Weez in ur Keep, makin sum Kobolds (my first Pro Tour Qualifier)

Yesterday, Decaffeinated and I went to the local Magic Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) feeding into Pro Tour San Diego. PTQs are local tournaments that qualify folks to go play in one of the Magic: the Gathering Pro Tour events. Pro Tour events have their own online coverage and larger-scale cash prizes.
Full coverage in the extended. If the title confuses you, read on, and check out m’s entry on lolcats.

What with maybe 700 people showing up for the Future Sight prerelease, we weren’t sure how big a crowd to expect for the PTQ. I figured smaller, but as it turned out, it was much smaller. 57 teams started the day, for a total of 114 people.
After waiting for registration to finish, we handled the first part of any sealed tournament — card registration. Since this was a 2-headed-giant (2HG) tourney, that meant each pair of people opened one Time Spiral tournament pack, as well as two Planar Chaos boosters and two Future Sight boosters. Card registration serves to protect against cheating in the Limited environment, where it would be pretty easy to do by just slipping a useful card or two into your sealed deck pool. To prevent this, each set of cards goes through several sets of hands before it reaches the folks who’re going to use it. The basic procedure is:

  • First pair of people opens the cards, registers them on a provided worksheet
  • Second pair of people check the card registry, confirming that all the cards marked by the first pair are there
  • Third pair of people get the cards as their playset

Of course, the upshot of all this is that you get to see two card pools that you won’t be using. In our case, the first card pool taunted us with this pairing:
And, of course, we had to hand it off. The first card I really noticed in our actual card pool was this:
…to which the response is “Awesome!” followed by “Wait…no, that sucks in this format. Shoot.”
We ended up making two serviceable decks. Decaffeinated ran our more aggressive wing, running R/G and splashing U for Intet, the Dreamer. We thought Intet might be our game-ending bomb, but what usually happened was something like this:
Us: Intet
Them: Hammerheim Deadeye
I ran U/B splashing W, with some removal, Liege of the Pit and Plague Sliver.
At the end of the day, however, it wasn’t about big monsters — not for us, anyway. Here’s how a typical game went for us…
First, Decaffeinated draws his copy of Kher Keep, a handy little land that lets him crank out 0/1 Kobolds whenever he has nothing better to do. Witness the power of the Keep:
That stalls the ground, since no one is willing to leave themselves undefended just to carve off part of our wall of infinite Kobolds.
Then, Decaffeinated plays Quiet Disrepair, either on our or someone else’s copy of Prismatic Lens. The second team we played againt assumed we were going to kill their Lens, but no…
This card is all about the gaining two life per turn, stalling the game even more. Next, Decaffeinated draws this card:
…and we cast a bunch of spells, do more than twenty damage to them…
…and then can’t finish the job, and lose. Sad. Despite the amazing power of Ignite Memories in this format, it was never enoguh all on its own to knock off the other team. Only in our last game of the PTQ were we able to follow up and knock off the other team in short order. Most other games ended with us losing with lots of Kobolds, Festering Goblins, and Saprolings in play.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. We had some misplays — I think I had more than my partner. As far as we could tell, only one of the misplays actually cost us a loss — although the game would have ended in a draw had we not made the game-ending mistake (and, in our defense, there were perhaps thirty creatures in play at that point, so can we be blamed for missing a single Thornweald Archer?). The second team we played had a truly ridiculous card pool, as we learned when we hit one of them with Ignite Memories, only to see Void, Riddle of Lightning, and Hammerheim Deadeye in hand.
It was a lot of fun, and it was cool toward the end of our penultimate round to have people hanging around watching our excessively slowed-down board (that was the “thirty creatures” game). Our wall o’ Kobolds really cracked people up, even if it mainly just stalled the board (and people really liked the classic Games Workshop “Goblinoids” cards I brought to serve as tokens for the game — it was our good luck that we ended up with token generators that made Kobolds and Goblins…).
Overall, I had a good time. I still prefer the one-on-one format to 2HG, but I had a good partner and good opponents, so it was all good.

3 thoughts on “Weez in ur Keep, makin sum Kobolds (my first Pro Tour Qualifier)

  1. The “pro” scene is just getting bigger (partially fueled by Magic Online, I think). This year’s Pro Tour has about a million dollars in prizes, spread across four events. Not poker, but not chump change for a game company, either.

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