Sometimes on the Arena Beta Forums, people will complain that the draft format rotates, i.e. it’s not always the most recent set. I can see their side of things but now that I’ve been through a few of these cycles I will definitely say that I prefer the rotation as opposed to always playing the most recent set. By the time you’re sick of a format, it switches to something else and that’s great! Now, of course, you will probably have played all of the formats in the rotation several times each, so it’s not like drafting Ixalan in September 2018 is especially novel but do I think the change keeps things a little more interesting.
The rotation just came back around to Rivals-Ixalan today and I ranched my way to 7-0 with this pile. Please do note it’s a 42-card special:
I had one especially sweet game where I stabilized at 1 life and went on to win, drawing hella cards with Kumena’s Awakening. I never chose to transform the Dowsing Dagger, I always played it as a +2/+1 equipment with a drawback. Pairs well with fliers and Slippery Scoundrels.
It’s been a while since I’ve had anything worthwhile to report coming out of a tourney but the sun has shined on a dog’s behind once again, so here’s my rundown of the HobbyBear Open – Summer 2018 here in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Once again we had a playmat with original art by Ron Spencer, that will line up with the next event’s playmat to create a panorama. I have religiously attended all of these, I’m very grateful to have something like this here in Lincoln. Attendance was not amazing this time around, 54 players, but that may have been partly due to it being Husker football’s opening day – which incidentally was cancelled due to lightning.
But anyway, here’s the playmat art, along with my MVPs:
I, of course, played Ponza. I just can’t help myself. I actually do own the cards for other, better decks but you gotta listen to your heart my dudes.
HobbyBear Open (2018-09-01)
Round 1 vs Burn: My maindeck Scavenging Oozes start ruling the day at the outset. Opponent maybe had a suboptimal draw, but gaining a few life with an Ooze and presenting a blocker out that wasn’t gonna get mugged by a prowess’d up Monastery Swiftspear was great. I guess the one tight play I made here was resolving Chandra, Flamecaller when opp had 2x Monastery Swiftspear on board, 1 untapped Mountain and 1 card in hand. I had the sense to minus-3 on Chandra to play around a prowess trigger if he had Lightning Bolt. After that, I think opp misinterpreted who was the beatdown and I closed it up. (1-0)
Round 2 vs BridgeVine: This deck is sick, if you thought the Hollow One decks were nuts, think again. Luckily opp didn’t have very explosive draws and my maindeck Scoozes showed up on time. (2-0)
Round 3 vs BridgeVine: Same deck, but this time he had superior draws. Here’s an example of me pwning myself by being too clever. My sideboard had a 3x split of Anger of the Gods, Sweltering Suns and Slagstorm. The reasoning here is that against the Humans deck, which is a clear Tier One deck, they have Meddling Mages so you can “get ’em” if they name Anger of the Gods. Well, I lost a game here against BridgeVine where I cast a Sweltering Suns that I maybe could have gotten if that was an Anger of the Gods instead. (2-1)
Round 4 vs Storm: Game 1, he goes off; whatever, it’s Storm. I did hear from a separate local Storm master that he lost his mirror against this opp because the dude had a Quicken to go off at instant speed. Clever. Games 2 & 3 I found my hate and got there.
I did receive my first-ever Game Rule Violation at Comp REL, though, which kind of put me on tilt. It was Game 3 and I had a Trinisphere in play, so on-board I was kind of locking opp out. We go to my turn, after I had fetched, so opponent had cut/shuffled my deck. Opponent has placed my deck back on my side with the open-end of my sleeves pointed toward me, whereas I always orient my deck with the open-end of the sleeves pointed away from me. So, when I go to draw for my turn, my thumb hits open-ended sleeves and I accidentally see the second-from-top card of my deck. I’m very grateful that a judge happened to be literally standing right behind me at the time, so we called him immediately and we resolved it. I went on to close it out, and on-board with the Trinisphere it was quasi-over already so I’m glad I didn’t, for example, topdeck a win after being forced to shuffle for the GRV. (3-1)
Round 5 vs Green Tron: Okay, there’s this guy, Chandler, from out of town who I run into often when we happen to be in the same events. Super cool guy, he’s very quick with a laugh, like I am, so we have fun. Anyway, this guy ALWAYS RANCHES ME. I swear it’s like runner-runner-runner win-and-in’s and I happen to get paired against Chandler and he always kills me. On paper, you think the Blood Moon deck should be well-positioned against Tron. NOPE. Chandler just ultra-nuts me, turn 3 Karn Liberated while I mull to oblivion. It is what it is. If it has to happen this way, I’m glad it’s Chandler since he’s a legit cool guy. (3-2)
Round 6 vs Mardu Pyromancer: In a sane world, I’d be dead at this point but happily this was a field of gamers who came to game, and nobody was drawing. I got paired against a dude who was 3-1-1 and everyone up the line seemed to be playing so my fate was in my own hands. Maindeck Scooze worked this dude over, it was pretty sick. Eat your Lingering Souls? Cool. I think I misplayed by casting a Blood Moon off of a Bloodbraid Elf, turning off my own Kessig Wolf Run, but it was kind of a coin-toss type of decision. You might Stone Rain their basic Swamp and permanently take them off of black mana. (4-2)
I squeaked in at 8th place and, frankly, I was thrilled with that. I would have voted “yes” on the Top 8 split but my opponent, the 1 Seed, no sir’d it. Hey, respect, there’s too much wimpy splitting in Magic.
Quarterfinals vs Humans: Game 1, opp brutalizes me with the nuts. Multiple Mantis Riders and a Thalia’s Lieutenant and whatever else. Hey, that deck’s great. Game 2 we both mull but I have a hand with turn-2 Bloodbraid Elf. I cascade into Tireless Tracker and follow up with Chandra, Flamecaller. Turns out 6-mana planeswalkers are good, assuming you resolve them. Game 3 opponent has a bad mull – and I’ll be honest, this guy is way better than me, I need to catch some lucky breaks. So, opp mulls, his hand’s not great. I mess up and show him that I have Blood Moon when I try to cast it for 3 mana while he has Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in play. Whoops. So, next turn he casts Meddling Mage, naming Blood Moon. I Abrade the Meddling Mage and then stick my Blood Moon. I subsequently have my 2nd Abrade for the late-to-the-party Aether Vial he’s cast, and that sews it up.
Top 4 votes to chop the pot, and I’m happy with that. I love this maindeck configuration and the sideboard is good – but maybe it should just be 3x Anger of the Gods instead of my cutesy split. Holla.
At least one embarrassing game where I could have ended it with a Lightning Strike to the dome. Whoops.
Currently in the Beta, Magic Arena is rotating draft formats on a weekly basis. Last week was Amonkhet-Hour, which is a garbage format that I don’t like, yet I spewed a bunch of gems on it anyway because I’m a draft addict. But whatever. Back to Dominaria for this week, one of the best formats in years. Here’s the last few matches of my first draft of the week. I’ll spoil the ending and say I kind of crapped out. A little disappointing, since my deck was okay and I had outs in most situations. I guess I came out slightly ahead on entry so what can I really complain about?
Let me know in the comments how the audio sounds – i.e. can you hear the voice over the music okay? I’m trying to get all that figured out. My dehumidifier may have been running in the basement as I recorded…