Friday Night:

It was 2am.  Finally time to leave work.  Energy drinks were starting to wear off, and I was genuinely tired from a long day at the grind.  Slinging drinks, while easy work, takes its toll in other ways.  I hop on my bike, and bust out 2.1 miles toward home in a sleepy 15mins… not my best time, but I don’t want to get my heart rate up, I’ll have trouble sleeping.  I walk in the door and crash at 2:30 after setting and alarm.

Saturday Morning 7:20am

My alarm wakes me.  I’m up.  No really, I am.  I feel like a zombie though.  Which would be apropos if this was a Standard tourney.  That said , I’m glad its sealed.  I’ve played standard so much I’m having night terrors about playing against Delver of Secrets.  I shower think about shaving, decide it makes me look slightly more intimidating and get dressed.  White Oxford black pants and shiny dress shoes.  If I’m gonna win this thing I want to look good doing it.  And, Hell if I don’t win this thing, no one ever said, “You look a lil over dressed to be going 0-8 in a PTQ.”  But yea like I said, I’m awake, sorta.

The L to Union square… nothing happens its the L on Saturday Morning at 8… Everyone is either still drunk, asleep, or still too non-functional to make plans for Saturday’s inevitable Mimosa/Bloody Mary brunch brigade.  So it’s just working class folk.

Union Square Q platform.  Wait for the train… pretty sure that dude plays at Twenty Sided.  I’ll wait to see if he gets off at the King’s Highway stop.  Music to wake up is prolly better than talking right now, I’m still not feeling social.  Train ride ends, he gets up.  “Hey, man.  Do you know where we’re going?”  I smiled (man I really hope this guy plays at Twenty Sided this could get weird).

“Yea, its around the corner.”  Relief washes over me in an awesome way.

We walk to the store, reintroduce ourselves, turns out we interact with each other on the 20ss google group.  Josh Fetto, spots Matt Jones locking up his bike.  We all grab coffee, and bagels, while we wait for the store to open.  It does, we sign up and hang outside the store and bullshit while other 20ss regulars roll up.  Monique and Rob K, Jordan Morgan, Michael Glanzer, and a few other guys I’ve met but can’t remember names yet.  There’s a discussion about Mike S. who moved to Seattle (sadly) and Michael Glanzer’s boy “Nugget”.

Deck Reg/construction

I receive packs and rip them open and begin marking the deck down… not a really interesting pool… the guy who gets this did receive an Ajani.  That’s about it. I’d be less than happy with this pool I tell myself.  Pool passing happens and I open my pool and decide on my deck.  Here’s what I came up with/decided to play.

PTQ – King’s games 9/22/12102 cards, 62 sideboard

9 Mountain
8 Forest

17 lands

1 Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
1 Timberpack Wolf
3 Bladetusk Boar
2 Goblin Battle Jester
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Dragon Hatchling
1 Goblin Arsonist
1 Rummaging Goblin
2 Deadly Recluse
1 Spiked Baloth
1 Flinthoof Boar
1 Garruk’s Packleader
1 Torch Fiend
1 Centaur Courser

18 creatures

1 Volcanic Geyser
1 Rancor
1 Krenko’s Command
2 Searing Spear

5 other spells

1 Plummet
1 Show of Valor
1 War Falcon
1 Crippling Blight
2 Disentomb
1 Guardian Lions
1 Aven Squire
1 Chronomaton
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Boundless Realms
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
1 Smelt
2 Faerie Invaders
1 Augur of Bolas
1 Switcheroo
2 Tricks of the Trade
1 Encrust
1 Negate
1 Ranger’s Path
1 Bountiful Harvest
1 Vile Rebirth
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Public Execution
1 Liliana’s Shade
1 Pillarfield Ox
1 Volcanic Strength
1 Craterize
1 Safe Passage
1 Silvercoat Lion
1 Bloodhunter Bat
1 Dark Favor
1 Duty-Bound Dead
1 Guardians of Akrasa
1 Healer of the Pride
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Cathedral of War
1 Spelltwine
1 Captain’s Call
1 Planar Cleansing
1 Smelt
1 Arctic Aven
1 Fog Bank
1 Sleep
1 Watercourser
2 Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
1 Downpour
1 Serpent’s Gift
2 Fog
1 Bond Beetle
1 Veilborn Ghoul
1 Tormented Soul
1 Mark of the Vampire
1 Harbor Bandit
1 Pacifism
1 Craterize
1 Trumpet Blast

