by Zac Clark
Around 5pm I’m walking down my stairs to check the mail one last time. I’ve got some cards coming in the mail that I need for decks tonight. Curses! Foiled again.
I meet my Jersey pal Paul coming up the stairs. We spent most of yesterday deck-teching RDW’s and GW Aggro. It was an intense day of testing and at times frustrating. Paul and I differ in opinions on cards often. I have to remember that he’s not dealt with the meta over the last 2 months. I’m excited to see him back in the game.
RDWs matches his play style so we built a deck with some fun secret tech. The GW Aggro deck I’m playing is much the same as the one my buddy Matt Jones has been talking up. I’m super ready to play a beat down deck. After weeks of trying to build a rogue deck to match well versus the meta it’s time to play with Rancors and Silverblade Paladins.
Thinking is for IDIOTS! Haha!
GW Aggro Mayor
4 Cavern of Souls
2 Gavony Township
1 Selesnya Guildgate
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Knight of Glory
3 Sublime Archangel
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Mayor of Avabruck
3 Doomed Traveler
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Silverblade Paladin
3 Dryad Militant
1 Selesnya Charm
3 Faith’s Shield
2 Oblivion Ring
10 other spells
1 Faith’s Shield
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Fiend Hunter
2 Elite Inquisitor
3 Selesnya Charm
2 Purify the Grave
1 Dryad Militant
15 sideboard cards
One last thing before we leave… I switch to my vintage MATT JONES T-Shirt to channel the Obliterator himself. I’ve been listening to Manowar and Rancid’s black album (2000) all day. I AM THE BEATDOWN.
Still a blue mage at heart though, I tell Paul to not tell anyone about my deck choice on the train and that before the tourney I’m testing American Control. I’ve removed the Niv-Mizzet and added Chandras. As I expected, that’s enough to get some heads turning. “What is that card in your hand?” Kadar Brock (local at my LGS) exclaims.
“Justice League of AMERICA!” I laugh as Paul crushes me with his RDW. I play the store’s other Zach in a couple of games of Modern. The only deck I have is Fish. Modern at the Twenty Sided Store is funny because so few of us have decks that I’m a factor in the metagame. I haven’t even been able to play a Modern tourney yet. Still, I enjoy the format and really look forward to playing some soon. Zach rocks Living End. Both decks are kind of hilarious… I cast a bunch of Merfolk lords that all pump each other. Zach cascades to Living End and all these cycled creatures switch from the graveyard to play. We trade games back and forth, basically whoever goes first wins.
“STANDARD PLAYERS! PAIRING FOR ROUND ONE NOW IN THE BACK!”
Here goes nothin. It’s a full house and space is as tight as the play here.
My round one opponent got severely mana-screwed and asked me privately to not mention him in my report.
Suffice it to say I won this match without any opposition. I respect the wishes of this player and although I’m sort of bummed I can’t talk about the match, I’m totally ok with being asked to keep a match off the record. Slightly bummed though, because I was looking forward to talking this cat up. In GP Philly we spent some time between rounds testing our decks and those games he pointed out a play flaw that I used to win in the next round.
That said, even though I like winning, mana-screwed opponents (especially one who I like to play against/consider a classic foil) is one of the worst and most awkward ways to win. I never know what to say. “I’m sorry” seems like I’m being a jerk. It’s shitty for everyone involved. Now if this was some big time tourney or even something with a Top 8 at 20ss I’d be a little happier. I’m slightly somber though as my first run with this deck was null. I have no idea how it really does versus his deck.
1-0 match 2-0 games
HT Bant Control
I had some time between rounds to scout and to grab a coffee. Right next to my round one, I watch a furious match up between a GW Midrange and a Bant Control deck.
I felt pretty good about my macthup versus control but that Mid Range deck scared the BeJESUS outta me. I wondered who won the match as pairings for round two told me the answer: HT was piloting the Bant list.
The games where tight as I took game one on the back of two Faith’s Shield to stop his tempo plays (Azorious Charm) on my Silverblade Paladin.
The second game got dicey as I got him low then he cast a Thragtusk. Thankfully the next turn I drew a Selesnya Charm to give my double striker Trample and +2/+2, thus sealing HT’s fate. After the game HT was all smiles though. He was telling me how tough FNM was last week. He mentionned that he’d just spent the $400 to complete this Bant deck only to 0-4 with it last week. My heart sank… I know that feeling (F^&% you, American Control!). My advice was to play it a lot and learn the match-ups. Often times piloting the same deck over and over will teach you how to win against the other decks. I’d rather be a good player with a deck that’s a little under on win percentage than a terrible one with the top deck.
