States weekend was a smashing success for me and my friends. Cabal Rogue got it together and we made a deck, and it did well. Really well.
But I’m not grinding this weekend. And yes, I am bitterly disappointed.
The last time I was hungry to grind was right after my State Championship win a few years ago*. The Pro Tour was in Chicago, and I was all teched out and ready to go. Madness and Psychatog were the order of the day, and I was ready for them. Our car was hungry to play – me, Brian Kowal, and Mike Hron scooted down to Chicago, got caught in traffic, and looked like we simply weren’t going to make it. I ran the Hail Mary – I called Jeff Donais to let him know we were on our way. He said he’d wait.
We hit the hotel, ran downstairs… and didn’t quite make it. I bitterly played side games all weekend, smashing most of the Type Two decks I hit (except for the ever wonderful Mark Globus handing me my ass with his 4 Cartographer Slide deck). The grind I’d been hungry for was simply dashed.
Cabal loves Grinders. So often they have a new format to explore and exploit, so the news from my boss that I couldn’t have off to make it down to Columbus hurt. And it was just because our deck was good. Really good.
28-5-4. If you cut out Top 8 numbers, 24-3-4. Two other guys played the deck with massive changes. They didn’t do as well, but each of us were playing minor variations off of this base list:
Kooky-Jooky by Cabal Rogue
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Eternal Witness
4 Viridian Shaman
3 Hearth Kami
4 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Commune with Nature
4 Magma Jet
2 Sensei’s Divining Top
2 City of Brass
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Pinecrest Ridge
3 Plow Under
3 Cranial Extraction
3 Electrostatic Bolt
Of course, there is a lot going on with any list of cards that you might happen to look at. I’m not going to get into the simple aspects of what the deck does here. I’ve already discussed that in this week’s column on magicthegathering.com. What I’m going to do here is talk about more about the nitty gritty of what makes this build tick.
Finding the deck
One of the first things that has to be discussed is context. Going into this tournament, I knew that Affinity was going to be the “best deck”. For a lot of people, “best deck” has different definitions. I’m going to define mine now.
“Best deck” – the highest quality deck you can expect to play against at a tournament.
Of course, you could play against someone who has a much better deck than what you could have ever prepared for. One of the all-important benefits of going with a rogue design is that people will be less prepared for what you are going to play. I knew that I could expect Affinity to continue to be strong. I could expect it to be so strong, in fact, that I would playtest against five versions of the deck – though in the end, I would whittle it down to Brian Kibler build (the version I most expected to play against), Eric Taylor’s build (not a version I expected to play against, but radically different enough to produce more data), and my own build inspired by Jon Stern’s fantastic design from Mirrodin Block PTQs.
I had a Kiki-Jiki deck in mind, and when fellow Cabalist and co-collaborators Brian Kowal and Ben Dempsey (the other primary deckbuilders of our little story) showed me their deck, I knew we had to be on to something. One of my personal theories of deckbuilding is convergence – get two (or more) good deckbuilders to work independently on a project, and when you cross-pollinate the two, you generally have something far more potent than you would have had if you had started out working together on it.
These early builds got sent against the Affinity lists, and also against versions of Tooth and Nail, mono-Red, Death Cloud, and much less popular decks (like White Weenie). Soon the initial deck had some solid foundations. Thirty mana-sources, ten library manipulation to keep the deck whirring, 4 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and 16 creatures to win with.
Beating Affinity was the core of this.
My first version of the deck had run the Intruder Alarm combo, Commune with Nature, and creatures. Hearth Kami proved itself a completely fantastic card against Affinity. Viridian Shaman could take out any artifact when it came into play, but it couldn’t come into play as quickly. In addition, Hearth Kami shined against Affinity by holding down Blinkmoth Nexus, and in some cases Ornithopter. Rootrunner had been put into the deck as a secondary lock to join up the Intruder Alarm and combo with Hearth Kami, but over time Ben and Brian convinced me that their own similar build could still beat Affinity off of the power of Electrostatic Bolt. Intruder Alarm wasn’t necessary in almost any matchups, they said. After testing, I found out that they were right.
I still wasn’t happy with the Bolts, however. Playing against Tooth and Nail and other cards where there were minimal targets was showing me that Bolt was a big liability. I decided to try out Magma Jet in place of Bolt and discovered I still had a fantastic matchup against Affinity, or at least most versions of the deck.
