Power and Toughness—GW(b) in Modern and a Holiday Week Recap

censor

What a lousy holiday week(end) for winning! Holy cow – something like 6 and 12 over a variety of formats (draft, standard, and modern). Regardless, I had a blast and reacquainted myself with a major personal truth. I’m a “fuck the system” kinda guy. I grew up listening to lots of Rage Against the Machine, just like Paul Ryan. I don’t like authority, I don’t like being told what to do, I hate asking permission, I don’t like to have to grant permission – I like things to go smoothly, fairly, openly, and honestly. I enjoy honest creature battles with a few combat tricks, equipment, and removal. Gerry Thompson wrote an article about Todd Anderson playing Ben Weinburg including a video of the match. Looking at Todd Anderson’s RUW Flash deck I thought “fuck this deck”. For me “control” decks (even low casting cost baby control decks like RUW Flash) are the equivalent of a fascist regime destroying our freedom and forever something to fight against. I cheered when Anderson Staticaster’d Weinburg’s Pilgrim (a 2/2 thanks to Mayor), realize his mistake, and (probably) lose the match as a result. YEAH! As cool as the Empire is, it’s still the Empire, and must be destroyed. There’s little division in my life between magic, art, and the day to day grind – so morality and ethics get tossed into all of it. That said, I have a playset of Snapcasters and Geists for trade.

At Millennium Games’s FNM last week I went 2-2 drafting a Rakdos deck that was hampered by the person sitting to my left taking three Splatter Thugs pack two (he built an Izzet aggro deck and went 2-2 also). It was fine, I opened a Chromatic Lantern in my prize packs and was able to give it to my round four opponent who was very new to the game and super stoked. He and I chatted a bit about his desire to build a Splinterfright/Boneyard Wurm deck. When I told him about Kessig Cagebreakers he flipped his shit with excitement.

Sunday I participated in the Standard tournament at Millennium. I built two decks: Kibler’s GB and the usual BR.

Kibler’s GB Indestructable Aggro

1 Swamp
3 Golgari Guildgate
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Woodland Cemetery
11 Forest

4 Arbor Elf
3 Deadbridge Goliath
3 Dreg Mangler
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Predator Ooze
3 Strangleroot Geist
3 Ulvenwald Tracker
2 Wolfir Avenger

1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
4 Rancor
1 Tragic Slip
3 Ultimate Price
2 Garruk Relentless

Sideboard
3 Deathrite Shaman
2 Ranger’s Guile
2 Tragic Slip
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Appetite for Brains
4 Duress
2 Sever the Bloodline

At FNM I had playtested the following deck with the dude who would come to draft all the Splatter Thugs. I saw it online and was like “hot shit I want this to work SO BADLY!!!” but alas, it doesn’t.

4 Arbor Elf
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Borderland Ranger
4 Restoration Angel
3 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
4 Thragtusk
4 Armada Wurm
3 Angel of Serenity
4 Farseek
3 Garruk, Primal Hunter
3 Cavern of Souls
8 Forest
1 Gavony Township
3 Plains
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden

Sideboard
2 Ray of Revelation
2 Rest in Peace
3 Triumph of Ferocity
2 Slayer of the Wicked
4 Terminus
2 Akroma’s Memorial
I’m really sick of playing BR and the amount of mana screw I encounter despite insane shuffling (I’ve tried three methods: Lebron’s, Zac Clark’s, and Chas’s). I switched away from the Zombies version (and crushed the Zombies version in round three) because the screw was even worse (Rakdos Guildgate is awful). I asked Facebook which to play and the results came in too late to matter. The store didn’t have Ranger’s Guile (a card I don’t usually travel with) for GB’s sideboard (an important one) and after playtesting GB against some kid’s Naya-ish deck and losing handedly I went with BR Aggro.

BR Aggro

10 Mountain
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Searing Spear
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Knight of Infamy
4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Blood Crypt
4 Ash Zealot
3 Thundermaw Hellkite
3 Swamp
3 Rakdos Keyrune
3 Pillar of Flame
3 Mizzium Mortars
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Ultimate Price

Sideboard
3 Slaughter Games
2 Ultimate Price
1 Pillar of Flame
2 Olivia Voldaren
2 Zealous Conscripts
3 Duress
2 Appetite for Brains

Round one, game one, I smashed with a great hand against a three mana’d some kind of reanimator deck. I sided in Slaughter Games and my opponent beats me with Angel of Glory’s Rise game two. Game three I am doing well with smashing and Slaughter Games away his Angel of Glory’s rise only to draw 100 lands in a row and lose the match. I don’t remember anything but winning round two and round three was the Zombies semi-mirror I won. Round four was a severely outclassed match vs. UWR Flash including a game one mull to five that I nearly stabalized/won before a Sphinx’s Revelation sent my hopes of victory packing. Game two, after shuffling my hand, lands, and what was in play together and then riffle shuffling three times, pile shuffling once, and riffle shuffling three more times, I keep a decent seven. Shortly I drew 100 more lands and extend my hand to my opponent’s “sorry man, that sucks” which I hear on repeat now.

