A couple months ago, I came in second place at an NELCQ Qualifier hosted by Jupiter Games which left me with 17 points for the Invitational Championship. Last month, I only made top 16 – leaving me with 19 points. While Top 16 is nothing to scoff at in a “shark-infested” metagame, I only received two points for the day. I chose the term “shark-infested” because these Jupiter Games events are the real deal, I challenge anyone to walk into Jupiter Games for the first time and win. There are so many good players at the Jupiter Games NELCQ events that winning one is very difficult. I’ve played in other large-scale events such as Star City Games or a Grand Prix — the average skill level is much higher at Jupiter Games.

Let’s get back to my original point, points. Going into this month, I was guaranteed to hit the next level in the point system. This is exciting! There were two or three people above me in the points race going into this event, the person in first being Eli Kassis (Eli had eight more points than I did). Speaking of Eli, he did a really nice favor for me. Eli messaged me about three weeks ago with an eBay auction for the last non-Japanese foil card in my deck — a [[Chrome Mox]]. Unfortunately, it was bad timing for me, I had just sent out student loan payments the day before not leaving myself with enough money to purchase the [[Chrome Mox]]. Eli was kind enough to buy it for me and let me pay him back at the next event.

The morning of the Jupiter Games NELCQ, I met Jon Quackenbush at Adam Phillips’s place and we we’re off to Jupiter! Jon was playing Maverick and Adam piloting Enchantress. As for me, it’s not that difficult to guess what I was piloting — The EPIC Storm (TES). While I change it up at locals, I stick to my guns when it comes to important events. When we arrived at the Jupiter Games Tournament Center the temperature of the location wasn’t much warmer than outside on that cold winter day. I had to go back out to the car for my coat because my hands wouldn’t stop shaking as I wrote down my deck list. When I came back inside Eli had arrived with my Japanese Foil [[Chrome Mox]] — I couldn’t wait to put the last card in my deck!

the epic Storm

Main Deck
  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 2 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 3 [[Duress]]
  • 3 [[Orim’s Chant]]
  • 2 [[Silence]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 4 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 4 [[Gemstone Mine]]
  • 2 [[City of Brass]]
  • 2 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 2 [[Scalding Tarn]]
  • 1 [[Polluted Delta]]
  • 1 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 3 [[Pyroblast]]
  • 2 [[Echoing Truth]]
  • 1 [[Wipe Away]]
  • 1 [[Silent Departure]]
  • 1 [[Duress]]
  • 1 [[Shattering Spree]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Past in Flames]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]

Jupiter Games NELCQ

Round One – Seneca Holber with Bant Maverick

[[Stoneforge Mystic|]]
[[Knight of the Reliquary|]]
Game One:

Seneca and I both take mulligans. We play “land, go” until my turn 3 when I decide to break the silence with a [[Brainstorm]] into [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Ad Nauseam]]. Must be nice, right? I put [[Ad Nauseam]] and another [[Brainstorm]] on top of the library. I then cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Ponder]], in response sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for , and [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -2 [[Orim’s Chant]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +2 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Silent Departure]]
Game Two:

I mulligan to five and keep a hand without any lands. I draw and play a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] — like a fool. I always have in the back of my head that Seneca plays Black/Green decks with [[Hymn to Tourach]] and [[Thoughtseize]]. Seneca then plays a [[Qasali Pridemage]] to capitalize on my mistake. I draw a [[Scalding Tarn]] and play it. Seneca attacks putting me to 17 life, plays [[Stoneforge Mystic]] and then destroys my [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] with [[Qasali Pridemage]]. I draw [[City of Brass]], play it, and then [[Brainstorm]]. Search for [[Underground Sea]] and cast [[Duress]]. Seneca reveals a hand of: two [[Knight of the Reliquary]], [[Geist of Saint Traft]], and the [[Batterskull]]. Seneca’s turn was a [[Knight of the Reliquary]]. I draw and cast another [[Brainstorm]] into [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and a [[Gemstone Mine]]. I played [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], for [[Ad Nauseam]].

2-0 | 1-0

Round Two – Paolo Cesari with UWr StoneBlade

[[Orim’s Chant|]]
Game One:

I mulligan and keep a hand without much protection. We play “land, go” until turn three after I’ve hit my third land-drop and then I cast [[Brainstorm]] wbich draws two [[Dark Ritual]] and a [[Duress]]. I put two back and cast [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Daze]]. The following turn I cast [[Duress]], Paolo plays [[Snapcaster Mage]] and then casts [[Brainstorm]] which didn’t find anything. I then play a pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]]
Game Two:

Paolo has a turn one [[Delver of Secrets]] paired with a turn two [[Stoneforge Mystic]]. The beatdown begins. I play lands and just pass. On Paolo’s upkeep, I cast [[Orim’s Chant]], it resolves. Paolo attacks. On the end step, I play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], into [[Ad Nauseam]]. [[Ad Nauseam]] reveals [[Tendrils of Agony]], [[Ad Nauseam]], and a bunch of other cards — it was a pretty bad [[Ad Nauseam]]. I untap and play out some mana artifacts into [[Orim’s Chant]]. [[Orim’s Chant]] it met by [[Force of Will]]. I then play another [[Orim’s Chant]] ([[Daze]]). I do some counting and come up a Storm short. My thought process is to play the [[Tendrils of Agony]] from my hand leaving Paolo at one life and then win on the following turn. I could’ve just paid the one mana on [[Daze]], cast [[Burning Wish]], and won using the additional storm from [[Burning Wish]] — talk about having “tunnel vision”. I play [[Tendrils of Agony]] into [[Stifle]].

Game Three:

I open up with a sketchy hand of: [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Ponder]], [[Orim’s Chant]], and [[Dark Ritual]]. I decide to keep and use [[Scalding Tarn]] to find [[Underground Sea]] and then cast [[Ponder]]. I look at [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Burning Wish]]. I draw [[Gemstone Mine]]. Paolo plays a [[Scalding Tarn]] and passes. I draw [[Infernal Tutor]]. Play [[Gemstone Mine]], tap [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], Paolo sacrifices the [[Scalding Tarn]]. In response, tap [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Orim’s Chant]]. It resolves! Play all three copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

4-1 | 2-0

Round Three – Michael Cutrone with RUG Delver

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Sensei’s Divining Top|]]
Game One:

I mulligan to five and lead with a [[Scalding Tarn]] into an [[Underground Sea]] and [[Ponder]]. My land is then destroyed by [[Wasteland]]. I sit there while Mike lowers my life total to zero.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]]
Game Two:

Mike opens with turn one [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. I say, “Did you board into Countertop?” Sure enough, Mike’s second turn is a [[Counterbalance]]. I search for [[Volcanic Island]] and play [[Pyroblast]]. Mike casts [[Force of Will]]. I draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Play it. [[Counterbalance]] reveals [[Brainstorm]]. I then play [[Lotus Petal]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] into [[Ad Nauseam]]. The only artifacts [[Ad Nauseam]] reveals are a [[Chrome Mox]] and a single [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] before I die to [[Ad Nauseam]].

6-3 | 2-1

Round Four – Tariq White with UW Stoneforge Aggro

8-4 | 3-1

Round Five – Mike Montaruli with Enchantress

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Leyline of Sanctity|]]
[[Echoing Truth|]]
Game One:

Mike plays a turn two [[Argothian Enchantress]]. I play a turn two [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -3 [[Orim’s Chant]], +2 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Wipe Away]]
Game Two:

Mike mulligans down to a single card looking for [[Leyline of Sanctity]]. “Go” and I take my turn, I cast [[Duress]] and take the lone [[Green Sun’s Zenith]]. Mike draws and reveals the [[Leyline of Sanctity]]. On my second turn, I show Mike what Storm twenty looks like while revealing that I could’ve bounced a [[Leyline of Sanctity]] with [[Echoing Truth]].

