Another StarCityGames.com Open weekend. Another weekend of disappointment. One day I will show these cash tournaments who’s the boss, and when I do, I am going to extremely pleased with myself.
Why, you ask? Because these Open tournaments are actually pretty tough to Top 8!
Have you ever seen someone start an insult with a disclaimer like “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”?
Example: “I don’t mean for this to hurt your feelings, but you’re dumb as a brick thrown off a boat.”
Well, I’m about to do that, but don’t take it the wrong way!
See, I don’t find these tournaments to be very difficult from a playing perspective. Magic is my job. I play Magic roughly seven hours a day, so I am well versed in how each deck works, and I’ve seen just about everything that each relevant format has to offer. I’ve played so much with each deck that I play (Dredge, White Weenie, and Belcher respectively) that there probably isn’t a game state I haven’t seen or a scenario I haven’t been in. So why do I find these tournaments difficult?
The Standard Open that took place on Saturday had 667 people in it. 667 people!
That is ten rounds of Magic, folks.
That is more rounds than Day 1 of most Grand Prix tournaments.
That is more rounds than any day of a Pro Tour.
I don’t care if you play Magic ten hours a day or ten minutes a day. That is a lot of freaking Magic to play in order to Top 8 a tournament. Keep in mind that I didn’t even count the final three rounds you have to win in order to actually win the tournament!
So all I, or any of you, needed to do this past Saturday to win $2,000 was to go, at a minimum and with good tiebreakers, 11-1-1.
Did I mention that some X-1-1’s didn’t even make Top 8?! Sorry, Kelly Reid…
Saturday I went 8-2. I lost round 1 due to mana screw, which is bound to happen over the course of any tournament. I then ran off seven victories in a row, lost playing for Top 8, won my last match, and slid into a cool 23rd place. To say I was upset was an understatement.
I wasn’t mad at anyone in particular. Mana screw happens. Bad matchups happen. God knows I will never beat Mythic with my White Knight deck.
Enough ranting! Here is my 8-2 Standard deck!
- 4 White Knight
- 2 Akrasan Squire
- 4 Knight of the White Orchid
- 4 Elite Vanguard
- 4 Kor Hookmaster
- 4 Kor Skyfisher
- 4 Steppe Lynx
- 4 Kor Firewalker
- 10 Plains
- 4 Arid Mesa
- 4 Marsh Flats
People have been asking me about this deck quite a lot, and if you were listening to GGSLive I talked about it a little bit, but me elaborate a little more.
This is the only deck that I have found where I actively want to play against Jund. With twelve protection creatures post sideboard, it forces Jund, a deck with no card drawing, to draw the right answer right now or die. Are they capable of doing this? Of course! Jund could solve global warming if we asked it to. However, they are unlikely to draw answers to all of your protection creatures when we add our spells to the mix.
Brave the Elements negates Maelstrom Pulse, Terminate, and Deathmark, while Harm’s Way is here to negate Lightning Bolt and Bituminous Blast. If your Jund opponent is able to deal with the pressure you put on with hard-to-kill, hyper-aggressive creatures and is able to maneuver around your troublesome instants in two of three games, they earned their victory.
Did I make that sound as difficult as it actually is? I hope I did.
Your matchup against tier two decks is very good. A deck like Vampires is going to just get run over, and they have no answer to our protection from black creatures besides Marsh Casualties with kicker (or Gatekeeper of Malakir if you play poorly). Vampires is a pretty dead deck anyway, so pump the fist if you play against it.
Mono-Red winning the Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur is a blessing in disguise. This deck already has a good matchup against Mono-Red decks, with Kor Firewalker and Harm’s Way both being maindeck. This is a classic battle of Mono-Red versus Mono-White, except we have some insane gamebreakers and they have Quenchable Fire. LOL!
