Cook’s Kitchen – Storming into Jupiter pt. V (NELC – 03/03/12): Top 8


For those of you who read my last article on my top 5 favorite Magic cards you’ll know that Exalted Angel reigns number one on my list. This past Thursday I decided to dust off my Angels and put them into UW Stoneblade over two Geist of Saint Traft. I know this isn’t ideal, but I wanted to have fun. After all, it was the night before my birthday. Speaking of not ideal, one of the Angels wasn’t foil (This has been changed thanks to Aaron Garritillo). Anyway, one of my current goals was accomplished Thursday. I got to attack with Exalted Angel again! Not only did I get to attack, I got to attack in a way I never did with her before. She was suited up once with an Umezawa’s Jitte with four counters and a Sword of Feast and Famine then a separate game with a Batterskull attached to her. She was one mean looking angel for a night. The local was very small and with enough drops and luck, I squeezed into top 4 at 3-1. I then lost to UW Stoneforge without dead cards in their deck…


Besides Exalted Angel goodness on Thursday, Trevor Brown surprised me. He told me to sit down, then pulled out the two MTG Comic Books with Faithless Looting and Treasure hunt on them and said Happy Birthday. He then pulled out two more presents, clearly cards in hard cases. The first one being a game day Zombie Apocalypse, the second being a Tarmogoyf! How generous, I can’t thank him enough. He’s a really good guy. I don’t know how I’m going to get him back on his birthday yet, but I will.


Friday night was my birthday, I went downtown with a few fellow nerds from Syracuse and a couple others. It was a good time. Luckily, I didn’t wake up Saturday with a hangover, I was just super dehydrated. Before I knew it Jon Quackenbush picked me up, we headed over to Adam Phillips’ place where we met up with Phillips and Tariq White, and left for Jupiter Games. The ride consisted of a lot of talk about Star Wars as Phillips is a huge fan. For anyone who hasn’t met him, he’s got tattoos all over him, some of them just happen to be Star Wars. He has an entire display case of Vintage Star Wars toys, it’s quite unreal, and awesome. Aside from Star Wars, we did talk a little about this nerd card game called Magic. Jon Quackenbush was going to play Maverick for the second time in two months, Tariq was going to pilot UW Stoneforge with Crusaders over Geists (I repeatedly tried to talk him out of it), Adam Phillips was going to try out a new UW Landstill deck, and my normal unpredictable self was going to jam The EPIC Storm.


When we arrived at Jupiter the place was empty, then again, maybe we were just early. I filled out my decklist, lent out some cards, and traded a bit before going to the display case where I acquired two foil Vedalken Shackles, a Batterskull, and a Vendilion Clique with some credit I had on my account.


Player list was posted, Eli Kassis wasn’t on there. SAY WHAT?! Eli moments later walked through the door. Bummertown – population: me. No free point gain on Eli for the Jupiter NELC race for a free Black Lotus. Which is fine, if I do win, it’ll mean a little bit more. Shortly after the player list is posted means pairings for round one.


The EPIC Storm (as of 03/03/2012)



Dark Ritual

Rite of Flame

Burning Wish

Infernal Tutor




Orim’s Chant


Ad Nauseam

Tendrils of Agony



Lion’s Eye Diamond

Chrome Mox

Lotus Petal


Non-Basic Land:

2 Scalding Tarn

1 Polluted Delta

1 Bloodstained Mire

2 Underground Sea

1 Volcanic Island

4  Gemstone Mine

2 City of Brass




Echoing Truth

Wipe Away

Silent Departure



Empty the Warrens

Tendrils of Agony

Ill-Gotten Gains

Diminishing Returns

Past in Flames

Shattering Spree


Round One: **Bye**


Due to winning the last month’s NELC Qualifier, which you can read about here, I leveled up twice in their point system. I have accumulated enough points for a round one bye, as has Eli. We’re neck and neck in this race!  I was in a rush to get ready before Quack (Jon Quackenbush) picked me up, meaning I forgot to eat breakfast. I figured now was just as good of time as any to get some food. I went next door and grabbed a couple of pizza slices and a drink for $3.50 (What a deal!).

During the round I walk around scouting the field, one thing I notice is there’s a severe lack of Islands in the room, with an increase in basic Plains and Mountains. I get the feeling that today will be an easy day. The reason being that Jupiter is a predominately blue metagame with a higher percentage of RUG Delver than the average metagame. These midrange decks with Plains and Mountains happen to do quite well against a field filled with Islands. I got up to the Jupiter Games owner Ryan Green and discuss the field for the day with him, then the conversation changes to the turnout for the event. Ryan tells me there are 58 players, just short of seven rounds. With this NELC weekend being between GP Baltimore the previous weekend, and GP Indy this upcoming weekend, more than likely people aren’t looking to travel for all three.




