<![CDATA[Pat's Games - Magic The Gathering and Pokémon Tournaments<br />​Individual Cards, Sealed Product and Supplies - Robert Berni wins Star City Games Open Standard 2/15/2015]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:09:22 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Pat's Gamer, Robert Berni, wins Star City Games Standard Open on February 15, 2015]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:54:13 GMThttp://patsgames.com/robert-berni-wins-star-city-games-open-standard-2152015/pats-gamer-robert-berni-wins-star-city-games-standard-open-on-february-15-2015
"Dr. Claw" and how we took down the SCG Houston open

Since the addition of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx into standard, our playgroup has been trying to find ways to take advantage of it with an array of mono-colored devotion decks. We were close to settling on one before pro tour:Theros, but ultimately backed off because we didn't want to lose to turn 4 supreme verdict all day. (Mono blue devotion finished 1st and 2nd at this pro tour, sigh)
Fast forward to pro tour: Khans of Tarkir, and we had a Nykthos deck ready that would top out at villainous wealth! While this deck was tons of fun, it wasn't quite right yet. I played this deck at a few tournaments, but couldn't win with any real consistency. The evolution of the deck went away from villainous wealth, and towards crater's claw so that the deck would have much better mana, at  the cost of a more vanilla sideboard.  My playgroup stuck with Nykthos green decks for Grand Prix San Antonio and it put a handful of people into day 2, with Ty Thomason earning a top 25 finish with Dr. claw.

Fate Reforged offered us a couple of sweet high-impact mythics in Whisperwood elemental and Ugin, the spirit dragon which do wonders against your bad matchups and help bring you back when you're behind, something the deck struggled with before. I didn't have too much time to test this out as I was playing a ton of modern in preparation for the pro tour, but the rest of the group jumped on it, and Will lowry earned a ptq win with ease 2 weeks ago. Some of the others ventured out a but more, as Ty played G/b to take advantage of sideboard cards to beat mirrors and doomwake giant, and Phu Q. Dao took it all the way off the rails and played Tasigur, because that's how he rolls. I didn't have time to look into these builds so I stuck with what I knew and went over the sideboard plans for the deck. 
Had it not been for the legwork these guys put into this over the last few months, I probably would have been playing modern/legacy on Sunday. Something players tend to overlook is why certain cards and quantities of them exist in a list, and unless you fully understand them, you should never pick up a deck and change them. Usually, the people who made that list already went through the progressions you are going through and determined this to be better. The same thought extends to sideboarding. Your deck is going to have problems with some decks, and your sideboard must be designed with a plan, not just with 'good' cards. 

With the deck tournament tested, and the metagame moving away from decks with 4 mantis riders, I knew the deck was positioned well to steal many game 1's due to our opponents' lack of ability to interact with us. I discussed the card choices with them a bit, practiced on Magic Online for a couple of days, and we were off to Houston! I was considering a drive up on the morning of the tournament, but Jonathan Job was kind enough to host a nice dinner at his home for some of the guys on Friday night, so a special thanks to him for being awesome!

My final list looked like this, I was excited to get things going, as I had not yet seen many other people playing with whisperwood elemental. On to the games!

Berni, RobertWon 2-0vs.Schrader, James (UB control)

First match of the day came against a not so great matchup. My opponent cast an Ashiok on turn 3 or 4 game 1 and 15 or so turns later i was dead. 
Games 2 and 3 genesis hydra was an all-star, allowing me to put nissa's directly into play and continue to apply pressure through crux of fates. Courser of kruphix while not a terrific beater, poses a serious problem for the UB decks, as they are forced with having to downfall him or risk allowing you to get way ahead on mana. Since the game is bound to go long, finding ways to force your opponent to always have the answer is very important.

Berni, RobertWon 2-0vs.Richards, Adam (Abzan aggro)  These games were very quick due to mana issues from the Abzan deck...Being that I played this style of abzan at a couple of events last month, I can hardly say I was surprised. 3 color aggro decks with 24+ lands can be extremely risky. I think if you're going to play this deck, you need to run extremely well in order to play games of magic every round. 


