Cook’s Kitchen- Storming into Jupiter Part III – Finals (NELCQ – 12/3/11)

by Bryant Cook


I’m going to start off by talking about my last article. I’ve been approached by a handful of people who disagree with my assessment that Magic teams have been replaced and are pretty much dead. The main argument that I’ve heard is, “You picked a pretty bad time to write that teams are dead, especially after Team ChannelFireball dominated worlds.”

There are exceptions and there are rules. What I wrote about last week wasn’t about the exceptions. I was speaking of the generic Magic team, not a team full of professionals like ChannelFireball (CF). The members of Team CF are the exception, not the rule in the scenario despite what some people think. “No, but they are the rule because they’re the only team out there.” This is ridiculous. There are plenty of Magic Teams, they’re just not as well known or have the same tournament results as team CF.

I’m not taking any of CF’s success away from them. They’re a leading organization in Magic right now and they deserve everything they’ve accomplished. However, it’s not practical to compare the generic Magic team to a group of professional Magic players. The success to failure rate of teams in magic is really lopsided, that is what I was mentioning in my previous article.


With that now taken care of, let’s begin the tournament report.


7:30AM – My alarm goes off and I prepare for the event. I receive a text from Jon Corpora that he and Adam Barnello are outside waiting. We’re leaving Syracuse and we begin to discuss each other’s recent articles and I ask Jon about the beginning of his latest piece. The article is discussing the importance of frame and mindset entering an event. I have had a pretty good “frame and mindset” for a long time, I go into every event thinking that I’m going to win all of it. Call it cockiness, but it’s necessary to be as confident as possible. When a player is confident and secure with where they are, they make better lines of play and decisions. Magic isn’t all luck and variance – sometimes it’s more about play skill and decision-making.


After we have our discussion on frame and mindset we make a pit stop in Cortland. I need caffeine in the morning and because I don’t drink coffee, it meant grabbing a soda while Jon chose breakfast pizza. We’re back on the road, we begin to chitchat again when the topic becomes a debate that Barnello and I have been having.


“Is Hymn to Tourach a tempo card?”


I’ve been running Hymn in my Grixis colored deck that you may have read about in Changing Tempo and Adam disagrees. Adam believes that Hymn to Tourach isn’t a tempo card because it’s random and doesn’t create enough of an advantage tempo wise in order to be good in a tempo deck. He believes that Thoughtseize would be a better replacement but only after a threat has been applying pressure to the opponent.


I’m unsure if he’s right or wrong, I’m leaning towards that Adam may be right and am going to begin to test out Thoughtsieze over Hymn.


We arrive at the Jupiter Games Tournament Center location, grab sleeves and cards then begin to build Jon’s RUG deck based on Eric English’s list. After this I make some small talk with people, mainly the guys from Rochester: Jon Barber, Ethan Heilicher, and Andrew Lapinski-Barker. We talk about the Hymn to Tourach debate, Ethan is on Adam’s side. We then begin to discuss GP: Columbus, the one I Top 8’d, Barnello tells the guys I should’ve conceded to our friend Carl if I didn’t plan on going to the Pro Tour. It was round fourteen, with still a few rounds left. If I had won more money, I probably would’ve gone. Sadly, I only made top 8. Andrew and I got into a discussion about Preordain vs. Ponder and the Past in Flames deck vs. The EPIC Storm.


In combo there is no such thing as card quality. Combo decks play tons of awful-to-marginal cards that will be great with a broken effect. Because of this, Preordain isn’t as good as Ponder. Not to mention, Ponder’s ability to see one card deeper has much more value in finding the broken or powerful effect. The argument between what deck is better will show through results, I was giving Andrew a hard time throughout day because I had finished my rounds and watched him lose to ridiculous cards such as Memoricide, Meddling Mage, and graveyard hate. Before we know it round one has been paired.


