FNM Report; June 23rd, 2017

FNM Report; June 23rd, 2017

What happening ladies and gents! It’s time we get back into FNM and what better format to play then standard! “But Brad, isn’t Aetherworks Marvel banned?” Well yea, but I made some changes and ran it as is! This is what I decided to bring to the table tonight; Marvel-less Sultai. What I decided to do was drop the Marvels, duh, and brought in some copies of Verdurous Gearhulk, Winding Constrictor, and a new energy dump in Die Young.

Let’s get to the review!

Round 1; Win in 2 vs R/B Aggro

Started off with a really fast list tonight. My opponent was running a variety of small red creatures with haste, supported by black removal spells. Both games were very back and forth for the first few turns, trading Fatal Push for Fatal Push, and Unlicensed Disintegration for Die Young. But both games turn four came around and Verdurous Gearhulk brought my creatures out of Lightning Axe. The super big trampler did his job pretty decisively after that.

Round 2; Win in 2 vs W/G Tokens

My round two opponent was yet another young pup at Jack’s and his deck was madness. My opponent dropped an Anointed Procession on turn three with the help of Channeler Initiate, then proceeded to cast a variety of servo generating spells like Sram’s Expertise, and Servo Exhibition. He would then have a couple copies of artifact interaction cards like Toolcraft Exemplar, Oviya Pashiri, and Master Tinketeer. Game one my opponent managed to get in with Rhonas, a couple of times utilizing a buffed Exemplar to give permission for Rhonas to attack. That was until I brought back a copy of Rhonas for my opponent’s graveyard with Demon of Dark Schemes. Game two was a wee bit closer with my opponent gaining metric butt loads of life with Anointer Priest. But alas I still managed to take the game as my opponent kept animating a 5/5 land with Nissa, Vital Force, and I kept blocking with my Ishkanah, and reanimating her with Liliana, Death’s Majesty.

Round 3; Win in 3 vs W/B Lifelink

Game one I took and awfully dodgy hand and didn’t have a solid play until turn six in the form of Demon of Dark Schemes. All the while my opponent chipped away at my health with an awfully useful copy of Gifted Aetherborn. My opponent was up to 36 life by the time I established a board state. I was at four life at this point and I never dropped below the four. I was constantly generating energy and using it to reanimate my opponent’s Selfless Spirit. It all started when my opponent cast Fumigate and I brought back the Spirit the first time, effectively being a one sided board wipe. Later on in the game my opponent had a copy of Gisela, which I kept at bay with a Demon, and they cast Bruna. Once both were on the battlefield my opponent was threatening a meld and I was not having any of that nonsense. I reanimated my opponent’s Selfless Spirit one last time, sacrificed it, then cast Fatal Push targeting Gisela. Since revolt was active after the Spirit had left the battlefield, I was able to kill Gisela and take game one. Game two was quite lop sided. My opponent had their god hand and I took a one lander. Mistakes were made. Game three I flooded the board with early wheenies, and my opponent didn’t do much. On his turn five he attempted a Fumigate which was met promptly with a Censor, thus closing out the game on my turn.

Round 4; Win in 2 vs Mono-black Zombies

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So what happens when a Pro Tour winning deck goes up against the nearly neutered Sultai Marvel? Marvel wins because zombies gets land starved. Game one my opponent had a drastic lack of creatures and drew into two copies of Liliana’s Mastery without the land to play them. Game two my opponent took a mulligan to six, but took a one land hand and didn’t hit a second land source until turn five. After we reported my opponent and I decided to do a ‘for funsies’ game. TLDR; he crushed me in the fun game. If his deck had cooperated with him they would have been super close games. My opponent told me after the game that he had taken first three weeks in a row, so luck was not on his side.

Conclusion

We took first this week ladies and germs! It seems WotC was granting me a boon in compensation for the ban of Aetherworks Marvel. We managed to get our mits on our second copy of the Aether Hub promo, and hopefully I can grab my third this coming Friday.

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The Hour of Devastation will soon be upon us, and with that means sweet new cards for us to play with. Since prerelease is in two weeks, I will be doing a rare set review once the full set gets released by WotC. So stay tuned.

Until next time, stay salty my friends.

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FNM Report; June 2nd, 2017

FNM Report; June 2nd, 2017

Helllooooooo again fellow nerds! It’s that special time of the week again, FNM review time! This week I attended my beloved LGS Jack’s on Queen, and can I say that it feels good to be in my home slinging spells again. The past couple fridays I have either been out of province or working, so being able to attend FNM was pretty awesome. This week I decided to jump back into the roil that is standard and slam some turn four Ulamogs with the help of the legendary artifact, Aetherworks Marvel.