The best part of my MTG holiday week was all of the Modern testing I got done on MTGO. I didn’t 3-1 or 4-0 any dailies and some of the tournaments I super scrubbed out on (one I 0-4’d but won at least one game per match). I’m getting really close to a deck. It’s somewhere between Kibler’s GWb Bears deck and Matti’s GW Bears deck. Here are the two lists:

GW Hate Bears
Brian Kibler
2012 Grand Prix Chicago – 11/10

2 Aven Mindcensor
2 Baneslayer Angel
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Gaddock Teeg
2 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Noble Hierarch
3 Qasali Pridemage
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Wilt-Leaf Liege

1 Dismember
4 Lingering Souls
4 Path to Exile

3 Forest
3 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
2 Horizon Canopy
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Stirring Wildwood
1 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard:
3 Chalice of the Void
2 Creeping Corrosion
2 Dismember
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Rest in Peace
2 Rule of Law
3 Stony Silence
Matti (4-0) GW Bears
Modern Daily 2012-12-19 #4737121

1 Eiganjo Castle
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Horizon Canopy
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Pendelhaven
1 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
1 Stirring Wildwood
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Temple Garden
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Leonin Arbiter
1 Spellskite
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Aven Mindcensor
3 Mirran Crusader
3 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Path to Exile

Sideboard
4 Creeping Corrosion
2 Rule of Law
2 Thorn of Amethyst
3 Stony Silence
1 Rest in Peace
3 Spellskite

I’ll get right into cards I love in both of these decks.

Leonin Arbiter is awesome almost all the time in Matti’s deck. Everyone searches for lands except you and a keep with a bunch of fetch lands looks really bad after Arbiter hits the table.

Thalia is awesome a lot of the time as neither deck runs many spells pre-board.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence, is super. She shuts down much utility and smashes for 3+ depending on which deck she’s in and the number of exalted triggers, Township tokens, or Leige’s in play.

Aven Mindcensor ruins people’s days. Turn one dork. Turn two opponent drops a fetch, cracks it, you Mindcensor, they come up with nothing, you win (maybe). I love it.

Horizon Canopy rules. Cycling it late-game is awesome. Having both colors available for a measly one life is awesome. I will run just one sometimes-good-sometimes-Rakdos-Guildgate-like Stirring Wildwood and add an extra Canopy (if I’m not already at four).

Creeping Corrosion out of the board just wins against Affinity. They can’t come back.

Baneslayer Angel is the freaking best all the time except when she’s too slow, then she’s not so awesome.

Other things I’ve been thinking about:

Wilt-Leaf Liege – is s/he worth it? Pretty big beats if it happens, usually eats a removal spell of some kind.

Mirran Crusader – is it THAT good? So far it’s 50/50, sometimes dying to whatever 2 damage to all creatures spell is hip at the time, sometimes beating for 6 a turn, always pro-Jund.

Is there room for Kitchen Finks? Gets double bonus from Liege. Gains you life which is super relevant and hard to overcome for a number of aggro decks.

Chalice of the Void – is it good anymore? Poison seems on the decline in a big way.

Loxodon Smiter – big deal?

I put a Day of Judgement in the board of Matti’s deck and used it to great purpose vs. Affinity after my opponent Thoughtsiezed Creeping Corrosion. Is that an insane thing to do?

I noted a lot of Scapeshift and Storm in the dailies I played. Scapeshift was remarkably absent from the MTGO top 16 for whatever big Modern tourney was held recently. Thorn of Amethyst seems really important.

Ghost Quarter becomes very good when your opponent runs few basics and/or you have an Arbiter in play.

I just can’t play Jund anymore. It’s not that fun and it’s too popular. It’s earned my rage.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today. It was a MTG mess of a week and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hope this post stimulates some discussion on either Standard or Modern. I’ll be at Twenty Sided’s FNM playing Standard tomorrow and am traveling to Philly for a Modern PTQ on Saturday with Monique, Rob, and Luis. You can bet I’ll report on at least one of these.

Looking forward to discussion.

Much love,
Matt “The Obliterator” Jones
www.mattjonesrules.com

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