Joshua X Presents: Maybe, Team Academy Was Right

Okay; Grand Prix Cleveland is long gone. This article, however, is not about the new Type Two, or a card-by-card analysis of the newest set. This is an article telling you why Team Academy was right:
I’m s**t.

Okay; Grand Prix Cleveland is long gone. The worst format ever is coming to a close this month, and already the eyes of the Magic world have turned toward other things. The Magic Invitational has formats, the Onslaught spoiler has been plastered all over the internet, and many players are getting ready for the brand new Type two and Extended formats.

This article, however, is not about the new type two, or a card-by-card analysis of the newest set. This is an article telling you why Team Academy was right.

I’m s**t.

I did play in Grand Prix Cleveland, and well… This past year of Magic has not been the most incredible to me. I have lost close to two hundred points off of my rating. I think it has more to do with playing bad decks than anything else. During Extended, I started off playing Trix, which seemed good, and then moved straight onto decks like Life, or Tinker.

My choices, however, were not good. I kept losing, and soon my confidence fell with it.

Personal matters took up some time out of my Magic playing as well. I left one town in this black hole of a state, and took over a card shop. I left again, to take over another one, and as soon as I was back in my hometown of Vine Grove, I found a new chick.

To say she hated me when I played Magic would be an understatement. We were going to have a child, but something happened to her, and she snapped and attacked me at my current job. Long story short? The world has been spared. She had a miscarriage and I no longer keep in contact with her.

Anyway, where am I going with this?

Oh yeah.

I decided that after the OBC season ended I was going to take a rather long break from Magic (read:”I am quitting”). I wanted to go out with a good record, but that was not to be. I played in several states, in several qualifiers (And Grand Prix Trials) trying to make it to Houston but as you can tell by my overall records you can tell that I did not come close to qualifying.

  • Origins PTQ 3-3 with UG Threshold

  • Louisville GPT 2-3 with UG Threshold

  • I quit playing UG Threshold after that

  • Nashville GPT 3-2 with UB Braids

  • Indianapolis GPT 5-2 with Wake Combo.

  • St Louis PTQ 1-2-1 with Wake Combo

I quit playing the Wake Combo deck after that.

Just in case you’re wondering "Gee, Joshua, why did you not play Mono Black anywhere during the season?" That deck is clearly the best in the format, and my teammates agreed. Jacob; Will and Paul all took three different versions of the deck all over the place this season – and in reality, it is some difficult to find sixteen Nantuko Shades.

Finally, the weekend before GP Cleveland, I went to Nashville for another event and played UZI, easily the best time I have had at a qualifier. Lack of sleep kept me from doing well, and I still finished up 3-3. Not that I am going to be bragging about that, ’cause it was easily subpar. (Read that as….I’m s**t.)

However, at this event two of my teammates made top eight…

It’s time to meet the teammates.

First we have Jacob Beal. Jacob has only been playing for about one full year and when I meet him he thought Traumatize Millstone was the greatest deck ever made in type two. He has made huge strides in his game play, and he has results that match it. He top eighted in one trial (Origins, eighty-eight players, he played Green White) won another (Louisville, mono black control) and then played a variety of decks over the season. Red White Weenie, Blue Black, and ended the season making the top eight of the Nashville qualifier and day two of the Grand Prix with mono black control.

Moving along, we go to Paul Hollar. Before he quit Magic to finish his history degree at the university of Louisville, Paul was one of the better players in the Kentucky area. He uses every bit of his mind to make the best plays possible, but he gets rattled easily. He started off the season with horrible weekend at Origins, playing Green/Blue, and Blue/White Birds before he also settled on Mono Black. The oldest player of the group at twenty four, he showed huge consistency after this deck change, and finished in the top eight of every Grand Prix trial he played in, as well as top ten in ever qualifier he played. He went 2-2 in the Grand Prix, and then went 2-2 in the qualifier the day after.

