I could have won this game easily. I had two different ways to keep my opponent from locking me out, but instead I let his Venser live and I never got another combat step again thanks to his Stonehorn Dignitary. Game 2 went much the same as I never drew a counterspell and he resolved his combo once again. Looks like my chances of making top 8 were going up in smoke…….
And then my opponent attacked with his Stonehorn Dignitary into my Geist of Saint Traft, Spirit Token and untapped Moorland Haunt. I made another 1/1 and snap blocked the pesky Rhino. After his Dignitary died and he used Venser’s blinking ability on a land, I realized I could win this game. So I did, and then won Game 3 off of Delvers and countermagic.
The quarterfinals were a quick, uninteresting mirror match. My semifinals opponent was playing a Grixis control deck, and I lost fairly decisively in Game 1. While he just buried me in card advantage and a plethora of removal the first game, he managed to resolve 2 Curse of Death’s Hold in the second game, effectively blanking every creature in my deck except for one Dungeon Geists and the one Phantasmal Image in my hand. I had virtually no way to win the game, but I still did not concede. I figured when he played a Consecrated Sphinx I could copy it with my Image and then draw a lot of cards……
So he played a Sphinx, and I copied it. On his draw step we both drew until we had well over 20 cards in our hands. At the end of exchanging all our Sphinx triggers, my opponent had 10 cards left in his deck. I instantly recognized I had a way to win the game: I could Snapcaster Mage my Thought Scours and target him. After getting in a counter war over a Vapor Snag on his Consecrated Sphinx (so he couldn’t actually kill me) I managed to resolve 3 Thought Scours and milled him out of the game. Game 3 was a game of protecting Delvers while he stalled on lands and died to a pair of Insectile Aberrations. I split in the finals with Clint Burnell, getting the invite and a share of the travel voucher.
This is not so much a tournament report though as it is a story illustrating a few key concepts that are important for winning:
- You will make Mistakes.
Everyone screws up, even the greats. Bob Maher, Jon Finkel, Luis Scott Vargas, they’ve all made blunders in high profile matches. Do not dwell on the mistakes you make in a game, because if you do, you can snowball those mistakes and toss a game that was within your reach even after making that mistake.
- Always look for a Route to Victory
Remember, you are looking to win the game. There may be an unconventional way to do it, but always try and stay flexible and find that way to win
- Never Concede
The easiest way to lose any game is by giving up. You may think you are dead, but do not just concede. (There are actually points where conceding a game is strategically correct-mostly due to time considerations). Do you need to get lucky and topdeck like 5 cards? It can happen. Do you need your opponent to make a grievous error? That can happen too. You are not dead until you are dead.