Pondering—Disappointment, Heartbreak, and Bouncing Back From It All

I sleeved up UWR Flash for TNM. The RUG Project had crashed and burned on Sunday during Monthly Standard, and I was tired of going back to the drawing board. You can only inhale so much chalk dust before it all gets to your head. It was time to play the enemy deck.

My list was almost the exact same as Todd Anderson’s 6th place finish at the SCG Invitational, only I replaced an Unsummon with a second Pike — I don’t see how the deck wins without it. Then again, I hadn’t paid much attention to the Flash archetype at all since it first became a deck. It was certainly news to me that it added Red, but the choices made sense — Pillar against the aggro decks and Counterflux to avoid drawn-out counter wars. I never quite figured out what Staticaster did in the sideboard, but whatever, I thought I’d just cross that bridge when I came to it.

I tested some Modern with Matt before the event. Unlike Standard, I feel at ease playing Modern, even when I’m getting my teeth smashed in by Matt’s GW Hate Bears. He had put in Hero of Bladehold in place of Linvala, and while he never got one to stick against me, I was always sweating buckets whenever he threatened to untap with it, an emotion Linvala never prompted. Also new in his list was Sword of Light and Shadow, which is just a complete beating for me without answers for it in the mainboard. I think I won one game out of five or six that we tested, and that was thanks to ripping two Baneslayers.

The event finally started and I was paired with Chris and his rogue Grixis Walkers list. I faced him back in the Seance days, and while mainboard Slaughter Games is annoying, Chris’ deck can’t win without sticking a Planeswalker, which he was never able to do through my countermagic. He got my Sphinx’s Revelations and Runechanter’s Pikes, but I flashed in beaters to slowly reduce his life to 0.

I boarded out my Revelations for more counters. Chris casted Slaughter Games for Restoration Angel this time, but my little Augur that could kept chipping away at his life total while I held multiple Counterfluxes in hand. I eventually stuck a Pike and brought an end to the match.

1-0 matches, 2-0 games.

Round two was against Jess on Bant Control. Game one was a snoozefest. I bottomed a Pike with Augur and got the other Detention Sphered, so I did literally jack squat for the rest of the game and eventually pulled the trigger on myself, milling out my own library with Sphinx’s Revelation. I managed to stick a Jace 3.0 in game two and took it rather quickly, but Jess played four Thragtusks in game three and made short work of me. I could have forced a draw if I hit a Supreme Verdict off of a Thought Scour, but scooped it up when the Verdict got binned instead of going to my hand. I had planned on scooping to Jess if we were going to draw, though, since I am pretty much locked for the store championship while she was on the border.

1-1 matches, 3-2 games.

Up against the man himself, Zac Clark in round three. Zac was on American Control, kind of like UWR Flash, but with actual threats like Entreat the Angels and Niv-Mizzets. I nibbled at his life total for game one with an Augur until he eventually tapped out for a big spell — forgot what it actually was — and I killed him with a Pike for exactsies.

Game two was where my entire evening went down the drain. Zac stuck a Jace and went straight to work blowing up my library. I had a Pike and a guy to put it on, and chose to attack Zac’s life total instead of getting Jace out of the way first. I basically gave him one turn to answer the Pike or die, and sure enough, he had it and eventually stabilized at five life. With my remaining turns, I crafted a situation where I’d be able to flash in both a Snapcaster and an Angel at end of turn to kill him for exactsies again, but I messed up the order in which I cast my guys. Zac had only three mana open, representing Dissipate. I ran out my Snapcaster first when it should have been the Angel. That way, I could Snapcaster – Dispel his countermagic. But I pulled the trigger too fast and gifted the win to Zac.

We would have an epic game three that saw my Tiago chip Zac’s life down to 4 three times while racing against a lone Entreat token. The fighting ended with me at 2 life and Zac at 4. I had a Jace under his Detention Sphere, another Jace out and an unequipped Pike, neither card able to do anything due to Zac’s two Pithing Needles. I had a Restoration Angel with another in hand and the mana to cast it. I looked through Zac’s graveyard and exile pile, all four Dissipates and three Entreats were accounted for. I passed the turn. Zac’s library had 7 cards left in it. He drew for turn.

“Miracle Entreat. For 6.”

My heart sank and I slumped in my chair. All my work had been for naught. Up until then, it had been my game to lose, and just like that, I suddenly had only three cards in my deck that would save me — a second Supreme Verdict, my last Snapcaster to flashback Verdict, or the remaining O-Ring to reactivate my Jace and mill out the rest of Zac’s library. I drew for turn.

Plains.

I extended the hand, slammed my fist on the table and buried my head. I have never had a defeat so crushing and so demoralizing in my entire Magic career. Deep down, I cursed my bad luck, I cursed the swingy Miracles mechanic, and I cursed this wretched Standard format.

I eventually realized how shitty of a loser I was being and recomposed myself. I never meant to take anything away from Zac. The victory was hard fought and well deserved, it just pained me that it had to happen under these circumstances. But that’s Magic, the game that we love and hate and love again.

1-2 matches, 5-5 games.

The last match was a blur. I played a mirror. Whoever resolved Pike first won. It ended up being my opponent for two of the three, each more grating on my patience than the last. I had half a mind afterward to throw my deck in the garbage. In my last report, I had said that I was taking my losses easier than Matt, but that can now go right out the window since I was nothing short of an unpleasant, miserable fuck the entire night, and it’s not the reason I play Magic and certainly not the reason I go to Twenty Sided.

So to everyone: sorry for the way I behaved tonight. I need to take my losses in stride and come back stronger.

I’m playing BR next time. No more nonsense, no more land-go. I’m going to play creatures and try to kill you, we’ll see whether I’m successful within five to eight turns, and we can be on our merry way to the next round, win or lose.

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Comments
7 Responses to “Pondering—Disappointment, Heartbreak, and Bouncing Back From It All”
  1. Zac Clark says:

    Ha, I took nothing from it. That match was a bruiser. Plus I did get to “Practice” in the first two rounds vs the same style deck. At the end of the day, there are worse ways to lose. (In a Michael J Voice) Once I was turn 2 Channel/Fireballed thanks to a Tinder wall play on turn one… Standard was really dumb in my hayday. Top Decks happen.

  2. Matt Jones says:

    “I never quite figured out what Staticaster did in the sideboard, but whatever, I thought I’d just cross that bridge when I came to it.” – this is hilarious.

  3. Fettoblaster says:

    Staticaster is for the BR/GW aggro matchups. It kills gravecrawlers, knights of infamy, pilgrims, thalias, druid militants, lingering souls, etc. It also puts a lot of pressure on Falkenrath Aristocrat and blocks reasonably well. I ran my Rakdos Aggro into it during the same TNM playing against the same UWr Flash deck and it got reasonable value and bought sufficient time for my opponent to stabilize and eventually Reveleations me out of the game.

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