Before we start, let’s just address the title right away. No, not that horrible acronym that no one my age with any shred of self-respect should use. The number. You won’t find a lot of tournament reports that include “140th” in the title as a humblebrag, but there also haven’t been a lot of Magic tournaments that eclipsed 4000 participants. At least not to date, but that might change, so long as everyone isn’t scared away by #crackgate. 

When we last left our hero villain (because I’m evil, duh), things did not look promising for his odds in what would be, by far, the largest constructed Magic: the Gathering tournament of ALL time. We were walking straight into dangerous and unfamiliar territory. A single bye when I am normally accustomed to two. A format that I have largely neglected for nearly a year, outside of the odd MODO two-man. A decklist that.. nevermind, I didn’t really even have a decklist at the time of my last writing. And that was at 3am on the eve of the tournament. I needed a plan, and I needed it fast. Sometimes, when you can’t come up with a reasonable plan, there are worse things you can do than borrow someone else’s plan. One of my roommates for the trip, Tony Loman, was dead set on playing UWR Twin. The list was based off of Tim Rivera’s list from the most recent Pro Tour, but with a few modifications. Tony also went through the trouble of coming up with a sideboarding plan for most of the major matchups that he expected to face, and since I had no idea how to sideboard with the deck from my limited MODO testing, that was a pretty nice selling point, for me. Then something happened. That something was that I was short a Kiki-Jiki and an Arid Mesa. So, fuck it, I guess we’re calling an audible. #YOLO

I decided to go with UR Twin, since I already had half the cards for it pulled out from attempting to assemble UWR Twin, and I didn’t feel like losing to stupid Blood Moon, anyways. And it was 4am, at this point, so what’s a dude to do, right? Ansii Alkio’s take on the archetype seemed like it could be a decent choice. It also fit with the main core that I really wanted, which was four Snappy and four Bolts. I did make one tiiiiiiny change in replacing a Lavamancer in the board with another copy of Dispel. I felt that being able to protect my threats from instant-speed removal and having another bullet for the counter wars would be beneficial. For reference, here is the list:

UR Twin

Creatures (14)
Deceiver Exarch
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique

Spells (23)
Cryptic Command
Izzet Charm
Lightning Bolt
Serum Visions
Spell Snare
Splinter Twin
Lands (23)
Desolate Lighthouse
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Sulfur Falls
Tectonic Edge

Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Blood Moon
Flame Slash
Grim Lavamancer
Relic of Progenitus
Threads of Disloyalty

I wake up and put the finishing touches on acquiring all the cards I needed for my list. I finish writing the list during the players meeting. I finish sleeving the list during my bye, just in time for round one. Just keep reading all the things I did last weekend and file it away in your brain under, “How not to have a successful Magic tournament.” Somehow, to the befuddlement of everyone I know, I have what can be considered a “successful Magic tournament.”

Before we do get into the tournament, rather than writing what an awesome dude my opponent was each round, I’ll just say this in the beginning: everyone was an absolute pleasure to play against. Literally everyone. Such great vibes all weekend. We’ve all been there and played against that asshole, but said asshole must have stayed home on this particular weekend, because I heard similar stories from a number of my friends. Hell, one of my friends even played against the guy responsible for #crackgate, and while I don’t agree with some of his actions and think that they’re bad for growth of the game, I was told that he was a nice/funny/chill guy.

Round One – Bye – I don’t know, he scooped too fast

I continue my lifetime undefeated streak against “Bye.” This dude is the worst at Magic. Ever. It’s like he scoops before I even finish sitting down at the table. If Bye was a hockey team, they would likely be the New York Islanders, because only Charles Wang could be this inept.


Round Two – Ross – Melira Pod

My first actual paper Modern match in nearly a year. The last time I played was during PTQ season, last year. Game one goes just how I want it to. All he can manage is a couple of swings at me with Melira. I’m able to handle her with an Electrolyze, followed by five swings with my favorite creature in all of Magic, Vendilion Clique, to close things out. Hey Clique, I see you gushing, there, over what I just said! Don’t get too happy, there’s not a very high bar to clear because I hate creatures! Ross gets me in game two with his beatdown plan. I don’t remember exactly what he cast, but there was a Sin Collector involved, and it hit something that would’ve been clutch. Game three turns into a race, where he has Kitchen Finks, but two Snapcasters with multiple burn spells and a Clique prove to be faster. I take the match, 2-1.


