Cook’s Kitchen: Storming to Jupiter pt. VI NELC Top 4 With Legacy Storm

The alarm went off at seven, the day had finally come – the last Jupiter Games NELC qualifier. All I had to do that day was beat one man, Eli Kassis. In case you don’t know going into this event I had 35 points and Eli had 33. All I had to do was tie Eli on the day. If I could just do better than Eli I would be named Jupiter Games Player of the Year and win a Black Lotus!


I prepared for the day like I do any other, shower, walk the pup, etc. I filled up the gas tank then called Nick Patnode, that kid needed to pick up the phone, but eventually got in contact. I picked him up before stopping by Carousel Mall to grab Tariq White and Brian Thomas. While waiting for Tariq to show up with Brian, Nick and I decided to get some Dunkin’ Donuts on our wait at the mall. The woman couldn’t comprehend my order for the life of her, let me start out by saying I’m weird. I don’t drink hot beverages. Period. “No, hot chocolate?” is the most common response whenever I tell someone, is it hot? I don’t drink it. Therefore, I don’t drink coffee. I’m aware that there’s iced coffee, but really at that point, a soda gives me the same caffeine surge I crave while tasting better. “Could I please have a strawberry Coolata instead of the coffee with the Bacon, Egg & Cheese combo, I’ll pay the difference.”


“Oh Honey, Coolatas, don’t come with a combo”


“I understand, just take the price of the coffee off of the Coolata.”


This was pretty tough for her to grasp, meaning I paid an additional $1.32 or something with my breakfast. Everyone behind me seemed to understand… Tariq eventually showed up before we could take off there was one late addition, Adam Van Fleet, I took the trek up Marshall Street to grab him before hitting 81 south.


The ride down wasn’t very exciting or memorable. Honestly, I’m having a tough time remembering a bunch of the conversations besides reiterating how much I hate Robin Sherbatsky. Even more now, after Monday’s Season Finale of How I Met Your Mother. All of this lead to an inside joke for anyone who’s ever watched the show. I carry a blank CD in my car entitled “2”, seeing as I gave the original to my longtime friend Zach Tartell. “2” is a CD completely full comprised of one song – The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Tariq got the joke instantly upon hearing the chorus and burst out laughing. It took the others in the car a few listens through to realize that the song was on repeat. I explained the joke from the show that it was stuck on repeat and that I couldn’t do anything. But not to worry, it comes around again.


Other than references Patnode and I shared experiences from our trip to Providence the previous weekend. Before we knew it the Johnson City exit was close and the Jupiter Tournament Center was just around the corner. I walked in, collected some cards from people, spent some store credit on foil Canadian Threshold cards and a few remaining EDH foils. I actually own all of Canadian Threshold foil or pimped out other than the Tarmogoyfs and I guess it could use some black boarder dual lands…  I conversed for a bit and shazaam! Round one was up!


The EPIC Storm (as of 05/12/2012)



Dark Ritual

Rite of Flame

Burning Wish

Infernal Tutor




1 Inquisition of Kozilek

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



Inquisition of Kozilek

Echoing Truth

2 Deathmark

1 Infest


Empty the Warrens

Tendrils of Agony

Ill-Gotten Gains

Diminishing Returns

Past in Flames

Shattering Spree


Round One: **Bye**


Due to this year’s player points system at Jupiter I have accumulated enough points for a round one bye, as has Eli. We’re neck and neck in this race!  Eli asked me if I would like to grab some food with him. We walked over to a diner very close to the event. Eli ordered a burger with sweet potato fries while I opted for a second breakfast sandwich. It’s only 11am! While chowing down our breakfast Eli asked me if I would like to reconsider the split. “Of course not” was my answer. I’m just not interested in splitting. I’ve always enjoyed the rush of playing with adrenaline running in your veins from money on the line. It’s just not the same when there’s a prize chop and you’re essentially only playing for a plastic trophy. Although, let’s be honest, plastic trophies are still nice in the end.


We walked back and shortly after we arrived Round Two was paired.




Round Two:  Doug McKay with Blue Skies (Faeries Stompy variant). 

