Indianapolis Besieged

Thursday, February 3 – Glenn Jones, Coverage Content Manager, has the information you need to be prepared for the metagame post-Besieged as well as where to find good eats! Join us in Indianapolis for an amazing SCG Open Weekend!

Hello again! A whole two weeks have passed since our last Open Series Weekend, but it’s nearly time for me to hit that dusty trail once again,
laptop in my hand and camera in my pocket. San Jose was quite the
event—Legacy guru Adam Prosak took down the Standard Open with RUG Control in a mirror match final against Alex Bertoncini,
2010 SCG Player of the Year, while Goblins made it “two in a row” on Sunday via Iain Bartolomei’s victory against
Gerry Thompson’s Counterbalance deck. With two metagames so clearly defined, I guess there’s not really much to talk about for this weekend
. . . or not. For anyone who thinks that Standard and Legacy are a bit stale, I have two words:

Mirrodin Besieged

I’ve already seen the Facebook flurries and beggar requests flying back and forth between players as they scramble for the cards needed in their
latest brews. The Indianapolis Open will be the first major event to feature the new set in Standard, and many players already in Paris for the Pro
Tour would be wise to keep one eye turned toward the States for that very reason. Of course, if you’re not flying out until later this week, then
you might want to add an Indianapolis leg to your trip—practice makes perfect. Either way, we’ll be setting the stage for the months to
come this weekend, and an open field is a ripe hunting ground for innovation.

Plenty of our columnists have already begun to discuss the set in depth, and I have no intention of inundating you with more of the same or attempting
to compete with their evaluations. Evan Erwin and Steve Sadin have been breaking down the whole set via videos, which you can find in The Magic Show archive. Meanwhile, Patrick Chapin has been hard at
work on one of the best set reviews I’ve read in recent memory. It’s honestly not the sort of article I normally tune in for, but
Patrick’s unique commentary has me clicking for the next one each day— check out what he has to say. I do want to point out a few
movers and shakers in the hopes that you’ll be better prepared for the weekend. I won’t be doing a comprehensive analysis, but there are a
couple tidbits worth keeping in mind.

I did a

statistical breakdown of our previous two Standard results

mere days ago, but certain cards will be changing up the format.

Go for the Throat is the obvious one, as the U/B mirror will no longer be as Grave Titan-centric now that a player can calmly two-for-one themselves
via Throat and a Consume the Meek or just race the initial tokens via Tar Pits. I expect U/B to retain strong numbers in spite of its flagging results
as players try out the hot, new spell.

Hero of Oxid Ridge has renewed players’ interest in red aggression—Guillaume Matignon detailed a Goblins build, while
Michael Jacob examined the more artifact-based Kuldotha Red variant. I think both decks may wind
up being contenders, so I’d come prepared for hyper-aggressive strategies as well.

So, if you want to win the Indianapolis Standard Open, you need to be able to beat the glacial control strategy of U/B plus the quick beats of various
Mountain decks. Oh, and the midrange RUG deck that won the previous Open.

Man, I must be some kind of metagame genius: “Beat everything and you can’t lose!”

My stats column on Legacy is in the pipeline, but I wouldn’t be too concerned. The format isn’t likely to experience much shaking, although
I have a sneaking suspicion that Infect will be a real deck at some point. Inkmoth Nexus is a nice threat for that archetype, and they earned another
colorless two-drop in Plague Myr. Invigorate has never looked so good, and Berserk is no slouch, either. The deck can even grind it out over a few
attack steps, so be wary. On the upside, everything good against this deck is also pretty good against Goblins, so defend yourself accordingly.

Indianapolis is going to be one of our biggest events of the year, if not the biggest. The city always loves our shows, and we’re expecting
record-breaking numbers this year. There’s also another event running on Sunday that you might have heard of—a little event called the
Super Bowl. While we won’t have much conflict with the game itself, Super Bowl weekend is always huge for bars and restaurants. Between parties,
pre-parties, after-parties, day-before parties, and such, I’d expect quality eats to be a hot commodity. If you don’t want to wind up
standing in line for an hour at the local Steak ‘n Shake, then you’re going to want to plan ahead. Fortunately, Indianapolis has an abundance of
fine restaurants and bars to choose from, and I’ve even had the pleasure of visiting most of them thanks to my years working coverage at Gen Con.

