Hello Everyone! I’m here today to talk about my experience at AGP Richmond. In the weeks leading up to the event, our team had been testing several decks to find what would be the best choice to bring to Richmond. We had 3 decks we felt were strong contenders for the event: Black/Blue/Red aggro (this color combination will be called Grixis moving forward), green Val 2.0, and Alice’s World. After seeing the results of the AGP in Italy, we first began testing the Grixis list and we were impressed with how powerful the deck was. While testing Val 2.0, we were very impressed with how the deck accelerated its mana quickly but felt the deck lacked something and we believed it was not as good as the Grixis or World decks. After the results from AGP Dallas, most of the team agreed that Alice’s World was the best deck to play at Richmond and began working to tune the deck for the event. One teammate suggested that we try running Gretel in the World list with Green stones instead of using Ruler’s Memorial. We agreed that this sounded like a promising idea and put the first draft of the deck together. As we began playing the first games with it, we were impressed with how fast the deck was at developing its stone base and how good Gretel was in the deck. We spent the final few days before the event trying out different pieces of tech and everyone decided to play 3-4 different cards that we each felt would help the deck. This is the list I registered at the event.
4 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
4 Morgiana, the Wise Servant
4 Elvish Priest
4 Familiar of the Holy Wind
4 Adombrali, the Unfathomable
2 Pumpkin Witch
3 Gwiber, the White Dragon
3 Change the World, Orb of Illusion
1 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
1 Robe of Fire Rat
1 Xeex the Ancient magic
2 Sign to the Future
3 Alice’s World
4 Magic Stone of Deep Wood
2 Magic Stone of Gusting Skies
2 Magic Stone of Black Silence
2 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves
1 Xeex the Ancient Magic
2 Glimpse of Kaguya
2 Robe of Fire Rat
2 Alice’s Little Guardian
1 Blazer Gill Rabus
2 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper
2 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
2 Hera, Goddess of Jealousy
1 Horn of Sacred Beasts
The deck was for the most part a standard Alice World list. Instead of running a large number of regalia and play Ruler’s Memoria, the team decided to play all wind stones and Gretel to accelerate our stone base quicker. We also figured there was going to be a decent amount of other world decks at the event so we wanted to be prepared against them. We decided that Xeex was an extremely good card for the mirror and decided to main board them. The four of us that played World were split on the 4 flex meta choice cards. We all agreed that some number of Robe of Fire Rat and Xeex should be played but we differed in number and with the last few cards for the deck. I felt that Sign of the Future was a good card and would help keep me in the game if I am falling behind on board state. Other members wanted to play Law of Silence instead which worked out well for them. I ultimately decided that 1 Robe, 1 Xeex, and 2 Signs would be a good choice for the event.
The team all called off work the Friday of the event and we met up and drove down in two cars. I had Lane and RJ in my car and Gerds had Sean and Brendon in his. We hit the road around 11am and agreed to meet each other for lunch. We stopped at a Denny’s in Maryland after about an hour of driving. We all ordered breakfast and talked about how excited we were to get to Richmond and play at the event. After a warm tasty brunch, we continued our drive to Richmond. Around DC we drove past an old BMW that was painted like the American Flag that had a license plate that read Gay for USA which made us laugh. We had a pretty smooth ride only really stopping to pay a few tolls along 95. Once we were in Virginia, we did run into some traffic which slowed to a crawl. We never saw exactly what caused us to slow but it was around 4pm and I heard that there were a few accidents so I think it was a combination of that and the beginning of rush hour cause the holdup.
We arrived at our hotel before the other guys at around 5:30pm. This worked out better as the hotel was booked under my name so I was able to get our room keys and check out the room before the other 3 got there. Our room was pretty nice and up on the 5th floor. We were unsure about the place at first since the hotel was in a more industrial area and the exterior looked a little forlorn, but our room was pretty nice which we were happy about. Once the other guys arrived we all unpacked our stuff and began filling out our deck lists for the next day. The rest of the guys played a few games to get some last minute testing in while I searched for a place for us to eat. Pizza has been mentioned at some point so I found a pizza place called Bottoms Up Pizzeria that had good ratings. After a few games we all agreed to meet there and headed out. The place was in an old building and had a lot of cool architecture in it. A few of us ordered a round of beers since the place had some selections not available up in Pennsylvania. Lane and I ordered a Raspberry stout that was absolutely delicious. It had hints of coca in it as well and, if I wasn’t driving, I would have had another one. We ordered a Mexican pizza and another one with mushrooms and peperoni. The crust was fluffy and was the perfect meal after a long car ride. After filling up on great pizza we headed back to our hotel and finished getting ready for the event the next day.
