KMC Report – How To Climb a Pile *Top 2*

JACOB HIt’s been a while since I’ve written, so in case you’ve forgotten or just don’t know, my name is Jake Hutchinson, and I am a member of Team Stormspark. Last season, I managed to come oh-so-close to qualifying for Winter Champs with LWF Dragons. This near-hit convinced me that I should make every effort to win a slot for Summer Champs  next season.

 

In the off-season, we formed Team Stormspark with the intent of qualifying as many members as possible at of the half-dozen or so KMCs within driving range during the Winter. We developed a number of decks, most notably Stormspark Pile, which now has qualified four of our seven team members (and we still have one more chance at ARG on the 19th).

Throughout the season, we continually tuned our Pile deck to try to attack the Meta from the right angles. Before the KMC last weekend, I was trying to take Pile in a weird direction, trying to anticipate the Meta a little too much. Luckily, I listened to my team, and after working together, we arrived at this list for the KMC in Anderson, IN:

 

Round 1- Bryan Le – CVH Tempo LWF Dragons

After talking with Bryan about the KMC in Columbus, Ohio that he had won two weeks prior, we started our match. I knew exactly what I was playing against since testing against the deck after CVH and Carl had placed with it. Anyone who has played the Dragons v. Pile matchup knows unless the wheels fall off, Pile destroys Dragons. Moving on…lol

1-0 Matches, 2-0 Games

 

 Round 2 – Josh – NW Colossus Ramp

Josh was playing a home brew. If anyone knows me, I am a huge fan of FAT GREEN dudes in any game. Game one, Josh ramped to a point so that on turn six he cast Liquid Compulsion, and on the third card flipped a Colossus. Needless to say, I was impressed. I didn’t have a Terror Pit, so the jolly green giant finished me off in short order. The next two games were a blur, as Mesmerize and Skull Shatter did their thing, and even Tricky Turnip wasn’t able to help.

2-0, 4-1

 

Round 3 – Andy Moore – LW Cyber Lords

Andy was a fellow Michigander. I’d been fortunate enough to play Andy in a few Magic tournaments, so I knew what I was up against. I also knew what he was playing and I assumed he knew what I was playing. In my testing against his deck I had very bad results based off their early progression and a lack of shield blasts on my end. By turn six in game one, I had managed to cast or he had broken all three Bone blades and a Terror Pit. All the free removal stalled the game until I could gain board presence. In game two, I knew from the second card he laid down in his mana row that he was in trouble. Double Oathsworn Call doesn’t cast much! I had enough early ramp to be able to Ao early and drew very well afterward. On a positive note, Andy went on to Top 8 with me as his only loss!

3-0, 6-1

 

Round 4 – Javier Maldonado – 5-Civ Pile

Oh fun, the mirror. In my experience, he who ramps the fastest to Skull Shatter usually comes out on top. In game one Javier was able to do just that as I watched helplessly. Game two went the opposite way, hurray. For game three, we both had solid progression. After being aggressive with early Major Aos we both stalled. Javier cast Crystal Memory off a Shield Blast and fetched what I assumed was King Tritonus. He played the Tritonus and hard cast Crystal Memory for what I found out later was a Skull Shatter. On my turn I drew a clutch Kivu, Ingenious Shaman, and got back the Skull Shatter I had binned earlier in the match and Shattered all the work he had done. Even with Tritonus out, I was able to finish him off with what I had on board.

4-0, 8-2

 

Round 5 – Ben Rowe – 5-Civ Pile

Being undefeated meant I was able to ID into top 8. However, I had been notified prior to round four that intentional draws were frowned upon in this establishment, and you were banned for life from the store if you intentionally drew. Honestly, I thought it was a joke. I approached Ben to draw, and he reiterated the store’s rule. We talked with the owner to confirm what we had heard. Initially, I was both baffled and upset with the situation. The store owner was very polite and honest about his reasoning for the policy. I would be allowed to finish the tournament, but would not be able to come back to the store again for any reason.

This is just an opinion, but a store that does this should not be allowed to run premier events, even though in this case it is excellent on the local level.

Ben and I decided to suffer the consequences and drew.

