The SCG CON Report And Play-By-Play

Sheldon Menery had a wonderful time at SCG CON! Today he shares some of his best memories, including a play-by-play of a great game!

It was an epic weekend of epic Commander games, great people, marvelous food, and an all-around outstanding vibe. SCG CON hit one right out of the park, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. Kudos to Pete and Crystal and the entire SCG staff for a remarkable job. In particular I want to thank Chris McCurry, whose tireless efforts got me (and a host of others) to and from the event hall on time every day. Chris redefined what it means to go above and beyond, and I’ll be eternally grateful for his efforts to make my weekend as smooth as possible.

There were simply too many wonderful players to call them out by name—although I wrote down who I played each game with so that I can later revisit fond memories. There were some normal games and some thoroughly silly ones, but what I’m happiest about is that none of them were forgettable. There were no Turn 3 combo kills, and only one or two instances of players trying to take the game away from everyone else (unsuccessfully, I might add). There was even a quite compelling game in which a Jokulhaups resolved because the player with Zacama, Primal Calamity was about to completely take over, since he also had Zendikar Resurgent on the battlefield. Even with the mana doubling, he ended up not winning the game.

There was the game where, with Hive Mind on the battlefield, someone cast The Great Aurora (it took most of an hour to finish that turn). That would have been fine (except maybe for the time sink) had Confusion in the Ranks not also gotten played. There was the completely epic Gather Specimens in response to a Warp World. There was the Prossh, Skyraider of Kher player who made the mistake of using his Food Chain playmat and subsequently got orc-piled. There was the player who used a Pact of Negation he knew he couldn’t pay for in order to stop the person who was being That Guy. There were the cards you’d expect and many that you wouldn’t. All in all, it was exactly the kind of weekend full of games that I had hoped.

I will give a special shout out to a few of the players. First is Mike, who in addition to being simply great to sit at a table with, is a survivor of the same cancer that I was treated for. You can imagine we bonded. Second is long-time friend/ally of the format, Blair Simpson, with whom I got into a few games and was good enough on Sunday to get me lunch so that I wouldn’t have to stop playing with the folks who were lined up in the Command Zone. Finally, a double plus extra shout out to Chris Shipper, who volunteered (as he did at the last show I went to, GP Atlanta in 2015) to record the play-by-play you’re about to enjoy.

There wasn’t a special plan for which game to record. I left that up to Chris, since he was volunteering his time. I’m joined at the table by Phil from Pittsburgh (I know this because there was a Steelers/Pirates/Penguins discussion going on behind me at some point), who seems nice, but I’m already a little skeptical about, since he’s playing Kaalia of the Vast; Eric, playing Firesong and Sunspeaker, whose excitement at sitting down and playing Commander is infectious; and Dave, playing Queen Marchesa, who is chatty and funny, and you can tell immediately has a great attitude about life as well as the game. My Dreaming of Intet deck is next up in the rotation, so that’s what I grab. I win the Dino Dice roll and we’re off to the races.

Turn 1

Sheldon (Intet): Breeding Pool (tapped).

Phil (Kaalia): Flooded Strand, cracks it immediately to get Sacred Foundry (39). Already liking Phil a little more since he knows how to play without wasting time.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Temple of Malice.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Vivid Meadow.

Turn 2

Sheldon (Intet): Command Tower

Phil (Kaalia): Caves of Koilos, Orzhov Signet.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Smoldering Marsh, cycles Ash Barrens for a Plains. Dave also demonstrates good friendly game multiplayer etiquette.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Reflecting Pool, Blind Obedience.

Turn 3

Sheldon (Intet): Island.

Phil (Kaalia): Snow-Covered Swamp, Mind Twists me for three. I’m surprised enough to immediately immortalize Phil in a Tweet. I give Phil a lot of chatter about it during the game (to a level that I made sure he understood that I was overplaying my outrage mostly in jest and for comedic effect—but really, Mind Twist in a friendly game?). To calm tensions a bit, he promises that he won’t play any mass land destruction, but won’t make any promises about Winter Orb. All righty, then. The random discards are Island, Chaos Warp, and Cryptic Command.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Forgotten Cave, Orzhov Signet.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Mountain, Cathartic Reunion, extorts it. He goes to (43), me to (39), Phil to (38), and Dave (39).

