The Magic Show #96 – How The Red Deck Won In Richmond

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Friday, May 16th – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. In this week’s episode we talk about the fallout from the Mega-Magic Weekend in Richmond. What happened and didn’t happen on Saturday, just what in the hell we’re going to do about the Faerie problem, and how I ended up in third place on Sunday. Let’s go!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. In this week’s episode we talk about the fallout from the Mega-Magic Weekend in Richmond. What happened and didn’t happen on Saturday, just what in the hell we’re going to do about the Faerie problem, and how I ended up in third place on Sunday. Let’s go!

The Show:

My Top 8 Match versus Joshua Stein’s Dragonstorm (Edited):

My Top 4 Match versus Alex Bertoncini Faeries:

Richmond Results

We begin this story with what occurred on Saturday. There was a full nine rounds of action on Saturday, and while the field was certainly diverse, it didn’t take long to figure out the Best Deck. It was called the best deck before the tournament even began, and I don’t believe this weekend’s going to give us any new answers.
So what about the coverage? Well, as Magic players are wont to do, they’re not always game for my crazy ideas. While I did get Magic Show Trivia off the ground, Magic Charades and Win, Lose, or Draw Magic Cards didn’t quite get there. Maybe next time… if ever. I believe the real coverage you guys are looking for is live match coverage and post-game interviews. However, your feedback is crucial to the future of the Magic Show, and I hope you tell me what it is you would most like to see from live coverage in the future.

Do note that the provided coverage is constrained by my number one enemy: Time. This means that pretty card pictures and life totals across the bottom of the screen are just not possible with the constraints of producing content on a live basis.

The coverage that was provided still took an incredibly long time to produce, with my final video going up sometime around 3:15am on Sunday. After I entered the Top 8 decklists for the $5K around 3:30, I promptly passed out. I had dreams of playing Bennie Smith insane Assassin deck, complete with Poppa Redcap In That Ass and the crazy Nameless Inversion deal-you-five-damage trick, but that wasn’t meant to be.

Instead I hastily went from playgroup to playgroup, looking for a deck to borrow. Tom LaPille group, which consisted of such Constructed monsters as Gerry Thompson and Ben Weinburg, said they had a Red deck I could use. They handed it to me, unsleeved, and told me I needed sleeves and probably some better sideboard options.

Looking through it the main deck, I made one change: I switched the number of Magus of the Moon to four and Countryside Crusher to just two. While Countryside Crusher is a fine man, Magus of the Moon absolutely cripples manabases unlike any other card in the format.

Moving on to the sideboard, I loved the Fulminator Mages, and Sulfurous Blast, but hated just about everything else. To give you an idea of how bad it was, it originally featured two Sudden Impact. Yes, Sudden Impact. So out those went and a few other cards to make room for Everlasting Torment and a few Vexing Shushers.

The thinking behind these decisions were simple: Firstly, I saw a bunch of G/W Big Mana decks sporting Primal Commands and Kitchen Finks. Not what I want to see. I don’t know how these decks beat Faeries, exactly, but they certainly whip up on my deck. Also, the Vexing Shushers were simply good against Faeries and unanswered can win you games.

After borrowing some sleeves, I quickly scribbled the decklist and began to battle.

Round 1 was against a Makeshift Mannequin deck. This deck always surprises me in the number of people who play it. I personally can’t stand the deck because, by and large, it does a lot of nothing for a long time. Sure they can kill your dudes with Shriekmaw, and draw some cards with Mulldrifter, but they’re usually so busy evoking and returning and sacrificing from targeting effects that they can’t actually win games. While I thought Magus of the Moon was going to be the all-star here, it turns out that just throwing burn spells at their face works just as well. In game 2 he Extirpated my Incinerates, Rift Bolts, and Shard Volleys while at 3 life. I then, of course, simply ripped the Flame Javelin for the win.

Round 2 I played against the player who got a bye in Round 1. He was playing Rogues, including cards like Latchkey Faerie. I swept this one quickly.

Round 3 I played against an Elemental tribal deck that had just beaten Tom LaPille. Yes, I must get that dig in there. This featured the entire Elementals team such as Incandescent Soulstoke and Flamekin Harbinger, trying to wrap things up by using Rage Forger. In this matchup you simply kill their guys until they run out of them, then you turn guys sideways and throw the rest of the burn at their face. Though, to his defense, he did keep a shady one-lander in game 2. It didn’t take him long to lose when he didn’t draw the second one for a few turns.