My Sultai Marvel

So this is the deck I decided to run for FNM; Sultai Marvel. If you are familiar with other sultai marvel lists then you are aware that that are some cards in the list that are not normal. Firstly, Kozilek, the Great Distortion in the main board is a huge curve ball. Not only is he a twelve power/toughness beater, he also has menace, and his cast trigger allows me to draw to seven cards, which is amazing. In addition to the boss cast trigger, he has another ability that allows me to discard a card with converted mana cost X and counter a spell with converted mana cost X. It throws people way off of their game. Now the rest of the main board is quite similar to what you’d see in a stock marvel list. But it’s what is in the sideboard that I hold my SUPER SECRET SIDEBOARD TECH. Well, I guess it’s not going to be secret anymore…but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that this card can come in super clutch. Descend Upon the Sinful is a six drop white sorcery from Shadows over Innistrad that exiles all creatures, and if I have delirium I get a four power/toughnes angel with flying! I can technically cast it with Aether Hub and Servant of the Conduit, it feels the best when played during my opponent’s combat step via marvel.

Now onto the games!

Round 1; Win in 2 vs U/W Approach

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I’ve always thought Approach of the Second Sun was a brilliantly well crafted card. I originally wanted to run it in an Aetherworks Marvel shell, but after playing against my opponent here I can see it fits very well in a blue and white control shell. Game one my opponent dropped a Gideon of the Trials on curve and immediately pumped out an emblem, now the dude could not lose the game as long as he controlled a Gideon walker. I stuck a copy of Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot, and managed to keep myself at a healthy life total while his Gideon went to beat town on my face. I survived long enough to marvel into Ulamog and exile Gideon and one of his lands. Two combat steps later my opponent was dead. Game two I decided on the face beat plan as I didn’t see marvel once. I small army of Servant of the Conduit and Rogue Refiner led the charge into my opponent’s face. About turn seven my opponent cast his first Approach of the Second Sun, and that’s when things got hairy. A turn prior to casting Approach he cast Fumigate, destroy my Servant and Refiner. He placed Approach seventh from the top and passed turn to me. I drew into another Rogue Refiner and his draw net me a second Servant, it was back to beat town for me! My opponent drew for his turn and passed to me. I drew for turn and glory be, it was my sideboard card, Censor! At the end of my turn my opponent cast Pull from Tomorrow drawing himself five cards. Doing mental math is not my strong suit, but I knew for a fact that Approach was now the top card of his library. At this point my opponent was giddy, like, school girl giddy that they were finally going to pull off a win with Approach. My opponent untapped their lands, drew their card and slammed Approach of the Second Sun. I responded with Censor; “Counter unless you pay one?” It was at this point that my opponent revealed a land from their hand and asked me if he could play it before this whole thing started. This is where having a judge at the store would come in handy…oh wait…THAT’S ME! I explained to my opponent that at a casual event like FNM rewinds would sometimes be considered, at the discretion of a judge, if no extra knowledge had already been gained at the time of the rewind. For example, if my opponent had said; “Cast approa…wait…JUDGE!” at this point I would have permitted a back up because nothing was actually cast and no extra knowledge had been gained. But in our situation it would have had a huge impact on the current state of the game, and two spells had already been cast. My opponent fully understood what I was trying to explain and graciously extended a hand in concession, as I had lethal on board.

 Round 2; Win in 2 vs Aggro G/W Ramp

So my round two opponent was a wee bloke. No sleeves, no playmat, but a guy after my own heart. His deck was ramp super hard and spit out the biggest, beefiest green and white creatures since zendikar and I was loving it. Game one ended very abruptly when I stuck a marvel on turn four and spun into an Ulamog, and it was at this point my opponent got a look in his eye, a look I remember getting the first time I saw something really awesome, wonder. He lit up like a christmas tree, “Dude that card is wicked awesome!” he shouted as he instinctively reached across the table and peeled the eldrazi titan out of my hand. “I want four of these!” he laughed as he handed it back to me. Then I realized something, this kid just got mega cheesed. I dropped an eldrazi titan on turn four and ended the game, and the kid was happy? I think that is what a lot of people forget about this game. IT’S A GAME! He didn’t care whether he won or lost, he was having a blast playing magic, and I think that is the kind of mindset I need to get myself back into. While were shuffling our decks for game two he leaned across the table and asked, “When do you think the Pro Tour is coming to Toronto?”. I gave him a sort of stunned look and gave him the most honest answer I could, “I have no idea.” “Ok, well once it does, I’m going to be there, and I’m going to win.” I swear this kid was straight out of an anime. The sheer tenacity of this young player was astounding, and it sure showed up in our second game. Buddy managed to assemble a small fighting force of three Aerial Responders and proceeded to go ape on my face. After some back and forth attacks he was at twenty-nine life and I was sitting at ten, but the tables were about to turn. I drew into Yahenni’s Expertise wiping his board, and mine, while dropping a lone Rogue Refiner to hold down the fort. My opponent still had one long three power, four toughness flier that managed to swing over my Refiner and take me to seven. Once again the top deck gods were in my corner and Demon of Dark Schemes came flying off of the top rope. Now, with a five power/toughness flier out I was able to stabilize, utilizing his ability to grab some Aerial Responders from my opponent’s graveyard and bring them to fight for my cause. Well played little dude, well played.

