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  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from purklefluff »
    Quote from Archy »
    3 Humans decks made Day 2 of SCG Columbus, and all 3 in the Top 32 (7th, 11th, 18th). Jonathan Rosum just lost in the quarterfinals to Death's Shadow. Lists are here - Zan Syed's list is missing for some reason, but he's definitely on Humans since he was featured in Day 1 coverage.

    There's even a nice mirror match featured in Day 1 between Rosum and Syed, which is pretty fun to watch.

    Good weekend for the deck, I'd say.

    On my phone so can't track down those lists and the link doesn't work. Able to fix it?

    Rosum's list, 7th

    Powell's list, 11th

    Syed's list, 18th

    The SCG feature match takes place at around 4.5 hours in through the day 1 coverage vid.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    3 Humans decks made Day 2 of SCG Columbus, and all 3 in the Top 32 (7th, 11th, 18th). Jonathan Rosum just lost in the quarterfinals to Death's Shadow. Lists are here - Zan Syed's list is missing for some reason, but he's definitely on Humans since he was featured in Day 1 coverage.

    There's even a nice mirror match featured in Day 1 between Rosum and Syed, which is pretty fun to watch.

    Good weekend for the deck, I'd say.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from patbou »
    I wish there was a guide somewhere on how to best play Meddling Mage. It seems like a very good card, but I don't play Modern often enough to fully know the metagame and what cards I should name with. Save for when I play Kitesail Freebooter first, it's always a wild guess for me (in game 1). So I'm down to 3 in the main deck because of this... anybody has a reading recommendation for how to best play Mage?


    This is what I've been using. It's actually a full-on sideboard guide, but it has recommended Meddling Mage targets for a variety of matchups. I keep a list of these targets in a note on my phone and try to read them before playing any Modern tournament, and it helps.

    The site has a nice amount of Humans-related content, actually - it's written by a guy who has some experience playing it in the SCG circuit.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Finally found a place where there's quite the healthy discussion on Humans, so it looks like I'll be back to visiting this forum regularly just for this thread, lol.

    I've been playing Humans since Collins Mullen ran the tables at SCG Cincinnati with it, and it's settled into my go-to deck for Modern tournaments. It fits the fine medium between aggression and disruption that is right up my alley, which I could never seem to get with other decks I've played in the past (could never try out DNT because I can't seem to find Flagstones).

    This is the list I tried out at the latest tournament:

    Some observations and notes on my card choices, and what I'd change:
    - I went down to 3 little Thalia mostly because of how the sideboard has a fair number of non-creature spells now, and because I felt like I kept drawing multiples. In its place, I put in the second Bob main - makes a matchup like Burn a little rougher, but I do like the added capability to grind since that helps fight the local meta a little bit better. It might just be that I'm very unlucky with Thalia (I always seem to draw them in pairs), but I'll likely stick with this 3-2 split for now.

    - I also cut back on Phantasmal Image to try out Harsh Mentor after seeing it in one of the GP lists. In theory it's supposed to help against matchups like Affinity (lots of activated abilities) and Abzan Company. Then I realized that any smart Coco player could just play a big enough Walking Ballista (say, for 3), kill the Mentor, and proceed to dump infinite mana for infinite counters on Ballista anyway. Right now it strikes me as a little too cute to play over the added versatility Image gives, so I'll probably go back to the 3rd Image. I could go up to 4 Images again and cut either Bob #2 or Reflector #4 - this is what I'll have to look at soon.

    - For the sideboard, I feel like the 2 Anafenzas, Dismembers, Grafdiggers and Mirran Crusaders, and 1 Sin Collector, have all been solid and are what I'd start any future list with. I tried out Stony Silence, realized it also shuts down my Vials, and will probably go back to good ol' Vithian Renegades (do we seriously not have a Human that kills BOTH artifacts and enchantments?). I don't know if Reclamation Sage is worth the non-human synergy for the full Naturalize effect, but I would like the ability to deal with things like Blood Moon and Worship in some way.

    - I've cut back completely on Riders of Gavony because there aren't a whole lot of Humans/Merfolk/other tribal decks in the local meta bar Eldrazi, and I think the deck has enough game against Eldrazi decks even without it.

