My first attempt at a tournament report so bear with me please - I also apologies in advance for not recording the top 8 decks and the eventual winner (as I didn't make top 8 I entered a side draft and didn't see the top 8 play).
5 regulars from Cardiff Games attended PTQ Birmingham - myself, Steve, Dan, Chris and Len. I had been up late the night before and was also nominated driver so I was feeling pretty tired on arrival. I had a choice of decks - Mono-Green with all its artifact removal or Affinity. My Mono-Green had been doing reasonably well for me at the regular Cardiff Games FNM tournaments but I wasn't too sure what the metagame at the PTQ was going to be like. With no chance to scout what others were playing I decided on Affinity and just hope not to meet too much hate or at least out-race it.
I was originally paired against Mick but everyone was almost immediately re-paired to accommodate 3 late arrivals - something that most players were willing for the judge to do. I ended up paired up against a Big-Red deck. Not a good start for me I thought as I'd never had much luck against Big-Red with my deck previously.
I was a bit nervous and also a bit hyped from the can of Red Bull I'd drunk about 1/2 hr before so I didn't play the first game well at all and I missed some life loss that I should have done to my opponent with Disciple of the Vault. Surprisingly I managed to win the first game but it was a close run thing.
Game 2 was his all the way - he removed my land almost as fast as I could play it.
Game 3 - this time I got lucky and had one of the explosive starts that Affinity is capable of. Very quick game.
Games 2-1 Matches 1-0
Paired against a very friendly chap whose name I can't remember. First game he played a Forest (a warning sign for lots of artifact hate). Next turn he played an Island. Hmm - Blue/Green Eternal Witness/Crystal Shard I thought - a matchup I did not want to face. Fortunately for me it was a rogue jank deck containing Razormane Manticore - a card I'd never faced before. It caused me a few problems but my opponent more as he got quite confused about the various effects on the card.
Games 4-2 Matches 2-0
After a quick lunch break round 3 starts. I have no opponent - if he doesn't arrive in 3 minutes I win a game. My opponent arrives with mere seconds to spare - he'd had a puncture whilst trying to get some food - he rushed back to make the round, leaving his car jacked up in a car park somewhere and having had no lunch.
His deck a vicious red/black control/burn deck that seems to be designed to kill my deck cold. I have no answers for most of his threats and its over very quickly. I don't feel too bad as his deck is very impressive and he does make it to the semi-finals so...
Games 4-4 Matches 2-1
Having only lost 1 match I can still make top 8 if I win all my remaining matches. I'm paired against another Big-Red deck. This time I'm not so lucky and he beats me in the race.
Games 4-6 Matches 2-2
I have no hope of top 8 now but as no draft pods are running yet I decide to stay in and at least try and improve my ranking. I'm paired against a very young player (6 years old!) playing mono-green (the deck I almost played). This should be tough for me, mono-green should crush my deck most of the time. He's not is a good frame of mind having just lost his last match to a silly play on his part - he's kicking himself for it most of the way through our match. I get good draws and the deck is quicker - an early Disciple of the Vault ensures that any removal he has hurts him just as much as me and his lack of concentration on this match means its over pretty quickly.
Games 6-6 Matches 3-2
I'm paired against Mick - who I almost played in the first round, somewhow that has a nice symmetry for me. It becomes instantly apparent that he's playing Affinity as well - the mirror match, this is going to be a race to play Disciples. Game 1 - I win the race with 2 Disciples on the table anything he does hurts him more than me.
Game 2 - I've get a slightly strange had, only 1 land - a glimmervoid - not usually good on its own - but 3 Disciples and 2 welding jars, I've kept it hoping to draw well, the 3 Disciples are just too tempting. Mick looks pretty smug as he plays a first turn Vault of Whispers followed by Disciple of the Vault, I play my Jars, Glimmervoid and 1 Disciple, so far we're pretty even. I then play the remain Disciples in the subsequent turns and I get good draws - the result is innevitable and Mick cannot believe I had 3 Disciples against him - I tell him what my opening hand was and he can't believe it.
Games 8-6 Matches 4-2
My best performance at a PTQ yet - I place 15th overall. I'm so elated at this that I enter a side draft which I promptly lose