MTGO Hero – Hand of Fate
- MTGO Hero – Introduction
- MTGO Hero – Into the Battlefield
- MTGO Hero – Small Victories
- MTGO Hero – Bring in the Cavalry
- MTGO Hero – Casualties of War
- MTGO Hero – Hand of Fate
- MTGO Hero – Human Frailty
- MTGO Hero – Zombie Apocalypse
- MTGO Hero – Battle of Seattle
- MTGO Hero – Drastic Measures
- MTGO Hero – Savage Beasts
- MTGO Hero – Increased Hostility
- MTGO Hero – Danger Zone
- MTGO Hero – Do or Die
- MTGO Hero – Hypochondriac
- MTGO Hero – Roller Coaster
It wasn’t easy to swallow my pride by discussing my bitter defeat in last week’s article. I was obligated to admit to my losses and share the bad decisions that I made. This was not a course of action that I intended to repeat. I was under no false pretenses that I would win every match; however, my careless mistakes had increased my chances of failure. I would rather have my downfall come from the hands of a skilled opponent or a poorly flipped coin than from a suicidal error in judgment.
Looking back at the catalysts of last week’s debacle, I decided to piece together a list of five rules that players should try to follow when preparing for a tournament. I’m not saying that a player will win the race if he adheres to these rules, but he may find that he isn’t tripping over his own feet quite as often.
How to Avoid Being a SCRUB
- Sleep – Somewhere within ourselves, we all have a wild and crazy rock star who occasionally screams at us that, “Sleep is for weak losers.” If you are heading into any kind of competition that involves highly intellectual decision-making skills, you need to ignore the inner party animal and catch some Zs. Sleep deprivation can hinder concentration, memory skills, and overall thought process. It may be fun for your opponent, but it won’t be for you.
- Compete – It is easy to want to quit when you feel that there is no hope of winning. The only real advantage to conceding is that you save some time in the round. If you are playing a very slow control deck that might be a wise decision, but many times, that isn’t the case. Many times, I had believed I was dead to rights and still came back to win a heart-pounding victory. There are so many factors that could change the outcome of a game. It could be as simple as your opponent being mana-flooded for the remainder of the game while you draw threat after threat. You are in the tournament to compete, so fight until the battle is done.
- Read –– RTFC is a popular acronym in the Magic community. I won’t spell it out for you, but it basically means that you need to read the cards. Pay attention to the wording and to abilities that you don’t often see played. For example, I’ve seen players forget that Gather the Townsfolk puts five Humans into play instead of two if cast when you are at 5 or less life. It may not come up often, but when it does, it may be the difference between life and death.
- Urinate – Yeah, I said it, and it’s true! A match can go on for nearly an hour, and if you haven’t donated to the porcelain God, you may be in for an uncomfortable ride. To be successful in a Magic tournament, you need to be in the right frame of mind—not focusing on the powerful need to relieve your bladder.
- Bathe – I don’t care if you are on Magic Online and in the comfort of your parents’ basement, this is a rule that needs to be followed by all members of the community with no exceptions. If I can smell you through your computer screen, you need to take a shower. This, of course, is more for the sake of those playing in local game stores, but it should apply to everyone. Make the world a better place; put some deodorant in its place . . . which would be under your arms.
Just a few tips to add to the laundry list of Magic player dos and don’ts. Every player, from the typical FNM grinder to the Pro Tour Hall of Famer, is bound to make mistakes. One thing that separates the great players from the bottom-dwellers is their ability to learn from their mistakes.
In the end, I decided to head to the bots and pick up a couple inexpensive cards and give them a try. Here are the cards I bought and my reasoning behind each card:
- 1 Riders of Gavony – The card has been an MVP in the deck, and with all the aggro I had seen lately, I wanted to see more of them. Cost: 0.30; What a bargain!
- 4 Divine Deflection – I was taking a chance with this card, but I wanted to see how well it would protect my army from sweepers. I also saw this as a bit of tech that I could use against Restoration Angel. There seemed to be a variety of reasons that this might be a good card in my deck, but my primary concern was whether I would have the mana to make it beneficial. Also, the card doesn’t play well with Thalia. Cost: 0.24 each
I added the new cards in addition to three Suture Priests—because of the increasing number of tokens and Humans decks I had played against recently. I also moved the Mirran Crusaders back to the main deck in place of the Silverblade Paladins for the Zombie and R/G aggro matchups. After making my changes, here is how the modified deck looked:
I had the deck ready to go and a full night’s rest. I was ready to put the past behind me and get down to business. It was time for another Daily Event.
