Oh, go fuck yourself.

I streamed some Arena and Magic Online tonight.

I went 4-2 with Eight Drakes. I did terrible with the deck over the GP weekend (I still need to write up the whole GP stuff, but that is coming.) but winning with the deck at least made me feel a little bit less insane. It literally felt impossible over the GP weekend.

Then I went over to Magic Online for some Legacy. Gotta get ANT practice in before Eternal Party 2018.

So I get paired up against Manaless Dredge. Go off game one. Game two I get them with some back to back discard. You might think "But they want to discard!" Ah yes, but if you keep them off of their Dredge cards and unable to choose what to discard, well, they get stuck.

So I get to my turn three and I have the kill in hand. I cast Brainstorm to get things going. I cast Dark Ritual.

They don't respond.

A minute passes.

Five minutes pass.

Eventually the respond. I combo off and win. But this kind of shit is why I'm starting to like Arena more and more. Yes, Magic Online has the timer that almost prevents this, but still, having to wait, what, ten minutes if someone disconnects or is just quote mode, AFK?

Fuck you. Come on.

Sure, something seirous might have happened, but I doubt it. People just want to be buttholes.

Bring on Arena.

ANT Progress

One of the nice things about streaming, even if I don't get many viewers, is that I will get people who will help me with my playing. That was a big help.

Although I went back to review some of my play and I don't talk enough. I went through one thing thinking a lot, but I don't think out loud, and that's not entertaining for viewers.

I still need to find a Magic Online layout that I like. I realized into a Ad Nauseam that my video was covering part of my hand, and rewatching the video I see my chat covered the Storm count. Whoops.

Although I am no designer and don't know what would look good. Or how to get Magic Online to fit the best while still being able to have the stuff available. I’ll have to try and figure something out.

I usually don't go back and watch my videos unless I know something is awesome that I want to make a clip of, but seeing myself play silently for five minutes, even though I won, is eye-opening. I think a lot, I should just vocalize it. That’s probably not only good for viewers, but for helping me think.

That said, I ended the night 3-2. Not only did I get my first match win with Storm tonight, but my first set of prizes. So the event paid for itself and I’m up two tickets. This was my third league with the deck, so ticket-wise I’m down, but knowledge-wise I am making progress.

I played Vintage Magic

So for some reason I was looking at Vintage deck lists. I think the ship has sailed on me having a set of Power 9. But then I looked at Magic Online and they are... Relatively affordable. Well, I mean we're talking $2 or so for a Mox instead of $1000+. So hey, I had a bunch of tickets from some winnings and selling other stuff so I grabbed a list that seemed interesting, had put up some results and didn't require stuff like four Mox Opals.

So I put together this. Is it good? Well, I never got to cast its namesake once, but in my first Vintage game ever I started off by cracking a fetch for an Underground Sea, played a Mox Emerald, cast Demonic Tutor, got a Black Lotus and then cast Tinker to get a Blightsteel Colossus. I had a Force of Will but my opponent scooped.

I did win one game each match but overall went 0-5. I definitely don't know the format well enough to say that I wasn't making terrible mistakes, but goodness it was a good time. A genuinely fun time.

Now I just need to make a game that makes me hundreds of thousands of dollars so I build a Vintage deck in person.

Learning

I went 4-1 with Gifts Storm Monday night. That felt good. I have been playing around with Gifts Storm since September. I feel like I'm constantly getting a little better.

Last night I tried Ad Nauseam Tendrils, affectionally known as ANT. I’m playing a version with Daze because I don't want to buy a Bayou. Yes, I purchased Lion’s Eye Diamonds, but that is neither here nor there. I can't be spending all the money all the time.

This was my second attempt at playing ANT. It was another 0-5 experience.

I’m sure the Daze version has its issues, and I’m also sure I’m just making mistakes or have a weak Sideboarding or sideboarding skills. But it's actually fun to play, which despite my worries that now is not the best time to be getting into ANT, as they say, formats like Legacy are part about knowing your deck and the matchups. So I’ll keep trying.

Maybe I’ll win a match one day. I hope so. Grand Prix Shizuoka is coming up and maybe Grixis Control or Grixis Delver would be the smarter choice, but right now I’m thinking ANT. We've got a few weeks for me to decide.

