For a long time in Syracuse weekly events I had been playing a different deck every week trying to dodge metagame hate, as well as play the best deck possible for the event. This all changed when my work schedule changed for the holidays, I get home too late to have time to spend looking at deck lists to potentially build. This has left me playing my own deck, The EPIC Storm, at almost every Legacy weekly event ever since time shift. What I’ve noticed is that the current metagame in Syracuse is very weak to Storm combo at the moment. While everyone has been trying to grind out [[Deathrite Shaman]] mirrors, I’ve been putting fourteen [[Goblin Token]]s into play instead.

The Syracuse metagame isn’t unlike a much larger metagame. Admittedly, there are some slight differences, but for the most part it’s a lot of the same decks. I remembered this when it came time to look for a deck for the Jupiter Games NELCQ that was rapidly approaching. After looking at a variety of decks, I wanted to play some sort of blue and white control deck — but with [[Abrupt Decay]] being a huge nuisance for [[Counterbalance]] decks I decided I’d look elsewhere. EsperBlade was interesting, but I couldn’t find a list to base mine off of that also played [[Terminus]]. With the Jupiter metagame being heavily favored toward creature based strategies, I knew I wanted to play that card somewhere. Unfortunately, I never settled on a list. I kept searching until I realized that the metagame was the same as Syracuse — awful against combo. It was at that time that I knew I had to remind people about the monster under their bed.

Ning, Royce, and myself would once again (as we did in Baltimore), join forces to become “Team Storm” to take down the Jupiter Games NELCQ. With my current new deck per event rule, this means I unfortunately can’t play The EPIC Storm again for a while. Unless I decide to break my own terms of agreement, but the jury is still out on that.

The day of the event came, I packed an overnight bag for the PTQ the following day at Jupiter Games and began getting ready for the day. I picked up Nick Patnode and we made our trip down to Binghamton from Syracuse. The car ride was spent talking mostly about Magic and new music. Nothing out of the ordinary, everything went pretty smoothly. I explained my deck choice to Nick and he said it made perfect sense, Nick then went on to talk about how he didn’t feel comfortable enough with The EPIC Storm to play it that day. Nick built the deck a few months prior but has been too busy to properly prepare for an event like the Jupiter Games NELC.

When we arrived at the event center I began filling out my deck registration. A few people wandered on over to get a better look, but it was my mission to keep what I was piloting a secret. Only four people in the room knew what I was playing (two of them playing the same thing) and I wanted to keep it that way. The fewer people that knew what I was playing, the better! I didn’t want people throwing an extra [[Gaddock Teeg]] or [[Ethersworn Canonist]] into their sideboard in order to prepare for the coming Storm. I began to wander around the room and make small talk as I normally do, when I stumbled into Ning. He then started his crusade to make me think [[Time Spiral]] is better than [[Diminishing Returns]] (It’s not), not this again… but I was saved by the pairings for round one going up!

the epic Storm

Main Deck
  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 4 [[Gitaxian Probe]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 4 [[Silence]]
  • 3 [[Duress]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 4 [[Gemstone Mine]]
  • 2 [[City of Brass]]
  • 2 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 2 [[Scalding Tarn]]
  • 1 [[Polluted Delta]]
  • 3 [[Cabal Therapy]]
  • 2 [[Karakas]]
  • 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 2 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Hull Breach]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Past in Flames]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]

Jupiter Games NELCQ

Round One – David Chau with BANT Midrange

[[Stoneforge Mystic|]]
[[Burning Wish|]]
[[Ethersworn Canonist|]]
Game One:

