The Daily Shot: Canadian Nats Part I – 2-0

Well, I can’t put this off any longer: Eventually I knew I would have to buckle down and hammer out the match-by-match details of my Davis-esque performance on Day 1 of Canadian Nationals, and the time seems to have come.

Well, I can’t put this off any longer: Eventually I knew I would have to buckle down and hammer out the match-by-match details of my Davis-esque performance on Day 1 of Canadian Nationals, and the time seems to have come. First though, we’ll have to hop around on the dance floor with some preamble.

Where to begin? So much going on, so much being written, so little time. Here’s some stuff you should check out if you haven’t:

First, Kurt”Fat Man” Hahn goes about what he thinks other people should be writing about, and he seems perturbed in that angry and Scottish sorta way usually reserved for Willy The Groundskeeper. I’ll admit I’m a little confused – aren’t fat people supposed to be jolly?

I guess we can put that whole”shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly” Kris Kringle theory to rest – he’s venting again, and when the sleigh stops on your roof, the former king of 5-Color will not be bearing gifts. Instead, he’ll be setting a grease fire in your kitchen and hoping you die in it.

Actually, I don’t think Kurt really expects anything to change – he knows just as well as I do that there are hundreds of different types of Magic players out there, many of whom play mostly FNM and local Standard tournaments while remaining hungry for T2 tech. He’s just bitching as usual about whatever comes to mind, which is not without its charm – and there’s a lesson or a point in there somewhere if you can shovel aside all the bile duct window dressing.

Ask yourself if you’re writing about the right things. Heck, I’m writing about T2 today (of course, it’s part of an extremely long Nationals report, and read as a whole I think the report it pretty neat, so I hope I can be forgiven) and now that I think about what major events are coming up, I see that Standard with Judgment is a dead format outside of FNM, just as Kurt says.

Part of me does feel a little silly writing about a format that no one will ever play at a major event. The only semi-big event I can think of would be the Amateur Championships at Origins, now over and done with.

Regardless of its irrelevancy to some, I might write a thing or two about July T2 simply because FNM around here is Standard half of the time. This is where you can exercise the wonderful power that all readers possess – namely the ability to mail me a”yer sh*t!” and check out something else if you’re not interested in such fare.

Oh yeah. Before I forget, daddy-o, there’s a couple of new pieces of Magic slang to which you should get”hip.”

The first is the word”barney.”

Now I know what you’re thinking… They’re those cops in Half-Life that you get to follow you and do stuff, named after Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show,” right? Good guess, but no – this is a whole different take on”barney.” It’s explained by Will Brinkman at Team Academy, a man who never has anything nice to say about anyone.

I assume Will’s mother likes him, but you’d have to verify that. He probably called her a”stick” when the breast milk was too bitter. Still, this is an excellent humor piece if you ignore the fact that the author thinks that 95% of other Magic players are utter peons who shamble around for his amusement.

The other new piece of Magic slang is”raw dog” – you can find an explanation here. Check out the explanation for the name of the Hacker/Tsang/Cunningham team.

Now, for the full story of my Canadian Nationals Day 1. Yeah, it’s been a long time coming.

Let me tell you, gentle reader, that 2-4 is not the most sublime of records. It is best described as a”poor” showing. A”mediocre” afternoon. People talk about 2-4 records with a distaste usually reserved for their in-laws and/or colon-related medical problems. I know these things… And yet I will confer to you the story of my own 2-4 Day 1 finish without shame. Like an Oscar nominee who is just glad to be on the ballot, I was lucky to be competing in the first place. That fact alone takes some of the sting off of what might otherwise be a disappointing day of spell-slinging.

As you might remember, my deck of choice for the standard portion was Brian Davis'”When Sorceries Attack!” deck, originally played by Davis at U.S. Nationals (where he likewise finished 2-4) and modified quite slightly by me. I’ve provided this link before, but I’ll do it again for the sake of making this little write-up as all-inclusive as possible:

Here is an excellent article by Davis about the deck, including the version he played at U.S. Nationals.

Read that and you basically know everything you need to know about this deck.