    - I know some pros have been going with Gut Shot over Staticaster, and I think it's a fine choice - I'm just preferring the latter because I can't justify Gut Shot when Lingering Souls midrange decks still abound in the area. I might be wrong on this one.

    - Haven't been able to play Kambal, Consul of Allocation even once, so I have no idea how good he is yet. Is he worth it over something like Ethersworn Canonist?

    - Hostage Taker is a card that I've continually been impressed with, even if I keep going back and forth on 1-2 in the board. I honestly don't think 4 mana is too much, at least in postboard games - the matchups where I bring it in tend to slow down that 4 mana is feasible enough. My experience with it is that people will usually snipe the humans that either threaten to end the game fast (Champion, Mantis Rider) or disrupt their gameplan (Mage, Kitesail, Thalias) first, so that you can usually play it safely afterwards and there's barely any removal left (which Kitesail helps you figure out because lol Pirate synergy). Against Affinity, it can help you take that Cranial Plating that's going to kill you, force an early pop of Arcbound Ravager (best paired with Reflector Mage), or get you an artifact creature to chump Etched Champion. Eldrazi and Death's Shadow have some high-value targets (Smasher, TKS, Tasigur/Angler) that can just swing the game if you manage to nab them. I've also realized that it's fine against Lantern - sometimes you'll take their lone Ensnaring Bridge and kill them by surprise, sometimes you can take a key lock piece to keep them off balance long enough for you to swing in and win. The usual suspects (Decay, Brutality) don't kill it, either, so I kind of feel safe tapping out for it.

    Some other things to try in the near future: Eduardo Sajgalik suggested Hero of Bladehold when he was streaming the deck, as an additional bulky threat against Lightning Bolt-based decks that can threaten to end the game immediately. I know some lists have also been going with Orzhov Pontiff in the board, and it seems fine as a more versatile Staticaster that has the option of pumping your team and swinging for lethal. Finally, the 8-0 list in the latest Modern Challenge on MTGO is Humans, and features a card I have yet to see in any list - Kessig Malcontents! That's an interesting way to give Humans some form of reach, and I assume helps against decks like Death's Shadow where you can just surprise kill them out of nowhere.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    I'll go over the Warden discussion in the morning, but I am watching GP Seville right now - anyone else watching?

    Game 3 of the Finals and Pierre Sommen playing Abzan Aggro has his Siege Rhinos boarded out against U/B Control. Is there something we're missing here?
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    For those playing Warden of the First Tree, let me pick your brains for a second:

    Can you give me a typical curve/how a game plays out when you have Warden? My reason for not playing him was that I have rarely found a shortage of things to do with my mana, so he often ends up being a 1/1 that never grows. I've also found that I'd still much rather play a tapped land (Citadel/scryland) on T1, because it helps me fix mana in a deck that wants those three colors online. I just want to see how Warden fits into all of this, because my belief is that Rakshasa/Lion are much better early drops, and that I should be playing a full set of both before even thinking of Warden.

    Part of the reason I'm hesitant with Warden is also R/W Aggro. Note that I have not gotten much reps in against the deck (just a couple of games playing with a friend on MWS/few IRL games), but just some thoughts spinning around: Warden is a card that wants me to adjust my manabase to accommodate it T1. The obvious answer is more painlands, less ETB tapped lands, but now I'm taking more damage against a deck that can punish me very hard for doing so.

    And speaking of R/W Aggro... yeah, I'm getting eaten by it too. Frown Looking at some of the ideas here, especially the midrange transition post-board. How is Valorous Stance against them? A pal said it's great at helping your creatures eat some burn spells, but I have yet to test it. Kind of hesitant to put in a blank against Stormbreath.

    Not sure where I can start with improving against R/W, so here's the decklist I have right now. I swap a few cards around regularly here and there, but mostly this is what I play:

    That's 35 cards, with 3 flex spots. Regulars in those spots include the 3rd Roc, the 3rd Downfall, Thoughtseize, and Tasigur.

