SA: Highlander: Winter Solstice @SGC (23 Players) 13/06/2021 | Deck Lists & Tournament Report

The Winter Solstice

This tournament report is a brief summary of the Highlander portion of the Winter Solstice, a weekend of eternal events in Adelaide that had attendance from interstaters too!

Background

For the last six months or so I’ve had to focus on work and other major life commitments, so AE event coordination and content creation has been (sadly) a lower priority (but I’m glad I’ve been able to jam the occasional highlander event and write a tourney report here and there). So when the question arose “with Vic Eternal Weekend cancelled due to COVID, are there any interests from Adelaide in running a local-ish event as an outlet for those who were planning to go?” I honestly thought it would be impossible we could get anything together with just over a week’s notice, given the plethora of moving parts required to coordinate a major event. Beckett proved us all wrong and championed the cause, liaising with stores, prepared the infrastructure (3rd party software, feature match equipment, sourcing prizes, etc.) and advertised the heck out of the new event “The Winter Solstice”, a weekend of eternal events spanning Legacy, Highlander and Modern! By having Social Gaming Club (SGC) host the Winter Solstice it allowed players the change to use Proxies, which is the important component that sets Adelaide Eternal events apart from sanctioned store events, so we were glad that we could continue that tradition.

Attendance

There were at least a dozen players who sent their regards as they couldn’t make it on account of the late notice (work rosters, long weekend holiday bookings, etc.) or the time clash with Modern Horizons II Prerelease… all strong reasons! Whilst it would have been fantastic to have a 35+ person Highlander event, simply getting 23 players including interstaters on an event created only a week in advance is stellar. Well done to Charlie and Beckett for pulling this together on such short notice. Also thank you to the interstate competitors for making the trip down, especially the Sydney team who travelled specifically for Legacy and put on an absolute clinic for us Adelaide gang on Day 1… the Finals of the Legacy Winter Solstice was a Sydney vs. Sydney affair, so they’ll be taking the Dual Land back home along with a pile of sweet swag from Social Gaming Club’s coffers! If Legacy is your scene, stay tuned to the Adelaide Eternal Youtube channel for feature match video coverage of that event too.

The Event

Highlander kicked off a bit late as we had to await a handful of people furiously scribbling down hardcopy decklists (in singleton!)… the fact that not all people are familiar with preparing digital decklists still baffles me (maybe WotC will change major event approaches as we move more toward the digital space, and it’ll encourage everyone to use digital media?). That coupled with the schedule of having Highlander start after midday made for a pretty late close for the Top 8 cut. This was Charlie’s first ever experience running a major event and he expressed his openness and eagerness to take on board feedback so we can thankfully expect future large SGC events to start in the morning rather than arvo. Thanks for your transparency Charlie and we look forward to the continued success of events at SGC!

The metagame was incredibly diverse, and it was great to see the fresh perspectives brought over by the Sydney team! We haven’t seen the Lands archetype in Adelaide in a long while, and whenever the Broken Hill gang head over we always lament shaving on pinpoint graveyard removal for Loam, and it was no different here (I had the pleasure of watching the end of a Sydney mirror and love seeing graveyards stocked by Intuition and Gifts in blue-based Lands!). I personally had the joy of facing the only two Ramp pilots back-to-back in Rounds 1 and 2: the usual suspects of Michael Hearn on blue ramp and Drew Carter on colourless. These matchups are a tightrope walk, and it’s all about celerity, so I aggressively mull-ed into turn 1 dork, turn 2 threat + disruption each game. Ramp really stomps on reactive decks by throwing out haymaker after haymaker so I was thankful to be on a proactive archetype! In Round 3 I get to play Riley on my Oath-nihilator SIX deck, and luckily I know just how to play against it, what to side in, and what to discard with Inquisition/Thoughtseize vs. what to hold Return to Nature and Force of Vigor for. He it forced to spin his wheels looting and setting up whilst I turn a tempo threat sideways. In Round 4 Rob Lark and I have two polarising games where one of us is dramatically ahead of the other, forcing us into a tight game 3 which is a real nail-biter. After Rob draws a bunch of cards I’m priced into taking the beatdown role in order to invalidate the value that he’s generated. My haste threats get him within range of a Rankle kill but his surprise Cling-Escape-Cling to Dust changes the race math and allows Rob to pull back ahead, burying me in removal spells. On to Round 5 and the win-and-in, where I have the pleasure of meeting Beuen Buresti a relative newcomer to Highlander and a pleasure to play with. In one game I misread their Blue Moon deck as purely control and sideboard accordingly, only to get completely destroyed by a swarm of Young Pyromancer tokens (no, a Thoughtseize into Painful Truths was not going to win me that one!). Another game sees Beuen misconstrue my role (and life totals) trying to eek out a surprise win with Price of Progress that woefully backfires! In our third game I sideboard correctly and return to my conventional role (beatdown), keep mana open on the key turn to Spell Pierce + Veil of Summer Beuen’s Blood Moon, then deploy a second threat off a basic, knowing that I’ll be hit by Back to Basics, untap and deploy the third threat with 4+ toughness, with no intention of playing another spell that game. Gotta love proactive decks!

With the later start event, it’s pretty much unanimous that the Top 8 would prefer ‘split the pool, go to Pub bracket’ instead of bashing untimed rounds into the wee hours… so instead of cutting the dual land into 8 parts and spreading them around Adelaide, we redeem it for store credit and split the grand in prize money between us. What with MH2 collector booster boxes having been opened barely hours ago, there is ample swag to select from on the prize wall. Half of the Top 8 hurriedly chases down those beautiful retro-framed Highlander staples and call it a night, whilst the other half bash ‘for glory’ and inevitably end up carrying games through to dinner.

Here is the Top 8 from the Highlander: Winter Solstice!

Player’s StandingPlayer’s NamePlayer’s Deck List Link
1stBeckett Wolfe“Grixis Reanimator” (UBR Combo)
2ndOliver Oks“RUG Lord” (Temur Tempo)
3rdSarven McLinton“Sedgemoor Fish” (BUG Tempo)
4thRobert LarkUBRg Tempo-Control
5thRussell Cutting“SProwess” (RUG Aggro-Combo)
6thRiley Beck“Oath-nihilator SIX” (RUg Combo-Control)
7thMichael Hearn“TR45” (Mono-Blue Ramp)
8thDrew Carter“AEldrazi” (Colourless Ramp)