This past weekend, Theros finally released. Surprisingly, I didn’t play in any Release events. I was up in Amherst, Mass, for my college best friend’s wedding. Before checking into my hotel, however, I walked a couple miles to X9 games, where I drafted Theros (for the first time) at FNM.

 X9 Inside

X9 games is tucked into the Hampshire Mall, across from the Arizona Pizza Company (which served me a well-needed and much enjoyed meal after I spent five hours on a train). X9 starts FNM Standard at 5:00 PM, so there was already a decent crowd mulling about when I arrived at 6:00. Walking inside was like walking home. There’s a great atmosphere and community to great game stores, and X9 had both. It also had some welcome sights for this traveler from New York—Arid Mesas and Misty Rainforests for sale! New faces! And space!  I had so much SPAAAACE! I picked up some random rares from their legacy box, as well as the last two Mesas I needed for my playset and a fat pack—’cause you gotta support the LGS, if even if it isn’t your local game store (good LGSs were hard to find, though this trip suggested that the adage is not as true as previously believed).

X9 Atticus Atticus here was running the store. He’s quite the nice guy and I’m sorry we didn’t get to chat more. Unfortunately for our relationship and fortunately for X9, the store rapidly filled with eager drafters and buyers, so Atticus spent most of the evening juggling the store front, running four draft pods, and running Standard. He was helped out by “I don’t work here” Mike who I sadly didn’t get a picture of. We did get to jam some multiplayer Pack Wars (and I relearned that everyone means something slightly different by Pack Wars). For the draft, I opened and slammed a P1P1 Fabled Hero. Heroic seems like a very strong, if not the strongest draft archetype, and Fabled Hero is a very strong start. I was passed Master of Waves P1P2 but didn’t see any blue afterward (it didn’t take long to realize that the two players to my right were in UG. Black was wide open, so I jumped in. I ended up with a… split deck. I had 3x Sip of Hemlock, 2x Lash of the Whip, 2x Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and extra removal split between my main deck and sideboard. I also had 2x Dauntless Onslaught and a mishmosh of creatures. I had half of a sweet monoblack devotion deck (there were only two Gray Merchants as I was the only player in heavy black) and half of a sweet heroic aggro deck (but I didn’t have enough aggressive creatures to benefit from my pump spells). White and black did not seem to pair well, particularly given my lack of Tormented Heroes (I passed ’em and they didn’t return… even though no one was in black control/devotion). In round one, I faced Dan’s Boros Pegasus Aggro. I was stomped beneath the hooves of a pair of Cavalry Pegasus, a trio of Traveling Philosophers, and an Akroan Crusader. Sip of Hemlock was utter garbage at killing two-drops, unsurprisingly, and my creatures couldn’t keep up. Dan was a kind and quiet-spoken gentleman who declined to be photographed for this article. We chatted philosophy for a bit (I majored in it and he’s on track for his Ph.D) and joked about our shared love of Traveling Philosopher. I wished him the best, both in the draft (I sadly don’t know how he ended the night) and in life (he’s getting married in a week!), then proceeded to round two. X9 R2 Jacob   Jacob (he of the excellent T-shirt) was my round two opponent, piloting a Grixis aggro/skies list (turns out, he was the one snatching up those Tormented Heroes I’d passed when I thought I was going to be monoblack control). After he aggroed me out in game one, I managed to take control of games two and three (I think I cast at least two Sip of Hemlock in each games). It seemed that there were several players in at least three colors which led to some interesting archetypes being born at our table. Jacob was a regular, just as Dan was and most of the people I’d met were. It seemed that the store had a young, vibrant community (shocking that, in an area with 30,000 students) with a large contingent who’d only started playing in the past year. Dan also informed me that the store did drafts for $7 with rare redrafting, and that these events were free if you bought your own packs. Holy crap, what a deal! You can’t buy three packs for $7 retail (though it’s doable on eBay, but not common) but buy ’em and draft for $7 at X9? That’s a sweet opportunity and one I’d gladly take advantage of if I lived in the neighborhood. X9 R3 Jake Jake was my final dance partner for the evening. As we got started, he informed that I’d just defeated his rival (I rooted for Jake to win so we could have a Triangle of War) and that he’d learned how to draft in Dragon’s Maze. Damn! That’s not an easy format (usually building a manabase is straightforward or involves tweaking a balance between two colors with no nonbasics) and I respect him for not only learning that format, but loving it. Jake piloted a five color BUG list with a bunch of Opaline Unicorns. In our first game, the heroic half of my deck finally reared its head and Fabled Hero dominated. In game two I got off to slower start, drew my hero (who hadn’t shown up in rounds one or two at all but was now suffering from separation anxiety), but he stuck a series of large threats (who drank all of my hemlock and came back for more) and beat me in a tight race. In game three, he mulliganed to five and put up a valiant effort, but it was an unfortunate and anticlimactic end to a delightful evening. If you’re ever in the Amherst area, I definitely recommend stopping by X9 Games. It’s got a great crowd, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and a solid selection of cards. Thanks to everyone there for hosting this writer for the evening!