Here’s my decklist:

“Lumberg” (Geordie Tait, Canadian Nationals Day 1)

4 Duress

4 Innocent Blood

4 Chainer’s Edict

4 Overmaster

3 Recoup

3 Diabolic Tutor

3 Engineered Plague

2 Persecute

2 Haunting Echoes

2 Disrupting Sceptre

1 Millstone

1 Jayemdae Tome

1 Soul Burn

1 Addle

1 Ensnaring Bridge

12 Swamp

4 Urborg Volcano

4 Tainted Peak

3 Mountain

1 Shadowblood Ridge


3 Addle

3 Soul Burn

3 Pyroclasm

2 Magnivore

1 Ensnaring Bridge

1 Infernal Contract

1 Haunting Echoes

1 Persecute

It’s the same as the Davis deck, but with one less maindeck Millstone, which I replaced with a Jayemdae Tome, and no Pyre Zombie in the sideboard – I replaced it with Infernal Contract, which I wanted to try out against Psychatog (it tested well, if you can believe that… Sorta like a really painful cheaper Deep Analysis).

All in all, I was fairly confident in the deck and hoping I could play against Psychatog and Trenches all day. As it turned out, I would play three Psychatog decks…but they were much tougher nuts to crack than I’d expected – I’ll talk about why that was when the time comes.

That morning, after standing around wringing my hands like a nervous bride as the big red digital clock did its thing, they finally let us in for the players meeting. I still didn’t have my Nationals badge (the laminated thing you get with your name on it that goes around your neck) so I made sure to pester a judge about it while I filled out my deck registration sheet. I would get it during Round 1.

And speaking of Round 1…let’s kick this thing off.

Round 1 vs. John Song w/”Miss America”

John is playing a card-for-card version of”Miss America,” a deck designed by Brian Kibler. You can find Kibler’s article about the deck here.

What happens when two decks that are both designed to beat the top decks collide? You’re about to find out. Now personally, I think I have the advantage because he is kinda-sorta aggro-control and I play a ton of creature removal, maindeck Plagues for the Trenches, plus Pyroclasm out of the sideboard along with Soul Burn and a second Ensnaring Bridge.

Check out that Kibler decklist. The only way to deal with an Ensnaring Bridge is to lock me with Opposition so I can’t cast anything. That’s going to be tough for John – he basically needs to Aura Blast all my Plagues and use Goblin Tokens to do it, since I have enough removal to kill most everything else he plays.

Game 1:

Neither one of us takes a point of damage this game. His Sunscape Familiar gets Edicted, his Trenches gets nullified by an Engineered Plague. He drops a Meddling Mage naming Edict, but I have the Innocent Blood, and then an Ensnaring Bridge with an empty hand.

I draw a bunch of land in a row and start casting everything I play. I get a bunch of Red mana out, and he asks me if there’s any way I can possibly lose. I tell him that the only way I’d ever end a turn with a card in my hand is to draw four straight Overmaster with only RRR available. Rather than try to grind out a victory with his Opposition and a few creatures, he scoops.

I side in Magnivore, Pyroclasms, some Soul Burns, and the 2nd Bridge. That might seem a little strange but I like it. Sometimes you get the Magnivore draw, and sometimes you get the Bridge draw…both can win games.

Game 2:

He comes out and starts laying a beating on me while I’m light on removal – some Meddling Mages get hits in along with a Lightning Angel, and though I draw Magnivore and start racing, he boarded in his Crimson Acolytes and they stop me cold!

Eventually I have to go for the Bridge at five life, and I get it, but he gets casts Opposition with an Acolyte and a Meddling Mage (naming”Haunting Echoes”) on the table – enough to beat through my Magnivore and kill me… If only he could get me to keep a couple of cards in hand.

He taps down my two red sources every upkeep with his Acolyte and Meddling Mage, waiting for me to get two cards in hand by accident. I draw… Urborg Volcano, and play it.

I have Pyroclasm in hand, with three red sources on the table. He draws, attacks me to two with the Crimson Acolyte, lays a Merfolk Looter, and taps two red sources on my upkeep. I still have that Pyroclasm in hand, but he can prevent the damage. Still, if I draw a land or, realistically, anything besides another red spell, I’m fine – I can empty my hand, and the only thing that wins him the game then is poor draws on my part or him drawing one of his copies of Deep Analysis.

I draw…Recoup.


Man, that was the worst draw ever. My grandmother could draw better than that if you let her mark her sleeves a little. The only thing worse would have been another Pyroclasm.

