Saturday, December 8: 10:30 a.m. – 2HG Draft 1
Ah, the team day. I get to have a lie in.... Oh wait, I'm in the National team. Time to set the alarm clock again I guess.
At least I can take a breather for the first draft and let Stuart Wright run things.
Actually it was more of a cooperative thing in the end. There were a few picks we had different plans on, but that was me mainly wanting to hate blue cards and Stuart trying to open up options if Goblins became viable. I deferred to Stuart although we didn't get to use the cards in the end.
Our first booster was a monster and gave us a choice between Imperious Perfect and Nameless Inversion (Shriekmaw was always ending up in the pile). We took the removal as it left more options open and was in the same colour as the Shriekmaw.
A few packs later and one deck was shaping up to be a monster. We managed to pick up a few Battlewand Oak late and opened yet another Shriekmaw and two Nameless Inversion. This was shaping up to be a very aggressive deck with the Oaks providing solid beatdown with a hefty amount of removal to back it up (and of course Nameless Inversion also triggers the Oaks).
The second deck was a little more troublesome. As anticipated, blue was guillotined fairly early. We had a few red cards and some white and it looked like there might be a possibility of the red-white Giant deck. We had multiple Stinkdrinker Daredevils and Kithkin Greathearts, but were lacking in Giants. For the rest of the draft we aggressively took any we saw, including some not-so-hot cards like Lairwatch Giant. The deck didn't quite come together, but is still reasonably solid. Fortunately the green-black Treefolk deck we ended up with is absolutely insane.
Craig Jones’s Two-Headed Giant Deck
Stuart Wright’s Two-Headed Giant Deck
Saturday, December 8: 11:20 a.m. – Round 1 vs. the Netherlands 1
So we get to start off against the reigning World Champions.
Stuart took the free mulligan. It's never as free as people assume though, as the next seven contained no land. The actual mulligan hand was fine. There was a mulligan on the Dutch side as well.
So often in Two-Headed Giant if one player's draw slips up the game is over very quickly. In this case Tijs de Kler failed to find a forest. They made a bunch of 1/1s and I got to brutalize them with Battlewand Oak, Battlewand Oak and.... Battlewand Oak.
You know that scene in the second Lord of the Rings film...
Unfortunately Dan and Marco lost against the Netherlands Team 2, making the overall match result a tie.
Great Britain 1, the Netherlands 1
Saturday, December 8: 1:01 p.m. – Round 2 vs. the Russian Federation 1
Ah, as always with the broken deck from hell, it always misfires on you at some point.
We got off to a flier this game. This time I got to play the reactive role with a hand of Shriekmaw, Nameless Inversion and land. One of the Russian players had a blue-white Merfolk deck but was struggling to find land while the other had a five colour special from what I could see.
Stuart opened with Blind-Spot Giant and then got it online with a Stinkdrinker Daredevil and Avian Changeling. I followed up with a Shriekmaw and Stuart doubled it for a turn with Heat Shimmer. At this point we looked totally in control.
Unfortunately we then both hit a glut of land while the Russians stabilised with Thorntooth Witch followed by Timber Protector and a ton of card advantage from Mulldrifters.
Hostility gave us hope of pushing through the last points as we alpha-striked to try and maintain pressure. Hostility fell to Neck Snap and our board position basically crumbled. I continued to draw land and ended the game having drawn five spells to eleven land.
Fortunately GB 2 pulled through and we again split the match 1-1.
Great Britain 1, Russian Federation 1
Saturday, December 8: 4:05 p.m. – 2HG Round 3 vs. Canada
And it's all change as my team mate is now my semifinal victim from the British Nats, Marco Orsini-Jones.
Two-Headed Giant being what it is means no time to cover our second draft in detail. In summary, Marco OJ has a much better Giants deck than Stuart from last round as he's got Sunrise Sovereign and Thundercloud Shaman.
This is fortunate as I have a green-black mess splashing blue for Æthersnipe and Mulldrifter. I do have two Dread though.
Against Andrew Ting-A-Kee and Mike Arenson we started promisingly, mainly because Andrew fails to make a third land. He does get to beat us around the head with a Wren's Run Vanquisher for a bit.
I have a game plan. We're going to let them overextend and Marco's going to wreck their team with Thundercloud Shaman. Meanwhile I'm going to walk up to six mana and make Dread.
This would require Marco to draw a second Mountain for the Axegrinder Giant and Thundercloud Shaman in hand though.
I don't really want to make Dread into Arenson's untapped blue mana but a clash reveals the second Dread on top. Obviously if he has countermagic he's going to sit with it open next turn as well, so I send out the first Dread as a tester. Sure enough, he has Faerie Trickery. Even more unfortunately, Ting-A-Kee finds a white source and Oblivion Rings the second Dread.
It's fine, sooner or later Marco is going to find a second Mountain and wreck them with Thundercloud Shaman. I mean he's playing ten of them.
