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[Magic Mondays] That Pro Tour

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringMany who might be reading this are already aware that Tom Martell took PT Gatecrash with his “The Aristocrats” deck, which,  believe it or not, was RWB Aggro-Control. I’ve been trying to crack the wedge since the Baltimore Open and a solution is finally here. I mean look at the list run by both him and Sam Black as opposed to my Baltimore list. There are some definite gaps with Gatecrash having not been around, but I feel like had that weekend not been so soul crushing, I likely would have stuck with this list and been in a spot that was ready to just slot the Reckoner and Shocks in.

Always trust my gut, it would seem.

4  Blood Crypt
3  Cavern of Souls
1  Clifftop Retreat
4  Godless Shrine
4  Isolated Chapel
3  Plains
4  Sacred Foundry
1  Vault of the Archangel


24 lands

4  Boros Reckoner
4  Cartel Aristocrat
4  Champion of the Parish
4  Doomed Traveler
4  Falkenrath Aristocrat
3  Knight of Infamy
1  Restoration Angel
2  Silverblade Paladin
2  Skirsdag High Priest
2  Zealous Conscripts


30 creatures

2  Lingering Souls
4  Orzhov Charm


6 other spells

Sideboard

2  Blasphemous Act
2  Lingering Souls
1  Mentor of the Meek
2  Obzedat, Ghost Council
2  Rest in Peace
1  Skirsdag High Priest
2  Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
3  Tragic Slip


15 sideboard cards

4 Blood Crypt
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Plains
3 Swamp
3 Mountain
2 Cavern of Souls


23 lands

4 Champion of the Parish
4 Kruin Striker
3 Silverblade Paladin
2 Sublime Archangel
4 Knight of Glory
4 Knight of Infamy
3 Falkenrath Aristocrat


24 Creatures

3 Duress
4 Faithless Looting
4 Krenko’s Command
2 Mizzium Mortars


13 Other Spells

Other than that, there isn’t much to talk about. I don’t get any play this weekend as I was at a wedding with Rei. Going over to The Pillage tonight for some Monday Night Standard so I can get Life Bomb(WB Vizkopia Guildmage+ Exquisite Blood combo) in order so I have something to play in Standard side events should I scrub out at Charlotte.  Hopefully my phone doesn’t die before I even get my cards this time and I’ll actually be able to tweet about the rounds.

For any who are going to be at GP Charlotte, drop me a line here or on Twitter.

See ya’ll next time!

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[Magic Mondays] RUG Rumblings

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringMade some tweaks to RUG flash and ended up breaking it. Sliding more out of green for a wider array of disruption screwed my draws. Worse yet, I never seemed to have the right disruption and that lost me the first match against Grixis Superfriends. Match two went oddly as planned and the deck performed flawlessly after board. Match three was…less desirable an outcome and I finished the night 1-2.

 

So lets look at what I goofed on then:

  • I took out Thragtusk. Many of you will cry about not playing ‘tusk when I’m playing green, but in all the games I lost he wouldn’t have been helpful and really Huntmaster does his job a little better in this set up.
  • I went with four Staticasters main and ended up not playing a single aggro deck. In otherwords: wasted space. Think they’ll be a three of in the board along with two Niteshade Peddlers.
  • I cut the Farseeks and without them I ended up at least twice with three forests, no Avenger and a hand full off U and R spells. Needs to get fixed and will be a auto include come Feb.
  • Aside from hoping that I disrupt enough to land an Avenger and then strike with Kessig, my only other Win-con is Thundermaw on the same window. Granted, yes, the dragon gets there, but right now they deck feels like bad control and not aggro-control. Maybe I need some Strangleroot in the Side for Control matchups or…I don’t even know.
  • I still feel like I should be aiming for EOT shenanigans to press my advantage, but Cackling Counterpart didn’t do the trick. Maybe Qurion Dryad is the solution since the disruption is all U and R, or Talrand that way the disruption does two things.
  • I do know I need more draw, I’m not hitting the things I need when I need them this would certainly make dryad or Talrand more desirable as a include so maybe I’ve got something here.

