Cramped Headspace interviews: Brett Hughes!

Hi all,

I have brewed up something extra special today, as I have scored an interview with Grand Prix: Melbourne 2009 Top 8 Competitor Brett Hughes. Brett’s a mate of mine, we used to playtest together in the days that both of us played Magic regularly. Brett made a comeback for Grand Prix: Melbourne and i’m sure he plans to make it stick with his fantastic result. I was lucky enough that Brett is a good man and agreed to be interviewed, so the below is our MSN conversation we had regarding the tournament, the times, and correcting Tomoharu Saitou’s play 🙂

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Hi, Brett! Firstly, congratulations on your big finish! How does it feel to have done so well and get those first pro points under your belt? Only 95 more for Hall of Fame eligibility, right?

Brett says:
 Thanks very much.  It’s hard to describe really, to be honest going into the event I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what finishes get what pro points.  That aside, Magic is firstly a ‘fun’ game and hobby still, and a competitive game second and I’ll probably always think of it that way.  HoF will have to wait until after San Diego!

[Plubby] Reece says:
 How much preparation did you do before the event, and what expectations did you have going into it?

Brett says:
 Absolutely zero for both.  The Pre-release was on the same weekend as the AFL Grand Final, which just happened to take priority for me.  Then I figured I would attend the Launch Party at the local store just to see some cards in person, I knew what most did from the spoiler.  This was the first time I played Limited (the week before the GP), so it’s safe to say I had no expectations.

 P.S. I went 0-3 for the Launch Party

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Take us through the tournament. Firstly, how was your sealed deck?

Brett says:
 Day 1 deck was fairly good, obviously I had no byes so I had to start Round 1 and finishes the day 7-1 there must have been something right about the deck.  Black was the primary colour with loads of playables, and I had a hard time deciding between the secondary colour.  I had 2 transformational sideboards into different secondary colours but didn’t use them a whole lot throughout the day.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 You stepped on my next question with the bye thing – so I’ll instead ask if you had any bombs, or multiples of commons/uncommons of note?

Brett says:
 I opened 4 white rares which made me maindeck white, even though my blue and red cards were probably more consistent.  Emeria Angel and Conquerer’s Pledge both made my final 40 and won a few games.  In black I had double Hideous End, 1 each of almost every other black removal, and one of my favourite cards – Vampire Nighthawk.

 Also two underappreciated cards I had were Nimbus Wings and Vampire’s Bite – these were good for me almost all day, giving my Vampires flying or getting the opponent quickly to 10 to turn on Intimidate.

[Plubby] Reece says:
Did you play any big names on Day one?

Brett says:
 My loss came from Andrew Eckerman in Round 4 and he went on to be undefeated Day One.  No pros, but I’ll give a shout out to Isaac Egan who I played in the final round, we were both 6-1 so the match had a lot less pressure than the previous matches that day.  Top bloke.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Especially under the circumstances Isaac is going through

Brett says:
 Exactly right, for all the MtG Paradise readers will know about Isaac and Chris Evans running Meta Games in Melbourne and have read about the recent events.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 And also as written about elsewhere on Cramped Headspace 😀

   Going into Day 2 – how much Zendikar had you drafted?

Brett says:
 None.  I had actually never drafted any block/set before.  I’ve obviously watched drafts but never really had the urge to play.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Wow, so you must have been pretty out of your comfort zone playing limited at all, let alone at the pointy end of the standings. So with that being said, what was your draft strategy?

Brett says:
 You could say that, yeah.  I had already overachieved by making day 2 so I was actually pretty relaxed.  I know the basics about drafting and the theory, so I just started with some nice splashable removal (Burst Lightning, Journey to Nowhere) and tried to read what colours were open.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Who was in your first draft pod, and how did that deck end up?

Brett says:
 Notables were Martin Juza and the co. (does he count? (Ed:  the co. is Nicolas Rolf, a player from Australia who frequently wins PTQ’s, and equally frequently scrubs on the pro tour. And he always counts in my book.)  I ended up with a super fast Red/Black deck with loads of removal.  I got loads of black early after a first pick Hideous End, and got most of my red picks late in the packs.  I think I had something like 4 one drops (Vampires) and 7 two drops (Shortcutters, Geopedes, Marauders), and of course my favourite Nighthawk.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 The official coverage tells us you 3-0’d the draft with this deck. Who did you beat?

Brett says:
 Round 9 was Alex West who was playing UR, Round 10 was Daniel Blackbourne playing mono White, and Round 11 the feature match against Juza.  He was BW.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 How about your second pod – who was in it, and what was the deck like?

