Die rolls won – 5
Round 1 – PO mentor – WIN – 1-0
I win the die roll. I make a turn 1 traxos. He has a turn 1 mentor. I am able to untap and attack with traxos continuously, but I have no spheres or resource denial. To my surprise traxos goes all the way.
Board: +1 dismember, +3 null rod, +2 cage. -4 chief, -1 mana crypt, -1 traxos
Game 2 he leads with underground sea, a mox and top. My turn 1 is mox, mox, sol ring, thorn, ancient tomb, null rod. He tops in response and flashes me a mentor as the 3rd card down, but he has no white mana. The null rod resolves and the game ends several turns later without him ever finding white mana.
Round 2 – Oath with Gisela and Griselbrand – LOSS - 1-1
I lose the die roll. My opponent has a turn 1 Lotus and uses it for Jace the mind sculptor. The mode is brainstorm. I use my turn to phyrexian revoker the Jace. His 2nd turn produces an oath of druids. This leads to Gisela Blade of Goldnight. I read Gisela, she makes my entire deck irrelevant. I metamorph the Gisela. He gets to oath into Griselbrand and draw 7, he casts time walk and dacks my Gisela which ends the game. I could have pre-emptively rolled out another revoker on my previous turn blindly naming griselbrand. I named a mox that was already on the table instead, hoping I could go wide once I choked him on mana with spheres. I still don’t think I’m winning in the red zone though even if Griselbrand doesn’t draw cards.
Board: +4 cage, +2 dismember (Gisela was a 5/5), +2 witchbane orb. -4 chief, -2 traxos, -2 ravager
Game 2 I keep a 7 that has workshop, mox, lotus, inspector, and lodestone golem. With zero sideboard cards, looking back keeping a hand with zero sideboard cards is a mistake when you are down a game. Anyways, I’d planned to sequence in such a way where the inspector is bait for force of will and I get to resolve the lodestone with mox and lotus. My opponent does not have force of will but did keep in a mindbreak trap. So my inspector resolves but my lodestone gets trapped. Looking back, it is difficult if not impossible to play around mindbreak trap in this scenario, but I could of sequenced better and made my lodestone the 2nd spell of the turn, demanding the force of will. With just an inspector I don’t have enough disruption or clock to keep him from resolving an oath of druids with orchard. Gisela shows up again and I can’t keep pace.
Round 3 – Mono Red Prison – WIN – 2-1
I lose the die roll. My opponent has turn 1 Lotus and uses it for Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Ticks up, exiles an ensnaring bridge and I take 2 damage. I put a phyrexian revoker on Chandra and ice the game with thorn of amethyst. Next turn I metamorph the thorn. He eventually finds 3 mountains and my wastelands are useless. Goblin rabblemaster shows up and I can’t keep up.
Board: +2 dismember, +3 wurmcoil. -4 chief, -1 chalice of the void
Game 2 He shows me a null rod while I’m making a lot of spheres. My inspector doesn’t make it so bad for me. I think the game ends with 3 spheres in play and he was never able to cast a 3 drop or higher.
Game 3 I have a turn 1 traxos. Turn 2 wurmcoil engine that untaps traxos and I attack for 7. Turn 3 I cast something to untap traxos and attack for 13. Very quick game where an ensnaring bridge on his third turn would of wrecked me.
Round 4 – PO with blightsteel – WIN – 3-1
I lose the die roll but my opponent mulls to 5. His turn 1 is a tinker for blightsteel. Luckily he only has 1 card left so I know my metamorph isn't getting forced. I get to metamorph the blightsteel and he doesn't have enough cards left to get back into the game.
Board: +2 cage, +2 witchbane orb, +3 null rod. -4 chief, -1 mana crypt, -2 traxos. I didn't bring the dismember in because he didn't show me any white mana.
Game 2 I can't remember.
Round 5 – Jeskai Control – WIN – 4-1
I win the die roll. My notes say that I win game 1. Lose game 2 to bolts, balance, search for azcanta, disenchant, dack and by force. Then win game 3 where it is my inspector vs my own mana crypt doing most of the damage.
Round 6 – PO mentor with blightsteel and tendrils – WIN 5-1
We both know what each other is playing. I lose the die roll. He keeps 7 and leads with island and ancestral recall. With 8 in hand he has to move to discard. I have a good opener and have to decide between chalice on 1 + sphere, lodestone golem, or trinisphere. I go with the chalice on 1 with the sphere. Turn 2 lodestone golem. He feeds 1 drops into the chalice to fuel a dig, but the game ends before he can stabilize.
Board: +2 witchbane orb, +3 null rod, +1 dismember, +2 cage. -4 chief, -1 mana crypt, -1 traxos, -2 ravager.