So I have only one red Source, and a Recoup and a Pyroclasm in hand. The only Sorceries in my graveyard are Duress, Chainer’s Edict, Innocent Blood, and Diabolic Tutor. I have nine land, seven untapped, and I haven’t laid one this turn. I have to empty my hand or I die to his Pro-Red Merfolk Looter and Crimson Acolyte – both 1/1s that sneak in under the Bridge to take me from two life to zero. If I Edict him or cast Blood, he will sacrifice his Meddling Mage and still kill me. I can’t Duress myself; it says”target opponent.”

There’s Diabolic Tutor, though. I cast Recoup on Diabolic Tutor, cast the Diabolic Tutor (leaving a Mountain untapped), grab a Tainted Peak, play it, and then cast Pyroclasm to empty my hand.

He draws something useless (probably a Trenches – I have the Plague out again) and says,”go.” My next three draws are Innocent Blood, Chainer’s Edict, and land ^_^, and I clear out his creatures including the Acolyte.

Then I Duress him and see no countermagic. I’m fearing his Fire/Ice will end the game… But he boarded them out! I tutor for Haunting Echoes and that’s game – he has every card in his deck in his graveyard, except for a couple of copies of Deep Analysis. With no creatures left in the deck, making me draw cards wouldn’t do much good, so it’s over – John has to scoop.

Match Record: 1-0

Not bad! My friends are competing in the T1 tourney, so I go see how they’re doing and update them on my progress. One of the funniest parts about any T1 tourney is that there’s always at least one guy playing in toploaders (those big, thick plastic sleeves that people use to stop their cards from getting damaged). It takes some practice to get used to shuffling those puppies without hand-strain.

On to Round 2.

Round 2 vs. Chris Parton w/ Psychatog (no maindeck Deep Analysis)

I got a game loss this round for cheatin’! (CHEATIN!)



Well, it wasn’t exactly cheating (CHEATIN!), but when I think about it now, I must have been smoking something to think that it was legal. What I did before the event, wanting to have all my bases covered, was make a nice list of what to sideboard in during each matchup according to my playtesting. I wrote it on lined paper and put it in my deckbox. Apparently you’re not allowed to do this or, in fact, refer to any kind of notes whatsoever during a match, unless they are from that match.

So I pull out my paper to see what I should sideboard in against Psychatog, and Chris gives me a funny look and calls a judge. So I’m like..

“Hmm…come to think of it, this does seem a little weird. If it’s legal, why isn’t everyone keeping sideboard crib sheets in their deckboxes?”

A judge comes over and I tell him what the sheet is for, and he tells me:

“Hmm…no, that’s not appropriate.”

Well, duh. The more I think about it, the dumber it gets. Obviously you can’t allow players to refer to written aid during matches. I start thinking I’m going to get a match loss, but I only get a game loss. Whew!

Now, can I still pull out the match?

Chris is playing a Psychatog deck with Chainer’s Edict in it and no Deep Analysis that I could see, at least in the main. That’s a great matchup for me.

Game 1:

I strip his hand and Engineered Plague his Zombies, but a Psychatog gets through while I find myself with no removal! Hilariously, I end up drawing my one maindeck Ensnaring Bridge and I Bridge lock him while he digs for another Upheaval – having lost the first one to a Persecute. I draw an Edict first, and his Tog bites it. After that, my next draws are Duress and Haunting Echoes, while his are Nightscape Familiar (useless) and an Island.

Game 1 to me.

I side in the third Echoes, the third Persecute, and my Addles.

Game 2 (actually game 3, since this is after the sideboard crib sheet incident described above):

This game was a beating. He starts things off with a Salt Marsh (I love that), and I Duress him, seeing he has no Familiar, but he does have a Counterspell and a couple of Circular Logics, plus Fact or Fiction and Upheaval. I take the Counter and then Addle him on my second turn, taking Fact or Fiction.

We sit around doing nothing for a while and then, on turn five, I pull off an Overmaster plus Persecute, which cleans him totally out, including a Psychatog he drew.

He draws something useless and Magnivore hits the ground running as a 6/6. He plays Nightscape Familiar; I Edict it and swing for seven. He has no answer and I swing for seven again, taking the game and the match.

Match Record: 2-0

So far, so good. Now I’ve got to keep those winning ways going as I get matched up against progressively more winsome opponents. I’m hoping to play more Psychatog decks with no maindeck Deep Analysis – I love those.