FNM BUG Mid-Range

For the past couple of weeks I had been trying to play the Golgari Aggro decks that had been appearing place, but not having much luck with them.  So this week, with more time off to look at lists and really get an idea of what I wanted to play in this format, I finally decided to give BUG Mid-Range a go.

I used Jeff Hoogland’s List, which you can go see easily and read about his path to getting to the list, for FNM for a few reasons.  My store has a lot of aggro players or Esper Control players.  This deck gave me the ability to switch gears in order to handle one over the other a little bit better.  I wasn’t going to be getting rid of any Erebos or Thassa, but I would make it a lot harder for them to turn on.  Another reason is that I had all the pieces available to me.  I was missing one Hero’s Downfall, but that was easily replaced by a Putrey with the added benefit of killing multiple Spears that way.

Round one was against a Boros Devotion deck that leaned to the Red side.  I got in there with a Nightvale Specter and wound up exiling a Mountain and a Stormbreath Dragon.  I had a Cartyiad on the board, so I could have played the Stormbreath Dragon at any point with that, but for whatever reason that did not click.  Instead, Prognostic Sphinx got there  as I chipped away at his wall of Boros Reckoners and Ash Zealots.  For the second game I sided in Doom Blade and Ultimate Price for the Putrefy and one Downfall so that I had cheaper removal.  I also brought in the extra Golgari Charm in order to have some Regen power.  I won the next game and the round pretty quickly.

Round two was just straight Red Devotion, however he couldn’t seem to get it going.  I used a similar sideboard plan and killed a lot of his creatures by Monstering Polukranos.  He won the second game when I kept a bad hand, but I was able to fuse Far/Away by using Ashiok’s abilities.  Using the -2 to grab a previously exiled Burning Tree Emissary and then doing the rest was just very satisfying for some reason.  Otherwise, it was Polukranos in this game that just trampled over with some aid of a Sphinx.  Jace was also important in these games because it made a lot of his guys ineffective attackers unless they were unleashed, which then prevented him from chump blocking in many cases.

Round three was against someone who normally played Esper Control so I was pretty sure that is what I would be going up against.  Then suddenly, there was a pile of white weenies on the board.  Good thing I had a handful of Golgari Charms to deal with the Solider of the Pantheon, Daring Skyjek, and Imposing Sovereign.  Once I stabilized we were golden, it was just the initial issue with Solider gaining him life.  I brought in the same number of removal, plus the Ratchet Bombs to take care of the Solider’s.  I took out two Ashiok’s since I wouldn’t be able to cast anything from his deck and Nightvale was doing his job fine.  Game two was much of the same, but with the Ratchet bomb I not only used Golgari charm as a board wipe, but had a back up on board that made him hesitant to play other items. Jace was also important in this match up since It allowed me to dig for the cards I needed, like Charms, Ultimate Price, and Nightvale Spector.

It was nice to go 3-0 again, something I haven’t done since rotation.  I seemed to have finally found my groove in this format, just in time for it to change.  One thing I would want to change in this deck is having a Vraska in the sideboard, although I’m not sure where yet.  At least for my stores meta, she is very good and people often don’t expect her either.  I had a lot of fun and go to use cards that are definitely underestimated in my opinion.

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Brewing Some crazy

So Trevor and I have been tossing back ideas on a deck and we have a v1.0 ready. It is interesting because it is once again an Aggro Control type but it is three colors rather than my normal two.

We are calling it Angry Golgari.

Now you ask why we are calling it that. It is simple. We splashed red for no creatures we actually want on the field. Just things to act as a distraction and rile up an opponent.  Just about everything in there that gets used is B/G, but the red is in there for a twist.  Hopefully you will see why in the decklist!

Mainboard

Creatures

-4 Slumbering Dragon

-4 Vexing Devils

-3 Lotleth Troll

-4 Strangleroot Geist

-4 Dreg Mangler

3 Varolz, the Scar-Striped

3 Falkenrath Aristocrat

Spells

2 Golgari Charm

3 Grisly Salvage

3 Abrupt Decay

3 Putrefy

Land

-1 Forest

-1 Mountain

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Blood Crypt

4 Stomping Ground

4 Woodland Cemetary

4 Rootbound Crag

2 Dragonskull Summit

So if you did figure it out the plan here is to use those one drop creatures mostly as cannon fodder.  If I have to play a Slumbering Dragon, it isn’t the worst thing in the world because who wants to swing in and make a huge dragon for me if they aren’t going to kill me?  Also, I can just eat it for the Aristocrat, then scavenge the 1 red for 3 more counters to put on either her or one of my other guys.

Not a bad plan in theory. It wasn’t too bad in practice last night either, although I didn’t do much.  I decided to draft since so much of the deck right now is proxied out. In between matches though, I played a bit against people in the Constructed FNM and didn’t have a bad time, although I rarely got to finish a game before time was called.  there tends to be a lot of talking when you don’t show up at FNM for a while.

I still need to do more testing and tweaking, so this is definitely a v1.0. Also trying to figure out my best sideboard options.  I have a pile of cards in my head, but since we just finished narrowing down the Mainboard yesterday I didn’t have the time to get the rest straight.

If you want to test it out, feel free too and just let me know how it goes, what worked and what didn’t!  If you have a suggestion leave it here too, or contact me on twitter!

 

Figuring out where I fit

I had an interesting experience for FNM this week.  Being at my parents to do house and dog sitting while they were on vacation took me away from my normal store.  The store I go to has a large crowd, normally around 60 people on any given FNM.