We both keep 7. He doesn’t go off immediately. I’m able to deploy my hand quickly but I don’t have any sideboard cards. The game goes long enough for him to Dig through Time and snapcaster it back but he never assembled. I don’t think he was iced out at all.
Round 7 – Smokestax – WIN – 6-1
I lose the die roll. I know the gist of what I’m up against and I’m sure he knows what I’m playing. I win game 1 against several tanglewires where my traxos is getting held back by a karakas and tabernacle.
Board: +2 dismember, +3 wurmcoil, +1 relic (I’m worried about a crucible of worlds). -4 sphere, -1 chalice, -1 trinisphere.
Game 2 I have the relic, some revokers and a ballista with an ancient tomb and workshop manabase. He has a hellkite that I metamorph and we trade. He has a hangarback walker that grows out of control and takes over the game via the sky.
Game 3 I thought I had a strong opener with workshop, mox, and 2 revokers. I name expedition map and hangarback walker. His opening involved a null rod and tabernacle, so I lose my 2 revokers. I wasteland the tabernacle and move on through my curve.
Round 8 – Ravager shops – LOSS – 6-2
My last round of the day is at table 1 and this guy is undefeated. I lose the die roll and feel like an empty seat. Between the spheres and wastelands I don’t get to put anything on the board.
Board: +3 wurmcoil, +2 dismember, +3 null rod. -4 sphere, -1 thorn, -1 chalice, -1 trinishphere, -1 mana crypt.
Game 2 I have a solid chance with null rod because he kept a hand that was 2 moxes and a sol ring. I get too aggressive with my wastelands, I wasteland his wasteland with hopes of preserving my workshop for next turn. My workshop ends up getting wastelanded anyways and I’m taking hits for 1 and 2 from all of his 2 drops, deciding not to block until I draw a chief, then he won’t have any profitable attacks. He eventually makes a precursor golem which I metamorph, we trade there. But the chief never shows up so I have to start trading guys away. I’m unable to keep up on board because I misused my wastelands and he drew a tolarian academy.
Round 9 – Jeskai control – LOSS – 6-3
What a beating. This was a quick 0-2 match where only the first game felt close. There was a window where I felt like we were at parity, both in top deck mode but he immediately draws a Dig and gets into a Dack plus more.
Game 2 I get my homeward path strip mined, my phyrexian revoker on dack destroyed, then dack comes down and steals my traxos.
Round 10 – Shops – LOSS – 6-4
I win the die roll and do not know what my opponent is playing. I lead with mox, ancient tomb, sphere. My opponent is not hindered and plays a workshop, mox and revoker on my mox. For my 2nd turn instead of developing my board I decide to wasteland his workshop and hope that he stumbles. He plays an ancient tomb and another 2 drop creature. I double down on my decision tree and use a 2nd wasteland on his ancient tomb. He still doesn’t falter, another sol land and an overseer. I can’t answer the overseer and start to deploy my creatures. He wastelands my ancient tomb and it’s over. I had a wrong approach here where I was looking for an easy win with my sphere and triple wasteland hand. I should have developed my board with creatures instead once I knew I was facing the mirror.
Board: -4 sphere, -1 thorn, -1 chalice, -1 trinisphere, -1 mana crypt. +3 null rod, +3 wurmcoil, +2 dismember.
I have a double chief hand, but no null rods. He metamorphs one of my chiefs and plays an overseer that I can’t immediately answer. The overseer grows his team turn after turn and soon after I’m chump blocking and using my life total with hope of drawing wurmcoils.
Round 11 – RUG liquid metal coating – WIN – 7-4
I’m tilted at 0-2 for the day and I’m not proud of the way I carried myself during this match. My opponent was a really nice guy but he had trygon predators, ingot chewers, and 4 ancient grudge in his main. So I know I wasn’t a pleasant opponent and I regret my temper and comments. It is after all, just a game.
Board: +2 dismember, +3 cage, +1 relic. -4 chief, -2 traxos.
Round 12 – Bomberman – WIN – 8-4
I win the die roll. I know what my opponent is playing. I keep a hand with black lotus, phyrexian revoker and thorn. Deploying those cards my revoker names black lotus after I spent my own. I don’t find much action after that and he has a top and a Karn Scion that is cranking out 7/7 constructs. I throw a traxos at 1 for a trade. I’m never able to go wide enough around the wall of tokens.
Board: +3 null rod, +2 dismember, +3 wurmcoil (I wanted something big that wasn’t going to get handled by fragmentize or engineered explosives). -4 chief. -1 mana crypt. -1 traxos. -2 ravager.
