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Guildmage Meeting 878: Khans Of Tarkir Booster Draft

By on 11/25/2014 Category: Forum>Magic: the Gathering>Articles>Limited Play
Journal of the Texas Guildmages, Meeting Number 878

Khans of Tarkir Booster Draft

This week’s arctic blast started affecting Dallas-area temperatures this afternoon. I wondered if tonight’s turnout would be affected. It was not. We drafted with nine players tonight and saw a number of good draft decks. While there has been a great deal of variation among the winning decks in Khans draft, one thing has been true throughout the season: these matches take longer to play. I think this means Khans of Tarkir is a complex set of cards and so are the draft decks this set produces.

This is the last journal entry that will appear on MTG Fanatic, at least for a while. A number of things are going on in the mail order Magic industry and our humble buying and selling site has been hit hard. Fanatic will still be buying and selling cards, but your professional Fanatic writers have been put on hiatus for the time being. This ends a lengthy run of entries in the Journal of the Texas Guildmages, as described in detail on these Fanatic web pages. Further down in tonight’s coverage I’ll share some stats that you might find interesting.

Welcome to the 878th weekly meeting of the Texas Guildmages. For eighteen years we’ve been meeting at my house just northwest of Dallas. Over time, the faces change but the desire to have fun and keep improving at the game we love continues.

The Finalists’ Decks from the Nine Man Draft

Mark Hendrickson
Forest x4
Plains x4
Swamp x4
Jungle Hollow x3
Sandsteppe Citadel x2
Kin-Tree Warden
Mardu Skullhunter x4
Highland Game
Chief of the Edge
Gurmag Swiftwing
Archers’ Parapet
Ainok Bond-Kin x2
Abzan Charm
Scout the Borders
Throttle
Murderous Cut
Armament Corps
Abzan Guide
Rite of the Serpent
Tusked Colossodon
Duneblast
Necropolis Fiend
Dead Drop
Hooded Hydra

Jeff Zandi
Mountain x6
Plains x4
Swamp x4
Scoured Barrens x2
Mystic Monastery
Ruthless Ripper
Defiant Strike
Horde Ambusher x3
Tormenting Voice
Mardu Banner
Butcher of the Horde
Unyielding Krumar
Smite the Monstrous
Mardu Heart-Piercer
Summit Prowler
Rush of Battle
Mardu Warshrieker
Swarm of Bloodflies x2
Sage-Eye Harrier
Burn Away
Mardu Roughrider
Zurgo Helmsmasher
War Behemoth
Venerable Lammasu
Shambling Attendants

Breaking Down the Finalists’ Decks from the Nine Man Draft

Here’s how we draft at the Guildhall. We seat the players randomly using regular playing cards numbered from ace to whatever number we are drafting with. For eight players, and occasionally seven, we play three rounds of Swiss. For ten to twelve players, the most we would ever draft with on a single table, we play four rounds of Swiss. For nine players we sometimes play three rounds instead of the mathematically correct four. After the Swiss rounds we cut to a top four with the best Swiss record playing the fourth place finisher and second and third playing each other. The two winners of the semi finals are free to split the rares, mythics and foils between themselves any way they wish. For the past couple of years they usually choose to game for the cards. They shuffle the prize cards face down on the table and spread them around randomly. Each finalist flips over a card. The person who flips over the highest casting cost card wins both cards. If there is a tie the two face-up cards are set aside and added to the next pair of cards flipped.

With nine players in the draft we played three rounds of Swiss followed by a cut to a final four. Nine players actually calls for four rounds of Swiss but the group chooses to play just three. This means that there will, more than likely, be a player with only one Swiss loss that misses the final four. That player or players is given one free draw from the foils and rares and mythics at the end of the draft, randomized and face down. Call it a consolation prize. The draft was seated beginning with Matthew, continuing counter-clockwise with Cesar, Mark, Scot, Catrina, Blake, Lawson, Andy and myself.

