December 29th, 2010
12/29 Military: East Carolina vs. Maryland(-8)
Maryland to win, but Pirates to cover.
12/29, Texas: Illinois vs. Baylor(+1)
I’ll be at this game. Taking the Bears because of the essentially home crowd they’ll have.
12/29, Alamo: Oklahoma St. vs Arizona(+4)
I think the Pac 10 was pretty good this year, but I have to like the Cowboys’ offense, so I’ll give the points.
12/30, Armed Forces: Army vs. SMU(-7)
Pretty much a home game for the Mustangs, so I’ll give the points.
12/30, Pinstripe: Kansas State vs. Syracuse(-1)
Universally picking against the Big East, so go Wildcats.
12/30, Music City: UNC vs. Tennessee(+1)
Bleah, don’t like either of these teams. I guess it’s in Tennessee and they travel pretty well, so I’ll go with the Vols, but I won’t like it.
12/30, Holiday: Washington vs. Nebraska(-14)
Wow, that’s a big spread. Gotta give the points, though, no matter what I think of the Huskers.
12/31, Car Care: South Florida vs. Clemson(-5.5)
Taking the Tigers, picking against the Big Least.
12/31, Sun: Notre Dame vs. Miami(-3)
Notre Dame always gets a better bowl than they should. I’m going to violate my Big East rule just to pick against the stupid Domers.
12/31, Liberty: Central Florida vs. Georgia(-6.5)
As much as it pains me to to this, I have to go with the Dawgs.
12/31, Chick-fil-A: Florida State vs. South Carolina(-3)
The Gamecocks seem awfully puffed up for a team that lost 4 games. Of course, they lost 4 games in the SEC, which is better than losing 4 games in the ACC. Give the points.
New Year’s Day bowls in part 3!
December 25th, 2010
Cowboys @ Arizona(+7.5)
Cardinals are awful and have given up. Give the points. Al is taking the points.
Lions @ Miami(-3.5)
Detroit has somehow won two in a row, and I don’t like taking the Dolphins at home. Love that half point as I feel like it should be fish by 3. (Yes, I know dolphins aren’t fish.)
Niners @ St. Louis(-2.5)
Another game that feels like a field goal game. I’ll take the Rams at home, to take home a playoff berth!
Jets @ Chicago(-1)
Beating up on the Vikings doesn’t count for anything; beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh does. I’ll take Gang Green.
Patriots @ Buffalo(+7.5)
Tough call. Pats are on fire, but Buffalo is tough to blow out, even if they don’t win many. I’m going to stick with the Pats this time, though I’m worried about the half point.
Redskins @ Jacksonville(-7)
Normally I’d take the Jags but MJD is hurt and I think Jax may have had their spirit broken last week, so I’m taking Washington.
Titans @ Kansas City(-5)
Tough spread, I was hoping for Chiefs by a field goal. Is five too many? Nah, I think I’ll give em anyway.
Colts @ Oakland(+3)
Another tough spread, since the Raiders can really run the rock and the Colts can’t stop it any other way than playing from ahead. With Collie out again, this could go either way. I’m picking Indy just because I really want them to lose, so they’ll win.
Texans @ Denver(+2.5)
Foster is hurt but will probably play, and Andre probably won’t. So, the Texans will have what offense, exactly? And we know they have no defense, so yeah, I’m taking Denver and the points.
Chargers @ Cincinnati(+7.5)
I still can’t believe the Bungles won last week. Won’t happen again, give the points.
Seabags @ Tampa(-6.5)
Still not picking Seattle on the road, thanks.
Giants @ Green Bay(-3)
I’m not high on either of these teams right now. Packers, I guess.
Vikings @ Philadelphia(-14.5)
Yeah, Minnesota is done. Iggles.
Saints @ Atlanta(-2.5)
Not picking against the Falcons at home this season, thanks.
December 22nd, 2010
So, on the occasional Tuesday night, my local game shop, Montag’s, runs a Standard-for-a-box tournament. Normally this isn’t a good night for me (my kids have piano lessons on Tuesday night) but sometimes it’s my wife’s turn for piano and I am not completely stomped at work and can actually play on a weeknight.