Dominaria draft is still fun

I don't know if Magic Online has Dominaria draft still, but it's just finishing up a run on Arena, and goodness it's still fun.

I probably wouldn't pay the cash to play in Magic Online, but I sure will trade in my Arena funny money to play it there. Yeah, drafting with bots has its problems. The games are still fun.

They did this "Gaby Greedy Dominaria Draft" where it's still basic drafting but you start with nine cards and can play two lands a turn. It gets kind of stupid with all the good Kicker spells in Dominaria. But stupid fun. I drafted two decks I thought were pretty mediocre but took them to 6-3, one win away from the top prizes.

All the while earning credits for my daily rewards.

I've been playing a lot of Shadowverse on my phone and the thing is I never seem to complete my dailies on that because they are generally tied to winning with certain classes. With Arena, they are tied to either casting spells of certain colors, dealing damage, destroying creatures or the like. Things almost any deck can do. Especially if you're doing sealed.

So I'm liking Arena more and more. I'm getting frustrated with my Windows machine, so I really cannot wait for this to be on my Apple stuff. I also did some Standard practice which was good enough that I sold out of all Standard stuff on Magic Online and dumped the tickets into Legacy and Modern decks. I'll do my practice for those there, but Standard I am pretty sure I'm sticking to Arena from here on out.

Booster Blitz

So I did three ""serious"" tournaments yesterday at the GP, two today and then there was an even neard the end of the day called "Booster Blitz." I wasn't entirely sure what it was, but I signed up for it.

Six ten minute rounds. That's right. Ten minutes. Now, if you're American (or maybe somewhere else, I don't know the exact way these things happen) you've probably heard of Pack Wars. You and your opponent open a pack facedown, shuffle it up, draw two cards and play. Infinite mana, you can deck, and any land card can be cycled for free.

It's fun and sometimes the winner gets both packs, sometimes it's just a more interesting way to open a box without having to do everything a draft entails.

This Booster Blitz is something I've only encountered in Japan.

Rules are you make four three-card decks. Since packs come with lands now, that's 14 cards to pick from. Sometimes you get lands, but you don't want those. So you make four three-card decks and whoever finishes deck construction first goes first.

You and your opponent each point to an opposing deck and that's what gets used. You have all three cards in your hand. There's no decking, you each have five life that's that. First to two wins takes the match.

Now you'll notice there are four decks. Sometimes you use two, sometimes three, sometimes all four. Because drawing is common in this format. You and your oppnent had equal amounts of threats and answers and a blank board is left were you can't do anything. Game's a draw, move on to the next one.

Now this is something people do for fun with packs. Making it into a six round tournament, with a cut to top eight made it really interesting.

My trip was a bit of a roller coaster. Lose, win, lose, win, lose, win. You need three wins to earn two more packs. Anything else got nothing. So eight packs for the $30 entry fee is about retail price for packs so that's not super value, but I got some decent rares and, hey, I had a real good time.

That's worth thirty bucks.

Also, one time I got Izoni, Thousand-Eyed and a Ledev Champion, so I made infinite tokens and got infinite life before my opponent did anything. One time I had Inescapable Blaze, which yes, that would let me win even if I was going second, but my opponent luckily didn't pick that deck.

It's good to remember Magic can be silly fun.

Missing the Obvious

I finished up a Legacy Compative League I started last week when I was still playing Canadian Threshold. I had extra stuff I wasn't using to put together Grixis Delver, but Grixis Control requires some stuff on the pricier end of Magic Online's prices and I don't feel like picking up those copies of Jace, and so on.

Although I do like playing Grixis Control. I'm wondering if I could hock some of the stuff from Canadian Threshold and pick up the pieces for Grixis Control. Anyway. I have Delver. Going to practice that tomorrow night and then decide which I want to run in the side events at the Grand Prix this weekend.

But first there was finishing the League with Canadian Threshold.

I ended up 3-2. I was 2-0 going into tonight where I faced UR Delver, Grixis Control, and Lands. I made slight misplays against UR Delver and Lands which cost me the game. It's funny to me that I beat the deck I want to be playing, but that's Magic sometimes.

The thing about both of my losses is that it was subtle things that caused them. Forgetting to take the fourth Thespian's Stage with a Surgical Extraction led to my eventual demise against Lands. Not that I was in a good position with Choke and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale making me unable to do anything, but having removed Punishing Fire and Thespian's Stage, had I done it correctly I could have probably run my opponent out of time.

