Hey!! I am Jonathan Sukenik, an eighteen-year-old Magic player from the unknown town of South Plainfield, New Jersey. I’ve been playing Magic since I
was eight and have never taken a break. In the past three years, I have been in two StarCityGames.com Open finals and most recently made Top 4 in
Edison, as well as the finals of a TCGPlayer.com event. I know this isn’t the most elaborate resume, so I’ve been trying to increase my abilities by
playing Magic Online, where my handle is Watchwolf92. But enough about meâ€”let’s get to the deck!
By reading the title of this article, you can probably guess that I piloted Caw-Blade to a StarCityGames.com Open Series finals. Blah… Tournament
Report… Blah… Five Mirror Matches… Blah… I got turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic… Kthxbye.
Just kidding, of course. I just wanted to make sure you actually read the title of this article. I don’t like to always play what everyone else is
playing or expecting me to play. I like to data mine and innovate! Two weeks ago, I was in class and wanted to play in a Magic Online Pro Tour
Qualifier for PT Philadelphia. The choices were between my own brew called RUG-a-Vine and Magic-League Grixis Tezzeret. Since I never played a game
with either list, I just did what every Professional Magic Player does. Flip a coin and run it!
- 3 Lightning Bolt
- 4 Everflowing Chalice
- 3 Inquisition of Kozilek
- 2 Contagion Clasp
- 4 Tumble Magnet
- 4 Galvanic Blast
- 4 Sphere of the Suns
- 2 Slagstorm
Smi77y is also known for developing a similar list called Tezzeret, the Mind Hammer. Sabbath decided to exclude Jace, the Mind Sculptor. In the Pro
Tour Qualifier itself, I started out 5-0. I must have done something right if Gerry Thompson tweeted, “…Look out for Watchwolf92. That kid is a
master.” So then of course, I masterfully went 0-3 to miss Top 8, not upholding Gerry’s expectations (Sorry!). However, I did play against great
players on the way, defeating Dan Jordan but losing to Gerard Fabiano.
As for the decklist and how it played, there were numerous interactions that needed a lot of playtesting to learn. Being the “master” that I am, I was
able to think outside the box and not miss the opportunity. Here are some examples:
1) Against Red Deck Wins or whatever people want to call it in today’s world, I had a Koth of the Hammer on the battlefield and Inquisitioned him,
seeing Lightning Bolt and Searing Blaze. I took the Bolt and proceeded to animate his Mountain every turn. I did this until I could ultimate my
Koth of the Hammer and kill him with my Super Mountains (or should I say Prodigal Pyro-Mountains).
2) Kuldotha Red had one card in his hand, two tapped Mountains, a tapped Mox Opal, and an untapped army of Signal Pest and Ornithopter with a Mortarpod
on it. My board was infinite mana, including Creeping Tar Pits, and a Wurmcoil Engine. He was at a high life total, and I was at four. So, I saw one
course of action. I played Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and animated his Mortarpod. This was necessary to prevent him from blocking my Wurmcoil Engine with
his Ornithopter and shooting me before combat damage. If he had a Lightning Bolt in hand (which he revealed to me after the match), I would die between
that and the ping from Ornithopter.
After the Pro Tour Qualifier, I continued to play the deck online and tried out Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I don’t think you need me to tell you how good
this guy is. With Jace comes a lot more decisions and therefore, a lot more opportunities to outplay your opponent and win. Also, the raw power of this
card can just win you the game alone. My buddies Joe Pennachio and Blake McClure ran my list at their Friday Night Magic and reported how horrible
Contagion Clasp was. I told them that they must have been playing the deck incorrectly if it wasn’t one of the best cards. The ability to add
loyalty counters to your three planeswalkers and charge counters on Everflowing Chalice, Sphere of the Suns, and Tumble Magnet is not to be
underestimated. Plus, have you ever felt how good it is to Contagion Clasp a Lotus Cobra? Probably not, but just imagine it… yeah… there you go. Onto
Saturday, April 16th. Regionals in New York.
At 7:30 am, my one and only teammate, Aaron Petronico (Proud member of Team Sukeniko. Go figure.), called me up telling me that his car battery had
died. He wished me luck and told me to prove him wrong because he believed that any deck that was not Caw-Blade was the wrong deck. You’ll never guess
how much I laughed in his face the next time I saw him.
Local innovator Erich Kunz, accompanied by trade-shark Anthony “Grab-it,” picked me up for the event. Being as confident as always, Erich told me how
we would both Top 8. Too bad one of us didn’t live up to that expectation. When I arrived at the tournament site, I met up with Max Brown, Reid Duke,
Joe Pinnachio (who, by virtue of his last name, should be a member of Team Sukeniko), and Blake McClure. I also had the pleasure of meeting Bing Luke.