Game One: I play a turn one Duress which reveals Phyrexian Revoker, Chrome Mox, Chrome Mox, Sower of Temptation, Island, Island, and a Serendib Efreet. I’m forced to take a Chrome Mox. On his turn Doug plays Revoker naming Lion’s Eye Diamond. I lay a land then Ponder into a Dark Ritual and a Rite of Flame. Doug attacks and plays another creature. I play a third land, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, and then Ad Nauseam. Doug looks at the flop and concedes.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, -2 Orim’s Chant, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek, +2 Echoing Truth 


Game Two: Doug begins the game with an Island and a Chalice of the Void for Zero (After the match he said it would’ve been on one if he had a Mox or a Sol-Land). I cantrip for a few turns while Doug plays a Serendib Efreet off of an Ancient Tomb. Doug’s life total is slowly going down over the turns between the creature and Tomb. I play a Rite of Flame, then another, followed by an Echoing Truth, which finds a Force of Will. I use the remaining mana to Burning Wish for Spree to kill his Chalice and a Phyrexian Metamorph copying Serendib Efreet. On my turn I pay for Ad Nauseam the hard way from Gemstones and Petals leaving me with two lands and a Lion’s Eye Diamond. Doug then used his only card in hand and five mana to answer my Nauseam. On his turn he plays a Sword of War and Peace on Serendib and attacks. At this point he’s at seven from self-damage. I have no cards in hand. I draw a second Lion’s Eye Diamond and pass. Doug attacks going to eight and puts me to two with a City of Brass in play and one card in hand. He Wastelands me leaving me with one card in hand then a City of Brass and Lion’s Eye Diamond in play. I draw Brainstorm. Play Lion’s Eye Diamond, Brainstorm. I then break the diamonds for three red and three black. First card is Rite of Flame, the second is Chrome Mox, and the third is Infernal Tutor. Keep the Infernal, cast it and Tendrils of Agony Doug for exactly lethal.




Lunch break time! Considering how I just ate with Eli not too long ago I decide to pass and play some Commander/EDH against Nick Patnode. Our classic Godo vs. Kaalia. Our games are always very similar where I’m usually a turn faster due to being mono-colored with faster colorless mana. Nick and I will challenge any two EDH decks to a Two-Headed Giant match. We wouldn’t lose. Our game plans are actually identical. Play our generals, blow-up everyone’s lands, and then win from the advantage from our general. We had quite the crowd, I managed to play a turn one Godo with witnesses for once which was pretty cool. The crowd scattered once pairings were up.


Round Three: Feature Match vs. Sam Roukas with BUG Control


Video coverage here.


Game One: Sam plays a turn one Inquisition showing my hand of Scalding Tarn, Ponder, Brainstorm, Ad Nauseam, Burning Wish, Rite of Flame, and Inquisition of Kozilek. He takes the Burning Wish. I Ponder and pass. Next turn I follow with Inquisition only hitting a Maelstrom Pulse. His hand was weak. I continue to cantrip and Duress taking the lonely Jace, the Mind Sculptor in Sam’s hand. I eventually play a pair of Rite of Flames into an Ad Nauseam. I have a fairly weak Ad Nauseam, play some cantrips, and end up winning.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek


Game Two: We both play some early cantrips before Sam Inquisitions me again. We play “land, go” for a while before I attempt to win on his turn then mine, he managed to stop them both. Sam then establishes control with a Jace, Liliana, and Waste/Loam lock. Brutal.

Game Three: I begin the game with City of Brass, Ponder. “Land, go” for Sam. I then lay a Brainstorm on the table followed by a Scalding Tarn and fetch on my upkeep then during my mainphase I inquisition of Kozilek targeting Sam taking a Spell Pierce. I draw into Tendrils of Agony and decide that I’m going to “old school” Sam out during the course of the game. Use him for Storm. Sam and I play “land, go” for a few more turns as I build my hand up to eight cards, when I do finally reach eight I cast a Brainstorm to increase storm. Sam does as I plan and increases Storm for me by playing spells right into the now-lethal Tendrils of Agony sitting in my hand.




