Spirit Control Deck Tech

Spirit Control Deck Tech

Hello saltlings! I was unable to attend my weekly FNM at Jack’s on Queen due to work constraints, so instead I’m going to do a short standard deck tech!

Last weekend I Head Judged a GPT for Montreal at Jack’s on Queen. I had the opportunity and privilege to watch local competitors go head to head with a variety of decks. Sure there were a few copies of Mardu Vehicles, but the list that stood out was the opposite of Vehicles. Vehicles is a list that is almost all creatures, with removal splashed in. The list I had my eye on was a combination of blue and white, and the only creature in the list was a three of Sphinx of the Final Word.

Sphinx of the Final Word

I watched this bird/man/lion close out games pretty convincingly once it hit the board on turn seven. My only quam with the list was that it didn’t manage to close out the game on a regular basis. One game I saw the pilot had played a Sphinx early on but it was cleared out via board wipe. However, once the first one was gone, the bottom two were in the last seven cards of his library. I felt deep down that this player was onto something, so I took a play from his book but decided to lower the creature curve a little.

Azorius Spirit Control

So in order to close out the game a little bit faster than the Sphinx counter part, I opted to go with smaller flash induced spirits.

Mausoleum Wanderer

The first of these ghostly goobers is Mausoleum Wanderer. This Cursecatcher type spirit is a little upgrade than its’ fishy counterpart. Not only does the wanderer have flying, it also had a triggered ability. Whenever another Spirit enters the battlefield under your control, Mausoleum Wanderer gets +1/+1 until end of turn. The activated ability counters an instant or sorcery unless the spell’s controller pays x, where x is the Wanderer’s power.

Rattlechains

The second and one of the most useful Spirits in the deck. Rattlechains‘ enter the battlefield ability gives another Spirit hexproof. It also gives all of my Spirits flash, which is so good when attempting to counter things with Wanderer, or stopping board wipes with the help of our next Spirit.

Selfless Spirit

This little nugget is pretty good when it comes to chump blocking, as well as preventing board wipes from taking you out of the game. Selfless Spirit can be flashed in with Rattlechains in order to perform some pretty sneaky counter plays.

Spell Queller

Probably the best spirit ever printed, Spell Queller is the best at flashing in at the right time and taking your opponents’ Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Spell Queller eats everything that is relevant in the current standard meta right now so it’s definitely a solid pick up.

DisallowHorribly AwryVoid Shatter

The counters in this deck are quite nice. I’m a huge fan of Horribly Awry as it deals with a majority of the prime threats in standard at the current moment. Anything that doesn’t get picked off by the above counter spells will be stopped by Negate.

Blessed AllianceImmolating GlareStasis Snare

Counter spells are blue, removal is white. Using Stasis Snare and Immolating Glare as targeted spot removal and Blessed Alliance as a shortcut around indestructible or hexproof creatures, this deck is pretty effective at removing threats. I’m still toying with the idea of Declaration in Stone, let me know what you think in the comment section below!

AnticipateGlimmer of GeniusBlighted Cataract

We need to dig for the answers. I’m using the typical Anticipate and Glimmer of Genius as card draw engines. I decided to run two copies of Blighted Cataract as additional card draw engines later in the game.

Well that’s all she wrote folks! Until next time, enjoy some Modern Masters 2017, and stay salty my friends.

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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.

 

Modern Masters 2017

Modern Masters 2017

What Masters?

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple weeks then let me fill you in on a little something…. WIZARDS OF THE COAST HAS LOST THEIR MINDS. A month and a bit after WotC denounced Modern as a format, they produce the greatest money machine of all time. Modern Masters 2017 is the culmination of all the great stuff that us modern players want in our lives. It’s a magical Christmas set. This set will be opened like crazy, so if you are on the bubble about throwing together a modern list, it’s the best time to do so.

Why Modern?

But why should you, random player, build an eternal format deck? Because it’s eternal. The great thing about modern is that the cards never rotate, so you can take your time in putting the deck together. I had been working on my original B/W Eldrazi list for about a year, and I’m still looking to optimize it. But there in lies the beauty of modern, I can take my time. In a rotating format like standard it seems like a rush to break the format, and get all the best cards, and then build the best deck while you can before it rotates.

Another great thing about Modern is the diversity. I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t stand playing against the same decks over and over again. The deck diversity in modern is so good, people often complain about it. As an example, if we look at the last three Star City Games Standard Opens, there are three decks that exist; Saheeli/Cat Combo, Mardu Vehicles, and a combination of G/B Aggro decks. These three decks act as a sort of rock paper scissors at times, where in Vehicles beats Saheeli, Saheeli beats G/B and G/B beats Vehicles. Sure this isn’t 100% of the time but these are the better match ups. Not only does this make somewhat boring Magic to play, but it also makes for boring Magic to watch. The casters they get for these televised events are pretty good, but there are only so many ways they can narrate a vehicles mirror before it gets absolutely dry. I would not like to turn your attention to the last three SCG Modern Opens. Out of all three Top 8’s, there were five copies of Death’s Shadow, four copies of Grixis Control, three copies of Bant Eldrazi, and the rest were all one ofs. Not only does deck diversity make for great playing, but it also makes for great spectating.

Modern is currently in the best state it ever has been, and it’s never too late to DELVE into the awesomeness.

Where to Start?

Ok, have I convinced you? Good, let’s begin. The format of modern is a big place, and you have to remember that looking for the best deck is not necessarily the way to go, as with modern there is no definitive “best deck”. If I could be honest, the best thing to do is find a list that looks interesting, and then use some sort of online simulator to test your games out, like untap.in. Doing this can prevent the dreaded “oh I finally put a deck together, played it, and I don’t like it” scenario.

This is where the diversity of modern shines, it has something for everyone. Enjoying blitzing your opponent with hastey one drops and then finishing them with burn? Play Boros Burn. Enjoy lowering your life total to play a one drop creature that has eight power and eight toughness? Death’s Shadow is your list. Do you enjoy monotonously sitting around, slowly killing your opponent and forcing a draw? Looks like you’re going to want to play Lantern Control. Want to have no friends? You’ll probably enjoy 8-Rack. Modern is a format in which any play style can be competitive and fun as well! Well, except maybe 8-rack…

Let’s Get Started!

So now you’re all set, you’ve picked your deck, where are you going to play? Well if you live in the Simcoe County area, Jack’s on Queen holds Modern and Standard based Friday Night Magic. They are also holding Modern formatted Grand Prix Trials throughout the upcoming months for Grand Prix Montreal and Grand Prix Vegas. Check out their Facebook for details.

In addition to these, Face to Face Games hosts huge competitive rules enforcement level events called Face to Face Opens! These large events are held at Seneca College in Toronto and usually host around 160-200 players. The next one is approaching awfully quickly, as it is March 18th. If you are available to attend this event I highly suggest you do so. I’m proud to say that the Head Judge for the event is a very good friend of mine, and also my judge dad, Jason Malott. Jason’s love for the game runs deep, and he was my inspiration for pursuing the life of a Magic judge. I unfortunately am slated to work that day, but I will be with him in spirit!

Drafting the Beast

Modern Masters 2017 is releasing March 17, and a majority of stores are holding drafts for the event. I have a few tips for drafting this monster of a set.

Step 1; Don’t go in blind

When the first Modern Masters set came out in 2013 I had only ever played standard, so I was completely green to the concept of ‘modern’. So I sat down at my LGS and proceeded to draft my first packs of Modern Masters. It was a pretty chill event, just a couple pals chilling playing draft. So here’s me, flipping through the cards of my first pack, I had a game plan in mind but I didn’t know what any of the cards in the set were. I get to the uncommons and see this four drop 4/4 flier by the name of Tower Gargoyle, and if there is anything I know about drafting, flying is good. I take a peak at the rare and it’s some two drop green creature. It has some text that give it +1/+1 for each card type in the graveyard so I though ‘that’s pretty meh in draft, I can’t build around that’. So just as I was about to pass the pack and my buddy stops me, “Dude…what are you doing?”. “Uh, taking the best card in the pack?” I replied, shocked at his interjection. “You’re going to take the green card, put it in a sleeve, and sell it.” At this point I’m supremely lost. He put his hand on my shoulder, leans in and whispers “That’s a Tarmogoyf, and it is currently priced at $200.” Guys I nearly lost my mind. I never could have imagined that this little piece of paper was a crisp $200 bill. Needless to say my luck to this day has been pretty shook. But if you are going to go draft MM17, please take a look at some of the ‘chase cards’ from the set, because if you pass a Liliana of the Veil, you will never forgive yourself.

Mythics of note;

Rares of note; as well as the fetch lands…

Step 2; Know your archetypes

Every set has certain archetypes that belong to the respective colours, Modern Masters 2017 is no different. According to an article published by Magic R&D Developer Adam Prosak, there are five archetypes in MM17.

White-Blue Blink – This colour combination focuses on enter the battlefield effects and blinking the creatures to abuse these abilities.

Blue-Black Instant Control – This dual colour combination utilizes instant speed removal and counter spells to alter the battlefield.

Black-Red Unearth – Unearth is an ability that allows cards to return from the graveyard with haste for a turn.

Red-Green Wheenie Tokens – This combination wants to create a bunch of small goblin/saproling tokens and go wide, swinging past even numerous blockers.

Green-White Populate – Populate is an ability from Return to Ravnica in which you can create a token that is a copy of another token creature you control.

It is important to know these archetypes when going into a draft scenario to have the knowledge of how the colour combinations are supposed to be played. There are also some three coloured cards in the set, so one can mix and match archetypes to their choosing.

Step 3; Drafting for winning VS Drafting for value

The age old debate comes up. You’re on your last pack, your deck is coming together quite nicely, and you’re super deep in a Green-White token list. Your last pack has ‘meh’ commons, ‘meh’ uncommons, a Snapcaster Mage and a foil Craterhoof Behemoth. Now you know that the Hoofey is going to be awesome in your draft deck, however after the draft it’s just going to sit in your binder and not amount to much, SCG has it at $30. But that Snapcaster, a prime modern staple in any blue deck, besides merfolk. You could start a bidding war over the Snapcaster, SCG has it at $40. So what do you do? Take the Hoofey and hope to do well, or take the Snapcaster and know that it will sell. Truth be told, it’s entirely up to you.

This incident happened quite a while ago at Grand Prix Vegas. Pascal Maynard was in the Top 8 at Grand Prix Vegas, where the draft was Modern Masters 2015. He was pretty deep into a Red/White list when he opened his pack two and stopped dead. There was a copy of Burst Lightning which would have been great for his list, but something shiney caught his eye, a foil Tarmogoyf. What he did next garnered him so backlash, he took the Goyf. This event sparked a huge social media storm known to most Magic players as Goyfgate. The backlash from his fellow Pro-Players was that of anger and disgust. Some saying he “ruined the spirit of the game” by drafting for value rather than winning. But in a statement issued by Maynard, he did indeed ‘win’. He put the foil Top 8 stamped Tarmogoyf up on E-Bay for auction and vowed to donate half of the money to Gamers Helping Gamers. Let’s just say the world was behind him as the card finally ended up selling for $15,000 USD.

Wrap-Up

So yea, that’s it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed the read and that some of my insight into the modern format brought you closer to building your own list.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 13th FNM & Aether Revolt Midnight Prerelease

How’s it going my salty sailors? I’ve got a decently long one for y’all today! First I’m going to do a brief review of FNM and then I’ll move on to the more exciting stuff!! Special thanks to the people at Jack’s on Queen for hosting another flawless Prerelease weekend!

Modern FNM

Alright, so once again I decided to compete in my local game shops Friday Night Magic with my trusty Black White Eldrazi home brew. The link to the deck list may be a different variant on the one I used on Friday, as it has been updated with Aether Revolt cards.

Round 1; Loss in 3 vs Merfolk

Now, whenever an event at the store has an odd number of players, if there are two people manning the front desk, one of the employees will play to even out the players. I don’t care what anyone says, this is fantastic. There is nothing more infuriating than waiting an entire week to play magic…only to get a bye. But I digress, I ended up playing the store owner, Kimberley. She was rocking some pretty gnarly fish in her stack. I managed to squeak out game one, but games two and three I couldn’t handle the merfolk. Spreading Seas is the bane of my existence when it gets dropped onto my only white source, or an Eldrazi Temple. On temple it slows me down, but when it’s on my only white source it completely shuts me off of Path to Exile, and Lingering Souls. I just didn’t have enough answers. Spreading Seas MVP!

Round 2; Win in 3 vs Bird Brain

I love this list. Utilizing Brain in a Jar, and fuse cards like Beck/Call to cheat them out super early. Game one I lost…pretty hard. Game two was completely in my favour. I removed one copy of Brain in a Jar, and my opponent never drew another one. Game three went to time. So we proceeded to go into five extra turns. My board state was Thought-Knot Seer, Kozilek, the Great Distortion, and a bunch of scions. My hand consisted of a Wasteland Strangler, and a Reality Smasher. The super aggro part of me thought to slam the Smasher and attack, but I decided to play on the side of caution and cast the Strangler first, which was met with an Ojutai’s Command. After getting the counter spell out of the way I slammed Smasher, proceeded to combat and swung for lethal. Little fun fact, at this point it was turn five of the five turn extension. I was totally shocked I was able to pull it out. Reality Smasher MVP!

Round 3; Loss in 2 vs Kiki-Chord

Something should be said for a deck like this. It’s basically Splinter Twin but a turn later. Utilizing the combo of Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Licker to go infinite with hasted 3/4 fliers. Decks with zero interaction like this one here is the reason I get salty about magic. Literally play a dork on turn one, play a dork on turn two, play a dork on turn three, flash in Resto on turn four, and then win on turn five with Kiki. People complain about how dredge is toxic, nah mate, this infinite 3/4s is toxic. Kiki-Jiki MVP!

Round 4; Loss in 2 vs Infect

Man this was not my night. Game one I narrowly lost, after my opponent managed to get out a Blighted Agent, and I had no removal for it at all. Game two was insane. Turn two my opponent animated an Inkmoth Nexus and hit me for one point of infect. I hit my opponent with Lost Legacy removing all copies of Blighted Agent from his library. Little did I know I was about to get OTK’d on turn three. My opponent had a copy of Inkmoth Nexus, and a forest in play. He played a second Inkmoth from his hand and tapped it to animate the original. He cast Groundswell on his Inkmoth, as well as two copies of Mutagenic Growth, for a total of nine points of infect. I was in shock, and a wee bit of awe as my opponent even appeared to be shocked at the disgustingly good hand he had gotten. Double Mutagenic Growth MVP!

Conclusion

From going undefeated last FNM to 1-3 this one, not my night at all! How far the mighty have fallen… RIP me…

Aether Revolt Midnight Prerelease

It’s that special time of year again, Magic Christmas! I’ve been out of the standard game for a while but checking out some of the spoilers for this set I think it might just me back into it. So MY POOL was pretty deep, I ended up building a killer black/white artifact list, and a super hard hitting green/red energy list. As prerelease is always just for fun, I swapped decks between games

B/W Artifact

1x Aether Inspector
1x Aether Poisoner
2x Cruel Finality
1x Defiant Salvager
1x Grindstone (Yes, the masterpiece)
1x Hidden Stockpile
1x Implement of Improvement
1x Implement of Malice
1x Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1x Lawless Broker
2x Night Market Aeronaut
1x Propeller Pioneer
2x Renegade’s Getaway
1x Restoration Gearsmith
1x Scrap Trawler
1x Sky Skiff
1x Sram’s Expertise
1x Tasseled Dromedary
1x Yahenni’s Expertise
1x Yahenni, Undying Partisan
10x Swamp
7x Plains

G/R Energy

1x Aether Chaser
1x Aether Herder
1x Aetherwind Basker
1x Attune with Aether
1x Bomat Courier
1x Consulate Turret
1x Giant Spectacle
1x Grindstone (Yes, the one from earlier)
1x Hidden Herbalists
2x Highspire Infusion
1x Implement of Ferocity
1x Peema Aether-Seer
1x Reckless Racer
1x Renegade Tactics
1x Ruinous Gremlin
1x Scrapper Champion
1x Silkweaver Elite
1x Sweatworks Brawler
1x Thriving Grubs
1x Unbridled Growth
1x Wild Wanderer
1x Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot
10x Forest
7x Mountain

The Games

Man do I love sealed events, especially when R & D did a good job at diversifying the sealed colour pie. I remember back to my first Grand Prix, Montreal, and it was sealed, Fate Reforged sealed. Long story short, if you didn’t get a dragon you basically just lost. I successfully went 3-1 in our little four round event. All of my round wins were in two, and my one loss was in three. Unfortunately for myself, I came fifth, and prizing only went to fourth. BUT participacks are the bomb and I was able to get my salty little mitts on two copies of Fatal Push for my modern deck, so that’s pretty sweet. I also managed to claw together the makings of my new standard deck, R/G Energy!

