MagicFest Strasbourg Tournament Report
- Andreas Reling
Grand Prix Events were currently rebranded to MagicFests and Andifeated just participated in his 50th Grand Prix while attending his first MagicFest in beautiful Strasbourg, France. Read how his Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Championship Qualifier and his Main Event went and what he learned from his tournament experience.
Setting the Stage
Finally! I played in my first MagicFest and can call myself a 50x Grand Prix participant now.
This past weekend I traveled to Strasbourg, France, which is almost in Germany and very close to my hometown, Rosenheim. It's not as close as Prague, but I'm very happy we've got a second Grand Prix Event that is closer than a 6 hour drive by car. Since I needed to cancel my previously planned trip to Magic Fest Prague due to severe weather conditions, I was very excited to finally hit the benchmark of my 50th Grand Prix and the opportunity to play in a competitive tournament again. I was not able to compete a lot since Grand Prix Denver in October.
Friday: Mythic Championship Qualifier
Since there are Mythic Championship Qualifiers starting on Friday morning at MagicFests now, there is a good reason to show up early and play on Friday. My friends convinced me to start our journey at 4 am at my place, so we could be at the venue as early as 10 am and participate in the Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Championship Qualifier at 11 am. Only 216 players showed up and I built this Temur Deck:
I didn't do much preparation but attended all our local prerelease tournaments where I got to play a lot with Simic and Gruul cards and quickly realized how deadly the aggressively sized common creatures are alongside powerful fight and bounce effects. These decks can easily be built in a lot of Sealed pools and they have the potential to surprise clunky multicolored decks that rely on tapped lands and greedy mana bases. My mana base was solid here and the card quality in my pool was outstanding. The only thing that bothered me was my somewhat clunky mana curve as I was lacking one decent 2- and 3-drop and I had a few too many 4- and 5-drops. But I would definitely describe this as an above average Sealed Deck. To my surprise, all my opponents decided to let me begin – even after they saw the aggressive potential and tempo-oriented nature of my deck and even when I decided to go first after losing a game, they would choose to draw first in the decider – a decision that gave me the advantage in those games in my opinion. Don't let others fool yourself, there is often a common hope for a new Sealed environment that favors the player on the draw but it's rarely the case. Sure, there are matchups and situations where choosing to draw first gives you a slight advantage in the average game but for most modern Sealed environments, that's simply not true. Having access to more Mana and attack-steps over the course of a game and being able to potentially end the game before your opponent can play out all his cards is worth way more than getting to draw one more card and having more keepable starting hands. Older players may have a hard time adapting, but today, creatures are good and being the aggressor in a Limited Format match gives you more strategic opportunities and will give you easy wins – choose to be on the play!
I lost one match to a very experienced player from the Netherlands and finished 15th place out of 216 players to win 44 Booster Packs and a lot of confidence.
Day One: Sealed
Again, I built a Simic-based Deck splashing for some red cards with decent fixing. While my card quality was lower this time, my curve was way better, which is more important to me in a format where everyone wants to incorporate the best cards of all colors alongside many guildgates in their clunky Sealed Decks. My high number of flying creatures alongside the powerful card Biogenic Upgrade would make slow decks easy prey for this tempo monster. I screwed up my pool slightly, as Plaza of Harmony is nothing but a big trap in a deck like this. Don't play it in a deck that doesn't play a lot of Gates and doesn't feature single-color double costs on a lot of cards. It simply doesn't fix your mana for spells that only have one symbol of a mana color in their cost and sometimes it's just Wastes. Also, I should have main decked my Gateway Colossus alongside some more off-colored Guildgates in order to make my late game more powerful. But luckily, I have friends like David Brucker and Helmut Summersberger who point out those mistakes to me so I could sideboard into a better deck after my first few games.
Always show your Sealed Decks to your friends and better players for advice!
Interestingly, no one chose to be on the draw on Saturday. It certainly looked like people learned on Friday and updated their strategy. Don't underestimate the playing field as tournament players adapt fast. I faced stiff competition and high-level opponents on day one and finished 6-3 for 212th place out of 1616 players. My opponents had many Pro Points and didn't lose many matches, so I had a very high first tiebreaker at 72,26 %. I love to play against good opponents because you can learn a lot from them and they're usually open for constructive talk about the format and match afterwards which I use as a resource to improve my own knowledge and opinion moving through a tournament. I did make a lot of mistakes which led to missed opportunities and I probably could have won one or two more matches with better concentration and format preparation. I was able to mentally shrug them off and move forward without being too upset which I'm very proud of. This was one of my main goals a few years ago and I'm at a place right know where even severe misplays don't hurt my performance going forward anymore. I simply swallow my pride and play on, just to reflect on my mistakes after the tournament.