Ryan McKinney the beautiful man he is walked over and handed me this for my sideboard before the round…



The EPIC Storm


4 Gemstone Mine

2 City of Brass

2 Scalding Tarn

2 Underground Sea

1 Volcanic Island

1 Polluted Delta

1 Bloodstained Mire


4 Dark Ritual

4 Rite of Flame

4 Lion’s Eye Diamond

4 Lotus Petal

4 Chrome Mox

4 Burning Wish

4 Brainstorm

4 Ponder

4 Infernal Tutor

4 Duress

3 Orim’s Chant

1 Silence

2 Ad Nauseam

1 Tendrils of Agony


3 Pyroblast

2 Echoing Truth

1 Wipe Away

1 Silent Departure

1 Shattering Spree

1 Thoughtseize

1 Diminishing Returns

1 Ill-Gotten Gains

1 Past in Flames

1 Tendrils of Agony

1 Empty the Warrens

1 Grapeshot


Round One: vs. Jarod Flanagan with Burn 


Game One: Jarod wins the die roll and begins with Mountain into Lavaspike. I play an Underground Sea into Ponder. Jarod then plays Mountain and Keldon Mauraders. I untap and put a Gemstone Mine onto the table and cast an Infernal Tutor revealing a Dark Ritual and pass. Mauraders swings and I take a Chain Lightning to the face.

I draw, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal, Burning Wish, Past in Flames, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Tendrils of Agony.


Sideboarding: None 


Game Two: Jarod plays Mountain into Goblin Guide, attack and pass. I put a Gemstone Mine into play and Ponder. Mountain, Hellspark Elemental, swing. I cast Brainstorm, Scalding Tarn, search out an Underground Sea, Ponder. Lotus Petal, use it for a red, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Duress), Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, Diminishing Returns (Floating BBRU), remove ten cards. My seven is Brainstorm, Rite of Flame, Scalding Tarn, Polluted Delta, Dark Ritual, Burning Wish, Orim’s Chant. Brainstorm into Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame,  Tendrils of Agony. Put the two lands on top of the Library. Play Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Tendrils of Agony.


I finish my round early and begin to walk around scouting out the decks in the event. While doing this I stumble upon Adam Phillips playing his pimped out Enchantress deck. As I walk over he’s slamming a Karma against Junk, how awesome.



Round Two: Carson Yeager with Imperial Painter


Game One: I win the die roll and begin the round with Volcanic Island, Ponder. My hand is now Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual. Draw Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame three times, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, Burning Wish, Past in Flames, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame three times, Infernal Tutor, Tendrils of Agony.


Sideboarding: -3 Orim’s Chant, -1 Silence, +2 Echoing Truth, +1 Wipeaway, +1 Thoughtseize


Game Two: Carson plays a turn one Thorn of Amethyst, turn two Painter’s Servant, turn three Grindstone, turn four activate. I sat there looking good.


Game Three: I keep a hand that looks like, Gemstone Mine, City of Brass, Polluted Delta, Wipeaway, Duress, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Dark Ritual. I Duress and then we play land-go for a turn or two. He begins to set up his combo, playing Painter (naming blue), and I know he has a Red Elemental Blast in his hand. I draw Infernal Tutor but need to Wipe Away the Painter so that he can’t counter the Tutor with Red Elemental Blast (since Painter’s Servant makes Infernal Tutor blue). Carson plays Grindstone and Activates. He goes to REB my Wipeaway but is reminded that he cannot. I untap and play out my hand into Ad Nauseam, Carson looks at the flop and scoops. During the entire match Carson just keeps telling me about this awesome sideboard card he has to get with Recruiter, it turns out it’s Goblin Hero. Awful, why would Carson waste of a perfectly good sideboard slot?




Lunch break time! Jon, Adam, and I finish our rounds early and head next door to the pizza place where you can get two slices and a can of soda for $3.50. Not bad. I chose Chicken Bacon Ranch, and then we exchange our stories from our rounds. After we fill-up, we head back to Jupiter and play some Planechase Commander/EDH.


I lend Jon my Kresh deck meaning that I’m running Godo, Adam is running Azami, Eric English is running Karona Allies, and kidwhoIdontrememberhisname is running Child of Alara. I break out as the clear target pretty early with a turn 3 Godo equipped with a Sword of Fire/Ice heading at Barnello. The game became drawn out and the next round is up!


