This past weekend I participated at the Dutch Grand Championship in Utrecht, 3 deck survival. This writeup will focus on the gameplay. From a personal perspective, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this event. There are also things that happened to other people that greatly affected my enjoyment of the event, and I don’t feel it is appropriate I broadcast those things on my blog. I also wish to keep it succinct because I have four more articles I wish to write.
When I signed up, the only deck I was sure I wanted to bring was Charflare, Cliff Luddite, as it has already proven competitive at Krakow. There wasn’t a question regarding whether it’s good enough to be part of my survival lineup, but was it good enough to win?
I knew Jakub “Dunkoro” Nosal was going to be in the even, piloting his famous deck Adm. Inslang, the Pink Fraud, and so if I wanted to win, I would need to go through him. I knew Charflare was not the deck to do it.
I was already playing an enormous amount of games with Flare the Conspicuously Philanthropic, and while thinking of ways to stop Pink Fraud, I realized Flare had a lot of those tools, packing 2 Deep Probes, 2 Scrambler Storms and liking to control the board against a deck with few creatures. Flare was chosen to be my deck to play at top cut.
I really wanted my SO to make top cut, so I gave her She who Unloads on Covenants, a fast and relatively easy deck to play that is still one of my favourites. My choices then were between Cpt. “The Poet” Millett and Evermix of the Understudy’s Shop. Both decks have similar combo vibes, but through testing I found that The Poet was more consistent. It doesn’t do the same kind of crazy when it works as Flare or Evermix, but it can still burst out a big advantage on a well timed Library Access turn.
No Shadows. No Dis.
What remained, is choosing the deck order. I went with The Poet, Flare, Charflare. And I will go over my thoughts on deck order and I’ll go over that in more detail, along with more general thoughts on Survival as a format in a different article.
Day 1: Game 1
I was matched against a self-admitted inexperienced player. They were rocking a fairly speedy AoA deck with Timetraveller but very little aember control. I opened my turn one going second with Dust Pixie Snufflegator and Niffle Ape, thinking they are not likely to have Lifeweb in their opening hand, but they did.
I underestimated the speed of their deck and was a little worried for a bit, but they failed to use Baron Mengevin to stop me from forging my second key, which propelled me into a position to win. A fast win, under 15 minutes.
Day 1: Game 2
I don’t have a clear recollection of game 2, but I do know I went off on an Library Access turn into Phase Shift, into a bunch of creatures and then Nature’s call on my own creatures to replay them and draw more cards. They didn’t have any board clears and just couldn’t stop my from developing further for the win.
Day 1: Game 3
Game was fairly even and when I went on my Library Access turn I developed the same wide board as the previous game, only this time they were already close to winning. As they presented check at 7 for their third key, I was holding Doorstep to Heaven and had a wide Sanctum board. I noticed I could double fight with Francus and save Doorstep for the following turn.
And here my brain did a bad. I fought with Francus into A Flame Wreathed Carette, before playing Shield of Justice. My Francus and their Charette died and I went to 9 aember. But without my Francus, I was forced to play Doorstep, losing all my advantage and giving them an easy path to victory. I lost the following turn.
An important aside. I went on a bit of tilt from that misplay. I asked my opponent to take it back and they refused, which I respect. I was beating myself up a bit and had all sorts of thoughts go through my head. But after a few minutes I regained composure, and the best thing I did was talk it out with my opponent.
They were very gracious, and I explained that my frustration is with myself and not with them. They thanked me for doing so, as they were feeling bad for not letting me take back a play. They shouldn’t feel bad. Premium events are competitive, and keeping concentration and not making mistakes such as I did are an important part of it. We had a little friendly chat, and moved on, un-tilted.
Day 1: Game 4
The Poet was out, and I went on to play Flare, a deck I am much more comfortable playing and I feel is much more robust. Some news I received just before the game hit me hard, and I was struggling to keep focus on the game. But since I have played the deck around 200 times, I could basically auto-pilot it to victory, proving the value of repetition.
I took an extra turn allowing them to go to 2 keys to archive my Help from Future Self, and then went on to a Library Access turn into a Scrambler Storm, Novu Archeologist softlock that won me the game. They had a heavy action packed deck and simply couldn’t do anything.
Day 1: Game 5
This game was on stream, against Jakub “Dunkoro” Nosal. Jakub was not playing Pink Fraud but rather a super fast deck with double Speed Sigil.
Dunkoro had a magnificent play of Hysteria bouncing my entire board, and after I replayed my Brobnar, he played Mimicry on my Deep Probe to hit my Mars and then Nepenthe Seed to do it again on my Logos, leaving my hand decimated.
However I went on a Library Access turn playing Help from Future Self into Timetraveller that came into play ready. A Phase Shift into Phoenix Heart on the Timetraveller to attack and clear his board, going back to my hand to be replayed.
I then drew into another Phase Shift into a Key Abduction for the win. And excellent match.
Day 1: Game 6
My opponent concedes to get to their third deck. I advanced into top 32, not needing to play in the challenger round.
Day 2: Top 32
This game was on stream, against Shahab Sohrabi, the eventual second place. A combo deck player like myself running double Battlefleet and Key Abduction.
I was late to the venue due to Uber issues, and basically had to run to my game. I was stressed and upset, but after reviewing my game I can spot no errors at all. The only way I could have potentially won this game was to Mulligan. Again proving the value of being intimately familiar with my deck.
Shahab opened with a wide Untamed board into even more Untamed board, which I was having a lot of trouble dealing with. Shahab had 7 Untamed cards and 3 Logos cards in the top 10 cards. On the flip side, I had a Library Access turn where I opened with Phase Shift, Quixo and Doc Bookton and did not draw into any more Logos cards. My very next card was a Timetraveller. And my very last card in my deck was Help from Future Self. Truly bad ordering of cards.
Not to take anything away from Shahab, who is obviously an excellent player and got a well deserved second place. It is a card game after all, and sometimes bad luck hits.
Contact and afterward
The main event was very competitive and I learned a lot, which I hope to pass onto you in the next few articles. My next event is the Belgium Grand Championship, 2 deck true survival, November 23rd. I hope to do better, but Worlds Collide being legal could pose a big challenge.