Sunday, November 20, 2022

Uthden Troll 2022

I usually post my tournament reports a bit earlier, but due to a pretty crazy time at work and some other activities with family and friends I'm a bit late this time. I also take almost no notes and usually post right out of my head, which means my memory has to be reasonably fresh to write with lots of detail. So, less detail this time, but still a lot of pictures of old cardboard to look at. Because of the total lack of time due to work, there was not a lot of time to think about brewing anything new, so I went with the advice Jaap Brouwer gave a while back to play more with the same deck and maybe tune it a bit more. Since I had played with Titania's song a while back this year and the deck felt a lot better than I expected, I decided to take that, make some changes and just see what would happen. I took out the howling mines and added 2 Jayemdae tomes and 1 Jalum Tome. I also put in one extra Titania's song to see if it would go faster towards winning. Since there was no time to really playtest, I ended up with this, which I still find a beauty to behold. I also like playing with it, since you end up with lots and lots of permanents on the board which are pretty to look at. The only downside is that when it does work, it tends to be not a lot of fun for your opponents. So playing this for a long time at every tournament is going to be a no go for me, but I would try it out this time. I did take out Mind Twist and Library, so another gentlemen's brew for Uthden Troll this time. 

Titania version 2 with my new Inquest Life Counter :)

On the day of the tournament Chris came from germany, and we drove the last part of his trip together towards Leeuwarden. After getting stuck in traffic really badly, we feared we might be late. But it turns out that a large tournament takes a lot of organization, and with hickups in the pairing we still had some time to do some talking and, one of my favourite passtimes, trading :) I ended up trading this for my mono green all FBB deck, to put in while I'm still looking for FBB Erhnam Djinns. I also traded a Book of Rass so I can do some more brewing with that.  

FBB Bees for the win :)

The first round I was paired against Bob, who tends to play a pretty fast mono blue deck. So when I got a hand with 1 land after shuffling and rifling my deck plenty of times, I took a mulligan, which cost me a card and made me end up with NO land, so another mulligan, and I ended up with this. 

I just decided to keep it, because the universe was telling me that I would not get any more lands in my opening had, obviously. Bob played a couple of creatures very quickly with sol ring, and I ended up losing without any more lands drawn. 

Well, fuck this, I guess... 

So, not a great opening of the tournament. As noted before I think there might be something in the way I shuffle. I tend to both rifleshuffle multiple times and do a normal shuffle in between, and there are plenty of games were I end up drawing either no lands or 6-7 in a row in games. Perhaps I should just quit rifleshuffling. Some of my opponents think it's weird to rifle an OS deck anyway because of the cards. perhaps they're right. The aweful first mulligan experience made me decide to keep this, since there are 10 blue mana sources in the deck, which means I should get one in the first 5 turns on average. 

Bob his start was less spectacular than the previous round, and I could keep his factory from attacking with relic barrier. 

When a serendib turned up I decided to use my mana disadvantage (still had not drawn new lands by then) to use balance to slow Bob down, hoping he might miss a land drop and give me some more time. 

To further this strategy, I disenchanted his Mox after I drew my first new land and was able to play the Ancestral Recall. 

There was still not a lot to do at the time because I was not drawing that many usefull artifacts, but I decided to transmute for an Icy to add to my Winter Orb. That made me able to lock down pretty badly. 

A bit later a copy artifact and a Jayemdae Tome showed up. Bob decided to scoop soon thereafter to see I he could win 2-1. 

My third opening hand was not spectacular, but playable. If could get the orb in play with the copy, I could probably keep Bob in check for a while. 

Bob had a pretty quick opening, which I was able to slow down later on with an orb and the Abyss. 

I used city in a bottle to get rid of a serendib, to keep the Abyss working and get rid of the Air elemental. That worked pretty well. 

I decided to keep the copy artifact for something more usefull than a Mishra's Factory, and it is a good thing I did. 

I was able to copy a Triskelion to keep Bob from running me over. I was waiting for something like an Icy or Relic Barrier to show up, but that did not happen. In the end we started to exchange blows with the factory, and ended up drawing both on 0 life due to a psionic blast :( 

Okay, a bit less land would have been nice.. 

My second round was not much better on the drawing department. Since there are more mana sources of each color in the deck than actual colored cards, you would expect to be able to play them most of the time, but that was not so in this game. 

After a mulligan, I was stuck on one land, my mox emerald was destroyed. My mox Jet stayed for a while, but only a short while. 

I then got Mind Twisted for 7 with only 2 permanents in play. By then I really felt like "why am I even doing this?" and scooped. 