Most players looking to eat after a tournament wind up strolling to Champions just across the street—it’s a rookie mistake,
and you hate to see it. This weekend, it’ll be even worse, as no self-respecting sports bar will have many empty tables. Many even sell the seats
in advance, and the food tends to be pretty mediocre anyway. I’d much rather eat at The Ram just down the street, which has a delicious selection of brews in addition to
a reasonable menu. I haven’t had one I didn’t like, although the porter was particularly good last time. I’ve often wound up eating
at Alcatraz, which was an average if unexciting option. A friend told me
that they’re closing locations and that Indianapolis would be one of the victims. I’m including it for good measure, but don’t be
surprised if it doesn’t exist—I warned you! Tavern on South is in the
same vein. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a couple good things—if you give it a spin, let me know how it was. Any restaurant
with the stones to put a filet mignon meatloaf on the menu has to be worth trying, right?

If you’ve got the time to sit down and have a real meal, Indianapolis has several fan favorites within walking distance of the convention center.
The ever-popular Fogo de Chao is a solid choice, but I may be Fogo’d out following GP
Atlanta. If you’d prefer a stronger steak with a real menu alongside it, Morton’s is quite close and worth your stop, although you’ll
need a reservation. Fogo is delicious, but there’s something about a full-course meal featuring a nice cut that the churrascaria just
doesn’t capture. Morton’s is definitely a pricey meal, but I’ve never been disappointed by the experience. I haven’t had the
pleasure of dining at St. Elmo’s, but I’ve heard good things about
this chophouse from friends, so it may be worth a look this year. Between the three of them, any carnivore visiting Indianapolis should find a worthy
stomping ground.

If steak isn’t your thing, then I recommend Buca di Beppo. I love Italian, but
I’d never been to a Buca before my first trip to Indy—ever since then, I’ve made the restaurant a staple stop of every visit.
Gigantic dishes of delicious pasta make for great group dining, which is ideal for massive conglomerations of card players. I’ve been in the
place with upwards of 40 people before, and the service has always been excellent. I’ve lost my fair share of credit card games at Buca, but it
was well worth it. P.F. Chang’s is closer and has a wider variety, but
you can find a Chang’s in just about any major city. Diversify your life! If you want to play it safe anyway, then the food is of the usual
quality. Beware that the service can be pretty spotty, however. Chang’s is never my first choice, but it’s often an adequate compromise
when no one can agree on anything.

As the evening winds down, many of you lucky souls will wind up looking for a spot to celebrate a finish—or a place to drown your sorrows after
missing the Top 8 cut. While most restaurants have a bar section, if you’re just looking to hang out, a few lounges stand out among prior trips.
I missed out on the Wild Beaver Saloon last year, but the karaoke was apparently
hilarious, and I wound up regretting it. The reviews are pretty hit and miss, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. If
you’ve never been to a dueling piano bar, then I’d advise you give Howl at the Moon a chance. I’ve only been to the Indy one once, but Howl has
never let me down in any other cities. My wildcard for the weekend is going to be Taps & Dolls. The place misses out on a lot of traffic because it’s tucked
away on top of a comedy club, but that premise is even more incentive in my book. There are plenty of other stops in the heart of the city, so feel
free to wander in search of a good time—you’re likely to find one.

That’s a Floridian-living-in-Virginia’s whirlwind tour of downtown Indianapolis. If you have any awesome recommendations of your own, then
post them in the forums. I’ll see you in Indy, everyone—I’ll be covering it along with Jacob Van Lunen and Adrian Sullivan on SCGLive.com, so tune in if you can’t make it . . . although I feel obligated to point out that it’s not
too late to book a flight!

Glenn Jones

Coverage Content Manager