Last weekend, the Open Series came up to Worcester for some hot Legacy action. Being in the Northeast, a hotbed for American Legacy, I was expecting quite a bit, and it certainly didn't fail to deliver.
This won the tournament.
As for me, I took into battle the Omni-Tell deck that I wrote about last week. The deck was great, and I will likely be continuing to work on it moving forward. I ended the tournament at 11-4 and placed in the Top 16. Almost all of my losses came from either getting an Omniscience in play and then bricking on subsequent cantrips, or simply misplaying. One game I thought was a loss I could have won had I taken the right card off an earlier Dig Through Time. Another was against a G/W Hatebears deck that boarded into a bunch of Iona, Shield of Emerias for the Omni-Tell match, and I could/should have been more patient on just finding an Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn naturally, but I wasn't.
The deck is insane and will continue to be so for the time being. Sideboarding into Young Pyromancer is great against any hate that you might see and is complete gas against the other combo decks and Miracles. I gave my Sneak and Show opponent a permission-fueled Young Pyromancer beatdown, and it felt great.
I've articulated it a few times to people who ask me why the deck is good, and I will reiterate it here. Omni-Tell isn't great because it is a Show and Tell deck that uses Dig Through Time. Omni-Tell is the best Dig Through Time deck that happens to use Show and Tell.
Dig Through Time is absurd, and I'm glad that we get to experience it with Treasure Cruise being gone. The type of game that you get to play with Dig Through Time is the perfect power level, and in this instance the payoff is a combo kill with Show and Tell.
Here are some excerpts of things Ross Merriam said during our match (he was playing Sultai Delver):
"You're playing sixteen cantrips, four Dig Through Times, and eight land. Your whole deck is basically gas, I'm jealous."
"I blind flipped a Delver on two, Spell Pierced something, and Thoughtseized you twice, and I still lost with you at one life."
Even though I was impressed with 98% of the deck, there are still a few things that I would probably want to change.
I feel that I want the fourth Cunning Wish in the deck somewhere. There were too many times that I could get an Omniscience into play and then brick afterwards, and I think that having access to a full four copies of Cunning Wish can help alleviate that.
In addition to this, I also want something to "value Wish" for. Previous builds have had the fourth Dig Through Time in the sideboard, but we have all four in the main (which is correct), so I want something else. Potential candidates could be Fact or Fiction, Intuition (that way our Cunning Wish is technically a tutor for Omniscience or Show and Tell), some X spell like Blue Sun's Zenith or Stroke of Genius, Gifts Ungiven, or Visions of Beyond. I'm sure I might even be missing something sweet that we could play in this slot, but I know for sure that I want to cut the Through the Breach that's in the sideboard.
I was happy with and used almost every other card in the sideboard outside of Surgical Extraction. I think it's still worth having as a Wish target, especially since we can cast it the same turn that we Wish no matter what, which is great against something like Dredge or Reanimator.
This coming weekend is the Modern Masters 2015 release with a trio of Grand Prix all over the world. Las Vegas, Utrecht, and Chiba are the destinations of many a powerful wizard this weekend, which will also lead us into two more weekends of sweet, sweet Modern action.
The Season Two Invitational in Columbus at the Origins Game Fair will be the first time that an Invitational will not be Legacy and Standard. This time we will be battling four rounds of Modern and four Rounds of Standard followed by another eight rounds split on day two. In addition to that we have a two day $20K Modern Open being ran on Saturday with two 5K Premier IQs being ran on Sunday (Standard and Legacy), so there is plenty of Magic to be played, especially Modern.
The fun doesn't stop there though. The following weekend SCG will be hosting GP Charlotte, which will also be Modern and is likely to be absolutely huge. Besides the fact that everyone and their mother (hi Mom!) loves playing Modern, there will be a boatload of extras there. Meet and greets with Cedric Phillips and Patrick Sullivan. Hall of Famers Brian Kibler and Patrick Chapin will also be there, and you can get all kinds of sweet Noble Hierarch and SCGLive swag with the four different tiers of registration.
Needless to say, there is a lot of stuff coming up, and it is all Modern.
What am I playing in Modern you ask? Well, it's everyone's favorite deck - Amulet Bloom!
I can hear the groans from here.
As much as you hate to lose to this deck - I mean you are getting attacked by a Primeval Titan on turn 2 that's being aided by a Slayers' Stronghold--it's a very good deck, it's here to stay, and anyone who wants to spend the time learning how to play the deck well will be rewarded. You don't have to "magically" have the perfect seven to win with the deck. It's complicated but extremely powerful.
To start, here is the list that I am currently working with:
If you're looking at the decklist and thinking to yourself "What in the hell is this deck even doing?" Don't worry. You're not alone. That's the same reaction that most people have when they are first introduced to the deck, so let's break it down a little bit.
