Dog Days at the 50K and 5K

This past weekend saw 300-some players flock to Columbus for the TCGPlayer 50K Invitational. After some last-minute trip re-arrangements thanks to some rodents, Jake, Mike, Joel, (click for Twitter profiles) and I made the trip down Friday afternoon. We arrived around 6 pm and decided to check out some of the dealers and register for the main event before heading to our hotel, which was the NICEST Red Roof Inn I had ever seen. We grabbed some food at the Max and Erma’s that was down the street, got our decklists finalized and prepared to crush the competition the following day.

Well, long story short, crushing the competition did not happen, and we all left after round 7 with a record of X-3.

However, there was a TCGPlayer Diamond 5k event on Sunday. After a less-than-restful night’s sleep, we checked out of our hotel on Sunday and headed to the tournament site once again, ready to redeem ourselves. Mike stuck with his Esper deck, Jake played G/R Devotion, Joel played Mono-Blue, and I sleeved up my trusty BWR deck, with a few modifications to help against the aggressive decks I expected to see plenty of.

Here’s the final product:

Round 1: Matt Barley – Mono-Blue Devotion

Game one was uneventful. He played a couple creatures and got some damage in, but I dispatched them quickly with a couple removal spells. I landed a Boros Reckoner, attacked him twice to put him at 14, and played Rakdos Keyrune. He flooded out and my three power attackers take the game.

Game two he got a solid start with Tidebinder Mage into Frostburn Weird. I Ultimate Priced the Tidebinder Mage, but still took a couple hits while stuck on three lands before I drew one of my sideboarded Pharika’s Cure. I killed his Frostburn Weird after he brings its toughness down to two, putting him on semi-life tilt. I started drawing lands and curved into Blood Baron of Vizkopa, which he managed to deal with for a couple turns with some Cyclonic Rifts before one of them finally stuck, and it was all over from there.

1-0 Matches, 2-0 Games

Round 2: Brandon Pascal – Esper Control

This is where Pastimes showed their “brilliance.” While we shuffled up for game one, a judge came over and asked to talk to my opponent. Turns out he registered seven of the same card on two separate lines, and consequently received a game loss. I thought “okay sweet,” and we both continued to shuffle our decks, when another judge walked up and told us that our table had been selected for a deck check. After another seven minutes go by before we finally get our decks back. The second judge confirmed that my opponent knew about his deck registration error, and we finally started our match in peace after more shuffling. Thanks, Pastimes.

Before we started game two, my opponent commented on how he’s undefeated in rounds where he had received a game loss, and that he hoped he had a

Rakdos's Return for one - not winning games since ever.

Rakdos’s Return for one – not winning games since ever.

good matchup against me.

Well, guess what? He did. He managed to deal with my Boros Reckoner and Desecration Demon and eventually played Elspeth, Sun’s Champion into Aetherling, and I died with three dead spells in hand.

I felt pretty good going into game three, as I got to board out my dead removal spells for more threats and hand disruption, along with a couple cards to interact with his Detention Spheres in Wear // Tear. Unfortunately, I opened with three lands, and never drew another land with Assemble the Legion, Rakdos’s Return, and Obzedat, Ghost Council in hand until it was far too late. I died under another swarm of Soldier tokens.

1-1, 3-2

Round 3: Franklyn – with B/G Devotion

Game one I just took a beating. He had the removal spells for my multiple Boros Reckoners and Desecration Demons, and I just died under an army of Pack Rats and Grey Merchant of Asphodels. Nothing to see here, folks.

Game two was an incredibly frustrating game. He landed a turn two Pack Rat, which I managed to deal with while landing a turn three Boros Reckoner. He followed up with a Lifebane Zombie, exiling an Obzedat from my hand. We traded three damage for a few turns while I drew no answers to the Lifebane, but saw plenty of land and Underworld Connections. He eventually played another Pack Rat and I just died.

1-2, 3-4 in games

Round 4: Logan Petersen – BWR Midrange

When my opponent sat down across from me, I got pretty excited because I knew I was about to play the mirror for the very first time. I had also caught a glimpse of his deck while he was playing Jake the previous round.

Blood Baron is a key card in the mirror. There are only four ways to kill the Vampire in the entire 75.

Blood Baron is a key card in the mirror. There are only four ways to kill the Vampire in the entire 75.

In game one he chained my Reckoner to the rocks, and I Hero’s Downfalled his Demon. I landed a Blood Baron of Vizkopa after casting Thoughtseize to make sure the coast was clear. I brought Logan to five life while dodging Mizzium Mortars, and played a second Blood Baron to present lethal if I dodged the Mortars for one more turn. I did, and off we were to game two.

Not having played the mirror before made sideboarding quite an adventure. I best-guessed what I wanted my deck to look like post-board, with a higher threat density and no Ultimate Prices because I didn’t see a single mono-colored creature during game one.

Game two was uneventful. My Reckoner once again gets Chained to the Rocks, and I flooded out while staring down Assemble the Legion and two types of Soldier tokens. I had dealt with the Purphoros, God of the Forge he played a couple turns earlier, but it wasn’t enough.

Game three was similar to game two. This time I got to curve out Reckoner, which got the Warleader’s Helix treatment, into a Desecration Demon that paid the Ultimate Price, into Blood Baron on turn five. I dodged Mizzium Mortars for several turns and rode the Vampire to victory.