Brett says:
 I was lucky enough to be on table 1 for the second pod.  It had the Japanese contingent of Saitou, Watanabe and Mitamura, and Shane Dalliston and Steve Aplin who made top 8.  Rounding out the table was Andrew Eckermann and Levi Hinz.

 I went into RW almost straight away with first pick Journey and 2nd pick Burst Lightning.  I ended up with 2 Journey’s and 3 Burst’s for the draft.  The rest of the deck just kind of got pieced together, including 4 (!) Steppe Lynx, some flying Kor (Aeronauts and Skyfisher) in the 2 drop slot, and some awesome Hookmaster for 3 drops.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 ..Oh sweet jeebers, that’s insane.

Brett says:
 Not bad for my 2nd draft ever.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 And you went 1-0-2? Were they both Intentional Draws? And who did you beat?

Brett says:
 I played Levi in Round 12 in 3 very close matches.  He played a very solid UR deck that almost got there.  He got stuck on 3 lands in the decider so he was understandably frustrated.  At this point I knew I could draw in so I was extremely pleased, only to be given the news I had mis-registered my deck list (I literally forgot to register all my red cards).

 I received a game loss for the following round.  At this stage, Shane, Saitou and I were the only players on 33 points so I was hoping I didn’t get paired down.  Luckily I got paired with Shane who graciously decided to ID even though I had a game loss.  Saito went on to win and we ID’d in the last round.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Obviously we know the result, but how did you Top 8 Draft and quarterfinal match go?

Brett says:

 Badly.  I thought my deck was pretty average no matter what blisterguy says.  I went pretty heavy green first pack but saw no real other playables.  First pick was a Turntimber Ranger, and I had some other solid picks in River Boa, Nissa’s Chosen, Harrow and Oran-Reef Survivalist.  I got a late Hagra Diabolist so I tried to push black in the 2nd pack.

 2nd pack I picked Bloodghast over another Oran-Reef Survivalist which probably was a bad pick.  I picked Mind Sludge over Disfigure for my 2nd pick which again was probably questionable.  I saw very limited green passing to the right so I was just trying to pick up anything playable at this point.

 Last pack I opened a first pick Hideous End which I was extremely grateful for.  Unfortunately Watanabe to my right was heavy black and I got cut off pretty bad in the 3rd pack, so I was barely able to scrape a deck together.

 I randomly (I guess?) got paired against top seed Saito which seems a bit unfair since I finished 4th.  He had the deck I wanted, solid Black/Green with Red splash for removal and Blue splash for the insane draw ally.

 Needless to say my one Hideous End wasn’t going to get there against the blue Ally, and I got ground out in 2 long games.

[Plubby] Reece says:
Are your co-workers familiar with Magic at all? What did you tell them, if anything about this experience?

Brett says:
 No actually, I work in IT so no reason to make them think of me as a super nerd who plays card games.  My sister works in game development and has loads of co-workers who play casually, so I have sort of become a local hero to them – does that count? 

[Plubby] Reece says:
 It’ll do 🙂
 And lastly, are there any other interesting or amusing stories you want to share?

Brett says:
 Well this was my return to Magic.  I hadn’t played competitively in over a year and had sort of lost my edge.  I joked with Isaac in the last game of Day 1 about forgetting my trigger on my Umara Raptor.  He ended up losing the games so I made sure to let him know he lost to a 3CC Flying Men.

 I also had to have M10 rules explained to me as I thought I had lethal combat damage, but apparently lifelink isn’t triggered anymore so the static ‘simultaneous’ life gain got me.

I corrected Saitou on a misplay 😀 I had a board of critters, Saitou had some blockers including a Vampire Hexmage. I brought out Tuktuk Grunts (2/2 ally gets +1/+1 counter, and has Haste naturally) and attacked. He chumped Tuktuk without killing it since he didn’t realise the Hexmage had First Strike, and could sacrifice between First Strike and regular damage to kill it.  

 Other than that, just enjoyed meeting Melburnians again who I used to play against and meeting with the Pros.  Not that he would remember me, but Olivier Ruel is one of the funniest guys going around.

[Plubby] Reece says:
 Wait, so you top8’d this Grand Prix completely kold? Second ever limited event, first ever draft, first time playing magic at all in over a year?!? All of this with ZERO byes?

Brett says: 
Yup.  Ralphey (Ed: Ralphey being Russel Alphey, the Premier Tournament Organiser in Melbourne. Props to Ralphey!) can attest to that as he didn’t even know I was from Melbourne!

 [Plubby] Reece says:

 Well, that’s certainly invoking the mystic powers of Chris Pikula!

 
Congratulations again, Brett and hopefully it won’t be another year before we see you at another Magic tournament. Well done!

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1 Comment »

  1. Shane Dalliston said

    Good interview Bretty and well done again on top8’ing!

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