David begins the event by quickly shipping back the first seven cards of the day, I opt to keep my hand. David starts the round by playing a [[Tropical Island]] and then passes the turn. I play a [[Gitaxian Probe]] that stares at: [[Force of Will]], [[Scavenging Ooze]], [[Stoneforge Mystic]], [[Qasali Pridemage]], and [[Brainstorm]]. I then play a [[Scalding Tarn]] searching for a [[Volcanic Island]] and cast [[Ponder]]. David casts [[Brainstorm]] on the end step. David drew a [[Windswept Heath]] and puts a [[Savannah]] into play, followed by a [[Stoneforge Mystic]] ([[Batterskull]] was put into David’s hand). I draw and play [[Polluted Delta]] for [[Underground Sea]], tap [[Underground Sea]] and play [[Duress]]. David tanks for a minute then decides to cast [[Force of Will]] removing another [[Brainstorm]]. David just draws and passes the turn back with the threat of [[Batterskull]] and its eight point life-total swing. I knew that this turn would be the most optimal turn to try to win the game and that David used a copy of [[Force of Will]] already, which raises the incentives. I go through the motions to my main phase, lay a third land, and cast [[Brainstorm]]. The turn then went as follows: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Silence]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]] searching for [[Burning Wish]], [[Burning Wish]], and then [[Tendrils of Agony]]

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]], +2 [[Cabal Therapy]]
Game Two:

David has a much better start this game with a first turn [[Noble Hierarch]]. I play a [[Ponder]] off of a [[City of Brass]] and pass the turn. [[Ethersworn Canonist]] enters the battlefield on David’s turn, yikes! I untap, play a second land and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Grapeshot]]. My hand at this point is: [[Ponder]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Grapeshot]], and [[Lotus Petal]],. Over the next few turns, I play some draw spells into additonal lands, [[Silence]], and a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. In the mean time, David has been attacking my life total bringing me to eleven, while using [[Sylvan Library]]. I untap, draw, and play [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and play [[Grapeshot]] with all three targets pointed at the [[Ethersworn Canonist]]. I then play [[Silence]] which becomes the target of [[Counterspell]], I continue in my attempt to combo playing [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Infernal Tutor]] searching for [[Burning Wish]], cast the [[Burning Wish]] retrieving [[Tendrils of Agony]] and draining David’s remaining twelve life.

2-0 | 1-0

Round Two – Louis Fata with Junk

[[Dark Ritual|]]
[[Gaddock Teeg|]]
[[Echo of Eons|]]
Game One:

Louis takes a mulligan and then has “[[Forest]], go.” as the first turn. On my turn, I activate [[Scalding Tarn]] for [[Volcanic Island]] and cast [[Ponder]] — attempting to look like RUG Delver. It doesn’t matter to Louis because any [[Wasteland]] target still dies. I draw, play [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -4 [[Silence]], -3 [[Duress]], +3 [[Cabal Therapy]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Karakas]].
Game Two:

Louis once again finds himself shuffling after seeing the first seven. This is a long, long game. I play out all of my lands and artifact mana while my hand is torn apart by discard and [[Liliana of the Veil]]. I draw [[Infernal Tutor]] the turn after Louis plays [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] for [[Gaddock Teeg]]. I decided I would get [[Karakas]] before [[Abrupt Decay]] because it’s an answer as well as a potential mana that I needed at the time. I was also hoping to catch Louis off guard in response to [[Liliana of the Veil]]. All of this didn’t matter since a second copy of [[Wasteland]] came down to destroy [[Karakas]]. I began to question my decision, but in hind-sight it was right because I needed the mana. The next few turns are exactly the same, both of us drawing all lands in a row while I take two damage. I draw a second [[Infernal Tutor]] and this time search for [[Abrupt Decay]]. Louis becomes a bit greedy with the [[Liliana of the Veil]] and uses the plus one ability. I cast [[Abrupt Decay]] on [[Gaddock Teeg]] in response to the [[Liliana of the Veil]] activation forcing Louis to discard a [[Green Sun’s Zenith]]. This is relevant because it could’ve been used to find the last copy of [[Gaddock Teeg]]. Lucky me! I have a one turn window to draw a business spell before I die to lethal damage. I peel the top card of my library and it’s land number six of twelve.

