CFB Clash Qualifier 1
CFB Clash is a new tournament series by Channel Fireball, replacing the earlier Showdown tournaments. The CFB Clash format was nine rounds of swiss on the first day, and anyone who went at least 5-4, or anyone who had a streak of three wins, qualified for the second day’s single-elimination spider.
One really nice feature of the tournament were the relaxed second day qualification criteria. Reaching 5-4 or having a three-win streak allows qualifying even in the later stage of the first day, so when you lose the first several games (like I did), nothing is lost. You can basically lose the first six games and then win the last three, and you will still qualify!
Deck and Metagame
I did not have any time to prepare and follow the meta, which was still not that settled after Zendikar Rising came out bringing Omnath and rotating Guilds of Ravnica to Core Set 20 out of Standard, and after Uro was banned. I skimmed CFB Deck Vault and decided between playing Omnath Adventures (Omnath flavors are the deck to beat) and Andrea Mengucci’s Esper Doom deck. As usual, the desire to play a cool, fun, non-mainstream deck won. After the first rounds, I immediately knew it was a mistake. The deck is fine and has power, but it is not very easy to play. Its resources are precious, and the decisions about how to use them are hard.
Not playing much Magic for a week also meant that I was surprised by the Grixis Control decks, which I hit in three rounds, and my Esper Doom felt very underpowered against them. They have better threats in Kroxa and Shark Typhoon, both efficient against countermagic and removal. They also possess more countermagic. Overall the matchup felt awful.
I met Omnath two times, won once, and lost once. The matchup felt fine, but once they stick a threat, it is tough to recover from that. The Drannith Magistrate is a killer against that deck, shutting down all adventures as well as Escape to the Wilds.
Deck 2 Ashiok, Nightmare Muse (THB) 208 4 Brightclimb Pathway // Grimclimb Pathway (ZNR) 259 4 Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway (ZNR) 260 3 Confounding Conundrum (ZNR) 53 2 Dance of the Manse (ELD) 186 4 Doom Foretold (ELD) 187 2 Drown in the Loch (ELD) 188 4 Fabled Passage (M21) 246 1 Golden Egg (ELD) 220 2 Heartless Act (IKO) 91 2 Island (ANA) 4 3 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58 4 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58 3 Omen of the Sun (THB) 30 4 Plains (ANA) 2 3 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37 2 Swamp (ANA) 6 2 Temple of Deceit (THB) 245 3 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246 2 The Birth of Meletis (THB) 5 2 Treacherous Blessing (THB) 117 2 Yorion, Sky Nomad (IKO) 232 Sideboard 2 Baneslayer Angel (M21) 6 2 Bloodchief's Thirst (ZNR) 94 2 Drannith Magistrate (IKO) 11 2 Heartless Act (IKO) 91 2 Heliod's Intervention (THB) 19 1 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58 3 Negate (ZNR) 71 1 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37
- Dimir Rogues: 1-2, total 0-1
- Boros Cycling: 1-2, total 0-2
- Grixis Control: 0-2, total 0-3
Wow, what a beating right from the start. In a regular tournament, I would probably be out. I was embarrassed to lose against Boros Cycling. I won the first game of the match, but I always lost the later games to a Zenith Flare. Grixis Control feels like a tough matchup for this deck.
- Simic Mutate: 2-0, total 1-3
- Omnath Adventures: 2-1, total 2-3
The mood just got better. Doom Foretold and spot removal are incredibly efficient against mutate decks, so that match felt relatively easy. The fifth match was my first encounter with Omnath, and it was a battle. Fortunately, I managed to not let any threat stick, and after sideboard, Drannith Magistrate disabled adventures and Escape to the Wilds. Two wins in the row mean if I win the third one, I qualify for the next day.
- Grixis Control: 0-2, total 2-4
- Grixis Control: 2-0, total 3-4
- Omnath Adventures: 1-2, total 3-5
Another Grixis Control shut down my streak. I still had a chance to do one more streak and end up 5-4 if I won the last three games. I managed to beat a third Grixis Control (it was not played very well), but then I lost a big match against Omnath.
I really liked the Clash format! In the usual Swiss, losing two games early usually means the end of the tournament for a player, which is disappointing. In Clash format, there was something on the table until the very end. I could have lost the first six games and still go to Day 2 if I won the last three games! That was very refreshing and motivating. I did not qualify, but I definitely had fun.