Round 3; Loss in 3 vs B/W Zombies

I knew this day would come. I knew sooner or later I would be staring down a horde of undead with nothing but a machine and an eldrazi titan by my side. Game one was textbook. Turn one Attune, turn two Servant, turn three Refiner, turn four Marvel into Ulamog. I could not have written it better. Game two was entirely my game to lose. I decided to keep a one land hand because I had two copies of attune, a puzzleknot, a marvel, and some other cards. I was able to tutor for two more lands thanks to the Attunes, but I never drew land number four for marvel. My opponent got double Lord of the Accursed and even Yahenni’s Expertise would not have pulled me back. Game three was so close. Long story short I lost, once again at the mercy of my deck drawing two copies of Ulamog and the one Kozilek in the deck. I needed a fourth untapped land to Marvel into something, but alas I only had a tapped land. My draw on the turn I passed into death was a Demon of Dark Schemes, but my opponent had two lord abilities out so that wasn’t going to do much. After I passed my opponent drowned me in zombies. I decided to look at the top card of my library just to punish myself, and low and behold it was a forest. My opponent asked, “If the demon wasn’t on top, and you had that land, spin the marvel and see what would have been.” So I put the land next to my lands, put the marvel from my hand into play, and peeled the top six cards of my library into sight of both of us, guess what I found. LAND, LAND, LAND, LAND, LAND, and the sixth and final card, Descend Upon the Sinful. I face palmed so hard. Had I survived for one more turn, everything was going to be gone and I would have maybe had a chance at winning the game. But all in all, it’s always great games against this opponent. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

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Conclusion

We went 2-1. Both of our wins were in two and our loss was in three so it wasn’t too bad. I managed to place third which put me in prize contention but locked me out of Aether Hub promo territory, as it only goes to the top two. BUT ONCE AGAIN LADY LUCK WAS SMILING DOWN UPON ME! GUESS WHO THE COMPUTER RANDOMLY GENERATED FOR THE RANDOM PROMO WIN. This guy.

I will hopefully attend FNM in two weeks as I am locked to work this coming week. I am trying to pump out more content, and I am making a promise now to put out at least one article a week. Whether it be a budget deck tech, a planeswalker profile, a spoiler review or just a typical FNM report, there will be something for you to read.

Until next time, stay salty my friends.

April 7th FNM

April 7th FNM

Hello once again everyone! It’s everyone’s favourite day of the week, it’s Friday! What does Friday mean for us? Well it means venturing to Elmvale to Jack’s on Queen and playing some Magic. We’ve had our fill of playing Ad Nauseam for the past couple of weeks, and I wanted to show off my foil Cavern of Souls so we blew the dust off of the old Orzhov Eldrazi list. The only real big change of note is that I upped the number of Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard up from one copy to three, let’s get to it!

Round 1; Loss in 2 vs Boros Angels

 Isn’t that the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life? Well it was for me when my opponent managed to cast a copy of Bruna, the Fading Light, thus reanimating his Gisela, the Broken Blade, and upon his end step melding the two angels together to create Brisela, Voice of Nightmares. Now the issue with Brisela is that once you’ve got her out, your opponent can’t cast spells with CMC three or less, and in modern, that is all of my removal. My opponent was using a relatively unknown card to get some of his angels out early and swinging. Generator Servant is a card I’ve only ever seen played in modern once, and it was the same guy playing it, but instead of angel tribal it was dragons. Regardless, game two I got mowed down by a choir of Archangel of Tithes.

Round 2; Win in 2 vs Bogles

Image result for inquisition of kozilek art Quick, when do bogles not have hexproof? When you pick them from your opponent’s hand of course. Game one my opponent drew into a lone Kor Spiritdancer which I dispatched quickly with a Fatal Push. I then drew into a copy of Blight Herder which I slammed and managed to process to generate some 1/1 scions. At this point my opponent had a Slippery Bogle enchanted with two copies of Ethereal Armour, and one copy of Favor of the Overbeing. I mega clutched Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger off of the top and exiled both Ethereal Armours, bringing the bogle from a 9/9 to a measly 3/3 with flying and vigilance. I managed to make it to my next turn and using the ability on Vault of the Archangel giving both Ulamog and my Blight Herder lifelink and deathtouch, which allowed me to stabilize and my opponent scooped. Game two I cast Devour Flesh making my opponent sacrifice his enchanted creature Gladecover Scout, and then casting Surgical Extraction to get rid of them all. I eventually managed to stick two copies of Reality Smasher and beat some mad face.

Round 3; Win in 3 vs Mardu Burn

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It’s my boy playing the Mardu Burn again! Game one my opponent slapped me with a good old Bump in the Night flashback! Awe man I had literally just stuck my copy of Vault of the Archangel and was going to go off, but alas it wasn’t in the cards. I immediately knew what I needed to bring in from the sideboard, Leyline of Sanctity! Game two saw me mulligan to four, the hand I decided to keep was two Inquisition of Kozilek, a Ghost Quarter, and one copy of Leyline. Once I dropped Leyline my opponent didn’t play anything but lands for about five or six turns, which enabled me to pick his hand apart with the two Inquisitions. I actually drew into a second copy of GQ before any other land, so I had to use one to target the other and get a black source. Game three saw drop to eight life before casting Leyline. My only real worry at this point was an unknown number of Deflecting Palm, as all it would have taken was back to back Deflections as all I had was one Reality Smasher and copy of Thought-Knot Seer. I managed to swing one creature at a time until I had taken the game.

