Power and Toughness—Cognitive Dissonance

There was a blizzard and it shut down any hopes of going to the two local PTQs, emptied my interest in going to StarCityGames Edison, and kept me and my buds away from Mark Gibson’s MFA thesis show. Earlier in the week I played this list at Tuesday Night Magic and had the following to say about it (I originally posted this in a comment on Li’s Pondering—Project Naya article):

4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Ash Zealot
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Hellrider
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Searing Spear
4 Rancor
12 Mountain
4 Stomping Ground
4 Rootbound Crag

Sideboard
4 Thunderbolts
4 Volcanic Strength
4 Flames of the Firebrand
3 Traitorous Blood

1.Other aggro decks can’t beat it unless you brick on land or flood. I lost one game vs. Zombies when I bricked on land (bricking on land = having only one land). I should’ve mulligan’d.

2. The times when I enjoyed and benefited from having Stromkirk Noble were few and far between. I don’t know what I’d rather he was but certainly something else has to be better.

3. Pillar is solid. It kills like half the creatures in the format. That said, in a control/flash meta-game (aka the 20SS meta), Pillar is a piece of garbage.

4. IT IS SO HARD TO GET GREEN MANA (sometimes).

I went 1-3. My match-ups were the following:

R1 vs Randal’s BR Zombies—I was able to more or less crush Zombies in three very uninteractive games. The loss was the aforementioned bad one-land keep.

R2 vs Lebron’s UWR Flash-like deck (he’ll correct me if/when he reads this). G1 my memory is lousy but I started out strong, ran out a ton of monsters—but Lebron’s removal was enough and he got back in it and won it. G2 I got Lebron down to six life, somehow, and Thunderbolted him on his turn. Then, knowing he had one non-counterspell and one unknown card, and that he’d probably win if I didn’t kill him this turn, I hit him with the second Thunderbolt and he says “You got me.” G3 I ran face-first into a Boros Reckoner without paying attention to his open mana for first-striking, and scooped when he blocked and killed my beefy but no-butt’d Cackler. I had kept a one-lander that, had the one land been basic Mountain, would’ve gotten there, probably, but it was a Rootbound Crag and the Cackler came down turn 2 off the ETB tapped Crag. A turn two top-decked Mountain allowed me to dump BTE, BTE, Rancor onto the field. They all died horrible deaths.

R3 vs Mike’s Bant … ? something deck. G1 I was fast and furious and I won. G2 we stalled out and I don’t win stalls. G3 I was in with a chance, Blind Obedience was fucking me up and its extorting was REALLY bad for me. He was down to three or so before he started his extorting. He gets back up to 9 and an Augur reveals a Revelation, and I scooped’em up. I can’t beat him Sphinx’ing for ten more life (he had a lot of land).

R4 vs Zac “Captain Durdles” Clark and his UWR Control Deck. G1 he crushes me. G2 I mull to 5, play well/correctly, and win. G3 I run face-first into Supreme Verdict, curse, and scoop’em up.

I think that the deck is cool. I don’t think the sideboard is good and I don’t think you’ll be able to cast Boros Charm if you only run four Sacred Foundries. You’re also straying pretty far from Saito’s deck if you start messing with the mana base and throwing other cards in. How often will you be keeping two mana back for a Boros Charm (in the event of a wrath)? You need all your mana on your turn, you know? Pft.

I nearly played Naya Humans that evening (Tuesday), had it sleeved up, and decided to give it a try for Friday Night Magic a few days later. Twenty minutes of debate between Standard and draft on Friday lead to me signing up for Standard. Not, of course, before I got to playtest with Hugh and his Jund deck.

hughjundwinner

The following list lost three straight before I told Hugh I needed a break:

4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
3 Boros Charm
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Champion of the Parish
3 Clifftop Retreat
3 Forest
3 Frontline Medic
3 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Mayor of Avabruck
3 Nearheath Pilgrim
1 Plains
3 Restoration Angel
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Searing Spear
4 Silverblade Paladin
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Sideboard
2 Centaur Healer
1 Fiend Hunter
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Pillar of Flame
1 Ray of Revelation
2 Rest in Peace
2 Selesnya Charm
1 Zealous Conscripts

