Team Can't Win Solo (budget 2HG Commander tournament)

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Oversoul, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    So a group called "Magic of Browns Point"* has organized some local budget Commander events, and today they ran a Two-Headed Giant version. It was decided that each deck couldn't cost more than $150 and deck couldn't include any cards in common with its companion deck. My friend, Eric, and I tried to take down the tournament. We didn't succeed, but we came close. Kind of.

    My deck was a blue/black/green ramp combo deck with moderate disruption.

    Gneiss Lady
    Commander: Damia, Sage of Stone
    1 Abundance
    1 Aether Gale
    1 Arcane Denial
    1 Beseech the Queen
    1 Black Sun's Zenith
    1 Boundless Realms
    1 Cabal Ritual
    1 Cultivate
    1 Dark Petition
    1 Dark Ritual
    1 Decree of Pain
    1 Diabolic Tutor
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Drain Power
    1 Esper Panorama
    1 Explosive Vegetation
    1 Far Wanderings
    1 Farseek
    12 Forest
    1 Gaea's Touch
    1 Gainsay
    1 Gitaxian Probe
    1 Grixis Panorama
    1 Grow from the Ashes
    1 Harrow
    1 Hive Mind
    12 Island
    1 Khalni Heart Expedition
    1 Kodama's Reach
    1 Memory Lapse
    1 Myojin of Night's Reach
    1 Mystic Snake
    1 Necropotence
    1 Night's Whisper
    1 Nissa's Renewal
    1 Painful Truths
    1 Pentad Prism
    1 Pernicious Deed
    1 Pir's Whim
    1 Plasm Capture
    1 Praetor's Counsel
    1 Pull from Tomorrow
    1 Rampant Growth
    1 Razaketh's Rite
    1 Recurring Insight
    1 Redirect
    1 Regrowth
    1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    1 Seasons Past
    1 Skull Storm
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Stomp and Howl
    1 Stroke of Genius
    1 Summoner's Pact
    12 Swamp
    1 Sylvan Library
    1 The Mirari Conjecture
    1 Time Warp
    1 Toxic Deluge
    1 Treasure Cruise
    1 Twincast
    1 Urban Evolution
    1 Villainous Wealth
    1 Walk the Aeons
    1 Windgrace's Judgment
    1 Zur's Weirding

    Eric's deck was hard control, heavy on instants.

    Oloro 2HG Budget Deck
    Commander: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
    1 Anguished Unmaking
    1 Approach of the Second Sun
    1 Arcane Lighthouse
    1 Arcane Sanctum
    1 Azorius Chancery
    1 Caves of Koilos
    1 Choked Estuary
    1 Command Tower
    1 Counterspell
    1 Countersquall
    1 Cranial Extraction
    1 Crush of Tentacles
    1 Curtains' Call
    1 Cyclonic Rift
    1 Day of Judgment
    1 Deprive
    1 Devastation Tide
    1 Dimir Aqueduct
    1 Disdainful Stroke
    1 Dismal Backwater
    1 Dispel
    1 Dissolve
    1 Dragonlord's Prerogative
    1 Dromar's Cavern
    1 Esper Charm
    1 Evacuation
    1 Fact or Fiction
    1 Fellwar Stone
    1 Forbidden Alchemy
    1 Gilded Lotus
    1 Glimmer of Genius
    1 Insidious Will
    1 Intervention Pact
    11 Island
    1 Jace's Defeat
    1 Jace's Ingenuity
    1 Jeweled Amulet
    1 Lim-Dul's Vault
    1 Merciless Eviction
    1 Mind Stone
    1 Mirrodin's Core
    1 Miscalculation
    1 Mortify
    1 Muddle the Mixture
    1 Myriad Landscape
    1 Mystic Confluence
    1 Mystical Teachings
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Negate
    1 Opportunity
    1 Out of Bounds
    1 Overwhelming Denial
    1 Pact of Negation
    4 Plains
    1 Port Town
    1 Prairie Stream
    1 Reliquary Tower
    1 Rewind
    1 Rhystic Study
    1 Rout
    1 Slaughter Pact
    1 Standstill
    1 Sublime Exhalation
    1 Summary Dismissal
    1 Sunken Hollow
    1 Supreme Verdict
    1 Supreme Will
    5 Swamp
    1 Swan Song
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Telepathy
    1 Temple of Deceit
    1 Temple of Silence
    1 Thwart
    1 Time Stop
    1 Underground River
    1 Unwind
    1 Utter End
    1 Victory Chimes
    1 Void Shatter
    1 Well of Lost Dreams
    1 Wipe Away

