- BREAKING THROUGH: GHENT AND MAVERICK CONTINUED - by Ben Shirley (Views: 628)Friday 17th August 2012
WRITER PROFILE: Ben Shirley Lifetime Pro Tour Points: 0Magic Acheivements: 2010 UK Legacy Nationals top 8, Kent County Champion 2010, 2012 UK Legacy Open ChampionFavourite Format: LegacyFavourite Colour: BlueFavourite Card: Knight of the Reliquary
Welcome back everyone to the latest instalment of Breaking Through. I have returned from GP Ghent and it was a great weekend. I was however disappointed with my performance over the weekend. I fell into a few common traps that plague magic players at tournaments. I think the most important thing is to think about what went wrong and try to ensure I donít make the same mistakes again. This is also something different from what I may have written in previous articles, as I want to take a tough critical look at my short comings and be brutally honest with myself.
For reference, this was the final list I decided on:
MAVERICK MAIN DECK SIDEBOARD
60 main deck cards
MAIN DECK ANALYSIS SIDEBOARD ANALYSIS
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 26 (43.33%)Artifacts: 2 (3.33%)Instants: 4 (6.67%)Sorceries: 4 (6.67%)Enchantments: 1 (1.67%)Planeswalkers: 0 (0.00%)Lands: 23 (38.33%)
Spell Colour Breakdown:White: 13 (35.14%)Green: 14 (37.84%)Multicoloured: 8 (21.62%)Colorless: 2 (5.41%)
Mana Curve Analysis:Avg. Casting Cost: 1.86Lowest Casting Cost: 1Highest Casting Cost: 3
0 Mana Spells: 01 Mana Spells: 122 Mana Spells: 173 Mana Spells: 7
Spell Colour Breakdown:White: 5 (33.33%)Black: 3 (20.00%)Green: 6 (40.00%)Land: 1 (6.67%)
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 8 (53.33%)Artifacts: 0 (0.00%)Instants: 3 (20.00%)Sorceries: 0 (0.00%)Enchantments: 3 (20.00%)Planeswalkers: 0 (0.00%)Lands: 1 (6.67%)
This is nothing really new in terms of Magic theory, lots of players will tell you to make sure you get enough sleep before a tournament. It was something I was well aware of and maybe I didnít respect enough. At GP Amsterdam, I had very little sleep all through the weekend and resulted in a very mediocre performance. My lack of sleep was mainly due to being on the setup crew for the tournament and having to work the long hours with late nights and waking up after a few hours sleep.
Although things werenít as drastic at GP Ghent, I didnít get much more sleep. On Friday I decided to get an early Eutrostar train to Brussels, which meant I was up and out of bed at 5am, an hour earlier than I get up every week day for work. I managed to get about a half an hourís worth of sleep by the time I got to London, so I was no longer so sick that I wanted to vomit. Soon as I got to the hotel in Ghent I was back out again to go to the venue of the GP to play in some last chance GPT Flights. I had durdled around (read: poorly planned my trip) too much and didnít sit down to play my first round until 6pm. I lost in the mirror in round 3. This also meant that I was out late eating and drinking rather than going back to the hotel for an early night and preparing properly for next day.
My performance in the main event was poor with a finish of 4 wins and 3 loses before dropping. The lack of sleep hadnít had too much of a factor, but it could have been and rather then going back to the hotel for an early night, again I stayed out late eating and drinking. Which resulted in a very odd event for me on Sunday. Sundayís side event was a big legacy event with first place receiving 500 Euros, so I registered with 200 other players, which meant 9 rounds. When I sat down for my first round and I had completely lost my fire, I was burned out and still annoyed with my poor finish the previous day. My first game was against Elves and although I won, I just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. I started off the tournament at 3-0, but I was really suffering from the lack of sleep. Round 4 I played against Elves again and promptly lost, as it is a particularly unfavourable match up. Round 5 I was paired against Junk and only narrowly won, despite numerous mistakes I made. But it finally caught up with me and I lost Round 6 with the mirror, where my play mistakes cost me the match. I was relieved to be able to go back to the hotel and sleep, which was entirely the wrong mind set to have in a competitive tournament.
