by Dan Rae
Knock knock knock. A friend sees me sitting in my car in the WalMart parking lot and we start talking. He ends the conversation by asking if I want to go out tonight and see some old friends. I figured, “hey some non-magical fun can be nice so I can get my mind off my sideboard choices because I know I have picked All the best cards for the Jupiter metagame”. I have a blast, and get home a lot later than I plan. I surely don’t regret going out though, sometimes as players we just need to get a break from the game and clear our minds. I wake up too late and I’m scrambling to get dressed and out of the door to make it to Jupiter on time and get all the cards I need to finish out my deck, and I’m hoping Ryan McKinney can set me up with some nice Japanese cards. The store is busy, and I figure I can find foreign stuff after the event. I sort out of my deck real quick and start writing down my list and make sure I’m not missing any cards. Don’t need any game loses for a stupid mistake. So here is the list I registered:
First off, this deck is 61 cards and I have heard arguments for not running 61 cards and I’ve also heard why running 61 cards is completely fine. I will let you make the decision for yourself. I just knew that when I was sitting there with this deck in front of me all piled out I could not find anything I wanted to cut to get down to 60 cards. The miser’s Life from the Loam may not be needed but it just had such synergy with Liliana plus having been a Lands player for so long, I knew recurring Wasteland can be brutal to some decks. I will talk more about the deck and what changes will be made after the actual report. I tried to take notes as best as possible, unfortunately I sometimes found myself missing information about the game that had just taken place, but here we go!
Round 1: Dan Signorini – Dark Secrets (Team America Variant)
Game 1 I do not recognize the name right away but as soon as I see him, I realize he is one of the people who always pilot Team America so I pretty much knew he would be on the BUG plan. After the first few turns that suspicion is confirmed. I get either a Dark Confidant or Tarmogoyf down and he kills it a.s.a.p. I then cast Thoughtseize a turn later and see Daze, Underground Sea, and Maelstrom Pulse. I take the Pulse because now that I know the Daze is there I can simply play around it. Dan eventually sticks a Goyf and I sit there with a full grip. I’m holding 2x Snapcaster Mage but will get no value out of them so I’m just hoping to hit a Brainstorm or removal spell. I am at 4 life and cast Jace with 1 mana open. Dan casts Daze and I immediately realize he has double Daze. I pay the 1 and he Dazes again. I lose the game.
Game 2 I side in Ghastly Demise and Spell Snare taking out Jace and 1 Snapcaster Mage. I lead with turn 1 Thoughtseize and see Snuff Out, Go for the Throat, Liliana of the Veil, and some lands. I take the Liliana because that can be problematic with my hand. Eventually Dan gets down a Delver of Secrets and it immediately flips to a 3/2 flier. He then gets down another delver and a Liliana and I know the game is over because I cannot stop drawing lands. I think maybe this deck just isn’t as good as I thought but I tell myself to shake off the loss and play tighter.
0 – 1
Round 2: Bobby Greene (I think)- Pattern of Rebirth/Natural Order
Game 1 Bobby mulls to 5 which is a start I will not complain about. I resolve and early Liliana and have us both discard and Bobby is happy enough to discard that Progenitus plaguing his hand. A few turns later I resolve Jace and start bouncing his Dryad Arbor and having us both discard with Liliana as a removal spell. He eventually picks it up because he keeps drawing poorly.
Game 2 I side in Perish, Nature’s Ruin, and Diabolic Edict to deal with Progenitus. We both mulligan to 6 and a turn two Dark Confidant helps me get ahead in card advantage. Bobby does not seem thrilled about his draws and I figure he picked up Progenitus. A few turns later I cast Nature’s Ruin killing three of his guys, one of them being Dryad Arbor. I add more threats to the board and Bobby picks them up showing me his grip containing 2 Protean Hulk and other combo pieces.
1 – 1
Round 3: Andre Segerra – UW 2 Drops
Game 1 Andre has to mulligan and leads with turn 1 Aether Vial which makes me think he is on Merfolk. He then casts turn 2 Vial and passes. I draw, play a land and pass. Andre Vials in Squadron Hawk and I Stifle his come into play ability and do not let him find friends. I eventually Thoughtseize and see two Swords to Plowshares, Brainstorm, and Wasteland. I take swords but know the other one will be taking out my creatures because I have no disruption except to kill his hawk. I eventually land a Tarmogoyf and his colorless mana plus equipment just sits there while he is beaten down.
Game 2 I side in Ghastly Demise and Phyrexian Metamorph in the hopes of getting an equipment of my own to beat with. Andre again has all colorless sources as I waste away his colored mana and kill off his creatures. I Thoughtseize and see a hand just full of blue spells and I take Spellstutter Sprite just so it can’t thwart me later. I land a Jace and use the fate seal ability to simply keep him off colored land and some creature beats him down.
2 – 1
Round 4: Shaun Dickson – Aggro Loam
Game 1 I fetch on turn1 and Thoughtseize and see a deck that I know will be problems. Shaun is holding Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, Liliana of the Veil, Punishing Fire, 2x Grove of the Burnwillows, and a Tranquil Thicket. I take the Liliana because I have removal/counters for the creatures. Sadly I am holding 2x Dark Confidant in my hand which will be doing nothing but dying to Punishing Fire. That is exactly what happens but I have to run them out there in the hopes he lets them live for a turn. In the very least it stops him from doing other relevant things. My deck never really draws anything good and he kills my only relevant creature that sticks, a Tarmogoyf. Shaun gets down a 7/8 Tarmogoyf of his own and just beats me face in.