But one little click. I might have lost anyway but I gave my opponent the chance.

I also cast Force of Will when I should have cast Daze against UR Delver and that cost the match. I don't know why I did it. Too fast. Not thinking through the plays. But these little things solidified my losses.

And that's part of what makes Legacy so difficult and so enticing. Now I am sure if I kept playing Canadian Threshold I would find myself playing it better and winning more, but after this weekend's tournament, Grixis is just where I want to be. Delver or Control I'm not entirely sure, but I have more fun playing those decks and I think that's what I need to focus on first and then slowly getting those small details as I continue to play.

First time with Legacy Grixis Control

I wasn't feeling good about Canadian Threshold. It wasn't bad per se, but I either didn't get the playstyle or my meta isn't great for it. I don't know. Magic is hard.

Today was the 100th KMC event. Monthly Modern Masters was also going on at the same time, but since I have Storm built on Magic Online I figured I'd get reps in with Grixis Control before playing in the side events at next week's GP.

Although Canadian Threshold had treated me well, I realized I had Grixis Control and decided to put it together. I took the second place deck from this and replaced the maindeck Pyroblast with Bitterblossom. Considering that out of seven rounds only in two did I not side in Pyroblast/Red Elemental Blast, yeah, I guess I can see why the maindeck copy has begun to show up.

Lost round one to Lands. 0-2. Smashed. The deck really need something to hedge against this matchup. It just feels impossible. I talked to a friend who went 6-1 playing Grixis Delver and he lost to... Lands!

Round two was against Death and Taxes and Dread of Night did some work. Take that all your X/1s. I get to push through with Gurmag Anglers and other stuff. Wee.

Round three was against BUG Delver and I was just able to take the advantage and push it. Not a real spectactular match, just really had to work for it.

Round four was Sneak and Show and while my notes show two victories for me, there was lots of me doing my best to keep them at low resources. You know you're in a good spot when they have to chump block with Emrakul.

Round five was Show and Tell and I messed up here pretty hard. I should have fought Show and Tell on the stack, instead I let it resolve knowing they'd get Niv Mizzet, Parun out and I had a Pyroblast. Uh. Why not just fight the Sneak and Show and then they don't get all those draws and pings from Niv Mizzet? Worse case scenario, I tap them out and hope they don't draw a Force of Will for my Jace which can just bounce Niv Mizzet. Silly. Plus Niv Mizzet turns Brainstorm into a Lightning Bolt that can target three thigns and that's just stupid.

Round six was against Bomberman, and this was my first time playing the deck. My opponent seemed worried about having to explain the deck to me in Japanese, but I basically knew the deck even though I had never played against it. Game one I kept him from comboing and pushed through with the zombie fish. Game two was a bit slower but I managed to get Liliana, the Last Hope to ultimate, and with a Pithing Needle on their main creature whose name I forget already, I was able to win. (They goofed and tried to combo and I just pointed to my Needle. Whoops.)

Round seven was versus Grixis Delver and I was lucky they mulliganned twice game one and then game two I was just able to get them with Hymn to Tourach and well timed Pyroblasts and Hydroblasts. Boom.

A friend went 6-1 with Grixis Delver. They also lost to Lands. I'm not sure if I want to go to Grixis Delver. I kind of do because I like Delver. But right now I think I'll stick with Grixis Control. I like having those basic lands since I saw several people packing Assassin's Trophy.

Twenty-third place out of 133 players. Not too shabby for my first day with a deck. I'll take it.

A whole lot

I played nine Guilds of Ravnica prereleases. That’s a lot. Let’s not think of the money. At least I I budgeted for it.

Sealed has a lot more variance than constructed or draft. This is obvious. But the Guild Pack really made it for some pools I saw. Some people couldn’t play their selected Guild due to a mediocre Guild Pack and rares for other colors. Oh well, right?

But coming off of M19 and Dominaria before that, it was fun. I’m looking forward to a sealed PPTQ next week.

I am not looking forward to Standard because it seems like it’s going to be a weird mess. I wish Amonkher wasn’t rotating.

Getting there with practice

Made top 8 of a little tournament today with Canadian Threshold.

