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Posted February 13, 2016 by Scott Gerhardt in Card Games
 
 

Grand Prix Mexico City – Day 2

After what I felt was a fairly successful day one (end the day in 38th place), I woke up in a great mood and ready to take down a couple drafts.  I get over to my pod table, and after the formalities, we start

The first draft starts with the first thing I see being a Chandra.  DING!  Okay, this is gonna be nice I hope.  A second pick Prophet of Distortion, passing an Oath of Jace. puts me into R/U, a place I am very comfortable.  A third pick Oath of Chandra started me into removal.  A Stormchaser Mage and Warden of Geometries has me feeling pretty good about this draft.

Second pack I open a Bearer of Silence, a card I particularly like.  Nothing exceptional for me in the pack, so I take it, especially having drafted a couple of color-making lands in pack one.  Boulder Salvo, Reality Hemorrhage and Sweep Away in the first 5 picks and I feel like I have a very solid foundation.

Pack 3 I crack a Sire of Stagnation.  Having already drafted the Bearer, I decide that it’s worth splashing black, preferably just for those two cards.  This pack ends up being not particularly noteworthy, sans the 5th pick Part the Waterveil.  In the end, this is what I drafted.  I have done as best I can to remember the order of the picks, though I know for sure if every card came from pack 1, 2, or 3 due to the stamps on the cards.  It starts at the top left and moves across for 8 picks.  The swamps at the end are merely placeholders.

MexicoDraft1

Now it was time to see if the deck I put together was as good as I thought it was.  If you want to see what you’d play, take a minute and do so.  Once done, you can click to see the final deck: [showhide type=”deck” more_text=”Click to see the final deck” less_text=”Hide Deck” hidden=”yes”]MexicoDraftDeck1

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Round 10 was against the person to my left.

[showhide type=”summary10″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”]I felt the games were quite competitive, but I just felt like my deck’s raw power took over the late game both times 8-2 (2-0)[/showhide]

Now we hit round 11.  My opponent is a South American pro on Team Dex who you’ve probably heard of:

[showhide type=”summary11″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”] As powerful as my deck was, I never really felt like I stood a good chance here.  He drafted a beast, as was evident by his 3-0 pod record.  It was the perfect mix of offense and defense.  8-3 (0-2)[/showhide]

Round 12 was the round that I think was a make or break of the tournament.  Win and you’re 9-3, still quite alive for Top 8.  Lose and you won’t even make Top 16.

[showhide type=”summary12″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”]I am dumbfounded by game 2.  My big question is did I misplay or did I do what I needed to and got beat by about the only card he could have drawn to beat me?  Rewatching I saw one place where I could have drawn a card from the Prophet that did not, but looking over everything, I don’t think that would have been enough, so I feel like it’s the latter,  Game 3 I didn’t want to play fast vs the quicker, more aggressive deck, but a loss really does eliminate use both from Top 8, and I wanted to make sure SOMEONE was moving forward.  Unfortunately, he just had a nuts start and I never caught up.  No pressure. 8-4 (1-2) [/showhide]

So the monster I drafted apparently was quite less than that at 1-2.  It was quite demoralizing as I knew I was going into the last draft dead for Top 16.  I think in the end that may have affected some of my decisions in the next draft.

Speaking of the next draft it was, well, fairly stacked:  Calcano, Tien, Gerschenson again just to name a few.  I think between feeling demoralize from the last loss, plus seeing a stacked table I was not sure likely to 3-0 anyway, I decided that I was willing to play a little more fast and loose in the draft.

