Last time you heard from me I was preparing for Eternal Weekend. Now that one is over and I’ll look at some of the lessons I either learned or reinforced during my run for the finals spot. List as well as match results will be at the end.
Don’t travel alone
I travelled from CPH to CDG (Copenhagen to Paris, Charles de Gaulle) and back again alone, and it was fine. I can enjoy my own company, but it would have been more fun to have some company apart from Twitter in the airport. In Paris I shared a hotel with Julian Knab, Jan Lenger and Duc Tran. Julian taking care of all the bookings and such, making my weekend much easier. Having someone to lead the way when I’m being Captain Sense of Direction was a big plus!
Call the goddamn slow play… and push it.
My round one opponent was playing super slowly with his Maverick deck, especially after he managed to land a Sylvan Library. We went to game two with 20 minutes on the clock. While we were sideboarding I tried with a friendly and diplomatic: “I think we need to play faster” It’s a phrase I tend to use to avoid accusing anyone of being slow and putting the responsibility on both players while still trying to up the pace a bit. He told me I was playing slow, a classic response… “You’re playing the slow deck, it’s your responsibility” kind of thing, it’s true I also have a responsibility, but I cannot fulfill that, if you take 35 minutes of a 50 minute clock in a 3-game match.
So I called a judge and away from the table requested that they watched for slow play. My mistake was not doing that earlier. Then we were deck checked which I found weird. Mid-round deck checks are normal, but doing them on a match going to game two with 20 minutes left on the clock is not in the interest of the tournament since ~450 players now had to wait for us to play out our time extension (15 minutes) also adding to my frustration.
Round 1 just went almost 20 minutes into time, because of @Thiesenmagic match vs some Dromoka deck.
— Julian Knab (@itsJulian23) April 1, 2017
In game two I ultimate Jace when he has two cards in hand and he decides to play it out, making sure each draw step none of his cards suddenly says “Win the game”. At that point at I should have spoken with the judge at the table trying to get my opponent a slow play warning, the reason being if any player in a match gets a slow play warning that match will play 7 extra turns instead of 5 at the end of time. That could very well have mattered. Luckily it didn’t as I managed to win in turn 5 of extra turns after entreating for a bunch at the end of turn 2 of extra turns.
Had I gotten the draw instead of the win it is very likely my tournament would have ended much earlier, and I should have been more aggressive in making sure my opponent played at a proper pace.
If you take this advice, remember to act respectfully towards the judges, they are doing volunteer work and slow play is very hard to call.
It’s no shame getting lucky
In round four I was playing against fellow Dane Martin Nielsen on Food Chain. I had a blind Counterbalance that not only countered a surprising number of spells but also set up a surprising amount of Predicts. While I consider Food Chain a very good match-up overall, G1 can be a bit rough. Acknowledge that you’re getting lucky, it doesn’t take anything away from you as a player, there is a reason we’re not playing chess.
Know your role
While our preferred role is being the control deck sometimes we have to shift into being the beatdown. In round 5 I was against Sneak and Show. He played a Bosiju, Who Shelters All and I had to alter my game plan to put as much power on the board as quickly as possible to try and make the Bosiju irrelevant, soon I was 5-0!
Play around your opponent’s outs
In g3 of a mirror match in round 6 I had lethal angels in play after attacking as well as a Jace, the Mindsculptor and countertop to my opponents 6 lands and I just said “Go”. He untaps and hardcasts a Terminus and I look seriously stupid with my uncast Ponder in hand. I untap and it is turn 5 of extra turns. I should have realized that the only way my opponent was not losing this was by playing a Terminus on his turn and used Ponder to dig for an answer.
One match at a time
After a draw in round 6 and a loss to Julian in round 7 I suddenly had my back against the wall, but I was confident in my deck and my abilities and played with the same amount of extreme confidence I had played with the entire day to win the last two rounds. Remember that you’re still good even if you’re in a rough patch.
In round 9 my opponent played a Pyroblast in our game 1 mirror. I don’t suspect him of cheating as such, but I should still have called a judge to verify that it was in fact a main deck card. To this day, I still don’t know for sure. It bothers me to be honest.
Ask for more
I made the finals, and the judges let Thomas and I choose whether to play the finals that night or wait till the morning after. I was super hyped and ready to go, but I let Thomas choose since he was visibly exhausted after a tough Semifinal. He chose to get some sleep.
People were already congratulating me both on Facebook and in person. I said to most of them “Not yet, there is still one more match” The reason for this is the same reason that I denied the prize split Thomas offered me. It was mostly a mental thing I didn’t want to subconsciously ready myself for losing or build a mindset of being content with a finals appearance, that the work was done. It is also what describes me as a competitive player right now: “Happy, but not content”
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Force of Will
2 Entreat the Angels
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Vendillion Clique
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Containment Priest
R1 Maverick (W) – He took game 1 after I mulled to 5 and chose not to play around the 2nd Gaddock Teeg
R2 Bant Leovold/The Reid Duke deck/ whatever you want to call it :p (W) – a very good match-up
R3 Grixis Delver with Stifles (W) – Stifles made me nervous but we got there
R4 Food Chain (W) – no further comments
R5 Sneak and Show (W) – Containment Priest was good as a bear
R6 Mirror (D) – I’m an oaf
R7 Elves (L) – against Julian Knab that hit me with the natural cavern’d Hoof two games in a row
R8 Elves (W) – My opponent was very defeatist at the table, he had almost conceded the match as soon as we sat down
R9 Mirror (W) I mean… 4 Predict, 3 Snapcasters not a level playing field
T8 Elves (W) – Got the revenge against Julian – playing against friends is great!
T4 Elves (W) – yeah… we got lucky with all this elves
Finals Mirror (L) – Losing to a friend is also great!
The event chose to run a round less than it “should” but cut to Top 16 instead. I’m okay with that, but then the TO should celebrate the Top 16 players on equal footing with the Top 8 players. In my opinion they should have given everyone who made the cut the same attention as well as enhancing the prizes for Top 16 instead of them getting the same as if they had missed a Top 8 cut. Surviving the cut is a big deal and what magic players are measured on (Like we count top 4s for team GPs). So please join me in congratulating:
For making top 16 at the European Legacy Championship 2017!
I also want to say I was very disappointed that there was no Video Coverage of the event 🙁
Until next time may you all achieve your goals and learn your lessons on the way