Sunday, March 17, 2019

Camel Trophy I - a report by Carl

Another tournament at our northern neighbours of the Netherlands. Antoine and I
left at 8:30 for the two-hour drive to Arnhem to attend the first Camel Trophy,
organised by Bjorn. This location is a bit further for us than the one in
Eindhoven (where the Draconian Cylix events are held), more time to chat...
Twenty-five players showed up, a nice turnout. Swedish rules, but reprints
allowed. I took the same deck as two days before in Brugge: Good stuff played by
Kalle Nord at n00bcon X. With 20 restricted cards, this choice cannot be wrong.
Five Swiss rounds followed by top 8 single elimination.

Round 1: Edo Hoksbergen - R/W Atog
Edo keeps a somewhat ketchy hand, attacks turn two with a Factory that gets
Shattered, and is stuck at two lands, another Factory and a Mountain. I don't
help him with a Strip Mine on the second Factory after he has played an Atog. I
then plop an Erhnam and a Su-Chi. I counter his Balance (cast from a Lotus),
then Power Sink his Chaos Orb, and he is soon dead.
Game 2 is more interesting, as he plays turn 1 Mana Vault, turn 2 Su-Chi and
manages to hit me twice before I can Disenchant it (my only change from Kalle's
deck: replaced Tranquility from the sideboard; well, I also took out the two
Sharks for 2 extra Black Vise). Edo forces me to counter another thread, then
casts Wheel of Fortune and the dreaded Blood Moon hits. Luckily, I received a
sweet seven and cast Lotus, Erhnam Djinn, Su-Chi, Mox Sapphire, Time Walk. Hit
Edo for 8 down to 9 (he took some City of Brass damage). He plays a Juggernaut
to trade, then a second one. I have a Psionic Blast to finish him off.
2-0, 3 points.

Round 2: Peter Bondhuis - The Deck
Peter opens with Mishra's Factory, Mox Emerald, Mox Ruby, Ivory Tower. I Mana
Drain his Jayemdae Tome, use the mana to play Sylvan Library, and Regrowth on
the Mana Drain. He plows a Factory of mine, then I play Erhnam Djinn which goes
all the way.
Game 2, Peter plays a Tundra, then Ancestral in my upkeep. He Mind Twists my
hand away and plays a Tome, but I topdeck Chaos Orb to get rid of it.
Unfortunately, Peter has a Tome #2, then he plays The Hive and starts the
beating. I try to mount an offense with 2 Su-Chi and Wheel of Fortune, but it
doesn't save me. I die with Peter at 3 life.
These games have taken some time (backbiters would say I play slowly), so we
have no time to play the third game.
1-1, 4 points.

Round 3: Thomas Meddens - R/W Tron prison
I already had the occasion to play Thomas (with another Tron variation), I am
glad to play him again, he is a very friendly fellow. I open hand with Strip
Mine and Mishra's Factory (no coloured mana), but good spells (Walk, Regrowth),
so I keep it and have a slow start. Thomas cannot put pressure on either. I hit
him once with a Djinn before City in a Bottle hits. I am able to get rid of it
thanks to a timely Chaos Orb. I twister once, then a second time, taking some
extra turns in the process, then burn Thomas to death.
I am lucky to have Library of Alexandria in my opening hand of the next game,
Thomas has Howling Mine and Relic Barrier to make it even. I kill his Relic
Barrier so that Thomas would be kind enough to let me benefit from the Mine, but
he has another Barrier. I play an Erhnam, he drops a Su-Chi which soon becomes
forestwalk, so Thomas attacks with it, but I can block it since I don't have any
Forest in play. The blocking Djinn is sent farming. I play a second Djinn,
Thomas attacks, I block, the Su-Chi dies, then Thomas plays a Triskelion to kill
the Djinn, I Drain it, Thomas REBs it, but I have the BEB to make sure Erhnam
doesn't die. I hit him for 6 (Factory), then he plays a Su-Chi. I cast Hurkyl's
Recall on him, and hit him for 8 (a second Factory joined the team), then
Psionic Blast + Lightning Bolt to finish the job.
2-0, 7 points.

