Price of Progress: Regionals ReportWill Price | May 20, 2009 | 3:42 pm
Going into Regionals, I was pretty sure that my deck choice (obviously Jund Ramp) was solid. After hours of play and discussion with Mikey J, I was convinced that Jund was the deck to play for the tournament.
I woke up Saturday morning to what looked like rain outside. I hit the streets around 7:30, caught the bus across town, and took the 1 train down to Penn Station to meet up with a bunch of other NY magic players that were also planning on taking the 8:14 train to Edison. I found a seat in the middle of the train and popped on the headphones (LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver) for the hour long ride.
The venue is about a mile walk from the train station in Edison. I joined up with “Siege-Gang Ferrando,” Devon, GCB, Alex B and Regionals first-timer Seong An. Seong easily identified us as Magic players and joined us for the hike through commercial New Jersey.
We arrived at the venue (basement of a church) in the middle of a funeral procession and quietly worked our way to the side entrance. I am 6 cards short going in, still missing 1 Karrthus, 1 Cloudthresher and 4 Rampant Growth. I find fivewithflores and he informs me that the dealers are sold out of Karrthus. Luis “Not Vargas” Neiman hooks me up with the Rampant Growths. Lucky for me, Seong had a Karrthus and Cloudthresher that I could mise. I register and write down my decklist and pretty soon the round starts.
Round 1, Mike with 5c Control
Game 1 we both mulligan to 6. I win the die roll and make Civic Wayfinder, then Kitchen Finks, and they take him from 20 to 0 after being joined by a Treetop Village a few turns later. Mike misses a few land drops and I’m not sure he even played a spell at all.
I figured him for 5c control because of all his vivid lands and side in the Anathemancer/Karrthus/Primal Command package.
Game 2 I mulligan and we trade hits back and forth with with early finks. Eventually Mike turtles up behind a Wall of Reverence and a Plumeveil. He counters my relevant threats while gaining life each turn. Eventually he finds a Broodmate Dragon and finishes me off.
Game 3 we both keep 7 and I have a strong hand which includes none other than my borrowed Karrthus. I begin chipping away early with a Anathemancer, bolting him for 4 and getting him down to 12 before he gets a Wall of Reverence going. On my turn 6 I have a Broodmate and Primal Command, but opt for the Command to try to fish up another Anathemancer. He counters it, untaps, and slams down a Broodmate on his 6th turn. I pray for 7th land but draw Rampant Growth instead and have to settle for playing my own Broodmate. Mike plays Cruel Ultimatum, and I show him the Karrthus I am forced to discard in my hand. At this point MJF has found his way to my table, sees the board, and declares me the winner. Of course I rip a Makeshift Mannequin to bring back Karrthus, steal his dragons, and attack him for 23. He blocks the 7/7 with his wall and stays alive at 6 life. Mike untaps and Wraths the board but two turns later I find my 7th land and Unearth Anathemancer for 9.
Round 2, Justin with Red Deck
I win the die roll again and get to go first. Justin has a slow hand with no action until a turn 3 Ram Gang. I take hits and accelerate, then play three consecutive Broodmate Dragons.
Game 2 Justin keeps a hand that I can only assume has multiple Demigods. His turn 3 play is a Everlasting Torment, which prevents me from gaining life off a Kitchen Finks… but doesn’t prevent the Finks from beating him down. Justin never finds his 5th land, and I follow up my Finks with a Dragon and finish it.
Round 3, Noah with GW Tokens
Game 1 our hero is again on the play but mulligans a hand 3 Forest, 3 Cloudthresher, and Gift of the Gargantuan. I mulligan into three consecutive no-land hands and obviously get rolled when I keep on 3. I am pretty confident in that mulligan, as Gift is not an ideal turn 3 play, and that hand had no hope against an aggressive deck.
Game 2 I keep a 7 card “speculative” hand with a Fallout, Mannequin, Civic, and Gift. The Fallout is dead as his draw consisted of Dauntless Escort and Liege. My first Gift shows me 4 lands, while my second Gift shows me 4 creatures, none of which are the Shriekmaw I would need to turn the game around. I finally draw a Shriekmaw when I am on 1 and Noah has three or four men on board. In retrospect that may have been a borderline keep, but I had the right lands to Fallout if he had had a bear-into-procession draw I was hoping to see.
