Last Sunday I had my first taste at real success in a large scale MTG Tourney at the Get There Games SCG IQ, here’s the abridged version of what went down.


I wake up take a shower and grab a coffee, check my route and the sign in time… Doors at 11 cut off at 12. Normally, I’d say I’m really early but every since I switched my bar tending schedule around to work on my Wedding Photography business, I’ve been waking up a lot earlier. So, this is nice I don’t have to rush around like a psycho. I even pre packed everything last night, so I feel good.


I’m at Union Square, waiting for the X10 Bus to pick me up. It apparently takes me right near GTGs. $6 but totally worth the money if I can skip the ferry and it gets me there in about 40mins. I take the time on this empty luxury bus to go over my deck and write it down one last time.


Plenty of time, remaining I meet up with Tony Loman and he let’s me borrow three [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven]. I remove the [casthaven]Mindbreak Traps[/casthaven] from my Sideboard and put in two [casthaven]Scavenging Ooze[/casthaven].

This is the deck.

RUG Delver

Lands (18)
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Tropical Island
Volcanic Island
Arid Mesa

Creatures (13)
Delver of Secrets
Grim Lavamancer
True-Name Nemesis
Nimble Mongoose

Spells (30)
Force of Will
Forked Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Scavenging Ooze
Surgical Extraction
Sulfur Elemental
Vendilion Clique
Ashen Rider
Life from the Loam

[casthaven]Ashen Rider[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Life from the Loam[/casthaven] were in for kicks. When I was playing Merfolk, I didn’t like [casthaven]Ashen Rider[/casthaven] because I really had no way to find it. But with 4 [casthaven]Ponder[/casthaven], and 4 [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven] he’s likely to appear more often against [casthaven]Show and Tell[/casthaven]. If he does, BLOW OUT TOWN!

Round 1

My first round was against Reanimator. First game was over in one turn. 2x [casthaven]Lotus Petal[/casthaven] island into [casthaven]Show and Tell[/casthaven] into [casthaven]Griselbrand[/casthaven]. I hadn’t even played a land yet. It was obvious this guy had me. I thought about scooping before it resolved but I had my one of [casthaven]True-Name Nemesis[/casthaven] in hand. If I give him just a little more time to see me play I could put him on the wrong deck for sideboarding. So I did. And then I played my [casthaven]Arid Mesa[/casthaven] got my [casthaven]Volcanic Island[/casthaven] cast [casthaven]Ponder[/casthaven] and scooped. Hopefully enough to put me on UWR in his eyes.

Game Two I was able to win even though after casting [casthaven]Surgical Extraction[/casthaven], my opponent didn’t remove his [casthaven]Griselbrand[/casthaven] from his graveyard (which is apparently my fault, that won’t ever happen again) so I just [casthaven]Dazed[/casthaven] his [casthaven]Exhume[/casthaven]. And eventually won with Delver. As I previously thought he was grumbling about seeing my TNN and [casthaven]Arid Mesa[/casthaven] and went back to his board.

Game Three was a thing of beauty. After a little counter action and pretty much stopping him from resolving any Reanimator spells, I drew ([casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven]) my [casthaven]Ashen Rider[/casthaven]. At this point I knew he had just a [casthaven]Grave Titan[/casthaven] from a previous [casthaven]Surgical Extraction[/casthaven]. He casts [casthaven]Show and Tell[/casthaven]. I take my time, then reveal [casthaven]Ashen Rider[/casthaven], my opponent gets two 2/2 zombies I have [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven] and a 5/5 Flyer. It’s over quickly after.

Round 2

It’s a RUG off. My opponent admits it’s his first tourney back in a while. We chat for a few then it’s on. Both games I maintain a steady card advantage that comes from, knowing what’s worth [casthaven]Force of Will[/casthaven] and what’s a waste of two solid cards. Soon my opponent has no cards in hand and no non land cards on the battlefield. I’m free to cast a Delver and Goyf and end the game quickly.

Game Two he gets an early lead and I have to [casthaven]Force of Will[/casthaven] a second Delver in order to stay in the game. I manage to stick a [casthaven]Scavenging Ooze[/casthaven]. And a Mongoose. Ooze is doing work in the race but he’s also hurting my Mongoose. My opponent eventually has to block my 5/5 Ooze just to stay alive and the game tilts ever so slightly in my favor.

