Another Tuesday and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We had some new decks this week in our meta, which made things a little more interesting. I played one of the new decks this week in the final round and while my record was decent, it wasn’t enough to take home any prizes. I also decided to stick with Prossh, Skyraider of Kher again this week as I liked how it played.
The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Geist of Saint Traft (WU)
* Merieke Ri Berit (WUB)
* Nekusar, the Mindrazer (UBR)
* Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (UR)
* Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (BRG)
* Roon of the Hidden Realm (WUG)
Round 1: Andre with Nekusar, the Mindrazer
I lost the die roll and Andre went first dropping a lot of mana acceleration with a land, a Chrome Mox, and a signet or a talisman. His turn two was kind of similar with another land and another mana rock leaving him with just two cards in hand which I got rid of with Hymn to Tourach. He was in playing with just top decks, so he dropped his Commander and played a land he just drew. I killed his commander with a Go for the Throat, but he top deck another land to replay his commander. While all of this was going on for Andre, I was having a hard time. I had two lands and two mana rocks in my hand, but I didn’t draw another land for the first four turns of the game and I spent my turns 2 and 3 playing Hymn and killing his commander so heading into my turn 4 I was still stuck on two mana, so I played a rock and passed the turn with Nekusar sitting in play. So, of course, Andre top decked Capsize which he used to bounce my mana rock (with buyback of course).
Eventually I drew a land, letting me play both a rock and a Distress in my hand to get rid of Capsize and while Andre stalled for a bit, I was still so far behind that when I was finally starting to catch up he dropped Upheaval resetting us both. However, because he had Chrome Mox, he was able to recover a lot faster than I could.
I did recover though and while my board position was improving, Andre had played Tezzeret the Seeker which was getting him a number of artifact lands for more acceleration. This is one big area where Andre made a mistake, there was an opportunity for him to have killed me while I was still trying to recover and he had four artifacts and I only had 19 life. He didn’t see the two turn move at that time (activate Tezzeret’s +1 ability on turn 1 and then attack with four 5/5 creatures with Tezzeret’s ultimate on turn 2), so I had a few more turns to recover.
And this is the point where I made my biggest mistake that cost me the game. I had recovered enough to have a 3/3 beast token on the board, from a recently dead Garruk Wildspeaker and I had enough seven mana in play, so I cast Inquisition of Kozilek revealing a Temporal Mastery, a Cryptic Commander, and a Lim-Dul’s Vault. I saw his win right there, play mastery, give Tezzeret +1, on the extra turn use Cryptic Command to tap my blockers, activate Tezzeret ultimate and attack me with his six artifacts. He had one blocker in play, an Artifact creature, and I had Nature’s Claim, which could easily have destroyed his only blocker and then with my Beast I could have attacked Tezzeret getting him out of range for his ultimate. Andre was tapped out so he couldn’t have stopped the Nature’s Claim. But I didn’t do it. I knew that Andre has missed Tezzeret’s ultimate ability in a number of games and even once before in this game, so I bet on him missing again and played Prossh, which could have allowed me to win the game on my next turn if I got to untap with him. Andre did not miss his win and played his cards exactly as I was afraid he would and so I lost what could have easily been a salvageable situation for me.
Round 2: Justin Hebert with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
This game was a grueling affair. Just won the roll and went first playing an early Tandem Lookout, part of an infinite damage combo with Niv-Mizzet. I dropped Chandra Pyromaster and tried to kill the lookout but Justin Repulsed it back to his hand. He then played Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker followed by Niv-Mizzet and passed the turn. Fortunately for me I had Toxic Deluge in my hand and I cleared his board. I followed that up with Sylvan Library. The combination of Sylvan Library and Chandra Pyromaster allowed me to use Chandra’s second ability (exile the top card of my library and I can play it this turn) to ensure that I had a land on top of my library to play each turn. Unfortunately, even after three or four turns of doing this, and even with a few shuffles, I wasn’t getting anything but lands and mana acceleration. I played Prossh during this time, but Justin had an answer for it but I played Mind Slash so I could strip his hand of anything he didn’t play, namely his counter spells.
We continued to pass the turns back and fourth with me mostly spending my mana dealing with what he was dropping and after a while he was able to Chandra, but eventually he just didn’t top deck anything useful and I killed him with Prossh and his kobolds on the next turn.
Round 3: Justin Brown with Roon of the Hidden Realm
Earlier in the tournament I had seen Justin Brown’s deck go head to head against the Geist of Saint Traft deck using a lot of control stuff and then his own bouncing tricks to generate card advantage so I wasn’t sure how this game would go. Again, I lost the die roll and my opponent dropped a Wall of Omens. I didn’t have any early pressure to try to get through the wall, so I wasn’t especially worried by it. I had some mana acceleration so I dropped a quick Prossh while holding a Coat of Arms in my hand for the next turn. I wasn’t sure if it would get me there since I knew my opponent ran quite a few wrath effects, but on his turn he dropped a Banisher Priest getting rid of Prossh and leaving the Kobolds. He also dropped a Sakura-Tribe Elder as an additional blocker.
On my turn, I dropped Coat of Arms and attacked with six 5/6 Kobolds and Justin only blocked with the Elder getting himself a land and going down by 25 life. I was surprised by his blocks since the Banisher was not holding Prossh (I moved Prossh to the Command Zone instead of letting it be exiled) and what else was he going to do with his 0/4 wall if not block a creature with it? It ended up he had no good plays on his turn so he scooped, but if he had top-decked a wrath-effect he could have been at 15 life instead of 5 at the cost of nothing but some creatures that would have died to his wrath anyway. It ended up not to matter since he didn’t top-deck anything relevant.
In the end, there was one player with a 3-0 record, Sam with Geist of Saint Taft, and two players with a 2-1 record, me and Andre, but do to tie breakers I placed third and outside of prizes. Oh well. I still had a lot of fun.
Bonus Round: Prime Speaker Zegana in multi-player action
After the tournament, we played one game of multi-player with partners (but not two-headed giant). I was paired with Justin Hebert using Maelstrom Wanderer while the other team consisted of Sam with Sliver Legion and the player from the tournament still running with Merieke Ri Berit. The game started off bad with Justin having to mulligan down to three cards and Sam having a quick Virulent Sliver. They started attacking me with it, but Justin was able to deal with his sliver while I was up to seven poison counters.
Justin had some miraculous draws this game as he never missed a land drop, although playing a Concentration on turn four must have helped. While I was desperately playing control against the growing Sliver threat, Justin was able to slowly build up to what he needed for Maelstrom Wanderer. We were able to knock Sam out first, but by this time I had also built up an impressive amount of mana and I was able to draw ten cards off of a giant Zegana and the other player fell quickly. It was a nice successful game, but it had a very rocky and desperate feeling start, exactly what you want from a fun game of magic.
Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett