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Cook’s Kitchen – Preparing for Baltimore

The hotel has been booked. I can feel the excitement growing within me for this upcoming weekend. There’s something about traveling to events that just makes me anxious. I love going to different places, always have, it’s probably from moving a lot as a kid – let’s blame it on that. While traveling to Grand Prix: Indianapolis was fun, my car didn’t really get to experience Indy as we should have. Our hotel was about 5 miles outside and we ate both nights at the restaurant literally ten feet away from our hotel. Experiencing places is always fun and interesting. While this upcoming trip to Baltimore may not be a “new” place for me, it’s certainly a place I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve been there once at the beginning of last summer with the same three guys I’m traveling down with again.  This trip is going to be better than the last for one simple reason – there won’t be any Mental Misstep. Well… at least in Legacy. No promises for Standard. I’ve been playing UW Delver since I wrote about it here. Some of the lists may have incorporated Misstep, I’m not too proud of it, but the one I’m playing this upcoming weekend doesn’t! For reference:

 

UW Delver 

Creatures:
4 Delver of Secrets 
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Porcelain Legionnaire 

Legendary Creatures:
3 Geist of Saint Traft

Instants/Sorceries:
2 Feeling of Dread
4 Mana Leak
4 Thought Scour
4 Vapor Snag
3 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder

Artifacts:
2 Runechanter’s Pike
2 Sword of War and Peace

Basic Land:
9 Island

Non-Basic Land:
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Moorland Haunt
4 Seachrome Coast

Sideboard:
3 Celestial Purge

2 Flashfreeze
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Negate
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Ratchet Bomb

 

The list I wrote about I didn’t invest a lot of time into. It was successful lists that I saw and combined the elements that I liked. It performed well but it was just literally a bunch of spells jammed into a deck, this new list while similar, isn’t the same. This new UW Delver is built around synergy all thanks to one card – Thought Scour.  The only card that Dark Ascension added to the deck. While Thought Scour doesn’t appear to have a huge effect, the card adds a lot of strength to an already great deck.

 

Thought Scour is great with Runechanter’s Pike for obvious reasons.  But where the card is really fanastic is with Snapcaster Mage, Moorland Haunt, Delver of Secrets, Ponder, and Feeling of Dread. Filling up the graveyard is important for a deck with Snapcaster Mage and Moorland Haunt for their abilities, and Thought Scour speeds this process up. It’s turning mid-game cards into early game options. But more important than speeding up the deck is the fact that Thought Scour is an instant. None of the draw cards in the deck were cast-able on the opponent’s turn before Dark Ascension. Being able to Snapcaster and flash it back for value on the opponent’s turn (replacing itself) is incredibly good. Aside from filling the graveyard, a couple of nice tricks with the deck are looking at the top card with Delver of Secrets and deciding if it’s worth drawing. If not, there’s always the option of seeing two new cards in your hand (One from Thought Scour, one from the draw step). There’s also the same option with Ponder. Lastly, there’s Feeling of Dread.

 

If Feeling of Dread is milled with Thought Scour, it’s essentially drawing an extra card for double the value. But other than it’s synergy with Thought Scour, it’s actually just better than Gut Shot right now. With Gutshot not killing creatures such as Huntmaster, dying effects like Doomed Traveler, or not being relevant due to recursion (Gravecrawler/Undying creatures). Gut Shot is really underwhelming at the moment. Feeling of Dread changes the role of the deck slightly to be more aggressive in the early turns which isn’t a bad thing. A turn 1 or 2 Delver/Legionnaire followed by Geist and Feeling of Dread is usually game over, it’s a double time-walk. Not allowing the opponent enough time or life to recover for the next turn. At this point UW Delver can play much more like aggro-control than ever before.

Well that’s what I’m going to be playing for Standard. For Legacy, I’ll be playing the same old Storm deck with the changes that I mentioned in last week’s article. For reference:

 

The EPIC Storm

Instants/Sorceries:

Dark Ritual

Rite of Flame

Burning Wish

Infernal Tutor

Brainstorm

Ponder

Duress

Orim’s Chant

Silence

Ad Nauseam

Tendrils of Agony

 

Artifacts:

Lion’s Eye Diamond

Chrome Mox

Lotus Petal

 

Non-Basic Land:

2 Scalding Tarn

1 Polluted Delta

1 Bloodstained Mire

2 Underground Sea

1 Volcanic Island

4  Gemstone Mine

2 City of Brass

 

Sideboard:

Inquisition of Kozilek

Echoing Truth

Wipe Away

1 Infest

Grapeshot

Empty the Warrens

Tendrils of Agony

Ill-Gotten Gains

Diminishing Returns

Past in Flames

Shattering Spree

 

It’s exactly what I described in my article from last week. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the horse and trying to storm up to twenty after my poor performance in Indianapolis. I have pretty high expectations for myself and would like to stick to them. But more important than my performance is going to be making sure that I keep an eye on my belongings.

For those of you who don’t know my EPIC storm deck is very ‘pimped’, out as it’s completely Japanese and Foil. I’ve spent six years making that deck look the way it does, which is more than a quarter of my life. It’s quite the investment for someone my age. Recently theft has been an issue at large events, well not recently, it’s always been an issue. But as of late it’s been talked about a lot more and how players and organizers can prevent these thefts.

Honestly, the best thing possible is to just watch your belongings like a hawk. Don’t trust anyone, no one cares as much about your cards as you. There’s been a lot of talk about how tournament organizers should be more involved, players should have a lookout, and there should be a safe spot, etc. I would be devastated if anyone ever stole my Storm deck, I’d quit the game instantly. Which is why I always make sure I know where my backpack is – It’s in one of two places, around my back or around my feet with the loop around my leg. As dorky as it sounds, I just can’t run the risk of losing my cards. They’re worth too much now for me to replace. But the fact of the matter is that no one is willing to watch your backpack full of tens of thousands of dollars and be held responsible. It’s just not going to happen, which is why we as players need to be prepared.  There are very few incidences where the victim is not at fault, the last SCG: Baltimore I attended a man was attacked while at a urinal and had his backpack stolen. How low does one person have to be for this to happen? [At GP: Indy in a hotel parking lot, a car’s windows were smashed and all the bags were stolen, while the owners were inside checking out.]  I’ve also heard stories of bags in stalls being swiped. I don’t fault these people. It’s very hard to protect yourself while using the bathroom. If this becomes a thing, I’d recommend going to the bathroom in pairs but I hope we never have to resort to that. The best advice to anyone worried about theft is if it’s not being used then leave it at home. Seriously, it can’t get stolen if it’s at home.

Theft aside, preparing Magically is also very important! Playing what you’re most comfortable with is always most important. Playing a deck that feels unfamiliar will cause play errors that eventually lead to losses. Knowing a deck in and out will strongly benefit the person playing the deck and can lead to wins. Play-testing decks is a great way to become comfortable with decks and learn the intricacies of the decks. I’ve been play testing the changes to The EPIC Storm as well as my UW Delver decks ever since GP: Indy was over, it’s what we Magic players do. From one event, to the next, we’re always playing and changing things.

By the time many of you read this I’ll be at work anxiously waiting for the clock to strike 5PM on Friday to leave for Baltimore. I’ll be playing in both of the 5K events because I don’t play in enough of Star City’s events to qualify for their invitational. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you, I’ll be the guy slinging Grapeshots!

 

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

 

Bryant Cook

 

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

 

BCook3289@yahoo.com

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