    So, our decks were highly unusual for this tournament, and I should explain the thought process some. Eric already had an Oloro deck from a previous budget Commander event, but its dollar value had risen substantially since that event. He initially had the idea of two Oloro decks, and zeroed in on Hive Mind as a compact win condition for such a setup. But I opined that letting both players have the same cards was a bad idea, and he agreed, so he reached out to the organizers. They got similar feedback regarding tribal slivers decks and some other thing, but they did institute the rule. Before we got official word of that, I'd already suggested a combo deck as a companion: Oloro slows down the opposition and protects while Damia builds into a combo kill. In our testing, we began settling on some odd design choices.
    • We have essentially no creatures. This means we blank all opposing creature removal spells. All of my creatures, except my commander, are used for their abilities and do not need to stay on the battlefield to do anything. Eric's commander is his only creature, and he doesn't even need to cast it to benefit from its main ability.
    • Almost all of Eric's important spells except for board wipes are instants. This means he can usually keep shields up and be ready to counter something.
    • My deck uses almost no important permanents other than basic lands, and most of my spells are sorceries. That means no matter what kind of removal spells opponents have, I'm likely impervious to them. Even land destruction is somewhat muted against me, thanks to my high counts of sorceries that fetch lands from my library and spells that bring cards back from my graveyard.
    • We don't focus much on targeted removal, but instead just dispose of all creatures on the battlefield in one fell swoop.
    • Taking the concept of synergies between decks to an extreme, we have almost no ways for one deck to pull off a win by itself. I have Hive Mind in my deck, but most of the Pact cards are in Eric's deck. I have Skull Storm in my deck, but the board wipes are mostly in his deck. He has Approach of the Second Sun, but will need me to hold up countermagic for when he casts the expensive spell, or to set it up by taking extra turns.
    We were the first team to submit decklists, all the way back on September 8th. I think we got frustrated at cards going up in price, forcing us to make more cuts. But if we'd tested more, we might have run more anti-aggro elements. A key part of our plan was that we would not be outmuscled on control. Eric had some of the best cards for winning counter wars, and I could even help him out with that. The long game was ours, but our defenses against creature beatdown were not as intense as they could have been.

    *I know Brown's Point as an old, obscure local lighthouse. It's part of (officially, I think) Tacoma, Washington. Apparently the neighborhood in that area shares the name, and a small Magic playgroup from the neighborhood branched out to organizing their own local events.
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Round One: Team Can't Win Solo vs. Team The Lone Rangers

    "The Lone Rangers" were Sean and Mclane. They had an interesting and powerful pair of decks.

    Trash for Treasure
    Commander: Daretti, Scrap Savant
    1 Arch of Orazca
    1 Basalt Monolith
    1 Blasphemous Act
    1 Blinkmoth Nexus
    1 Bosh, Iron Golem
    1 Burning Inquiry
    1 Burnished Hart
    1 Cathartic Reunion
    1 Cathodion
    1 Chain Reaction
    1 Codex Shredder
    1 Collective Defiance
    1 Cone of Flame
    1 Copper Gnomes
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    1 Darksteel Citadel
    1 Darksteel Forge
    1 Dreamstone Hedron
    1 Drownyard Temple
    1 Duplicant
    1 Faithless Looting
    1 Fall of the Titans
    1 Fellwar Stone
    1 Field of Ruin
    1 Flamekin Village
    1 Geier Reach Sanitarium
    1 Ghost Quarter
    1 Gilded Lotus
    1 Goblin Welder
    1 Great Furnace
    1 Guardian Idol
    1 Hanweir Battlements
    1 Hedron Archive
    1 Ichor Wellspring
    1 Inventors' Fair
    1 Junk Diver
    1 Magus of the Wheel
    1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
    1 Millikin
    1 Mind Stone
    25 Mountain
    1 Myr Battlesphere
    1 Myr Retriever
    1 Myriad Landscape
    1 Nevinyrral's Disk
    1 Oblivion Stone
    1 Phyrexia's Core
    1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
    1 Predator, Flagship
    1 Prismatic Lens
    1 Pyroblast
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Reforge the Soul
    1 Rolling Thunder
    1 Runehorn Hellkite
    1 Scrap Mastery
    1 Scrap Trawler
    1 Servo Schematic
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Solemn Simulacrum
    1 Spectral Searchlight
    1 Spine of Ish Sah
    1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
    1 Staff of Nin
    1 Star of Extinction
    1 Starstorm
    1 Steel Hellkite
    1 Tamiyo's Journal
    1 Thought Vessel
    1 Thran Dynamo
    1 Treasure Keeper
    1 Triskelion
    1 Unstable Obelisk
    1 Warping Wail
    1 Wayfarer's Bauble

