The life of a degenerate can be rough sometimes. Wizards insists on running tournaments outside of Ontario, so they leave us with no choice. We want that win, so we drive through the night, getting lost trying to find the next interstate, hearing the accents change at every gas station we stop at. Sometimes exhaustion gets the better of us, so we cross our fingers, hoping that the Super 8 isn’t infested.
Charlotte might be right at the bottom of North Carolina, and a solid 12 hour drive from Toronto, but a GP is a GP, so we set out Thursday night, looking for glory. It turns out we’re not the only crazy ones. Plenty of Canadians were enjoying the southern hospitality, and it’s always nice to see some familiar faces far from home.
We were early enough to jam a few events before retiring for the night, so I promptly lost a grinder to Burn. I don’t think I’ve ever won a round in a grinder. Food followed.
Anyways, I’m gonna take a minute here to talk about barbecue. As a fat man, I love my food. Specifically, I love my meats. Pulled pork is art, and North Carolina is the place to go. The texture is perfection, tender and delicious. But what’s up with the vinegar sauce? What kind of unholy monster would take something so fantastic and pour something so vile on top of it? Every other state in the union has fantastic, flavourful barbecue sauces, and the Carolinas insist on basting their pork with a damn cleaning agent. Ridiculous.
Fortunately, the barbecue joint we went to had less heathen sauces available. After stuffing our faces, we headed back to the hotel, where I registered this list:
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Desolate Lighthouse
4 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Steam Vents
2 Sulfur Falls
1 Watery Grave
2 Cryptic Command
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Snare
3 Splinter Twin
2 Thought Scour
3 Deceiver Exarch
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
3 Blood Moon
2 Thundermaw Hellkite
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Kolaghan’s Command
Twin has always been strong in Modern, and likely always will be. It’s a deck that rewards experience massively, and I’ve been playing it for years. I have a uniquely aggressive playstyle with Twin, frequently trying to put myself in situations where I can tempo out my opponents. As a result of that, I tend to have some unique card choices. My last UR build had 2 [card]Mutavault[/card]s as the colourless land, and they were awesome.
Plenty of UR decks that sideboarded into Grixis did well at Charlotte in the hands of pros. Those decks were focused on being a combo deck game 1, then sideboarding out of it into the Grixis value pieces. I’m fundamentally uncomfortable with that game plan, as something like a single [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] can ruin your day. I prefer to be the value deck that merely has access to a combo.
Instead of talking more about the archetype as a whole (read: beating a dead horse), let’s talk about individual card choices and the decisions that are unique to my build.
1 [card]Bloodstained Mire[/card], 1 [card]Watery Grave[/card]: Many Grixis decks trim or forgo [card]Blood Moon[/card] entirely. My sideboard plans hinge on it greatly, so it’s important that we’re able to cast our high-impact black spells when under it. [card]Watery Grave[/card] is rarely needed in multiples unless hedging against land destruction, and [card]Bloodstained Mire[/card] is the best way to ensure another way to get our basic Swamp.
3 [card]Pestermite[/card], 3 [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]: Exarch sucks. I only want it if I want to combo, and I think I’m pretty clear about that being my last resort. [card]Pestermite[/card] does double its damage and flies. Unfortunately, the Burn matchup hinges on Exarch holding Twin in a big way, so I can’t bring myself to play the full set of faeries.
3 [card]Splinter Twin[/card]: Worst card in the deck. I never want multiples, and with the number of cantrips in the deck, 3 means you can usually find one if you want to.
2 [card]Thought Scour[/card]: Cantrips have always been good in Twin. Tarmo Twin plays [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] to ensure that turn 2 Goyf isn’t soft to [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]. Tempo Twin has played Peek before to turn Snapcasters into an end step cantrip. This is barely different from that, except it fuels powerful cards like Tasigur and Kolaghan’s Command. In a pinch, you can also screw up an opponent’s Scry. That said, the reason why [card]Thought Scour[/card] is essential in my deck is because of the [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card]s in my board. Speaking of which…
(SB) 2 [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card]: Frequently people play [card]Anger of the Gods[/card] or [card]Pyroclasm[/card] in this slot. Lavamancer is a stronger lockout tool. It’s possible to play around a [card]Pyroclasm[/card] by not over committing, but Lavamancer has no such weakness. It’s also stronger against manlands out of Merfolk, Infect and Affinity.
(SB) 2 [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card]: My favourite card in this sideboard. Twin always wants a high-impact sideboard card to wreck face in [card]Blood Moon[/card] games, and Thundermaw is the fastest clock available. In addition, cutting [card]Electrolyze[/card] from the main in favour of Kolaghan’s Command has made us weaker against [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. Thundermaw makes that card look embarrassing.
The tournament ended up going fairly well. Most of the matches are a blur to me – when your deck generally eats up most of every round in grindy matchups, exhaustion becomes a real factor. I took an early loss to Burn on day 1, the only truly bad matchup, then won out against what felt like the full representation of the Modern metagame. I beat Matt Costa on Grixis Control, using my blue creatures to force certain scenarios where I was able to resolve Commands for value, then took out Reid Duke’s Jund, whose draws did not cooperate with him at all. UR Twin was fairly straightforward – the black cards in our deck allow us to get so much advantage. RG [card]Scapeshift[/card] died to the combo pretty easily. I finished at a solid 8-1.
I quickly lost to serious mana flood against Abzan Collected Company on day 2, but managed to win some stressfully close matches against Burn and Jund to stay alive. I was so mentally strained by those games that it barely even registered for me that I was gearing up for a win-and-in. The tournament was huge, so there was no guarantee that 13-2 would make top 8, but my breakers were fantastic. Either way, I was mostly interested in the invite to PT Milwaukee.
We sat down for an off-camera feature match, and my opponent told me this was his second GP, and second win-and-in. Colour me impressed. He won the die roll and went Mountain [card]Goblin Guide[/card] to my mull to 5. The rest of the match was elementary, and very, very disappointing. I finished up in 22nd place, thanks to my tiebreakers tanking, good for $500 and 3 pro points. I’ll need another good finish to make those worth anything, but thankfully there are a few more chances before PT Vancouver.
If you have any questions about the deck, or anything in general, feel free to comment here or shoot me a line on Facebook. I don’t bite, I swear!