Pick 1 I took Dimension Inflirator over the BG manland (foil).  My tendencies to go multicolored made me want to take the manland, but I didn’t think committing into 2 colors was the right choice.  It certainly might have made the rest of my draft go better.  Pick 2 there was absoutely nothing of note in blue, so I took what I felt was the best card – the 4/4 land elemental green guy.  Pack 3 it got even worst, as there was nothing really doing in blue OR green,  Once again, best card:  Blazing Salvo.  So I’ve drafted 3 colors and figured at least one wasn’t making it.  The next pack made GU look great when I got passed that 2/4.  Pick 5, though, may have been the fate sealer.  I remember there being a couple of serviceable G or U cards, but nothing great and not likely to make the cut.  So the UB guy started calling my name.  This was black.  We’re UG potentially splashing Red and/or Black.  From there I start taking just about whatever lands there were.  I even picked up the UW one just in case.  All in all I drafted 5 lands pack 1, with duals covering every color somehow.  Don’t give me options – you’re likely to end up with what my Twitch viewers call a “Gerhardt Special”,  The next thing that happened was both nice and ugly at the same time.  I cracked a Forbidden Orchard.  Well, I’m already looking at a potential 4 color deck needing splashes and the Orcard really helps that, not to mention a little something for the wallet.  Well, the floodgates were officially opened.  It would be nice to stay out of white, but I already had a really solid red and black card, so I wasn’t going to be too scared to play them.  From here it’s just multicolor madness.  We pick up a second Dimensional Infiltrator, then a Baloth Null joins the mix, as did another Hissing Quagmire.   Now, I did try to stay mostly true to Blue and Green, taking cards in those colors whenever possible.  By the end of pack 2 I had amassed a rather eclectic army.  Pack 3 revealed a Guardian of Tazeem.  Despite being multi-colored, it was in one of my two primary colors and didn’t feel as though I could pass him.  Pick 4….pick 4 was when it really went off the rails.  There is a joke in my channel with me that if I even remotely sniff White or Blue, if I see a Noyan, I will take it and splash it because it is that damn good.  Well, looks like I was going to go white.  A pick 10 Veteran Warleader and a 14th “pick” United Front sent us running over the edge.  I tried my best to keep it sane, but we ended up with this:

MexicoDraft2

And from that pool, ugh, this is where we ended up:

[showhide type=”deck2″ more_text=”Click to see the final deck” less_text=”Hide Deck” hidden=”yes”]MexicoDraftDeck2

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I knew how fragile a deck I had just drafted was.  Hit your lands and you have a really good chance to win.  Miss and you’re toast.  So now I’m just hoping to avoid hitting one of the better players (not that any of them were bad) for Round 13 at least and then test my luck for the next round.

For Round 13 I avoided the pro landmine (I think/thought), which was the guy to my right, and then it was time to get back on track

[showhide type=”summary13″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”]Dear god.  This was pretty close to my worst possible match up.  His deck was so fast that I never would have a chance to set up.  I made a really donkey play in game 2 which could have been relevant, but I think I still get run down anyway.  8-5 (0-2)[/showhide]

Between rounds Immanuel comes over and I asks how he did.  He said he’d lost to which my response was “Stay the hell away from me!”  I’m not looking to hit him twice in two days.

So, Round 14 comes and Immanuel sits across from me.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  I had told him how I got run down the last round between rounds, so that was info I suppose he could use.

[showhide type=”summary14″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”]Holy crap!  If I thought Round 13 was close to my worst case matchup, this WAS my worst case matchup.  Even at 6, on the play He just smoked me.  Now a slightly slow start from him game 2 plus a rather juicy start for me let my deck do what it wanted to.  But that game 3 mull to 5 on the draw I knew was going to spell doom.  For a short bit I actually thought it wasn’t and I was going to be able to get him down before he could kill me.  The life gain ally basically sealed the deal as it allowed him to simply amass an army and win.  8-6 (1-2)[/showhide]

Now I figured round 15 was going to be elementary.  Who in tht pod was going to be 8-6 and still playing for Planeswalker Points, which is all that was at stake here.  Well, I got the answer to my question – a guy who was trying to avoid going 0-6 on the day:

[showhide type=”summary15″ more_text=”Click to see match summary” less_text=”Hide Summary” hidden=”yes”]I can’t even possibly say how little I cared here.  I wanted to care, I just didn’t.  It didn’t help that I never saw a green source all match until it was too late.  Horrendous luck, which was the almost perfect way to end this car crash of a tournnament.  8-7 (0-2)[/showhide]

Okay, well, that sucked, but I’m going to at least get in one side draft to redeem myself.  Wait…you just closed again?  I just chuckled and shook my head – no, THAT was the perfect way to end my GP-MEX experience.  I talked with some of the high staff including the TO and then headed out.  It’s hard to say what I really “got” from this tournament.  But, there are definitely a few life lessons that I picked up from this one:0

#1 – Never assume a GP will be soft.  We live in a new age where $10,000 is the new $4,000, and higher payouts plus more competitve races to the top of the pro point leaderboard keep pros from staying away from GPs the weekend before a PT.  Even having Vancouver at the same time wasn’t enough to dilute the pool.  If anything, Mexico had more landmines per capital because it had less than half the people of Vancouver.  GPs will not be soft anymore.  People will travel and pros absolutely will be there,3

#2 – Plan ahead.  If you’re going to a tournament like this, figure out your food options before you ever get on the plane.  Do resarch as to where to get good snacks, breakfast and more.  I have an article coming out before too long about how to survive these long tournaments and still be mentally there at the end.  I completely didn’t take my own advice.  I didn’t eat very well at all on day 2.  Luckily my Round 4 no show gave me enough time to run and get food or else Day 1 might have been ugly.  I didn’t speak spanish, so I had no idea what I would be ordering.  Having a weird pallette it kept me eating mostly Little Caesar’s and Carl’s Jr on the weekend because I knew what to expect there.  But I had absolutely no noteworthy breakfast on Day 2, minus 2 donuts, and ate almost nothing in snacks because I didnt have good one.

#3 – When being a foreigner somewhere you don’t speak the language, Google Translate can be your friend.  I used it a couple times to ask simple questions to people when I needed to.  I learned this one at little too late or 2 might have worked out better for me.

#4 – No matter how good you are or think you are, you can very easily bomb.  Now, going into the tournament, I told someone that if I didn’t make day 2, I’d never travel for a GP as long as I knew them.  In retrospect, that was dumb.  There were some very good people between here and Vancouver that found their way to 4 losses on day 1.  I had a pretty bad sealed pool.  That could have been me.  Despite claiming to be a limited specialist who does well right as the set comes out, I was only able to muster 1 win on day two.  As a matter of fact, the last 3 years in Mexico under these same circumstances I am an abysmal 1-8 in second drafts (Rounds 13-15) and a very lopsided 6-12 overall, despite being overall 21-5 in day 1.  I heard secondhand recently that someone thought I was one of the best Sealed Deck players they’d ever seen, but not so much in draft.  I sorta felt insulted at first, because one is definitely more skill intensive than the other.  Is there a different skill set, and if that’s true, what’s the hurdle I need to overcome to have the two skill levels align?

I’m a bit soured on travelling for competitive Magic right now, with my current financial situation and number 4 above making for a bad combination.  WotC is certainly making it easier on me with very few accessible limited GPs coming up and the RPTQs always constructed.  My thoughts are always subject to change, but at the moment I am pretty content to just play my Magic online and focus more on streaming unless its convenient.  Like, I will definitely go to GPLA despite it being modern.  In two weeks there is a limited PPTQ within 2 miles of me, so I’ll go to that.  I might find myself finding some paper tournaments for the sake of the PWP to secure/get future byes.

That’s it for this novel.  I hope you enjoyed it and come watch us play live on Twitch.  We stream EVERY day right now, so we’re easy to find.  It’s a fun stream where I love interacting with my visitors and do my best to teach people a new trick or two, be it by winning or losing – it all helps become a better Magic player.

Until next time, keep playing everyone!


Scott Gerhardt

 
Scott has....thoughts. They can be about this, that, or just about anything. Seldom at a loss for words, you can find his thoughts chronicled here