I bid you all a fond farewell, and remember, stay salty my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face to Face Modern Open

Oi! How’s it going salters and saltettes? It’s been a wee while since we last spoke. With school picking back up and working two jobs, the blogs are going to be few and far between, but I will attempt to jam as much content in as possible.

Friday January 6th 2017 FNM

So last night I attended my LGS Jack’s on Queen and participated in a modern Friday Night Magic event. I managed to come out on top of the three round event and taking first. Given it was a small event, it still felt good to win.

Face to Face Modern Open

This brings us to today. I traveled from the quiet little town of Wasaga Beach to the hustle and bustle of Seneca College in Toronto to participate in a Modern Open tournament hosted by Face to Face Games. My pilot was Jason Malott, a local level two judge whom was second in command for the event, and his co-pilot was his son Jaden, whom was going to play in the event utilizing a mono-green stompy list. After careful deliberation, not really, I decided to play my Orhzov Eldrazi deck.

Round 1; Win in 2 vs Through the Breach

I am a big fan of playing against grixis colour decks. I don’t now why but the colour combination always works out in my favour. Game one I hit my opponent with an Inquisition of Kozilek  and ended up taking out a Snapcaster Mage, but it was what I saw that was the issue…. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Needless to say I took game one pretty convincingly. My opponent was visible shaken after the first game, so naturally I inquired if everything was ok. He told me that after casting a Serum Visions he did his scry and kept a Through the Breach on top, but later in his turn he cracked his Scalding Tarn, and shuffled his Through the Breach back into his library. Game two I hit my opponents’ Remand and Cryptic Command with Surgical Extraction. Once all the counter spells were gone I used Infinite Obliteration to remove Emrakul from my opponent’s deck.

Round 2; Loss in 3 vs Affinity

These games were pretty close, but quick. Game one my opponent just ran me over, too many wheenies and not enough removal. Game two I was able to stave off the waves of robotic menaces. I’m going to focus primarily on game three as it was the most intense. It start out quite well for me, I had spot removal for a lot of my opponent’s big things. Disenchant taking care of Cranial Plating saved me for the early portion of the game. So here was the board state. I had a variety of eldrazi creatures on the field, and instead of activating Vault of the Archangel I decided to cast a Thought-Knot Seer and pick the last card out of my opponent’s hand. My opponent had two copies of Darksteel Citadel, Inkmoth Nexus, Steel Overseer, and a Vault Skirge. I was sitting at a comfortable seven life. I had a bunch of ground blockers and felt pretty secure. I pass to my opponent, and he draws his card for turn. He slams Arcbound Ravager, and I know I’m in trouble. He activates Steel Overseer and puts a +1/+1 counter on both Ravager and Skirge. He then proceeds to sacrifice both Citadels to put to more +1/+1 counters on Ravager. He then taps the Nexus to animate it, turning it into an artifact and sacrificing it to Ravager, he does the same to Overseer. He then sacrifices Ravager to itself, and using it’s modular ability, he transferred five +1/+1 counters to vault Skirge making it’s power and toughness seven, exactly lethal. Felt real bad mang. Salt level rising.

Round 3; Loss in 2 vs Jund

Oi oi oi. The MVP of this game belongs to my opponents Dark Confidant. Both games Confidant took my opponent to sub five life, but I could not stick a threat to finish the job. Not much to say about these games, I just got styled on. Salt level reaching critical levels.

At this point I am 1-2 and feeling pretty down. Then my little buddy Jaden runs up and tells me “I’m 2-1!”. Boom, instant second wind. I am so down to crush everyone.

