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Blitzbold @ Dülmen August 2004

Blitzbold @ Duelmen 08 / 2004 After not being able to go to the monthly Duelmen tournaments several times I figured out that I would finally be able to make it to the August tournament. In the playtesting sessions prior to the July Duelmen I early discarded two of my favourite decks for various reasons: 4cGAT for its vulnerablility to strip-effects and Sundering Titan and an own creation of B/u MaskNought for not being able to deal with Goblin Welder and / or Platinum Angel. To be able to support my playtesting group I build Jacob Orlove’s WTF-r and brought it to a test session. I liked the deck very much and kept on testing it.
While testing I played a high number of games both with Brainstorm and Standstill as the deck’s draw engine next to Curiosity and finally settled on Standstill. Though it might not be as synergistic in the deck as it is in G@y-R, playing with 5 Ancestral Recall just feeled to be so unfair.

This is the deck I took to the tournament:

Boa goes Fishing a.k.a. WTF-r
4 River Boa
2 Call of the Herd
4 Grim Lavamancer
1 Gorilla Shaman
4 Spiketail Hatchling
4 Curiosity
4 Standstill
4 Force of Will
2 Daze
1 Stifle
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
3 Null Rod
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Emerald
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Volcanic Island
4 Tropical Island
2 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta

sb 2 Red Elemental Blast
sb 1 Rack and Ruin
sb 2 Fire / Ice
sb 1 Stifle
sb 1 Blue Elemental Blast
sb 1 Energy Flux
sb 2 Oxidize
sb 2 Naturalize
sb 2 Sword of Fire and Ice
sb 1 Crucible of Worlds

One week before Duelmen in a smaller tournament which had a much more random and more aggroish Metagame I played 1 Misdirection and 1 Fire / Ice Md instead of the 2 Daze. The sideboard was also a little bit different. I went 3:0:1 and placed second, only drawing with a friend of mine playing TPS who won the tournament.
I do not like the 6 Fetch-6 Duals-3 Moxen mana-configuration used by various players. The main reason for this is that I do not want to have a quarter of my colored mana sources shut down by my own Null Rods. Testing against Keeper, Stax and DrainSplit also showed that three Volcanic Island are probably not enough. The mana base as it stands now served me well so far.
I shied away from Artifact Mutation because of its heavy color requirement and opted for Naturalize in the 2-mana slot and Energy Flux instead of a second Rack and Ruin because of being a blue card.

Now on to a short tournament report.

Round 1: Simon Fussel playing Psychatog (Hulk with strip effects and Isochron Scepter)
(1)I get an early curious Lavamancer active. I play a Factory and start dealing damage with it until it gets stripped. Being low on life he breaks my Standstill by playing Psychatog. After attacking for 1 he tries to Time Walk with 4 mana sources in play. I respond by shooting him with the Lavamancer, draw and play FoW. He tries do drain my FoW, but I have a Daze for it. Being on 4 life and staring down at the curios Rifleman he scoops.
(2)I did not see a single artifact on his side and board out my Null Rods, 2 Curiosities and a Standsill for 2 SoFI, 2 REB, one Stifle and one CoW. He starts by duressing a Standstill from my hand. I play a 1st turn River Boa and we start to keep each other low on lands by various strip effects while my Boa keeps hitting him. He Fires the Boa and me, but overlooks my Emerald and I regenerate the Snake. The Boa and a Factory finish him off.

1:0:0

Round 2: Daniel Eufinger playing Hulk
(1)I start the game with a Lavamancer while he plays a first turn Ancestral. I try to Daze, but he has a FoW ready. He then plays Mox Jet and Duress, taking my FoW left without a blue card in hand. Two turns later he plays a Psychatog and Drains my Null Rod which would have shut down half of his mana sources. End of my turn he Mysticals for Mind Twist, Twists my hand away on his turn and proceeds to win with Hulk a turn later.
(2)I play a first turn LoA, but he has a Duress again (taking one of my 2 FoW) and LoA is useless. He then plays Lotus, Sol Ring and Deep Analysis, which I force. Some turns later his board consists of 5 Mana and a Psychatog while I have a Lavamancer, a Spiketail Hatchling and some Mana. He plays another Duress, finds no counter and takes a Null Rod, wishes for Bererk, pumps his Tog to 11/12 by discarding his hand and removing is whole graveyard, but my Spiketail is ready to counter his Berserk… If he only had not discarded another Mox to pump the Tog…
(3)I play Ancestral Recall during his second Upkeep. He forces, I force, he forces again… that’s OK for me. I keep on playing Strips and a Null Rod while an Elephant Token hits him. He wishes for Fact or Fitction but which gets countered by a Spiketail again.

2:0:0

Round 3: Benjamin Ribbeck playing GAT
I never played Benny before but know him to be one of Duelmen’s best players. I did not take many notes since the two games were very intense. He has an early Dryad in the first game, but I have a curious Lavamancer again and a River Boa. The second game is similar.

3:0:0

Round 4: Kai Lange playing BU Dragon
(1)A one-time Bazaar activation is enoguh for him to put both a Worldgorger Dragon and the ambassador in his graveyard. He comboes me out shotly afterwards after cleaing the way with a Duress.
(2)I have an early Spiketail and a Null Rod, followed by two Wastelands. His Duress only shows him a lonely Volcanic Island but I topdeck both BEB and a Standstill in the consecutive turns. He breaks the Standstill, probably aiming for a draw with a Dragon only in his graveyard and no discard-outlet in play. The Dragon gets blasted with the cip-trigger on the stack and he concedes permanentless.
(3)He has to mulligan twice while I again have a quick Spiketail and Null Rod. After playing Standstill the Spiketail and a Factory start hitting him. He breaks Standstill with a Duress which shows him both a Stifle and a Naturalize. He takes the Stifle, but his second Duress a turn later shows him 2 Naturalizes. Being on 7 life he scoops to my small army when I resolve Time Walk thanks to my Spiketail.