Game Three:

My opening hand is: [[Dark Ritual]], [[Cabal Therapy]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Ad Nauseam]], [[Karakas]], and [[Rite of Flame]]. It’s slightly risky, but I believe the upside is worth it. Once again, Louis takes a mulligan. I play [[Gitaxian Probe]] looking at two copies of [[Liliana of the Veil]] as well as a pair of [[Ethersworn Canonist]] and two lands. My draw off of [[Gitaxian Probe]] was a [[Ponder]]. I play [[Karakas]] and pass. Louis plays a land and passes. I draw [[Infernal Tutor]], not ideal. Play [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Infernal Tutor]]) and cast [[Cabal Therapy]] naming [[Ethersworn Canonist]]. Louis drew a third land which means [[Liliana of the Veil]]. Louis draws, taps two lands and I can feel a Hymn to Tourach coming — I get nervous. But it’s just [[Dark Confidant]]. My draw for turn is [[Lotus Petal]]! [[Dark Ritual]] by tapping [[Chrome Mox]], [[Rite of Flame]] off of [[Lotus Petal]] into [[Ad Nauseam]].

4-1 | 2-0

Round Three – Kiel Speer with Enchantress

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Leyline of Sanctity|]]
[[Rest in Peace|]]
Game One:

Keil begins with [[Forest]] into [[Utopia Sprawl]]. I play [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Duress]] (Discarding [[Enchantress’s Presence]]), [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Empty the Warrens]]. When I pass the turn Kiel’s hand is [[Forest]], [[Argothian Enchantress]], [[Wild Growth]], and [[Green Sun’s Zenith]]. Kiel draws, plays a [[Forest]] and then [[Wild Growth]] on the land that already taps for two. Taps that land for three mana, casts [[Argothian Enchantress]] and then [[Elephant Grass]]! That was a good draw. I untap, draw a [[Chrome Mox]] and pass. Kiel pays for [[Elephant Grass]], draws, taps the three mana land and plays [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] for a second [[Argothian Enchantress]] and passes. I draw a [[Rite of Flame]], pass. Kiel plays [[Solitary Confinement]], I spent the rest of the game with [[Silence]] in hand hoping Kiel would sacrifice [[Solitary Confinement]]. It doesn’t happen.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]
Game Two:

Kiel shuffles down to six cards and then stops me from playing my land because he has double [[Leyline of Sanctity]]. I decided that I needed to look at Kiel’s hand to see what I need to do to win the game. I play a land and [[Ponder]], Kiel plays a land and passes. I play [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]] (Reveal [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]), [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]] for [[Ill-Gotten Gains]], cast it. Kiel discards three lands to [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] and then returns them. I bring back two [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and [[Infernal Tutor]], cast them, search for [[Burning Wish]], retrieve [[Empty the Warrens]] and generate twenty-four [[Goblin Token]]s to the table. Kiel’s draw was not enough to hold them back.

Game Three:

As we start to shuffle up for the game I look at the clock and there are seven minutes remaining in the round. Kiel once again starts with a [[Leyline of Sanctity]]. On turn three, I decided I needed to go for the win, I wanted to [[Ad Nauseam]] to find enough mana to [[Burning Wish]] and cast [[Hull Breach]] then continue winning. However, I had [[Burning Wish]] in hand, not [[Infernal Tutor]]. I cast [[Past in Flames]] instead and then the turn went to time. I then fizzle off of [[Past in Flames]] and I am forced to play [[Diminishing Returns]], attempt to go off again, [[Past in Flames]] again, but only drew numerous copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. This forced me to cast [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]. At this point, we were ten minutes past time in the round on turn one, I continued to try to find [[Ad Nauseam]] but to no avail. I fizzled on a twenty minute long turn. I had to pass, Kiel did a bunch of things, I drew and passed, this continued until turn five when Kiel had [[Rest in Peace]] plus [[Helm of Obedience]]. I explained that even if I was decked, that it was a draw (as I didn’t have a turn left to be forced to draw) and that I wouldn’t concede.

