Coverage of the Dracoti Double Box Tournament 20/02/2015
By: Amoret Van Rooyen
South Africa’s final PTQ was mere hours away, starting bright and early the morning after this Double Box FNM at Dracoti. Despite that, a host of players wisely chose Magic over sleep and turned out to battle for two boxes and perhaps make some last-minute refinements to their decks.
Round 1: Jason Ward vs. Werner Krause
Jason has promised Dracoti an article on the Modern Merfolk deck that he specialises in, and we’re still waiting. His beloved blue fish just aren’t up to scratch in Standard, unfortunately, so he was battling with a Jeskai Tokens deck. Werner faced off against him with a highly unusual White Green life-gain combo deck.
The start of this game was slow, with things only starting to happen in turn 3 when Werner played a Soulmender and Jason started to build up his token presence with Hordeling Outburst. In turn 4, Werner used Soulmender’s lifegain ability to great effect after playing both Hardened Scales and Ajani’s Pridemate, doubling the amount of +1/+1 counters placed on the Pridemate. Jason was stumped for a while until he managed to draw Stoke the Flames and get rid of the Pridemate. Werner continued to build up his threats with Citadel Siege and Bow of Nylea as well as another Soulmender. Although Jason managed to make some more tokens, things weren’t looking good for him as Werner continued to make Soulmender bigger and scarier every turn. Jason played Jeskai Ascendancy but it didn’t help him much as Werner dropped a Dromoka, the Eternal with three counters on it. At this point Werner was tantalisingly close to winning, but an amazing stroke of good luck allowed Jason to draw a second Jeskai Ascendancy which made his goblin tokens just big enough to have Werner dead on the board. No-one at the table saw that one coming, least of all Jason.
This game started very slow for Jason, with Werner having played a Soulmender, an Ainok Bond-kin and an Ajani’s Pridemate by the time Jason could play Raise the Alarm on turn 4. He did however manage to follow that up with a Goblin Rabblemaster, meaning he was not at a disadvantage. For a few turns they continued to trade blows and slowly build up board presence, Werner with another Soulmender and Soulblade Elf and Jason with more goblin tokens and Jeskai Acendancy. Werner took the lead at this point by destroying the Ascendancy and continuing to make his creatures massive. Again though, Jason managed to fight back and eventually win the game with a combination of Seeker of the Way, endless goblin tokens and another Goblin Rabblemaster.
Round 2: Wesley Lamprecht vs. Francois
Wesley is an established player locally and has been putting in a string of top 8 finishes at big tournaments. He is also known for his larger-than life personality and hat-wearing habit. Francois, surname unknown, lived up to his mystery man status by piloting an unusual Mardu build that leads off with Monastery Swiftspears in an aggressive game plan.
Francois won the roll and immediately got to work on Wesley’s life total by playing and attacking with a Monastery Swiftspear. He continued to grind down Wesley’s life total until Wesley put up some resistance with a Seeker of the Way. Things started looking hairy for Francois in the next turn when Wesley enchanted the Seeker with Ordeal of Heliod, giving himself exactly what he needed: an opportunity to gain a ton of life. Francois managed to remove the ordeal before it triggered and kept flooding the board with small creatures.
Wesley, however, seized control of the board as his deck transformed from scalpel to bludgeon. Francois had no way to deal with a Battlewise Hoplite and Hero of Iroas when they each picked up an Ordeal of Thassa, growing to unmanageable size and overwhelming Francois’ board for the win.
This game started more slowly than the first but Francois did manage to seize the initiative with Seeker of the Way and Brimaz, King of Oreskos before Wesley could play anything substantial. Wesley kept himself in the game by tapping down Brimaz with Oppressive Rays and making a Hero of Iroas absolutely massive with three Ordeals. Even after Francois removed that Hero, things were looking good for Wesley as he replaced it with a Seeker of the Way (with an Ordeal attached) and a Battlewise Hoplite. Out of the blue, and to Wesley’s dismay, Francois swept the board with Anger of the Gods. He followed that up with some hasty creatures and was able to steal the victory.
Whereas before the atmosphere was relaxed and chatty, tension definitely started to ramp up in this game. Wesley got the jump on Francois right away and started in the first turn to build up threats with a Favoured Hoplite, making it stronger in the next turn with Ordeal of Heliod. Francois was only able to play a Monastery Swiftspear by turn 3, at which point it was too late as Wesley placed another Ordeal on his Hoplite in turn 4 and triggered both enchantments. Although Francois strengthened his board position hugely with Brimaz, Butcher of the Horde and Sorin, the damage had already been done. Wesley’s original Hoplite along with a second one brought Francois’ life total down to zero before his big creatures had a chance to make any kind of impact.
