How’s it going saltlings! Hope everyone is doing well and I hope life is treating y’all fine. So this FNM Jack’s on Queen hosted two events; standard and modern. I made some slight tweaks to the modern deck so I decided to participate in that. My modern deck is Orhzov Eldrazi. I really like the idea of Distended Mindbender so I decided to toss one in the main board. I really love the art, but I genuinely creeps me out.
Round 1; Loss in 3 vs Mono-Red Burn
All of these games were so close. When I say that I mean that the two games I lost, my opponent had an empty hand and top decked a bolt. I managed to sneak out game one by keeping a Duress and two copies of Inquisition of Kozilek. I just managed to peel the burn from my opponent’s hand game one and managed to beat down. Game two and three I was taken to three health and my opponent had an empty hand. Both games my opponent top decked the Lightning Bolt for the win. As you’d expect I was pretty salty that my opponent managed to peel the exact card he needed to finish me off. RIP.
Round 2; Win in 3 vs Izzet Storm? (It is)
These games were both very close as well. Game one my opponent just stormed off, making a giant load of goblins via Empty the Warrens. Once I saw my opponent make a crazy amount of mana, and was able to cycle almost his entire library I just scooped and proceeded to my sideboard. I hit my sideboard hard, bringing in three copies of Surgical Extraction and Leyline of Sanctity. The Extractions to deal with Empty the Warrens if it hit the yard, and Leyline for Grapeshot, the other storm win condition. Game two I didn’t open with Leyline I took my opponent to three before he stormed off with Empty the Warrens, making 16 1/1 goblin tokens. Considering I was at 16 life I did not attack. I played my land for turn, which I kept by itself instead of stacking it with my basic lands, and passed the turn back. My opponent cast Grapeshot with a storm count of two, taking me to 13 life. Now this is when I did something kinda sneaky. I used a Jedi mind trick and muttered, “The alpha strike kills me” under my breath. Loud enough for my opponent to hear me, but quiet enough as to not make it obvious. My opponent proceeded to combat and tapped all of his goblins in an all out assault. I had three blockers, 13 life, and was staring down 16 attackers, so I was dead to rights. Unfortunately for my opponent, the land I played on my turn was Vault of the Archangel. I declared blockers on three tokens, and activated Vault before combat damage, taking 13 damage, but gaining seven, thus leaving me with a substantial life total and the ability to swing into an empty board. My opponent was pretty salty, not at me, but at himself for falling for the old bait and switch. Game three I took a two land hand, but with that downside, I did possess a Leyline, which I was able to play before the game even began. The other upside to my hand was the added bonus of having two Surgical Extractions. Which I used to pick apart my opponents yard, removing his ability to storm as I took his draw spells out of his hand and out of his deck. The Leyline also prevented my opponent from casting Gitaxian Probe targeting me, also prevented my opponent from killing me with Grapeshot. MVP Vault of the Archangel.
Round 3; Win in 2 vs Jeskai Blitz
Any games that involve my opponent trying to use Snapcaster Mage to flash back spells is usually a bonus for me. Cards like Surgical Extraction and Relic of Progenitus are used to make sure that my opponent can’t flash back any burn spells or counter spells. Cards like Thought-Knot Seer, and Blight Herder are out of burn range, and the tokens I get from Blight Herder are great chump blockers for cards like Monastery Swiftspear, and Young Pyromancer tokens. I just managed to sneak my creatures through the early aggression and the removal to squeeze out the win.
Round 4; Loss in 2 vs Cruel Control
Ugh, these games were rough. The definition of deck under performance. Barely any hand destruction drawn in either games, and whenever I did have one, my opponent had no decent targets, but on his draw step he drew an answer to whatever I had. Game one I just got out tempo’d. Game two was just unfortunate, I ended up drawing 20 of my 24 lands in the deck. I flooded out, and my opponent just pushed for lethal and I didn’t put up much resistance. The one upside, I never let my opponent cast Cruel Ultimatum.
Well, for the first time in a long time I have not placed within prized during an FNM, and for the last three modern FNMs I have placed first, so losing two games kinda sucks. I do think it is nearly perfect. Someone last night weighed the battle between Extirpate vs Surgical Extraction. The upside of Extirpate is that it has split second, therefore it doesn’t use the stack and can not be countered, it can not be responded to, literally nothing can happen once someone casts Extirpate. The upside of Surgical Extraction is the fact that one can cast it by paying life which I am a total fan of. Having the ability to access this kind of effect for two life when tapped out can be used as a very strong trap. For example, I was playing online against a tron deck. My opponent played an Urza’s Tower on turn one. When he passed to me I played my land for turn, a Ghost Quarter, in which I blew up his tower, then paid two life to Surgical Extract the Tower. Doing this forced my opponent to have to play his cards on their actual turns. He conceded and left the game. I have to weigh my options and see. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the battle between the two! Until next time, stay salty my friends.