Above is a photo of my winnings - 9 Faction packs of Mirrodin Besieged. I was actually given 5 Phyrexian packs & 4 Mirran packs initially, but traded 1-for-1 with someone, because I didn't care that much one way or the other. Below the faction packs are the poison counter tiles that took me to victory (if you'd like to get these yourself, you may find them for sale at Ender's Games here). I should also mention that I sported my Academy West hoodie from @GriffnValentine - info on which is available here.
So, C-bass and I arrived at the tourney site (the Holiday Inn in College Park, MD right next to the Ikea) about 40 minutes before the doors were supposed to open. We got to the main doors to find the owner of the store hosting the event (Dream Wizards in Rockville) unloading her car. Quickly we volunteered to help lug in boxes of product for her along with various members of her staff and Daily MTG writer Adam Styborski (AKA @the_stybs on Twitter). Once that was done, C-bass and I played a couple of friendly games against each other with the decks we had brought, then joined the queue once it was forming to register for the event.
While we waited in line, a group of folks right ahead of us began trading with a group right behind us, so we were privy to the goings on. There was one gentlemen, who I will refer to as the Trade Shark, who obviously studied at the Jonathan Medina School of Trading. Everything was trading for increase in value, he started everything with "what do you value this at..." etc. I've never seen Medina trade in person, but I felt like I got a small glimpse of what it may be like.
For some reason I took an instant and thorough dislike for Trade Shark.
For those not in the know, this prerelease did something never done before. When you register, you picked a faction in the war for Mirrodin - either the defending Mirran group, or the invading Phyrexian group. Your choice would determine which packs you got to open for your sealed pool, and also which foil prerelease promo you received. I let C-bass pick which faction he wanted, and I chose the other, so we'd get both promos.
C-bass chose Mirran, so I was Phyrexian, and off we went with our shiny new cards. After a bit of a wait, we got our packs (each got 3 packs of Scars of Mirrodin, and 3 packs of Mirrodin Besieged specific to our faction). We had 40 minutes to build our decks, and then we awaited pairings for the first round.
Here's the deck I ended up playing for (almost) every game:
- 8x Forest
- 9x Swamp
- Blackcleave Goblin
- Contagious Nym
- Flesh-Eater Imp
- Phyrexian Crusader
- Scourge Servant
- Blight Mamba
- 2x Rot Wolf
- Core Prowler
- 2x Necropede
- 2x Phyrexian Digester
- Plague Myr
- Horrifying Revelation
- Virulent Wound
- Pistus Strike
- 2x Unnatural Predation
- Untamed Might
- Wing Puncture
- Argentum Armor
- Grafted Exoskeleton
- Strider Harness
For round 2, I decided to try a blue-black build instead, mainly because I REALLY wanted to use the Consecrated Sphinx that I got in one of my packs. Game 1 of Round 2 was a DISASTER as a result, and I quickly swapped out the blue cards for the Green again for game 2. I then went on to win the next two games. Now I'm 2-0 for the tourney. This opponent was also Phyrexian-aligned, BTW.
Round 3 my opponent was Trade Shark. He plays VERY fast, throwing down cards, tapping, attacking, whooosh. As an opponent I find that VERY annoying. It felt like he was pressuring me to play faster, so since I had already taken a dislike to him I deliberately slowed my play, taking my time and making sure I made the right decision. I think this annoyed him, and that made me happy. He won game 1 (with Glissa, the Traitor and several other REALLY good cards which made me wonder if he was playing strictly by the rules and not including the cards that he had, moments before, been bragging about trading for) and I thought it was over for sure. But game 2 went my way, I managed to kill everything he brought out, and his double Mortarpod on one Creature did NOT allow him to ping for two as he had hoped (or hoped I could be talked into). And game 3 was won by a lovely combo of sacrificing Blight Mamba and Core Prowler to the Flesh-Eater Imp, then cast Unnatural Predation on it to get 5 poison in the air for the last 5 counters. Boo-ya! The only thing that could make going 4-0 feel better was taking down this guy in the process.
The final opponent, one of the other three with a 3-0 record, was Mirran aligned. He handily won the first game in the air although I had him at 9 poison counters (I thought I had him in my last turn, but a well-played Master's Call gave him two unexpected Myr blockers, and prevented that last poison counter from being dealt). I didn't see any of my anti-Flying stuff in that game, and he just soared over my defenses with no problem. Game 2 and 3, however, went much more my way (he had mana problems game 2, never seeing a Mountain, except for the one I made him mill with Horrifying Revelation). Game 3 was more of a nail-biter (especially since whoever won it went 4-0), but I eked it out. I can say that the Phyrexian Crusader, with his First Strike, Infect, and Protection from Red & White were crucial in this match-up. He could only block with his artifact creatures, and Peace Strider is not as useful when his 3/3 body gets 2 First-Strike -1/-1 counters on it before he gets to deal damage. Nice 1/1 Peace Strider, dude.
C-bass, meanwhile, lost Round 2 and decided to completely change decks for Round 3. While this new deck performed better, he still lost Round 3, and decided to drop out at that point. He went over to play @the_stybs (who was gunslinging for the event) and got a nice Purifying Fire Jones Soda for his efforts. Adam reports that he [C-bass] "tore me apart." That made C-bass feel a little better.
So, all in all, a very enjoyable day. C-bass was (understandably) disappointed, but it was not a total disaster. I think he may go back to the Open Dueling type of event next go-round (he's not so confident in his deck-building skills yet to try Sealed again) but, maybe some day.