Round 3

Classic play of the Fates, it’s me and Tony Loman facing off. Better now then in the win and in I guess. Game one, I take unceremoniously, [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven] swings for the kill, with bolt in hand. Game Two, I get [casthaven]Choke[/casthaven]d right out of the game. I look in my board I’ve got nothing for [casthaven]Choke[/casthaven]. Just have to stop him from playing it. My game three opener is interesting. [casthaven]Misty Rainforest[/casthaven], [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven], [casthaven]Tarmogoyf[/casthaven], [casthaven]Spell Pierce[/casthaven], [casthaven]Life from the Loam[/casthaven], [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven], [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven]. I’m on the play, so I run for the [casthaven]Tropical Island[/casthaven] off Misty and Pass. The next turn I play [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] after drawing [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] and cast [casthaven]Life from the Loam[/casthaven] for the Misty. Tony groans. Next turn I play [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] and kill off both lands. Tony scoops and we grab some lunch.

Round 4

Ok I just need one win here and it’s draw into the top 8! Easy stuff. I’m up against Nic Fit. What the hell is Nic Fit? I ask Tony he gives me the run down. “[casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven] his [casthaven]Veteran Explorer[/casthaven] triggers.” he tells me, “They play ALOT of Basics!” This could be bad. Game one I was able to run him over with Delver and Goyf. Sweet just need another win and I can draw into the top 8. Game two didn’t go my way. My threast came in right on time and I over extended seeing no reason to not, then [casthaven]Pernicious Deed[/casthaven] blew me out. [casthaven]Thragtusk[/casthaven] finished the job. Game Three I was able to counter his [casthaven]Deed[/casthaven], then Extract it. Then I countered his [casthaven]Thragtusk[/casthaven], then I Surgical’d that as he cast his [casthaven]Eternal Witness[/casthaven]. Then he got down [casthaven]Sensei’s Diving Top[/casthaven], bought a turn, then cast [casthaven]Scapeshift[/casthaven]… And I died to Valakut.

Well that sucked! But no big deal, I’m not even feeling the pressure. I’ve got two more matches to make up a win. I can do that. This won’t be like States with Replenish so many years back when I went 3-0 and then lost my next three matches. I know this deck, I can win one more easy.

Round 5

After a deck check, which both my opponent and I came through unscathed. I was treated to a Game one turn one [casthaven]Chalice of the Void[/casthaven] on 1. I looked at my hand… All one’s. I play a few more turns to see what I was playing against. Tezzerator. Game two I snap kept and played my Delver and ran with him until my opponent finally found his Tezzeret. Then an [casthaven]Ensnaring Bridge[/casthaven]. Once again I was locked out of the game! But my opponent t was at 2 life. Could I find a bolt? No I sided them out. He drained me for 10 then did it again.

This is getting kinda hairy, I don’t wanna lose this next round. I check in on Tony. He’s 3-2 as well. They post standings, I’m 10th that gives me a pretty solid chance on a win and in. It’s time to knuckle up or buckle up.

Round 6

Another deck check. I protest, this is my second of the day. But they take our decks. My opponent has extra cards in his box and takes a game loss. That’s bad news for him, as I really like my opener. Turn one Delver with bolt daze Force [casthaven]Grim Lavamancer[/casthaven] and [casthaven]wasteland[/casthaven]. My opponent plays an [casthaven]Ancestral Visions[/casthaven] and passes. I draw [casthaven]Ponder[/casthaven] I play Delver. He passes, Delver flips revealing Bolt. I cast Lavamancer [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] his [casthaven]Underground Sea[/casthaven] and attack he’s at 16 from a fetch. I pass. He plays [casthaven]Abrupt decay[/casthaven] on the Delver. I draw and play Delver. He casts decay on my second Delver a turn later. I draw [casthaven]brainstorm[/casthaven] and pass. He passes, I burn him to 11 with GL. I draw a bolt. That’s right I have three bolts, but only one land. I pass. He casts [casthaven]Hymn to Tourach[/casthaven]. I [casthaven]brainstorm[/casthaven] and hide two bolts. He gets a [casthaven]Tropical Island[/casthaven] and a [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven]. I draw and play [casthaven]Arid Mesa[/casthaven], pass. He plays Goyf. It’s big. I hit for 2 with Grim (9). I draw my bolt. Cast a bolt (6) (he’s tapped out, and I want to be sure). He attacks with the Goyf. I take 5. 13. Another Shock with Grim (4). Untap and and show him the bolt. He scoops.

Ok, a bit of luck but that’s Magic right! It’s top 8 for me.

8th Seed vs 1st Seed RUG Delver vs Storm

I couldn’t be happier about this match-up. I built my deck in hopes of avoiding creature decks and playing as many combo decks as possible. Liam is a more than competent Storm pilot though, he is X-0 (ok 4-0-2 but that’s the honor of winning your first 4 rounds). Game one Liam floods out and I move in with Delver and Goyf with a 3 [casthaven]Force of Will[/casthaven] opener there’s not a lot he could do. Game two he [casthaven]Cabal Therapy[/casthaven]’s my 3 [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven] hand after a [casthaven]Gitaxian Probe[/casthaven] and he gets in the Tendrils.

