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Apocalypse PR Tourney report
By Cory Braiterman
Apocalypse Pre-Release at Neutral Ground NY

Nice crowded hall of 250 some-odd magical players… what could smell or look worse? Adding myself to the mix, of course =) I basically just chatted and conversed with your assorted mix of New Yorkers for a while, because New Yorkers are, of course, the best people in the world. One good trend I've noticed lately is that there is a little more diversity than you've normally seen from the mostly White and Asian males that tend to make up NG NY. While we waited to get our decks, I was talking with a Latino teenage couple (maybe early twenties), a 12-year-old Asian kid, and a fellow who appeared to be of some mixed middle-eastern & African descent - now if only we could improve the lack of females in this, then we might have some social progress - there were about five females in the entire room, not including the random Mom or three checking in on Timmy, Power Gamer.
I finally got my packs and starter and at the appointed time, started ripping. Desolation Giant! Ghitu Fire! Death Grasp! Spectral Link! Exotic Curse! Tribal Flames!!! Aaaarrrrrrrggggg, I wanted this deck back so badly! It looked to be such a good house to play around in, but it was not meant to be. As I get my deck to play with, I look at the sheet and see a brand spanking new Dromar along with an Armadillo Cloak! Oh me, oh my… I missed it on the sheet, but my day was immediately brightened by a nice Absorb to fit in with Dromar! Money cards and an above average deck… this didn't look to be that bad at all… I can win 3 games with this pile, I think…

My deck.

-Green
Canopy Surge (SO good… won me 4 games as a finisher)
Jade Leech
Nomadic Elf
Penumbra Kavu
Quirion Elves (foil) =)
Quirion Sentinel
Urborg Elf

-Blue
Coastal Drake
Exclude
Fact or Fiction
Living Airship
Tower Drake

-Black
Dead Ringers (not that good, got SB'ed out fairly often)
Nightscape Apprentice

-White
Coalition Honor Guard (I LUB THIS GUY)

-Gold
Absorb
Armadillo Cloak
Consume Strength
Death Mutation (generally not too good… 8 mana is far too much)
Dromar, the Banisher
Fungal Shambler
Galina's Knight

-Land
Irrigation Ditch
5 Islands
5 Forests
4 Plains
3 Swamps

-Notable Sideboard cards and Decent Cards I didn't play
Samite Ministration
Tranquil Path (Made play of the day) =)
Slinking Serpent
Glimmering Angel
Shivan Emissary
Scorching Lava
Captain's Maneuver
Degavolver

I figured with a little luck and some good draws 3-2 was definitely attainable - It had a fairly high mana curve AND four colors, so I went with 18 lands - the curve was:

1. 1
2. 5
3. 6
4. 5
5. 2
6. 1
7. 1
8. 1

Pretty poor Curve there, so I knew that 18 lands would come in handy during the course of the day. Mana was never really a problem at all until the final match, and I was almost never annoyed at drawing a land.

The kid next to me opened a Foil Teferi's Moat and didn't get it back (ouch).

Round 1 - Jimmy Shih - R/G/B
1) He played a Bloodfire Dwarf and started swinging it at me while I kind of sat around playing Draw-Go… Then turn 5 rolled around and I untapped the Irrigation Ditch to play Dromar… mise. He Plague Spore'd a Nomadic Elf, but I ended up killing him on turn 8 by Cloaking the Dromar - LOL
2) Slightly more interesting than the game 1 stomping… he played out a number of small, efficient creatures like Necra Disciple, Yavimaya Barbarian, Llanowar Dead as he started chipping my life away. I tried to keep up by saccing the Ditch to bring out the Quirion Elves naming blue, follows by a Nomadic Elf to trade with the Barbarian. Glimmering Angel ended up serving 3 times before I had to Death Mutation it to give me 4 tokens… Life was looking pretty grim as he got out a Fires of Yavimaya (!), Kicked Urborg Skeleton, although a Bloodfire Dwarf got Excluded to slow down the bleeding and I Cloaked up a Token, Penumbra (really frikkin large) Wurm came into play and beat me over the head along with a Meteor Storm and a Soul Burn to finish it.
3) I Sided in the Samite Ministration to take care of Burn and any Wurm Tokens. And the Tranquil Path to take care of Fires or Storm - little did I know how much it would help. He dropped the Dwarf again to start chipping away, which was halted by a Galina's Knight - he forgot it was pro-red and he ran it into it and sacced it before I pointed out the goof; one for none card advantage works for me. Turn 4, I Quirion Sentinel'ed into a Nomadic Elf to match his Llanowar Dead. He used a kicked Shivan Emissary on the Elf, but turn 5 saw Dromar again - LET THE BEATINGS BEGIN! He plays Pernicious Deed…
Oh
My
God
=(
Karma smiles upon me however… Who topdecks Tranquil Path when their opponent has three mana open? Wow did that save my bacon… He played a Meteor Storm after that, but it was far too late as Dromar went to town.