Second place actually. Then I lost to the guy I beat round four in the mirror match. Things just didn't go my way that time. Oh well.

It's funny to me how much Legacy doesn't tilt me like Standard and Modern does. Maybe I'm just bad in that way, but I always feel like I have more control in Legacy. Maybe that means I have lots to learn for Modern and Standard. Well, especially with how fast those two formats change.

I am happy with Canadian Threshold but I feel like playing it is holding me back a bit. There's probably just a better deck out there. Or maybe I have more to learn playing this deck as well.

I dunno. Magic's hard. But I feel like I did well today. And that feels good.

Mild Success

Three day weekend. Ex-wife took son somewhere or something. She doesn't tell me much. So I translated and played Magic. Should have done a bit more work on the Four Job Fiesta Infopicture for this year, but I at least got it started. I wasn't in the mood. I try to make that thing entertaining. Entertaining isn't something I feel right now.

So today was a tournament for the end of the year local big Modern tournament wherein you get a bye for winning. Pretty cool. The prize was also two Mox Opals (I literally just had to add Mox to my spellchecker which 1) makes me wonder why it took this long and B) makes me wonder where the word Mox came from.) which is a pretty big prize for a ¥2000 tournament. Sadly (?) I ended up second, which really I cannot complain, but the prize was an Aether Vial, of which I had four. The store owners said I could get ¥3000 store credit, which, not great but I’m up, right?

Plus I played Storm fairly well, I think. Round one was the mirror, and I think my opponent was a bit unlucky but I managed to squeak out the wins when the opportunity arose. Round two was a guy I’m used to being on UB Faeries, but was on UW control. He didn't see a White source until even after using a Field of Ruin to get UU for Vendilion Clique. So I was thinking Faeries, but luckily saw a Snapcaster Mage which made me guess UW. I was right, and unfortunately lost game two to more Clique beats and nothing but draws of air, but managed to pull out the win in game three with an early and pushed Empty the Warrens.

Round three was humans. It ended a draw. I think I did two Gifts Ungiven piles wrong. I forget exactly what I messed up game two, but game three I really needed it to be four pieces of removal, but I went for Past in Flames and he had a Meddling Mage. He couldn't finish me off when we went to turns though.

I got paired down so I faced off against Bant Eldrazi instead of KCI. I won, but the Humans player lost to KCI. I don't know if the breakers would have gone my way if I was tied at ten points with the Humans player. I’d guess not since I got paired down twice in the tournament. But it didn't matter since the KCI player won, and took the tournament. Still, I got some more reps with Storm. I’m still feeling a bit shaky, and it was hell against Eldrazi with Damping Sphere out, but with two Goblin Electromancers I managed to squeak out a win. Playing under that is a bit of a headache, and I had to apologize to my opponent and write out some math to makes sure I could do what I wanted to do. It was a bit intense, involving first casting a Pyretic Ritual into a Desperate Ritual with another spliced onto it, cast the spliced one, Grapeshot, make ten goblins, swing with my two Electromancers, and then my opponent drew for his turn and scooped.

Doing this all under the Sphere was intense. I had a similar match online today where my opponent on Elves had three Spheres out but I managed to get the win because a flipped Thing in the Ice made it impossible for them to build up a defense. Unfortunately, this stream isn't showing in my Twitch history, so I cannot make a video of it unless it somehow shows up. But it was a good match.

So lots of good Storm today. A few mistakes, but I’m still learning. Taking second isn't bad. This was no PPTQ, but people did come to get those Mox Opals, so I can't complain about how I did.

Only one more Modern PPTQ this season as far as I can see, and it kind of bums me out that I only found a deck I actually like this late, but hopefully it sticks around or at least gets some action to stay relevant and I can keep playing it for a while.

Learning

I made lots of mistakes with GIfts Storm today, but I learned a lot.

Land orders matter. You have to think about these. I may not have won the game, but I didn't have a chance because I put a Stream Vents into play tapped instead of a Spirebluff Canal and lacked enough mana the next turn.

I could have won round 3 if I paid attention to my opponent's mana and realized that he was tight on blue and my Wipe Away could have bounced an Island end of turn and Cryptic Command wouldn't have prevented me from winning on round five of turns.

Devoted Company is hard, but I have to try to trade for their early creatures as fast as possible so that I can get the chance to combo.

