Please excuse me, everyone. My name is Dylan and I’m sorry that this post is so much later than it should have been. I am an aggressive procrastinator and have never actually written anything in my whole life, so it took a while to dictate this to my robotic roommate…Glad we got that out of the way.

On the weekend of January 4th I was lucky enough to get out to my home town of Denver, Colorado, for a Legacy Grand Prix. I owe almost all of the trip to Keith “Teeth” Blackwell, who is both awesome and the man (literally), and we were joined by Sam Roukas. I was extremely excited to show these dudes around my hometown; unfortunately, the GP was to be held in the convention center at Denver International Airport, which is a barren wasteland 20 minutes/$40 cab ride from any cool parts of Denver. It rapidly became apparent that we were going to be stuck in this hotel for the long haul with only Magic: the Gathering, Q-Doba, and a liquor store across the street for the entire weekend. Fortunately, I could literally live on burritos and Legacy, so everything was looking good.

We arrived Friday morning and checked into our room, which had a beautiful view of the interior of the lobby, quickly changed rooms to one that had sunlight and started figuring out which decks to play for grinders. Both Teeth and Sam had no idea what to play and sleeved and unsleeved just about every deck in Legacy. Thankfully I had set my mind on playing UB Tezzeret maybe a week or two before. There were many reasons for my choice. First, Chalice of the Void seemed to be an outstanding dagger to the meta, as most decks rely on 1CMC spells, while my only one-drop was Relic of Progenitus. Second, there is nothing in this world quite like having a turn two Jace or Tezzeret. Third, I just love playing this deck, as it has answers to everything, and the matches are almost always exciting no matter what I’m playing against.

Here is the list I ended up playing in Friday’s grinders:

21 Lands
3 Ancient Tomb
3 City of Traitors
2 Darkslick Shores
2 Island
3 Polluted Delta
1 Seat of the Synod
2 Swamp
4 Underground Sea
1 Vault of Whispers

9 Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
2 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Trinket Mage
2 Wurmcoil Engine

23 Other Spells
3 Chalice of the Void
2 Damnation
2 Dimir Signet
1 Engineered Explosives
4 Force of Will
1 Go for the Throat
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Relic of Progenitus
4 Talisman of Dominance
3 Thirst for Knowledge

8 Planeswalkers
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Karn Liberated
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

1 Darkblast
2 Duress
2 Engineered Plague
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Extirpate
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Liliana of the Veil
2 Mindbreak Trap
2 Perish
1 Pithing Needle
1 Thorn of Amethyst

(I ended up swapping the Thorn of the Amethyst with a Misdirection for the Grand Prix.)

So we headed over to the area where the magic happens and signed up for a grinder. I didn’t really take notes on my first grinder, but the highlights include restarting a game with Karn and having an Arcbound Ravager, Seat of Synod, Tezzeret, and Cranial Plating on the board. That game was sweet. I also had a storm opponent kill himself with Ad Nauseum, which always feels good. I lost the grinder in the fourth round to Esper Stoneblade, which is a really difficult and interactive match-up. Intuition for a mix of Lingering Souls and Cabal Therapy is brutal.

So I signed up for the last grinder of the day with no real hope of getting three byes but feeling pretty good about the chance to continue playtesting and so far being 3-1 with the deck.

Grinder Round 1—BUG Midrange
My opponent and I had both been in the last grinder and we had sat next to each other for a few rounds, so it felt like we were old friends. I kept a couple of Ancient Tombs and some mana rocks, ended up not drawing any gas, and tapping Ancient Tomb like it was my job. I dealt myself 12 damage and he got in for two Tarmogoyf hits to finish me off. Game two I turn two Jace’d him and turn three Tezz’d himthat is pretty insurmountable for BUG. Game three I kept Sol lands and mana rocks again and just drew no gas at all. Fortunately he was stuck on one land for about 4 turns and allowed me all the time in the world to finally find Karn into Jace into Tezz. Turns out it is very difficult for most decks to beat two or more planeswalkers.

