“We outnumber them! Charge! Charge! Hey, where’d you guys go? Retreat! Retreat!” (from Withdraw)

Pro Tour Gatecrash was on my phone, laptop, and/or desktop whenever I was in front of any of them at any point throughout the weekend. I love Pro Tours when they’re not block constructed (which is the pits and still, I guess, better than no Pro Tour). I explained to Jen, when she asked me what I was watching, that the Pro Tour is like a Major in golf. I’m pretty sure she responded to this with a “Huh?” and I said they’re just the best—the best players, the best decks, the best everything. She said, “Oh” (this is usually a cue to switch topics).

Here’s a quick TNM Standard report.

Fetto and I talked about various Jund Aggro decks and I played this one:

4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Experiment One
3 Deathrite Shaman
4 Dreg Mangler
4 Searing Spear
2 Falkenrath Aristocrat
3 Flinthoof Boar
4 Strangleroot Geist
4 Hellrider
2 Tragic Slip
2 Woodland Cemetery
2 Dragonskull Summit
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Blood Crypt
4 Stomping Ground
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Forest
1 Mountain
2 Abrupt Decay

3 Skullcrack
2 Gruul Charm
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Deathrite Shaman
2 Golgari Charm
2 Rolling Temblor
2 Tribute to Hunger
2 Abrupt Decay

Round one I got back at Lirek for the last two times he’s defeated me, in a row, at TNM or FNM. He kept shitty hands and lost hard. Game two he could’ve Feeling of Dread’ed my creatures but cast Lingering Souls instead, which died end of turn to Golgari Charm, allowing my dudes to run over his board with the help of bloodrush for the win.

1-0 matches, 2-0 games

Side note: There is a higher amount of, “Dude that’s gay,” “Fuck you bitch,” and “I fucked your girlfriend last night” talk on Tuesday nights than other nights of Magic I play. It reminds me of the occasional shitty venue one must play at for various Grand Prix Trials, PTQs, or (and less so because I’m usually with friends and not other social groups) Grand Prix.

This kind of speech is aggressive and offensive in a pretty irreconcilable way. No amount of personality points get one out of homophobic, misogynistic, or other bigoted remarks, even if solely directed at one’s friends. It’s fun to play with words, to joke around, and to jab at fellow gamer-friends, but it’s immensely important that this kind of behavior is inclusive. A big part of being inclusive is choosing your language appropriately. This is not a restriction on one’s freedom of speech—it’s a concept I’ve come in contact with and adopted while studying Buddhism called right speech.

I prefer the translation wise speech over right speech as I’m not sure I believe in right and wrong (varying degrees of skillfulness seems more accurate to the feeling I’m working with). When uttering something uncool it’s totally correct to use that moment to reflect on one’s uncool verbal decisions, make amends if necessary, and, best of all, speak in a more inclusive and compassionate manner in the future. I’m a fan of crossing lines but you’ve gotta be mindful of which lines you’re crossing and when. We can change the way we behave, be more inclusive, speak our minds, play competitive Magic, and have fun!

Anyway, I played Larry and Jund Aggro can’t beat Loxodon Smiter or Thragtusk so I don’t win. Game two he kept a one-lander and wins on a swing back when I was at 12 life (I had attacked to bring Larry within lethal the following attack) and he swings with two Smiters and then double Pillars me for exactsies. Not nice. Larry’s a fun-loving dude and solo chit-chat with him swell. After I verbally predict he’s gonna get controlled the next round I take a leak and ready myself to lose to young Scott in round three.

1-1 matches, 3-3 games

Scott mopped the floor with me. His humans are too much. The guy played a Curse of the Stalked Prey. I didn’t even play that in Innistrad draft! When the dust settled Scott whipped out a Supaboy, popped in Street Fighter II, and he and Li went at it. Li’s a level 21 archmage ninja at Street Fighter and, I think, sort of toyed with Scott, but who knows? It was entertaining to experience them super stoked playing Street Fighter II on such a tiny screen.