    Tap, Untap, Tap, Untap... Would You Like to Concede?
    Commander: Thrasios, Triton Hero
    Other Commander: Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
    1 Arbor Elf
    1 Biovisionary
    1 Birds of Paradise
    1 Blossoming Defense
    1 Botanical Sanctum
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Chromatic Sphere
    1 Coiling Oracle
    1 Command Tower
    1 Commander's Sphere
    1 Compulsive Research
    1 Conjurer's Bauble
    1 Deep Analysis
    1 Den Protector
    1 Dispel
    1 Dissenter's Deliverance
    1 Drover of the Mighty
    1 Edge of Autumn
    1 Elvish Mystic
    1 Elvish Visionary
    1 Ethereal Usher
    1 Everflowing Chalice
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Explore
    1 Farhaven Elf
    1 Fathom Seer
    14 Forest
    1 Frantic Search
    1 Game Plan
    1 Gitaxian Probe
    1 Green Sun's Zenith
    1 Greenwarden of Murasa
    1 Honden of Seeing Winds
    1 Infinite Reflection
    11 Island
    1 Joraga Treespeaker
    1 Kiora's Follower
    1 Laboratory Maniac
    1 Llanowar Elves
    1 Lumbering Falls
    1 Manaweft Sliver
    1 Merfolk Looter
    1 Mox Amber
    1 Out of Bounds
    1 Paradox Engine
    1 Planar Bridge
    1 Prophetic Prism
    1 Psychosis Crawler
    1 Reclamation Sage
    1 Reliquary Tower
    1 Retreat to Coralhelm
    1 Rite of Replication
    1 Silver Myr
    1 Simic Growth Chamber
    1 Simic Signet
    1 Skullclamp
    1 Stratus Dancer
    1 Temple of Mystery
    1 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Thornwood Falls
    1 Thousand-Year Elixir
    1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
    1 Treasure Cruise
    1 Trinket Mage
    1 Unbridled Growth
    1 Vessel of Nascency
    1 Vizier of Tumbling Sands
    1 Wall of Blossoms
    1 Wildest Dreams
    1 Willbender
    1 Windfall
    1 Windswept Heath
    1 Wood Elves
    1 Yavimaya Coast

    So this is a blue/green combo deck with a red deck that hybridizes between support and damage. I think the idea is usually for the red deck to cause the opponents a lot of trouble while the blue/green deck sets up engines and tries to ultimately win with either Biovisionary or Laboratory Maniac. It's not an approach I would have thought of, but it has some advantages. I think this was one of the stronger deck pairs in the tournament.

    I got off to an abysmal start and couldn't do anything for a while. Especially bad when facing a first-turn Skullclamp. Eric tried to hold the Lone Rangers off while we took a beating. Eventually I did ramp into enough lands to have lots of mana, but I kept topdecking more lands. With pressure on us, Eric insisted that I cast Boundless Realms. That meant we were both shields down, and Mclane did try to use the opportunity to kill us, but couldn't set up a lethal combo. He was tapping Kydele for a lot of mana, but eventually Eric hit them with a board wipe spell. We continued to flounder while the other team built up attackers, but I cast Walk the Aeons and returned it and other spells to my hand with Season's Past, at which point the other team immediately conceded. It looked like a hasty concession from an outside point of view and I'm not sure what the full rationale was, but we were going to win anyway by that point: Eric had Approach of the Second Sun and I had the tools to protect it.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Round Two: Team Can't Win Solo vs. Team Standby

    The was one of two "Standby" teams, but I think the other one was able to choose a different name. They were at a disadvantage because they didn't design their decks together. I can't seem to remember who was piloting one of the decks, but the guy across from me was Chris, who was one of the guys organizing the event.

