KMC 10/14

It’s a national holiday, the typhoon has gone, and it is time for me to cast some rituals.

Round 1 - Miracles

I have a feeling he is on either Stoneblade or Miracles so I lead with a Duress. I take a cantrip and pass. He draws and plays a Counterbalance. I play a Lotus Petal and he blind flips a land. Double Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam and I find myself with a lot of Lotus Petals, LEDs and my third Dark Ritual, but no Cabal Rituals. I pass the turn. He plays the fetch he revealed as passes. I’m able to play around Counterbalance and take him out. Game two he chooses to draw and I strip his hand down and get a clean kill.
Let's go.
2-0 and I’m 1-0

Round 2 - Omnitell

Game one he goes Island, Island, Mountain and plays Narset. In response I cast Ad Nauseam and he scoops to my overflowing hand. I’m not entirely sure what he’s on, and side as if he’s playing Miracles. This wasn’t too bad as he was on Omnitell, but Abrupt Decay was there to help fight his Grafdigger’s Cage and Narset. I didn’t need to do that, though, as I was able to cantrip and ritual my way to a natural Tendrils for ten.
Secrets can be power.
2-0 and I’m 2-0.

Round 3 - Miracles

Well, is this Miracles? I guess it was more Jeskai Mentor? No Counterbalance, just lots of those good, good, Blue and White cards with a little Red splash. It wasn’t too different from round 1, although I had to be more careful about my life total when he was hitting me with the monks.
There’s a reason Monastery Mentor is restricted in Vintage.
2-0 and I’m 3-0.

Round 4 - 4C Phoenix

This was a weird one. Game one I’m not able to get a footing and eventually he swings with two Dreadhorde Arcanists with two bolts in his graveyard. Game two I keep him low on resources and find the combo. Game three I made a mistake. I finally have a chance to make a ton of goblins despite Ashiok tearing apart my graveyard. I duress and see his hand of Dark Ritual, Force of Will and Buried Alive. They had four lands. I took Force of Will, made goblins and then lost to them drawing a spell.
There’s always something to learn.
1-2 and I’m 3-1.

Round 5 - UW Stoneblade

As an ANT player, seeing Plains, Islands and cantrips can lead to some concern, but when you Duress them and see a Stoneforge Mystic, you can sigh relief knowing they have as lot more cards that are not very useful against you. I stripped his hand apart both games and cast Ad Nauseam to get clean wins. Well, game two was not clean. I could have just added Red off of my LED and gotten Past in Flames to win. However I did not reconsider the second Cabal Ritual I drew, and while I did not have Threshold when I first cast them, I would have been fine. I was clearly getting tired.
Time for a breather before round six.
2-0 and I’m 4-1.

Round 6 - ANT

Two more rounds to go, and as I wait I finish my water, write some of this report and take some breaths. Some nearby friends are playing Mental Magic, and that was hard nineteen years ago. I can’t imagine playing it now. My phone buzzes with the notification for my table and I walk over to see one of the other ANT players sitting down. He wins the die roll and casts Duress. We trade discard spells back and forth until I have two Cabal Rituals, an Infernal Tutor, a full graveyard and a dream. Game two he plays a fetch and passes. I do the same. He fetches, plays a fetch and casts Duress. I get my trusty Underground Sea, play two Dark Rituals and cast Ad Nauseam. He looks through my pile of cards and scoops.
Sometimes you have to go for it.
2-0 and I’m 5-1.

Round 7 - Karn Forge

I’m a bit nervous now. I have a potential of making top eight. Now, there is no top eight face off, but they do get prizes. Plus deck lists and names posted on the KMC site. I’ve never made top eight of one of these events, and wouldn’t that be cool? I know my opponent is on some MUD variant, but didn’t know it was Karn Forge until game three. Sideboarding didn’t change, though. I win the die roll and Thoughtseize away his Chalice of the Void. Turn two I play Ad Nauseam and win. Game two he mulligans and I think hard about my hand of four lands and cantrips. Yes, he’s going to be going for a Chalice on one, but with enough lands, most of them fetches, if I can find one of my six sideboard pieces and slash or some artifact mana or other spells I might get there. He leads with Chalice, I see nothing but 1 mana spells and he finish me off with a Karn/Lattice lock. Poor choice on my part. Game three I keep a hand with discard and artifact mana. Go time. I make him discard his Chalice. He quickly gets out a Mystic Forge and thinks real hard about the card on top of his deck. He passes the turn and I cast Ad Nauseam. A crowd is starting to gather. I begin to flip. Thoughtseize. LED. LED. Infernal Tutor. Petal. Tropical Island. Island. LED. Lotus Petal. My opponent scoops. A friend behind me pats me on the back.
2-1 and I'm 6-1.

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I wander around the site and watch the other matches finishing up. A friend on ANT is having a rough time finding a blue source. He loses. Everyone hands in their slips and they begin to announce the top eight. When they get to three, the announcer asks someone else how to read the name. Must be me. They skip my last name and just call me Eric. I go up and get my prize. A Trinisphere. Going to sell that.

As low-stakes as this event is, it felt great. I played well, got lucky, had fun and feel like my recent hard work paid off. Winning is great, but I genuinely enjoyed my games, even the ones I lost. I felt invigorated about Magic in a way I haven’t in a while.

This is how you get ants

I ate some popcorn in my car on the way to a Legacy tournament tonight. Apparently I dropped some as I found it on the seat after the tournament. Free snack! I put it in my mouth. Whatever. It's dry food and from what I remember hearing dry food on dry surfaces tends to not really be "dirty". I pop it in my mouth and suddenly there is a burning sensation. I spit it out and there are a few ants on it. Fuck. Why are there ants in my car?

Prior to this ant disaster, I had an ANT adventure and did well with the deck tonight. Results aside, I felt like this is the best I played with the deck in a while. I was calm, composed and resisted bad urges I had and had clean wins. In the end I walked out with a free entry to a big Legacy tournament next Monday.

I am happiest right now because it was not the wins but the play that I was able to focus on, enjoy and learn from. I haven't felt this good with the deck, well, ever. Am I going to win Monday? I don't care. I want to keep playing like this.

Hareruya Vintage 9/16

Vintage deck lists are so long.

Vintage deck lists are so long.

Thirteen people for non-proxy Vintage. I had made some tweaks before the tournament, adding a White splash and putting in Urza, Lord High Artificer because he makes Saheeli, Sublime Artificer say “Prowess: Put a Mox Sapphire into play”. Seems like it might be good? Plus, that Karnstruct will get big.

Round 1 - Bye

Oh, what a way to start the day. I check the field. A couple of Paradoxical Storm variants, Dredge, Jeskai Xerox, Dark Petition Storm and one Ravager Shops. No games and I’m 1-0.

Round 2 - 4C Control

Game one he gets an early Collector Ouphe and a Bob. I play a little sloppily with my bounce and get locked out. Game two I get a quick combo going and finish him off. Game three he goes down to four cards and I regret my hand not being as strong as it could be. He trades resources with me for a while, but I’m soon able to get Saheeli going and when I drop Urza, that is a lot of mana. Time is called and I cast Time Walk and then get Manifold Key and Time Vault to take all the extra turns and finish him off. 2-1 and I’m 2-0.

Round 3 - Jeskai Xerox

Considering my friend built this deck specifically to prey on the influx of Paradoxical decks, I get dunked on. I Force check him both games and he has plenty of counters. 0-2 and I’m 2-1

Round 4 - Bye

What? Well, after pairings were announced my opponent had to drop. The person who had a bye had wandered off so they just gave me a win. When he returned, we played for fun. He was on Dark Petition Storm and I managed to combo off on him quickly both games. No games and I’m 3-1.

Round 5 - Dredge

Game one, he dredged. It’s infuriating, but at least as a combo deck I might have a chance? I didn’t. Game two I get off Tinker. He uses both of his Bazaars to find a Force, which I have back up for. I get out Bolas’s Citadel Unfortunately, my top is a brick, and I don’t have any shuffle effects. He also had found a Force of Vigor and took care of my Citadel. I’m left with nothing and he goes off. We play a game for fun (I mean, getting to play Vintage in paper isn’t super common) and I manage to combo off and beat him without him having any backup. But, that doesn't count for tournament records. 0-2 and I’m 3-2.

So, getting two byes felt kind of bad since Vintage I’m mostly there to play and not so much to just win. But going 3-2 got me back my entry fee in store credit, so no complaints. Normally Hareruya runs Monday Night Vintage at 8pm, but since we were already there, they were convinced to run it at 5. I sit down against a friend who is on a BUG version of

Round 1 - BUG Dark Petition Storm

Game one I mulligan and lead with a land and Manifold Key. In my hand is a Tolarian Academy, Force of Will, Ponder, and Time Vault. Potential lock incoming. He goes Lotus into Necropotence. Should I have forced it? Likely. I didn’t, thinking that having force backup for potentially drawing an artifact would work. I didn’t and he manages to combo through my hate. Game two he uses Necropotence to get low and misses. He has Abrupt Decay for his Necro, though and after I whiff on Citadel again, he gets one last draw and manages to get his combo. 0-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Jeskai Xerox

Ah, my friend again. Games one and three are similar to the previous tournament. I did manage to get off Tinker game two and Bolas’s Citadel is good even if you need an extra turn sometimes. 1-2 and I’m 0-2.

I’m tired and a little crank at this point so I drop, go eat some curry and go home and pass out. Vintage is fun, but exhausting. I am torn between wanting to build my own thing - I mean Vintage sure is the place to do it - and just taking stock Paradoxical lists and working on my skills like I do with Modern and Legacy. Then again, we might (hopefully) be seeing a Narset and perhaps Paradoxical Outcome restriction soon, so until I see what happens I think it’s best to just mess around and have fun.

Saheeli is powerful, I just haven’t found the right configuration yet.

Modern MCQ at DragonStar 9/15

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In utter pain from fucking myself up by slipping on a train track, I wake up, exercise, drive to a train station and make my way to Osaka. Some friends ask. how I am, and that makes me feel a bit better, even though my knees are killing me.

I sit down for round one and here we go.

Round 1 - Esper (?) Spiritblade (?)

I question if this was Esper because I only saw Black mana sources but no Black cards. Game one I get a turn three kill with them only showing some Aether Vials. Game two I mulligan to six with one land and some cantrips, but they go too fast and I don’t see land two. Game three I fucked up. It’s my turn. I have Baral out, extra Baral in hand. I cast Manamorphose and end up with an Echoing Truth in hand. I cantrip again into nothing, so I cast the Echoing Truth, hoping to bounce his two Vials. I get hit with Force of Negation. Really, since my cantrips were instant speed, I should have responded to the triggers with the bouncing. It snowballed from there and a Spirt Queller carrying a Sword of Fire and Ice does me in. It’s easy to forget new cards. 1-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - 8Rack

Yup. 8Rack. My opponent was a friendly guy who tore apart my hand and killed me with The Rack before I could do anything. Well, game two he died to an Aria of Flame, but game three he was too fast. Storm needs cards to win. 1-2 and I’m 0-2.

Round 3 - Burn

He plays a Swiftspear. I can feel myself squirm in my seat. He plays an Eidolon. Fuck. His turn four he swings, hits me with a Lava Spike and leaves one untapped. He does not kill my Electromancer. I dance around the Eidolon, building up enough storm to Grapeshot his board and then finish the combo. Game two he gets a Swiftspear and then plays Kor Firewalker. It did gain him a chunk of life, but I did not have the tools to make enough goblins soon enough to take the game. The third game, however, was almost exactly like the first. Only this time I felt more secure as he found himself stuck on one land. Burn, baby, burn. 2-1 and I’m 1-2.

Round 4 - Snow Saheeli

He leads off with a Snow-Covered Forest into an Arcum’s Astrolabe and I’m confused. Next turn comes a Snow-Covered Island and Stoneforge Mystic. Wait. Well, that’s Astrolabe for you. Teferi comes the next turn and things go downhill. I make some moves here and there but then he untaps, plays his sixth land, casts Felidar Guardian, blinks a land and casts Saheeli. He points to Teferi. Oh, I know, friend. I know. Game two I keep him off the combo for a while but don’t find the action I need to win. This felt like a betrayal. 0-2 and I’m 1-3

Round 5 - Bant Eldrazi

Game one I get a nice clean win on turn three but games two and three I am dominated by Thought-Knot Seer. I mean, Eldrazi Temple lets them hit on turn two thanks to a turn one Noble Hierarch. And when they get multiples? Yuck. My opponent did get a warning for casting one off of the Temple when they had a Damping Sphere out. It didn't matter because they could have just used the Hierarch as well, but I shouldn’t have missed it. We cannot win them all. 1-2 and I’m 1-4.

Round 6 - Bant Eldrazi

Haha! Revenge! Game one I mow down his field of double Noble Hierarch and Stoneforge Mystic, leaving him with one land and buying me enough time to combo. Game two he goes down to five cards and although he is able to drop a Thought-Knot Seer to take my Baral, my Serum Visions let me scry another one under a ritual, so after my opponent taps out to hit me with a Reality Smasher I am able to combo off for the win. We can win some of them. 2-0 and I’m 2-4.

Round 7 - Twiddle Storm

The first two turns make this seem like a potential mirror match until he cycles a Lonely Sandbar. I play it carefully and Remand some a cantrip of his to have enough cards to go off turn three. Game two I am holding a Remand again but he finds a Lotus Vale and gets out Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Whoops? I did have three bears at this point, however and managed to carefully stack it so I made a lot of mana with Past in Flames on the stack so that even if he wipes out my reducers I can do something. I find a Grapeshot, kill Niv-Mizzet, remand my Grapeshot and then finish him off. That required some fancy play. Winning doesn’t make me the smarter person. 2-0 and I’m 3-4.

Round 8 - UW Control

I felt like I played well most of the day, but this matchup always makes me feel like a dumbass when I get locked out. Geier Reach Sanitarium and Narset just locked me out of my draw step when I ended up being hellbent. That sucked. It sucked hard. I think I could have played this better, but in my defense I was tired, it was round eight, I wasn't playing for any prizes and my knees hurt. Fucking Narset, though. Losing doesn’t make me the dumber person. 0-2 and I’m 3-5.

Not a winning record, but I did win a fair number of games and I felt like I played fairly well. Modern is done for me for the foreseeable future, though. I don't think there are any more events until the end of the year MMM event. I only really felt bad about how I played versus UW control, but I can also barely remember that match so I'll just have to practice some more.

Definitely had fun and am glad that Storm is my deck of choice.

Monthly Modern Masters 9/8

Round 1: Jeskai Control My opponent leads off with a Scalding Tarn into a Steam Vents, so hey, we could be anything. He was Jeskai Control, and game one I got Teferi and Narset locked pretty quickly. I am not sure if they were too familiar with Storm because games two and three I just made sure to get quick Goblins and managed to crush them. That said, Jeskai Control is a tough matchup and I felt good getting my wins in. Starting off well. 2-1 and I’m 1-0.

Round 2: UR Wizards Turn one Scalding Tarn into Steam Vents. Huh. Wait, this time it’s a Monastery Swiftspear. UR Delver? Nope. Delver is too slow. Just a bunch of Wizards. Thankfully I manage to pull together a win game two and game three I play a quick Aria of Flame and manage to get enough damage in. It adds up fast. Feeling good. 2-1 and I’m 2-0.

Round 3: UR Rhinos What. So again my opponent leads off with a Scalding Tarn into Steam Vents but this time casts Serum Visions. Mirror match? Some other sort of deck? Well, my turn three I cantrip a bit, and swing in with Baral for 1 point of damage. Why not? Well, because my opponent casts Electrodominance and makes two Rhinos with Crashing Footfalls. Um… So that was a punt. Next turn the drop As Foretold and I cannot keep up with the Rhinos. Game two is more of the same and I just cannot get anywhere. Was not expecting that. 0-2 and I’m 2-1.

Round 4: Tron Ah, Tron! I can beat Tron! My turn one cantrip finds me nothing and I cannot hit lands. They get a turn three Karn. Oh well. This is what sideboards are for! Except this time I find all my lands and they get a Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and I’m short on mana to go off. Well, you can’t win them all, right? 0-2 and I’m 2-2.

Round 5: Burn Eek. They were just too fast. This was not exactly traditional burn. It was more of Mono Red Prowess without Faithless Looting. I have beaten Burn before, and I am sure I will beat them again, but this time it was too fast. Summer isn’t over yet. 0-2 and I’m 2-3.

Round 6: Merfolk What the fuck. I keep a hand of two lands, three cantrips, Baral and a ritual. Around turn six I’m dead and never saw land three. Game two I flood. Classic “bad beats” tale. Very frustrating. Trying to think of what I could have done wrong. I probably should have sided out Remand? I never had a chance to cast it game two due to their Cavern of Souls and sadly I never had a turn going off to actually use it on my own spells. Screw then flood? Smells fishy. 0-2 and I’m 2-4.

Round 7: Cragganwick Shoot I have no idea what this deck was. I asked at the end and he said “Cragganwick Shoot.” This is Cragganwick Cremator. I don’t know. He just drew lots of creatures and I bricked games one and three. I guess me not knowing how to interact hurt poorly. And to be “”fair””, I was in a bad enough mood that I was not playing optimally. Shot through the heart. 1-2 and I’m 2-5.

That was crushing. Granted, I did have some good games, and it’s interesting how I have gone 2-5 but ended with my wins and that made me feel better. So I really have to think about that. Not exactly the most healthy mindset. I might have done a bit better with some better mulligans, but again some of it was just luck. What can you do? Hopefully I can get over my current “inability” to play Magic Online and get some more practice in before my upcoming Modern MCQ this Sunday.

Tokens!

I was having trouble focusing on things today, so I made some tokens.

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It was pretty easy. Printed out some proxy cards at 7-Eleven. (Fifty cents!) Then I cut them out, glued them on some bulk commons and cut out the names so I can put these on Lazav, the Multifarious.

Why cut out the name? Because Lazav keeps his name. I wrote "Token" on the back of the cards, put them in Perfect Hard sleevs for some extra firmness. I don't know if these are allowed or not, but we'll see! Definitely made things easier for me to remember while I was goldfishing the deck tonight.

Now I just have to practice the deck for Japanese Nationals this weekend.

Modern MCQ 8/31

Time to storm it up! Not many changes after the ban. Pyromancer’s Ascension instead of Aria of Flame. Back up to twelve cantrips main and three Goblins instead of four.

They announce 167 people and eight rounds. The cheapest parking was ridiculous. Oh boy. Let’s go!

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Round 1: Twiddle Storm

My opponent wins the die roll and goes Spirebluff Canal into Serum Visions. Mirror match? Readers of words will notice, no, but hey! I also figure that out when he went turn two Merchant Scroll into an Arcane spell. Turn three he went off and I had no interaction in hand. I put in Pyromancer Ascension to try to go faster and manage to get two clean turn four kills. Modern’s a turn three format still? 2-1 and I’m 1-0.

Round 2: 4C Shadow

Feeling good, my opponent this time leads with a Mishra’s Bauble into a Godless Shrine. Mm, some sort of Deathblade? Nope! Tarmogoyf comes out next turn and then some more shocks revealing the four colors of the deck and Death’s Shadows beat me in. Game two he starts off with a Leyline of Sanctity, which is not a huge deal, but then he proceeds to rip my hand apart with discard and my Pieces of the Puzzle nets me nothing good. I’m afraid of other people’s shadows. 0-2 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3: Jeskai Control

Turn five Saheeli-Felidar Combo gets me game one. Wait, what year is this? Not much I could do when Teferi, Time Raveler is on the board. Game two they just cleanly had the hate and damn, it hurt. I think I have something to talk about with my therapist. 0-2 and I’m 1-2.

I need some deep breaths and some meat. I grab a little snack and a drink from 7-Eleven, run into some friends on my way back and chat. I feel better, realizing that I am not the complete failure that my brain is trying to tell me I am. I get back and sit down for a bit before the next round.

Round 4: Goblins

I play around their removal both games and overload them with spells. Making their removal only help me win faster feels good. Although win or not, I do believe I played well these two games and that is what I should be focusing on, not my record. Habits are hard to break. 2-0 and I’m 2-2.

Round 5: Burn

I go to my table and there’s a notice telling me to go somewhere else. I’m playing against a guy who tells me he doesn’t have the use of his right arm and so has his setup for holding his cards at a different location. It’s nice to see the tournament support his needs. Game one he burns me out real quick. Game two he has a slow start and I get a turn three kill. Game three I’m not liking my chances but he mulligans and kept a one land hand. I’m able to capitalize on this and a nice clean combo off. It feels good to beat a bad matchup. 2-1 and I’m 3-2

Round 6: Tron

He wins the die roll and leads with an Urza’s Tower. Hey! Here’s the easy matchup I was hoping for! He gets natural turn three Karn and I’m not fast enough. Game two, however, I am and get a quick and clean kill. Game three gets interesting. I open up two lands, an Electromancer, Cantrips, Rituals and two Remands. He leads with a Relic of Progenitus. He then plays his turn three Karn which I remand. I play my Electromancer and third land. He plays Karn. I Remand it and draw Baral. I untap and draw Remand three. He tries Karn again and thanks to Remand and Baral’s looting I have three rituals, Gifts Ungiven and Past in Flames. The next turn I lead off with a ritual which he thinks about and allows. I cast Past in Flames. He thinks hard and sets off the Relic. Go time. Ritual, Ritual, let Past resolve. Whoops! I should have cast Gifts as well. My mistake, but I'm still able to get a Gifts pile and have enough mana that he has no option but to scoop. Even if you are winning there are things to learn. 2-1 and I’m 4-2

Round 7: Dredge

This round was intense. Game one he gets me down to seven and I start to combo off. I have nineteen Storm and he’s at fifteen so I flashback Grapeshot. He cycles Forgotten Cave and dredges two Creeping Chills. Luckily I wasn’t out of mana or cards, but cantrip into about five lands before I hit another Gifts and get Grapeshot and PiF to have him scoop. Game two he goes hard and absolutely crushes me. But I notice he doesn’t seem to be playing Leylines. So I put in Pyromancer Ascension and he starts off real slow. I’m not sure what he had but he just pokes at me with an Insolent Neonate for a couple of turns until I manage to get a Pyromancer Ascension active and create 24 Goblins, Grapeshot him down to three and pass. He draws his card, activates Insolent Neonate and scoops. Sometimes mysteries remain mysteries. 2-1 and I’m 5-2.

Round 8: Grixis Death’s Shadow

I somehow managed to scry cards backwards and cantrip into the exact card I did not need first and he kills me with a Temur Battle Rage on his Death’s Shadow. Game two he casts Stubborn Denial on my Opt, which makes me think he must have a hand full of them or expects me to be low on lands. To be fair, Storm can rely upon its cantrips pretty heavily. That’s not the case this time and I basically make him have two Stubborns for Past in Flames. Oh yeah I got lucky off of a Manamorphose draw as well, but who's counting? Game three I have a beautiful hand. He mulls down to six, contemplates keeping to the point where I almost call the judge on him for taking so long. He takes another mulligan and quickly keeps. Eek. Back to back Thoughtseizes ruin my day and then I cantrip into nothing and he finishes me off with three Death’s Shadows and a Gurmag Angler. It felt bad. I sign the slip and put my head down on the table. I know I’m being childish, but my emotions are just flaring up. I don’t know if he had removal for my second Goblin game one, but fuck, I did not give myself the chance to win that game. Emotions are powerful. 1-2 and I’m 5-3

I’m out of the running for prizes and see that I got 34th out of 167 players. However, two friends from my store are top eight. I watch them unfortunately both get taken down by the same Burn player and we head out. I grab some curry and drive home, falling asleep as I hit the bed.

I feel like I mostly played well. Storm still has problems with Death’s Shadow which will likely be increasing for the time to come, but there was also so much Tron and other big mana decks that I felt pretty good, all things told. I have another MCQ in two weeks and hopefully I’ll find the time to get some practice in and decide on a sideboard before then. 
Emotionally? I have a lot to work on. It’s just a game and I need to work on better controlling my emotions in the moment. Now? I can easily reflect on it and see what I did wrong or poorly, but at the moment? It’s real hard. And I need to work on that.

Eternal Weekend Asia 2019 - Legacy

I arrived in Yokohama the night before the tournament, still jetlagged but ready to play some Magic. Some quick searching revealed that there was a Legacy tournament going on nearby. I packed up my stuff, walked for a while and after losing about eight liters of water, made my way to a shop with lots of people enjoying Legacy. I went 2-1, which was enough to earn my entry fee back in store credit. I picked up some foil Barals to get Gifts Storm ever so closer to full foil and went to sleep. Got up, drank a cup, ran a comb across my head and headed out with my freshly printed decklist from a 7-Eleven to the tournament site.

Ten rounds, they say. It is going to be a long one.

Foil Flusterstorms and Thoughtseizes were acquired after the tournament, but still loving this pile

Foil Flusterstorms and Thoughtseizes were acquired after the tournament, but still loving this pile

Round 1: BUG Alluren

Game one they lead with some snow lands and Leovold. I get beat down while drawing the mana half of my deck. Hm. I side expecting them on BUG control, and open with a Duress to see they are clearly on Alluren. Oh well, that just means I have an unnecessary Empty the Warrens in my deck. I think about taking Carpet of Flowers or Veil of Summer. I took Carpet to slow them down, but they got another and I was just in a bad position.

Snow in August.

0-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2: 4C Control

I’m paired against a foreigner who actually knew one of my GP acquaintances, and we ended up eating steaks after the tournament. Good guy. Game one I Duress away a Wrenn and Six which stalls him enough to let me combo off.

Game two I have this hand after one mulligan:

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As practical as I try to be, I am far too superstitious. I believe I’m fucked. Still, I keep, put a Veil on the bottom. He leads with a Thoughtseize and takes Ponder. I topdeck a Preordain, start digging but end up just drawing rituals and artifact mana. Then he taps down to get aggro and I get my Swamp. I start the ritual chain, he hits me with a Surgical to get me off of threshold, but I am able to do enough on the stack to get a lot of mana and cast a big, juicy Tendrils.

Every ANT hand is a keep.

2-0 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3: Dead Guy Ale

This is an interesting matchup that I do not have much experience with. The deck has lots of good white and black hate, but lacks the counterspells to truly keep me on edge. Game one I go for Ad Nauseam and win. Game two he goes real aggro, real quick and I don’t know what hit me. Game three we both mulligan and I have enough to get an end of turn Ad Nauseam against him and win by avoiding Surgical Extraction with more fancy stack play.

The stack is for lovers.

2-1 and I’m 2-1.

Round 4: Sneak and Show

This round was sadly not much of a match for my opponent. I have to try and remember that it happens to everyone. Game one once I figure out he’s on S&S I’m able to push through any potential hate and get an easy win. Game two he mulligans down to five,which _can_ be scary from the deck,but he is struggling to do anything and I get a clean combo off.

Luck is a thing.

2-0 and I’m 3-1.

Round 5: Death and Taxes

If I play game three against D&T it will be a non-game. Ugh. I know,I know,bias,etc.,but it always feels that way. Anyway,this is a great example of hubris,etc,because game one I get a quick Ad Nauseam into a kill and side into a beautiful hand and he mulls twice. I have two lines on my turn two. I could go for a bunch of Goblins or attempt the kill,but I’m dead to a Surgical. Three cards in hand,but he did mull twice so what could they be. I go for goblins but he ends up getting Batterskull into play and Wastelands and Thalia make me unable to play. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. He fucked up by not dropping turn two Thalia and instead decided to Port me. Fine. But _I_ fucked up by not spending my blue mana on a Brainstorm and potentially finding Discard or just having enough of a storm count that my number of goblins might have gotten me the win. See,when he played that Port and passed,I went into auto-pilot. I saw the line,ignoring the Brainstorm in my hand. Whoops. At least I realized where I messed up,right? Game three,like I said,was just a disaster.

Learn from your mistakes.

1-2 and I’m 3-2.

Round 6: UW Stoneblade

There are some moments of beauty,such as when you do not draw lands and your opponent counters two of your brain storms only for you to win by tutoring for a second LED and still having another tutor to combo off. That was a beautiful game one. Game two I play the “What’s the chance he topdecked a Force of Will?”game and lost. Game three I pass the “Do you have hard permission”test.

Batterskull is only good when it gets to attack.

2-1 and I’m 4-2.

Round 7: Grixis Phoenix

I lose the die roll and think I’m playing the mirror until turn two he follows up his LED and Dark Ritual with Buried Alive. But I have the turn two combo kill. Game two goes similarly,but I Brainstormed into three lands,and that’s not going to make for a turn two kill. Game three,ugh. Okay,I realized my mistake,but damnit. I for some reason,with two lands,three Dark Rituals,Thoughtseize,Infernal Tutor and LED put Tutor then LED back on top of my deck after Brainstorming. No! Tutor on top of land! That would have led to a clean kill. Instead this lets them rip my hand apart with Cabal Therapy,and I get beat down by Phoenixes.

Take that extra moment to be sure of your decisions.

1-2 and I’m 4-3.


Round 8: Merfolk

I’m tired at this point,but when they lead on Island and I’m holding three fetches,three cantrips and two discard spells after I draw for turn,I’m feeling pretty good. I lead with a cantrip and they play Chalice of the Void on 1. Whoops. Then turn three they play True Name Nemisis and I know what they’re on and I’m also dead. At least they don’t know what I am playing? When I drew land four I scooped,and maybe I shouldn’t have. I was in a tough position but maybe I could have drawn into something? Fetch,cast stuff into Chalice,maybe draw Cabal Rituals and win? Probably. I let my emotions get ahold of me and I scoop and side into game two. Which I win handily. Game three,however,my hand is just too slow for theirs and I get demolished.

Play out your games.

1-2 and I’m 4-4

Ending 6-4 is the dream now,but I’d be happy with 5-5.

Round 9: Twelve Post

Ah, never mind. They lead on Cloudpost. I make them discard a Chalice,but they play Vesuva,Monolith,Trinisphere and then Karn,the Great Creator locks me out. Game two is more of the same except they see my hand of cantrips and mana with a Sorcerous Spyglass and name Polluted Delta,which I flip off the top. Then they play Karn,get Mycosynth Lattice and wow,that’s a fun situation to be in.

Fuck Karn.

0-2 and I’m 4-5.

Round 10: Mono Black Reanimator

This is always a game of “Who has it?”and boringly enough,I had it. I mean,I am happy,but it’s not exactly exciting. What is interesting is I am not too sure how to sideboard. If anyone has thoughts,please let me know. I boarded similarly to Pox but that could have been wrong. Didn’t matter much other than me being glad I had Veil of Summer.

There’s always something to learn.

2-0 and I’m 5-5.

I go chat with some friends and then go get the aforementioned steak. Four hundred grams of glorious beef wasn’t enough,though. I take my sweaty ass back to my hotel and pass out very quickly.

ANT did not feel like a bad choice for this tournament. Lots of my losses were little mistakes that I made. I need more practice. Why I do not play more is another story for another time,but I was very happy with my day as I went to sleep with dreams of Vintage the next day.

Busting on 21

スクリーンショット 2019-05-23 15.43.27.png

I have been playing 4C Dreadhorde in Standard recently and been having, well, decent success. Winning lots of games. Feeling confident. Loving the decision making of deciding what card to name with Tamiyo, Collector of Tales.

But Command the Dreadhorde is a hell of a card. Mirror matches can come down to who can “combo off” first, and milling with your Tamio can help your opponent.

Round five in this Sunday’s MCQ I was looking to go to time for the second round in a row. I try to play at a decent speed. I might play too fast. But this was the mirror match, and while I quickly scooped game one and game two did not take that long, game three was an absolute mess.

Getting a draw was looking to be the “best” outcome for me. I might have just scooped to my opponent. Judges were watching us and this makes me nervous. I don't know why it makes me nervous, but it does.

The round ends. I finish turn zero, not accomplishing much. My opponent takes turn one and gets a Command the Dreadhorde. I untap and try to find a Duress. No such luck. I pass the turn.

My opponent casts Command and looks through our graveyards to decide what to take. I think about my options. Maybe if I get Tamiyo then I can get back a Ritual of Soot, clear the board and not die. Maybe. I’m half tempted to ask the judge if I can look at the top card of my deck to see if I should just concede or not. I know I can’t, but my opponent was taking quite some time. I don't blame him. It's complicated.

The judge tells him it's about time to make a decision. My opponent has a number of cards selected. The judge asks if those are his targets. My opponent says yes. I say it resolves. (I don't have counterspells, anyway.)

My opponent counts the converted mana cost of the cards. Twenty one. He looks at his life total. Twenty one.

I put my face down on the table, trying not to laugh. I’m beet-red. I feel like shit. This is not how I want to win, but I did win. A friend congratulations me. My opponent did make a mistake after all.

It didn't feel good, and my opponent likely would not have made this mistake if not under pressure of time. Then again some people make this mistake on Arena because they miscount. I probably will do it too sometime.

I did go on to lose the next three rounds. So, karma?

It happens at midnight

I'm sitting at a store in Osaka, seven minutes at the time I'm writing this to the midnight pre-release of Ravnica Allegiance. I might be too old for this shit, but gosh darn-it, I'm going to have some fun.

It's hard, though, because I always end up doing badly at pre-releases. I don't know what my problem is, and I haven't gotten better in two years.

That's a bit disheartening, but hey. I am playing a game. That's good enough.

Southern Osaka Legacy at Anoa Design 2019.01.14

The store I go to most often seems to be running a league for Southern Osaka. I’m kind of embarrassed that I don't entirely know the deals, but what it meant was that there was a Legacy tournament going on today and a chance for me to play more ANT.

Round 1 - Grixis Delver

I just got ran over these games. I think I'm not entirely sure when I should be using my discard because I never felt like I had a chance to go off. Then again game one I felt like I should be proactive because this guy is sometimes on Miracles and a Counterbalance would make my life miserable. He was on Grixis Delver, though, and I just never found a chance to do anything. 0-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Aluren

I start thinking about my use of discard and play a little more cautiously. I Duress my opponent and see two different Harpies. Aluren! Also, the coast is clear so I go for it. Game two I hit him with a Duress and he has a Shardless Agent and Leovold. For some reason he decides to go with the Shardless first. I take this opportunity to double cantrip my next turn and when he taps out to for Leovold I have a Thoughtseize which doesn't get him a counterspell off of Leovold and despite him having two Surgical Extractions to try to keep my Cabal Rituals from Threshold, I’m able to get storm high enough when I hope he isn't siding Mindbreak Trap after he draws a bunch off of Leovold. The Tendrils get him. 2-0 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3 - Turbo Depths

Funny enough, this guy was one of the first ANT players I ran into. He had loaned his ANT deck to, funny enough, the guy who won the tournament. Spoiler: That wasn't me. I did at least get to ask him some ANT questions after the match and he gave me some good pointers. Game one he gets a turn two Marit Lage but I’m able to combo off. Game two he discards and casts Surgical Extraction on my Tutors. I try, but I can't get anywhere. Game three was interesting. He casts Duress. I Brainstorm into some lands and another Infernal Tutor. So here’s my dilemma. Do I put both Tutors on top but not have a way to shuffle my deck, put a Tutor on top and hope he doesn't have Surgical Extraction, or leave both Tutors in my hand and put Ad Nauseam on top, hoping he takes a Tutor but doesn't have Surgical Extraction and lets me keep them all. Or do I put other stuff on top? I opt to put both Infernal Tutors on top and lose the Ad Nauseam. After I draw my two Infernal Tutors he casts Lost Legacy naming them. Hey, at least I get to draw two cards! I was worried he'd name Tendrils and I’d lose the game. But I was able to cast a Past in Flames and generate enough of a Storm count to try my luck at the Ponder and Brainstorm game and I find Tendrils of Agony. 2-1 and I’m 2-1.

Round 4 - Sneak and Show

Game one is classic who can combo first. I do. Game two I try for a risky line with LEDs and flashing back Past in Flames but he has more counters than I do. Game three I start off by discarding his key cards and eventually I see he has two Emrakul and a Griselbrand so if he top decks Show and Tell or Sneak Attack I am dead. We both cantrip for a while and eventually I am able to cast Duress, see he has nothing, drop some Petals and LEDs, cast Chain of Vapors and sacrifice my lands to bounce them all back, get more store and cleanly hit him with lots of Tendrils. 2-1 and I’m 3-1. And that's good enough for top eight.

Top 8 - Maverick

I’m fourth place going into top eight so I get to play. Opening hand has no lands. Ship it back. Six cards, no lands or Petals to try to cantrip myself into something so I go to five cards. It's mediocre, but I keep hoping to use my discard to buy some time. My opponent seems to top deck whatever I make him discard and I don't have time. Game two we both mulligan down to five. Even playing field. Or so I think. I scry a Thoughtseize to the top and play my fetch. He leads with a Noble Hierarch. I draw, fetch, and Thoughtseize to see a Wasteland, Choke, Ethersworn Canonist and Knight of Autumn. Maybe I should have fetched a basic Swamp, but with the few cards in hand I felt like I had to risk it. Every choice seems bad to me. Had I taken the Choke I might have had some time, but I took the Canonist and he top decks, Wastelands my Underground Sea and plays an Ethersworn Canonist. Well, that’s Magic. 0-2 and I’m out.

I had to take a moment after that round and bite my tongue. I wanted to whine. I wanted to scream. Why, oh why do I finally make a top eight and just have two pointless games? Where is the luck? Why isn't this fair? Oh, wait. It is fair. I had my chances and got some luck and worked hard to get those wins I got earlier in the tournament. This time it didn't work out. Frustrating? Yes. Part of life? Yes. Luckily I’m at a store with friends so I just take a breather and watch the remaining matches. I make sure to watch the other ANT player and I don't see them take any lines that surprise me, and they win the tournament. So I feel a bit better about my plays and realize it was just some bum luck.

The tournament is over and a bunch of us regulars go out for dinner. It's a good time. I ended up seventh place and my prize wasn't great, but it also wasn't an expensive tournament. Whatever. I wanted to practice ANT and I felt like I got some excellent practice in.a

Hareruya Legacy 2019.01.13

Hareruya Cup 2019.01.13
 Seven rounds of Legacy! Let's go!


Round 1 - Tinfins

This guy and I seem to get matched up all the time. It's fine, because he's a good guy, but still kind of a ridiculous amount. Game one he Thoughtseizes me and takes Duress. I top a Dark Ritual and combo off. I almost conceded before realizing I forgot to write down the loss of two life from Thoughtseize. I had him, but almost thought I didn't. Whoops. Game two he ripped apart my hand and then got the combo. Game three I had a chance to Tutor for Ad Nauseam but somehow forgot about the card. Although, at the time I didn'trealize the way to win versus Children of Korlis. I at least learned afterwards. I think my side-boarding for Tinfins is wrong. 1-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Sneak and Show

Game one I rip apart his hand and get a quick combo. Game two he plops out Emrakul turn three and I try to go for it but fizzle. Game three he mulligans down to three and starts with Leyline of Sanctity. I’m looking at two Thoughtseize and a Duress. I thought having discard against a three-card hand would be good! He gets a Show and Tell for Emrakul but the next turn I don’t forget Ad Nauseam. I ritual off, cast Ad Nauseam. He has no cards in had. I go down to six but I get two LEDs, a Tutor and Past in Flames. I ritual back up, Tutor for a Chain of Vapors and he concedes. 2-1 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3 - Grixis Delver

Ah, Grixis Delver, my old friend. Game one I rip apart his hand and win. Game two he gets a quick start and I cannot find a single discard spell. I try to go off on my last possible turn but he has Force of Will. Game three he makes me discard Infernal tutor and then casts Surgical Extraction. I try to stay alive and go off hoping to Past in Flames into cantrips into something, but fizzle. 1-2 and I’m 1-2.


Round 4 - Mono Black Reanimator

Another player I run into often at my "local" store I do. He's been playing Mono Black Reanimator as long as I've known him. So it was no surprise when game one I am face-to-face with a turn two Iona. Scoop. Games two and three I make it through Leylines of the Void. I also was lucky to dodge Surgical Extraction. 2-1 and I’m 2-2.

Round 5 - Miracles

Afterwards my opponent said if Miracles makes it to turn four they have a good chance of winning. I'll have to remember this. Game one I took in no time. Game two I cast Duress to see two Vendilion Cliques and I know I’m in trouble. Didn't get there. Game three I manage to get the right mix of discard and rituals to combo off. 2-1 and I’m 3-2.

Round 6 - Miracles

Wait a minute. Well, game one goes long and no, I don't win it. There may be something to that previous advice. Game two is a clean and easy win. Game three we don't have much time and I go for it a turn too early. I cast Duress and it gets countered. I should have feared another counter. He had it. Had I waited he might not have dropped his Monastery Mentor. I might have at least gotten a draw or had a chance on my last turn if he tried to get me in time. Either way, I took a risk and it did not pay off. 1-2 and I'm 3-3


Round 7 - Grixis Control

Game one he stumbles on lands but I can't take advantage. He gets rolling and Bolt-Snapcaster-Bolt brings me in range of death. Game two I made a big mistake. I managed to get a turn where I could go off. I have a huge graveyard. I cast Duress. He's got Marsh Casualties, Force of Will and Surgical Extraction. Plus five mana up. I take the Force. I start the combo and he casts Surgical on my Infernal Tutors. That's okay. The Storm count is high. If I flashback my cantrips into either Tendrils or Empty the Warrens then I can win. All I have to do is Duress away the Marsh Casualties. I cast a cantrip, look at the three cards, say “Shuffle” and my opponent says “Okay”. I grab my deck and as soon as the cards get put in we both go “Wait.” I had cast Brainstorm, not Ponder. Whoops. Judge call. It takes some time. In the end we both shuffle my deck and I draw a card. I don't feel great about this, but we both messed up and the card didn't help. I flashback Ponder and find Tendrils. Game three I start ripping apart his hand. He casts Hymn to Tourach but I have Flusterstorm. I have two Thoughtseizes and hit him back to back. He has double Force of Will, Jace the Mind Sculptor, and a Surgical Extraction. I take Jace and the Extraction. Between the Ad Nauseam and Infernal Tutor I have along with the mana, I think I’m good. He top decks Jace. I know he has Force of Will, so I try to sandbag but Jace gives him enough card advantage and I lose. 1-2 and I am 3-4.
 My round seven Thoughtseizes might have been wrong. Maybe too hasty. Maybe I take a Force, next turn cast again and try to go for it. I felt bad about the Brainstorm fuck-up, though, so I don't feel too bad about losing.
 I learned important things and put them to practice soon after. Sometimes you need Ad Nauseam. It's never fun, but the deck needs the card. I was hoping for a positive win record, but in games I was 10-11. Not too shabby. I’m excited to play more Legacy, and that's a good thing.

Friday Night Magic 1/11/2018

So, in the end I decided to go to FNM tonight. There were a lot more people than I was expecting, and I only went 1-2 but at least I had some fun games.

I did have two completely non-games, but who wants to hear me complain, right? Actually, I think I did a decent job at controlling my emotions. It’s an uphill battle, though.

Not much to talk about the deck, though. I played the Naya Midrange that I took to the PPTQ last weekend and I continue to be unimpressed. That’s it for this Standard, though. My one worry is that with the next set giving us all ten shocklands, the meta is going to be so wild for a while and I don’t have any desire to build decks. As much as I love Magic, deckbuilding is boring to me. I don’t want to think of an idea and make it. I want to play the game with the best stuff that I can.

So maybe it’ll just be some drafts, Legacy and Modern (barf) for the forseeable future?

I am excited for the next set, at least.

Standard PPTQ 1/5

Thirty-three people puts us at six rounds. Here’s to a long day. As much as people have been talking up this Standard as being good, there is no deck that I have liked. I spent the majority of the format on various Phoenix and Drake decks and I honestly could never do much with them. Chromatic Black was fun but I wanted to take this one seriously. So I sleeved up a Naya Midrange deck I found online and after putting some reps into the deck on Magic Arena I felt good enough to take it to the PPTQ.

I arrived at the store with my decklist already printed. Not something I commonly do, but I think it helps me not try to make last minute changes. I name the deck “Knights in White Gruul”. That might be one of my best ones yet.

Round 1 - Chromatic Black

My mind like to pretend it is karmic justice that I give up on a deck only to lose to it round one of the next tournament I’m in. Of course this is nonsense. My losses were due to two misplays. Game one I went through pretty quickly and actually showed now Green. This might have been an advantage. Unsure. Game two I mulligan down to six and play to avoid wipes. Alas, his removal is strong and I drop a Carnage Tyrant when he has a Plaugecrafter sitting under Karn. Whoops. Game three starts off with another mulligan. He gets a quick Karn which I punch through, but make the mistake of giving him a Cast Down instead of a Swamp. See, I’m thinking that I can stifle his mana a bit for Cabal Stronghold, but this bites me in the ass later when my two Shalais are taken care of and my Rekindling Phoenix gets hit with two Cast Downs. A kicked Josu Vess drops and I’m dead. I did die with three lands in hand, so my options were not exactly strong, but I can at least pinpoint the mistakes that cost me the game. I am actually unsure if this was Chromatic. I never saw a Chromatic Lantern, although I did see Treasure Map. Didn’t matter. 1-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Treasure Red

Is this Big Red? I don’t know. It’s Treasure Maps, Karns and good Red spells. Kind of exactly what this Naya Deck was designed to beat. Game one I blew up his Treasure Map with a Knight of Autumn and his mood significantly changes. I slowly build up knights and History of Benalia helps me win. Game two I keep a risky hand. But two lands, removal, a two drop creature, an Ixalan’s Binding, a History of Benalia and a District Guide make me think if I get land three I’ll be dropping my History and getting there. And I did. I start to wonder if this deck wants Treasure Maps of its own. I don’t know where they would fit, but the District Guide gets me a mountain so I have double Red for the Phoenix I drew. Two Histories, Shalai and all the other junk just puts enough pressure on him when the Binding locks him out of Treasure Maps. 2-0 and I’m 1-1.

Round 3 - Treasure Red

It is matches like this that make me wonder how decks are even capable of winning. It was a classical “draw the wrong half of your deck” situation. I had single removal game one when he filled the board game one and sweepers when he had single threats game two. As I write this words I am so fucking angry. And I know that is unhealthy. Part of it is knowing that my PPTQ year, and I hit them pretty hard in the past year was nothing but three top 8s, and nothing higher. And my depression tells me that it never will be. (Not to mention PPTQs aren’t a thing anymore. I guess we should soon find out what will be replacing them.) I know my depression is wrong in that it cannot predict the future, but I’m just angry. It’s just a game. And it is unhealthy to tie my success in a game to my happiness, but I don’t know how to not do that. 0-2 and I’m 1-2.

Round 4 - Jeskai Control

The deck did what the deck was designed to do. Jeskai couldn’t keep up with what I was doing. I just kept putting on enough pressure that I would eventually drop a Shalai and they would have to counter it, but die to my attack, or not counter it and be unable to use Settle the Wreckage. Both games came down to that.

Round 5 - Drakes

Game one was a good back and forth but me eventually punching enough damage through. Game two I sat on a Lyra a bit too long, but I was not in the position to throw her into a Drake with potential Dive Down backup. Eventually Ral got me. Game three I flooded. Happens.

Round 6 - Drop

I normally don’t drop from events but going home and playing some Magic Online felt like a better use of my time. I did feel like a bit of a jerk because I had to run out in order to make my train, but I did not want to wait around. I have to be more careful about how I spend my time.

I am not happy with how emotional I got. I mean, emotions are fine, but I let myself get way to happy and sad from my results. I have to work on this. It was at least a fun little deck to end the Standard season with, but bring on the next Standard. Hopefully I can find something I really like.

Missing Out

The past two weeks are the first in a long time that I have not attended Friday Night Magic. The only other times I can think of are when I’m somewhere for a Grand Prix. I miss going out for these quite a bit. There have been holiday events lately so I have gone and seen friends. I also hit up several tournaments over before the New Year. Plus there's Arena and Magic Online.

It is a bit cheaper to stay home but... It was a ritual of sorts. I am not a religions man, but Friday Night Magic was a thing I went to. With my car in a questionable state, I am afraid of driving it out there and then getting stuck.

I would get home late and my sleep would get messed up. Perhaps this is not a good thing. As far as earning Planeswalker Points, well, it was never great. I could get anywhere from one to ten because these are not big events. Not to mention it took three hours of driving. Being there from seven pm to one am was just a little bit more time spent playing than driving.

Which I knew all the time but still did because I liked it. But there were parking fees, and gas, and the tournament itself. Not that I have particularly enjoyed these Friday nights I have stayed at home.
 I don't know. This has given me something to think about but I don't know what to do.

Hareruya Osaka Modern 12/31

New Year’s Eve!

Round 1 - Walls?

Don't know this deck. But I was not able to combo game one before he got a metric fuck-ton of walls and played Arcades. I have no idea how to side, but I’m expect graveyard hate and maybe Leyline of Sanctity. I was right about the Leyline. 0-2 and I’m 0-1.

Round 2 - Dredge

Game one starts with a Shriekhorn. Things don't get better. A ridiculous board smashing into my face soon after. Game two he has a slower start and I manage to storm off at 2 life. Game three I mulligan down to enough rituals and an Empty the Warrens, but I waited too long. Turn four he casts Stain the Mind for Empty the Warrens. Didn’t even know that was a card! 1-2 and I’m 0-2.

Round 3 - Blue Black Ninjas

Sometimes winning doesn't feel good. My opponent seemed new to Modern. He got some Ninjas out against me, and he seemed proud each time he Ninjitsued one onto the battlefield. But each time I comboed off the next turn. Two of the easiest games I’ve played with Gifts Storm. They didn't feel good, though. 2-0 and I’m 1-2.

Round 4 - Slivers

This was my first time against Slivers. Game one he almost gets me but I combo on turn three. Game two he has a Relic of Progenitus turn one. I finally get a high enough storm count to make twenty-two Goblins and pass the turn. He then plays a Sliver that gives them all flying. Oops. Didn't know that was a thing. Game three was similar but this time he lacked Slivers that pumped his team. I put sixteen Goblins on the board and then cast Abrade on his flying-granting Sliver. 2-1 and I’m 2-2.

Round 5 - Tron

I lose the die roll and flip through my notebook. I went second every game one today. Oh well. I’m not going to make top 8, but maybe I can squeeze out a win. He leads with an Urza’s Mine and an Expedition Map. Fuck me. He plays a Wurmcoil Engine and it hits me twice. He’s at thirty-two and has a Relic of Progenitus. I cast Repeal at the end of his turn and he activates it. But I had two Gifts Ungiven and Baral. Two Grapeshots take him out. Game two I am stuck on two lands as he plays the Karn-Father. But for some reason he exiles a land instead of Baral. I draw a Mountain, make eight Goblins and Grapeshot him twice (Thanks, Remand!) to kill off Karn and get in some damage. He plays two Thragtusks in as many turns, but the ten life isn’t enough and he’s bricking on draws. (Not that I had much. I had been drawing lands.) He’s finally at two. He draws and passes the turn. I have three Goblins and Baral. I swing and he admits defeat. 2-0 and I’m 3-2.

I kind of hate Modern. I could (should?) play a more broken deck. But I do like puzzling out games of Storm. Although I’m not quite yet good at figuring out what to do in weird situations. There was a game against the Walls player where a different Gifts pile might have given me a chance. There’s much to learn about Magic. That’s why I love it.

I had time, so I signed up for five o’clock Standard. They were offering it for free, but there were only six of us. My first round opponent was on a creatureless, planeswalkerless Jeskai deck. My draws with Chromatic Black did not line up well. During the match they announce that I got twenty-second place in the Modern tournament. This month was the store’s second anniversary. So they gave a pack of Ultimate Masters to anyone who ended the tournament with a two in the one’s place. A garbage rare, but it’s the thought that counts.

Round two I’m paired up against one of the round one winners. I mulligan a no-lander into a no-lander. I grab the slip, sign it and congratulate him on winning the match. It’s New Year’s. He can have it. Anyone 2-1 or better gets a prize. I didn't feel like fighting for it. He thanks me and I say Happy New Year. I head home.

Tomorrow is 2019. Damn. Well. Hey. Happy New Year.