Last weekend I participated in the Boise PTQ for San Diego an while it was a failure in terms of qualifing, I did get the opportunity to cover a good deal of the tournament. Give that I started in round 4 you might be able to guess what my horrid record was before I dropped. Since the coverage is a little lengthy the first portion will be posted today and the second will be posted on Monday. Without further ado, here is the first portion of the coverage.
As round four began, I took a look at the list of potential matches I could cover and the choice was easy: Matt Hague v. Charlie Hodges. Charlie is a local Boise player who is considered one of Idaho’s top limited players. Although I don’t know much about Matt Hague, based on what I have heard, he is one of the Seattle area’s best players. The combination of those two facts will certainly make for an entertaining match to cover.
Matt came running out of the gates with a Trusty Machete followed by Kor Outfitter to give him a free equip.. Charlie started just as quickly with Quest for the Gravelord, Vampire Hexmage, and Giant Scorpion within the first three turns. The latter card brought Matt’s offense to a grinding halt and he was forced to pass with four mana. Charlie didn’t follow suit and cast a Vampire Nighthawk and passed after playing a land. Following this Matt cast a Sea Gate Loremaster and passed with no attacks. Next turn Charlie got the red zone hot again with Giant Scorpion and Vampire Nighthawk. He then played a second Vampire Hexmage but was unable to kill Matt’s Sea Gate Loremaster. On his turn Matt decided to draw with Sea Gate Loremaster followed by a Kor Hookmaster who tapped one of Charlie’s two Vampire Hexmages. After re-equipping his Machete to Kor Hookmaster he passed the turn. To start his turn Charlie attacked with Giant Scorpion and Vampire Nighthawk. On his second main phase he cast Kor Skyfisher to return Giant Scorpion and replay it. Matt’s next turn started with Sea Gate Loremaster and ended after casting Living Tsunami. Charlie kept the pressure up next turn by attacking with his two deathtouch creatures and playing another Kor Skyfisher to act as a twiddle for Giant Skyfisher. After returning a land to his hand for Living Tsunami Mr. Hague activated Sea Gate Loremaster in search of an answer to Charlie’s deathtouch offense. He found something in Blazing Torch but it didn’t look to help his situation much.
Charlie continued to pressure Matt by casting Journey to Nowhere on Matt’s Living Tsunami and attacking with Giant Scorpion, Vampire Nighthawk, and both his Kor Skyfisher. Matt responded with a Lethargy Trap and killed Giant Scorpien at no cost with his Machete’ed Kor Hookmaster. The life totals now stood at seventeen to nine in Charlie’s favor. After combat Matt used Blazing Torch to kill one of Charlie’s two Hexmages. On his turn he used Loremaster just he had been the entire match but changed things up by attacking with Kor Hookmaster. Charlie decided to defend his life total by blocking with Hexmage which allowed him to trigger his Quest for the Gravelord at end of turn. Charlie continued his offense with his newly acquired 5/5 but was stymied by Whiplash Trap which killed it and returned Kor Hookmaster to Matt’s hand. On his turn he again used the Loremaster and cast the previously returned Hookmaster. After casting Shoal Serpent Matt passed the turn with the board looking like this.
Matt is on the left and Charlie is on the right.
After attacking with his two Skyfishers he also passed the turn. On his turn Matt used Sea Gate Loremaster, Merfolk Wayfinder to find an island and casted Kor Aeroenaught to give his Shoal Serpent flying. He then attacked with it, moved around Trusty machete to Merfolk Wayfinder and passed. Charlie’s turn took a little bit londer with him trying to figure out how to beat the inevitability that Matt had gained with Sea Gate Loremaster. Charlie decided to try and end the game faster by using Journey to Nowhere on Merfolk Wayfinder to allow his Kor Skyfishers to attack without dying. Matt blocked with Kor Aeronaught (most likely to prevent dying to Burst Lightning). On Matt’s turn he used Sea Gate Loremaster and followed that up with moving Trusty Machete to Kor Outfitter. He then attacked with Shoal Serpent and the aforementioned Outfitter. Afterword he cast Paralyzing Grasp on a Kor Skyfisher and a Sky Ruin Drake which prompted the concession from Charlie.