Round Two:  Alex Barker with Burn


As I sit down to play against Alex, a fellow Syracuse native, Adam Vanfleet, sits next to me for his round. He’s pretty livid. This is his first Jupiter Games event and he was just given a draw when he won his previous round. Why? He didn’t report his match. The staff at Jupiter does announce their policy at the beginning of every event, it’s actually a pretty fair policy. According to a few judges I’ve spoken with, Jupiter has the option to drop both players from the event. While it’s really unfortunate, rules are rules. Adam is a good guy, but learning from your mistakes is the best thing you can do at that point.


Game One: While we’re shuffling up for game one Alex falls into a classic mistake – showing your opponent what you’re playing while shuffling. I know he’s on Burn now. He leads off with Mountain into Goblin Guide. I don’t get a free land. I play fetchland, pass. He plays a Chain Lightning and a Lava Spike and attacks. I fetch out Underground Sea and brainstorm for value to put a land on top. I untap and play a Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, tap my two land for Infernal Tutor revealing a Lion’s Eye Diamond, play both of the Lion’s Eye Diamonds. Using Lotus Petal and Chrome Mox for mana, Burning Wish for Ill-Gotten Gains, cast it, returning Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, cast them all into Tendrils of Agony.


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


Game Two: Alex begins the game with a Mountain suspending a Rift Bolt. I began the game with Underground Sea, Ponder. I take three during his upkeep, then take one from the Keldon Mauraders that Alex casts that turn. On my turn I draw and play a Gemstone Mine, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam, in response adding BBBUUU to pool. I play around Fireblast the entire time and he didn’t have it. Tendrils him out.




Lunch break time! I literally just ate pizza a few hours before and do not want to get it again with the large crowd. I ask Adam Vanfleet if he’d like to get Chinese food down the street instead. Nick Patnode advises me against it saying that it’s terrible. I figure I’ll run the risk, seeing as the line for pizza is really long. I order some General Tso’s chicken and exchange some stories with other people as we wait for our food. By the time we get back, we have seven minutes before the lunch break is over to eat. Yikes! One thing I did notice as I was shoveling down the Chinese food was that my General Tso’s chicken was very crispy. I liked it, normally it’s not like that. I’m unsure if it was because it literally just came out of the pan or not, but hey – it certainly wasn’t terrible.


Round Three: Jeff DeLeRee with Burn


Game One: Mountain, Rift Bolt is Jeff’s first turn. My first turn of the game is Scalding Tarn searching for Underground Sea and casting Ponder. Jeff cast Rift Bolt and then played a Barbarian Ring into Hellspark Elemental and attacked. On my turn I played a land then Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam from 13, it’s a very good Ad Nauseam, Tendrils him out.


Sideboarding: -3 Orim’s Chant, -2 Silence, -1 Ad Nauseam, +2 Echoing Truth, +1 Wipeaway,+1 Silent Departure, +1 Duress, +1 Ill-Gotten Gains 


Game Two: To be honest, I don’t remember much about this game other than I had a loose keep which didn’t pan out. Then on turn five I went for Diminishing Returns with three land in play and drew four more from the Returns. I think I scooped after seeing my new hand.


Game Three: I keep a less than average hand of Duress, Duress, Ad Nauseam, Echoing Truth, Underground Sea, City of Brass, Gemstone Mine. Luckily for me, Jeff is forced to mulligan to five. The double Duress hurts him, taking a Pyrostatic Pillar and a Lightning Bolt. Even with us both not performing optimally this game continues to the point where I cast Ad Nauseam floating a black from 13 or 14. I stop at 6 then cast a mini-Tendrils of Agony to put Jeff to 3 and me back to 19, my hand at that point is Burning Wish, Echoing Truth, Infernal Tutor, Duress. Jeff then attacks me for 6. I draw a Ponder and cast it, finding a Rite of Flame, cast it for RRRR, play Burning Wish for Grapeshot.


This round was actually much closer than it should’ve been. I should’ve mulliganed my hand game two. I’m unsure if I should’ve sent back my game three hand. Duress still has value against burn and Truth stops a Pillar in order to buy time to play Ad Nauseam. The process would’ve been a lot quicker if I could’ve drawn a Dark Ritual. I decided to try and take out the second Ad Nauseam for the sideboard Ill-Gotten Gains, I never saw it, but in theory it’s just as good if not better against burn.