Round 4: Robbie Van Bakel - G/W/u
Robbie has a strong start with Lotus, land, Erhnam Dijnn. I also play a Djinn.
Robbie hits me once, then I hit back, Time Walk, Regrowth the Time Walk. I play
a Sylvan Library. Robbie has 3 Elves into play, but he can't chump block as my
Djinn has Forestwalk. Robbie Disenchants the Sylvan Library, but I had the
occasion to put Fireball on the top, so the Djinn hits once more and a 4-point
Fireball does the trick.
Robbie has another good start with Tropical Island, Mox Sapphire, Sylvan
Library. I play land, Mox, Mox, Fellwar Stone, meaning I am able to counter his
second turn Ice Storm (Robbie took 8 to get two extra cards from the Library). I
play Erhnam Djinn in my second turn, then another one turn 3. Despite a Time
Walk, Robbie can't find removal and concedes.
2-0, 10 points.

Round 5: Antoine Rottiers - U/W/b Cermak attack
Antoine is the only one with 4-0, we should both reach the top 8, so this game
is rather laid-back.
He has a great start with turn 1 Ancestral, turn 2 LoA. Fortunately, I am able
to Mind Twist him for 3 (Timetwister, Serendib Efreet and Su-Chi), so his
Library is useless. He plays Savannah Lions and Mishra's Factory. I play a Djinn
but it meets Chaos Orb. Antoine plays a Su-Chi which is kind enough to come to
play on my side thanks to Control Magic. I play a Su-Chi on my own, Strip his
Maze of Ith and both Su-Chi go to town.
There is not much action in the early second game, I Shatter a Sol Ring. When I
hit 6 mana, I Time Walk, then Tutor for Mind Twist for 5, getting 3 Su-Chi,
Disenchant and Braingeyser, Antoine keeps two cards in hand. He then Mind Twists
me back for 4, I keep two cards. I Control Magic his Serra, hit him before he
Disenchants the CM. We trade his Serra vs my Su-Chi, but my 3 Factories to his
one are enough to kill him.
2-0, 13 pointes.

I am seeded first in the Top 8, Antoine is second.

Quarter finals: Jeff Nijs - B/W
It is the first time I meet Jeff, very kind person and good sport. There is not
much action in the first turns besides two Bolts on his Mishra's Factory and
Hypnotic Specter. Two of my Erhams get plowed. I play Time Walk and Timetwister
after a Library of Alexandria. I Tutor for Mind Twist and Jeff dumps his hand in
the graveyard, somewhat frustrated since he had his own Mind Twist. He concedes
when I Control Magic his Sengir Vampire.
Game 2, I Psi blast away his Vampire, then Jeff casts Balance with two cards in
hand (I keep Control Magic and Mishra's Factory). His second Vampire comes on my
side, soon joined by a Djinn. Jeff cannot cope with that.

Semi-finals: Bjorn Stemerdink - G/W/U
When I play a second turn Fellwar Stone, Bjorn Drains it, leaving me with only a
Volcanic Island untapped. He then casts Mind Twist for 5, the number of cards I
was holding... I rip Wheel of Fortune from the top of my library to attempt a
comeback, but Bjorn plays Armageddon (getting rid of my Strip Mine), then plays
his LoA. I cannot beat the card advantage despite a triple bolt (off a Lotus) on
his Erhnam and Lions.
Game 2 sees Bjorn on the offense with an aggressive Balance with two cards in
hand (I have to discard my Balance), followed by an Erhnam Djinn (answered by my
Su-Chi) and Serendib Efreet. I am holding a Demonic Tutor that I hold rather
than going for the obvious Ancestral Recall. After a second Dib hit, Bjorn casts
Braingeyser for 4. I finally get my sixth mana. I attack with Forestwalking
Su-Chi but since Bjorn has no Forest, he blocks it happily. I am then able to
Tutor for Regrowth to get Balance back, getting rid of his two creatures and his
hand in the process (we both have 3 lands, one of mine being a Factory). Bjorn
topdecks a Serendib Efreet, followed by Plowshares for my Factory. Both of us
don't draw much in the following turns, and I die to the Efreet. I am midly
disappointed after this devastating Balance, but this is Magic.

So I finish at the third place and watch Antoine beat Bjorn to take the first
Camel Trophy.
Congrats to Antoine, thanks to Bjorn for another successful tournament, and to
my opponents for an enjoyable day.