We were close yet again, but just couldn't close it out.
I've been playing and tuning Jund Monsters for some time, and I fell to a 74/75-card mirror match in the semifinals last weekend, and it just so happened to be the same guy who beat me in the Top 4 of the Open Series in St. Louis in the G/R Monsters mirror. Johnathon Habel just has my number it would seem.
After the Open Series in Indianapolis, I will be up 29 points on Eric Rill, but that doesn't mean I'm going to slow down. I'm still making the trek up to Providence this weekend for the Open Series and will be in Columbus for the Season Two Invitational. It also doesn't mean that I see Eric as an enemy. In fact, he forgot his Legacy deck this weekend, and I put together the UR Delver deck for him to use that he almost made it into the Top 8 with.
That's just how I am, but there's also a little bit more. I experienced something on Saturday this weekend that made me want to pass it forward a bit.
In Round 1 of the Standard Open, I was paired against a nice gentleman named Jonathan Fisk. He was playing a bigger Naya deck, but still had Boros and Selesnya Charm alongside Ghor-Clan Rampager but without the one drops. In the first game, he played a Fleecemane Lion into a Boros Reckoner, and when I killed it he had another Boros Reckoner. A few Selesnya Charms and Boros Charms later and I was super dead.
I was pretty dejected. I had wanted to do well again this weekend to try and extend my lead, but more importantly, my goal going into every tournament is to improve on the previous weekend. Play better, play smarter, learn something, and push myself to continue to try harder. I felt like I made all the right plays given the cards I had and the situation given. There were times that I couldn't play around "X" card because if he had it, there weren't any plays that I could make or any lines that I could try to take and hope to draw a sequence of cards to win. He had "X" every time. Magic just happens like that sometimes, and you just have to shake it off.
That's when Jonathan grabbed the slip and leaned in and said: "Chris, I'd like to concede."
I was shocked. I can only imagine the look of disbelief on my face. I could only respond with "What? Really? No."
He told me that he was a huge fan and has been following me ever since I started the whole "beard thing", and he wanted me to do well. I tried to tell him no, and that he beat me, but he insisted. He signed the slip and wished me good luck.
I couldn't believe it. Everyone I told couldn't believe it. Having people come up to me and ask me to sign cards and playmats and beards (yes I did that, but it was more of a face signing because you can't really sign a beard) happens pretty frequently. People will come and sit with me and ask me questions about their deck, or my deck, or how to try and get better at Magic. People ask me all the time about working for Star City Games and how they can get a job there. Hell, people even ask me all kinds of awkward questions about BBD (no he doesn't snore, but sometimes he talks in his sleep about blinking Thragtusk with Restoration Angel). To have someone just flat concede to me after beating the ever loving s*** out of me in the first round of a ten round open just caught me by surprise.
I still don't really know what to say. I said thank you like a million times. Jonathan even came up to me after I was drawing into the Top 8 to ask me how I was doing and when I told him, he had the most pleased look on his face. All I could do was shake his hand and thank him again.
I really wanted to win this one, not just for the points or the beard or the trophy, but so that he could also take part in the win. Top 4 is still pretty good, but I'm hungry as ever for another win, that's for sure.
Onto the deck!
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 3 Ghor-Clan Rampager
- 3 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 3 Courser of Kruphix
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
Some of you might have noticed that I played the exact same seventy-five as I did the week before. In fact, the 2nd place deck that Habel played was 74/75 because he admittedly couldn't get another Mutavault so he played a fifth Forest. I'm happy to see someone else do well with the list since it gives a little bit of validation that I'm not the only one who is doing well with it.
I usually like to change at least a couple cards from week to week when I'm on a deck and playing it over and over. When BBD and I were playing Junk Reanimator, we would always change our list every week to try and gain an edge against the field and in the mirror, but with Jund Monsters, it's a little bit different. I don't feel like there's a whole lot the field can do to try and "metagame" against the deck, especially without sacrificing a lot of game against other decks. This is exacerbated by the fact that Jund Monsters can tailor its sideboard to transform into just about any type of deck they want.
As we move forward though, I think we might need to change a couple things. I'm not quite sure what, but here are my thoughts on the possibilities.
Driving up to Indy we were chatting about possibly moving a Rakdos's Return into the main. We bring it in in a lot of matchups (even against Burn), so it would only be "dead" against the aggressive Naya and Selesnya decks. And it's not like it would be 100% dead against those decks since sometimes you can just get people with the card, but it definitely isn't something we want clogging up our deck when we need blockers and removal spells.