Mark Hendrickson has been the most dominant drafter on Tuesday nights since Khans of Tarkir arrived. He was pretty good in previous draft formats as well, by the way. This week, Mark drafts a monster of an Abzan deck. It has high-end power and early game speed. He has spot removal and he can also sweep the board. Most of all, he has an incredibly good mana base. When the cards were drafted and Mark was building his deck, he showed me a big fistful of non-basic lands. Mark said he took quite a few of them with early picks. Of the eight or nine lands that Mark showed me, five made his deck, obviously the five perfect ones for his deck. Two Sandsteppe Citadels and three Jungle Hollows, along with four each Plains, Forest and Swamp. These seventeen lands give Mark nine sources for both black and green and six sources for the deck’s least significant color, white. Actually, Mark has seven white cards in his deck, only one of which is a morph that can hide its requirement for white. It’s no big deal if Mark has to wait a while for white mana for cards like Duneblast, Armament Corps and Abzan Guide, but Chief of the Edge and two copies of Ainok Bond-Kin don’t improve while they’re sitting in your hand waiting for white mana. Mark probably needs a seventh white source. Of course I’m just splitting hairs here. Mark’s deck was so dominant tonight that I almost wouldn’t believe he actually drafted all these cards if I hadn’t sat right across the table from him the whole time and watched him build his deck.

Abzan decks can be very slow. This happens when you have the creatures and not the spells. Mark has both. Mark also dodges the slow Abzan problem by NOT drafting a bunch of outlast creatures. This Abzan deck is built for speed in the early game with eleven creatures that cost two mana or less. Would Mark realistically play Kin-Tree Warden on turn one? Sure he would, if he was on the play and it meant that he would be able to play a post-combat Mardu Skullhunter on turn two forcing his opponent to discard. With four copies of Mardu Skullhunter, this is a major theme of the deck. Skullhunter is why Mark is playing the underpowered Gurmag Swiftwing.

While Mark avoids tying up his early game with outlast activations, he does have a pair of Ainok Bond-Kin. More importantly, Mark has other ways to put counters on his creatures. He has Abzan Charm and Armament Corps. In many games with this deck, turn one brings a land to the battlefield tapped. On turn two, with the option of either playing another tapped land or else a basic land and Ainok Bond-Kin, you go with the basic land and Bond-Kin. Then, on turn three, it’s an easy choice to outlast the Bond-Kin and play a land that enters the battlefield tapped. Ainok Bond-Kin always takes care of his own +1/+1 counter, Abzan Charm and Armament Corps give Mark’s deck the ability to give other creatures he controls a +1/+1 counter, and thus first strike when alongside Ainok Bond-Kin.

The removal, the bombs, and the bomb-quality removal really stick out in this deck and make it look cheaty. I assure you that Mark did not cheat and, moreover, that he doesn’t lean on these bombs for wins as often as you might think. Having said that, it feels pretty rough when Mark kills your 3/3 with Abzan Charm, then kills your 4/4 with Throttle before killing whatever he wants to with Murderous Cut or Rite of the Serpent. You sort of want to jump off of a tall building when Mark spikes a Dead Drop in the middle of the game and you have to sacrifice both your creatures. You tend to want to kill Mark when he plays Duneblast. This is a suite of removal that makes you wonder what the players around Mark were thinking.

The two bomb creatures do very different things. Necropolis Fiend is a giant offensive threat in the air that can also perform spot removal duties. Hooded Hydra is an offensive threat on the ground that explodes into a swarm of snake tokens. By the way, no matter how many +1/+1 counters that Hooded Hydra enters the battlefield with, this card always goes good with outlast creatures. I don’t mind playing Hydra face up, by the way.

Jeff Zandi has been beating his head against the wall all season. Khans of Tarkir limited formats have been a delicious torture. I had some luck the week the set first arrived, but have fought through a lot of bad draft decks along the way. Normally, my problem is trying to do too much. I’ve been too greedy, too ready to play too many colors. Still, I’ve been close to winning on a number of occasions. This time, it’s a tight Mardu (red, black and white) deck with a couple of bombs, Butcher of the Horde, and Zurgo Helmsmasher. The mana base is decent, though nowhere near the equal of Mark’s deck. Still, one Mystic Monastery for red and white and a pair of Scoured Barrens for black and white help make playing Butcher on turn four a much more consistent possibility.

With no false modesty I can tell you that while my deck is good, it’s one of those decks that is good more or less purely because of its bombs. To win consistently, this deck needs Butcher of the Horde on turn four or five, Zurgo on turns five or six. Zurgo is no bomb at all late in games because he can be chump blocked by anything and held off infinitely by a Kin-Tree Warden and two colorless mana. When I don’t draw the good cards early, this deck has a lot of problems.

