Apple’s September 10th event

Time to play pundit! Here’s what I’m thinking/hoping is coming.

First, though, a brief bit of relevant context. if you head on over to the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide, right about now, you’ll see an awful lot of red dots, like this:


Yikes! I don’t remember a time in the last few years that Apple has had so many products that are, or are at least perceived to be, nearing the end of their life cycle. So what’s going down September 10th? Here’s my forecast:

• The new iPhone 5S and 5C appear to be pretty much guaranteed at this point, and the rumor mill has the street date for delivery of these new phones as September 20th. As I’m on the every-other-year plan and this is my off year, I’m not directly concerned about this—but I know a lot of people are. I will be very interested to see what the price points are for the 5S and 5C, though.

• iOS 7. Maybe not a for sure deal right on the 10th, but they will at least announce a firm date, and I’d be really surprised if that date was not either the 20th or a bit before then.

• A firm date for the new Mac Pro, maybe even immediate availability on the 10th. This thing looks amazing—probably carrying an amazing price tag, too—but I’ll bite the bullet and do it, since work owes me a new machine anyway. I think this is highly likely because I don’t see Apple dumping money into those very cool movie theater ads without a payoff soon.

• iTunes Radio. This has been in the rumor mill for quite a while, and my guess is we’ll finally get it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual launch date was held off until the iOS7 launch—though that won’t be long, anyway. This will come with a rev to iTunes to support it, but probably a small rev.

I’m Hoping For…
• There have been some recent rumors that a new iPad (that’d be the iPad 5 if you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone) will also be announced. I’m skeptical, as I think this seems more likely to hit closer to Christmas, but if Apple does it, I’ll order one the same day. (I have a 3, which I love, but I’d love it to be thinner and with the Lightning connector. Again, I’m on the every-other-one cycle here.)

• A new Apple TV with 3rd-party developer support. That is, apps on the Apple TV. I don’t see this as very likely (great analysis over at Stratechery), but I’d love to get it. Again, this is something I’d order immediately if it were to come to pass.

Not So Much
• I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see a refresh on the MacBook Pro line, as that’s been a while, but waiting until later in the fall wouldn’t come as a huge surprise as well. I have a non-Retina MBPro that feels perfectly snappy now, so this one doesn’t feel urgent.

• The non-Touch version of the iPod line hasn’t been refreshed in a while, either, but again, I don’t see this happening quite yet. This would go well with a later fall iPad event in preparation for the Christmas season.

• iMacs. The last rev of the iMac line was pretty significant, and I’m thinking Apple will let that one run a bit longer. The usual cycle is about a year on that, and the last hit was November, and I certainly don’t see it coming sooner than that. Furthermore, if I were to bet, I’d bet on it being later—after the new year.

• Mac mini. Apple has been letting the update cycle on these go longer than most of their other product lines. I’d guess late Spring or early Summer for this.

• Max OS X Mavericks. Again, I think not yet. This will be an iOS event.

Valiant Pachyderms take down LGS Standard

I’ve been traveling like a madman this summer and didn’t really have time to put something else together for a Sunday Standard at my FLGS so I just played Brave the Elephants again with a couple small changes to the sideboard, expecting to not see Bant Hexproof there and bringing at least something to deal with Sphinx’s Revelation. Here’s the list:

Four rounds, cut to top 4. Sunday tends to be much tougher at my LGS than FNM. It’s a smaller crowd but a more capable one; essentially, the top half of the FNM field plus a couple other high-quality players generally show—so a good test for the deck.

Round 1: Bob, playing Jund
Bob’s a regular who I’ve played several times and is always a tough opponent, though a really nice guy. I won the roll and kept a two-lander with three Voices, a Spectral Flight, and I don’t remember what else in it. I didn’t draw the third land for several turns, but when Jund is trading spot removal for Voices, well, that’s the two-land hand you want to be stuck with. At one point he had me with two elemental tokens on the battlefield and with two lands I cast two Militants, letting me swing for 8, which was pretty sweet. I did eventually draw a third land and finished him off with a Smiter. Usual Jund sb plan: -4 Militant, +1 Sigarda, +2 ORing, +1 Scavenging Ooze. Game 2 I had an early Thalia, which was pretty good but he had an Ooze and a Lifebane Zombie which took a Sigarda, then on turn 5 (after a Farseek in there somewhere) he dropped Curse of Death’s Hold which killed Thalia and made it very tough for me to race with him, even with Geist, and Olivia sealed it. For game 3 I took out the Ooze and put in a Ray of Revelation, which was the key play, because he again dropped an early Curse, but I actually had the Ray. Turns out this was really good because he had a second Curse in hand, but it was pretty dead with a Ray in the ‘yard. We traded a bunch of creatures back and forth, and I suicided a Geist into a trade to bring him to 2, both our boards and hands empty. I cast a Smiter and a Voice. He came back with Huntmaster, and I drew BTE FTW.
1-0 matches, 2-1 games