Correct preparation before a tournament is so important for a big tournament and ensuring that I am well rested is a lesson I learned the hard way. This meant my total record for the weekend was 10 Wins and 6 Loses.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
I mentioned in my last article on trying to decide which angel I wanted to play out of Sublime Archangel and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. I ended up going with Sublime Archangel as it wasnít legendary and therefore couldnít get bounced by Karakas and could go over the top of opponents' Linvalas.
Something I didnít truly appreciate was the wider application of Linvala. With a legacy sideboard it is incredibly difficult to have sideboard cards for every matchup, especially when there are over 40 different viable decks. In order to mitigate this, it is important to maximise sideboard slots where possible. Meaning that sideboard card should be picked on their ability to not only be high impact, but to also have utility against other decks, especially if they are being played as a 2,3 or 4+ of.
A good example of this from the sideboard I played, would be the 3 Path to Exile. Path to Exile really shines against RUG Delver, as it has no downside, it deals with an early flipped Delver of Secrets which is very difficult for Maverick and cuts down on the amount of threats that RUG has, which is already very few. The other benefit to Path to Exile is that it has a wider range of applications against other decks, including the mirror, Merfolk, Elves, Laboratory Maniac Doomsday and even Breakfast.
The issue with Sublime Archangel was that it did not have the same level of impact in the Elves matchup as Linvala does. The amount of Elves decks had increased due to the rise of Maverick. Elves is quite favourable against Maverick and I should have been prepared to play against Elves and I wasnít. Therefore in future I should be aware of Elves being part of the meta and if I expect them to be in the field, I jam my Linvalaís over my Sublime Archangel. In one match in Ghent, Sublime Archangel did win me a game in the mirror where Linvala would have lost me the game, as my opponent had a Karakas, that I wasnít able to deal with.
Natural Order/Sideboard Tech
NaturalOrderWhilst at the Legacy GPT in Manchester, I was talking to Matt Light (Congratulations on the Top 16 by the way) about his sideboard plans for the Maverick mirror. Mattís idea was to board in 3 Natural Orders and a copy of Progenitus. Mattís main deck also differed, as he also play a Fauna Shaman main deck, so if he ever drew the Progenitus, he could discard it to the Fauna Shaman. This would lead to some complete blowouts, as Maverick players will often sideboard out Gaddock Teeg in the Mirror, due to his limited application. This also gave Matt a alternate angle of attack against the control decks that might board out their Force of Wills and Tribal decks.
So I was aware of this sideboard tech a few weeks before the GP, but rather than try it out and see if it was good. I just dismissed it, thinking it took up too many slots in the sideboard. Matt went on to prove me wrong by winning a GPT on the Friday and then making Top 16 in the main event. Crushing all the mirror matches along the way.
This was further exacerbated by the fact that I went 3-3 in mirror matches over the weekend, as there were a lot of Maverick decks. I also lost one game in the mirror against an opponent who had a main deck Fauna Shaman and Linvala, (exactly like Matt). However I thought Fauna Shaman was too slow and Linvala, wasnít main deckable due to it only being good against the mirror and Elves. With hindsight, it was definitely correct to play both main deck due to the high number of Maverick and Elves (something I should have predicted).
In the aftermath of GP Ghent, I now have 550 Planeswalker points, without playing Standard or Modern. Which means I am now entitled to a first round bye at all GPís. However, before GP Ghent I had no byes. I played in exactly 2 GPTís for Ghent, in order to get my byes. I played in a 39 player GPT in Manchester and came 9th on breakers. I then played a GPT grinder on the Friday of GP Ghent and lost in Round 3, as mentioned previously and due to my bad planning I only had time to play in that one GPT flight. This meant I had to play every round at GP Ghent.
I think I didnít truly appreciate how important Byes were, yeah I knew they were good, but with Legacy it is so easy to get paired against a very unfavourable matchup or get paired against a Belcher deck and lose on turn 1 both games. So for this reason, I personally now think that byes at a Legacy GP are more important than at any other GP format. I think this realisation was really hightlighted to me in Belgium.,,
After winning my first round in the main event against Merfolk, I was paired against a German player, who like the other German players, was playing a list similar to the one below.
