Last weekend was the StarCityGames.com Invitational featuring both Standard and Legacy. I chose to play the U/G Aggro deck in the Standard portion and
the ever-popular Fish deck in the Legacy portion as seen here:
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Acidic Slime
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 1 Oracle of Mul Daya
- 3 Nest Invader
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 2 Frost Titan
- 1 Consecrated Sphinx
- 3 Spellskite
- 3 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 4 Lord of Atlantis
- 4 Merrow Reejerey
- 4 Silvergill Adept
- 2 Sower of Temptation
- 4 Cursecatcher
- 4 Coralhelm Commander
Now some of you may be asking yourselves, “How does this madman Top 8 an event without playing Caw-Blade in Standard?” Well the answer is
simple. If you are going to play anything in Standard right now that isn’t Caw-Blade, you have to be sure without a shadow of a doubt that you
can crush Caw-Blade into the ground.
So Thursday night before I was leaving for Indianapolis, I was hanging out at my buddy’s house agonizing over what to play. He suggested the U/G
deck that Larry Swasey had just won a PTQ with. So I played about twenty games with Caw-Blade against him with the U/G deck, and I think won about four
of those. Needless to say, I was going to be playing U/G coming to this Invitational.
As for why I chose to play Fish, the previous weekend I had chosen to battle with Fish at Grand Prix Providence where I lost my last two rounds to
awful matchups and finished in the top 64 after playing for Top 8 and top 16 in each of those rounds. I felt like my list was a perfect 75 because it
boarded so well and that I had the best chance with it due to my preparation with it going into the Grand Prix and the Invitational (as long as I
didn’t run into Zoo :).
Friday morning came, and I was off to the airport and in a short four hours, I was in Indianapolis ready to take home another trophy. I went to the
convention center to meet up with some friends, ate some dinner, and headed to the hotel to get a good night’s rest.
Now bear with me as much as you can through this tournament report as I may have forgotten some information, but I will do my best.
Round 1: Joey Mispagel
Joey won the die roll and elected to play a turn 1 Vampire Lacerator, and from there I knew I was in trouble. He continued to lay the beats on with
more Vampires and MAIN DECK Arc Trail, and he was off to a quick one-game lead.
Game 2 the U/G deck did what it does best and lay the beats down. After I cast one Obstinate Baloth, I was ahead on life, and he packed it up for game
In game 3 Joey tanked for a while on his opening seven and finally decided not to mulligan. On his second draw step, he ripped a Blackcleave Cliffs and
slammed it down, and from there I knew I was in trouble because I figured he had kept a spicy hand without lands, and I was right. He played two
Dismembers and an Arc Trail to nearly destroy all my creatures, and the game was close at the end, but when he ripped a Kalastria Highborn, the game
was all but over.
Round 2: David Shiels
So it was already my second round, and I was getting paired against an old friend of mine from the Northeast PTQ circuit and a recent Grand Prix
winner. We both knew what we were playing, and this match wasn’t even close. David just couldn’t keep up with all of the action from Lotus
Cobras, Fauna Shamans, and Vengevines. Although in game 2, he did miss his fourth land drop, which resulted in me playing two Acidic Slimes on his
lands to keep him off of any possible action, and the match was soon over.
Round 3: Josh Rayden
Josh Rayden was playing Caw-Blade like the rest of the world and easily crushed me in game 1 when he played a Stoneforge Mystic for a Batterskull and
played two Phyrexian Metamorphs copying the original Batterskull. As it turns out, aggro decks can’t keep up with their opponents gaining twelve
life per turn.
Games 2 and 3 didn’t feel very close at all as in game 2 I just had the standard U/G start of lots of creatures, smash your face in; however, in
game 3, Josh made a really peculiar seven-card keep. He chose to keep an opening seven without Stoneforge Mystic, Squadron Hawk, or Preordain. In my
experience with the Caw-Blade deck, it mulligans so well that you should just always mulligan a hand like that because your six- and five-card hands
will generally be much better and will have the cards you desperately need to win the matchup. He posted no action or any threats, and the game was
fairly easy for me to win.
Round 4: Sean McKeown
I had played Sean before in the Top 8 of a Standard Open in Boston, so I already assumed that he would be playing the same deck (Elves). Game 1, the
board became stalemated for a while with neither one of us wanting to attack due to the other person’s counter attack. During our stalemate
though, I drew a Consecrated Sphinx when he was at four life, and that was all she wrote. Game 2 he failed to draw Ezuri, and I eventually overran him
with a multitude of creatures.
Round 5: Michael Rooks
Mike led off with a mulligan to five and a turn 1 Chalice of the Void via an Ancient Tomb. I quickly Wastelanded his Ancient Tomb and began playing
creatures. Oddly enough he still ended up having a Natural Order on turn 4, which resolved, grabbing Progenitus out of his deck and onto the
battlefield. Although he had a 10/10 protection from everything, he still couldn’t attack into me because he would die from the counter swing,
but he did anyway, and I killed him.
Game 2 he landed an early Phyrexian Revoker and equipped it with Sword of Fire and Ice, which made short work of my life total, and we were off to game
3. In game 3 I waited patiently to play my multiple Submerges in the mid-game and then killed him in one attack.
Round 6: Josh Jacobson
Josh was playing the U/W Stoneforge Mystic deck in Legacy and crushed me game 1 when he fetched up a Batterskull with Stoneforge Mystic. Game 2 I
countered his Stoneforge Mystic and easily destroyed him.
Game 3 Josh did something really dirty. Josh played a turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic fetching a Batterskull; on the following turn, he put it into play using
his Stoneforge Mystic. Then on turn 4, he played his fourth land and activated Stoneforge Mystic, putting in a Sword of Body and Mind and equipping it
to his Batterskull token. The game was soon over from there.