I was hoping to be more aggressive, a little faster, than I ended up. That’s what a bunch of five and six drops will do for you. I saw one of the guys go very aggressive with three copies of Horde Ambusher last month and I tried to do the same thing this week. That plan didn’t really come together, though the Ambushers are still good. The best thing about the Ambusher is that you can play him face up on turn two if you are on the play or if your opponent is coming at you too quickly with a more aggressive deck. It’s not fun at all to take the extra point of damage when you block with Ambusher.

That’s the early game, either play an Ambusher face up on turn two or play an Ambusher face down on turn three. If you are super-stuck on the wrong land on turn two, by all means, play Tormenting Voice and try to fix your problem. Inevitably, however, when you play Tormenting Voice on turn two because you’re freaked out about land, you discard something you wish you hadn’t later on and, of course, you draw two lands and then draw plenty of land the rest of the game. Tormenting Voice also doesn’t do you much of a favor when you use it to flush an extra basic land only to draw a couple more lands. Of course, those are lands you would have had to draw anyway if you hadn’t played Tormenting Voice. Tormenting Voice is good enough in decks like this that I wish I had two of them. I almost played Bitter Revelation, the four mana, slightly more painful version of Tormenting Voice. If I were changing the deck right now I’d get rid of my super late game win condition, Venerable Lammasu, and pump up my mid-game with Bitter Revelation.

On six mana, a very common play was to attack with *something* and then play Mardu Warshrieker, my common MVP tonight, into Swarm of Bloodflies. The biggest mistake I made with Bloodflies, and it was so good to have two of them in the deck by the way, was to forget to play Bloodflies BEFORE combat. I missed the opportunity to pick up some +1/+1 counters on at least two occasions.

The curve of the deck is okay, but it’s still a little bit slow. It could use about three more two or three drops and about three less cards in the five, six and seven plus mana range. The deck is light on removal with only Smite the Monstrous and Burn Away. Both are very good spells, but only having one of each meant that I was like a soldier in the revolutionary war. I had to keep my powder dry and wait for the perfect moment to use my precious removal spells.

As always, I recorded my picks in the order I took them. Look at them here, fans of looking at things:

Pack One
Butcher of the Horde – three color first pick? No problemo when you see this fat flyer
Horde Ambusher – seems like a good strategy
Horde Ambusher
Dazzling Ramparts – never made the cut
Defiant Strike – often doesn’t make the cut unless I’m playing red/white/blue
Smite the Monstrous – sixth pick removal, makes the deck
Summit Prowler – solid man in the middle of the pack
Shambling Attendants – stock on this guy has gone up lately
Mardu Banner – I almost never play a Banner, I played this one
Venerable Lammasu – very nearly cut this, you can usually fit one of these
Molting Snakeskin
Kheru Dreadmaw
Cancel
Siegecraft

Pack Two
Zurgo Helmsmasher
Horde Ambusher – three Ambushers felt pretty hot at this point
Ruthless Ripper
Scoured Barrens – oh, yeah, I forgot, I need non-basics to help my 3-color plans
Swarm of Bloodflies – big fan of this uncommon flyer
Unyielding Krumar
Mardu Warshrieker – sometimes this is the way you get your third color for the first time
Mardu Roughrider – this is a near-bomb quality uncommon at eighth pick
War Behemoth – unspectacular but usually in the deck
Tormenting Voice
Bitter Revelation
Blinding Spray
Abzan Banner
Rush of Battle – last pick… RIGHT INTO THE DECK!

Pack Three
Mardu Heart-Piercer – solid card advantage monster
Mystic Monastery – two out of three colors ain’t bad
Burn Away – yup, I need a way to kill something
Disowned Ancestor – could have easily made the deck
Swarm of Bloodflies
Kin-Tree Invocation
Treasure Cruise
Jeskai Student
Force Away
Scoured Barrens – thank god this came around from the pack I opened
Firehoof Cavalry
Sage-Eye Harrier – usually makes the cut, even a 1/5 flyer can win the game sometimes
Secret Plans – the secret’s out, nobody wanted to play this card
Naturalize

Pack three was pretty bad for me, but it did give me two non-basics and Burn Away.

