Rock-Walkers, My Rise, My Fall, and learning to Dust Myself Off

Hi guys!  I haven’t been chatting much because, well, I haven’t been doing much.  After surgery I re-injured my foot and was put back on restricted activity, which limited the number of events I could go to and how far I was really willing to travel.  Having a big black boot of junk all the time is not the most comfortable way to take part in events.  So mostly I did things at my LGS like GPTs.

However, last Friday I got the go ahead to drive and walk around a bit more, so I high tailed myself over to SCG Open Richmond.  It is only about an hour to an hour and a half drive from where I live, so I figured it would be a good test of both my physical capability and where I was at in the rat race since the release of M14. I got there early, asked for fixed seating(which if you are ever injured or disabled, you should totally ask for at a large event. They are normally more than accommodating) and looked through my deck and deck list one more time.  The guys from my shop who had been there the previous day for Team Sealed and I made some final tweaks before the player meeting and then we were off!

It wasn’t so good.  Everyone had Jund at this event.  Or at least it felt like it.  And while I was able to pull ahead in one Jund match-up, the others I just couldn’t.  I wound up 2-4 and then dropped for the day.  It was already 5 pm and I didn’t want to push myself driving home during the times when I-95 construction is going on.

However, looking at the deck as it was before M14, and what it turned into after M14, I think I have found a pretty steady compromise.  So for the rest of the blog post I am going to talk about the 3 iterations of the deck and how I think it will continue to change.

Original

4 Deathrite Shaman

4 Strangleroot Geist

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Liliana of the Veil

2 Vraska the Unseen

2 Curse of Deaths Hold

3 Abrupt Decay

1 Tragic Slip

3 Golgari Charm

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Guildgate

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetery

1 Rogue’s Passage

7 Forest

6 Swamp

This deck was solid.  It had consistent answers for everything while still being able to delivery punches.  I played this a lot at Monday Night Standards and FNM at the shop with many fantastic results.  I don’t think I had ever been so happy playing a deck.  Whatever I couldn’t get rid of via Abrupt Decay, Putrefy, or Liliana, Vraska would take care of.  Curse of Death’s Hold really put people a turn back since their mana dorks died or on a very strict counter of what they could play.  This deck was amazing in my eyes and it could do no wrong.

Then M14 came along and this is what I wound up with the morning of the Open:

V2

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

2 Lifebane Zombie

2 Varolz, the Scar Stripped

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Thragtusk

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Vraska the Unseen

4 Liliana of the Veil

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Doom Blade

2 Golgari Charm

2 Putrefy

3 Abrupt Decay

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

4 Forest

9 Swamp

This deck was not consistent enough to really get a good idea of the decisions you need to make. I would constantly have one piece without the other or be stuck with something that I couldn’t use.  The biggest flop this past weekend was Doom Blade.  I was expecting much less black in the field then there way, and having Doom Blade in your hand while trying to take control of a crazy board state was not helpful.  Varolz is not enough of a threat against many of the decks that are out there, not the same way that Dreg Mangler is.  Scavenging Ooze and Lifebane Zombie did work, but adding in Thragtusk messed up the curve just a bit too much.  I realized that in my deck I don’t want creatures, perhaps the most vital thing, to cost over 4.  D-Demon should be the top of my creature curve.  Having Vraska in my hand isn’t the worst thing if I can’t cast her because she is a free card to toss.  Thragtusk means I can’t play him, and it is going to be awfully hard to scavenge for him too. If I can have a Varolz out long enough.

So I have been mulling it over this week, really thinking about the changes I made between the two decks and if they can reconcile.  I think they can.  Doom Blades are coming out for a bit, although I think they will be useful in the future, and Putrefy is going back in.  The two Thragtusk and Varolz will be coming out.  I’m going to be going up to 4 Dreg Manglers again and 3 Lifebane Zombie. So the final product for testing this weekend will look like this:

V3

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

3 Lifebane Zombie

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Vraska

2 Garruk

4 Liliana

3 Abrupt Decay

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Charm

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

5 Forest

8 Swamp

I’m going to play with the mana base a bit more, thinking about two more Golgari Guildgates to throw in.  But I feel that this is much more solid.  And working with the same deck for so long has really given me a new level of focus and analysis capability.  So despite doing piss poor at an event, the whole drive home I just realized, even above the searing pain in my foot, that I had reached a new level.  I had transcended.  I could indeed, rebuild it to make it bigger, stronger, faster.

And I would do so as soon as I got some sleep.

My Day at WMCQ DC (WAY LATE)

Not really a tournament report as much as a personal reflection and diary of the day. To late for a full on report, things have changed a lot since then!

