Tag Archives: Grand Prix

GP DC and a Foray into the Unknown!

Good Afternoon Readers!

This weekend I was able to do something I haven’t done in a very long time. I went and played some Magic. The GP was Team Sealed and was hosted in Washington DC. On Saturday we went and played in some side events, and It was fun jumping back into the scene. As always Matt and I tried to sleeve up close to the same 75. We both Played Jund. Here’s the List I played:

Jund:
Creatures (14):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kalitas, Trator of Ghet

Planeswalkers (4):
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18):
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Terminate
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
1 Forest
2 Swamp
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15):
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize
1 Duress
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dismember
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Spellskite

Round 1, I played against Naya Burn. Game 1, I was facing down 3 Goblin guides by turn 2, and the game was quickly over. There wasn’t much I could do. I brought in the extra Finks, Courser, Duress and Spellskite. I was able to tear up his hand early, land a Liliana to clear the board along side a Finks and stabilize. Shortly after I closed out the game with a Tarmogoyf. Game 3 was similar, Early Discard combined with his one land allowed me to stabilize early. Finks and Huntmaster were able to put it away. I was super rusty, but it felt good to win the first round with a little luck.

Round 2, I keep a slower hand, but it’s good. In hindsight, it didn’t really have any early interaction, and maybe should have been a mulligan against ANY opponent. Regardless it was a terrible keep against.. a second Naya Burn player. He beat me very quickly after I got stuck on two lands. I sided almost the same way, Kept a decent hand, but kept getting boned on my lands. I was forced to play shocks when I didn’t want to, compound that with a bad Tarmo block into a Nacatal + Atarka’s Command and I couldn’t defend myself. I was quickly run over in what felt like two non-games. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Round 3, was G/R Tron. Running Stone Cold at this point. Game 1 I do my best to get under his tron lands, but a one turn late Inquisition allows him to play the Map and get the land he needs. He plays Karn, and I kill it after one activation. He plays… another Karn, and I kill it after one activation. then when I’m starting to mount a comeback he plays the new Ulamog and I literally have nothing in my deck to deal with it. He wrecks my board and I’m quickly dead. Game two, I get a quick start combined with turn 3 and 4 Fulminators. I keep him off mana the whole game and close it out with a Goyf and a Ravine. At this point I know my only hope is to be quick and Thoughseize the Ulamog out of his hand. He mulligans to 5 on the play and Turn 1s a Chrome Star. I have an early discard spell, don’t see an Ulamog and I take his only way to get more lands. Turn 2 he cracks the Star, makes Green and draws into Ancient Stirrings and casts it hitting the land he needs. Then does it again the next turn. He then draws into Ulamog a turn or two later, and I have no way to deal with it. GG

Tron is brutal for us, but I felt like I played decently against him. I feel I got a bit unlucky, as after my first turn he had nothing of any merit in hand. He just happened to draw very well into what he needed.

Finally, Round 4, my opponent didn’t show. Well… Quite the hollow victory, I suppose, to end 2-2.  Matt did a bit better than me. Beating Lantern Control Round 1, Losing to U/R Eldrazi Round 2, beating Merfolk Round 3, and beating U/W Eldrazi Round 4. The last match of the day also lead to the single greatest line I have ever heard in a sanctioned match of magic, but maybe I’ll let Matt tell that story if he’ll do a write up from his side of the tournament.

We both really like’d our lists, I definitely need to add a Damnation. He was playing the single Seal of Fire, which is something I’d like to add moving forward. He played Olivia in the side and I did not. I didn’t miss her. I was glad I did not include Slaughter Pact, Matt is thinking about dropping his. Finks we’re great all weekend as well, and I am still a huge fan of Kolaghan’s Command. Kalitas over performed for both of us, as did Huntmaster, so we both like the 1-1 split.

Kalitas really gives us a way to get extra value out of all of our removal spells. Things like Pact and Seal of Fire give us the ability to get value off Kalitas right on Turn 4 when she comes into play. If you manage to untap with Kalitas, you’re going to start to steamroll your opponent with 2/2s while clearing their board. There’s also the bonus of Kalitas being able to eat it’s own Zombies and become monstrously huge. Tack on Lifelink, and we have one very formidable creature taking a very impactful role in Jund.