I went undefeated with this deck tonight. Now let me explain how tentative my deck’s undefeated pedigree really is. My first round opponent was my son, Lawson. He’s drafting better this year than ever before, he’s second only to Mark for number of finals appearances on Tuesday night. Yeah, but his deck tonight doesn’t treat him right at all, he ends up 0-2 and out. In round two I get Scot Martin, he’s 1-0 because he randomly got the bye in round one. He doesn’t know how good his deck is. His deck is fine, but not dominating and I get very good draws in games two and three of our match. In round three I get paired down with Catrina. Catrina runs hot and cold at draft, to say the least, and she is rarely confidant about what she’s doing. Her deck tonight has some good cards in it. It should, she’s playing all five colors. Beating her makes me the shakiest 3-0 ever. After three rounds of Swiss play, my opponents’ combined record is 2-6. Actually, the only wins my opponents earned were both byes.

Computing the post-Swiss seeding of the final four bracket, one and two were easy, Cesar was 3-0 with an opponents’ combined record of 4-4. He’s number one, I’m number two. Mark’s 2-1 record is a little better than Blake’s so it looks like my two seed will play Mark’s third seed and Cesar’s one seed will play Blake’s four seed. Then Andy speaks up. Oops, he’s also got a 2-1 record. This is the situation we usually deal with when he play only three Swiss rounds with nine players. The correct number of rounds for nine players is four, but we usually decide to play three rounds and throw a consolation prize to the 2-1 that gets left out. Is that going to be Andy tonight? Nope. Andy, Blake and Mark all went 2-1 in the Swiss rounds. The first tie breaker in proper Magic tournaments is OPW, Opponent’s Match Win percentage. Another way to figure this is to simply collect the total match record of all of your opponents. Blake’s opponents combined for a 3-5 record. Mark’s opponents went a combined 5-3. Mark was unlucky enough to win the first round but be randomly paired down to face an 0-1 in round two, hurting his tie breakers. On the other hand, Mark played and lost to an undefeated Cesar in round three. That helped Mark’s tie breaker. Then there’s Andy. Andy won round one, lost to 3-0 Cesar in round two and then Andy got a lucky bye in round three. Andy’s two opponents have a combined record of 4-2. Andy’s tie breakers are better than Mark’s or Blake’s. That means Andy is the three seed and plays me in the semifinals while Mark plays Cesar in the other final four match. That leaves Blake hanging in the wind in fifth place with the worst 2-1 record. Blake didn’t take it well, to say the very least. When it was time for him to draw his consolation prize, it was a terrible and not-valuable Retribution of the Ancients.

So, my “undefeated deck” beat Lawson with a bad deck, Scot with a deck he hadn’t played with yet and the never-confidant Catrina before squaring off in the semifinals with the slightly overmatched Andy. Andy nearly beats me, by the way, in the semis. His game is improving with each passing month that he spends drafting with us on Tuesday nights. My point is that my deck went 4-0, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually very good. It’s a decent deck that can win dramatically when it draws its key rares early enough AND when it has access to three different colors. Many of the practice games I played against Mark’s deck were… humbling. Another reason for me to be humble this week is the fact that I HAD to go undefeated in Swiss to reach the final four. If I had lost any of my three matchups, it’s likely that I would have had the worst tie breakers. My 3-0 record earned me the second seed, any 2-1 record, because of my opponent’s records, would have finished fifth out of nine.

The Matchup

It was hard to get a handle on which of these two decks was better in the head-to-head matchup. Mark’s deck looked dominant in the games it won, my deck looked almost as good in the games it won. Both decks suffered when the third color didn’t appear in time. Colored mana problems are probably a bigger issue with my deck than Mark’s for two reasons. First, he doesn’t run into quite as many problems because his mana base is superior. Second, Mark’s deck is already playing for the long game, it is simply not as crucial for him to hit all three colors of mana by turn four or five. It’s very important with my deck. I played twenty practice games between the two decks and the wins were split right down the middle, ten for Mark and ten for me. When my deck wins, it seems like Mark doesn’t have enough creatures. When Mark’s deck wins, it seems like I can’t keep a creature alive. You can do a lot worse than starting a Mardu draft deck with Butcher of the Horde, but Mark’s deck is well prepared to deal with my very good creatures with perfectly ordinary creature removal technology. Conversely, there’s just no preparing for Duneblast. Advantage Mark.