Game three I’m wary of [casthaven]Xantrid Swarm[/casthaven] and I keep in my Bolts. I have plenty of Counter magic but no real clock. Finally I find a Goyf after I final a few after lands to play him. I’ve been holding up mana so long Liam is sure I’m full of Counter magic. He [casthaven]Duress[/casthaven]es, I force it to show him a [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven] is meaningless to me. In my hand in [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], [casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven]. I feel very safe. The next turn Liam casts A Chain of Rituals at his 2nd to last card I throw out one [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], he flashes me a [casthaven]Infernal Tutor[/casthaven] and my second Snare is there to clean that up.

Semi Finals: Gobins Vs Rug Delver

Jim Davis is a pretty big deal when it comes to little red dudes. That’s what Tony Loman has been telling me all day. I can’t doubt that I saw him beat a miracles player with a moat out in the round before this. BONKERS! Anyhow, Jim is more than cordial and introduces himself, then we both go into serious mode.

Game one he plays a Cavern and  [casthaven]Goblin Lackey[/casthaven]. I play a [casthaven]Grim Lavamancer[/casthaven]. Jim attacks and I block, not my favorite play but it’s important to not let him free play Goblins he plays a [casthaven]Rishadan Port[/casthaven] and passes. Looks like he having trouble finding Red Mana. I have 2 [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] in hand. I play a Mongoose and Waste his Cavern. [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven] sit in hand. He fetches, I [casthaven]stifle[/casthaven] hoping to keep him off red. He passes. The next few turns are me [casthaven]ponder[/casthaven]ing and [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven]ing to get Goose to Threshold, while drawing my 3rd [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven]. The game ends shortly after buying a few turns to Jim’s mana troubles.

Game two is nothing like game one. Jim is on the warpath. Turn one [casthaven]Æther Vial[/casthaven] means his Mana Troubles aren’t gonna be a thing this game. And as much as I try to kill his hoard it’s apparent that he’s going to swarm me. [casthaven]Goblin Piledriver[/casthaven] brings me from 14 to 6 with a couple friends. Then it’s over.

Game three, I start with Mongoose and [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven] back up. Which I use on his [casthaven]Æther Vial[/casthaven]. [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven] and Fetch gaining three non land cards and then I play a Goyf at 3/4 (Lands, Artifacts, Instant) Mongoose hits Threshold with [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] [casthaven]Ponder[/casthaven] and Bolt for a Goblin. Jim blocks the Goyf the next turn but he’s back peddling to stay in the game. I remain at 19 life he’s at 11. Jim Fetches and Plays a [casthaven]Goblin Matron[/casthaven] for [casthaven]Goblin Ringleader[/casthaven]. Goyf blocked again and Mongoose gets in as a [casthaven]Forked Bolt[/casthaven] hits Jim bringing him to 5. In my hand [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], [casthaven]Force of Will[/casthaven], [casthaven]Daze[/casthaven]. Jim plays two goblins. I [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven] the War Marshall and and Daze the second one. My attack brings him to 2. And after his draw he concedes.

I really lucked out taking the first game on the draw. Swarm Decks are generally a really hard time for me.

I didn’t play the finals, I was ready to go home, and $300 seems like a great place to stop for the day. I had access to 360 in credit, but without Power, Duals or Goyfs I think I’d just rather take the cash. I gave my opponent the invite, as I’m not really working at the moment while I try to get my wedding photography business off the ground, and the money will likely go into trying to make that successful.

6-2-1 though pretty good run. I’m feeling like I played to the best of my abilities, I didn’t make many if any glaring mistakes (aside from the [casthaven]Exhume[/casthaven]/ [casthaven]Surgical Extraction[/casthaven] thing) and I was rewarded for calm calculated play, and not going on tilt, when I lost, even in games that were a turn away from me. It all evened out and I feel pretty good about the deck, in this form. The [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven]s in place of on Lavamancer and [casthaven]Fire//Ice[/casthaven] were excellent, and I think I’ll keep that [casthaven]Ashen Rider[/casthaven] in the board for luck, if not just cuz I dig it.

That’s my story, after the win I took a cab to the Ferry and the 1 to the L, hit up Alaska bar, got Tony a shot for the Goyfs, came home told my girlfriend, made Tuna Casserole and built my modern deck for the week. But that’s a story for Next week!

Zac Clark

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