Mono Red Prison is mean. I think I just got bad beats there.

A 2-4 is not a great record, but I sure learned a lot playing the deck today. And that feels good.

Practice and its makings

I did a lot of translating over the past day. Sixteen thousand characters. Woof. Brain is a little fried, but I still found some time to stream some Gifts Storm online. The more I play it the more I like it.

I only went 2-3 this league, but I definitely felt like I learned a lot. Sometimes it's necessary to cast Grapeshot before Past in Flames because you essentially double your damage. Or do a third and then the remaining two thirds. But I didn't think that way. Lots of math in this. It's so much harder in paper because you have to keep track of so many things.

But I'm learning and I'm having fun. I don't know if this deck is "better positioned" than Mardu, and I am kind of scared to take it to a PPTQ this weekend, but I should get in another league or two before I do and I think I might be ready to try. I'm excited to try, at least.

Japanese Nationals Draft Deck

IMG_0060.JPG

This was my first time doing Competitive Level drafting. You’re timed and you can’t peek at your stuff while drafting. It was kind of intense the first pack, but it felt okay after that. 

Believe it or not I started the draft with a bad rare I don’t even remember, mediocre uncommons but there was a Strangling Spores. Felt good. Ajani’s Pridemate comes next and I’m feeling Black White lifegain. Start grabbing some decent White creatures, but Black is dry. Okay, so I pick some decent stuff in other colors to try to get somewhere, but there’s just no Black. Pack two I see a Heroic Reinforcements, so I’m ready for Red/White. I get passed a Sarkhan’s Unsealing and I think, hm. There are some good red creatures with 4 power. I only see the Volley Veteran, and that’s _pack three_. So I just keep grabbing small things that get out there quick. Trumpet Blast comes along and I’m feeling it. I got two Knights that make 2/2 knights, and the enchantment that creates one. We got a theme here. Pack three I open junk but get passed a Mentor of the Meek and Militia Bugler. Okay, baby, we’ve got a stew going.

I figure my curve is low and with Bugler, Mentor and three Daybreak Chaplains (one from each of packs A, B, and C) I figure I can afford to go with 16 lands and just try to push on through. Pegasus Courser helps two.

Round one I get matched agianst someone who had Sarkhan’s Unsealing and the creatures to use it. Although thankfully he never drew it (he showed me afterwards) but he did have _three_ Daggerback Basilisks and two Rabid Bites. I got wrecked.

Round two was against a White Black deck with that damn Sigeled Sword of Valeron, and my sorcery that destroys tapped creatures isn’t too great. We have two long games until time is getting close and he gets me game two. Game three I just go full Boros Blast on him and take the win.

Round three I get paired against a Black Red deck and I just make tokens and pump them and draw cardds off of Mentor of the Meek and I would say I got fairly lucky, but the deck did exactly what I wanted it to. So I’m fairly happy. I never drafted Red White in M19, but it turned out okay. 2-1.

I probably should have leaned off of White a little earlier and looked deeper into the other colors, but with a good White creature in the Pridemate and decent Black removal I thought I could get somewhere with that, but I didn’t. Had I picked up red a little earlier pack one I might have had a stronger deck, or I might have seen something in Blue or Green but just happened to miss it because, well, like I said this was my first draft with timed picks so experienced I was not. But it went pretty well. I’m happy with that.

One more day of Japanese Nationals to go. 

Audible

Can you hear me? Hahaha. Hrm. Not funny.

It makes me laugh a bit that I know this American football term even though I pay little mind to sports. But that's culture for you! Things just seep in no matter what.

So yesterday I decided to not hit up the Standard Showdown I usually go to on Thursdays in Osaka. Instead of trying to compete for a pack of potentially four very bad cards (My Standard Showdown pulls this cycle have been hilariously bad.) I decided to practice online.

But, oh no! I only have my Standard decks on Arena. That can't be good practice, right?

Well, reps are reps and as long as I think about the plays I'm making that's a good thing. I'm sure people who are playing in Nationals this weekend aren't picking decks because they think they're fun but rather because they think they are good and/or the player themselves is good with the deck. Still, I don't want to spend money on Standard on Magic Online with Arena around. I'd rather practice Sealed/Draft/Modern.

Anyway, I realized I needed to do laundry, so an even better excuse to not leave the house! Plus I'm traveling this weekend so cutting down on costs is smart, right? Right.