    Oh, and nice to see Abzan Advantage popping up in some lists, too. My friend knocked me for thinking of even playing that card, until my 5/6 Rhino ate his puny 4/5 Rhino.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    Been a while since I've had something decent to post here, but hey, won a PPTQ (and on my way to that Liliana!) with this Abzan Aggro list:

    Obviously, this is based on Hunter Nance's SCG list but with a couple of changes. I swapped out 1 Tasigur for the 4th Anafenza, because I expected some more Whip decks and Anafenza just hoses them hard while putting on a decent clock. The 3rd Courser became that lone Boon Satyr - in testing I found 3 Coursers to be too much - they're good, but as Mike Sigrist said you need to attack with this deck to win, which Courser is kind of meh at. So I put in a Boon Satyr and decided to test it out, because it attacks a lot better than ol' Courser. Lastly, I cut 2 Downfall for 1 Abzan Charm and 1 Murderous Cut - While Downfall is more versatile, I think the tempo swing Cut can provide is just really good. You can go Cut into creature later on, or removal spell into Cut for a big turn. I forgot why I put in the Charm, but it's probably because I remembered the third mode and concluded that it reads "Make your Courser of Kruphix attack", which is a mode I'd greatly appreciate here.

    Sideboard is pretty usual stuff. From Nance's sideboard, I took out the Liliana Vess, 1 Glare, 1 Bile Blight and 1 Drown for the 4th Thoughtseize, the 3rd Downfall and 2 Hunt the Hunter. Hunt is a hilariously nutty card, and again, like Cut, provides some huge swings - Fleecemane can't attack past their Courser? Yeah, let's hunt that, swing in for 5, and cast another creature. I also considered Dark Betrayal, but realized that all but 3 of my creatures were green, and I like the Mutagenic Growth effect, because it helps me attack.

    I don't remember how the other Swiss rounds went (lost the lifepad for some rounds), but here is what I remembered:

    vs Jeskai Ascendancy Combo - W 2-0. G1 was nothing to note, he completely whiffed on the combo and the Cat Army (Lion + Rakshasa) beat him down. In G2 I keep a hand with no creatures, but with 2 answers to Ascendancy in Back to Nature and Glare. I Bile Blight/Drown his dorks, and manage to draw into a Lion and an Anafenza. At this point, I'm at 9 life (My first five lands were painlands :\ ), and he has a Caryatid + Mystic in play, along with a Briber's Purse with 1 counter (gotta stem the bleeding somehow). Cast Thoughtseize for 3. His hand is Swan Song, Helix, Helix. Great, he just needs the Ascendancy. I take the Swan Song so I can punch a hole through his combo if he draws it (Back to Nature in response to the first Helix, he can cast another and loot, but so long as he doesn't draw into a Swan Song I disrupt the combo). He doesn't, and I know he's on damage control when he casts Retraction Helix to stop himself from dying.

    vs Jeskai Tempo - W 2-0. Haven't seen this one in a while! I take a quick G1 off the back of Rhino into Rhino into Roc smackdown. At this point everything he cast looked like Jeskai Tokens (Hordeling, Seeker, Stoke), so I sideboard as such. In G2 he plays out as normal, but some quick burn + painlands put me at a precarious life total. I manage to wipe his Brimaz + cat board with Drown in Sorrow + Cut, and thought I stabilize with a Courser at 8 life. He draws Mantis Rider and starts bashing me in the air. We try to race, and I'm at 2 and he's at 4 when I manage to kill the Rider. No biggie, he untaps, plays a second, and swings in. G3 he makes the first move with Rabblemaster, which immediately dies. I go Courser into Rhino, gaining a decent amount of life. He plays a Mantis Rider and starts swinging in, and I have a Bile Blight/Abzan Charm in hand, but decide to wait. We race for a couple of turns, getting to negate some damage via Courser, while he's dropping 4 life a turn. He plays a 2nd rider and swings in, bringing me down to 5. My turn, I untap, and cast the Bile Blight on the Rider. In response, he taps both and two mana for a Stoke aimed at Courser - unfortunately, I have the blowout Charm, and now swing in for 8, knocking him down to 4. He draws for his turn and drew some creature (Seeker, probably) and extends the hand.

    vs Mardu Aggro - W 2-1. This is the version that T8'ed a recent Grand Prix, featuring everyone's favorite murderer Tymaret, the Murder King. I make very stupid plays in G1, including Bile Blight on a Goblin token when he has Tymaret in the yard. Eventually, he has some tokens and a Tymaret on board, and I foolishly attacked, not realizing that by swinging in I leave him with enough room to swing in next turn + shock me to death. I guess you could say.... Tymaret murdered me. Ouch. G2 goes much better - Courser and Rhino put me on a life buffer, and Sorin followed not too long after that. Turns out, Tymaret is terrible when he's the only thing on the battlefield. I keep a Thoughtseize/Anafenza/Rhino hand in G3 and see that he has kind of a loose keep - Stoke, Crackling Doom, and 3 lands (with a swamp and Bloodsoaked in play). Take Crackling, Bloodsoaked slaps me for a few turns. Cast Anafenza, he Stokes it next turn as expected. Now I can play my Rhino and just brickwall him. He follows up with some Hordeling/Raise the Alarm tokens, I respond with Blight on the goblins + a Fleecemane Lion. He bricks for a couple turns while I manage to make my Lion monstrous, and draw Sorin to start swinging in for crazy amounts of damage/life.

    Semifinals vs Sultai Whip - 2-1. YES! Very, very confident in this matchup. I mulligan to six and found an Anafenza, so I kept it. I go Rakshasa into Anafenza, blanking all his Sidisis and Wayfinders. He still casts them, anyway, and manages to mill some removal for the Anafenza. He gets a Whip in play, though, + a couple of Coursers, so I can attack but deal like 1-2 damage per turn. This goes on for a while - he builds his board with random green dorks, while I play some Lions. This goes on for a long, long time until my board has Anafenza, Wingmate, 3 monstrous Fleecemane Lions, 3 Deathdealers and a whole lot of lands in play. He has 2 Hornet Queens, Whip, 8 hornet tokens and a Courser. The Cat Army swings in every turn, reducing the Hornet tokens until he has the 2 Queens left. He then draws.... Hero's Downfall, meaning that his Graveyard is unlocked again. Mills Soul of Innistrad, meaning he now has A LOT more hornet tokens than I thought he would. His library is also pretty low at this point, though.... and eventually, I win by milling him out. No, seriously. I milled him out. Score another for the Cat Army!

    G2 is much less interesting, as I curve 2-drop into Anafenza into Rhino into Hunt the Hunter on Courser + Charm on Sidisi into Wingmate, while he's stuck at 4 lands. Not a pretty sight.

    I win the Finals against a very interesting B/W aggro deck. I lost this one's paper as well, but I remember stabilizing with double Courser + Rhino + Sorin in G1 (he played Mogis' Marauder way too early), and him making a wrong attack in G2, allowing me to swing back with a 6/6 Rakshasa + Rhino for exactsies.

    Afterwards I played a couple more games with other people with decks like R/W Aggro. Here are some notes:
    - Undecided on Boon Satyr, because I never actually drew him in any game. Yeah.
    - Alright, Courser is great. He provides a life buffer while being pretty good in a race, as he can block and let your other dudes swing in. I still do believe that this deck is meant to be aggressive and smashing faces, and while Courser is not good at that, we have decent support cards that can make that happen. Also, with decks like R/W Aggro being popular now, I really like him as he either brickwalls their guys or makes them spend a card on it. I am very happy with the 2-of number.
    - More on R/W: If that becomes popular I may try to find a way to put in a 2nd Sorin main. Sorin allows you to race very well against the deck - and if they spend a turn taking it down, it effectively gained you that much more life. I may also move back to playing an Erase in the board again, because Outpost Siege (as well as Frontier Siege in Green decks) can get pretty crazy.
    - Tasigur is good - big, dumb, can attack, and can get very cheap. Imagine spending 5 mana to get a Tasigur AND a Siege Rhino in play. I never actually got to use his ability, but I assume it's very good, because it can get back my threats/removal spells. I might try 2 like the SCG deck, we'll see.

    Moving forward, I have a list of more cards to test. If anyone here has tested them and has some input, let me know:
    - Brutal Hordechief: More Siege Rhinos? Sure, why not? I imagine that it'll be pretty nutty if you can untap with it and 5 mana in play. Otherwise it can't really attack like Rhino.
    - Warden of the First Tree: I've tested this.... and I don't know, really not a fan. For a cheap creature, I think Rakshasa/Fleecemane are much better right now - they have built-in resilience whereas Warden does not. Also, this deck has no shortage of ways to spend mana in the midgame - your curve is up until 5, so when are you pumping this, exactly? Great lategame topdeck, but so is Fleecemane at 7 mana. If one of Lion/Rakshasa did not exist I would play this, and maybe as early creature 9-10. But I think Rakshasa and Lion are above it.
    - Citadel Siege: blue, red and green are using theirs, so I'm wondering about this too. Both modes help our plan. One to try.
    - Whisperwood Elemental: Alright, we do have built-in resilience against wraths, but this might be another way. Usually 6 power for 5, and the idea of having a new army after a wipe is pretty appealing. Okay, I'm just reaching here now.
    - Valorous Stance: see above re: against wraths. Reprisal wasn't really played in Abzan Aggro before, either.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on World Champ/Cup Week Standard Portion 12/3-12/6
    ^ That's called variance. If you didn't want variance, go play Chess.

    That was insane. Daneblast alters are coming.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    X-0-2 in Swiss at a 100+-person GPT, falling in the Top 4 (noooo those byes) with a very no-nonsense decklist:

    Initially I was playing around with the numbers on a Hornet Queen and Whip of Erebos build, but while registering the deck I didn't really feel comfortable with what I had so far, so I stuck to the traditional/stock Midrange list. Obviously it uses Pat Chapin's build as a starting point, but with the Bile Blight in the maindeck.

    R1: Jeskai Wins - W 2-0: I establish early pressure G1 with Caryatid into an early Rhino, and have the Bile Blight ready for when the Mantis comes crashing in. Courser pushes me further and along with Sorin provided too much life for Jeskai to actually race my Rhino. G2 he piles on the pressure with Hordeling Outburst and Rabblemaster, but it comes a little later than it should and the tokens build into a boardstall with Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Sarkhan comes down but I have the removal ready, and eventually draw Sorin to pump the team, ending up winning via an emblem later on.

    R2: U/R Ensoul Artifact - W 2-0: I fall behind early in G1 due to Phyrexian Revoker naming Sylvan Caryatid, which means no T3 Rhino. I rip off a land, though, and am able to cast Courser of Kruphix to help hit those land drops. Ensoul Artifact does some work but I buy enough time with dead Caryatids/tokens to find an answer to it, and go to town from there. He mulligans to 5 G2, and I keep a very sketchy hand. We both draw out of terrible starts, but my draw is simply much better than his (I drew all of my Utter End and Erase) and he's unable to mount any actual pressure. Wingmate Roc takes the match.

    R3: Abzan Midrange - W 2-1: G1 is an attrition battle, and we exhaust each other's hands/board. My last card in hand is Ajani, though and he goes unmolested for FIVE turns to draw me enough gas (even if I whiffed once), put me at 103 life AKA out of Siege Rhino range and take the game off all those draws. I don't know if it's been said, but Prince Ajani is our version of Dig Through Time. G2 double Thoughtseize puts me waaay behind and he eventually wins. I start playing very fast with <10 minutes on the clock. Fortunately, nothing went too badly and I'm able to exhaust his hand while I have one card in hand - Elspeth. 'Speth goes to town and I win on turn 5 of extra turns, courtesy of 28 flying damage from 6 soldier tokens + Wingmate Roc and buddy.

    R4: UW Heroic - W 2-1: Ugh, not too happy to be playing this. I take Game 1 by successfully racing his 10/10 voltron'd Hero of Iroas with 2 Siege Rhino triggers and a +1 from Sorin. He spends a turn killing the Sorin, which gives me the opening I need to move ahead in the race and cast Wingmate Roc. He looks for a way to kill me by piling up the cantrips on the Hero, but he finds nothing good. Apparently you can race them! Game 2 develops into a board stall and I'm able to stabilize at 2 measly life, ready to win the next turn. Unfortunately, he draws the 1 (of 5) card that would win him the game - Heliod's Pilgrim into Aqueous Form. Damn. I keep a slow hand in G3, very risky, but he mulligans to 6. I rip Caryatid off the top of my deck which gives me the T3 Rhino, and he plays a 1/1 Eidolon (not a good sign). I Thoughtseize and see what's up - loads of spells, but no creatue. I Downfall the Eidolon to strand his Gods Willing and Cantrips, and he falls to far behind from Rhino beatdown.