That being said, I could see myself possibly playing one in the main, but I have no idea what I would even cut for it.
When you break down the maindeck, there are a few cards/numbers that we just can't really mess with.
23 land, 8 mana guys, 7 planeswalkers.
These 38 cards are pretty solid and I wouldn't change any of them. I also wouldn't play any less than four removal spells (although I do prefer five right now).
These 18 are pretty tuned as it is, and I'm finding it tough to cut or change any of them anymore. Every one of these "monsters" pulls its weight in different match-ups, and we've already shaved Courser of Kruphix and Ghor-Clan Rampager down to three copies. I also don't really want to cut anymore creatures as that will reduce the effectiveness of Domri Rade in Game 1.
Mizzium Mortars is in a unique place right now. Previously, Mortars wasn't all that good in the mirror. It didn't kill Polukranos, World Eater or Reaper of the Wilds, and even if we could overload it, we were still losing to the five-toughness creatures. Now that the deck has changed to Jund and we have plenty of answers to bigger creatures with Dreadbore, Putrefy, Doom Blade, and Vraska the Unseen, the battle has become much more about attrition and haymakers with Rakdos's Return, so getting value out of an overloaded Mizzium Mortars is much better now.
I also like Mizzium Mortars against all of the aggressive and other midrange green decks. Any deck that is keeping in Courser of Kruphix post board against us has the potential to be crippled by Mizzium Mortars. Any deck using Eidolon of Blossoms has the potential to be crippled by Mizzium Mortars.
I can see myself wanting to find room somewhere for a third Mortars for Providence this weekend for sure, but again, it's all about figuring out what to cut.
Looking at the sideboard, there is really only one flex slot. I talked about this last week:
The third Disciple is just waiting for Burn to cool off so that we can replace it with something else, but for now, I still like having three. Against R/W Burn, Mono-Black Aggro, Hexproof, Brave Naya, Mono-Red, and anything aggressive like with Soldier of the Pantheon, it's just a beating.
A lot of people have been asking me for sideboard advice for the deck. A few weeks back, I put a sideboard guide in my article, so for anyone who is interested in sideboarding advice make sure you check that out.
If anyone has been toying around with different card choices, I would love to hear about it. Please feel free to let me know, along with the cards and results that you've been having with them. As good as the deck is, I feel like there is something else that we can do with it, but I can't figure it out.
The best part about each of the Open Weekends is that there are two tournaments, so even if you happen to fall in the semifinals of the Standard Open, you still get to delve into some sweet Legacy action on Sunday.
Unfortunately for me, I just don't get it right now. There isn't a deck that has my interests piqued, and I keep switching decks every week and doing very poorly with them. In fact, I am 0-4 in the last two Legacy Opens, and 1-8 in games.
As much as I dislike Delver decks, I keep placing in the Top 32 with them, even though I feel extremely lucky to do so. Maybe I should just go back to one of those, or play Sneak and Show like Todd. He keeps making it into the Top 8 of every Legacy Open he plays in.
One thing that does have me interested is the card Council's Judgment from Conspiracy, which will be legal for Legacy play starting on Friday.
This is a pretty unique card and is clearly designed for multiplayer play, but it still works in one-on-one.
It works like this: You choose a non-land permanent that you don't control and then your opponent also chooses a non-land permanent that you don't control.
Each permanent that has the most votes or tied for the most is exiled.
There are two scenarios here.
1. You pick permanent X and they pick permanent X. X wins and is exiled.
2. You pick permanent X and they pick permanent Y. X and Y are both tied for the most and are both exiled.
Obviously, #2 should never happen, but sometimes people don't read cards and don't call judges to fully understand interactions. You can't really expect to "get" anyone with this card for an insane two-for-one, but what it will do is permanently exile something that you don't control that you want exiled.
Did you notice it doesn't target?
Now that you're done double-checking, pick your jaw up off the floor. It kills True-Name Nemesis. It kills Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn (sorcery speed though, sadly). It kills Batterskull and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and it can be reused with Snapcaster Mage.
I think that this card has a lot of potential in Legacy, but I'm not quite sure where it fits in. Esper Deathblade decks like the one I played this weekend usually play a couple Snapcaster Mages and a Vindicate, and unless you have four Wasteland in your deck, I think this card is probably better than Vindicate.
This could also be a sweet spell in a Bant-type deck as a way to handle troublesome permanents since those decks have always struggled with things like that.
I'm interested to see where everyone thinks this card fits in, so make sure you vote below and/or share your thoughts. Who knows? It might even spark something that I play this week in Providence or next week in the Season Two Invitational in Columbus!