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60/40 - SCG Richmond

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+Paraliel+    8030

To preface this tournament report, I'm going to talk quite a lot about why I considered my deck choice to be the best deck for the estimated meta game of SCG Richmond, why my deck is good, and the evolution of the deck. I might ramble at times, but I hope my points come across anyway.


To start, I started this format with the reveal of Eldritch Moon trying to figure out if Mono Red was viable when Collective Defiance was leaked. The card was clearly insane, but what deck could play it? So I decided to hit up Gojira and Justice to bounce my ideas off of them and see if it was decent, mostly to just spike some wins on Magic Online against unprepared players. Patrick Chapin had also posted an article about Red decks in the new format, however his build was more creature focused like an aggressive deck instead of a spell-focused burn deck that I was looking to build. I constantly thought the deck was going to be awful.


My first version played such all-stars as Zurgo Bellstriker, Insolent Neonate, and an unfinished side-deck with Chandra, Flamecaller that I knew was never going to get sided in. I played this in two leagues and went 3-2 and 4-1 and while I felt the deck was strong, it certainly wasn't polished and my losses felt because of my deck choices. I also felt Zurgo was "decent" but I took it as that the 1 drops in Standard were bad. I decided to cut the Neonates and shape the deck a bit more with Thermo Alchemist. After playing one League with Thermo, it felt awful. And I take that as I should have kept pushing and trying it more. The end result really was more I was playing 22 lands at the time instead of 21 and I was still playing Zurgo. So I took Thermo Alchemist out and remembered that Lightning Berserker (blessed be his name) was still a card. So I reformatted the deck to be playing 3 Zurgo Bellstriker and 3 Lightning Berserker to really emphasize hitting a 1 drop and sticking the landing.


I played that same list for about 21 Leagues straight, going 4-1 in 18 of them and winning matches vs such notable players as Andrew Tenjum, LSV, and Paul Cheon. I thought the deck was insane. Halfway through this giant playtest session, the Fevered Visions deck started to become popular from the Pro Tour after it went 9-1. The Mono Red deck had an actually great matchup vs it's ugly stepchild which I was happy since while I enjoy the idea of the card Fevered Visions I was attached to my baby. The PT had also generated the new Emrakul variant decks, which Red preyed on super hard, but I'll talk about that further down.


First off, your matchup vs Bant Company is about 60/40 (the title of this article) and the main reason I felt this deck was top tier. Getting 60% over another matchup is one of the best rates you'll get in Standard I feel currently. You generally play attrition vs them, slowly dealing with their creatures via Draconic Roar and Collective Defiance while you chip away at their health while slowing their assault. Their tap lands don't help them, and it's very frequent on turn 2 for you to Incendiary Flow their face to use your mana. Regarding Spell Queller as I have said to many people on this site, "It's not the first Spell Queller, not the second, but the third Spell Queller that kills you." If they just "have all these", then they beat you, but that is very unlikely. It is very hard for Bant to really interact with your deck, especially because more players were cutting Dromoka's Command from the main after the Pro Tour (thanks LSV).


Next up, we have your match-up vs Temur Emerge, Bant Emerge, BG Delirium, and Big Eldrazi (RG Ramp). It comes down to that you eat this deck alive and it is by far your best match-ups because their game plan is to play really slowly and ramp into Emrakul, while your game plan is to murder them without sticking much to the board that they can interact with. There really isn't much to talk about other than, this match up is great.


Now you have BW Control / BW Angels. This is your 30-40/70-60 match up that really depends on the sequencing of what they draw. You can deal with Vents, you can deal with Kalitas. It just depends on what is your hand. Generally I allow of up to about 8 lifegain in theory before you can't win. (You also can't beat Brisela but that will never come up ever).


Then we have White Weenies. The strategy for this match-up is you play a creature such as Abbott or Lightning Berserker and change your game plan to more of a controlling one ala Legacy where you stick a threat and play 36 removal spells. All your burn does say "deal X to target creature" so you might as well take advantage of it for one MU. This match-up is highly in your favor as Humans runs out of gas very quickly.


Going forward to todays meta-game we also have Bant Humans, which you generally have a great match-up vs where you play it more like you play against Bant Company.


And then you have Spirits which contains the most annoying card to date for this deck to deal with, and that card is Selfless Spirit. I could've talked about this further up with Bant Company, but nevertheless I'll talk about it here. The fact that Draconic Roar fizzles if they sacrifice Selfless Spirit comes up so much that is is such a pain. This match-up is still good for you (55/45), but I hate their cards.


And then you have the random decks...and Esper Control which inevitably I always get queued vs and that is not a winnable match-up.


So I'm sold on the best Standard deck at this point, it loses to the decks that aren't as relevant and has good match-ups vs most of the field. I tried desperately to convince everyone to play this deck, but only managed to convince Justice and Gojira that it was insane (Gojira got to watch me deal 19 in one turn with Chandra and Thermo). I have also at this point changed my board to put 4 Thermo Alchemists in after testing it more on the rise of UR Visions and liking it (fuck Zurgo, worst card).


But...I don't have any events to play...until Todd lets me know that Richmond is coming up. SCG metagames present a conundrum to me, as the GP meta is starting to see a rise in Fevered Visions and while Mono Red has a good MU vs that deck, there is a new deck called Grixis Spells (that Eric Froelich showed off) that is better vs them (Alms of the Vein is great in the mirror). So I can expect Bant Company or UR Visions both which require different decks. Todd convinces me that the SCG Metagame is only Bant (thanks inbred metagames) and the occasional Temurge decks. Todd also convinces me at the last minute (literally 1 PM on Friday) to go to Richmond.