Round 4 I played Faeries for the first time. And, contrary to what you see later, I actually played this match correctly. I used my man lands until he was forced to chump block, then I used my burn spells at the end of his turn to make him counter them then, instead of during my main phase. It took three games, but I got there.

Round 5 was against another Top 8’er, Jim Davis, and I pulled it out in three games thanks to ripping two Keldon Marauders off the top in Game 3, then a Flame Javelin to the face when he played Mistblind Clique.

The sideboarding for the swiss Faeries matchups I used was this:

-4 Lash Out
-2 Countryside Crusher
+2 Vexing Shusher
+4 Fulminator Mage

This sideboarding strategy will change when I get to the Top 4 match, to this:

-4 Tattermunge Maniac
-2 Countryside Crusher
-3 Keldon Marauders
+4 Fulminator Mage
+2 Vexing Shusher
+3 Sulfurous Blast

The argument amongst my buddies was that I needed Sulfurous Blast. I’m not sure if this is 100% correct. While I definitely understand the reasoning behind removing Nom Nom and Keldon Marauders from the deck – that is, they’ll just be chump blocked – I also understand that a lot of Faeries players will board Bitterblossom out due to the life loss, and even if chump blocked, Keldon Marauders still hits for two damage.

Regarding my original sideboarding, I removed the Lash Outs because I would rather disrupt their mana with Fulminator Mage, and I also didn’t want to walk into a Scion of Oona or Mistbind Clique trump situation.

With that said, let’s take a look at some video highlights and discuss the mistakes made in my Top 4 match with Faeries.
The first highlight comes from Game 1 when I get my combat step screwed up and throw away a land and a Shard Volley for no real reason. Let’s look:


The issue here was confusion. I thought that he had played Pestermite in order to block the Mutavault, NOT to tap it at the beginning of my combat step. That is why I Shard Volleyed the thing, in order to get in that two damage from Mutavault.

This is a case where I should have backed up the entire game to the beginning of the combat step and began again. I don’t show the entire confusion-filled episode in this short recap, but rest assured it was a big mistake that probably cost me the game.

In the second game, I make an even bigger mistake, two turns in a row.

The first is on turn 3, instead of attacking with my man land I attempt to resolve Fulminator Mage. Take a look:


This is completely the incorrect play, and as soon as I saw the Rune Snag I knew it was so. However, it gets even worse on the next turn, when I have four mana:


My flawed thinking here was that “I gotta resolve some spells before that Ancestral Vision goes off.” This is stupid. Do not do this. The right way to play this matchup is to use burn spells on them at the end of their turn until they are forced to counter them and use mana at the end of their turn. This is why I ran my MVP of this matchup, Magus of the Moon, directly into a Flashfreeze. I simply should have known better.

I could always attribute this to lack of sleep and fatigue, but I also recognize that my plan was deeply flawed, and I want you to avoid it in the future.

So that’s my Top 4 match with Alex Bertoncini who ended up winning both the $5K and $2K last weekend. Craziness.

What does this mean for Pro Tour: Hollywood? Is it going to be Pro Tour: Faeries or are we actually going to see some technology at work? My Red deck was a fun romp, and is a bad matchup for Faeries, but even played correctly Faeries can get an edge thanks to card and creature advantage. Wizards once again makes the Blue deck ridiculous and now we’re stuck trying to solve it.

My guess is, Faeries will make up at least forty percent of the Pro Tour: Hollywood field. The deck is too good to ignore. It’s not quite Ravager but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen in years. The consensus is here, the results are telling, and I just hope that WotC puts the hammer down on Faeries in Eventide. Because if they don’t, you can expect a whole lot more b*tching and moaning a few months from now.

Next week we’ll take a look at the Pro Tour: Hollywood metagame as I plan on rocking out with all of my Magical buddies on the west coast. California here I come!

Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written while reveling in my mistakes. Woo.

Music Credits:
Title: “Consolers of the Lonely” by The Raconteurs
Bumper: “Rise Above This” by Seether
Credits: “Fake Empire” by The National