10-4 | 4-1

Round Six – Si-Ning Li with RUG Delver

[[Orim’s Chant|]]
Game One:

Ning mulligans and I open up with a pretty great hand! [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Underground Sea]], [[Ponder]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Orim’s Chant]], and [[City of Brass]]. I play [[Underground Sea]] into [[Ponder]], which looks at [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], and a [[Gemstone Mine]]. Ning plays a land and passes. I play a [[City of Brass]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]]
Game Two:

I mulligan and keep a decent hand. We play lands for a couple of turns while Ning attacks me down to 10 life with a [[Delver of Secrets]]. I resolve an [[Ad Nauseam]] on the end step, but the [[Ad Nauseam]] reveals a [[Tendrils of Agony]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and a [[Brainstorm]]. Not a lot of mana… I attempt to go off on my turn, but Ning has a few copies of [[Daze]] and [[Spell Pierce]] that is just enough where I have to settle for a non-lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]]. Ning is at 1 and I’m back at 19. He plays two copies of [[Tarmogoyf]] in the following turns and kills me before I can deal that single point damage.

Game Three:

My opening hand is:[[Scalding Tarn]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Pyroblast]]. A really good opening hand that sadly, doesn’t get there. I decide that it’s better to play around Ning’s soft counters and wait until I draw two more mana. This doesn’t happen between [[Stifle]] and [[Wasteland]]. I end the game without a mana source in play.

11-6 | 4-2

Round Seven – Adam Najman with RUG Delver

[[Lightning Bolt|]]
[[Tendrils of Agony|]]

I thought I was dead for top eight, but then the pairings go up, and it turns out I have the best tie breakers among people with twelve points. I’m also the pair-up! I’m facing Adam Najman — the person who deprived me of a trophy two months prior. I wanted some revenge, but I’m also pretty nervous going into the round. It’s a must-win.

Game One:

Adam plays a turn one [[Delver of Secrets]] and attacks me all the way down to 9 life with it before I attempt to win the game. I play a [[Orim’s Chant]], in response Adam casts two copies of [[Lightning Bolt]] leaving me with three life. I’m pretty thankful that Adam played those because of that play it made my job easier trying to win the game. All I had to do was cast a pair of [[Lotus Petal]] followed by a [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]]
Game Two:

The second game of this round is pretty much identical to the first game. The only difference was that when I “went off”, I used two copies of [[Orim’s Chant]] and a [[Pyroblast]] as protection.

13-6 | 5-2

Top Eight – Eli Kassis with UWr Stoneblade

[[Infernal Tutor|]]
[[Stoneforge Mystic|]]

I snuck into 8th place as the only 5-2 to make it. While this was exciting, I was more excited about to find out that I’d be facing Eli Kassis. Winning would mean gaining some ground in the Jupiter Games Invitational points race.

Game One:

Eli has a turn one [[Brainstorm]] on my end step after I cast [[Ponder]]. This is followed by a second turn [[Stoneforge Mystic]] into [[Sword of Feast and Famine]]. I play another [[Ponder]] and pass. Eli passes. I play an [[Infernal Tutor]] which meets a [[Spell Snare]]. Eli puts [[Sword of Feast and Famine]] into play with [[Stoneforge Mystic]]. On Eli’s turn [[Stoneforge Mystic]] is Equipped and an attack. I discard [[Ad Nauseam]]. On my turn, I draw a [[Dark Ritual]]. [[Orim’s Chant]] draws a [[Force of Will]] from Eli. Eli has three untapped lands and one card in hand. I play out my [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and a few other mana sources into [[Infernal Tutor]]. I sit there what seems like an eternity while Eli thinks. If it’s [[Snapcaster Mage]] it’s the longest slow roll I’ve ever seen — it’s [[Brainstorm]]. The [[Brainstorm]] finds another copy of [[Brainstorm]]. [[Flooded Strand]] is activated and then the second [[Brainstorm]] is cast. [[Infernal Tutor]] resolves, as does my [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]]
Game Two:

Eli is on the play and leads with a [[Delver of Secrets]] followed by a second turn [[Stoneforge Mystic]], but my second turn is a bit more impressive! [[Orim’s Chant]] ([[Force of Will]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

15-6 | 6-2

Top Four – Michael Cutrone with RUG Delver

[[Force of Will|]]
[[Orim’s Chant|]]
Game One:

We both play some cantrips in the opening turns, mine being a [[Brainstorm]] that put [[Ad Nauseam]] second from the top. Mike accidentally reveals a [[Spell Snare]] from their hand. Mike then plays a [[Delver of Secrets]] and passes. I cast an [[Orim’s Chant]] that is countered by [[Force of Will]]), I then play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Ponder]], in response break the pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for . [[Ad Nauseam]]. Play out a bunch of cards and [[Grapeshot]] Mike for the “Countertop” treatment in the swiss rounds!

