Obliterating the Competition
For once, I was not forced, coerced, harangued, or harung into a Magic tournament. I went, oh so willingly, into that dark place, willing, excited, and un-alone. With over 50 others I ventured into the corrupted completed remains of Mirrodin, all of us eager for our own little taste of the Completion that New Phyrexia offered us.
May 7th was our pre-release tournament for the last set in the Scars of Mirrodin block of Magic: The Gathering, and I was truly excited. While I should have known better from the last few forays into the Magic Tourney scene, I was absolutely thrilled to be playing. After New Phyrexia was officially announced as the final set of the Scars block I was elated and eager to see it and play with it. And after weeks of waiting it was finally time to play with the set.
Game play started at 11 AM on Saturday the 7th, each participant awaiting the moment they could crack open their three packs of New Phyrexia, as well as their three packs of Scars. I opened my first pack hoping for decent cards for once, and I was disappointed. My first rare of new set was a Soul Conduit. I could read the writing on the walls; I knew where this was going. “Oh well,” I thought, “at least I’ll get a bunch of new cards even if I can’t win anything.” Worried, I opened my next pack. “A Despise, not bad…” I thought as I thumbed my way to the rare. It happened to be a Chancellor of the Dross. I thought it nice; “maybe I’ll play mono-black,” I said to myself. As I opened my last pack of New Phyrexia I was greeted by a Mental Misstep. I looked on for my last rare. As I set eyes on it I quickly made up my mind: I would throw in with the Steel Thanes and go mono-Black. I had just pulled a cute little Phyrexian Obliterator.
While I had decided to go mono-Black, the new Phyrexian Mana opened up a plethora of new possibilities for my 40-card deck. Not only could I include my Mental Misstep but also Mutagenic Growth, Thundering Tanadon, and Corrosive Gale to help my deck out in various situations. It was quite nice consistently hitting with a Mutagenic Growthed Vector Asp for 3 infect on turn two.
While I had a good amount of infect with Corpse Cur, Ichorclaw Myr, and Necropede, the deck had more than enough power to win the normal way with Chancellor of the Dross, Thundering Tanadon, and the Phyrexian Obliterator. The combination of types worked so well that in one game I managed to win both through normal damage and infect on the same turn.
The deck worked quite well, as it would turn out. After some advice from the person who would take first place, I went on to win my first round of the tournament against a player that would take 14th place in three games. I would go on to win a very good three-game match to briefly be 2-0 for once. I was off to better start than I had ever had before. However, it was not to last.
After briefly flying high, I got too close to the sun. I lost in two to the player that would take 4th. This was followed by another loss in three to the 7th place player. At least I was even going into the final two rounds, which was a position I had never been in before. This also meant that for once I wouldn’t have to do a total deck rebuild. It was working, I was simply found lacking.
After winning my fifth match, I was in a position to have a winning record. Truly, I was blessed. If you have read of my other magical misadventures you understand just how thrilled I was. Unfortunately, it was not to be. It simply wasn’t in the stars. I won the first game of my final match, but I was bested in my last two games of the tourney. They were close and could have gone either way depending on the draws, but I lost to the man who would take 13th. Still, I was even on the day, and I had had one of the best showing I have ever had at a tournament. I ended up 22nd out of the 43 who would stay until the end. I was just barely bumped out of the top 20.
First place, who had pulled a mythical Batterskull, walked away with a box of New Phyrexia. The top twenty won anywhere between 24 and 6 packs as well as their choice of any of the new Intro Decks. I won four packs, while even last place went home with three prize packs of New Phyrexia. Everyone who participated also received a promotional copy of Sheoldred, Whispering One.
This was one of the most fun Magic tournaments in which I have participated. This was not only because I actually did well for once, but because New Phyrexia is an extremely fun set to play. Phyrexian Mana cards are a blast to play with and use. They make it feel like you’re cheating the system. Free counter spells? Free (almost) Giant Growth? Or how about getting a six mana trampler for just four? These cards just made the games exceedingly entertaining, and I can’t wait to play more. And I will be.
Next week you will be reading about my exploits at our triple New Phyrexia Midnight Draft as well as our Release tournament. I just hope I don’t go back to embarrassing myself on a regular basis.