Now Ted Knutson, our humble editor here at StarCityGames was right in pointing out that “no matter how much you think you beat Affinity, you probably don’t beat it nearly as well as you think you do.” The great debate among the people playing the Kiki-Jiki deck was whether the Bolt-less builds could actually still hold their own against Affinity – my testing was saying yes, at least against most builds, and others in their own testing were getting somewhat more mixed results. There was no consensus. It seemed to me, though, that most people weren’t playing against as many versions of Affinity as my friend Adam Kugler and I were, and I trusted my results. After a visit from Eric Taylor confirming it more in my head, I was settled on Jet. Jet is a subtle card – it is easy to notice when it isn’t as good as the Electrostatic Bolt you want and hard to notice when the Scry ability is really doing you a lot of good unless you are paying attention to it.
Essentially the deck had been designed with the ability to both beat a lot of different styles of Affinity, and keep the ability to fight against nearly anything else. The Spirits are a great example of this. Without a card like Hearth Kami, it would have been completely necessary to include much more dedicated anti-artifact hatred. Unfortunately, not only would this cut down on the numbers of creatures in the deck for Kiki to take advantage of, but it would also narrow the deck down against other decks. Rootrunner was efficient enough on its own against a lot of matchups, but it could combine with Kiki to simply lock someone out of the game if unchecked. Every creature in the first game served a purpose against the unknown opponent (or at least as many unknowns as could be hit easily).
The big key: nothing would be completely dead.
To play this deck, essentially what you have to do is to know your role. One of the big problems that a lot of people have with a deck like this is an overeager need to get out the Kiki-Jiki/Rootrunner combo because “it just wins”.
Well, it doesn’t.
The lock of Kiki/Rootie is simple enough. Use a copy of Rootrunner to guarantee that your opponent will never draw another new card ever again. This does not mean a win unless you already control the table. This is the first lesson – control the table.
This means that an early Commune with Nature will often do things like grab a Sakura-Tribe Elder to develop the mana base or a Hearth Kami to begin to hold the table instead of grabbing the flashier card. Remember, it is often far more important to do something like Magma Jetting an early Bird of Paradise than it is to go deeper into your own deck with a Commune with Nature.
Kiki-Jiki’s ability is good, but it isn’t useful unless you are doing something relevant. Going beatdown against Tooth and Nail by copying a Hearth Kami does indeed give you a few extra points of damage, but unless they are having a bad game 1 against you, it’s probably a lot better to grab an Eternal Witness (you can always return a Magma Jet or Commune to get farther into the deck).
The basic rule is this: in general, tear down your opponent’s resources or build up your mana before trying to become aggressive. In most matchups, you’ll play the control role. Even if your deck isn’t giving you the cards, realize that you aren’t a great beatdown deck. If you do find you are in a beatdown role, get out your clocks (unfortunately likely to be the anti-Artifact cards that just happen to have a power of two), and hunt for Rootie to keep them off of their game. Remember that sometimes just sacrificing a Rootrunner without the combo can buy you the time to slickly get a win.
Some important tricks to remember:
- One, Kiki-Jiki’s copying ability creates tokens that die at end of turn. This is a marvelous place where people used to cast Waylays or activate Astral Slide, and keep the affect until the next turn. Remember that. I saw one of my friends lose a match on this one – make a Viridian Shaman (or something else) at the end of your own turn, and you’ll have a blocker on their turn. Make something on the end of their turn, and you can have a potential attacker on your own.
- Two, know when to hold and know when to fold a Top. Sensei’s Divining Top helps smooth out mana draws by creating mana when you need it, and getting rid of it when you don’t. Sometimes, though, you just don’t need the card anymore. Don’t be afraid to shuffle it away from the top of your library if you don’t have the time to wait to draw it again. Know your Top tricks.
Hitting some matchups
The goal here is to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. In general, use Hearth Kami and Sakura-Tribe Elder to shift the early game in your direction. Killing cards like Aether Vial might not seem that exciting, but don’t be afraid to do it unless you are staring down some serious pain. What you want is to have the game be free of surprises. If you can identify whether or not they are the kind of deck that runs Shrapnel Blast, great. Try to make sure that you stay at a life total that Shrapnel Blast, Disciple of the Vault, and Ravager (in some combination) won’t eliminate you.
Hearth Kami is a key part of this. One of the big struggles in building the deck was deciding if Hearth Kami was actually better than Viridian Shaman or not. I think that even now, the jury is still out. Remember that Hearth Kami can be insurance against a wayward flier taking you out. If you can afford to spend the life (this is a very difficult judgment call at times), definitely take advantage of waiting a turn to take out a valuable artifact as it kills something. Sometimes, you just shouldn’t sack it. Know the stack. When it comes to a card like Ravager, if they are attacking, they have priority. Recognize when it is more useful to not sack a card for an effect if they are passing priority to you with an imminent Ravager death. It’s often better to just say “okay” and let both things die rather than give them back priority by playing an effect. This goes for Rootrunners too.
Remember that Duplicant can serve a purpose. Many versions of Affinity run non-Artifact threats, and a Duplicant can take on them all. If you suspect that they might have appropriate targets, don’t pass up a Duplicant on a Commune with Nature unless you are going to be getting a card that has a massive impact on the game state right away.
Early on, Magma Jet early and often. Later in the game, keep one handy in case a Disciple sneaks onto the table. Disciple is one of the cards that can be really threatening, and you definitely want it dead. This is another reason why killing an Aether Vial can be important – you don’t want a Disciple to surprise you.
Here, you definitely side in your 3 Electrostatic Bolts. What else happens is really dependent on the version of Affinity that you face. Usually, the 3 Bolts replace the Duplicants and a single Rootrunner. If you know you are facing Riggers, you’ll need to keep those Duplicants. If you know you’re not playing against an ultra-fast Ornithopter/Welding Jar/Shrap Blast or Duplicant, side in two Arc-Sloggers for the two other Rooties. Your goal here is to simply speed up your match. However you run it, your curve is dropping, and the only reason I keep out the Sloggers versus the fast versions of the deck is that Rootrunner can get out a little faster to hold the ground, bring back a Hearth Kami to fight the Jar, and reset a huge Blinkmoth on top of the library if need be.
Overall, your worst Affinity matchup is something like 50%. This is the version that packs maindeck Shrapnel Blasts and ample fliers. They not only have the “too the face” reach of Blast, but a way to kill Kiki-Jiki, who can otherwise dominate the table. The extra fliers can also let early damage sneak in. Most affinity decks, particularly the Osyp build, are incredibly vulnerable. 80% is pretty typical.
Red decks may not be the most common deck, but they are the next deck that I’ll hit.
Essentially, they are armed to the teeth against you. They have ample creature kill. Many of them pack Damping Matrix. Many that don’t run a huge amount of player-burn from Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] and Shrapnel Blast. Pyroclasm and Flamebreak are scary.
And they run Arc-Slogger.
The matchup seemed nearly unwinnable in most forms just because of Arc-Slogger, and this was one of the primary reasons that Duplicants made it into the main of the deck. Duplicant won’t get out if your mana is being successfully attacked (which does happen), but you are pretty resilient against most versions of the Slith/Rain draw. You have Birds and Snakes, you have Magma Jet, and you have Eternal Witness. Remember, though, Arc-Slogger is a huge problem. Don’t drop a Duplicant on something else unless you really have to.
Your board is pretty uniform here. Nine cards come in. 3 Arc-Slogger, 3 Cranial Extraction, 1 Swamp, 1 Duplicant, and 1 Rootrunner. Essentially, what you are doing here is trying to put some solid bodies on the table. Cranial Extraction, especially in conjunction with Eternal Witness are key here. Use it to knock out whatever is the biggest problem for you. Usually this will mean Arc-Slogger, but eventually it might mean Shrapnel Blast, Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author], or Flamebreak. Pay attention to what kind of red deck you are facing so you can name the proper card to Extract. Your own Arc-Sloggers are not only relevant and hard to kill defenders, but they are also great finishers. Between your mana acceleration, Duplicant, and Extraction, you can generally expect to have the advantage in the sideboarded match. Depending on the version of the deck, you should take out different combinations of Viridian Shaman, Magma Jet, and Hearth Kami. If you find that they are running a fair amount of artifacts, don’t side in the extra Rootrunner, and leave in an appropriate artifact-kill card. Your first game falls somewhere between 35-50% (not so good), but the boarded game is much, much better. I don’t have any statistics to quote a number here, but you’re definitely in this match.
