Prior to coming to Grand Prix Vegas this year I set myself a goal to make day two. I’ll say up front, as the event approached I did not believe that this goal was realistic. I had my daydreams in which I started out the event 9-0, got a feature match and a photo on the mothership. But when I was honest with myself I did not believe I would reach this goal. This would be my third time at GP Vegas and the previous two I had fallen short of my goal. At the GP in 2013 I started my day 6-1, staring down two win-and-ins to make day two. I took round 8 to game three and got stuck without two blue mana holding Pact of Negation in hand when my opponent cast his Meloku. At the GP in 2015 I started out 1-2 before I fought back to 5-2, and then took my third loss.

However, this time I would be playing Legacy. And not only would I be playing Legacy, I would be playing with a manabase that was unfamiliar to me and I would be playing in my first paper Legacy event in three years. I’d had some time to test online in the months leading up to the event but had been running into control deck after control deck. Needless to say I was not confident coming into this event, but I still was telling myself that I would hit my goal.

I opted to play TES (The Epic Storm) which is one of the two main builds. Basically this version is more of a Burning Wish Deck than a Past in Flames deck. It’s the one I’ve played the most so figured with my lack of prep time it was good to go with what I know. Full disclosure my first FNM deck ever was a Retract/Brain Freeze deck so I’ve been on storm for a while.

The Epic Storm

Spells (47)
Burning Wish
Gitaxian Probe
Infernal Tutor
Rite of Flame
Cabal Therapy
Empty the Warrens
Dark Ritual
Ad Nauseam
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lotus Petal
Chrome Mox
Lands (13)
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Scalding Tarn
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Abrupt Decay
Echoing Truth
Tormod’s Crypt
Xantid Swarm
By Force
Empty the Warrens
Past in Flames
Tendrils of Agony

Round One–Ad Nauseum Tendrils

I win the die roll and keep while my opponent takes two mulligans. I see a potential turn one kill but with no way to see my opponent’s hand. I had decided before the event to play fairly tight and did not want to start the tournament off by trying to storm off blind. Opponent plays a Gitaxian Probe and then lays a Flooded Strand which threw me off. I was hoping storm but also worried about a Delver variant. So I pass my turn and almost pay for it when opponent plays Ad Nauseum. He goes to two life without seeing a way to make mana, passes the turn and I storm off. Game two we both mull to six and start off with matching discard spells. Unfortunately opponent sees infinite cantrips while I draw blanks. Game three was pretty quick as I was able to combo off early for the win.

Round Two–Burn

Burn is an interesting matchup because of Eidolon of the Great Revel, Pyrostatic Pillar, and Sulfuric Vortex. There are times I have to try and make ten goblins and just win and others I have to cast mini Tendrils to give myself time. Fortunately my opponent scooped both games even though I thought he could still win. I gladly improve to 2-0.

Round Three–Turbo Depths

Game one I cast Ad Nauseum from 18 life and win, but game two I can’t overcome a turn one Sphere of Resistance. Game three, opponent plays out two Sphere of Resistance. I try to set up a turn where I can Echoing Truth away the Spheres, but I come up short and die to Marit Lage.

Round Four–Maverick

Game one opponent mulls, I Duress and see Wasteland, Karakas, Cavern of Souls, Verdant Catacomb, Gaddock Teeg, Tireless Tracker. Sadly my opponent does not agree with my assessment that Duress should be able to hit Teeg so I have to wait until turn two to cast Cabal Therapy. From there I storm out. Game two I find Echoing Truth to beat his hate.

Round Five–Burn

This was my actually the only archetype I played multiple times in the entire tournament and unfortunately it was during this round I realized that I needed food. Made some bad decisions. Game one instead of going for a lot of goblins while at healthy life total I go for Ad Nauseum and die. Game two I go off turn two from 16 life and easily win. Game three is where the hunger got to me. I played sloppy, miscounted my goblins and thought I had a lethal swing instead leaving my opponent at two with a draw step to win, but I survive to improve to 4-1.

Round Six–Big Eldrazi

I won fairly easily.

Round Seven–Sneak and Show

My first win and in under the new rules! First round against a foreign opponent which definitely led to some difficulties in communication, mainly due to passing priority. Fortunately I draw well and take down both games to lock up my day two goal.

