Summer of Magic

Let me start by explaining, this summer I decided I wanted to travel a bit for Magic because I decided that the more opportunities I gave myself to test myself, the better I can understand if I wanted to continue playing or move on to something with far less variance. I thought it would also help me step my game up if I was going to continue.

First up was the Grand Prix in Columbus, Ohio. The format was Modern and, despite being dominated by Naya Pod, it was a wide open format which let me play whatever I felt most comfortable with. The deck I had decided to play was WU Tempo. The list looked similar to the deck that Tzu Ching Kuo piloted at the World Magic Cup at least up until the week before I left. Then I had discussed [card]Gifts Ungiven[/card] with my test group. We came to the conclusion that most of the decks in the format couldn’t beat an Elesh Norn on board; simultaneously we were talking about how fast [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] can threaten lethal so I put them together and this is what it got me.

[deck title=Bant Aggro Gifts]
4 Noble Hierarch
3 Birds of Paradise
4 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Vendilion clique
2 Qasali Pridemage
3 Restoration Angel
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
4 Path to Exile
2 Bant Charm
2 Spell Pierce
3 Gifts Ungvien
1 Unburial Rites
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Scalding Tarn
3 Razorverge Thicket
3 Celestial Colonnade
2 Breeding Pool
1 Temple Garden
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Watery Grave
3 Tectonic Edge
1 Forest
1 Plains
1 Island
3 Ethersworn Canonist
3 Negate
2 Krosan Grip
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Kitchen Finks

This deck was really rough on the numbers because I built it three days before the tournament and built the sideboard the night before, but the idea behind it is to stick a turn two Geist to pressure them and/or Gifts Combo them. Having only one bye and the only testing being 6-0ing Naya Pod on Thursday against Morgan who wanted to quit Magic afterwards, I decided to play in a grinder. I lost Round 2 to my opponent’s double [card]Phantasmal Image[/card] on my [card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/card]. It was pretty depressing but was still excited to try my deck in the tournament.

I managed to scrap together an 8-1 record going into Day 2 losing only to WUb Control and beating poor Dan Lanthier who only lost to me and Noah Long on Day 1. This gave me my first Day 2 at a GP and was pretty excited just to play the next day but it didn’t go well as I went 2-4. Before this tournament I had been apathetic about Magic. I have gotten the hunger for more competitive Magic and to bring my game up.

Next on my list of stops was the SCG Open Weekend in Buffalo where I planned on playing the WUr Midrange I’ve been playing for quite a while now:

[deck title=WUr Midrange]
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Blade Splicer
4 Restoration Angel
2 Zealous Conscripts
2 Phantasmal Image
4 Ponder
4 Vapor Snag
2 Gitaxian Probe
3 Bonfire of the Damned
2 Gut Shot
1 Pillar of Flame
1 Dismember
1 Negate
1 Mental Misstep
2 Mana Leak
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Slayers’ Stronghold
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Sulfur Falls
3 Glacial Fortress
3 Cavern of Souls
2 Mountain
1 Plains
4 Island
3 Celestial Purge
2 Combust
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Mental Misstep
1 Negate
1 Dismember
1 Revoke Existence
1 Divine Offering
1 Phantasmal Image

This list changes from week to week and this was my configuration for this particular event, for my most recent build:

-1 Bonfire

-1 [card]Negate[/card]
-1 Misstep
-1 Pillar
-1 Stronghold
-1 Cavern
+1 Lighthouse
+1 [card]Evolving Wilds[/card]
+1 Plains
+1 [card]Mana Leak[/card]
+1 [card]Dismember[/card]
+1 Gideon

This event didn’t pan out so well as I was still exhausted from coming back from Columbus and working non-stop during the week. I went 3-0, 0-2 and decided to go get some rest for the next day. I hadn’t really found the deck for me going into the Legacy the next day. I had a pile I built the night before, which was a UG Monstrosity with [card]Exploration[/card], Crucible, [card]Life from the Loam[/card], and Jace, but was convinced to play RUG Delver that looked like this:

[deck title=RUG Delver]
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Chain Lightning
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
3 Spell Pierce
2 Spell Snare
4 Force of Will
4 Daze
4 Wasteland
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta
4 Submerge
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Surgical Extraction
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Tormod’s Crypt
*I also had two Cards you would never expect in a sideboard

RUG Delver lists are very similar, after trying it out and ending up 6-2 to finish 20th that day I don’t feel like it should ever be playing [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] main. That card was terribad, it’s too mana intensive for this deck and I’d rather have Snapcasters or [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] over it if I planned to play it again.

After that I took a break from Magic as I was travelling for work, showed up to a PTQ in Rochester for two wins to lock in 2-byes for the rest of the year, did so, and dropped. I went to sleep in the car. When I woke up my buddy Maksym was in Top 8 and ended up taking down the whole thing so the trip was worth it. The icing on the cake was the judges were saying all day how Canadians come down there to throw their money away.

My final stop was a Grand Prix an hour outside of Boston which was Core-set sealed. Normally I wouldn’t travel long distances for a sealed Grand Prix unless it’s in Montreal or I’m judging but I had the means/hunger to do it. Somehow we survived the drive despite going through a monsoon in Vermont, almost hydroplaning off the highway, and seeing endless Moose/Bear/Deer crossing signs.

After building my pool I felt really good about being able to Day 2 as I had 2-byes and my deck looked like this:

[deck title=Sealed]
1 Duty-Bound Dead
1 Silvercoat Lion
1 Knight of Infamy
1 Knight of Glory
1 Ajani’s Sunstriker
1 Aven Squire
2 Duskmantle Prowler
1 Battleflight Eagle
1 Griffin Protector
1 Guardians of Akrasa
1 Intrepid Hero
1 Liliana’s Shade
2 Servant of Nefarox
1 Murder
1 Pacifism
1 Public Execution
1 Crippling Blight
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Dark Favor
1 Mark of the Vampire
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Evolving Wilds
8 Plains
8 Swamp

Notable sideboard Cards
1 [card]Rise from the Grave[/card]
1 [card]War Priest of Thune[/card]
1 [card]Ring of Kalonia[/card]

I ended up only going 4-3 including my byes but felt like my draws were very poor all day and had to work really hard for all of my games. Even though I didn’t quite get the result I wanted I still had fun, it’s really hard to go to a Grand Prix and not have fun trust me.

Next up for me is Grand Prix Chicago, my second home and Grand Prix Toronto, my actual home. Hopefully we get more Canadians out to bigger US events. Thanks to everyone who made this summer possible, fun and memorable.

Twitter: @MTG_Reinhardt