    Breya's Answering Machine
    Commander: Breya, Etherium Shaper
    1 Aether Hub
    1 Aetherize
    1 Akoum Refuge
    1 Arcane Denial
    1 Arcane Sanctum
    1 Austere Command
    1 Azorius Charm
    1 Azorius Signet
    1 Backlash
    1 Battlefield Forge
    1 Blind Obedience
    1 Boros Charm
    1 Boros Guildgate
    1 Boros Signet
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Caves of Koilos
    1 Command Tower
    1 Commander's Sphere
    1 Crackling Doom
    1 Crumbling Necropolis
    1 Cyclonic Rift
    1 Deflecting Palm
    1 Delirium
    1 Dimir Signet
    1 Dismal Backwater
    1 Dramatic Reversal
    1 Drowned Catacomb
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Glacial Fortress
    1 Go for the Throat
    1 Goblin Electromancer
    1 Grafdigger's Cage
    1 Guttersnipe
    1 Hallowed Moonlight
    1 Hindering Light
    1 Illusory Ambusher
    1 Imprisoned in the Moon
    1 Ionize
    4 Island
    1 Isochron Scepter
    1 Izzet Signet
    1 Jace's Sanctum
    1 Languish
    1 Last One Standing
    1 Learn from the Past
    1 Memory Lapse
    1 Mortify
    4 Mountain
    1 Myriad Landscape
    1 Mystic Monastery
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Nimble Obstructionist
    1 Nomad Outpost
    1 Notion Thief
    1 Orim's Thunder
    1 Orzhov Signet
    1 Painful Quandary
    1 Path to Exile
    1 Perilous Voyage
    4 Plains
    1 Primal Amulet
    1 Rakdos Charm
    1 Rakdos Signet
    1 Rapid Hybridization
    1 Reality Shift
    1 Reins of Power
    1 Relic of Progenitus
    1 Render Silent
    1 Rite of Replication
    1 Scoured Barrens
    1 Shivan Reef
    1 Silence
    1 Slaughter the Strong
    1 Snuff Out
    1 Stifle
    1 Sunforger
    4 Swamp
    1 Swiftwater Cliffs
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Terminate
    1 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Thaumatic Compass
    1 Tragic Slip
    1 Tranquil Cove
    1 Utter End
    1 Vandalblast
    1 War's Toll

    Yahenni's Penultimate Party
    Commander: Yahenni, Undying Partisan
    1 Ancient Craving
    1 Animate Dead
    1 Animation Module
    1 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
    1 Archfiend of Depravity
    1 Beseech the Queen
    1 Black Market
    1 Blade of the Bloodchief
    1 Blood Artist
    1 Blood Tribute
    1 Bloodline Keeper
    1 Bloodsoaked Champion
    1 Bone Shredder
    1 Bontu's Last Reckoning
    1 Butcher of Malakir
    1 Cabal Ritual
    1 Captain's Claws
    1 Cradle of the Accursed
    1 Crux of Fate
    1 Crypt Ghast
    1 Dark Ritual
    1 Dictate of Erebos
    1 Dismember
    1 Extinguish All Hope
    1 Falkenrath Noble
    1 Fleshbag Marauder
    1 Gravecrawler
    1 Gravepurge
    1 Grim Haruspex
    1 Grim Return
    1 Hangarback Walker
    1 Harvester of Souls
    1 Hero's Downfall
    1 Hot Soup
    1 In Garruk's Wake
    1 Jet Medallion
    1 Lashwrithe
    1 Lethal Vapors
    1 Loxodon Warhammer
    1 Magus of the Coffers
    1 Malicious Affliction
    1 Merciless Executioner
    1 Mutilate
    1 Necropotence
    1 Nighthowler
    1 Nirkana Revenant
    1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    1 Ogre Slumlord
    1 Ophiomancer
    1 Overseer of the Damned
    1 Pawn of Ulamog
    1 Phage the Untouchable
    1 Phyrexian Arena
    1 Phyrexian Reclamation
    1 Reassembling Skeleton
    1 Reckless Spite
    1 Rogue's Passage
    1 Sifter of Skulls
    1 Skeletal Vampire
    1 Smothering Abomination
    1 Snuff Out
    1 Sol Ring
    33 Swamp
    1 Tragic Slip
    1 Viscera Seer
    1 Whispersilk Cloak
    1 Zulaport Cutthroat