I enjoy spending time with most of these people, and know who is a more competitive player vs. casual and who runs what kind of decks, ect. I found that I missed these people this week, like somewhere along the line my week wasn’t completed.  I guess that is when you know a place has had a real impact on you.  So there is one point.

We went exploring a few stores the day before trying to gauge what kind of events they have, what their crowd is like, and most of all trying to find out how comfortable it was for us to just be in there.  Most of the stores I’m actually happy that I skipped on in High School.  It would have been hard to play magic with all my other things going on anyway.  I’m not sure if it was just that some of these shops were new and thus inherently uncomfortable, or that they sadly reminded me of your ‘typical nerd shop’ with people who didn’t know how to properly socialize or very little lighting, but they just didn’t work.

It could have been the army of cameras one store had set up too.  Like not one camera, but one every two ceiling tiles.  Yeah that is weird.

We found a place to play though.  A new place that opened up and is an great mixture of anime, manga, and gaming.  Somewhere that people didn’t mind talking and actually knew how to do so appropriately.  I had an over all good time.

But I feel kinda like an asshole.

The group of people playing at this store obviously are mostly casual players.  There is no judge or rules adviser to assist with games beyond the store owner.  They are used to switching mana taps in between turns and everyone just saying do what you want.  In this sense, it was a strange and lawless land, one that was way outside my social construct as a player.

I didn’t want to be the jerk who just showed up, but I didn’t want to just let people walk all over me.  I don’t ask for take backs or re-arranges any longer.  It is a bad habit that I don’t want to mess with.  Yet they constantly didn’t get that.  I’d make notes of triggers I missed due to the newness of the set or plays that could have been better then the one I just did.  They expected me to switch to those things instead.  I let someone change a mana base, trying not to be the cold player I can be while at GPs and Opens.  I did so for the second, third, fourth time through gritted teeth.

So right now I’m trying to figure out where I fit in.  I’m not quite to the point of doing well at large event consistently to consider myself good, but I am also much higher then casual.  I’m at some median point where I need to do something to advance myself in order to do better or just be happy where I am.

The issue is that I’m normally not a person to just sit idle.  If I don’t keep doing better and pushing myself I will lose interest, which would then remove me from all of the fantastic people I’ve met in this realm.  I wish I was better at playing Magic on a computer, but I constantly fumble.  I wish I had more time to play, but with Masters and work from 6 am to 6 pm most days, my weeks are cut for the most part.  I practice with Trev, but I wind up against the same deck over and over again, which doesn’t quite get the same breadth of testing that I would ultimately need for decks.

I’ve had this thought before, but that was just against a friend.  This was a whole store where I seemed to be held in this goddess type position, where people asked me for advice and I was teaching people about stacks, triggers, and how the card reads has a lot of impact.  And I guess coming from a store where I’m not in that regard, and these things are expected to be known, I was uncomfortable being in this position of teaching people.

And I think that is the biggest different.  It wasn’t just that these people were casual players, but they seemed to look up to me as some beacon of I too, can do better.  That should make me feel good, I suppose, but on so many levels I just feel as thought I don’t deserve it.

The problem with deck building right now…

WHY DOES EVERYTHING RUN THRAGTUSK AND RESTORATION ANGEL?

It really is quite obnoxious to just see all the decks running this right now.  Not running G/W?  Run Thraggy and Resto Angel anyway!

Or at least that is what it feels like.

Looking at a Blue/White/Green that doesn’t run either of those!  so happy!  However, I want to tweak somethings, so we will see.  Also have to make sure I don’t need to pick anything up.  I’ll give you a report sometime over the weekend after FNM.  I really just want to do well for a change rather than fall flat on my face to Thrags and that damn Angel.  It feels like everyone is playing the same deck.

A tough lessoned learned in Metagame monitoring

During FNM I decided to test a new deck that I had built on my own.  It was UWR Mid-Range.  I didn’t really look at other decks while building this and just kinda went with some mechanics I wanted to play with.  Which was flying and control.  The original build had Geist of Saint Traft included, but at $30 a piece, I felt that was ridiculous and made some last minute adjustments to the deck.

It did not preform as well as I hoped it would.  I was rather upset with it really.  But I figured I had learned a lot going up against the Esper Token deck, and Selesnya deck, and the one match I won which was super all over the place.  I made some adjustments and looked forward to the Charleston GPQ on Sunday.

Little did I realize that in my lack of research, just about everyone was running some sort of midrange deck.  Most of which included some form of UWR control or a Thragtusk variation.  The only win I had was a bye.  I wasn’t pulling the creatures I’m used to pulling in one of my Aggro decks and despite me starting off well I was constantly bested because I didn’t have 4 Geists(traded for 2, so it was a slight improvement on my deck) or 4 Restoration Angels.  Or even more depressing, I took out all the Thragtusks, and then would have them Supreme Verdict my Thundermaw Hellkite.

So I’m not sure what my plan is for December.  I may make some updates to my B/G exalted deck that seems to never let me down.  I’m still kind of emotionally recovering from Sunday, but I know I’ll be okay.  I have lots of opportunities to look forward to and lots of other things to keep me busy.

Other than that, not sure how much else you’ll hear from me this week.  I have a mid-term, a paper, plus the normal work due.  Not to mention my best friend got engaged so I will be busy keeping her sane as she starts the crazy planning process.  I hope everyone is doing well and would love to hear anything you did over the weekend!