AT THE LAST MINUTE!!!

Hey readers!  Back again; this week with a war report on how I did at this past weekend’s Star City Open.  Last week I gave you guys a couple of different deck lists and incorporated on how they would take on the meta.  As I was writing the article I was already deciding, in my head, which deck I was going to take, which was the Mono Green list.  Well Friday night I was testing the list I was sure I was going to take and decided on something.  That something is that I could not leave my draws, as some Yugioh players might say, in the heart of the cards. So I decided to play some sort of blue deck.  I decided this because in my testing with the mono green lists I would lose to myself most of the time.  This, I felt, was because of drawing dead after my opponents would deal with my creatures.  I felt I had no late game and I did not like that whatsoever.

Pod lists have that ability to play a creature and if there is a Pod out they can just explode and get whatever they need at any one point in time in most situations.  If they do not have a Pod then they can be a lot like the Mono Green list and draw a dud or a creature that gives them no extension to further their game.  The R/G Aggro lists have the ability to do spot removal and explode if drawn correctly but have no late game either.  If anyone can stall them out long enough or wipe their boards enough then they usually draw dead or at least that’s what it seems like.  Decks like Mono Green, any kind of Pod, or R/G Aggro need explosive hands with gas after gas to win.  That’s not a bad play for players because if they want someone dead quickly then that’s their route to go.  For me, I have been on the end of the stick that draws dead too often and did not want that to happen to me again.  As a result, I decided to play something blue as I had stated above.  I decided I wanted to do something with Delver, because let’s face it, why not play the best one drop creature in the format and try to kill them quickly if they allow me to of course.   Usually, they never allow me to kill them with just a Delver of Secrets, so I needed some back up plans. I wanted to do something unique going into a brand new format, with a ton of new cards, where no one would know what was going to smack them in the face.  When you played Delver in the past most of the time you paired it with white because you had Geist of St. Traft and Restoration Angel and not to mention Moorland Haunt.  I, however, really wanted to take it to the next level.  Some people that wanted to stay with Delver felt the need to steer away from the normal Blue/White Delver and play green which consists of Quirion Dryad, and Talrand, Sky Summoner.  I saw that list and thought that it seemed weaker because of the Dryad; I just did not feel comfortable playing with green.  One major reason is the mana base; it seemed off in some way that I did not like.  However, I really liked the idea of having Talrand in my deck because he would give me a late game which I felt I would need if my board was wiped clean.

So with those three things in mind, knowing that I wanted to play with Delver, that I wanted to control my draws in some way and have a late game, I came up with a list that I thought had all of those qualities rolled into one.  I chose to go as Blue/Black delver because of one reason, Vampire Nighthawk, that creature is just absurd; absolutely absurd.  I felt really comfortable with this decision because I decided to pair the Nighthawk with Runechanter’s Pike and if you haven’t done that yet in standard I highly suggest it, because it feels so good to have a creature that has Flying, Lifelink, Deathtouch, and First Strike.  Plus, there is a lot of removal in black that allows you to keep other threats out of your way.  Talrand, as a back up to the deck, was incredible every time.  When I casted him I wanted him to stay on the field for more than just a turn so I could pump out at least five 2/2 flying drakes.  Unfortunately, my opponents had other plans for him.  Every time I casted him they had an answer.  As a result, I always found myself winning off the back of a Nighthawk.  The entire day I wanted to play some sort of green deck because Talrand can really just take over if not dealt with immediately and green decks really have no way to deal with him immediately, so I would have free range to make flyers, which is always icing on the cake.  It came to pass that I would not play any green decks whatsoever.  It was a sad day for me because I was really prepared for a day full of green decks that I did not get to play.  Enough talking about it; here is the list that I took:

Main Deck:

Creatures:

4x Delver of Secrets

4x Snapcaster Mage

3x Vampire Nighthawk

3x Talrand, Sky Summoner

2x Augur of Bolas

Spells:

3x Runechanter’s Pike

3x Mana Leak

2x Vapor Snag

3x Go For the Throat

3x Gut Shot

1x Dismember

2x Mental Misstep

4x Ponder

2x Thought Scour

2x Gitaxain Probe

Land:

