Pondering—If It Ain’t Broke

Allow me to get the excuses out of the way first: I was in no shape to be at Tuesday Night Magic last night. A combination of no sleep the night prior and a full day of travel meant I was pretty burnt out by the time I even landed at JFK, much less the activities to follow afterward.

That said, I went a personal worst 0-2-1 drop in Standard last night, piloting what I had previously thought to be the new hotness, the Japanese Blue Reanimator.

Round one was against Alaric, playing a similar list, but without any Unburial Rites. Shamans did a lot of work messing up life totals, and I was able to win game one off of a Craterhoof. After seeing Armada Wurms in game one, I boarded in Evil Twins in an attempt to be cute, but game two went to Alaric after I failed to find an answer to Big Garruk. Game Three was rather quick, since we were the match that went to time. A lot of Angel of Serenity/Evil Twin deadlocks from both sides.

0-0-1 after the first round.

The following round saw me matched up against one of my favorite people to play Magic against, Dylan. I really enjoy our battles in Modern: The Gathering, but this was our first encounter in the realm of Standard. This one was over pretty quickly. I mulled to five game one and got ran over by Dylan’s little green and white dudes. Game two he kept a greedy one lander with double Champion of the Parish and never played anything else. Game three I kept a hand with four lands and triple Supreme Verdict. Dylan went turn 2 Precinct Captain followed by turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft. My Supreme Verdicts on turns 4 and 5 were both met with Rootborn Defenses, and it was over. Not much of a match at all. We played some Modern afterward, UW against Lingering Jund. I like the matchup when I can get the Blade Splicer/Restoration Angel engine going, otherwise it’s a pain to get through the huge clump of Souls.

0-1-1 after round two.

I sat down against Lowry in round three. He looked like he was on some GW aggro list until I realized it was in fact a deck centered around Collective Blessing. We had a pretty good game one which saw a nonlethal Craterhoof swing followed by a lethal Collective Blessing + dudes crackback. I made some rather questionable sideboarding decisions and chose to bring in only the Detention Spheres. I got a 2-for-1 that locked Lowry on three mana for a while by removing his two Avacyn’s Pilgrims, but a Rest in Peace followed by Nevermore naming Restoration Angel (props to Lowry for identifying that that was what I had been sandbagging in my hand, however obvious it might have been) kept things interesting. I never found anything useful from Tracker’s Instincts and my opponent dropped an on-curve Collective Blessing to finish it out.

0-2-1 drop.

The main takeaway for the night, other than don’t play competitive Magic when you’re ready to fall asleep, is that Tracker’s Instincts sucks. Every time I played that card I wished it was Mulch instead. I get the synergy between that card and Deathrite Shaman, but most of time I just wanted those lands in my hand instead of being instant-speed Lotus Petals in my yard. Also, getting Black mana was ridiculously hard without a Farseek, and that’s after I adjusted the mana base — the original list from Japan ran 4 Cavern of Souls and 2 Overgrown Tombs. I did like using Forbidden Alchemy, but the things it was finding for me just weren’t as exciting as when I was playing Seance (plus, the aforementioned shortage of Black sources made flashback a little awkward).

I tried this list for the Deathrite Shamans, but while they did a ton of work when they stuck around, they never took over the game. Granted, my matches weren’t against any graveyard decks, so there’s a bias there. But I can’t help but feel I would just want a true dork instead to power out something spicy. This deck seemed kind of bland in comparison to the things I was doing with Seance. That, combined with having to hear Morgan Chang say that it’s “his list” over and over, means I’m going rogue again. Jordan Morgan keeps reminding me that this isn’t New Zealand and that Seance doesn’t work, but my record with the deck says otherwise. I just need to fix it up a little against aggro — and figure out a proper sideboarding plan now that graveyard hate is everywhere.

Look out for Matt Jones’ report with basically the same deck. He’ll likely have more constructive things to say than “Tracker’s Instincts sucks.”

8 Responses to “Pondering—If It Ain’t Broke”
  1. Zac Clark says:

    I’ve got a feeling that Griselbrand is the card everyone wants to cheat into play. Whether they know it or not. I’m lad to see that I’m not the only one running Rootborn Defense in my board. Alaric’s deck is like some type of G/W midrange right? Those Armanda Wurms got me an couple weeks ago. I think the Blue deck gets a like too cute… It’s to the point where the deck is so inbred that it suffers from wanting to do all the things moderately and ending up doing nothing really well. Also sleep depravitity makes for bad plays… But you know that.

    • Li Xu says:

      Definitely agreed that it doesn’t do anything really well. The dig spells don’t go as deep, the reanimation isn’t the main focus (since Tracker’s and Farseek promote hardcasting), and the mana isn’t even suited to hardcast the biggest dudes. And no Griselbrand hurts the deck real bad, the engine never really gets going.

  2. Matt Jones says:

    It’s funny – the memory of the Delver days is actually attractive to me. In that case you KNOW your enemy. Here it’s Bant then UW Flash then BR then what-the-hell-ever. Usually ganging up on Delver meant you were ok against other things. Bah! If I was kicking ass at Standard I wouldn’t be whining.

    • Li Xu says:

      I also felt that Delver promoted tighter play (greedy as all hell keeps, but tight play) especially in the mirror. I think I won 95% of the mirrors I played at the store, regularly beating the so-called pros that grind at SCG and whatever with the same deck that they’re playing.

      • Matt Jones says:

        I tried Conley Woods’s All-but-blue Reanimator last night in a daily. While I bombed out it’s definitely playing EVERY card I ever want to play though maybe I’d just put it in a Naya Shell and lose the reanimator. I dunno. I also tried BR and got totally housed. My combined MTGO/20SS standard win/loss is 2-12 since Friday. About the worst I’ve ever done.

      • Li Xu says:

        Yeah, maybe just lose the black, it’s just there for value and there’s no way to set up your graveyard for reanimation other than letting your stuff die naturally. Naya blink dudes for value.dek might be more consistent.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Xu and I played similar versions BGWU Reanimator at 20ss’s TNM (he writes about it here) this week. We posted a combined 1-5-1 record against a meta that we haven’t played well […]

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