The Daily Shot: Let’s Analyze U.S. Nationals, Shall We?

What other decks had the big”coming out party” at Nationals? Well, there’s Deep Dog. If you haven’t heard about the deck, let me fill you in – wait, Gary Wise already has. Well, everything he says is true.

Let’s talk U.S. Nationals. My fantasy team sucked hard, as I was one of the hundreds who picked Ed Fear and Zev Gurwitz for zero points. Well, you get what you pay for – I also picked Jon Finkel, who committed the crime of lying to his buddy Steve OMS about what white rare he’d drafted.

The way I figure it, Jon was between a rock and a hard place- Kirtar’s Wrath just isn’t as good if your opponent knows it’s eventually coming. Sorta like Spelljack. Who tells a player at his draft table that he drafted Kirtar’s Wrath? I mean, was Jon trying to run the table, or wasn’t he? Jon needed to 3-0 that table. Playing around Kirtar’s Wrath Game 1 could be the difference between a match win and a match loss.

The kicker? Steve OMS hears about Jon being less than truthful about the pick (from the guys who covered the draft) and he’s all upset. Of course, they then face off and things get heated after Steve knocks Jon around during the match, pretty much ending his hopes of staying on the gravy train. Talk about bad times. Jon had probably figured that Steve and he would go head-to-head, and he wanted to keep Kirtar’s Wrath, pretty much the limited Magic equivalent of a state nuclear secret, to himself.

Word got around pretty fast and now some people are all over Jon for lying to Steve. KK over at MiseTings even revoked his”Good Man Of The Week” status.

Personally, I would have loved to see Finkel wreck OMS’ board with Kirtar’s Wrath during Game 1, on the way to a match win. What friend makes another friend tip his hand? This is professional Magic with thousands of dollars on the line!

Now, Steve didn’t do anything wrong by asking… But if you’ve got Kirtar’s Wrath, you don’t tell anyone at the draft table about it. I don’t think he was right to be upset, especially since EDT ended up letting the cat out of the bag anyhow.

He should have laughed a little at Jon and played the match, which he ended up winning anyhow.

Following that, people seemed to have little sympathy for Jon, which surprised me. Even Randy Buehler had something cold-hearted to say about it (to paraphrase,”The best revenge for Steve was ending Jon’s career”) – but really, I shouldn’t be surprised at his absolution of OMS’ anger. Randy is no stranger to courtesy and civility taking the backseat when it’s time to win, nor to the emotions that can run wild afterwards.

(How did Randy get the only warning of his Magic career? He told Sigurd Eskeland”F*** you!” because Eskeland hate-drafted him).

Yeah, I know. Different situation, different relationship.

Still though, I think people are being too hard on Jon.

More from Nationals – did you see there were a few guys running maindeck Gainsay? When you look at your top tier decks, a few maindeck Gainsays could probably be considered pretty shrewd. You’ve got your Kai-a-Tog, with many Blue spells, many of them poor Memory Lapse targets. Squirrel-Opposition? Blue spells. Trenches? Blue spells. Deep Dog/English Blue? Blue spells.

Hmm. Don’t you love it when dumbasses who don’t even play professional Magic point out the obvious and call it”analysis?” Welcome to my column. I even have a new tag line.

The Daily Shot: …Like You’ve Got Sh*t Else To Do.

What about Peter Jesuale making Top 8? I just played that guy yesterday at a Judgment Prerelease – he had the 2x Mirari’s Wake/Upheaval deck. It was cool to see him do so well, especially with Star-Spangled-Slaughter as his Standard deck. That thing is the deck that time forgot. Sounds like he was feeling the pressure on Day 3, though – even the match reporter was chewing him out for suspect play.

Did any new decks come out of Nationals? Well, there’s Brian Davis'”When Sorceries Attack”, which is shockingly similar to one of my horrible decks. My version played Void and Catalyst Stone, but otherwise it was very similar to Davis’ deck, including the Overmaster and Recoup. He even had a sideboard Pyre Zombie!

Yeah, Catalyst Stone. That card alone was enough to take it from a potential winner to a frequent loser. I even wrote about it in”Three Of The Worst Decks Ever.” Still though, some bad decks have good ideas buried inside, and if Davis felt the deck was worth running at Nationals, maybe I was on to something. The best additions he made were Diabolic Tutor (great with Recoup) and Innocent Blood, which I passed over when I first tried my hand at abusing Recoup.

