Magic Market Index for Aug 17th, 2018
 
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Treasure Cruisin' Modern Big Red
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    Quote from Etoroguy »
    It depends on your meta but I like gonti as a sideboard card. He comes in the grindy midrange/control matchups and gets flickered for great value. In those matchups most of their cards will be relevant.


    Totally agree with this. Most decks have great hits for Gonti and he’s a guaranteed 2-for-1 with tons of upside (if you have a flickerwisp or displacer or resto to trigger his ETB again). Deathtouch can be relevant in certain matchups as well.

    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    I built a BW E&T deck a while back and am just now getting back into modern to decide whether to sign up for a GP in December. I'm curious about some of the card choices in some recent lists I've seen and hoping the community can help me understand the rationale on their inclusion in maindecks/sideboards:
    • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Loved this guy back when he was in standard and saw him pop up in a couple of sideboards and wasn't sure what matchups he was for. Seems to me that noncreatures aren't where the deck wants to be for threats given the vial synergies, but maybe he's good to board in for matchups when you board in Stony Silence/board out Aether Vial?
    • Smuggler's Copter. In looking through recent comments, it seems that some are really into the looter scooter maindeck, and others not so much. Seems like it would be good in the W versions that run Thraben Inspector, but my 2-drop slots are filled with Leonin Arbiter, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Tidehollow Sculler, so not sure about cramming 2 noncreatures in.
    • Dauntless Bodyguard. This guy strikes me as being too defensive, but curious what folks' experience has been. I can see a nice tempo play where you Vial him in to save something better, but by the point in the game where I have another creature worth saving, it seems unlikely that I'd have a Vial on 1.
    • Gonti, Lord of Luxury. I love this guy and have been trying him as a 1- or 2-of in the main along with the 4 TKSs. 6 cards at 4-CMC is a lot, but I feel like Vial helps with that a bit, and he can really swing games with his ETB ability (and can really get out of control when flickered). Do others think he may have a place in the BW version of the deck?

    Thanks all!
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on UB(x) control
    I've been running a couple versions of UB through MTGO leagues with reasonable success (mostly 3-2s, a couple 4-1s, and a couple 2-3s). I'm a recovering UW Approach player and I'm really enjoying how the deck is doing in the current meta.

    I'm curious what folks' SB strategies are against UW Control. I've been boarding in 3x Duress, 3x Negate, and a pair of Sorcerous Spyglass (as an answer to or at least a speedbump for Teferi and Gideon), but have found myself getting wrecked by Knight of Grace (occasionally with HoB). It seems counter-intuitive to bring in a couple Golden Demise or Bontu's Last Reckoning against UW control, but is that correct based on their post-board strategy? It's so frustrating to not have an answer to the Knight other than a 3+ mana sweeper. I've considered Contraband Kingpin (particularly in the UB puppet version) and Knight of Malice as possible options, but interested to hear what others have found success with.

    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Quote from Reymon27 »
    Do you guys ever side Approaches out postboard to surprise your opponent? Can we even afford to do that?


    For sure, especially against decks that run black or blue. It's tough to resolve a 7-mana sorcery post-board, so getting the win through Caracals, Gearhulks, Gideon, or Ipnu Rivulet is much more feasible than Approaching. I usually keep at least 1 in for that instant-win potential, but I find creatures to be much more effective for the win.

    I'm still muddling my way through the meta and different builds to see what feels best. Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage is a card that slipped under the radar for me during spoilers, but this past weekend's results demonstrate the power of operating at instant speed in ways that the meta might not be prepared for.

    It's early days, but my current project is an Esper build that harnesses the power of Raff to operate almost entirely at instant speed and looks to maximize powerful ETBs. The basic package would include 3x Approach of the Second Sun, 4x Seal Away, 3x Cast Down, 3x Vraska's Contempt, 3x Negate, 3x Disallow, 1-2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, 1-2x Doomfall, and maybe 1-2 Spell Swindle (I just can't quit that card).