2-2, 5-4

Round 5: Samanntha Mouacheupao – R/W Aggro

Remember when I said I geared my deck to beat the aggressive decks? Well, this was the first one I had played all day, and would be the only one I would play all day.

In game one, she lead off with a Soldier of the Pantheon. I had a couple spot removal spells along with an Anger of the Gods. I decided to sandbag the spot removal since I wanted to get her with the Anger. She played nothing on turn two, and played a Spear of Heliod on turn three. She didn’t play any creatures for a couple more turns, but eventually she played a Reckoner after attacking me down to 14 life. I decided to hold the Hero’s Downfall until her next turn when she swung with both creatures, but she protected the Reckoner with a Brave the Elements. I got hit down to seven life, and had to try and Dreadbore her Reckoner and then Anger away her Soldier, but she had the Boros Charm too.

I was betrayed by my own charm.

Game two was an absolute joke. I decided to keep a three land, single red source, with a scry land and an Anger of the Gods. I proceeded to draw more Anger of the Gods, but not a second red source. She played an Archangel of Thune, and I had a one-turn window to draw a red source so I could Ultimate Price the Angel and then Anger away her board. I whiffed, and died soon after.

I was pretty irritated, but since my travel companions were still X-2 or better, and there was a prize payout to top 32, so I decided to keep trucking on and try and win out.

2-3, 5-6

Round 6: Jackson Smith – BWR Midrange

Game one was fairly elementary. I had the removal spells to back up my Reckoner + Keyrune and got in some beats while my opponent flooded a little. Then I played Desecration Demon while he’s on ten life to present lethal the next turn. Easy game. I decided to sideboard the same way I did against Logan because again I did not see a single mono-colored creature.

Game two it was my turn to get a little flooded. He played a turn three Reckoner, which I dealt with, followed by a turn 4 Reckoner plus Thoughtseize to take away my Rakdos’s Return. He played Slaughter Games naming Obzedat, taking the only threat in my hand, and played Assemble the Legion on the following turn and I just died under a horde of tokens and the Reckoner.

Game three was back and forth with both of us playing threats and dealing with them. I slammed a Obzedat on turn five while he is tapped out, and rode it to victory. Who needs Blood Baron when you got good ol’ Ghost Dad?

3-3, 7-7

Round 7: Joshua Watts – G/R Midrange/Devotion(?)

I’m still not completely sure what my opponent was playing since he really didn’t play Magic this round. In game one, I was able to Anger away his board of Experiment One and Burning-Tree Emissary, and followed it up with a Desecration Demon. He was able to hold the Demon off for a turn while I committed a Reckoner to the board as well, but was soon overwhelmed by a 7/7 Demon with a Minotaur Wizard friend.

Game two was kind of interesting. Joshua cast a Xenegos, the Reveler to start cranking out tokens to add to his board of double Ash Zealot against Desecration Demon and Boros Reckoner, but he was afraid to swing. This allowed me to rip a Mizzium Mortars off the top to wipe away all of his creatures and kill his Xenegos. The game was cakewalk from there.

4-3, 9-7

Round 8: Jon Hanna – BWR Midrange

Going into this final round I was in 38th place, and my opponent in 37th. Whoever won this round had a shot to squeak into top 32 depending on tiebreakers. It came down to the third mirror match of the day to decide who potentially got a little prize and who went home empty.

Game one I played a Reckoner on three that got chained. He landed an Assemble the Legion on five, but missed his trigger the next two

Assemble the Legion isn't very good if you forget to trigger it a bunch of times.

Assemble the Legion isn’t very good if you forget to trigger it a bunch of times.

turns while I was stuck on five lands with a Merciless Eviction in hand. I drew my sixth land, Evicted away enchantments, which got me my Reckoner back, and got a game warning because I forgot to exile my own Underworld Connections. He then played Blood Baron, and rides it to victory with some help from my second Underworld Connections.

Game two was my turn to run the “play a difficult-to-deal-with-threat and ride it to victory.” After getting my Blood Baron Mizzium Mortared, I slammed an Obzedat with a Rakdos Keyrune acting as a counter to Devour Flesh. Turns out he didn’t have a single removal spell to deal with the Daddy of all ghosts, and we were soon shuffling up for game three.

Game three was not a game of Magic for Jon. I Thoughtseized on turn two to take away his only removal spell, then played Reckoners on turn three and four. He flooded, never drew a removal spell, and my two Reckoners got in for the win.

5-3, 11-8

I had to sweat out the last 25 minutes of the round, plus the 5 additional turns, before I found out if I made top 32. Turns out I squeaked in right at 32nd, beating out my friend and fellow travel companion Joel Gagnon on breakers. Joel’s opponent did not want to draw and ended up beating him. I felt bad, but I was still ecstatic at finishing in the money for the first time ever. Too bad I didn’t get the money at the tournament site – Pastimes is mailing me a check for $50, and taking taxes out of it. Thanks, Pastimes!

On the topic of the deck itself, I’m pretty happy with it and will most likely continue to play it until something else piques my interest, or the metagame becomes all control decks, which are the deck’s worst matchup. It strongly resembles Jund Midrange from pre-rotation standard in that it plays a lot of powerful cards, but has a much worse mana-base thanks to not having the buddy lands from M13 and no Farseek. If you are interested in piloting this deck and have any questions about the deck, from why I played a certain card to how to sideboard for a certain matchup, feel free to ask me in person or tweet @BorisTheDagger!

Until next time,

Boris “The Dagger” Pan