A Ballin’ Tournament report – GGCS Standard *2nd*

Hey guys, my name is Baller B. and I’m here to share my very first tournament report. This past weekend was a pretty successful one for me as a Magic player. I took 4th in a GPT at another local game store with B/G Devotion and was feeling very confident in my deck choice heading into the Gamer’s Gauntlet Championship Series for Standard. Here is my decklist:

Some notes about card choices:

Nightveil Specter over Lifebane Zombie

With the decline of Last Breath from U/W/x decks and the drop in popularity of Monsters decks, I felt that Nightveil Specter was extremely well positioned. This card is a bomb in the B/x mirrors. It is a card that they have to deal with or you continue to generate card advantage with their own cards. I soon became a fan of this card after I was able to steal a Pithing Needle off the top of my opponent’s deck and shut down his Ashiok. I then closed out that same game by stealing a Gray Merchant of Asphodel off the top of his deck. Good times.

0 Vraska the Unseen

I became a fan of this card when I used it in B/G rock last rotation. It is a nightmare for control decks and the mirror. However, in testing for this format, I felt that the card was very clunky and ultimately serves one purpose: Be a glorified Abrupt Decay and blow up a Detention Sphere, then die to a Mutavault swing back.

2 Devour Flesh

I feel like this card is something you play because you fear a threat that can absolutely shut you down, a threat like Blood Baron of Vizkopa or Gladecover Scout. It’s like the morphine drip at a hospital. It’s there to numb the pain, but doesn’t actually work every time you hit the button. The problem I see with this mentality is that you have answers and you just don’t see it sometimes. You have Thoughtseize and, potentially, Lifebane Zombie to combat these tricksy hobbitses.

On to the actual Tournament:

Round of 16 – Brad Morrisette (B/G Devotion)

All I can say is UGH! Black mirror matches are the worst. Kill all and hope to be the last man standing, that’s the motto.

Game one I mulled to five and was punished instantly. Turn one Thoughtseize hurts, especially after a mulligan. I was able to fight him off for a while but ultimately lost to superior board position and heavy card advantage.

Games 2-4 I took down. I would delve into the games but they all played out the same. I killed each threat he played, drew cards from Underworld Connections, and finished the games out with Pack Rat or Grey Merchant.

I do want to take the time to point out one thing about B/x mirror match: Do not leave in Desecration Demon in after boarding! It may seem like one of your best cards being a 6/6 flying beatstick. The problem with this is that you do not gain any value from this creature. It eats removal fairly quickly and does not interact well with Pack Rat. I’m sure there is an argument for this guy to stay, I just don’t see it.


Round of 8 – Jon Sauer (U/W Control)

This is a matchup I seldom want to see. Although I feel favored, it is a long battle and you have to play very smart here.

I was very threat light in the first game. I had the discard spells and Underworld Connections going, but after drawing several dead removal spells and almost no creatures, I was left with Mutavault beatdowns to combat his Elixirs and Sphinx’s Revelation. Advantage: John.

Game two I kept a threat heavy hand as not to repeat the previous game. However, I missed a couple land drops early that cost me. I was not able to bring down enough threats in a timely fashion. I realized that I might be going home early. My deck apparently heard me, ate its spinach like Popeye, and came alive.

Game three I was on the play with several discard spells early. I played a combination of three Thoughtseizes and Duresses to take his counterspells and Supreme Verdict, then followed it up with a Lifebane Zombie and Desecration Demon. I brought the beats and finished the game with a Merchant for a lot.

Game four I brought more discard spells and several Grey Merchants to drain the game away.

Game five He mulliganed to 6 on the play and I discarded some of his removal spells including Verdict and Celestial Flare. I came out swinging with two Demons and a Mutavault.

Don’t call it a comeback. Call it a Rope-A-Dope. Funny part is, I felt like Angelo Dundee more than Muhammad Ali. I was not in control, my deck took over those last three games. Here’s to good draws! Sorry John.

Round of Four – Malachi Redi (B/W Midrange)

A win here would propel me into the finals, but I knew I had to keep a level head because the road would not be easy. I had to face the long-haired warrior Malachi, who already had the Spring Season Limited Championship under his belt, and defeated last season’s constructed Champion and infamous Nemchad in the previous round.

Game one I won on the back of Nightveil Specters and Underworld Connections into a Grey Merchant.

Game two I landed an uncontested Pack Rat on turn five and started to grow an army. He played a Blood Baron sometime later but I already had five rats on the board to end the game despite the life gain.

Maybe the most important card in the numerous Black/x mirrors.

Maybe the most important card in the numerous Black/x mirrors.

Game three we traded discard spells and removal for each of our threats early. I played an Underworld Connections to keep the draw coming and a Nightveil Specter that went untouched. I drew several removal spells from top of his deck and another Nightveil Specter. I continued to beatdown until I drew a Gray Merchant to end the game.

We did it! Into the finals. I would go on to face a great adversary: Adam Barrientez. In the words of the Joker: Here. We. Go.

Finals: Adam Barrientez (Mono Black Devotion)

Here we go, folks. The finals and the winner takes it all.

Game one we traded removal spells on Nightveil Specters until I landed a Specter that stole a lonely swamp. I then Pack Rat to close out the game shortly after.

Game two I opened on three lands, three Underworld Connections and an Ultimate Price. It was at this point that I realized I wasn’t losing this game. I didn’t. Card Advantage wins games.

Game three my hand was very good but it had a Temple and Mutavault. I did not draw a single land until it was too late.

Game four I was behind for most of the game but it really became out of reach when he had a Nightveil Specter and Whip of Erebos in combination with Nykthos. Yikes!

Game five. The winner of this game would take down the whole thing. I went on the offensive early with Nightveil Specters and Pack Rats, but he had some timely removal, then landed an Erebos. He drew his Whip of Erebos to bring back some of his removed creatures and swing with his Erebos. I made a crucial play mistake at the end as I forgot Adam discarded his Gray Merchant from an Early Thoughtseize. I attacked all out with Pack Rats to put him to some number less than five, and he Whipped back Gray Merchant to kill me with the swing back.


Although I made a huge play mistake at the end, I still felt like I played very well. This is a deck I would recommend for any FNM or competitive event. It has the tools to combat anything in the format, and has a very flexible sideboard. Abrupt Decay is an absolute delight and deals with a lot of things. Going forward however, I would make a few changes to the deck. I would play one Whip of Erebos somewhere in the 75 and one more Golgari Charm.

So there you have it, my road to the finals of a very competitive GGCS Spring Season. Ballin’!




Boris Pan for being my Magic Life Partner




Adam for beating me

B/x Mirror Matches

Tigers Bullpen