FNM Report, 3/26/2010

I had really no time at all to think about or test out a new deck for this week’s FNM at Montag’s, so I just grabbed a deck that I had together, which was Boss Naya. Here’s the listing:

Creatures (23)
1 Scute Mob
3 Bird of Paradise
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Noble Hierarch
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Ranger of Eos
3 Bloodbraid Elf
2 Baneslayer Angel
2 Stoneforge Mystic

Other spells (11)
3 Lightning Bolt
1 Path to Exile
2 Ajani Vengeant
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Behemoth Sledge
2 Oblivion Ring

Land (24)
5 Forest
2 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Arid Mesa
2 Raging Ravine
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Rootbound Crag

1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Behemoth Sledge
4 Cunning Sparkmage
2 Dauntless Escort
1 Goblin Guide
2 Manabarbs
1 Celestial Purge
1 Bloodbraid Elf

I swapped a Celestial Purge in the board for an O Ring. Frankly, for a better Jund matchup I think if I play this again I’ll drop the sideboard Ranger for another Purge.

Round 1: Joey, playing WW/r
I actually didn’t see any red at all in the first game, and very little overall.

Game 1: This was short. He had the nuts opening, Lynx-Fetch-Fetch more little dudes, and I was just never able to stabilize.

Game 2: In went the Sparkmages with the extra Collar and Mystic. I got an early Nacatl, we traded some blows (he did get one Fetch-powered Lynx hit in before I got the Bolt). I ended up being land flooded, but I had a Raging Ravine and the 3/3 Nacatl and he could only manage bears, and the Ravine eventually was swinging for 8, and went the distance.

Game 3: Early Nacatl with both a Plains and a Mountain again for me, early Firewalker for him. He tapped out for a Sigil for 3. On the following turn, he pulled a counter to equip it on a Kor Duelist he had just cast; I bolted it in response. He then tried to equip it on the Firewalker, which I Pathed in response. Nice dead Sigil. I had a clear board and next turn dropped a Bloodbraid (I don’t remember what the cascade was), brought him to 9, and he didn’t draw answers.

Matches 1-0, games 2-1.

Round 2: Parker, playing WW
White Weenie hasn’t been particularly popular at this store, so I was surprised to see two in a row.

Game 1: I got a second-turn Nacatl and followed up with a Knight of the Reliquary, beat down his smaller dudes down to 10, then he ran Day, which I expected; I was holding a Ranger back. I cast the Ranger, got more Nacatls, and they carried the day.

Game 2: In went the usual anti-creature package: Sparkmages, extra Collar, This was a great drawn-out battle. I had an early BoP and a Knight, however, he had some early dudes as well and an O Ring for the Knight. I got double Sparkmage (but no collar), which kills everything I had seen from his deck except Firewalkers. I wasn’t drawing much else I could use at the time, but I got to double-ping him for two turns before he cleared things out with a Day, and I O Ringed a Firewalker. I knew it was coming, but the real problem with it was not that I lost threats, but I lost the BoP, which was my only source of white… and I had both Baneslayers in hand. He cast a White Knight and a Mystic, and had a Machete from earlier in the game, so now he also had a Collar. However, I drew a Plains and then a Mystic, so I had a Collar as well. Then then he cast a Baneslayer. I still had only one white, but got a Ranger and fetched a Nacatl and a Hierarch so I could get WW. His equipped Angel beat me down to 2, but then my comeback started with my own Angel and a Path for his. (He had a Path or an O Ring for my first Angel but I had the second.) I just had bigger and better dudes and was gaining obscene amounts of life, and won at like 35 life.

Matches 2-0, games 4-1.

Round 3: Tony, playing Open the Vaults
Tony is a strong player and we played a great match two weeks ago, with his Junk deck edging out my Grixis build. I thought he was playing Bant based on some cards he was getting prior to the match, but I was wrong. I actually really like this deck a lot, but I don’t have the cards for it.

Game 1: I realized I was wrong when he cycled a Glassdust Hulk right away. I had my turn 1 Nacatl beating away off the top and just drew gas so I killed him before he got to the 6 mana he needed to Open those vaults.

Game 2: I wasn’t sure exactly what to sideboard for this matchup. I assumed he was running Day and/or Coup, so I put in the extra Ranger and Bloodbraid as well as the Escorts, and also sided in Manabarbs. One of the Manabarbs slipped out while I was shuffling and Tony groaned. I again drew early gas (multiple fetches and a Terramorphic for my early Knight) and he missed his third-turn land drop, so I had no fear of Day for a couple turns, so I ran out more guys and rushed him, again killing him before he could get to six land.

Matches 3-0, games 6-1. These were both really fast games so I had some time to kill between rounds.

Round 4: Carlos, playing Eldrazi Green with Red for some burn and BBEs
We were only playing 4 rounds before top 8, and Carlos wanted to draw, which was fine with me.

Quarterfinals: Dave, playing… Jund
Well, I couldn’t avoid it all day, could I? Dave was new to the store, and his girlfriend was with him, and she didn’t make the top 8 and she was very clear about her desire to leave, but he wanted to play.

