Hey hey hey!
I'm back - sorry for being away for so long. When it came to sitting down to write about losing the finals of the Milton Keynes PTQ I couldn't quite get the enthusiasm to do so. Losing the finals of a PTQ is *the worst*.
Very briefly, this is what happened. I got a really solid UB deck in my sealed pool with Grim-Grin, Corpse Born, Evil Twin and a nice curve of creatures, self-mill and removal spells. My tournament didn't get off to a great start though as I lost in the 1st round thanks to a mistake on my part. Rather than dwelling on my error, I picked myself up and carried on battling. A couple of rounds later when I made it past Stephen Murray with his Garruk and Devil's Play deck, I was feeling quietly confidant I may be able to get there. I proceeded to win the rest of the rounds and found myself in the top 8 draft.
I wasn't very experience drafting the set at the time. I drafted a UG Spider Spawning deck on the fly, having never drafted it before or even heard about it (I think it was a week or two afterwards that the strategy became well known and incredibly popular). If I'd known then what I know now perhaps I would have had a shot at winning, by having my Gnaw to the Bone main deck instead of in the sideboard. In the finals I lost to the best deck of the format - WG with Midnight Haunting and Travel Preparations, and soon I was staring at a blue envelope in my opponent's hand.
I loved the Innistrad set for limited. I drafted quite a lot of triple Innistrad online in addition to my regular weekly drafts in the pub, and I probably exhausted the list of possible draft archetypes doing so. I was kind of sad to see Dark Ascension arrive as it seemed to put a stop to all the hillarious Burning Vengeance and Spider Spawning decks.
I had a solid GW(r) pool at the prerelease and did alright there. I started the day as a human and managed to remain that way until the final round when I became Vampirised by one of my boyfriend's Thrulls.
My release deck was the most powerful sealed deck I have ever had. It was totally nuts - 19 creatures, most of which flew, including Dungeon Geists, Fiend Hunter, Drogskol Captain and Jazz-hands man (aka Drogskol Reaver); and a Midnight Haunting, a Bonds of Faith and Feeling of Dread. I lost one game when I flooded and my opponent had Hellvault, but other than that game I simply crushed all my opponents. It would be amazing if my GP Manchester pool looked something like this...
Speaking of which, I won the Reading GPT for Manchester. The pool I opened had some tasty Mythics in the terrifying Reever Demon and fun Havengul Lich. I had to swap this away for my pool, which contained no mythics. It did however have some very solid 5-drop rares, and a great white card base. The main decision was whether to pair the white with my black, blue or green cards. I ended up building with green as it had the nicer curve, and the possibilty of repeated removal if I could equip one of the green deathtouch creatures with Wolf Hunter's Quiver:
My deck did what it was supposed to do - curving out nicely, while each of my opponents seemed to have mana or mulliganning issues, and also made the odd play mistake. At 3-0 I could I.D. the last 2 rounds into the top 8. I had a nice time chilling out in the sunshine then watching DLS playing rather than judging, and doing entertaining things with Feed the Pack and Increasing Savagery.... there were *a lot* of wolves.
The top 8 draft was the strangest Dark Ascension draft I had yet done. It seemed we'd opened up almost no removal, and the usual archetype cards just didn't seem to be there. At the end of the pack I was quite troubled as all I seemed to have was my first pick Lingering Souls, a couple Warden of the Walls and a few random creatures in black and green. Innistrad provided me with a good direction however when I picked up a Spider Spawning and noticed there were some Mulches that I could probably wheel. They did table, and in the 3rd pack I ended up with a 2nd Spider Spawning and an interesting looking deck:
I vanquished Ben Cottee's UW fliers deck in the quarter finals. His deck was pretty good, but I boarded in my two Warden of the Walls which were excellent at helping me stabilise against his 2/2 fliers (I didn't put them into my main deck as they aren't actually creatures for the purpose of using Spider Spawning).
The semi finals was against Oxford local player Owen Scarr, who had a UB zombie deck. I remember one of the games being very interesting and a good example of playing to my outs. I was barely staying alive by boosting creatures with Elder of Laurels and sacrificing them to Disciple of Griselbrand while Owen was repeatedly hitting me with a pair of fliers. At the last possible draw I got my Spider Spawning and ended up winning the game.
The finals was against our local best pro player, and my workmate, Tom Harle. His deck was interesting to say the least - during the draft I had noticed an unusually high number of curses floating around and it was into his deck that they had amassed. He got me in game 2 with Curse of Misfortunes, searching up Curse of Thirst and then casting a 2nd Curse of Thirst. However I was victorious in game 3, almost entirely thanks to the excellent Lingering Souls, with a little help from Demonmail Hauberk and a boarded-in Wreath of Geists.
With my 3 byes for the GP in the bag, I turned my attention to Standard for a while, learning how to play Kibler's Naya Pseudo-Pod deck. I did some testing in the pub, mostly against Delver and Esper Control. I went down to London with Owen and Anthony and played in the first WMCQ. I didn't do very well - the meta game was quite different to what I had anticipated - but I had lots of fun playing there and had fun messing around with the Reading players. Anthony made top 8 which was brilliant!
And finally it was time for the event I had been looking forward to the most: Grand Prix Manchester...