Round 2: Brandon, playing Kibler RG
So, what I found out at the SCG Open is that my deck is not favored against the more weenie rush Burning Tree/Firefist Striker version of RG aggro, but this was my first match against the Kibler deck and I think this is actually a better matchup because Smiter still outclasses everything on the ground, and with no Firefists it can actually block. Thundermaw is a card, of course, but Selesnya Charm is a perfectly good answer to that. Anyway, I didn’t know what it was right away as he started out with a Stomping Ground, and I incorrectly had him on Jund. I actually had turn 3 Geist with turn 4 Spectral Flight and followed that with turn 5 Smiter plus Voice, and just barely won the race because of a Rampager on a Flinthoof Boar from him. He had me on Bant Hexproof based on this, but of course that’s not what I was doing so I wonder if he boarded properly. As for me, I boarded out the Thalias, the Spectral Flights, and Sigarda for the Oozes, the Rays (figuring he would board in Burning Earth), and the Unflinching Courages. I came out with Voice and Smiter and he ramped into turn 4 Thundermaw, which hit me once and then ate a Charm. The second Smiter meant my team outclassed his mana dorks and lone Strangleroot Geist, and when I effectively countered his miracled Bonfire with a BTE he scooped.
2-0 matches, 4-1 games

Round 3: John, playing Golgari Control
John is one of the store’s stronger players. I won the roll and kept a hand with three land but no source of blue because it had a Thalia and a Sublime, but also a Geist and a Spectral Flight. I had won the roll, but on my turn 3 i had Thalia on the table and just played a land and passed because I still hadn’t drawn a blue source. His turn he cast a Lifebane Zombie, saw the Plains in my hand and took the Sublime over the Geist. Much to my surprise, I then topdecked a Breeding Pool and put down the Geist, then of course followed with Spectral, and that carried me all the way. Now, John has been playing Junk Renanimator forever and I didn’t really see enough in the firs game to realize he wasn’t still on that, so I probably boarded not optimally for this, bringing in two ORings and two Oozes. Ooze probably wasn’t right in this matchup, but i never saw one so it didn’t matter. I don’t really remember the second game all that well, other than it involved Geist and Smiter and me putting on ORing on a Desecration Demon and using BTE as essentially a Falter to win the game.
3-0 matches, 6-1 games

Round 4: Daniel, playing Esper Control
Since we were the only two undefeateds, we ID’d.
3-0-1 matches, 6-1 games

Now, it is not uncommon at my LGS that the top 4 just splits the prize pool and doesn’t play it out, particularly on Sunday as dinnertime approaches. However, the rule is that if anyone wants to play it out, we all play. One person did, who turned out to be my opponent.

Semifinals: Festus, playing Jund
Festus is a capable player that I’ve faced many times. He got on my nerves a little this time with a big speech about how he really wanted to play me because it was such a good matchup for him. OK, whatever. My opening hand had three Geists and a Spectral in it, but no source of white. Well, the deck runs 15 lands that produce white in it so I had about a 60% chance of hitting one in my first two draws, and I did. (Side note: the math is even better if you count the Pilgrims as a source of white.) I followed with a Voice to protect the Geist in case of Liliana, but he never got one of those anyway, and I just ran him over. Standard Jund sideboard was applied (see round 1). Game 2 was a little more interactive. I had turn 2 Voice with turn 3 Smiter followed by a mana dork. He had a Nighthawk on turn 3 and an an Ooze plus a Pillar for the Voice on 4, then followed with an Olivia. Since there were no creatures in any graveyards, the Ooze just ended up chumping a Smiter. I had a second Smiter down when he dropped Olivia and I swung in with both Elephants, which he didn’t block. I ORing’d Olivia and he left the Nighthawk back to block, played land, and passed. I again came in with the two Smiters, and he blocked with Nighthawk. I had two BTEs in my hand, but I let him trade with the Smiter because I also had a Sigarda and a Geist in hand. He Slipped the other Smiter after damage, and I put down Sigarda. Sigarda plus two BTE is pretty much game against Jund because they have no way to interact with her except a big Bonfire, and BTE is a perfect answer there. Festus actually picked up Sigarda and read her, then shook his head, which I just loved. Sigarda is still a card, folks! I followed Sigarda with a Geist and he came back with Thragtusk. I used one BTE as a Falter to bring my team through the beast, leaving him at 2 with a ‘Tusk on the board and me with two hexproof creatures and a BTE in hand. He failed to draw a Barter in Blood and that was game. He complained that he never drew a Bonfire, and I pointed out I had two BTEs in hand for most of the game so it really wouldn’t have mattered if he had.
4-0-1 matches, 8-1 games

