Cook’s Kitchen – NELC (07/14/12): First Place
I’ve been a huge advocate of Delver of Secrets in every format I’ve played since its release. I’ve even joked a bit about including the one mana beater in The EPIC Storm. Where I’ve played Delver the most is standard, first in a blue red shell and then in a blue white shell. I’ve been piloting that blue white shell ever since. Paired with Delver was always Vapor Snag – That card is just too good right now! Vapor Snag, besides being able to be pitched to Force of Will, is a great “removal” spell in a tempo shell. It’s not always necessary to kill the creature but to instead just delay or permanently bounce it.
Legacy recently has been defined by Griselbrand and ways to answer the Bargain effect. I haven’t been impressed with Forked Bolt at all in recent months and decided to play the card that has been treating me so well in standard – Vapor Snag!
The decision actually happened during FNM the previous night when Tariq White sent me a message asking what he should play tomorrow. I made a last minute change dropping the Forked Bolts for Snags and shipped him my seventy-five cards for the following day. I contemplated cutting the fourth Lightning Bolt for a random Fire/Ice to use against Maverick and Sneak Show. It probably wouldn’t have been bad given how many times I played against Maverick (Fire) and Sneak Show (Ice). Luckily, I made the right decision and decided against it. Several times throughout the event I found myself light on mana and only able to cast one casting cost spells.
I ended up going 5-0 at FNM with my Delver list and taking first (there was another individual who was 5-0) on tie breakers because “Play the Game, Read the Story” couldn’t figure out that 34 people was supposed to be six rounds.
The following morning was like any other for me. My alarm was set for the weekday schedule for work, but went off ten minutes early thanks to Kyle Dorgan texting me. Kyle sent me a message for me to remember to bring my Coldsnap precon Japanese Portents. I dug them out of my stacks of boxes and then proceeded to get ready for Jupiter. Tariq picked me up at my house. I normally would’ve driven, but my car has a nasty habit of having the rear view mirror fall off every six months. I assume it’s the change in weather conditions and temperature regarding the window. I’ve even had a professional reattach it out of frustration, to no avail. Anyway, Tariq needed gas, so we made a quick stop at a gas station. There I see the flavor of beef jerky that Zach Tartell had left in my mailbox. Zach about a year ago moved back to his hometown and I haven’t seen or heard from him very much since. Then, last week I checked the mail upon arriving home from work to find beef jerky that was Cholula Hot Sauce flavored. There was a note with the beef jerky. The reason he sent the jerky was everytime the New York Mets make their first pitching change in the game it’s brought to you by Cholula Hot Sauce. This caused me to buy the Jerky. Hot Sauce and Beef Jerky, two of the greatest things joined into one beautiful, tasty, snack.
The ride down Tariq and I talked a lot about television shows before we turned onto exit 71-S and before we knew it we were at Jupiter Games. I walked in, registered, traded Kyle his Portents, and spent some store credit acquiring a judge foil Polluted Delta and a judge foil Wooded Foothills. Partially because I’m working on my forty fetchlands after finishing the forty dual lands, partially because I have an addiction to foils, which brings me to this:
“There isn’t much more satisfying than beating a dude with a foiled-out deck. My W/U Delver opponent from last Friday had all of the cards foiled, including foil Unhinged Islands. When he offered his deck to me to cut and I picked it up to shuffle it, he gave a quick, PLEASE-DON’T-RIFFLE-SHUFFLE yelp, which I’ll admit was immensely satisfying.
One of the things I really wanted to figure out with this column is why people go for an aesthetic look to their decks at all in a competitive setting, and what I’ve come up with is that you reach a point that it has less to do with wanting your deck to be aesthetically pleasing and more about just being insecure. It’s the same reason “bling” is a word in our lexicon—it’s all about people desperate to appear rich.”
Jon Corpora wrote this for Gathering Magic, are you kidding me dude? I’d like to start by saying, I wasn’t his opponent and that I’ve known Jon for a few years. There are some glaring holes in his perspectives that he doesn’t see from being a strict Limited/Standard player. I’ve seen him riffle shuffle beta duals without thinking because it’s all just cardboard to him. Yes, it’s cardboard, cardboard expensive enough to pay two months rent. I completely understand that non-foil cards do the same exact thing. However, I’m a person of aesthetics that is a big contributing factor of why I chose to be a Graphic Designer. Foil cards just look nicer as do most foreign cards. The English language written just isn’t as beautiful as Japanese in my opinion and that’s all it is, an opinion. The same could be said for foil vs. non-foil.
