Star City Games: Washington, DC (03/17/2013) — 1st Place

I had been practicing counting to twenty for weeks leading up to Star City Games: Washington, DC. I felt that I had lost some of my skills, because of this I ran the deck in weekly local events for three weeks where I normally opt to play something else. I also piloted The EPIC Storm (TES) to a first place finish at another tournament very recently. I was feeling pretty good again and was anxious to see how I could perform in a slightly larger pond down where the President lives. I sleeved up the beautiful storm deck in new perfect-fit sleeves and Ultra Pros for the big day — I was ready.

I stared at the clock all day Friday waiting for it to be 5PM. I raced home where I found Dan Walton and Eric Laframboise waiting for me. I checked the mail where I found my birthday gifts to myself in the box — The Batman Knightfall series. I put the three volumes on the shelf, grabbed my backpacks, and dashed out the door. We swung a few blocks around the corner as always to grab Nick Patnode before hitting 81S. Then we stopped in Cortland to grab a fellow Stormtrooper, Si Ning Li.

The drive down went by pretty quickly, we stopped a couple of times for gas and drinks. I decided to buy a twelve-dollar, 3/4ths pound, bag of Spicy Hot Beef Jerky. I paid for that all weekend. We arrived at our Red Roof Inn location roughly twenty minutes away from the event at 1AM. Eric wasn’t too thrilled we were staying at a hotel that was so cheap it was $35 a person total for the weekend. It didn’t matter much, honestly, we were barely there and it was clean. I think he was more upset at the fact that they wouldn’t bring him an extra pillow more than anything else.

I awoke to a familiar sound Saturday morning as my alarm went off at 6:30AM and the gang prepared for the day. When we arrived at the convention center the first thing I noticed was how nice it was, especially compared to some of the others I’ve been to recently &nmdash; yes, I’m talking about Edison. The Standard Open didn’t go too well for me. Before the Syracuse crew knew it we were all in the Chipotle bracket, I ran a UWr Tempo variant that I had been playing around with at the local scene. It didn’t quite pan out, I had a couple of rough matches.

Our car gathered together and hit the Applebees by our hotel, kind of weak. Fortunately, they had a three dollar Long Island special. We drank, ate, watched Syracuse University lose to Louisville (which ruined our good time), and went back to the hotel. I woke up Sunday not feeling exactly all that great, not necessarily hung-over, just awful. I’m going to blame the Spicy Hot Beef Jerky. We arrived at the event pretty early and Rueben was behind us on the way up the escalator. We were talking about how I used to play [[Eye of Nowhere]] and mid-combo would bounce someone’s land and then continue winning. I mentioned how I want to find a Japanese foil [[Temporal Fissure]] and win the game with no permanents on the table. I held the event center door as everyone walked in, little did I know we would also be the last ones out.

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]]
  • 2 [[Duress]]
  • 1 [[Cabal Therapy]]
  • 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 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 2 [[Cabal Therapy]]
  • 2 [[Xantid Swarm]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Past in Flames]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]

Star City Games: Legacy Open

Round One – David with Junk

[[Deathrite Shaman|]]
[[Ill-Gotten Gains|]]

Game One:

David wins the die roll and begins the day with a [[Windswept Heath]] searching for [[Bayou]] and then taps the land for [[Deathrite Shaman]]. I play [[Gemstone Mine]] and cast [[Duress]] which discards [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] but leaves [[Dark Confidant]], [[Swords to Plowshares]], and lands in David’s hand. David plays [[Dark Confidant]] off of two lands and attacks for one. I draw, play [[Ponder]], followed by a [[City of Brass]] and then pass. David reveals [[Lingering Souls]] to [[Dark Confidant]], casts it, and then attacks. I play [[Brainstorm]] on the end step to dodge discarding on my turn. On my turn, play a land and cast [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -4 [[Silence]], -2 [[Duress]],+2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Cabal Therapy]], +2 [[Chain of Vapor]]

Game Two:

David leads off the second game with a [[Thoughtseize]]. I lay my hand on the table: [[Volcanic Island]], [[Chain of Vapor]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Gemstone Mine]]. “Discard a [[Burning Wish]].” Alright! I draw [[Lotus Petal]] for turn and then cast [[Gitaxian Probe]], which reveals: [[Scavenging Ooze]], [[Deathrite Shaman]], [[Maelstrom Pulse]], [[Gavony Township]], and [[Windswept Heath]]. I draw another [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] off of [[Gitaxian Probe]]. I then cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]] for [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]. Return the pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and the discarded [[Burning Wish]]. Cast all of these spells into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Tendrils of Agony]].