Year to Date Drafting Champs

Mark stretches out his lead over Lawson. I’m just happy to be in the year-to-date conversation with my ninth finals appearance of the year.

15 – Mark Hendrickson
12 – Lawson Zandi
9 – Jeff Zandi
7 – Steven Bruce
6 – Tuan Doan
6 – Brian Heine
6 – Cesar Collazo
5 – Jon Toone
5 – Scot Martin
4 – Patrick Lynch
4 – Aaron Tobey
2 – Ian Jasheway
2 – Joe Klopchic
2 – Kevin Grubbs
2 – Bassel Said
2 – Michael Ferri
1 – Andy Hamilton
1 – Thomas Verhoeven
1 – Nam Nguyen

In the House Tonight

Andy Hamilton is the first to arrive, at ten minutes after six in the evening. When Andy comes, he usually comes early. Also, Andy’s appearance is a harbinger of Cesar and Catrina. I tell Andy this but get no response. Andy is a sharp-minded single man with an interesting past that he has not chosen to share with us. He loves girls. I know what you’re thinking, you love girls, I love girls, dudes love the babes. No, Andy LOVES girls. When you reach your middle years and you’re still chasing the ladies like Andy does, it’s a notable thing. Andy has come over, by the way, when Cesar and Catrina do not, but the three of them tend to show up extremely often on the same Tuesday nights. Coincidence? Friendship? You decide.

Mark Hendrickson shows up about ten minutes after Andy. Mark asks to borrow most of the cards for a Standard mono red deck. I honor his request. There’s nothing unusual about me lending cards to a teammate, but it’s usually on the day of an event, or maybe the Tuesday night before. Mark has all the cards to all of the important Standard decks… online. Here in the three-dimensional world of cardboard Magic, Mark doesn’t have much of a collection. He famously likes it that way. Chris Connelly’s White Lion Games often lends Mark the cards he needs, and reimburses Mark for his tournament entry fees. In return, Mark wears White Lion Games gear at the event in question. Today, Mark is borrowing cards a couple of weeks in advance of Grand Prix San Antonio. Mark says he may need the cards for a few weeks after that. Mark has a fulltime job and is trustworthy enough to lend cards to, but I don’t usually let my little cardboard children wander away from home for weeks at a time. We’ll see how it goes.

Matthew Tuck makes his third appearance ever this week, just a few minutes behind Mark. Matthew is the first mate at Roll2Play, the fine little game store just down the street from the Guildhall. Matt has been at the store almost since it opened two and a half years ago at the beginning of the summer in 2012. In those early days, I supplied the Magic singles that were sold in the store and paid a consignment fee on each sale to the store. Nowadays the store sells its own singles and Matt is in charge of arranging Magic events for the store. A while back, I gave Matt his level one judge test and he passed with a very high score. I’ve never known anyone who so quickly absorbed the details of the rules of Magic. Matt is interested in doing more than just running the smallish tournaments at Roll2Play. He is accompanying me next weekend to one of the very last old fashioned Pro Tour Qualifiers. This event is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a Khans of Tarkir sealed deck PTQ for Pro Tour Washington, D.C. in February.

Blake Bombich arrives next. He and Tuan traveled with me and Lawson this past weekend to play in the Houston PTQ for Pro Tour Washington. Lawson was in the running until the next to last round when he was eliminated by the girlfriend of the Louisiana pro player Tom Ross. Lawson had nothing good to say about her play, but she beat him nonetheless. I won the first round, against level three judge David Hibbs no less, but got crushed in the next two rounds. I hit the door looking for food and a chance to see some of the old Houston neighborhood. I lived in an area in Houston not far from the tournament site at Asgard Games. Blake and Tuan were eliminated around the third round as well. With me and the car out of pocket, they were left to their own devices. Their own devices moved them to a bar down the street where they met some pretty young things and began drinking some alcohol. Did Blake and Tuan get smashed, totally wasted, shit-faced? I wouldn’t go that far. Blake certainly did make the ride home more interesting, while he was awake. Tuan was out like a light the moment he installed himself in the car in the gas station parking lot from which we started our long ride home. Blake and Tuan were fine, and I’m glad they had a good time, but they took themselves off the list for replacement drivers that night, if I had needed one.

