Power and Toughness—Jund, Success, Humility, and Byes

When you’re 50 points away from a second bye for the next season, and there’re only two weeks left in the current season, and you’re planning on attending three Grand Prix in the coming months, you end up playing a shit-ton of Magic. There’s no easily accessible PTQ in sight. I dunno if Monique’s going to the one in Hartford. TNM, FNM and … gasp … a Grand Prix Trial at Kings Games (3x Multiplier), were all on my schedule last week.

I’ll save you the gory details, I went 3-1 at TNM with Tribal Zoo (thanks to Eric for the scoop round four), 2-2 at FNM with Jund Midrange, 2-1 in the pre-FNM draft, bombed out of a draft on Saturday afternoon, and 1-3’d the Modern tourney at Twenty Sided on Sunday with Tribal Zoo, again.

The positive story of my weekend is the GPT at Kings. The Spikes that I’ve experienced at the two previous events I’ve attended, 2012 States and a PTQ, make the store super undesirable mentally. Regardless, I need the points. I arrive really early, sign up, and leave to hunt for a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and lox.

This is what Kings Games looked like when I returned from my quest for the perfect NYC bagel. Side note: quest successful.

This is what Kings Games looked like when I returned from my quest for the perfect NYC bagel. Side note: quest successful.

When I return, full and fishy, there are only two others signed up. I head upstairs to fill out my deck sheet and make some sideboard decisions. Pre-FNM at Twenty Sided I played like twenty games with Terrance Shields, some hot Jund on Jund action, and he shared with me tons of tricks and things to pay attention to. This came in handy during the GPT. Thanks Terrance! I end up going with this list:

Jund Mid-range

4 Farseek
1 Forest
2 Arbor Elf
2 Stomping Ground
3 Olivia Voldaren
2 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Mizzium Mortars
3 Blood Crypt
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Rootbound Crag
4 Thragtusk
2 Stomping Ground
2 Murder
1 Ground Seal
2 Liliana of the Veil
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Rakdos’s Return
1 Blood Crypt
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Dreadbore
1 Ultimate Price
1 Forest
3 Dragonskull Summit
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Woodland Cemetery
1 Tragic Slip
3 Bonfire of the Damned

Sideboard
1 Acidic Slime
1 Staff of Nin
2 Duress
1 Ground Seal
1 Rakdos’s Return
2 Underworld Connections
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Pillar of Flame
2 Tragic Slip
1 Bonfire of the Damned

This is mostly Reid Duke’s list. Whenever Duke doesn’t play blue I tend to like his decks. I added a Grafdigger’s Cage and Tormod’s Crypt to shore up the Human Reanimator matchup (which trounced me at FNM).

Round One vs Jonathan Cortez’s Boros Blitz

There are no secrets in this match-up (or really any Jund match-up). Game one he schools me. Game two I’m able to stabilize with life gain and go over the top. Game three is almost the same as game two. 1-0, 2-1

Round Two vs Sonia Mercado’s Grixis Demons

I get paired down. Sonia’s deck runs super hot game two and is cold as ice games one and three, both of which I’m able to Olivia and Tusk my way through everything Sonia can throw at me. During game three I get to Wolfrun a beast, -3 Garruk, draw eight cards, and smash for eight. In our match Sonia makes a few mistakes including Snapcastering a Searing Spear into my Olivia while I had two mana up, one of them red, enough to ping the Snapcaster and put a +1/+1 counter on Olivia, keeping her on the battlefield. Still, Sonia is a delight to battle, and I’m off to round three. 2-0, 4-2

Round Three vs Sean “Bubs” Singer’s Jund Midrange

The mirror comes down to who has better timed Rakdos’s Returns and luckily it is in my hand with the right amount of mana games one and three. Game two he curves out perfectly and wins a brutal game. Bubs and I have the same playmat from Grand Prix Philadelphia and are playing nearly the same deck. I note this and he tells me a story about playing another Sean Singer at a PTQ. Both Sean’s were playing the same deck, had the same playmat, and shared not only a first and last name but a middle name, too. This makes our coincidence of showing up with the same deck and mat not nearly as thrilling as initially assumed. Bubs sharing a good story, and other players sharing similar stories, is a big reason I’m the chatty Magic player that I am. It’s as close to a being a cultural anthropologist as I’ll ever get. 3-0, 6-3

