Guys, I did it. I finally got top 12 again. And since there were 45 participants in the tournament (yup, 45!), I got a whole draft set, and not just two packs. (Normally places 9-12 only get two “pity packs”.) Basically, it was my best night of Magic so far. Eleventh out of 45 is not too shabby, I’d say.
I’m really proud of myself, and it definitely helped that everything came together in draft. I ended up with really good removal, strong creatures and some really good bombs. I first-picked a Putrefy, and second picked a Zhur-Taa Druid. After picking the druid I quickly switched into Gruul so I could send signals to my left and hopefully get strong Gruul in the Gatecrash draft. And I did. I ended up with two Madcap Skills, one right after another. I also got two Scorchwalkers and a Disciple of the Old Ways. One of my last picks of Gatecrash was actually a Rubblehulk, which was awesome when I got it out. I picked a smaller creature over it the first time around because I was aiming to be more aggressive, but I am very glad it tabled. My Ravnica picks were also strong. I’m not as familiar with those cards, but when an Ash Zealot came to me fourth or fifth pick, I definitely grabbed that. I also got a Rubbleback Rhino, a Slime Molding and Annihilating Fire. I could go on … I really like all the cards in my deck, so check out the decklist!
I was really stoked going into the first match. I knew that if I could get one of my strong two-drops, like Ash Zealot, and immediately get Madcap Skills on it, I would be in good shape. And that’s exactly what happened the first game. I got my Disciple out turn two, and Madcap Skills turn three. After hitting my opponent for five that turn, I got a little overexcited for my next attack and bloodrushed with a Scorchwalker right away. My opponent responded by preventing all damage that turn. Oh well, I had another one in my hand, which I was able to successfully play to the face the following attack phase. At this point, my opponent had taken 15, so on his turn he Supreme Verdicts my one creature. Luckily, I had a Slime Molding and plenty of mana to cast it. He conceded when it hit the board.
Game two started off in a very similar fashion, but with an Ash Zealot and Madcap Skills. I also played another creature out, so when he Supreme Verdicted that game, it was enough to stop me. He had a couple fliers out, and I couldn’t deal with them, so eventually he won. He had answers to all my removal, and I couldn’t get get my big dudes out. I’d even sided in my one reach creature, Archweaver, and had it in my hand but didn’t have the mana to play it.
So we went on to game three, which started off a bit slow for me. That allowed him to gather momentum and fliers and I just couldn’t ever get back in the game. My first match was kind of a bust; I was thwarted by tempo and Supreme Verdict, but I didn’t let it get me down. I went into the second match with high hopes.
My hopes came true when I thoroughly stomped my next opponent 2-0. He didn’t really even have a chance. Game one I got Madcap Skills on my Gore-House Chainwalker, and he got pretty mana screwed. Game two I got a two drop with Madcap skills and got him down low before he could double block, and then when he could, I got another creature out and attacked with both and bloodrushed the unblocked for lethal. It was really fun.
I lost the first game of match three because my opponent was playing a strong Orzhov deck with a Tithe Drinker and other strong extort cards. I didn’t have much of a chance when he got above 25 life. Game two started off with me keeping a hand with a Putrefy and the mana to play it, my Annihilating Fire and some late drops. In a perfect world, it would have totally worked. Turn 2, he plays his Tithe Drinker, so turn 3 I Putrefy it. I didn’t have any creatures out, and didn’t want its extort and lifelink to give him a massive head start. Then his turn 3 he played Pack Rat, and I didn’t have the double red to cast Annihilating Fire. I didn’t concede right away, but ultimately ended up losing to an army of Pack Rats. Had I known he had Pack Rat, I would have held on to that Putrefy until it showed up, but unfortunately I’m not omniscient. (That’d probably give me an unfair advantage anyway…)
The rest of my matches were pretty much like match 2 in that I won all of them 2-0. Some highlights:
- I got both my Madcap Skills out at one time.
- I got both my Rubblehulk and a huge Ooze token from a Slime Molding out on the battlefield at once.
- I managed to Weapon Surge when my creature with Madcap Skills on it would have died, and killed both of my opponents creatures.
- I used Traitorous Instinct to make my creature with Madcap skills unblockable.
- My Druid helped me get my bigger creatures out reliably, which was great.
- Overall domination!
I was really happy when I won three matches in a row without losing a game. I’d never been on that end of the spectrum, and it was incredibly gratifying.
For me, my night signaled that all my practice over the last few months has been worth it. I’m not going to expect to go 4-2 from now on, but it’s definitely encouraging. I know I can actually do it now, and the first time I got top 12 probably wasn’t actually a fluke. My night on Friday showed me that I am actually getting better, but Magic just takes practice.
In preparation for FNM, I did a couple online drafts with a friend, and several mock drafts on bestiaire, which really helped me get the hang of drafting DGM-GTC-RTR. I’ve heard that this set is actually fairly difficult for new players to draft, which I could see. So I decided to practice more! I always play with my draft deck throughout the week after FNM, which has helped actual playing skills get much better, so I decided to apply that logic to practicing draft. And it seems to have paid off.
I’m definitely not going to stop practicing now… I want to start making top 12 more often, and hopefully make top 8 sometime soon! It’d be awesome if I could do it during this set, too. I guess time will tell. For now, I’ll just bask in the glory of my free draft set.
What was your most memorable FNM experience? I’d love to hear some of your stories!
All for now,