Cesar Collazo and Catrina Reichelt arrive next. It’s been a few weeks since we last saw them. As a matter of fact, I was afraid Cesar was done with us. I’m glad to see I was wrong, although I can’t say that I have much of a bead on the direction of Cesar’s playing career at the current time. Catrina? Catrina is here mostly to make Cesar happy. She brightens up the room, any pretty girl would. More than that, however, Catrina keeps the guys on their toes, socially. We all need that. The boy’s club does get kind of monotonous at time.

Scot Martin is the last to arrive tonight, a nice surprise since he told me last week that we were likely only to enjoy his company about every other week. Scot made a play mistake in our round two matchup that messed Scot up pretty badly for the night. I have a Swarm of Bloodflies in play with a bunch of counters on it. He enchants it with the -2/-2 enchantment, then blasts it with Arrow Storm and I’m about to pick up my Swarm and put it in the graveyard when Scot says, wait, it doesn’t even die. I forgot to attack first so that Arrow Storm’s raid ability won’t trigger so that it will deal five damage. Scot implodes so quickly that there really wasn’t a good way to let him take it back. He doesn’t say anything to me about it, but turns to someone else and says that he doesn’t want to take it back and doesn’t figure I would let him take it back anyway. It was quite a little storm, and I didn’t know what I should do about it. It’s a funny thing. We play loose enough up here sometimes, as to feel very comfortable and easy. Other times, however, we’re playing tight enough that we could be in a very serious tournament. I’ve blown myself out with a bad decision exactly the way Scot did tonight. I hope he doesn’t hold it against me. I care more about my friendship with Scot than I care about that round two victory, but at the same time I don’t think I did anything wrong in the game and I don’t think Scot thinks I did anything wrong in the game. I have to chalk it up to just one of those things.

As we are wrapping up MTGFanatic’s coverage of the Texas Guildmages for the time being, it seems like a good time for some statistics. You should assume I was keeping records before I started (over)sharing on the web each week, and that I will continue to nerd it up with much record keeping in the future. It’s just fun for me. I always liked baseball and football cards, before there were Magic cards to collect, and keeping track of Guildmage stats feels like I’m making my own sports cards for my own team. A couple of weeks ago, estranged Guildmage Joe Klopchic asked if I kept track of what pair of finalists won each week. He didn’t mean did I keep a list of all the finalists, he was interested in how often the two finalists were, for example, Steven Bruce and Mark Hendrickson. I told him I’d have to do a little research. For the year of 2014, so far, there have been four pairs of draft finalists that were the same on three different occasions each. It should be no surprise that the top winners this year, Mark and Lawson, appear in all of these pairs, one way or another. Lawson and Mark were the finalists in meetings 854, 861 and 874. Mark and Steven were the finalists in meetings 848, 863 and 870. Lawson and Scot were the finalists in meetings 840, 864 and 875. Finally, Lawson and I split up all the prizes at meetings 837, 847 and 871.

There are more stats. I’ve only been keeping score of year-to-date draft finalists going back to the beginning of 2011. I will eventually roll in all the data from the previous (cough, cough) fifteen years. Beginning with January of 2011, here are the ten players appearing in the finals of our Swiss drafts most often:

49 Mark Hendrickson
29 Jeff Zandi
28 Jon Toone
27 Lawson Zandi
25 Eric Jones
19 Joe Klopchic
17 Robbie Howell
14 Steven Bruce
11 Scot Martin
10 Brian Heine

Are the players that appear high on this list the same people that show up a lot? You bet. You have to play to win, and you probably have to play the most to win the most. In the time since 2011, Mark probably has more Tuesday night appearances than anyone other than Lawson and I. You can carve up the stats any way you like, this is simply a list of the guys who have reached the finals of our drafts the most often since 2011.

Once again, we did not have enough takers for a team draft after the Swiss draft was over.