Conclusion

We went 2-1 in our eight player tournament, and managed to take second place. My sideboard cards really showed up when I needed them to tonight, and I treated the list by upgrading a Concealed Courtyard to foil.

As more and more cards for Amonkhet come out I am more and more interested to see where they take it. As it gets closer to release date, I will do a rare card review. Until next time, stay salty mine frands.

March 24th FNM

March 24th FNM

Buongiorno fellow nerds! Tis another typical week at the salt factory. I attended my LGS Jack’s on Queen as per usual. They ran both a Standard and Modern event, and as per my current feeling about standard I decided to play modern. This week I finally understood how to play Ad Nauseam.  This week I had the added benefit of having access to two copies of Pact of Negation which help me combo off when I have zero mana available. Let’s go!

Round 1; Win in 2 vs Mardu Burn

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My first opponent of the evening is, I’d like to consider, a good friend of mine. Every game we play against each other is awesome. Game one I hit Phyrexian Unlife, and my opponent took me to zero life, and then brought me to three infect counters. For game two I sideboarded two copies of Blind Obedience and two copies of Vapor Snag. I managed to stick a Blind Obedience, but I was stuck on two lands. My opponent proceeds to blow my face off with burn spells and single copy of Goblin Guide. I had two lands, a Pentad Prism with two charge counters, and two Lotus Blooms in suspend with two suspend counters remaining. In my hand is Ad Naus, Pact of Negation, Simian Spirit Guide, and Phyrexian Unlife. I am at five life when I pass the turn to my opponent. “Pretty sure it’s over” he says confidently as he directs a Lightning Bolt at my face. With his lone Guide, and the bolt I was dead, however out of sheer persistence and the idea of not being able to pay for the Pact at my upkeep I decided to counter the Bolt. My opponent swung with his Goblin Guide and took me to three, and then passed back to me. Untap, upkeep, Pact trigger is placed on the stack. My opponent is about to scoop when it hits me. Put the suspend triggers on the stack, each Bloom ticks down to one. Discard the Spirit Guide and remove two counters from the Pentad Prism, tapping my only two lands for the remaining mana I needed to total five and pay for the Pact of Negation. Here in lies the issue; I am at three life, completely tapped out, and facing down a burn player with no cards in his hand. I pass the turn and he draws, he then proceeds to windmill slam a Monastery Swiftspear. BUT AHA! THANKS TO THE BLIND OBEDIENCE IT ENTERS THE BATTLEFIELD TAPPED! My opponent swings with his Goblin Guide taking me to one life, and then passes. I untap, upkeep, trigger Lotus Blooms and my opponent just utters “oh no”. I cast both of them and draw my card for turn. During my first main phase I sacrifice both blooms generating six black mana, I tap my lands for a blue and a white. I cast Phyrexian Unlife using the blue, white, and one of the black. I then use the remaining five black to cast Ad Nauseam and Lightning Storm my opponent to death.

Round 2; Win in 2 vs Death’s Shadow

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My deck strongly favours the slower starting non-blue decks, and this is the kinda thing that I feed on. Game one and game two were both very similar in the sense that my opponent dropped a Tarmogoyf on turn two and proceeded to chip me away all the while I was establishing my combo. I didn’t really sideboard anything as this is a really decent match up for me. However during game one I did have to cast a few copies Angel’s Grace on my opponent’s turn to keep him from killing me, but I did manage to Lightning Storm my opponent to death.

Round 3; Win in 3 vs Bant Eldrazi

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I’ve always wondered how this match up would go, and today I found out the hard way. I kept a decent hand, but apparently my opponent is playing a main board ace in the hole, Spellskite. I looked at it, thought about it, and scooped. My opponent was openly confused at my turn two scoop. The deck is stream lined for game one, the only win con in the list right away is Lightning Storm. I am also lacking the one of Slaughter Pact which the list requires. For sideboard I brought in Laboratory Maniac and Vapor Snag to push through Spellskite for the win. Game two I managed to Storm my opponent before the could stick Spellskite and game three I managed to win off of Laboratory Maniac. I am in desperate need of the Slaughter Pact, you know, to ensure that I don’t have to concede whenever my opponent casts a Spellskite.

Round 4; Loss in 2 vs Grixis Control

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For every good run comes a straight up kick in the teeth. These games were quite reminiscent of the mono-blue fairies list that I ran into a couple of weeks ago. This deck was crippling. Remand, Mana Leak, and Cryptic Command, all being brought back by Snapcaster Mage ensured that I never cast Ad Nauseam once. Brutalllll.

Conclusion

We went 3-1 on Friday and managed to snag first! One of our prize packs contained a foil Fatal Push which is priced around 40 dollars Canadian. I managed to scrounge together enough trade credit to treat myself with a new foil Cavern of Souls. I am in love with this new art and the card went straight into the B/W Eldrazi list.

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Until next time; keep slinging spells, tapping the cards and most importantly, stay salty my friends!

