Being Rob Swarowski - A Limited Champs Report *1st*
To my knowledge, Rob Swarowski is the only person to win States three times. There might be others, but accurate records of important statistics such as this are not kept. At the top of my Magic resume sits merely a pair of State titles. Awe inspiring, I know. With the advent of multiple State championships per year, the Las Vegas resident and myself (okay, mostly myself) thought it might be fun to have a "Master of States" race. Instead of keeping track of important things like Pro Points or PT Titles, I would keep track of who wins the most state titles. It'd be just like a minor league pennant race!
My new goal was not to do anything relevant like make money at a Pro Tour, but to win lots of state titles, perhaps even more than anyone else. I would have an advantage over most other people for two major reasons: 1) I already start with two titles and 2) I live in Arizona, home to Magic luminaries such as Mitchell Tamblyn.
Despite a severe disruption of my sleep schedule of 7am to 4pm daily, I decided to actually go to Limited Champs. Usually, instead of going to a Magic tournament, I just stay home and play on Magic Online. But this is States! Blah blah blah I showed up (not) ready to play blah blah other people showed up (all 54 of them!) blah blah.
This is normally the part of a Limited article/tournament report where I give you the contents of my Sealed deck and a bunch of white space as if you would actually use the sequence of carriage returns as physical space to build your deck on. I can definitely see someone lay a monitor on the floor, and then get a bunch of physical cards to build a copy of the deck on the white space provided.
Given that I never actually build Sealed decks when prompted to, I wouldn't expect you to build one with my cardpool. In addition, I pulled out the Mizzium Transrelquats out my sideboard as soon as the tournament ended then left the rest of the commons on a table. Magically, I somehow have the actual Sealed deck in all of its glory.
- 1 Civic Wayfinder
- 1 Dimir House Guard
- 1 Drekavac
- 1 Indrik Stomphowler
- 1 Keening Banshee
- 1 Mausoleum Turnkey
- 1 Minister of Impediments
- 1 Sewerdreg
- 1 Shambling Shell
- 1 Slaughterhouse Bouncer
- 1 Steamcore Weird
- 1 Surveilling Sprite
- 1 Terraformer
- 1 Vesper Ghoul
Sideboard (the relevant ones)
2 Sundering Vitae (one was shiny!)
Elves of Deep Shadow
1-2 other mediocre Green creatures, probably Brownscales or such
Rakdos Guildmage, unfortunately of the extended art variety
Answers to FAQ Concerning my Sealed Deck
- Yes, that is a Slaughterhouse Bouncer. No, I did not use his text that passes as an "ability". PS: Wizards, you can fill text boxes with flavor text now. You don't have to make blank abilities.
- Yes, the Civic Wayfinder is splashed. So is the Hypervolt Grasp if you hadn't noticed
- It is, in fact, nice to open dual lands.
- No, I did not have a single other Red card that I wanted to play. I could not play the Anarch under any circumstances.
- Okay, I lied; I had a single Skyknight Legionnaire.
- I love me some Twisted Justice in Sealed decks. My love of Twisted Justice is inversely proportional to my love of Drekavac in Sealed decks. However, ya gotta play creatures.
I'm fairly certain that most other people would've run the Green as a full main color, and run a three-color manabase, possibly even splashing the Steamcore Weird. People are so greedy with their manabases these days. I ran seventeen lands simply because I thought I was stretching my color requirements as is, and I wanted an extra colored source in my deck. Truth be told, I wanted another Swamp as well. It's quite possible that I should've played seven Swamps and four Islands. I will definitely play the more conservative manabase at every opportunity. I remember the days when 666 manabases were frowned upon. These days it seems like 654 plus a bounceland and a signet is kosher. That's not that far from 666.