1-0 (2-1)

Round 2 - John Chou - G/B/R

He mulliganed to start it off as I announced my intention to Draw. It started off rather mundane as he layed an Urborg Elf and then attempted to play Trench Wurm, which got Excluded. I layed out a Tower Drake and a Nightscape Apprentice, while he matched with a Kicked Pouncing Kavu. He got out more good creatures like Ancient Kavu, and a Battery Token, but Living Airship with Cloak on it ended his party. Penumbra Kavu joined in to shore up my defense and Canopy Surge finished the job.
Game 2 was fairly poor as he got stuck on 2 Forests until turn 5. Then for insult: 3 Forests 'til turn 7 and his fourth land was also a Forest! However I couldn't do much other than peck at him with a Quirion Elves and the Apprentice. He had to discard Consume Strength and a Phyrexian Rager before he could stabilize. I played a Coastal Drake and John obliged by playing a Rooting, Pouncing and Tundra Kavu that game - I spent a lot of time bouncing stuff back and forth from his hand. He did lay out a bunch of green weenies like Trailblazer and Urborg Elf, which I promptly used Dead Ringers on. I was able to Absorb a Consume Strength and once again, Dromar hit the board to seal it.

2-0 (4-1)

Round 3 - Derek Davidson - G/B/W

He went first, but I got the first creature on the table with a first turn Nightscape Apprentice. Llanowar Dead trumped that, but on turn 3 I sacced the Ditch to bring out a turn 3 5/5 Jade Leech (savage grin). He wiped that smirk away right quick by Annihilating it the next turn (savage frown). He got out a number of really good creatures including Kavu Climber and 2 Penumbra Bobcats. My Penumbra Kavu took out his Climber and I was able to stabilize for a bit by Excluding a kicked Duskwalker. Rassa-frassin Urborg Uprising brought back the Climber and Walker and brought another frown to my face. Then the MVP of the day, Dromar hit the table and made life all the better. I Death Mutationed his Climber and won by playing Consume Strength on the one blocker he had out - 8/8 Dromar and 5 Sap tokens did the exact 13 damage needed to win.
This next game showcased the almighty power of the Coalition Honor Guard! We both did nothing for a few turns other than drop lands. Then on turn 3, I took out the Tower Drake, followed by the Guard on 4 and Cloaking the Drake up on turn 5! Drake swung like a madman as he had to use his Annihilate (his one targeted removal spell, as he admitted) on the Guard. He thought he had balanced it out by playing a kicked Faerie Squadron, but Dromar changed the odds dramatically. As chants of MVP rose across the table, Dromar and Drake administered the Shaq and Kobe liked beatings.

3-0 (6-1) - uh… wasn't I worried about getting 3-2?

Round 4 - Johnson Wong (no, I could NOT make that name up) - W/R/B

After I complimented him on his name, we set up for the round to decide if anyone would get packs. This looked to be a relatively even matchup as he seemed to have some good answers for my creatures. Tower Drake was met by Manacles of Decay; Penumbra Kavu and later Jade Leech were met by the same Shackles (although he tapped out at one point and I used the Nightscape to bounce the Leech and bury the Shackles). Fungal Shambler, Coastal Drake and the replayed Leech were far too much for his Viashino Grappler, Tundra Kavu and Putrid Warrior.
Game 2 was rather stupid as he kept a one-land hand with Plains and the Dega Disciple. He was stuck on 1 land until turn 5 and by then I had out Coastal Drake and had Fact or Fictioned for a Plains and the Surge, discarding Dead Ringers a Forest and an Island. I Cloaked up the Drake and swung a couple of times before it got Ordered, but Living Airship, with an Honor Guard out to protect it helped me win it sealed off by the Surge.

