Trust your Gut & Call Your Shots (MOCS3 & Team Trios)

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I want to start by apologizing to anyone who follows my articles and has absolutely no interest in reading about Mage Blade/Delver, I promise that my next article will have much less to do with the deck, unless I happen to win one of the MTGO PTQs with it…

My last article came out on Thursday, and much has happened since then. I’ve had one of the busiest, yet most enjoyable weekends of my life. If you will recall from my last article I was spending a lot of time preparing for a Team Trios event, which was followed immediately by a 7pm-starting, 620 person, 11 round Magic Online Championship Series. The one thing I may have left out? Monday marked the final presentation of my thesis project for my Master’s degree, for which neither me nor my partner had begun preparing, and were scheduled to meet as soon as I got back to Halifax to work for the whole day on it. The entire weekend was an amazing adventure, full of both called-shots and timely Gut Shots.

Well: here we go!

The three hour drive to Moncton from Halifax meant a 7am wakeup time after staying up until 2am building decks and discussing card choices with my teammates Ben Murphy and Phil Anderson (there may have been a few drafts in there too…).

These are the lists we settled on:

(editor note: final card in SB is Dead // Gone)

Despite my background in Legacy, we decided I should play Standard due to the preparations I was already putting into the MOCS.

The event had 20 teams (60 players), and was 6 rounds of Swiss. The event was used to advertise a new magic tourney series coming to the Maritimes this summer, with wicked prizes and an awesome set of trophies, one for each event, culminating in a championship event. If you are from the Maritimes and want to check out their events, keep checking www.maritimemtg.com for event announcements, you can find their current schedule in the forums.

We went 4-0-2 in the event and then lost our matchup in the top 4. I asked my teammates for some notes on their decks, so I could let you guys know how our choices panned out:

For Modern, we got lists from Francis Toussaint and Doug Potter along with sideboard advice, which turned out quite well. Ben also had quite a bit of experience playing Jund, at least in Standard. Ben went 3-1 and was winning his t4 match when the two of us lost. He beat U/W Tron, Tribal Zoo, and Aggro Loam, taking a fairly overwhelming loss to GR Tron. The GR Tron matchup almost felt hopeless to us, we couldn’t come up with acceptable sideboard cards that hindered their game plan sufficiently, Fulminator Mage felt extremely underpowered. Most of the numbers seemed right, but we still can’t think of the sideboard card we would have wanted for that matchup.

For Legacy; I believe we should have played Dredge, because I think it is very powerful right now and fairly well positioned. That being said; we did quite well in the Legacy portion.  Phil chose the deck because of the good matchup against Esper, RUG, and Merfolk, which we expected. The board was tweaked to compensate for the combo players we knew would show up and a few creatures were added to tick up the clock along with some cheap counter-magic. He beat Merfolk, High Tide, losing to Nic Fit and not finishing his match against Reanimator. The top 4 match against Affinity was a little bit of a unfortunate, with him stumbling very hard on lands while mulling to five with a Deed sitting in his hand, and something similar happening in the other game.

As far as Standard was concerned; I was certain that Delver was good for an x-1, which it was. My loss in the swiss came at the hands of Gerry T’s tokens Delver list, which is a very difficult matchup for my list. I beat G/W Humans, Wolf Run and Frites. My loss in the top 4 came at the hands of an aggressive draw from R/G Aggro. As the picture in the next section of the report indicates, my list stayed the exact same between the Team Trios event and the MOCS.

So; our top 4 match ends in disappointment, but at least it was quick. I run into the other room to check my laptop and it looks like there are still a few matches going. I grab the hotel key, and run down the street to our hotel, open the door, plug in the laptop, change into my PJ Pants, log into the WIFI grab an energy drink and a frozen treat, and finally log into MODO just as the 2 minute warning pops up. I knew it was going to be a long night…

MOCS Season 3 Championships:

Two days before the MOCS, after noticing I owned quite a few foils for the deck, I decided to do something which I immediately semi-regretted (although for some reason, I do love the virtual sparkle):

Although a pretty silly thing to do at the time; after the MOCS it kind of felt like I called the shot. I published an article Thursday about the deck’s strengths then made it all shine as a sign of confidence before the MOCS.

If you read my article last week, you will remember that I needed to get the byes to be able to play in the MOCS, which turned out to be exactly true. I made it back to the hotel room just in time for my 3rd round. My opponent seemed to be AFK, but he somehow realized it was time to play 20 seconds before his timer hit 15 minutes. The people sharing a room with me, and staying in the room adjacent began pilling in, some from the bar, some from the beer store, and by the time game 3 rolled around, there were a total of nine people in the hotel room. There were nine people who witnessed my round 3 opponent’s clock tick to 0 as he entered his lethal combat step in game 3. As soon as the game ended, we all gasped a giant sight of relief.