Matt Hague 1-0 Charlie Hodges.
For game two Matt decided to play first, but after looking at his starting seven sent it back for a new six. Charlie kept his and the game was on. Matt made his first play on turn three with Reckless Scholar while Charlie had already cast Cliff Threader and Quest for the Gravelord. After attacking with his Cliff Threader Charlie cast Kor Skyfisher and returned and played Quest for the Gravelord. On his turn matt cast Kor Outfitter and passed. Charlie continued to keep the pressure on by attacking with his Skyfisher and Threader (who was blocked and killed by outfitter). Following this he cast Bladetusk Boar and passed. After using Scholar at eot Matt took his turn and cast Kor Hookmaster on the boar. The game’s pace picked up which caused me to miss a turn but after all was said and done Charlie had Kor Skyfisher, Giant Scorpien, Bladetusk Boar, Quest for the Gravelord (2 counter) to Matt’s Shephard of the Lost, Kor Hookmaster, and Reckless Scholar. To this board Charlie cast Journey to Knowhere to remove Shephard and crunched with all his creatures. Matt sprung Lethargy Trap which allowed him to kill Giant Scorpion. At eot Matt elected not to use Reckless Scholar which implied his hand was good. On his turn Matt attacked with Kor Hookmaster and passed with lifetotals at eleven to fourteen in Charlie’s favor. The following turn Charlie continued his assault with Kor Skyfisher and Bladetusk Boar which prompted Matt to activate his Reckless Scholar, discard Kabira Crossroads, and cast Whiplash Trap on both Charlie’s creatures. After re-deploying his team Charlie passed.
After activating his Scholar Matt cast Sky Ruin Drake and passed the turn. After using Quest for the Gravelord at eot Charlie took his turn by attacking with both to which Matt had no response and fell to 8 by chump blocking. Matt continued to keep the answers by using Paralyzing Grasp on the 5/5 zombie and Welkin Turn. Following that Matt cast Sea Gate Loremaster and passed. Charlie continued to attack with his Boar which brought Matt to 2. After casting Vampire Hexmage and Kor Blademaster he passed. On his turn Matt made what seemed like a desperation attack but revealed that he was forcing damage before casting Day of Judement. With Charlie seemingly out of gas he passed and Matt started the beats with Sky Ruin Drake, then Aether Filament. Charlie continued to pass the turn and take the hits while Matt dropped more fat in the form of Shoal Serpent. Charlie finally gave in and revealed a hand containing 4 lands.
Matt Hague wins 2-0 over Charlie Hodges.
Matt Englebart v. Jed Dolbeer
For both these lucky and (hopefully) skilled players they would be battling for the honor of being one of the two remaining 5-0s in the tournament. Matt is a local player who shows up at the larger events while Jed is Portland regular. As the match was about to start the judges swooped in for a deck check which gave me a little time to talk to the players.
Both players expressed the same sentiment that they like Zendikar limited far more than M10 and Shards block sealed. After that short discussion the judges returned their decks and gave them the all clear.
After shuffling up both players took a look at their hands and Matt kept but Jed mulliganed once. Since Matt had won the role before the judges swooped in he decided to play first. Jed kicked the game off with a Quest for the Gravelord on his second turn while Matt cast a Grazing Greatheart. Jed kept pace by casting Reckless Scholar and passed the turn. On his turn Matt cast Disfigure on Reckless Scholar, laid a land, and attacked with his Gradehart. Jed responded with a Gruul Draz Specter and Matt finished the turn with Harrow to leave him with 2 mountain, 1 swamp, 1 forest, and 1 Piranha Marsh before going to his turn. Because of his Gladehart lifetotals now stood at 17 to 24 in Matt’s favor.
On his turn Mat cast a Geyser Glider and passed without attacking. On his turn Jed attacked with his Specter and forced Matt to discard Hideous End. After casting Winderider Eel Jed passed the turn. On his next turn Matt attacked with his team and Jed blocked Matt’s Gladehart with his Eel and took four. After combat Mold Shambler to blow up a land and passed. When Matt attacked with his team Jed used his Quest for the Gravelord to ambush Matt. Jed took his turn by continuing his assault with his Grull Draz Specter, but added his 5/5 zombie token. After everything was said and done Matt scooped to Jed’s board of Specter, 5/5 zombie token, Umara Raptor, and Serpent Shoal.