What I have a problem with is saying people that use foils are “desperate to appear rich.” I’ll be the first person to say that I’m $70K deep in student debt and slowly digging myself out. While I may be up to my neck, I won’t be selling my EPIC Storm deck anytime soon to make that number $60K. Is there a real difference at this point? Not really. I have the rest of my life to pay off student loans, what that deck means to me is a whole lot more. That completely Japanese foil storm deck is six to seven years of dedication and hard work. That deck is all tournament winnings, trading, amongst other things. I didn’t simply walk into a store or log into a website and drop $5,000 dollars. I earned every single card in that deck in one way or another. Even if I was loaded and had a fat paycheck, let’s say I did just buy T.E.S. Does that make the cards in it any less valuable? Don’t riffle shuffle them. It’s not about appearing to be rich, it’s a self-reminder of what I’ve accomplished. This could be said for all of my cards, I really don’t spend money on cards.
Could Jon be taking his own insecurities and reflecting them upon his opponents because Jon’s collection isn’t that impressive? Perhaps. Win some tournaments and enjoy the luxuries.
Back to Jupiter, there were thirty-two people that showed up for the event (just one short of an extra round).The lowest turnout in a very long time. Hopefully this will change.
Round One: Feature Match vs. Tariq White with RUG Delver
I haven’t played a round one of one of these in while. It felt weird, what was worse was that I had had to play against Tariq. The seventy-five card mirror match.
Game One: We both play an early Nimble Mongoose, I follow up with a Scavenging Ooze and wear away Tariq’s graveyard on his end steps. Untap and swing for six after Wasteland’ing him. Tariq plays his own Ooze that dies as he misplays not removing his own Mongoose from the game. I lay a Tarmogoyf on my following turn and Tariq picks them up.
Sideboarding: -4 Force of Will, -1 Spell Pierce, +3 Submerge, +2 Pyroblast
Game Two: Tariq completely sided wrong for this match-up bringing in Surgical Extractions and Pyroblast. He should’ve brought in Submerge, they’re really incredible in this match-up. Tariq mulligans and I open with a Delver of Secrets, a pair of Wastelands and counter back-up. Tariq only saw two lands.
Ryan Green announced that the lunch break would be after round two. I’ve always hated the lunch break. I like getting back to Syracuse in time to do things at night – this is difficult when we’re wasting forty minutes for no reason. The reason for the break is so that everyone can eat without the fear of being rushed for the next round. My solution? If you’re hungry, don’t play so slowly. Seriously. If you come to the event with UW Miracles or lands, you probably didn’t deserve to eat that day anyway. Win at a reasonable pace and get food at the end of the round. I know it’s easy to say being a guy that frequently plays combo, but I play every deck at a fairly quick speed. It’s rare that I go to time in the round, if I do, it’s usually my opponents playing slow decks.
After some complaining and asking what the other people in the room thought, the lunch break was quickly cancelled. There were three people in a room of thirty-two who wanted to waste forty minutes. What are the odds that those people’s decks take forever to win?
Round Two: Tim Sussino with Sneak Show
Game One: Tim and I make some small talk. Tim is notorious for playing blue/red variants, meaning that I already had an idea that he was on Sneak Show. I keep a hand with two creatures and draw into a third. I get Tim down to about eleven or twelve before he plays Show and Tell. He plays a Griselbrand, unfortunately, I don’t have mana to Vapor Snag his creature with the ability on the stack. I untap, Snag, hoping that it resolves so I can deal Tim lethal. Tim has Force of Will.
Sideboarding: -4 Nimble Mongoose, -2 Scavenging Ooze, -3 Lightning Bolt, +3 Surgical Extraction, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Hydroblast
Game Two: This game was absolutely awful. Tim sees one business spell the entire time while I beat him down. My one Force of Will for disruption gets the job done as the other three cards in my hand are all lands.
Game Three: I play a turn one Delver after Tim mulls to five. I don’t flip and Tim plays a Blood Moon a few turns later. I have Force of Will, Surgical Extraction, Pyroblast, a land, and Daze in hand. I take the risk and let it resolve since Tim can pay the one, leaving me dead to any relevant business spell. I blind flip a second Pyroblast and attack for three. Tim plays Sneak Attack, I Force of Will, followed by a Surgical on his Sneak Attacks. This leaves him with only Show and Tells as relevant spells when I have two Pyroblasts. I attack him over the course of several turns and he dies.
