Flipmode – KMC Weekend Report

As a shorty playing in the front yard of the crib
I fell down, and I bumped my head.
Somebody helped me up and asked me if I bumped my head.
I said, “Yeah”
So then they said, “Oh so that mean we gon-you gonna switch it on em’?”
I said “Yeah, Flipmode, Flipmode is the greatest”
Knowing as a shorty, I was always told
That if I ain’t gonna be part of the greatest
I gotta be the greatest myself

-Busta Rhymes, Gimme Some More

Leading up to this past weekend’s KMCs I was growing frustrated with Andromeda. If you know my play style from Magic: the Gathering, you would know I have a predisposition to play aggressive decks. I’m the idiot that helmed Red Deck Wins in a field of Tinker and Goblin Combo at PT New Orleans in 2003. I always want to be aggressive. Its a huge advantage, especially in longer events, to have time to relax between rounds. Being finished quickly also allows time to scout what other players are piloting, grab a bite, decompress, and mentally replay tough situations from prior rounds. When deciding between decks that are close, I naturally choose beatdown.

However, if I couldn’t beat them, I was going to join them. I started playing 5-civ pile and Light/Darkness Kalima decks heavily, and I was winning. A lot. The team and I worked to tune both decks, and ultimately I chose 5-civ pile on Saturday morning as it was the more powerful or the two decks.

Stormspark Pile (5-Civ Pile)

3 Andromeda of the Citadel
3 Aqua Strider
1 Cassiopeia Starborn
1 Crimson Wyvern
2 Cyber Walker Kaylee
3 Eternal Haven
3 Fullmetal Lemon
2 General Skycrusher
2 Kivu, Ingenious Shaman
2 Lyra, the Blazing Sun
3 Major Ao
1 Squillace Scourge
1 Wildstrider Ramnoth

3 Bone Blades
3 Crystal Memory
3 Drill Storm
3 Mana Storm
3 Mesmerize
2 Reverberate
2 Skull Shatter
3 Sprout
2 Stormspark Blast
3 Tendril Grasp
3 Terror Pit

Creatures – 27
Blockers – 12
Spells – 30
Shield Blasts – 20

Making the trip to Niles, IL were Team Stormspark members Chase, Caitlin, and Tony.

Although I took notes in all my games, it was mostly to note what cards my opponents had in their decks, so some of the game states could be a little off.

Round 1 – Sawyer Lefever – Darkness/Water Kalima

In one of our games Sawyer played Megaria, the Deceiver and hit a single Kalima out of a 13-card discard pile. Luckily for me he hits last mono-water card on a Kalima trigger, and I took the match in three games.

Matches – 1-0

Round 2 – Alex Zomora – Light Water Nature Haven

In game one I temporarily forgot I had a Crimson Wyvern in my deck and played poorly.

In the deciding game, I played to my out of Stormspark Blast in the shield row. However, my return fire for the win was dashed by his last shield, which was a Root Trap.


Round 3 – LND Stuff

His deck had goodies like Gigahorn Charger and Necros, the Nightmare Bloom. He never really got rolling in either game.


Round 4 – Mono Enforcer Beats

I feel bad not having written down or being able to recall my opponent’s name. He came down with a group from Apex Hobby Shop in Wisconsin. He was a nice guy and was newer to the game, but he seemed to enjoy himself.


Round 5 – Michael Austin – 4 Civ Dragons

Micahel was also with the group from Apex Hobby. He was fun to play against, and even found joy in my toying with him while being cautious to avoid a shield blast blowout in our final game.


Round 6 – Heeter

While all the other X-1 records were drawing into the top 8, I was paired down.

Sometimes you just run well. I had the perfect opener. Spout into Sprout into Mana Storm, followed by Skull Shatter and Reverberate to take a game.

In the deciding game Heeter Reverberates. I Reverberate. He Reverberates. I Mesmerize for his Skull Shatter following his 7 mana turn. I then Skull Shatter on the next turn for something like 15 cards.


Top 8 – Alex Zomora – Light Water Nature Haven

This was a rematch against my only loss in swiss.

In one of the games I severely screwed up. I just threw away a Cassiopeia because I forget about Haven’s boost. However, I was fairly far ahead because of Reverberate and Skull Shatter, and was able to close out the game anyway.

In game three I was able to sit on my opening hand Crimson Wyvern and stay back on defense until the time came to use it. I eventually ran him out of cards to take the match.

Top 4 – Reese Wiggins – Kalima Haven Thing

I was under the gun following a quick game one loss. In game two, I managed my way out of Reese’s dominating board of Kalima, Twilight Archon, double Fullmetal Lemon, and possibly a Lyra while having no shields, and knowing Reese had another Kalima in hand that he returned off of the other’s attack. After tanking for what must have been an eternity, I Crystaled into Cassiopeia and built enough blockers to survive Kalima’s enter play ability. I had prepared as best I could for Kalima’s enter play ability, but he only hit once. I played a second Haven and locked the fresh Kalima with Lyra. I merc’d the first Kalima with a 20500 Cassiopeia, slayed the Twilight Archon with Haven, drawing and placing a Major Ao with Haven’s trigger and using it to double barrel the Fullmetal Lemons.

It was an intense game, and I was very grateful that the judge allowed me to think through the possible lines and settle on correctly “Pillaging the Bosh.” {EDITOR’S NOTE: Not Pillaging the Bosh once cost Cato several thousands of dollars, and has haunted him ever since}

I had to take a little walk around the room after the game to clear my head.

I’m not sure of the specifics of game three. However, I do recall a timely Skull Shatter or Squillace Scourge.

I chopped the finals with Robert Arguelles and found a pizza place before shipping back home. The long ride back was filled with shouting out Reel Big Fish songs and repeating the banter of Scott Klopestien and Aaron Barrett. I finally hit the sack about about 5 AM EST.