    R5: UW Heroic (again?!) - W 2-0: I stabilize in G1, eventually drawing out all his protection. With no cards in hand, I stabilize with Elspeth + Sorin. He keeps a sketchy hand in G2 and has no third land. He's forced to put Battlewise Hoplite without a way to protect it, which I immediately take out. Courser and Rhino win the game.

    I draw R6 and R7 into Top 8, eventually landing into 4th as the highest X-0-2. My opponents from R5-7 all made Top 8. I win my Top 8 match (another mirror, at this point I was too tired to take any notes).

    Semifinals: Mardu Midrange - L 1-2: Finally, I face this deck. I take a huge Game 1 on the draw because his black source is a turn late to race me. I get run over in G2, unable to deal with a 2nd Rabblemaster + Hordeling tokens. In G3 I keep a hand with Thoughtseize into Courser, taking Hordeling Outburst. He has Rabblemaster, which I'm prepared for with removal. Courser gets exiled, and I play a Sorin. He deals with both Sorin and Vampire, draws another Outburst, and goes to town with Butcher joining in. Sarkhan joins right next turn, but I'm ready with the Utter End + Murderous Cut line and stabilize the board. I cast Elspeth, but it meets Utter end after -3'ing to deal with another Butcher. I play Courser and pass. Land on top. Fetch, shuffle, another land. Draw my card... another land. He topdecks Sarkhan, spends one turn killing my Courser, and just goes to town with the 4/4 flyer.

    I'm pretty happy overall with this performance, even with the Top 4 loss. There are a lot of decision points with the deck - Walker abilities, Abzan Charm, TSeize, etc. - and I'm pretty comfortable with how I make decisions with Abzan.

    That said, I feel like I still need to improve my playing against Mardu Midrange. I don't think I have a good record against it. Do you guys have any suggestions? Someone suggested that I take out Wingmate Roc (low chance to trigger Raid, matches up poorly against their Stormbreaths and Sarkhans). How should I be boarding againt them?
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    I've been playing Chapin's list for some time now, and have gradually started to drift away from it. Reading the discussions on here about Thoughtseize and realizing that I do agree with them, here's where I'm/what I would like to test:

    I have not yet computed the manabase, but it will most likely have 4 Sandsteppe Citadel, 4 Windswept Heath, 4-5 Forest/Plains to fetch, and an Urborg. So that's 13-14 of the 25 done, the rest will be some combination of scrylands and painlands.

    I'm a fan of the Bile Blight MD, mainly because it just seems like a card with many valuable targets right now. You almost always hit something with G1. And, in the case that it doesn't, I guess it can function as a combat trick to help your Rhino win combat.

    I like Kamahl's move of doing a 3/1 split at the 3-drop slot with Courser and Brimaz. Courser's main function is really for that land-of-the-top advantage, letting you dig into threats while giving you mana. The lifegain is sweet, but 1 in play is usually enough. And, of course, Brimaz works REALLY well with Sorin and that is something I'd love to try.

    I also like the suggestion on Read the Bones turning into an Erebos, as well as on Reaper of the Wilds. Doomwake Giant was in my original Abzan list and is always in the running for a slot, particularly when I know that lots of people are playing Hornet Queen.

    Not sure about Fleecemane. I put it there mainly to have something else to do on Turn 2, and it's at least better than topdecking a Caryatid. Is Fleecemane still okay to play with? I may be testing something you guys already have notes on, might as well ask.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    4-2 at a 6-round GPT that feeds our local Grand Prix in January with this list:

    This is obviously built off Chapin's deck with some key changes depending on the meta I expected:
    +1 Caves of Koilos, -1 Temple of Silence: I'm not really comfortable playing 11 ETB tapped lands. It just seems so.... slow, to be honest, and I'd rather have a little less. Hence the painland for scryland swap. Heck, I even thought that 10 was still one too many but I didn't want to mess with the manabase so much so I left it at that.
    MD/SB Swap: 2 Drown for a Downfall and a Thoughtseize - Boss Sligh was everywhere I looked. Like.... everywhere. So I made this last-minute change to give myself a little more hope against that deck G1. Not sure if the swap was correct, again, last-minute.

    So I was right about that expected deck - I think roughly 40% of the people were playing red aggressive decks. Of course, having luck like I do, I manage to get paired with none of them. At all. Heck, I didn't even play anyone with the second most popular deck (Abzan). Well.

    R1: UR Ensoul Artifact.dec (L 1-2): Game 1 is T3 Rhino, T4 Sorin, T5 Elspeth, T6 Roc thanks to a Sylvan Caryatid and he scoops. We play a tough G2 where I race his Ghostfire Blade'd Ornithopter with 2 Courser of Kruphix, hoping for lands off the top so I can pull ahead in the race. Instead I keep drawing Siege Rhino and Sorin, but he has the Disdainful Strokes in hand and finishes me off with Shrapnel Blast.

    G3 is where I think I made an error. His T1 is land, Ornithopter. Ghostfire Blade. On my T2 there are two lines of play I can take - play an untapped land and Bile Blight the Ornithopter before it equips, or Thoughtseize, get info, and play a scryland. I take the second line, and get presented with a hand of Stoke the Flames, Shrapnel Blast and Lightning Strike + land. I take one of the burn spells, and we proceed to race each other, again Ornithopter vs. Courser. I have god knows how many turns to draw an answer to the Ornithopter, but do not, and eventually lose when he finally finds the Ensoul Artifact to deal more damage per turn than I can. Ornithopter was the only creature he drew that game (until that Ensoul really late), and in hindsight I believe I would've won if I just killed it on T2 (the burn spells just got Negate'd by Courser + land drops). After the game I was talking to a friend and he believes I should've killed that Thopter on T2. Up to now I'm still not sure if I took the correct line or not.

    Oh well.

    R2: Jeskai Aggro/Wins/Skies/Burn/Tempo/whatever (W 2-0): Having played this matchup countless of times now this was a pretty routine pair of games. Rhino and Sorin do him in G1, and in G2 I just kill everything in sight and swing with Courser + Wingmate Roc. Keeping them on the burn plan and not letting Mantis Rider do any work seems to be how to beat them, I guess.

    R3: Whidisi (whatever Christian Seibold played at the Pro Tour) (W 2-0): We ground stall game 1 and I beat him with a 3/4 bird token and 2/2 vampire for several turns until he topdecks Whip of Erebos. Gets some value out of it, and I Read the Bones + Abzan Charm my way into those Utter Ends to take that out. G2 wasn't really interesting, I play T3 Rhino and he manages to mill out TWO Whips without a way to get them back. Oh well.

    R4: Temur Aggro (L 0-2): Mull to 6, and am done in when he goes Ashcloud-Bestow Satyr-Sarkhan, too much flying killing me. G2 I manage to stabilize with a End Hostilities to catch his Knuckleblade without enough mana to bounce, and look to take control over the next few turns.... then he rips his 4th Knuckleblade off the top of his deck, while I try to draw some cards to dig for answers. They give me Thoughtseize and lands, and the next attack + Crater's Claws is enough to knock me out.

    R5: Temur Aggro (W 2-0): I eke out G1 after a Drown in Sorrow hit like 3 mana dorks and tries to rebuild his board, meanwhile I draw 4 lands off the top. Thankfully, I kept his fliers at bay with removal, and a lucky Elspeth topdeck manages to keep the Knuckleblades at bay. The Elspeth tokens give me the time I needed to play some Coursers/Rhinos and he scoops the turn before I can ult and swing. In G2, he goes T1 Elf, T2 Rattleclaw + Elf and I Thoughtseize his hand to see what he's ramping into. Boon Satyr, Surrak, Stormbreath. Painful.... oh, wait, I have End Hostilities. He drops 2 of the beaters as expected and gets me down to 6 before I clear the board. Stuck at 2 mana and me with as many lands as needed, he dies after I go Courser + Caryatid, Rhino next turn, Roc the next turn while his 4th land ETB tapped with a Phoenix in hand.