If there is a way in my main deck to deal with a 4/4 Olivia I sure couldn’t find it. I was second-guessing Standard as Hugh was planning on putting up $10 and playing, too. Turns out it didn’t matter as Standard didn’t get the eight people it needed to fire and I signed up for the second draft of the day. I’d split in the finals of the three o’clock draft with a not-too-impressive Boros deck. Too many five-drops (the two 2/2 vigilant knight sorcery and the 4/4 sometimes-vigilant masked red card) made the battalioning sort of inconsistent. Hellraiser Goblin helped. You can see, or mostly hear, the second-round battle of the early draft between me and Zac here:

I had decided after a horrifying Simic/Dimir forced draft deck and the misery it caused me (and absence of wins or hope for wins), that I would only draft Gruul or Boros (or Naya), and so I stuck to my guns at FNM. There’s a chance I’d try to put a really awesome Simic evolve deck together but, man, I think that deck needs a lot of luck and a lot of one-drops to work. If you’re off curve you’re up Shit Creek. Anyway, here’s the masterpiece Orlando helped me build (he was sitting to my right and decided to not hate-draft all of the awesome Boros cards he knew I’d gobble up, and I’m still grateful):

best-deck

My Favorite Draft Deck So Far
by Matt Jones

Mugging
2 Madcap Skills
Pit Fight
Boros Charm
2 Massive Raid
Homing Lightning
Sunhome Guildmage
Truefire Paladin
Bomber Corps
Firefist Striker
2 Warmind Infantry
Ember Beast
Skylight Legionnaire
Hellraiser Goblin
Cinder Elemental
Scorchwalker
Towering Thunderfist
Gaurdian of the Gateless
Wrecking Ogre
Foundry Champion
Boros Guildgate
6 Plains
10 Mountain

Round one vs. Joe’s non-aggro deck. Joe played dudes that were less threatening than mine and his combat tricks weren’t as good and his removal didn’t exist. I won in two.

Round two vs. Jonathan’s Esper deck. I made major mistakes both games and still won. This deck did not flood, only drew gas, and crushed.

I went 4-0 on Friday, with two intentional draws in the finals for packs. I opened these and traded them in for $650 store credit:

prizepacks

The following day—snow everywhere, events canceled—I took off for the store after making and devouring pancakes and bacon with my lady friend Jen (aka Gin Minsky). The draft didn’t go quite as well as the previous two drafts but I figured I could get there. I figured wrong.

I had a lot of hands like this and mulled continuously:

badhand

Still, I won round one, and when I reported, Luis said, “Man, you’re on a serious streak,” to which I promptly replied, “Not for long.” I lost the next three out of four matches of Limited Magic. I don’t know what went wrong. You can’t sit next to the ever-gracious Orlando every draft, I guess. He got back at me on Sunday in the final round of the Modern tournament at Twenty Sided by beating me with his home brew (and half my own cards) after I could’ve won like 30 times (I’m still learning how to not fuck up playing against Kiki Pod). I played Giaco round three of the second draft on Saturday (I smoked him the first draft—we were in the same pods twice in a row, a blessing for us both as our love knows no bounds) and he handed me my ass. With this he earned the first two honest prize packs of his young Magic career.

giacodieroll

That night I played Bond for a few hours and went to bed.

The following morning I was up early with Jen. She was headed to some mountain in New Jersey (they have mountains?!) for some snowboarding so I went to the studio around 7am, made 200 paintings with my buddy Tali, and sleeved up Kiki Pod and Rb Burn. The lists look something like this:

Kiki Pod

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Birthing Pod
1 Breeding Pool
3 Chord of Calling
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Deceiver Exarch
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Forest
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Hallowed Fountain
3 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Murderous Redcap
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Qasali Pridemage
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Restoration Angel
1 Spellskite
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
3 Wall of Roots
1 Strangleroot Geist
1 Zealous Conscripts

Sideboard
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Harmonic Sliver
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
2 Negate
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Path to Exile
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Spellskite
1 Thragtusk
1 Reveillark

and

Rb Burn

4 Arid Mesa
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
6 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Ash Zealot
2 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Goblin Guide
3 Grim Lavamancer
4 Vexing Devil
4 Bump in the Night
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Magma Jet
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
1 Shard Volley

Sideboard
1 Flames of the Blood Hand
3 Skullcrack
1 Leyline of Punishment
2 Molten Rain
2 Rakdos Charm
3 Smash to Smithereens
3 Torpor Orb

Hugh showed up just before round one, deckless, so I offered my “bad” (says Li) Rb Burn deck. He 4-0’d the tournament with it and beat Li’s UW in the final round. Go figure.

