Tales of Adventure (02/22/2014) — 8th Place

The trip down to Tales of Adventure in Pennsylvania wasn’t as bad as his first event, where I spent most of the morning wonder why I woke up at six and slightly hungover. On the bright side, I did manage to top 8 as did my ride — Brian Finlayson-Schueler. Brian offered to drive again, while Nick Patnode and I relaxed. The three of us all choose to play the same decks as the previous trip down, Brian with Elves, Nick with Reanimator and… well, you know what I played.

We arrived with just about a hour before the event was to start. We walked around, chatted with friends, and found the missing half to Nick’s deck. The table where we sat ourselves at had ten people and four of them were on Reanimator. I wasn’t feeling great about this, but I was glad I had those [[Surgical Extraction]]s in my sideboard!

James Rynkewkiz and I start to play some fun games before the event while a crowd gathers, we decide to step up the trash talk a bit for show. During which Jim says, “It must be nice getting the easiest match-ups rounds one through four, Bryant once made top 8 of a Jupiter by going ‘Bye, Burn, Burn, Goblins and then double draw’”  Which was absolutely true. Honestly, it was almost like foreshadowing for today.

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 [[Cabal Therapy]]
  • 3 [[Silence]]
  • 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 [[Misty Rainforest]]


  • 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 2 [[Xantid Swarm]]
  • 2 [[Pyroblast]]
  • 2 [[Surgical Extraction]]
  • 1 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 1 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Past in Flames]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]

What changed?

Since the last time I wrote a report, the main deck has remained in tact. However, the sideboard has gone through some evolutions. The last sideboard contained a [[Tropical Island]], a third [[Xantid Swarm]], and a pair of [[Carpet of Flowers]]. Since then, these four slots have become a couple of different cards that eventually ended up being a few copies of [[Pyroblast]] and [[Surgical Extraction]]s

In my last report, I wrote about how blue decks had just begun attacking Storm on two different axes; that trend hasn’t changed. [[Meddling Mage]] is still incredibly popular, the problem with this is that it can put Storm in an awkward position if it names [[Burning Wish]]. This [[Force of Will]] The EPIC Storm (TES) to win with [[Empty the Warrens]], which may not be ideal due to flying creatures or equipment such as [[Batterskull]]. This puts us in a weird spot where we have to side in [[Tendrils of Agony]] or [[Grapeshot]] if we don’t sideboard in [[Abrupt Decay]]. Some pilots are fine with [[Abrupt Decay]] — I am not. I don’t have any interest in bringing in a card that really only has implications against [[Meddling Mage]] as we don’t necessarily care about their other permanents. I was sitting at my desk rummaging though my play binders and I began to think, “I wish there was a card that was a protection spell and could remove [[Meddling Mage]].”

Thats when it clicked in my head! When I first created TES, [[Meddling Mage]] was a big issue, but back then we also ran [[Tendrils of Agony]] in the main deck. However, in the sideboard we opted to run [[Pyroblast]] as an answer. There isn’t a reason the same strategy couldn’t be viable now. It also spares us from weird situations where we sided in [[Abrupt Decay]], drew it, and they have a hand full of countermagic. In situations such as these, [[Pyroblast]]’s versatility rewards us.

The remaining two slots eventually ended up as [[Surgical Extraction]] as a recent metagame call. Reanimator is an absolutely miserable match-up for us, on top of that, Reanimator has been crushing Legacy top 8’s all-around. I believe that we need to stop thinking that we can’t have dedicated hate for match-ups that require them. Not to mention, that [Surgical Extraction]] has implications in other match-ups such as the Storm mirror or Dredge.

Tales of Adventure

Round One – Steve with Budget UW Stoneblade

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

Game One:

I begin the day by shocking myself for a sneak peek at Steve’s initial hand. [[Gitaxian Probe]] reveals: [[Swords to Plowshares]], [[Cavern of Souls]], [[Umezawa’s Jitte]], [[Daze]], [[Karakas]], [[Hallowed Fountain]], and [[Invisible Stalker]]. I draw [[Cabal Therapy]] off of [[Gitaxian Probe]] and cast it, I look at the [[Empty the Warrens]] in my hand and decide that its best that I take the equipment. Steve draws, plays [[Island]], taps it and plays [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. I draw, play a [[Gemstone Mine]] and cast [[Infernal Tutor]] which quickly draws a [[Daze]] from the opponent’s hand. “[[Island]], go.”