So I did laundry. While I waited for it to try at the laundromat I had some Indian curry for dinner. Mistake. I felt so tired after that. It was tasty though. So, so tasty. Worth the 0.8 kg I’m up today - which I’ll blame on water weight! And the carbs. The tasty, tasty carbs.

Anyway. I got home, relaxed for a bit and then decided to go on Arena. But as soon as I looked at my Red Black deck I just felt some dread. I don't like the deck. I don't like playing it. I played Turbo Fog to a 5-0 win in the “Competitive Constructed” on Arena. Which, I know, Arena isn't the true testing grounds but it felt so good.

So do I go with my gut feeling of wanting to play with fun or my gut feeling of wanting to play with proven success?

This is a “grow up” moment (admitted, not an important one in the grand scheme of things), and I don't know which path to choose.

Modern PPTQ Weekend

So I asked for sideboard help on Friday (thanks everyone). Went with 1 Collective Brutality, 1 Hazoret the Fervent, 1 Wear//Tear, 2 Kambal, 2 Ensnaring Bridge, 2 Engineered Explosives, 2 Molten Rain, 4 Leyline of the Void.

PPTQ1: R1 Storm (2-1): Game one I had Pyro, removal and Blood Moon. No discard. His early Opts and fetches Steam Vaults made me guess Storm. I made a mistake and played turn three Blood Moon and he had an Island and stormed me out. Game three a K Command on his Electromancer in response to a Desperate Ritual let him go for a while but eventually had him fizzle out. Rabblemaster took the game from there. Game three I hit him with a Leyline which seemed to surprise him and a Pyromancer took the game. R2 Ad Nauseam (2-0): Game one I strip his hand, start the Rabblemaster beats. Force him to time walk me by playing a Blood Moon that he uses Pact of Negotiation on. He desperately Spoils for a Phyrexian Unlife and dies to it. Game two he starts out with a Leyline of Sanctity. I get a Pyromancer out followed by a Blood Moon and slowly take him down, targeting myself with Inquisitions to get tokens. He Angel Grace's to save himself one turn. Next I Tear his Leyline, Thoughtseize him, Angel’s Grace. He has one more discard it and Bolt him during his upkeep R3 Burn (2-1) Game one he burns me out. Game two I take his Eidelons, and use Brutality to keep my life high enough that a Rabblemaster can quickly take him down. Game three he’s short on lands. I have a Pyro and both of my Molten Rains. He scoops after I blow up his two shock lands. Draw into top 8. Top 8 vs Eldritch Evolution: No idea what this deck was going for other than Reveillark, Wall of Reverence and Sigarda. Long game one where he eventually is just gaining 5 life a turn and swinging with Thrun and Sigarda and I can't keep up. Side in Leylines hoping to stop Reveillark and Ramanup Excavator shenanigans, Bridge for the big guys and Hazoret to block Thrun and get around a potential Leyline of Sanctity. Mull to five (both no land hands), no Leyline, stuck on two lands even after a Faithless looting. He's already fetching every turn for lands off of Excavator. I’m dead. Go and buy myself another Inquisition of Kozilek so I have matching art. (The true key to success.)

PPTQ 2: R1 Tron (0-2): He drops a Tron piece and a map. I Inquisition, he has Karn, Ugin, Ghost Quarter, another Map and a Forest. Karn comes out turn three and demolishes me. Game 2 I lead off with a Thoughtseize. He has Thragtusk, Stirrings, two Towers, Powerplant, Wurmcoil and Sylvan Scrying. My hand has two bolts, so I can handle anything but the Wurmcoil, so I take that. Goblinrabblemaster goes in hard. He never played the Thragtusk, using the green on Ancient Stirrings. I guess he was searching for something else that he couldn't find? Game three he leads with Tron and Map. I play land, pass. He plays Tron piece two. I play Young Pyromancer. He gets Tron and plays Karn, minus on my YP. Here's where I made a mistake. After fetching a Plains my hand was Land, Ensnaring Bridge, Blood Moon, Molten Rain, Bolt, Rabblemaster. I thought it out, decided to go for Rabblemaster for board presence. Should have bolted the Karn, probably, but he had another one.

