I came over as Mark was beginning his third game in fourth round. Mark had gotten his first two Volcanic Islands destroyed by Wastelands and looked like he might be on the ropes against Stax until he drew his Mox Ruby to cast Goblin Welder. He was eventually able to discard the Pentavus in his hand and managed to pull out the match before he would get locked by Smokestack, Crucible of Worlds, multiple copies of Chalice of the Void, and Tangle Wire.
JP Meyer: So to start off, you came here from Michigan, right? How much of a drive is that?
Biller: It was four or five hours. I came with six other people in two different cars.
JP Meyer: How has your Type One playing been affected since winning Worlds?
Biller: I never thought that I was "good enough" before, so now there's so much pressure. It's harder in a way since people will be watching my matches since I'm the champ and then they expect me to win so it makes things harder.
JP Meyer: I can tell. While I was watching your match, I kept hoping that you'd figure out a way to pull it out, since I didn't want people to read that you had gotten eliminated. I was like "Pleeeeeeeease Weld in the Pentavus. Pleeeeeeeease Weld in the Pentavus!"
Biller: Heh, well it did take me a while to catch that trick. Type One players usually feel like they have to control the board and all, so I almost missed the possibility of being able to just beat down.
JP Meyer: You're playing a Goth Slaver build this tourney, right?
Biller: Goth, er Intuition, er, AK Slaver. Yeah, I guess it is a little confusing now since Rich Shay started putting Intuitions in his Slaver deck.
JP Meyer: It was pretty commonly known that you had started getting disenchanted with Type One a few months ago and weren't playing much. What made you want to take a break?
Biller: Well, first off, I was pretty happy with what I had achieved, but the format was getting boring. It was either Force of Will, Trinisphere or Dark Ritual. But I started to miss it only about a month later, so I came back. It was even more fun after coming back because I got to start all over again.
JP Meyer: Start all over?
Biller: I had actually sold off all of my cards when I decided to quit. It was fun trying to trade for cards or win power tournaments to get the cards back. I did have to buy some of the expensive ones, but that wasn't a big deal since I had gotten pretty good when I sold out so I had to money to buy back what I had to.
JP Meyer: So then what made you want to come back? The fact that Trinisphere had gotten restricted?
Biller: Actually, I didn't think that Trinisphere had needed to get restricted. Stax had problems against Control Slaver and Storm Combo because of Goblin Welder and Rebuild, so it didn't need to get taken down a notch and was kind of disappointed that they restricted it anyway. I had worked pretty hard to try to figure out a good Stax list, and I was needing to run things like 4 Pyrite Spellbomb maindeck to deal with Welders. I did manage to make a Top 8 this month in Columbus with a U/R Stax list with Ark of Blight.
JP Meyer: Ark of Blight? That thing from Scourge that costs like 3 mana to cast and 2 to activate to destroy a land?
Biller: 2 and 3, but yeah. I really try to look out for new cards that could have a potential use, and with Ark of Blight, I wanted to make sure that I could keep my opponent's mana down when I was playing Stax, so I tried it out. Everyone looked at it and saw the Ark of Blight and made fun of it. "C'mon Mark, aren't you the World Champ? Why are you playing with such bad cards?" (laughs) That's more of that whole pressure thing.
(at this point, Phil Stanton had come over to tell us that he'd also improved to 3-1, it would take at least another round before he could get eliminated and thus have no excuse not to join the coverage team)
Stanton: As long as I play against Oath all day, I probably won't get to join you, JP Meyer
Biller: Man, I'll trade you. Oath is probably my worst matchup with Slaver
JP Meyer: Seriously? I always thought that Slaver was one of Oath's worst matchups since they could just outdraw you and then kill you by Slaving you and then decking you with Oath or Intuition.
Biller: I've been playing against some of the new Oath builds like the one that Team Meandeck has with Phyrexian Furnace and Chalice of the Void and those are really tough to fight through. And they always seem to have the turn 1 Forbidden Orchard, Mox, Oath. With Force backup.
JP Meyer: So then what made you go with Slaver? Just experience, or something else?
Biller: This tournament is pretty rough because of all the Oath decks and the Slaver decks that are metagamed against the other Slaver decks, but there probably isn't any deck in the format that has such good matchups across the board as Slaver does. Plus, I've been playing it for a year so I'm comfortable with it.
(At this point, pairings were posted and we needed to head over to the feature match area for round five.)