I draw, lay a third land, play [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then cast [[Empty the Warrens]]! BOOM! Flashback [[Cabal Therapy]] and discard [[Invisible Stalker]]. Which then reveals that Steve has drawn two more lands over the last few turns. My [[Goblin Token]]s beat Steve down to eleven while drawing out the [[Swords to Plowshares]] in Steve’s hand. I figure that Steve must’ve drawn a way to interact by now and that I’ll use my opponent for the last Storm I need. I cast [[Ponder]], leaving a second [[Burning Wish]] on top of my deck. I cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Burning Wish]]? Resolves. [[Tendrils of Agony]]. Steve is at one life, draws, and concedes. I had a lethal [[Grapeshot]] next turn! All three Storm spells in one game.

Sideboarding: None

Game Two:

I keep a turn two win hand with [[Silence]] as back-up. [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Ad Nauseam]]. Steve plays [[Hallowed Fountain]] and passes. I draw a land, play [[Scalding Tarn]], and pass. Steve plays [[Karakas]] and a [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. On my upkeep, Steve casts [[Silence]]? Sure. “Land, go.” Steve then plays [[Invisible Stalker]]. I draw [[Gitaxian Probe]], play a [[Gemstone Mine]], and cast [[Gitaxian Probe]] which reveals a pair of [[Daze]] and some dead cards. I draw a third [[Rite of Flame]]. [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Silence]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

2-0 | 1-0

During the pairings I saw Royce’s name scroll down the pairings screen. I became ecstatic! I had no idea that Royce made the trip (also playing The EPIC Storm). Royce managed to walk over during my second game after I resolved [[Ad Nauseam]]. We both managed to win our first round, we then went and got lunch during the remaining thirty-five minutes in the round.

Round Two – Brandon with Thalia Goblins

[[Mindbreak Trap|]]
[[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]

Game One:

Brandon begins the game with [[Wasteland]] into [[AEther Vial]]. I stare at them, draw for turn, and think for a moment. “Are they playing Merfolk?” I look at them for a few seconds, they doesn’t seem like the [[Island]] playing type I decide. [[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Chrome Mox]] (No Imprint), [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Empty the Warrens]]. Brandon then plays [[Plateau]] into [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. Draw, attack, and pass from me. Brandon draws and we’re onto game two.

Sideboarding: -3 [[Silence]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Thoughtseize]], +1 [[Chain of Vapor]].

Game Two:

Brandon starts the second game with [[Mountain]] into [[AEther Vial]]. I use [[Gemstone Mine]] to [[Thoughtseize]] looking at: [[Rishadan Port]], [[Mountain]], [[Goblin Matron]], [[Plateau]], and [[Mindbreak Trap]]. Discard the [[Mindbreak Trap]]. [[Wasteland]] was Brandon’s draw and now my [[Gemstone Mine]] is gone. I draw [[Gitaxian Probe]], cast it, to see the same cards and draw [[Brainstorm]]. I cast [[Ponder]] off of a [[Volcanic Island]], shuffle, and draw [[Ad Nauseam]]. Brandon plays a [[Rishadan Port]] and attempts to tap my [[Volcanic Island]] during my Upkeep. I [[Brainstorm]] in response, leaving [[Chrome Mox]] and [[Ad Nauseam]] on top of my Library. Draw [[Chrome Mox]] for turn and then play [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Infernal Tutor]]), [[City of Brass]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and cast [[Ponder]]. Sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in response for . Draw [[Ad Nauseam]] and cast it.