1-2 matches, 3-5 games


Round four I beat Ali in two games. She said it was her first TNM and was rocking a vampires-themed deck. My life total got pretty low both games but I was able to smash through when she made some bad blocks or stalled out on lands. We discussed her deck a bit, I recommended that she check out mtgo-stats for some deck ideas, and then headed off to report, opened two packs of nothing, and headed into the night.

2-2 matches, 5-5 games

The merciless beating Jund Aggro received from Larry’s Big Naya deck lead me to play the following on Friday. I couldn’t stop thinking about what an idiot I was for trying to be aggro when I’m totally a mid-range dude.

FNM Standard—Monster Naya

2 Stomping Ground
4 Thragtusk
1 Sunpetal Grove
3 Clifftop Retreat
2 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
4 Flinthoof Boar
3 Sacred Foundry
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Restoration Angel
4 Mizzium Mortars
2 Mountain
4 Gyre Sage
4 Domri Rade
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Rootbound Crag

4 Oblivion Ring
4 Pillar of Flame
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
2 Garruk Relentless
3 Boros Charm

A guy I’ve been trading ideas with on Magic Online emailed me about this list and asked to borrow the Domri Rades and Reckoners. I said I didn’t have them and wouldn’t be playing Standard on MTGO any time soon. After work on Thursday I bought the Domri Rades and the rest of the cards I was missing. Friday morning I tested the deck out on MTGO and, for the first time, recorded it with sound.

Obviously I’ll work on the sound quality and one can imagine that I’ll get better at the narration of my play.

I made the Friday early draft and, inspired by a talk with Hugh and Luis the night before, set out to draft a sick Simic deck with a great curve. Instead I drafted a confused Simic deck splashing Gruul. Round one I played Charles Hagaman, won the first game, lost the next two, dropped, and left to buy some running sneakers (a Planet Fitness opened up in my neighborhood recently).

The main event, Standard, started at 7pm, and I was all Star Wars-sleeved and ready. Round one I faced Matt Bradley’s Whispering Madness deck. I hadn’t seen Matt in a long time so we were pretty chatty during our match. He said it was cool that I noticed he hadn’t been around and that he’d be around more in the future. Good. I squeaked by with a win in our first game. He milled the shit out of me game two. Game three I got Matt down to a very low life total before his Whispering Madness engine started going and a re-drawn five cards puts a hasty creature in my hand which I used to smash him for the win. Super props to Matt and any deck builders out there willing to take the gallons of time required to make a deck from scratch and the brass to actually play the thing at an FNM. There’s no way for a netdecker, such as myself, to prepare for something like this and I was scared. Thankfully his deck wasn’t my problem anymore and I moved onto round two.

1-0 matches, 2-1 games

Dustin’s Jund deck is next. I think he mulled to five game one, hung in there, and then got smashed. Game two my creatures, if memory serves, were bigger and my removal spells more numerous. Jund is a matchup I still of fear. Olivia is a beast and does lots of work against my monsters, often forcing them to join her cause. I didn’t see an Olivia but sided in 20 Oblivion Rings just in case one showed.

2-0 matches, 4-1 games

In round three, Gustavo came out of the gate swinging with 300 humans, some of which were Frontline Medics. Game one went to him and his indestructible men. I misplayed, not having faced a Frontline Medic previously, and probably would’ve lost anyway. Game two Gustavo makes a serious misplay, asked if he could take it back after everything had resolved and I say no, citing what I call the MTGO rule of “if you can’t do it in MTGO you can’t do in real life,” and later win. Game three he makes a similar misplay and I keep drawing gas. Gustavo is a super-weird, animated, and larger-than-life dude. I enjoyed playing him and he stressed me out. He giggled at seemingly inappropriate times and would cut my deck into multiple piles and restack them every time I presented it to him for a cut. Like ten piles every time. He seemed very proud of it and, hey, to each his own!

3-0 matches, 6-2 games

Round four Richard and I agree to split and play for fun. His Jund deck fails him miserably and I win easily in two. Richard is the greatest Magic player of all time so I can’t help but assume he let me win, gracious man that he is.

