Show Me Your Monsters

After missing out on joining Todd, Brad and BBD with Mono Black Devotion at GP Louisville, CVM synchs up decks with BBD for the Invitational and reflects on Standard, Legacy, and getting better at the game.

This last weekend was the StarCityGames.com Invitational Weekend in Indianapolis, and there was a mountain of Magic to be played.

This time I listened to BBD and didn’t deviate from the right deck choices for the weekend, and we ended up playing the exact same 75 as he did in both formats for the Invitational – Sneak and Show in Legacy and Mono Black Devotion in Standard.

I was quite excited after going 4-0 in the first Legacy portion, 3-0 in matches played since I only had one bye, and then I won the first Standard match of the day. I felt like I was going to do well.

Then the wheels fell off.

I promptly lost the last three Standard matches. Joe Losset dismantled me with Esper Control first. There was a sequence in the second game where I Thoughtseized him seeing an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and two copies of Blood Baron of Vizkopa. I already had a Devour Flesh and a Hero’s Downfall in hand, so I took one of the Blood Barons. On turn five he played the Blood Baron and I Devour Fleshed it. On turn six, he drew and played another Blood Baron. I drew another Thoughtseize for the turn and went to take his Elsepth, but he had drawn another copy of the powerful lady planeswalker too! I could take one and kill the other with Hero’s Downfall, but with the three 1/1 tokens to protect the Blood Baron of Vizkopa from another Devour Flesh I was in a tough spot and ended up losing the match.

Max Tietze crushed me in the following round with U/W Control, eventually making his way into the Top 8. Every Thoughtseize revealed a hand with about a billion must-answer cards while I lacked ever seeing an Underworld Connections in either of the two games that we played.

Lastly, I lost to a nice guy playing Mono Blue Devotion when I stalled on two lands in the last game and lost to some Cloudfin Raptors and a few Judge’s Familiars.

At 5-4 ,I had to decide if I was going to stick it out and try to 7-0 or possibly 6-0-1 to money or if I wanted to try to play in the Standard Open. I didn’t have much experience or confidence with Mono Black Devotion in Standard, and there was the Mythic Madness Gold Rush promotion going on, so I opted to drop out of Day Two of the Invitational at the bottom of the standings in order to play in the Standard Open.

After registering and heading over to my group of friends, I promptly started looking for another Standard deck to play. Thankfully, my buddy Stephen had a copy of the W/r deck that I had been talking about recently, so I made a few changes to that and sleeved it up to battle. I was pretty happy with the list and felt good about my choice:

I probably should have had one or two Wear // Tear in the Sideboard, but the need for them never came up. I was hoping that the Assemble the Legion was going to be awesome, but in the two times that I played against Mono Black Devotion, I never drew it.

I lost in round two to one of my roommates playing Mono Black Devotion. 8 hour drive, 700 players, and I get crushed by my roommate. *sigh*

I beat Mono Black Devotion and a G/R devotion deck, before losing to Hayden Bedsole playing the mirror.


He blew me out with Electrickery in the post-board game and I was floored. I ended up dropping at 2-2 from the Standard Open. Normally, I would like to stick around and keep playing for planeswalker points and keep alive the off chance that I would rattle a bunch of wins off in a row to money, but I wanted to do some trading and watch BBD battle a bit.

Oh, that’s right, Mythic Madness!

The guy sitting across from me when we get our envelopes asked me if I want to swap mine with his. I’m a “long hair, don’t care” kinda guy, so I went ahead and made the swap. He opened his and threw it down on the table.

Bulk Mythic!

I opened mine, nice and slowly. Slid up the card facing me and looked at him with a grin.

“It’s a planeswalker.” I say.

“Chandra!” I exclaim, then added “The Firebrand” and threw it on the table with a grin.

Everyone laughed and then we all cried together at our collective two dollars’ worth of mythics opened.

The next day at the Legacy Open, there were enough Mythic Madness packs leftover that they decided to give two to everyone who signed up for the Legacy open. Most people opened theirs right away, but I decided to wait and open my second one with the one that they would give out at the player meeting.

I opened the first one, and as I slid out the card, my thumb was covering the top right half of the card. I started to read the card as I pulled it out, “Jace… the… Mind Sculptor!” I squealed like a little girl as I finished the name and laughed pretty hard. I quickly opened the second one to see a Nissa Revane, which isn’t too shabby either, but no Big Daddy Jace. Mythic Madness is awesome!

