Often times before a magic tourney I’m pumped. With friends around discussing new tech, a lot of locals giving me a nod for the blog (It’s still sort of surreal to me that it’s being so well recieved), and just general nervousness before any “live” performance, these TNM events at 20ss are spotlights to the rest of my week lately. Knowing I’m being watched is making me try much harder to play tighter. That said, I was actually pretty calm this Tuesday when the pairings came up. After spending the whole day building just the right sideboard, I was feeling pretty good about my deck and chances of wrestling this thing to the ground.

Here’s the revised list!


75 cards, 15 sideboard

1 Stensia Bloodhall
1 Swamp
2 Desolate Lighthouse
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Blood Crypt
4 Drowned Catacomb
1 Mountain
2 Sulfur Falls
4 Steam Vents
1 Island

24 lands

2 Olivia Voldaren
4 Hypersonic Dragon
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius
3 Snapcaster Mage

12 creatures

3 Divination
3 Rakdos Keyrune
1 Mizzium Mortars
2 Sever the Bloodline
2 Dreadbore
1 Rakdos’s Return
4 Pillar of Flame
3 Syncopate
2 Cyclonic Rift
3 Dissipate

24 other spells

2 Vandalblast
1 Bonfire of the Damned
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Slaughter Games
2 Clone
2 Ultimate Price
2 Negate

15 sideboard cards

Round One: Brayan Rodrigez – Grixis Control

Man! I can’t say enough great things about playing BR! Dude cracks me up. He was really surprised after my second land drop revealed my colors. “You play Grixis now, bro?” BR has been championing a UB control deck since back during Avacyn Restored (at least!) and I knew he’d get a kick out of my Dimir/splash red deck. Us two spellshapers shuffle up and I win the roll to play.

Game one: It’s Vampire Nighthawk Vs Removal spells. He plays the Vamps and I kill them. I saw three that game. Eventually I put down a Thundermaw and real beatings ensue… ’til he kills it. Then plays another nighthawk… swings… I play my Hypersonic Dragon, four to the dome. BR shakes his head. He holds back the Vamp to block at 4 life…EOT divination (ala Hyspersonic’s ability) I Cyclonic Rift and run in for the kill. BR chuckles dives to his sideboard and starts to make decisions.

Game 2

BR gets land screwed and I run away with the game as he stabilizes. Bonfire wipes his board and hits him for lethal.

We sit for a bit checking out each others decks. I wanted to put in Nighthawks, but I couldn’t find a spot. His version runs Tamayo. He’s a bit more control. We play another game and he takes it after stalling out my threats. This is a classic case of surprise Rough Deck steals a victory. It seems like janky wacky cards all thrown to gather but the key is making my opponent play against cards he’ll never see.

Results 2-0

Round 2 vs. Lirek UW Flash w/Geist

I’ll save you the lengthy read of the rest of this article to cut right to the chase. I lost the rest of the tourney. It was an ungraceful cannonball of round after round of mull to 6 keep a subpar hand and scoop or mana flooding and scoop. Pretty demoralizing, actually. I was so psyched to prove this deck. And the Magic Gods laughed in my face. It made me want to throw my cards against the wall flip tables and rage.  I held it together though. I’m a man, not an animal, or a Green Planeswalker.

Tourney results 1-3 (I’m not this bad at Magic.) I’m much better than 1-3. But I still took something away from this. I think Buddha said, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. There’s a lesson here.”

Utterly demoralized I went home after a few trades and I built four different tournament level magic decks.

It’s really hard to give up on American Control the deck just snap wins out of nowhere so often and has elements of playstyle I just love so I reassembled that with Lone Revenant instead of Niv-Mizzet. It’s hexproof ability being the important factor here. I’m not sold yet, though.  The Dracogenius is still pretty much the best card to have on the board.

I decided I’d quit raggin’ on RDWs and make that deck. Because, like Delver, good draws for this deck are nigh unstoppable.

Matt’s Jones’ deck that I’m either calling Chato Aggro or Running for Mayor is really sweet. Again it has some amazing draws that are just out of hand and it’s a bit more resilient vs Control and Aggro. Having white means the sideboard can really be a factor.

And Golgari Zombies… I started playing standard with Zombies and I’m not likely to just throw this deck into the wind yet. With permission spells and control back on the rise the utter card economy this deck offers could be the silver bullet the meta is overlooking in the coming weeks.

I’m gonna look into building UW flash and Junk reanimator to test against but until standard settles I’ll still be trying to spice things up with a few surprise decks if not surprise cards.

If you can’t beat them… defect and use their tech against them.

Keep it Rogue!


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