Round 7: Eli Kassis
I’ve known Eli for a few years now because I usually play in his monthly Legacy tournaments in upstate New York. Eli decided to bring a brew to
the table and played a U/G Show and Tell deck. Game 1 Eli attempted to go for a Show and Tell, which I Force of Willed, and the next turn he resolved a
Phyrexian Dreadnaught and Stifled the ability. I ticked my Aether Vial up to four and put in Sower of Temptation, and I was the proud new owner of a
In game 2 Eli kept his opening seven and played a Tropical Island into a Ponder, at which point I tanked for a while. I finally decided to Mental
Misstep his Ponder and Wasteland his Tropical Island on my turn; on his turn 2 he had no lands, and the match was soon over.
Round 8: Lukas Parson
Lukas entered the arena with a Show and Tell deck as well, but his was the standard version with red and Sneak Attack. Game 1 I laid the beats on him
with my creatures and Dazed his Show and Tell, which was basically just a recipe for disaster for him.
Game 2 is where I made probably my biggest punt of the tournament. Lukas was dead on board, and I had an Island and a Daze in my hand. Lukas tapped
three of his four mana and cast a Show and Tell, which I decided not to Daze because I saw no point in it; he put in a Sneak Attack and activated his
Sneak Attack, putting in an Emrakul to destroy all my permanents. Had I just Dazed his Show and Tell, he would have had no way of winning.
Luckily in game 3 he didn’t have a Force of Will or a Pyroblast when I Forced his Show and Tell with lethal on board.
Round 9: Adam Prosak
Game 1 Adam had nothing to stop my onslaught of creatures, and in about ten minutes the game was over. In game 2 Adam brought in a Stoneforge Mystic
package, and it made very short work of me, and we were off to the deciding game. In game 3 Adam was facing down a fully leveled up Coralhelm Commander
when he chose to play a Vedalken Shackles with three Islands in play. Luckily I had a Lord of Atlantis in my hand to stop any possible Vedalken
Shackles shenanigans, but we both had a nice chuckle when his fourth land drop was a Seat of the Synod. Adam couldn’t kill my Coralhelm
Commander, and I was the victor.
Round 10: Mike Lapine
In game 1 of the Merfolk mirror, the board stalemated for a while until I drew a Lord of Atlantis to put him dead in two attack steps, but Mike had no
plans to die, as he just played two Lords himself and killed me for exactsies. All I remember about game 2 was that I killed him by turn 5, and the
game only lasted about four minutes. In game 3 Mike was the first to play his Llawan, but due to my Aether Vial, I was able to put in a Llawan and set
him back considerably due to my having a full grip of cards and his only having three cards.
Round 11: Ben Swartz
This was by far my favorite match of the day. I won the die roll, and I knew Ben was on Dredge, so I had an important decision to make whether to play
or draw. In the end I chose to draw because the Merfolk deck is very weak game 1 to Dredge’s draw-go plan. It looked as if God was shining down
on me this match because I was handed the nut seven-card hand consisting of two Mental Missteps, Force of Will, Aether Vial, Silvergill Adept,
Cursecatcher, and an Island. Ben cast a turn 1 Tireless Tribe, which I Misstepped, a turn 2 Putrid Imp, which also got Misstepped, and a turn 3 Careful
Study which I CURSECATCHERED; in the meantime, he took nine points of damage off of Tarnished Citadel. I easily crushed him this game because no Dredge
deck can ever beat a draw like that. In game 2 he chose to draw, and I mulliganed to six cards and cast a turn 1 Relic of Progenitus, which pretty much
locked it up for me.
Round 12: Joe Bernal
We were back to Standard, and I knew Joe was on the G/U/w version of my deck with the white being for Stoneforge Mystic and sideboard Linvala, Keeper
of Silence (gross!). Game 1 he won the die roll, and because of that, he got to play his Jace, the Mind Sculptor first, which just left me behind.
Game 2 was basically a repeat of that game but in my favor. Game 3 was a game of a lifetime because Joe landed a Linvala on turn 4, a turn 5 Jace, the
Mind Sculptor, and a Frost Titan after that. The Jace, the Mind Sculptor and the Linvala both stayed on the battlefield the entire game, and he ended
up going to exactly zero with me at a precarious one life.
Round 13: Edgar Flores
Edgar had to battle it out for his Top 8 berth due to an earlier unintentional draw. In game 1 I didn’t have a Fauna Shaman or a Lotus Cobra on
turn 2, but I did play three Acidic Slimes killing two Batterskulls and a Sword of Feast and Famine. Then I cast two Phyrexian Metamorphs copying the
Acidic Slimes to kill two of his lands. This game eventually ended with him facing down a huge multitude of Grizzly Bears. In game 2, I did what the
U/G deck does best, and that is crush Caw-Blade. I played all the important cards in the matchup, such as Fauna Shaman, Lotus Cobra, and Jace, the Mind
Sculptor, and the game was soon over.
Round 14: Michael Jacob
You can look at my match between Pat Cox and me here, as it is too
terrible to have to live through it twice.
I walked away in fifth place at the end of the tournament with $2,000 in my pocket and fifteen Open Points, which locked me up for Level 5. I really
liked each deck, and I wouldn’t change a single card because they both performed spectacularly. I think the next event I’ll be attending is
StarCityGames.com Open: Baltimore, but I don’t know if I’ll be playing or not due to wanting to preserve my rating for Pro Tour Philadelphia, but
I’ll definitely see you all there.
See ya later…