    The cards that I'll be trying out (many of which shouldn't be surprising):
    • Search for Azcanta: flashing this in at EOT is just...amazing. It's always been good in Approach decks, and it's even better with flash.
    • Gonti, Lord of Luxury: I know I'm not the only one whose stomach churns when this is cast against me. There's a ton of power going around in decks lately, and Gonti allows you to access the power of your opponent's deck, and an instant speed deathtoucher is nutty.
    • Noxious Gearhulk: Kill a dude, get some life, have a 5/4 menace beater at your disposal at instant speed. Like it.
    • Liliana, Death's Majesty: She's not my favorite PW, but bringing back your good ETB dudes seems good.
    • Skysovereign, Consul Flagship: A ship's mage needs a ship...seems like a good one to flash in at EOT to ping a PW.
    • The Mirari Conjecture: I think this has a ton of potential in the right esper build. Getting extra value from your counterspells, doomfalls, Cast Downs, etc., and then doubling them can be very powerful.
    • Rite of Belzenlok: could be more danger than it's worth because he needs to eat creatures, but it's only 4-mana, and 6/6 flample is no joke. Also, gumming up the board with little duders is a good thing.
    • Helm of the Host: You guys, this card is BROKEN in limited, and I think it should warrant attention in constructed. Especially when you can flash it in at EOT and activate it the next turn, ideally on one of the sweet ETB creatures on your board (Gonti, Noxious, Torrential, etc.).
    • Azor, the Lawbringer: The deck I envision is more UB than w (white is mostly for Approach and Seal Away with some artifact/enchantment hate in the SB), so I'm leery of a WW creature, but is a huge body and silences them for their next turn.
    • Urza's Ruinous Blast and Yawgmoth's Vile Offering: The former is a nonbo with Seal Away or other enchantment-based removal, but these two spells at instant speed are as good as it gets.

    A couple final thoughts. First, it sure seems like 1-2 Sorcerous Spyglass main wouldn't be incorrect to combat all the Karns, Teferis, and Walking Ballistas out there. I'm so sick of Walking Ballista...

    Second, if Karn or other artifacts become ubiquitous, Ceremonious Rejection will get a lot better and could warrant SB consideration.

    Edit: Added Urza's Ruinous Blast and Yawgmoth's Vile Offering...
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Two rules questions: (1) Captivating Crew and Leyline of Anticipation and (2) Sylvan Awakening and Helm of the Host
    Hey rules gurus! I had a couple of rules questions that have been puzzling me and thought I'd post them here:

    1) If I have Leyline of Anticipation out (or other similar effect in play that allows me to cast sorceries as if they had flash) with Captivating Crew, am I able to activate Captivating Crew's ability as if it had flash? A literal reading of the two cards together would suggest that I could--Captivating Crew says that I can "activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery," and with Leyline in play, that would be any time. I suppose this question would go for any sorcery-speed ability (activate Hashep Oasis, equip something).

    2) If I cast Sylvan Awakening and then equip Helm of the Host to a land that has been made into a 2/2 elemental creature with reach, indestructible, and haste that is still a land, (a) what pops out of the Helm, and (b) what happens to whatever pops out on my next turn? If the land in question is a Field of Ruin, do I have a permanent 2/2 indestructible, haste Field of Ruin with reach? The wording on Sylvan Awakening card suggests that I do, but that seems pretty insane (although costly to pull off).

    Thanks!
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Yeah, if you can stay alive long enough to resolve a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Gideon of the Trials and an Oath of Teferi, you're in pretty good shape. Look forward to seeing your list.

    Ever since I mentioned stupid Inspiring Statuary, I've been tinkering with a Bant Approach deck that uses Treasure Map, Thaumatic Compass, and Pacification Array (and/or Edifice of Authority) along with Hour of Promise to ramp up into double Approach pretty quickly (once as early as T5).

    Testing is ongoing, and I am waiting for access to DOM cards to bring those into the mix: Karn was the main reason I thought of it, Seal Away and Syncopate would be good upgrades to the removal/counters, and there could be some good Historic synergies. So far, it has great game against UR GPG: the Pacification Array shuts down the infinite Combat Celebrant finish, and the artifact subtheme makes running 3 Crook of Condemnation in the SB no problem, and in fact very desirable. With the Arrays and flipped compasses, there's a point at which you can achieve lockdown control of the board with an absurd amount of mana to access, and wins often come through Ipnu rivulets (running 9 deserts).

    I need to work on the ratio of counterspells, removal, and sweepers to address weaknesses to creatures, PWs, and go-wide (token) decks, but it's been a fun deck to play for sure. I'll keep testing and if it gets anywhere near competitive, will report back...

    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    I was looking again at some of the DOM spoilers, and I think Jaya Ballard may be worth a look in a Jeskai Approach shell. Both of her +1s are great to cast or dig for approach (or other answers you may need), and her -8 has great synergy with all the instants and sorcerers we play. I dabbled in UW Drake for a while, and Abandoned Sarcophagus is no joke. Her emblem does the same for all of your counterspells and sweepers, which is huge.

    It’s too bad she doesn’t protect herself: that and her high CMC (and RRR cost) might be reasons she won’t work, but as with all other walkers, she’ll be a lightning rod for attacks which can keep life total afloat.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Thanks for passing that along pumpmonkey!

    I don't know Patrick Chapin or whether he's played much UW (or Approach) in this standard, but I'm puzzled by some of his card choices. The 2x Gideon/Teferi seems like a good place to start for a new-style UW Approach build, but the Evolving Wilds doesn't strike me as being a good choice for the deck (as opposed to a couple more Field of Ruin). 2 Ipnu also seems wrong because it's a hidden wincon that's tough for opponents to stop. Spells-wise, it's a lot of the usual suspects...some things I've moved away from (Censor, Pull from Tomorrow, Hieroglyphic Illumination), but only 2 Approaches seems incorrect. Sideboard is highly suspect (particularly Spell Pierce, Sacred Cat, Solemnity?).

    I hadn't considered Memorial to Genius...might be a nice 1-of late game include, but I'm just so leery of enters-tapped lands that I'm not sure it's worth it.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Agree about Slaughter the Strong potentially being a nice check against the G deck that's likely coming down the pike. I'm not sure about mainboarding it, but it may find a home in the SB depending on how the metagame shakes out.

    I played against a mono G stompy-style deck tonight on MTGO that was super fast...way too fast for the typical UW setup, and it will only get faster with Llanowar Elves. G1 he went:
    It was reminiscent of the Pummeler decks that were running around for a while--putting you on a fast clock that you have to disrupt or else die fast. Chump blockers will only get you so far with the trample provided by Rhonas's Monument (and, of course, Galta).

    The good thing about Slaughter the Strong is that it will get around Blossoming Defense and Heroic Intervention. I also think Authority of the Consuls might become a thing again (or remaining a thing for those who kept it in the SB).

    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    @kpal: Not sure if you were "get real"ing me or the previous dude, but my point was just that the 3 bodies caracal provides strike me as being a better option in a mostly creature-less deck than the one dawnbringer. Approach is a fragile wincon post-board (when negate, duress, and doomfall typically come in), no doubt about that. For me, it's a question of what the best alternate creature-based wincons are games 2 & 3, and I think it's nice to have extra bodies on the battlefield.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    @[email protected]: I agree re: Lyra Dawnbringer and Fall of the Thran. For 5 mana, I'd much rather have 3 cats (7 total power) than one big old Vraska's Contempt target. At least with the cats they need 3 removal spells to get rid of them all. I've seen a few red decks bring in Sweltering Suns from the sideboard specifically for the cats, so I grant that Lyra would be better in that situation, but I think getting 3 bodies is worth the risk.

    Part of me wonders whether Fall of the Thran might work in a build that relies on a bunch of artifacts and Inspiring Statuary, but if I'm mentioning Inspiring Statuary, chances are I'm pretty far from a viable deck. Although when I first thought of Inspiring Statuary, I wondered whether there might be potential for a ramp deck that relies on that card and a bunch of artifacts to accelerate the Approach--the Bant Approach had some success with ramp, and even Mono-W relies on Orazca relic to approach quicker...seems too janky to work, but I might test it out, particularly with Mox Amber.

    I think Teferi, Hero of Dominaria could have promise. Gideon mainly functions as a must-answer threat that either draws a contempt right away (meaning opponent takes a turn off to get rid of him), or else saves you 3-7 life from creatures attacking him, and he (very occasionally, but sometimes) can get the win through beatdowns. The upside to Teferi is that with negate backup to protect against contempt, he has a better chance of sticking around for a turn or two (or hopefully longer), and his ultimate is backbreaking. Approach necks need ways to stay alive long enough to approach twice, and Teferi is another good option to let you do that because he's must-answer. Is he better than Gideon?

    I also agree re Esper being more viable after DOM drops. I think Jeskai may be worth another look. With Sulfur Falls the mana base will be just as good as Esper, and Wizard's Retort and Wizard's Lightning along with a few copies of Baral, Chief of Compliance (and potentially the Naga Wizard Champion of Wits). I don't like the idea of moving away from a creatureless build, but there may be value in doing so. Reducing instants/sorceries by 1 is a good thing, as is plowing through your deck with Champ...


    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Full DOM spoiler is up, so let's discuss new brews!

    Some initial thoughts/questions for the group:

    • Seal Away: Planning on testing 4 of these--looks really good. The thought would be to replace Slash of Talons and potentially one or more Essence Scatters/Cast Outs. I wonder if 4 of these and 4 settles will be correct moving forward (doing away with fumigate entirely). Mono-G looks pretty good and aggressive (and fast with their ramp), and fumigate isn't great against green decks because of heroic intervention. Granted, Blossoming Defense is still a thing, so can't over-rely on this, but I see it as a major upgrade to Baffling End.
    • Syncopate: I never played the Ravnica block, so don't know how this card was back then, but seems really strong and could warrant 4-of consideration. The flipside is that against U, this makes Approach a much riskier proposition, as you risk having one of your 3 copies exiled if it's countered.
    • Wizard's Retort: Could Baral, Chief of Compliance warrant maindeck consideration? Seems like a Jeskai build might go that route and have access to some good tech, but don't know that it's right for UW.
    • The Mirari Conjecture: Is this playable as a 1-of? Maybe not, but I feel like it may be trying out of the SB against control decks. Against most decks, you want to fumigate turn 5, and there aren't a ton of good sorceries that we cast before T6. I think it might have decent synergy with Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin in that you can pitch an Approach or Fumigate early without worrying too much about it.
    • Board the Weatherlight: Seems good in a superfriends build, and maybe this is the sorcery that The Mirari Conjecture wants?
    • Teferi, Hero of Dominaria: I'm thinking of trying this as a 2-of along with a couple Gideon of the Trials for almost an Approach of the Superfriends build, which, along with SFA, might give you enough historic things to run a Mox Amber?
    • Karn, Scion of Urza: He's colorless, powerful, replaces itself immediately (and threatens card advantage), and will be a lightning rod for opposing creatures/removal, so seems worth at least thinking about.
    • Invoke the Divine: I like the 4-lifegain, but don't know that I like it enough to replace Forsake the Worldly with it (exile and cycling are better in the decks you want them against).
    • Urza's Ruinous Blast: seems really good in a superfriends build.

    What do we think? Are we in a better, worse, or about the same place?
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Welcome to the forum, Halandur! There are a ton of decklists in these pages, so you should be able to find what you're looking for. My initial thoughts are that you'll want to replace some of the basic lands with the 4x Glacial Fortress and add in 2x Settle the Wreckage (Renewed Faith and Kefnet seem to be the easiest cards to cut to fit them in). Spell Pierce is pretty weak, so I'd cut that from the board to make room for some Forsake the Worldly. Glyph Keeper seems good on paper (dodges removal!) but it's a fairly juicy The Scarab God target.

    A lot of the changes will depend on what kind of decks you're finding in your metagame. The best bet is to try some things out, see how they work, adjust, and see if the adjustments work or not.