Round Four: Andre Segara with UR Delver


Game One: I begin the game with a turn one Scalding Tarn finding an Underground Sea to cast a Ponder. Dre begins the game with a turn one Delver that blind flips revealing a Ponder, he then plays another Delver and passes. Leaving him with four cards. I decide I have to go for it, I know that Dre doesn’t play Force of Will but he has four Daze. The unfortunate part is I could only create five mana to cast the Ad Nauseam in my hand. If I pass he swings for six then has access to Pierce and Bolts making my Ad Nauseam much worse. I play a Gemstone Mine and cast Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam. Dre scoops shortly after.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek


Game Two: I’m a bit flooded as I kept a three land-er and then drew two additional lands for my first two draws but on turn three at fifteen life from Dre’s Delver I resolve a Silence. I cast Dark Ritual, Chrome Mox (Removing Infernal Tutor), Lion’s Eye Diamond, Chrome Mox, in response to the imprint trigger, Ad Nauseam, in response break Lion’s Eye Diamond discarding two lands. Dre looks at the pile of cards and concedes.




Round Five: James Higgenbottom with Sneak & Show


Intentional Draw.




Round Six: Feature Match vs. Eli Kassis with Sneak & Show


Video coverage here.


Game One: We both play some lands into cantrips during the initial few turns of the game as we set up our “combos”. I decide to go for it on turn three with a Lotus petal into Silence which is countered by Force of Will. Dark Ritual and Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam. Eli plays an Intuition for three Brainstorms hoping to find both Force of Will and a blue card. It doesn’t happen. Ad Nauseam gets there.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek


Game Two: Eli has a turn two Show and Tell into Emrakul, however, I’m a single mana short of casting the Ad Nauseam in my hand. Instead I’m forced to Burning Wish into Diminishing Returns that runs head first into Red Elemental Blast. Ouch.


Game Three: Eli has a quick Sneak Attack into a one sided Obliterate [see: early Emrakul with Haste]. I sit there on my thumb.




Top 8


Quarterfinals: Nick Patnode with Goblins


Game One: I open my turn one on the draw with Underground Sea into a Ponder. Nick then attacked me with his turn one play, which had been a Goblin Lackey.  He dropped a Goblin Warchief and a second Warchief after that. I play a Brainstorm, then fetch, and Ponder. All  of the cards were garbage, I shuffle. Nick plays two Goblin Lackey and attacks doesn’t use a trigger. I play another Ponder, shuffle, pass. Nick attacks me again. I’m forced to Duress, Nick in response casts Tarfire putting me to six.  The Duress allows me to Infernal Tutor (becoming Hellbent) cast Ad Nauseam from six. I reveal some cards, none of them are good enough to win. I stop at 1. I play a mox removing a Silence. Kick a Chant on his upkeep. On my turn I play a Brainstorm, Infernal to shuffle, and am forced to Chant-walk again on his upkeep. On my turn I drew Dark Ritual which was enough for me to win the game with Past in Flames, I play out all of the cards I can, Burning Wish, Past in Flames. It gets there.


Sideboarding: -2 Silence, -3 Duress +2 Echoing Truth, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek.


Game Two: Nick mulligans into a Chalice then plays a Port. I lay a land and Ponder. I eventually work up enough mana to Burning Wish for Spree. I decide to let Nick attack me until I get another land/Rite of Flame rather than destroy Chalice and have him play another. I draw a Rite of Flame, I play the two in my hand, Spree, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam from 11. It reveals enough to get the victory.




Top 4


Semifinals: Feature Match vs. Eli Kassis with Sneak & Show


Due to the fact that I made top 4, Eli had to win the event to pass me in points for the Championship, and Player of the Year. If he took second there would’ve been a tie. In the case of a tie there would be a five game playoff with any deck of our choosing at the Invitational. The opposing player wouldn’t receive any information on the other player’s deck.


Video coverage here.