3x Cavern of Souls

4x Darkslick Shores

4x Drowned Catacombs

7x Islands

1x Swamp

Sideboard:

1x Mental Misstep

1x Steel Sabotage

2x Duress

2x Torpor Orb

2x Negate

2x Doom Blade

3x Phantasmal Image

1x Vampire Nighthawk

1x Jace, Memory Adept

First round I was paired against a black/red/green zombie Pod (I only knew it was zombie pod after the round was over).  I won the die roll and elected to play first.  I drew my opening seven and threw it back because there was nothing I could do with that hand.  The next six weren’t any better.  Finally, I drew my five card hand and kept thinking that I could work my way out of any mess because I had two lands, a Vapor Snag, and two Snapcaster Mages.  When my opponent played his first land I either thought that it was mono black control or maybe what I was playing.  As I was guessing what deck to place him with, he played a Gravecrawler and I realized my chances of surviving the mull to five was very slim.  As predicted, my opponent took the first game and we went to side boarding.  I brought in another Vampire Nighthawk and called it a day because my matchup against zombies is pretty good anyways.  Second game started when I dropped a land and a Delver, and then passed the turn.  My opponent came back at me with a Tragic Slip, which is to be expected.  Turn two was a do nothing turn, leaving up a Mana Leak option, so I played a land and passed the turn.  My opponent answered with his own land and that ended his turn.  At this point I was very surprised.  Turn three I dropped a third land and played Nighthawk riding her to victory as zombies cannot deal with her very well. Game three was a blow out.  Unfortunately, my opponent just played lands and I drew all of the counter spells I needed to protect my flipped delver from dying.

Round two started and I felt pretty good about my win against zombies.  They used to always give me trouble, but with this new brew I don’t fear them anymore.  I met my opponent and he happened to be friends with a couple of my buddies that were at the tournament so it was a pretty relaxing game.  We had no idea what either of us was playing.  We rolled dice to see who would elect the playing order, I won the roll, and I elected to go first.  I kept my opening seven as it had enough pressure.  I played a land and a delver, and then passed the turn.  My opponent played a land, pondered, put three cards back on top of his deck and passed the turn.  At this point I had no idea what deck he was playing, but just hoped my delver would flip; however, going into my turn, he did not.  I attacked for one, played a land and passed, keeping up my Mana Leak bluff and Snapcaster mana.  My opponent played a Drowned Catacomb and proceeded to Doom Blade my delver, which I had no answer for.  I drew into another land and played a Nighthawk and passed the turn.  My opponent drew and played a Glacial Fortress and then played Go For the Throat on my Nighthawk.  From there it was all downhill as I drew into a flood of land.  Game two ended up the same way, with my opponent drawing exactly what he needed to win and me getting pushed over while drawing land and flooding out in a 19 land deck.

Round three I met a mono black control deck that I thought I was going to smash, but fate had other plans for me during that match.  Game one he just ran me out of answers and won with Sorin Markov and Sorin’s Vengeance. Game two Jace, Memory Adept came in and was a power house; he allowed me to clutch game two by milling himself out.  Game three he kept me off of my threats so I was hoping to see Jace at any point; that way I could lock in game three and move on with my day at X-1, but when I finally saw Jace, my opponent was ready with a Sorin’s Vengeance to clutch game three.  As a result, I was heading into round three with my head hanging low at X-2.

Round four came about and it was a similar deck as in round two.  This opponent did not draw well for game one and I was able to clutch victory, in a hurry.  Games two and three were different, the player was able to keep me off of my threats and deal with Jace, which meant an end to me and an end to the day for me.   At X-3 I went up to the side events board and signed up for a legacy win-a-box.  The next round started and I informed my opponent that I signed up for the win-a-box and if it fired I would scoop him in and go play that.  Well low and behold the win-a-box fired and I scooped to my opponent.

I went on to play the legacy win-a-box with my RUG Delver list.  My first opponent was a Punishing Fires Maverick list; I went on to win 2-0.  My next opponent was a Reanimator list that I beat 2-0 as well.  I went into the finals where my opponent and I decided to draw and split the box; so the whole day wasn’t a sham.  Legacy is my favorite format and I thought Sunday was going to be my day to top 8 again.  I went into Sunday high spirited and ready to win, but those hopes were dashed by round five and I was again reminded of my cold streak, coming off of my back-to-back top 8s, but that hopefully is going to change this weekend with Grand Prix Columbus coming up.