4-2-1 | 2-0-1

I felt awful after this round, I haven’t had to do that level of complex thinking in a very long time. My decision trees kept on changing due to being forced to change Storm engines. It ultimately lead to me feeling drained along with a killer headache, all I wanted to do was sleep. With the event not even half way finished my only option was to load up on caffeine for the remainder of the day.

Round Four – Joey Manner with RIP Helm Miracles

[[Abrupt Decay|]]
[[Sensei’s Divining Top|]]
Game One:

Joey wins the die roll and lays a [[Flooded Strand]] before passing the turn. I draw a [[Gemstone Mine]] for turn and my hand is now: [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Empty the Warrens]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]. I play the [[Gitaxian Probe]] and look at: [[Brainstorm]], [[Terminus]], [[Supreme Verdict]], [[Force of Will]], [[Island]], and [[Counterbalance]]. I don’t think Joey could’ve asked for a much better hand, maybe a [[Sensei’s Divining Top]] instead of [[Supreme Verdict]]. But holy crap, I spend the rest of the game under [[Counterbalance]] along with [[Sensei’s Divining Top]] since that’s what [[Brainstorm]] found. Sometimes, the opponent has “all these” and sometimes you do — this was not one of those times where he did.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Cabal Therapy]]
Game Two:

Joey once again has a strong hand that I get a view of it thanks to a [[Gitaxian Probe]]: [[Force of Will]], [[Counterspell]], [[Flooded Strand]], [[Plains]], [[Counterbalance]], [[Volcanic Island]], and [[Supreme Verdict]]. I play an [[Underground Sea]] and [[Ponder]], shuffle, and then draw. My hand at this point in time is: [[City of Brass]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Abrupt Decay]], and [[Burning Wish]]. I’m stuck looking for a way to bypass [[Counterspell]] and [[Force of Will]], I play [[Brainstorm]] into [[Duress]] and discard [[Force of Will]]. But by then Joey has time to play [[Counterbalance]] on consecutive turns along with a [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. My one [[Abrupt Decay]] now feels pretty weak. I destroy one of the obnoxious enchantments, then on my turn draw another [[Abrupt Decay]]! I’m feeling pretty good at this point. Joey plays [[Rest in Peace]] on this turn, which is fine. On the end step, I attempt to destroy [[Counterbalance]] but my eyes nearly fall out of my head instead. “I’ll [[Misdirection]] that to [[Rest in Peace]] instead” WHEN DID PEOPLE START DOING THIS!? I didn’t see it coming at all. I was blown out and spent the rest of the game in awe.

4-4-1 | 2-1-1

Round Five – Connor Robinson with RUG Delver

[[Force of Will|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]
Game One:

I begin the game with a [[Gitaxian Probe]] that reveals: [[Force of Will]], [[Force of Will]], [[Daze]], [[Spell Snare]], [[Spell Pierce]], [[Wasteland]], and [[Lightning Bolt]]. Connor clearly kept the hand based on what I was playing, but soon would be punished for it. I slowly diminished the hand away by putting Connor in awkward situations, forcing Connor to [[Counterspell]] a [[Duress]] and [[Burning Wish]] allowing me to resolve [[Ad Nauseam]]. Connor did draw a [[Volcanic Island]] during all of this but it wasn’t enough to allow a recovery.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
Game Two:

Connor knew I was siding in the additional [[Empty the Warrens]]. Connor was borrowing RUG Delver from Ning who was playing a nearly identical list. Once again, Connor had an incredibly stacked hand but attempted to keep me off of mana by casting [[Force of Will]] on my two copies of [[Dark Ritual]], which allowed me to play [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], tap a land, [[Silence]] (which resolved with Connor holding a pair of [[Stifle]]), then a pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] followed by [[Infernal Tutor]]. I cast [[Ad Nauseam]] from eighteen life and immediately took eight damage from the additional copy of [[Empty the Warrens]]. Luckily, the flips started changing and artifacts started to reveal!

