The Flip Side – Back to the Grind

by Tim “Flip” Sussino


So life’s been a bit hectic lately. Unlike other grinders, I have work an average of 45 hour a week, on top of trying to play Magic to stay ahead in the Planeswalker Points race, somehow finding time for day-to-day life. When people talk about “grinding”, I’m sure most stick to talking about the great stories. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great stories to be sure, but it is a pretty taxing lifestyle that I’m sure many aren’t entirely prepared for. However, I digress from what I am truly here for.

We have a plethora of topics to really get into today. When I last left you, I had touched upon Legacy Threshold and left you with my U/R Burning Vengeance list that I planned to take to States. Well, it’s been a couple of weeks now and States, a StarCityGames Open in Baltimore, and two Grand Prixs have come and gone. States went well enough for me, and I Top 8’ed with the U/R Burning Vengeance list (the three Chandra’s Pheonix were changed to one Spellskite and two Negate).


With that in mind, we decided to hit up our local FNM for Planeswalker Points before heading down to the Open in Baltimore.  Leaving there +63 PWPs, we started our journey down to good ol’ Baltimore and it’s trips like this that really make this game as enjoyable as it is. The memories and good times had with friends are really make this game shine. Cramming eight people into a mini van just screams for interesting conversations: “GOOD GOOD GOOD!” Have you ever wondered what you would do if you had a chance to save the world from the Zombie apocalypse, but in doing so, you would end up going to jail for murder? We obviously talked a lot about the Mono Green Ramp match-up before leading into that topic of conversation.


While FNM and the ride to Baltimore went well, the StarCityGames Open in Baltimore left a bit to be desired.  I took the same list to battle and fell short in two very winnable matches.  One loss was to U/B after being up Game One and then not drawing a single counterspell the next two games as I watched my ballsy opponent tap six and seven for Titan and Karn without a single counterspell in my yard after we went “draw-go” Game One.  The other was against Mono Red which is a bad enough match as is, without me drawing bricks for seven turns with him on seven life while I had two active Burning Vengeance in play. The second game was the reverse, with me getting screwed on three lands with a Batterskull in hand and my opponent didn’t even have a single artifact removal spell boarded in. When people say that Magic is a game of variance, they’re not kidding. I finished the Standard portion at 7-3. The third loss wasn’t even a match as my Mono Black Infect opponent rolled me in two very unfair games.


Overall; I beat two U/B Control, one U/B Heartless Summoning, one Mono Green Ramp, one Mono Blue Architect with Delver, one Bant Pod, and one U/W Control. The deck performed well enough and had a few draws gone a bit differently, who knows?  As it stands, I believe that Burning Vengeance sans Desperate Ravings is really where you want to be right now if you plan on slinging the archetype. The only real change I would make to this list would be to cut an Island for a third Drowned Catacomb. For reference:



2 Phantasmal Image

4 Snapcaster Mage



2 Ancient Grudge

3 Dissipate

3 Forbidden Alchemy

3 Geistflame

2 Incinerate

4 Mana Leak

4 Think Twice

1 Past in Flames

2 Slagstorm



2 Jace, Memory Adept



4 Burning Vengeance


Basic Land:

7 Island

6 Mountain


Non-Basic Land:

3 Drowned Catacomb

2 Hinterland Harbor

2 Rootbound Crag

4 Sulfur Falls



2 Batterskull

1 Spellskite

2 Wurmcoil Engine

4 Delver of Secrets

1 Ancient Grudge

2 Negate

2 Surgical Extraction

1 Slagstorm


After the Standard Open, we went out to a local bar across the street from the Convention Center where we indulged until about midnight. Then, after most of the group made their way back to the hotel room to play some “happy” Legacy; me, Edgar Flores, Chris Lewis, and Sean Monahan enjoyed ourselves some more until Ken Adams joined us for more merry-making until about 2am when they last-called us. Two hours, a couple  Tree of Redemption activations, and much durdling later; we called it a night and headed to bed.


I really wanted to Delve in Legacy, but unforunately, I couldn’t get a hold of Stifles and Tropical Islands; so I audibled

back to the Sneak and Show list I also left you guys with last week:



2 Snapcaster Mage


Legendary Creatures:

4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

4 Progenitus



4 Sneak Attack

4 Brainstorm

4 Force of Will

2 Intuition

3 Spell Pierce

3 Spell Snare

4 Ponder

4 Show and Tell



3 Lotus Petal


Snow-Covered Basic Land:

3 Snow-Covered Island

1 Snow-Covered Mountain


Non-Basic Land:

4 Ancient Tomb

3 Misty Rainforest

4 Scalding Tarn

4 Volcanic Island



3 Grim Lavamancer

2 Mindshrieker

2 Blood Moon

3 Echoing Truth

3 Submerge

2 Surgical Extraction


I started off beating my round one Lands opponent game one and then durdling around at 17 life with 10 minutes left on the clock where I asked my Lands opponent if we could just finish this up so I could go smoke a cigarette, as I knew he would not be able to beat me within ten minutes. While I understand battling to the bitter end, when you’re playing a deck like Lands at a snail’s pace, and misplaying on top of that; it’s not out of the ordinary to just pack it in and call it a day. After that, I beat a Reanimator opponent after punting away Game One and the following three rounds were a blur of me losing more very winnable matches all in game threes against U/B Snapcaster, U/W/R Stoneblade, and Maverick. I rattled off wins in the next four rounds to try and win some more PWPs. Ahh yes, the ever present grind… The rest of the time was spent durdling around as Jacob Van Lunen lost his “win-and-in” to AJ Sacher for Top 8, and we had to wait for Kenny Castor to finish in Top 8 before heading for the ride home (there were 8 people in a 7 seat mini van on the way down and JVL was heading back to his parent’s house around my area, so I decided to hitch a ride home with him, Nick Spagnolo and Kenny Castor). It ended up being a rather entertaining ride, mostly at Jake’s expense in regards to trying to find a restroom and Jake trying to stop at every available closed gas station or store even with a 24 hour Denny’s in site where it would be guaranteed that he would be able to relieve his turtle problem, he still insisted on trying to stop at a closed gas station and then a closed Dunkin Donuts. As I said earlier, it’s the time’s with friends that really make every Magic trip/Tourney worthwhile. It’s also nice that even if you yourself don’t succeed you can share the highs and lows of your friends’ tourney life as well. Anyway, I won’t be able to make it to Kansas City or Las Vegas, but I’ll be in New York and Rockville the next two weekends battling it out in the trenches of the PTQs. For now, however, it’s back to the grind for me with work in the morning…


Trading one grind for the next grind…

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