So, I’ve been remiss and haven’t done a report for the last two FNM events. Two weeks ago, (6/12) I had spent most of the day in airports and airplanes, was way too tired, and threw together Next Level Bant literally right before heading over to the store and played it for the first time at FNM, without so much as a test game beforehand. NL Bant is a little more skill-intensive than Mythic and I really didn’t have a good sense of it, misplayed horribly at every opportunity, and went 0-3, drop. Moral of the story, something I already knew but didn’t act on: do not play a deck you don’t know at all. I know Pro players always like to regale us with tales of picking up a deck the night before and still winning, but you have to remember, for every one of those you read, there are countless others who do that and don’t write a report because it was a disaster. While maybe it works every once in a while, it’s not a good strategy in general.
So, last week (6/19), I played Mythic Conscription again. I won round 1 vs. Alan playing Eldrazi Elves 1-0-1. We timed out in the second game because I couldn’t draw a Sovereigns and he couldn’t ramp because I had Linvala out. I had a Baneslayer so I had much life but he had a Monument so nobody was getting anywhere. Round 2 was against Doug playing Jund, which I won 2-1. I actually lost game 1, which should not happen often, but managed to pull out the second game because he kept a bad hand and I got an early Baneslayer. Game 3 was a more drawn-out game that I won on the back of a timely Emerge Unscathed. I lost round 3 to Matt, playing his usual Vengevine Naya because I could not draw a Sovereign to save my life and then punted the last game because I did the math wrong. I probably could have drawn in because all of my opponents ended up making the top 8 but John and I played for it in round 4, him playing RDW. I won the first game, in part because he was a little land-flooded. I lost the second as the only thing he had on the board was a Kargan Dragonlord, but it was leveled up some. I only had one blue-producing land and couldn’t cast Jace to bounce it, so I played a Noble Hierarch. Unfortunately he had burn for the Hierarch, so no double-blue for me, and death by Dragonlord. I lost the third game to a Manabarbs and another leveled-up Dragonlord. 2-2 for matches, all my opponents made the top 8. Ugh.
So, in my grand tradition of not playing the same deck two weeks in a row, I had to find something different. I wasn’t going to go back to Next Level Bant because that had been a disaster. I did have a little time on Thursday to test out the Junk deck I proposed, but that deck isn’t quite there. It can indeed generate some really explosive starts, but when it doesn’t, it wasn’t very good, at least against Super Friends. (Testing showed clearly that Student of Warfare/Scute Mob is better in the long run than Steppe Lynx, though). So, with that not being a viable option, it occurred to me that I had never played an actual control deck at FNM, so I decided to go with Super Friends. Here’s my build:
2 Arid Mesa
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Tectonic Edge
3 Kor Firewalker
3 Baneslayer Angel
2 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
2 Wall of Denial
The metagame at Montag’s lately has been some Mythic, a fair amount of Naya, a little Super Friends or UW control, a bunch of Jund, and John playing RDW. I’m the only person I’ve seen attempting Next Level Bant, and I don’t think my outing convinced anyone else to play it.
Round 1: Andrew playing Grixis
Andrew is not a regular but I think I might have played him once before. Game 1 I kept an opener with a bunch of land and a Day of Judgment, a Wall of Omens, and a Path, which is usually pretty good. However, he opened with an Island and then a Drowned Catacombs and that immediately told me I had kept the wrong hand. He ran out a Bloodwitch and Negate’d my Day. I managed an Elspeth but the Bloodwitch made short work of her and a Mind Shatter for four killed my hand, and then a few turns later he got off a Cruel Ultimatum; I never really recovered. Game 2 was all me; I had an answer to everything he threw out there and had multiple ‘walkers early and it was done. Game 3 was really drawn out, back-and-forth kind of affair. He managed a Cruel again when I had exactly three cards in hand, but I managed to recover and got out a Gideon and something else. He conceded when he was at eight and I had Gideon active along with something else. He actually had me, as I was at 8 and he had a Bloodwitch I couldn’t block or Path on the board and was holding two Bolts. Apparently, he was thinking about the Bolts as a way to control Gideon, but Gideon was at 8 so that wouldn’t work. Either way, I got the win in our 5 turns after time was called phase, whew.
1-0 matches, 2-1 games
Round 2: Carols playing Boss Naya
Carlos was playing “old school” Boss Naya with no Vengevines or main deck Baneslayers; something very close to LSV’s PT San Diego list, though oddly with no Bolts. Game 1 was all me: Day on turn 4, Elspeth on 5, Gideon on 6; quick beatings. Game 2 I don’t really remember other than him getting a Sledge active and me not drawing enough Day/removal. Game 3 was decided mostly by him dropping a Pithing Needle and correctly naming the Gideon in my hand, which would have been a huge problem for him. Turns out he saw it when I cracked a fetch or something like that. Ugh, gotta remember to take better care of my hand. The real lock was the Manabarbs from his sideboard that I didn’t have a Negate for and didn’t draw an O Ring for until it was far too late.
