Happy Wednesday everyone!

Josh Fetto convinced me to play his version of BR Aggro after I threatened to draft. It looks like this:

4 diregraf ghoul
4 gravecrawler
4 knight of infamy
4 geralf’s messenger
3 hellrider
4 falkenrath aristocrat
3 thundermaw hellkite

3 tragic slip
4 searing spear
1 ultimate price
2 brimstone volley

4 cavern of souls
4 dragonskull summit
4 rakdos guildgate
4 blood crypt
1 mountain
7 swamp


2 rakdos charm
3 vampire nighthawk
3 bonfire of the damned
3 appetite for brains
1 zealous conscripts
3 pillar of flame

Round 1 vs Li Xu’s Naya Snappling Counterpart

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Li had been playtesting with Josh Fetto for about an hour prior to our match. Li and I both mull to five and he instantly tosses his five back and takes himself down four. Edgar Flores, commenting from the game next to us, says “that’s a pretty good four” and chuckles (despite his claims that he has no fun while playing magic). Edgar’s statement has me worried that Li can pull this off but I am able to get through two one damage Bonfire of the Damned (Gravecrawlers come back!) and a Thragtusk. Two Falkenrath Aristocrats, back to back turns, remove Li from game one.

Game two I emotionally and self hatredly scoop after Li Pillars a Ghoul and I fail to sac it to my Aristocrat which is eaten by his Bonfire for one. This is where smarter players would shrug it off as a mistake and move on. I scoop up my cards even though my hand is Aristocrat, Hellrider, Hellrider. I’m plenty pissed at myself. Next time: pay more attention to my options I not scoop, don’t think “my Ghoul? Who cares, it’s Aristocrat I care about.” Apparently not as I left her Ghouless and vulnerable to Bonfiring.

Game three isnt much of a game. I have four red spells in hand and eventually five mana (two Cavern of Souls, two Swamp, and a B/R dual of some kind). Casting a single red spell per turn will not get me there and I stew over game two a little more before I remember I bought an awesome chocolate chip cookie earlier and can crab of from my pocket and console myself with its sugary chocolatey deliciousness.

Also of note: I saw no Snapcaster Mage and no Cackling Counterpart (from which the name I made up for Li’s deck originates).

0-1 in matches. 1-2 in games.

Round 2 vs Adam Woolfolk’s Mono Black Unblockable

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Prior to his match with Edgar, Adam asked me to pick one of his two decks. I picked the left one which turned out to be a mono black. Game one I’m having problems with a Cavern overdose but my sugar high is strong and I power through a Dutybound Dead and Dark Favor’d Tormented Soul with two Aristocrats, one with a +1/+1 counter on it from a sac’d Knight of Infamy.

Game two Adam drops a Tormented Soul on turn one. I play an untapped Blood Crypt and say “go”. He says “no spell?” and untaps. He casts Dark Favor and I Tragic Slip his Soul. Things dont go much better for Adam. He gets me to three and I win on my next turn.

We play one for fun with his other deck, a GW populater. Our results are similar. We talked a bit about his builds before out match, before we knew we would play each other. I’m no brewer. I net deck or crowd source my friends for decks. I suggest looking at www.mtgo-stats.com for decklists and ideas of what the grinders are playing and tuning and trying one of those out. If you don’t have the time or resources to test intensely it doesn’t make much sense to try when there are crazy people testing decks for hours each day and all you need to do is pick a list and practice it. This puts all of your MTG energy, focus, and time on tuning and testing saving you all the time proper brewing would cost you. You do lose the edge of having a deck no one’s seen before. I’m sure the first time someone played Omniscience (Travis Woo probably) his/her opponent thought they were totally insane and then lost. Woo is an example of a great brewer and he’s come up with some excellent off the beaten path decks as of late. He also said this yesterday in his Facebook stream:

“Streaming fresh content 5 nights a week with an article on top of it is a JOB. That kind of lifestyle is not long term sustainable without bringing revenue. Flat and simple.”