Still undefeated against Jund. Yes, the sample size is small, but still, that seems favorable.

Brandon from round 2 was the other finalist, and I agreed to the split so he could go with his friends to get dinner. In preparation for rotation, I used my spoils to get a fourth Jace, Architect of Thought, a third Obzedat, Ghost Council and one of the cool foil promo Izzet Charms, just because.

Comments on the Deck
Well, first, I still love it, but I think that’s probably obvious. Overall, though, I think the shift in the meta from when I played at the SCG a couple weeks ago is favorable.

UW control variants are still the matchup I least want to see, as Verdict/Revelation is a tough road for this deck. However, those decks are pretty bad against Burning Earth, so I think they might be falling out of favor. The Golgari control deck is a much better matchup. Yes, Mutilate and Lifebane Zombie aren’t great cards to face, but Voice and Thalia are not bad there, and it’s just easier to keep the pressure on when they can’t do the major card draw/lifegain double whammy.

Kibler’s recent article about how to beat his deck shows that this deck is actually a pretty reasonable approach. Smiter, Hexproof creatures, and Selesnya Charm are all very good in this matchup and Unflinching Courage out of the sideboard is also very strong. While the Bant manabase is bad vs. Burning Earth, Ray of Revelation in the sideboard seems like a great cheap answer. I’d need to play more of this matchup to be certain, but I don’t think it’s awful. The real value of this deck is its effect on the rest of the meta: if we get less UWx control and Aristocrats as a result of it, that’s only good news for our valiant pachyderms.

Another deck Kibler recommends to beat his list is Bant Hexproof. If Hexproof (or Bant Auras if you prefer) becomes more popular, then I think Brave the Elephants is really well-positioned. I’ve played the Hexproof deck and other aggro decks are not really what you want to play against; your target is midrange. Bant Hexproof is not much faster than this deck, and Ray is a killer in the sideboard. If you expect Hexproof, run 3 Rays rather than 2. That’s what I ran at the SCG Open in Minneapolis and that matchup just seemed like it would be really hard to loose. Note that the main deck Thalia is actually really good against Hexproof, too—they have almost no removal and Thalia seriously slows down the rate at which they can buff their creatures. Without those buffs, the Elephants and Sublimes really outclass them. (Yes, some Hexproof variants run Smiter, but that seems to be on the decline.)

I guess the other deck that seems like a really horrible matchup is the Elfball deck that’s running around, or whatever that ramp/Garruk/Craterhoof deck is called. I think the only way to win that is to race, and I don’t think that’s the most favorable race. Hopefully that won’t get any bigger in the meta than it is now.

Braving the Elephants at SCG Minneapolis

Despite living in Texas, I grew up in Minnesota and my parents still live there. Every summer I take my kids up to visit their grandparents for about a week. It just so happened that this year, our visit coincided with the Star City Open in Minneapolis. I was just going to play Jund (having not actually played it before), but at the last minute my son decided he wanted to come with me and the he wanted to play Jund. So I needed a deck. I didn’t think I would have much fun playing a control deck for nine or ten rounds, so went looking for something else. I decided in a world full of Jund that I wanted to play Geist of Saint Traft and built a Bant aggro list around that, and it was OK, but then I saw Craig Wescoe’s Brave the Elephants article on TCGPlayer and I built that, played a few games against my son playing Jund and a Boros aggro deck, and I was hooked. Silly, fun, and actually pretty decent.