Round Three – Jon – Storm 

The highlight of this match was at one point where Jon fetched and I prematurely went to cut his deck. Half of his deck was still in his other hand, but I was about to cut, anyways. Jon, stopped me, and I was like, “I thought it felt small.”

Jon: “Now my deck is sad.”

Because I have the sense of humor of a thirteen year-old and will always ROFLMAO at a good double entendre. (note: I was not actually rolling on the floor, but the LMAO totally happened)

But anyways, he dies in game one to three fetches, a shock, three Clique swings, and two Bolts. Clique saw two Ascensions, a Past in Flames, a ritual, and a land (pretty sure I let him keep them all). He’s able to go off in game two, after a Clique and his manabase brings him down to 9. I get him in game three, partially by forcing him to go off a bit earlier than he wants to by tapping a land on his upkeep with Exarch, and mostly by him bricking on four draws in a row when he was attempting to go off. I think I may have made some misplays in this match with regards to Remand and him getting live Ascensions, but I don’t have the exact sequencing in my notes. I win 2-1. Am I even playing a combo deck? Maybe I should’ve just sleeved up Blue Moon. Except that beer tastes like ass, so I’m not playing a deck named after it. Fuck you, Coors, and your pathetic attempt to convince the general populace that you can brew a witbier.


Round Four – Jeremy – BR Zombie Aggro

Jeremy was on a bit of a brew, playing something that resembled (a Modern upgrade of) the BR Zombie decks from when Innistrad was last Standard-legal. He had to take a mull to dice in the first game, and I didn’t actually see a whole lot, other than a fistful of removal. I took four damage off of my manabase, before combo-ing off with Exarch and Twin. Interestingly enough, he was running maindeck Rakdos Charm. I was mildly suspicious, when he didn’t immediately scoop to the combo, and then asked how many copies I was making. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to play it carefully and make sure that I always had countermagic up to protect my offense, since he didn’t have any sort of pressure. Remand is nice on his Charm when he only has one red source available. In game two, he has plenty of pressure, brought on by a Viscera Seer and several Geralf’s Messangers (which he would immediately sac, so it was effectively a three-mana 4/3 that drained for four on ETB). He was able to bring me down to six, but at that point, I combo’d off for the win. Okay, now I’m glad I didn’t play Blue Moon. That would’ve left a bad taste in my mouth, anyways. 2-0 win for me.


Side Quest!

At this point, I was starting to feel like a “stereotypical” Magic player (I know it’s not the truth, but let’s be honest, other people believe this to be how things are). You see, I had to leave straight from the office on Friday evening to begin my journey to Richmond. It was a light day in the office, at least during the early afternoon, so I decided to take a break and hit the gym that’s in our building. I applied my deodorant afterwards, because I just have a natural tendency to sweat like Bruce Springsteen in the middle of a three-hour set. I blame the fact that I’m from Jersey; it’s probably something in the water. I then forget my deodorant in my cube. Whoops! I took convenience stores being everywhere for granted and figured I’d pick a stick up on my way to the convention center in the morning, but no such luck. And now I’ve spent too many words chronicling my deodorant woes. But back to the point, I felt gross, and I had at least forty minutes to kill (when you count the extra time between rounds), so I went on a mission to find a stick, so as not to perpetuate the stereotype of smelly gamer nerds.

I find a convenience store, in what may have been a mildly shady part of town. You know how when you get to the checkout counter, there’s usually a bunch of random candy? Well, this particular store had all of the candy covered by heavy plastic lids that you had to lift up so that you couldn’t pull any sort of sleight of hand. Also, I’m pretty sure the cashiers were standing behind bullet-proof glass. I did find my deodorant, though. I was also faced with a pretty serious decision tree:



I know, look at you. Being all “serious Magic player,” asking, “WTF is wrong with you? You’re 4-0! Don’t drink that!” I saw those cans of Four Loko, though, and thought to myself, “Four Loko sounds like 4-0ko.” I’m not the type of guy that ignores when the universe is trying to send him a sign. We’ll just leave it at that. *wink wink*

Also, #YOLO.