Of course, people had beers to drink and food to eat, and my matches weren’t nearly as exciting as the wrestling that was going on between the men in their late twenties both on the bed, and on the floor of the hotel over the course of my next few rounds. Due to my crazy marathon of Magic, the frenzy that was that evening and the fact that the MODO replays were pulled down, I don’t know exactly what I played against. Thinking back on it, and talking to some people who were in the hotel with me, we think we may have compiled my matchups:

Bye x2, Tempered Steel, RG Wolf Run x2, Naya Pod x3, G/R Aggro x2, Zombies, UW Delver

At one point, the hotel room got a little bit too rowdy and I feared too much for my concentration and moved into another room for two rounds. When I got back, most had left or had gone to sleep, and it was far tamer, and I was able to play again.

I went 11-1 with my 1 loss coming from one of the R/G Wolf Run players. I won so many games just because of the turn two Stalker, turn three Sword of War and Peace draw. I would totally ignore what they were doing, and most decks couldn’t effectively answer it maindeck. Naya Pod would have a chain going, get an artifact destruction spell, and I would just have the second sword to play and equip. Without any way to get rid of the Stalker, they just couldn’t protect themselves from that play. Sword of Feast and Famine played a huge role in my wins all day, against the Aggro decks to get past their ground guys and block, I would swap one in, and both come in against the Wolf Run decks. Phantasmal Image was also an MVP, copying tons of Strangleroot Geists and some flipped Delvers.

In the top 8, I played against Spirits, Frites and G/W Aggro.

I don’t remember most of the matchups, except that Sword’ed Stalker got there easily against Spirits and Snapcaster + multiple Gut Shots killed Frites both games. I do however; vividly remember game 3 of the finals:

My opponent opens with Birds on the draw, I have a Leak in hand, but I also have the option of playing an Invisible Stalker to accompany my Delver and put on some pressure. I decide to cast the Invisible Stalker; he untaps and slams a Sword of War and Peace. I look at my friends in the hotel room with me and frown. My Delver remained un-flipped, and my Stalker was lonely with no equipment for the next turn. I F6 my opponents turn with a sigh, Delver trigger goes on the stack, and Daniel Fournier, who is standing behind me yells:  “GUT SHOT”, and lo-and-behold: the Delver flips the perfect spell, the bird is slain, his next play is Leaked, I get in some more pressure….. “Nice Gut Shot Flip, Congrats,” I am shaking. He’s at 1. I have a Snapcaster with a Gut Shot in my graveyard. Make sure you click the right card…..I click, click again…… Congratulations! goobafish has won the event.

I look back at my friends standing behind me, holding up their hands for high fives. I stand up, and collapse into the mattress that is up against the wall and fall to the floor. Total disbelief.

I want to thank Gut Shot, for being awesome, and my Delvers, for flipping just at the right time.

But seriously: I really want to thank everyone who stayed up with me at various points of the night in the hotel keeping me company: Gab Dion, Ceilidh Smith, Adam Campbell, Bryan Campbell and Phil Anderson.

Huge thanks to Matthew Bernard (@HFXMTG on Twitter) for making awesome shirts for all the Halifax players for the team event and to him and Daniel Fournier for staying up all night by my side.

Late night MODO grind sessions at Ben Murphy’s discussing lines of play the weeks before certainly paid off, as did my infinite chats about Delver with Glenn McIelwain (_GMac_).

I also want to thank everyone who sent me messages of encouragement and stayed up with me online, and those who have sent me congratulatory messages.

I am super excited to have won this again, unfortunately there is no Worlds this year to have it at, and Gencon is too early, as I don’t think the MOCS will be done by then, but I am sure they will have it somewhere exciting.

You probably won’t hear from me until after PT Barcelona. I am going to be on cruise ship testing with Hayne for two weeks before the Pro Tour (missing the WCQ in Montreal unfortunately), and will be going to Bazaar of Moxen (a huge Vintage/Legacy event in France) after Barcelona followed by a trip to Amsterdam along with Alex Hayne, Glenn McIelwain and Tyler Longo. It’s going to be an awesome trip, and hopefully, I can do well enough at Barcelona to get gold and stay on. If not? Well, I am going to worry about that then, but you can be sure the PT won’t have seen the last of me.

Until next time,
Keep grindin’
David Caplan
@goobafish88 on Twitter or contact me on Facebook

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