6-4-1 | 3-1-1

Round Six – Mike McCarthy with BANT Mirange

[[Vendilion Clique|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Scavenging Ooze|]]
Game One:

My notes on this game are a little weird, I know that I mulliganed, and I have nothing from before [[Ad Nauseam]]. I’m at ten life from [[Qasali Pridemage]] attacks along with [[Noble Hierarch]] when I cast [[Ad Nauseam]] and am forced to stop at two life. I can kill all of Mike’s creatures and deal eight damage, putting Mike to twelve life. Although, I won’t be in that great of a position to continue combo-ing the following turn. I would have two lands, three tapped [[Chrome Mox]], and a [[Lotus Petal]] to work off of. Mike and I go back and forth for the next three turns, on the end of the third turn Mike flashes in a [[Vendilion Clique]]. My top card was [[Burning Wish]], just a little too late.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]], +2 [[Cabal Therapy]]
Game Two:

On turn one I play, [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint [[Duress]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. Mike begins shuffling for the next game.

Game Three:

Mike plays a turn one [[Noble Hierarch]] and passes. I cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] and see that Mike is holding a pair of [[Force of Will]] as well as a single blue card — [[Vendilion Clique]]. I had the option of casting [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]] but decide to use the [[Empty the Warrens]] in my hand instead. I drop twelve [[Goblin Token]]s onto the table and pass. Mike then plays a [[Scavenging Ooze]] and passes. I swing out, some blocks are made, and I pass. On my next turn, I attack, Mike announces blocks, and I say, “Alright, you go to one.” Mike thinks that it should be at two, we go back and count the damage from both attacks with each block. Mike still says, “I have myself at two.” I call a judge, I explain my side with evidence written down. The judge agrees, if Mike was at two, the match actually would’ve been much closer as the extra mana from the [[Windswept Heath]] would’ve provided a [[Knight of the Reliquary]] with the mana to cast [[Swords to Plowshares]] on the [[Knight of the Reliquary]]. Mike draws for turn and concedes.

8-5-1 | 4-1-1

Round Seven – Bryan Raymer with BUG Delver

[[Gitaxian Probe|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]

I’m the pair down contending for top 8. We sit down for the round and Bryan says, “I’ve been waiting for you the entire day” due to a joke that I made during the second round about the Bengals jersey that he was wearing. The difference is Bryan is speaking very seriously, and not at all friendly. I respond with, “Be careful, you may just get what you asked for.” I think to my self at this point, “Maybe I’ll make less jokes about people’s choice of football teams in the future.”

Game One:

I win the die roll. I keep my initial seven — Bryan does not. I begin the round with [[Gitaxian Probe]] revealing: [[Deathrite Shaman]], [[Abrupt Decay]], [[Abrupt Decay]],[[Underground Sea]], [[Underground Sea]], and a [[Verdant Catacombs]]. I then play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for and cast [[Empty the Warrens]] for ten [[Goblin Token]]s. Bryan plays [[Deathrite Shaman]] and I begin my three turn assault.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
Game Two:

Bryan starts the game with [[Verdant Catacombs]]. I play a [[Gitaxian Probe]] revealing: [[Dark Confidant]], [[Hymn to Tourach]], [[Tarmogoyf]], [[Misty Rainforest]], [[Polluted Delta]], and [[Wasteland]]. I follow up with a [[Duress]] for [[Hymn to Tourach]]. Bryan activates [[Wasteland]], I lay another land and play [[Ponder]] setting up for the [[Ad Nauseam]] resting in my hand. Bryan plays [[Dark Confidant]] and passes. I play out everything in my hand, into [[Ad Nauseam]]. I then proceed to have a fantastic [[Ad Nauseam]] that ended with a [[Grapeshot]] in the high twenties.