I know this was a short “tournament” report, but you gotta dip your toes back in somehow. Also the meta is going to shift again with inevitable nerfing of Eldrazi in April. I will be staying by the old faithful of G/B/x in one form or another, but right now I’m enjoying casting Bolt and Bobs. Jund is still very viable in modern, as it can always be tuned to have the advantage in almost any match up. I would absolutely give it a shot if you want to play “fair magic.”

Lastly, Matt has been getting into legacy, and I think I’m going to do the same. I literally know nothing about the format, but a local shop does Tuesday tournaments with a proxy limit. Matt also knows a guy who is gracious enough to hook us up with real duals and the like so we can partake. I am very excited to learn this format and mostly get to cast things like Deathrite Shaman, Brainstorm, and Hymn to Tourach. Matt intends on playing BUG Delver, while I think I’m going to take a stab at Shardless BUG. Again, I know literally nothing about the format so i’m going to start here:

Creatures (15)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Liliana of the Veil

Lands (22)
2 Bayou
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland

Spells (19)
1 Sylvan Library
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
3 Force of Will
3 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
2 Thoughtseize

Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Null Rod
1 Thoughtseize
1 Divert
2 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Will
1 Golgari Charm
1 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Chill

List looks sweet, no idea what changes I’ll need to make for the board, and I’m sure things will change once I see the local Meta. I am excited to try this out and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading. and hopefully I’ll have some Legacy reporting to do in the next few weeks. I will be out of town, for 3 of the next 5 blog post days. I will try to have some posts ready to go up while I am gone.

You can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. Thanks again, and keep fighting the good fight against the Eldrazi Menace.

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SCG Invitational and Looking Forward in Modern

Welcome back to Modern Gentlemen Gaming!

This is the first official article, and boy, does it feel good to be back! Welcome, welcome, welcome! If you’re a new-comer, I cannot stress it enough. If you’ve made your way over here from East Timber Basement MTG, then welcome back! I’m glad you found you’re way here. Something important to note is if you liked receiving notifications on new articles, then you’ll need to re-follow this blog. Just click “Follow” over on the right and/or submit your email address. This way, you’ll never miss an update!

Thank you, and let’s get to the article.

Matt and I have formed Team MGG to better serve you guys, the readers. Obviously we’re still going to be focused on MTG, but we’re adding a whole bunch of new stuff to our repertoire. We left off in The Basement deep into modern testing. I’m going to be updating and reposting a lot of that content over here, so we have a compendium. The other good news that I mentioned in our introductory post was the insane amount of Modern tournaments going on. Today marks the beginning of Grand Prix Charlotte. I have no idea where the meta is going to go after this weekend, but I can tell you that Star City Games’ Invitational LAST weekend really shook things up.

If you don’t know, the Invitationals are usually Standard and Legacy. SCG mixed it up and made it Standard and Modern, with the top 8 being Modern. So, let’s take a look at that top 8.

1st– G/R Tron
2nd– Amulet Bloom
3rd– Jund
4th– Merfolk
5th– G/R Tron
6th– Abzan Company
7th– Amulet Bloom
8th– Grixis Twin

Mother of God… What is happening?! This is a FAR cry from the meta we saw at the Pro Tour. Those days are far behind us. The top decks used to be Junk Midrange, U/R Twin, Burn and Infect. Now, lots of Junk players are switching to Jund, Twin is shifting to Grixis, Burn and Infect are slowly fading away, Bloom appears to be getting more and more popular, and finally… where the HELL did Tron come from?

As a Junk Midrange player, all of this scares the hell out of me. Tron is (supposedly) a horrific match up for us. These results will definitely cause an uptick in the number of Tron players for the next month or so. Against Bloom, discard is our primary weapon and, admittedly, not the best angle of attack. In addition, we basically have to have a Path to Exile in our opening hand or we’re in serious trouble. Merfolk is a very weird thing to see in this Top 8. I actually, very recently, had the opportunity to play a bunch of games against Merfolk. The Collected Company decks have been growing in popularity steadily in the flavor of Elves and Junk Company. Junk Company looks to out value you with Eternal Witness and Finks, and does a very interesting Pod impression with Merlia and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit infinite combos.  Jund has gotten much more popular due to Kolaghan’s Command.