Round Five – Tim (*gasp* Tim mirror!) – Tribal Zoo

Things got a little bit crazy here. Because that’s what “loco” means in Spanish, and I imagine that that’s what they were going for when they made Four Loko, even if they don’t know how to spell. For starters, this was the motherfucking Tim Mirror, the hardest mirror to play in all of Magic. There was a crowd gathered at our end of the table, and I’m pretty sure it was to watch our match, and not Brian Kibler’s match that was going on right next to us. But the whole “Tim Mirror” thing was getting in my head. It was like he knew every play I was going to make as I was going to make it. He even called my plays and challenged me to call his, and we were both usually right. Fucking Tims. Being all in each other’s heads! But yeah, from my notes, I see that he gets me to 7 off of Hierarch beats (yeah, sometimes a 0-power creature can get it done), my manabase, and a Tribal Flames for the full count. I tried to Clique him, at one point, and see double Helix, land, and Flames. One of the Helices gets my Clique, but once he sends the flames to my face, I take my window to combo out. He takes game off of a quick start that involved me bolting myself with the fetch-shock combo, followed by a quick five-power ‘goyf on his side of the table. He mulls twice in the final game, and has an early Pridemage, but I’m able to deal with that with a Blood Moon, followed by another Moon, followed by an Exarch to hold him off, before finally finishing with Twin. I take the match 2-1. He seemed a bit salty upon losing, but I might be salty, too, if I lost to someone that seemed to be (not that I was, or anything) drunk.


Round Six – Chen – Mono-Red Snow Moon

I played against one of the more interesting decks I saw in the tournament, in this round. In game one, he won the die roll, and locked me out with a turn two Moon off of Simian Spirit Guide. After that, he put the game away with things like Boros Reckoner, and Pyroclasm, for value, to kill my dudes AND dome me for an extra two with Reckoner. That seemed like pretty awesome synergy, to me! I think he had the early Moon in the second game, as well, but this time, I knew to fetch basics (I used my turn one fetch on a Steam Vents in game one). I was able to get him with Exarch Twin fairly quickly. Another interesting synergy that I saw in the second game was that all of his lands were snow lands, and he had Scrying Sheets to quickly dig through them. On top of that, he had Skred to either take out opposing creatures or point at his own Reckoner for a bunch of damage to the face. Fortunately, I had countermagic for his Skred when I was going for it. He had to mull in game three, and I combo’d off almost immediately, upon seeing my window where Exarch could safely land and tap him out. I thought Chen’s list was actually pretty cool, though, especially that he went 5-0 without any byes. I gave him my email for him to send me a copy of the list, as I wouldn’t mind jamming it on MODO or being a jerk and bringing it to the store, but I have yet to hear from him.


I had some extra time, here, so I went back to that bodega with the Four Lokos. I decided to opt for a lesser beverage and take a Heineken, instead. This would later prove fatal, as a Heineken will only fuel me for one more round, as opposed to a Loko, which can fuel me for two or three rounds. And by, “fuel,” I’m clearly referring to the amount of carbohydrates in the beverages, because it’s important to keep your body fueled with carbs in an intense tournament.

Round Seven – Mike – Affinity

My opponent for this round was Mike Sigrist. I didn’t remember a whole lot about him, other than the fact that he was on Robots and he had a Patriots hat. I made a comment about it, because as a Jets fan, how could I not have anything to say about our bitter rival? Imagine my reaction when I saw his mug while reading the top 8. Turns out that I was his only loss in the entire Swiss portion of the tournament. Yeah, spoiler: I won. I control his board in game one with Snapcaster and Bolt, before getting the Twin Win. He’s able to beat me down to 8 in game two off of Ornithopter beats (backed by battlecry) and a single hit from a five-power master of Etherium before I find an Ancient Grudge. I find my combo pretty shortly after that, for the 2-0 win. Also, I am now qualified for day two! I wish I was this good at Legacy!