As it turns out, I needed 18 packs. My brother is coming for a visit soon and we usually do a 1-on-1 Sealed for kicks, and I wanted three packs each for my kids’ Christmas stockings. So I was well-motivated, particularly since last FNM I was expecting draft and we played Standard and the only vaguely reasonable deck I had on me was a really bad build of Valakut, and it was simply awful… I went 1-3.
Now, the last deck I had good success with was RUG. The problem I have with RUG is that it’s soft to both Flashfreeze and Doom Blade and sometimes you just ramp land like crazy into… nothing. So, I thought the right solution might be BUG. Doom Blade is better than Bolt against other Titans (except Grave, of course). And black provides another amazing, non-Blade-able use for all that land… Ob Nixilis, the Fallen. And, of course, that color combination also gives access to a full 8 relevant fetches. It’s a wicked fun deck to play, like a cross between RUG and Valakut, as well as some excellent sideboard options.
12 people, so four rounds of Swiss into top 4… obviously, for a box.
Round 1: Alan, playing UW
Alan isn’t a Montag’s regular, but he’d been there before and we had played each other at least once before this. Game 1 was a long, slow, drawn-out playing-around-each-other’s-Mana Leaks kind of event, assisted by my slow draw and his getting stuck on four lands. But ultimately, the threat density was high enough in my deck to get past his Leaks and Tumble Magnet. It took a very long time, though, but eventually I stuck a Titan and he went all the way. However, we didn’t have much time to get into game 2. He had an advantage and got a Colonnade going but I Bladed it. I got a Primeval Titan, and he Clone’d it and fetched up another Colonnade. I Bladed the Clone, but he came back with Day. I got Jace, which he didn’t kill with the Colonnade (he had to try to kill me instead), but that didn’t work when I got an Acidic Slime. He got another Colonnade, but I bounced the Slime with Jace and re-cast it. That was his offense, and we drew on time.
1-0 matches, 1-0-1 games
Round 2: Joe, playing UB
Joe is a Montag’s regular who I’ve played many times and, frankly, who I had not beaten in a very, very long time. Game 1 did not go very well, as he got an early Mimic Vat through and I have no main-deck ways to handle an active Vat other than a Frost Titan. I actually did get one out, but he managed to Blade it and that was it. Game 2 I managed to get an early Ob plus a fetch, managed to clear out his only blocker, and that was it. Game 3 he got a slightly slow start on land, stuck at 4, and I got an early Frosty and then locked it up with Jace to keep him off drawing any more. Holy crap, I beat Joe!
2-0 matches, 3-1-1 games
Round 3: Victor, playing Elves
Both of these games were dumb. I got an early Lotus Cobra in both games, and then not very much else. Game 1 I did Disfigure a Fauna Shaman and then Bladed a second, but he got a Vengevine and I never got enough in the way. Game 2 I got to a state where I had two Cobras on the board, five lands in play, and two Titans in hand… but I couldn’t cast them, and did not manage to draw another land or anything I could cast. Ugly.
2-1 matches, 3-3-1 games
Round 4: Terry, playing UB
So, I had to win to make it forward. Game 1 was somewhat tentative on both sides, but I ultimately stuck a Grave Titan that he couldn’t kill. Game 2 he got an early Jace 1.0 and managed to draw a ton of cards off of it (he made me draw once in a while) but I managed to cast out an Ob with a Pierce backup, though he didn’t attempt to counter it anyway. He did play a Vampire Nighthawk, though, so I couldn’t swing with Ob. I did, however, have two lands still in hand and I kept drawing more (I did finally draw a Jace to kill his; not a good trade but I had to stop the one-way Howling Mine) and I got him down to 4 this way. He finally swung with the Nighthawk to get back to up 6, but I drew a fetch to end it. “Protection from Doom Blade” is an awesome special ability.
