I posted this in the Facebook forum group (highly edited to be more in depth and easier to read), but since this was from the results of this tournament, I feel it's appropriate to put here.
I was on 2 Card Monte, a deck I have played a grand total of 4 or 5 rounds with before. With so little experience, card-for-card I used @Shaman-Ben's list.
Special thanks to @Shaman-Ben and @CHA1N5 for letting me borrow cards to have a completed deck. I'm highly appreciated of these gestures as it shows they both trust me enough with their cards.
Opponent: Jon Wilkerson
Opponent's Deck: Dredge
Result: Lost (0-1)
This one stung a bit as this is typically a good match-up for 2 Card Monte and I punted this away. Please don't misunderstand me, I take nothing away from my opponent and he won fair and square. Anyway, I learned a hugely valuable lesson when playing this deck. More on that in a bit.
Game 1 I crushed. Basically a nut draw with having a Leyline of the Void in my opening hand and the combo in my hand. Once I drew the 2 mana (ended up being a Ancient Tomb), I could activate the combo and win. I made a minor mistake and forgot to name a color with Painter's Servant (it would have changed nothing). I was about to call Ben over as the judge, but the opponent told me it didn't matter and I randomly named black (which I should have named blue regardless of the board state). Minor mistakes, but something I need to clean up as this will matter more in the future.
Game 2 I mulled to 5 and never got it together. Unfortunately never saw a Leyline of the Void. I seemed to have 1/2 of each of the combos and the opponent went off. Death by zombies.
Game 3 was interesting and a fun game. I would have made some NFL punters jealous with the punt I made, though. The game had some good play and was entertaining. In a later turn I got into a position where I had a winning line. needed to cast Demonic Consultation for Black Lotus to cast Leyline of the Void (or Helm of Obedience... I forget which... let's just assume Leyline) and activate it. I had a Containment Priest out. However, the next turn I would have enough mana to cast the Leyline and win. I felt safe behind the Containment Priest, so I incorrectly passed the turn. On my opponent's turn he managed to Cabal Pit my Containment Priest and Cabal Therapy me 3 times to strip away all my cards and proceeded to destroy my board with Ingot Chewers.
What this taught me is this deck is not like playing a control deck and I need to be a bit more aggressive. I have very little experience with Combo decks, so I am learning. I also need to pay a little more attention to the graveyard of the Dredge opponent. I got a little over zealous and cocky. In a lot of ways, this was a good loss, because while I was frustrated with myself, I learned something very valuable on how to play this deck. I confirmed my thinking of what I did wrong when I talked to both @Shaman-Ben and @CHA1N5 about the play as I wanted to confirm what I was thinking.
Opponent: Marcel Moore
Opponent's Deck: Eldrazi Shops
Result: Won (1-1)
I had nut hands 2 games in a row and he did not cast a Null Rod. Move on.
Oh, before I forget, I made @Shaman-Ben proud when I, this time, cast Demonic Consultation for Black Lotus for the win. He loves that play apparently as it speaks to him as a player (he posted about it on Twitter). Also, what I'm most proud of on that play is that showed player growth with this deck as it is hard evidence of me learning how to play the deck correctly.
Opponent: Michael Tabler
Opponent's Deck: Outcome/TPS
Result: Lost (1-2)
My opponent beat me in 2 games . Not much to say, my hands never really came together and he was able to string his combos together faster than me. I side-boarded a bit "incorrectly", because I was expecting since he was running Paradoxical that he would have Force of Will. I found out after the games he played no Forces in his deck. I do not count that as a mistake, just a bad call on my part. Nothing to be ashamed of there, as I playing to my past knowledge of the archetype.
Though, a slightly amusing note. When I died in game 2, the only cards in my graveyard were my 4 Red Elemental Blasts. If he didn't Duress me on his last turn, I would most likely have won the game, as I foolishly looked at my top card (it was Demonic Consultation). That would have been enough to win the game, as I just needed, I believe, Helm of Obedience.
Opponent: Kyle Lenox (@zodiacboyscout)
Opponent's Deck: JacoDrazi
Result: Lost (1-3)
Game 1 I had no chance. Null rod turn one, Thought-Knot Seer turn 2, Reality Smasher turn 3, game over.
Game 2 I punted. Kyle played extremely well, don't get me wrong there, but I made a costly mistake. To explain, on turn 0 he got out a Leyline of Sanctity. I had a Nature's Claim in hand and stupidly decided to slow roll it. At one point I drew another Nature's Claim and Demonic Tutor'd for an Ancient Grudge. For some reason, I Nature Claimed his Null Rod instead of the Leyline of Sanctity. After using Ancient Grudge on his Revoker, I had Grudge in the graveyard. In a later turn, I was about to win, or so I thought, as I went to Ancient Grudge his Leyline and quickly realized I couldn't do that (obviously it's an enchantment). If I hit Leyline immediately (as I should have) with Nature's Claim and used Ancient Grudge on Null Rod, I should have won that game, sending it to game 3.
Kyle is a good friend, so we talked all this through after the game and he made some suggestions on my sideboarding. He was on the mindset that I take out Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt instead of my 3 Red Elemental Blasts. I'm still on the fence whether to take out the Red Elemental Blast's or not, as they are dead without Painter's Servant, but really awesome when I have Painter's Servant. I will speak more on my side-boarding woes later.
Opponent's Deck: JacoDrazi
Result: Won (2-3)
This opponent never wins against anybody. Why does he/she ever bother showing up? It's like an automatic win or something.
Real Overall Results: (1-3)
In all seriousness, I don't like to include bye's from having a bad record into my record, so I don't include it here. If I got it round 1 when I showed up, I would, but that's a different story.
I went 1-3 (2-3 if you count the bye... I don't).
No way around it, not a good record. However, I'm a little more spirited then last month when I couldn't win a match with Mentor. This deck, simply put, is fucking awesome. I wanted to this post to talk about what I learned today to improve as a player. Not about my good plays, but my bad plays.
Thoughts On Misplays
Anyway, there is a common mistake I make that separates me from the better players. I rush thinking through things and don't take time to think proper sequencing in magic. I'm a decent/good player, I'm not bad at all in my opinion, but I play against some really good players and my bad habit creates enough space between me and my opponent that it to cause me to lose more often than not. Obviously variance has it's hand in it too, but if I can shore that mistake up, I will start stringing wins together. The gap will start to close.
Another issue I have is, plain and simple, experience with a deck. I have spent the past year trying out new decks almost every tournament to try to learn the various vintage archetypes and to better understand them. Since champs last year, this is only the second time I have played the same archetype more than once. This has caused record suffering, but I do believe it has made me a better player. I purposely did this to better understand the format.
Another huge part that causes me to suffer is the lack of knowledge of what is a keepable hand and how to sideboard correctly. This goes hand-in-hand with my last point of changing decks constantly. There is a lot that can be said on those two things that only come with experience with a deck, which I basically have none. I hope to pick @Shaman-Ben's brain as much as I can for this awesome deck.
@zodiacboyscout (Kyle Lenox) gets the reward for the best play of the evening. I hard casted Sphinx of the Steel Wind and he proceeded to Dismember it. I quietly reminded him that it was a 6/6, but he shrugged his shoulders and said he knows... which immediately made me realize what he was doing... fuck, I know what he is about to do. He proceeded to cast Warping Wail to exile it. So Kyle, bravo man. Bravo.