Round Eight – Valentin – Tarmo Twin

Valentin is from Austria (I think? I admittedly didn’t have all my faculties about me) and he has this awesome accent that kind of sounds like the Terminator. He’s also played in several Pro Tours, (and I learned after the fact that he has several GP top 8s). He’s able to beat me down to 11 on the back of a ‘goyf, but I combo off in spectacular fashion. Once I had a reasonably good idea that he couldn’t stop me, I tapped my three lands on his end step and declared, “End of turn, Twin,” and slammed my Splinter Twin on my empty board. Valentin puts his hand in the air and I was afraid he was calling a judge. I start apologizing, but he shakes his head, and I realize that he’s not calling a judge, but asking for a high-five. Then I sheepishly play my Exarch, and say, “Well, I guess we both know what’s about to happen, here.” We go to game two. I don’t remember the exact sequencing in this game, but I do know that I was playing more self-consciously due to my embarrassing line to win, in game one. I did not make note of the specific misplays, but I know there were at least two or three pretty bad errors I made (the kind of error that you realize within seconds of making it). My notes just say, “Ugh!” and that a single ‘goyf did all the damage. I had him as low as 5 life thanks to Clique and Bolts, and I’m fairly certain that I could have won if I wasn’t playing that game a bit scared. Game three wasn’t really close. He was able to leverage the major strength that Tarmo Twin has over other Twin variants: the ‘goyf beatdown plan. Val stuck not one, but two early ‘goyfs, and went to town on me. I lose 2-1.


Round Nine – Jack – BUG Infect

My round nine opponent, Jack, is from Canada. I find from chatting with him, that he is also more of a Legacy aficionado, like myself. He then recognizes my Hipsters shirt and said he actually used a couple of my articles to prepare for DC and that he thought they were helpful. I’m blushing, you guys. Moments like that are really the greatest reward of this gig. Seriously, Jack, that might have made my day more than a 7-0 start did. Both games went really poorly for me, here. Despite having an early Spellskite in game one, I couldn’t answer an Inkmoth backed up by a Hierarch. In game two, it turned into a race, aided by Blood Moon, but he pulled ahead when he topdecked a basic Forest. Tony, who was birding the match, was quick to point out that Jack could have killed me much earlier, as Hierarch could have tapped for mana. Jack agree that he missed that, which kind of makes it feel like it wasn’t really even close, so I’m really hoping not to see this archetype again! I lose 0-2


Day Two

I feel like a zombie. Not only is this the third consecutive night where I’ve gotten four or less hours of sleep, we have Daylight Savings Time to further make things wacky. Oh well.. I somehow drag myself out of bed, pack, get cleaned up and dressed, and make it to the venue on time.

Round Ten – Mark – UWR Geist

Go figure, my first round of the day, I get paired against a good friend, from Brooklyn. I actually pegged Mark for UWR Control in game one, because all of his offense comes from bolts, and a Colonnade. I also had a Peek at his hand at one point, and saw Mana Leak, Lightning Bolt, Snapcaster Mage, and Path to Exile, which just screams UWR Control. In any case, I take him down by bringing beats with Bolts, and some one- and two-power creatures. Mark was able to bring me down to 5, as well, so it was  a pretty tight race. Game two was just an absolute blowout. I played a turn three Clique on his end step to make sure the coast was clear. I followed that up with a Blood Moon, leaving him with a board full of Mountains. Then I cast Batterskull. 2-0


Round Eleven – Rob – UWR Midrange

(Similar to UWR Geist. but with Blade Splicer instead of Geist as the three-drop threat)

This match just felt absolutely miserable to play. I’m not sure my head was totally in it, either, because I was just making plays into his open mana and losing counter wars, rather than showing patience and playing on his end step. While I have one poorly played game against Valentin that I’m a little upset with myself about, I feel like I played this whole match really poorly. There was one specific moment in game two, where I tried to go off, thinking that Remand was enough protection, only to get blown out, and lose the game specifically for losing that counter-fight. I could have continued to deploy small threats on his end step, and keep him under pressure, and then go off, after I feel that he’s exhausted enough of his resources (because that’s the right way to play against a controlly deck). This isn’t to discredit my opponent at all, though; he played an incredibly tight match and was able to extract the maximum advantage from each mistake I made. I lose 0-2.


