Eli Kassis: Star City Games Invitational

By Eli Kassis

Seven rounds of Legacy and seven rounds of Standard is a lot for one tournament.  Especially since I was sure it would have no more than 150 players, but the thing is this also increases the chances that the stronger players will get there.  As any good mathematician knows, the greater the number of rounds, the less likely you are to be knocked out by an unlucky situation. 

However, can I really say anyone in this tournament was significantly better than the rest?  After all this tournament was an invite only event and contained most of the best players in the United States (some of you are thinking that my ego is big enough to say that’s me, but I don’t think so).

Day 1 Part 1: Standard

I hadn’t played a single match of standard post-New Phyrexia so I called up fellow competitor Alex Bertoncini to hopefully steal his list card for card. I recognize Alex as being one of the best versed standard players, probably in the world. I ran his list card for card, I even stuck with his sideboard plan even after he himself had decided to change a few things. The deck was Darkblade.


Sorcery (10)

Artifact (3)

Creature (10)

Planeswalker (4)

Sideboard (7)


Round 1: I faced off against a RUG Birthing Pod home brew. It was an interesting concoction for sure, but effective as well. He landed an unanswered turn 2 cobra on the play followed up by birthing pod with activation thanks to a fetch land and I was sunk. Game 2 he had to take a double mulligan and I quickly got there with a good Stoneforge Mystic heavy hand. Game 3 was much closer as our attrition battles brought the game to an off the top of the deck stalemate which unfortunately I fell short of.  Results after Round 1: 0-1-0

Round 2: I was unfortunately paired against my good friend Lewis Laskin. If you are unfamiliar with Lewis let me tell you a little about him. He is one of the greats, ladies and gentlemen, not only is he a skilled player, but he is also one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with at a tournament. Unfortunately we had such a good time talking that Lewis forgot to play a land one turn and it may have cost him the game (don’t worry, I made it up to Lewis by Conceding to him the next day in the Legacy 5k when we got paired again!). I managed to get games 1 and 3 thanks to the power of Stoneforge Mystic in Standard. Results after Round 2: 1-1-0

Round 3: My opponent this round was playing U/R Splinter Twin. I hadn’t played against the deck once, but from what I was told the deck was actually a tier 2 deck so I was happy. My opponent was a decent player, but not only was he drawing badly, but I was drawing insane as well. This was a quick 2-0 for Darkblade. Results after Round 3: 2-1-0

Round 4: This round I got to play the dreaded Caw Mirror Match. Fortunately my opponent didn’t have black so I didn’t have to worry about him tearing up my hand or playing around anything dastardly like extraction, but he did throw me for a small loop when he boarded in Dismember. Still this match went in my favor thanks to some clutch plays. Results after Round 4: 3-1-0

Day 1 Part 2: Legacy

At this point I was pretty excited, I consider myself a specialist in Legacy and Limited and not very good at Standard. So I 3-1’d the standard portion and figured I was on my way to a good finish. The Legacy deck I chose to play was one that I had been having very good success with online. This may be in part due to the online meta-game, but I knew that I was really only weak versus Merfolk. You can imagine my disappointment when 3 of my 4 opponents were playing Merfolk.

U/G Aeon Bridge

Land (20)

Enchantment (2)

Instant (19)

Sorcery (10)


Round 5: This opponent was playing the Deck that won the Bazaar of Moxen tournament recently. For those of you unfamiliar with that deck it runs Pernicious Deeds, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Standstill, no creatures other than Mishra’s Factories and other manlands, and then a lot of control type cards. I had actually tested for it online and was beating it every time, but this opponent had a sideboard super stacked to beat sneak show which incidently helped him to beat me as well. He boarded in Thoughtseize, Vendilion Cliques, Innocent Bloods, and Damnation. I was helpless games 2 and 3. Results after Round 5: 3-2-0

Round 6: Played against Merfolk and thanks to a quick bridge resolution on an Emrakul I took game 1 with a Dreadnaught. Game 2 I was destroyed utterly, but game 3 I squeaked out with the help of Llawan and a Pithing Needle on Aether Vial. Results after Round 6: 4-2-0

Round 7 & Round 8: Again both opponents were playing merfolk. Both resolved turn 1 Aether Vials both games and drew sufficient Wastelands to prevent me from getting an active bridge. There was very little I could do and play skill did not really enter these matchups. Results after Round 8: 4-4-0

Day 2:

I was told I may have squeaked into day 2 but I was not interested in competing from behind and instead decided I would have a nice dinner Saturday and play the Legacy 5k Sunday.

After losing to Merfolk over and over I decided to try my luck with the deck. I also wanted something quick and easy that I could pilot without too much effort. Still, I did want to try out some changes to the lists I looked at, so I built the deck like this.



Round 1: I played against a Stoneforge Mystic type blue white landstill control. While I had an amazing G1 start and it looked like the game was in hand, my opponent drew back to back 4 outers to stay in the game while I kept drawing lands. Game 2 went completely sideways as my first few spells were all countered and I had no backup, then back to back Stoneforge Mystics for multiple Batterskulls put me away. Results after Round 1: 0-1-0

Round 2: I was paired against a RUG deck that seemed to be completely net-decked without any innovation. Thankfully it was a great matchup for me and I got there with ease thanks to Lord of Atlantis. Results after Round 2: 1-1-0

Round 3: I was paired against fellow Jupiter Games Competitor, Ryan McKinney (editor’s note: Who still needs to give me an article!). We drove to the event together and decided we would just split our odds and I decided to give him the win. Results after Round 3: 1-2-0

Round 4: I was paired against BUG which again was an easy matchup thanks to Lord of Atlantis. I had a good time though and we even got to trade after which was awesome. Results after Round 4: 2-2-0

Round 5: Lewis Laskin… Again! Like I said earlier, I felt bad about the missed land drop and thought it would be fair for me to give him the win, so I did obviously. 2-3 (and… Drop…)

Overall I had a good time, the “Pride” Draft on the side was awesome and I got a lot of mythics in the prize pool along with the “Pride” of course. Then there was that *awesome* 11 hour drive home (note the sarcasm). I think I made the right call with the Standard portion, I will probably come up with something different for the next Legacy event I decide to play however.


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