Before I close things down for this week, and possibly for many weeks to come, I want to give a special shout out to all thirty-seven Texas Guildmages. We wouldn’t be where we are today, whatever that means, without each and every one of you. It started with Cortney Cunningham, Minh Huynh, James Jenkins, Scot Martin, James Murphy, James Stroud and myself eighteen years ago. Our eighth, Jason Page, never became an official Guildmage because he simply started doing other stuff besides playing Magic all the time. Luckily, he handed us his little buddy, David Williams. Next was Tim Stoltzfus. Then we collected Bryan Sammon when Team Dallas broke up. Then David Mitchell arrived followed by the soul of our team, Robert Lawing attorney at law, followed closely by Bil Payne, Matt Duncan and Robbie “Dojo” Howell. It wasn’t long before we added Jonathan Pechon and Zach Karthauser and Chad Jones and Bryan Lyons and Skye Thomsen and Chad’s hetero life mate Jeremy Simmons. Super sneaky Brent Kaskel added his enormous talent next, and then big, bad Neil Reeves moved to town. Then Rob Lawing’s stepdaughter Angie Riley became the first female to win a PTQ in Texas. Then the grumpy PhD Trent Boneau lent us his skills followed by the current generation starting with Mark Hendrickson, Hunter Burton, Jon Toone and Steven Bruce. We soon after added Mark Dean, Blake Miller, Paul Telkamp and Eric Jones. Things moved more slowly after that but we were thrilled to eventually add Taylor Webb, Brian Heine, Joe Klopchic and the very badass Ian “the Dragon” Jasheway. I love you all.

This closes the minutes of tonight’s meeting. Until the next time we meet across the crowded internet, I’m proud to have captured your eyeballs one more time.

Jeff Zandi
Texas Guildmages
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online
jeffzandi@hotmail.com

Texas Guildmage meeting #878, Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Roll Call (in order of arrival)
Jeff Zandi, Guildmage #7.
Lawson Zandi, junior Guildmage, 20th meeting in a row, 266th lifetime.
Andy Hamilton, guest, 1st meeting in a row, 42nd lifetime.
Mark Hendrickson, Guildmage #26, 2nd meeting in a row, 375th lifetime.
Matthew Tuck, guest, 1st meeting in a row, 3rd lifetime.
Blake Bombich, guest, 8th meeting in a row, 8th lifetime.
Cesar Collazo, guest, 1st meeting in a row, 27th lifetime
Catrina Reichelt, guest, 1st meeting in a row, 25th lifetime.
Scot Martin, Guildmage #4, 2nd meeting in a row, 209th lifetime.

Meeting ran from 6:10 pm to 11:15 pm

Play-by-play of a match between the two top decks of the nine man draft

GAME ONE
T1 Mark keeps Plains, Forest, Jungle Hollow, Sandsteppe Citadel, Mardu Skullhunter, Abzan Charm and Ainok Bond-Kin. Plays Sandsteppe Citadel.
T1 Zanman keeps two Plains, Mountain, Summit Prowler, Sage-Eye Harrier and two copies of Horde Ambusher. Draws and plays Mountain.
T2 Mark draws Murderous Cut, plays Forest, plays Ainok Bond-Kin.
T2 Zanman draws Mountain, plays Plains.
T3 Mark draws Hooded Hydra, plays Jungle Hollow (21-20), taps and activates Ainok Bond-Kin putting a +1/+1 counter on it.
T3 Zanman draws Burn Away, plays Mountain, plays Horde Ambusher face down.
T4 Mark draws and plays Sandsteppe Citadel, attacks with Bond-Kin (21-17), plays Mardu Skullhunter, Skullhunter triggers when it enters the battlefield and Zanman discards Mountain.
T4 Zanman draws Rush of Battle, plays Plains, attacks with face down creature (19-17), plays Summit Prowler.
T5 Mark draws and plays Forest, plays Murderous Cut targeting Summit Prowler, attacks with Bond-Kin and Skullhunter (19-12).
T5 Zanman draws Venerable Lammasu, plays Sage-Eye Harrier face down.
T6 Mark draws and plays Plains, taps and activates Ainok Bond-Kin putting a second +1/+1 counter on it.
T6 Zanman draws and plays Scoured Barrens (19-13).
T7 Mark draws Armament Corps, plays Hooded Hydra with X=5, Hydra enters the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters.
T7 Zanman draws War Behemoth.
T8 Mark draws Kin-Tree Warden, attacks with Hydra, Zanman plays Burn Away targeting Hydra, Mark responds playing Abzan Charm putting two +1/+1 counters on Hooded Hydra, Zanman’s first face down creature blocks Hydra, face down creature revealed as Horde Ambusher when it dies, Mark taps and activates Ainok Bond-Kin putting a third counter on it.
T8 Zanman draws and plays Swarm of Bloodflies.
T9 Mark draws Highland Game, plays Armament Corps putting one +1/+1 counter on Mardu Skullhunter and one counter on itself, attacks with Bond-Kin and Skullhunter and Hydra, face down creature blocks Hydra (19-5), Bloodflies triggers and gets a +1/+1 counter when face down creature dies, face down creature revealed as Sage-Eye Harrier when it dies, Mark plays Highland Game.
T9 Zanman draws and plays Mountain, plays Horde Ambusher face down, plays War Behemoth face down.
T10 Mark draws Plains, attacks with Hydra and Skullhunter and Highland Game and Armament Corps, Swarm blocks Game, first face down blocks Hooded Hydra, second face down blocks Armament Corps (19-2), face down creatures revealed as Horde Ambusher and War Behemoth, Bloodflies gains three +1/+1 counters from three creatures dying in combat, Highland Game triggers when it dies (21-2), Mark plays Kin-Tree Warden face down.
T10 Zanman draws and plays Defiant Strike targeting Swarm of Bloodflies drawing Swarm of Bloodflies, CONCEDES, Mark reveals face down creature as Kin-Tree Warden.
MARK WINS GAME ONE ON TURN 10, LEADS MATCH 1-0