Do not disturb the Snorlax

Do not disturb the Snorlax.

In the morning, Jake Hutchinson picked me up. Chris Randolph, the Bearded Wizard of Nature, was already in tow. We made the drive across town to Pandemonium Games in Garden City. I’ve played a ton of Magic at the store we call Pandy. It was the site used for Prereleases and PTQs for many years before they became store-level events. After wanting to put Teenage Dream on repeat and failing to sync my phone with Jake’s new car, the music gods obliged and played it over the speakers at Arby’s during our early lunch. Perfect… well almost.

Chase, Caitlin, Klepto (Anthony), and Alex arrived before us. I asked Chris what he’s going to play and he grabbed the pile deck I qualified with the day before. Klepto no longer wanted to run Dragons, I said “Take it Scotty,” and lent him my Darkness Light Kalima deck. This left me essentially flipping a coin between LWN Megabugs (UNSTOPPABLE!) and Stawberry Rush. I ultimately decided to play the Light Fire Rush deck and change out the two Stormspark Blasts for a random Rodi Gale and a Chasm Entangler. I rationalized my choice with the idea that if my shields are getting broken, things are probably going pretty bad already. That left me with just three Comet Missles to blast.

Mental note: “Cut more shield blasts. Opponents love it.” I needed some nearly mindless bashing after the drawn out, cautiousness of Pile shield breaking.


3 Blaze Belcher
3 Blinder Beetle
2 Blitzer-Mech Falkora
1 Chasm Entangler
3 Cloudwalker Drone
3 Flame Spinner
3 Gilaflame the Assaulter
3 Jet-Thrust Darter
3 Magris the Magnetizer
2 Major Ao
3 Metal Max
2 Shaw K’Naw
3 Blinder Beetle Prime
1 Rodi Gale, Night Guardian
2 Sparkblade Protector
3 Comet Missile

Round 1 –Alphonso Romero – 76 Card Pile

I could tell Alphonso wasn’t an American by using my keen senses to spy his Team Canada jersey.

My opponent’s deck is enormous. After I asked him if his deck is double sleeved, he revealedthat it was not. It was also 76 cards.

Matches 1-0

Round 2 – Joeseph Pfeifer – Fire Rush

This guy was from Ohio and I held it against him. The games are close, but Blinder Beetle Prime and Major Ao are too STRONK.  They allowed me to stem the bleeding and take down much of my foes offense.


Round 3 – Some Guy – Fire Rush

Please see prior round, but remove the Ohio bit.

The random one-of Chasm Entangler and Rodi Gale were quite relevant in the previous two matches.  In the future, the possibility of having Stormspark Blast would be nice when battling Drakons.  I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have so hastily cut them. If you decide to add them I would likely cut the Shaw K’Naw.

Round 4 – Another Person – 4-Civ Dragons

God I’m terrible with names. He failed to achieve Herald + Jump Jets, and really didn’t put up much of a fight.

Rounds 5 and 6 – Bryan Le and Greg Cresswell

Intentional Draws. Its around this time I realized that I haven’t lost a match since round two of yesterday’s KMC. I made sure all my friends know how awesome I am on social media during the break.

Barn extraordinaire Alex Smith fetched me food during the downtime. Read his magic articles on this here site for insight into Magic’s commander format.  It’s a real thing. Ask Gleeson. {EDITOR’S NOTE: This shameless plug brought to you by gamersgauntlet.net}

Quarterfinals – Richard Yan – LWN Megabugs

Someone said these bugs are unstoppable. THEY MUST BE STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The field mouse is fast, but the owl sees at night.

I applied much pressure and boiled dem bugs. MMMMM lobster.

Richard forgets that Major AO’s “Enter the fray” triggers even when he chooses to block.  It leaves him short the necessary creature to wipe my board after I take his last shield.  It would have still been rough sledding for him but he would have had a chance to fight on.

Top 4 – Chris Anderson -LWN Megabugs

Since I can no longer help the Wizard that is Crandolphi on the other side of the bracket, who happens to be playing the same physical deck that qualified the day before, I did Chris Anderson a solid and scoop him into the finals.

Meanwhile in another castle… Here’s a song! Chris is playing against Jon Johnson, who top 8’d the Niles KMC as well, is back at it with his homebrewed Light Water Corrupted Tempo deck. According to Jon, “He’s like 90% against pile.” He ends up going 33% with it this round, thanks to some timely shield blasts and tight play from Chris.

#Crandyland finals! Allow John Madden to explain. You see their names are Chris RANDolph and ChRis ANDerson. You shove it all together and BOOM! Tough acting Tinactin.

All in all, it was a great run for me and for the Stormspark Pile. Two Stormspark Cast members qualified for the Summer Championships in Seattle.

Going forward, I really like the mix of cards in my pile. The only change I’m considering is dropping the Wildstrider Ramnoth, either for a recursion card or just cutting it all together.

Although I will be missing the KMC in Bay City, MI this weekend, I’m counting on another member to take home a slot. {EDITOR’S NOTE: So close, two Stormspark members in Top 8, no Q’s}

See you in Seattle.


To all the cool people I met in real life from the Dojo. (and the uncool ones as well I suppose.)

The Argyle Gargoyle.

The Anchor.

Pastimes for laying off of their usual innovations for a change.

: – \ You’ll get there buddy.

The people who manned the wheel – Jake and Caitlin.

The talented Mr Weaver. For crushing the event, Professionally, all by his lonesome, Sunday.



Top loaders, glad I didn’t have to play against that. I wish warped cards didn’t exist so we didn’t have to have these conversations.

Left turns for being so difficult in Illinois.

Potholes (Earth)

Wind (Wind)

And Herald of Infernus (and Fire)