Bant is a solid deck and I think it has the interaction that stand to see it as an archetype long into the block. Sphinx’s Revelation goes a long way into this.
2-0 match 4-0 games
Richard Tan – JUND
Richard and I know each other from being at the shop all the time, but this is a first for us. I’m living high on the Aggro Wagon. Also my low curve and only running two colors means last week’s getting severely mana-screwed 5 games in a row isn’t happening. Things are looking good for me. I’m ready for some hardcore GW aggro on JUND midrange action!
Richard mulls to six. I groan. I like my hand, but I really am sick of my opponents getting manas-crewed. He keeps. I rushed out Champion… he killed it with Pillar then I played a Knight of Glory and followed with a Silverblade… once again Faith’s Shield saved the day as I got in with my dudes and avoided removal.
Game two RT mulled to 4. I want to cry, now. He keeps a hand with no land… and ironically almost stabilized vs. me via Huntmaster and Pillar. If that would have happened, I think I’d have lost my mind.
We play a third game for the hell of it and he takes it.
3-0 match 6-0 games
I look over at Paul he’s 0-2 playing Tim A. They’re on game three. I decide to walk over and see how it looks. Paul’s had a rough day. 1-2 vs. Tony Loman then Jordan Morgan got him in the second. Now I look at Tim’s hand and life. 6 cards 6 life. Supreme Verdict, Land, Sphinx’s Revelation, Sphinx’s Revelation, Tamiyo, Azorious Charm.
Paul’s in for a rude, rude awakening. Tim wipes the board clean, Paul responds by frowning. Paul TOP DECKS… nothing of interest… Tim plays land and Tamiyo. Over the next few turns he Revelations into Revelations (DIRTY!) and Ultimates Tamiyo. I think Paul, had a slight aneurysm when Tim cast Revelations and put it back in his hand. We all shake our heads. Paul eventually scoops. Everyone has a good laugh, including Paul. Tim compliments him on his Archwing Dragon tech, which won him the second game… his deck had few answers for it.
Nick Heppding – CraterRamp (Hoof there it is!)
Looking at the pairings I was relieved to see I’d be playing Nick. It’s been a bit since we faced each other in Standard. (See epic rage quits.) Seriously though, if I had to be on the other side of the table from anyone, I’d like to face a friend in the finals. Especially one that needs the store points as much as I do.
“So I’m gonna need those Deathrite Shamans back now,” I jest
“Ha, split packs, play for points?”
“Seems like a plan.”
I have no idea how his deck works… I could have watched the games he played to see but I was busy chatting and stuff. Game one he goes to 1 life. Rushes out a Craterhoof Behemoth with the help of mana dorks and swings with Lingering Souls tokens and Behemoth for lethal… I am Jack’s total lack of big butt blockers.
Game two looks the same.
I have him the next turn and Whoops! the ground rumbles and I’m dead! Ok now, I know how the deck works. Looked like there was a reanimator package too but he didn’t need it. Theses were fast games. I think I spent more time shuffling and waiting for my opponent to decide to keep/mull tonight than actually play.
THAT’S MY STYLE OF MAGIC!
I play the game fast and put my opponent on the “Are you finished yet? I’d like to attack all out again!” plan. Pretty effective. The deck likely has trouble against midrange but Sublime Archangel and Faith’s Shield have things to say about that.
3-1 match 6-2 games
There won’t be a TNM report from me next week. I’ll be going to Lisbon to play in GP Lisbon.
Well Magic in the USA has just become too much of a scene, bro. I need to see what’s up with these huge Euro GPs. Seriously though, a friend and I are running all around Southern Europe and playing/eating/drinking/being otherwise solid representatives of a nation that could use a little international polish.
If you tune into my other Twitter Feed @Rockertycoon, all the non-magic stuff with be there. I’ll switch over to @HotcBlog on Fri/Sat/Sun for Event coverage and fun pictures. I may have enough down time to post some thoughts and what have you. I’ll be back in time for Early Friday Draft at 20ss. Expect some great stories and maybe I’ll even take down the whole damn Grand Prix like a boss.
If you can’t beat them, build a rogue deck that does!