(As promised here’s the TNM recap of how the Grixis Mid Range deck preformed. )

I had been tinkering all night prior and trying to figure out just how to exploit the meta at Twenty Sided… That’s hard to do these days. My last tourney I saw, Wu Humans, Jund, Junk Reanimator and RDWs. The problem with a healthy meta is that sideboard cards have to work overtime and be good against several strategies. But, after a solid day of hemming and hawing I finally settled on my 15 and clicked “Publish” an scheduled the post for 7:30. No need to give everyone a decklist to see before the tourney was going.

I biked over to 20ss. And Jon asked me for a game, “Standard?” I asked. Obviously, everyone either has standard or is playing draft tonight. After a few rounds vs Jon’s American Midrange I wasn’t feeling so good about Grixis. I really hadn’t factored in this match up. But once we sided I took a few games. Still as tourney time came up I was on the fence about 0-2 scrubbing with a rogue deck. They called pairings… And I was still deciding. FINE I’ll play it. I owe it to my blog and to myself to test my deck building skill, which used to be pretty amazing.

Round 1 Gene (B/G Zombies)

After I choose my deck, Gene revealed that he was playing the Deck that I passed up for the night. Golgari Zombies. I KNOW THIS DECK. I spent the days fishing it vs Grixis. I can win this match-up. I told myself. Gene wins the roll for the Play. I’m not exactly happy to be on the draw vs Zombies. By turn two Gene has a very solid board state with three 2 power one drops. I’m doing my best to back peddle but it’s hard to beat a nut draw. I put up a fight but I die around turn 8. Game 2 I mull to 6 and keep a suspect hand (two pillars and snapcaster thundermaw, desecration demon, sulfur falls) on the Play. If I draw the land… (I hate that if) ill have the control I need to win this game. I did and Gene’s five card hand falls short of the first game by a large margin.It’s a bummer to see him struggle, because he really fought internally to keep that hand.

Game three he mulled to 5 again and I kept an average hand. He was tilting pretty hard (I couldn’t blame him). I reassured him that his deck was good he just got some really bad draws. I asked him about land… 21. I play 22 and use guild gates in mine. One land could make the difference.

1-0 (2-1 Still suspect about the deck.  To win at such a huge advantage wasn’t doing much for the ego.)

Round 2 Chase (American Midrange)

I had put Chase on Wu Humans the deck I’d last seen him play. It became very obvious after a Clifftop Retreat hit the board he was playing a list similar to Li’s Cackling Counterpart American Delver-less deck. Crap! I just had my floor wiped by that deck. Playing Jon in the pre tourney seriously helped me evaluate what cards were important to deal with and which card interactions would be favorable.

Chase Mulls to 6. Early in the game I slammed down a Stensia Bloodhall, and Desolate Lighthouse. After a long board stall I was able to loot my way to answers for Chase’s threats and use the Bloodhall to lower his life. American Control can deal with a lot of things… But it turns out its weak to land. I note that all the decks are weak to lands, those Innastrad lands that seem like second thoughts are making the difference in matches right now.

The second game was a bit less flashy as chase once again mulls to 6. And is stuck on two land after I deal with his Thalia/Snapcaster Mage beat down… I Slaughter Games for Geist removing one from his hand and the top of his deck… And the other two in there as well. He’s still very land screwed as I swing in with Thundermaw Hellkite/Falkenrath Aristocrat for the kill.

2-0 (3-1 again with Chase mulling both games and getting land screwed on the second, not exactly the best test for the deck. That said, I’ve only mulled once the entire tourney. And how about those lands!)

Round 3 Tim (Esper Tokens)

The last time I played Tim (BANT VS AMERICAN CONTROL) we went to time and drew. Not really having a firm grasp on this deck an thinking that Tim might be playing Bant (even though in retrospect, I saw him play Esper vs Matt Jones in Round one) I’m confident I can take him on Bant.

This deck was built to beat out the slower control decks through attrition and resilient threats. Sadly Tim played Esper. Tokens… Lingering souls plus Runechanter’s Pike brutalized me the first game.  All my spells are one for ones and Souls plus pike meant I had to stop every flying token Tim threw at me. He trumped me in game one.

I scoured my sideboard for answers for Pike… No artifact removal!  Tormod’s Crypts help I guess.  Game two he slammed down a turn 2 Pike.  I groaned and after several board wipes and even a hand shattering Rakdos Return (not so good vs Flashback spells) he took me out.

At the end of Game 2 I made a huge play error that ended that game for me. I gave the match to Tim and asked if I could take the play back to continue the game. With the game won, he agreed. I was able to eek out a couple more turns but he still got me in the end. Satisfied, if not upset at my terrible play, I congratulated him and unsideboarded.

2-1 (3-3 tokens are tough I’ll need more board wipe effects and graveyard hate not to mention ways to kill artifacts.  Tim went on to 4-0 the tourney)

Round 4 Li Xu (Seance)

I’ve heard whipsers of a combo deck from other players in the store, Li included. But choose to ignore the deck as a match up while focusing on the rest of the meta. I’ve got counterspells… I just have to counter the right spells. WHAT ARE THE RIGHT SPELLS? What does this deck even do? How does it win? Dammit I’m terrible at guessing the spell to counter, it’s normally something sneaky. Li knows enough about my deck that he’ll be able to play around the countermagic. “Don’t Slaughter Games Me, Bro!” Li laughs as we sit down.

Game 1 I actually won. He started to go combo but a Cyclonic Rift cleared the way for my Desecration Demon and Thundermaw Hellkite to swing in for the kill.

Game 2 I turn four Slaughter Games naming Seance. Zero in hand, Li Smlies, “Dude did you take them out!?” I ask.
“Nope, that would have been smart though.”
The next turn I Games again naming Sphinx of Uthuan. Two from hand two from deck. Li cast Geist Honored monk and smashes me with that. Stupid move naming the Sphinx when the Monk could be cast next turn. Li is always beating me with Geist cards.

Game 3 I cast SG three times Rakdos Return and even Hellkited away his Geist tokens… Slayer’s Stronghold ended me. Basically Rancoring every unblocked threat he played. I wasn’t happy with the way I played in the third game but I’ve learned what to call for my Slaughter Games and I’m more aware of this deck.

Final result 2-2 (4-5 I’ll take it, some tweaks and a few creature changes and I’ll have a really solid deck. Next Week I’ll post my switches and thoughts on what worked what did not and why. Until then, Rogue Decks for Liiiiiiife!

Zac Clark


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