Round 1 - Mitchell Tamblyn (he's the one on the top right)
Mitchell routinely runs the ole quit/unquit routine. Basically, Mitchell hates Magic but can't stop gaming. You all know how it is. In any event, Mitchell (in his own words) has been "playing well lately" and "should get back on the train easily." His cards completely outclass my cards, and he doesn't screw it up. At one amusing point in the game, I was complaining about how much better his deck was, to which Mitchell replies, "your deck isn't looking so bad, either." I flash him the Slaughterhouse Snidd that I just got back from my Turnkey.
At this point, the plan was to lose another round and go home and sleep some. Well-laid plans never work out properly, as evidenced by my next pairing.
Round 2 - BYE!
No, seriously. Thanks for reading.
jezuitsoljaz at yahoo dot com
ihatepants on MTGO
Oh. Ya got me. After all, I did claim to have won this tournament in the title. I guess I'll go on with the rest of the report. If you really needed white space to build my Sealed deck, there's your opportunity. Unfortunately, it might be hard without a card pool to work with.
Round 3 - Harry "Ballasgna" Shipley
Fun fact: I once played in a team PTQ with Harry and Mitchell. Our team name was 13allsanga. I agree, we're pretty stupid. In any event, Harry doesn't really feel like playing Magic at this point and I manage to 2-0 him. One game he had an Ocular Halo going for a million turns, and the other he had Mark/Arc. Harry and I agreed that it was one of those games where you don't know where you screwed it up, but you definitely did somehow.
Round 4 - Jon Kornacki
I got paired up against Jon, who was at 2-0-1 at this point. This felt like the only match that I played where I felt my cards outclassed my opponents. Jon had one of those card pools where the only plausible combination of colors that had anywhere close to enough playables was a GWub deck with little actual synergy. He had playable cards, even "good" cards like an Evangel, but it didn't offer any synergy with his other playable cards. While he may have beaten me in the Top 4 of the Team Qualifier I played, I got my revenge in a meaningless tournament.
Round 5 - Small Child + Mr. Subdual
I was sort of annoyed at his play. Part of my anger was because I was being completely outdrawn by a small child and I was manascrewed or something. Also, he killed my kitten. This does not take away from the fact that when I was moving around my guys to block, he would say stupid stuff like "so that guy dies and you take 8?" I know he's a small child and all, but I am surprisingly intolerant of immaturity for being a high school teacher. Regardless, I somehow win game 1 off a Followed Footsteps on his Mossdog while under attack. Usually I just get out-tempoed in these situations, but I somehow managed to keep both myself and his Mossdog alive. I sided into some Green cards so I could play my Vitaes to kill his Glare if need be. In game 2 his Morning Thrull Tastes the Mayhem until I Vitae it, then I Indrik Stomphowler his only source of Green (a signet). He lost with a Goliath Spider in his hand. Rawr.
I have some bad breakers and there are enough people that can get 13 points with better breakers, so I am forced to play. I can't remember the last time I could ID in the last round of Swiss. I could be 6-0 and somehow be unable to draw round 7. Or maybe I shouldn't lose early in a tournament so much.
Round 6 - Guy I don't know.
We're deckchecked, and low and behold, my opponent has his Keening Banshee on the floor. My Keening Banshee behaves much better and stays in my deck, so I'm up a game. My opponent is basically resigned to his fate, and I win an uneventful game 2. My opponent was hoping that his cards would play themselves. They didn't.
5-1, First place after Swiss...
We got to fill out these awesome questionnaires and a bunch of waivers. They took our pictures, for some strange reason. Then they gave us $70 EA Voidslimes. I like filling out questionnaires.
The Top 8 draft went very well for me. The first pack had essentially two cards worth picking: Keening Banshee and Snapping Drake. The player on my left, Justin "Bacca" Carter, is not stupid and will read an obvious signal. He also knows I prefer to draft either Blue or Green as a base color. I take the Snapping Drake, and plan on avoiding Black at all costs. Obviously there is a Last Gasp in the next pack, but I'm happy taking a Compulsive Research. A Conclave Equenaut stands out from pack 3, and I'm happy going into U/W, which is one of my preferred two-color archetypes. I draft two colors in this format more than anyone else I know. While it's true that the majority of my decks will splash a third color, my third color will have no more than 2-3 cards if I can help it. I just feel that solid three-color decks need too much fixing, and tend not to have enough "do stuff" cards. A Sunhome Enforcer comes next, and that's pretty much it for standout cards.
