Warning: I didn’t realize I would be writing a tournament report until the very later rounds of the tournament, so I didn’t keep detailed notes in my earlier matches, and as you can imagine after playing 11 rounds in a day my memory was beginning to get fuzzy about the beginning rounds.
I played the list that is on the website with one change to the sideboard: -1 Cabal Therapy, +1 Thoughtseize. This change is just a personal preference, and I don’t necessarily recommend it for other players, but it’s just what I like. In the main deck we have 4 Duress and 3 Cabal Therapy because we need our discard spells to always be able to take a card, and a lot of the blue decks play many 1 of’s or 2 of’s and it makes it harder to predict with a Cabal Therapy. I just took this same concept and theory when wanting to play Thoughtseize in the sideboard.
Getting There & Playing
The weekend before the event I started arranging hotels and the trip from Columbus, OH to Pittsburgh, PA with my good friend Alex. It usually takes me about three hours to get there, so no big deal just needed a hotel. I ask him what’s his price range for the hotel, and he said he had been talking to another group that was going down there who suggested us grab an Airbnb. I’ve never done it before, so figured I may as well try it. I make an account and start searching and sure enough it looks pretty good so I request a booking with someone and wait and see if they respond. 24 hours later they message me saying “something came up, sorry we’re busy that weekend now.” This happened to me twice, so come Tuesday before the event and I finally got some place booked and when it’s accepted I read the instructions and goes something like, “Go down the alley behind a couple bars and you’ll see a staircase.” That does not sound good, but I am thankful I got something booked.
Friday before the event I pickup my friend Alex and we are on our way. The goal was to get there before the trial started in the afternoon, so we could try to earn a bye, but instead we drove around Pittsburgh for probably an hour looking for parking and walking around lost and end up missing the trial. All is good. I prefer playing on hard mode anyway. So, the rest of Friday we go to vendors, watch some vintage, and talk with a bunch of people we know and just have a good time.
About 6:00 we decide to head to our Airbnb about 20 minutes away and finally find the pitch black alley we need to go down and up the rickety staircase to what looked like the most sketchy set of apartments I’d ever seen, but outside our window was a college block party. Alex knew a group of non-magic friends near Pittsburgh, so they hit is up and wanted to go out for a drink and some dinner since they hadn’t seen each other in a while. At first I wasn’t going to go. We had a very busy day and I was exhausted and we have a big tournament in the morning, but I caved and said I’d go if we only had one drink and were back by 11, and everyone agreed so I’m in.
Four long islands, one shot of tequila and a glass of gin later and we are walking back into the apartment about 1:30. Eh close enough to my original rules. We pass out and rush to the convention center in the morning with a minor hangover and we are ready to start our tournament!
Round One – TES
My opponent wins the die roll and starts with a Gitaxian Probe to look at my hand. The jig is up and he now knows what I am playing. I have a turn 2 kill with a Duress. He continues his turn with Underground Sea into Ponder and passed the turn. I untap and draw a land and cast Duress and my opponent proceeds to smile as he reveals he is on TES too. I take his Infernal Tutor leaving him with just mana and a Duress of his own. On his turn he does the same to me and we are both in top deck mode for a few turns, but he got luckier first and hits Burning Wish for Telemin Performance. Round 1 Game 1 and I get a taste of my own medicine. I probably deserved it.
Sideboarding: -1 Empty the Warrens, +1 Tendrils of Agony
This game is very similar to the first one. We both cast discard spells on each other’s tutors and we get to the same point of us both left with just mana. This game I am the lucky one and draw Brainstorm for my turn and I find an Infernal Tutor and proceed to combo off into Ad Nauseam for the win.
My opponent starts the game with a cantrip and a passing of the turn. I untap and have a turn one Telemin Performance, and that was the game.
2-1 | 1-0
My opponent seemed a little nervous and less experienced with TES, but he definitely played well. Good job and it was a pleasure playing you.
