Like many others, I have heard a lot about the legend of Ovinogeddon. It is the second largest non-WotC run Eternal tournament in Europe (only behind the grand Bazaar of Moxen). It takes place every year in Milano, Italy’s most expensive city. Luckily my good friend Igor Panigada, who lives in Prague, is originally from the Lombardia’s capital. He was going and wanted us to attend as well. He told us about extremely cheap return tickets from Easy Jet (they were only 55 Euros!), and got us an amazing hotel not far from metro, only 10 minutes by foot away from the site. He even started and edited a private Facebook page where he told us literally everything we needed to know about Italy, Milano and playing Magic in Italy. Otherwise we wouldn’t have watched several videos about the airport pickpockets, and wouldn’t have researched 25 Top 8s of past Italian Legacy tournaments. It is amazing to have such a friend, so thank you Igor!
Igor left for Italy a week earlier. We left on Thursday the 2nd, midday from Prague. A team of four made the trek: me with Miracles, Martin Vonásek (aka Sloshthedark) with Ad Nauseam Tendrils (possibly the best storm player in the Czech Republic), Martin Schiling with a nicely pimped 12 Post deck (I don’t have to mention that he is my nemesis in the local tournaments, as it is extremely hard to beat this deck with my no pressure, no Wasteland deck), and finally Tomáš Már (his nickname is Svačinka=greedy trader), one of our best tempo players who came to Italy with his own build of a 4C Delver.
On Thursday we met up with Kai (CabalTherapy), an ANT player from Berlin who beat me in the PE finals, as well as Igor, and we had a great dinner – Milanese specialty – very thick pizza. We did some playtesting and got to bed relatively early – for the last time.
On Friday we met Kai and some of his German friends in front of the Duomo. Big parts of Milano were destroyed in the second World War. Milano does not have the ancient feel like Rome or Prague, but the cathedral is one of the most amazing churches I have ever seen. Gigantic stained glass windows, lovely pink marble, and five naves – with the main one 45m high, and the burial place of St. Charles of Borromeo. We could even go up to the roof. Simply amazing. Since GP Ghent I always wanted to have at least day or two for sightseeing, as I love history (I work as a professional tour guide and I would feel stupid not see at least something).
But you are reading this not because of sightseeing, but because of cards, right? I was on my typical Miracles list designed by Philipp “you all know who” Schönegger. In August I even visited Philipp in Graz to play in the Austrian Legacy Championship. He finished 8th, losing to a good Jund player in the Top 8, while I finished 9th. We were happy with the maindeck, but we did not really know what to do with the sideboard. We tried Keranos, Stoneforge Mystic, and other solutions, but nothing seemed to be the right choice. A few days before the tournament Philipp sent me the following sideboard and told me to play it. I used to always freak out before the big tournaments, asking myself “what should I play?” A little bit like Johannes Gutbrod. Hey, forget about “meta” and play the deck you are most familiar with. Play your beloved (blue) deck well, and it will reward you! So for the Friday trial and for the Saturday main event I registered the following list:
4 Force of Will
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Entreat the Angels
1 Council’s Judgment
3 Snapcaster Mage
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[Mana Sources] (21)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Arid Mesa
2 Volcanic Island
[/Mana Sources] (0)
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Rest in Peace
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Vendilion Clique
1 Council’s Judgment[/Sideboard]
You can compare it with my previous Prague Eternal list from July (report and decklist here)
Philipp only told me the new sideboard was designed by the best Italian Miracles player: Angelo Cadei. I only know him from Internet discussion. He is supposed to be short, with a hat, and all-foil deck. I was not sure if I would find him.
Friday Legacy Trial
We decided to arrive earlier, which is obviously hilarious if you consider what happened after. All tournaments started late, there were a long breaks in between rounds, and we finished both tournaments (trial and the main event) hours after midnight.
The good thing was I met the usual suspects, my friends Johannes Gutbrod, Julian Knab, Max Lorenz, and many others. Philipp unfortunately could not come and Felix Munch missed his plane. That meant nobody will play Lands in this event, which is a shame!
I really liked the site the tournament was held at. It was a club for “mental games.” There were many rooms all around the complex which were decorated with GO or a chess theme. It was cozy, but sometimes not very practical, as you could not hear the call for the new round from some of them or judges could not hear you sometimes. It can be hell in summer – but luckily it was a pleasant October. There was also very nice and large garden completely at our disposal. It was a good place to relax and get some fresh air. All this only two minutes from the metro, which got you to the city centre within 15 minutes. Not bad at all!