Pack 2 doesn't have any Savants or Steamcores, but I still get good solid cards, including two very important bouncelands for my splash, and two late Ghost Wardens. I love me a Ghost Warden. Angelic Page is awesome, and Ghost Warden isn't much worse. I make a mistake and pass on the opportunity to take a late Orzhov Signet (my first Signet), and take Wee Dragonauts instead, but I'm still very happy going into Dissension, home to my U/W guild. I start with a weak pack for U/W, but I'll happily take the Cackling Flames. Minister of Impediments comes second, and I take a Simic Signet third. The Signet comes at the cost of a Guardian of the Guildpact, which I absolutely love. I pick up a Mistral Charger 4th before my eyes start bugging out at my 5th pack. Nice Windreaver, dude. While it's no Morphling and it's by no means an unbeatable bomb, it's comparable in quality to something like Air Elemental most of the time. Of course, if you have a ton of mana it's closer to Morphling. The Guardian I passed third came back. Eleventh pick Guardian of the Guildpact... thanks!
I end up playing seventeen lands. That was how many lands I needed to play to get as many colored sources in the deck as I would like. I also have only one Signet, and I need to hit four mana relatively quickly. I have a pair of replicate spells and a Windreaver to help if I am flooded.
Here's my final deck:
- 1 Azorius First-Wing
- 1 Conclave Equenaut
- 2 Ghost Warden
- 1 Graven Dominator
- 2 Guardian of the Guildpact
- 1 Izzet Chronarch
- 1 Minister of Impediments
- 1 Mistral Charger
- 1 Snapping Drake
- 1 Sunhome Enforcer
- 1 Terraformer
- 1 Wee Dragonauts
- 1 Windreaver
Top 8 - Mitchell Tamblyn
DCI Reporter loves Mitchell and I. We also played round 1 of Regionals. He wins game 1 off the back of Ocular Halo, with an assist from Govern the Guildless to ensure that I couldn't race in the air. He played a bunch of idiots that didn't really do much, and I felt like I had air superiority, so I sided in my Exonerator because his Halo was excellent against my deck. In addition, I was concerned about Infiltrator's Magemark, which would also be very good against me.
Game 2 he does not start very well, with three different 1/1s and not much else. He is able to Govern the Guildless again, and has a few removal spells like a double splashed Wrecking Ball, but he is unable to put enough pressure on me and I win with superior creatures.
Game 3 is quite similar to game 2, and my draw is solid once again. We're both drawing off the top, but I win with air superiority before topdecks play too much of a factor. At the end of the game he shows me his Niv-Mizzet that he couldn't cast. While it was pretty hard on his mana, it's one of those cards that's worth stretching for. He just happened to miss.
Top 4 - Guy I don't know
This match was fairly uneventful, as my cards severely outclassed his. He had almost nothing to deal with an air attack, and wasn't quick enough to force me to play defense very much. Game 2 was a complete beating. I started with Mistral Charger and Azorius First-Wing, and his Rumbling Slum came down with him in single digits. A Boros Fury Shield later, and I was on to the finals.
Finals - Some Guy
He didn't want to play, and the Prize differential wasn't that much. We agreed that I would win the tournament and he could get the CD case. We both agreed that it was retarded, but so is calling myself a Three-Time State Champion.
One of the first things I do afterwards is call Rob Swarowski to gloat that we were now tied with three State Champs each.
My hopes and dreams are soon crushed when I find out that Rob won Nevada Limited States... giving him four.
Bad Beat. Perhaps I will never be as awesome as Rob Swarowski.
Adam Prosak, jealous at everyone with a shot at the trifecta.
jezuitsoljaz at yahoo dot com
ihatepants on MTGO