Round Two – Sneak and Show
Early in the game we both trade with my discard spells and his counterspells, and once the dust settles he is left with a Sneak Attack and an Omniscience. I do not have enough mana to go off yet, but I just used my lands for a cantrip and a discard spell, so I have to pass the turn, but when I untap I will have the resources to Telemin Performance him. He untaps and slams Show and Tell putting both of his enchantments into play. I untap with the exact resoures to Telemin Performance. Hitting a Griselbrand would have almost been a guaranteed win, and Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn would be a win if they bricked one turn. The opponent starts flipping until he reveals Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn. I have to pass back with my fingers crossed. The opponent untaps and rips a Ponder and I hold my breath as he looks at the top 3 cards. I don’t have to hold my breath very long as he puts an Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn into play and I pick up my cards.
This game I don’t have too many notes, but he kept a turn two kill hand with zero disruption, but I also had a turn two kill on the play with Ad Nauseam.
I don’t remember how the early game started, but I know my opponent kept an opposite hand compared to game two, it was all permission and no combo pieces. We eventually get to a board state about six or so turns, and five discard spells later where his hand was Force of Will, Cunning Wish, and Intuition (3 lands in play), and my hand was mana, Duress, and Burning Wish. I ended up casting the Duress and taking his Intuition, leaving him now with just Force of Will and Cunning Wish. I cast my Burning Wish with the plan of grabbing Empty the Warrens. My opponent thought about it for what felt like a while before allowing it to resolve. I cast all of my rituals and then my Empty the Warrens for 12 goblins, and then going down to 11 to flashback a Cabal Therapy to take his Cunning Wish leaving him with just a Force of Will. My opponent untaps and then extends his hand.
4-2 | 2-0
Round Three – Jarvis Yu with Lands
Like most game one’s in this matchup it wasn’t very interesting. Not much happened on turn one, and I have a turn three Telemin Performance. Typical result game one, and not much Lands can really do.
I’m on the draw, and he leads with turn one Exploration into a second land. I untap and fetch basic Swamp and cast Duress. He reveals Sphere of Resistance, Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage. A turn two lock piece with a 20/20. Not too shabby, but I take the Sphere of Resistance and pass. He takes his turn and just plays out his lands for the combo and pass back to me hoping I don’t have a turn two kill, but I untap and go for Ad Nauseam from 18 life and it’s good enough.
Game two my opponent probably had one of the better draws they could have vs storm, but unfortunately for him I had the exact combination of spells that line up well against his plan. I think he finished in the top 64, so congratulations on your finish.
6-2 | 3-0
Round Four – Food Chain
My opponent wins the die roll and is on the play. I look at my opening seven and it’s a turn 1 Ad Nauseam with no discard spells or cantrips. Keep. My opponent keeps his seven and leads with a Misty Rainforest pass. I untap and draw something irrelevant and go for it. A bunch of mana into a helbent Infernal Tutor beating Spell Pierce and Daze. Fingers crossed!! Force of Will pitching Misthollow Griffin. Nice…”your turn then.” For the next two turns he just plays some dudes and I draw extremely well and go for Ad Nauseam on turn 4 from 15 life. Let’s do this! Force of Will pitching Baleful Strix. “I guess it’s your turn again.” He untaps and slams his top decked Food Chain and reveals his Walking Ballista in his hand and I scoop. At least we both had fun that game.
This game we both mulligan to six and I lead off with Duress taking his Force of Will leaving him with just a bunch of creatures, and then he plays a Deathrite Shaman. On my turn two he has one unknown and I go for Ad Nauseam. It resolves and it’s good enough to win from there.
On the draw and my opponent lead off with a Deathrite Shaman. I untap and cast Gitaxian Probe and he reveals a hand with no permission, but a turn 4 kill. I cast a Ponder and just pass back. The opponent plays a Brainstorm into a fetch land and then a pass back leaving a Deathrite Shaman activation up. On my turn I play a second land and then a Cabal Therapy naming Food Chain that I saw in his opening hand and the coast is clear, so I play several mana producers into Burning Wish for Empty the Warrens for 12 goblins. Down to 11 goblins and flashback Cabal Therapy naming Walking Ballista leaving him with just a Leovold, Emissary of Trest in play. At my end step he cracks the fetch land, then takes his draw step. I hear him “sigh” and just play Leovold, Emissary of Trest. He plays two more turns before conceding.