Turn 4

Sheldon (Intet): Forest, and the one card I’m happy didn’t get Mind Twisted away, Skyshroud Claim. I get Stomping Grounds (tapped) and Tropical Island.

Phil (Kaalia): Casts Kaalia. Windswept Heath, cracks it (37), getting Godless Shrine (tapped).

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Plains, Queen Marchesa, making him the monarch. Dave has a crown to wear and everything, which he has everyone who gets to be the monarch sign. I’m fond of this idea. I will be happy to wear said crown. I make a mental note of how the monarch changes the dynamic of the game—is it worth attacking a player you might not otherwise just to get the card? In many cases, the answer seems like it’s yes, so long as you don’t have to do too many gyrations or sacrifice too much. I’d certainly throw a squad of 1/1 tokens at somebody in order to get through. At end of turn, draws from being the monarch.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Plains, Commander’s Sphere, extorts it. He goes to (46), me to (38), Phil to (36), and Dave to (38).

Turn 5

Sheldon (Intet): Island, Sphinx of the Final Word.

Phil (Kaalia): Sol Ring. Battles Kaalia into Dave, puts Gisela, Blade of Goldnight onto the battlefield. Ouch. Eric to (32).

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace. Draws again from being the monarch, and has to discard. It’s Rule of Law.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Plains, Firesong and Sunspeaker.

Turn 6

Sheldon (Intet): Island, then attack Dave with the Sphinx—a move I might not make without the monarch mechanic, since a Kaalia attack could be quite dangerous—except I have Aetherspouts in hand. I draw at end of turn.

Phil (Kaalia): Bloodstained Mire. Attacks Dave, putting Angel of Serenity out. He targets Sphinx, Marchesa, and Firesong. Dave casts Utter End on Gisela, a fine move. I cast Aetherspouts anyway to simply slow down the Kaalia engine.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Inspiring Vantage, recasts Queen Marchesa. Phil fetches Blood Crypt with Bloodstained Mire, and then casts Fire Covenant to kill her (32).

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): No action.

Turn 7

Sheldon (Intet): Island, recast Sphinx of the Final Word—and then we remember it has hexproof. My mistake, which hurt only me, so no worries.

Phil (Kaalia): Recasts Kaalia.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Solemn Simulacrum getting Plains, drops Canyon Slough, and casts Mother of Runes. I mention both how good and old school Mom is.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Angelic Accord. Casts Lightning Helix on Kaalia and extorts it (38) so that he’ll get the Angel this turn.

Turn 8

Sheldon (Intet): Send the Sphinx at Dave again (28), getting myself that sweet crown. I wear it in a jaunty fashion. At end of turn, Phil casts Tainted Pact and gets Wheel of Fortune as the first card.

Phil (Kaalia): Plays Marsh Flats and casts Council’s Judgment. He votes for Angelic Accord. Dave, being clever, votes for Sphinx of the Final Word since Council’s Judgment’s ability isn’t targeted. Eric, also being clever, votes for Sphinx as well, forcing me to vote for Angelic Accord so that I’m not the only person who loses something. Well played by both. Phil casts Wheel of Fortune, the last card in his hand. My only appropriate response is to Mystic Snake it. We talk a little strategy about the seven cards you get versus the 21 your opponents get, and even though my hand only had a few cards in it, I like my chances better if everyone else doesn’t have a full grip. Plus, it was nice retribution from Mind Twist (not specifically that he cast it at me, but just in general).