    When we found out that we were up against a "standby" team, we thought it might be easy. Well, I had to mulligan to 6, then couldn't get a source of green mana. So I sat around doing nothing for a while. Fortunately, the Breya player wasn't doing much either. And at first, Yahenni didn't have a way to get bigger. Blade of the Bloodchief changed that with a bit of help from Fleshbag Marauder and Bloodsoaked Champion, and it became apparent that we were in severe danger of dying to Commander damage. Eric managed a board wipe, then I finally got some lands. I cast Damia, but she was killed of course. When we caught our opponents with no creatures on the battlefield, I cast Skull Storm. The Breya player managed to counter the cast trigger with Nimble Obstructionist and tried to counter the spell itself, but Eric was ready for that with his own counter. Both opponents had to lose half of their life rounded up, and when they share a life total, that's lethal.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Round Three: Team Can't Win Solo vs. Team Jumba Wumba

    Team Jumba Wumba was Mycol and Todd. They had tested with us before and we knew exactly what we were up against. We'd always beaten them in those games, but Eric was worried because this was the real deal and they'd learned to point their land destruction spells at his lands instead of at mine. Eric's greedy manabase and my demonstrably slow starts meant that maybe they'd take this round.

    Commander Team Up
    Commander: Okaun, Eye of Chaos
    1 Act of Treason
    1 Act on Impulse
    1 Apex of Power
    1 Avalanche Riders
    1 Banefire
    1 Blasphemous Act
    1 Blood Feud
    1 Brimstone Volley
    1 Chandra Ablaze
    1 Chandra Nalaar
    1 Chandra's Fury
    1 Chandra's Outburst
    1 Chandra's Outrage
    1 Chandra's Phoenix
    1 Chandra's Pyrohelix
    1 Chandra's Revolution
    1 Chandra's Spitfire
    1 Chandra, Bold Pyromancer
    1 Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
    1 Chandra, Flamecaller
    1 Chandra, Pyrogenius
    1 Chandra, Pyromaster
    1 Chandra, the Firebrand
    1 Craterize
    1 Darksteel Ingot
    1 Demolish
    1 Earth Rift
    1 Field of Ruin
    1 Fireball
    1 Flame Javelin
    1 Fling
    1 Forge of Heroes
    1 Goblin Ruinblaster
    1 Icefall
    1 Implode
    1 Isolated Watchtower
    1 Jokulhaups
    1 Lava Burst
    1 Lightning Bolt
    1 Lightning Strike
    1 Melt Terrain
    1 Memorial to War
    1 Mind Stone
    33 Mountain
    1 Okaun, Eye of Chaos
    1 Orcish Settlers
    1 Pillage
    1 Plunder
    1 Pristine Talisman
    1 Punish the Enemy
    1 Rift Bolt
    1 Roiling Terrain
    1 Rolling Temblor
    1 Ruby Medallion
    1 Searing Spear
    1 Seismic Shift
    1 Seismic Spike
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Star Compass
    1 Stone Rain
    1 Structural Collapse
    1 Survey the Wreckage
    1 Tectonic Rift
    1 Thud
    1 Thunderbolt
    1 Thunderous Wrath
    1 Torch Fiend
    1 Vessel of Endless Rest