Here’s his listing:

“When Sorceries Attack” (Brian Davis, U.S. Nationals)

Main Deck:

4 Chainer’s Edict

4 Innocent Blood

4 Duress

4 Overmaster

3 Recoup

3 Engineered Plague

2 Diabolic Tutor

2 Disrupting Scepter

2 Millstone

2 Haunting Echoes

1 Addle

1 Ensnaring Bridge

1 Soul Burn

12 Swamp

4 Tainted Peak

4 Urborg Volcano

3 Mountain

1 Shadowblood Ridge


3 Addle

3 Pyroclasm

3 Soul Burn

2 Magnivore

1 Persecute

1 Pyre Zombie

1 Ensnaring Bridge

1 Haunting Echoes

I might give this a try one of these days, though I know there are some changes I’d make – the one Soul Burn in the main seems pretty random, and so do the three in the sideboard. The better win condition is probably Millstone + Echoes. Hmm… I wonder what sort of OBC deck you could make with Recoup and a fistful of sorceries? Those are thoughts for a later time. Let’s continue.

What other decks had the big”coming out party” at Nationals? Well, there’s Deep Dog. If you haven’t heard about the deck, let me fill you in.

Okay, hold on… Just let Gary Wise do it.

Everything Gary says about the deck is true – which would stand to reason, since he designed it. The Roar tokens are strong against decks that want to smash face, and Deep Analysis keeps you in the game against control decks long after most other beatdown decks would have petered out. Pretty soon you’ll be able to read the coverage from my recent FNM, where I tried”Deep Dog” out and ran the field. I managed to beat three Trenches decks, a Psychatog deck, a Mono-Black control, and a R/G beats, ending the evening at a perfect 6-0.

It took me a while to figure out what the cards in the sideboard are supposed to do, and this deck can run some excellent ones. If your opponent is playing a lot of bounce, you can sideboard out the Roar of the Wurm. What you put in depends on what sort of deck you’re up against. You can put in Nantuko Blightcutter if he’s U/B – this card is excellent at punching through Nightscape Familiar and Psychatog, normally two problematic creatures for a beatdown deck. Obviously, many pros thought the Blightcutter was a key sideboard card – Dan Clegg even ran four.

Your Unnatural Selections are good against Squirrels, Goblin Soldiers, and in the mirror. Stupefying Touch is also excellent in the mirror and will probably come in against any deck with Looter/Mongrel as part of the creature set. Temporal Spring takes care of random Ensnaring Bridge/Teferi’s Moat trouble, and it’s also good against Squirrel Nest, though sometimes it’s hard to find sideboard room against Opposition decks – I never know what to take out besides Roar of the Wurm.

Bearscape remains a mystery to me – it can be excellent against both control and beatdown decks, so I’m not sure where it fits in. As a result, I omitted it from my sideboard when I played the deck. Compulsion goes in for Roar of the Wurm against Trenches and many other control decks. If you play Aura Graft, that goes in against Squirrel Nest – though if you expect a lot of mirror matches, Unnatural Selection is the better choice for that slot (Aura Graft is a better card for Squirrel/Opposition mirror matches.)

You can run Gainsay, like Mike Long did – those go in against… Well… I’m sure you can figure it out. Long’s deck was the W splash version, and he also got to run Worship. That’s a tough sideboard card for many decks to deal with. Spellbane Centaur was in his sideboard, too – that’s there for Opposition and blue bounce. To round out the sideboard bunch, Zvi had Call of the Herd and Sylvan Might in his sideboard. Sylvan Might probably goes in against any deck where you don’t have to side out your Roars of the Wurm (those two cards work well together), and I’m not sure what Call of the Herd is for. I guess it likewise goes in against beatdown, against which Zvi takes out his Deep Analysis.

Lots of good options – I’ll talk more about the deck in my FNM report, coming up tomorrow.

Before I go for today, let’s check out the other rogue deck I kept an eye on – Rob Dougherty“Umbrella Corp.”

Umbrella Corp (Rob Dougherty, U.S. Nationals)

Main Deck:

4 Arrogant Wurm

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Circular Logic

4 Deep Analysis

4 Duress

4 Engineered Plague

4 Zombie Infestation

2 Obliterate

1 Bearscape

4 Llanowar Wastes

4 Sulfur Vent

4 Tinder Farm

3 Underground River

3 Ancient Spring

2 City Of Brass

2 Forest

2 Yavimaya Coast

1 Swamp


4 Blurred Mongoose

4 Chainer’s Edict

3 Slay

2 Ghastly Demise

2 Spiritmonger

Not as rogue as you might think, nor is it”Obliterate-based” as has been advertised in some circles. Obliterate-based decks run four copies of Obliterate; this is a madness deck with Mongrel/Infestation as the madness outlet instead of Mongrel/Looter. One of the coolest things about the deck is the Engineered Plague. Not only does this form of creature removal have excellent synergy with Obliterate, but it allows you to run Blurred Mongoose as an anti-control sideboard card. The Mongoose is tailor-made to give control decks fits, but it is so terrible against Nightscape Familiar and Goblin Trenches tokens that few people bother with it anymore. Engineered Plague turns it into a major problem once again, and that’s only one of the nice side benefits of running the Plague – a card that auto-wins against the EDT-Milwaukee version of Trenches in Game 1, while simultaneously crippling any attempt to abuse Squirrel Nest.