The second game was a bit better, but still felt really, really slow on producing usefull stuff while my opponent just drew the better cards. It turned out he was playing a lot of artifacts as well, so it was sort of a mirror match. And those tend to get won by the one who draws the better hand :) An Icy and a Jayamdae Tome are just better than a Winter Orb and a Jalum tome :)

A pretty cool situation turned up when my opponent played Titania's song and balance, which destroyed my fellwar stones and winter orb, because I had disenchanted his icy. 

He then drew a Triskelion, while I was drawing some more land and a winter orb, and that finished it off.

My spirits were lifted quite some because I saw Marten playing an artifact deck with Priest of Yawgmoth :) I also tried playing with that some time back, but it was quite aweful. Marten seemed to be doing a bit better. I was happy to see his brew, it looked quite nice!

Round 3

So, with one draw and one loss, I was on my way to the basement, were the lower tables were placed. Getting lower in the ranking meant literally lower in Leeuwarden :) There I met my next opponent, whose first OS tournament this was. Always nice to see new people entering the OS scene! Someone had advised him that playing Red/White was one of the cheaper ways to enter into OS, and so he did. Cheap was relative here, since I also saw him playing a mox, which he actually had bought just the same day. He opened with a classic Savannah Lions. 

My deck had decided to grant me the first playable swords to plowshares of the day, so I got rid of that. I was then burned with some burnspells.  

I waited with playing the Abyss and that took care of some more creatures. I was just doing some tapping with my Icy and trying to get through my deck with Jalum Tome to get to a second Icy or copy artifact, so I could start locking my opponent in. 

That worked eventuall, and we went for a second game. After 2 mulligans, I ended up with this:

My opponent had boarded in blood moon, which is not that bad against this deck, but also not as good as it might seem. He fireballed me to get me down in life, which meant it was a good time to play my Triskelion. 

The Trike was taken care of, but I had boarded in more creatures, and a Serra was doing just fine. He tried to lure me into blocking the Lions so he could play balance, but I was on to that game and just took the damage until I got some Icies. After that I was doing just fine. 

Even with the removal of one Icy, was obviously ahead. But I was still fearing a large fireball or something like that. 

So, on the first opportunity that would get me there, I played Titania's Song with the Lotus, and started hammering harder. That won me the game in the end. So, first win of the day. Finally :)

Round 4. 
On this round I was paired against Wouter, which is always a pleasure. Before we could start though, Anne on the table next to us was off to a quick start. A first turn Juzam, always nice to see!

Go Anne!

I started off with a hand with a lot of mana, and an Abyss. Since Wouter tends to play creature decks, I decided to keep it and see if it would work. Even if he were off to a very quick start, the sol ring and the mox would help me to keep up. 

The first couple of turns were uneventful on both sides. 

After Wouter played his Serra Angel, I put the Abyss in play, hoping he would not have a disenchant. 

Meanwhile on the table next to us, the horror of horrors of the Chaos Orb / Guardian Beast appeared. Did I mention before that Chaos Orb is a stupid card? I think I did, and this makes it even worse than on its own :P

I was patiently waiting for Wouter to bolt me and fireball me so I could play Mirror Universe and Time Walk, when he played wheel of fortune and basically took a set of awesome cards against him from me with one swoop. 

Eh... crap!

This did get me started with some other cards though, like a Jayemdae Tome and an Icy Manipulator, so, all was not lost. After I while I started developing the lots of permanents boardstate that this deck likes. 

That eventually led to the win, so on to game 2. I boarded in the Serra's and the Moats, to see if I could surprise Wouter with that. 

I was a bit low on mana for a while, and wasn't able to play the Serra Angel, while Wouter was destroying my artifacts. And playing black vises, which did some damage. 

After A while I got out my 5th land ans a workshop, which gave me plenty of opportunity to work with. 

Wouter decided to use his disintegrate on the Angel, and gone she was. 

That meant I had to wait, and I put greater realm of preservation into play. And a Tome a couple of turns later. 

Wouter kept destroying my artifacts, like mishra's factory before they could really do someting. And he was on a lot of life, so this would be hard to take care of. 

In a late game play, Wouter destroyed both my COP red and my greater realm of preservation. This seemed bad. I had one Serra to work with, so I attacked with the Serra after switching life totals, and the turn after that I tapped everything, and went for Titania's song. It was a bit of a risk because he could still have swords to plowshares or disenchants, but I figured he would have used them by now, so this should work. 

It did, and I finished off the game with lots of attacking artifacts. 