Game One: I play a few establishing cantrips while Eli decides to play a Show & Tell into Progenitus. I end up taking a very long Brainstorm but end up making the correct decision. I play a Lotus Petal then Dark Ritual, the Ritual is countered by Spell Pierce. Lion’s Eye Diamond and Chrome Mox come down into a Burning Wish that tutors for Diminishing Returns. I’m forced to pass the turn and try again. I take a slam from Progenitus.  Another Brainstorm followed by Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Rite of Flame. Spell Pierce comes down to target Rite of Flame, I Dark Ritual in response, Eli Dazes the Ritual and I pay. I then cast Duress, Eli Forces my Duress, I play Silence, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Burning Wish into Tendrils of Agony.


Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Inquisition of Kozilek


Game Two: I make a critical error this game with my second discard effect not taking Intuition. I was blind and didn’t see the line of play into Show & Tell, I almost got away with my mistake but Eli found a Force of Will off of the second Griselbrand and drew seven to Counterspell my Ad Nauseam. My fault, I should’ve known better.


Game Three: Eli keeps a no-lander that is quickly revealed to my Inquisition of Kozilek. Luckily enough for him he drew a land for turn. Eli then plays Ponder into another land. Show and Tell soon comes down putting an Emrakul into play. The Emerakul forces me to attempt to win the game through Eli’s double Force of Will, Blue card, and X. I fetch and run out a Dark Ritual and then another. Eli forces the Silence that I had just cast. I follow up with a Rite of Flame, and then play a Burning Wish. This was the test to see if Eli had another blue card, he didn’t Force! I get Past in Flames after some careful consideration. Put Lion’s Eye Diamond down and play Ad Nauseam asking if Eli had the blue card. He did.




That last match may have been the most intense Magic I’ve ever played. Even if I didn’t win, it was a spectacular set of games. Am I upset I didn’t win? Who wouldn’t be? I honestly didn’t think he had the blue card when he didn’t Force of Will the Burning Wish. But risk vs. reward is a thing. I knew what I was getting into when I didn’t prize chop with Eli. It’s part of the territory of being the guy who doesn’t split/chop prizes. Will I chop in the next event(s)? Nope. Where would the fun be in that? I get it, there’s less “+EV”. Magic isn’t my job – it’s a hobby. My job is something completely different, while I love both, Magic is something I do more for fun than anything else. Is it nice to get a payday from Magic? Of course, I was pretty happy when my Providence check showed up yesterday. But at the end of the day it’s something I do to make myself happy, not splitting makes me happy. Not splitting adds to the challenge. If it makes the rest of the Top 8 angry, oh well.


After Adam Van Fleet lost in top 8 (Yes, I finished both quarters and semis before he finished quarters) the Syracuse crew gathered up and headed to Tully’s. Out of the nine of us we put four in the top 8, not bad, not bad at all. Congrats to the other three guys that made it (Nick, Andre and Adam). We had a fantastic time at Tully’s, I ordered the Wild West Burger with Pepper Jack cheese instead of cheddar. That decision rewarded highly. Being the guy who was driving I couldn’t drink but I had the opportunity to watch Trevor Brown and Brian Thomas get pretty drunk in a Tully’s. That’s always fun. Then the news that Eli won the event came in. I guess I didn’t need to pick out a deck for the invitational to play against Eli.


Eli Kassis won player of the year, congratulations Eli. Don’t worry though – I’ll be back in it next year. Although, during dinner I decided something – don’t expect to see me playing too many Dark Rituals next season. I’m going to try and play a different deck every event. The ride home was silent for the most part besides conversations about the music playing. Patnode said he’d like to get into some new music. He’s a kid who listens to a lot of radio Metal. Which isn’t exactly my taste, my angry music is more hardcore/punk. I introduced him to a couple of different bands on the ride home, some of which included:


Haste the Day

It Dies Today


This Is A Standoff

Polar Bear Club

Childish Gambino


Well… Gambino doesn’t fit the bill but I became bored of angry/punky stuff. When I dropped him off he ran inside grabbed a flashdrive and came back out. I filled his drive with those bands plus As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, and the Wonder Years. The Wonder Years isn’t really like any of the other bands listed, but I’ve been really into them the last six months and thought I’d share.


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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