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Caves of Koilos. Swings Solemn Simulacrum back at me to take the crown (35). Casts Assemble the Legion, which is a little awkward with Blind Obedience on the battlefield. Casts Aryel of Windgrace.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Pyromancer’s Goggles (a card I’m also playing). Casts Spite of Mogis off the Goggles mana, extorting it, targeting Mother of Runes and Solemn Simulacrum (in Chris’s notes, “Mom and Sad Robot”). Dave uses Mom to give herself protection from red, and then draws a card from Solemn Simulacrum dying. We have a brief chat about the perfectness of the card—that it can be one you play in every deck, delivering solid value, yet never dominates or unbalances a game. Later in the weekend, I have a chance to cast a kicked Rite of Replication on one. That was neat.

Turn 9:

Sheldon (Intet): Kessig Wolf Run. Mystic Snake does something we don’t see it do all that often, and battles Dave (33). Cast Intet. Dave double-checks if I can still cast the card after Intet goes away and likes that the answer is no.

Phil (Kaalia): No action.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Assemble the Legion ticks up to one, plays Secluded Steppe, Boros Signet, and Profane Procession. Aryel hits me and gets me back (31).

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Decides that he’s going to get in on this monarch action, hitting Dave with his Angel (28). He then casts Wrath of God; Dave exiles Aryel with it.

Turn 10

Sheldon (Intet): Wasteland, recast Glen Elendra Archmage, and recast Intet.

Phil (Kaalia): Reanimate, targeting Mother of Runes. Seems like nothing will go sideways there…until Eric casts Dualcaster Mage. Now Reanimate seems like a worthwhile Archmage target. Phil then casts the spell that changes the course of the game, Mana Web. We look it up to make sure we’re playing it right.

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Assemble the Legion to two. Plays Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, meaning that Mana Web now makes you tap all your lands. I like the play because it makes the mana-tapping decision easier. Activates Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace and everyone discards. Phil shows us the Armageddon he could have played earlier. Dave casts Karmic Justice and, since he has mana to spend, exiles Intet (which I obviously put in the command zone).

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Temple of the False God, sacrifices Commander’s Sphere to try to find something. Shrugs at what he gets and recasts Firesong and Sunspeaker, then Boros Cluestone.

Turn 11

Sheldon (Intet): Swing the Archmage at Eric (37) to get back that crown. No other action—but I’ve drawn Planar Bridge. In another two turns, I can cast (with Archmage backup—although since no one is playing blue, now I’m not sure what I was worried about) and activate it.

Phil (Kaalia): Mountain, cracks Marsh Flats for a Swamp (30).

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Assembles for three. Recasts Queen Marchesa, taking back the crown. Exiles Firesong with Profane Procession. Although this is the third time he’s activated it, there is still only one card exiled with it. Sends his two untapped Soldiers at Eric (35).

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): No action, but just sacrifices his Cluestone to draw. At end of turn, I cast Fault Line for eleven. I want to get life totals lower and think I can end this game in a few turns. I go to (20), Phil to (19), Dave to (17), and Eric to (24).

Turn 12

Sheldon (Intet): Fly over and hit Dave to take back the crown (16). Cast Intet again, and drop the Island I’ll need.

Phil (Kaalia): Anguished Unmaking on Profane Procession, taking himself to (16).

Dave (Queen Marchesa): Assembles for four. Activates Rix Maadi again; no one pitches anything spicy. Has an Anguished Unmaking of his own, which he uses on Blind Obedience (13). With the last of his mana, casts Luminarch Ascension.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): Draws Boros Charm and, with Pyromancer’s Goggles mana, hits Dave twice in the face with Boros Charm (5). I’m all for retribution at the appropriate time, but that just seemed spiteful—although maybe he sees that doing that puts Dave in Intet range and wants to encourage me to point it at Dave instead of himself.

Turn 13

Sheldon (Intet): We’ve been playing a while and there are other folks waiting to get in, so it seems reasonable to kill Dave with Intet. I obviously don’t pay for the trigger. Instead, I cast Planar Bridge and then activate it for the card that makes the most sense in our Mana Web world, Seedborn Muse.

Phil (Kaalia): No action. At his end of turn, I activate Planar Bridge and give my deck to Dave to pick something with. He thinks Consecrated Sphinx is the answer.