62 sideboard cards

Looking back I think I could have went UBr or URb and maybe had a better maindeck (at least with a few bombs) but I was tired and decided that I should play an aggressive strategy that I’d be less likely to make play mistakes.  R/G looked good and the manabase for the deck was nice as there wasn’t a lot RR (only 1)and no GG casting cost spells.  I was confident that I could play this well, and with the three burn spells I could even stall out and have the extra reach I needed.

Round 1 – Liam B

Liam wasn’t really happy with his deck (he told me when he sat down).  Good for me.  I was riding high on the Redbull I just pounded not to mention the coffee from earlier.  Shuffle. Cut. roll. win. Keep.  I curved out the first game… Goblin Arsonist into Timberpack Wolf into some three drop perhaps Centaur Courser, and then Bladetusk Boar… Liam spent his first three turns playing land and saying “Go.” By turn six it was pretty obvious I was taking this game.

“My deck is pretty greedy.” Liam told me.  I noted he was playing three colors, sided out Krenko’s Command and Mwonvuli Beast Tracker.  In came Plummet (he played a flyer) and Smelt (he had some artifact, I figured I could use a conditional removal spell over a couple of 1/1s and a 2/1)

Shuffle. Cut. Draw. (5 land and two searing spears) Mull… 4 creatures(1red 3green) 2lands both mountains.  Shrug. Keep. I stalled out after not drawing land until turn 5… I did 0 damage to Liam in this game.  Them’s the breaks… I made a promise to mull hands like that from now on.

Game 3.  I shuffled like 10 times… I was determined to not get manascrewed.  Once again I curved out, but Liam and I raced a little, a well placed searing spear stopped his clock and I used my army of beasts to clean it (his clock).


I was done pretty quickly.  Standard Zac Clark fashion the round was over in 15 mins.  I shook hands with Liam and chilled downstairs, waiting for my fellow 20ssers to share their tales of combats won and planeswalkers crushed.  Josh and Tony Loman took their first rounds as well.  Matt Jones was pissed about some mana problems Rob K. wasn’t looking happy, and I think Monique lost round one, but I couldn’t tell (I forgot to ask) because I assume from her demeanor she had won.  Jordan I think also won.  We talked decks and pools and showed each other our builds, bullshitted the new standard after rotation then Round 2 was up.

Round 2 Eric Vogel U/W

Shake hands. Shuffle. Cut. Roll. Win. SNAP KEEP.

Game 1: I remember being really really disappointed when I dropped a Rancor onto my turn one drop and Eric Unsummoned it… goodbye Rancor… a turn later I crashed into his untapped 2/2 Chronomaton with him having a land open to activate it… like a boss (you know the one you complain about on facebook, being incompetent).

Game 2: So After handing him game 1, I was more than ready to step it up game 2.  AND I DID!  I killed the things that had to die and slammed through the gates with a Bladetusk Boar and Deadly Recluse (after his Trading Post stabilized the board for him).

Game 3: It was close!  But in the end he drew and cast Switcharoo and left me with a Wall while he had enough to kill me two turns later.

Eric played well and deserved the win.  I played like a robot and got what all robots deserve… rusty rusty death.


I was still confident about my chances here.  Though I would have been happier if I had playtested a little more.  When I last played tapped blocker dealt no damage in combat, I knew otherwise now, but forgot long enough to lose a creature in game one.  Eric’s deck had a suite of removal in pacifisms and encrusts as well as a Spelltwine and a Switcheroo, I wasn’t ashamed to lose to him.

Round 3 Andrew H. B/R

My opponent sits as shuffle, he unravels his playmat with his 3 top 8 PTQ pins.  I was like ok, this dude wants to play the intimidation game… sort of a hard sell for me.  Working in a bar has made me socially numb to this stuff… Luckily his friend came over and joshed him for the pins.  I actually defended him.  “Where else are you gonna put them?  It’s not like you wanna wear them on your lapel for like a date or something.  If they’re for luck you might as well use them.  But I do want to beat you even more now.”  I was worth a chuckle from him and his friend.

Game 1: HOLY CARD DRAW BATMAN! Rummaging Goblin and Veilborn Ghoul engine: Engage! It was a slugfest, but I just ran out of things to do and he had like 4 cards in hand when I died.

Game 2: Again a slugfest, but I was able to remove blockers and my Volcanic Strength‘d   creature and my blockers where too much.  I got there a couple turns earlier than he could.

Game 3: This game came down to just card for card trades.  He Chandra’s Fury’d me to win.  Had he not I had him the next turn.  Rough.  That’s cardboard, he played correctly around my Volcanic Geyser which I had waiting, so hats off.  Solid play wins games, he wasn’t greedy and it panned out for him.


I go into positivity mode and convince myself I can still do this. I just have to win out the next 5 rounds. Then… there’s a chance!

Round 4 Tristan G/R

Tristan was at my table while we were building decks.  He got me in three games… pretty handily, just three quick games, nothing fancy.  He was playing a deck much like mine, but with y’know better stuff.  His Garruk’s Packleader into Mogg Flunkie into Mogg Flunkie was pretty tragic for me.  Similar plays during the second game but I had Volcanic Strength and ran for the end zone.  Third game was a blowout, his deck was just better and more consistent after turn 4.  He piloted it well and knocked me (and my Pro Tour dreams) for a loop.


What happened?  I started so strong… Everyone of my losses so far had been 1-2 though.  I was sticking around, I took off work and I wanted my pwps.  I was gonna stay til the bitter end.  Other 20ssers looked like they got hit by a grenade.  We might not have been at our best as a store that day, but we certainly were the coolest… in my opinion at least.  I REDBULLED, pizza steaked and pounded a 5 hour energy.  I think I have a problem, but I wasn’t feeling so tired, and that’s the goal after you start to falter.

Round 5 Rob K.

I remember high fiving Rob right as he left the store, presumably to get lunch or something… WRONG.  Apparently, the High Five was for the free points he gave me when he failed to drop and left the tourney… THANKS ROB!


Round 6 Stefano Black B/R

I sat down and thought about how funny the last 12 years of not playing was, and how much I’ve changed since then.  I was the scrawny blonde haired kid with the glasses and Morrissey T-shirt back then.  Pretty much Magic defined me.  I was eating sleeping and drinking Magic.  12 years later, I’m the Robot Tattoo’ed shaved head guy, with the Black Glasses who’s maybe a little too loud, and laughs a bunch at tourneys (mostly at my own jokes, which normally only I get) I’ve branched out, from Magic to writer, photographer, bartender and even lead singer in my own band… socially a lots changed in 12 years, but I’m still that scrawny 20 year old at heart.  I’ll say this though, 12 years ago Stefano would have scared me to death.  Peircings and tattoos (which obviously don’t mean much more to me than style of dress that day) would have me thinking this dude is tough as shit.  Now, I’m like “RAD! a fellow old school punk, maybe.”

We both bitch about bad beats and joke about maybe sleeping better for the next one of these things since NOTHING is on the line here.

Game 1: goes to Stefano.  We traded life but his creatures were slightly better and he managed to get 20 before I could.

Game 2: He Mulls to 5 and I snap keep my hand it’s over in a few turns… i curved out again and he was still looking to get out of manascrew.

Game 3: Stefano mulls again. I keep a solid hand.  And I’m off to the races.  It’s Goblin Arsonist out of the Gate followed by Flinthoof Boar, and a turn 3 Spearing Spear for his blocker.  Before long I had a volcanic Strength on the Boar (played when he tapped out, I was getting better at that).

After the match we bullshitted about how we were both tired.  He drove in from Jersey… Old Bridge.  We reminisced about the Birch Hill, and our respective careers in our creative industry.  Switched up info for the Twitters (@Stefanoblackest) wished each other luck and on to the next round.


REDBULL BREAK… please hold

“We don’t know what it does, but it does something…” – Patrick Chapin

Round 7 Dan J – UWr

Let me just start this round off by saying I was feeling pretty slow (even with the taurine boost) My opponent told me he was 3-0 three rounds ago.  I did that once I told him.  It a sad run when you are riding high only to be crushed, and then left out for the trashman.  Dan wasn’t too worried though, looked like he shrugged it off.