Round Three: vs. Eric English with RUG


Game One: Eric wins the die roll and is on the play, he mulligans twice, and then leads with Volcanic Island into Grim Lavamancer. I fetch and play Duress. I look at Force of Will, Brainstorm, and Dismember. I take Brainstorm. Eric plays a second land and attacks. I play a land and Infernal Tutor for Rite of Flame. He draws and passes. I play a five color land and Orim’s Chant, it resolves. I cast Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, Past in Flames, and Ponder into Lion’s Eye Diamond. Crack Lion’s Eye Diamond for BBB, Eric picks up his cards.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: I keep a hand of three Orim’ Chant, Gemstone Mine, City of Brass, Polluted Delta, and Dark Ritual. Eric and I play a game of land, go for the first five or six turns involving Wastelands. I Chant him and he takes my Burning Wish with Vendillion Clique in response. I sit there while he beats me down to seven. I haven’t drawn any gas since the Clique, just mana. I take my turn and draw Brainstorm. I Orim’s Chant targeting Eric again going to six. Eric casts Lightning Bolt on his Clique and then casts another Clique, I Brainstorm in response. The only way I can win this game is if I hit two business spells. I need to hit two tutors, tutor and cantrip, or tutor and Ad Nauseam. I hit the last combination. I put Infernal Tutor on top along with a Chrome Mox. I reveal a hand of Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, and Ad Nauseam to the Clique. No matter what Eric does, I win this game. He leaves everything, forcing me to win with Ad Nauseam from six life. I play Ritual, Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam, breaking the Diamonds for BBBBBB. Reveal Infernal, stop. Infernal Tutor searches for Tendrils of Agony.




Round Four: Robert Greene with UWR Painter


Game One: I keep a hand with a couple Lion’s Eye Diamonds, cantrips, and lands. My cantrips don’t find anything relevant before he combos me out.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: Rob wrecks me. I don’t really remember what happened, but involved two Force of Wills and him combo’ing me out by turn 4 or 5.




Round Five: vs. Will Bamann with RUG


Game One: I win the die roll and start with Underground Sea followed by Duress. Will’s hand consists of Misty Rainforest, Delver of Secrets, Dismember, Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, Tropical Island, and Spellsnare. Spellsnare out. Will plays Tropical Island and Delver of Secrets. We plays draw-go a bit, I play a Burning Wish hoping to draw out the Snapcaster. My plan works, tapping Will out. I then play Silence, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: Will and I both take mulligans. He leads off with Misty, pass. I play Gemstone Mine, Duress. Take his Force of Will leaving Spell Pierce, Spell Snare, Wasteland, Brainstorm. He Waste’s me. We continue to play draw-land-go. Will, with two land in play, casts a Delver of Secrets. I play a Brainstorm drawing a Spell Pierce from Will. I then play Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Ad Nauseam (the only four cards in my hand). I ask him if he’s slow rolling the Force of Will on me. He’s not.




Round Six: vs. Paul Lake with UWR Stoneblade


Game One: Paul wins the die roll and leads with Tundra, pass. My hand is Underground Sea, Gemstone Mine, Scalding Tarn, Tendrils of Agony, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal. We play land-go to the point where I have four in play and Paul has five. He end of turn Vendillion Cliques me, I say my hand sucks, he agrees, and decides not to take anything. I decide that I’m going to “old school Tendrils” him. I draw Ponder and it looks at Infernal Tutor, Duress, Land. I think about it for awhile and take Duress. Duress, Paul casts Counter Target Spell. I then play out the rest of the seven cards in my hand into Tendrils of Agony. Paul thinks about Forcing a copy, however, because of his own fetchlands it would be irrelevant.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: Paul Mulligans, I do not. He taps out on turn two for Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull. Five cards in his hand. I play a five color land and Orim’s Chant, Paul Force of Wills. I play Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam? Second Force of Will. I call him a lucksack and we move to game three.


Game Three: Paul lets out an “ummm… I guess I’ll keep.” I lead off with Fetchland, Underground Sea, into Duress. I look at Mishra’s Factory, Plains, Force of Will, Spell Snare, Flusterstorm, Brainstorm, and a Spell Pierce. I take Force of Will. Paul doesn’t draw an Island by the time I win on turn 4 with Orim’s Chant, Rituals into Ad Nauseam.




Round Seven: Feature Match vs. Michael Caffrey with Thopter Control


Mike and I unfortunately don’t have better tiebreakers than the other X-1’s and have to play it out.

Game One: Mike wins the die roll and begins with Ancient Den, Mox Opal, into Top. I play land-go. He plays Thopter Foundry. I play land-go. He plays Tezzeret, makes an artifact a dude swing. I play Dark Ritual, Duress, taking a Force of Will, Rite of Flame, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Chrome Mox, Ad Nauseam in response to the Chrome Mox imprint trigger, and in response to that break Lion’s Eye Diamond for BBB! First time I’ve ever done the Chrome Mox trick and it’s for a spot in the top 8 on camera, how awesome.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: Mike Enlighten Tutor’s for Ethersworn Cannonist. Backs it with counterspells. I lose.