3-1 matches, 5-3-1 games
Semifinals: Alan, playing UW
Same Alan as Round 1. The other semi was Joe vs. Victor, so there was going to be a lot of repetition. Game 1 again took forever, but I eventually ran him out of permission. However, he had a Venser out and I was having a hard time doing damage to Alan since I was keeping Venser off going ultimate. He had two Mystifying Mazes out and I had a Cobra and an Oracle with his two Wall of Omens (one of which was actually a Clone) in the way. I got a Grave and then a Frost Titan out, though, but he got a Tumble Magnet. I managed to get a Jace down and that sealed it as I was able to keep him off Day and then wear him down with my guys. Game 2 I again managed to stick an Ob, drop some land, and clear away the only blocker. Ob is amazing in this deck…
4-1 matches 7-3-1 games
Victor agreed to split, so I got my desired 18 packs and all was well.
I really like this deck a lot and I generally didn’t have great draws today. In playtesting it, I was frequently getting a Cobra on turn 2 and it is, of course, amazing when that happens. However, I didn’t get that very often today, and the deck was still good. RUG was fun and I didn’t lose a match when I played it about a month ago, and it might be a little better against fast aggro decks (Pyroclasm is awesome there), but this thing feels like it really has better staying power against control decks. Ob is the bomb here; there’s nothing quite like Ob in RUG. This is a very fun and resilient deck; I highly recommend it!
December 18th, 2010
OK, so we suck, we both forgot the Thursday game. I would have taken the Chargers, probably up to like +10. Oh well.
Buffalo @ Miami(-5)
For some odd reason, the Dolphins haven’t been as good at home. Letdown game after beating their division rival last week, too. Takin’ the Bills again.
Browns @ Cincinnati(-1)
The battle for Ohio, though I’m not sure the people in Ohio even care. I don’t like the Bungles to be favored against anyone. Cleveland.
Lions @ Tampa Bay(-4.5)
Detroit on the road? No way.
Jaguars @ Indianapolis(-4.5)
Wow, how about that, the Jags getting more than a field goal. I don’t see the Colts stopping the run, so I think the Jags can keep it close. This game is huge for the playoffs, so I like it to be close anyway.
Cardinals @ Carolina(-2.5)
This is the kind of game they show people in Hell to make sure they know they’re being eternally tortured. Panthers, I guess, since Arizona seems to be in a tailspin.
Saints @ Baltimore(-1)
Wild. I have to tell you, I was not impressed with the Ravens defense late against the Texans. If they have to go to OT to hold off Houston, I’ll happily take that point. The Baltimore D was looking downright old, even if they did get a pick to win it, they looked gassed giving up two 95+ yard drives in a row in the 4th. The Saints should be able to take advantage of that.
Eagles @ New Jersey Giants(-3)
Hunh? Someone in Vegas clearly knows something I don’t, because the wrong team is favored here. I mean, yes, if the Giants can hold on to the ball and get the run going, they can be competitive here, but that seems iffy. I hate this pick, because when the spread is the wrong way, that usually means something is up. Grr. No, I’m sticking with Philly here.
Chiefs @ St. Louis(-1.5)
Matt Cassel for MVP, right? I mean, how lost did their offense look last week without him? Cassel is still listed as “questionable” and frankly, I can’t imagine playing football that soon after losing an appendix. Without him, they have no shot. Rams.
Redskins @ Dallas(-7)
Sexy Rexy at QB! Woo hoo! Give the points. Give ten, easy.
Texans @ Tennessee(-1)
Super Mario is done for the season, so the Texans normally tepid pass rush will be even worse. We know they absolutely cannot cover anybody at all anyway, and with unlimited time to throw? This is going to be ugly. In fact, with Aaron Rodgers out, I just picked up Collins for my fantasy team, as he’s likely to have a huge day. Titans.
Falcons @ Seattle(+6)
Atlanta isn’t flashy, but they are incredibly solid. In some sense you’d say they don’t need this game, but they’re incredible at home and so they really want home field for the playoffs—they’ll be up for this game and win by at least at TD.
Jest @ Pittsburgh(-4.5)
So, Gang Green has sucked against good teams, and their offense has looked horrible lately, and… oh, great, a road game against the Steelers. Yeah, that should go well. Give the points, of course. Strangely, Rex Ryan seems to have cut down on all the yapping. Funny, that. Keep your mouth shut, Rex, and take your beating.