Round 1 vs. Miracles
A mirror! It is my favorite matchup. I have not lost a mirror match in last at least 10 rounds. My opponent was a nice guy from Catalonia, but he somehow only drew lands and white card in the first game. In the second he kept Plains, Sensei’s Divining Top, and double Force of Will. This is a keeper only against Storm. You want to resolve Counterbalance, and hands like this are a little bit too risky for my liking. So we at least discussed the Spain/Catalonia problems and the potential independence. I gave him a bit of Czecho – Slovakian insight. Good luck, Sergi!
We played in the chess room under supervision of Wilhem Steinitz (the first Chess World Champion – a Prague born Austrian).
Round 2 vs. ANT
My opponent was a local Italian player who was really friendly, even though he could not speak very good English. He looked like a Burn player so I kept “a white hand,” and when he started with Gitaxian Probe I was really scared, but he did not draw what he wanted in time, so I could stabilize, and after I untapped with Jace the game looked pretty good. In the second game he drew all but 4 lands in his deck. I checked afterwards!
Round 3 vs. TES
I saw my Spanish opponent in the first round battling Death and Taxes, so I knew he played TES. My opponent was flattered when he got the full recognition as I said: The Epic Storm – don’t worry, mate, I know it is not ANT! I won’t bring in graveyard hate! I would not bring it anyway. I drew really well and had all the blue cards in the world including Flusterstorm on top of my library with double Top in play. I want to play against storm all day tomorrow!
Round 4 vs. Shardless BUG
This was really interesting. My Italian opponent did things differently. It was quite frustrating that I did not know what he was going to do. This matchup is not as bad as you think, I actually quite like the matchup (they have basically no counterspells outside of Force of Will, and no fast clock). In the first one I did not draw the right cards, or maybe I simply played badly. In the second he played an early Null Rod – one of the best possible hate cards against my deck – and several times he did things “wrongly” – at least in my opinion – like when he discarded Sylvan Library to Liliana instead of playing it, or he could attack more aggressively with Creeping Tar Pit. But because of some of those unorthodox moves he ended up winning. My last crucial flashback on Sword to Plowshares was countered by Swan Song (he kept in both Shardless Agent and Swan Song), but I can’t say it was wrong – as it worked very well for him in this game!
Round 5 vs. BUG Delver with Stifle
A friendly Italian player with more tattoos than I have teeth (I don’t have many). He quickly killed me in game one. When he Stifled my second land in the second game (I did not see Stifles in the G1) I felt that I would be playing in an 8-man trial soon (for only 5 Euro; the winner got free entry for the main event, which was 30 Euros, and two byes. Very good deal.). But I recovered and killed him with Vendilion Clique(s) in the second and the third.
Unfortunatly the most “interesting” moment of this game was a judge ruling. I passed the turn with my Snapcaster tapped. My opponent was wondering why I didn’t attack with my creature. I thought I did but I actually only forgot to untap it. The judge rewound the game state, and put a Ponder from my graveyard back in my hand, randomly put one of my cards on the top of my library, untapped my Island, untapped my Snapcaster, and brought me back to the end of my draw phase. I got a warning. I played Ponder again and did the same (leaving the cards as they were), and attacked with Tiago this time. Please tell me in the comments or forum, what do you think about this ruling? Was it appropriate to rewind the game state like this?
Round 6 vs. Miracles
My opponent played a list with Red Elemental Blasts main deck. He REB’ed my Counterbalance on turn 2, then he played Vendilion Clique on turn 3 and took my Counterspell (I killed it with STP with the trigger on the stack), and then followed up with a turn 4 Jace. I cast my own Jace and I was only waiting for my opponent to find Snapcaster Mage to seal the game. He did not manage to kill my Jace, but he soon resolved Top and Counterbalance. In my mind I was starting to weep how unfair it is. I tried two Entreats – one was countered by Counterbalance with Jace on top (remember this moment!), the second one was FOW’ed. I almost wanted to scoop when Jace found me Council’s Judgment. It resolved and I removed his Counterbalance. Next turn I resolved my own Counterbalance, keeping another 2-CC on the top. When I played my Top it was almost over. The game lasted like 35 minutes and when my opponent scooped he told me there is no way how he can beat me twice in 10-15 minutes. A draw was not good enough, so he let me have the win 1-0. Thank you!