2-0 | 1-0

Round Two – Kevin Jones with UWr Delver

[[Delver of Secrets|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Gitaxian Probe|]]

Game One:

[[Delver of Secrets]] is the first play of the round. Kevin motions for me to take my turn, I draw, and play [[Ponder]]. On Kevin’s upkeep a [[Brainstorm]] is cast, a revealed [[Lightning Bolt]] to [[Delver of Secrets]], and an attack. On my turn, I cast [[Duress]] which discards [[Force of Will]]. Kevin is left with [[Daze]], [[Stifle]], [[Wasteland]], and [[Flooded Strand]]. Kevin plays [[Wasteland]] dropping me back down to a single land and then attacks me. I draw, play a land, then cast [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] ([[Daze]] — I do not pay) and naturally cast [[Ad Nauseam]]. I reveal about twenty cards to [[Ad Nauseam]] but unfortunately none of them are zero casting cost artifacts.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

It’s turn three. Kevin has a tapped [[Volcanic Island]] and an untapped [[Flooded Strand]] along with a [[Delver of Secrets]]. I cast [[Gitaxian Probe]], it reveals: [[Daze]], [[Spell Pierce]], [[Stifle]], [[Vendilion Clique]] and [[Misty Rainforest]]. I then play [[Rite of Flame]] and Kevin quickly casts [[Spell Pierce]] — I don’t pay. [[Rite of Flame]] which is met by [[Daze]], I do pay this time. [[Chrome Mox]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Lotus Petal]], and cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. Kevin draws a card for turn and we’re off to the third game.

Game Three:

Kevin taps out for a turn one [[Delver of Secrets]]. I draw and look at the eight cards in my hand: [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Underground Sea]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Ad Nauseam]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. I play [[Gitaxian Probe]] and look at Kevin’s hand of: [[Lightning Bolt]], [[Red Elemental Blast]], [[Spell Pierce]], [[Spell Pierce]] and [[Ponder]]. I then draw a [[Burning Wish]] before casting [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Ad Nauseam]]. In response, I sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for .

4-0 | 2-0

Round Three – Zohar with TinFins

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Cabal Therapy|]]

Game One:

Zohar mulligans and I begin the round with [[Underground Sea]] into [[Ponder]]. Zohar does the same. I’m thinking that Zohar is on “Team America” as its one of the original “Virginian” decks of Legacy and Zohar is apart of that crew. I draw the second card off my [[Ponder]] and cast [[Duress]] on my turn. Zohar reveals: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Goryo’s Vengeance]], [[Ponder]], and [[Tundra]] — I discard the [[Ponder]]. Zohar draws [[Entomb]] for turn. Before I know it [[Griselbrand]] is in play and I’m picking my cards up. That’s how it feels, huh?

Sideboarding: -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

I keep an opening hand that consists of: [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Cabal Therapy]]. I’m hesitant to keep this in the combo mirror as attacking isn’t what I want to be doing — but… I decide to anyway. [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Empty the Warrens]]. Put ten [[Goblin Token]]s into play. Zohar lays a [[Marsh Flats]] and passes. I draw a [[City of Brass]] and attack. Tap [[Gemstone Mine]] and play [[Cabal Therapy]]. Zohar searches in response and casts [[Brainstorm]]. I name [[Dark Ritual]] as Zohar probably needs one if I’m going to die on turn two. I hit two copies and then flashback Therapy to discard [[Children of Korlis]]. We’re off to game three.

Game Three:

This game is a long one for a combo mirror, we tear each other’s hands apart. I end up with four lands and two [[Lotus Petal]] in play with nothing else. I have one draw step to naturally draw [[Ad Nauseam]]. It doesn’t happen before Zohar finds a [[Goryo’s Vengeance]] ([[Children of Korlis]] is the top creature card in the graveyard, [[Shallow Grave]] wouldn’t do). It was a good match, I just didn’t get there.

5-2 | 2-1

Round Four – Kiet with TinFins

[[Ad Nauseam|]]

Game One:

Kiet shuffles all the way down to five and begins with “[[Scrubland]], go.” I draw, lay an [[Underground Sea]], and cast [[Duress]]. Kiet casts [[Entomb]] for [[Children of Korlis]] in response. The hand is: [[Griselbrand]], [[Griselbrand]], and [[Chrome Mox]]. Kiet draws and passes. I untap, draw, and cast [[Brainstorm]]. [[Scalding Tarn]] for [[Volcanic Island]], then cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding:-1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

Kiet begins the game with the classic [[Scrubland]] into [[Thoughtseize]]. My hand is: [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Lotus Petal]], and [[Burning Wish]] — [[Burning Wish]] down. I draw [[Ponder]]. I play [[Gitaxian Probe]] to reveal Kiet’s hand of: [[Entomb]], [[Ponder]], [[Tundra]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]]. I draw [[Chrome Mox]] off of [[Gitaxian Probe]] and then play [[Gemstone Mine]] into [[Ponder]] (which finds [[Infernal Tutor]]). [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (No Imprint), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Burning Wish]], and then cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Tendrils of Agony]].

7-2 | 3-1

Round Five – Phil Blechman with Merfolk

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Cabal Therapy|]]
[[Echoing Truth|]]

It always disappointing to play against a friend, but it’s even worse when its someone who traveled down in your group to the event. Phil is a Syracuse native currently implanted in New York City who joined the rest of the Syracuse guys for a weekend of fun.

Game One:

Phil begins the round with [[Mutavault]] into [[AEther Vial]]. I draw, play a land, and pass. Phil ticks [[AEther Vial]] up and then uses a [[Wasteland]]. I lay another land and pass. Phil ticks up [[AEther Vial]] and uses it to put [[Silvergill Adept]] into play looking for another land drop. Phil hits an [[Island]] and plays it. I draw [[Gitaxian Probe]] and quickly cast it, revealing: [[Force of Will]], [[Merrow Reejery]], [[Silvergill Adept]], [[Master of the Pearl Trident]], and an [[Island]]. Perhaps, the [[Silvergill Adept]] main phase was a trick to make it seem like Phil kept a better hand. I play [[Silence]], Phil casts [[Force of Will]] removing [[Master of the Pearl Trident]]. I play a pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Empty the Warrens]]. With eighteen [[Goblin Token]]s on the battlefield Phil picks up the fish cards.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Silence]], -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +2 [[Xantid Swarm]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

While sideboarding, I needed to take a quick break due to the spicy beef jerky…

Game Two:

[[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Burning Wish]] for [[Cabal Therapy]]. [[Cabal Therapy]] naming [[Echoing Truth]] (misses) and cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. In Phil’s last turn a [[Vendilion Clique]] targeting themself happens and the [[Echoing Truth]] is actually drawn, but without the mana to cast it.

9-2 | 4-1

Round Six – Anwar Ahmed with High Tide

[[High Tide|]]
[[Force of Will|]]

Game One:

Anwar wins the roll, we both cantrip in the early turns. I [[Gitaxian Probe]] on the second turn and reveal: [[High Tide]], [[Turnabout]], [[Cunning Wish]], [[Time Spiral]], and [[Brainstorm]]. I pass the turn without playing my [[Lotus Petal]] because I wasn’t focused enough and am quickly punished — I had [[Silence]] in my hand. Anwar kills me on turn three.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Ponder]], +2 [[Xantid Swarm]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

Anwar keeps a hand with two [[Force of Will]] but can’t find a second land until it’s much too late. By then, I’ve slowly removed both copies of [[Force of Will]] and can resolve my [[Ad Nauseam]] at my own leisure.