4-0 (8-1)

Round 5- Jon Sonne - R/G/U

I really wanted to draw it out to get the 2/3 of a box and play in the last field event of the day, but he wouldn't do it =(
Game one was rather savage on both ends… I only played 7 spells according to my notes, but turn 2 Nomadic Elf that got Cloaked got him down to 4 and me up to 38 before anything interesting happened… He made some questionable plays, like Quicksilver Dagger on a Razorfin Hunter and taking when he FoF'ed, he took 3 lands and a Nomadic Elf (when he already had 4 lands in play) instead of the highly broken Illuminate. He was laying out all kinds of decent little men like Nomadic Elf, Rooting Kavu (which took out the Cloaked Nomad), Penumbra Kavu, and Coastal Drake. He pinged me a couple times before I drew a 6th land to cast Dromar. I figured it was over as he could chump with the Drake once and then he would die horribly. He ran the Drake into the dragon, then Iced him the next turn and Yavimaya Embraced him the turn after that! This was fairly bad, but he was at only four life and he couldn't really use Dromar's ability without bouncing it back to my hand. Feeling very confident, I peeled off a card and announced that "I'll topdeck Canopy Surge for the win, thanks."
Game 2 saw some of the most asinine odds I've ever witnessed in my life. What are the odds that in a 41 card deck (I Sb'ed out the Mutation and Dead Ringers and added in Tranquil Path, Samite Ministration and Slinking Serpent to go up to 41, before anyone asks.) with 18 lands that by turn 10, the ONLY lands you see are the ONLY 4 Plains and the ONLY 3 Swamps in the deck? 41 cards, 17 cards deep, you get ALL THREE of the same kind of one card and ALL FOUR of the other kind… million to one or so? If anyone feels like figuring it out, I'd be interested in hearing how unlikely it is. Needless to say I lost 20-0.
Game 3 started out the exact goddamn same way, as I had to discard Jade Leech and Absorb before I could stabilize and get some mana out. I Sentinel'ed out into an Urborg Elf, cast Consume Strength on a Coastal Drake, allowing my Sentinel to take out his Savage Gorilla - but he Jilted his Gorilla after the damage went on the stack… oh well, 2 cards for 2 cards when his were a bounce spell and a flier compared to a random 2/1 and the removal spell doing what it was designed to do. Honor Guard protected my Cloaked Nomad for a bit until he Illuminated it plus the blue kicker. The Gorilla and a Dream Thrush chumped the Elf after I smacked him around a bit with it. He FoF'ed for the following piles, 2 Mountain + Dodecapod and Temporal Spring and Penumbra Kavu - he took the lands and the Pod, which got Excluded when he tried to cast it.
The midgame was rather uneventful as he layed out a bunch of creatures, drew lots of cards with Quicksilver Dagger, and went through nearly his entire library. I had played a Dromar, Slinking Serpent, FoF'ing for Penumbra Kavu over 3 lands and a Quirion Elves, and playing Fungal Shambler. Finally with 2 cards in his library, he Worldly Counsel's to get the Yavimaya Embrace for the Dromar, Aether Mutation for the Fungal Shambler and I was unable to topdeck a Surge…
He ended up killing me by attacking me for 12, pinging me with Razorfin Hunter then untapping and with no cards in his library, pining me to death in his upkeep. =(
The worst part is that if I had left my Urborg Elf untapped instead of tapping it for mana to cast a useless creature, I could have chump blocked another creature in his attack and thus lived and won a box… a damn tapped Elf cost me 27 packs >:[
Of course, he could have just started attacking the turn earlier with Rooting Kavu and he would have won it anyway - one bad play deserves another, I guess =(

After the match, I heard he won Regionals and NJ States (I knew I had heard that name somewhere), so I didn't feel too bad losing to a decent player, but damnit, I wanted those Apocalypse packs.

So anyway, 4-1, nine packs, which got me 2 pain lands… I was too late to get into the flight, but the very cool Sean McKeown let me buy the 4 packs and starter with free pre-release card for the $18 price in which I got a Pernicious Deed amongst other less-good things.

Props:
-All the decent people I met throughout the day - people from IRC, friends from high school and around the area like Jason, Roy, etc.
-Whoever registered my deck and didn't drop; Absorb and Dromar are good cards I hear =)
-Sean for letting me buy the cheapo cards.
-The random kid who traded me a Tahngarth for a Last Breath.

Slops:
-Urbog Elf - damn you to hell for not staying untapped.
-$15 side drafts are expensive I hear =(

Cory Braiterman
DCI Level 1 judge
E-League.com Level 2 judge
E-League.com Public Relations Director
KrmtDfrog on all IRC networks.

Read More Articles by Cory Braiterman!

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