8-3 | 4-0
Round Five – Lands
My opponent wins the die roll and we both keep seven. I have a slower hand, but have the lands and some cantrips. My opponent begins the game with a Grove of the Burnwillows into Exploration and he puts in Wasteland and just passes the turn. On my turn I fetch for basic Swamp and cast Duress. I see he has Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage, so I have to win next turn. I do not and am off to game two.
On the play I keep a one lander with a turn two kill if I draw a mana source. It is a fetch land, but I need black mana to duress away any lock pieces and all of my rituals are red, so I really want to get a Badlands. I cast Gitaxian Probe to see if there’s a Wasteland. I can’t remember what he has, but no Wasteland and I missed on mana off the draw. I fetch for Badlands and cast Duress taking his lock piece. If I can untap and draw any mana source I win the game. He takes his turn and slams Wasteland from the top of his deck. I take my turn and miss on a land. I miss for several turns, but by the time I find it he has a lock piece in play and I eventually lose.
8-5 | 4-1
Round Six – Mono Black Stax
I win the die roll and cast Gitaxian Probe. He revealed his seven cards and I think I had to read four or five of them. He had a Ophiomancer, Crucible of Worlds, Inventor’ Fair, Chalice of the Void and another card I can’t remember. I made 12 goblins, and then he scooped.
He begins the game with a Leyline of the Void in play, a turn two Trinisphere, and then a turn three Helm of Obedience, but has no mana left over, so he passed the turn. On his end step I cast Echoing Truth on his Trinisphere. I untap and cast Brainstorm looking for a tutor of any kind, and the third card down I find Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseam and win the game.
10-5 | 5-1
Round Seven – 4C Leovold
Game One & Two:
I don’t remember too much about this matchup at all. I think fatigue was starting to set in, but I remember both games I had a turn three Cabal Therapy taking their counterspells into an Empty the Warrens then I flashbacked Cabal Therapy taking a Toxic Deluge in the second game. My opponent had pretty bad draws and this was an easy match.
12-5 | 6-1
Round Eight – ANT
I am on the play and lead off with a Ponder. On his turn he goes Underground Sea into Duress taking my Duress. I unfortunately can’t kill him on my second turn, but he has a Past in Flames kill on his second turn.
We both rip each others hands apart in the early stages of the game and then try to rebuild with our cantrips. I get to a point where I have exactly seven mana and I know he has me dead on his next turn, so I cast all of my rituals into a Burning Wish for Telemin Performance. My opponent immediately starts flipping cards off his deck one card a time, and I just sigh and put my head on the table until he reveals Xantid Swarm and I extend my hand.
People have started to realize that TES now plays Telemin Performance, so the card is significantly worse with it being a known entity, and I wasn’t sure if he would have boarded in Xantid Swarm or not, and it’s possible I should have just tutored for a Cabal Therapy to prevent him from winning the game on the following turn, but I live and I learn and can’t let this tilt me off. I still have a pretty good record and need to focus up instead of thinking about the past. Evaluating mistakes is always a good thing to do, but I prefer to do it after the tournament, so I don’t mentally wear myself out and can always be thinking about the current round.
Punt Count: 1
12-7 | 6-2
Round Nine – Mono Red Prison
My opponent wins the die roll and is on the play and leads with Ancient Tomb and exiles Simian Spirit Guide for Blood Moon. Great. I have all fetches in my hand, but I do have a Chrome Mox. I untap and rip Empty the Warrens. Better lucky than good and make 12 goblins. My opponent doesn’t really do much the next few turns until he dies.