Naya is your worst matchup, and my goodness is it bad. Knight of the Reliquary is just too big for us to handle, and the Cunning Sparkmage + Basilisk Collar combo is just the cherry on top. You can try to blitz them out of the gate and hope they stumble with their shaky manabase, but that is about the only chance you have. Hope not to get paired against them!
UW Control is a pretty hit or miss matchup. Day of Judgment is miserable for us to play against since Cloudgoat Ranger no longer exists (tear), but if they don’t draw one, it’s pretty tough for them to win. A lot of your wins come on the back of Steppe Lynx in this matchup, and Elspeth, Knight-Errant is a great way to finish them off.
This version of WW is not looking to beat every deck in the format. It has as close to a positive Jund matchup as you are going to find, as well as bashing on the primary deck that beats Jund (Mono-Red). If you want to beat those two matchups and are comfortable with losing to Naya, this is the deck for you.
My 8-2 record saw me play against the following decks:
Round 1 vs. Naya (loss)
Round 2 vs. Vampires (win)
Round 3 vs. White Weenie (win)
Round 4 vs. Vampires (win)
Round 5 vs. ? (win)
Round 6 vs. Jund (win)
Round 7 vs. Jund (win)
Round 8 vs. Jund (win)
Round 9 vs. Mythic (loss)
Round 10 vs. Jund (win)
I was 4-0 versus Jund fairly easily. Some of the individual games were close, but overall it was quite easy for me to beat them. Naya crushed me as I played no spells game 1 and got dismantled by a Baneslayer Angel game 2. Lastly, Mythic gave me a giant comical beating that everyone in the world got to see on GGSLive.
Sunday was the Legacy day, and I think everyone in the room knew what I was playing:
- 4 Dark Ritual
- 4 Land Grant
- 4 Desperate Ritual
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Goblin Charbelcher
- 4 Seething Song
- 4 Lotus Petal
- 4 Lion's Eye Diamond
- 4 Chrome Mox
- 4 Rite of Flame
- 3 Empty the Warrens
- 3 Manamorphose
I lost playing for Top 8 again, but my pairings at this tournament were pretty fortunate overall except for round 8:
Round 1 vs. Burn (win)
Round 2 vs. Zoo (win)
Round 3 vs. Zoo (win)
Round 4 vs. Counter-Top (win)
Round 5 vs. Dredge (win)
Round 6 vs. Thopter Combo (loss)
Round 7 vs. Zoo (win)
Round 8 vs. Team America (loss)
Round 9 vs. Goblins (win)
I beat the Counter-Top player when he mulliganed to six and kept a no-lander game 3. He either had Force of Will or Mindbreak Trap, and my opening hand was able to play around both. I put him on Mindbreak Trap so I played around it accordingly (Land Grant showed him I could go off turn 1, but I decided against it) and I ended up killing him on turn 3 with the big bad Goblin Charbelcher.
The Thopter Combo deck that Peter Smutko made Top 8 with could be a new defining deck in the format. I got completely destroyed by it as Peter had access to three Engineered Explosives and a Pithing Needle with its Trinket Mages. I know that Peter smashed Owen Turtenwald playing 43land and a few ANT decks on his way to top eight so be on the lookout for Thopter Combo not only in Extended, but in Legacy as well!
Outside of Thopter Combo, it was your typical Legacy tournament. Some below average decks made Top 8 (Mono-Black, Goblins), the normal defined decks did well enough (Merfolk, Reanimator) and the master of all masters won the tournament with 43Land (Chris Woltereck). I had a ton of fun playing with my favorite combo deck, and will hopefully make it out to Orlando to KABOOM some more people in a StarCityGames.com Open.
Next up for me is either SCG Open Orlando or Grand Prix: Houston. I will 100% be at the Grand Prix, but it is looking 50/50 on the SCG Open weekend. But it’s going to pretty hard for me to say no to some gorgeous Orlando weather and Zach Efland…
We shall see…
See everyone next week! And play White Weenie. It’s pretty sweet, and it beats Jund.