Tournament Report by Tad Macaraeg from Starcity Games Invitational: Richmond
Welcome to the report of my first Starcity Games Invitational! After finally getting the time to test and a location I wanted to travel to I booked a trip to Richmond, VA for the event on 3/27. I actually left on Tuesday and spent the week between Washington DC and Durham, North Carolina catching up on some wonderful people I know and shirking off my testing but I had decks in mind and knew I wasn’t going to break anything so it’s all good. Great food and amazing company is always a good way to start and event anyway so I have no regrets. Here are the decks I chose for the event:
Standard 4 Elvish Mystic 4 Voyaging Satyr 4 Sylvan Caryatid 4 Deathmist Raptor 4 Polukranos, World Eater 3 Whisperwood Elemental 1 Dragonlord Atarka 2 Ugin Spirit Dragon 2 Genesis Hydra 4 Crater’s Claws 1 Surrak, Caller of the Hunt
1 Mountain 4 Temple of Abandon 4 Wooded Foothills 4 Nykthos Shrine to Nyx 10 Forest
Sideboard 1 Vendilion Clique 1 Pithing Needle 1 Null Rod 1 Abrupt Decay 1 Grafdigger’s Cage 1 Force of Will 2 Thoughtseize 2 Marsh Casualties 1 Disfigure 2 Divert 1 Nihil Spellbomb 1 Flusterstorm
Day 1 Std
RW Loss 1-2 Opponent beat me through a last turn Lightning strike off Outpost Siege. Nothing new about this matchup. 0-1 (0-1 Standard) (0-0 Legacy)
UB Win 2-0 After losing game 1 to running out of threats through multiple edict effects, wraths and removal, I win game 2 when he misses land drop number 5 and gets behind. Game 3 gets to the point where I force him to have an answer, which is Ugin, the Spirit Dragon for -3. Fortunately I had 5 land in play and knew another was on top due to Courser of Kruphix that bit the dust. Cast Nissa Worldwaker, animated a land and went to town. This land ended up winning me the game as even when he used Haven of the Spirit Dragon to get Ugin back to his hand, he could not answer it. 1-1 (1-1 Standard) (0-0 Legacy)
GW Win 2-0 Opponent punts game 1 when he casts Mastery of the Unseen with the last two mana he has instead of activating Nykthos and loses because of it. Game 2 I set up a board state where he has no cards in hand and a revealed Elvish Mystic on top to Courser and I cast Ugin and -3 it. I eventually use the -10 on Ugin to win the game on the spot. 2-1 (2-1 Standard) (0-0 Legacy)
Jeskai Win 2-1 I lose game one to the quad Seeker of the Way draw since I am slightly behind and on the draw and she draws just enough burn to put me away in combination with two copies of Outpost Siege, one on each option. I won game 2 after fading Outpost Siege shenanigans at 3 life. Game 3 is interesting since she cast a Thunderbreak Regent and it was my first time playing against this card. I decided to try to race it instead of killing it and it ended up being the correct decision. It’s possible the 18 life I gained off Nylea’s Disciple copies also contributed. 3-1 (3-1 Standard) (0-0 Legacy)
Legacy Deathblade 2-1 I win the attrition war game 1 after he runs out of answers for my Delvers and Tarmogoyfs. Game 2 I don’t think I had a chance of winning at any point but my opponent offered me a window when he let me Divert his Swords to Plowshares to remove his True-Name Nemesis from play before he could equip Batterskull to it. Game three I play the try to keep your opponent from playing magic with multiple wastelands after I flip a Delver of Secrets and follow up with Vendilion Clique and Tarmogoyf. 4-1 (3-1 Standard) (1-0 Legacy)
Omnishow 2-1 Game 1 I lose because I am clueless as to whether this guy is on Storm or a Show and Tell deck until the turn he puts Omniscience into play and kills me. Game 2 there’s a decision point where I decide to Daze his Force of Will that is countering my Tarmogoyf since his only untapped land is Ancient Tomb and he was at 6 life and I have an Insectile Aberration waiting to attack. He couldn’t cast his Show and Tell at 1 life and I won. Game 3 he drew all four Dig Through Time and multiple Show and Tell but no other spells. At this point I’m pretty happy as I have already locked up a spot in the second day of the Invitational. 5-1 (3-1 Standard) (2-0 Legacy)
DT 1-2 I lose a very close game one when I accidentally attack before drawing my card for the turn late in the game and then fetch a land not realizing I had drawn the Wasteland on top of my deck that I had left from Brainstorm to keep him off casting and equipping Umezawa’s Jitte in the same turn through a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben he had in play. I was in a rough spot regardless but this mistake was really bad on my part. In a comical sense of karma I win game two despite a mulligan to five, blind flipping both of my Delver of Secrets and then drawing a Pithing Needle to turn off his two copies of Mother of Runes. Game three comes down to me not drawing a Brainstorm or Ponder to keep myself in the game late. A copy of Marsh Casualties also could have won me that match but I never drew it. 5-2 (3-1 Standard) (2-1 Legacy)
Steaming a little bit and wanting to take out my frustration of the previous round, I had the fortune of facing an opponent who was fatigued and a bit inexperienced. Over the course of the match he missed six Eidolon of the Great Revel triggers, four of them in the third game when I would not allow him to have the trigger after he let my spell resolve and the turn pass or the trigger of Vendilion Clique resolve. Based on the draws he had he would not have won that game anyway but he was pretty unhappy with himself for missing these. But his loss was my gain and I finished day 1 6-2. Final Day 1 record 6-2 (3-1 Standard) (3-1 Legacy) which puts me live for Top 8 if I can go 6-1-1 in the second day
Day 2 Abzan Aggro 0-2 I get made quick work of when I miss land drops and he has multiple Dromoka’s Commands and Ultimate Prices to follow up his first couple of guys. 6-3 (3-2 Standard) (3-1 Legacy)
Abzan Control 2-0 My opponent missed a bunch of land drops game one and died a quick death. Game two I keep him from stabilizing by following up his removal of my threats with Xenagos, God of Revels. His Tasigur doesn’t get to go bananas on me and was relegated to Polukranos, World Eater chumping duty. He answered Polukranos but not the following Genesis Hydra and I was back on the right track. 7-3 (4-2 Standard) (3-1 Legacy)
GR Aggro 2-1 Game one involved me just adding a bunch of devotion and launching a giant Crater’s Claws at my opponent because he has a couple of Heir of the Wilds copies in play. Game two I sideboarded incorrectly assuming he might bring in Anger of the Gods since he had Thunderbreak Regent and Stormbreath Dragon that would survive. I was incorrect and got promptly ran over. Taking out my Nissa Worldwakers and putting back in Deathmist Raptors, I won the final game through a combination of Surrak, the Hunt Caller, and Genesis Hydra keeping my stream of threats too high. 8-3 (5-2 Standard) (3-1 Legacy)
GR Mirror 1-2 I sadly get paired against Alex, my friend who I am rooming with. We don’t play much magic the first two games as both of us take a game of just going off and obliterating the other. Game 3 was close and I was ahead early being one turn ahead but he was able to stick Nissa Worldwaker and I whiffed on my Genesis Hydra for 5. At least one of us was going to still be live for top 8 at this point but it wasn’t going to be me. 8-4 (5-3 Standard) (3-1 Legacy)
Legacy Day 2 Elves 2-0 Opponent kept a sketchy 1 land hand that I punished by Wastelanding and Disfiguring his Deathrite Shaman and keep him from ever getting going. Game two he has a one turn window to cast Natural Order off a Gaea’s Cradle but doesn’t have it and I Maelstrom Pulse all of his Nettle Sentinels away to earn a concession. 9-4 (5-3 Standard) (4-1 Legacy)
Burn 2-0 Both games involve my opponent drawing around 4 lands and getting me to around 10 life while I have a couple of creatures in play. Both end when he tries to Price of Progress me and I effectively Armageddon myself with a combination of multiple Dazes, Wasteland targeting my own land, and fetching and finding nothing. 10-4 (5-3 Standard) (5-1 Legacy)
RUG Delver 0-1 Loss I had an epic brain lapse and missed a sideboard card and got deckchecked. Game 1 I drew poorly off a mulligan to 6 and this match put a damper on my day given that I had done the same thing day 1. 10-5 (5-3 Standard) (5-2 Legacy)
URb Delver 2-0 Two very close games that were won by Tarmogoyfs. Cashed the event. I’m a little short on the details as I was very tired and didn’t write much down but my opponent was also tired and I was able to answer his threats more efficiently with multiple Marsh Casualties and Abrupt Decays in game two. Final Record 11-5 (5-3 Standard) (6-2 Legacy)
Unfortunately my tiebreakers were only good enough to get me exactly 33rd by less than 1% so I missed out on an extra $250 in cash. I’m happy with how my first invitational went and still happy with my choice of decks given that I chose a standard deck that in the previous standard had a high 70s win percentage for me and led me to a GP top 16 and top 64 at an open and a the legacy deck that I am most familiar with lead me to a 6-2 record so I can’t complain other than my own punts. Credits for Standard decklist suggestions to Will Lowry and Legacy Sideboarding advice to Woodrow Boguki and Ty Thomason. Thanks to Alex Scheurmann for booking the hotel for the event and of course Pat’s Games for sponsoring me. Also want to give a shout out to Marie David for letting me visit in DC and Jameson Kuang for letting me stay at his apartment in Durham whist I visited him and Becca Bau. Knowing I get to travel to visit all of these fantastic people is part of why I enjoy playing Magic. The next one of these reports will be about my first Pro Tour in Brussels so stay tuned.
Wait nevermind, I’m not done. Since I decided not to go back to Durham on Sunday I have a bonus report for all of you.