Thanks for lunch, Bing! I’d like to think I’m on the same level as reiderrabbit and prolepsis9, but who knows. After making a last-minute decision to
cut an Everflowing Chalice for Drowned Catacomb, Joe and I were ready to rock my Grixis Tezzeret list. Special thanks to Blake McClure for lending me
most of the cards I used. And no, I will not stop winning with your cards.
- 3 Everflowing Chalice
- 2 Contagion Clasp
- 4 Tumble Magnet
- 4 Galvanic Blast
- 4 Sphere of the Suns
- 2 Go for the Throat
- 3 Slagstorm
As a heads up, no sideboard plans are set in stone. They should always be subject to change based on the opponent and certain cards they run.
Round 1: Matthew Won with BUG
Matt commented that he was an ex-Yu-Gi-Oh player after my turn 1 play of Creeping Tar Pit in defense mode, go! He proceeded to lay out a Halimar
Depths, which made him the underdog against me. On turn 2, he played Verdant Catacombs, putting him on BUG instead of RUG. While BUG is a fine matchup,
this deck can’t lose to RUG. I killed his turn 2 Lotus Cobra with my Contagion Clasp, but I didn’t have an answer to his turn 3 Lotus Cobra into
Explore. I gave him a window to lay down a Grave Titan when I had no answer to it, but instead he just played another Halimar Depths. I casually played
a turn 4 Koth of the Hammer, hoping that it would resolve. To my surprise, it did, so needless to say, the follow-up Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and
Inferno Titan prompted a quick, “Let’s just go to game two.”
Sideboard: + 2 Memoricide, + 2 Go for the Throat, + 4 Duress
-1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, -3 Slagstorm, -2 Wurmcoil Engine, -1 Galvanic Blast, -1 Contagion Clasp
In game two, I Duressed away his only action, in the form of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, so knowing my luck, he naturally had it again on turn 4 anyway.
Seeing an opening to take away his only “real” win conditions, I Memoricided away his Grave Titans. He tried to go for Jace’s ultimate by fatesealing
me every turn. Naturally, I managed to rip a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, to which he responded by brainstorming instead of fatesealing. So, then,
obviously I ripped a Koth of the Hammer, which made quick work of both Jace and my opponent.
Matches, 2-0 Games.
Round Two: Edgar Flores with U/W Caw-Blade
I had to make sure to get revenge on the virtually unknown Edgar Flores after he defeated me when I was at 6-0 in StarCityGames.com Open: Edison.
Before the match, he kept talking about how it was going to be a matchup between the Caw-Blade master and the RUG master, words that he quickly
swallowed when I played a turn 1 Creeping Tar Pit in defense mode. He proceeded to go with a Squadron Hawk aggro plan, to which I responded with
back-to-back Slagstorms to wreck his Birds. Seeing an opening, I resolved a Koth of the Hammer, attacked with my only Mountain, which he Condemned.
Well, you know what they say, “When one planeswalker is out of commission, you need to play the other two in your deck.” Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas made
quick work of his Jace, the Mind Sculptor, after which I played my own, and that prompted a quick concession.
Sideboard: +2 Memoricide, +1 Go for the Throat, + 4 Duress, +1 Pyroclasm
-1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, -2 Slagstorm, -2 Contagion Clasp, -1 Koth of the Hammer, -2 Wurmcoil Engine
He led off quickly in game two with a Stoneforge Mystic for a Sword of Feast and Famine, which I Duressed away. The same thing happened again on the
following turn. Facing Squire beatdown, I slammed down a Pyroclasm. Eventually, he had both Sun Titan and Jace Beleren out, so I seized the opportunity
to Memoricide away the Gideon Jura that he had in hand and Went for the Sun Titan’s Throat. I was wary of the one Condemn that he had in his hand, so I
neglected to attack with my Mountain via Koth of the Hammer until I ripped my second Memoricide, naming Condemn, to see a total of three of them
in his hand. Somehow I managed to lose both this game and the match.
Matches 2-0, Games 4-0.
Round Three: Kyle Shane with BUG
Game one saw me with only three lands on turn 11. The way that I won this one was with three Everflowing Chalices, a Contagion Clasp, two Tumble
Magnets, and two Wurmcoil Engines, and a Go for the Throat against two Grave Titans. What can I say? If you don’t draw lands, you draw action.