Broncos @ Oakland(-7.5)
Ahh, Tim Tebow gets the start for a team on a death march. Awful, awful. And it’s not like the Raiders won’t be up for the hated Broncos. This could get ugly. Raiders all the way.
Packers @ New England(-14)
Another team that would like home field would be the Pats. If the Steeler win, which they should, the Pats will know they need this game to keep ahead for home field. Without Rodgers, the Packers have no chance at all. Give the huge number.
Bears @ Vikings(+7.5)
I so love the idea of outdoor football in December in my hometown, just the the old Met when I was a kid. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to warm up there and might even be in the 20s, but they say 50% chance of snow. Tarvaris Jackson in the snow… the possibilities for turnovers are mind-boggling. Plus, the Bears actually play in the cold, and the Vikings don’t. Give the points, no problem.
December 18th, 2010
I think there are 35 bowls this year, so if I go in three stages, thats 11 or 12 each time. I’ll ease into it with the first 11 bowls.
12/18, New Mexico, BYU vs. UTEP(+11.5)
The Cougars have at least played some decent teams, like, ever, which the Miners have not. Give the points.
12/18, Humanitarian: Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State(+1.5)
The Huskies seem to always be able to run the ball, so I’ll take NIU.
12/18, New Orleans: Ohio vs. Troy(-2)
The Bobcats have never won a bowl game, whereas Troy has won a couple in recent memory. Give the points.
12/21, St. Petersburg: Southern Miss vs. Louisville(-3)
Totally underwhelmed by the entire Big East this year. I think I’ll pick against all of them. Go Golden Eagles!
12/22, Las Vegas: Utah vs. Boise State(-17)
Wow, that’s a lot of points! I know the Broncos will be ticked off that they’re in this bowl. Will it be a letdown, or will they run it up to show that they’re actually still good? And will anybody see this game? I say that’s too many points and will take the Utes.
12/23, Poinsettia: Navy vs. San Diego State(-4.5)
Sure, it’s a home game for the Aztecs, but they’ve not been to a bowl in forever. Take the Midshipmen and the points.
12/24, Hawaii: Hawaii vs. Tulsa(+10)
I don’t see this as a blowout. I like the Warriors to win, but that’s too many points. Take the over, too.
12/26, Little Caesars: Florida International vs. Toledo(-1.5)
The Rockets were actually decent this year, so I’m going to give the points.
12/27, Independence: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech(+3)
Oh, look, another ACC team I can pick against. Look, I’ll be rooting for the Jackets, but I don’t think they win this one. There might even be like five or six passes thrown in the entire game!
12/28: Champs Sports: West Virginia vs. NC State(+3)
I wasn’t particularly impressed by the ACC this year, to be honest, but they’re still better than the Big East. I will take the points.
12/28: Insight: Missouri vs. Iowa(+1)
Now this is a bowl game! Really not sure who to go with here, but in my defense, Vegas doesn’t appear to know, either. Mizzou finished the season really well, and Iowa fell off the map. However, the Hawkeyes will have time to heal and they are well-coached, which matters with all this time to prepare. Still, the Tigers are probably the better team overall. I want to pick Iowa here but I just can’t do it, I have to take Missouri.
December 12th, 2010
Been sick so I have to make this quick…
Falcons @ Carolina(+7.5)
Atlanta has it rolling right now, and the Panthers just don’t. Give the points
Bungles @ Pittsburgh(-8.5)
Cinci stinks, but the Steelers have not been blowing people out. But Cinci is awful enough to get killed here, so I’ll take the home team.
Packers @ Detroit(+7)
I certainly like the way Green Bay has been playing lately, and the Lions, while valiant, just aren’t that good. Packers.
Raiders @ Jacksonville(-3.5)
I like the Jags at home. I dislike that half point, though, wish it was just -3, but I’ll stick with the Jaguars.
Buccaneers @ Washington(+1)
Tampa is just way better, give that point.
Browns @ Buffalo, even
Wow… the Bills have been great against the spread, but there are no points for them this time! I like them to finally take one home, since I believe Delhomme is again starting… fools.
Rams @ New Orleans(-9)
Too many points. I expect the Saints to win, but I like St. Louis to keep it closer than that.