Round 7 vs. ANT
I had a chance to get my revenge for the final loss in Prague, as my opponent was none other than Kai Thiele, who beat me in the finals of Prague Eternal! We playtested a lot the night before, and his deck was somehow not in the mood for winning. He wanted to draw but my tiebreaks weren’t the best, so I felt I needed to play. I even apologized to Kai that I needed to play. He beat me in the first game. After the game we agreed on the prize split which was very nice considering he was winning. I won the second. The last one was close but Kai ended up with nothing after I countered everything relevant in his big turn, and I still had Counterbalance and Flusterstorm in hand. I was thinking he could scoop but he was quite sure we will both make it with a draw, so we did
We both made Top 8! Well done, Kai! Thanks to Max for bringing us all pizza, as we had no time to leave.
It was almost midnight, and Kai suggest Top 8 spli,t as he had to take the last metro to get back to his hotel. We had a long argument with the judge, because we thought that 1100 Euro profit was a little bit too much (prizes were meant to be for 50-60 people, and we were 91 deep at 20 Euro each). There was nothing we could do – they could say no, but the Italian players in particular were getting more and more angry, simply because the organizer, Stefano Maggio, did not even want to speak to us. He did not even give us 5 minutes and the poor judges were his messengers. Eventually we all came to him to attract his attention, and he gave us 10 a Euro discount from the main event. Top 8 split was 80 + 10 Euros then. At least some sort of compromise! Had he done something like that 15 minutes earlier I would have forgot it, although I still think the prizes should have been improved.
Top 8 Quarterfinals vs. Tomáš Már with 4c Delver
I play against Svačinka every week. I know his deck very well. He thinks the matchup is for him. I think the exact opposite. I won the first. In the second game I played into his taxing counters only to Terminus away all his board in the following turn – he had no more creatures, nor another blue card for his Force of Will. At least he could go to bed! His mum would be happy how I take care of him. It was 1am!
Top 4 Semifinals vs. GB Smallpox/Sinkhole/Dark Depths deck
I don’t like playing against these type of decks. They are very good on paper, but in the reality they often lose to their own clunkiness. I mean these decks discard both player’s hands, and then they are trying to topdeck well with a deck full of bad cards. Against these decks Sensei’s Divining Top is golden. Jace is pretty good as well! He spent too much time looking for green mana in the first game, while in the second game he showed me plays like putting Eternal Witness on the top with Volrath’s Stronghold, playing it on the next turn to get something to play on the following turn, and I simply Counterspell it. I killed him twice with Entreat the Angels tokens.
Then I watched my Miracle colleague Andrea Saita giving his Dark Depths opponent another 20 life boost with Swords to Plowshares. Andrea was in complete control but the game was taking ages. Come on! I wanted to concede to the finalist and go to bed and then judge showed me a metal plaque for the winner. So I asked whether they want it or not. They both wanted it so I offered them to keep it if the winner of the semis concede the finals to me. Both finalists were awarded two byes, so it wasn’t a big deal. They agreed and I could go to get some sleep. At last! The judge found my trial decklist, and offered me the ability to come late for the main event. Yes, please! It was half past 3am when I finally fell asleep.
Saturday Legacy Main Event
Round 1 and 2 vs. Bye
During the first round I finally met my Internet friend, fellow Miracle boss Angelo Cadei. We played the exact same 75 (well, he had 3 REB and I play 2 REB and 1 Pyroblast, so it is not entirely same, but close enough!). Since then we met after every round and together with Andrea we were discussing the deck we love so much. Angelo told me that some players growing frustrated that they can never beat him started to play Sneak and Show with Boseiju! Angelo said “When you see Boseiju counter all their cantrips, and try to kill them as fast as possible. A turn 2 Snapcaster is not a bad play here at all.”
Round 3 vs. Marco Efretti with RUG Delver
A really nice local Italian player with a classic RUG Delver build which, I am afraid does not stand too much of a chance against the current field. Particularly against my Miracles. More of a menace is the version with Treasure Cruise, Young Pyromancer, and sideboarded Krosan Grips I saw later that day. I would not want play against that.