Berni, RobertWon 2-0vs.Larson, Paul (UB Control)My opponent was plagued with a bunch of mulligans and I do not recall playing much real magic this round.  15 round tournament though, I'll take it!

Berni, RobertWon 2-1vs.Horn, Kyle I can't for the life of me remember this match, as the next few matches were long drawn-out affairs and my memory is a bit hazy. 

Crone, JasonLost 1-2vs.Berni, Robert (Abzan Midrange)My opponent played a thoughtseize early, but no creature in the next couple turns, leading me to believe he had an end hostilities in hand. My hand was threat lite, so it didn't really matter that much. We went all in, and he called, with an elspeth as follow up. Oh well, next game. We had an interesting series in game 3 with coursers in play on each side. I find that you get fairly interesting games when this happens because both players have near perfect information the whole game. 
His reveals of note were downfall, end hostilities, and siege rhino, while mine included craters claw. With a board of mana guys and courser, I played a polukranos as bait and it drew the downfall. My follow-up was the whisperwood elemental to save my team from the sweeper. He was forced to anyway and my army of 2/2's was exactly enough damage when combined with crater's claws to kill him (even after his siege rhino gained him some life).
*I also was notified about what could have been that game, as I sacrificed 1 of my 2 whisperwoods in response to the wrath. I could have generated 6 tokens rather than 4! Luckily I wasn't punished for missing that. This is one of the reason I enjoy playing games in the feature match area, as the extra sets of eyes always help. Thanks, Travis Brown!

Berni, RobertWon 2-1vs.Wey, Matt (RG Aggro)
This match was on video coverage here: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 (5:40:00)

The games were pretty straightforward, my guys are mostly bigger than his, and his best chance is to play multiple fliers to punch through.  I will say that I did completely blank on his Ashcloud Phoenix returning to play when i fought him with polukranos in game 1.. Whoops!

Berni, Robert Won 2-1 vs Andrade, Abel (RW aggro)
Our first 2 games were very quick, as both our decks took turns firing on all cylinders. Game 3 he drew a bunch of hordeling outbursts, so I just sat back until my devotion created a lethal crater's claws.

Berni, RobertWon 2-1vs.Jessup, Danny (Abzan Midrange)This match was on video coverage: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 (7:47:00)

This one was very interesting, and I watched it Saturday night because I knew I played game 1 poorly.  As it turns out, there may not have been a way to win anyway, but there were a few things I did incorrectly that put me way behind in that game, and made things easier for my opponent and being able to find that in the matches you win is very important when trying to get better. 

For example, I ran my Polukranos into his siege rhino because I wanted to get the rhino (the only creature that could stop me from attacking with Whisperwood) off the table so that I could begin applying pressure and continue manifesting. This was incorrect, and I needed to just stay patient as I could sit on the claws/nykthos plan instead of trying to fight through a bunch of elspeth's. 
Also, our deck can't beat 2 elspeth's. We're equipped to take 1 down, but if you cast a 2nd one, we're in big trouble.

Game 2 I was fortunate to draw a crater's claws the turn after he thoughtseized me, and I could hop on that plan,, which would come together if my hydra for 4 hit. Once that happened, i was in the clear since this gave me 2 ferocious creatures. He was holding a wrath, so the game felt very safe for him, but my draws after he saw my hand were too good.

Game 3 highlights the power of Nissa. I knew an end hostilities was coming, so I had to hope there was no downfall after I slammed her down on turn 4. After getting my team wrath'd away, my only gameplan was to keep making 4/4 lands and attack. Eventually i draw a wooded foothills to cast the crater's claw for exactly lethal since one of my forests was still a ferocious creature.

1Berni, RobertLost 1-2vs.Blackmor, Jason RThis match on video coverage
http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 (8:47:00)

I couldn't shake Jason this round, game 1 I played a ton of lands, and game 3 I couldn't find a land with 2 coursers in play to buy some time. An 8-1 finish for the day with the best tiebreaks was nothing to be ashamed of, so we'll take it.

