One week left.
This weekend marks the Season Two Invitational in Columbus, Ohio at the Origins Game Fair, and I am quite excited.
With Eric Rill's absence in Providence last weekend, and my Top 8 of the Legacy Open (yep, that's Legacy, it's not a typo), I have solidified my spot as the Season Two Points Leader for the Players' Championship qualification.
It feels pretty good, but I have to be honest.
I thought that once I had it locked up, I would feel a little complacent; like I wanted to relax and just marinate on what I had just accomplished.
Going into the weekend of the Pro Tour, Eric and I were in a dead tie for the points lead.
I then went on to win States, make the Finals of the next Standard Open, make the Top 4 of the next Standard Open, and then make the Top 8 of the next Legacy Open.
That run couldn't have happened at a better time, but I'm still not complacent.
I still want to battle as much as possible. I still want to compete. I still want to win.
You can still expect to see me traveling and battling in as many IQs and Opens as I possibly can, with just a small shift towards GPs and PTQs. I really hate PTQs, but since it is one of the avenues for me to accomplish another one of my goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year, you will definitely see me sleeving up some Modern cards.
This weekend was quite a bizarre experience for me. Over the last three weeks, I feel like I have been playing pretty well (still making mistakes of course, but still feeling like I was playing well) in Standard, and putting up some good numbers.
This weekend, I played my faithful Jund Monsters deck worse than I have in a very long time. From my on board punt on camera against Dan Jessup, to naming the wrong creature to fight against in my loss to a B/g Devotion Deck later in the tournament, I played sloppily and poorly.
I still can't quite put a finger on what the problem was. Maybe it was just an off weekend; we're all allowed to have those every now and again. Maybe I was just so focused on my poor performance in Legacy that I was just going through the motions. Maybe I just felt like since I had been crushing all the Standard tournaments I was playing in that I just didn't have to put in the effort for this one.
I had made a few changes to my list from the previous two events, since I felt that the recent success of the deck would cause people to hop on the train, or try to play something that was better suited to fight the Monster menace. Here is what I played:
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 3 Ghor-Clan Rampager
- 3 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Stormbreath Dragon
- 4 Sylvan Caryatid
- 3 Courser of Kruphix
- 4 Polukranos, World Eater
With an expected surge of Jund Monsters, I opted to move the Abrupt Decays to the sideboard and start a Rakdos's Return in the main. I also put a second Mizzium Mortars in the main, since I feel like the majority of the games in the mirror come down to us just killing each other's creatures over and over, and anytime we can get absurd value out of Overloading a Mizzium Mortars, it just puts us so far ahead.
Rakdos's Return was awesome in theory. Against the majority of the decks in the format, we want Rakdos's Return against them, so trying one out in the main was the next logical step, but in practice, it just wasn't all that great. A lot of the time, I was just wishing that it was a threat or a removal spell.
Post board against most decks we are better suited to either exchange resources, or exhaust theirs, which makes Rakdos's Return much better. It just feels like the card plays much better with our post-board plan against the decks where we want the card.
To be fair, I did get to use it in the mirror in game 1 and it was devastating, but I feel like that was a bit of an outlier. Moving forward, I'm just going to relegate Rakdos bringing sexy back to the sideboard.
There's still a very good chance that I'm still on Jund Monsters for the Invitational this weekend, but I'm still working on what my exact list will be. There are a few things that I need to sort out before I come to a configuration that I will like for the tournament. It feels like something has to change, but I'm not quite sure what it needs to be.
There were quite a few interesting things about the Top 8 of the Standard Open this weekend.
Jim Davis's U/W Control list had zero copies of Detention Sphere or Banishing Light in it and three copies of Planar Cleansing. With Abrupt Decay being played in both Jund Monsters and B/g Devotion, U/W is relying on the six mana board wipe to handle troublesome Planeswalkers and Enchantments, along with all the creatures that are in play.
This is a pretty interesting change, and exploiting it is one of the things at the top of my list of stuff to figure out this week.