Tooth and Nail
Here is a hard first game. Essentially, you have three possibilities for this match. Either hope that they get a bad draw and you can finish them off with a tiny army of two-power guys really quick or get out a very quick Rootrunner/Kiki-Jiki draw. The final possibility is to hope that their combination of Tooth and Nail targets is not that good and that you mise with a Duplicant. If the various States list are any indication, don’t count on that last one.
The second game is where things shine. By shine, I mean to say that the matchup becomes nearly unwinnable for almost every version of Tooth and Nail that I’ve tested against. You side in nine cards (3 Plow Under, 1 Rootrunner, 3 Cranial Extraction, 1 Swamp, 1 Duplicant), taking out your mostly useless artifact kill and 2 random Magma Jet. Things are not pretty now.
The games will mostly play out the same. You will either Extract them before they go off, naming Tooth and Nail, buying you a lot of time, or you will Plow Under two important lands, buying you a lot of time. With this time, you will either do it again, do the other one, or get a lock out with Kiki-Jiki. Again and again and again this will happen. Sometimes, they will get something out, and usually you will Duplicant them. As long as you know the correct secondary targets for your Extraction (usually Fireball, Mindslaver, or a particular creature), you should be in fine shape. Even the Tooth and Nail running countermagic have a huge time getting any game against this plan. Game one might be a rough-one (at about 40-50%, depending on their list), but game two is ridiculous, easily over 80%.
KCI is good, but it doesn’t have a protracted game. What this means is that it either wins or it doesn’t, but it isn’t really keeping things going for a back up plan, at least in general. Here the goal is to disrupt, disrupt, disrupt. A KCI deck can explode, so find ways to destroy their mana right away. Kill their land, but even more importantly, kill their Pentad Prism. Use Magma Jet to find disruption rather than law a “threat”. Sacrifice your Hearth Kami. You want to get them locked by Kiki-Jiki as quickly as possible, whether it is with Artifact Kill or the lockout. You will not be able to race them unless you get a god draw. Thankfully, your sideboard does a lot of work.
In come 3 Plow Under, 3 Cranial Extraction, and a Swamp. The two Duplicant are way to slow, and the 4 Magma Jet simply don’t do enough. You still need to fit a card, and here that card is a Forest. Mulliganing aggressively is the trick of the day. Remember, their deck is all about getting to a threshold of mana. Deny them that and their game is in serious trouble. Extracting for the right card is very important. Usually that card is either KCI or Myr Incubator. Also, remember that Extraction can sometimes be a knockout punch for their deck, so don’t walk it into a Mana Leak without a good reason to. I don’t have any data to know what the percentages are here, but I do know that no one that played the deck lost to KCI this last weekend.
Decks ready for the long-game
There are too many other decks to really hit them all over the head. There are, however, a large number of decks that settle in for the long game. Whether they are Death Cloud, Blue/Green, or Freshmaker builds, they are all ready for a long game. The approach to the matchup is different every time, but here are some basic rules:
Will they be able to restrict your paths to victory? Run Arc-Slogger. As a path, he is great!
Do they run few paths to victory? Cranial Extraction is a good card against those decks. Extraction also works wonders against decks that are trying to be tricky in some way.
Do you want threats or disruption? It’s very rare that Plow Under comes in against the same decks that Arc-Slogger does. Figure out which you need. Usually, you’ll find that the decks you want to be disrupting (like Green/Black control) have so much creature elimination, you’ll want to have every creature you can.
How important is the lock-out? If it is a big deal, side in the Rootrunner. Maximizing your chances at the combo can be a big deal in some matchups.
Do you need to answer a creature? Duplicant can answer nearly anything.
Decks ready for the short game
Will extra creature elim matter? Run the Electrostatic Bolt. Only consider Arc-Slogger if you feel like they have no solid answer. Arc-Slogger is great against little guys, but becomes increasingly less useful the slower your opponent’s deck gets.
Is it an attrition war? Run Rootrunner. He trades and gets back a solid creature in Hearth Kami.
Do you have to answer certain creatures? Time for the old, expensive Duplicant.
Unfortunately, you can go on into nearly infinite trying to cover every possible matchup, so I’d rather discuss some questions and comments that I’ve come across.
