Metagaming in Small Scale

I’m going to a PPTQ this Sunday. There’s only ten players preregistered as of right now. I assume a couple more will join, but not too many. Here’s the deal: The registration is done openly and I can see all the players.

I know a lot of players in Finland and I know a lot about their preferences. In some cases I know exactly what they are going to be playing. Maybe not quite card by card, but pretty close anyhow.

I know one of them is going to be playing Jeskai Black, one is going to be playing Atarka Red, one of them is going to be playing an aggressive Boros list with plenty of Prowess and ways to trigger it and one is going to be playing four- or five-color Bring to Light brew or something in that vein.

Since according to the rules, its going to be five rounds with a top four, I will probably be playing against one or more of these decks at some point in the tournament. So, this isn’t about speculation on the field as a whole. I’m going to a tournament where I’m not metagaming against an unknown field of fourteen hundred people. I’m clearly trying to find some way of winning a handful of people, many of whom I know well enough to know what they are playing. This isn’t big enough tournament for anyone to make enough of a commitment to get a new deck. People will be playing what they have and this is going to give me an even better idea on what to expect.

I personally don’t have a deck I’ll play in any tournament. I do have a fairly good collection of standard cards, though, so I have some room to maneuver. I can’t play some decks I’m not inclined to play anyhow, like the rampiest of ramp decks, aggrost of aggro decks or the most boring of control decks. I will be finding my deck somewhere in the middle.

I’ve been playing a lot of GW Megamorph lately, but its a pretty coin-tossy match-up against Jeskai Black, so I’m not sure I want to do that. I would like to play BR Aggro, but I haven’t played that deck yet, so I don’t think I want to go in blindly.

So, what I’m thinking is GW Tokens (or Bant tokens). Both green and white are historically pretty good against red aggro, it has good removal against Jeskai Black (unless there’s a Dragonlord Ojutai involved) and I just like the deck. I also don’t think people will be very well prepared for it, because they won’t be expecting it (unless they read this, which I don’t think is going to happen).

So, my message here: To win a small tournament, know the people around you. I remember names and I remember the decks they’ve played. I even know some weaknesses they have in their gameplay, so that gives me an edge too, although I wouldn’t try to use that information unless I really need to, because there are risks involved.

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