    R/U/B Artifacts EDH
    Commander: Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
    1 Aether Spellbomb
    1 Anticipate
    1 Baleful Strix
    1 Barren Moor
    1 Blinkmoth Urn
    1 Broodstar
    1 Chief Engineer
    1 Chief of the Foundry
    1 Command Tower
    1 Commander's Sphere
    1 Corrupted Conscience
    1 Cranial Plating
    1 Darksteel Citadel
    1 Darksteel Forge
    1 Diabolic Revelation
    1 Diabolic Tutor
    1 Dimir Aqueduct
    1 Dimir Cluestone
    1 Dimir Guildgate
    1 Dimir Signet
    1 Dismal Backwater
    1 Etched Champion
    1 Etherium Sculptor
    1 Everflowing Chalice
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Fabricate
    1 Forebear's Blade
    1 Geode Golem
    1 Great Furnace
    1 Halimar Depths
    1 Haunted Fengraf
    1 Howling Mine
    1 Ichor Wellspring
    1 Invisibility
    5 Island
    1 Jhoira's Familiar
    1 Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
    1 Jwar Isle Refuge
    1 Lodestone Golem
    1 Lodestone Myr
    1 Lonely Sandbar
    1 Manalith
    1 Master Thief
    1 Master of Etherium
    1 Memorial to Folly
    1 Memorial to Genius
    1 Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
    1 Morphic Pool
    1 Mortuary Mire
    2 Mountain
    1 Mycosynth Golem
    1 Mycosynth Lattice
    1 Myr Enforcer
    1 Myr Retriever
    1 Nevinyrral's Disk
    1 One with the Machine
    1 Plague Wind
    1 Platinum Angel
    1 Reliquary Tower
    1 Rogue's Passage
    1 Rupture Spire
    1 Sage of Lat-Nam
    1 Sai, Master Thopterist
    1 Seat of the Synod
    1 Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
    1 Skull Storm
    1 Skullclamp
    1 Sleep
    1 Sphinx Summoner
    1 Steal Artifact
    1 Steel Wall
    1 Stolen Goods
    1 Submerged Boneyard
    1 Surveyor's Scope
    4 Swamp
    1 Swiftfoot Boots
    1 Talisman of Dominance
    1 Temporal Fissure
    1 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
    1 Thoughtcast
    1 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Traveler's Cloak
    1 Treasure Mage
    1 Trophy Mage
    1 Unwinding Clock
    1 Vandalblast
    1 Vault of Whispers
    1 Vedalken Archmage
    1 Welding Jar
    1 Zhalfirin Void
    1 Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom

    As usual, I had to mulligan and then still didn't get a viable hand, so I wasn't doing much in the early turns. Eric fought some stuff off with counterspells and I managed to draw a Forest, which let me set up some mana ramping. I was all set to tutor for Hive Mind with Razaketh's Rite and let Eric use Mystical Tutor to get a Pact, but then I topdecked Hive Mind anyway. Still had to wait a turn to go off, but these guys are kinda midrangey anyway and we weren't in trouble. Then Eric forgot to tutor for a Pact, but topdecked Pact of Negation anyway. So I cast Hive Mind and he followed it up with Mystical Tutor, then countered his own Mystical Tutor with Pact of Negation. I copied the Pact of Negation with Hive Mind and used my copy to counter his copy. I forget what Todd and Mycol copied, but they couldn't both pay the upkeep cost and lost the game.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Round Four: Team Can't Win Solo vs. Team Ed, Edd, and Deady

    Team Ed, Edd, and Deady comprised Matt and Brady. They probably had the best deck combination in the whole tournament and were the pair Eric was most afraid to face. Eric was well appraised of what they were up to: he constructed Brady's deck out of his own collection, using Brady's instructions for which cards to include. I think Brady didn't want to buy all of the cards for himself, but figured he could buy Eric lunch and have Eric assemble it for him.