-4 Force of Will
-2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
-2 Entreat the Angels
+3 Flusterstorm (to help against Stifle)
+3 Vendilion Clique
+1 Engineered Explosives
+1 Council’s Judgment
+1 Red Elemental Blast
If you need to win quickly you can leave in the Angels, but I did not need to. Counterbalance is a win condition like no other, so do not worry about siding out the big spells. The only danger real is a Sulfuric Vortex, and be weary of Sylvan Library. It can be tough to beat. But now when we pack a zillion Vendilion Cliques and another Council’s Judgment I am not as scared as I once was.
Round 4 vs. Sneak and Show
Oh no! Again! One of the worst matchups for Miracles. In GP Paris I was 3-0 and then a Sneak and Show player completely destroyed me. So did my opponent in first game here.
-4 Swords to Plowshares
-2 Entreat the Angels
-1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
+2 Red Elemental Blast
+3 Vendilion Clique
I believe this is how I sideboarded. You want Disenchant against potential Defense Grids, and sometimes you can hit a Sneak Attack.
In the second game my end of turn Vendilion Clique showed me his hand of Show and Tell, Sneak Attack, Force of Will, and another counter but no creature! I sent away his Spell Pierce as I was land light with Counterspell and REB in hand. Next turn he dropped a Boseiju! Don’t worry, I know what to do. Next turn it was a Brainstorm which I countered without mercy – there won’t be many spells from here on out to counter in this game anymore. When he countered my Counterspell with his Force of Will pitching Show and Tell I knew it is good. I REB’ed his spell, and a turn later I removed Sneak Attack with Council’s Judgment (I had no counters left in hand but Flusterstorm). In the last game he mulligened down to 6 and kept a hand without colored mana. It was not very hard to figure out that I have to battle his cantrips once again. A crucial turn was countering his Brainstorm with Force of Will, the turn I played Jace leaving me without ANY other counters. It worked and Jace got me there! This was hard.
Round 5 vs. Miracles
Another Italian Miracles player. Where do they all come from? He had CounterTop in the first game, and I assembled the same in the second. He was an experienced player so he scooped as soon as he realize that the chance of winning is way too low.
-4 Swords to Plowshares
-1 Entreat the Angels
+3 Vendilion Clique
+1 Council’s Judgement
+1 Engineered Explosives
You do not want any white removal but Coucil’s Judgement which can deal with Jace and Counterbalance (the most important spell you want to resolve). Angelo even said: “every time a Miracle player cast a Swords or Terminus post-sideboard a Faerie in the world dies.” The true king after the board is REB/Pyroblast, as you can never have enough of them. For a single R you counter almost everything. There is a big discussion about Entreat the Angles. Some like to keep one (me, Johannes Gutbrod), while some think it is rubbish that forces you to play badly and play into opponents’ spells (Angelo, Philipp). We will talk about Flusterstorm later.
I do not remember this match very well. I think was that the game took really long in terms of rounds but we both played at our best possible speed. At some point my opponent assembled CounterTop, and I cracked both my fetches end of turn and in my draw I showed him my single Entreat the Angels like a boss (no Sensei’s Divining Top for me!). I tapped 6 out of my 8 lands to play around Spell Pierce. He looked really frightened! He looked on top, fetched, looked again, Spell Pierced and then it resolved. On his turn he looked again with Top, Pondered, fetched, looked again, and then cast Council’s Judgment to kill one token, leaving me with three 4/4 flyers. I knocked him down to very low life, and he did not find anything on the ensuing turn. After the game he told me he sided out Entreat the Angels and Terminus, but also that he did not bring in Engineered Explosives. That was really lucky. Or there is nothing like luck in this game?
I saw my opponent later that day and he looked really frustrated. I hope it was not because of me and my cherubim. I am sorry!
Julian watched the whole third game and told me afterwards how patiently I played, and that he really liked it. Julian is awfully supportive, and no matter whether you win or lose just speaking to him in between rounds will always make you feel better.
Round 6 vs. Marco Montani with DeathBlade
This matchup should be easy. In the first game Counterbalance is not the end of the game, but it counters so many supportive spells (particularly discard spell, Deathrite Shaman, Ponders) that the victory is often very near. We have to watch out for Jace and True-Name Nemesis because those are often the only other ways the opponent can win.
The first game was all about Liliana on his side and Top on mine. He discarded our hands, but while the lady in black was on 6 counters I could cast end of turn Snapcaster Mage to knock her down to 4. She went down to 2 after the sacrifice effect. That gave me enough time to cast Jace and seal this game in my favor.
