7:15 a.m. The alarm wakes me in a daze. “But, but— I don’t wanna go to work,” I silently exclaim. Groggily, I slowly allow my eyes to adjust to the sunlight and successfully convince myself that it’s Saturday. After flowing through a yoga-esk cat pose, I not-so-gracefully roll myself out of bed (and almost onto the floor).

Today I’ll be attending my second Star City Games Open tournament held in Somerset, New Jersey. I have to admit, I’ve really been slacking off in Standard lately. My knowledge of the current format is pretty much limited to the few decklists I went over following SCG Richmond and day one of the SCG Somerset Invitational. With that said, here’s the list I decide on.

Jund Midrange

Creatures (14)
Huntmaster of the Fells
Olivia Voldaren
Scavenging Ooze
Arbor Elf

Spells (21)
Bonfire of the Damned
Pillar of Flame
Abrupt Decay
Tragic Slip
Mizzium Mortars
Rakdos’s Return
Garruk, Primal Hunter
Doom Blade
Rakdos Keyrune

Land (25)
Blood Crypt
Dragonskull Summit
Kessig Wolf Run
Overgrown Tomb
Rootbound Crag
Stomping Ground
Woodland Cemetery
Sideboard (15)
Curse of Death's Hold
Tragic Slip
Golgari Charm
Rakdos’s Return
Liliana of the Veil
Underworld Connections
Barter in Blood
Grafdigger's Cage


10:52 a.m. —Round 1 vs. Jund Jay is a New Jersey native playing a very similar 75 to mine. Game one is pretty much a question of who has more removal. We are both very flooded and I have a Kessig Wolf Run in play. I end up drawing a Huntmaster of the Fells when my opponent only has one removal spell. I take the game the next turn with a lonely wolf and my favorite utility land. Game two is a bit more interesting—my opponent cripples me with a Rakdos’s Return followed by a flipping Huntmaster. I finally manage to stabilize at six life when Miss Olivia Voldaren decides to  show up to the party and, given that I have plenty of lands, quickly takes over the game for a Round 1 victory.


Round 2 vs. GR Midrange (1-0) I’m excited and surprised to see a familiar name next to mine on the pairings list, especially since SCG Somerset boasts over 900 players! Mario finishes up his chicken strips just as quickly as he beats me with the hard to deal with Thundermaw Hellkite. After the match, we discuss my misuse of a new card in my deck, Scavenging Ooze. Instead of holding it until after I used Barter in Blood to take out a few of his creatures, I play it too early and end up loosing it to a bloodrushed creature. That one change in my sequence of plays would have gained me some life and left a very sizable threat on the battlefield.

Round 3 vs. Naya Midrange (1-1) I misread my table number and make it to my seat right in the nick of time despite having to run back to the pairings board to double check. Evan is still tilting after losing to a well known player the round before after managing to get him down to one life. He takes a a deep breath, puts it behind him and hands me my second loss of the day.


Round 4 vs. GB Control (1-2) Adam is playing in his first tournament ever. This kitchen table magic player is happy to have his photo taken to capture a memorable occasion. During game one I feel very confident that I have taken over the game casting a Bonfire of the Damned that clears his board including a growing Liliana of the Veil. That feeling is quickly dampened when a Deadbridge Chant comes down the following turn. My opponent slowly stabilizes and recovers to win the game and eventually the match.


Round 5 vs. GW Flash (1-3) I have  a hard time finding my table number since its on the other side of the venue! I find my seat and am greeted by a gentleman with awesome glasses and a curious looking piece of tape on his forearm. It turns out Phil is an avid fitness buff who has taken up MMA fighting as part of his work out regimen. The KT tape provides the necessary support for him to comfortably kick some butt on the battlefield. He wastes no time getting me down to one life with a Loxodon Smiter followed by an Advent of the Wurm token. I luckily manage to stabilize with Thragtusk plus the Tragic Slip that Ive been holding for a few turns. Game two is dominated by Voice of Resurgence tokens + multiple Rootborn Defenses. After some exciting games, Kessig Wolf Run eventually grabs me the match win.

Round 6 vs. American Control (2-3) Adam and I flood out terribly. Luckily I run Bonfire of the Damned. In one turn, I take my opponent from a comfortable 15 life to 0.

Round 7 vs. Junk Reanimator (3-3) Ugh, I still hate playing against this deck ever since that event where seven of my ten rounds were against reanimator. Lucky for me, Zach is a down to earth opponent. This Baltimore native came to the open representing Titan Games and Hobbies. We have the most interactive games that I’ve had to date against this deck. I just barely clench the victory with a Kessig Wolf Run that I’ve been holding until the perfect moment, playing around my opponent’s Acidic Slime reanimation target, and swinging in for exactly lethal.


Round 8 vs. Junk Reanimator (4-3) Mike is a recent High School grad from Philly whose looking forward to becoming a college kid in the fall. Again, I experience very interactive games where Scavenging Ooze is a superstar. Unfortunately Scooze doesn’t do enough to combat Obzedat, Ghost Council and I lose the match in three.

7:30 p.m. (4-4) I decide to cut the 11 round tournament short. As fun as it is to play the game I love, my head just isn’t in it today. I feel rusty. Now that I have a bit more experience with this wide open format, I hope to apply it at the next event. Will I still be playing Jund you ask? Who know’s? You’ll have to wait and see!

Monique Garraud is a Brooklyn native who started playing Magic in 2011. “Grinding It Out” is her weekly take on the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a competitive tournament player. You can follow her on Twitter @MoniqueGarraud.




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