Round Four vs Rambon Shamilov’s UWR Flash

Rambon and I are the only x-0s so we intentionally draw and go our separate ways for some food after some chatting about whether or not either of us would actually go to Pittsburgh if we win. Street cart lamb and rice is my choice of sustenance. I don’t fear food like this any longer as I’m a regular psyllium husk consumer (one tablespoon per day in water or on my breakfast yogurt). Diarrhea is much less likely. I poo perfectly 95% of the time. Anyway, I was super stoked to not play Rambon because I saw that he plays counterspells and I fucking hate playing against counterspells. Something of note: Mike Glanzer lost his win and in to Jund Aggro which meant only Rambon’s counterspells would represent blue at all in the top four. I am thrilled. 3-0-1, 6-3-1

IMG_5430

Win and into the Top 4. Boros super blitz beats aggro-tuned Jund!

Top Four Round One vs Robert Dacunto’s Boros Blitzier Blitz

This deck scares me. I can’t count on Tusks showing up on time or meaning shit when they do if there’s only one of them. Game one I play a Farseek then get run the fuck over by a bunch of evil red hasty monsters. Barf. Game two I mull to five and keep four lands and a Thragtusk. I draw EVERY SINGLE CARD I NEED RIGHT WHEN I NEED IT and win. This includes a miracle Bonfire of the Damned for five that kills Emissary, Emissary, Noble, and like 38 other 2/2 creatures on his side of the table. I seriously love playing with Bonfire of the Damned. Game three he keeps a really janky four land hand and my seven is the nuts. I WIN! 4-0-1, 8-4-1

Top Four Round Two vs Adam Rosenblum’s Jund Aggro

Adam’s not going to Pittsburgh and offers me the byes and for us to split packs. I gratefully accept. Nine packs each. I have packs for GP Pitt sealed practice Wednesday and win my second GPT. 5-0-1, 10-4-1

Some at 20SS picked on the fact that only 13 people showed up and implied that it wasn’t much of a win. All wins are “much of a win.” HA! The support I received from other 20SS’ers is more than enough to get me feeling great before I 1-3 the Modern Tournament on Sunday.

I went to Kings Games looking for enough points for my second bye (got ’em, 51 points for winning this GPT) and come away with three byes for GP Pitt. The match-ups were great for me and my draws were beyond good. Luck, not that it exists, was on my side all tournament. I am very pleased with the deck’s performance, so, of course, I abandon it for Junk Reanimator when I see on mtgo-stats.com that Reid Duke 4-0’d a daily with this list:

Junk Reanimator

2 Abrupt Decay
4 Angel of Serenity
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
2 Forest
2 Godless Shrine
4 Grisly Salvage
2 Isolated Chapel
3 Lingering Souls
4 Lotleth Troll
3 Mulch
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Restoration Angel
3 Sunpetal Grove
2 Swamp
3 Temple Garden
4 Thragtusk
4 Unburial Rites
1 Vault of the Archangel
4 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Acidic Slime
1 Blind Obedience
2 Centaur Healer
1 Duress
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
3 Rhox Faithmender
1 Sever the Bloodline
3 Tragic Slip

I changed nothing, bought two Obzedat, Ghost Council, and tried a new screen recording program. I bootcamped my MacBook Air a few months ago so I can run Windows at native speed. This means I can’t screen-capture with Quicktime like I can on my studio Mac Pro on which I run Windows using VMware (a sketchy program at best). The internet is so shitty in my studio that MTGO has become sort of impossible to play. It took three tries but I think I got it. This new program grabs my face via my webcam as I narrate, too! HOORAY! Enjoy, I’ll see you at FNM.

Lots of love,
Matt
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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