March 10th FNM & The WotC Bans

March 10th FNM & The WotC Bans

Modern Tho…

That special time of the week again! Driving out to Elmvale on a magical Friday night to jam some cardboard crack with my friends! This week I had something a little special in place for the folks at Jack’s on Queen. For the past month or so I’ve been ranting and raving over the Snow-Mentals deck, but through multiple play time online I discovered something, it’s pretty darn bad. However, I made a miraculous discovery whilst rummaging through my brother’s card collection for goodies. It was an old deck box, a deck box that I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I flipped it open and what did I see staring back at me? The eyes of a combo deck, a combo deck so despised that people just scoop at the sheer sight of the namesake of the deck….AD NAUSEAM…

Now for those of you ‘modern virgins’ out there let me give you a crash course on how the deck works. The namesake of the deck Ad Nauseam was printed in Shards of Alara and it didn’t see much play in its’ standard day, but in modern, with cards like Angel’s Grace and Phyrexian Unlife, this allows one to draw their entire library. Once you have your entire deck in your hand, you discard three copies of Simian Spirit Guide and cast Lightning Storm, at this point you ditch all the land in your hand to OTK (One turn kill) your opponent.

Round 1; Loss in 3 vs Mono-Blue Fairies

You want to know what is the worst possible match up for a combo deck? A deck with literally all of the answers. Game one I got countered every play I made, it was a nightmare. Game two was hilarious. So the deck runs twenty lands and I didn’t realize it, stupid me. Lightning Storm deals a base of three points plus x where x is the number of charge counters on it. GUESS WHAT GUYS, AT THE CURRENT POINT AT WHICH I AM WRITING THIS BLOG I REALIZED I WAS READING LIGHTNING STORM WRONG!!! I thought that you ditched one land to add one counter, APPARENTLY IT ADDS TWO COUNTERS. THIS WILL BE RELEVANT LATER. I managed to combo off game two and take it. Game three I just got completely countered out.

Round 2; Win in 3 vs Mardu Burn

Playing against my good ol’ pal in round two. I think I’ve got a pretty decent match up against burn as I can drop Phyrexian Unlife and force my opponent to do an additional eleven points of damage to me. Game one I did as such, dropped Unlife and managed to combo off. Game two I never had such luck and was brutally beaten by a gang of Goblin Guides and Monastery Swiftspears. Game three I stuck an Unlife and took my opponent down after they took a mulligan to six. I was able to capitalize on the lack of burn and combo kill!

Round 3; Loss in 3 vs Super Friends

So this is where the freak out in round one comes in. So not only did I cast Ad Nauseam before Angel’s Grace, which isn’t allowed, I also didn’t read Lightning Storm properly. I thought the card quite mediocre, to my understanding, discarding a land merely added one charge counter to the spell, while in reality it adds two. So when I realized the deck only ran twenty land I thought I could only play three lands and had to keep the other seventeen in my hand. Regardless, I took my opponent to three, even after discarding seventeen lands. Game two I managed to win, some how, I can’t even remember. What I do remember is game three. On my opponent’s turn four he played Doubling Season. He had Leyline of Sanctity out so I could not throw a storm at his face, so I dropped Laboratory Maniac and passed the turn back. If I were to untap, I had the Ad Nauseam/Angel’s Grace combo in my hand, but alas it was not meant to be. My opponent cast Jace, Architect of Thought and since Doubling Season also doubles planeswalker loyalty as they enter, he ulted immediately. My opponent went through my deck and played a copy of my Unlife, he went through his and played a second Jace. He then ulted again and cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn from his library, and I scooped. He would have taken an extra turn off of the cast trigger, and then annihilator six would have wiped my board.

Round 4; Bye

I hate having byes. I come to play Magic, and when an odd number of players show up, there is nothing one can do. I just walked around and spectated other matches until the round was over.

Conclusion

Now if I knew how the deck was supposed to work I probably would have done much better. But considering the entire night I was refusing to play lands so that I had enough damage to kill for sure restricting my ability to play. I also desperately need a couple copies of Pact of Negation and a single Slaughter Pact, to ensure that my combo actually goes off, and to deal with little pests like Spell Skite

Ban Hammer Time

Ok, so can we talk about the Felidar Guardian in the room? The current standard competitive meta is the most boring thing. Standard as a whole right now is revolving around three primary decks; G/B Constrictor, Copy Cat, and Mardu Vehicles. Each of these lists has their own strengths and weaknesses, however the dominance of these decks has pushed every other tier two or lower deck to the nether regions of competitive play. Now let us talk about the whole MORE BANS situation. WotC announced that they were going to be doing bans a week after a new standard set prereleases, and five weeks after every Pro Tour.