Any draw step now...
Unload three removal spells, swing with a horde of Elves, cast double Surge of Thoughtweft.
Gotta love the 2HG format.
Stuart and Dan overcome a scary team including Rich Hoaen and we end up 1-1 again.
Saturday, December 8: 5:00 p.m. – 2HG Round 4 vs. South Korea
Marco takes the free mulligan and then takes the real mulligan. Fortunately I'm able to help him out with a Fertile Ground on his land.
We start off well as Marco starts beating with a Sunrise Sovereign. I get stuck with a Changeling Titan in hand as I can't risk casting it with my single and very vulnerable Woodland Changeling in play. I have Dread though. They kill it with a clever trick in using Wings of Velis Vel to give it all creature types. This sadly includes Treefolk, and Boggart Loggers just love sinking their axes into Treefolk.
We're still looking good, but then I draw a bunch of land, Marco draws a bunch of land and they come back into the game and beat us.
Once again I draw more land than spells, and I'm including Fertile Ground amongst the spells.
Stuart and Dan manage to win, which give us our fourth 1-1. Unfortunately, the rather strange scoring system means that this record is actually worse than if we'd got our 4-4 by going 2-0, 2-0, 0-2, 0-2. Effectively we are actually 1 & 1/3 from 4 rather than 2 from 4.
No, I don't understand it either.
Saturday, December 8: 7:57 p.m. – Round 5 vs. New Zealand
And the musical chairs continue. Now I get to play with Dan Godfrey.
The draft was a little mixed. At first I wanted to go with the red-white Giants plan again with black-green Treefolk. But then we actually got blue cards for a change. This turned our Giants deck into a blue-red Elemental deck with a slight Giant sub-theme. (The one that comes into play and deals damage to everything that isn't a Giant.)
I kind of picked up some Elves as the Treefolk were a little sparse. My deck isn't that bad. Two Profane Command will do that for you I guess.
This one went long and messy. I made some fatties including Doran, as did Dan, but we couldn't really make much headway against their tappers. Dan got out first one Giant (Hearthcage) and then a second (Axegrinder). The aim was to bust out Thundercloud Shaman with Familiar's Ruse backup.
Unfortunately we got into a bit of a tangle caused by them making Mirror Entity. Familiar's Ruse failed to counter that, but we went with the Shaman plan anyway, forgetting that Mirror Entity gives everything all creature types.
Ouch. It's been a long tournament I guess.
We were still beating ourselves up when we were reminded it only affects one player's creatures when the other guy scooped up his guys and put them in the bin.
It was awful, but still not irretrievable, even after I decided to throw my Doran, the Siege Tower and Cloudcrown Oak away to their Mudbutton Torchling.
After that we tried to settle. They basically just had a Mirror Entity and Goldmeadow Harrier while Dan was able to follow up with the Mulldrifter he'd picked up with Familiar's Ruse and an Inner-Flame Igniter.
We smacked them about for a bit while they tried to fend us off. Mirror Entity bit the dust thanks to Lash Out.
I tried to win the game on our only extra turn with Final Revels, but forgot they could just let my Lys Alana Huntmaster through and survive on 2 life as it didn't get pumped by Dan's Igniter.
So we timed out with them on 2 life, an empty board, and facing down about 30 power's worth of monsters. Stuart's team had already won. So they did the nice thing and conceded.
Er, no actually they didn't.
Guess they really wanted that one point.
At least six points is more than the three points we've picked up every round.
Saturday, December 8: 9:00 p.m. – Round 6 vs. Belgium and Wrap-Up
I think it's win 2-0 and maybe make Top 8.
Yay, I've been drafting Elvish Handservants in all three drafts and now I finally get to make one.
We got a busted draw. They dealt with a second turn Wren's Run Vanquisher with an Oblivion Ring and our Incandescent Soulstoke with Eyeblight's Ending. Then I made Handservant and it started growing thanks to Turtleshell Changeling. Then it got really brutal as Dan turned the Turtleshell into a Changeling Berserker and we smashed for 8. They made a Mulldrifter and a Kinsbaile Balloonist, but didn't block. This was the opportunity for Dan to cast Blades of Velis Vel and raise the damage to thirteen.
This left them at 6 life. They made some monsters. Dan killed the only black creature and I flashed them the Profane Command I had in hand.
With us already 1-0 up, Belgium 2 conceded a tight other game, as the way the points system works a 1-1 result is effectively useless.
About that points system.
I want to like Two-Headed Giant. I can see it's fun to play at your local shop, but every time it gets dragged out for a higher-level competition something else just fails to work.
This time we have the points system.
We started out the day in 8th place. We never lost a match, effectively won the last two, had an overall record of 7-4-1 and ended up falling down the rankings to 9th.
Nice scoring system.
Oh, thanks New Zealand. Hope you enjoyed that extra point.
This is a bitter Prof signing out. Hope you enjoyed the blog.