As much as I enjoyed the Dilemma series, all good things must come to an end. It has nothing to do with Paul and nothing to do with me, but rather with Legions: You see, Paul and I agreed on practically every pick. The ones we didn’t agree on weren’t really worth Dilemma articles, so we kind of fudged some things. He had his theories on U/W and I had my theories on G/B, and we used unusual drafting strategies to explore ways of exploiting these strategies.
I am going to shift gears for a bit with Regionals coming up this weekend and talk a little bit about the M’s Collectibles Invitational this past weekend. Players from all around the Northeast were invited to play in this unsanctioned Type 2 tournament. Why was this tournament unsanctioned, you ask? So Mouth could play, of course. Sadly, many of the high-profile players opted not to attend; Osyp Lebedowicz, Ed Fear, Gerard Fabiano, Mike Pustilnik, and Darwin Kastle all decided to sit this one out. While this increased my odds of doing well, I was sad to see these people skip out, as I feel it is important to support independent tournaments like this. They are good for the health of the game and give all us hardcore gamers something to do between Pro Tours and Grand Prixs.
I wanted to play Mono-Black Control, I really did. Not only did I feel that at a tournament like this there would be mostly creature decks, but it also happened to be the Type 2 archetype I was most familiar with. Sadly, my friend Pete here in Albany does not have quite the collection of cards that storeowner Ed Fear does, so I was not able to get the cards together.
A Side Note On Borrowing Cards
A while ago I needed some money, so I sold off the collection that I shared with Joe Weber. We got $1500 for it, which was nice, but I became dependent on my friends to get me cards for Constructed. This plan, while lovely in theory, is a real pain in the neck in practice. For one thing, you always feel indebted to people; for another, you have to worry much more about the physical cards since they are not yours. On top of all that, you aren’t guaranteed to find all the cards you need.
My advice? Keep your own collection as long as humanly possible. Oh yeah, and buy your cards from StarCity. (Tru dat – The Ferrett)
*End side note*
This meant I was going to have to go with old reliable Green/Blue Madness. I really liked Antonino De Rosa’s list. We have been talking a lot of Type 2 on our mailing list as we had several members that needed to play in Regionals. Here is the list I settled on after some talking with Osyp about sideboarding:
Matt Rubin entered the tournament with the same main deck, but a fairly different sideboard, which I can’t recall offhand. I do know it included Gigapede. Gigapede doesn’t seem all that exciting to me except against Slide decks, and then I would rather just Speculate for Rays.
The thing that caught my eye when I did my first rounds around the room were the unbelievable amount of Forests in attendance. All I could think was how much I wanted to be playing MBC – but alas, as I often do in Magic, I would have to play the hand I was dealt. The bright side to all these Forests is that they were often coupled with Mountains, which meant many good matchups for me.
The great thing about Blue/Green Madness is all the fronts it attacks you on. It can out card advantage the control decks and out race the beatdown decks. It has Wonder to break up stalls, and after sideboarding it has Turbulent Dreams to answer any answer. Jeff Cunningham was right about one thing: This is indeed the Cadillac of Type Two decks. Perhaps a Honda Civic would be a better analogy, as it is so cheap to build, but runs well and looks nice.
Unsummon seemed to be all the rage at the tournament. Dan O’Mahoney-Schwartz came out of retirement to play in this event and he brought his Beta Unsummons. Unsummon doesn’t impress me, even in the mirror; the matchup where it really shines is Red/Green, but this matchup is already so favorable I don’t see this card being worth it. The Unsummons can go into the deck in place of the Quiet Speculation plan, but then you are simply geared too much toward aggressive decks. The Looters dominate the mirror, and you are already powerful against Red/Green and Beasts; there is no reason to go overboard by adding Unsummons and hurting the matchups that aren’t quite as good.
Our testing showed that Mono Black could often just ignore Compost, and it was less than exciting against Tog. The most common sideboarding strategy for Mono Black against Green/Blue is to bring in two or three Eastern Paladins, four Nantuko Shades, and possibly an extra Visara and likely some Ensnaring Bridges. Compost is simply horrid against this strategy; all of a sudden, they are putting fewer black cards into the graveyard and your board is shut down. This means that your strategy against them has to change completely.
You basically have to transform your entire deck. Almost your entire sideboard becomes useful against them if they go to this plan: The two Ray of Revelations aren’t useful, but the other thirteen cards can come in. So where do you begin with taking things out?
The obvious place to start is with the Quiet Speculation plan, but Deep Analysis is just too good against them. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do so, I consulted Antonino. He informed me that Careful Studies are taken out, since all the Mono-Black does is one-for-one you and you don’t want to lose to card disadvantage. The Ray can still come out. That is five cards. The Circular Logics are often less than spectacular when facing a Cabal Coffers, so going down to three of them isn’t bad, and Wonder is next to dead. Since you are bringing in Compulsions, you can ditch three of your Madness outlets like Aquamoeba. This lets you assault their transformation while not losing too much from your main plan.
