What is up saltines? I hope all is well and you have had a splendid Easter weekend.
This past Easter weekend I attended two separate events, the first of which was my normal trip to Jack’s on Queen for FNM, and then on Saturday I made my way to North of Exile Games for a Face to Face Open Trial!
The Calm before the Storm
So Friday night came around and I needed to prep for the modern open the following day. So I sleeved up good old B/W Eldrazi and rode into battle. There were a total of twelve participants battling it out for prize packs, and with this amount of people we had four rounds of modern madness.
Round 1; Win in 3 vs B/W Taxes
This was a great round of magic. A psuedo-mirror of sorts that was hilarious. Game one I got pretty land starved and my opponent had me just locked with Leonin Arbiter and Ghost Quarter. Game two was incredibly different as my opponent had to take a mulligan to five, and my myriad of discard spells made quick work of the rest of his hand. Game three was where things got insanely spicy. It was back to back, to back, to back turns of my opponent and I casting Wasteland Strangler, killing each others Stranlgers. The difference being that my opponent tops out at Thought-Knot Seer, whereas I top out a couple of eldrazi titans, so we can guess who wins the long game.
Round 2; Loss in 2 vs Soul Sisters
Have I ever said how much I detest this deck? It’s just stupid weenies and nothing but life gain. You know what’s worse? Not realizing that Serra Ascendant gets flying once the special condition is met. That little tidbit of information lost me game one as I finally established blockers with Vault of the Archangel able to be activated. My opponent swung in while I was at five and he flew over my head. Game two I took a mulligan to six, and the hand was three lands, two copies of Path to Exile, and a Dismember. I saw a land off of my scry trigger and threw it to the bottom, hoping to hit a discard spell or a relevant creature. Wouldn’t you know for the next eight draw steps I saw nothing but land? I got so unbelievably flooded, and frankly just frustrated with my apparent terrible luck for the evening.
Round 3; Win in 2 vs Mono-Black Rats
One mono-colour deck after another, however this deck had a vastly different game plan as opposed to gaining copious amounts of life. This deck bolstered rats from Magic’s crazy history, as well as Liliana of the Veil. Relentless Rats, Pack Rat, and that darned Ravenous Rats. Game one my opponent smashed me to five before I was able to stabilize. Both myself and my opponent were locked into top deck mode thank to Liliana and her pesky discard. I drew a Thoughtseize for my turn, and I proceeded to cast it on myself. My opponent was visibly confused, and I would be too. However on my opponent’s end step I activated a lone copy of Sea Gate Wreckage, allowing me to draw an extra card. This extra card was the Fatal Push I needed to get in the lethal points of damage I needed. Game two was a little more lopsided in my favour. I slammed some really early beaters in the form of Wasteland Strangler, and Reality Smasher. I was a really big fan of this deck, tribal decks are my weakness.
Round 4; Win in 3 vs Boros Burn
Oh baby, it’s not a night of magic without the grand burn match. Game one my opponent took a mulligan to five, which really didn’t help the situation. My opponent had burned me to four when I slammed a Reality Smasher. Now I bet I know what you’re thinking, ‘what does Reality Smasher matter to this match-up?’ Well it can turn the game around if you’ve got a Vault of the Archangel chilling on the battlefield. I faded a Boros Charm and swung in for five on my next turn, gaining five life. I went to nine life and was met with a Goblin Guide, taking me to seven. On my turn I took my opponent to 10 and activated Vault, but was met with a Skullcrack, denying me my life gain. Back to where we started, four life. I managed to dodge a Boros Charm and another Skullcrack for the next couple of turns, utilizing Smasher to get there. Game two I had boarded in Leyline of Sanctity and found it in my opening hand with a single land, and multiples of both Fatal Push, and Path to Exile. I kept the hand and informed my opponent I had before game effects. I played the leyline from my hand and when it came to my turn, I realized I had made a grave mistake. The land that I had in my hand was a Ghost Quarter, and could not help me cast Push nor Path. My opponent then proceeded to beat the tar out of me with Goblin Guides. Turn after turn I revealed a non-land from the trigger, and never drew into a second land. Game three I found no Leyline, but a myriad of discard spells and a lone Thought-Knot Seer. The big eldrazi boy did work, as he managed to deliver the winning blow after my opponent took me to Boros Charm range. These games were a lot of fun, and my opponent was ecstatic for beating me through Leyline.
So we ended up going 3-1 and with tie breakers being the way they were I was awarded 1st! The highlight of the night had got to be when I Thoughtseize’d myself during round three. It was a really good night of magic, however I was a wee bit concerned about the next day. For I had not taken into consideration…the FNM curse….
Trial in the North
The following day I made my way up to cute little Penetanguishine, to North of Exile Games, for a Face to Face Open Trial. The format was modern, so of course I ran B/W Eldrazi. Twelve brave souls traversed the rainy day to duke it out for a first round bye at the next Face to Face Open. Let’s check the recap!