Day Two: Drafts
I had a fun evening and night with my friends and didn't get enough sleep. Therefore, I was sleepy and suffered from headaches on Sunday – not the best circumstance to be in if you're looking to perform well.
Still, I maneuvered my first draft to a satisfying Orzhov deck with a very good curve. It might not have the strongest synergies or highest card quality but curving out with creatures and backing up your attacks with lots of tricks and removal spells is a very potent strategy in every Draft Format.
Unfortunately, my lack of preparation came to cost me as I simply threw a match away because I thought Tenth District Veteran would untap a creature when he enters the battlefield and not when he attacks. I didn't read the card because I thought I knew what it did. Don't be arrogant like I was. Make sure you learn the spoiler and read your cards. I went 1-2 and hoped to sweep the second Draft for a single Professional Point.
My second Draft went smoothly as well. I quickly identified Orzhov as open and got passed powerful Rares in Theatre of Horrors and Judith, the scourge Diva, both of which go well alongside Orzhov's Spirit Tokens. Unfortunately, I missed two crucial opportunities to pick up Rakdos Guildgates and, as a result, I lacked mana fixing and ended up with a very greedy mana base.
I got punished for keeping risky starting hands twice and went 1-2 again. With my record of 8-7, I finished in 256th place out of 1616 players for no prizes. I'm happy that my note-taking strategy, which I described in my last article, was very successful. Right after my Drafts concluded, I built my deck and used the remaining deckbuilding time to create a cheat sheet where I wrote down all instants I passed in my pod and their respective numbers. I could remember most of them and crossed them out when I asked my opponents after our match how many copies of each they drafted. That way, I always had an educated opinion on which instants my opponents had likely access to and could play around them in a beneficial way.
As always, traveling with my friends for a tournament weekend was a blast. I met so many friends I haven't seen in a while, had interesting and refreshing conversations with opponents and saw a lot of room for improvement in my game. I wasn't able to incorporate all my New Year Resolutions into my tournament game yet and this weekend motivated me a lot to work harder on them. On another note, I love the fact that there are Mythic Championship Qualifiers on every day of each MagicFest. The Modern MCQ only had about 150 players and the tournament on Friday was very small as well. I could see myself not attending the main event Grand Prix in order to play an MCQ on every day of the weekend as that probably gives you a higher chance of qualifying for a premium tournament while granting "better" prize payout to the participants.
Things I did poorly this weekend:
- I didn't sleep enough.
- I didn't eat well.
- I didn't learn the cards well enough.
- I didn't do enough practice matches.
- I didn't take enough time to evaluate complicated game states.
- I didn't read my cards.
- I still don't take enough mulligans.
- When my opponents made plays that seemed like mistakes on first sight, I didn't think enough about the reasons they had for this decision – usually your opponents are smart and have strategic reasons for their plays, capitalize on that!
Things I did well this weekend:
- I kept calm when I made mistakes.
- I enjoyed myself, regardless of whether I won or lost.
- I interacted with my opponents, made friends, and learned things by asking them questions.
- I caught up with a lot of people.
- I walked enough outside.
- My notetaking abilities are very useful after a lot of practice.
- I'm able to remember cards floating around in my Draft pod and cards that I drafted better than in the past.
- I sleeved all my sideboard cards so I could sideboard fast and bluff sideboarding.
- My deckbuilding was close to optimal.
- I had all necessary tokens, deck boxes, sleeves and other equipment with me.
- I saw many mistakes I was making and was able to reflect on them to improve going forward.
The best thing about tournaments is that you always have room to improve yourself and each match offers opportunities to learn. I don't know which tournament I'll be able to attend next, but I can't wait to prepare for the competition and try to become a better version of myself while doing so.
What's the next tournament you're participating in? Can you relate to the mistakes I'm doing or did you learn something from my report? Let me know in the comments.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.