I was really excited for the WMCQ in Washington, DC. Not because I had really expected to do well or I was attempting to prove any kind of point, but because it was a nearby event that I could go to and be comfortable at within my surroundings.

I had been to this convention center before since it is also where the SCG DC Open was and had been in the area a lot either going to visit places or for work type stuff.  It was a pretty relaxing thing for me.  Kinda felt like I was part of the home team.  I really enjoy going to play at places where I have already been or know something of. Philly is another comfortable location, as will Richmond be in a few months.  Can’t beat playing in the building that you graduated college from, right?

But anyway, the day started out much earlier than Trevor or I planned.  A friend from our play group messaged us at 6:30 am asking if we could lend him cash to get in since he didn’t have an ATM card. Fine, but since I’m up this early I’m making tea first. Which was perhaps the best decision in the world.

We go pick up our friend and rather than Metro in we decided to drive.  Metro is normally an awesome option unless it is 4-20, Earth Day, and they are single tracking or closing tracks all over the place and making it difficult to get around.  Plus there is $15 parking a few blocks away from the venue that isn’t all that bad. And on the way back I could hit my favorite restaurant!

So we get to the convention center and it is kind of a mess thanks to AwesomeCon also going on in the same building. So you have this mass of nerds kind of just all over the place with some really poor directions. We figured out which room the WMCQ was in and made sure our Pre-registers went though and sat down at what was a pretty empty table. Trevor had printed out our deck lists before hand, but of course, mine go left behind so I had to fill one out real quick.  Oh well, I guess at least it wasn’t both that I had to do.

The room filled up quickly and we started off the day with nearly 400 players.  It was yet another day of an SCG event being split into two rooms causing confusion for many players.  In fact, I think it is a good thing that they had so many other events happening at the same time because there were enough drops after round 1 to get at least all the WMCQ players in one room.

The most important thing I learned about today is the fact that I am not a bad player. I know what calls to make when when I know the decks I’m playing against. The issue is that my playgroup likes to play a lot of the same archetypes.  So for the weeks leading up to the WMCQ I was testing over and over against the various Aggro decks.  Against those decks, I just kicked face.  However, going up against something like G/W tokens or Planeswalker Superfriends, I just wasn’t sure of the reactions I needed to have.

Many people are telling me the solution to this is to get on MTGO, which I might start doing as soon as I have the income for both paper and online Magic. But until then I don’t really have a desire to try and balance both and feel as though I losing something to gain one other thing.  Not to mention time to play both online and in person and do school work and actually work is limited. Some people would say I’m not dedicated, but I would say balancing just three out of those four things and doing pretty well at all of them shows more dedication to life overall than just one item.

Anyway, my Golgari deck is getting put back together, maybe made into a light Jund deck and I will keep you updated on that. Hoping to have that ready for GameDay. I am going to continue keeping the Bant Control/Prime Speaker deck in order and updating it as I go.  I have cards I need to pick up over the next week or so, but I have been working on trading for more of them as opposed just buying them.

I think that is all I have for now. I’ll get a decklist for you guys as things become more solidified and tested.

 

Give No Cares! A B/G deck

So this is the deck that I will probably be taking with me to Baltimore.  Trevor and I have been working on it slowly but surely over time and I’m really not sure how it is going to work.  Kinda wish my Mill deck was in better shape, but I figure I’ll keep working at that and probably use it at Atlantic City and MAGFest.

I can’t wait for the right guild to be around…

Anyway, on to deck!

Give No Cares

Creatures

  • 3 Slitherhead
  • 4 young wolf
  • 4 Strangleroot Geist
  • 4 Dreg Mangler
  • 3 Thragtusk

Spells

  • 3 Blessings of Nature
  • 4Rancor
  • 3 Ultimate Price
  • 3 Grisly Salvage
  • 3 Golgari Charm

Planeswalker

  • 4 Liliana of the Veil

Lands

  • 4 Overgrown Tomb
  • 4 Woodland Cemeteries
  • 8 Forest
  • 6 Swamp

There are some more tweaks that need to be made.  For instance, I want to put Garruk in there, as well as Jarad.  While Thragtusk is nice, I’m not sure if he is really want I need.  I think I’d much rather than those two in there instead. I have some good stuff for my sideboard.

 

I’m not sure how well this will do, but I can only assume that most people will think I’m playing frights.  When really it is I don’t care, I’m just gonna ditch these creatures.  Undying, scavenge, boosting Jarad, all seems nice in theory, but I’m not sure in practice.