I believe he leads with a turn one and turn two Magus of the Moon and struggles to find lands three and four, while I struggle to find the combo. I have all fetches in play, but with a Chrome Mox and an Echoing Truth. I finally draw a Lion’s Eye Diamond, so I have him dead next turn. It’s about turn five and I play my Chrome Mox imprinting a Brainstorm. He still cannot find a third land, so on his end step I bounce both creatures and I untap to make 14 goblins. On his next turn he draws the third land, but just plays Magus of the Moon again. I untap and attack him down to around six or so and he untaps and casts Burning Wish and I say “I hope there’s no wrath in there”, and he flashes me Pyroclasm, but I look down and see he has one land untapped and he extends his hand.
14-7 | 7-2
This matchup was tough, and goblins isn’t particularly good in this matchup. After game one I still wasn’t sure if he was on a Sneak Attack version or all prison, but either way goblins is not at it’s best here, but I used them because they could get under a lot of his lock pieces, and all I had to do was beat his wrath cards. I also didn’t know he had a Burning Wish package or I would have boarded differently. Good games to you sir and I liked your deck. It was very interesting and unexpected and you did very well with it.
Round Ten – 4C Leovold
I win the die roll and lead off with a Gitaxian Probe and see like a Kess, Dissident Mage, Snapcaster Mage, Baleful Strix and four lands, but unfortunately I have a slower hand with cantrips, so can’t take advantage of his weak opening. On his turn four he plays Kess, Dissident Mage, and then on my turn five I play a Duress taking a Force of Will and proceed to combo off from there and win the game.
This game is way more interesting where I think he keeps a hand of Hymn to Tourach, Force of Will, Force of Will, Flusterstorm. I have an early discard spell for his Hymn to Tourach, but he plays a Thoughtseize taking a Brainstorm leaving me with only mana and two copies of Infernal Tutor. On my turn I draw and cast Ponder seeing Cabal Therapy, Empty the Warrens and some third card, and keep them in that order, and just pass the turn. He draws a card and then just immediately passes back. On my turn I draw the Empty the Warrens. I cast Cabal Therapy and he lets it resolving, so I take Flusterstorm leaving him with two copies of Force of Will. I play out a couple rituals and then an Empty the Warrens for 14 goblins. Unfortunately I imprinted one of my copies of Infernal Tutor on a Chrome Mox leaving me helbent, but I did not even tap the Chrome Mox for mana, so I could have had that left over for future turns, but luckily it didn’t matter as my opponent said after the game he could not find his one out of Toxic Deluge.
Punt Count: 2
16-7 | 8-2
Round Eleven –
I sit down with my opponent and he immediately asks for an ID. I say let me check the standings and see where we are at and what the tiebreakers are, so I can do the math because I was not expecting my opponent to ask that. After I run the math I realize the scenario is the same for both of us. Winner makes top 16, an ID makes top 32, and loser makes top 64. We both decide we are fatigued and brain dead, so we agree to split. We shake hands and turn in our slip to get some extra rest.
16-7-1 | 8-2-1
I think this is an interesting decision and I am curious what everyone else would do. Assuming you didn’t know the matchup and fatigue aside what would you have done? Please let me know because I am very curious and talked with a lot of different people who all had different responses. After the final standings were announced I ended up in 23rd place.
I was ecstatic to have Top 32’d Eternal Weekend! I had worked very hard in preparation for this tournament and am quite happy that it paid off.
The best cards for me were definitely the full set of Empty the Warrens. I know this is kind of controversial, but it did very well for me and I will be playing the full set for a while unless things change in the meta game, but for now I will be playing four in the 75. Being able to get under all their hate or counterspells, and the interaction with Cabal Therapy is one of the reasons to play this deck. The basic Island for my bounce spells was also an MVP, but that may be because of my matchups. I played against Stax, Mono Red Prison, and Lands twice. That may be above average for decks you want basic Island for Echoing Truth. I played well, but not great. I am proud of my performance and magic, legacy, and TES are all very hard, so I don’t expect to play an 11 round tournament making no mistakes, but I am a hard critic on myself and have quite a bit of room to improve, and I can’t wait to keep practicing until the next. Thanks for reading and good luck in your future events!