Seahawks @ San Francisco(-5)
What? That seems weird. I’ll take the points.
Patriots @ Chicago(+3)
Uhh, did you see that game on Monday? I don’t think the Pats are to be denied, though of course this is a road game. But if anyone can fool Cutler into returning to the old Cutler, it’s the Pats.
Dolphins @ New Jersey Jets(-5)
Give the points. I don’t see the Jets dropping two in a row, and they need a home game.
Broncos @ Arizona(+4)
OK, so far this season firing the head coach has actually worked, so I’m taking Denver.
Chiefs @ San Diego(-9.5)
I think the Chargers manage to pull this out at home, but that’s too many points.
Eagles @ Dallas(+4)
Sure, give the points. I know the Cowboys have been rejuvenated, but gotta like Vick here.
Giants @ Minnesota(+3)
The Vikings have been on a tear lately, but I think the Giants are up to it.
Ravens @ Houston(+3)
The Texans need more than a field goal here. Ed Reed should be good for at least one pick six.
December 9th, 2010
Colts @ Tennessee(+3.5)
Well, the Titans have been simply awful lately, but a big part of that is having no QB. Collins is back, which is sort of like having a QB. The Colts, of course, have been horrific lately, in a way that’s been wonderful to watch. They can’t run, they can’t stop the run, and their passing game has become so predictable Manning is throwing picks left and right. Whee! If Tennessee can take the lead early, I think they can cover this. But if they get behind, they’re dead. As much as I would love to see the Titans walk away with a win here, I think they’ll fall behind and have to throw, and that’ll be it.
December 4th, 2010
Jaguars @ Tennessee(-3)
Look, the Titans are horrible right now. The Texans freaking shut them out. Have you seen how bad the Texans defense is? If they shut you out, your offense sucks monkey balls. Absolute gift, take these points.
Redskins @ New Jersey Giants(-7)
I think the Giants win, but with both Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out, I don’t see the Giants being able to throw much. On the other hand, the Redskins are awful and seem to be getting worse, and the Giants managed to beat Jacksonville by 4, and the Jags are actually decent. Yeah, OK, give the points.
Browns @ Miami(-5)
Wow, the Dophins are 7-4 against the spread. Apparently the Browns plan to start Delhomme, even though McCoy is clearly the future there and actually seems to be playing better. Give the points.
Bears @ Detroit(+5)
I really, really want to pick the Lions here, but I just cannot bring myself to be that stupid. You’d sort of think the madman Mike Martz would not be the guy to straighten out head case Cutler, but the Bears haven’t been turning it over lately and the Lions… are still the Lions. Gotta go with the Bears here.
Broncos @ Kansas City(-9)
That’s a tidy pile of points, especially considering what happened the last time these two teams met. Oh, right, that was in Denver. It’s payback time for the Chefs, apparently. Still, that’s a pretty big number for what seems likely to be a shootout. Well, at least the Broncos don’t seem to be able to stop anybody, and they have been putting up points. Yeah, too many points… I’ll take the Broncos, but I’d really like that tenth point, just in case.
Niners @ Green Bay(-9.5)
See, now here I have no trouble giving a big number. The Packers are good, need to win to keep in the playoff hunt, and Frank Gore is out for the Niners. Blowout city.
Bills @ Minnesota(-5)
Excuse me? Exactly how many times have the Bills been blown out this season? None? Is there any reason whatsoever, especially since AP is hurt? No way, always take the points with the Bills if it’s more than a FG, especially when the opponent is as crappy as the Vikings.
Saints @ Cincinnati(+7)
New Orleans appears to be back to their “lighting it up” ways. Too bad for the Bengals, who don’t seem likely to stop them.
Raiders @ San Diego(-13)
Wow, look at Vegas, just daring us to take the Chargers. You know, normally I’d shy away from this, but the Chargers in the second half of the season, and at home… should be a rout. Give the points.
Falcons @ Tampa(+3)
I have to say, the Bucs are one of the biggest surprises of the season. That said, the Falcons are playing with purpose right now, and I don’t think they’ll let Tampa spoil any of it, now matter how improved they are.
