The journey to the 15th MGM started with a sprint. For the first time, Marcel (read his report here) and I decided to take a train to Berlin, as we were able to obtain a cheap tickets. However, there also was the Evangelischer Kirchentag in Dortmund and public transportation was somewhat overwhelmed with the additional 121,000 additional people in Dortund. This led to a nearly hour long ride to the main station, which is a time in which I could simply have walked there, if I would have known that I need that long. When I finally arrived at the main station, I had less than two minutes till the departure of my train that was for some reason not delayed (which you would usually suspect). I ran. Up the stairs. A lot of stairs. I saw the waiting train. I entered the train. It departed. I made it. Relieved I searched for Marcel who was nearly as stressed as I, since he hadn’t seen me entering the train and thought that I had missed it. Now we could enjoy a stressless and uneventful train ride to Berlin.
I brought the same deck I played at the last Westfalen Masters with some minor changes. The deck is rock solid and got lots of new (potential) cards in the last Editions. Since I had nearly no time testing any of those, I reduced my changes to a minimum, which was ok.
During the tournament I was able to talk to Justus whose deck I am basically playing (minus a few changes). He gave me some input on recent changes. I included some cards he recommended (Gush, Mental Misstep, Thing in the Ice) after the tournament and most of them were great during testing. Anyhow, let’s have a look at the tournament.
I lost the first game as you would expect to loose against a Tempo deck. My life points this game looked like: 20, 19, 13, 7, and 0. If my memory serves me right, he had a Geist of Staint Traft, which I could not get rid of.
The second game was won by me in a similar fashion. Both games were way more complex than I am describing them here, but I didn’t make many notes. Therefore, it is quite hard to describe them in more detail.
The last game was one of the best I had throughout the day. Jan had a super strong start that resulted in having an uncontested Jace, the Mind Sculptor, because I had to spend (almost) all my resources on preceding threats. At this point I thought that I had lost the game, as he was able to brainstorm twice. But, he didn’t find any counter-magic, which resulted in a True-Name Nemesis entering the battlefield under my control. The Nemesis was able to take out Jace and slowly turning the match in my favor. He could not find an answer and I won.
I won the first game quite easily, not sure what exactly I was playing against. Hence, I expect way more creatures in the second game.
The last game was the closest one of the three. We traded resources and I had to play my Bitterblossom to apply some pressure (as I didn’t want to lose against a topdeck planeswalker). While this forced me to close the game quicker (his deck contains lots of burn) it seemed necessary. I can follow it up with a Vendillion Clique resulting in a two turn clock. Unfortunately, he found a Zealous Persecution on top of his deck, which killed my whole board. I couldn’t recover in time and he took the match, as he also won the last game without much resistance from my side.
You can also read his thoughts on this new(?) and definitely powerful Mardu Superfriends deck here.
We both durdled around quite a bit in the first game. While I did more or less nothing, he at least resolved a Dark Confidant. However, greatness, at any cost was a Tombstalker in this game. This was too much, and I was able to deliver the last points of damage to take down the first game.
The second game was fiercely fought over. He had a good hand containing Dissmember, Marsh Flats, Misty Rainforest, Jace, Vryns Prodigy, Curious Homunculus, and names that I cannot read anymore. This hand matched up very well against my hand and in the end he was victorious with the right for answers.
The third game was another grind. All the matches were very good, but unfortunately my opponent got very salty as now I was the one with all the correct answers. When the dust settled, I had a True-Name Nemesis on an otherwise empty board. He searched for Lilianas Triumph to which I can respond with a Snapcaster Mage. He tilts and dies three turns later.
This was a very unpleasant encounter and I truly hope that this doesn’t happen again. We are playing a game of chance and it’s not your opponents fault when they have the correct answers. Maybe they played better, maybe they were lucky. It does not matter. Be nice. It’s not their fault, why make them feel bad for it?
Not knowing what my opponent was playing I kept a hand that was on the slower side. I guess I should have mulliganed. He stabilized quite early in the game and a Batterskull on his side seals the deal. The takeaway from this game was that I definitely should mulligan more if the hand is worse than the average. This is still true with the new mulligan, I guess.
In the second game I had it all. I started with a Monestary Mentor that I could protect. Then a Teferi, the Time Raveler basically sealed the deal. However, Seven still hadn’t enough, so we continued. The next turn I was able to cast Lingering Souls at the end of his turn, which convinced him to scoop.
Unfortunately, my deck decided that it had worked enough and I didn’t find any pressure during the next match. While I was looking for more than conditional counters and cantrips, I got slowly killed by a Primordial Mist. This card is very good, basically unbeatable for my deck when playing from behind. So he took the match.
Finally, I had time to get something to eat.
The first game was a very interesting one. After a fast start he stabilized, which is frightening from a slower Control Deck. A timely Kitchen Finks on his side definitely helped. However, I was able to deploy a Monastery Mentor. I remanded his Vedalken Shackles, which he then replayed could not activate.
On my following turn, I tried to trigger the Mentor as often as possible, which resulted in four tokens and a Demonic Tutor in my hand. The Demonic Tutor got me a Zealous Persecution, which was enough to win the game through my Mentor now controlled by Jonny.
The second game was very one sided. Jonny mulligans down to 5 cards, keeps a hand with no blue source and just two plains. My hand is very slow, but still fast enough to end the match before he could recover from not finding any lands in the first few turns.
The deck was a blast to play the whole day (minus the one game where I had nothing and lost screwed on two lands). Most of my matches were decided by the players and only a few matches ended due to being mana screwed or flooded. In my opinion, the Free Mulligan in addition to the London Mulligan, which was tested throughout the tournament, feels good for our format; the test session was (again in my opinion a huge success).
Regarding the mulligan: Since the tournament the official mulligan has been changed to London Mulligan only (without the Free Mulligan). While I do not want to discuss the way this change was introduced, it is not as bad as I initially thought it would be. However, I still have mixed feelings and I’m just as little convinced that the trade-offs we get with this mulligan are worth it. More testing (especially in a tournament setting) is necessary.
But back to my conclusion from the last Metagame Masters. One thing that I was afraid to see is that the attendance is still doping. We still played six rounds, but it was close. Maybe this was due to the mulligan that was tested at the tournament, holidays, or the good weather. Hopefully, there will be more players at the next iteration of this tournament, because it really is a great one.
Now, the next big tournament seems to be the 2nd Continental Cup in Halle. Hope to see you all there.