Game 2 I side in Faerie Macabre, 2 Coffin Purge, 2 Krosan Grip, and Ghastly Demise. I again get a turn 1 Thoughtseize and see Goyf, Loam, Eternal Witness, Dark Confidant, Forgotten Cave, fetch land, fetch land. I take the Bob and plan to counter the Eternal Witness when needed. I pick up a couple Coffin Purges as Shaun Loams and cycles his lands giving him huge card advantage. I kill a Countryside Crusher and a few other creatures but my inability to draw anything relevant doesn’t help. I finally draw into Terravore and he enters play as an 8/8. Shaun Loams, bringing back 3 lands and shrinking Terravore considerably. He attacks with a Goyf who is larger than my Terravore and I choose not to block. Eventually Shaun gets Seismic Assault out, discards 7+ lands and I die. The deck just drew horribly. I have to give a shout-out here to Mike Alexander because he was having a blast trolling his opponent and I guess I was trying to troll mine. Unfortunately it didn’t work for either of us. Mike is a good friend though, and I was glad to sit next to him and see he was enjoying his match.
2 – 2
Round 5: Joe Barra – Mono Blue Control
Game 1 Joe leads with Island and I enjoy yet another turn 1 Thoughtseize (at least the deck has that going for it). I see 2x The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, 2x Trickbind, Propaganda, and Island. I take the Propaganda because the Trickbinds are obviously for my fetch lands, but I have enough land in hand. A turn later I Thoughtseize and see another Propaganda plus the same cards, minus one Tabernacle. I take the Propaganda and pass. He draws and passes. I draw play a fetch and crack it, Trickbind. Yep, go ahead. Eventually I stick a Tarmogoyf and keep paying the upkeep for Tabernacle and his life goes from 20 to 0 in four quick turns.
Game 2 Nothing seems relevant to side in so put all 15 in and take them right back out. I play a few lands here and there. Joe attempts Back to Basics while I am tapped out but I have the Force of Will for it. I eventually get down a Vendilion Clique and while paying the costs of Tabernacle and Propaganda, just keep punching in for 3. Joe casts Parallax Tide and starts to remove some of my land. I figure his plan is to remove enough so I can’t pay for Tabernacle, but I have enough that he just removes one and passes. I repeat my previous turn- pay to keep Clique alive and attack. Joe draws and starts counting my land. Now I have two Wastelands open but never really felt I needed to kill the Tabernacle. I figured it was better to wait in case he played Maze of Ith or something like that. Joe removes my Swamp, and then says, :Wasteland”. I ask, “Which one?” and he responds with “Both”. I activate one to kill the Tabernacle, and he picks them up. He had drawn a second Parallax Tide, but needed me to not kill the Tabernacle.
3 – 2
Game 1I play lands while Casey plays lands and mana dorks. I knew what Casey was playing because I was sitting next to him in round 4. I eventually cast Thoughtseize and see Ancient Tomb, Phyrexian Tower, Progenitus, and Pattern of Rebirth. I take the pattern even though he really wants me to take the Progenitus. I basically hate out his creatures and Force another Pattern of Rebirth on his Birds of Paradise and beat him down with dudes.
Game 2 I side in Perish, Nature’s Ruin, Diabolic Edict, Krosan Grips (he sides in Leyline of Sanctity), and Coffin Purge. Casey manages turn 3 Reveillark beats and has out about 3 green creatures while I’m holding Perish. I am hoping I can kill the Reveillark first though so he doesn’t get those green dudes back when it dies. Next turn Casey taps for 11 and casts Green Sun’s Zenith for 10. I respond with Brainstorm and find the Dismember I want for the Reveillark. I let him find Progenitus and kill the Reveillark. I untap and cast Perish. I eventually get a creature down, and a Jace makes sure his draws are poor.
4 – 2
Round 7: Eric Fry – Death and Taxes
If I win this round I can make top 16, but this matchup is probably the worst for me and that is all due to one creature- Mirran Crusader. Protection from my deck seems quite good. I honestly have no other notes for this match other than Mirran Crusader = sad face. I managed to kill a creature here or there but it didn’t really matter because game 1 he had 3, if not all 4 Stoneforge Mystics so the plethora of equipment plus Mirran Crusader killed me. Oh well, those are the breaks.
So overall I ended up 24th and did not get prize, but did learn a lot about the deck. First off, Liliana is just insane. I really like her as a two-of in the deck. Snapcaster Mage didn’t really shine for me in this deck; I think those slots would be better as more hand hate and another Stifle. The single Terravore and Loam did very well, and earned their slots. I want to try to incorporate a single Sylvan Library in the deck because that card can be very broken. Otherwise I am completely fine with the mana base. The Creeping Tar Pit may not have been needed but it didn’t set me back at all either. I’m hoping to tune the deck some more and test cards I did not think about in the initial building process.
I exist in the online universe! @rocketrae21 on Twitter and Dan Rae on Facebook.
Editor’s Note: See more NELC Tournament reports here.