Round Twelve – Chris – Mono-Black

I lose against Mono-Black (pseudo-)Devotion. He has all the one-mana discard spells and freaking Nyxathid. Before I could form words, he immediately turns Nyxathid upside down when he cast it, at which I laugh and say, “You must get asked for a read on that one a lot, because I sure as hell needed to!” He also has an assortment of efficient black creatures with two black mana symbols, such as Gatekeeper of Malakir and Vampire Nighthawk. He beats me down while I’m hellbent in game one. In game two, he sticks a couple of those two-black mana symbol creatures and gets a couple hits in. Then he sticks an Obliterator. Then Gary comes to town. Yep. Grey Merchant of Asphodel killed me. I lose 0-2. Now my back is against the wall. There’s a chance I might even be dead, regardless of whether or not I win out, but I felt pretty sure that some 11-4s would finish in the money. Besides, I needed the Planeswalker Points, so we’ll keep on chugging along.


Round Thirteen – Chris – Melira Pod

My first (and only) repeat matchup of the tournament. He’s able to land a Linvala a turn before I am ready to combo off. Then he goes to work with Finks and Township, and gets out of range of my tempo game plan. I get an early combo kill in game two. In game three, we have some back-and-forth, before I lock him out with Moon. He gets a Pridemage, but I have another Moon. He then gets Linvala, but she has to stay back to block, as I have double Snapcaster with a third in hand. I build up enough burn to just charge in with everything and then Bolt him out for the win.


Round Fourteen – Erik – Living End

Erik seems to be a bit tilted after losing a game one where he destroys my only land three times via Beast Within and Fulminator Mages. At one point, I had to discard due to hand size, and I binned Clique. He had to deal with my beast token, so he cascaded into Living End. My Clique is then able to outrace him, thanks to a timely bolt. He gets me in a close game two, where I bring him down to four life on the tempo plan, but he gets me with a Living End. In game three, I put a bit of pressure on him, and bring him down to 13, while playing a control game. Once he’s tapped out, I combo and win. He later reveals a hand of four Living End, one of which, I Remanded, earlier. I win 2-1


Before the final round starts, we sit down for another Player Meeting-type thing, where we’re seated alphabetically and have to fill out tax forms. I am sitting next to Todd Anderson and he’s talking about how he’s about to play what is probably the second or third biggest match of his career, as it would qualify him for three Pro Tours if he wins. The upcoming match didn’t have the same gravity for me, but as I thought about it, this match was a pretty big deal. I knew at that point that I was just outside top-150 and a win would definitely put me in. Being able to say that I monied the biggest constructed Grand Prix seemed neat. Also, I’ve never monied a Grand Prix before. Day twos have always been a nightmare for me! This was my first chance to shake the day two monkey off my back and put up a winning record. So, maybe this one match wasn’t a triple PTQ for me, but it was a pretty big deal. I needed this win.


Game one goes incredibly quickly. I am on the play. On Jeff’s upkeep of his third turn, I flash in Exarch and tap one of his two Urza lands. He then plays the third, but he can’t play his Karn. Then I win on turn four via combo. In game two, Jeff is able to turn off my combo with a pair of Torpor Orbs, but he’s never able to get any serious presence, himself. He’s forced to get rid of his Orbs by popping an Oblivion Stone just to deal with the pair of Deceiver Exarchs pecking away at his life total. When he pops O-Stone, I play the Blood Moon I was sandbagging. Clique comes down to clean up and deliver the killing and top-150-clinching blow. I win 2-0


That was good enough for 140th place, overall, out of 4301 players. I’m still pinching myself, because I can’t believe the run I had. I got so many kind words of encouragement from friends far and wide, so I want to thank all of you. It meant a lot. xoxo. I also want to thank all of my opponents for being awesome people, as that’s really what makes this a good time. Your regularly-scheduled Legacy programming will resume next week.

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