Eric (Firesong and Sunspeaker): I draw Avenger of Zendikar and Hour of Promise from the Sphinx. Firesong. I use Planar Bridge to get Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Definitely time to let some new people play.

Turn 14

Sheldon (Intet): Throw the Intet at Phil (10), Ulamog at Eric (14). Cast Avenger and Hour of Promise, getting 14 2/3s. The lands I get are Alchemist’s Refuge and Gaea’s Cradle.

Phil (Kaalia): The relevant card I draw from Sphinx on his turn is Praetor’s Counsel. He casts Kaalia. At end of turn, I activate the Refuge, put my graveyard into my hand, and with the approximately one jillion mana I have, Fault Line for enough to kill both of them and not myself.

Looking Back

As much as I’m not a fan of mana-denial strategies in the format, the Mana Web play was a compelling puzzle to work through, as it would be with War’s Toll. And for all the ribbing I gave him, I (and I’m sure Dave and Eric) appreciated him not casting the Armageddon (although there wasn’t ever really a strategically appropriate time to do it).

The last Commander-specific bit I’ll mention is that I made a note of all the first-turn Sol Ring and/or Mana Crypt I saw over the weekend. By my count, I played 25 games in three days. There were four instances of one of those cards (never both) getting dropped on the first turn. Win count for those players (with me being one of them) was a big, fat zero.

Finally, I want to express a great deal of appreciation to my constant eating-and-drinking companions from Thursday through Sunday, Gavin Verhey and Rob Alexander, and, for all except Thursday, SCG Vice President Crystal Van Hise. We all share a love of great food, and Crystal came through with great recommendations of Alexander’s, Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse, and, maybe the best of the three, Lucky. At the latter, the four of us decided to eat family style, so we ordered a few appetizers and main courses to share around. The lamb rib appetizer was so good that I ordered a second one with the first bite still in my mouth; after every else’s first bites, no one vetoed. It might be fortunate for the other two restaurants that Lucky wasn’t first, because I may have suggested going there all three nights.

The week’s Deck Without Comment is the Dreaming of Intet, featured above.

Dreaming of Intet
Sheldon Menery
Test deck on 02-13-2014

Check out our comprehensive Deck List Database for lists of all my decks:


Purple Hippos and Maro Sorcerers; Kresh Into the Red Zone; Halloween with Karador; Dreaming of Intet; You Did This to Yourself.



Heliod, God of Enchantments; Thassa, God of Merfolk; Erebos and the Halls Of The Dead; Forge of Purphoros; Nylea of the Woodland Realm; Karn Evil No. 9.


Lavinia Blinks; Obzedat, Ghost Killer; Aurelia Goes to War; Trostani and Her Angels; Lazav, Shapeshifting Mastermind; Zegana and a Dice Bag; Rakdos Reimagined; Glissa, Glissa; Ruric Thar and His Beastly Fight Club; Gisa and Geralf Together Forever.

Shards and Wedges

Adun’s Toolbox; Angry, Angry Dinos; Animar’s Swarm; Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point; Ikra and Kydele; Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky; Demons of Kaalia; Merieke’s Esper Dragons; Nath of the Value Leaf; Rith’s Tokens; The Mill-Meoplasm; The Altar of Thraximundar; The Threat of Yasova; Zombies of Tresserhorn.


Yidris: Money for Nothing, Cards for Free; Saskia Unyielding; Breya Reshaped; Yidris Rotisserie Draft Deck.


Children of a Greater God


Tana and Kydele; Kynaios and Tiro; Ikra and Kydele.


Adun Oakenshield Do-Over; Animar Do-Over; Glissa Do-Over; Karador Do-Over; Karador Version 3; Karrthus Do-Over; Kresh Do-Over; Steam-Powered Merieke Do-Over; Lord of Tresserhorn Do-Over; Mimeoplasm Do-Over; Phelddagrif Do-Over; Rith Do-Over; Ruhan Do-Over.

If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”