4:0:0 – Nice start!

Round 5: Valerio Psioni playing TPS
Ah, one of the Italians on their yearly trip to Germany. TPS was a good Matchup for WTF-r during testing so I went into the match optimistically.
(1)He starts with Duress and takes my Null Rod – the main reason I kept my mediocre hand. Two turns later he plays Timetwister, lays fast Mana, plays Windfall, Duresses my FoW and I scoop to his Mind’s Desire for 12…
(2)I keep a hand without any blue cards but with a first turn Null Rod. I start to hit him with dual Mishra’s Factory, but he has a eot Chain of Vapor for my Null Rod soon afterwards and proceeds to win on his turn with a gigantic Yawgmoth’s Will. I did not draw any blue cards.

4:1:0

Round 6: Johannes Groth playing TriniStax
(1)I have both an early Spiketail and a Null Rod. The Spiketail counters his Trinisphere and Factories and a Boa kills him.
(2)He starts with Workshop + Trinisphere with me having no counter. He fails to play other lock components and I am able to resolve my Energy Flux on my third turn. He starts to pay for his artifacts with two lands and an Ancient Tomb, which in kombination with my Boa brings him down to 3. He is able to resolve Goblin Welder and Metalworker in the meantime, both of which I am not able to kill because he stripped my two red mana sources earlier. I scoop after he resolves a Crucible of Worlds with a Strip Mine in his graveyard and him being able to pay the upkeep costs.
(3)I have to mulligan and start with a first turn Gorilla Shaman. He plays Workshop + Trinisphere again and I do not counter it depsite being able to do so – WHY ?? He quickly proceeds to lock me out of the game.

We play another game for fun and I bet him without mercy.

4:2:0

Round 7: Jan-Peter Goerke playing Salvager.dec
I think his deck is one of the creations by Andreas Klaes and I know Jan as a good and very nice player. I already saw his deck in action and thought to be well prepared with counterspells and maindeck Null Rods.
(1)I start with a nice hand including Null Rod. During the next 7 or 8 turns I draw about 6 lands. Jan draws better, he has a Disenchant for my Null Rod and easily shoots me 100 times with Pyrite Spellbomb shortly afterwards.
(2)We both mullligan once, and my hand is still not that good, but I do not want to start with a lower number of cards. I resolve a Null Rod, but Jan has a Disenchant again and plays Ancestral in his turn. He proceeds to draw godlike, including a second Disenchant for my second Null Rod while I neither see a single carddraw nor counter and he kills me.

As expected I beat him easliy in two further but meaningless games.

4:3:0

I end placing 26th as the best player with 12 points. A turnout I did not expected after starting so well.
I was not seated against a 4CC despite the deck’s high number showing.
Lorenzo Fideli comes to Germany once in a year and wins Duelmen with Psychatogs… One year with Berserk, another year with Fling.

Crucible of Worlds was seen all over the place and many games were decided by its pure power. I expect to see a very high number of them at the decklists from GenCon.

I could have won all matches I lost, but sometimes it just should not be. Not countering the Trinisphere was definitely a bad mistake, but I can’t remember any other play errors that bad. Loosing to TPS that clearly is a bit distorting, but of course that may happen, too.

The decks runs very smoothly and I do not regret opting for Standstills instead of Brainstorm. Although only playing four creatures with flying I always had an evasive critter on the board to be targeted by my curiosity. A curios Islandwalker is at least as nice a curios Rifleman.

I think I will change the mana base a bit by cutting the LoA in favour of Mox Ruby. LoA never drew me a single card and was a mere bad colorless landdrop. Though being a nice card especially against controldecks, WTF-r cannot afford to play a slow control game because of the low number of hard counters. A player’s hand empties quite fast when playing all the tempocards the deck wants to see in play like Spiketail, Null Rod or Wastelands. I even was not able to use LoA under a Standstill or after drawing 3 from a Standstill.

I also want Crucible of Worlds in the maindeck for its simple ability to decide games all on it’s own. I might cut one of the Curiosities or swap it with a MD Null Rod, but I still shy away from this. Putting the third Null Rod into the board when adding Mox Ruby sounds reasonable, but having an early Null Rod is so important for this deck to execute its game plan. Curiosities were nearly always the first card to be sided out , so maybe one of them has to get the boot.
Though I was not paired against Sligh or FCG at Duelmen, I played against two FCG in the smaller tournament prior to Duelmen. Fire / Ice was as good as expected in this Matchup, but Sword of Fire and Ice ruled the table after it resolved. With River Boas and Elephants already improving such Matchups, theese two push it even further to WTF-r’s advantage.
I missed Artifact Mutation when playing against Stax, and it will definitely make its way back into the Sideboard. Nevertheless I liked how Kai (the draong player) actually did not like seeing Naturalize in my hand. The ‘anti-artifact-fraction’ might therefore look like ‘2 Oxidize, 2 Artifact Mutation, 1 Natualize, 1 Rack and Ruin.’

I am looking forward to hearing any comments and suggestions and hope we are able to further develop this variant of Fish.
You can reach me by mailing to: m-heiduk AT gmx DOT de

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