Magic can’t be a job for everyone. While Adam’s mono black deck was fine it would benefit from hours of testing and brewing but probably be better off becoming an established Jund or BR deck (expensive cards being Bonfire of the Damned, Olivia, Thragtusk, Geralf’s Messenger, Gravecrawler, Falkenrath Aristocrat, and Thundermaw Hellkite). Those are two pretty pricey decks and probably price most sane people out of playing them. Adam’s GW populate deck does some funny things with life gain, Essence of the Wild, etc., but it should probably be one of the GW non-populate aggro decks out there that had been winning Standard Dailies on MTGO (it hasn’t since 12/8). The least expensive deck to put together to be competitive is RDW. It looks something like this and 4-0’d a Daily this week ($46 on MTGO):

22 Mountain
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Searing Spear
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Pyreheart Wolf
4 Lightning Mauler
4 Hellrider
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Ash Zealot
3 Gore-House Chainwalker
2 Traitorous Blood
2 Hellion Crucible

3 Pillar of Flame
4 Mizzium Mortars
3 Flames of the Firebrand
2 Volcanic Strength
3 Thunderbolt

1-1 in matches. 3-2 in games.

Round 3 vs. Tyler Schwartz’s LSV Omniscience


This match was a total wash for Tyler. He rolled out his chessboard playmat (the man owns and operates Chess @ 3 so the chess theme is legit) and more or less plays six mana in two games. Game one he’s stuck on two lands forever and I beat him down 20-17-9-3, Searing Spear’ing him to end the game. I think I sideboarded in three Appetite for Brains and a Zealous Conscripts. Game two he’s still not too hot on lands. I Appetite and eat a Tusk, writing down “cavern, lantern, farseek, harbor”. He plays another Tusk and at some point a Faithmender which I grab with my Conscripts and feed to an Aristocrat. This all proves to be too much and Tyler’s deck fails him. We play an insane third game that has him winning with Griselbrand.

This morning I went to www.chessat3.com and watched their company trailer video. They’re all so serious in it and I couldn’t stop laughing. They’re a great group of guys those Chess at 3’ers with a super posi awesome program. If you have a child I suggest leaving it in the care of one of these fellas for an hour and that kid’s brain will thank you.

2-1 in matches. 4-2 in games.

Round 4 vs Johnny Chang’s Jund

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Johnny’s been on Jund since 1982. He’s good at playing it. I smash him game one with multiple Messengers and Aristocrats through at least one Thragtusk. Game two I never get him below 13 life. I had sided into Appetite for Brains, and Pillar of Flame, maybe one Bonfire. Pillar is a one mana red turd in this matchup (as Li later explains to me) as it only kills Huntmaster and seriously who cares. “Killing Huntmaster in a Naya matchup is more important than in a Jund matchup,” Li says. It makes sense. The rest of Johnny’s threats are 3/3 or bigger and meaner.

Game three I get Johnny down to three after he Thragtusk’d once. He’s consistently getting me with a Rakdos Keyrunes and my life total is dwindling. There are a number of turns that I can top deck an Aristocrat, a Thundermaw Hellkite, or a Searing Spear for the win and instead I draw two Dragonskull Summits and a Swamp (I already had five or six lands in play). That’s eleven cards I could’ve drawn to win. Oh well. After Johnny beats me I throw my deck on the floor, leave the store, flip a car, and set it on fire before walking into the black night.

2-2 in matches. 5-4 in games.

I think Appetite for Brains becomes Slaughter Games in the sideboard. Appetite gets their Tusk or Angel or whatever but can’t get Sphinx’s Revelation (which I thankfully never saw). Appetite does this on turn 1-3 which isn’t that big a deal timing-wise because casting Slaughter Games on turn four is still the right turn to nab Tusk and Tusk decks are slow enough that it’s ok to do this.

Some practice is required and I’ll hopefully do well at FNM and the Sunday Monthly Standard tournament at Twenty Sided. Overall I’m happy with the deck, not so much with my emotional play (though not too bad actually), and looking forward to playing Fettoblaster’s deck again.

Ragily yours,
Matt “The Obliterator” Jones

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