Wiener, by the way, makes a delectable snack treat. I just thought I’d mention that before I forget.

Ah, Chris Benafel – Magic’s Dennis the Menace. Now, where was I?

Oh yeah – boring analysis of decks from U.S. Nationals. Let me just mention a few interesting things I saw on the decklists – maybe that will get us out of the doldrums. Call this section “Deckbuilding Quirks.”

  • Brian Kibler deck included three maindeck copies of Sunscape Familiar in the main, and three copies each of Obsidian and Crimson Acolyte in the side
  • Joshua Lavery’s deck included four Moment’s Peace in the sideboard
  • Pete Leiher, playing U/W old-school control, had two copies of Serra Angel in his board
  • According to Sideboard.com, Sol Malka’s deck included four copies of a card called”Chainer’s Edit.” At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot who spouts dumb wordplay humor when he’s at a loss to find anything entertaining to write about, I wonder if the Ferrett designed Sol’s deck? After all, he’s cast Chainer’s Edit on me a couple of times.
  • Yan Margolin had four Beast Attacks, four Spiritmongers, and four Ghitu Fires in his B/R/G beatdown deck, along with a staggering 33 mana sources.
  • Aaron Mau decided to try out a number of underplayed cards in his U/G deck, including two Prohibits in the main and four Krosan Beasts, four Simplifies in the side.
  • Scott McCord and Chris Pikula ran three copies of Tranquility in the sideboard of their English Blue decks. I haven’t seen that played in a long while – good against Squirrel-Opposition, perhaps?
  • Top 8’r Peter Jesuale, Mikey P, Alex Melkinow and others tried out Tsabo’s Web as a sideboard card against Squirrel Nest.
  • Matt Noble’s”R/G/W Beats” decklist included a Rith, The Awakener and one each of Thornscape and Thunderscape Battlemage, along with four copies of Eladamri’s Call.
  • Joshua Olson’s R/U/G beats deck featured a number of efficient cards that, for one reason or another, have fallen out of favor: Three copies each of Jade Leech and Thought Devourer, and four copies of the underplayed Gaea’s Skyfolk. His sideboard contained three Earthquakes and four Diverts.
  • The sideboard of Adam Prosak U/G Threshold deck had two Delusions Of Mediocrity. Noah Weil and Craig Wescoe also had two in the sideboard of their three-Color ‘Tog decks.
  • Mikey P’s Trenches deck had a Disrupt in the main (expecting a lot of control, obviously) and a couple of nifty sideboard choices – Rakavolver and Smash.
  • The”Flashback Attack!” deck played by Tim Roderick and Derrick Sheets had four Last Rites and countless flashback spells… But it still didn’t play Catalyst Stone. Will Catalyst Stone ever be played a high-level event? Not unless Rizzo comes back and has another one of those”grand experiment” thingies.
  • The sideboard of Gary Rush’s U/W Millstone deck included two copies of Ambassador Laquatus. I assume he sideboards them in to surprise decks that sideboard out the creature removal after Game 1.
  • Some people live dangerously when they splash – Garrett Schaper’s Black Control deck ran three Tainted Woods to support two Pernicious Deed in the main and two Deeds, two Composts, and two Spiritmongers in the side. How many Diabolic Tutor did he run, you ask? Zero. The man is crazy.
  • It is a dark time for the Rebellion. The evil Galactic Empire has… Hey, wait a minute.
  • Andy Stokinger had a random Boomerang in the maindeck of his Squirrel-Opposition listing. Did he just not like Rushing River? Too expensive? Only Andy knows that for sure.
  • Robert Swarowski’s R/G beats deck had a surprise waiting for the unsuspecting opponent in Game 2… Two sideboard GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURzigosts. It’s UNbeatable!
  • Peter Szigeti didn’t do as well as he would have liked playing Zombie Madness, but his coat won a side event.
  • Jia Wu played EDT-Milwaukee Trenches and also had to knock away autograph seekers who thought he was part of the”Romance Of The Three Kingdoms” historical novel.

That’s about it. I’ll be back tomorrow with my FNM report. Until then, send me money. I’m in the book.

Geordie Tait

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