Game Three:

Both of our turn ones consisted of a cantrip. On Anwar’s second turn, a [[Merchant Scroll]] for [[Force of Will]] is cast. On my second turn, I play [[Gitaxian Probe]], it reveals: [[Force of Will]], [[Ponder]], [[Candelabra of Townos]], [[Brainstorm]], [[High Tide]], and [[Misty Rainforest]]. I draw [[Ponder]] and cast it finding the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] I needed. Lay [[Gemstone Mine]] and cast [[Silence]] to which Anwar counters with [[Force of Will]]. I then go on to cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

11-3 | 5-1

Round Seven – David Long with UR Delver

[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Surgical Extraction|]]

When David sat down, I knew what the match-up was. I had watched David beat three of my friends that day, this made me want to win even more.

Game One:

David begins the round and starts by putting a [[Goblin Guide]] into play. I also put Goblin(s) into play, but I make twelve of them. [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Silence]]), [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Empty the Warrens]]. Twelve [[Goblin Token]]s is a faster clock than one with some burn. David tries to burn them out and block but [[Chrome Mox]], [[Burning Wish]], sacrificing [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for and [[Grapeshot]] for three denies David another turn.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

We have a mid-round deck check. I tell the judge to be gentle and she responds with, “Is it your first time?” When she returns with my deck, she apologies. I’m not sure if it was for the racy joke or about my request but I found the entire situation to be pretty funny.

Game Two:

David ends up keeping a five-card hand. Once again a turn one [[Goblin Guide]] is attacking me and then again on turn two — neither time, do I reveal a land. On the second turn, I decide I can probably win through a few soft counters with the [[Empty the Warrens]] in my hand. Yes, I naturally drew it two games in a row! [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], in response to the second [[Rite of Flame]] there’s a [[Surgical Extraction]]. [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Right now, there is a single card in David’s hand and it’s [[Pyroblast]]. I play [[Ponder]] right into it for the extra Storm. If it resolves and I find [[Dark Ritual]], I can use the [[Infernal Tutor]] in my hand. If it doesn’t I just cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. David casts [[Pyroblast]]. I drop fourteen [[Goblin Token]]s on the table which draw out a concession.

13-3 | 6-1

Round Eight – JD Nir with Esperblade

Game One:

I keep a hand without a “tutor effect” but it has all of the tools to combo off, with protection, on turns two or three if I can [[Ponder]] or [[Gitaxian Probe]] into a something good. Instead, I sit there until [[Batterskull]] starts knocking my life total down to zero. Frustrating, but it’s a part of playing combo.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

We both mulligan. I use [[Scalding Tarn]] to find [[Underground Sea]] and cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] which reveals: [[Force of Will]], [[Cabal Therapy]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Umezawa’s Jitte]], [[Snapcaster Mage]], and [[Polluted Delta]]. Afterwards, I play [[Ponder]]. JD draws and plays [[Cabal Therapy]] by using [[Polluted Delta]] to find their own [[Underground Sea]] — but the name misses. I’m ready to win through [[Force of Will]]. I cast [[Silence]], [[Force of Will]], I go all in leaving a [[Lotus Petal]] and two lands in play. The card JD drew for turn was another [[Force of Will]]! I run into it head first, JD has a lone [[Underground Sea]] and a [[Umezawa’s Jitte]] in hand against my three permanents. We play “draw, go” for a bit until JD plays [[Surgical Extraction]] on [[Infernal Tutor]].

JD is now beating me down with a pair of [[Stoneforge Mystic]] with equipment. I lay out my artifacts to avoid them being discarded to [[Sword of Feast and Famine]]. I’m at eight life and lethal damage is on the table. I draw [[Ponder]], cast it into [[Burning Wish]], and then [[Burning Wish]] into [[Diminishing Returns]] floating . My new hand is: [[Dark Ritual]], [[Duress]], [[Ad Nauseam]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Burning Wish]] and [[Gitaxian Probe]]. I start out by playing [[Gitaxian Probe]] falling to six life. JD’s new hand is: [[Karakas]], [[Batterskull]], [[Force of Will]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Cabal Therapy]], [[Inquisition of Kozilek]], and [[Vendilion Clique]]. I draw a [[Gemstone Mine]] and play it. Tap [[Gemstone Mine]] and play [[Duress]] discarding [[Force of Will]]. Cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Ad Nauseam]]), [[Burning Wish]], and cast [[Tendrils of Agony]].