In other words it’s very likely that the path to victory might be more draw, synergy with such effects,  and a healthy dose of Bonfire. Realistically though, the whole build is gonna change in a few weeks. I won’t eveny be playing really since I’ll be in Maine for residency two of the Fridays between here and Gatecrash. Which, by the way, is looking awesome for me. If nothing else, the Gruul mechanic Bloodrush will boost the power level of the deck by giving me the choice to play creatures or use them as Giant Growths. I’m super excited for Evolve, but I don’t think it’ll fit here. I do know a certain Champion who would love to hang with Evolve though, esp if there’s some ramp involved. I’m gonna need so many copies of the Forest/Other shocks…

Anyway, as a heads up I’ll probably not be posting next week or the week after, seeing as I won’t be playing. So I will catch you all the week before ‘crash and we’ll talk brews!

4 weeks to the ‘crash! See you then!

[Magic Mondays] The Joys of a Rogue Deck — Piloting RUG Flash

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringNot an hour after last week’s post I blew the build up and decided to go back to my roots–which probably could use some sketching out. I started Magic with Starter ’99 and really got to playing when Odyssey hit. During that time I played a brew that came to be known as UG Madness. Part Combo, Part Aggro, the deck could transform mid-game to respond to threats. With a Wild Mongrel on the field, I could drop threats on their turn, I could make my creatures jump over theirs, I could discard spells and play them as a lower cost. It was very nearly unpredictable what I could play that turn and along with Nimble Mongoose, the deck stomped. With as much Flash in the format as there is I couldn’t resist trying to capturing the feeling again and thus RUG Flash was born.

Lands
4 Steam Vents
4 Hinterland Harbor
2 Rootbound Crag
2 Kessig Wolf Run
5 Forest
3 Island
3 Mountain
Creatures
3 Izzet Staticaster
3 Wolfir Avenger
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
4 Thragtusk
3 Thundermaw Hellkite
3 Snapcaster Mage
Spells
3 Farseek
4 Thoughtscour
3 Unsummon
3 Searing Spear
2 Dissipate (was Counterflux, might end up Negate)
2 Rewind

I think I’m going to take out the 3 Farseek to put Yeva back in and cut one (or more) ‘tusks and to add some other lower cost creatures that can abuse Yeva’s passive like Mayor of Avabruck for end of turn shenanigans. Midrange with the Rewind threat is fun and all, but until I can fetch Breeding Pool, having both Avenger (Or Yeva) and Rewind up is hard unless I’ve miraclously hit two Hinterlands. That isn’t to say that Staticast isn’t a wonderful threat, but it’s not like she cracks back for anything. For now, I might be better off with more instant speed draw or single green creatures. Not too worried though, with less than a month to Gatecrash, I’ve got plenty of time to test and see how the deck plays out and make adjustments.

As it is however, the deck did what I expected. Because of how it plays, most matchups are are pretty even and because people haven’t seen it before they aren’t sure how to play around it. Multiple times in each match my opponent sat back and wondered out loud what it was I was playing, typically after an Avenger came out after a Rewind or I dropped a Thundermaw when they tapped out at EOT to counter said Avenger. When they guy who was playing Reanimator cast Slaughter Games on me, he seemed stunned as he thumbed through my library looking for Rewinds. “I like what you’re doing there,” he said while shuffling it after. “Looks like a lot of fun, still don’t know what it is you’re doing though.” Even though I didn’t place, as a Johnny, I like to think I still won yesterday. The  feeling of watching people face down something they had never seen before was worth any number of byes.

Anyway, let me know if you give this deck a spin at your FNM this week and as always comments and feedback are welcome. Catch ya’ll next week!

[Magic Mondays] Preparing for Baltimore

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringThe SCG Open at Baltimore is this weekend. I’m not really sure how things will go, Group Hug isn’t nearly consistent enough to play and Goblin Bomb hasn’t gotten nearly enough testing. I’d play Cockatirce all week, but with the weekend being pretty much gone, I’ve got to get my packet done as done as possible so next week I can finish it up.

So, this previous weekend…

Went Badly.