So I finalize my list:


Lands (21):

2 Geier Reach Sanitarium

19 Mountain


Geier Reach Sanitarium is great because our draws are always going to be better than our opponents minus a Spell Queller because our opponents bleed faster than we do. Plus it triggers Madness.


Other Cards (39):

2 Lightning Berserker

4 Abbot of Keral Keep

4 Draconic Roar

4 Incendiary Flow

4 Thermo Alchemist

2 Tormenting Voice

2 Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh (bae)

4 Exquisite Firecraft

4 Collective Defiance

4 Fiery Temper (So many people were not playing this card on the online metagame which is a huge mistake)

4 Thunderbreak Regent

1 Goblin Dark Dwellers


Sideboard (15):

4 Galvanic Bombardment

4 Rending Volley

4 Weaver of Lightning

1 Pyromancer's Goggles

2 Goblin Dark Dwellers


In retrospect, I think the Goblin Dark Dwellers should have been Impetuous Devils as an out to Gideon and an out to creatures that are annoying.


So I drove to Richmond without really many issues and show up to the Clarion at about 4 PM. I also had a great lunch at Cracker Barrel, their fried okra is the nuts. I get a room because Todd said he wouldn't be in til 7:30 - 8 and I wanted a shower and it was only $50. The bathroom door wouldn't lock, but I figured that would be fine.


So I sat around and watch Worlds coverage until Todd and Darthflaw arrived. We decided we were going to go to dinner first and to Walmart to find Todd a backpack before we started testing. We walked out into Gangster Paradise past the weed smell and drove around Richmond and found a cool pizza place. Todd was handed a beer menu and was told that they were out of pretty much everything. And then our waiter changed to a dude who was clearly very high. Great pizza though, would recommend.


Then we drove to the Walmart, got stuck on a toll road, which required EXACTLY 70 cents. We managed to sit there scrounging for change and made it past the tolls to Walmart, we probably should've played around them in hindsight. Outplayed. The Walmart smells like weed just like the hotel, we clearly can't escape the smell so whatever I guess. We find Todd a camo backpack which turns him invisible for the weekend. And then we go back. We do some testing in the room to which Todd determines that Burn is very tough to play against and Darthflaw rolls a dice and decides to play White Weenies.


We all go to bed and wake up the next morning and depart for the convention center. I re-learn that Richmond is a horrific place filled with one way streets with little to no signs on where to go. My GPS tried to get me killed a record 3 times. We park and go in and sleeve our decks and get ready for the tournament, ect.


So you might be wondering at this point since I hyped this deck up and wrote this report, I clearly did well. I did not do well.


Round 1 vs Humans (win)


Game 1 - I kept a slower hand consisting of Mountain, Mountain, Mountain, Draconic Roar, Thunderbreak Regent, Thermo Alchemist, Exquisite Firecraft and get rushed down very quickly.


Game 2 and 3 - I side in my 8 removal for little creatures and destroy my opponent because this match-up is very simple and linear.


Round 2 vs Bant Company (loss)


Game 1 - I rush him down and wreck him because he doesn't know what he is playing vs.


Game 2 - I mull to 5 and can't keep up with the Company deck.


Game 3 - A game where all I need to do is point 3 more burn to the face and he has 3 spell quellers + company into the 4th queller in the top 20 cards. Oh well, he played it well, sometimes that is Magic.


Round 3 vs BG Delirium (win)


Game 1 - I keep a stellar hand and resolve 2 Thunderbreak Regents but my opponent is maining things like Gilt-Leaf and Mindwrack Demon so I get slowed down enough to where he can Emrakul me for game.


Game 2 - I win this game by pointing burn at his face.


Game 3 - I keep a hand of 5 burn spells and 2 mountains thinking this game is in the bag. I flow him on turn 2, he plays a creature, I then flow him on turn 3 and leave a mana up and pass. He then resolves a Distended Mindbender. He goes into the tank for 2 minutes, and then resolves to target Fiery Temper which I promptly pay R to Madness it at his face. He tilts for the rest of the match til the end where he's at 2 and I have a Thermo Alchemist on the field with no cards in hand. He has 5 mana open. He thinks, uses Traverse the Ulvenwald, and I groan internally because he can search Gilt Leaf and force me to draw burn. He searches Kalitas instead so he loses the game.


Round 4 vs Temurge (loss)


Game 1 - 3 - #salt because my opponent mained 3 copies of Pulse of Murasa for no reason which I lost to


Round 5 vs Bant Company (loss?)


We play out Game 1 which I promptly lose and I realize I have not drawn Collective Defiance all day. I look through my deck and realize I have been playing 56 cards all day and promptly call a judge on myself. The Judge informs me that I can go replace the cards and continue on with the match. I sulk that someone has taken my stuff, but I replace them, resleeve, go first, and lose game 2 fair and square.


Round 6 vs Esper Control (loss)


I'm already tilted going into this that I am 2-3 and need to win out and that some of my stuff got stolen, but I'm also playing vs Esper which is unwinnable.


And that is how my tournament went.


The rest of it consisted of watching Todd playing vs people who misplayed consistently and beating them.


We then went back to go to dinner at Casa del Barcode which was a great Mexican place with top tier fish tacos. I blew through a toll on the way here which I get ribbed about constantly, and we talk about the Kaladesh cards. We go back and I go to sleep on the bed because Todd is awesome and takes the inflatable. I then left in the morning.


Maybe I'll do well one day, maybe I'm bad, maybe I misplayed, I should've checked my deck to be sure it had everything in it, and maybe just maybe my deck choice will get more wide spread viewing.


But that was not that weekend for it to happen.


Congratulations to Todd for making Day 2.

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