Berni, RobertLost 0-2vs.Grace, Tannon (G/R Devotion)

(video coverage) http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 (22:38:00)

Tannon showed up with a very similar deck as ours, but a bit more aggressive. Where we attempted to max out on consistency, he shaved so that he could add in different cards. (3 polukranos, 3 voyaging satyr, 2 crater's claws) He had multiple copies of Xenagos, which is a card we tried a while back but were never pleased with him as you could never attack through coursers. It seems better now, and is usually used to generate mana anyway, so its worth revisiting.

The games themselves were very quick as my draws did not cooperate this round. After the match we bid our farewells, and I felt I had a decent chance at redemption later.

Berni, RobertWon 2-0vs.Lerch, Dylan (Mono Red)
This matchup is usually pretty good for nykthos decks. between coursers, polukranos and nylea's disciples in the sideboard, the red decks usually have trouble finding 20+ points of damage if they're forced to attack. 

Berni, RobertDrew 1-1-1vs.Wiznitzer, Aryeh (UB control)

We played a series of long games, and I can't remember many details outside of game 3 We went to time and I had threat after threat with him at a low life total, but he has 3 dig through times and found all of his removal spells to force the draw. I would assume that he wins if we played forever, but oh well.  At this point, I can only lose 1 more match if I want to top 8, as I was only supposed to draw in the final round!

Berni, RobertWon 2-0Vs.Briggs, Rob (Sidisi Whip)
This is typically a good matchup for us, we play bigger guys and have the ability to kill them without attacking (claws) Ugin is a new addition that wrecks this deck, and  his presence was felt in both games we played.


Berni, Robert Won 2-1 Vs William lowry (Dr. Claw)
This match was on video coverage: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 (26:50:00)

The 72 card mirror! I offered a draw, but he declined since that meant if we both lost the next round none of us top 8. With this scenario, one of us was guaranteed top 8, so we played it out. I won the die roll, which is probably worth more in this matchup than any other in standard, and proceeded to draw the absolute nuts, and when showed him a bestow on my attacker to eat his polukranos, we couldn't help but burst out laughing (i only have 1 boon satyr in my list)
Game 2 was his turn and he ramped up to a large setessan tactics very quickly. But no worries, I would be on the play for game 3.
My hand in the final game contained mana producers, crater's claw and a nykthos, so the gameplan is pretty obvious: stick a bunch of devotion and fireball them before they get you. It worked out, so we were able to ID into top 8. (11-2-2

Quarterfinals: Berni, Robert Won 2-1 vs, Grace, Tannon
My shot at redemption! Games 1 and 2 went according to script (he who was on the draw got crushed) but game 3 became much more intriguing once we both mulliganed to 4! This match was on video coverage and I encourage checking it out: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590  (30:01:00)

*I  was asked a million times if I felt I just needed to get lucky in hitting on my genesis hydra for 2. The answer is no, I drew a nykthos that turn and with Nissa in hand, was casting this just to get 2 more devotion on the table so that I was guaranteed to have access to 5 mana next turn. As it turned out, getting lucky here was a complete blowout and allowed me to take that game over and move on.

Semifinals Berni, Robert Won 2-0 Vs Wiggins, Travis
Video coverage here: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/624672590 

This was a strange match as my opponent drew the wrong half of his deck it seemed like, casting some spells but no threats. The games were quick and somewhat uneventful.

Finals Berni, Robert Won 2-0 Vs Stevens, Todd
Text coverage for this match can be found here:

The tournament was a tremendous success as I got to represent Austin and Pats games all weekend. The only negative is we put Dr Claw on the map in the metagame right before Grand Prix Memphis/ I know some Texas players who are going to this and are looking to replicate some magic with the forests so hopefully they attain similar results. I don't think that this deck gets significantly worse just because people know about it since we have the tools to fight their sideboard cards. I would play the same 75 in any event coming up, and wish you luck if you choose to do the same!