MAVERICK MAIN DECK SIDEBOARD
60 main deck cards
2 Defense Grid1 Grafdigger's Cage1 Tormod's Crypt3 Red Elemental Blast1 Surgical Extraction1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn1 Grapeshot1 Living Wish1 Petals of Insight1 Pyroclasm1 Show and Tell1 Karakas15 sideboard cards
MAIN DECK ANALYSIS SIDEBOARD ANALYSIS
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 4 (6.67%)Artifacts: 2 (3.33%)Instants: 8 (13.33%)Sorceries: 16 (26.67%)Enchantments: 8 (13.33%)Planeswalkers: 2 (3.33%)Lands: 20 (33.33%)
Spell Colour Breakdown:Blue: 30 (75.00%)Black: 2 (5.00%)Red: 4 (10.00%)Colorless: 4 (10.00%)
Mana Curve Analysis:Avg. Casting Cost: 3.80Lowest Casting Cost: 1Highest Casting Cost: 15
0 Mana Spells: 21 Mana Spells: 132 Mana Spells: 83 Mana Spells: 34 Mana Spells: 25 Mana Spells: 46 Mana Spells: 07 Mana Spells: 08 Mana Spells: 29 Mana Spells: 010 Mana Spells: 411 Mana Spells: 012 Mana Spells: 013 Mana Spells: 014 Mana Spells: 015 Mana Spells: 2
Spell Colour Breakdown:Blue: 2 (13.33%)Black: 1 (6.67%)Red: 5 (33.33%)Green: 1 (6.67%)Colorless: 5 (33.33%)Land: 1 (6.67%)
Card Type Breakdown:Creatures: 1 (6.67%)Artifacts: 4 (26.67%)Instants: 4 (26.67%)Sorceries: 5 (33.33%)Enchantments: 0 (0.00%)Planeswalkers: 0 (0.00%)Lands: 1 (6.67%)
My opponent's deck was slightly different, as he also had Progenitus in the sideboard. In Game 1 my opponent played a turn 2 Show and Tell. Which I didnít mind too much, as I slipped a Knight of the Reliquary into play, knowing that I could tutor up a Karakas on my turn and bounce his Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand. However, my opponent played Omniscience, which meant he was able to cast Emrakul and take an extra turn, so I promptly lost. Game 2 I made an early Karakas with Maze of Ith in hand. My opponent played turn 2 Show and Tell. I put Maze of Ith into play and my opponent again put Omniscience in and promptly cast Progenitus, which I ended up losing the race to. So I was 1-1 after Round 2, which would mean a very difficult uphill battle.
So with hindsight I should have put more effort into obtaining my Byes. As it meant I could have avoided playing my first 3 Rounds and not having to play the German opponent, who I really couldnít beat. Even with a single Bye, I would have had different tie breakers, which would have meant getting paired against a different opponent.
Everything ElseThis is basically the section for everything that I couldnít crowbar into the other sections.
An honourable mention should also go to James Mills who went 7-1 in the Legacy event on Sunday with Goblins only to have his last round opponent deny him the ID and beat him. Still an excellent effort Mills.
I also just wanted to say a big thank you to Enrique for organising the accommodation and the Newcastle Crew who were all awesome and didnít mind me tagging along. Another thank you should go out to Brad who stopped me being mugged by 2 good looking Belgium girls.
The hotel was really awesome and was really great value for money. However the community shower that we had to use only had 2 temperature settings, which were: ĎHot lavaí and ĎHotter than the Suní. The reception also had a really creepy manikin, for no conceivable reason.
I did make use of the Manikin by leaving my luggage next to it when travelling round Ghent on the Monday, as I knew no one else would be stupid or crazy enough to go near that horrible thing.
I also didnít realise that Belgium was full of mosquitoes, the country has the same weather as England but I was bitten not once, not twice, but literally 20 times. The only blessing was that I was not bitten in any particularly sensitive spots.
I think that just about wraps up GP Ghent. I hope you enjoyed this edition of breaking Through. As always you can follow me on Twitter using @flouncerat or comment below.
Ben 'Flounce' Shirley
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