Game 1: I’m having a little mana trouble (no red) but eventually get off the ground, sadly too late as his faerie invaders kills a timberpack wolf and he flies in for the kill over the next few turns.

Game 2: I start strong, really strong! Dan stabilizes and then play a Water Courser and Welkin Turn.  I have a Plummet and a Searing Spear… he’s low on life I spear his Courser and swing in to put him on a two turn clock… He Pacifisms my attacker and welkin Turn goes to work on my life over the next few turns.  Knowing he has Faerie Invaders and other Boss-level flyers I save the plummet.  Flinthoof Boar, Haste, he’s at 1 life.  He plays a ground blocker Welkin Turn finishes me… I wish i had saved the Spear instead of the Plummet.  This is the second game my opponent was at 1 life and I couldn’t finish him.  Terrible, just terrible.


ROUND 8  David R. R/B

Let this be a lesson round.  SIT IN YOUR ASSIGNED SEAT even in round 8.  We went to move for a little more room and the judge said he was gonna mark us at dropped.  He didn’t but y’know better to be careful.  Judges don’t get paid, so they get to be a lil crabby after 8 rounds of swiss and stupid “My opponent ‘accidentally’ drew an extra card” questions.  It’s their right.  Anyhow we did relocate and David and his friends all had the same record.  Shuffle. cut. good luck. roll. WIN

Game 1: OK keep, nothing amazing but I had the Rancor and Rancor wins games.

Game 2: David had some removal and although I think he may have played a few risky cards in his deck, he took this game after a board stall followed by a Talrand, Sky Summoner and we went to game three.

Game 3: My side of the board looked like this

Turn 1: land go

Turn 2: land Timberpack Wolf

Turn 3: Land Flinthoof Boar, haste 5 damage

Turn 4: Rancor wolf and Volcanic Strength the boar attack for 9.

He slimes my Strength and (arbor elf helped) and began to stabilize but soon Rummaging Goblin had me looting toward the red zone.  I killed his Talrand with a Volcanic Geyser.  David’s response was “Rude!” I replied that rude is free 2/2 fliers, sir.  And Rancor got me home again.

Handshakes, well wishes, a quick look around I was the last 20sser still there it seemed.  Exhausted, I made my way home.  My date for the night canceled, which I was sorta happy about.  I was in no shape to be cool at a bar, plus I needed a wash.  I got home and crashed hard.

Analysis: Deck

Looking at this deck I’m thinking now that I definitely should have played U/B/r, something like this:

7 island
7 swamp
2 mountain
1 Evolving Wilds

2 Searing Spear
1 Crippling Blight
1 Chronomaton
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
2 Faerie Invaders
1 Switcheroo
1 Encrust
1 Negate
1 Vile Rebirth
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Public Execution
1 Liliana’s Shade
1 Bloodhunter Bat
1 Duty-Bound Dead
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Spelltwine
1 Fog Bank
1 Sleep
1 Watercourser
1 Veilborn Ghoul
1 Harbor Bandit

Risky mana base, but the Wilds would help a little maybe have another mountain and one less island.  Like I said though, this style of deck needs a stronger pilot.  I was playing asleep at the wheel.  Not a solid battleplan.  As it was, I was happy with my performance on the day.  First serious level event in 12 years, 4-4 I’ll take it.  Add 85 pts to the Seasonal record for a total of 149 this season and I’m only a month in.  Pretty good in my book.  I’d really like to hear what you have to say about my strategy on the build, and my second build especially.  I’ll stop crying about the lack of sleep now because that’s getting old.  The next big event I play you can be damn sure I’ll rest up a little more.  If you have a build you think would have been better please add it to the comments.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I decided this week, that I’m going to GRAND PRIX LISBON.  that’s right in Portugal!  I’m already playing in Philly, and I hope to do really well there but I’ve been looking to travel (some of you might know I’m Inked Magazine’s travel writer) and my job allows me to write off some travel expenses (I think) so I’ll be saving up and practicing my ass off for both events, which are sealed.  If you think you wanna tag along, hit me up! I don’t wanna be the only scrub in Portugal!


Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.