-4 Force of Will
-1 Swords to Plowshares
+3 Vendilion Clique
+1 Engineered Explosives
+1 Council’s Judgment
The sideboarding reflects what I think about the matchup – the only threat are the two blue cards. I have exactly 55 answers for Liliana and better than killing Stoneforge Mystic is to remove the equipment. They have usually zero answers for Entreat the Angel (a miser Spell Pierce), but their Liliana will take care of that.
In the second game Marco (who is a really really nice guy) played Surgical Extraction twice on my Top, which I stupidly discarded to Liliana and also on my Brainstorm. But he never got a card from my hand so I was always up a card. The crucial part of the game was when he cast Sylvan Library on turn 2 and I had no counter, nor removal. He immediately paid 4 life for the first time. The second time he forgot to look and then there was no third time, as I removed it with Coucil’s Judgment, and pulled ahead from there
This meant that if I won the next round I would be able to double-ID into Top 16. Since the tournament was running so dreadfully late they changed the format from 10 rounds of Swiss plus cut to Top 8 to be 9 rounds of Swiss plus cut to Top 16. Bring it on!
Round 7 vs. Nicholas with Miracles
The previous round took an extra half hour extra because there was some kind of Ponder/draw three problem that the judges had to investigate and resolve. So I went to the judge station and asked what was wrong with this match. After a little chat the judge asked what my record was, and whether I was on the feature match or not. After my 6-0 and “no” answer he told me to prepare for it. So that is how you do it!
I knew my feature match opponent was on Miracles (he was the one playing his round for 90 minutes), and I do not mind playing the mirror. Nicholas was very friendly and cool, but he mentioned he had never played Miracles before (well done arriving at 6-0 then!). It was apparently his first match on camera, and he seemed to be quite nervous.
Nicholas established CounterTop in the first game, and I didn’t do much, so I scooped. In the second and third my superior sideboarding got me there. For all the boyscouts – count – how many Faeries died during that round?
In the last game I cast REB/Pyroblast five times, and that is just unfair. The thing I want to talk about here is the moment from the second game where Nicholas cast Entreat the Angels, tapping 5 mana at time 30:00. I just showed him Force of Will on top countering the spell. The commentators called the judge and then we had a long discussion about what I was 100% sure they are wrong. They were telling me that cost of Entreat the Angels at this point is not 5 but 9! And you know what? I play this deck since GP Ghent. I should know it inside out, right? Well, not quite. Because of some of the previous harsh judge rulings and the problematic organization, I felt they were embarrassing themselves with this. I appealed but the ruling stayed. Not much I could have done there. Thank God I could not have done more, as I was totally wrong. I swear I did not know, and I am really sorry for all the troubles I caused. Instantly after the round I went to all those judges and apologized. Perhaps you should stop reading now as I am no Miracles expert apparently. 😉
Round 8 vs. Angelo Cadei with Miracles
We are jumping two meters high (one meter for Angelo) as we are celebrating not only that we are both going to make the Top 16 with the same pet deck, but we are incredibly happy because of Philipp who spent an awful lot of time tweaking our deck which basically resulted in the perfect 60. Thank you again Mr. Schönegger! We ID and are mentally preparing for Top 16.
Round 9 vs. Alexey Romanchunk with Merfolk
It was getting very late. My teammates missed the Top 16, but they have all achieved a great results!
Martin Vonásek 18th/476 (read his report here!)
Martin Schilling 39th
Igor Panigada 73rd
I am particularly sorry for Martin Vonásek, performed admirably and was really close. He was just a little bit unlucky. On the other hand, he had time to support me as he was around all the time. Thank you for that!
Somebody suggested the Top 16 split, but that did not make much sense. I was paired against a friend of my last round Merfolk opponent. He was playing ANT.
Top 16 vs. ANT
In the first I did what Miracles usually do to ANT pre-board, and established enough control to take this down easily.
-1 Swords to Plowshares
-2 Entreat the Angels
-1 Council’s Judgment
+3 Vendilion Clique
+1 Engineered Explosives
The sideboarding is quite intuitive. I knew he had Xantid Swarms but not Young Pyromancer, as I knew that he is on Kai’s latest list. Kai killed me with Young Pyromancers in Prague – if I knew he was bringing them I would have left some copies of Terminus in the deck. Martin told he feels much better in the matchup when he knows I have no Entreat the Angels after sideboard. Well, they are just too bad. The problem of this sideboarding is: Young Pyromancer, Pithing Needle (I hate it so much!), resolved Empty the Warrens. I think you should go for goblins more often after the board, ANT players.