GAME TWO
T1 Zanman keeps three Mountains, Plains, Horde Ambusher, Summit Prowler, War Behemoth. Plays Mountain.
T1 Mark keeps Swamp, Sandsteppe Citadel, Jungle Hollow, Duneblast, Ainok Bond-Kin, Mardu Skullhunter and Gurmag Swiftwing. Draws Forest, plays Sandsteppe Citadel.
T2 Zanman draws and plays Plains, plays Horde Ambusher.
T2 Mark draws and plays Forest, plays Ainok Bond-Kin.
T3 Zanman draws and plays Scoured Barrens (20-21), attacks with Ambusher (18-21).
T3 Mark draws Chief of the Edge, plays Jungle Hollow (19-21), attacks with Bond-Kin (19-19), plays Mardu Skullhunter, Skullhunter triggers when it enters the battlefield and Zanman discards Mountain.
T4 Zanman draws and plays Ruthless Ripper, attacks with Ambusher (17-19), plays Mountain, plays War Behemoth face down.
T4 Mark draws and plays Swamp, plays Gurmag Swiftwing, attacks with Swiftwing (17-18), plays Chief of the Edge.
T5 Zanman draws Tormenting Voice, attacks with Ambusher (15-18), plays Summit Prowler.
T5 Mark draws Necropolis Fiend, plays Forest, attacks with Swiftwing (15-17), taps and activates Ainok Bond-Kin’s outlast ability putting a +1/+1 counter on it.
T6 Zanman draws and plays Mardu Banner, attacks with Ambusher blocked by Skullhunter, Zanman plays Tormenting Voice discarding Plains drawing Horde Ambusher and Mountain, plays Mountain.
T6 Mark draws Abzan Guide, plays Swamp, attacks with Swiftwing (15-16), plays Abzan Guide.
T7 Zanman draws Horde Ambusher, activates and sacrifices Mardu Banner drawing Swamp, plays Swamp, plays Horde Ambusher.
T7 Mark draws and plays Plains, plays Duneblast, Mark chooses to destroy all creature in play except for Abzan Guide, Zanman’s face down creatures revealed as War Behemoth and Horde Ambusher when they die, attacks with Abzan Guide (19-12).
T8 Zanman draws Mountain, plays Horde Ambusher face down.
T8 Mark draws Scout the Borders, attacks with Guide (23-8), plays Necropolis Fiend exiling two cards from his graveyard.
T9 Zanman draws and plays Swamp.
T9 Mark draws and plays Plains, attacks with Guide and Fiend, face down creature blocks Guide (27-4), face down creature revealed as Horde Ambusher, Mark plays Scout the Borders revealing the top five cards of his library, Mark chooses to put Highland Game into his hand puts Sandsteppe Citadel and Abzan Charm and Throttle and Dead Drop into his graveyard, plays Highland Game.
T10 Zanman draws and plays Mardu Roughrider.
T10 Mark draws Forest, attacks with Fiend and Guide and Game, Roughrider blocks Guide (31- -2).
MARK WINS GAME TWO ON TURN 10, WINS MATCH 2-0