Allow me to get the excuses out of the way first: I was in no shape to be at Tuesday Night Magic last night. A combination of no sleep the night prior and a full day of travel meant I was pretty burnt out by the time I even landed at JFK, much less the activities to follow afterward.

That said, I went a personal worst 0-2-1 drop in Standard last night, piloting what I had previously thought to be the new hotness, the Japanese Blue Reanimator.

Round one was against Alaric, playing a similar list, but without any Unburial Rites. Shamans did a lot of work messing up life totals, and I was able to win game one off of a Craterhoof. After seeing Armada Wurms in game one, I boarded in Evil Twins in an attempt to be cute, but game two went to Alaric after I failed to find an answer to Big Garruk. Game Three was rather quick, since we were the match that went to time. A lot of Angel of Serenity/Evil Twin deadlocks from both sides.

0-0-1 after the first round.

The following round saw me matched up against one of my favorite people to play Magic against, Dylan. I really enjoy our battles in Modern: The Gathering, but this was our first encounter in the realm of Standard. This one was over pretty quickly. I mulled to five game one and got ran over by Dylan’s little green and white dudes. Game two he kept a greedy one lander with double Champion of the Parish and never played anything else. Game three I kept a hand with four lands and triple Supreme Verdict. Dylan went turn 2 Precinct Captain followed by turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft. My Supreme Verdicts on turns 4 and 5 were both met with Rootborn Defenses, and it was over. Not much of a match at all. We played some Modern afterward, UW against Lingering Jund. I like the matchup when I can get the Blade Splicer/Restoration Angel engine going, otherwise it’s a pain to get through the huge clump of Souls.

0-1-1 after round two.

I sat down against Lowry in round three. He looked like he was on some GW aggro list until I realized it was in fact a deck centered around Collective Blessing. We had a pretty good game one which saw a nonlethal Craterhoof swing followed by a lethal Collective Blessing + dudes crackback. I made some rather questionable sideboarding decisions and chose to bring in only the Detention Spheres. I got a 2-for-1 that locked Lowry on three mana for a while by removing his two Avacyn’s Pilgrims, but a Rest in Peace followed by Nevermore naming Restoration Angel (props to Lowry for identifying that that was what I had been sandbagging in my hand, however obvious it might have been) kept things interesting. I never found anything useful from Tracker’s Instincts and my opponent dropped an on-curve Collective Blessing to finish it out.

0-2-1 drop.

The main takeaway for the night, other than don’t play competitive Magic when you’re ready to fall asleep, is that Tracker’s Instincts sucks. Every time I played that card I wished it was Mulch instead. I get the synergy between that card and Deathrite Shaman, but most of time I just wanted those lands in my hand instead of being instant-speed Lotus Petals in my yard. Also, getting Black mana was ridiculously hard without a Farseek, and that’s after I adjusted the mana base — the original list from Japan ran 4 Cavern of Souls and 2 Overgrown Tombs. I did like using Forbidden Alchemy, but the things it was finding for me just weren’t as exciting as when I was playing Seance (plus, the aforementioned shortage of Black sources made flashback a little awkward).

I tried this list for the Deathrite Shamans, but while they did a ton of work when they stuck around, they never took over the game. Granted, my matches weren’t against any graveyard decks, so there’s a bias there. But I can’t help but feel I would just want a true dork instead to power out something spicy. This deck seemed kind of bland in comparison to the things I was doing with Seance. That, combined with having to hear Morgan Chang say that it’s “his list” over and over, means I’m going rogue again. Jordan Morgan keeps reminding me that this isn’t New Zealand and that Seance doesn’t work, but my record with the deck says otherwise. I just need to fix it up a little against aggro — and figure out a proper sideboarding plan now that graveyard hate is everywhere.

Look out for Matt Jones’ report with basically the same deck. He’ll likely have more constructive things to say than “Tracker’s Instincts sucks.”

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