We all woke up early so we could get ready and eat the free continental breakfast the hotel provided. The eggs were moist and fluffy and the Belgian waffles were very good. After a satisfying breakfast, we headed to the convention center. Our hotel was only a 2 minute drive away from the convention center and we arrived a little early to the event. The entire team preregistered so we all signed in and got our play mat and promo cards. The new way they are making cards with the texturing is fantastic. I love the way the promo Deathscythe looks. After getting into the Convention hall where the tournament was being held, we each played a few warm-up games to get us ready to play. After playing a few games, I felt ready and excited to play. After anxiously waiting for a few minutes, they announced that round one pairings were being posted and it was time to play.
Round 1: Alice World Loss 0-1
My first opponent of the day was an opponent I had at New Jersey states from a few weeks ago. The games we played were close and I used Xeex several times to counter Adombrali which felt really good. Ultimately he beat me the last turn of turns (after time in the round ends there are 3 turns to finish the game). These games were very close and ultimately came down to he was more familiar with the deck than I and was able to assemble the kill.
Round 2: Grixis Aggro Win 1-1
Continuing my bad luck, I was paired against a fellow team member round 2. I always seem to get paired against one of the other Twisted Fate members early in any event we attend. I sat down against Brendon and was bummed we had to play each other. Luckily it was early in the event and we could both still work our way back up to the top. I knew he was playing Grixis aggro and felt good as the matchup was slightly in my favor. As we waited for the round to start, one of the players from the game next to me asked about my team playmat and what Twisted Fate meant. I explained that it was our team name and we post content regularly here on Of Dice and Pens. It turned out he was one of the content producers for Grinning Remnant, Alex Goodman. We were excited to meet another content producer and agreed to chat more after the round was over. The games were good and in the end I won game three. After the round we chatted with Alex until the next round started.
Round 3: Regalia Val 2.0 Draw 1-1-1
This was a deck I was not expecting to face at the event and was not 100% prepared against it. Game 1 I did some incorrect math and failed to kill him in 1 turn with pumpkin witch (I put him to 400) before he was able to kill me with Val. Game 2 I sided into blazer and killed him on the last turn of turns. We did not have time to have a game 3 and drew.
Round 4: Grixis Aggro Draw 1-1-2
I was feeling optimistic going into round 4, I could still do well if I won out and was excited to turn my early poor luck around. My opponent was another participant from the New Jersey states that I had attended. He was playing Grixis aggro and I felt good as I had good amount of practice against the deck. Game 1 I had 3 orbs in play turn two as well as an Adombrali. I use Reflect and the orbs aggressively and I constantly bounced his resonators as I beat down his life total with Adombrali. Game 2 he sided into Cain. I had a solid start but my opponent played a Laevateinn and was eventually able to nuke my field and I lost. We finished game 2 right as time was called and we drew as we were not able to play a game 3.
Round 5: Blazer Knights Draw 1-1-3
I was feeling a bit down about drawing twice in a row but I was also happy that they weren’t losses. I still had a chance to place well if I won the rest of my matches. Game 1 I was able to put some pressure on his life total with an early Adombrali and was able to kill him with Pumpkin Witch and Gwiber after using Sign of the Future to kill his Arthur Pendragon. Game 2 he sided into Arla and played 3 bows turn 1. I struggled to fight off the bows and lost game 2. Game 3 was close but we went to time. On the last turn of time I pumpkin witched him but was only able to put him to 300 and we drew.
Round 6: Blue Blazer Win 2-1-3
There was a short break after round 5 and we met up again with the Grinning Remnant team and decided to meet up for food and participate at a prerelease at a nearby card shop after the event was over. Going into round 6 I was still slightly optimistic as I could still place decently if I won my next 3 rounds. Game 1 I had an aggressive hand and played a Gwiber and an Adombrali turn 3 and quickly ended the game. My opponent was exhausted and decided to give me the win and drop from the event.
I then had a little more than half of the round left so I was appreciative of the opportunity to relax for a short bit and eat some trail mix and drink some water. I felt hopeful that I had just broken my draw slump.
Round 7: Baha Win 3-1-3
Going into round 7 I was feeling good. The little reprieve was just what I needed to get myself back into a good headspace. Game 1 I knew I had to be aggressive and put early pressure on him so that I could put myself in a good position to either kill him or be able to counter his splits. I played my Gretels aggressively getting me to 5 stones quickly and played an Adombrali and a Gwiber on turn 3. On his turn, he split me taking me from 3000 to 1500 and he then passed turn. I was then able to swing in putting his life to 2400 and flipped Reflect with 7 counters on her. He attempted to split me again but I countered it and he was unable to kill me before I swung in for lethal next turn. Game 2 I had a decent start but he was aggressive after boarding into reflect and put me to 400. On my next turn I was able to play Pumpkin Witch and chained Adombrali together as well as a Gwiber for the kill. It was a very close game and I felt good having the win
Round 8: Sylvia Knights Win 4-1-3
This was the final round. If I won this match, I would finish with a 4-1-3 record which was the equivalent of a 5-3 record in terms of points. I felt good after the last 2 wins and the deck was really clicking with me. Game 1 I kept a solid hand and used orbs and Adombrali to pressure my opponent until I finished him off with a Pumpkin Witch. Game 2 I played 2 Adombrali early and had a Gwiber and a Pumpkin Witch in my hand. I ramped to 6 stoned with Gretel and played an Alice’s World in an attempt to set myself up to finish him the Gwiber and the Witch. I then chained 2 more worlds together and attacked with my small resonators until I could get his life total low enough to play Pumpkin Witch and Gwiber for the win.