R2 Merfolk (2-0): Game one a quick Vial gets him going with three (!) Silvergill Adepts but I slowly pick off his stuff and get a Pyromancer, Reveler and quickly overwhelm him when he's tapped out except for his Vial. Swing with all my tokens, he blocks and Vials in a Reejerey. After combat I use Collective Brutality on his Reejerey and then have to remind him all his Adepts die. Bedlam takes it from there. Game two I get a YP, then Rabblemaster. Turn four I Push his Lord while he has a Cursecatcher. He thinks, eventually lets the Push go through, figuring I’m trying to get something else with my remaining Mana. It's a bridge, though, and I manage that with Rabblemaster to not have my Goblins attack until I have a swarm that's too big. Knock him down to three with Bolt in hand, but one in his hand and mana up. Considering it's a Dispel, I let him untap, he plays an Adept, revealing a Lord, Bolt for win.

R3 KCI (0-2): This was my first time playing against the deck and I’m sure I made many mistakes. Turn one Thoughtseize he has 2 KCI, Myr Retriever, Chromatic Star, Mox Opal, Mind Stone, Grove of the Burnwillows. I guess I should have taken the Myr or maybe a KCI? But I took Stirrings. Next turn I top decked another Thoughtseize, took the Opal thinking to keep him off mana ramp, but turn two he goes off. Game two we both mull, I lead with an Thoughtseize. KCI, Grove, Spire, Terrarion, Mind Stone, Pyrite Spellbomb. Take KCI. He goes land, I draw a Wear/Tear and hold Blackcleave, Kambal, KCommand and a fetch. I play the fetch. He plays a Mindstone and Pyrite. I fetch for a shock and Wear his Mindstone hoping to keep him off mana. Turn three I hold up KCommand and pass. He plays Blood Moon. Was not expecting this at all. Blow up his Mox and make him discard. Should have blown up his Pyrite but for some reason I thought it did one damage and not two, which matters because I play a Rabblemaster next turn which he kills. Whoops. Then he just beats me with Myr Retrievers while I Faithless Looting into nothing but unplayable spells and then he EEs his own Myriad Retrievers and combos off. Lots to learn about this matchup.

R4 RG Eldrazi (1-2): Mulligan down to five game one. Drag it out with a Blood Moon but he gets me. Game two I strip his hand down and beat with Spirits, Molten Rain his Eldrazi Temple to win after he tries to stay alive with an Ooze. Game three I mulligan down to five with a Pyromaster, a Bridge and land, Faithless Looting on top. He just accelerates really fast and I’m dead.

R5 Enduring Ideal (2-1) Almost ask to ID just for the PWP and to go home early. I Inquisition a Pyrenean Unlife out of his hand turn one then get in with Pyro and Spirit beats, with a Blood Moon to slow down his Nykthos. hHe plays Ghostly Prison to give himself time. He casts Enduring Ideal, gets Form of the Dragon. I have KCommand and Bolt in hand. I had no idea what to side in. Hazoret for non targeted damage, EE to take care of trouble enchantments, Kambal because he's mostly non-creatures, Molten Rain for utility lands and Wear//Tear because I can get rid of one enchantment? He opens up game two with a Leyline of Sanctity. Then enchantment after enchantment, with a Luminarch Ascension which finally ticks up to four when he has too many Ghostly Prisons and such for me to attack and I die to angels. Bridges come in and I pray. No Leyline after he mulligans game one. I drop a turn three Kambal. He responds with Ghostly Prison. Get in one attack and he casts Gideon’s Intervention naming Kambal, but hey, loss of life is not damage! I get out a Pyromancer which gets named with Runed Halo. Hardcast Souls for some beats, he eventually gets Wrath of God. I put out another Pyro, flashback Souls. Next turn I Tear his Ghostly Prison, swing with the tokens. He draws and scoops. Was one short of having the mana to cast Enduring Ideal.

Ultimately not sure about the sideboard, but I did play a lot of different stuff. Everything ended up being useful at some point, Engineered Explosives probably the least used but still useful. Leyline I’m still up in the air on. Great when it gets there but sometimes you just don't have it and how hard do you mulligan? Maindeck Rabblemaster really helped put on pressure in the games where I needed it, though. Didn't entirely miss either Liliana, but I think having access to them might have proved useful in some cases. Not sure where to take the deck for my next PPTQs or even stick with Mardu or not.