So a lot of these shifts in the meta make sense. Everyone was on Junk Midrange, as that is the “best deck” Day Zero, when you don’t know what you’re playing against. G/B/x decks are decks that can be tuned to beat almost anything, and have good game against most of the field. It’s a safe choice that rewards knowing what you want to beat and knowing your deck inside and out. Once new cards are introduced to the format (Kolaghan’s Command and Collected Company) old archetypes get a revival, new archetypes are made, and everyone must adjust to beat those decks. So, how do we beat them?

Amulet Bloom

Blood Moon is good. That is a given. If they aren’t getting value from the double lands and Amulet of Vigor, they cannot power out huge threats. If they cannot get their appropriate colors, they cannot kill you with Hive Mind. Land destruction will only slow them down. You cannot rely on Fulminator Mage alone; you have to combine it with a clock. This goes doubly with discard and disruption. These act as faux “tempo” plays, as Bloom will kill you eventually, if you let it. The actual Amulet doesn’t necessarily kill you either; it just helps them kill you faster. So again, Decaying the Amulet slows them down and gives you time to get a clock on them. The issue with Decay is there are very few targets for it and it doesn’t kill their win conditions. Spellskite does a decent job slowing them down, as they cannot power up their Primeval Titan to OHKO you. Granted, this also means you need a rather large Goyf (or some decent sized blockers) on the field as well, but it’s definitely possible.

Tron

So it’s funny because you’d think Blood Moon might be good here as well.  The reality is it’s kind of the inverse of Bloom. Whereas Blood Moon stops Bloom in its tracks, Tron can still cast its threats with Mountains. It will get to 6, 7, and 8 mana to just cast Wurmcoils, Karns and Ugins. Then against Bloom, where Land Destruction only slows them, it does handicap Tron. Fulminator, Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter (being played by Gerry Thompson), all do a great job keeping their lands to a minimum. Combined with threats creating a clock (sensing a theme?) you will be able to stop them from going over the top. This is also another deck where Decay can look embarrassing. Decaying an Expedition Map can help slow them down, but you have to catch them tapped out, and outside of that you don’t have a ton of targets.  Gerry also mention Boom//Bust as a great option here and I agree. This is a deck that doesn’t run a ton of fetches, as they cannot fetch Tron pieces. So by casting Boom, you target a Tron piece and one of your fetches; you can then sac your fetch in response and force just them to sacrifice their land. It’s a gross play.

Collected Company

There are two flavors of Collected Company. The Junk version seems to be the more popular of the two. This deck uses Company at instant speed to gain value. It can be through Kitchen Finks for life gain, a sizeable threat, and a resilient creature, Eternal Witness, to rebuy Company, or other value cards, or to just win on the spot with infinite life combos. The first thing I would say is all of those mentioned lines use the graveyard in some way. I first thought about adding a couple of Gralfdigger’s Cage to my side board. Gerry Thompson has been championing Leyline of the Void. Basically if you can cut off access to the graveyard, their deck becomes a bunch of mediocre creatures. Cage stops creatures from coming into play straight from the library, but doesn’t really stop the graveyard (Cage is better suited for fighting Snapcaster Mage). Leyline doesn’t stop the actual card Collected Company, but it does entirely remove any graveyard interaction. If you already have a way to stop Snapcaster Mage (like Scavenging Ooze), then I would totally go with Leyline of the Void. The issue is it is a Black card as opposed to an Artifact. Other options would be Rest in Peace, or Relic or Progenitus, but Leyline may be the cleanest answer. A well timed Anger of the Gods can really put a pinch in their plans due to the exile clause.