Grinder Round 2Reanimator
I remember this guy had a sweet Hypnotic Specter pin on his bag so I asked if he was going to turn one Dark Ritual into Specter. He didn’t laugh or even blink and I was suddenly afraid that was what was about to happen. He went turn one Hapless Researcher and my fears were assuaged until I remembered that reanimator is an equally terrifying opponent. I went Sol land into mana rock and he cracked his Hapless Researcher to pitch an Empyrial Archangel. I was very excited as the alternatives (Iona, Griselbrand, or Jin Gitaxias) would have certainly won him the game. I turn two Jace’d and brainstormed. He elected to swing at me rather than Jace, which made me the happiest little boy in the world, as every extra Jace activation is arguably better than sex. I drew another Sol land, cast Wurmcoil Engine, and drew a million cards with Jace. I actually called a judge to make sure that the redirected Wurmcoil damage to the Angel would still have deathtouch, which the judge confirmed. He again swung at me putting me to ten. I swung with Wurmcoil Engine, killing his Angel, laid a Relic and started fatesealing, ending the game in short order. Game two he pitched a bunch of terrifying monsters into his yard but never drew any reanimation, allowing me to kill him with some Tezz-animated mana rocks. He told me afterwards that he had sided in his Show and Tells and taken out Exhumes as I could pitch a Wurmcoil to Thirst for Knowledge, but that he had ended up drawing the Show and Tell after he had discarded all his fatties.

Grinder Round 3ANT
I have always been very stressed out playing against Ad Nauseum and was very fortunate to have included three copies of Chalice. Game one he Gitaxian Probed me and Duressed a Force of Will. I ripped a Chalice and promptly laid it for zero. He attempted to go off the next turn but was constrained by mana as he drew all Lotus Petals and LED’s but no rituals. He had to draw way more cards than he normally would have and at four life revealed Tendrils. Sometimes it just goes your way. Game two he Pondered and I went sol land into mana rock into Chalice on zero again. He attempted to go off once more, this time with one black floating. All he had to do was draw a Dark Ritual and I’m pretty sure I would have been dead. As it happened, he did not draw a ritual and had to pass the turn with a full grip—probably ready to kill me next turn. I went Tezz, animate Chalice and then explain how Chalice for 0 literally auto-kills ANT.

Grinder Round 4—Cheerios
When I finished round three I went over to watch another match which was between a BUG player and some dude who had a ton of 0/1 and 0/3 for zero in play and I asked another spectator what the hell was going on. He pointed to one of the red zero drops and I realized that the guy was playing Kobolds. I laughed and imagined playing Chalice for zero and Chalice for one and walked away. I got some food since my last match had gone quickly. When I came back for round four, my opponent looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him. I mulled to a relatively loose hand with four land, Jace, and a mana rock. Turn two Jace seemed sweet. Then, to my chagrin, I recognized my opponent as he went Kobolds, Kobolds, Contested War Zone, Signal Pest. I had mulled a Sol land/one-lander with Chalice! The game was really weird and there was a point where I played Go for the Throat, targeting an Elvish Spirit Guide to keep my Jace alive, but I eventually landed a Wurmcoil and with only one card in hand he scooped. Game two I mulled to 5 and kept Duress, Mindbreak Trap, and three lands. He went Glimpse of Nature. I said sure. He cast a second Glimpse of Nature and I groaned. He cast about 30 creatures and Grapeshot me for infinite damage, which I Mindbreak Trapped. Unimpressed, he just kept going off until he drew an enchantment that gave all his dudes haste, and swung for infinity again. Even as I died, I was very impressed that he had managed to go off twice in turn one. Game three, he never drew a Glimpse, though I had a Force in hand for it. I did make a really stupid error, where I cast Chalice for zero and then cast Ratchet Bomb to wipe his board, forgetting that Chalice would have worked as well. I followed up with a Wurmcoil and he scooped soon after.

Grinder Round 5—Sneak and Show (THE FINALS!!!!)
My opponent had made it to the final round four after Tomaharu Saito scooped to him. I looked behind him and saw one of his friends pat him on the back wishing him good luck. It was Caleb Durward, the inventor of the deck I was playing, and I was immediately star struck and started blushing. I lost game one extremely quickly as he had turn two Show and Tell for Griselbrand, and turn three Show and Tell for Emrakul. Game two, I countered two Show and Tells and ground him out with three planeswalkers on the board. Game three, I went turn one Thorn of the Amethyst, which he attempted to Force, pitching Show and Tell, so I Forced back and he Flusterstormed. I have never been happier to lose a Thorn of the Amethyst, as now he was down to two cards in hand. I went turn three Tezzeret, turn four Liliana, and beat him to death with animated mana rocks.

The grinder was won somehow and I was giddy as a school girl. I immediately met up with Jonathan Salem for some whiskey to celebrate. Or was it tequila? Who cares, any way Jonathan is this dude I met at pro tour Philly and he is pretty indescribable. in a good way. And a bad way. He was there to celebrate and be all around awesome. After that I went back to the room to rest up for day one of GP Denver. It took forever to fall asleep. Man was I excited.

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