Tweaks I made to Group Hug made it worse and aside from a close game one each time, I ended the night at a total loss after they sideboarded–yes, I got a bye, but that doesn’t count, especially in round three when that’s the end for the night :/

Wish I’d played Goblin Bomb to get it better tested. The list is pretty much what I played last week, though some lands and flings have come in in exchange for Goblin Rally and Gislea. I really want to play Gisela, but as it is she’s something I’m never going to play and she’ll almost always be a dead card in my hand. Heck, Burn at the Steak is more often than not a dead card and I’m running 14 Mountains! (though really that should probably be 12 so i can run more plains…)

Actually, I might just scrap Boros Goblin Bomb and go back to trying to do it Izzet style. Augur provides a pretty solid engine, and even without Snapcaster I think I can make it work…(though really snappy would be a huge boost). Like before the point is to land a Burn at the Stake, except now the back up plan is Goblin+Pike instead of Fling+Kruin Striker (that’s actually going to go in a different deck…which Group Hug will likely evolve into).

Anyway the list as it is now:

  • Lands (21)
  • 6 Mountain
  • 4 Steam Vents
  • 4 Sulfur Falls
  • 6 Island
  • 1 Desolate Lighthouse
  • Planeswalkers (6)
  • 3 Chandra, the Firebrand
  • 3 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
  • Creatures (4)
  • 4 Augur of Bolas
  • Spells (26)
  • 4 Krenko’s Command
  • 3 Mizzium Mortars
  • 3 Cyclonic Rift
  • 2 Goblin Rally
  • 3 Burn at the Stake
  • 4 Thought Scour
  • 4 Negate
  • 3 Electrickery
  • Artifacts (3)
  • 3 Runechanter’s Pike

I’m not decided on if Sleep is a worthy include. It’s not a true sweeper, but it buys me a turn and is cheaper than either an overloaded Mortars or Rift. Delver of Secrets has tested okay so far, but personal taste is a hard thing to over come. I’m also torn ab out Goblin Rally, every time I land it after Chandra and I make eight goblins feels so good, but I feel like I could run one more Burn at the Stake and one more Electrickery/Rift/Mortars instead on have more value. Maybe 3 Rally/ 3 Command?

The biggest weakness so far is that nothing beyond Chandra and Burn at the Stake go to the dome. I mean sure, a 6/1 first striking goblin token is a pretty solid clock, but if I don’t Stake, I’m not sure how well I can win with just the tokens. One D-Sphere pretty much ruins my day, much less any sweeper. I guess the trick is to not Goblin Storm until I can Stake and hope that Augur+Pike can hold down the fort with back up from my disruption.

I do know this, unless Group Hug feels great running two Sublime Archangel (really need to find a third), this is likely the deck I’ll be running at Baltimore. It’s not any worse on set up than Frites, so I think I can at least top 64 if all goes well–and maybe higher if the meta ends up sweeper light–which, to be honest, isn’t likely. With Zombies on the rise again, I can expect WU Flash to be king this week. If not that, then the midrange monsters of Jund/Bant/Naya will likely take the top spot.

Anyway, I’ll try to do some coverage on Twitter while I’m there and recap on Monday. ’til then!

[Magic Mondays] Standard, Week Six: I hate Midrange

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringOnly played FNM this week, so I’ll skip on the podcast (not that anyone has said anything about it one way or the other) Went 1-2 with my Dirty Red build and I’m pretty sure that I might abandon it. Like I love playing it, but in my meta everyone is playing midrange decks with 8 or more life gain in their curve…there’s just no way for me to overcome that. In what is likely my Johnny streak flaring up, I don’t want to play any of the midrange archetypes currently in power–I want to come up with a solution, not stagnate the format. So I’m brewing something and seeing how it goes. I’m thinking RBW, but I’m not 100% on the game plan. I feel like Aggro control is the way to victory, but not sure what the threat would be. Stromkirk Noble is the likely go to but a deck centered on white with humans as the core might do well also. Then again, Geralf’s Messenger is another potential pick. I will continue to brew and see how things come out.