Round Three: Eli Kassis with Sneak Show
Game One: I lead off the match with a fetch land into a Nimble Mongoose. Eli plays Island into Ponder. I attack, play a land and pass. Eli plays Ancient Tomb, passes. I Thought Scour on his end step, untap, and draw. I play a Nimble Mongoose, cantrip, and attack. Eli on my end step plays Intuition searching for Show and Tell. He untaps, plays a pair of Lotus Petals and casts Show and Tell. I Force, it resolves. I draw a Delver and foolishly play it. I swing for six with my two Nimble Mongoose (Eli now at six). The Delver of Secrets was pretty much irrelevant on the table. Eli plays Sneak Attack – I have nothing. Shortly after I lose my entire board to Emrakul. I draw a Nimble Mongoose, fetch and play Mongoose. Eli draws and passes. I draw a Force of Will (this is where Delver in my hand would’ve been good, I had no blue cards), I attack and pass the turn. Eli draws and picks up his cards.
Sideboarding: -4 Nimble Mongoose, -2 Scavenging Ooze, -3 Lightning Bolt, +3 Surgical Extraction, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Hydroblast
Game Two: Eli begins with a very scary turn one Ancient Tomb into Defense Grid. I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, crap” as I stare at my hand of Tropical Island, Scalding Tarn, Spell Pierce, Spell Pierce, Daze, Pyroblast, and Surgical Extraction. My draw for the turn? None other than my good friend – Delver of Secrets! I love that little bug. It’s easily my favorite after Xantid Swarm. I play Tropical into Delver. He drew and passed. Eli literally never played another land that entire game. I blind flip Delver and attack for six turns until he’s dead. The exact opposite of climatic, but a win is a win.
Round Four:Kyle Dorgan with UW Miracles
Game One: I lead off with a Nimble Mongoose. Kyle plays a Sensei’s Diving Top – TIME OUT. Now as many of you know, I’m mostly a combo player. This is one of those situations where I’m punished for poor play because of my frequent play of combo. “It resolves” I say as I then pick up my hand consisting of a pair of Daze. Facepalm. I draw, play a land, Ponder, and cast a second Nimble Mongoose. I’m not even close to Threshold. Kyle doesn’t have any white lands because of this I over extend and play Tarmogoyf to increase my clock. I attack him down to 12 over the course of a few turns. Kyle lays a Plains on the battlefield and passes the turn. On my upkeep, flips his Sensei’s Diving Top and casts Terminus with enough mana to pay for both of my Dazes. My clock is completely gone at this point. Two turns later he creates two Angels with Entreat the Angels and I lose the game in no time.
Sideboarding:-4 Lightning Bolt, -2 Vapor Snag, +3 Pyroblast, +3 Surgical Extraction
Game Two: I opened up with the NUTS! Turn one Delver. Flip, Ponder and another Delver. Flip, swing for six and leave mana up for my two Spell Pierce in my hand along with Daze and Force of Will. This game didn’t take too long.
Game Three: Unfortunately, this game isn’t as good for me as the second. It’s a grinder, but like the game prior I do begin with a first turn Delver of Secrets. Kyle like the first game starts off with a Sensei’s Top. Sadly, I don’t get to correct my mistake from the first game. I don’t have a Daze. I Brainstorm during my upkeep with the trigger on the stack, and reveal Ponder. I play a Volcanic, attack and pass. Kyle passes, and then on my upkeep plays Swords on Delver. I cast Spell Pierce on his Swords and Surgical Extraction his Swords to Plowshares. Attack again and pass. Kyle spends a few turns just topping while I continue to attack and cantrip. On my upkeep Kyle attempts to cast Terminus. I Force of Will (Kyle is at eight). Kyle doesn’t do anything the rest of the game and dies to Delver over three turns.
Round Five: Kevin McKee with Junk.
Top 8: Ryan Wojnarski with Merfolk
Game One: For the first time in the day I get hit with a case of the mulligans. I go to five. Ryan leads with Mutavault into Aether Vial. I Force of Will then Wasteland him. Ryan plays Island and a second Aether Vial. I draw a Delver and play it after I put my Volcanic Island into play. Ryan starts putting fish into play and copying them with Phantasmal Images, mainly Silvergils to draw cards. I ware down easy on the five cards and lose.
Sideboarding: -2 Force of Will, -1 Spell Pierce, +3 Pyroblast
Game Two: Ryan is stuck with two Islands this entire game. Meanwhile I play a turn one Delver of Secrets, turn two tarmogoyf, and turn three Tarmogoyf! I just bring the beats with tons of removal (two Snags and two Lightning Bolts) until Ryan runs out of creatures.
Game Three: I opened my hand of Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast, Tropical Island, Ponder, Misty Rainforest, and Nimble Mongoose. Ryan mulligans into oblivion as I did game one and begins game three with an Island. I play Tropical Island into Nimble Mongoose. Ryan Wastelands my Tropical then passes the turn. I play my fetchland and attack. The game continues for a bit with me killing every creature he plays until I resolve a Tarmogoyf to attack with my now large Mongoose. Ryan realizes he’s done and picks up his cards.