Round 4; Win in 3 vs Infect

Game one my opponent had a turn two kill, but unfortunately for him I was able to clear his graveyard with Relic of Progenitus before he could toss a Become Immense onto his Glistener Elf. Game two my opponent managed to slap me with enough poison counters to take me out. Game three was very back and forth but I managed to pull the game out and take it home.

Round 5; Loss in 3 vs G/R Tron

Normally this is a good match up for me. I was able to take game one pretty convincingly, keeping my opponent off ‘Tron’ by using Ghost Quarter to spot remove Urza’s Tower, Urza’s Mine, and Urza’s Power Plant. Game two was vastly different. Neither of us did much of anything until my opponent was able to play Karn, Liberated. After exiling some of my lands I scooped and we moved to game three. Game three was super rough. He had tron put together on turn three and just went off. Literally nothing I could have done to stop my opponent from dropping World Breaker and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Salt level rising. Salt reaching maximum capacity.

Round 6; Win in 3 vs 8-Rack

Game one was super easy, primarily because my opponent never drew into a copy of The Rack. Game two was a completely different story. My opponent had two copies of the Rack and two copies of Shrieking Affliction, it was at this point I realized Raven’s Crime was a huge crutch that my opponent leaned on for drawing land. Game three I managed to tear all copies of Raven’s Crime out of his library and yard with Surgical Extraction. The only issue now was the fact that I was at two life, had 30+ points of damage on board, and four cards in hand, but couldn’t do anything as my opponent had two copies of Ensnaring Bridge, two Racks, and a Shrieking Affliction. Anything in my opponents deck was lethal; Lightning Bolt, Kolaghan’s Command, or Blightning. My opponent and I went back and forth for what felt like an eternity, but in reality was like four turns each. My opponent drew a variety of discard spells like Inquisitions, Thoughtseize, and Funeral Charm. I had to keep a bunch of land in my hand to prevent the Racks from killing me. We continued for turn after turn until I drew into two copies of Disenchant, which allowed me to destroy both Bridges and swing for lethal. Both my opponent and myself were just glad it was over, the best, most intense game of Magic I have played in quite a while.

Round 7; Win in 2 vs Bant Spirits

I have no idea where this deck went wrong but boy did it go wrong. My opponent kept a two land hand when his hand contained nothing but three drops and just never drew into a third land for the rest of game one. Game two my opponent whiffed twice off of two copies of Collected Company. I felt so bad for the guy, not only did I pick his hand apart with Inquisition and TKS, but whiffing on CoCo just feels bad.

Round 8; Win in 2 vs Burn

I’m going to preface this by saying that if you enter a tournament, please respect the rest of those whom enter it and which to play. My opponent decided to double dip, what I mean by that is that he signed up for a side event while the main event was going on. That’s the issue with On-Demand Events, they fire once they have the appropriate amount of people. After my opponent sits down, but before he gets his deck out, his draft gets called to fire. So we play game one and he just burns me, brutally. All of the burn spells directly to the face. At this point, the judge heading my opponents’ draft event is becoming more and more agitated as he is now calling my opponent specifically over the loud speaker. I sideboard, do my thing and shuffle up for game two. At this point the judge of the side event has located my opponent and is waiting for him, and by waiting I mean staring directly at him to get up and go to the draft table. My opponent opens with a flurry of burn spells, and takes me to three life, I am within the ‘bolt zone’. Now it’s not just the judge waiting for him, but it is his entire draft table. I proceed to take my turns at a reasonable speed, and after my opponent drew lands for three turns in a row he scoops his stuff and says “I concede, I have to go draft.” My opponent marked down that I won in two on the match slip, signed it, shook my hand, and scurried off to his draft pod apologizing profusely. Moral of the story kids, don’t double dip.

Conclusion

After all was said and done I managed to finish in 47th place out of 151 people. I missed prizing by 15 places, which just means I will get it next time! I inquired at the Face to Face Games booth about making some trades and I did 150 dollars worth of trades. I decided to live up to my title image and finally pick up a Godless Shrine Expedition, done by the magnificent Noah Bradley. I also grabbed two copies Thoughseize for the modern deck. Twas an awesome day, certainly some salty moments, but never the less totally worth it.

Stay salty my friends.