Game Three:

JD mulligans to five. Spending the initial few turns disrupting my hand with a turn one [[Thoughtseize]] denying me a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then an [[Inquisition of Kozilek]] discarding [[Burning Wish]] on the second turn. I play a [[Gitaxian Probe]] revealing: [[Sword of Feast and Famine]] and [[Marsh Flats]]. I then cast [[Cabal Therapy]] discarding [[Sword of Feast and Famine]]. On JD’s upkeep, I cast [[Silence]] to become Hellbent and then on my turn draw the land I needed to play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]] followed by [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]]. I draw a bunch of cards all the way down to four life, but I am short of winning the game. I cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] going to two life and JD reveals a [[Snapcaster Mage]]! [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Gitaxian Probe]]), and cast [[Ponder]]. None of the cards will get me there, shuffle, and draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]! [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Burning Wish]] and cast [[Tendrils of Agony]].

15-4 | 7-1

Round Nine – Javier Arevalo with Esper Deathblade

15-4-1 | 7-1-1

Top Eight – Ralph Fitzpatrick with 4c Cascade

Game One:

I keep a pretty questionable hand of: [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Scalding Tarn]], and [[City of Brass]]. Ralph starts out with [[Scalding Tarn]] for [[Taiga]] and plays [[Grim Lavamancer]]. I draw [[Dark Ritual]] for turn and cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] that shows all spells that Ralph can’t cast due to only having one land. Which gives me plenty of time to set up! I play a second [[Gitaxian Probe]] and then a [[Ponder]]. [[Ponder]] finds [[Brainstorm]] to work with my [[Scalding Tarn]]. I then draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for turn. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]] (reveal [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

Ralph has a first turn [[Deathrite Shaman]]. I draw [[Silence]] for my first turn and then cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] revealing: [[Force of Will]], [[Lightning Bolt]], [[Sylvan Library]], [[Tarmogoyf]], and another [[Tarmogoyf]]. Then another [[Gitaxian Probe]] drawing [[Lotus Petal]], and a third [[Gitaxian Probe]] drawing into [[Infernal Tutor]]. [[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Silence]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and Ralph conceded the match. A turn one with [[Silence]] back-up on camera!

17-4-1 | 8-1-1

Top Four – James Higgenbottom with Esperblade

[[Gitaxian Probe|]]
[[Leyline of Sanctity|]]
[[Chain of Vapor|]]
Written Coverage

Game One:

Jim shuffles down to five cards while being on the play (higher seed) and begins the semifinals with a [[Marsh Flats]] into [[Thoughtseize]]. My hand is: [[Burning Wish]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Ponder]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Gemstone Mine]] and [[Underground Sea]]. On my turn, I cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] targeting James. The hand now on table shows: [[Flooded Strand]], [[Brainstorm]], and [[Vendilion Clique]]. I cast [[Ponder]] into the win, lay out my [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to ensure that it isn’t discarded and pass. Jim draws, plays [[Flooded Strand]], and passes.

[[Gemstone Mine]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]], +1 [[Chain of Vapor]]

Game Two:

Jim starts by slamming one of the two copies of the sideboard [[Leyline of Sanctity]] into play from the starting seven cards. It negates the [[Duress]] that I have in my hand. Then James uses [[Marsh Flats]] to search for [[Underground Sea]] and casts a [[Thoughtseize]]. My hand is: [[Rite of Flame]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Duress]], and a couple of lands. I draw [[Ponder]] and cast it but not before I create a [[Mox Jet]] by removing that dead [[Duress]] from the game. We play “Draw, go” with a land here or there for a few turns.

