So I made it to FNM on Friday evening... new store in town called Dragon Crown over at 61st and Lewis. Pretty cool place, check 'em out. Anyway, I decided to play up there anticipating a more intimate venue as opposed to the massive throngs at Castle. I was not far off the mark, and it was a modest turn-out, and there were only two people in the store that I didn't already know. It certainly made for a more enjoyable experience, as I like playing with familiar faces.
Making the finals helped as well. Unfortunately I was a bit too distracted to take any real notes, and the few details I did write down I misplaced! However I can give a pretty good rundown from memory, but to the two gentleman I played that I met for the first time on Friday, I'm sorry I don't remember your names. I never remember names the first time off, so forgive me.
Anywho, I was playing Bant of course. My round 1 opponent was sporting a newly built Mono-Black artifact deck. Unfortunately, he hadn't quite had time to test and fine-tune it, but it had some note-worthy ideas. Triskelion + Steel Overseer is pretty obvious, but he added Basilisk Collar to the mix for maximum effect - quite a brilliant touch I must say. Phylactery Lich was also in attendance, naturally. The removal suite, however, was a no show for my opponent, and good ol' Sovereigns got there in no time. We played a few more games for fun and practice after the match officially ended and suddenly his deck started performing better! I hate when that happens.
Round 2 was a tough match up as my opponent was sporting the R/B Pyromancer's Ascension deck that can take infinite turns. Fortunately I dialed in on the right strategy against this type of deck: Run out threats as aggressively as you possibly can, to force them to exhaust their resources burning your guys and staying alive, rather than giving them breathing room to concentrate on getting an Ascension online. Don't be afraid to run out threats right into a Lighting Bolt. Chances are they'll get the Ascension up and running, but once they do, they've got so little fuel left they'll run out of steam. He did go off game two, but I managed to eke out a win in game three.
Round 3, Nathan was playing Jund, but offered to ID into top 4, which seemed like a good idea, so I gladly accepted. We played one game for fun, which I narrowly won, but Jund is not a fun matchup by any means, so I was still pretty glad we'd drawn.
Top 4, I played R/B Infinite turns again, and this time he was better prepared for this match-up. It was harder to get him to waste his Bolts, and either he sideboarded a little better this time, or he just drew into more of his 'boarded cards. However, I had no choice but to stick to my guns and just try to go all out.. One game, my opponent managed to get the Ascension online, and had the Time Warp in hand. I was tempted to concede but I realized he had no real hand left, so I let him take his free turns. He ended up taking something like 3 or 4 turns in a row, but then on the last turn drew a land, and ran out of steam.
Finals! Yeah, my old nemesis Jim Mattingly. (Sorry if I spell it wrong!). Ugh, this was brutal. He exploded with green mana, Primeval Titans and huge fuck-off Eldrazi faster than even Lotus Cobra could manage. It didn't help that against the fastest, deadliest deck I'd fast, my deck decided to give me the worst draws of the night. Game 1 I might have had a chance if I'd drawn one more land, but it was still a mercifully short match, with him taking both games in near-record time. Jeez, I might have to retool my whole SB just for this matchup!
All told, getting to the finals was awesome, even if it was a very small field to begin with. It definitely shows that my deck is solid, I just need to work on the sideboard a little more, and tighten up my plays. I did make a few errors, and while none of them cost me any games, the very easily could have. I'll probably keep tinkering with this deck until the Shards block rotates out and takes a huge chunk of some of my favorite cards of all time away from me... :(