I made a few small changes based on card availability and testing, and here’s what I actually sleeved up:

550 people at the event meant 10 rounds of Swiss. That’s a lot of Magic! I’ve never played at an SCG Open so I didn’t have a good idea of what kind of competition to expect; I figured something in between a GP and FNM, maybe something like a PTQ. I think that was about right.

Round 1: Charles, playing RWU Control
Charles was a friendly guy who and a very competent pilot. Game 1 was all about Sphinx’s Revelation and my inability to kill him before he could cast a few of them. I got him down to 8 and he cast one for 4, then I got him down to 4 and he cast one for 6, then I got him down to 6 and he cast one for 7. I simply could not beat that much life gain and that many cards. Game 2 I sided in the two lands, the Rootborns, and the Oozes for the Charms and Spectrals. I got an early Moorland Haunt which did a lot of work, but again, I could not get there fast enough, and he drew too many cards and gained too much life off Revelations. This deck can be a little soft to control, and of note, I didn’t see a Thalia until very late in game 2. Not the best start.
0-1 matches, 0-2 games

Round 2: Eric, playing Grixis Delver
Eric was also a friendly guy, but a card got loose while he was shuffling and I saw it was a checklist card, so I put him on Jund. Wrong! He won the roll and led off with turn 1 Delver of Secrets, which blind-flipped on turn 2 with a Dissipate. So, bonus points for playing something off the wall, and double-bonus for getting it to work. Unfortunately, after that he didn’t have much action and he eventually stopped hitting me with the Delver and blocked with it. With him at six life and both of us with empty boards, he put down a Duskmantle Seer. I cast a Loxodon Smiter and passed. On the Seer trigger, he revealed a Searing Spear to put him at 4, and I took 2 from a Spectral Flight. He swung with the Seer to put me down to 8 and then clogged the ground tapping out for two Snapcasters, clearly forgetting about the Spectral. So dumbo grew wings and flew over for 6. Game 2 I got turn 4 Sigarda, which is extremely difficult for Grixis to handle, and that was that. Eric dropped since he was out of top 8 contention.
1-1 matches, 2-2 games

Round 3: Nick playing Naya
Nick was another friendly guy and this was pretty much a good old-fashioned slugfest. Game 1 I don’t remember all that well: there was bashing, some burning, some Braving, and I came out on top. I boarded in the Oozes, the Courages, and the extra Sigarda, taking out the Spectral Flights and I don’t remember what else. Game 2 he ran over my turn 2 Thalia with some Rampager bloodrush, putting me at 15. We got to a state where he had a Smiter and an Ooze (but no open green mana), and I had a Smiter with Unflinching Courage on it. I swung, and he chose to double-block. That was OK with me, so I went back to 21 and we both had empty boards. He missed his fifth land drop and played a Boros Reckoner. I did not miss my fifth, however, and played Sigarda. Not a good race position for him, and when I followed with an Ooze that immediately became a 5/5, putting me at 24, he knew I would never block his Reckoner, and he never had the answer to Sigarda. Nick dropped, now being out of the top 8.
2-1 matches, 4-2 games

Round 4: Tyler, playing GR Aggro
I had played a few games against another aggro deck with my son and I knew the key to this kind of matchup was Smiter. Unfortunately, my opening hand had only 1 land, and my 6-card hand had two land and a Smiter in it, so I kept. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to draw land again for like five turns, which is about how long you get to live against GR Aggro. I did actually manage to draw out the game a little bit with a couple Braves, but just could not hang on. Game 2 I kept what I thought was an OK hand, but never drew into a Smiter or a Courage and ultimately died to the double Reckoner plus Hellrider board he developed. I was a little annoyed at how this match played out, this eliminating me from the top 8. So far feast or famine, no three-game matches.
2-2 matches, 4-4 games

Round 5: Joe, playing Esper Control
Joe was a nice guy and a very sharp player; this was the best match of the day for me. Game 1 he really got the better of me, with Supreme Verdict when he needed it and Revelation when he needed that and a Detention Sphere for my Voice; the closest I got him to dead was 9, which wasn’t very good. Game 2 was also pretty lopsided, as he mulled down to 5 and I started with turn 2 Smiter followed by Voice, which got there. Game 3 he did mull to 6, but I didn’t have a super-fast start, either, and tried to not play out too much stuff at once, fearing Verdict. He never did Verdict but had a lot of spot removal (again a Sphere for a Voice), and I had him on his back foot enough that he only got in one Revelation for 3, from 7 life up to 10, but my swing back brought him to 3. I had Alchemist’s Refuge in play so when he didn’t Verdict, but had a Augur of Bolas in play, I used it to cast a Voice at the end of his turn. He Doom Bladed the Smiter that was in play so I had only a pair of 2-power creatures on the board, but I had a Brave to give them both pro-Blue and swing for lethal. Being now a longshot for top 64, Joe dropped.
3-2 matches, 6-5 games