Panthers @ Seattle(-4.5)
Man, who knows? More importantly, who cares? I mean seriously, other than like 20 people in Carolina and the people actually in the stadium in Seattle, who’s watching this game? Oh, right, the 5-6 Seabags are in first place in their division. How messed up is that? Fine, give the points.
Cowboys @ Indianapolis(-5.5)
Man, I wish people would stop slurping Manning. Now that he has no running game and a bunch of no-name receivers, he looks… average. Certainly not as good as Brady has looked when’s he’s had no running game and a bunch of no-name receivers. Manning’s career playoff record? 9-9, including six one-and-dones. Yeah, yeah, he has lots of other gaudy stats and will be a first-ballot hall of famer, but he’s not in the top five, and maybe not even the top ten, QBs of all time. Oh, right, the game. Now, the Colts probably still win this game, but I’m taking the points and hoping to see Mr. Average throw a few more picks.
Rams @ Arizona(+3.5)
That Niners-Cardinals game last week was one of the worst pro football games I’ve ever seen. Arizona is so bad it’s painful. Rams all the way.
Steelers @ Baltimore(-3)
I always love these games, because there’s a reasonable chance someone leaves the field in a body bag. They should be forced to play this game without kickers or punters—must go for it on every 4th down. How awesome would that be? Anyway, Pittsburgh has owned this one lately, but it seems to me the Steelers don’t have it in the bag. I think it’ll depend a lot on how well Big Ben is actually able to move, because I think the Ravens are going to bring the house at him. If he can’t move well, he’s going to get beat up and Ed Reed will probably run one back. If he’s actually OK, though, this will be a close one. But the spread is small enough that I’ll take the chance Ben is hurt, and I’ll go with the Ravens.
Jets @ New England(-3.5)
I want no part of this game. If this were real money involved, I wouldn’t get near this game with a 10-foot pole. I figure that the Jets are just about as likely to win as the Pats, so I will take the points since I have zero idea who’s really going to win this game.
December 2nd, 2010
So, on the occasional Tuesday night, my local game shop, Montag’s, runs a Standard-for-a-box tournament. Normally this isn’t a good night for me (my kids have piano lessons on Tuesday night) but sometimes it’s my wife’s turn for piano and I am not completely stomped at work and can actually play on a weeknight. However, with the holiday and other work constraints, I had no time to tinker or build, so I literally just grabbed whatever I happened to have together at the time. However, that wasn’t bad, as because what I had together was this:
This is Alexander Shearer’s deck, and it looked like a blast to play and I figured nobody would be ready for it, so I figured why not? I wish I had some time to practice with it beforehand as I went in cold having never played it, but you know, it’s not like it was a PTQ or anything. I have to say, this deck wants Noble Hierarch back in the worst possible way.
Turnout was OK for a weeknight, four rounds of Swiss and cut to top 4.
Round 1: Lee, playing GR
This was Lee’s first tournament and the deck was, I think, a Scars precon with a few customizations. I pretty much steamrolled him in both games. In one of them I got a third-turn Baneslayer off a Cobra and a fetchland, which is pretty much broken against any deck light on removal. In the other game I got Squadron Hawks with Masticore, which is also pretty evil. I actually felt kind of bad about the whole thing, but Lee was cool about it, so that was good.
1-0 matches, 2-0 games
Round 2: Matt, playing RUG
Matt is a regular and we get matched up pretty routinely. I had a turn 2 Cobra and a fetch in hand for a Baneslayer, but he had a Bolt for the Cobra. I had no three-drop, and that put me seriously behind, and his deck did the RUG thing and just kind of barfed up a bunch of stuff I couldn’t handle. Game 2 I mulled to six and kept a hand with no source of Blue but two Shamans, which seemed reasonable. Unfortunately, he kept a hand with two Bolts in the opener, and I never drew a source of Blue, so this wasn’t a particularly good game, either.
1-1 matches, 2-2 games
Round 3: Casey, playing GR
Casey came with Lee. He’s not a new player overall, but newly back in the game. This was again a completely unfair matchup and I again managed a turn 3 Baneslayer in one of the games. Turns out a Wall of Tanglecord will actually hold off the big angel for a while, but it’s not what you’d call a good long-term answer. But, really, neither of these games were close.