    $150 2HG Tournament Deck
    Commander: Edgar Markov
    1 Armageddon
    1 Arterial Flow
    1 Asylum Visitor
    1 Battlefield Forge
    1 Blood Seeker
    1 Bloodfell Caves
    1 Bloodline Keeper
    1 Boros Signet
    1 Call the Bloodline
    1 Captivating Vampire
    1 Caves of Koilos
    1 Champion of Dusk
    1 Charcoal Diamond
    1 Clifftop Retreat
    1 Command Tower
    1 Concealed Courtyard
    1 Crackling Doom
    1 Crush Contraband
    1 Diabolic Intent
    1 Drana, Liberator of Malakir
    1 Dusk Legion Zealot
    1 Duskborne Skymarcher
    1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
    1 Falkenrath Gorger
    1 Fall of the Titans
    1 Feast of Blood
    1 Foreboding Ruins
    1 Forerunner of the Legion
    1 Fragmentize
    1 Go for the Throat
    1 Godless Shrine
    1 Graven Cairns
    1 Guul Draz Assassin
    1 Indulgent Aristocrat
    1 Insolent Neonate
    1 Isolated Chapel
    1 Legion Lieutenant
    1 Malakir Bloodwitch
    1 Mathas, Fiend Seeker
    1 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
    1 Mirror Entity
    3 Mountain
    1 New Blood
    1 Nomad Outpost
    1 Olivia Voldaren
    1 Olivia's Bloodsworn
    1 Olivia, Mobilized for War
    1 Orzhov Signet
    1 Path of Ancestry
    1 Patron of the Vein
    3 Plains
    1 Pulse Tracker
    1 Rakdos Signet
    1 Rakish Heir
    1 Rebuff the Wicked
    1 Rest in Peace
    1 Sanctum Seeker
    1 Shadow Alley Denizen
    1 Skullclamp
    1 Skymarcher Aspirant
    1 Smoldering Marsh
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Stromkirk Condemned
    1 Stromkirk Noble
    13 Swamp
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Tainted Field
    1 Tainted Peak
    1 Temple of Silence
    1 Temple of Triumph
    1 Terminate
    1 Twilight Prophet
    1 Unclaimed Territory
    1 Vampire Cutthroat
    1 Vampire Interloper
    1 Vampire Lacerator
    1 Vandalblast
    1 Vanquisher's Banner
    1 Vicious Conquistador
    1 Vindicate
    1 Virtus's Maneuver
    1 Viscera Seer
    1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan

    Edric Tempo Deck
    Commander: Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    1 Artificer's Assistant
    1 Baral, Chief of Compliance
    1 Beastmaster Ascension
    1 Bident of Thassa
    1 Birds of Paradise
    1 Boreal Druid
    1 Botanical Sanctum
    1 Breeding Pool
    1 Caustic Caterpillar
    1 Cloak and Dagger
    1 Coiling Oracle
    1 Command Tower
    1 Counterspell
    1 Craterhoof Behemoth
    1 Cyclonic Rift
    1 Delay
    1 Disallow
    1 Disdainful Stroke
    1 Dispel
    1 Druids' Repository
    1 Elvish Mystic
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Flooded Grove
    1 Forbid
    14 Forest
    1 Fyndhorn Elves
    1 Generous Patron
    1 Gudul Lurker
    1 Hinterland Harbor
    1 Hope of Ghirapur
    1 Hypnotic Siren
    1 Imprisoned in the Moon
    1 Invasive Surgery
    1 Invisible Stalker
    14 Island
    1 Jhessian Infiltrator
    1 Joraga Treespeaker
    1 Krosan Grip
    1 Lightning Greaves
    1 Llanowar Elves
    1 Looter il-Kor
    1 Mana Leak
    1 Meekstone
    1 Mental Misstep
    1 Mind Stone
    1 Mist-Cloaked Herald
    1 Natural State
    1 Nature's Claim
    1 Negate
    1 Pir's Whim
    1 Rapid Hybridization
    1 Reality Shift
    1 Reclamation Sage
    1 Reliquary Tower
    1 River Hoopoe
    1 Scryb Ranger
    1 Scryb Sprites
    1 Simic Signet
    1 Siren Stormtamer
    1 Slither Blade
    1 Song of Freyalise
    1 Spell Pierce
    1 Spiketail Hatchling
    1 Spire Tracer
    1 Stratus Dancer
    1 Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
    1 Triton Shorestalker
    1 Trygon Predator
    1 Turn Aside
    1 Unified Will
    1 Unsubstantiate
    1 Wingcrafter
    1 Yavimaya Coast