[[Silence]] and Jim casts [[Counterspell]]. I play a couple of [[Rite of Flame]] into [[Burning Wish]] that is met by [[Force of Will]]. On James’s turn a [[Stoneforge Mystic]] searching up [[Sword of Feast and Famine]] comes down. I play, “Draw, go” as does James. I play [[Ponder]] which finds my sole [[Chain of Vapor]] as well as two [[Lotus Petal]]. My hand is now: [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]] and [[Chain of Vapor]] with three lands in play as well as the black [[Chrome Mox]]. At the end of my turn James puts [[Batterskull]] into play. Then on the next turn, activates [[Stoneforge Mystic]], puts [[Sword of Feast and Famine]] into play and equips. James attacks and I [[Chain of Vapor]] that [[Germ Token]]!

I untap and draw [[Lotus Petal]], play it. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]], and cast it from thirteen life. It’s a good one! I play a bunch of spells into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Past in Flames]] sacrificing [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for . James now notices how I’m going to answer [[Leyline of Sanctity]] and concedes.

19-4-1 | 9-1-1

Finals – Ben Green with UWr Delver

Written Coverage

The room was absolutely empty. We could hear Adrian Sullivan and Joey Pasco’s voice carry from across the hall. Star City Games employees told Rueben to play some music to drown out their voices. Rueben said since Ben was on the draw he had first pick, Ben had no preference. I nominated a local Syracuse band, probably my favorite band, Polar Bear Club. Once they were on, I had a great feeling about walking away with a trophy.

Game One:

The first two turns are pretty uneventful, we both play, “land, go” and then play another land and cantrips on our second turn. On turn three, I play a [[Gitaxian Probe]] which reveals Ben’s hand: [[Force of Will]], [[Vendilion Clique]], [[Force of Will]], [[Spell Pierce]], [[Swords to Plowshares]], [[Wasteland]] and [[Geist of Saint Traft]]. The draw off of [[Gitaxian Probe]] is a [[Cabal Therapy]]! Play [[Underground Sea]] and cast [[Cabal Therapy]] — Ben plays [[Force of Will]] removing [[Geist of Saint Traft]]. On my next end step, Ben plays a [[Vendilion Clique]] and puts my only “tutor effect”, [[Burning Wish]], on the bottom of my library. I play “draw, go” for a while as [[Vendilion Clique]] repeatedly attacks me. I play a [[Gitaxian Probe]] and [[Duress]] the turn before the combo turn. I decide that it’s time to get the gears moving when I’m at four life. I draw [[Burning Wish]] as my draw for my turn, play [[Scalding Tarn]], and cast [[Brainstorm]]. I then cast [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Rite of Flame]], [[Spell Pierce]] comes quickly out of Ben’s hand. I play another [[Rite of Flame]] off of a [[Lotus Petal]]. Activate my [[Scalding Tarn]] to shuffle my deck as a bluff hoping that Ben will [[Stifle]] it, which ben declines. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]] and cast [[Burning Wish]].

[[Burning Wish]] retrieves [[Past in Flames]] and then I cast [[Past in Flames]] floating and Ben doesn’t [[Daze]]. [[Rite of Flame]], Ben now plays [[Daze]], and in response I cast [[Dark Ritual]] and pay for [[Daze]]. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Duress]] discarding [[Stifle]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Gitaxian Probe]] going to one life and draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]!!! Sacrifice it for and cast [[Ponder]] which finds [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Burning Wish]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Take [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], play it, and sacrifice it. [[Gitaxian Probe]] paying a , and draw [[Burning Wish]]. [[Cabal Therapy]] discarding both copies of [[Swords to Plowshares]]. [[Burning Wish]] and cast the [[Grapeshot]] in my sideboard — one copy at [[Vendilion Clique]] the rest at Ben.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Infernal Tutor]], +1 [[Cabal Therapy]]

Game Two:

