I handed off most of my Jund deck to Monique, enticing her to get going in Modern, and securing the usual team of me, Monique, Rob and whoever else fills out the remaining one or two spots in her car, for the remainder of this PTQ season.

Jund is a fine deck. About half the people playing Modern competitively play Jund. I got tired of it. I just want to play Bloodbraid Elf over and over again singing carnival and circus music. The other cards, meh. Whatever. Hand disruption isn’t my Now That’s What I Call Magic Vol. 23. Monique, however, is super into the deck and I’m stoked that my Goyfs and Bobs are going to good use!

The drive to Philly flew by as did the rounds and the 3pm bus ride home with the also scrubbed out Luis and Tony.

Round two I lost to a rogue Wb tokens deck. I tried to fetch a Plains by Path to Exile’ing my own creature (I needed it to cast Baneslayer Angel to live and was stuck on four mana) without clicking that Leonin Arbiter also doesn’t let me search my library without paying two mana and I was tapped out. Insta-scoop. Game two I sided out a Baneslayer and two Mindcensors for some Thorn of Amethysts. The boarded out Baneslayer was a fatal error that match as I played Fauna Shaman, fetched up three Baneslayers, and went to look for the fourth but came up with a Linvala instead. I also didn’t swing with three Baneslayers one turn, swinging with only one, thereby sacrificing a Baneslayer needlessly. We went to time and I lost the round 0-1-1. I wasn’t out of it yet and took the round as a bit of a hiccup (did you know that hiccups are leftovers from our species evolving away from having gils? Isn’t that nuts?).

Two bad draws and mulligans put me pretty far out of the winner’s circle round three versus a UW Sun Titan deck that won the MTGO PTQ a day earlier.

I ate some excellent gator gumbo with Li at his recommendation (and from his wallet!) and contemplated leaving the tournament to get work done in my studio that afternoon. When Tony said he was taking the bus I bought Luis and I tickets and we all walked fifteen or so blocks, some in the wrong direction, looking for the Bolt Bus, and zoomed home.

Round one is why this post exists. I played a dude, don’t have his info on me at the moment but will maybe fill it in when I check my deck box later today at my studio, and he was pretty full of himself, intense, and serious. There are a variety of people playing MTG and some of them name pro players that they know (or almost pro players that they know) and talk about the decks they think are great, that their pro buds are playing, etc., and I get a chuckle out of that. Tony and Rob are probably the two best MTG players I know personally and I think I’ll just start saying things at the beginning of my matches like “you know Tony Lowman? Yeah well he has broken Jund wide open with new tech. He’s here today somewhere. He top 8s all the time and owns a snake.” I think it’d be fun to play up how awesome the people I know are and give them cool imaginary pets.

Turn one Pro-Friend-Guy is on the play and shocks himself Blood Crypt style to Thoughtsies me (double shock!). He eventually does something like fourteen damage to himself, I get in four with Mindcensors, and he Bob’s into Bloodbraid Elf and says, “Game two. I’ll try to not do so much damage to myself this time.” I tell him that I didn’t mind all the damage he did to himself game one.

Game two is a typical Jund blowout. Perfect curve. Liliana right when he needed her. All the good stuff.

Game three I keep Temple Garden, Leonin Arbiter, Leonin Arbiter, Leonin Arbiter, Thalia, Eiganjo Castle, and Path to Exile. Turn one I play tapped Temple Garden and he shocks and plays Deathrite Shaman. Turn two I play Leonin Arbiter and he plays Tarmogoyf. I draw Rest in Peace and play it. Then I swing with my Arbiter. At some point I play all four Arbiters (I drew another one), and he chump blocks with two or more 0/1 Tarmogoyfs. He tries to cast Lingering Souls to buy some time and I remind him that the spell costs four thanks to Thalia and he looks at his untapped Marsh Flats then at my two Leonin Arbiters, and lets out a huge sigh. The Thalia and Arbiter beats are too much for him and his tiny Goyfs. He succumbs to the onslaught. I extend my hand and wish him luck in the rest of the tournament and he’s a good sport about it and offers the same.

The result of this match-up is why I played the deck I did. It can hose Jund (and did in a bunch of playtesting the Thursday before against Monique). It’s not so hot against anything with counterspells or creature swarms (r3 and r2 respectively). Its inability to smash is pretty unexciting and basically stasis locking some dude’s lands isn’t that most exciting thing to do for me and my play style. I like the idea of a GW creature deck but, yeah, I’m probably going back to the more aggro version.

I played one Pro-Friend (Jund), one funny and genuinely friendly guy (Tokens), and one fun-absorbing-black-hole-robot player (UW Titan MTGO). The conversations with my buds on the trip were great and the results of those who stayed aren’t too bad. Li did pretty well (falling to Pod twice and learning that he wants some Mindcensors in his board). Monique and Rob both 4-4’d. It was a great experience, Philly’s a great city, and an early Bolt Bus to your studio isn’t the worst thing ever. Maybe I’ll sleeve up Melira/Kiki Pod.

Happy New Year!

Much love,
Matt “The Obliterator” Jones

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