MtG: A Beginner’s Tournament with 1 Beginner vs 8 Pros

Dear readers and friends of Magic: the Gathering!

So last Saturday my younger sister Nora, who had just very recently discovered her interest for the M:tG CCG, travelled with me to Linz where she would be bold enough to participate in an official event they (in hindsight) laughably called a “Beginner’s Tournament”. Well, whilst I have to say it was big fun overall, the thing was that all players there were more or less pros playing their competitive Standard, Modern or Legacy decks and the only real beginner was poor Nora (my trusty boy companion Robin was also quite a newbie though as well), who even had to struggle with the language barrier as she knows only a few odd bits of English, and some of her more complicated cards in her deck were in English because I was not able to find German replacements in time, and also most of what her opponents played was in the English language. Still she faced her opponents, and nobody could tell, so her opponents told me afterwards, how nervous she obviously was. She took it like a man…errr woman that she did not win a single game in 4 rounds. To my great pleasure she was not totally desperate after that ostensible ordeal and she saw it as a fun new experience and said she wanted to try again soon! Hence I am very proud of you, Nora!!

Here she is, bravely standing her ground:

Nora Magic Turnier 2

 

I think Nora will do much better next time as I am sure she just made a ton of strategic mistakes and overlooked certain things, as I was not able to assist her all the time participating in the event myself so I guess she did many things wrong and that is the reason why she did not win any game. Her White Weenie deck with a splash of Blue for Mana Leak and Curiosity, is kickass (of course: I built it with/for her!!) and her win ratio even against many of my more competitive decks was very high when we practiced at home. Furthermore, I must pay my respect to the other Magic gamers. They were all kind and gentle to my sister as they saw she was a bit unable to cope with the totally new experience/situation for her.

So I wonder why they call this a Beginner’s Tournament… I expected lots of Newbies and whom we found there were pros and veterans just like myself. I had even re-built the original, 12-year-old version of my Elves Deck (read all about it here), which happened to be my first real Magic deck, in order not to be unfair to the rest of the participants, whom I expected to be beginners, as, after all, they called it a “Beginner’s Tournament”. The dozen year old deck fared pretty well against all the totally up-to-date, powerful decks I played against, which felt quite satisfactory and rewarding to me and earned me the 4th place, one spot away from a free booster. It is just curious and nice that my first deck ever, however outdated the cards might be, is still able to beat more or less competitive more modern decks.

What bothers me a bit is the fact that these “Beginner’s Tournaments” are overcrowded with people who are anything else but beginners will scare away the actual newbies, who have just started playing Magic (and who are not as dauntless as my little sis!) which would be an undesirable situation in my point of view. Not all are as fair and morally correct as my humble self to at least play a beginner’s deck for Thor’s sake so the actual beginners wouldn’t be scared of by the competitive, pimped-to-the max decks of the pros participating in a “Beginner’s Tournament”.

I do not know the reason why the vast majority of people participating (we were 9) were actually no beginners at all and played really competitive decks – maybe it is cause there is no entry fee and you can win free booster? Maybe it is also because all cards are allowed. Yeah, you read it right. As I read it on the website of the Linz Magic Shop I phoned the store owner asking if they are serious, saying “may i bring a deck with 4 Black Lotuses” and he was like “sure, go ahead”… That is very strange…

So technically I could just take my several k slightly-powered Vintage Deck to next Saturday’s “Beginner’s Tournament”, with playsets of Mana Drain and Force of Wills, (original) Dual Lands Galore as well as Mox Sapphire, Sol Ring, Balance, Maze of Ith and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale to mention a few of the costlier cards included and win me 4 free boosters… But that is not how I roll… I will do something very different because where is the fun in having 4 instant wins (Well I must say even my Vintage deck could lose to pretty much any other deck, as there are always bad draws and such, but if I can finish 4th with my 12-year-old Elven Deck Odin know’s what could happen when I field my mildly-powered Vintage deck). I will build just another fun deck instead!!