Standard 4-RND (Event #3946067)
Round 1 vs. R/G Aggro
On my opponent’s final turn, he had two Wolf tokens, a Wolfir Avenger, and two Birds of Paradise. I had a tapped Mirran Crusader, two Fiend Hunters, a Gideon's Lawkeeper, and a Spirit token, and I was tapped out with only three lands in play. He left both Birds back to block and attacked with everything else. He had no cards in hand, so I wasn’t worried about him burning out my Fiend Hunters. I used them to block the Wolf tokens and used the Spirit token to block his Avenger. Then on my turn, I top-decked a land like a pro and once again sent in the cavalry. Riders of Gavony gave my Humans protection from Birds FTW.
Game record: 1–0
This is one of those games in which I felt that I was always behind, and at times, I felt as though I should just concede. Being down to 1 life against a deck that could easily top-deck a card to burn me out felt hopeless, but you don’t win anything by quitting. I stayed the course, and it paid off. Lesson learned. Also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I love Riders of Gavony.
I had a Fiend Hunter, Champion of the Parish, two Mirran Crusader, Riders of Gavony (giving Humans protection from Wolves), Honor of the Pure, and six Plains. He put all of his mana into the activation of his Wolf Run to make his Birds into a 4/1 flying guillotine, and he attacked for lethal.
Fortunately for me, I had been holding my trump card. I cast Divine Deflection using all 6 mana and targeted my opponent. He was dropped to 14 life. I then attacked with my army and connected for 18 damage.
Game record: 2–0
Match record: 1–0
This match was one of the most stressful I have ever played, and yet it was among the most fun. It wasn’t winning the match that made me enjoy it so much, but it was the fact it came down to the last turn of each game. The match could have truly have gone either way. Thankfully, my card choices seemed to have paid off—in this first round anyway.
Round 2 vs. W/U Humans
When I finally was able to stabilize, I was at 3 life to his 16, and the only 4 life he had lost came from his own Gut Shots. I was able to remove both his Golem tokens with Fiend Hunters and play a Mirran Crusader. My creatures were being pumped by Honor of the Pure, and I was able to continue attacking with Mirran Crusader to force chump-blocking. If he had been able to transform his Delver of Secrets, he would have been able to swing in for the win, but he never did. I played another Fiend Hunter to remove his last threat and finished him off.
Game record: 1–0
Another close one, and sticking with it really paid off. Whew!
Game record: 1–1
Game 3 – This was a very long battle and not all that interesting to describe. The board was locked down with a lot of Humans against a lot of Humans. It ended up coming down to the fact that I had Riders of Gavony and Suture Priests and he didn’t. The Suture Priests punished him for playing his creatures and rewarded me for mine, and the Riders provided both blocking power and a win condition. GG.
Game record: 2–1
Match record: 2–0
I was now 2–0 and against two very aggressive and exciting decks. Win or lose, I was definitely having fun. I just hoped I would continue with the close games for the rest of the tournament.
Round 3 vs. Esper Control
Game record: 0–2
Match record: 2–1
I feel that the mulligans I took were necessary, and yet they didn’t pay off this time. Even my deck can’t survive long with a one-land keep unless I draw into additional lands quickly. I needed to dust myself off and take down the third round.
Round 4 vs. R/G Aggro
Game 1 – I had an solid opening hand despite needing to mulligan to six. I kept a two-land hand, but I had multiple early threats and two Honor of the Pure. I over-anticipated a quick victory, and I therefore ridiculously overcommitted to the board. Slagstorm made me pay the price by wiping five of my early creatures. I still felt confident when I dropped my Mirran Crusader on the board . . . until my opponent killed it with a Red Sun's Zenith. I was blown away since I had never seen that played in all my time testing. His Wolfir Silverheart was then able to put the game away.
Game record: 0–1
Game 2 – I kept a hand of two Doomed Travelers, two Gideon's Lawkeepers, a Fiend Hunter, and two Plains. I drew nothing but lands for the rest of the game, and my opponent continued to play threats. Eventually, he was able to Slagstorm my creatures away and finish me off. Fortunately, I did draw an Honor of the Pure on my last turn. Unfortunately, there were no creatures left for it to pump.
Game record: 0–2
Match record: 2–2
I definitely came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.
Losing the last two rounds in that fashion really rained on my parade. I guess the only thing I can do is come back next week and knock fate on his ass.
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