Final Standing: 34th place
I felt great after the round as I was able to make a solid comeback and finish with a decent record. I was also happy to hear that my teammates Sean and Lane had done well in their last rounds with Sean at 5-0-3 and Lane at 5-2-1. It was going to be close but Sean had a chance to make it into Top 8. The tension grew as the top 8 was announced. Sean has 18 points and as he called 7th place had 18 points we were anxiously waiting to hear if Sean had made it. As 8th place was announced we were bummed as Sean’s name was not called. The final standings were posted and we were anxious to see where we finally fell. Sean placed 12th he missed top 8 due to poor tiebreakers. Lane placed 17, Alex placed 32nd, I placed 34th, RJ Placed 52th, and Brendon placed 65th.
After the event was over and we received our prizes (promo Lancelot), we met up with the group from Grinning Remnant and decided to meet at a nearby card shop to participate in a Moonlight Savior prerelease. We all reached the store but it had been over 8 hours since any of us had eaten a full meal so we decided to go to an Olive garden before coming back and participating in a prerelease. The shop owner was very nice and was more than happy to stay open later and hold another event for us if we had enough people. There were 12 of us in the group and we assured him that we would have enough people to play.
Eagerly we rushed to the nearby Olive Garden and waited to be seated. I felt a little guilty having a party of 12 arrive at the restaurant a little after 10 but I was much too hungry to really think about it much. After ordering our meals, we passed the time by chatting about a myriad of topics including the new Force cards, Magic the Gathering spoilers among other things. When the food finally arrived we all dug in and it was absolutely delicious. I had ordered stuffed Chicken Marsala and it was absolutely amazing. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the stuffing was absolutely delicious. After playing for most of the day, I was extremely hungry and finished the entire plate in no time.
After paying for our meal and relaxing for a few minutes to digest our dinners, we headed back to the card store to play some more Force of Will. Out of the 12 in our group 11 of us decided to play and we were anxious to crack some packs and see what we pulled. In my first pack I pulled a Pricia, the Exploding Flame which I was happy to see. Before I could open my second pack Sean shouted in excitement that he opened a god pack. I was happy for him but also a little envious, hoping to pull something good myself. In my next pack, I opened a stamped Kaguya, the Moonlight Savior. She was the ruler I was most excited to brew with and getting her stamped made it even better. At that point I didn’t care what else I pulled; I was happy with my prerelease. My third pack contained a Coup d’Etat Mastermind, Shion and everyone commented on how lucky I was to pull two rulers. I didn’t pull anything else very exciting and my sealed pool was all over the place. My deck ended up being pretty bad and wasn’t much more than just a bunch of resonators with 2 support spells. After round 1 several of the guys dropped as we had been playing Force for almost 12 hours straight that day. We also shortened the rounds to best of 1 to speed up the games. I dropped after losing both rounds 1 and 2. I was exhausted just wanted to take a look around the shop. I spent some time looking through the store’s singles and ended up buying a few stamped cards while the rest of the guys played the last few rounds. After the prerelease was finally over, we all gathered our stuff together and got ready to head back to our hotels. We said goodbye to the crew from Grinning Remnant and exchanged contact information before we went our separate ways. We got back to our hotel around 2am and we all passed out quickly after a long day of card games.
We all slept in pretty late and didn’t make it to the continental breakfast the next day. The team decided not to go back to the convention center to participate in any of the side events. We all got in our cars and headed back up home. The car ride back up was peaceful as myself, Lane, and RJ talked about new ideas for brew and talks about how great the weekend had been.
The entire weekend of AGP Richmond 2016 was amazing and I had a great time. I am very happy with how well the entire group did and I’m excited to see how we do looking ahead at future events. It was great to be able to meet other people as passionate about this game as I am and meet some new friends as well. I look forward to the next big event I will be attending (AGP Pittsburgh) and hopefully seeing some of the people I met at Richmond as well as meet some new players. Thank you all so much for reading my experience and be sure to check out GrinningRemnant.com for amazing content. I personally enjoy reading their articles and they are some of the nicest people I have met at a tournament. Be sure to keep an eye out for my next article as I delve into some brews from the new set.
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