As I think nobody from the Magic crowd there will be reading my blog, I think it is safe to share my deck with you here:

Elves for Emrakul! (Casual)

Creatures…29

3 x Llanowar Elves G

3 x Elvish Mystic G

3 x Quirion Ranger G

3 x Wirewood Symbiote G

4 x Wirewood Herald 1G

3 x Elvish Visionary 1G

2 x Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary GG

1 x Gaea’s Herald 1G

3 x Elvish Archdruid 1GG

2 x Fierce Empath 2G

1 x Blightsteel Colossus 12

1 x Emrakul, the Eons Torn 15

Sorceries…4

4 x Time of Need 1G

Artifacts…7

4 x Skullclamp 1

3 x Lightning Greaves 2

Lands…20

3 x Wirewood Lodge

17 x Forest

About the Deck:

Hell yeah, Elves again!! But what a totally different build at all. The Elves in this deck are just a means for a certain end, the end of the opponent this is,  brutally brought to them by an early…

… with haste thanks to Lightning Greaves. Emrakul + Lightning Greaves simply spells defeat for your opponent, no matter what pretty much. Besides: Looking at how Emrakul’s price is skyrocketing makes me giggle – got mine for far less than $10 USD and now he is around 50 on average.

So the Elves in the deck have the sole purpose to get the 15 Mana for Emrakul together as fast as possible. OF COURSE I could be unfair or rather just plain evil by abusing the “anything goes” rules of the “Beginner’s Tournament” playing a playset of Channel, so I can play Emrakul on turn 2 or 3. But where would be the fun in this so I am rather playing fair to have some fun instead of a turn 2 or 3 instant win.

I might have to rebuild this deck after some testing, because right now the mana generation relies mostly on Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, who costs just GG and taps for as many green mana as you control forests. I am just not sure if I can get a decent number of forest into play fast enough, without any forst fetchers such as Nature’s Lore or Skyshroud Claim, so I may be better off with swapping in 1 more Elvish Archdruid and some Priests of Titania. Well on the other hand, relying on forests for massive mana generation has its merit, as relying on Elves to do so would be relying on creatures and there are by far more ways to get rid of small creatures like Elves than of basic Forests. Furthermore, Rofellos can be tutored for by Time of Need for 1G (and so can Emrakul). Testing will show which route will be the best to take.

Anyways the basic premise is to generate 15 mana as fast as possible. You got 6 tutors for Emrakul, and 2 tutors for your “backup solution” Blightsteel Colossus, which costs “just” 12, in the form of Tiem of Need and/or Fierce Empath.

Likewise you got 8 tutors for one of your two copies of Rofellos: 4 Wirewood Heralds and 4 Time of Need.

With many ways to get your two cornerstones into you hand, you just need to generate enough Mana to cast your big bad Emrakul.

There are plenty of ways to untap an Elf – it would mostly be Rofellos or Archdruid – 12 to be more accurate: 3 copies of Quirion Ranger, 3 copies of Wirewood Symbiote and 3 copies of Wirewood Lodge, the latter being the best option since it cannot be countered, being a land, and land destruction is rare these days it seems.

And finally, FINALLY, thanks to the “anything-goes” rule, I am able to play my all-time-favorite Equipment, which also fits perfectly into this particular deck:

Skullclamp is just insane in this deck. In total I have 22 Creatures with 1 Toughness (not counting Rofellos for obvious reasons) that, with Skullclamp handy, all translate into “pay (1) to draw 2 cards”. What an amazing draw engine. You are bound to draw into the right cards you need with that. There are some neat combos, maybe the best being ot attach the ‘Clamp to a Wirewood Herald, who will die, draw you 2 cards and search your library for any Elf – obviously Rofellos would be your Elf of choice (if you are facing a control/countermagic deck like I did last time, searching for Gaea’s Herald first may be a good idea!)! Elvish Visionary draws you 3 cards with the ‘Clamp, which is nice as well.

I am also running my second favorite equipment (it would be number 1 in Commander!):

This works soooo great on so many levels in this deck. First attach it to Rofellos or Archdruid so they will make mana the very turn they come into play AND they will be protected from most harm your opponent might have in store for them and once you get out Emrakul, just attach the Greaves to him, attack for 15 with Flying and Annihilator 6, probably taking out all opponent permanents through the latter in your first attack and then get an additional turn to swing in for another 15!

Well, dear readers, that is my plan and that is going to be my deck in next Saturday’s “Beginner’s Tournament”. And if I get my ass handed to me again by someone who plays with some 50 bucks planeswalkers or whatnot I am bringing up the like $ 3000 (???) deck on the third, laughably named, “Beginner’s Tournament and show them who’s the boss!! 😀

Well as it looks like, Nora will want to try again as well this weekend, which is a great pleasure for me!

I will report faithfully how the two of us will have done after the tournament on Saturday. Nora got a new deck too: Mono Red Dragons. More on that later maybe!

Until then I wish all “beginners”, the real ones and phonies,

HAPPY GAMING!

Yours,

Andi

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