Jed Dolbeer 1-0 Matt Englebart
In between games Jed swapped a couple cards, but the big surprise was Matt’s card swap. Everything considered, it was obvious that Matt was changing his color choice for his deck. As it turned out he changed from RBG to UGB.
For game two Matt decided to play first and kept his first seven. Unlike Matt, Jed went to paris not once, but twice before keeping his hand. After Jed’s failed attempt to swat an incoming fly, Matt cast a Explorer’s scope to match Soul Stair Expedition from Matt. Following a quick pass from Jed (with 3 swamps in play) Matt continued the game of non-creature permanents with Trusty Machete and Adventerur’s gear, followed by Sky Ruin Drake. On Jed’s fifth turn he evened up the fight with a Mind Sludge for Matt’s entire hand. The only thing that Matt could do in response was equip his Sky Ruin Drake with his machete and gear and attack for four. Jed followed up his Mind Sludge with Heartstabber Mosquito without kicker and took six from Drake before getting his only source of blue destroyed by Mold Shambler. After another couple attack phases Jed was forced to concede because although he had destroyed Matt’s hand, he was unable to deal with his growing board of creatures.
Jed Dolbeer 1-1 Matt Engelbart
Just as in game one Jed decided to play first, but was spared the fate of mulliganing. Matt also kept and the game was on. The first couple turns were unexciting with Jed casting Quest for the Gravelord and Blade of the Bloodchief and Matt casting Blazing Torch. On his third turn Matt spiced things up with a Grazing Gladehart and another one the turn after. Before that hit though Jed cast Into the Roil to prevent Matt from gaining the maximum amount of life from his Gladehearts. Jed cast his first creature, Aether Filament on turn five and used it to block an ill-advised attack from a Grazing Gladehart. After re-equiping Matt was forced to pass the turn, disappointed with his play. Following that Jed cast a Shoal Serpent to keep the defense up while he kept his attack up with Aether Filament. The turn after Matt cast a kicked Heartstabber Mosquito to destroy Aether Filament. After casting Reckless Scholar and attacking Jed passed the turn again but Matt stopped him at the end step so taht he could use Blazing Torch to kill Reckless Scholar. Matt spiced things up on his next turn by casting Grappling Hook and attacking. Postcombat he cast a River Boa and used Oran-Reief, teh Vastwood to make it slightly larger. On Jed’s turn he went into the tank for a few seconds before casting Surrkakar Marauder and passing the turn.
Matt yet again entered the red zone but this time attacked with River Boa and Heartstabber Mosquito to put Jed at 5 while he was at 29. On his next turn Matt attacked with his Mosquito and River Boa to which Jed responded with a desperate Hidoues End on River Boa to try and earn one more turn to find an answer. When none was forthcoming he conceded.
Matt Englebart wins 2-1 over Jed Dolbeer
Round 6: Noah Sandler v. Andrew LaForge
Just as in the previous two rounds this match is the classic story of local player (Andrew) versus an incoming PTQ raider (Noah from Seattle). Also as in last round the match kicked off with deck checks for both players.
After deciding to play first Andrew mulliganed his first seven while Noah decided to keep his opener. Despite his mulligan Andrew came out the gates with a turn 1 Grull Draz Vampire to which Noah didn’t have an answer to turn one. After attacking with his Vampire the following turn Andrew cast Blood Seeker. Again, Noah was forced to pass with no action. On Andrew’s next turn he attacked with both of his 1/1s and cast a Giant Scorpion after combat. Andrew’s Blood Seeker came online on overdrive the following turn when Noah cast a Grull Draz Vampire and returned it with a Kor Skyfisher. The following turn Noah was able to keep up the pressure by sending Noah’s Skyfisher on a Journey to Nowhere. With the life totals at 11 to 20 Noah cast Gruul Draz Vampire for defense. When Andrew went to attack the following turn Noah went into the tank but in the end used a Pitfall Trap to kill Gian Scorpion. With no more action Andrew was forced to pass the turn. On his turn Noah attacked with his Grull Draz Vampire then used a Kor Hookmaster to keep Andrew’s Grull Draz Vampire tapped for the following turn. Despite his three cards all the action that Andrew could muster up on the next turn was a Kor Cartographer to search a plains to bring him up to five mana. THe turn after Noah declined to attack and cast a Shephard of the Lost. Andrew responded with Conquerer’s Pledge to make an army of six 1/1s. The turn after Noah attacked with his Shepherd of the Lost and cast Giant Scorpion and fell to eight because of Blood Seeker.
