The Scrub Report—Aggro-Less Aggro Decks, Filibuster Heartbreak, and More!

Magic is the hardest game I’ve ever played. I suck at it. I love it.

I’m brand new to Magic. I started playing a few months ago. The Scrub Report will follow me, Giaco, and all of my crushing defeats and minor victories. I draft the current format every week where I play amongst some very skilled players in a very challenging format. I’m in over my head anyway, so let’s just dive right in!

The Draft

I sat down to an eight man draft pod last night trying to cultivate a blank mind. No expectations, no preference to cards, just repeating the mantra “let the cards do the talking.” My pack one rare was Search the City – the cards refused to speak! I settled on one of my favorite cards in the set, Stab Wound. Then I got passed a Supreme Verdict, took it and began thinking Azorius. But then people were sending really strong red cards my way, so I teetered between Azorius and Izzet. Finally as the draft went on and things got weird, I decided I wanted to try an aggressive Izzet deck. This was so far off any original plans I had made (or told myself I wouldn’t make!) and thus, as always, I felt confused, out of step, and out-matched… all before I sat down to my first match. Here’s the Deck List (sideboard wasn’t much but 2 Inaction Injunctions and unplayable versions of the cards I had, and I never sided in):

1 Frostburn Weird
2 Goblin Electromancer
2 Doorkeeper
1 Azor’s Elocutors
1 Soulsworn Spirit
1 Vassal Soul
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Cobblebrute
1 Lobber Crew
1 Viashino Racketeer
1 Explosive Impact
2 Annihilating Fire
1 Traitorous Instinct
2 Essence Backlash
1 Conjured Currency
1 Inspiration
1 Dispel
1 Cancel
1 Pursuit of Flight
1 Izzet Keyrune
1 Steam Vents
7 Islands
7 Mountains

Yikes. Looking at it like this I see how un-aggro my aggro-Izzet really was. And I know, I know, Conjured Currency… but I love that card and I will play it until it works for me (sign of a new player: stubborn love of bad cards).

Round 1

Game 1 went off without I hitch. I was feeling positive in my match-up against Green-White-Black. I got a Cobblebrute out on turn 4 and a Cobblebrute out on turn 5. Smash, smash, smash! That resounding win would be very short lived. Game 2 I lost so quickly and without fanfare that I honestly don’t remember how I lost (sign of a new player: not learning from your mistakes). Now, Game 3, that was the real heartbreaker. On turn 5 I got Azor’s Elocutors out and hiding behind some beefy dudes. As I put more and more guys out on the battlefield, the filibuster counters rose higher and higher! Four filibuster counters on Azor’s! So close! And… he launch partied into the card and burnt up my dreams of a senate shutdown. Exasperated at his fumbling opponent, my rival went on to thoroughly decimate me/explain to me my misplays (Which I will always accept. It never bothers me. I may have no ego). Final Result: 1 win, 2 losses.

Round 2

Up against my main man Gene. I love playing against people I have a good rapport with. I am, by nature, a conversationalist. I like to talk about the game, talk about how I’m fudging up, and just be a little more casual. When I play against serious players I seriously tense up, let them dictate the tempo of the match, and I find I make way more misplays. Game 1 my opponent started out mana screwed and I had a Cobblebrute out nice and early. I was able to smash in early and Explosive Impact for a surprise win. Game 2 was a loss, due mostly to back-and-forth-ism, minor misplays, and him having an okay Azorius deck that kept my cards under control. Game 3, as was the theme with this week, was another heartbreak involving an interesting card. My favorite card, Conjured Currency, out on the board on Turn 6. I took the wrong card of his (naturally) taking the horrible Fencing Ace over the pretty okay Runewing. On his turn he played a Voidweilder, bounced his own card back to his hand, held onto Conjured Currency, and laughed at my woe (to be fair, we were both laughing at my woe). After that it was just a matter of time before I folded under the weight of the emotional trauma that was losing my Conjured Currency. Final Result: 1 win, 2 losses.

Round 3

In a round where there was literally nothing on the line (we were both 0-2 and neither of us were in contention for prize packs) I played the best round of the night (naturally). Game 1 his Selesnya deck got humongous in it’s first match, and I crumbled under the weight of his centaurs. Game 2 my deck fired off, and I was able to Annihilating Fire and Explosive Impact him to finish the game. Game 3 involved me maintaining a strong, aggressive board presence while Cancel-ing and Dispel-ing his tricks and creatures away. Hooray! Final Result: 2 wins, 1 loss.

Final Thoughts

Another night going 1-2 at The Twenty Sided Store. This is a journey, I suppose. This time two months ago I was going 0-3 (I never drop when I’m losing. I always want to play). The level of play at the shop is high, advanced, and I feel like this is a trial by fire. So for some final thoughts: I need to get over Conjured Currency. If I wanted to run Azor’s and Doorkeepers I should have committed to more walls. I needed beefier guys on the battlefield and more combat tricks. I had plenty of tricky tricks, but nothing other than Pursuit of Flight for my men on the field.

My final opponent (a rad dude named Ian) and I agreed that in the final round (loser’s tournament of sad champions) we were playing for Pride Packs. So, in the end, I guess I won back a few of the many Pride Packs I hemorrhaged out last night.

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