    Have fun brewing!
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Good afternoon all! Made it back from Seattle with a 9-6 final record, which I can't be at all disappointed with given that I went 3-6 at my last GP!

    The TL;DR summary: I loved this UW build, I thought it performed very well, I made a couple of mistakes (and took a couple suboptimal lines that cost me), but overall I think it was a great choice for the event and am looking forward to continuing to evolve it when DOM hits!

    If you want more details, read on. Unfortunately, my memory of these matches (particularly day 1) is a bit sketchy because playing so many matches in such a short timespan really taxes your brain, but I will do the best I can to remember any nuggets from the matches...

    First, here's the list I was jamming:


    I had experimented with deleting Disallow, but I ended up including 2 copies so I could hard counter noncreature spells and/or activated/triggered abilities. 2 copies seemed fine.

    Day One
    Match one: Sultai Snek/GPG
    The first of my 6 (!) Snek matchups for the weekend. This was a somewhat spicy brew that included God-Pharaoh's Gift and Gates to the Afterlife. I took round 1 with double approach, no problemo (he could have won this one though...he managed to resolve a GPG after I had Approached once, but instead of bringing back a Walking Ballista, adding a counter and pinging me for 1 for the kill, he brought back Kitesail Freebooter.

    The next two matches were tougher, and I don't think I sideboarded or played this matchup correctly. Frankly, I didn't really know how to sideboard against it: I usually bring Regal Caracal in for the Snek matchups (mostly to throw in front of Bristling Hydras until I can fumigate), but not for GPG matchups, and I bring in Forsake the Worldly against GPG but not snek...so I ended up with some janky mix of the two plans that didn't go well. He rolled me G2, and I lost G3 by taking a very suboptimal line that involved me casting Torrential Gearhulk to flash back something (seem to recall it was Essence Scatter to keep some creature or other from resolving), which ended up putting a 6th creature in the yard, allowing him to cast Gate to the Afterlife, activate, and GPG me to death. I was at 2 life at the point, so likely wasn't winning, but it was a rocky start. (0-1)

    Match 2: Jeskai Approach
    Took this one easy 2-0. UW is just house against this G1 with all their dead cards. I had a great hand to start G2 (couple negate and disallow), which allowed me to counter both of the Gideons he tried to resolve. Opponent didn't seem super focused either, but I'll take a W when I get one. (1-1).

    Match 3: Sultai Snek (with Scarab God)
    This was an interesting matchup in which the win came from a mega-punt by my opponent.

    Game 1, double approach. Easy peasy.

    Game 2: he won with Scarab God and a ton of dudes, BUT there was a key judge call that I think may have tilted my opponent a bit. He had a Nissa, Steward of Elements on the field and did her +2. Opponent was a super-manic card riffler, and when I looked carefully, I saw that he had three cards he was looking at—I guess he had scryed 3 instead of 2. JUDGE! The resolution was a warning to my opponent, and I was allowed to look at the three cards and decide which one was not part of the scry (third one was shuffled back in to his deck before resolving the scry). Ridiculous part was that the 3 cards were Fetid Pools, Aether Hub, Aether Hub, so I didn't even get to bin something worthwhile.

    Game 3: opponent mega punt time. First off, he had The Scarab God on the field (I believe with a counter from Hadana's Climb on it, making it a 6/6). I had 9 mana up. He attacks. I flash in Torrential Gearhulk, targeting Slash of Talons and block with TG so they trade. At end step, I disallowed the SG return card to hand trigger, leaving SG in the yard. He takes his next turn, and at end step starts going through his graveyard. I asked what he was looking for, and he said he was returning the Scarab God to his hand. I said "nope, that got disallowed, so he stays in the yard," and he didn't believe me, so he called a judge (who confirmed that SG was dead-zo).