Sideboarding: Same as before
The next game started with me taking a trip to Paris and promptly getting Inquisitioned. I revealed a hand of Creeping Tar Pit, Mountain, two Sphere of
the Suns, Tumble Magnet, and Go for the Throat. He took Sphere of the Suns and resolved a Jace Beleren, drawing himself a card. Keeping up with the run
goods, I slammed down a Koth of the Hammer, killed Jace Beleren, and eventually ultimated Koth. I had three Mountains in play and killed him exactly
with Mountains and Creeping Tar Pit the turn after he played Avenger of Zendikar.
Matches: 3-0, Games 6-0
Round Four: Jiayi Chen with U/W Caw-Blade
Seachrome Coast on turn 1 meant that I was facing the dreaded sword-wielding menace once again. Judging by my opening hand, I knew that I could just
ramp up mana by playing a turn 2 Sphere of the Suns, turn 3 Everflowing Chalice on two, turn 4 Everflowing Chalice on three. Naturally, he had to Mana
Leak the last Chalice, to keep the Leak from being dead later on. My mana advantage allowed me to resolve an Inferno Titan and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
to kill both Gideon Jura and his owner.
Sideboard: Same as before.
This game led off with my Duressing his Sword of Feast and Famine after he played turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic, seeing Sun Titan, Island, Divine Offering,
and Tectonic Edge. I followed up with a Galvanic Blast to stop any Mystic shenanigans. He resolved a Baneslayer Angel after I had a Koth in play. I had
to Memoricide him, naming Sun Titan, because I didn’t have an answer to one in my hand. The rest of his hand contained Volition Reins and Day of
Judgment, but he only had five mana. So I entered the tank for a good minute or two, figuring out how to neuter his potentially game-changing cards as
easily as possible. I ended up using Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s -1 to Unsummon the Baneslayer, which he then replayed on his turn.
I played Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, used his +1 to find and play a Tumble Magnet, and Brainstormed with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He took my Jace with
his Volition Reins and brainstormed with it. Once I untapped, I slammed down an Inferno Titan, using Arc Lightning on the Jace, to which he was forced
to respond with a Day of Judgment, 2-for-1ing himself in the process. My remaining planeswalkers went on to take control of the game.
Matches 4-0, Games 8-0
Round Five: James Lee with B/R Vampires
James Lee is known for playing aggro decks. I knew that he was on B/R Vampires from earlier rounds. Unfortunately, I also knew that he was playing
Crush in his 75, which is good against Tezzeret decks in general.
He led off with Vampires’ famous start: turn 1 Vampire Lacerator, turn 2 Bloodghast, turn 3 Kalastria Highborn, to which I casually responded with a
turn 3 Slagstorm. After this devastating play, a turn 5 Wurmcoil Engine was good enough to take over the remainder of the short game.
Sideboard: + 2 Go for the Throat, +1 Pyroclasm
-3 Koth of the Hammer
Game two, I was able to have Slagstorm in my hand again, but he was playing around it by only attacking with Vampire Lacerator and Bloodghast in the
first four turns. I caved in and played the new and improved Firespout, to which he responded with a land for Bloodghast, Kalastria Highborn, and
Viscera Seer. This devastating combo made quick work of my already small life total, bringing me to my first game three of the tournament.
In this previously unknown “game three territory,” his turn 1 Inquisition of Kozilek took my Slagstorm, showing him the coming turn 3 Jace, the Mind
Sculptor. I proceeded to use the Jace in such a way that, without a burn spell, his creature would never be able to kill my Jace; I +2ed myself at
every opportunity and Brainstormed only when I thought it would be safe. After exhausting all of his resources to kill my first Jace, I promptly played
another one, causing a look of despair to fall upon his face. Instead of +2ing, I took the risk of Brainstorming and got Galvanic Blast and Contagion
Clasp, which was exactly what I needed.
However, I still needed a way to kill him. Wurmcoil Engine seemed like it would work, albeit in a slow fashion. On the next turn, I played a Tezzeret,
Agent of Bolas, proliferated with the Contagion Clasp, and used the ultimate to drain him for ten life. His Mark of Mutiny + Viscera Seer combo was
cute and all, until I told him that I had another Tezzeret on top of my library.
So, I hear you like planeswalker ultimates.
Matches 5-0, Games 10-1
Round Six: Gery Pawelzik with RUG
In a sea of Caw-Blade players, I expected to face another one. However, a turn 1 Halimar Depths proved me wrong. He proceeded to play a turn 2 Lotus
Cobra and turn 3 Precursor Golem. I prayed for a second red source so that I could cast the Slagstorm that was taunting me from my hand. However, my
deck continued to laugh at me with an off-the-top Sphere of the Suns that entered play tapped. He knocked me down to eight life. I untapped and played
Slagstorm, but his snap Mana Leak gave him the win.