Game 2 I have a turn 1 traxos and it immediately gets swords to plowshares. I follow up with a null rod and phyrexian revokers on auriok salvager. I’m able to chip away with a small army before he stabilizes.
Game 3 He has a turn 1 mentor off of a black lotus and makes a couple of tokens with top and engineered explosives for 0. I ice the game with 2 spheres. He decides to spend the next couple of turns finding 3 mana and spinning the top on his upkeep to draw and play the top for 1 token trigger. I’m able to get to wurmcoil mana thanks to the help of 1 inspector. I get 2 wurmcoils out and have a revoker on his top. I have a decision to metamorph for a 3rd wurmcoil or a 3rd sphere. It is a tough choice because he has 4 mana and could be playing to a balance or hurkyls. I do opt for the wurmcoil though because it will present lethal on my next turn.
Round 13 – UR delver splash containment priest – LOSS 8-5
I win the die roll and game 1 goes perfect with the right mix of spheres, threats and wastelands.
Board: +2 dismember, +3 wurmcoil. -4 chief, -1 traxos.
Game 2 I have a chalice on 1 and run out double revokers for Dack. Several turns go by and the game has slipped away from me. He shattering sprees targeting the 2 revokers. I miss the chalice trigger and bin my guys. I normally don’t a miss a chalice trigger unless alcohol is involved, but it’s been a long day. A judge takes an excruciating long time to rule the missed trigger. I’m unphased since it doesn’t change the outcome of the game and we get 5 more minutes for game 3.
Game 3 I mull to 5. My 7 was strip mine, wasteland, sphere. It didn’t feel right. He kept a 7 so I felt like something was getting forced or he was coming out the gate with a lot of pressure. My 6 was no lands. My 5 was garbage, I could deploy an inspector with no disruption or sideboard cards. I’m dead on the spot.
I decided to skimp on dredge hate with 5 slots and got lucky with avoiding that matchup. I think there were 5 dredge out of the 43 people in day 2 so it worked out in my favor but I won’t do that again at the next event. My “level 1” mindset is that I needed 6 slots because this is a no-proxy paper event and dredge is usually more prevalent due to scarce card availability and exorbitant prices of power. My “level 2” mindset was that I could use ballistas and ravagers to contain the value they get out of their bridges. The reality is I shaved a lot of percentage points in that matchup to address the more popular pillars of the meta and I very likely would lose to dredge with just the 4 cages because they could just stock up their graveyard and break the cage before I could find my 1 relic that wipes their yard.
I did expect to face a lot more Paradoxical Outcome at this event. Out of my 13 rounds I only got to play against it 3 times. I won all 3 and really liked my plan for that matchup. Null Rods plus all my spheres to choke them, 2 cages to answer the tinker for blightsteel (+4 metamorph to clone it), dismember for the mentor, witchbane orb for the tendrils and 4 hurkyl’s they were configuring to post board.
I did not expect to face so much Shops. I was able to prevail against the smokestax but I lost my 2 mirrors with an approach that just wasn’t effective (aggressively wastelanding and hoping to draw more lands than my opponent). I did like Wurmcoil as the trump card, and chiefs to go along with my null rods, but the ravager shops is so low to the ground and explosive, I just couldn’t keep pace with finding my lands and once their threats go unanswered for a turn it is hard to swing back into the game. The deck is consistent, it isn’t going to lose to itself and I believe all of my mirrors were winnable, where I lost due to my own piloting errors/decisions.
I really wish I had put the time into figuring out the right MUD 75 with null rods. My configuration wasn’t polished. I think Null Rod is the best card right now against ravager shops and paradoxical outcome, but it is awkward with certain approaches to a post board game. I really appreciate the smoothness of the sideboard plans from Markiton’s and Marich’s lists. I also thought Forino’s list was well thought out.
Verdict on Traxos – He isn’t necessary. He forced me into some inferior sequencing just to make sure he untaps, he also got stuck in tapped mode several times throughout the weekend. I don’t want that kind of variance in the future. He is really only effective in the mirror because of his size and trample. For the blue matchups he isn’t hard to deal with plus he is a huge liability vs dack.
Verdict on scgcon – From my perspective the event was a success because I got to play a deck roughly valued at $24k without any of the cards getting damaged or lost. I liked the 2 day structure with the mid-day start times. I never felt rushed so it was a relaxing weekend and I was able to eat well and frequently. I hope they continue to do these events regularly. I don’t play online so it is hard to stay sharp in a format that I play once or twice a year.
-Richard Johnston and Chris Snead for loaning me cards to complete the deck.
-Tucos Taqueria Garaje. Go there.
-Double Ancient tomb openers.
-Macados….don’t go there.