Yay for planeswalkers!

I decided to play Sneak and Show in the Legacy Open because, well, it’s the best deck in the format. After talking with BBD a bit about what we should change to the list from what we played in the Invitational, he had suggested that the Defense Grid’s weren’t all that good, and we wanted another spell for the mirror. He mentioned that Swan Song was good for Brad, and that it would probably be better than the Defense Grids, so I made that swap:

Throughout the day I played a myriad of different decks, and this is one of the reasons why Legacy is so beloved. I even played against a mono white Soldier deck in Round 9 at 7-1 playing for Top 8. In Game One he played a Preeminent Captain on turn one and followed it up with Enlistment Officer (go ahead, click it and read the card) then put a Captain of the Watch into play from the Preeminent Captain’s ability. I had a turn two Show and Tell for Griselbrand, but it still wasn’t enough being as I was on the draw.

His deck actually seems like a decent choice if there is a lot of Sneak and Show, since you get to max out on Oblivion Rings to combat Show and Tell, and Suppression Field is pretty good against Sneak Attack itself. Sadly, the deck doesn’t mulligan very well, and if you don’t have the interactive cards in your opening hand then you are at the mercy of the top of deck that doesn’t have Brainstorm or Ponder.

I’m sure that there will be a lot of content going out this week on Sneak and Show, since it basically dominated the Invitational Top 8, so I don’t really want to focus on it too much… but I did have some pretty sweet interactions and some insights on cards this weekend.

Spell Pierce is an all-star right now. It’s very good in the mirror, and is very good at fighting cards that are good against our strategy. The dynamic of this card in the Sneak and Show deck is much different from say RUG or UWR Delver that also play Spell Pierce. Against the Delver decks you can usually afford to be patient and play around it and pick the right spots to land your impactful spells. Against Sneak and Show you don’t have that luxury, since we can kill from nowhere, so a lot of times people feel like that have to just jam their spells into our Spell Pierces since if they wait we will just kill them. I was able to beat Michael Hetrick in the swiss by Spell Piercing his Hymn to Tourach in both games and then going off.

BBD and I opted to play Gitaxian Probe and not Daze, and I am in love with this card. Having perfect information and drawing a card is almost priceless in a redundant two-card combo deck with eight copies of each combo. Daze is pathetically easy to play around, and most of the time I’d rather just know what is in their hand. Sometimes it is correct to hold your Gitaxian Probe for the turn that you go off unless you desperately need a card immediately right then and there.

We tried to come up with something for the mirror that would allow us to be proactive, but the best we could do was having an extra Through the Breach and ultimately I played two Swan Song in the sideboard. I really wish there was something that would prevent them from using their Sneak Attack but let us use ours. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to let me know!

I also got to witness something really sweet in the Legacy Open that I even made it a point to write down what I saw because I just had to put it in my article. I got to see an OmniTell player jam a Dream Halls against a Miracles opponent who had a Counterbalance out. The Miracles player thought for a second, since he had a Spell Pierce in his hand, but opted to blind flip on the Counterbalance, which I think would just be a no-brainer since you don’t really lose anything by trying. Lo and behold, Misdirection is on top of his deck and me, my opponent, the OmniTell guy, and the Miracle’s guy all put their hands to their head and exclaim “OH!!!” all at the same time. It was pretty comical and very awesome to see. The OmniTell guy was like, “Maaaan! I can’t even be upset about this one.”

I love Legacy!

I had a lot of people I had never met before come up and talk to me this weekend and it was awesome. I love hearing from people that they enjoy my content, be it articles or the Vs. video series, especially when people are telling me about how it has helped them to get better that this game we all love and even win their local tournaments. I know that I am constantly striving to get better, and writing about the game and playtesting in these videos with BBD helps me just as much as they help everyone else, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to do so.

This Invitational Top8 was awesome, and just goes to show that hard work does pay off. BBD, Gerry, Brad, Huey, Max, and everyone else that made it to the Top 8, congratulations! I can’t wait to see the Goat Brads!

Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you lose a lot, but you gotta just keep playing. That’s what I did and look; I opened a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and placed in the Top 4 of the Legacy Open.

You can’t win if you don’t play, so just keep playing Magic folks.

<3 CVM

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