1-1 matches, 3-3 games
Round 3: Nick playing RDW
This was an odd RDW deck in that he ran Howling Mine in the main and things like Brood Birthing. However, he also had the amazing turn 1 Goblin Guide start. That Guide gave me multiple lands so when I finally neutralized it (with a Wall of Omens) I never missed a land drop. I eventually won by going ultimate with Jace… with two Howling Mines in play. Game 2 he got another turn 1 Guide but I again produced a Wall of Omens in short order and an Elspeth. He did eventually burn out the Elspeth and the Wall, but I ran Day to clear the board and finished him off with a Gideon.
2-1 matches, 5-3 games
Round 4: Dustin playing Vampires
Dustin is a Montag’s regular and a really nice guy, always an enjoyable match. Unfortunately, the first two games were both decided by mana issues. In Game 1, he mulligan’d once into a 1-lander, but kept it because he had a lot of two-drops. Unfortunately, my turn 2 play was a Spreading Seas and he didn’t draw a Swamp for a couple turns and was just too far behind to keep up. Game 2 I missed my turn 4 land drop (even after a Wall of Omens), though I did have a Chalice in play, I didn’t have two white sources so I couldn’t Day and he got a Nocturnus. I drew… a Colonnade. Yes, sure, a source of white, but not soon enough and I died to the flying vamp army. I joked that the third game we’d finally have a real game where both of us got to do stuff, and he replied that no, we’d probably both just draw tons of land. I said I liked my odds in a game that involved mostly land. We did, in fact, draw mostly land for a while. I thought I had him when I had both an Ajani and a Jace in play, but he hit me with All Is Dust. Yikes. He dropped a few dudes and I drew into a Martial Coup, which I cast for 9 tokens. He cleared with another All Is Dust. I put out a Chalice for 4, he dropped a couple dudes. I did a Mind Spring for 4 or 5 and had enough mana open to cast the Day I drew off of it. He put out something and then I drew the second Martial Coup and cast it for 12 tokens. They swung once, he dropped a Bloodwitch, my tokens came in again and I ran out Elspeth, and that was it.
3-1 matches, 7-4 games
Round 5: ID
Someone told me he was playing Turbofog, and that sounded to me like a draw on time anyway. I did the math and realized we could draw in anyway, so we did. Turns out he wasn’t playing Turbofog, it was Vampires (really? Two people playing Vamps? WTF?).
Quarterfinals: Carlos playing Boss Naya
Generally speaking, I don’t like playing the same guy in the top 8 as I do in the Swiss because, hey, there are other people around! But the pairings gave me Carlos again, and so we shuffled up. Game 1 was a lot like our Game 1 in the Swiss: Day on Turn 4, then ‘walkers took command. I got Ajani out and managed to keep him off double white for the Baneslayer he had in hand and managed to Helix a couple times to offset some of the small pokes I had taken, then I got Gideon and Elspeth together and made short work of it. Game 2 was a horrible game, I drew a Day which I ran on turn 4, and an Ajani which I drew on like turn 7 or 8, and then literally nothing but land.
Game 3 he again got a pretty fast start but I got a three- or four-for-one with a Day on turn 5, but of course he had a Ranger to recover. He got Manabarbs down, but this time I had an O Ring in hand. He Needle’d for Gideon again but this time I had no Gideon. He kept throwing out dudes and beating me down, but again I managed a Day. Unfortunately, he still had a Sledge on the table. He drew a Hierarch and another Needle, naming Colonnade (of which I had two or three on the table) I got out a Sphinx, but the Hierarch was Sledged so I couldn’t really make any progress. I did a Mind Spring for 4 or 5 but he got another Manabarbs, unfortunately, and dropped another dude so I had to swing with the Sphinx to drop him to 25 (damn Sledge) and then cast Martial Coup making six tokens. This unfortunately put me at 5 life, but the board was clear and he had no cards in hand. I went to 3 to Negate something (I can’t remember what) and swung with all the tokens, putting him at 6, meaning I had him dead next turn. I had mana open for a Negate and the life to use it, but I was dead to exactly one card: Bloodbraid. I knew he had only two left, so I figured my odds were good, and I did not go to 1 life to cast the Wall of Omens in my hand because I knew that was the only way he had me and I knew the odds were not good; he had about 35 cards left in his library and that’s about a 6% chance of drawing a Bloodbraid. He, of course, topdecked a Bloodbraid and hit me for exactly 3… ugh. Of all the rotten luck. I guess I should have risked it and cast the Wall, but being at 1 life didn’t seem like a good plan, though in retrospect I’m not sure why not, since I knew he wasn’t running Bolts.
3-2-1 matches, 8-6 games
Not a great day, but I got a couple packs for my trouble, though they didn’t have anything worthwhile in them. I stayed to watch the top 4. Joe, also playing Super Friends, got Carlos in the next round and of course managed to not get topdecked into the earth, though it did go three games. The finals was John and his RDW against Joe, which Joe won fairly handily; game 2 he managed two early Wall of Omens along with two Firewalkers, and John just couldn’t overcome that. Joe got $60 in store credit but didn’t really want it, so he sold me his credit for $30 and I picked up some singles and some deck boxes (red and a black mana symbol boxes to complete my set). So, overall, not that a bad night, really.
I’ll be traveling again the coming week and so will have zero time—actually, less, since I’ll be traveling with the kids—time to brew and/or test, so I’m almost certainly going back to Mythic next week. Only two more weeks of Standard before we go to M11 draft. Looks like M11 will have something serious to say about the format even before Shards and M10 rotate out!