At its core, this is a combo deck. The combo interacts around Amulet of Vigor and the interaction with the bouncelands from Ravnica (Simic Growth Chamber and company). You are able to stack the triggers (one from Amulet of Vigor to untap and one from the land to bounce another land) so that you get to untap your land and can float some mana before you choose which land to bounce back to your hand.
Once you understand that interaction, then you can add in Summer Bloom, which is probably the most unfair card in the deck. It's a simple two mana spell that lets you play three additional lands this turn, but what if those lands tap for two mana, and what if you can just play the same land for all three of those land drops and that land taps for two mana?
The dream scenario is to have an Amulet of Vigor in play and cast Summer Bloom. This will let you play your Simic Growth Chamber, tap it for two mana and then return it to your hand with its bounce ability. You can then do that two more times for your three land drops which will get you to the next point in the combo. At six mana, you can cast a Primeval Titan.
Ole' Prime Time has put a hurtin' on a lot of players over its time in Standard, but here we aren't getting something like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Mountains to fuel it, or Inkmoth Nexus and Kessig Wolf Run to pump it. Here we are getting Slayers' Stronghold and Boros Garrison.
Remember: That Amulet of Vigor that we have in play lets us untap the lands since they enter the battlefield tapped from the Primeval Titan trigger. Fortunately, the Boros Garrison will give us the R/W needed to activate the Slayers' Stronghold on our Primveal Titan.
This reminds me of an old riddle.
"What's better than a Prime Time?"
"Well, how about an 8/6 hasting Prime Time that has vigilance and gets us two more lands out of our deck?"
Now we get to attack with our Titan and get two more lands, which will likely be something like Simic Growth Chamber and a Tolaria West, the latter of which we can bounce to our hand with the Simic Growth Chamber.
At this point, our opponent isn't "dead," but we did just get to attack with a Primeval Titan and put four extra lands onto the battlefield on our second turn. Go ahead, you're up. What cha' got?
There is an actual turn 2 kill though. How absurd is it that you can legit kill on turn 2? Here is the sequence.
Turn 1: Untapped land, cast Amulet of Vigor.
Turn 2: Cast Amulet of Vigor. Play a bounceland, getting four mana and bouncing it. Cast Summer Bloom, which will get us twelve more mana (although at this point we only need six). Cast a Primeval Titan and get Boros Garrison and a Slayers' Stronghold with the trigger. Now, because we have two Amulet of Vigor, we get to untap the lands twice. This means that we get to Slayers' Stronghold the Titan and then do it again. Now we attack with our 10/6 Titan and get a Vesuva and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion with the trigger. Vesuva will copy the Boros Garrison, and with the double untap trigger we get RRWW, which is enough to activate Sunhome on the Primeval Titan and give it double strike.
10/6 haste, vigilant, trample, double strike Primeval Titan attacking on turn 2.
I'm in love.
This is cool and all, but what about when you don't have the nuts? What happens when they kill your Titans?
These are valid questions, and the answer is just the rest of the deck.
Serum Visions is the best we have in terms of card draw/card selection and can help us find pieces of the combo that we need. Ancient Stirrings is quietly an all-star in the deck too. Its primary function is to find us Amulet of Vigor, but we can also use it to find a bounceland or a Tolaria West.
Tolaria West is also one of the most important cards in the deck. Transmuting for a zero cost card is all the rage in Amulet Bloom, and it's where its resiliency comes from. If we ever get a Titan onto the battlefield, we are likely getting a Simic Growth Chamber and a Tolaria West with one of the triggers and picking the Tolaria West back up. This lets us transmute for a Summoner's Pact, which turns into another Titan.
Some other common interactions with the deck include using Summer Bloom and Azusa, Lost but Seeking to ramp you into six mana using the bounce lands. You can play a land, then play a bounceland to get it back and then replay it with your extra lands.
In addition to Primeval Titan, we also have a Hive Mind kill. Since we are already playing with Pacts and our magic number for generating mana with our Amulet of Vigor/Summer Bloom combo is six mana, we can kill on turn 2 with Hive Mind in addition to the double Amulet kill with Titan.
Sideboarding for the deck can be pretty rough without a bunch of practice. There are some decks where the Hive Mind combo isn't very good, and there are some decks that just have a bunch of removal for our Titans so we get to grind them out with creatures like Thragtusk and Hornet Queen.
I've been pretty unhappy with everything that I've played in Modern until I picked up this deck. I love all of the different angles that you can take, and I keep finding new lines of play now, months into learning the deck.
With the Season Two Invitational being Modern and Standard, and GP Charlotte the weekend after, I am planning on writing more about Amulet Bloom. Next week I want to go into the different sideboard options and what decks they are good against in addition to what our matchups are like against the popular Modern decks and how to sideboard against them.
Call it Prime(r) Time of sorts.