Round 4, David with Bant
Game 1 is the only game I won against David, and it was the game I deserved to lose. I made multiple mistakes in this game, the worst of which was not using Banefire on his Bant Bird and playing Shriekmaw on his Rhox War Monk instead of Rafiq. By not killing Rafiq I ended up having to chump block most of the game while working him down to 7 with the Shriekmaw. The turn that I would have to chump with the Maw I drew a lethal Banefire to steal the win.
Game 2 I drew all my Banefires and none of my Shriekmaws. I kept trading 1 for 1 with his guys, hoping to draw some action for the Mannequins in my hand. I run out of answers and never get a threat, and finally succumb to an exalted BoP.
Game 3 was really close, and I am sure I made a mistake somewhere because I felt like I should have won it. Instead, my final life total shows David ending the game with 70+ life. David got out a Behemoth Sledge and kept threatening to crush me with giant, doublestriking lifelinkers. I cleared the board multiple times with Shriekmaws and Caldera Helion, but David always had another Rafiq or Rhox War Monk to pick up the Sledge. We go to turns and David continues to play threats while I stop drawing answers.
I am pretty sure that I sideboarded wrong for this match. I left in Volcanic Fallout, which is dead against the cards that matter. I boarded like I would against GW, bringing out Dragons and some gifts for Helions, Maw, and Terror; not realizing that Dragon is my best threat here since he has no way he can block a flying creature other than Birds. Instead I should have taken out Fallouts and a Gifts for the Primals, which could have been used to remove his equipment or search up removal.
Thoroughly dissapointed, and tilting pretty badly after losing a matchup that I think is pretty favorable, I vent to Mike and he convinces me to stay in to try and get some packs and practice with the deck.
Round 5, Adam with Naya 5-power
Game 1 I lose my first die roll of the day and Adam comes out slow with a turn 3 5/4. I play a Civic, take a hit from the Beast, and follow up next turn with a Finks. I take another hit and Adam plays Spellbreaker Behemoth. Luckily I have a Shriekmaw + Mannequin, which is followed up by a dragon. I swing him down to 5 and finish him with Banefire.
Game 2 plays out pretty much the same way, except now I have more Shriekmaws and a couple Primal Commands to go get them. I don’t remember the specifics of this game other than that I slowed him down early by evoking a Shriekmaw on his Bloomtender. I ended the game at 22 so it must have been pretty one-sided.
Round 6, Eric with BW tokens.
I win my 5th die roll of the day and keep a hand that is gas against anything but BW tokens: Civic Wayfinder, Shriekmaw, Fallout, Mannequin, 3 Lands. However, Eric has the triple Sculler + Glorious Anthem draw. My plays this game were Civic Wayfinder and Makeshift Mannequin targeting Civic Wayfinder.
Game 2 is much closer. I burn 2 Banefire early to kill an Elspeth and Ajani, and have a Fallout to keep him off his triple Winbrisk Heights. Eric has a Bitterblossom and we are each getting in damage when we can. I make a big mistake towards the end of the game: I have a Civic and two 4/4 fliers on the board, while Eric has a medium sized token army. I play a Helion here to wipe his board, and foolishly choose to Devour my 2/2. I had a Mannequin in hand, which could have been used 2 turns later to wrath him again. Instead I make an irrelevant 4/4 and lose the game a few turns later when Eric is able to pop all his Heights (Cloudgoat, Ajani, and something else) and slowly supersizes his team. I lose this game with Eric on 4.
Seong watches me take a third loss and tells me he is dropping and heading back. I decide to drop here so I can return his cards, and we end up traveling back to the city together.
Despite practicing with the deck, I made too many mistakes and put myself out of contention. I still think the deck is great and I am planning on playing it in any upcoming PTQs. Mike finished 6-2, you can see his tournament report on his blog, and it looks like a couple players made top 8 with the deck as well. I encourage anyone who is undecided on a PTQ deck to consider Jund ramp as it is favored against a lot of decks in the field, and seems to be 50/50 against its worst matchups.
How did your Regionals go? What did you end up playing? I know (from Twitter) that a couple people did pretty well. Let us know how your tournament went in the comments.