You can probably figure out why that game ended in a [[Grapeshot]].

10-5-1 | 5-1-1

While waiting for top eight to begin I went up to Ryan McKinney and started chatting when I noticed a Japanese Foil [[Abrupt Decay]] in the display case. I immediately decided that I wanted it, just incase I decided to cut the second copy of [[Empty the Warrens]] from the sideboard due to its poor performance on the day. I trade in a spare [[Tropical Island]] and now own my third Japanese Foil [[Abrupt Decay]]!

Top Eight – Eli Kassis with Junk

[[Lotus Petal|]]
[[Inquisition of Kozilek|]]
[[Infernal Tutor|]]

Before the match, there was a top 8 meeting where I did not agree to a top 8 split. Eli asked me if I’m sure since I’ve never beaten him on camera but I have!), I was positive that I was going to mop the floor with him. I look around the room and ask the crowd what is the over/under for the Storm count on [[Grapeshot]] that Eli takes to the face.

Game One:

We both mulligan and Eli starts the top eight with [[Savannah]] into [[Deathrite Shaman]]! I decided to get a better look with a [[Gitaxian Probe]]: [[Liliana of the Veil]], [[Savannah]], [[Horizon Canopy]], and [[Tarmogoyf]] are revealed. All I needed to draw off of [[Gitaxian Probe]] was an initial mana source to win the game, it didn’t happen. On Eli’s turn an attack for one happens and then a [[Tarmogoyf]]. I would go on to my turn after I draw a [[Lotus Petal]] for turn. [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Infernal Tutor]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Ad Nauseam]]!

Sideboarding: -4 [[Silence]], -3 [[Duress]], +3 [[Cabal Therapy]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Karakas]]
Game Two:

Eli begins game two with a basic [[Swamp]] into [[Inquisition of Kozilek]]. Eli stares and contemplates what to discard for a few moments, my hand was pretty impressive: [[Burning Wish]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[City of Brass]], and [[Brainstorm]]. Eli ultimately decides on [[Burning Wish]]. I draw for turn, play [[City of Brass]], tap it, and [[Brainstorm]]. My [[Brainstorm]] finds [[Infernal Tutor]]! I would then go on to cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]. Sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in response for and cast [[Ad Nauseam]]. Eli concedes to spare himself from my showboating.

12-5-1 | 6-1-1

Top Four – Kevin McKee with NicFit

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Pernicious Deed|]]
[[Ill-Gotten Gains|]]
Game One:

Kevin has a pretty uneventful start to the top 4, with a “[[Swamp]], go.” I decide to show Kevin what a turn one should look like! [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Duress]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Burning Wish]] finding [[Empty the Warrens]] and place fourteen [[Goblin Token]]s on the table. The tokens would be enough to end the game.

Sideboarding: -4 [[Silence]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +3 [[Cabal Therapy]], +1 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]

I had to side in the [[Tendrils of Agony]] with Kevin having three copies of [[Slaughter Games]] on their way.

Game Two:

Kevin’s start this game is much more impressive, with [[Bayou]] into [[Veteran Explorer]]. I start the game with [[City of Brass]] and a [[Gitaxian Probe]] revealing: [[Red Elemental Blast]], [[Veteran Explorer]], [[Huntmaster of the Fells]], [[Stomping Ground]], and [[Pernicious Deed]]. I follow up with a [[Ponder]], shuffle, and draw. Kevin plays a second [[Veteran Explorer]] and attacks for one before passing the turn. I cast [[Cabal Therapy]] to discard Kevin’s [[Red Elemental Blast]]. This allowed the ability for me to cast [[Brainstorm]] off of the [[Gemstone Mine]] that I just put into play. On Kevin’s turn, [[Stomping Ground]] comes into play, an attack for two, and then plays [[Pernicious Deed]]. I search for [[Underground Sea]] on my turn, tap it, and cast [[Brainstorm]]. Tap my other two lands, [[Infernal Tutor]] revealing a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to search for another copy. I play a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] hoping Kevin would blow his Pernicious Deed, it doesn’t happen. I pass the turn, Kevin draws a [[Sensei’s Divining Top]], plays it and spins, before dropping another land into play. Attacks leave me now at seven life. I untap, draw, play my fourth land, followed by a pair of [[Lotus Petal]]. I then cast [[Dark Ritual]], a second [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and [[Burning Wish]] using my pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Retrieve [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] and cast it. Return [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] to play around the [[Pernicious Deed]] on the table. Play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] in that order. Sacrificing the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], I continue to search for another [[Infernal Tutor]] and eventually end the game with a [[Tendrils of Agony]] taking away Kevin’s life along with Kevin’s chance at the finals.

14-5-1 | 7-1-1

Finals – Henry Decker with Mono-Red Sneak Attack

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Tendrils of Agony|]]

I actually get to be on the play! It’s shocking since I was the seventh seed.

Game One:

I keep a hand with triple [[Ponder]], a couple lands, and an [[Ad Nauseam]]. I play all three [[Ponder]]s on my first two turns. This is what Henry does: [[Mountain]], next turn, [[Ancient Tomb]], [[Seething Song]], [[Seething Song]], [[Seething Song]], [[Through the Breach]], [[Griselbrand]], draw fourteen cards, [[Sneak Attack]], remove [[Simian Spirit Guide]], put [[Emrakul, the Aeons Torn]] into play and swing. How cool was that?!

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]] -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +3 [[Cabal Therapy]].
Game Two:

Henry shuffles the deck repeatedly, all the way down to three cards. I do pretty much nothing the first three turns, until I [[Duress]], play [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]) followed by [[Infernal Tutor]] (Hellbent) for [[Ad Nauseam]]. Pass. On my next turn, cast [[Ad Nauseam]].

Game Three:

Henry begins the game with “[[Sandstone Needle]], pass.” My turn goes as follows: [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Ponder]] finding [[Ad Nauseam]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Ad Nauseam]]. It’s a pretty weak [[Ad Nauseam]], I have to stop at two, play a [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Infernal Tutor]]), [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Gitaxian Probe]]) and cast [[Brainstorm]]. [[Brainstorm]] finds a pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], I play them both immediately followed by [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]] with eighteen storm! What a way to end the day.

16-6-1 | 8-1-1

Totals & Stats

  • Games & Record: 16-6-1 | 8-1-1
  • The Die Roll: 4-6
  • Mulligans: 2
  • Turn One Combos: 3
  • Ad Nauseam Wins: 8
  • Past in Flames Wins: 0
  • Empty the Warrens Wins: 5
  • Natural Tendrils of Agony Wins: 4

Closing & General Thoughts

I head over to the table to receive my prize of four [[Underground Sea]] but opt to take the store credit instead. I had my eyes on a pair of foreign black-boarder dual lands — a [[Badlands]] and a [[Volcanic Island]]. It’s worth noting that Ning also made top eight! Congrats to him!

Right after I received my prizes Nick and I headed out to dinner. Nick and I talked about how I was really unhappy with the second [[Empty the Warrens]] on the way there, I never seemed to want it and I wasn’t sure if the downside of making [[Ad Nauseam]] worse was worth it. I took a chance on it, but from now I’ll be rocking three [[Abrupt Decay]]. Especially if this [[Misdirection]] trend continues, even if it doesn’t, always having the [[Abrupt Decay]] for [[Counterbalance]] isn’t exactly a bad thing. At worst your [[Chrome Mox]] becomes a [[Bayou]]. [[Abrupt Decay]] was still incredibly helpful against the non-[[Counterbalance]] decks as well providing a way to actually deal with hate creatures. I believe that it’s earned the additional copy.

Until next time, keep storming!