Sideboard: +2 Memoricide, +2 Go for the Throat, +3 Flashfreeze
-2 Wurmcoil Engine, -2 Contagion Clasp, -2 Galvanic Blast, -1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
After losing my first game one of the tournament, I needed to pay him back for this humiliation. My start included lands, Sphere of the Suns,
Everflowing Chalice, and Tumble Magnet, which he responded to by emptying his hand of two Lotus Cobras, Explore, Precursor Golem, Jace, the Mind
Sculptor, and Tumble Magnet over the course of two turns. During his end step, I tapped his Tumble Magnet with mine, casually untapped and slammed the
game-breaking Slagstorm onto the table, animated the Creeping Tar Pit that I had played earlier in the game (in defense mode, of course), and
assassinated his Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
A friend of mine told me that Grave Titan kills in two turns; I proved him right.
This is the only game of the tournament where I felt confident playing land-go for the first eight turns of the game, despite having Tezzeret, Agent of
Bolas in my hand. When I had enough mana, I played Tumble Magnet with four mana up, so that I could cast any of the two Go for the Throats or two
Flashfreezes in my hand. For some reason, he wasn’t playing anything.
After the match, he told me he could have played a turn 4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor but chose to play around my nonexistent Mana Leaks, waiting until
turn 6 to play Jace with his own Leak up. He caved in and played Jace to fateseal me. I used this opening to slam down Tezzeret, animate my Tumble
Magnet, kill his Jace, and drop another Tumble Magnet. He attempted an Inferno Titan, which I countered with Flashfreeze. I decided to go aggressive
and animated my Tumble Magnet. I attacked with both, putting him down to ten life. I played a Sphere of the Suns and handed the turn over.
Unexpectedly, he cast Volition Reins on my Tumble Magnet, giving him a 5/5 blocker. Seeing victory in sight, I animated the Sphere of the Suns,
“masterfully” placed down my third Tumble Magnet, and tapped down the stolen Tumble Magnet. In response, I saw him change the number of counters on his
Magnet, thinking about which of my creatures to tap, to which I responded, “You can’t do that; it has summoning sickness.”
My adoring fans went wild as I attacked for the win, with my opponent in shock as he remembered that Volition Reins does not grant the stolen permanent
Matches 6-0, Games 12-2
Two intentional draws later, I was signing forms and qualified for Nationals.
Final Record: 6-0-2 in Matches, 12-2 in Games Played.
So that’s it.
Oh wait, there’s more to say.
Would I recommend this deck to people? And my answer is a conditional “No.”
What? You must be thinking, “This guy obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He just qualified for Nationals with it! It must be the hot new
tech, and he just doesn’t want anyone to use it.” Well, the problem with this deck is that it’s really complicated. There are so many subtle
interactions, only some of which I touched upon in this article. This deck requires a lot of playtesting in order for someone to realize everything
that it can do, so unless you’re willing to put in the time, don’t bother. I know how many Magic players today just want their quick fix. If you want
that, just pick up Caw-Blade, and then soon enough you’ll be able to write articles like the one that I typed up at the beginning of this article.
This report is getting a bit long, so I’m just going to say a quick thing about New Phyrexia. There are a few cards that seem to be able to fit in this
deck. Phyrexian Metamorph would have a lot of applications with cards like the Titans, Tumble Magnet, and just the deck in general. Hex Parasite may be
the perfect planeswalker killer because of the sheer amount of mana that this deck can generate. Torpor Orb has the potential to improve the Caw-Blade
matchup even more, but it’s so narrow in application that it would need to be tested. Spellskite would be useful against Red decks, and for defense in
general, because they can’t burn you to kill your planeswalkers. Also, instead of sinking all that money into Batterskull, you could just copy it with
the Phyrexian Metamorph instead. It’s like stealing moneyâ€”or, at least counterfeiting it (Please don’t actually do either one. They’re bad.).
So that’s a wrap. I hope everyone enjoyed my first article and tournament report. Feel free to leave comments in the forums; I’ll read all of them.
Hopefully, this won’t be the last you’ll hear from me.
Props: Joshua Gang for helping me with my first article.
Slops: Rounds 5 and 6 opponents, for making me go to game three. I really had to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t. Maybe I should have a smaller water
bottle at these events.
Thanks for reading,
Watchwolf92 on Magic Online.