Another Tuesday, and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We had two new players to our tournaments this week. One that had an itch to play Commander again after a break, and another player returning from some job training in another city. I decided to stick with my Marath deck since it had done quite well last week, but unfortunately this was not to be my week.
There were seven players this week with the following decks:
* Maga, Traitor to Mortals (Mono-B)
* Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice (GW)
* Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (UR)
* Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (Mono-U)
* Vendilion Clique (Mono-U)
* Marath, Will of the Wild (WRG)
* Nekusar, the Mindrazer (UBR)
Round 1: Bye
We had an odd number of players this week and I was randomly selected to get the bye. I hate not playing and just sitting around for everyone else to finish, but it happens sometimes. Fortunately the other games did not last too long and we quickly moved on to round 2.
Round 2: Andre with Nekusar, the Mindrazer
Andre had a very fast start with Lion’s Eye Diamond allowing him to drop a turn 2 Nekusar at the cost of his entire hand. At first I thought this would be a good thing for me, but my hand was pretty slow, giving me no real gas and while I had Marath out early, I wasn’t able to do anything about Nekusar dealing constant damage to me. Andre got some good draws and then used some Wheel of Fortune type cards to make me take even more damage and to fill his hand up again. I still wasn’t drawing much anything, mostly just lands and cards that were applying the wrong kind of pressure. Eventually, it was just too much damage and I lost.
I will say that I made a huge mistake in this game. I was trying and hoping to draw a way to deal with Nekusar while still playing stuff from my hand and while I looked at the possibility of using Marath’s ability to kill itself as a 3/3 in order to play it again as a 5/5 allowing me to kill Nekusar that way, I didn’t think that this would have been a good play so I didn’t really explore it because I thought I would draw one of my many other answer cards or a tutor to get one of the answer cards. As it turned out, I never did draw such a card and even with that chance there, I feel the right move would have been to attack on turn 4 with Marath, make a 3/3 token with him, and then replay him on turn 5 as a 5/5. That would have given me more pressure on his life total and given me the option to kill Nekusar as soon as possible.
Round 3: Martin with Vendilion Clique
This was a standard blue control match-up. In my starting hand was my trump card: Vexing Shusher. I was very happy with that, at least I was until my mistake. I attacked with Marath and with Vexing Shusher into my opponent without thinking and I had forgotten that he had played a Mutavault a few turns earlier, so it became a creature and traded with my Shusher. This set me back quite a bit and while Marath did kill two of his creatures, including his Clique once, I was unable to get it back on the board for the rest of the game as he countered it every chance he got.
Fortunately for me, I drew Mistcutter Hydra which was able to apply a great deal of pressure on my opponent. I was even able to resolve a Garruk, Caller of Beasts and when I used his +1 ability, I got five new creatures into my hand, which was totally worth the 6 mana investment. Eventually, Martin used Evacuation to clear the board of my creatures, but he had no way of dealing with Mistcutter Hydra when it came back again, bigger than ever.
It is unfortunate that I lost that game against Andre, especially now that I realize that the “bad plan” I was trying to avoid was actually the better plan anyway. Well, you can’t win them all, and I am still pretty new to running Marath and his ability continues to impress people with its versatility. I think I need to stick with the deck to continue to improve, especially given the environment that I am playing in.
Bound Rounds: Multi-player Commander
We played one game of standard Commander where I once again returned to Prime Speaker Zegana against Andre with Nekusar and Jeremie with Teferi. This time I did draw some counter spells, but it did’t really matter since Teferi hit the board and stopped all of that. I dropped a quick Rhystic Study which drew me a lot of cards, but when Andre dropped Notion Thief and Nekusar we thought it was all over. The only trump card I had in my hand was Gilded Drake which I dropped to steal Nekusar. Then on Andre’s turn he dropped a wheel and Jeremie and I lost our hands and Andre got 21 new cards in his hand, but he took 21 damage from the Nekusar under my control.
And then nothing.
Andre didn’t draw anything that was going to help him win, nor anything that could get him Nekusar back. He was also down to only 8 life and he was running out of options, so he played some spells, each time taking another point of damage from his Notion Thief stealing the card draw from Rhystic Study (the damage came from Nekusar) and still he got nothing. When he passed the turn, I knew I had won. At this point Jeremie was so low on life that I was able to kill him with my creatures on my turn and Andre died during his draw to Nekusar’s ability
Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett