I almost didn’t go to Tuesday Night Magic (TNM) at Twenty Sided Store (20ss) as I had a video to finish editing for a performance I am doing this weekend at the Art Live Fair benefiting Lotus House Women’s Shelter and only two days to complete it. I got it to a point and then hit command-R and left for the store with my reanimator deck in tow.

Previously in standard I’d been playing BG Zombies (1-2) at an FNM , Rug Walkers/Dragons (at States – 3-3), Rug Walkers/Dragons at TNM (0-2, dismantled the deck afterwards), and last Friday settled on a similar deck to the one below (no Lotleth Trolls, no Farseeks, + a lot of mana dorks, Lilianna, and Vraska).

Here’s what I brought to the store:

Main deck (60 cards)

3 Lotleth Troll
3 Centaur Healer
2 Disciple of Bolas
3 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
4 Angel of Serenity
2 Griselbrand
4 Farseek
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Mulch
4 Unburial Rites
4 Forest
1 Gavony Township
3 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Sunpetal Grove
1 Swamp
4 Temple Garden
1 Vault of the Archangel
3 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15 cards)

2 Oblivion Ring
2 Divine Reckoning
2 Sever the Bloodline
3 Purify the Grave
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Deathrite Shaman

R1 vs. Alaric (no, not the long dead king of the Visigoths, a real boy!) playing Junk w/o Unburial Rights). It’s Alaric’s first standard tournament in some time (played for years, quit, you know the drill). We start off by playing the same cards and I’m looking forward to an EDH-like Junk Reanimator mirror match. When I reanimate an Angel of Serenity he quickly says “we’re playing the same deck ‘kept I’m not running the reanimator package”. I was stoked. Junk can hard cast a lot of awesome but the reanimator package, when unfucked around with (graveyard hate, exiling things, etc.) is pretty unstoppable. G1 takes forever and I have enough tusks and angels to pull through. G2 is much quicker though I think he Planar Cleansing’d me twice (which only slows me down a little – less so when I have two Unburial Rites in hand). We shake and wish one another good luck in the next rounds.

Sideboard Choices: I didn’t sideboard anything. I figured my reanimating was enough tech to win.


R2 vs. Orlando playing Bant Control. Orlando’s a good magic player. He was wearing a Matt Jones t-shirt when he sat down at the table. Pretty funny. This was one of the hardest caught matches of my adult MTG life thus far (another being a similar match vs. Tony last week). Orlando and I never made it to game two and I won the match 1-0 on the fourth turn after time has been called. I’d love to go back through it play by play but I don’t have the memory for that (who does?). I will tell you that there were many Thragtusks played many times. Our life totals were incredibly high, in the 40s, mine was eventually over 70. By the end of the game we had almost all the evening’s standard players watching us slug it out. Some highlights:

I cast Unburial Rites targeting Angel of Serenity. I target his token (I think) and two dudes from my yard). With this on the stack Orlando casts Selesnya Charm targeting Angel and my creatures end up in limbo (i.e. the exile zone) when they look to go under Angel and she’s not there. Really awesome play. Would’ve pissed me off if it wasn’t so cool and if I didn’t like Orlando so much.

At some point I decide to start swinging when my board is something like 2x Thragtusk, a Beast token, Restoration Angel, Centaur Healer, and some other stuff. It’s looking bad for Orlando. He miracles Entreat the Angels and gets something like 10 Angels. After a few Griselbrand draws my library is at 28 cards. I swing in and he lets it through unblocked (he had a ton of life) – I can get him down to 12. If I have 12 creatures in my library (could draw all with Griselbrand) I could pitch them to my Lotleth Troll for the win. I figured I had far less and simply Gavony’d for extra damage. I think I cast an Angel of Serenity eating there of his tokens that turn prior to combat. The next turn he needed to top deck cyclonic rift or something to get the draw, and he didn’t. I swing in with EVERYTHING and got him down to 4 or 6 life. An activated Vault of the Archangel gained me a million which we didn’t bother counting as I either won on turn 4 or we drew. His final top deck came up empty and I won.

Something of note: Orlando was running ZERO counterspells – at the beginning of the game I was playing around Syncopate and Dissipate and when I figured out they weren’t there I WENT FOR IT. If he’d been running counterspells (both of which are exilers) it’d have been a totally different game.


R3 vs. Edgar’s Azorious Control. Edgar had watched the last 20 minutes of my previous match so knew what I had in my deck and the way I played it (he probably already knew as he top 8’d a Starcity event a few days prior and had to have run into some reanimator). G1 I mulled to five and lost to some Angels or something, I don’t’ even really remember. I dominated G2 and before I could do lethal Edgar says “I don’t want to play this game anymore” and scoops up his cards to which I reply “do you mean Magic: the Gathering or just this one game?” He says just the game and that Magic is his job so he can’t quit. G3 was a mirror of G1. My deck was too slow and he drew a ton of counterspells and Jaces. After the match I suggested to Edgar that he should smile more, loosen up. His friends said he’s a Jace playing robot and doesn’t have fun because it’s work for him. The idea of someone being a Jace playing robot is hilarious. I asked him how he does if there’s no good Jace in a format and he looked me straight in the eye and said “horribly, I can’t win.” Then he said he always likes playing me and I’m not sure why but I think it has to do with my 1-2 record against him lifetime. HA! I wasn’t initially that into playing Edgar, however, I’ve come to like it. His play is so tight that you really gotta be on your game and there’s a lot to learn. I can actually get him to smile/joke around a bit while playing (never too much and sometimes more than others). Mostly there’s a bit to learn from him as long as there’re Jaces of use in the format. Otherwise … you can play him for free wins apparently!!

sideboard choices: -2 mulch, +2 sever, -3 centaur, +2 Deathrite Shaman, -1 Grisly Salvage, +2 o-ring. DRS did WORK. Never drew sever or o-ring.


R4 vs. Lowry playing Jund. Zac goes over Lowry’s deck in his post from TNM detail which is extra good since I had to get back to editing video and asked Lowry to split packs and offered him the win as incentive as Planeswalker Points aren’t meaning much to me this season (though next season they will b/c I LOVE MODERN). He agrees and keeps play testing with Morgan Chang. In my four price packs I get a Supreme Verdict and … nothing of note. Not bad!

2-1-1 (officially 2-2 but whatever)

I have some ideas for tweaking the SB plan for reanimator for this coming TNM. Maybe it’s all about losing the reanimator package and becoming Junk mid-range G2? There will be so much graveyard hate … I’ve been thinking about it a lot. So out with Grisly Salvage, Mulch, Farseek, Unburial Rights and in with …? Manadorks, Liliana, Vraska? IS this a terrible idea?

Until next time,


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