4-0 matches, 8-2 games

I haven’t 4-0’d an FNM in ages! It felt great. This deck is solid. It has big beats, Domri Rade is amazing with Boros Reckoner, and the sideboard, other than Garruk Relentless (which I never sided into but he’s probably dope against control), was totally good. I’m not much for analysis as you’ll see in the videos below, but, damn, this is the mid-range smash deck I’ve been looking for! Hooray!

Prior to the Modern tournament at 20SS on Sunday I played, recorded, and commented on two MTGO Modern two-player matches. I went 1-1, losing to Burn and beating Jund. These videos aren’t spectacular, they’re just practice, and more than anything else I am posting them because MTGO etiquette is just this shitty sometimes. There can be lots of waiting, lots of perceived notions as to what is going on with timeouts, dropped opponents, and, as I suspect in match one, double queueing (aka, playing more than one MTGO match simultaneously, a super-shitty practice as it wastes one’s opponent’s time in a big way). Totally random scoops can happen, too, one of which you’ll see in game two of the Jund matchup. I love MTGO’s robotic efficiency. For your viewing pleasure:

Match one vs. Burn

Match two vs. Jund

Since acquiring Kiki-Jikis and Groves on MTGO by selling or trading my playset of Geists I can’t help but think it’s the deck I need to practice and play with at PTQs. My results weren’t sweet in the paper Magic tourney I played Sunday, another in a series to help us all prepare for the Twenty Sided PTQ next Saturday, but they were very informative as to which hands to keep and how it plays out with non-hyper-random shuffling (which is something I love about MTGO). I learned that sometimes the deck just goes into hyper-aggro mode with lots of beats, too. Rb Burn, while appealing, isn’t as exciting as winning by Kiki combo, and I still miss playing with Pods since Naya Pod rotated out, so I’m sticking with Kiki Pod. Here’s the list. I’d really like some help with the board and maindeck. I feel like there are a few slots that are totally changeable (one Image, a three-drop, maybe more).

Modern—Kiki Pod

3 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Restoration Angel
1 Temple Garden
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Steam Vents
1 Forest
1 Breeding Pool
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Chord of Calling
4 Birthing Pod
1 Eternal Witness
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Deceiver Exarch
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Stomping Ground
1 Spellskite
1 Qasali Pridemage
4 Copperline Gorge
3 Wall of Roots
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Zealous Conscripts
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Fire-Lit Thicket

2 Negate
2 Path to Exile
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Harmonic Sliver
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
2 Obstinate Baloth
1 Spellskite
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Thragtusk

Round one I drew (1-1) with Derek and his UB(W?) deck. He keeps threatening to be at the 20SS PTQ this Saturday. I’ll believe it when I see it. If I was him I’d be there.


Round two I freaked Herbig out by playing a Hallowed fountain and won the first game.


Game two he was over the blue cards in my deck and beat me. He treated me to another loss game three.


Round three game one I combo’ed off very early and Rob “Birdlaw” Kofsky lost. Game two he stalled me out with Linvala, Arbiter, and Mindcensor. I tried to tap a Hierarch for mana and Birdlaw yelled at me, “Not with Linvala! No activated abilities!” Our board game three looked like this and I lost:


Nemesis and I faced off round four. She’s back on Jund. I combo’ed off and beat her game one. Game two took forever, I got stuck on two lands for maybe five turns, and she Wrench Minds two Obstinate Baloths into play, gaining me eight life. Maelstrom Pulse takes care of them, but a misplay and drawing zero of my awesome cards leads to my demise. We were way past time and Luis asked us who won, Monique gave me the victory due to what she saw as her “taking forever” and then beat me in the third game pretty solidly with a Rakdos Charm (she killed me with the 53 non-Kiki’ed creatures I had in play).


If only this Spellskite was as powerful a play as the one in the Jund match on MTGO. Can’t win ’em all!

The PTQ is Saturday! Game Day is Sunday! My art career! AHHHHH! So much MTG and I love it all!

Lots of love,
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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