4-0 | 2-0

Round Three – Mark with Shardless BUG

[[Deathrite Shaman|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Vendilion Clique|]]

Game One:

Mark wins the die roll, mulligans, and begins the match with [[Bayou]] into [[Deathrite Shaman]]. I’m forced to ask myself, “what kind of deck is this?” What’s the third color? The last time I played against Mark they were was playing Goblins. I put them on Jund. I play [[Scalding Tarn]], use it to find [[Underground Sea]], and cast [[Ponder]], shuffle, draw a third [[Rite of Flame]]. My [[Underground Sea]] is quickly a [[Wasteland]] target. I play [[City of Brass]] and use it to cast [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Burning Wish]]? Mark exiles my [[Underground Sea]] to create to cast [[Brainstorm]]. I guessed wrong, but luckily my [[Burning Wish]] resolved. [[Empty the Warrens]]. Mark then drops another [[Deathrite Shaman]] and a [[Tarmogoyf]]. Yikes! Well, I guess if Mark didn’t have countermagic they had to have something else. I attack, blocks happen, but Mark continues to play creatures to block. I lose the game with Mark at three life.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]

Game Two:

[[Gemstone Mine]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Burning Wish]]? [[Empty the Warrens]].

Game Three:

Mark sighs as they look at their initial seven but opts to keep. They play an [[Underground Sea]] and I do the same, but follow my land with a [[Cabal Therapy]]. Mark casts [[Brainstorm]] and then reveals six lands. Mark plays a land and passes the turn back. I draw, play a land, and [[Ponder]] into a [[Cabal Therapy]]. I decide to hold it for next turn. Mark plays a land and passes. I draw (knowing that [[Burning Wish]] was my top card). I cast [[Cabal Therapy]], [[Vendilion Clique]] comes down. My hand is literally all mana and an [[Infernal Tutor]] at this point — [[Infernal Tutor]] to the bottom. Draw [[Burning Wish]], “[[Golgari Charm]]?” Mark reveals a [[Force of Will]]. I dump sixteen [[Goblin Token]]s on the table. Two attack steps later I win.

6-1 | 3-0

Round Four – Ryan with Shardless BUG

[[Past in Flames|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Deathrite Shaman|]]

I remembered Ryan from the first time I was at Tales of Adventure. They were playing Shardless BUG, I put them on the same deck.

Game One:

The first game is a longer game where Ryan has the time and ability to play [[Thoughtseize]], [[Snapcaster Mage]] and [[Thoughtseize]] me again. I’m able to [[Infernal Tutor]] for a second [[Dark Ritual]] as well as resolve a [[Burning Wish]] for [[Past in Flames]]. My graveyard contains [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Ad Nauseam]], cantrips, and a pair of discard spells. I draw a [[Silence]] and then cast it. Ryan uses [[Force of Will]], leaving them with two cards in hand. I play all of the mana in my hand — a pair of [[Dark Ritual]] as well as a pair of [[Rite of Flame]]. [[Past in Flames]]? [[Force of Will]]. Flashback [[Past in Flames]] which leaves myself with one mana source (a land). [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Ad Nauseam]] (I wasn’t Hellbent, I had a card in hand or I could’ve tried to get creative with a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]). My [[Ad Nauseam]] from 10 life gets there.

Sideboarding: None

Game Two:

[[Thoughtseize]] looks at my initial seven which has a pair of [[Burning Wish]], which are then stripped from my hand, and removed from the game by [[Surgical Extraction]]. I essentially mulliganed to five. I cast [[Gitaxian Probe]]: [[Golgari Charm]], [[Deathrite Shaman]], [[Wasteland]], and [[Flusterstorm]]. [[Cabal Therapy]] the [[Flusterstorm]] off of a [[Gemstone Mine]]. [[Wasteland]] hits my [[Gemstone Mine]] and [[Deathrite Shaman]] is cast. I draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for the turn and then cast [[Brainstorm]] into an [[Infernal Tutor]]! We’re in business. Land for turn, [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]? [[Ad Nauseam]]. I stop at five life in fear of both hitting [[Empty the Warrens]] and dying to [[Deathrite Shaman]]. I leave Ryan with no cards in hand and cast [[Empty the Warrens]] for twenty-eight [[Goblin Token]]s. I tell Ryan to just flip the top card of the deck, it’s a land.