In the second I was in control until I messed up terribly. Instead of countering his end of turn Ad Nauseam with Force of Will, I tapped Top to draw Counterspell. He then discarded my Force of Will and Krosan Griped my second Top. Oh no!
In the last game it all looked OK but on the crucial turn I still needed to fetch and I found the needed Counterspell. Martin was standing behind him and explained to him later that he could have done much better (he potentially could have won). Well, with that victory I am in to the Top 8!
My friends are all tired and they go back to the hotel. One of them (Marcelo) did not book a hotel, so I offered him my bed, as did not think I would get to bed before 10am. He gladly agreed.
On the other side of the bracket Angelo also advanced to the Top 8.
It was dreadfully late and some people suggested we could split now. Julian, who won Bazaar of Moxen, told me that they split Top 8 as well. So we did it, and received 650 Euro each. This meant we had to meet on the next day and play for the glory, starting at 10am.
On one hand I am awfully happy because this with the T64 in Gent and Prague Eternal finals is my biggest magic achievement. On the other hand I will lose next day just like that. I wanted to see the city, go to mass in Duomo, and about 21 other things, but now I will lose my precious day because of this terrible organization. Well, I had no choice. I want to win it!
When I got back I had to kick Marcelo out of my bed. We gave him all of our pillows and I think he had a very descent sleeping berth in the end.
Sunday Top 8 Playoff
I am not sure if I can call it Top 8 because 4 players (!) did not show up. Angelo was straight into the semis and so was his opponent. On the other hand, the winner of our match with Ivan, a very good Dredge player from Liguria, would go straight to the finals.
Top 8 Quarterfinals vs. Ivan with Dredge
In the first game I countered his first two enablers, only for him to show me the third. I lost shortly thereafter.
-3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
-2 Entreat the Angels
-1 Council’s Judgment
+1 Engineered Explosives
+2 Rest in Peace (finally!)
The sideboarding might seem odd but I wanted to have maximum answers for his enablers. I wanted to be able to counter his Dread Return as well. Counterbalance is average, and Jace can be good, but there is no space. If you think about it I can only kill him with three (!) Snapcasters, but do not worry! We can also deck them!
In the second game I had to mulligan down to five and I was almost getting desperate again. But my five was pretty good with Top, Flusterstorm, 2 lands, and Ponder. I played my Top and Ivan cast Cabal Therapy (which resolved), naming Rest in Peace. Well played, but I did not see RiP in this game at all. After a long and awfully grindy game, during which I killed at least two of my Snapcaster Mages with REB to get rid of Bridge from Below, Ivan found himself in a position of having 4 cards in a library and we all know there were 2 Narcomoebas and 2 Ichorids. But he is not going to make it against my Swords to Plowshares.
The last game was very similar to the third. We had a long and a difficult game. At some point Ivan finaly cracked his LED and I countered Faithless Looting’s flashback with Flusterstorm. Then I drew Ponder into Rest in Peace, and won from there.
My report can’t make justice to these games as were some of the best I have ever played in my whole life. We both played at our best. Ivan was maybe too good. If he went for the second Dread Return in the second game – he would be blown out by Jace or Karakas as he explained me after the game – he would have done it. What a shame I can’t send you link for this match.
Then I watched Angelo beat his opponent in the Top 4. You could tell he is an exceptional player, and even though he had to face “Losett-better-in-mirror” version he won easily 2-0. We have done it; we will play the real mirror match in the finals! The only thing I was puzzled with was Flusterstorm; Angelo brought it in despite the fact that yesterday we condemned the card as not good enough in the mirror. How wrong I was!
Finals vs. Angelo Cadei with Miracles
In the first game I played Counterbalance, and Angelo countered with Force of Will. I could do the same but I felt I’d much rather play another one next turn. He played his Counterbalance, which I countered, and he played his second Force of Will in as many turns, effectively removing his hand. This was not bad as Counterbalance is THE single most important spell to resolve, but you need something else as well at some point, and Angelo never got it. I resolved my own Counterbalance, and when I cast Brainstorm on the following turn he show me his blind flip – Terminus. His only card in hand was Swords to Plowshares, and he conceded.