Game 1: I got a Nacatl on the second turn (my only green source was a Ravine, so I had to wait until turn 2) but no mountain, so it was only a 2/2, and just looked stupid on the third turn when he dropped a Thrinax. I eventually had to burn the Thrinax when he got a second one, and somewhere in there I got Blightning’d and a Bloodbraid and then he got a Siege-Gang Comander, and I died to tokens. An Ajani Vengeant made it take a smidge longer, but barely delayed the inevitable. Bleah. He got all 4 Maelstrom Pulses in this game, too.

Game 2: I know the standard thing to do is not bring in the Sparkmages/Mystic/Collar package, but I decided to buck conventional wisdom and tried bringing it in, along with the one Purge. I also brought in the extra Sledge. I opened with a Hierarch, but he Terminated that on his second turn. I managed to O Ring a Thrinax and later Pathed another, but that was after he had hit me with Blightning, to which I pitched a Bolt and a Collar, but kept the Baneslayer. The reason I pitched the Collar was that I had a Mystic, so I ran that for another Collar. We had kind of a stalemated board position (I couldn’t cast the Baneslayer, not enough land), and we had traded some hits, but then he cast a Broodmate. Grr. I took a whack from the dragons, but got a Sledge on a Nacatl (I also had a Ranger and Bloodbraid on the board), and had a Hierarch, so I could swing and get some good life points back, and then I got the last land for a Baneslayer, and that turned the tide.

Game 3: I had a 2/2 Nacatl on the board and on his turn 4 he dropped Garruk and made a token. I had no real answer to that—my Sparkmage was just not it—and the following turn he used Garruk to untap lands and cast I don’t remember what, because the memory of it was crushed by what happened on his turn 6. He cast… another Garruk. What? OK, I said, that’s great, they both die. He was confused, because he didn’t know the rule about that. He wanted to take it back. I felt kind of bad about it because he obviously really didn’t know, and if it had been in the Swiss I probably would have, but in the third game in the top 8 I was unwilling. He got really huffy when I wouldn’t let him, and next turn I Bloodbraided into a Hierarch and he just scooped in frustration. Now, I’m sure he thought I was a jerk for not letting him take it back, but that seems like a pretty basic rule to me. I think in the top 8 with actual money on the line that’s a rule players should be expected to know. Plus, his girlfriend seemed pleased that she wouldn’t have to wait any more, so I’m sure it wasn’t a total loss for him.

Matches 4-0-1, games 8-2.

Semifinals: Dustin, playing Vampires
Dustin is a regular and a very cool guy and I felt like this was a good matchup, so I figured it would be fun. Joe, playing Jund, had won the other semi and requested a draw in the finals and a split of the prizes. As we were shuffling up for game 2 I realized that the reason Joe was asking was that he wanted to leave, so Dustin and I agreed that whoever won would draw with him, so Joe took his half of the take and split.

Game 1: This was an awful game. Dustin got a turn 2 Bloodghast (that’s actually an annoyance for Naya) but got stuck on two land, and I had an early Nacatl and then a 4/4 Knight, so this was over in just a couple minutes.

Game 2: In went the usual Sparkmages/Collar/Mystic package, with a Purge for good measure. I also sided out all my planeswalkers, since they suck vs. Hexmages. This was another really long game. I took a hand with marginal land but with a BoP. He had no 2-drop but his 3-drop was a kicked Gatekeeper, killing whatever dude I had out, and he followed that with another kicked Gatekeeper that killed my Bird. He just kept drawing answers for every threat I drew. A Nacatl died to a Feast of Blood, a Knight died to a Smother (that’s pretty good), and I had to O Ring one of the Gatekeepers just to keep my life total from being super ugly. Something else died to another Feast, but I did get a Mystic for a Collar. I also got a Bloodbraid into an O Ring, which ended up on a Gatekeeper, but I couldn’t swing with the elf because I needed blockers. He dropped a Hexmage which made the elf even less useful. He tried to Smother the BBE, but then realized it couldn’t die to Smother—one of the few in Boss Naya that doesn’t. He dropped another Hexmage and I had to kill it, so I ran out a Sparkmage and pinged one, and of course he Smothered it. He got a Nighhawk and I got a Ranger into two Nacatls, though after one whack with a Nighthawk I was at 5 life and he was at 25 life. I got another Collar, though, and collared up both Nacatls and managed to keep my life total at a reasonable numbe, so then he cast a Persecutor. Hey, that’s no Vampire! But, I topdecked a Baneslayer, which was good because he had just put down a second Persecutor. That was pretty good, but I couldn’t really attack, because the swing back with the two Persecutors was not a race I could win down by 20 life. However, I ripped another Sparkmage, Collared it up, and that was the difference.

Obviously, no real match in the finals.

Matches 5-0-2, games 10-2. That’s a pretty good night! I converted my store credit into a couple Maelstrom Pulses (I have none, and I kind of want to try playing Junk) and some super-secret tech for Extended for GP Houston, which is coming up soon!

Boss Naya is both fun to play and a really good deck against most of the field… but it’s generally not a good matchup against Jund. You can’t expect to dodge Jund all day in a serious tournament, so I’m not surprised that it was only 10% of the field at the Open in Indy. I think the board needs a couple more Purges and then maybe it’ll be better in games 2 and 3, but that’ll make the deck weaker against the U/W control decks, which I was also very lucky to dodge at FNM because several people were playing that as well. Hard to know.