8-1 | 4-0

Round Five – Bob with BUG Delver | On Camera Feature Match

[[Hymn to Tourach|]]
[[Spell Pierce|]]

Game One:

This is an awkward game for me. I get hit by [[Hymn to Tourach]] and a [[Wasteland]], I [[Burning Wish]] for [[Past in Flames]]. Bob immediately drops down a [[Deathrite Shaman]]. This puts me between a rock and a hard place. I can [[Infernal Tutor]] for a second [[Dark Ritual]], but if I draw a “tutor effect” or something that is plus two mana or I have to draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]/[[Brainstorm]] to get rid of the [[Past in Flames]] AND a “tutor effect”. I do the math, I’m more likely to win with option A as there are more outs. The goal is to power through [[Deathrite Shaman]]. Instead, I draw [[Silence]], which doesn’t lose the game for me that turn — but it did close my window.

Sideboarding: None

Game Two:

I begin the game with [[Volcanic Island]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Silence]]), [[Lotus Petal]], and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Diminishing Returns]]. I didn’t know that Bob’s deck was a [[Delver o Secrets]] variant, otherwise, I wouldn’t have done this due to soft counters. Bob plays a land and passes. I [[Ponder]] instead of going for it to look for protection, shuffle, draw, and pass. I attempt a few turns later but get hit by [[Spell Pierce]]. I’m just out of it at this point.

8-3 | 4-1

Round Six – Curtis with Esper Stoneblade

[[Gitaxian Probe|]]
[[Meddling Mage|]]
[[Burning Wish|]]

Game One:

Curtis is stuck on two lands and can’t tap out, I eventually draw a [[Gitaxian Probe]] to get a look. All blanks, I wanted that long for this? They are certainly good at bluffing. I easily resolve [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +2 [[Pyroblast]]

Game Two:

A pair of [[Meddling Mage]] come down naming [[Burning Wish]] and [[Burning Wish]]. They’re soon followed by a [[Vendilion Clique]]. Which would’ve revealed two in my hand if I hadn’t conceded the game.

Game Three:

I begin the game with a [[Gitaxian Probe]] and look at Curtis’ hand of: [[Brainstorm]], [[Zealous Persecution]], [[Vendilion Clique]] and four lands. I draw [[Cabal Therapy]]! [[Brainstorm]] down. Curtis plays a land and passes. I draw and I decide that I’m going to go for it. [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Burning Wish]]? (just bait to see if they drew it) [[Force of Will]] comes down removing [[Vendilion Clique]]. I then cast [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Ad Nauseam]].

10-3 | 5-1

Round Seven – Joe with Death & Taxes

[[Phyrexian Revoker|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]

I’m the pair down coming into this round, which is a little awkward. Although, I was in eighth place coming in and Joe was eighteenth. Nick Patnode and Royce Walter were ninth and tenth respectively. All three of us had a shot of top 8!

Game One:

Joe mulligans before we start playing and while they’re shuffling down to six I’m trying to remember what they’re playing. I make small talk to see if it triggers anything, that’s when it clicks — I heard them ask a judge earlier on in the day. “What player chooses first with [[Catastrophe]]?” My opening hand does this: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Cabal Therapy]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Burning Wish]] into [[Empty the Warrens]].

Sideboarding: -3 [[Silence]], -1 [[Ponder]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Chain of Vapor]], +1 [[Thoughtseize]]

Game Two:

Joe has a turn one [[Wasteland]] into [[AEther Vial]]. I play a [[Thoughtseize]] and look at: [[Flickerwisp]], [[Phyrexian Revoker]], [[Spirit of the Labyrinth]], [[Ratchet Bomb]], and a [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. Goodbye, [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. Joe draws a [[Plains]] and drops [[Phyrexian Revoker]] naming [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. I play three cantrips ([[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Ponder]], and [[Brainstorm]]), but have to pass. Joe crushes me on their turn with a second [[Wasteland]] to destroy land.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Ponder]]

Game Three:

I play a turn one [[Ponder]] which finds [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. I planned on making a ton of [[Goblin Token]]s on my next turn with [[Cabal Therapy]]. But then I draw the [[Brainstorm]] that I had put there with [[Ponder]], I debated, but decided to cast it and found [[Ad Nauseam]]. Forget the [[Goblin Token]]s! [[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

12-4 | 6-1

Round Eight – Kevin Jones with Sneak & Show

I was able to draw with Kevin Jones, Nick Patnode was able to draw with Nicfit, and we were both able to root for Royce as he played for his spot. Luckily for Royce, he got to play against Nicfit as well in his final round. All three of us made top 8!