This sideboarding plan comes with a caveat: If you don’t think that the Mono-Black is going to transform in this manner, then the Quiet Speculation plan minus the Ray is very powerful and Stupefying Touch is not nearly as good. Turbulent Dreams is also poor if you don’t expect Bridge.
What I like best about this sideboard is that none of the cards are singleminded; they can all be brought in in multiple matchups. Turbulent Dreams is phenomenal in this matchup, for some of the same reasons and some different ones. Red/Green is another likely candidate to bring in Ensnaring Bridge – and in addition to this, they usually run Call of the Herd and Elephant Guide, two cards that get hosed by Turbulent Dreams. I chose not to bring in Stupefying Touches in this matchup, as it seems to be all about the race, but a case could certainly be made for it as Red/Green runs mana creatures, Wild Mongrel, and Grim Lavamancer. Phantom Centaur stops the offense cold and is nigh-unstoppable on offense, so I chose to bring it in here. I took out the Quiet Speculation plan and one Looter. He is pretty fragile, but you still need him as a Madness outlet.
While this matchup is similar to Red/Green, it uses a slightly different sideboarding strategy as the deck is much slower. Stupefying Touch is critical in this matchup. Living Wish can absolutely destroy you. Silklash Spider is devastating, though with Stupefying Touch he is merely annoying. Mongrel is completely shut down and Intrepid Hero becomes useless. While playing first with a slower start at one point in the Invitational, I Touched a Bird of Paradise just to stabilize the tempo a little. It can also be annoying when targeting an Anurid Brushhopper. Once again, the Quiet Spec plan is a little weak here; I would go ahead and take out those five cards. You can bring in one Centaur for the remaining slot.
By this point you are probably saying to yourself,”Self, if I am siding out the Quiet Spec plan every time, why is it in there?” Quite simply, it is very good against MBC game 1 and it is always good against other control decks. It is also not terrible against other decks if you don’t draw any other two-drops for some reason.
This matchup is trickier. Unlike most control matchups, Wonder is particularly important here, as if Psychatog hits he is rather hard to get through. Stupefying Touch is rather good in this matchup and it shuts down the Psychatog and potentially good against tricky cards like Eastern Paladin. Compulsion is a Madness outlet they can’t touch.
You can afford to take out Careful Study in this matchup. If they are playing Aether Burst, go ahead and take out three Roars, a Speculation, a Ray, two Studies and three Aquamoebas. If they aren’t playing Aether Burst, take out four Studies, a Ray, three Aquamoebas, and a Roar and just bring in three Stupefying Touches, the Centaurs, and Compulsion.
Finally, a matchup where Stupefying Touch doesn’t come in! This matchup is far from great for you. The Compulsions and Rays are going to come in here; take out two Careful Studies and three Wonders.
This is the matchup where your sideboard really misses Gigapede. Keep their enchantments off the board and try to put as much pressure on them as possible without overcommitting. It is a tricky matchup, be careful. There is the possibility of bringing in the Phantom Centaurs so you still have large threats without leaving yourself open to Astral Slide.
As you can see, the Careful Studies are expendable in all control matchups.
While similar to Slide, this matchup is tougher to disrupt as they don’t rely quite as heavily on their enchantments. However, the sideboard strategy is fairly similar. There is no need to bring in the Centaurs in this matchup.
This matchup is fairly straightforward: You want your Stupefying Touches to stop their madness outlets, and you also want Turbulent Dreams to win the race and kill Roar Tokens. The Quiet Speculation plan is no good here, so right off the bat you have five cards out. Since you are bringing in seven reactive cards, go ahead and take out two Circular Logics. This matchup is all about racing. Make sure you keep a Wonder in your hand in case they are foolish enough to side in Krosan Reclamation.
Most rogue decks follow similar strategies to these decks. With such a wide variety of popular decks, I wouldn’t expect much rogue out there.
Andy’s win at the Invitational will likely mean that at least around here, there will be a relevant presence of White Weenie. I hadn’t had much experience in the matchup, and there is not much in this sideboard to bring in. They don’t have much that the Touches are good against, and Turbulent Dreams seems slow. If this is going to be a significant part of your metagame, you may want to try the Unsummons.
As you can probably tell, I became somewhat enchanted with this Green/Blue deck. It performed so well for me and gave me a nice feeling that I hadn’t felt in a while in Constructed: The feeling that in some games, there was nothing my opponent could do to stop me from winning. The fabled mana issues are indeed true, but they don’t crop up in this deck much more than most other decks.
I hope this little insight into Blue/Green has helped with your Regionals preparation. Thanks to Osyp, Antonino, and all of the CMU-TOGIT guys for all their help.