First Impressions of Core Set 2019

Ah Core Set 2019. The puns that can be made. The fact that it is M19 on the cards but it's not actually Magic 2019. Nor is it the nineteenth “core” set… Wait. I guess if you count Alpha and Beta separately and Origins as a “core” set… Well, holy shit. They lined it up. Or something. Who cares.

Pre-release weekend! I started out pulling a Tezzeret, Artifice Master and then proceeding to go 0-4 in the pre-release. Holy shit. None of my rounds lasted longer than twenty minutes either. Let's just say that… things happened each round. But I did have a game where a turn three Manalith led into a turn four Tezzeret and well, I did win that game.

I think I went a little nuts and participated in a total of six pre-releases, but I am playing in GP Chiba, which is M19 Sealed, so, I mean, practice. After dejectedly going 0-4, I went 2-1, 2-1, 1-2, 1-2 and 2-1. Okay so not great but I started to feel like I had a grasp of the format and was trying out different kinds of decks to see what could be done.

Patient Rebuilding is kind of nuts if you land it at the right time. Against someone without enchantment removal or counters you can just ride the value engine of usually drawing two cards a turn or sometimes four or at the very least just your regular one but whoops, is that your Chromium that got put into your graveyard? I’m so sorry.

Those games went well for me.

I started a league on Magic Online, but the lackluster pool has me less than excited to play. I should crank through it though, as I am going to need as much practice as I can get for Chiba. My goal for this tournament is to build a good deck. I don't feel like I did that last year at GP Kyoto, so I hope to go in a bit smarter this time. Results? Let them fall as they may. I want to know that I registered something decent.

Goodbye Grixis, Hello Canada

So. Deathrite Shaman. Banned. As if to make Grixis Delver even more dead, Gitaxian Probe got the axe too.

I get it. They are both ridiculous cards and don't make the format much more fun.

Well, I sure enjoyed playing Deathrite Shaman. But I get it.

I had actually slowly transitioned from "pure" Grixis Delver to a Four Color version, opting for Tarmogoyfs over Young Pyromancers, Abrupt Decays and more Spell Pierces over Cabal Therapies. So when then ban hit I was kind of ready for it.

I only needed a few pieces to go to Canadian Threshold. One of those was a fucking Tropical Island, or Isola Tropicale as the cheaper Italian version I found is named. But hey, cards get sold, cards get bought, the cycle continues.

I played it for the first time last night and I think I found a good home to transition to. Is it going to be hard? Yeah, I've already noticed some plays that I made which were not as good because my options in Grixis Delver for later turns are different from this. But there will be a readjustment time.

It was time to change, though, and here we go. This is my third (okay, technically fourth if you count the Grixis -> 4C shift and fifth if you count the proxied Stasis deck I made for a fun tournament) Legacy deck. It feels weird because I changed so infrequently. Well, small changes. But no big. And this was a big one.

Let's see how it goes.

Letting the emotions win

I went 1-4 during Saturday's PPTQ.

I felt like I had been preparing. Online reps with the deck. A FNM. Reading up on sideboarding. Thinking about the deck.

Before the tournament started, I walked around a bit. Did some deep breathing exercises. I did some "affirmations". I know about the quesitonable "science" behind them, but I am trying to relax and focus.

I played like shit.

Now, there has to be a difference between recognizing that and insulting myself. On Saturday afternoon I was definitely doing the latter. I removed myself from a group of friends because I didn't want to start whining to others. But I did just go home and hate myself. When I played in a PTQ on Magic Online I did not act in a healthy way. I had some bad variance but I was taking it personally.

But that will happen. Because I am human, and I will fuck up.

But I have to acknowledge that I fucked up. And look at what I don't like about how I acted. And think about how I thought. Yes. That is so hard, but I have to think about how I thought beause I was not thinking good thoughts. I was hating myself.

Over a game.

Is the game unhealthy for me? Or am I unhealthy for myself? It might be the latter. You know what? I went 1-4 but I beat the "best deck of the format". I continue to be almost always the only foreigner in these tournaments playing a highly competitive and complex game in a non-native language.

These may not be huge things, but they are things I can look back at and say I did. And I'm not 1-4. I played to 1-4. Next time I can play to 0-5 or 5-0. Because there is always chance along with how I approach things.