    They won the die roll and took the play. I mulliganed to a bad 6 again and Eric did too. We did basically nothing, topdecked only cards that were dead or unplayable against them, and then they killed us with massive vampire beatdown on their fifth turn. It was so fast that we had time for an exhibition game, a drawn out affair in which they kept rebuilding after we'd wipe the board. Brady drew almost every counter in his deck and was able to beat Eric at countering spells. Also we lost Hive Mind because I made a misplay. If it had been the real tournament game, we probably wouldn't have let it go. What happened was I thought Eric had countermagic to back me up, but he actually needed black mana to have any. I said I was casting Hive Mind, knowing I had Summoner's Pact in my hand. Brady immediately announced a counter and I didn't want to roll it back even though Eric protested and said we weren't casting it almost at exactly the same time. We let it go and they beat the crap out of us with creatures, but we kept blowing them up with our spells. Eric cast Approach of the Second Sun and tried to use Well of Lost Dreams to be able to draw into it again, but Brady had a counter. I had Plasm Capture for that. I continued to topdeck lands and they beat us up some more, but Eric got the second Approach. Brady countered that one too and seemed to win the counter war against Eric, but I cast Summoner's Pact for Mystic Snake and trumped the upstart Edric deck's attempts at playing hard control. So we won and made a real game out of it, but we'd lost the "real" game because we drew the worst hands ever.

    Ultimately, I think the Edric/Edgar pair that won was truly the strongest contender anyway, but we were probably a close second, and if we'd gone for more anti-aggro stuff we'd have outclassed them for sure. Bit of a blunder there, since looking at the decklists for the whole tournament, almost everyone was either one aggro or midrange. Oh well.

    We were announced as coming in "fourth" on victory points, but that was stupid: we won every round except the finals, which was against the only undefeated team. Under any reasonable structure, we took second place, not fourth. But the organizers had some convoluted scheme that put us fourth on the basis of "deck budget." The fact that my deck cost about $149 when it was submitted and some other guy's cost $147 when it was submitted meant that he could place "higher" even though I beat him when we played against each other and he won the exact same number of games as me overall.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I didn't anticipate when I mentioned the name of the organizing group in the first post that I'd make this rather flip remark later, so I should clarify that the event was fun overall and that the guys who set it up had their reasons. I didn't meant that they are stupid and I'm really not even bitter about this. I just was surprised that it worked out the way it did and didn't think it was a sensible approach. But I did talk to one of them about it. In some previous events, there'd been a small enough crowd that trying to run a Swiss-style bracket system apparently meant that the players in losing brackets could face each other multiple times, and there were complaints about this. I thought that didn't generally happen with Swiss-style tournaments, but maybe they were doing something else? Anyway, their fix was to have random pairings every round, which meant that even though we lost to the champions in the final round and won our other rounds, we weren't really advancing: it was kind of a coincidence. There was a third undefeated team going into the final round, but they got paired against the team we beat in the first round and they lost to them. If placement was based on not just how many wins you had but also who you lost to, we'd have been second.

    This was intended to be a kind of casual event with ways to appeal to different types of player. Some players are especially competitive, some players are less experienced, some players want to build wacky theme decks, some players just want to get games, etc. So they specifically chose to weight prize distribution in a more casual manner. There were "victory points" for actual game results, but there were also "achievement points" for certain things that might happen in a game. There were prizes offered for other things, including random raffles. And the "tie-breaker" on teams with the same number of points was budget, on the basis that this would better reward less competitive players. And while I see the appeal behind the concept, I disagree with the implementation here. For one thing, a "tie-breaker" should be for a real tie. You don't need to tally up "victory points" to see that if we only lost to the champions, a team that we beat should not be "tied" with us. They lost to us. That's not a tie! Rewarding teams that go with low-budget decks is cool, but that can be done separately. It's especially silly as a tie-breaker because we're not talking about huge differences. One of the players we faced (Mycol) had a deck that was under $65, the lowest in the tournament. But usually, we were talking about decks that were over $145. If you're the guy with the $149 deck and you lose a "tie-breaker" on the basis that your opponent's deck cost a mere $147, that feels kinda silly, and the justification that rewarding lower budgets helps balance the field for new and casual players doesn't really seems like it applies in that situation.

    Also, I don't play in a lot of tournaments, but I've had a bizarre history of often losing to the first-place player and coming in fourth, simply because of how I lost in an earlier round of the tournament. It's a bit frustrating to go to undefeated into the final round, but then still get fourth.

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