Last time the ban hammer took a swing it took out Emrakul, the Promised End, Smuggler’s Copter, and the most hated card in standard history Reflector Mage. The reasoning behind the bans were as follows; “Emrakul faced too little resistance and ended games too easily. She was the world-ending, all-powerful monster she was in the story, which was too much for Standard.” this is a direct quote from their Restricted and Banned Announcement on January 9th, 2017. This is a valid statement and Emrakul was a little too strong. “Simply put, Smuggler’s Copter is too efficient and shows up in too many decks, diminishing the format’s diversity.” another direct quote. You want to know what other card is too efficient and shows up in too many decks? Walking Ballista and Heart of Kiran. Now the thing that kills me is in the article, WotC states that Reflector Mage combos too well with Collected Company. But having one of your creatures bounced is hardly game ending, you want to know what is game ending? The combination of Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian. WotC has even stated that this was an oversight in R&D and that they had no intention of printing an infinite turn four kill in standard, nevermind the same block. But saying sorry with no intentions of a fix? Why bother saying sorry at all?

However, there is something in the article that slightly irks me. WotC says that they have no intention of banning anything because they deem a three-deck format as “healthy”. They go on to say that they saw the “rise of Temur Tower” at GP Utrecht and how it will join the “upper echelon”. If one does a simple google of ‘GP Utrecht top 32 deck lists’ one will find that only three copies of Temur Tower were in the top 32, as opposed to thirteen copies of Mardu Vehicles, nine copies of G/B, and three copies of Copy Cat. At GP Barcelona there was one copy of Temur Tower in the top 32, but was crushed by nine Copy Cats, twelve Vehicles, and six assorted G/B lists. I would prefer to call Temur Tower a ‘blip’ on the standard radar compared to these commanding giants. For example, there were more copies of Aetherworks Marvel decks in the top 32 at GP Barcelona than Temur Tower lists. Even taking a quick skim of the top 32 lists from GP New Jersey this past weekend, one can see only three Temur Tower lists made top 32.

 

Well that’s plenty salt for one post. I hope y’all can agree to some extent that something in standard needs to change. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, stay salty my friends.

 

February 17th FNM & Special Planeswalker Profile

Salty’s Back…

Hasn’t he used that title before on another blog post? Yea…but it fit…so get over it. AFTER A LONG AND ARDUOUS CONTEMPLATION, I DECIDED TO GIVE STANDARD A TRY. I thought long and hard about what decks are at my LGS Jack’s On Queen, and I decided on running a Green/Blue Energy list. I built the list to combat the machine menace of Mardu Vehicles. Using Thriving Turtle with an attack activation to block almost all of Mardu Vehicles ground threats, primarily Toolcraft Exemplar and Scrapheap Scrounger. Also bouncing my opponent’s Heart of Kiran with Unsubstantiate is essentially a 2-for-1. So let’s get into the games!!

Round 1; Win in 2 vs Hedron Alignnment

Now I knew coming into FNM that I was going to run into some gimmick based decks. Primarily I thought it was going to be Paradox Engine and Cryptolith Rite that would have been the gimmick of choice, but in no way shape or form did I suspect Hedron Alignment. The deck uses a variety of draw then discard like effects to get a singular copy of Hedron Alignment into the yard, then targets it with Secret Salvage, to exile one copy and get the rest into hand. I never let my opponent get rolling. I just pushed super hard for lethal with a barrage of Greenbelt Rampagers‘ to take game one, and Nissa‘s elementals to take game two. As one sided as the games were, my opponent and I still had a great time playing. I loved the premise of his deck and we spoke after the game about improvements.

Round 2; Win in 3 vs Dimir Artifacts

You know a game is going well when you can swing with a Thriving Turtle three times. The list is basically a control shell which uses super cheap artifacts and Tezzeret’s Touch to make giant 5/5 monsters which end lives very quickly. Game one I managed to squeak out but game two I just got slaughtered. The MVP of game three was Architect of the Untamed. This Tireless Trackeresque looking creature has two abilities. The first is a triggered ability which occurs when a land enters the battlefield under your control. The second and most important of the two is an activated ability which costs eight energy, and allows me to put a 6/6 colourless beast onto the battlefield. This beast was crucial in game three as my opponent swung in with a 5/5 enchanted artifact I was able to activate the Architect’s ability and brick wall the artifact with my 6/6 beast. Which swing was what I needed to break through my opponent’s defenses and secure the W.

Round 3; Loss in 2 vs Mardu Vehicles

This was it, this was the game I was waiting for. Game one went in my opponent’s favour but was close after I cast Confiscation Coup taking my opponent’s Heart of Kiran which he quickly replaced. I just didn’t stand up to the onslaught. I hit the sideboard hard, bringing in a total of 10 cards. Including all copies of Aether Meltdown, Appetite for the Unnatural, Natural State, Clip Wings and Horribly Awry. I was on the play and my opening hand was Attune with Aether, Aether Meltdown, Architect of the Unnatural, Horribly Awry, and three lands. This had was fantastic…or so I thought. I proceeded to Meltdown my opponent’s Heart of Kiran, I got Architect out and got up to seven energy before my opponent killed it, but you want to know the worst part? Out of my 10 draw steps before the game ended, I had drawn two non land cards. Worst land clump of my life, against the match I had been prepping for. MVP was my obviously garbage shuffling job.