The artifact attack
The deck has a very solid initial game against Artifacts, so much so that I dropped the Electrostatic Bolt in favor of Magma Jet against Affinity. The matchup is still generally favorable despite this switch. More pressing is no Oxidize. Essentially, with the ability to have Hearth, Shaman, Kiki, Rootie, and Jet (smoothed out by Commune with Nature), you have a very solid package to fight artifacts. Oxidize simply isn’t necessary, and fitting room for it not only weakens your Communes, but weakens nearly every other matchup. You will probably increase the matchup versus certain versions of Affinity if you change towards Electrostatic Bolt and/or Oxidize, but at the cost of nearly every deck in the rest of the field.
Commune vs. Time
Time of Need is out there, and yes, it finds Kiki-Jiki. What Commune does is help you react to whatever it is that is going on on the table. Sometimes you don’t need a Kiki-Jiki. Sometimes your Kiki-Jiki needs to have something actually relevant to copy for the matchup. Sometimes you just want to have a decent turn 1 play when you miss your Bird. Commune actually allows you to cheat a little bit with your mana as well. I’ve seen the lists that run Time of Need (Ben Dempsey’s first build of the deck ran it), and I think that they are making a mistake.
Arc-Slogger is like the Rorix of this deck. Rorix was fantastic in the Goblin Tribe deck, but it came with a major problem: you sided out completely different cards in different matchups. Arc-Slogger is the same way. Arc-Slogger essentially serves one major purpose in any deck: it is a path to victory. You have plenty of other paths to victory in the deck, and you only need more paths against a deck that is good at hurting your paths. This means that you want Arc-Slogger against Red (which kills paths), counters (which counter paths), and Black (which Extract them). Other than that, Arc-Slogger isn’t generally the card you need to have in the main. Arc-Slogger answers small creatures, but he isn’t that good at answer the big ones. That is why you run Duplicant in the main and board.
After a lot of soul searching, my friend Adam Kugler (our newly crowned Wisconsin State Champion with Kooky Jooky) really feel that the Intruder Alarms don’t belong in the board. Cranial Extraction is simply so much more powerful. Intruder Alarm is really great in the instance where you don’t expect any disruption on your creatures and you want to become a beatdown deck (where your beatdown is the combo Kiki-Alarm). Essentially, this usually means you only want it against White Weenie, Blue/Green, and mono-Green.
Adam did run Intruder Alarm in his Championship build, but he only ran them because he couldn’t find the Extractions he needed. After all was said and done, he said that they were only really relevant in his finals match (versus Blue/Green), and that he could have done just as fine without them.
So, that is the story of Kooky-Jooky**. I hope that you enjoyed it. I think that currently, this might well be the new Best Deck. I suppose we’ll have to see a few tournaments to find out if that is the case.
Also, everyone, remember: if you’re eligible, Vote November 2nd. No matter what your politics are, the more people that vote, the more that politicians have to pay attention to the people rather than money.
* I love this deck. I’ll use any excuse I have to list it.
Burning Ponza by Adrian Sullivan, 1st Place WI States 2002
4 Volcanic Hammer
3 Violent Eruption
3 Burning Wish
1 Jeska, Warrior Adept
4 Blistering Firecat
3 Fledgling Dragon
2 Dwarven BlastmiSer
3 Barbarian Ring
4 Forgotten Cave
4 Petrified Field
1 Lightning Surge
1 Slice and Dice
3 Spitting Earth
2 Flaming Gambit
2 Flaring Pain
1 Price of Glory
One of the things that has to be mentioned about the competitiveness of Wisconsin States is the prize support. Winning Wisconsin States awards a free year of tournaments with three different TOs. Free FNMs, Free GPTs, Free PTQs, Free GPs (when we get them), Free anything. This really adds up quick, and so a lot of players take their State tournament seriously in this area.
2004 State Championship Report (6th)
This is going to be fast and dirty.
I showed up early with my friend Jim Hustad in tow. I’d already spent a ton of time preparing for the event and I was ready. Eric “Dinosaur” Taylor had been in town to see the deck in action, and he was going to be running it in Michigan, but he had tons of changes he wanted to make. The night before, I tried to convince him over the phone not to do it, but he wouldn’t heed me.
“Is it okay if I give the deck to some people?” he asked.
I didn’t really want him too unless they could be quiet about it, I told him. I was hoping to go to Columbus to grind in, and I wanted as much of a surprise as I could get. We move onto other topics, including how much Flores hated my last article for StarCityGames.com. When edt mentioned that I had a good deck for States, though, Flores changed tunes on how much I suck. “Give me the list!” I was fine with edt giving the list out to quiet people, and I don’t know who he did end up giving it to – if you did, you can bet that edt trusts you to be quiet. That, or edt doesn’t mind telling me that he’s being quiet and sneakily hands out lists anyway.
