Magic the Tournament Grind: June

Magic the Tournament Grind: June

This past weekend was SCG Open Baltimore. There was a standard portion on Saturday and legacy on Sunday. Unfortunately, I was only able to participate in the standard portion of the event due to work obligations on Monday morning. I love legacy more than any other format but I was at least happy to participate in something.

Moving into this tournament the U/W/R control decks had made a resurgence mainly due to the dominating performance of Aetherling at the Pro Tour. If you have been following my articles you’ll know that I’ve been playing U/W/R variants and similar type decks for while. The thought being able to bust U/W/R out after my flirt with Bant Flash was very appealing.

aetherling

Here is the list I registered.

Creatures

2 Aetherling

3 Snapcaster Mage

Spells

1 Assemble the Legion

1 Detention Sphere

3 Dissipate

1 Syncopate

3 Sphinx’s Revelation

3 Think Twice

4 Azorius Charm

3 Turn // Burn

2 Warleader’s Helix

2 Searing Spear

2 Pillar of Flame

3 Supreme Verdict

1 Terminus

 

Lands

4 Hallowed Fountain

4 Glacial Fortress

4 Steam Vents

4 Sulfur Falls

4 Sacred Foundry

3 Clifftop Retreat

1 Island

1 Cavern of Souls

1 Desolate Lighthouse

Sideboard

1 Assemble the Legion

1 Jace, Memory Adept

2 Negate

2 Pillar of Flame

2 Terminus

2 Renounce the Guilds

2 Izzet Staticaster

3 Clone

I was happy with my Maindeck and aside from strongly considering dropping the Staticasters for dispels, I was fairly pleased with my Sidebaord.

The Event

Bottom line up front, I did not do well…at all. Everyone has a bad day. Whether it’s poor luck, bad matchups, not feeling 100%, whatever. They are bound to happen. In my own case I’m not sure if any one reason is to blame. I did have what felt like a string of bad luck but some of that could have been potentially mitigated with smarter plays.

Match 1 U/W/R Control

I typically love the control mirror. However, my enjoyment was somewhat stunted by an annoying opponent. I got game 1 by sticking Assemble the Legion. I saw my opponent was stuck on one blue source and Syncopate is typically a 1 of, if it is played at all. So I felt safe  sneaking it out there. Sideboard changes were as follows.

+1 Jace, Memory Adept

+1 Assemble the Legion

+2 Negate

-1 Terminus

-2 Pillar of Flame

-1 Supreme Verdict

Game 2 I was able to stick my Jace, Memory Adept which my opponent answered with an Assemble the Legion. I wanted to get as many activations as possible off my Jace which lead me to use up burn spells on the tokens. I was in a position to get guaranteed 3 activations or if I took a risk 4. I took the risk and expended another burn spell to keep my Jace at 3 counters. This way when Assemble the Legion tick’d up to 3 soldiers I could kill one with a Snapcaster on Burn. My opponent then Snapcaster’d a Searing Spear and I didn’t have the mana to Dissipate. After losing my Jace my opponent played an Aetherling off Cavern of Souls and I lost. Game 3 I got stuck on four lands until turn 7. Not much to say other than being three lands behind in a control mirrors means you lose 100% of the time.

Match 2 Bant Tokens

This was a pretty straightforward match. Game 1 I constantly countered or used removal / board sweepers to handle his threats and drain his hand. Sphinx’s Revelation refilled my hand. Classic control.

-2 Pillar of Flame

-1 Assemble the Legion

-1 Searing Spear

+2 Terminus

+2 Negate

Most of his token generation was through spells and he showed me detention sphere game 1 so I trimmed small burn spells to add sweepers and negates. Game 2 went exactly the same as the first,  counter everything, kill everything, draw lots of cards. I played my Aetherling and won after a couple turns.

Match 3 U/W/R Hexproof (Mike Flores)

geistofsainttraft

This round I got the pleasure of playing against Mike Flores. For those who don’t know he is essentially a professional Magic player and a regular contributor to Star City Games Premium content. Game 1 I got blown out. Turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft off Cavern of Souls followed by 2 Spectral Flights. I didn’t have a Supreme Verdict so that was that.

-2 Turn/Burn

-2 Searing Spear

-1 Dissipate

-1 Assemble the Legion

+2 Terminus

+2 Renounce the Guilds

+2 Clone

Game 2 was a grind. There was a lot of cat and mouse type plays and he definitely would sandbag threats. But thankfully I was able to answer them. Game 3 was rough. Once again I got stuck on four lands, even after using an azorius charm, both halves of think twice and several draw steps. He took advantage by slowly playing threats out. I was forced to blow verdicts on non Geist of Saint Trafts. He sandbagged a Geist and Spectral Flight and when I had nothing I scooped.

Match 4 Naya Midrange

This is a match I should not lose. I blow my opponent out Game 1. Good mix of sweepers and removal which I followed with a couple Sphinx’s Revelations and an Aetherling. I was actually low on health but a lifelink Azorius Charm on my Aetherling gave me the 16 life point margin I needed to not be worried.

-2 Pillar

-1 Dissipate

+2 Terminus

+1 Clone

Now with 6 Board sweepers and tuned removal this should be even more of a cake walk right? Wrong. For the next two games I never saw a board sweeper. I even got to cast Sphinx’s Revelation several times but found nothing. I can one for one for a little while but once he Restoration Angels a Thragtusk not only do I lose a card but he gets a dangerous board position. Unfortunate draws happens!

thragtusk1

I ended up 1-3 overall.

Lessons

Thinking back on this tournament I’m not sure how I could have played better. I felt like I didn’t make any glaring mistakes. One thing I potentially could have done better was test. This has becoming a recurring issue.

BIG LESSON -TEST, TEST, TEST

It can only help. I feel like I need to put a lot of effort and do this. Moving forward I’m going to try a couple decks out and then pick between those, this U/W/R list, and the old Bant Flash.

The important thing from this experience is to not let it get me down. I saw Gerry Thompson (a very successful pro magic player) at the tournament and asked what he decided to try. It was U/W/R as well and he went 1-2. It can happen to anyone, even the two time SCG Invitational champion.

I don’t have another major tournament until July. My next article will cover some of the results of play-testing, and what deck I land on to move forward with the rest of the standard PTQ season.

In the meantime, I’m going to definitely attend all the great events The End Games has going on during the summer. They are hosting a standard win-a-box every Sunday which will be a great place to test. There are also plenty of  great Magic formats during the weekdays. So I’m definitely going to take advantage of all the great Magic going on. Check out their Facebook and website for more info!

John H

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