Round Eight–BUG Depths

This round I played the creator of the new TopDecked app which I promptly downloaded as it delivered your pairings with seat number to your chair. He was 7-0-1 at this point and on turn one I Probe him to see two Stifle, a Ponder, Jace, The Mind Sculptor, and some lands. I do everything I can to bait out the Stifle as I had plenty of lands. I’m not able to so I end up just storming off hoping to find Duress/Cabal Therapy. I reveal a lot of cards yet only hit one Duress. I use Dark Ritual to Infernal Tutor for a second Duress. When I cast it my opponent says, “You’re not going to be happy.” And he’s right, because I see a Snapcaster Mage I did not know about. I go on to lose. Game two I have a turn one kill and I decide to make him have the Force as the matchup seems not good. He has the Force along with another one, and two blue cards. In hindsight I think I was frustrated by game one and did not play smart in this round.

Round Nine–Belcher

This was a fun match with a really chill opponent. At some point in game two I apologized for taking a second to think out my line and my opponent just laughed and said, “We’re not going to time.” I manage to win and I make day two at 7-2! Record

I was excited even though I had originally had plans for that night that involved drinking and Chaos Drafting. I really did not believe that I would make day two, but here I was and with a pretty good record and decent breakers.

Round Ten–Big Red

I got trapped by Blood Moon game one when I couldn’t fetch a basic Island. Game two went well, but they had the Trinisphere to take game three.

Round Eleven–RB Reanimator

This is the match that prompted me to write a tournament report. To start off the game, opponent reveals Chancellor of the Annex. I play out an Underground Sea, pass the turn and opponent gets Chancellor into play. I scoop to give as little information as possible. Opponent laughs that he does not know what to sideboard. Game two I storm off (revealing an Echoing Truth and Tormod’s Crypt I was hoping to keep hidden) and easily win. Game three opponent is able to Reanimate Iona, Shield of Emeria. I expected opponent to name black. He did not.

He named blue shutting off the Echoing Truth in my hand and giving me three turns to find a win. Over two turns opponent knocks me down to four and I have no choice but to storm off. I think that I have to go for Ad Nauseam and start to storm off when I cast Burning Wish and reach for my side board. I see Past in Flames, a card I have not cast all tournament and believe that I have found the line to win. I cast two rituals from my graveyard and then I cast the Burning Wish in my graveyard for the Tendrils of Agony for the win. My opponent and I both say post-game pleasantries and he tells me that he’s dropping. I feel pretty good about myself about getting back on track.

While sitting around 20 minutes later and rehashing the round with some friends it hits me. And it hits me like a ton of bricks. I had cast the Burning Wish that should have been exiled. This is the type of mistake I had been worried about making all tournament. This is the mistake that I am used to not making because one of the benefits of Magic Online is that it won’t let you make this mistake. I jumped up and went straight to a judge where I explained the situation. The judge starts asking me questions and I start to feel more and more embarrassed. “Why do you think you did that?” Those words ring with me as my sense of guilt (something that has always come along with my depression and anxiety) spikes. I know that I made a mistake, I know my opponent and I both missed it. I know the intent behind it was innocent. I thought I had made a brilliant line of play in a game I had all but lost.

The judge informed me that nothing really could be done to correct it, and that he would keep the information in case my opponent had questions or in case something like this happened again. But, looking back now, I am fairly certain that at this point my tournament was truly done. I went on to play in two more rounds but I did not play well.

In round twelve I played Death and Taxes, stealing game two after I had almost stolen game one. But my heart was not in it.Next I played Merfolk, which already is a pretty difficult matchup in Legacy with the addition of Chalices and Forces. And even then, I did not help myself. I kept poor hands, I mulliganed poorly, and I finally made the decision after this round to drop. I ended up 8-5 (19-14).


I’m really proud of my tournament. I learned a lot about playing this many rounds over two days and I learned a lot about my deck. I also was reminded of how Magic Online both gave me the chance to test when I could not get in paper events, yet also put me in the position of making a mistake I would not been able to make online. I have been able to talk to people, both online and in person who have helped me see that these mistakes happen. I also want to make another day two in an event like this to show that I can play at this level. I will say I am quite proud of my showing especially when it comes to Legacy, my favorite competitive format.

Hobbes is a casual magic player, a mental health and dog lover, a nerd, a geek, and a dork. He also wants you to know that he’s a baseball enthusiast, a lover of stats, and still not a Magic judge. You can follow his exploits on Twitter @HobbesQ.

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