I keep my starting seven while Ben does not. Ben starts with [[Tundra]] and plays [[Engineered Explosives]] on zero and a [[Delver of Secrets]]. I play [[City of Brass]] and [[Lotus Petal]], tap [[City of Brass]], and [[Ponder]]. Ben flips the [[Delver of Secrets]] with a [[Ponder]], attacks, and then casts [[Ponder]]. I play [[Polluted Delta]] and cast [[Brainstorm]], put back two copies of [[Rite of Flame]], and shuffle with [[Polluted Delta]] finding [[Underground Sea]]. Cast [[Duress]] and discard [[Lightning Bolt]] leaving Ben with [[Geist of Saint Traft]] and a land. I sacrifice [[Lotus Petal]], cast [[Cabal Therapy]], and discard [[Geist of Saint Traft]] because I don’t have a “tutor effect” against a very fast clock. Ben lays a land and passes with a mystery card. I draw [[Brainstorm]], play [[Scalding Tarn]], and cast the blue instant. It draws into [[Infernal Tutor]]. I put back [[Gitaxian Probe]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. At this point, my life total is somewhat low (11 life) and my route to victory is [[Ad Nauseam]]. Which is why I put back the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. My hand now is three [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Infernal Tutor]]. I search with [[Scalding Tarn]] and find the second [[Underground Sea]]. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], Ben fetches twice, and casts [[Vendilion Clique]]! Ben chooses to put my [[Infernal Tutor]] on the bottom of the library, I draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and pass. Ben bashes me for six, I draw, and we’re moving to game three.

It turns out I could’ve played around the [[Vendilion Clique]] if I had known about it. If I went [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], hold priority, and cast the other two [[Dark Ritual]] Ben can’t interact with that line of play. However, hindsight is 20/20 and I wasn’t playing around a two-of in my opponents’ deck.

Game Three:

We both keep our hands, Ben doesn’t seem thrilled with the seven cards. I play [[Ponder]] and put [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then [[Lotus Petal]] on the top. Ben lays a [[Volcanic Island]] and passes. I play a [[Polluted Delta]] and bait out Ben’s [[Stifle]]. I pay life and cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] which reveals: [[Lightning Bolt]], [[Island]], [[Tormod’s Crypt]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Geist of Saint Traft]], and [[Volcanic Island]]. Draw the known [[Lotus Petal]] and then cast a pair of [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Empty the Warrens]]! Fourteen [[Goblin Token]]s arrive on the table.

Ben casts [[Brainstorm]] and doesn’t find the [[Engineered Explosives]]. Plays a [[Misty Rainforest]] and passes the turn. I draw [[Cabal Therapy]] and then attack for fourteen. Cast [[Cabal Therapy]] naming [[Brainstorm]] with all intention of using the Flashback after I see the hand again. Ben is all in on a shuffle into [[Engineered Explosives]].

Ben flips the top card of the deck and it’s…

[[Scalding Tarn]]!

21-5-1 | 10-1-1

Totals & Stats

  • Games & Record: 21-5-1 | 10-1-1
  • The Die Roll: 3-8
  • Mulligans: 1
  • Turn One Combos: 7
  • Ad Nauseam Wins: 6
  • Past in Flames Wins: 2
  • Empty the Warrens Wins: 6
  • Natural Tendrils of Agony Wins: 5

Closing & General Thoughts

What’s the recipe for success? Spicy Hot Beef Jerky, Long Island Ice Teas, and Polar Bear Club. By the time we left the event center we were the last people other than Rueben, Adrian, and Joey. At almost midnight we began our seven-hour journey back to Syracuse. I can’t give Dan Walton enough credit for driving through the night. He does it almost every trip we go on. I was supposed to be the navigator as I requested Monday off from work. Around 3AM I fell asleep and Dan continued through the night until we made it back at 6:30am. That guy is a monster and I’m sure he drank plenty of it on the way back.

The event was a lot of fun, I’m glad to cross off a resolution on my list. I also managed to win two events in a row, maybe we can turn this into a heater?

A side note: I was very pleased to not hear anything about theft this weekend, that’s a great thing. That’s what this community needs. In fact, a member of the top 8 of the Legacy event left his deck on the table after intentionally drawing the last round. His deck was returned right before the top 8 had started, I was very pleased to hear this. I don’t know what I would’ve done if it was mine.

Until next time, keep storming!