So then, the brew:

4 Blood Crypt
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Isolated Chapel
5 Plains
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
4 Kruin Striker
3 Silverblade Paladin
4 Sublime Archangel
4 Faithless Looting
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
3 Knight of Glory
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2 Duress
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Divine Reckoning
3 Knight of Infamy
4 Krenko’s Command
2 Krenko, Mob Boss

The plan is getting there on the back of Kruin Striker and lots of token generation. If I have to board in the sweepers, Sorin can recover quickly and even take control of the game. Using Divine Reckoning instead of Terminus means that I can keep out two creatures if I have the Aristocrat out and I can turn the game in my favor. Toying with some control effects and other ETB guys. Resto Angel is (as always) a real possibility. Feel free to post your own ideas in the comments below. ‘Til next time!

 

 

[Magic Mondays] Unboxing: Dark Ascension

MY co,umn about Magic: The GahteringBought a box of Dark Ascension (DKA) over the weekend. Both because I wanted to buy a box and open 36 packs in one go and because I wanted to bolster the Standard pool Rei and I are building decks from. Wish that I could have gotten an M13 (or Avacyn Restored) box, but there was a huge turn out for FNM at Comics and Gaming and five boxes fell to drafting.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass along the color and card distributions, along with a few cards I found interesting, and post the current draft of my Green White Primadox Bounce Deck.

Number Distribution

Got 507 non-basic land cards. Most Common Card in the Box: Burden of Guilt, I got 8. Oddly, there were 7 cards that had 7 copies. 19 Cards had 6 copies. 26 cards had 5 copies. 10 cards had 4 copies. 33 cards had 3 copies. 16 cards had 2 copies. I only got one copy of 36 cards. Of the 158 in the set, I’m only missing 11.

Color Distribution

Of the 507 copies opened, Red was the most common with 94. Green and White tied for second, followed by Blue, then Black. There were more Artifacts than Gold cards, same with Lands, making Gold the least common color in the box I opened. It should be noted however that three of those Golds are Mythic Rares.

Rarity Distriburtion

No surprises here, but its cool to see the break down.

Cards of Note

Or…cards that I want to build decks with.

These two will work well with what I’ve gotten in M13, specifically Nocturnus. I just wish Orzhov’s White/Black awesomeness was in Return to Ravnica and not Gatecrash. Ah well, January’s not all that far away and for now a splash of white should be easy. Likely though, I won’t mess with this deck until then. I’ve got plenty to play with between Stuffy and the deck I’m showing off this week.

Oh my… After I pulled Talrand in my draft, a White Blue rush desk might be in the cards. Too bad I don’t have the Delvers or Geist of Saint Trafts to really make it work. Would be super fun in EDH.

Can’t say more than Holy Hell. My inner Timmy is absolutely floored by these two. They’re possibilities for my Primadox Bounce just so I have some extra muscle.

Speaking of my Primadox Bounce…

Current listing:
  • Lands
  • 8 Plains
  • 9 Forest
  • 2 Razorverge Thicket
  • 2 Sunpetal Grove
  • Creatures
  • 3 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
  • 3 Llanowar Elves
  • 4 Bond Beetles
  • 4 Elvish Visionary
  • 2 Elite Inquisitor
  • 3 Roaring Primadox
  • 1 Goldnight Commander
  • 1 Thragtusk
  • Acidic Slime
  • 2 Herald of War
  • 2 Serra Angel
  • Sorceries
  • 4 Lead the Stampede
  • Enchantments
  • 4 Rancor
  • 4 Pacify
  • Artifacts
  • 1 Akroma’s Memorial
  • Sideboard:
  • 1 Restoration Angel
  • 2 Kemba’s Skyguard
  • 2 Dismemeber
  • 4 Oblivion Ring
  • 3 War Priest of Thune
  • 3 Cloudshift

I’ve got some wiggle room to tweak on still before Escapist Expo, but I like the cut of this deck’s jib. Green White Aggro has always been one of my favorite standbys. Right now it plays well against Rei’s RG Were-Aggro, but that might just be me out-ramping her. I need to find someone who’s playing Delver or Birthing Pod and see how I do.

Anyway, catch ya’ll Wednesday!