I sided like in the other CounterTop mirrors. But I was bit unsure about the Flusterstorm. It was actually pretty good in the game I watched. You always catch something. But there was nothing to side out.
I established my position in the game two pretty well – I had 6 lands, Top, double Force in hand, and Entreat on top of the library. Angelo had many lands, one card in hand, 16 life points – that was all. My thinking was: he has one card, and if I resolve Entreat there is practically no chance for him to win. He can only foil my plans with Flusterstorm, and I do not want him to draw another counter for the turn – assuming he has Counterspell, Force of Will, or REB in hand. On his upkeep I decided to go for it. I shuffled away my Top as I needed to search for the second white and casted Entreat the Angels. He let it resolve. Yes! Now I can’t lose with double Force, right? He drew and instantly cast Ponder – kept the top card, drew and played Engineered Explosives! The single answer in his deck. I am not even thinking how lucky he is because I have the solution for his solution – and I instantly Force, while he has – Snapcaster Mage for REB in response. I lost everything – my Top, double Force, and particularly my confidence.
In the crucial game I had to start with Plains intoTop. That is so bad! Later on I cliqued Angelo end of turn and to see a SUPER six cards, which I can basically never beat. In the big Counterbalance turn he won the counter war with Flusterstorm. Later he added Jace, but he still did not have Top. What he had was Brainstorm to show me Council’s Judgment – countering my Clique with the Counterbalance trigger. With him having only two mana up and two cards I tried Entreat, which he had the Counterspell for, like a boss! A few turns later I conceded.
Well, Angelo is the boss. A Miracles master at least, and an excellent player. He understood how good the Flusterstorm could be in the mirror, and cut Plains and the miser Entreat for two copies. I had to think about the game two all day – should have I casted my spell end of turn? I think I played it well but the truth is that I would have probably never lost if I did not have Entreat in my deck at all. Angelo next leveled me with his sideboarding. He played perfectly and it would not be fair if I took the crown. Well done, Angelo!
I was happy, but exhausted. I said goodbye to my friends, and with Martin Vonásek we head back to the city centre where we met Johannes, Max, and Igor with his family. We went for a quick rooftop dinner, and then we had to go, as it was getting late. We were only two deep by this time, because Martin Schiling left early morning on Sunday (had to go to work), and Svačinka made Top 8 of the Vintage tournament, and Zuzy offered him to take him back home by car.
I managed to lose my ID and phone on the airport only to be found by a really beautiful Italian Police officer who found me thanks to the picture on the ID. When I was boarding they asked me if I have my phone as they got a report that I lost it – they even had my picture in the computer (if you lose your phone next time, try to leave your passport there as well). Who complains about Italian organization?!
The weekend was amazing! Italians are nice and friendly, and while maybe they all don’t speak perfect English, they always manage to express themselves. Organization on the other hand, was pretty poor for this event. I do not think it is acceptable for a big tournament to finish at 3am. Between the round two and three we had a very long break, and between the round three and four the system crashed and we waited for more than an extra hour! They explained us that it was a fault of WotC, who did not provided them with the appropriate software even though they have promised. Well, it is still not acceptable for almost 500 people to waste their time like that. I lost almost all Sunday because of this.
Finally, it is not a real complaint, but the coverage should have been much better – particularly when I saw the last year one which had a high quality resolution, English commentary, graphics with decklists, and so on. But guys I root for you – next time you can do better!
If Bazaar of Moxen is indeed no more (because of costs, prizes, etc.), Ovino should take its place. Hopefully Prague Eternal will take Ovino’s spot as being the second biggest non-WotC Eternal tournament in Europe.
But the people, food, really nice hotel, and my result largely outweighed a little negative experience, and I am really happy I could come.
Speaking of the Miracles deck, I do not think there is much more to say. It is apparently the most powerful deck in Legacy, and if you play it decently it can bring you a good success. The problem might be your speed of play, so you have to learn how to play it well and quickly. We will see if some new builds of Delver decks with Treasure Cruises, Young Pyromancers, Null Rods, and Krosan Grips will cause us some serious problems, as I think the new top deck challenger will pack the blue scientist and the new Ancestral. Wizards, you will never learn, will you?
I hope to see you in Prague Eternal November 7th-9th. It will be a great event. Kai will come to defend his crown, and I will try finish second again. 😛
If you are from the US you can meet me, Philipp, Felix, and Julian at GP New Jersey or SCG Richmond. Thanks for reading!