Round Four: Feature Match vs. Nick Patnode with Goblins




Game One: I begin with Underground Sea, Ponder, looking at an Ad Nauseam. I stack the Nauseam on the bottom. Nick plays and activates a Wasteland on my Underground Sea. I play City of Brass, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Brainstorm, break the Diamonds for BBBBBB. Ad Nauseam.


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


Game Two: Nick begins with Badlands, Goblin Lackey and Chalice of the Void. I play a fetch land and pass. Nick smashes and drops a Goblin Warchief followed by a Mogg War Marshal. I do the same routine as the previous turn. Nick attacks me down to 14, I then fetch during his end step, then Echoing Truth his Chalice of the Void. Draw, Dark Ritual, Chrome Mox (Black), Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam. Land for turn, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, Grapeshot, his team and he takes three. Infernal Tutor, break both of the Diamonds for BBBBBB, Tendrils of Agony.




Round Five: Doug McKay with Mono-White.


Intentional Draw.




Round Six: Si-Ning Li with RUG


Intentional Draw.




Top 8: Jon Quackenbush with Maverick


Game One: I mulligan and keep a hand of Duress, Orim’s Chant, Chrome Mox, Scalding Tarn, Infernal Tutor, and Gemstone Mine. I figured, it was better than going to five. It was still a solid hand if I could draw a Ritual or Lion’s Eye Diamond. Well, I didn’t my draws that game were Silence, Chrome Mox, and a land. In that order. I played the moxes in order to become Hellbent for Infernal Tutor to find Ad Nauseam. If I untap and draw a mana source I win. However, Jon played a Green Sun Zenith for two with a Mother of Runes in play. A hard lock against my deck game one. I picked up my cards.


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


Game Two: I keep a hand of Scalding Tarn, City of Brass, Gemstone Mine, Ad Nauseam, Burning Wish, Duress, and Duress. My Duress grabs a Green Sun Zenith leaving Jon with a handful of dead cards including Stoneforge Mystic and some lands. On my turn three I draw a Dark Ritual and cast Ad Nauseam.


Game Three: Jon begins the game with Noble Hierarch, Ethersworn Canonist, Gaddock Teeg, and Aven Mindcensor in consecutive turns. Meanwhile by this time my board is three lands and a Lion’s Eye Diamond. On my first turn I Brainstorm, putting a Tendrils second from the top.  On my second turn I decide not to Infernal Tutor because I have an Echoing Truth on his end step for his Canonist. He then played Teeg forcing me to wait a turn for mana. This caused me to time walk myself by drawing the Tendrils I didn’t want in my hand. If I Infernal Tutor’ed the previous turn I’d have a new card. I lay the mana source and pass. John just attacks and passes with four cards in hand. I decide I don’t want to run into Mindcensor and I’ll wait a turn to bounce. He plays Mindscensor on my endstep… Then attacks with an Umezawa’s Jitte on Mindscensor. Ugh. I have to try to win at this point. I bounce Canonist during his endstep, untap and draw the second Echoing Truth. I do all the math in my head and I can’t create enough mana while needing UU to win. Sometimes the triple hatebears get you.





Alright, well it certainly wasn’t the most difficult tournament that I’ve played in with the match-ups that I had. However, a top 8 finish is a top 8 finish. I’ve been on a real hot streak recently and I need it to continue if I’d like to win a Black Lotus. The Top 8 prize was enough to buy two Foil Snapcaster Mage, a foil Gaddeck Teeg, and a [Scars of Mirrodin] foil Sword of Body and Mind.


While I’m a bit disappointed in losing to Maverick in the quarterfinals, it happens sometimes – you can’t always be perfect. Variance is something that happens in the game of Magic, in fact, it’s what makes this game worth playing. But if you are going to lose to a good match-up, it might as well be to a friend. I’m glad Jon took down the entire event after beating me, he deserves it. He’s a good dude. Although, losing to Jon has me reevaluating a couple of sideboard slots. I think it’s time to cut Silent Departure with Reanimator not being very popular right now for a sideboard Pyroclasm. Maverick winning both Jupiter Games and Star City Games in the same weekend is going to cause it’s numbers to go up a bit in the next couple of weeks.


Si-Ning Li and Doug McKay also made Top 8 again, the three of us have been on a real tear the last few months. Eli just barely missed top 8 on tie breakers allowing me to gain and additional point on him for the Lotus race. I can’t wait to see how the normal Jupiter crew does in Indianapolis this upcoming weekend! My weekend is going to be pretty crazy, getting out of work Thursday at 5PM, going to Rochester, NY with a few friends to see Polar Bear Club, driving back to Syracuse and then leaving for Indy at 1AM. Looking forward to seeing all of you out in Indianapolis!


Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource



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