    R6: R/G Monsters (W 2-1): At this point we do some math and realize that one of us can still sneak into Top 8 provided the other matches go our way so we play it out. I lose G1 to a curve of Xenagos-Stormbreath-Stormbreath-Sarkhan, too much haste damage there. G2 I win with the nut curve of T3 Rhino, T4 Roc, T5 Elspeth, T6 Sorin, gaining an unhealthy amount of life to just pull ahead against his monsters. He gets his curve as usual in G3, but it's a little to reliant on mana dorks, and once again End Hostilities puts him so far behind and I mop it up with Rhino + Courser beatdown after.

    After all the rounds were played I placed something like 10th, and sure enough, there was indeed one X-2 who snuck in at 8th. Too bad. UR Robots dude hit T8, though, and was in T4 before we left, kinda feels nice when the guy who beat you ended up beating pretty much everyone else, heh.

    I'm going to another tournament tomorrow that awards a hefty amount of cash prize and will probably break 200+ players, so I'll revert back to the original Chapin list + my small change in lands. I also have 1 less Nissa than him in my 75 (a 3rd Drown in its place) and this is because pretty much no one plays that U/B deck around here, where Nissa is really amazing.

    I think I have a better feel for the Temur/RG matchups now. I seem to win whenever I just kill their flyers and just try to keep up with Savage Knuckleblade when before I was focusing on getting that fake Aetherling off the table. Not sure if this is how to do it, anyone with more insight into the Temur Aggro and RG Monsters matchups?
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Is Patrick Chapins Next level magic a good book?
    I got it as a gift as well, and it's actually quite a read.

    It is, of course, pretty worthless if you don't actually attempt to apply what he says, so I'd also suggest doing that once you've read. Some cool anecdotes throughout the book, though I agree, Chapin uses the word "jedi" a little too much for my tastes.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on [Primer] ABZAN: WBG Abzanimals (Or: Ways To Kill People With Siege Rhino)
    Chapin's article detailed his changes to the mana base. No Confluence, only 3 trilands, and more scrylands (B/W in particular).

    Has anyone been using this manabase over the one Ari Lax is using? I like going up to 25, but Chapin's mana just seems like it has too many taplands. How does it play out in actual games?

    Also, more Abzan resources: Todd Anderson is in on the Abzan train, here. No Wingmate Roc in his build, but the full playset of Elvish Mystic. Here: http://www.starcitygames.com/article/29576_Everything-You-Should-Know-About-Abzan-Midrange.html
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Must read article on Umbrella Revolution, combo, the Pro Tour and MTG 'Journalism'
    Great article, very good point on media coverage on MtG Pro Play, and it's eye-opening for those who didn't know about what's going on in Hong Kong. Damn, Lee had a rough time there, and it's pretty crazy how they "playtested in theory" and still came up with a PT Top 8 deck.

    They really should've called the deck Space Jam though, I don't know why that didn't catch on. Ari Lax and his team were spot on, because those Jeskai monks really do look like the Monstars. :p
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on So how is everyone liking the new standard?
    I like it, and I hope it stays this way.

    For one, there is a combo deck. A REAL combo deck. That's already a huge plus. Also, bonus points because it wins via milling (well one version of it does)

    Second, even the top decks have a fair amount of variance. Take Jeskai, for example. We had three very different lists top 8 the Pro Tour, all playing the same 3 colors. There are key elements across all of them (Mantis Rider, Stoke the Flames) but you have options as to how you can build it - burn-based, creature-based like Strasky/Yuuya, or leaning towards a control game like McLaren. The color combination is very flexible.

    Abzan is the huge rhino in the room, but even there there's still a healthy amount of variation. Aggro like Sigrist, Midrange with lots of walkers like Lax, and so on.

    Having the wedges supported means you'll also see a fair amount of people trying to brew with them and they can come up with something pretty potent. Whidisi/Sidisi Whip, Temur Tempo, Mardu Walkers, and so on. Too early to say whether the format will stagnate into Jeskai vs. Abzan but I think those will be the top decks, and that on a good day any deck can give them a run for their money.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
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