Veil of Summer.
There’s always something to learn.
2-0 and I’m 5-5.
I go chat with some friends and then go get the aforementioned steak. Four hundred grams of glorious beef wasn’t enough,though. I take my sweaty ass back to my hotel and pass out very quickly.
ANT did not feel like a bad choice for this tournament. Lots of my losses were little mistakes that I made. I need more practice. Why I do not play more is another story for another time,but I was very happy with my day as I went to sleep with dreams of Vintage the next day.