Black and green. Black. And. Green. I guess at this point in my magic career it’s safe to say i’ve chosen the colors that identify me. I’m at my most comfortable and confident when I play Golgari. Let’s look at my decks of late.

Standard — I tossed Temur and built Abzan this past week. It was expensive to commit to, especially the week after the Pro Tour, but I sucked it up and bought the planeswalkers and the Wingmate Rocs. I was convinced by the power of Siege Rhino. Moreover, when people had prophetically named Abzan “the new Jund” I hopped right on board like a good little netdecker. Maybe i’ll go back to Temur in a few weeks after I wanna get savage again, but for now i’ll be slamming Sorin, Solemn Visitor and plussing Ajani, Mentor of Heroes.

Speaking of which, I missed both FNM and Game Day this past week due to work constraints, which really bummed me out. It sucks to go so all-in and not follow up the fever with some righteous battling. I’ll report in on my performance next week.

Modern — You all know what I play. I love me some Birthing Pod. I’ll get back on the Modern train soon, but i’ve been put off by the Jeskai Ascendancy combo entering the metagame. I’ll get over it. Or it’ll be banned. Either way, Pod got some cool tools to play with, as Anafenza, the Foremost is a fantastic card that slots perfectly into my approach to the deck. I’ll also be toying with Siege Rhino in the sideboard, for funsies! Oh, and yeah, Windswept Heath!

Legacy — So with GP New Jersey coming up i’ve been torn to shreds on what to play. Fellow Hipster Tim Akpinar wrote a fantastic article breaking down the current Legacy field with the advent of Treasure Cruise, which I poured over when attempting to make changes to my Sultai Delver build. I was trying to fit in Treasure Cruise, but I didn’t like the way the deck was playing out anymore. So my first delve was last night at the LGSs’ Monday Night Legacy, where I put together Bob Huangs UR Delver list that won the SCG Open.

As it turns out, about half the store was on the same deck. This was both disconcerting and, as I looked around at the gaming tables, utterly hilarious. Sitting down across from Roland Chang, and the mirror match, in round one, we both agreed as we played out three games the matchup  reminded us of the RUG Delver mirror. Whomever was on the play, won. I ended up going 2-1-1 for the night, drawing against Cruise Control (a BUG control deck with Pernicious Deed, planeswalkers, and Treasure Cruise) and conceding my fourth round to Enchantress. I left feeling uninspired with the deck and wanted to play something else. Something within my wheelhouse. Something… with Verdant Catacombs!

And lo, this morning I was parousing the internet and found Caleb Durwoods NicFit list on ChannelFireball. Now THIS was something I could get down with! It had everything I wanted: a flexible deck that attacked from a few different angles: I could win with Grave Titan or Jace, the Mind Sculptor! I could cast Treasure Cruise and Scavenging Ooze! And I could finally test my understanding of one of the more interesting cards in the Legacy format: Cabal Therapy.

Here’s the list, one that I will begin testing this week:


Creatures (11)
Veteran Explorer
Baleful Strix
Scavenging Ooze
Grave Titan

Spells (27)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Force of Will
Treasure Cruise
Pernicious Deed
Abrupt Decay
Cabal Therapy
Lands (22)
Verdant Catacombs
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Phyrexian Tower
Tropical Island
Underground Sea

Sideboard (15)
Abrupt Decay
Nihil Spellbomb
Engineered Plague

Limited — I have had quite the bounce back in Khans limited since last week. TDL finally went well for me, with my deck going 2-1 drafting… yep, you guessed it. Black and green. I splashed white for two Armament Corps (a card I have never yet passed) and blue for one Icy Blast (which won me the game whenever I cast it). It was, as they say, a blast to play, and to win.

Then, on Friday, when I narrowly missed standard FNM due to work, I decided to hop into a draft at the LGS. I first picked Windswept Heath for value, then moved into Abzan when I was passed Armament Corps followed by Incremental Growth in pack one. Here is what I ended up with.

Verdant Countercombs

Creatures (15)
Ruthless Ripper
Mardu Hateblade
Heir of the Wilds
Ainok Bond-Kin
Highland Game
Temur Charger
Mardu Hordechief
Tuskguard Captain
Salt Road Patrol
Unyielding Krumar
Armament Corps
Abzan Guide
War Behemoth

Spells (7)
Savage Punch
Awaken the Bear
Abzan Ascendancy
Abzan Charm
Smite the Monstrous
Incremental Growth
Lands (18)
Windswept Heath
Scoured Barren
Jungle Hollow

The decks plan was simple. Cast dudes, cast Incremental Growth, attack. And each game worked out that way, for the most part. I ended up losing round one to a mono-red deck that beat me with Barrage of Boulders and Trumpet Blast after swarming the board. After the rough beats I easily put together a 2-1 record, which I was more than happy with, as I liked my deck. Drafting a focused strategy, and drafting black and green, seems to be working out for me.

That’s it for this week. I’m going to focus on both Standard and my Legacy prep for GP New Jersey. I’ll report back with some testing under my belt.

Reporting from the Catacombs.

After a ten-year lapse from Magic, where his favorite combo was Tradewind Rider with Stasis, Derek is back to learn the new-border variant of the game. While less frustrating cards have been printed, he now has to get used to planeswalkers, and people rolling dice when he resolves Hymn to Tourach. He qualified for the Junior Super Series in 1999 at Pro Tour New York, then used his collection to finance his college education. Years later, he works in the fashion industry as a stylist, consultant, and sometime-matchmaker for brands. He loves all things black leather, and is out to journal his level-ups with hopes of playing at the highest competitive level of the game. You can reach him at [email protected].

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