    I don't know if it was the 2 judge calls or what, but opponent was definitely tilted. I got an Approach in. I think my hand was Cast Out, Irrigated Farmland, with a couple Ipnu Rivulets on the field and plenty of lands. Approach was 6 down at this point. He duresses with Scarab God on the battlefield. In response, I cycle Cast Out (5 deep) and gain a Glimmer. He takes the Glimmer. My end step, I activate Ipnu Rivulet, revealing card, card, card, Torrential Gearhulk (Approach now on top). He has a negate in the yard, but for some reason, he got super excited by the Gearhulk, and at end step, he activates TSG to snag him. In response, I cycle Irrigated Farmland to pick up the Approach, and slam it on my turn. Whew. (2-1)

    Match 4: BG Snek
    Lost game 1, which was really unfortunate because G1 is where we shine. But had only 3 lands turn 6 while he had all the sneks and siphoners. GG.

    Game 2 and 3 went much better. Another interesting judge call in this one. I had double caracal on the board with 3 cats. He had an 8/7 Jadelight Ranger, a Bristling Hydra, and a Ripjaw Raptor on the board. He swings with the Raptor and the Ranger. I chump the Ranger and throw 2 caracals and 2 cats in front of the Ripjaw Raptor (I had fumigate in hand so basically just looking to max out my life gain…sorry kitties…). He orders blockers, and we go to damage. I say "Caracal and chumping cat die, Raptor dies, I gain 17, you draw a card from Enrage." And he says, "don't I draw 4 because you blocked with 4?" I told him I'm pretty sure that combat damage is dealt simultaneously, so it would only be one enrage trigger. Judge was called, and he said, "no, it's four different things damaging it, so it's four." I asked him to please look it up (and dude at the next table was like, "yeah, I don't think that's right…"). Judge looked it up and confirmed that it's just one enrage trigger. Next turn, I swing with Caracal and remaining cats then wipe the board. At this point, I'm at 30+ life and in complete control. (3-1)

    Match 5: UW Drake
    I played this deck for a while on MTGO but gave it up when XLN/RIX didn't add much to it. The keys are (1) keep Drake Haven and Abandoned Sarcophagus off the board and (2) exile graveyards before the second approach because their only mainboard counter is usually 4x countervailing winds. I did just that G1 and double approached.

    G2 was a bunch of draw/go/cycle. He was burning through a ton of his deck without finding what he was looking for, and whenever he managed to resolve a Drake Haven, I promptly got rid of it through Cast Out/Forsake the Worldly. Ended up decking him with Ipnu Rivulets. (4-1)

    At this point, I've achieved my goal of improving my performance from the last GP, so the rest is gravy…

    Match 6: UB Midrange (Atsuki Kihara, Hareruya "God of Standard")
    I looked up this opponent afterward and wasn't surprised to see that he's had some high-level success. I got rolled both games this matchup, which is a tough one for us to begin with, but made tougher by having a great pilot who drew all the right things. One suboptimal play I made G1 was to Cast Out his Liliana on T5…he cast Scarab God the next turn and I didn't have an answer, and the God is much more impactful than Lili (although both can be a pain). The language barrier made it tough to chat, but he was very kind and humble in his thrashing of me! (4-2).

    Match 7: BW Vampires
    I wish, wish, wish that I had seen more of this deck. Cakewalk. 4x Field of Ruin makes Adanto no big deal, plenty of board wipes, and he has no way to interact with Approach game 1.

    Game 2 he brought in Kitesail Freebooter, and hit one T2. Sadly, I had my spicy SB tech in hand at the time (Hour of Revelation), so the cat was out of the bag. Kept his Radiant Destinys from getting out of hand, managed the board, and got there with Gearhulk beatdowns. (5-2).

    Match 8: Sultai Snek
    We're both win-and-in, and I'm disappointed to see Sneks again, but so be it.

    G1, I resolved a T3 Gideon, which is always great for me because he typically gains me 6-8 life before dying. He's a threat, so opponents need to deal with him, but he's just a sacrificial lamb for this deck. He attempts to Vraska's Contempt him T5 (negate), then tries to resolve Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (disallow). Got him with double Approach.

    G2 was just about the same. Board wipes showing up right when needed. I think opponent was pretty mentally tired at this point—at one point, he missed his Jadelight Ranger explore triggers (he cast the Ranger, then said "Combat?"…don't think he ever realized he missed the trigger). Likely didn't matter because I had 2x Settle in hand, but it just shows how important the mental game is. (6-2, made day 2!).