I walk around to scout out the room, and I notice that one Madison player is putting together what looks to be a God-awful Blue/White control deck. Josh is a good kid, and I can’t see him play that pile of garbage he has in front of him. “Can I just give you a deck to play?”
“What is it?”
His eyes light up and I hand him my copy. He asks me if the cards are good, and I tell him to shut up and register it. He frowns at the Welding Jars, but registers them. At least he liked writing down “Disciple of the Vault” and “Arcbound Ravager”. One other note: authors often say that if you show a gun in Act I it should go off in Act III.
Adam Kugler can’t find two more Cranial Extraction, so he gives his extra one to me and registers Intruder Alarms. Ben Dempsey decides to experiment a bit, and puts in maindeck Extractions and Arc-Sloggers.
Round 1 – Kibler*** Affinity
This is one of the matchups that really isn’t even fair. He doesn’t play perfectly, and I tear him apart with a turn 4 Kiki-Jiki wrecking everything. The next game isn’t any better, and I actually Rootrunner lock him with my second Kiki (he kills the first with a Shrap Blast).
Round 2 – B/G Cloud
He kills a lot of my creatures in the first game, but it doesn’t really matter much. I pull out the Kiki-lock with the help of Commune with Nature and Witnesses. In the next game, I extract him, he extracts me, but he runs out of ways to handle Arc-Slogger/Witness.
Round 3 – Mike Hron and his wacky Gifts Ungiven deck
We play three game, and each feel like we were in good shape for the match. Time is called in the third after two lopsided games where we’d both Extracted each other. He had the last game well in hand, but I felt like the matchup, overall, was solid, but not overwhelmingly in favor of my deck.
Round 4 – Pat Foehling, two-time 5-color World Champion, playing Hron’s deck
Again, we play three games, but it felt really unfair. A timely Pyroclasm in game 2 wrecks my table and buys him time to get me, but the other two games felt firmly in hand. (If you’d noticed that this coverage of the Hron deck was terse, that is because I know someone who might write about it…)
Round 5 – U/G
In the first game, I pressure him with random creatures when he Briberies my Kiki-Jiki. I shoot his Eternal Witness in response to him copying it on the next turn when I have mana open, and he doesn’t have a reasonable creature to copy on the table other than a Sakura-Tribe Elder. Duplicant knocks out the Kiki and I drop a second one of my own, using it to copy my own Witness (returning a Commune). The game falls apart for him from there. After I sideboard in Arc-Sloggers and Extractions, he falls apart to the multiple threats pushing through Extraction one and then two on his few finishers.
Round 6 – KCI
I drop a turn 2 Shaman, a turn 3 Hearth Kami and Sakura, and a turn 4 Kiki. He never recovers. His next game gives him the full combo on turn 4 (against resistance), but my draw was a bit weak. The third game, I break some mana, bait a counter, and Cranial Extract him. Plow Under and then Kiki-Jiki lock him out.
Round 7 – Kibler Affinity
These two games went so quickly, I don’t really remember them. I do remember blowing up a lot of his stuff while a huge crowd watched, and a Rootrunner knocking out his only relevant path (a big Blinky), and following up with Hearth Kami and mana to kill anything that might happen. Then we played again, and it happened like that one more time.
Round 8 – ID
Josh Tabac – My Affinity
So, here is Act III. The gun goes off.
We play the first game and literally finish with him dead in two minutes. The second game sees me stall on mana, and I die like a deck stalling on mana does. The third game goes long, and I fall to six life when I stabilize. Right about when he’s near dead at six life, he sighs, drops Disciple and Shrapnel Blasts me (emptying his hand). I still think I must have done something wrong, but I don’t know when I did it. Regardless, my build of Affinity was the one that I made to try and challenge this deck, and I know that the matchup is something like 50/50.
Adam faces him in the next round and vindicates me by killing him handily in two games. Further vindication is had when Adam wins the whole thing by beating his next opponent.
I’ve already said this before, but congratulations Adam. You did good.
*** Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler Kibler
(hopefully that is enough to get the “This is a good article” response again.
**** Vote November 2nd!