Top 4: Rob McCready with Maverick
As I sit down Rob offers the draw with a positive match-up. I considered it until I remembered – I’m Bryant Cook. “Better lucky than good” could easily describe this match.
Game One: I play a turn one Delver of Secrets. Rob plays a Forest into Green Sun Zenith only to realize that foolishly his Dryad Arbor is in his hand. Awkward. I Brainstorm, flip Delver, attack, play a land and pass. Rob plays his Arbor and passes. I Vapor Snag it, then on my turn play a Tarmogoyf, attack, and pass. Rob replays Arbor and passes. I Vapor Snag it, Ponder, attack. Rob is quickly out of this one.
Sideboarding: -3 Spell Pierce, -2 Force of Will, +3 Submerge, +2 Sulfur Elemental
Game Two: Rob plays a Savannah and passes. I play Tropical Island into Nimble Mongoose. Rob Wastelands me then removes them all of from the game with a Surgical Extraction. Uh oh. Remember I said better lucky than good? This is one of those times. I draw a Delver of Secrets and cast it off of the Volcanic in my hand. Rob plays a Thalia. I draw another Delver of Secrets then put it on the table. Rob attacks and plays that Dryad Arbor. We begin to swing back and forth for three for multiple turns. Until three turns later when my Delvers flip, but Rob plays a Scryb Ranger to untap his Arbor to cast another creature. I call a second land on top of my deck to cast the Lightning Bolt in my hand that Rob knew was there from Surgical. BOOM! Fetch land! Bolt the Ranger and swing six in the air leaving Rob at two with another Bolt in my hand.
Finals: Eli Kassis with Sneak Show
As always Eli offers me the draw – he’s too kind. But with only a hundred and thirty-five dollar difference on the line between first and second there’s ABSOLUTELY no reason to draw.
Game One: I begin with my signature turn one Delver of Secrets. I counter Eli’s first two relevant spells while I attack him down with Insectile Aberration. Although he eventually gets the third to stick. A Show and Tell putting Griselbrand into play. I attempt to Vapor Snag and Eli Forces leaving him at three after needing to draw seven cards. I pluck the top card of the deck and it’s Lightning Bolt! Better lucky than good. The Vapor Snag being there was one less Force of Will in his hand to deal with the Bolt. Highly relevant.
Sideboarding: -4 Nimble Mongoose, -2 Scavenging Ooze, -1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Surgical Extraction, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Hydroblast
Game Two: I have no creatures but plenty of disruption in the opener. Eli waits until turn four to play his Defense Grid. I cannot Spell Pierce. He plays a second Grid not too long after. He plays Show and Tell, I’m really hoping it’s Griselbrand as I’m sitting on Vapor Snag. It’s Emrakul.
Sideboarding: -1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Ancient Grudge
Game Three: I Wasteland Eli a couple of times and attack him, he sits there and takes it the entire game. The end of the game he reveals his hand of a bunch of huge creatures, no mana, no business, and no counters.
As I get up to leave, Eli calls me greedy for not being willing to chop the prizes. But hey, the guy did take a Black Lotus from me a few months prior. I’m sure he’ll be fine. It felt good to beat him twice in one day, it felt even better winning a tournament with a deck that isn’t storm. I needed to ditch that monkey that’s been hanging off my back.
I had a few people come up to me asking why I opted to play RUG Tempo over The EPIC Storm. I need to branch out being the first reason, I’m not going to get any better auto piloting a majority of the time. I’ve been playing different decks for the last year or so inside of my local metagame, this is my first “win” with one of these decks though outside of Syracuse. The second reason being that I played T.E.S. for the entire 2012 NELC season this past year.
Every. Single. Event.
Even through Mental Misstep.
It was a long season where I was piloting the deck in a rough field to some pretty high finishes. But that said, playing T.E.S. month in and month out was draining. It doesn’t hurt having the element of surprise on my side either.
The last reason would be that I had some complaints during my hot streak, I guess I wrote too many tournament reports about my finishes. Is this even possible? I guess so. There were a select few that came to me asking me to stop writing T.E.S. reports because they were boring. When I do play T.E.S. and do well, I write about it, that’s not going to change. Just don’t expect these event reports to happen at Jupiter tournaments.
Well technically, with my new deck per month system I could play T.E.S. once this upcoming year. But the idea is clear, writing reports about a different deck each month would be a little more interesting than a T.E.S. report every month. Some of you may disagree but I understand where the other people are coming from.
Wrapping the event up, I grabbed some foil Polluted Deltas, some cash, and ran for the door. I wanted to get back to ‘Cuse with time to head downtown for the night.
Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!
Bryant Cook on MTGthesource