Round 4; Win in 2 vs Servo Mimic

Aha! I knew I wasn’t through with gimmicks just yet! Metallic Mimic is a very interesting card and I can see it being played in a variety of tribal based decks, such as Green White Humans. But something I was not expecting was servos. My opponent would flood the board with servos using Sram’s Expertise and Master Tinketeer to just go Servo nuts! However, both games my opponent was running into some land trouble. Complete opposite of what happened to me in the game previous, my opponent never hit a fourth land drop in either game. These games would have been much closer if that did not happen.

Wrap Up

After all was said and done we finished 3-1 which got us third place in the standings. I enjoy the deck but I feel as if some cards definitely under performed. I feel Confiscation Coup is a cute card, but too slow in the current meta. I enjoy Aether Theorist and what the Scry brings to the table, but I feel that maybe Shielded Aether Thief would make for a better pick up. Another big let down was Greenbelt Rampager. With almost every deck I played against running some number of Fatal Push, spending two energy to get push is meh, it also just gets eaten by Heart of Kiran. I think I will have to change the deck if I intend on playing it again, possibly look for a more control based approach.

 

The Phantom Menace

Now I use the Star Wars title loosely as I am about to inform you about a certain player at my LGS. This guy came to his second FNM on Friday and proceeded to do a clean sweep of standard and take home first place. Now I bet you’re asking yourself, “But Brad, why is that such an achievement?” Well that’s not all he’s done. He played in both of Aether Revolt’s Gamedays and made it to the finals both times. Both games were super intense, and quite a thing to behold. He actually took home the Kaladesh Gameday Mat from my LGS a couple months back. Oh yea, and one more thing, the guy is nine years old. You heard me right, nine year old Lucien Lahaie is a little magic pro. Through watching his games and the way he plays I think we can all learn a thing or two. A big thing I notice is how little time he takes to make his mind up. Whether we call that the impulsive moves of a nine year old or the pre-calculating thoughts of a clever mind, it is refreshing to see. Far too often I see people over think their plays. They play themselves into a corner and play far too cautiously, and I’ve seen it lead to people’s detriment. But with Lucien, it’s like his brain function goes like this, “Draw threat? Play threat. Draw removal? Play Removal”. From his frame of mind its’, ‘I have a removal spell, I will kill your thing, I don’t care if you have another thing in your hand, I’ll remove that later.’ On Friday he was piloting Mardu Vehicles, and I know some people are going to say “But it’s Mardu Vehicles” yea well I say you gotta see this kid play it first. One thing I remember from FNM was I was sitting next to one of Lucien’s opponents during their game. Each player controlled a copy of Toolcraft Exemplar. Lucien declared the trigger and swung. His opponent quickly declared his own Exemplar as a blocker and said “they trade”. Lucien held up one tiny finger and said “read the card”. It was at this point during my game that I had to pay attention. I took a peak over my opponent’s shoulder as he read the wording on Toolcraft Exemplar; “At the beginning of combat on YOUR turn…” My opponent gave me a look of shock and slight horror as he said “he’s right.” My game ended shortly after so it gave me time to watch the remainder of Lucien’s game. It was at this moment that I realized how little time he spent in the tank, and I think that is where a majority of Magic players trap themselves. They go too deep into the tank and psych themselves out. It was the final round of the tournament and Lucien was up against the mirror. Lucien had Pia Nalaar on board and a couple of other things while his opponent had quite a significant state, difference was that his opponent was at three life and he was at a comfortable 16. A crowd was gathering around the table at this point as matches were finishing up. It seemed that the tempo had shifted in his opponent’s favour as Lucien was empty handed. Then seemingly out of no where Lucien picked up his graveyard, removed a copy of Thraben Inspector and put it off to the side, as well as putting a Scrapheap Scrounger from his yard to the battlefield. The crowd couldn’t believe it, his opponent couldn’t believe it, had he known that the scrounger was there the whole time? He used Pia’s second ability and sacrificed the Thopter and the Scrounger to disable his opponent’s blockers and swung for the win with Pia’s first pump ability.

The kid has some serious piloting skills and I can’t wait to see attend big events as he grows along his Magic career.

Image result for anakin podracer

Well that’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week when I might play Snow-Mentals in Modern!! Until next time, STAY SALTY MY FRIENDS!!

January 27th FNM & Snow-Mentals Deck Tech

Modern FNM

Ollo Motto! I know right, how late can this possibly be? Well life gets busy so y’all have to suck it up! Last Friday was the weekly party night at Jack’s on Queen. As Aether Revolt was still fresh in everyone’s minds, Jack’s decided to host draft and modern side by side. Being the struggling student that I am I entered the modern event with my B/W Eldrazi list, newly outfitted with Fatal Push from the latest set Aether Revolt!

Fatal Push

Round 1; Draw in 3 vs Wall Worship

This deck is hilarious. Not only is it mono defenders, it generates a massive amount of mana. The deck utilizes cards like Axebane Guardian and Overgrown Battlement to generate stupid amounts of mana and finishes with cards like Banefire and Debt to the Deathless. Game one I was stalled with a myriad of walls until Banefire finished me off. Game two was much more in my favour. I brought in Warping Wail to counter things like Debt and exile all the 0/5 walls. As we finished game two we five turns was sounded and as per the rules it was a draw! I couldn’t figure out any better way to play against this deck. Time MVP!!!