There were two Mono-Black Aggro decks in the Top 8, which is good news for Jund Monsters. They can steal game 1s with Mogis's Maurader, but our post board configuration against them makes us quite favored once we get to make our deck much leaner and cut slow, unimpressive cards like Xenagos, the Reveler. Golgari Charm is absurd against them, and with three Mizzium Mortars in our deck, we can wipe their board at any point once we have access to six mana.
There was only one Burn deck in the Top 16, and with Mono-Blue Devotion winning the whole thing, you have to think that being on Shocks and Warleader's Helix isn't a good place to be for the Invitational.
I'm interested to hear other people's thoughts on what changes need to happen and why, so please post your ideas so we can get some conversations about it sparked.
As we can see, Death and Taxes was the clear winner.
Dave Shiels went and proved us all wrong and won the whole thing without Council's Judgment.
I actually felt like it was going to be best suited in a Miracles list, as a way to answer Liliana of the Veil, Batterskull, and to be used as a three for Counterbalance. I believe BBD even played one in his list this weekend, but wasn't overly impressed with it.
Maybe three mana is just too much for that effect for it to be extremely powerful.
All the decks that have white in them that actually care about True-Name Nemesis either already have black and can cast Zealous Persecution, or can just splash for it with a couple fetchlands and some Scrublands.
I still believe that the card is good, I'm just not sure if it's what we're looking for.
I talked about my experience in Legacy last week in my article as well, mentioning that I needed to just pick a Legacy deck and stick with it.
I probably should have alluded to the fact that I am not a new Legacy player, and have experience with most decks, but have the bad habit of deck swapping when I have poor results.
I had decided to go back to Sneak and Show, and all day Sunday I just kept asking myself; "Why did I ever stop playing this deck in the first place?"
Todd crushed the swiss portion of the Legacy Open last weekend in Indianapolis, which just solidified my decision to go back to Sneak and Show. I had been playing all these grindy Stoneforge Mystic or Ancestral Visions decks, or these draw dependent, hope and pray Delver decks, when I could just be outright killing my opponent before they were ready for it.
I ran into Cedric in the restroom during my "double draw" break, and with a smile he said "So we've found a Legacy deck have we?" All I could do was laugh and say "Yep. We're not f****** around with Stoneforge Mystic anymore. Let's just get em' dead."
Here is the list I played.
It's actually pretty interesting. Every time BBD and I play the deck, we always have much different experiences than say Brad, Todd, or even Huey.
I'm probably just going to stay with Sneak and Show for the invitational, but I will be making a couple changes to the list.
I have an interesting sideboard idea that I want to throw out there and see if anyone has ever tried it. I wonder if a transformational Young Pyromancer sideboard could be good. Lightning Bolts and Swords to Plowshares usually come out against us, so landing the "little wizard that could" in the early stages of the game can end up generating a ton of advantage against us. It can't be countered by Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm, Swan Song, or Red Elemental Blast, which makes it quite a robust threat.
My biggest problem with it is that we don't really have any way to remove Stoneforge Mystic, Tarmogoyf, Delver of Secrets, Deathrite Shaman, or Nimble Mongoose which really only gives us a handful of decks that we would possibly want this sideboard plan against.
All in all, if felt really good to play a powerful combo deck in Legacy and do well again. It definitely gives me more confidence going into this weekend in Columbus. I have been putting up insane results in Standard, and as long as I can get to a point this week where I'm happy with my 75 and am prepared for the smorgasbord of decks in Standard, I will be feeling pretty good about this weekend.
I have already accomplished one of my goals for the year in qualifying for the Players' Championship, so let's see if we can make a run at another one and Top 8 an Invitational.
Last week I randomly decided to fire up Magic Online and stream some Jund Monsters. It was the first time I had streamed Magic in quite a while, and it was awesome. I really missed it. Interacting with everyone was great, even though we lost a lot. So I just wanted to thank everyone for showing up and hanging out. I am planning on streaming again, since it was so fun, so make sure you head on over to my twitch channel and follow me so you get notified when I go live.
I'm probably going to start pretty slow with one day a week or so, but I plan to eventually be on a two day per week schedule (especially with Season 3 having very few Opens on the east coast). The problem is, I'm not sure which days I want to actually stream so I need your help!
Vote below and let me know what days you think I should stream Magic Online!