This Tournament Report was originally written in Spanish. It was translated to English by camat0 and edited by aReNGee. Due to the long duration and difficulty of translating, it has been split into two parts as per camat0’s request.
Hello, today I am here to tell you my story of the ETS World Championships. Personally, I consider tournament reports to be a bit boring to read, so I will try to do this in a slightly different way with my own personal touch.
Why FJS Midrange?
The idea of playing this deck was born while playing Armory. Ever since Tavrod was released, there has been a lot of debate about whether or not Tavrod should be played in Armory. The reality is that I still do not know the answer to that question, but while I was thinking about it another question arose: what is the reason to play Armory?
In the past, Armory gained its advantage by not including any good removal targets, making the opponent’s removal useless. That’s the reason why the game against Feln is so good for Armory, they have a lot of cards that do absolutely nothing against us. Nowadays, things have changed. Dawnwalker is a card that wins the game on its own against Armory and modern day Armory decks play Statuary Maiden to deal with it. Most of the armory players play Tavrod now because the card is excellent and you usually win if he attacks once. I started to ask if the current reasons for playing Armory were actually the units, after all both Tavrod and Maiden can win matches on their own, and with that idea in mind I started to build the deck.
This was not the first time I have tried to make this idea of FJS Midrange work, but two things have changed. On the one hand, I now have Tavrod, and on the other I have learned how useful Sabotage could be in these types of decks. With these new tools I put together the first version of this deck, which ended up being not too different from the one I played at Worlds. I chose to play this build of the deck because it is excellent versus midrange, something that I expected would be popular at Worlds. It is also much better than it appears versus control. The problem matchups are against hyper aggressive decks like Rally, but I wasn’t expecting many of those kinds of deck at the World Championships, and in any case post-board the matchup improves.
World Championships – Day One
At the World Championships, the real tournament started a couple of hours before the first round was scheduled to begin. Decklists were published and the tournament had begun; it was time to put together sideboard plans for each game I would play on Day 1. A quick glance at the archetypes revealed that there was more aggro than I expected, which made me a bit nervous but there was nothing I could do. At least I had a good sideboard plan against those kinds of decks.
I made my first error of the day when I was putting together my Day 1 sideboarding plans. In most of my games versus aggro, I did not cut Privilege of Rank during sideboarding, an error I would correct from Day 2 onwards. Against aggro I was cutting Icaria and Rise to the Challenge, so I already needed less power, but playing Privilege on turn 3 versus aggro, even if I needed the sigils, would basically lose me the match on the spot. For the rest of the decks, I think my sideboard plans were solid. I had prepared enough for this tournament that I knew my own deck perfectly and I knew how to face all the opposing decks, even if I hadn’t specifically tested all of the archetypes present at the tournament.
By the time the preshow began, I was nearly done my sideboard plans so I set aside some time to listen to the casters criticizing my deck. This is a tradition that all the casters seem to have for my decks, but personally, I love it! Nothing is more satisfying than winning and proving how wrong the other person is, so listening to people criticize my decks is one of my favourite activities.
I have no idea who changed the name of my deck when I registered it because the original name was “FJS Mid-Range”. I do not know who will have added “/ control” to the name (editor note: rekenner) but it is not totally wrong so I did not bother to mention it. On the other hand, the nickname that they put to my deck, Removal Pile, I liked a lot. Personally I called the deck Jund, for obvious reasons for those who play MTG, but I think Removal Pile is a better name.
After the preshow, the World Championships began! The first two rounds, versus Unearthly on Argenport Midrange and KampfKrote on Burn Queen I played well (or at least I think I did) and got a bit lucky, so I won without problems. However, in the third round versus HiThar on Dark Combrei I made at least one serious error (on stream, of course) and I ended up losing 0-2. In the fourth round I played Toth201 on Praxis Midrange and lost 0-2 again.
This loss was the most important moment of Day 1. After my fourth match I felt that I lost a favourable matchup because I had drawn badly, but I also knew that my concentration was gone and that I needed to focus again if I wanted to win this tournament. In hindsight, I think my error was in keeping a seemingly decent hand with a couple power and some removal, however it’s not the kind of hand I want in this matchup. The goal is win with Maiden and Tavrod so the correct thing is to redraw any hand that does contain at least one of those cards. Seemingly good hands like the one I kept are a trap because the match is not won until you draw one of your key cards, and you’ll draw plenty of removal anyways because most of your deck is removal. Therefore, I think from a strategic point of view I played that game badly despite not making any technical error.
Luckily for me I was able to realize, if not my exact mistake, that I needed to regain my concentration. So I did (editor note: it’s as easy as that) and I won the rest of my games that day. I made one more mistake that I remember, though luckily it did not cost me that game. Once again it was a tactical rather than a technical error: against Mouche on Combrei Party he had 2 Obelisks in play and I had 2 Runehammer and 1 Torch in my hand. The board was empty and he seemed to have nothing relevant in hand. I held onto my cards, when the correct play would be to play a Runnehammer and start pressuring him, with 2 obelisks in play I would never be able to kill his units with my hammers without using Torch. Therefore the second hammer was basically a dead card in my hand and without a board presence pressuring his life and hoping he didn’t draw anything was my best chance to win. In the end, I never did play that Hammer and ended the game with a Hammer in hand, but luckily my opponent didn’t draw any threats and it didn’t cost me the match. That match brought Day 1 to a close, I was 7-2 and tied for first place.
World Championships – Day Two
I knew Day 2 was going to be more difficult that Day 1 because I faced more aggro decks on Day 2, which were a poor matchup for my deck. Again I listened to the preshow while making my sideboard plans and I was amused to hear how the opinion of my deck had changed when the casters were faced with the reality of my 7-2 on Day 1. The first round on Day 2 I played against IlyaK and his Rally Queen deck, I remember that in the first game I made a stupid mistake and in the second he simply had a perfect draw, so I had a beautiful 0-2 start to the day. The second round I played against childroland on Skycrag and amazingly I won 2-0. Tavrod won both games on his own, the only contribution I made was to put Tavrod and Runehammer in my deck. I drew like a god and won the round. In the third round I played versus Sunyveil on Burn Queen (more aggro!) and I made a mistake in the first game. He went first and I kept an “apparently” decent hand: two Valkyrie Enforcers, a couple more cards that cost 3 or more and enough power. The problem is that my deck has almost no chance of winning against a decent Burn Queen hand preboard if he goes first unless I have a Torch or Annihilate in my opening hand. I should have redrawn the hand, but did not and lost the first but ended up winning the two postboard games. I then played against LightsOutAce and SirRhino, both on Xenan Control which were easy games that I could win without problems. I remember making a mistake against SirRhino that was not punished but I do not remember what it was. We were down to the last round but I had already secured Top 4. I wanted to concede my match vs Angrychicken but they did not let me so we played and he won 2-1. I have no idea if I played well or not but at that point I did not care anymore, I knew that I did not have to play on Day 3 and I was moving on directly to Top 8.
Day 2 ended with four Elder Titans members in the Top 4, something really amazing for us. However there were five ET members in the tournament and unfortunately Mouche paid for all our luck, coming in last in the first round robin, he had to play with three other players to survive and pass on to Day 3. At this point all of ET was in Mouche’s corner cheering for him (editor note: approximate translation of a Spanish idiom) in hopes that he could do the unthinkable and put all of ET in the Top 8 of Worlds. The rest is history: Mouche was saved and would play on Day 3 of the World Championships
That’s all for now but I’ll be back with part two for the rest of the World Championships. One more thing – if you want to see an epic game, check out game 1 of myself vs LightsOutAce!