It’s New Year’s Eve (or I guess New Year’s Day, once this post goes live), which means it’s that time of the year when blog posts go up about things like year in reviews, or resolutiony bullshit, or x best whatevers of [insert the year that just ended]. Not breaking from that tired and true tradition, I’m giving you my version of that, today! I wrote a post around this time last year, where I included a few quasi-resolutions I wanted to achieve in 2014. Let’s see how we did:

Accountability

This one was in regards to my Eternal reviews for new sets and what prospects they offered older formats. Specifically, I realized I had a bit of a problem with my excitement level on new cards, where I would hype them to Erwinian levels, and then, none of the cards that I would call at “80% likely to see play” or whatever meaningless scale I was using would actually see any Legacy play. The poster child for this overly optimistic review can be seen when I first examined Theros for Legacy-playable cards. My plan was to create a sort of contest where readers would pick against me in what was playable/unplayable, but the rules ended up being overly convoluted, and nobody really participated (at least, not in a manner spelled out by the convoluted rules), so my little game was mostly a failure.

On the flipside, though, if you look at all of my Eternal reviews after I made the conscious decision to be more conservative in evaluating new cards for Legacy, I’ve been far more accurate. So while the mini-game didn’t work out, I did get the intended result. On BNG, I called Brimaz and Spirit of the Labyrinth, while saying Temples would see Modern play, which proved correct. I never did a formal review on JOU because I felt it would be boring, but I did mention that I felt that Eidolon of the Great Revel and Mana Confluence were our Legacy cards, with Eidolon of Rhetoric and Aegis seeing some sideboard play (so I missed the odd Keranos that shows up from time to time). I skipped M15, and we didn’t really miss much, other than the occasional Rabblemaster that shows up as the win condition in certain flavors of mono-red prison archetypes. Then we got to Khans, where I would say I nailed it, with regards to Legacy; I called delve as a serious game-changer for the format, where most of the established voices (outside of Carsten Kotter) didn’t think it would be.

At the end of the day, I was really just trying to create an incentive structure that would cause me to be more realistic and less outlandish with my new set predictions for Legacy, and while it didn’t go exactly as planned, I did get the end-result that I was going for.

Personal Performance

My goal was a top 8, and while I may have failed in that regard, I can’t say it was a bad year. If we don’t count Baltimore (which is reasonable to do, since Baltimore was technically the first Grand Prix of the 2015 calendar year.. I know, it’s weird, but that’s how it is), I not only made day two of 75% of the Grand Prix that I played in, but I converted ALL of my day two appearances to a finish in the money, and I earned my first pro point. On top of that, I can now say that I finished in the money at the two biggest Constructed tournaments of all time (Richmond, New Jersey). Prior to last year, my day two performances were always very weak, and I was in the happy-just-to-be-there camp. Now, when I show up Sunday morning to continue playing cards with the elite few to have made the cut, I am not awed or impressed, but I feel like I belong there. If you told me at the start of the year that I would not make any top 8s, but I would money three out of four GPs, including a top 32, I would gladly take it. Even cooler, still, is that I proved I can get it done in multiple formats, forcing Hasbro to cut me checks for my performances in Limited, Modern, and Legacy. On top of that, I put up a top 64 at Eternal Weekend, and played in my first SCG Invitational. A solid year for my personal performance, if I do say so, myself, and it would be pretty narrow and shortsighted to judge it solely in the context of top 8s.

Expanding My Range

I think I’ve succeeded in this department. Since the start of the year, I’ve picked up the following archetypes, for the first time, and piloted them all to at least a 3-1 finish during my local store’s Monday Night Legacy or a Legacy Daily on MODO: Reanimator, Sneak n’ Show, Jeskai/Temur/Sultai/BURG Delver, Shardless Sultai, Sultai Control, Grixis Control, Punishing Dack, and Golddigger. While I didn’t follow the strict two-event rotation that I described, I tried out a whole load of new decks in the last year, which I think is fine, since in a lot of cases, I realized that I needed more than two events to really get a good feel for an archetype. In the case of Sneak n’ Show, I even felt confident enough to bring one of these non-Miracle lists to a major event, and I ended up with a decent finish.

Finish My Miracles Primer

Ha.. no comment. I really dropped the call on this one, and I think a big part of it is that my confidence with the archetype waned from the end of 2013 and into the early-mid part of 2014. Coming off the heels of a largely disappointing GP in Chantilly, I failed to put up a decent finish with the deck at anything larger than a Daily or MNL. To make matters worse, the rest of the Legacy world was starting to figure out that Miracles might actually be deserving of the title of “Best Deck,” as it was putting up a ton of strong finishes in the hands of pilots that were not me, eroding my previously-held belief that I was one of the better Miracles players out there. With that kind of a mindset, I just didn’t feel eager or excited about continuing to write the “Bible” on how to play the deck, when I felt poorly-qualified to write it.

Continuing To Spread My Love For Legacy

I’m not going to name names on this one, but I blew this one out of the water. Through the course of normal interaction with friends in Brooklyn as well as interaction with readers of the column and viewers on the stream, I can think of at least half a dozen players who I played a hand in helping to bring into the format in the last year, whether it be by actually loaning them cards or just giving them advice and having some back and forth dialogue on things like deck choices or card choices.

That wasn’t too awful, right? I guess you could say I went three for five, if we give myself half-credit for “accountability” and “personal performance.”

And of course, this kind of post wouldn’t be complete without a “looking ahead to 2015” section for some resolutions, sooooo…

Looking Ahead To 2015

  • On Range: Finally play and master (or.. understand the basics of) LED decks in Legacy. While the price of digital LEDs has cratered, the current high price of Infernal Tutor has sidelined me from playing the broken combo decks that it enables online. I almost have a paper set of LEDs, so hopefully I can get into it, soon. I swear, I’m playing Storm in a setting outside of Cube, this year!
  • On Performance: Last year, I said I wanted to get the top 8 monkey off my back. While I didn’t exactly do that, I had some damned good runs in GPs. While a top 8 would be nice, I don’t think we can call this a failure if I continue to money GPs, have a strong showing in the Open Series, maybe cash an Invitational, and end up on the SCG leaderboard. I guess a few performance-related goals I have for next year are to exceed last year’s total of Pro Points, win a PPTQ, and qualify for the Pro Tour. The ultimate, though, would be to top 8 one of the major Legacy events (Open, Eternal Weekend, Grand Prix).
  • Play in a Vintage tournament. This shouldn’t be that hard to fulfill, right? Most paper Vintage events allow some number of proxies, so there is no reason I can’t get my Vintage cherry popped in 2015. As of right now, I’m planning to play in Eternal Extravaganza weekend in March, and Sunday features a 15-proxy Vintage event.
  • Get back into Standard. This doesn’t really mean much for this column, but I’d like to play more Standard next year, with competitive Magic suddenly becoming incredibly Standard-focused, both on the WotC and SCG circuits. I’ve only actually played in three Standard events since Theros came out, if you can believe it!
burning-money

What it feels like when you buy Standard cards every season but only play three times in over a year

  • Write Another Legacy Primer: That also means reaching a level of expertise with another archetype that I feel worthy of writing such a thing.
  • Dat Miracles Primer: I swear, I’ll get to that, this year.

 

I guess that’s enough things to work on for the next year, right? That’s a wrap for this year. I’ll be back, later this week, with the fourth quarter Legacy metagame analysis, just in time for the start of the next SCG season, for anyone planning on playing in Columbus! Have a safe and happy New Year!

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