Grand Prix Columbus is in Modern format, a format that I am not all too familiar with but willing to dip my feet in and take a win home with me.  A little while ago I had built a modern deck and took it to a Pro Tour Qualifier in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I didn’t do so well.  I took Splinter Twin combo archetype, and after losing terribly I swore myself off of this format for good.  Even though I wish I could say that this statement was true, it is not even a month or two later, I built a deck that I felt would get free wins if I took it to a Modern tournament.  The deck that I am talking about is R/G Tron, as confident as I am in the deck I am still pretty nervous, because this format is a frontier that is unexplored for me, and that is why ever since Sunday night I have been testing modern every moment possible and learning every archetype possible.  Some of my friends tell me that Tron is a tier two deck which is hard to believe when I can land a Karn Liberated on turn three, but they say it is so.  Whether that is true or not I still intend on taking that archetype to Grand Prix Columbus, because Tron is what I am most comfortable with and what I know inside and out.  I was once asked by a friend down at FNM one night, “So what’s the secret to the success?”, I was going to respond in some manner that sounded like I had a mic to my face and I had just won the world championship to something, but all I said and what I will always stick by is, “PLAY WHAT YOU KNOW, AND WHAT YOU’RE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH.”  Thanks to my friends helping me in times I was confused on what to play, I now know that is the truth more than ever and I thank them for that.  So here is the list I plan on taking, and no worries I will not audible to something completely different than what I listed, like last time, because I feel the most comfortable with this.

Main Deck:

Creatures:

1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

1x Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

2x Wurmcoil Engine

Spells:

4x Chromatic Sphere

4x Chromatic Star

4x Pyroclasm

3x Sylvan Scrying

4x Explore

4x Ancient Stirrings

3x Relic of Progenitus

4x Expedition Map

1x All is Dust

4x Karn Liberated

Land:

4x Urza’s Tower

4x Urza’s Power Plant

4x Urza’s Mine

1x Eye of Ugin

4x Grove of the Burnwillows

2x Forest

Sideboard:

2x Natures Claim

2x Combust

3x Thorn of Amethyst

3x Torpor Orb

3x Spellskite

2x Ancient Grudge

Well that’s the list I have come up with and it probably seems pretty stock, but I do want to play it safe.  I cannot sit here and lie and say that I am completely calm going into this whole thing, when I am in fact a nervous wreck.  Last night at testing I almost backed out on going, but my friends reminded me that I am a good player and that I can do whatever I set my mind to.  So I will forge onto Columbus with the hopes of bringing home a win.  The deck has a good matchup against most things I have tested it against.  I have tested it against, RUG Delver, R/U Delver, Faeries, R/G Through the Breach, and the Mirror.  The mirror is really just determined by a dice roll, the others I can fight through the counters and stabilize while they seem to just fall apart and I pick up the win.  The only deck I am really worried about as of right now, in this testing list, is the R/G Through the Breach deck.  It seemed to put up better numbers against me than the others.  I haven’t tested the B/W Tokens match yet, but I am eager to do so later on this week.

This weekend is going to be fun one way or another and I cannot wait to face off against some opponents, some being pros and most being my friends.  I am nervous and excited all at once, but the one thing on my mind right now is more testing, testing, testing, and testing.  If any of you readers have any suggestions about the modern list and or anything about the format please comment below.  I would love to know more about the format that maybe no one else knows.  Until then readers, I am off to test, as always thanks for reading and leaving comments. Maybe I will see some of you this weekend at Grand Prix Columbus.

Thanks Again,

Jeff Rasmussen

Jeff Rasmussen
Name's Jeff been playing magic for at least a good 10 years now and was competative at one point and then when future sight came around i took a break. Came back in when scars of mirrodin dropped and have been playing competatively ever since. Lately i have been making a splash on the scene and got 3 top 8s back to back to back at star city opens. I look to play better and win more. I am a Constructed Standard, Modern and Legacy competitive grinder.
Jeff Rasmussen

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