 

Round 6 – Chris Walton – 5-Civ Pile

Chris is a friend from Michigan who dabbled in Kaijudo, but hadn’t really taken the jump to play competitively yet. I had convinced him to come to a KMC in Bay City, MI a while back, and he seemed hooked on playing his favorite archetype, control, or in this case, Pile. I asked Chris to ID and explained the repercussions. Chris agreed and told the store owner he wished it didn’t have to be this way.

 

Quarterfinals – Joe Maldonado – LWN Tempo

From talking with Joe prior to Top 8 I knew he was on LWN tempo. As a control player, I will never say tempo is a good matchup; more often than not I fall behind and only through lucky draws or timely shield blasts can I assert control. I could tell Joe was nervous going into our match, so I tried to remind him that this was a kid’s card game, so joke around and have fun playing!

In game one Joe had  a turn two Cyber Scamp and a turn four Keeper of Laws. He broke a Tendril Grasp to wipe his field of Scamps. He also failed to find another Scamp, leaving only a Keeper on board. The Keeper, however, broke a Bone Blades as well, relieving most of the pressure and letting me Mana Storm to seven mana. He played a Sword Horned and a blocker, and I Absolute Incinerationed to wipe his field on my turn and passed back. He drew and passed back. I was boggled, but then just assumed he had either evolution creatures, or wanted to use the ETB effects of some of his other creatures. Suddenly, Pile did its thing, with a Skull Shatter, Andromeda, Haven, and Cassiopeia sequence to close out the game.

Joe did what tempo does in game two. A turn two Scamp broke Sprout. On turn three it was Sword Horned, then a Keeper, followed up by Homuculon, the Blaster. The shield blasts were not there, and the game ended swiftly.

All I remember in game three was getting to one shield prior to dropping an Andromeda. Joe bounced it to break two of my shields, again leaving me at one. I played Dragon Knight and merc’d a Psychic Predator Rusalka, gaining a shield. This was the turning point of the game. Joe played a Sword Horned and Piercing Judgmented my Dragon Knight. He swung with King Neptas to put me back to one shield. I replayed Dragon Knight to kill Neptas and went back to two shields. Joe played two creatures and passed back. Andromeda and Ao came down for me. He played another creature, but with no evolutions, bounce effects, or Rusalkas he could only pass. I played Haven and won from there. Joe was a great competitor and I had a great time talking with him as well as trying to make it a fun experience for him, win or lose.

 

Semifinals – Shelby Jeffers – 5-Civ Pile

I had heard a lot about Shelby from other members of my team. I was able to meet him prior to playing as well as fortunate enough to see his sense of humor in action.

In game one, I lived the pile mirror dream –  Sprout, Energize, Mana Storm, Skull Shatter. From there it was academic.

Shelby was on the dream-having end in game two, and Shattered me quickly. I started to stabilize after being aggressive with my Major Ao’s, but Cassiopeia after Haven was way too much.

In the deciding game, I could have played ramp on turn five to enable a turn six Skull Shatter, but I decided to play around Mesmerize and instead Mesmerized Shelby, seeing Mesmerize, Haven, Infernus the Awakened, Andromeda, and Cassiopeia. I took his Mesmerize and faded the second, Skull Shattering him and leaving us both handless. He charged and passed back. I drew Reverberate for five, putting me so far ahead on cards alone that Shelby couldn’t get back in to it.

I wish I could remember more of the match, but honestly this was one of my all-time favorite matches to be a part of. Shelby was an amazing player, and hopefully I see him in Seattle.

{EDITOR’S NOTE – Here is a video of the Semifinal match between Jake and Shelby. This video is NOT SAFE FOR WORK, and contains…language. Lots of language}

Chris Walton and I split the finals.

Look out Seattle, Team Stormspark is coming!

 

Jake Hutchinson

 

Props

Team Stormspark for being the amazing group of people they are.

Cato for his words of wisdom that always seem to come up in a match.

Energize because +1000 is an amazing advantage with Ao, Haven, and Andromeda in the mirror.

The amazing group of people and friends I have been fortunate enough to meet and play against. The community as a whole has grown so much this last year.

The owner of Readers Copies for holding the event and trying to do what he thought was best based on previous situations in his store, banning or not.

Last and not least … Dragon Knight Volaron was amazing all day. Words cannot explain how happy I was I kept him in.

 

Slops

The local/judge that played in the tournament and said that he thought intentional drawing was a form of cheating and being a poor sport.

No AC.

No Internet connection in store. Maybe I’m an addict…maybe.