Finally, we hit Will Lutes. Will is a special guy. Married, wants to be good at the game, but often can not play as much because of work and marriage constraints. He finished top ten in every trial he played in, and ended his season at Nashville going 3-3 with UG Madness. He could be really good at this game soon…

Of course there is me, and I am the worst player on the team. (Read: I’m s**t.)

Anyhoot. After the story, and after the team introductions, there is supposed to be a report.

I am going to start my report of the weekend with the Grand Prix Trial from the night before.

Me and Jacob arrive at the tournament site around 2:30 p.m. I meet up with one of my friends, Taylor Parnell, and we start to play. I wanted to go with Black/Blue Braids, because it is hella fun to play. We played for about two hours, and I decided that it was time to make my decklist, relax and trade before the trial began.

Suddenly the time was upon me, and off I went to play.

Oh wait….. Here is my decklist.

4x Envelop

4x Aether Burst

4x Rancid Earth

4x Chainer’s Edict

4x Mesmeric Fiend

4x Nantuko Shade

4x Shadowmage Infiltrator

4x Faceless Butcher

4x Braids, Cabal Minion

4x Darkwater Catacombs

4x Tainted Isle

3x Island

13x Swamp

The sideboard looked a lot like the one John Larkin used at GP London.

I hope that came to being sixty cards.

Round One: Craig Krempals (Team Togit) Mono Black Control

I kinda thought I recognized this name when I looked at the pairing list, and the reason I recognized it would not come until the Grand Prix itself. The Team Togit jerseys are pretty cool looking; they are much better looking then the YMG tee shirts.

Anyhoot, I was unable to see any of my early disruption game one, and lost in a fashion that is not interesting to talk about. Game two was much different. Going first, I was able to Braids lock quicker, and the game was wrapped when he had no answer to the Nantuko Shade I was beating down with. The third game was a lot like the second, but for him.

So I start off 0-1, losing to what I feel is a pretty even matchup. Thanks to my testing, I felt that the matchup came down to just what was drawn; this match was not any different.

Round Two: Jon Parker Green White Splash Blue

Jon was a pretty cool design. It was Green White Madness with Islands and Wonders splashed in to give another form of evasion besides Glory. The best thing about his deck, though, were the cards that were actually in it.

Aside: Sometimes, I play decks just because I have really cool looking cards that go into it. I appreciate the other languages that Magic is printed in. German is easily one of the cooler languages, and I go to great lengths to get at least one box of German product. I enjoy the pretty things about Magic – the art, the foils, just about everything that can make any normal English card better I enjoy. Besides the social aspect of Magic, the collecting part is huge with me. Maybe that is because I’m s**t.

Anyhoot, every land in Jon’s deck was either a Guru, Euro, or APAC land. I’m easily impressed with that – and instead of actually playing most of the game, we would both make comments on each other’s cards. (Most of my deck was in Foil.) The game was easy. It was more enjoyable than anything, though. I was able to win both games quickly to even up my record.

Round Three: Todd D Svejkovsky When Birds Attack

Todd was with a deck that I had not seen or tested against since the earliest stages of Odyssey Block Constructed. Soulcatcher’s Aeries, Suntail Hawks, and Soulcatchers came down to attack me. A few Chainer’s Edicts, followed by a Braids and a Rancid Earth with Threshold, clears the board of 1/1 birds, and victory is wrapped up after a Rancid Earth further stalls a bit of a mana hose.

Game two, saw Todd draw plenty of islands, but just one Plains the entire game. I Rancid Earth the lone Plains, play some spells, and he halfheartedly goes through the motions.

I currently sit at 2-1. However, at this point the trial report ends. I was tired of playing, and came to Cleveland to have a good time. Me, Paul, and Pete leave the convention center, and head straight to the Ferrett’s house. We meet up with Elliot Fertik, Nate Heiss, and two other rising CMU stars at the house – and soon enough, I’m away in sleepy nap nap land, getting ready to go for my 1-2 drop to do match coverage performance for the next day.

I’ll finish up this report tomorrow, going over my Grand Prix performance, and the last PTQ for me this season which includes not one, not two, but three game loss penalties.

I’m s**t. Thanks for reading.