From there Andrew thought for a good minute, but eventually used Kor Hookmaster to keep Noah’s Shephard of the lost tapped and entered his attack phase with everything but Blood Seeker. Noah blocked with everything he had and cast Bold Defense but was forced to take five and drop to a mere 3 life. After considering his options Noah conceded to the horde of Kor Soldiers.
Andrew LaForge 1-0 Noah Sandler
After some quick card swapping the two players shuffled up and were off to the races for game 2
In a repeat of last game Noah kept his first seven, but Andrew threw his first hand away before keeping. Noah’s first three turns yielded three swamps while Andrew had the good fortune of a second turn Gruul Draz Vampire followed by Vampire Nighthawk to go with his two swamps and plains. On Noah’s fourth turn he cast Balda Ged Thief to have Andrew discard a swamp. After attacking with Vampire Nighthawk Andrew passed the turn. Noah followed up his Bala God Thief with a Hagara Diabolist to get rid of a Journey to Nowhere. Andrew dealt with the troublesome thief the turn after with a Journey to Nowhere. All the while the two players continuously entered the red zone. Following the Journey to Nowhere that Andrew played Noah cast a Makandi Shiledmate and Vampire Lacerater. Andrew’s next turn again yielded no gas because he supposendly drew a swamp which made him unable to cast the Conquerer’s Pledge that was likely in his hand. Noah kept laying the beats on his turn by attacking with Vampire Lacerater and Hagra Diabolist, and casting Bog Tatters after combat. All that Andrew could muster to keep up with that was a Grim Discovery for a Grull Draz Vampire. Noah one-upped him by casting a Blood Tribute to turn the aforementioned card off before entering the red zone to bring Andrew to five. Andrew finally had some action in the form of Kalitas, Bloodchielf of Ghet but Noah had the answer in Journey to Knowhere on Vampire Nighthawk to make his subsequent attack lethal.
Noah Sandler 1-1 Andrew LaForge
As was the case between games 1 and 2, the players made adjustments to improve their chances for the top 8 rubber game.
For the deciding game Andrew decided to play first and was finally able to keep his first seven. After Noah declared that he would also keep Andrew lay an Adventuring Gear and passed the turn. Andrew’s second turn yielded a Armament Master to go with his Adventuring Gear. On his second turn Noah was forced to Journey to Nowhere the Master despite his clear disappointment iwth being forced to use it. After three tries Andrew was finally able to hit a third land to cast Kor Hookmaster on Noah’s Bala Ged Thief from the turn before. The turn after Noah yet again threatened to go on the offensive with Bog Tatters to which Andrew could only cast Quest for the Gravelord. After casting his quest Andrew attacked (which Noah took) and equiped Spiersilk Net to his Hookmaster. Following Andrew’s Quest Noah attacked with his team to bring Andrew down to 14 and cast Shephard of the Lost. Andrew answered it with a Journey to Knowhere but had nothing to deal with Noah’s other creatures on the account of being manascrewed at three lands. Noah continued to press his advantage by casting a Crypt RIpper and attacking with his freshly cast creature (with two swamps untapped) and Bog Tatters. When Andrew decided not to block he made the Ripper a 3/3 which brought Andrew to 7. Postcombat Noah cast Gruul Draz Vampire while Andrew cast Blood Seeker on his turn before passing. When Noah cast Makanid Sheildmate athe turn after to uncover Andrew’s Arrow Volley Trap and a Marsh Casualties to reduce Andrew’s blockers, Andrew just scooped them up.
Noah Sandler wins 2-1 over Andrew LaForge
Thats it for today, but especially considering that I really haven’t ever done anything like this feedback would be awesome. Thanks for reading and see you Monday.
Pedro “Ender” Rodriguez