Round 1; Win in 2 vs 5-Colour Slivers
I am such a sucker for tribal decks. I can’t remember if I’ve ever written this, but when M14 had slivers, I built a standard sliver deck and I refused to play anything else. As time went on and I became more competitive I stopped playing standard slivers, but modern slivers has always had my interest. Even though my opponent was running five colours, he hardly had trouble playing his spells. Accessing Manaweft Sliver and Ixalan’s new Unclaimed Territory, my opponent was always able to cast their threats. The only issue being that eldrazi are a lot scarier than slivers. In numbers sure slivers may take down a large eldrazi threat, by one to one my boys take it every time. Game one was quite close, with my opponent playing multiple Predatory Slivers and Sinew Slivers, however Fatal Push made quick work of the lords, while bigger and bigger eldrazi showed up to stem the bleeding. Game two ended quite abruptly once I stuck and activated Vault of the Archangel, ending the game with 30+ life. After talking with my opponent afterwards it came out that they played mainly edh, and tribal edh at that. We spoke about how to transfer the tribe mentality to modern and worked on stream lining their list! GGs.
Game 2; Loss in 2 vs Mono-Red Goblins
These games were actually brutal. Both games I fell into some really hard land issues and only got two lands out during game two. This didn’t help the fact that my opponent kept miscounting damage. It happened quite a few times in which my opponent said they were dealing more damage than was actually being dealt and when I corrected them said ‘oh yea my bad’. Just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Game 3; Loss in 2 vs Temur Midrange
Round three I sat across from a Jack’s regular, the one and only Matt. We had actually spoken before the event about what deck he was bringing, but alas the prior knowledge did not help. Game one was a massive slug fest, to a point where both of us were empty handed, I had a lone copy of Liliana of the Veil. Both Matt and I were top decking land after land until I ulted Liliana, cutting his lands in half. The game shifted drastically once my opponent decked a copy of Huntmaster of the Fells. This signified a huge turning point in the game as even an edict would not help the situation as the werewolf brings a friend. So just to recap, my opponent survived a Liliana ult, and then took the game with the help of a furry boy. Game two I began with an Inquisition of Kozilek. Matt’s hand consisted of two copies of Tarmogoyf, a Snapcaster Mage, and some other spells. I took a spell as I had a copy of Relic of Progenitus in my hand, and I was going to make sure those Goyf’s stayed small. Matt drew a card, played his land, and passed the turn to me. I drew and proceeded to cast Relic, but Matt held up a finger, as he cracked his fetch, shocked in a Breeding Pool, and used the one blue mana to cast Ceremonius Rejection. I was frozen, shocked, and now terrified as I had no way of shrinking the incoming army of Tarmogoyf’s. I proceeded to get my teeth kicked in by these two drop green monsters. It was the top deck of the century, and it still has me tilted to this day. I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE MATT!
Round 4; Loss in 2 vs G/W Hexproof
This was not my day. Both game one and game two happened the exact same way, exactly the same. I was on the play both games as I won the die roll, but lost the first match. I began with an Inquisition and picked the only hexproof creature out of my opponent’s hand. On my opponent’s turn they top decked a one drop hexproof creature. Figures right? My turn I hit with another discard spell and took an Umbra and a Daybreak Coronet. My opponent’s turn they top decked into an umbra, and then their following turn into a Coronet. Let me remind you that this happened back to back! I shuffled the dickens out of my opponent’s deck, but alas the FNM curse had struck and I was 1-3 going into the final round of the swiss event.
Round 5; Win in 2 vs Pili-Pala Combo
Wait a minute…. *scours blog archives* I KNOW THIS COMBO! For those of you that do not know the pure fun that is infinite mana, enter Pili-Pala and Grand Architect. These bffs work hand in hand to generate infinite mana, and the deck has a variety of different spells that include X in the cmc. Game one I had to take a mulligan to six and I stuck a turn two Thought-Knot Seer. My opponent revealed a hand of two Pili-Pala and two Grand Architect. On their turn they played a Pili and passed back to me. I slammed a Reality Smasher on turn three and sprinted into the red zone for nine. My opponent played another Pili on their turn three, shocked in a land and passed back. Now I know my opponent had Grand Architect in hand, and I had nothing but lands in my hand at this point. Lady luck finally showed me some favour as my top deck was another Reality Smasher. I dropped that bad boy and once again headed to the red zone. Since my opponent was at nine life after the shock, there was no feasible way they could block without taking lethal damage. Game two was a lot more intense as I cast Lost Legacy, taking Grand Architect out of my opponent’s hand, deck, and graveyard, successfully taking the combo offline. Vault of the Archangel kept me sustained as Thought-Knot Seer secured the win. My opponent and I spoke after the game and I discovered it was his first modern event! I told him how much I loved his list and I flipped open my blog and showed him my take on the Mono-U One Shot. We had a really good chat afterwards and I look forward to seeing where they take it.
So we went 2-3. The FNM curse exists and it bit us square on the buttocks, Forrest Gump style, except we didn’t get the girl and my cardio sucks. That being said we were definitely put through the ringer. Slivers, Goblins, Temur, Bogles, and Infinite Mana; now that is a wide variety of solid decks. I love modern; I love the state of the meta, I love the cards, I love this game.
I feel like luck just wasn’t on our side this day. I’m still looking for ways to upgrade the list, so if you have any opinions feel free to comment below, or on Facebook.
Until next time, stay salty my friends.