In scouting him the previous round against Andrew with Past in Flames, he only had Meddling Mages and graveyard hate that I saw. Oh well.


Sideboarding: -1 Silence, -1 Rite of Flame, +2 Echoing Truth


Game Three: The beginning few turns were Duress and Meddling Mage naming Dark Ritual. His Mage gets in there, I draw Pyroblast and kill the Meddling Mage. I follow up with Orim’s Chant the next turn with Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam. I showboat for a very long time, probably about ten minutes, and Grapeshot him for 35-40.


Maybe you should’ve been playing Forests, Mike.


First place after swiss felt pretty good, back to back top 8’s at Jupiter felt even better.




Top 8: Amin Younes with RUG


Game One: I win the die roll and begin the game with my patented fetch land into Underground Sea followed by Duress maneuver.  Amin plays Delver of Secrets. I play a City of Brass and pass the turn. Amin swings and plays another land. On my turn, I plau another land, I go to sixteen from City of Brass and cast Orim’s Chant. It resolves, Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: My opener is three lands, Rite of Flame, Ponder, Burning Wish, and Pyroblast. Amin and I play land-go with Wastelands and land drops for the first few turns. I end up drawing five lands total, but I’ve also drawn some Rituals. I decide to go for it. I cast Orim’s Chant, Amin Forces. I play Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Burning Wish, he Forces, I Pyroblast, Tendrils of Agony.




Semifinals: Feature Match vs. Brian Thomas with Goblins


Game One: I win the die roll and begin with Land, Ponder, pass. He has Mountain, Mogg Fanatic. I Infernal Tutor for Dark Ritual, pass. Brian swings, drops a Piledriver, and passes. I play Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Burning Wish, Past in Flames, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Tendrils of Agony.


Sideboarding: -2 Orim’s Chant, -1 Silence, +2 Echoing Truth, +1 Wipeaway


Game Two: Brian mulligans to five and opens with his favorite one drop, Mogg Fanatic. I play fetch land-go. Brian plays a Chalice of the Void on one. Luckily I have Burning Wish. Someone says, “Brian may have a chance”, maybe I was a bit too cocky when I said, “Na, I still got this. I fetch for a Volcanic Island and Wish for Shattering Spree. He Wastelands my Volcanic and I’m left with only my Gemstone Mine as a red source. I lose from there.


Game Three: I say, I haven’t had a turn one kill all day, I could really use one right now. I open with Gemstone Mine, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam. I draw over twenty five cards and can’t win. I have to stop and cantrip. I use four or so cantrips to the point where there is about 15-20 cards left in my deck and there are eight cards that win me the game. I’m forced to Ponder, break Lion’s Eye Diamond in response and pray. The top card of my deck is Burning Wish – the crowd goes wild.




Finals: Adam Najman with RUG


Adam was watching my match against Caffrey and congratulated me on my victory, I’m glad he made it as far as he did. I always make small talk with my opponents, it’s interesting finding things out about people. Adam tells me this is his first Top 8 ever, good for him. I remember my first big Top 8 at the Big Arse back in the day, it felt fantastic.


Game One: I open with Underground Sea into Duress. Adam kept basically a hand that did nothing against me besides Daze. I take Daze, I then proceed to cast Rituals into a Tutor finding Ad Nauseam.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast


Game Two: Adam does that thing RUG does with the Wastelands, Stifles, and cheap, efficient counterspells. Kicks my teeth in.


Game Three: Adam mulligan’s to five and has one of the best mulligan to five’s I’ve ever had against me. He has Wasteland, Volcanic, Spell Pierce, Force of Will, Force of Will. I’m stuck the entire game trying to find a way to play around Adam’s counters, unfortunately, I couldn’t find enough protection.




I lose to Adam, which is fine in my book. In the man’s first Top 8, he takes it down.  What a great story. He was fun to play against and seemed like a great dude. I got to Grapeshot Mike Caffrey for a ridiculous amount for all of the Forest jokes he makes, I beat RUG a match-up that is supposedly bad match-up, and I ended up with four foil Daze and some cash Eric English wanted.



What a great day. Hope you enjoyed the report and come back next week! Until then, keep Storming™ !


Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource



Leave a Comment...