Round 2; Win in 2 vs 4-Colour Gifts

So for those of you that don’t know how this deck works, it uses Gifts Ungiven to fetch out two cards; Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Unburial Rites. Good thing for me is that my deck runs a playset of the fantastic card Relic of Progenitus. The second I dropped it on turn one my opponent let out a sigh. Both games ended pretty convincingly after I picked my opponent’s hand clean and exiled their graveyard. Relic of Progenitus MVP!!

Round 3; Win in 2 vs G/W Hoomans

The probably with running a wheeny deck, is balancing the wheenies and the land. During game one my opponent had to mulligan to five, not only was it a hard mulligan, my opponent kept a two land hand and never drew a third land. Game two rolls around and my opponent had to mulligan to six, but this time he got flooded. Fatal Push was really handy in clearing out the small little two drop wheeny creatures. Mulligan MVP!!!

Conclusion

We came first you salty buggers! 2-0-1 managed to take the night! I am very happy with the addition of Fatal Push in the deck and it allows me to deal with little things like Dark Confidant, that I don’t want to Dismember.

SNOW-MENTALS Deck Tech

So since the above post was awfully short, I wanted to do something a little different. Back in the day when I first began my adventures into the modern format I came up with a gimmick. This gimmick won me a couple games at a Face to Face Open, formerly known as an MDSS. What is this gimmick you might ask? Well I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it involves a little trick I like to call swing’n’fling.

Nova Chaser        +         Fling

So I used to play this combo in modern, but felt it was somewhat lacking. While I was at a recent Face to Face Open and it hit me, as my opponent sat across from me and played their first land for turn I knew what was missing….SNOW MOUNTAINS…

Snow-Covered Mountain

Utilizing things like Skred, to remove blockers and Scrying Sheets to prevent the constant top decking of land, this deck has become a viable threat.

Creatures
The Enablers

4x Flamekin Harbinger; is a key component to the combo. Slamming this guy on turn one can aid you in ensuring you grab another crucial combo piece, or even just a hastey beater to finish the game.

Flamekin Harbinger

4x Incandescent Soulstoke; is another vital piece of the deck. Not only does this act as a lord, pumping all the creatures in the deck, but it has an activated ability which allows you to play an elemental from your hand, it gains haste, and you have to sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step. What’s cool about this is you can activate it at any time, so turning this guy sideways and dropping a Ball Lightning on your opponent’s turn to brick wall an attack from say, Tasigur the Golden Fang, feels pretty good.

Incandescent Soulstoke

4x Simian Spirit Guide; pretty self explanatory, it’s a free mana…

Simian Spirit Guide

The Beaters

3x Ball Lightning; not only does this monster of a 6/1 have haste, but he has trample as well. With the ‘sacrifice at the beginning of the next end step clause’ it will sometimes cause your opponent’s to second guess blocking it.

Ball Lightning

4x Hellspark Elemental; a much smaller Ball Lightning, but with the threat of Unearth. This card has synergies with our draw spell Faithless Looting.

Hellspark Elemental

2x Mindsparker; this is a good card to stick against control based strategies. Making your opponent’s counter spells shock them is pretty good, as well as it is a three mana 3/2 with first strike.

Mindsparker

3x Nova Chaser; oh baby. One part of the swing’n’fling combo. This 10/2 trampling monster is a huge threat, especially when given haste thanks to our trusty Incandescent Soulstoke. Once swung, or blocked, it can be flung to slam your opponent for ten points of face damage.

Nova Chaser

Instants & Sorceries

4x Lightning Bolt; pretty sure I don’t have to explain this one. I’m playing red, I’m playing bolt.

Lightning Bolt

4x Skred; the main reason I’m running snow lands. I thought the original deck could play this premium blocker spot removal.

Skred

3x Fling; because nothing feels better than flinging a Nova Chaser.

Fling

3x Faithless Looting; going to use this to make sure I have enough gas and not too many lands, or vice versa. Also ditching Hellspark Elemental is fine.

Faithless Looting

2x Rift Bolt; this is kinda like playing a Doomsayer. It is mainly a deterrent for your opponent to play any creatures on their turn as at your upkeep you bolt something.

Rift Bolt

The Land

2x Scrying Sheets; only running two of these bad boys. Not running many lands, therefore I need access to red land. But with this it will hopefully stop the dead draws of just lands.

Scrying Sheets

18x Snow-Covered Mountain; DO NOT MAKE ME EXPLAIN THIS…

Snow-Covered Mountain

Summary

I hope to have this deck done sooner or later. I’ve got a solid base of all the meat of the cards, but I’m still trying to scrounge together the remaining Snow-Covered Mountains I require for the list, as well as Simian Spirit Guides. All in all I’ve played this deck online with varied results, but I just love playing it. Seeing people freak out online when I OTK (one turn kill) on turn four is hilarious. Have a Soulstoke, activate it, drop Nova Chaser, “Sure, I’ll take 10”, then post combat proceed to Fling it at my opponent, feels really good.

I’m still trying to put together a sideboard so if you guys have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment and I will see that it is addressed.

Until next time, stay salty my friends.