Round 3: Richard Soldin vs. David Reinecke
Richard Soldin has had the misfortune of a number of near-misses at big tournaments; rumour has it that his living room is carpeted in Top 8 playmats. His opponent in the third round, David Reinecke, frequents the top tables here at Dracoti and would be looking to pilot his Jeskai deck to victory once more. Standing in his way would be Richard’s Red-Green Devotion
Richard experienced a string of bad luck in this round that started when he had to mulligan in this game and David had three Goblin Rabblemasters in his opening hand. A Courser of Kruphix and an Elvish Mystic from Richard were enough to hold off the first Rabblemaster for while, until Richard cast Xenagos, the Reveler. He then used Xenagos’ first ability in combination with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to cast Whisperwood Elemental and manifest a creature. David managed to return Richard’s Courser to his library and remove the Elemental but did nothing to slow Richard’s momentum. Richard simply recast the Courser and again used Xenagos and Nykthos to play Voyaging Satyr, a Lightning Strike (for the Rabblemaster) and Nylea (who came onto the battlefield online). David continued to hang on by playing another Rabblemaster and trying to do some damage with it and his army of goblin tokens. Again, however, Richard continued to dominate the board as he played a Polukranos and used its monstrous ability to remove both the Rabblemaster and quite a few tokens. Still David soldiered on with some strong creatures like Mantis Rider and Brimaz but things were looking very sketchy as Richard was able to ulti Xenagos in his next turn. The resulting appearance of 5 lands, two Hornet Queens and a Sylvan Caryatid on top of Richard’s already massive board presence looked to be devastating. Upon doing the maths however, the players realised that Richard was just unable to kill David in that turn as David was on 31 life. Not wishing to cheat David, Richard insisted that they play the next turn. Unfortunately for Richard, he was on 4 life and David drew a Stoke the Flames which allowed him to win against all the odds.
This game started with both players having to mulligan, resulting in the first few rounds being very slow as they tried to draw enough land to get started. Richard really struggled to draw any sort of mana or even mana dorks (bad luck indeed with a deck where over half of the cards produce mana). Eventually, Richard managed to play a Voyaging Satyr but when that was removed with a Wild Slash he was in big trouble. While he was stuck on 4 lands and unable to play anything, David played Brimaz, King of Oreskos and started attacking. 3 turns later Richard was still unable to draw land or cast anything and when David played a Seeker of the Way Richard conceded.
Round 4: Michiel Wessels vs. Jason Ward
Jason still hadn’t sent us that article by round 4, where he was taking on Michiel Wessels, an engineering student and Level 1 Judge bringing a Blue Black Artifact deck to the table.
Michiel started off well with Ornithopter, Ensoul Artifact and Cloudform but although Jason started off slowly with just two tokens from Raise the Alarm, he started to gain ground with Goblin Rabblemaster and Mantis Rider fairly quickly. Michiel clung on by continually blocking and strengthening his position with Bident of Thassa and things started to look good when he was able to remove the second Rabblemaster from Jason. He continued to stall while he started trying to build up a threat but was eventually completely overwhelmed by sheer numbers as Jason continued to make tokens. A final Hordeling Outburst from Jason sealed the deal and Michiel conceded on 3 life.
Jason managed to get started a bit earlier in this game with a Seeker of the Way on turn 2 although Michiel had already played Frost Walker and followed it up with Ornithopter and Ghostfire Blade. This game started to look very similar to the previous one when Jason played a Goblin Rabblemaster, followed it up with a Jeskai Charm and a Mantis Rider and started to attack aggressively. Michiel tried to fight back but was unable to draw any real threats or any removal and was once again completely overwhelmed by tokens in the next few turns. He conceded after another Seeker, a Hordeling Outburst and a Raise the Alarm from Jason.
Round 5: Jason Ward vs. David Reinecke
Still no article from Jason by round 5. A win from Jason in this round would make him the only player with a 5-0 record, giving the tournament a clear winner and sparing everyone a 6th round. David took the role of the villain, playing to keep everyone around for another round so he could duke it out in a final match.
This match up was very even for the first few turns, with both players playing fairly big threats (Brimaz for David and Mantis Rider for Jason) and having them removed swiftly. Things started to pick up in turn 5 when David brought out another Brimaz and Jason started to build his token army with Hordeling Outburst. David strengthened his position a bit with Seeker of the Way but Jason managed to take the lead by removing Brimaz and playing Jeskai Ascendancy. David continued to apply some pressure with a Mantis Rider however and eventually played a Stormbreath Dragon. Jason was unable to deal with all that damage in the air and was soundly defeated.
Ever after mulliganing, Jason was severely mana screwed in this game. By turn 4 David had played a Brimaz and a Seeker of the Way. Things started looking up for Jason when he managed to remove the Seeker and play his own Seeker two turns later. He was so far behind though that when David played a Mantis Rider in turn 7 there was nothing left to do but concede defeat.
At this point David Reinecke and Wesley Lamprecht were supposed to play each other in Round 6 for first place but decided to ID both to spare the rest of us and in order to get some amount of sleep before the PTQ the next day.
1st place: Wesley Lamprecht and David Reinecke
3rd place: Jason Ward