Duels Diaries Week 26 - The Lost Entry
Yours truly had nearly two-thousand words written, which deep philosophical musings on the metagame, the round three HAKI results, the round four pairings, and intense insights into Magic as a whole. It was witty. It was funny. It was smart. It was a freakin’ Duels Pulitzer Prize waiting to happen. And it will always be that way in your imaginations, because teacher, the internet ate my homework.
If you’ve ever been there, you know how I feel. Maybe the power went out. Maybe the file got corrupted. Maybe the flash-drive got lost or failed. You know how hard it is to start over. You know how you’d rather do anything else in the world. I mean, I do sort of have a life outside of Duels. There is laundry to do, and I wouldn’t call concluding the chore optional since this is my third day in a row of going commando…
And yet, I have been entrusted by God Almighty (or my ego) to write Duels gibberish for the people, and the freakin’ show must go on. But I lack the heart and conviction to spit another several-thousand words, so we are going to try something different today - HAKI round three recaps and round four pairings in three words or less.
As a reminder, the HAKI is five rounds of swiss with a cut to a top eight single elimination playoff. The third loss is potentially an elimination, the third win is a virtual lock for top eight.
Round Three Recap -
Hakeem (Izzet Thopters, 2-0) vs CovertGo Blue (Gruul Ramp, 2-0)
Thunder, Servitor, Lucksack.
Smoke (Jund Midrange, 2-0) vs Gemini (Naya Ramp, 2-0)
Ramp, beats, Midrange
Danny (Jund Control, 2-0) vs Mackey (Jund Control, 2-0)
Mirror, mana, Ob
Peepy (Jeskai Tokens, 1-1) vs Dieverse1 (Azorius Aggro, 1-1)
Frozen (“Let it go, let it go!”), flooded, overrun
HailtotheKing (Esper Control, 1-1) vs Mobius (Esper Reanimator, 1-1)
Planeswalkers, helplessness, Salt
Megabeast (5 Color Ramp, 1-1) vs Black Barney (Izzet Thopters, 1-1)
Beast-wife, squadron, firecraft
Tsh1rt (Selesnya Ramp, 0-2) vs Ender (Dimir Ingest, 0-2)
slow, creeping, death
Westaine (Esper Control, 0-2) vs Steely Danno (Sultai Control, 0-2)
Fleshbag, horribly, misclick
After a lopsided round three, with only two game-three’s played, I am excited to see some competitive-looking pairings in round four. Keeping with the three words, let’s push on -
CovertGo Blue (3-0, Gruul Ramp) vs InfamousGemini (3-0, Naya Ramp)
Gemini, is, dropping
This needs some explanation, it seems Gemini’s power supply is on the fritz and he cannot complete the match, and since the round is paired it appears there will be no battle for 4-0. This is actually good for all the 3-2’s and perhaps even a 2-3 to make top-eight. The longer one player can stay undefeated, the more it benefits those trying to make the top eight cut.
Hakeem (2-1, Izzet Thopters) vs Smokeyalaterz (2-1, Jund Midrange)
Sweepers, flooding, testing.
Seven sweepers vs a thopter squadron. It seems to me if Hakeem floods on mana even a bit, he’ll be out of the game fast. Giving Smoke time could really be punishing. Smoke needs his mana online properly and quickly to avoid getting burned out. I feel strongly that both players need to test their matchup, on paper I have trouble seeing the perfect lines to victory. This is really close and tough to call, but I predict Smoke takes it, although I will be honestly rooting for my friend, Hakeem. The one-of Rising Miasma is just hateful.
Mackey79 (2-1, Jund Control) vs HailtotheKing (2-1, Esper Control)
Underdog, walkers, Revenge.
Mackey has shown he can be surprising as the underdog, and he has to do it again because on paper this looks like a bloodbath to me. Revenge may be able to thread the needle of removal spells, but watch out for C. Flare. Planeswalkers will be tough for Mackey to answer and have been loyal to King so far. King takes this one, unless Mackey can play David vs Goliath once again.
Peepy (2-1, Jeskai Tokens) vs Barney (2-1, Izzet Thopters)
Chief, bolt, mana
Peepy gets another Thopter match which he knows isn’t favorable, but some things are very different. Barney doesn’t have Twin Bolt, giving Peepy the edge in the removal spot. Barney’s removal spells won’t find good targets on Peepy’s side, but Chief of the Foundry will still be the difference maker if Barney can find one...or two….or three… I am going with Peepy in a matchup upset, I think he can rise above the tough matchup here and steal it if his mana works out. Big if…
Danny (1-2, Jund Control) vs Tshirt (1-2, Selesnya Ramp)
Revenge, Revenge, Revenge
Shirt is trying to pull off a Cinderella story and go from 0-2 into the top eight. In his path is Danny, who kicked the event off with a good win but has now lost four games in a row to Gaea’s Revenge, a card he really struggles to answer with his deck. Shirt has the two copies, and if he can ramp into them than GR may well haunt Danny’s dreams for another week. Shirt wins in my book.
Westaine (1-2, Esper Control) vs Megabeast (1-2, 5 Color Ramp)
Threats, counters, flood
It is one West to have a draw that counters all of Beast’s threats. It is on Beast to keep producing threats and not get too careful. Mobius showed us how to just jam threats against draw-go Esper, was Beast paying attention? If either player floods on mana, it will likely be the end of them. Who will hit their 4-7 land-in-a-row stainless shuffle first? I pick Beast to win, he has a higher threat density than West has counters.
Mobius (1-2, Esper Reanimator) vs Dieverse1 (1-2, Azorius Aggro)
Spawner(s), bounce, sweepers.
Sky Spawner needs to show up for Mobius. Dieverse1 leans on bounce spells to push through damage, but Mobius doesn’t offer him many targets. Most things that Dieverse could bounce just give Mobius value on the way back to the battlefield. Dieverse has a tight rope to walk - he can’t get blown out by a sweeper and he can’t let Mobius have the time to find one. Will he push all in, or pace his threats? I know Mobius practice’s against the Ai, and Dieverse’s deck reminds me of the Ai, so I think Mobius is tuned for this match, and I pick Mobius to win this round.
Ender (0-3, Dimir Ingest) vs Steely Danno (0-3, Sultai Control)
Respect, Ingest, mill
The “respect bracket” is all about showing the fans and community what your decks can do. You haven’t won a match yet, but that will change for one of you, so give it your all. Ender can’t expect to pressure Danno enough to win by damage, as his other rounds have shown, but in this match Ingest just may strip Danno of this few win conditions. I am calling for Danno to win in a long match that is decided by who falls asleep at the wheel first :)
Not my usual in depth self, but I think you will forgive me if you have ever spent a whole day working on something only to have the computer crash and leave you with a stupid, mouth open blank stare and the taste of bile in your throat.
I’m looking forward to round four of the HAKI, good luck to all the players, and follow me on Twitter @danno029 if you want to know when matches are going live!
What three words would you use to describe a match from round three? Post in the comments.