Firstly the customary deck list:
3x Last Gasp
4x Umezawa's Jitte
4x Moldervine Cloak
4x Birds of Paradise
3x Elves of Deep Shadow
4x Hypnotic Specter
4x Ravenous Rats
4x Nezumi Graverobber
3x Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
4x Llanowar Wastes
1x Overgrown Tomb
1x Shizo, Death's Storehouse
4x Cranial Extraction
4x Nezumi Shortfang
This was the version of tuned black/green agro that Bill thought was best, while I may not always agree with his deck building 100% I felt that any list handed by me by anyone who had done any testing had to be better than my rough draft of what such a deck should look like. Also it looked like it had a lot of game against everything I thought would be decent.
Round 1: Marcus Abbot with BGw Pile
I won the dice roll and elected to play. The early turns were uneventful with Marcus dropping such great creatures as Loxodon Hierarch and Kokusho, both of which I easily dispensed with, even though Marcus assumed my first Putrefy would target his Plague Boiler and not his Loxodon (silly boy, the Loxodon makes the Plague boiler one sided, a symmetrical effect (that I can probably counter with its ability on the stack with another Putrefy) is much less threatening that a 4/4 with an un-symmetrical effect). I then started taking out huge chunks of his life with something that I forget now, but the game was over fairly quickly with my only damage coming from his Kokushos leave play ability.
I did no sideboarding for the second game as I had no idea what to take out and only slightly an idea of bringing in Cranial extraction. I took some early damage in this game stabilising on 10 life against his 26, this didn't seam to be much of a problem though as he conceded at 14 life, there may have been a Jitte on my side of the table though to explain such a concession.
Now I was 1-0 (2-0 in games) and heading to table 101.
Round 2: Some Dude with Boros Weenies
My apologies to my opponent for not recording his name, will update this with it once dci's web site is back up with data about Victorian States.
I did loose game one, with the only changes to my opponents life total being 1 pain from a pain land, and then gaining 3 from a Helix. I'll blame this loss on muligans against agro decks being bad news, especially when they are on the play.
I sideboarded in the 3 Nekrataals, but I forget what I took out for them. He only managed to hit me twice with a Swiftblade before I stabilised and started to slap him around convincingly. Game 3 was the first interesting and tense game for the day. He was on the play again and got a very good opening despite his inability to draw a 3rd land. A Suntail Hawk, two Swiftblades and a Leonin Skyhunter threatening to make my life total 0 much to quickly for my liking. I forget what I did to stall the game out, but I'm pretty sure it was suiting a BoP with a Cloak and Jitte, he couldn't attack me, as I'd favorably block one creature and use the counters from the Jitte to kill one or two others. Once you can stabilise against a weenie deck with a decent way to gain life if needed (Jitte) there's not much they can do, even when they are splashing red.
Now I was 2-0 (4-1 in games) and just 1 win and 1 draw away from guaranteeing my self top8.
Round 3: James Ye with Gifts
Winning the die roll wasn't enough to overcome the disadvantage of having to mulligan twice. This game was interesting, with gifts resolving twice but with me being able to find a gifts split that would keep me in the game each time, main deck Graverobbers is a masterful answer for gifts decks. The first gifts was for: Ink-Eyes (I had one on the table), Hana Kami, soulless Revival and ethereal Haze. The first thing this gifts split told me was the James definitely had a reanimation spell in hand, Goryo's vengeance had been used early in the game and was already removed from the game with a now dead Graverobber (or two), so it was most likely death denied in hand. I gave him the Ink-Eyes and ethereal Haze, knowing that he'd play the Ink-Eyes that turn to kill mine and then I could cast the Graverobber and remove the engine from the game. This wasn't a bad play, but it definitely wasn't the correct play. The correct play would have been to give James the part of the engine with ethereal Haze, letting me cast Graverobber, keep Ink-Eyes in play and force him to use the engine and destroying it with my robber.
This sub optimal play set my tempo back far enough (having my Ink-Eyes put into the graveyard as a statebased effect) that I couldn't force through any damage for the next 20ish turns. This let James draw into a second Gifts, fetching up: Myojin of Nights Reach, Kokusho, Meloku and something that I couldn't give him. Figuring that Meloku would generate too many illusions for my point removal to cope with (he could have created ~15 illusions the same turn he cast Meloku by this point), so I had to give him the Myojin and the dragon.
eventually time was called with both of us on 5 life, neither of us could get any damage through in the 5 turns so we were forced to draw.
Now I was 2-0-1 (4-1-1 in games) and could only afford to loose one of the next two games. I was then paired up against the only player who was still undefeated, Mitheran.
Round 4: (Steven?) Mitheran with BGW control.
This was the deck that more than half of the Card Heaven regulars were playing. It played every good piece of black (green) removal in Ravnica along with WoG and the new Swords using Graveshell Scarab as its main win condition. Besides seaming to have great games against every deck in the field, Bill complained of loosing in the first round to a deck that he'd beaten 20-1 the night before, Mitheran was the only player who was managing to go well with it in the early rounds.
During the lunch break we had worked out that while Mitheran would do well to ID, I had to play for the win as a ID was just as bad as a loss when I needed another win to guarantee top 8 (2-1-2 wouldn't make top8 and 2-0-3, aka 3-0-0 in a 5 round tourney, seamed unlikely as well). During this time we also decided that it was a nearly un-winable matchup for me as well. So despite doing as well as I could, I lost in two relatively quick games, which were both very boring and error free.
Now sitting at 2-1-1 (4-3-1 in games) I just needed to win the last round to get into the top8.
Round 5: Nitzan Ron with Gifts
During our deck check (my second of the tourney) I we worked out that Nitzan may possibly miss out on top 8 if he won (although it was unlikely) so if the game was going to be a draw we would call it a win in my favor to guarantee one of us made top8.
Game 1 I won in very high style, it doesn't take long to win when swinging with a Ravenous Rat with 1 then 2 then 3 Moldervine Cloaks. The 3rd Cloak was preceded by a Jitte though :). From memory the game looked like this:
Turn 2: Ravenous Rats
Turn 3: Cloak Rats swing (16)
Nitzan: Play Elder
Turn 4: Cloak Rats swing (chumped by elder)
Nitzan: Play Kokusho
Turn 5: Jitte, equip Rat blocked by Kokusho
blah blah blah, the score pad looked like this when I swung the final time:
On the final swing Nitzan threw his whole hand at my rat: Shoal for -4/-4, Shoal for -6/-6, and my hungry rat was still 9/9 when it hit :)
The next two games didn't go so well, game 2 I only recorded 1 life change for Nitzan: 25, and the third just 2: 18 then 17.
Game 3 probably should have been mine though, shortly after a resolved Gifts that netted Nitzan a Kagemaro and an Ink-Eyes he attacked with the Kagemaro with Ink-Eyes still in hand and me itching to use the Putrefy in hand. For some reason I used the Putrefy before I'd let him Ninjitsu the Ink-Eyes in. I wasn't such a newb as to have done it after declare blockers, but I really should have waited for him to use the ninja and just blown that out of the water.
So that ended my second campain on the States trophy, and while I was so much closer for most of the tournament this year (last year I lost the first two rounds, and ended up 3-3) I still effectively ended up in the same position, not in the top8. My record of 2-2-1 was good enough to leave me in 11th place, which was ok, unlike the rares in my two prize packs.