Round 6: Brandon playing Jund
Finally! I had expected lots of Jund in the field and hadn’t seen any, so it was about time. Game 1 had a little back and forth, but I pulled ahead with a Voice and a Geist on the board, then cast a Sublime and Geist got in there big. He killed the angel and dropped me to 11, but he never answered the Geist, so on to game 2. The Jund sideboard I settled on was -4 Militant, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Scavenging Ooze, +1 Sigarda. He obviously kept a 2-lander and didn’t draw land, but it was also a double-Farseek hand so he still made a game of it. I had an ORing in my opening hand so his turn-5 Olivia went away immediately. I came back with an Ooze and made it a 4/4, but he died to Dreadbore. I got out a Smiter and a Sublime (still had a Pilgrim in play) and he came back with Thragtusk. I sent in both and he blocked with Thragtusk, but I had a Charm to make that unprofitable, dropping him to 11. He came back with Olivia #2 (still on 5 land), and of course had a beast token. My draw was Spectral Flight, which I put on the Pilgrim and swung with the team. He only blocked the Smiter and went down to 4. He untapped, Putrefied the Sublime, leaving only two mana open. I Braved the Elephant to give him pro Black and he didn’t have the Doom Blade or Abrupt Decay in response (he only had one card in hand), and that was the match. Yay, the Jund Menace beaten by a brave elephant! Brandon then dropped.
4-2 matches, 7-5 games

Round 7: Solomon playing GR Aggro
Solomon was another friendly guy, but this is just a bad matchup for me. Game 1 I saw no Smiters and he just ran me over. Game 2 I got an Unflinching Courage on a Sublime and hit for 8, bringing him to 6 and me up to 20. However, he drew Hellrider and knocked me back down to 4, but didn’t have enough burn to kill me or take down the Sublime, so that was it. Game 3 I actually got an Ooze at one point and even got an Unflinching Courage on it to bring us both to 15, but he had a Firefist Striker so the Ooze was never going to block, and while I did draw another Courage, all I had to put it on was a Pilgrim, and that just wasn’t enough. Now, I was technically still alive for the money at X-3, but even that was an outside shot. I however, did not drop.
4-3 matches, 8-6 games

Round 8: Tom, playing Bant Hexproof
I had seen a lot of this around and wasn’t at all surprised to finally face it. While I had never played against it with this deck, I had played Bant Hexproof for a while and I felt like this matchup favored me because this deck can race, and of course three Rays in the sideboard are really good. Game 1 was exactly the “race” situation, as I was the one with the early Geist. Selesnya Charm kept the Geist alive for a couple swings. We got to a board state where I had Geist and something else on the board, and he cast Fiendslayer Paladin and had a Rancor on it at 7 life. I swung with the team, cast Brave to give them all pro-White, and we were off to game 2. I sided in all three Rays and an ORing for the Militants. My opening hand for Game 2 was Giest, Pilgrim, Thalia, Ray, Forest, Voice, and two lands, so that meant turn 2 Geist from me. His turn 2 was an Invisible Stalker, and his turn 3 was a Rancor. I followed up with a swing for six, a Ray for the Rancor and then Thalia. He came back with another Stalker. I swung with the team, and he Fog’d. I played Voice and passed. He put an Ethereal Armor on one Stalker and swung. I swung back, and he Fog’d again. I passed, having drawn land the last couple turns. He played another Ethereal Armor on the second Stalker and swung. I flashed back Ray to kill the armor and went down to 11. I drew a Selesnya Charm, swung with the team. This time he did not have Fog and tried to block, but the Charm made my team lethal. Tom dropped.
5-3 matches, 10-6 games