Elves is another story. This is something I’ve personally seen start to become more popular, so I am unsure if it is more so than Junk Company. This deck simply uses Company to put more and more elves into play. They want to hit a critical mass of creatures, generate a ton of mana and Overrun you with Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Obviously, graveyard is much less of a factor and controlling their board is key. Anger of the Gods is very good as even with one or two lords, you still wipe their board. Damnation is great as it gets around the Regenerate on Ezuri. Wrath of God is the same but White. Cheap removal is important for helping you get to turn 4 or 5 and actually cast the big sweepers. Lightning Bolt does a fantastic job of slowing them down. Zealous Persecution or Golgari Charm can get them before they play a lord. I have also always been a fan of Engineered Explosives, but it appears to be less popular than it used to be.

Choosing a Deck

Burn can probably handle Tron and Bloom pretty well, but has a pretty difficult time beating the life gain out of Junk Company. With Company keeping Burn in check, it could be contributing to the swell in the other two archetypes.

Infect is probably in a similar vein. It is definitely fast enough to beat Tron and Bloom, but Melira is actually seeing play again. That small fact could be enough to warrant NOT playing Infect, which would give room for Tron and Bloom to flourish.

Twin seems like a pretty good answer to all three of the archetypes. I’ve mentioned in many of my Modern musings previously that you need a way to just win out of nowhere. No deck does it like Twin does. It’s a great deck that does not rely solely on the combo, which forces your opponent to defend on multiple angles. Twin can be faster than Tron, can slow down Bloom with counter magic long enough to combo, and just combo BETTER than Junk CoCo. This is a deck I’d fully expect to rip thought a meta full of Tron, Bloom, and Company.

With all of the hate cards in mind, it’s no wonder that Gerry Thompson has been all about Jund. It has access to many of tools to beat these archetypes. This is another deck that has also been gaining popularity due to Kolaghan’s Command. It does everything a Jund deck wants to be doing. It can disrupt, buyback a threat, help you get to those long, grindy stages of a game, and even kill things.

So if I had to guess what the meta will look like at the GP it would be something like the following:

Tron will get a boost in popularity due to its highly successful finish at the Invitational; same goes for Bloom. Both of these archetypes will contain players who were on the fence about playing a “mediocre” deck, and the Invitational results will force them off the fence, back into the Tron or Bloom camp.  Junk Company will continue to rise in popularity, and this may include Elves. I think the Junk version is probably better than Elves, so I don’t expect to see any Elves in the top 8 (but if Merfolk did it, why not Elves?).  Twin will continue to be popular due to its “free win” angle. It is always a solid deck choice. Jund will continue to pick up steam, what with many high profile players battling with it, and it’s access to many tools needed to win against the meta. I think Affinity is posed to make a comeback. It’s been pretty quiet for a while, and that usually means people will begin dropping their Artifact hate. As soon as that happens, BOOM! Robots Attack! It may not be this weekend, but I think it’s on the horizon. Lastly, I predict Junk, Infect, Burn, and the like will all be in the lower percentages of representation.

If I could play any deck this weekend at the GP, I would choose U/R Twin, Jund, or Junk. Twin has Red which gives you Blood Moon, Anger, Pyroclasm, Bolt, etc. Jund has access to the same, but with Black added for Leyline and “better” options for removal. The only reason I would consider playing Junk is, if enough people are on Jund to beat the meta, Junk might be a good choice to win those G/B/x mirror matches. This honestly feels like a stretch to me, because in all reality Jund and Twin are probably best. I just can’t help but at least mention Mr. Rhinoceros.

Regardless, I’m excited to watch some magic this weekend since I am unable to actually attend the GP. It’s going to be a great weekend. I have a few primers planned. I’d like to do one for each of the major archetypes. This way, they will always be available for reference, and I can update them as time goes on. I have a few on the old blog that I would like to move over and update, and then I’ll be creating the others. In between these posts, I’ll be writing about major tournaments, and finally start talking about Hearthstone as this season progresses. Thanks for tuning in this week. If any of you guys are going to GP Charlotte, send me your stories about how you did or the decks you played with. We’d love to hear from you.

As always, feel free to comment below. You can email me with comments questions, or concerns at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your ideas for a future post! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. You can click “Follow” on the right side to follow the blog and make sure you never miss an update from Team MGG! Thanks again for your support during this rebuilding phase and good luck at the GP!

-Andy