How not to win the World Championships: Part 2
After a lunch break, the tournament proceeded with the Classic portion, so being the cheapskate that I am, I un-sleeved my Core deck and used the very same sleeves for the Classic deck. I got paired against [Vorix Zorbuzz] in round 7 of the tournament, didn't find [Unending Breath] in the first game (although I saw 20+ cards of my deck) and got burned to death on turn 6. I won the second game on my own turn 4 with more than 40 bunnies on the field (at which point my opponent decided we should make better use of our time and play a third game), but my first hand in the last game was missing [Unending Breath] once more.
The third mulligan of the match got me an [Unending Breath]. However, [Junkboxes Needed] made sure they wouldn't hit the field the following turn. I dug through my deck as fast as possible and eventually found [Solanian's Belongings] (at least in my opinion, that was cool side deck tech against discard decks). I was able to use it to bring back [Unending Breath] and I had to play it on the same turn (turn 5), so I could try to combo off before [Vorix] would take out the last few points of Health that remained, but my resource row was missing a single quest (I used them all to find a way to have access to [Unending Breath] once more).
It all depended on the top card of the deck!
I activated [Unending Breath] and saw a mount. There went my chance of making day 2.
Disappointed, I spread the bad news and announced that I intended to drop from the main event. Christian convinced / forced me to continue playing, as there was still a slight chance for me of making it to the second day.
My opponent in the next round played an Alliance Shaman deck and won the die roll. He invited [Great Elekk] to his party on turn 2, which either signaled he didn't know what my deck was trying to do or he was holding onto [Chain Purge]. I didn't feel like taking the risk and simply played a mount.
The next turn, he exhausted 3 resources for [Tuskarr Kite], seemingly happy. Either he featured one of the best poker faces in the world and he main decked [Ancestral Purge] or he had absolutely no clue that he just gave the game away. [Unending Breath] came down on my next turn and when he wanted to read the card, I knew that I had probably won the game. I combo’ed off at the end of his turn after he played [Feral Spirit] and once I had 40 bunnies on the field (with 7 or more quests still on the chain), he asked me if they would all attack the following turn. I confirmed this and he started complaining about the deck and went for his side deck. I remembered that my friend Jörg claimed earlier he would bring a first aid kit (expecting some of my opponents getting mad at me) and had to hold back a smirk.
In the second game, I drew into one of the sickest hands ever: 3 [Unending Breath]. It was missing a mount, but there was no way I would ship that back. Naturally, I drew into [Dreadsteed] on my first turn.
I hid my astonishment as best I could and simply played a quest while my opponent found [Chain Purge] with [Concerted Efforts]. He didn't play [Great Elekk] on his turn 2, so I figured his hand also featured [Wind Shear] (I would have played the mount in that situation if I also held onto [Chain Purge], trying to bait my opponent). I only played a mount and tried to judge if he was happy with the fact he just wasted his turn 2 entirely. He seemed more or less nonplussed.
[Unending Breath] was supposed to come down the next turn, but my opponent responded with [Wind Shear]. I acted like I didn't see that coming but I don't think I would have won an Oscar. He played [Signet of Manifested Pain] on his turn 4 and passed with 2 resources open. I placed another quest and played the second of my 3 [Unending Breath]s. Not wanting to risk getting killed by [Ancestral Purge] in the following turn, I immediately went for the combo. My opponent chained [Chain Purge] to the first quest activation. I announced that I would simply chain to his ability and resolved the next quest which showed up on the top of my deck. After explaining to him that this was in fact possible, I combo’ed off and was left with a little more than 30 token. I destroyed a couple to play [Deathwing the Destroyer] and passed my turn.
Thanks to 2 copies of [Feral Spirit], a [Squall Totem] as well as [Mikael the Blunt], this game ended up a lot more exciting than I wanted it to be. He got me all the way up to 33 damage, but was left without any more cards to sacrifice at that point. Damn you, [Signet of Manifested Pain], for making it so easy to generate enough cards that could be sacked for [Deathwing the Destroyer]'s effect!
Lesson learned (for my opponent): Be familiar with the popular decks and know how to deal with their threats!
Between rounds, my friend Axel from Sweden asked me about the bunny deck as he had never seen it in action. I started explaining it to him, but shortly after I was done drawing my opening hand, the pairings were out. I then found out we got paired against each other, so I told him he would get a live demonstration in just a minute.
Fortunately, my deck didn't let me down, so I could put my money where my mouth was. In the first game, I went for the combo in response to him playing [Vuz'din] on his turn 3 and I ended up with more than enough tokens to win the game the following turn.
He went for his side deck and opted to start the second game. He searched his deck for [Shuriken of Negation] on his turn 2, but I knew that would probably be too late. I played [Unending Breath] on my turn 2 and he had [Vuz'din] once more on his turn 3. "Did I win?", he asked. "Nope", I replied.
I played [Swift Hawkstrider] on my turn 3, shut down [Vuz'din] for the turn, generated more than enough tokens and my hero traded places with [Deathwing the Destroyer]. Axel wasn't happy, but at least he now knew how the deck operated.
In the very last round of Classic, I was playing Xues from Switzerland. Like every single Swiss person I know, he's been a really nice guy, although his attitude changed just a little when he found out that I am in fact playing the bunny deck. Somehow everyone expected me to play something crazier than that, like, Murlocs.
Anyway, I won the first game on my turn 3, lost the second game as I never saw [Unending Breath], but my final hand for the day featured the all important ability and I could take away the last game and eventually win the match. That left me on a 6 – 4 record.
I announced that I would be 110th. My guess wasn't too bad as I ended up on 112th place. That meant that my dream of cashing in at Worlds would have to wait for yet another year, but I guess it's still not too awful considering it's the first time I ever participated at Worlds as a player.
I know that this tournament turned into a, "this is how I smashed my round X opponent," at times. However, I hope you still enjoyed the parts where I analyzed my screw ups. Like I mentioned above, I'll also talk about my Darkmoon Faire experience in another article where I made some more misplays that will teach you stuff about the Throne of the Tides limited format, so stay tuned for more!
Thanks again to everyone who was wishing me luck and encouraged me to attend Worlds even though I felt I couldn't do too well. This brings us to our last lesson of the day, which is a rough translation of a Chinese proverb that I once came across. If I'm not all too mistaken, it goes something like this:
Never aim for an eagle as you'll end up hitting a pigeon; aim for the sky instead so you'll hit an eagle!
- Oliver Gehrmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)