Round 9: Mitchell, playing Junk Reanimator
Despite the preponderance of Scavenging Oozes, reanimator decks are still around. Mitchell was a great fun guy, and this was fun to play. Well, more fun for me. I won the roll, went turn 2 Voice, turn 3 Geist, turn 4 Sublime and the Exalted Geist started eating chump blockers and even his Thragtusk was not enough to save him. He was really impressed with the deck, and asked me if I had designed it myself. I laughed and told him where it came from. He said it was the coolest rouge deck he’d seen. Anyway, I sided in the Oozes and the ORings, and I’m not sure what I took out, but it certainly wasn’t the Militants. Game 2 I came out with a turn 2 Thalia, which he eventually spent 4 mana to Putrefy. His next play was a Resto on an empty board, but I kept the Geist he blocked alive with a Charm, bringing him down to 8. He attacked with Resto and came back with Thragtusk, and I came back with a Voice and a Spectral flight and bashed him down to 5. He swung with Resto and Thragtusk, and I chumped Thragtusk with Voice and went down to 10. Post-combat he Resto’d Thragtusk to go up to 10. I looked at the board, swung out with the team for 11, and cast Brave twice, once for white and once for green, and that was it. He was a little shocked, saying he had another Thragtusk and some reanimator stuff coming and thought he had finally stabilized. Brave the Elements is pretty good indeed… Mitchell dropped.
6-3 matches, 12-6 games

Round 10: Logan, playing Chronic Flooding Human Reanimator
Wow, another reanimator! Logan was affable and I didn’t know what he was playing for a few turns until he finally cast a Chronic Flooding. What was strange about this game is that I never drew a source of blue and the Geist in my opening hand was never played. However, I had Dryad and Voice and Smiter and a couple Charms to destroy blockers and I managed to finish him off before he got anything serious going in the graveyard; his Chronic Flooding didn’t come out until turn 4 or 5. I sided in the Oozes and ORings again, taking out the Flights and one other card, though I’m not sure which that was. I had a good draw but with no blue in it, but my first draw was a Hallowed Fountain so I managed a turn 2 Geist, which was followed by a turn 3 Thalia. Thalia was key because he got an early Flooding and milled both an Unburial Rites and an Angel of Glory’s Rise. So I had to kill him before he got up to five land. I swung with everything except the Pilgrim, and he flashed in a Staticaster and shot Thalia. I charmed her in response, which meant I got in for extra damage, bringing him to 2. He untapped, and shot Thalia again, and I responded with Brave the Elements, tapping my last land and the Pilgrim. He couldn’t cast the Unburial Rites, and couldn’t cast a flying blocker to keep himself alive next turn, so BTE FTW!
7-3 matches, 14-6 games

Overall a good game win percentage—nice not to drop a game in the last three rounds—and 7-3 isn’t bad, either. However, 7-3 was only good enough to top 64 and cash with good tiebreakers, and my tiebreakers were not good. Most of my opponents dropped after losing to me, and I know my round 4 loss stayed in and only finished 5-5. 21 points ran from place 32 to place 80; I finished 79th. So that was a little disappointing.

On the other hand, it’s a rogue deck that I had never played in a tournament and I took it out to something big, so that wasn’t really a bad performance. This should get me up over 750 points for the season, meaning two GP byes if I can make it to a GP in the near future.

Some thoughts on the deck:

  • It’s reasonably fun to play. It’s a little more complex than just turning guys sideways, but not overly complex by any stretch.
  • Brave the Elements was excellent. It took almost all of my opponents by surprise the first time they saw it. It’s a counterspell against removal, yes, but it also makes your team lethal against blockers when your opponent is on low life.
  • I boarded in Scavenging Ooze almost every match—against everything except Hexproof. It has the downside that it’s not protected with BTE, but it’s graveyard disruption against reanimator and control, and life gain vs. aggro. I’m not sure what to take out main deck, though, since what I took out for them varied widely.
  • Sigarda is a card most people seem to have forgotten about. Still a card, still very good.
  • It’s a little sketchy against control. I changed the sideboard to add Rootborn Defenses to counter Supreme Verdict, but it turns out that what it really needs is some kind of answer to Sphinx’s Revelation, and has none. You just have to kill them before they can cast a big one, and that can be tricky.
  • It’s also a little sketchy against GR Aggro. Against other aggro decks the Smiters and the Charms do a lot of work, but GR is just too fast with Hellriders and Rampagers. Firefist Striker is also a big problem. A card like Smite would help with the others, but not with the Striker. Not sure what the right answer would be.
  • It’s better against Reanimator than I thought, because it can come out fast. Or maybe I’m just lucky.
  • I somehow managed to dodge any Aristocrats variant. That doesn’t seem like a very good matchup, but I could be wrong.