    Grabbed an awesome dinner at Blue C Sushi with my son (who went 4-3-1…not shabby!) and a buddy from Portland who was also playing. Got a good night's sleep without letting thoughts of cardboard interfere too much.

    Day Two
    Match 9: UW GPG (Yuuki Ichikawa)
    I didn't know my opponent by name before the match, but figured he was someone legit when I saw his 2017 World Championship hoodie! About the nicest, most humble, enjoyable opponent you could ask for. Gerry Thompson was playing right next to us, which was kind of cool too.

    G1: we both mull to 6 and miss our third land drops (which makes us both laugh quite a bit). I Spell Swindled his God-Pharoah's Gift, which made him laugh and say, "Double Approach?"—I joked that I didn't know if I brought enough treasure tokens, but I had exactly 7. Didn't manage the same-turn double-approach, but got there.

    G2: I think I could have won this game if I'd played a bit differently. I kept the board clean enough—kept him off GPG with Forsake the Worldly and used my boardwipes strategically (and used my life total as a resource), while he was just digging deeper and deeper with Champions of Wits, eternalized Champions of Wits, Chart a Course, and Strategic Planning. I Scavenger Grounds our yards away. After a field of ruin, I count his library and he's at 20 cards, and I have 2 Ipnus on the board. I end up cracking the Ipnus too soon, and he resolves a GPG, which may have given him the creatures needed to bring back for the win. Think he got down to 1 card in library.

    G3: I didn't really have the answers in this one. I managed to resolve Approach, and I had ipnu and cycler in hand, but he had ipnu as well. I might have been able to get the Approach back in my hand, but as it turned out, he had a negate in hand anyway, so I don't think I was going to win that one. In hindsight, I really needed to put away that G2, and I think I probably could have if I had taken a more optimal line than I did.

    After the match, Yuuki was chatting with Shouta Yasooka (who had been watching), and I was de-boarding. I show Yuuki the Crook of Condemnation that I didn't see the entire match, and we both laugh. Then I showed him the Spell Swindle and he laughed again and told Shouta about how his GPG got swindled. Just a fun GP moment that I'll remember. Can't say enough nice things about this guy. (6-3)

    Match 10: Sultai Snek (Corey Baumeister)
    After losing to a pro, I just laughed when I got paired with another one! Mike Sigrist was playing next to us for this one, which again, was kind of cool.

    G1: Got there with double approach. No worries.

    G2: He looks at his opening hand and goes, "ehh….I'll try to make it work." To which I reply, "I think that probably means that you have the nuts…" Sure enough, T1 Duress, T2 Siphoner, T3 Snek, T4 Rishkar. Lolz.

    G3: He mulls to 6 and gets stuck on lands for a while. I resolve Caracals, he resolves a Carnage Tyrant with a Hydra on board. My turn, I swing with all (the good ol' sacrificial-cats-before-fumigate play). Sure enough, I wipe the board after. At this point, I'm in pretty firm control and manage to get 2 gearhulks on the board, then another caracal, and he scoops it up. Super nice guy, and really enjoyable match. (7-3)

    Match 11: Red Aggro
    First Bomat Courier I faced all day. Really not a lot to say about this match—kept a bad hand G1 (it was serviceable against any deck but his). Didn't see sweepers G2. Lost with about 40 minutes left in round! (7-4)

    Match 12: Grixis Midrange
    G1, got there with an easy double approach.

    G2, he resolved siphoners T2 and T3, and just drowned in card advantage. I also missed a Search for Azcanta trigger here (I drew the card before remembering to flip). Don't know if it would have changed things, but my only missed trigger of the day…

    G3, he stuck a Chandra and a Lili, and I couldn't get rid of Chandra before she emblemed. Just the way it goes, I guess. (7-5).

    Match 13: Sultai Snek
    G1, got there with an easy double approach.

    G2, he got there with Hadana's climb and ballistas.