2-1 matches, 4-2 games
Round 4: Mike, playing UW Control
I had actually played Mike at FNM on the 19th, me playing RUG and him playing UB. We played a pretty good 2-1 match in which I prevailed, but it was certainly one of those that could have gone either way. Game 1 I over-extended a little bit into a Day, but I wasn’t that worried about it because I had a Vine in hand and one in the yard, but my deck deserted me and I just could not draw threats late and could not trigger the Vines. I managed to drag it out with Colonnades, but he gained a ton of life with repeated Elixers off Trinket Mages, and I just could not get there. Game 2 I came out with a 2-drop and an early Vine, and put him back on his heels. He did Day them off and did manage a couple Elixers, but I managed to keep the pressure on and eventually triggered a pair of Vines out the graveyard for the win. Game 3 he mulled down to six and didn’t seem happy about it. I had a turn 2 Cobra into a turn 3 Acidic Slime, which took out a dual land, and I figured that was pretty good to get him behind on land, but his problem was more land flood than anything, and I was drawing threats and just overwhelmed him.
3-1 matches, 6-3 games
So I made the top 4 and drew…
Semis: Joe, playing UB Control
Joe recently made top 4 at the TCGPlayer WWS in Austin with this deck; he is consistently the best player at the store, and I’ve lost to him in the semis multiple times recently, once at Scars Game Day and in the last two draft FNMs in October. A brief check on the DCI page tells me that I was 1-6-2 against Joe going into this one; not what you’d call a stellar record. Anyway, in Game 1 he Disfigured a early Bird and an early Cobra, but I managed to get a Sword out and get it equipped on a Squadron Hawk. He got a Wurmcoil but I had the Journey in hand to stop it, and that gave me a couple more hits with the equipped Hawk, which got me some tokens and just generally made life difficult for Joe. I did not draw well in game 2 and got pretty much rolled; I got a Masticore on turn 3 off a Bird and the Masticore immediately ate a Doom Blade and I just could not draw threats. Game 3 was interesting and really drawn out. We spent far too much time in this game with me simply activating a Colonnade and hitting Joe with it while Joe would swing back with a Tar Pit into my Venser. I kept blinking a Forest with Venser so he’d gain counters, so Joe had to swing at him to prevent him from going ultimate. In the interim he gained a bunch of life off a couple Elixir activations, but fundamentally the problem was that all I could draw was Journey to Nowhere. Eventually my hand consisted of all three Journeys and my board was all lands and a Sword. I probably should have sided one of them out (I had sided in the Slime, Gideon, and Venser for a Sunblast Angel and I don’t remember what else.) I did get Joe down to 2 at one point, but an Elixir took care of that and I eventually died because I just couldn’t draw threats. Actually another land would have been good enough so that I could equip a Colonnade with the Sword and then swing, and then I’d have had a token to equip. Grr. Overall I think the deck has a perfectly decent matchup here, but you do have to at least occasionally draw a threat. Oh, well.
3-2 matches, 7-5 games
I’m glad I got to play the deck, since it’s fun—probably just about any deck with Fauna Shaman and Vengevine is likely to have a good “fun” factor—but it wasn’t exactly a stringent test of the deck’s quality, since my rounds 1 and 3 were pretty close to byes. On the other hand, I felt like it was clear that the only way this deck “feels” right is if you get an early 2-drop, either a Cobra or a Shaman, to stick. I do wish that I had time to change the sideboard before I went, because I really wanted to try Autumn’s Veil as a foil to UB.
My next Standard will probably be another Tuesday night, the 21st, since December is Scars draft at Montag’s, and I’ll have to miss the next two weeks of that and also the last two weeks of the month, so I won’t get much MTG in until January when we go back to Standard.
December 2nd, 2010
Texans @ Philadelphia(-8)
The Iggles are the better team, no doubt about it. The only hope the Texans have is that it’ll turn into a shootout, because the porous Houston secondary sure isn’t going to be stopping Philly. On the other hand, the Philly defense has had some games where they’ve given up some decent numbers, so maybe there’s a chance… but that’s about it, a slim chance is all the Texans have. Give the points.