Standard Pauper Tournament

We’re almost done, shockingly. It’s round seven of eight and where once were 152 players now stand only 51. Stay tuned for the top eight in two weeks! For now, we’ve got prizes!

  • Kyle S wins a booster of Onslaught!
  • Adam Bloom a booster from gwyned!
  • There are no Hipsters bounties for round six, as Tim, Rich and I went undefeated. The foils shall remain mine for another week!

Round 7 Pairings/Standings

Player One Points vs Player Two Points Results
Charlie S (18 pts) vs Conor Moran (18 pts)  (1-1)
P. Dalton (15 pts) vs Jason Gray (18 pts)  (2-1)
Zach W [drop] (15 pts) vs Ben H (15 pts)  (0-2)
Hugh Kramer (15 pts) vs Kevin Roman (15 pts)  (2-1)
Andrzej "Onion" K (15 pts) vs Tom (15 pts)  (2-1)
The_Sir (15 pts) vs Justin Beckert (15 pts)  (0-2)
Andrew (13 pts) vs MattLaZer (15 pts)  (2-0)
Kyle S (13 pts) vs aceracerff (13 pts)  (0-2)
Zachary Barash (HotC) (12 pts) vs Mrdarby (13 pts)  (2-0)
Lacio (12 pts) vs Ahniwa Ferrari (12 pts)  (2-1)
Nico (12 pts) vs rbernardinello (12 pts)  (1-2)
Neil Anderson [drop] (12 pts) vs Kaziks [drop] (12 pts)  (0-0)
Tim Akpinar (HotC) (12 pts) vs Nick G [drop] (12 pts)  (2-1)
Will (12 pts) vs Jesse S (12 pts)  (0-2)
Adam Bloom (12 pts) vs joekewwl (12 pts)  (2-0)
Edmilson (12 pts) vs Colin (12 pts)  (1-2)
Benito (12 pts) vs gwyned (12 pts)  (2-0)
Rich Stein (HotC) (12 pts) vs David Wills (10 pts)  (1-2)
Hans (9 pts) vs MattP81 (9 pts)  (1-1)
togepi258 (9 pts) vs Steven (9 pts)  (2-1)
ElPolloLoco (9 pts) vs bacon_music_love (9 pts)  (2-0)
Grao (9 pts) vs Dana (9 pts)  (2-1)
James Bathurst [drop] (9 pts) vs James J (9 pts)  (0-2)
King Xia (9 pts) vs Jamie B (6 pts)  (2-0)
ShiratoKai (6 pts) vs John Mason (6 pts)  (1-2)
Daniel Gardner (6 pts) vs — Bye —

It’s been quite the busy weekend and I look forward to (hopefully) finally having my computer back after three months of it being on the fritz/busted/being repaired. And when it returns, so will my streams!

—Zachary Barash Join the livestream!

twitch.tv/ZennithGP

Magic Online username: Zennith

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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