4 Lightning Bolt 3 Path to Exile 4 Tribal Flames 3 Mutagenic Growth 1 Become Immense
Sideboard 2 Ethersworn Canonist 2 Bonfire of the Damned 2 Crackling Doom 1 Overgrown Tomb 4 Abrupt Decay 2 Kor Firewalker 2 Stony Silence
R1 Win 2-0 Storm I won both games by knocking our opponent down to 1 on turn 3 effectively turning off a large portion of his mana and spells.
R2 Loss 0-2 Burn I lose both games when I forced him to have exactly Lightning Helix at that spot or lose and he unfortunately did. This matchup is pretty awful so I’m okay losing it. There was a sweet turn 2 play where we triple Mutagenic Growth + Tribal Flames to knock our opponent to 3 but that was it. R3 Win 2-1 Scapeshift I win game one barely through multiple Cryptic Commands and Peer thru Depths when he bricks on drawing the Scapeshift copy he needs to win. The second game he Scapeshifts me on turn 5 off a near perfect start. The third game a timely Crackling Doom removed his Obstinate Baloth from the blocking path of my Goblin Guide, Tarmogoyf, Geist of Saint Traft, and angel.
R4 Win 2-0 4c Gifts? Lost the die roll and my turn 1 play to Inquisition of Kozilek. However the deck decides to just bless us and I draw a second Goblin Guide off the top and head off to the races. At a critical junction in the game with him at 8 life and knowing one of our two last cards is Tribal Flames he Esper Charms me in the middle of combat to try to buy a turn. Unfortunately the last card in my hand is Snapcaster Mage which I use to flashback Lightning Bolt and win. Game two he misses his third land drop after casting Path to Exile and Go for the Throat on my two Wild Nacatls. But the turn three Geist of Saint Traft goes unanswered and I make a quick victory with the aid of my Geist deciding to Become Immense.
R5 Win 2-1 Jund Our opponent gets stuck on land in the first game and dies when I topdeck a Path to Exile with him at 2 and only one blocker left. Game two he wins because I run out of threats and he resolves a Huntmaster of the Fells which sticks. Game three had some entertainment for me after I cast a turn 1 Noble Hierarch and received an audible cursing response when my opponent Thoughtseizes me and sees fetch land, Goblin Guide, Loam Lion, Tarmogoyf, Tribal Flames in my hand. He take the Tarmogoyf and I go to town on his life total after ripping Geist of Saint Traft into play turn 2, loading the board up, Abrupt Decaying his Tarmogoyf, and finishing with two Tribal flames for 10 damage.
R6 Loss 0-2 Twin Game one he draws one too many pieces for us to answer. Game two he just goes for it on turn four and combos me out sadly.
R7 Loss 0-2 Twin This matchup is fairly similar to the previous one and sadly ended the same way.
R8 Win 2-1 Burn Fellow Pat’s Gamer Gabriel Wilson is the final opponent of the day and weekend. The first game he keeps me on the back foot for the large majority of it and I am unfortunately forced to open a window for him to win the game by attacking through his Eidolon of the Great Revel and freeing up the burn in his hand. The second game which I thought I was going to run away with due to Kor Firewalker had that plan hit the bin fast due to Rain of Gore but with the help of a couple of Noble Hierarchs the firewalker and his exalted protections got me through. Game three was a bit of an enigma. He didn’t play turn 2 Eidolon of the Great Revel that I had revealed off of Goblin guide and opted for Monastery Swiftspear instead. The board also gets gunked up when he decides to cast Blood Moon forcing me to fetch a Forest with Verdant Catacombs so I can keep playing the game. I was unhappy about this as my hand at the time was Lightning Bolt, Watery Grave, Mutagenic Growth, and two copies of Tribal Flames and suddenly the 15 extra points of damage in my hand became 9. There’s a critical junction in the game where he decides to go to 1 life instead of losing his last Eidolon of the Great Revel to blocking an exalted Goblin Guide. I had drawn a copy of Noble Hierarch and had been pointing my burn at his creatures to clear the way since he could also not really cast things. With him at 1 and myself at 5 I cast a copy of Loam lion and passed. Even if the turn had passed to me, I had Bonfire of the Damned on top after looking which would have won the game since I had 6 mana in play and the converted mana cost would have been 11.
I did not finish in the money finishing in 38th place, but I did have fun with the deck. Most people know I enjoy screwing around and brewing in modern any chance I get. And before you guys ask, the Abrupt Decays were to not lose to other Tarmogoyf decks or Blood Moon, and the Crackling Dooms were the spicy sideboard card I wanted to try out since you know nobody plays around standard staples in modern. Going forward I would play the following sideboard:
3 Abrupt Decay 2 Crackling Doom 1 Overgrown Tomb 2 Stony Silence 2 Bonfire of the Damned 2 Ethersworn Canonist 2 Kor Firewalker 1 Qasali Pridemage