Sideboarding: -1 [[Orim’s Chant]], -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +3 [[Pyroblast]], +1 [[Wipe Away]]
Game Two:

I can’t remember too much, about this game. I took a few hits from [[Nimble Mongoose]] that really wanted Threshold. Mike eventually reaches Threshold by using [[Wasteland]] and [[Stifle]] on my lands.

Game Three:

I keep a hand of: [[Pyroblast]], [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Scalding Tarn]], [[City of Brass]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Brainstorm]]. Pretty much the best hand I could ask for! Mike shuffles down to six cards. I play a land and pass, Mike draws and passes without playing a land. This means [[Force of Will]]! I draw a [[Rite of Flame]] for the turn, play [[City of Brass]], and cast [[Brainstorm]] — it draws [[Wipe Away]], [[Chrome Mox]], and [[Lotus Petal]]. Not a bad [[Brainstorm]]! We play “draw, go” until turn three when I have three lands to Mike’s zero. I [[Orim’s Chant]] him and it resolves!? [[Ad Nauseam]].

It turns out Mike kept the hand because it was [[Daze]], [[Spell Pierce]], [[Sensei’s Divining Top]], [[Counterbalance]], [[Delver of Secrets]], and something else. Oh well. That hand had nothing on [[Wipe Away]].

17-7 | 7-2

Finals – Doug McKay with Mono-White Control

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Past in Flames|]]

I sit down and am pretty happy to see in Doug’s deck list that there are zero copies of [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] in the deck. The only relevant cards I found were three copies of [[Leyline of Sanctity]], two [[Aura of Silence]], and four [[Wasteland]].

Game One:

I get stuck with too many cantrips and can’t become Hellbent for the [[Infernal Tutor]] in my hand. Doug plays a pair of [[Wasteland]] on my lands and attacks with a [[Mirran Crusader]] with an [[Umezawa’s Jitte]] on it. Ouch.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Orim’s Chant]], -1 [[Orim’s Chant]], +2 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Silent Departure]]
Game Two:

I decide that I’ll let Doug have a chance in beating me: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Empty the Warrens]] for 10 [[Goblin Token]]s. It gets there!

Game Three:

Doug plays a [[Mother of Runes]] and I play a [[Volcanic Island]]. Doug attacks and uses a [[Wasteland]]. I play a [[Gemstone Mine]]. Doug attacks again with the [[Mother of Runes]]. I play a [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Burning Wish]]) and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Past in Flames]]. Doug plays an [[Aura of Silence]], attacks, and passes. I draw and cast [[Brainstorm]]. Play a [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Past in Flames]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]]!

19-8 | 8-2

Totals & Stats

  • Games & Record: 19-8 | 8-2
  • The Die Roll: 5-5
  • Mulligans: 6
  • Turn One Combos: 1
  • Ad Nauseam Wins: 11
  • Past in Flames Wins: 1
  • Empty the Warrens Wins: 1
  • Natural Tendrils of Agony Wins: 4

Closing & General Thoughts

Won my first Northeast Legacy Championship Qualifier at Jupiter in quite a while! Took second a few months ago but there isn’t a trophy to remind you about being the first loser. I ended up taking two FFB [[Underground Sea]] and a [[Volcanic Island]] so that I don’t need to switch out my TES dual lands when I play other decks. I also got a [[Savannah]] and a pair of [[Tarmogoyf]] with the winnings. Most importantly, I took away 155$ in cold-hard cash (in addition to the store credit) to make up for the money I spent in the morning on my [[Chrome Mox]].

I left the store that night being first in Jupiter Games points and leveled up twice! I’ll now receive a round one **BYE** for the rest of the season! Winning does have its benefits!

Until next time, keep storming!