Welcome to my new column, called: “Check out this board state!” — my plan is show board states that… Mostly, I think are cool. This particular case is, generally speaking — me having the nuts. Sometimes your deck just cooperates, but, I just love how this played out. This was the most satisfying two turns of the tournament — possibly more exciting than casting a pact of negation to counter my mirror match opponent’s Zacama, Primal Calamity.
We all have our bad match-ups, but, I was particularly bummed when I lost to infect (a terrible match-up for Amulet Titan), only to wind up getting paired against storm, sigh! I amazingly got there on game 1 — even after a punt. I had lethal and I missed it — got there next turn. I had a lucky engineered explosives in my opener and preemptively cast it on 2 before he played a bear. That bought me enough time to play a primeval titan for 16 damage (as an 8/6 double striker) — he was at 18. I attacked for 17, primetime + azusa, lost but seeking missing that I was leaving a sakura-tribe scout up in order to drop a bounce land to crack EE. Ooops! Somehow still got there. He landed a bear, and I cracked EE in response to the first ritual. I asked him after the match why he didn’t go off on the stack — he said he didn’t have blue mana available? I think he punted it, I lucked out.
Now — onto the board state that just made my day this tournament. Speaking of leaving a sakura-tribe scout up. Here’s where Steve’s little sister did some work for me. Of note — Caleb Scherer (around the same date as this tournament) recommends boarding out the slight of hands in favor of land dork (or amulet) removal. So even storm should focus on killing my dorks — maybe they didn’t have the removal, or they didn’t think to care about it, but, even one of the I’m on the draw, and I’m a mull to 5. Looking for a hand that has any action. My 5 is sakura-tribe scout, bojuka bog, gemstone mine, ancient stirrings, summoner’s pact. Scry 1 — Scry an amulet of vigor to the top.
Turn 1 play: Storm opponent leads on island, slight of hand.
Turn 1 draw: Draw amulet of vigor, play out tribe scout (almost always correct to play her first).
Turn 2: Storm drops a shivan reef and jams a bear — Baral, Cheif of Compliance.
Turn 2: Draw a forest, play a forest, cast amulet of vigor. Cast ancient stirrings, hope for a bounce land — it’s a Simic growth chamber.
Note that my opponent hasn’t seen my bog yet at all, not game 1, not revealed off a stirrings. I look almost tapped out. Here’s what my board state looks like at this point:
Turn 3: Opponent untaps with Baral in play.
This is usually go time for them. I tried to act bored, as excited as I was. I had a feeling he’d start filling up his graveyard… Especially if they perceive that their opponent is tapped out. I pick up some dice and start following along with his storm count and mana pool, leaving my hand on the table. So, I let him go off. Ritual into ritual, into… more rituals, couple cantrips, into a standard gifts pile. Filling up his graveyard. Then… Past in flames. “ find here IN RESPONSE! Activate sakura-tribe scout?”, “Yep”, “Bojuka Bog, trigger, target you”. His face just droops. That sucks — for him!
Ahhhh, the satisfaction of instant speed land drops! Exiling a bunch of garbage in that graveyard. Loved it.
“Combat?”, “Yep”, “Attack, Baral, for 1”, “I’m at 19”, “Your turn.”.
Turn 3: Draw [selesnya sanctuary], tap gemstone for red, tap forest for green, activate tribe scout, drop a simic growth chamber, untap bounce, 4 mana. Land for turn selesnya sanctuary, untap bounce, 6 mana. Summoner’s pact? FOR RURIC THAR, THE UNBOWED. He untaps, and then scoops!