Round one I play against a dude who I think I play every time I play Modern at 20SS. He always plays burn, isn’t much fun to play against, and always beats me due to my play errors (and burn being especially good at capitalizing on play mistakes). Now, don’t get me wrong, an opponent doesn’t have to be fun to play against, but, shit, I sure do like it better. Li, Hugh, the Chanimal, and I go get some lunch at Blue Collar and come back refreshed.

I very slowly lose game one of round two again on my play error (I could’ve won like three turns in a row but didn’t see it). Game two I win by combo’ing off on turn four at time in the round. He could’ve easily gotten out of it by Pathing something instead of using Enginnered Explosives to kill all my three-drops (prior to it resolving I flashed in Restoration Angel to blink Eternal Witness, getting back my Pod so I could combo-chain the next turn). He was amazed that I had a second Kiki-Jiki as I could’ve won G1 by fetching a second. I told him it was all part of the plan, that I Jedi mind-tricked him by losing G1 to deceive him into making a mistake in G2 to let me … tie the round. It sounds flimsy and it is. I just presently suck at playing Pod.

Round three was against Dana and she goes down relatively quickly, scooping G1 after I have life-gaining Ouphes and Wall of Roots everywhere. It was only a matter of time before I combo’d off or did something else awesome, once I had a sweet board presence. G2 was similar, ‘cept an Obstinate Baloth got in her way and gained me life. We played a few more “for fun” and she won every game with Torpor Orb in play. I had sided out my Pridemage so I had no way of dealing with her Orb. Luckily I didn’t see that card G2.

Round four I played Orlando and won G1 when he flooded out. G2 was in my grasp, I had podded to get a Kiki after a Deceiver Exarch was in play and tapped his black mana source. He floated a black and had red available. I didn’t realize he had Rakdos Charm until too late and decided to fuck myself over hard by twiddling my Kiki before announcing combat (which Jonathan and Li alerted me to post-game, after they gave me five minutes to cool down, for which I was grateful). Had I announced combat Orlando’s mana pool would empty, I could make a trillion dudes, and he couldn’t Rakdos Charm me. I said, “fuck it” (never advisable), and make a billion dudes right into his Charm. G3 I am 3/4 tilting and make a series of poor decisions and lose, scooping to his Abyssal Persecutor way before I had to.

I went back to my studio, put a coat of Urethane-40 on some energy paintings, went home, ate a salad from Green Streets, and played Mass Effect.

I have no idea which Standard deck I’ll play tonight and actually think I’ll just draft again. If I am going to play Standard I’d go with something like this:

Naya
2 Frontline Medic
2 Aurelia’s Fury
1 Aurelia, the Warleader
4 Boros Reckoner
3 Domri Rade
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
1 Angel of Serenity
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
2 Restoration Angel
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Hellrider
1 Gavony Township
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Arbor Elf
4 Sunpetal Grove
1 Acidic Slime
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
3 Farseek
3 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Sacred Foundry

Or this:

Jund Aggro
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Experiment One
3 Deathrite Shaman
4 Dreg Mangler
4 Searing Spear
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
3 Flinthoof Boar
4 Strangleroot Geist
4 Hellrider
2 Tragic Slip
2 Woodland Cemetery
2 Dragonskull Summit
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Blood Crypt
4 Stomping Ground
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Forest
1 Mountain
2 Abrupt Decay

Sideboard
3 Skullcrack
2 Gruul Charm
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Deathrite Shaman
2 Golgari Charm
2 Rolling Temblor
2 Tribute to Hunger
2 Abrupt Decay

See you Tuesday!

Lots of love,
Matt
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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Comments
10 Responses to “Power and Toughness—Cognitive Dissonance”
  1. Fetto says:

    Needs more Gravecrawlers

  2. osoamazing says:

    Take some solace in knowing Hugh went 4-0 and me 2-1-1 and both decks were made of mostly your cards

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  1. […] you heard?—Twenty Sided Store is hosting a Modern PTQ next weekend. With that in mind, Matt Jones recapped his busy week of Modern, Standard, and Draft; Jess Stirba attacked the shifting Modern meta with […]



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