    G3, I think Gideon and Gearhulks got me there, but can't really remember…really mentally tired at this point, but I now know I'll leave with a record that's better than .500, so pretty stoked. (8-5).

    Match 14: UB Midrange (or maybe Grixis?)
    I played too timid G1 and let my mind play tricks on me and got punished. Started the game with double approach in hand. He managed to double Gonti me, and I really don't know what he has, although his eyes got a little big the first one, which for some reason made me certain that he had taken Spell Swindle. I approach once, and he's built up a good board with TSG and a bunch of zombos. I had the opportunity to Approach again, but I didn't have mana for countermagic, and I was paranoid about the swindle. Turns out it was a fumigate and I would have been totally clear. Instead, he reanimates all the things and kills me before I can try again. Some regret over this one, but I really can't be too disappointed.

    G2, I just couldn't get anything going, and he stuck an early Arguel and Search for Azcanta, so he out-carded me like crazy. (8-6). No pro point for me, but it's all good.

    Match 15: RG Dinos
    Cakewalk. All the sweepers, all the essence scatters, he can't interact with Approach. He brought in Prowling Serpopard G2, but I easily cast that out (and countered the Naturalize). Easy, easy matchup for this deck, and wish I'd seen RG more than just the final match. (9-6).

    Takeaways
    I loved the deck this weekend, and would not hesitate to rock it in another standard event. I think it's only going to get better after DOM drops (although exploring a splash of B might be worth it given the improvement in the mana base). The weaknesses are what we've discussed for a while: missing land drops and iffy early-game interaction. But the strengths are strong: extremely favored G1, access to reasonable creature finishers post-board (Caracal, Torrential, Nezzie), good ways to interact with enchantments, good answers to resilient threats (Carnage Tyrant, Phoenix).

    In retrospect, I should have found room for at least one, if not two, Farm // Market to handle the proliferation of Sneks. Seriously, they were everywhere. Maybe instead of Crook of Condemnation, although Crook did some work for me. And if UR GPG continues to be a thing, I think the case for a Crook in the main gets even better. Slash was great for the siphoners, but Sneks were a problem.

    I also think I got burned by a couple of suboptimal plays (although I reaped the benefit of a couple suboptimal plays/errors by opponents, so they wash out). I think that my game has improved 100% since my last GP, and this one made it very clear to me that deck selection has only so much to do with success—minimizing/eliminating play mistakes, carefully evaluating lines of play before making a decision, and staying mentally focused is just as important, and why I think the pros do as well as they do consistently. I definitely have room for improvement, and hope to keep the upward trend.

    Overall, the GP was a blast. For the most part, my opponents were fun to play against (only a couple less-than-friendly folks), and having the opportunity to play against a couple pros was definitely something I'll remember for a while!

    Next goal: getting that 10th win for the pro point.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on UW Approach
    Hey gang! Just a quick update from GP Seattle. I ended the day 6-2 with UW Approach, so I'm pretty stoked to make my first day 2! My matches were against (in order):
    • Sultai Snek/GPG (it was gross...I took a suboptimal line in this one which I blame for my loss) (loss 1-2, 0-1 for the day)
    • Jeskai Approach (won 2-0, 1-1 for the day)
    • Sultai Snek (won 2-1 in turn 3 of extra turns...opponent misplayed a TSG activation that would have won him the game, so lucked out, 2-1 for the day)
    • BG Snek (won 2-1, 3-1 for the day)
    • UW Drake Haven (won 2-0...one of the wins being an Ipnu mill out, 4-1 for the day)
    • UB Midrange (lost 0-2...got steamrolled by an excellent player from Japan...4-2 for the day)
    • BW Vamps (won 2-0...I love paying this matchup, 5-2 for the day)
    • Sultai Snek (won 2-0, 6-2 for the day)

    I'll do a more thorough writeup after I get back in case folks are interested. The metagame is pretty interesting up here, but there are more copies of winding constrictor than I'd like to see, personally. Just tons of BG and Sultai snake decks.

    I'm hoping to see nothing but vampires tomorrow!

    Posted in: Established (Standard)
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