The sideboarding

After this round, it was time to get something to eat. I had opted to not eat dinner at the hotel, so I could have a walk out of the establishment and go look for something easy to eat. It turned out some of my fellow oldschoolers needed a snack too, so we had the walk together. With Snackbars, food can be pretty bad or pretty good, and this one turned out to be pretty good.

After dinner, it was time for round 5. I was paired against another quick agro/controlish deck, or so I figured after I saw turn 1.

Fortunately, I was able to take out the Efreet, which prompted my opponent to go for a quick refill of his hand with TimeTwister.

What was really great about my opponent was that he had actually put Uthden Trolls in his deck, which he said were not as bad as he had expected. I had them in my deck last year, and I can speak from experience they're pretty okay to play with, I don't really understand why they're not played more often.

I was able to stall my opponent a bit with mishra's factory, which made me able to build up a bit more momentum with artifacts.

He took out several of my artifacts, but eventually the disenchants run out, and I was able to play more and more permanents. Up until the point I thought I would go for it, and played Titania's song with mirror universe in play :) My opponent tried to psionic blast it, and I pointed out it is a 6/6 with the song out. I asked if he wanted to target something else, and he took out my 4/4 icy manipulator. That left me with an option to hammer him with the mirror, which is exactly what this deck likes to do :)

The second game, my opponent was really, really fast.

I was mind twisted for 4 on turn 2, which is something I particularly hated since my deck had one of those runs where I did get a decent land draw. But that was all gone after the mind twist :( God, I hate that card.

I decided to play a couple of more turns, to see if land would show up, otherwise I would just quit this game and go for a third. I was not very happy when I drew I fellwar stone with only one land in play, but fortunately, I was able to play it the next turn with the workshop, and an Icy after that, tot start stalling.

I could stall long enough that I could build up some momentum. Unfortunately, my Serra switch trick had not worked, because my opponent had kept his swords to plowshares in his deck, so most of my creatures were removed pretty quickly. That meant the game took a long time, but in the end, I was able to finish the game with an artifact army.

So, I went into round 6 3-1-1, not that bad. I was at table 9, which meant there would be no chance to reach the top 8, because of time reasons, the organisation had decided to go to top 8 after round 6 instead of 7. The problems with the pairing had taken too much time and that meant the finals would probably be close to midnight even with 6 rounds. I noticed I was playing something resembling the deck during the game, which meant I was in for a long and grindy game.

I got a Jalum Tome working, which meant I could do some sifting through my deck. My opponent played a moat, which meant I would have to get rid of that to not lose. And, I also needed to take care of his tome, so I would have to be very critical on which I used my disenchants. I chose to kill the tome first. My opponent played a Shivan Dragon, which I took care of with my Abyss. He also countered my Jayemdae tome. Bummer.

I tried with winter orb, but that was unfortunately also countered.

Seeing no creatures, my opponent decided to just disintegrate me for 10+

Eventually, I would have to need to try something. So I played two winter orbs and balance, with no cards in my hand to see if he would counter it. He did not. He did have a lot of artifact mana though, so I would have to work hard to keep him locked in.

My mirror Universe was disenchanted, so that was not a good sign. It did mean the winter orbs were still working :)

Then, my opponent tapped out for a braingeyser.

I took my chance I had been waiting for, regrowthed the mirror and played time walk. If only I had had the Titania's song then. But that was not the case.

I had to keep digging through my deck, and them my opponent decided to disenchant my Abyss and play mahamoti djinn. With 3 Icy Manipulators, that was not really a problem.I transmuted for a Jayemdae tome and kept digging.

Just when I had figured out that I would win (I had just 7 cards in my library, and one of them was a disenchant and I would be able to tap his blue mana and use strip mine, so I was certain I would get it through, my opponent asked if we could please, please draw, because he really needed to piss and was really, really tired. He was even willing to concede at that moment. Knowing I would have won and since there was no chance of a top 8, I told him a draw was fine and he could go to the bathroom.

So, after the first 2 round, I thought the deck performed in a horrible fashion, but later on it showed that if you have pretty normal land draws, it actually is quite a force to be reckoned with. It shows it can even beat the deck with a reasonable draw. Not bad. It had been quite a long day by then, so I was not that sorry to not be in the top 8 actually :) Chris needed to drive home after we would have reached my house, which would mean he would have to drive until after midnight. Not a bad moment to drive home then! It was a pleasure as always, thanks to all that showed up, and especially to Ron for organising such a terrific tournament. It was great! Thanks and until next time!

A tourist picture of Chris :)