In eight matches against RDW I’ve gone 1-7 with GW Chato Aggro. In FNM I went 3-1 (as reported last week) and in Standard Dailies on MTGO I’m 8-8 overall (3-1, 2-2, 2-2, 1-3). The final Daily, as reported in the comment thread of last week’s article, was severely affected by mulligans and bad keeps. The deck felt great against UW Flash and then all of a sudden I lost two or three in a row after having not lost a single game. I went on an 0-4 vs RDW streak.

In some Standard 2-Player queues on MTGO I tried out the more common GW list ( and here’s a more recent one:

4 Rancor
1 Plains
3 Restoration Angel
3 Temple Garden
3 Arbor Elf
1 Forest
1 Plains
4 Loxodon Smiter
2 Sublime Archangel
3 Selesnya Charm
1 Plains
2 Forest
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Forest
2 Gavony Township
4 Silverblade Paladin
1 Forest
3 Strangleroot Geist
1 Forest
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Faith’s Shield
1 Temple Garden
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Sunpetal Grove
2 Thragtusk
1 Plains
1 Forest

1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Centaur Healer
2 Purify the Grave
2 Elite Inquisitor
2 Ray of Revelation
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Wolfir Silverheart

I swapped out the Silverhearts for Faith’s Shields. I played four Standard 2-Player matches. Match one was against Bant and I win handedly. Match two is against UW Flash and I win handedly (on the backs of some Silverblade Paladins and turn two Smiters). Match three I won 2-1 against RDW. Standouts in this match included: Strangleroot Geist, Loxodon Smiter, Thalia. Match four was another 2-1 win against RDW (both game twos I lost were due to me being slow to establish board presence, blockers, etc., and my opponent having Hellriders, burn, and dudes I couldn’t deal with). These four match wins lead me to believe that this GW build was the build to play at FNM because of the favorable UW Flash and RDW matchups.

There’s an early draft at Twenty Sided around 2-3pm and I gave RTR Draft a go after playing several GW Chatto Aggro (Chase) vs GW Less Aggro (me). I feel like I got crushed (GW Chato Aggro beats the other GW pretty consistently) but we probably split. They call the draft and I pull together a pretty lousy BG deck (missing a Guildmage and a Mangler that I had to pass – I was passed a Jarad). I build my deck and then  0-1 drop, losing to Hunter in three games – only taking game two by shear willpower on the back of a 7/7 Dredge Beetle. I haven’t been drafting well lately after a great run on MTGO when RTR first came out. I’m a consistent 2-1 drafter but have been 0-1 dropping lately. I know when a deck is bad and my decks have been very bad. It feels like I can’t read signals (if there are any to be read) unless I’m sitting next to Zach Barash and he’s feeding me what he wants me to play very clearly.

Jess and I played two games of Standard between her rounds two and three. I ate the salad I bought at Lodge. It was delicious. Her reanimator deck didn’t have the lucky draws or mulches that it often needs and I took a game or two. I don’t remember what happened when Jess tried whatever deck her girlfriend Dana would be playing later that evening. I think the third round of the draft started and we scooped our cards up.

I play tested against RDW for a while with another Matt. My GW took maybe 75% of the matches.

Round one of Standard FNM I was paired against H.T. and his Bant deck. Game one on the draw I get H.T. down to around six life before his Thragtusk army shows up (post Supreme Verdict) and I scoop. Game two he doesn’t verdict and I don’t stop the beats. Game three is much the same as Game one. 2-1 in the match and 0-1 in rounds. I started writing things down in a journal after the match out of sheer bored and frustrated fury. I’m a pretty emo dude and a pretty emo MTG player. It’s frustrating to sit back and see yourself misplay and I find that writing how I felt and what I thought about my match to be pretty helpful. After this match I kept thinking “why the hell do I play this game? I could be working in my studio, spending time with Jen, anything, but instead I’m infuriated.” I didn’t have a positive answer beyond “I’m learning, I’m taking it this game personally and the game doesn’t care about me specifically so that’s a waste.” Sometimes that really doesn’t seem like enough of a reason.

H.T. played few counterspells (my least favorite card type in MTG) – I saw a Dissipate and a Syncopate – so it wasn’t that I hated that part of his blue deck. Each game he patiently waited while I played dudes and wiped my board when he had to. I held back as many creatures as I thought I could so the potential to play something post wipe was there – my gut kept telling me was wrong. It seemed like I could’ve won if I had more dudes in play. If I was playing GW Chatto Aggro I’d have had a better shot for sure due to its speed. I

Interesting note: both of the games I lost I had played Thalia and the game that I won I played zero Thalia.

There’s some between-round-chatter about how dissatisfied I am with the current Standard meta, the differences between the Twenty Sided meta, bigger tournament meta, and the MTGO meta. GW Less Aggro is better online with RDW running wild. GW Chato Aggro is better in the store’s meta (and pretty good online, too) but folds to RDW (Luis says it’s tough but winnable). It’s pretty clear in retrospect (and as a point of general self knowledge) that I whine about stuff when that stuff isn’t not going my way. It’s good to get it out, sure. Wallowing in it is fucking stupid and lazy.

Round two was against Chase’s GW Chatto Aggro. He wins the draw on a dice roll and I congratulate him on winning the match (as I assume going first is that important). He laughs then casts twenty Champions and ten Silverblade Paladins with Rancors all over the place and I have a Smiter. I’d been on the other side of this before so I knew he was feeling awesome (because it feels awesome). I was feeling frustrated. Game two he starts in with the “dudes and smash plan” (one I deeply respect). Eventually a Thragtusk shows up on my side, erasing much of Chase’s progress, and I clip him onto a Paladin and swing for 10,000. Game three is much like game one. 2-4 in games, 0-2 in matches.

I ask Chase to let them know I drop when he reports.

On my way out of Twenty Sided I stop and gasbaged for a bit with some dudes. Anthony Conta and our very own Rich Stein talk to me about how much time and fun they have since they’ve stopped playing MTG competitively. They have smiles on their faces and are laughing. Rich tells me he thinks I’d really love D&D and be good at it. I think I’d be good but what does that even mean? Good at a non-competitive thing seems meaningless.

I took the L back to Bushwick listening to Eagle Claw (highly recommended), went home, and fell asleep on the couch.

The next day I played a Standard 2-Player with GW Chato Aggro and won – it was against Epic Experiment so it’s probably not the sign I’m looking for. I’m tooling around with BGWU Reanimator and once I get the hang of it it’ll probably be awesome. I guess I just keep on tapping, right?

Tomorrow’s a big sealed tourney at Twenty Sided. Prizes include a Commander’s Arsenal and shit-tons of packs. It’s sold out. Wish me luck.


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