12-4-1 | 6-1-1

Top Eight – Jack Kitchen with Imperial Painter

[[Diminishing Returns|]]
[[Painter’s Servant|]]

Game One:

I begin the top eight with a [[Gitaxian Probe]] into a [[Cabal Therapy]] to discard Jack’s [[Painter’s Servant]]. Jack responds on his turn with both [[Goblin Welder]] and [[Grindstone]]. I have a turn to cantrip into setting myself up for a turn three win. Jack plays a [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. I’m all in on [[Diminishing Returns]], Jack uses [[Goblin Welder]] to bring back [[Painter’s Servant]] while drawing a card off the [[Sensei’s Divining Top]]. I need it to not be a [[Pyroblast]] — it’s not. I draw my seven, which is fairly weak: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Gitaxian Probe]], [[Ponder]], [[Silence]], and a [[Cabal Therapy]]. [[Gitaxian Probe]] to find out if there’s a [[Simian Spirit Guide]] into [[Pyroblast]] (there isn’t) and I draw a [[Rite of Flame]]. [[Lotus Petal]], [[Ponder]], shuffle, and draw [[Burning Wish]]. [[Lotus Petal]] into [[Brainstorm]]? I needed to hit a [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], AND [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] at this point to win. A [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Rite of Flame]] could’ve made it so that I could [[Grapeshot]] away the [[Painter’s Servant]] and leave Jack at five or six life. But the [[Brainstorm]] isn’t good enough.

Sideboarding: -3 [[Silence]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Thoughtseize]], +1 [[Chain of Vapor]]

I opted to bring in the [[Chain of Vapor]] instead of [[Pyroblast]] because I had seen Jack play against JD earlier in the day with TES. Jack named black in post-board matches to avoid JD’s [[Pyroblast]], just something I picked up on.

Game Two:

I play a [[Ponder]]. Jack plays an [[Ancient Tomb]] and a [[Painter’s Servant]]. I cast [[Thoughtseize]] with a pair of [[Cabal Therapy]] in my hand. Jack removes a [[Simian Spirit Guide]] and plays [[Red Elemental Blast]]. I then [[Cabal Therapy]] naming [[Grindstone]] (misses). A pair of [[Phyrexian Revoker]] naming [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] hit play. Not too much later a [[Thorn of Amethyst]] too! I [[Abrupt Decay]] the [[Thorn of Amethyst]]. I then cast [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Grapeshot]], play [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Grapeshot]] for exactly enough to kill all three creatures. We play “draw, go.” for about seven turns. A few [[Blood Moon]]s resolve but I didn’t really care about them. Jack plays an [[Imperial Recruiter]] for a [[Painter’s Servant]]. I’m at one life. I draw the [[Chrome Mox]] I needed to both get Hellbent and create additional colored mana to win through a [[Pyroblast]]. I had a [[Lotus Petal]] in play if need be. [[Rite of Flame]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Infernal Tutor]]), [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Burning Wish]]? [[Pyroblast]]. [[Infernal Tutor]]? [[Pyroblast]].

Jack’s Report

12-6-1 | 6-2-1

Totals & Stats

  • Games & Record: 12-6-1 | 6-2-1
  • The Die Roll: 4-4
  • Mulligans: 0
  • Turn One Combos: 3
  • Ad Nauseam Wins: 5
  • Past in Flames Wins: 1
  • Empty the Warrens Wins: 6
  • Natural Tendrils of Agony Wins: 0

Closing & General Thoughts

It was a great run! Jack got me. I felt like both of my losses weren’t awful match-ups, I just had average draws or misfortunes compared to their draws. It happens.

I’d like to congratulate Royce Walter and Nick Patnode for top 8’ing. Honestly, I think I’m more happy for Royce than he was. I’m stoked that two copies of TES were in the top 8, unfortunately for Royce he lost to Nick in the quarterfinals. Nick went on to take second (getting the same prize as first). Oddly enough, seeds one through four all lost in the quarterfinals, meaning that I took eighth for [[Taiga]]. I was fine with this, until I saw the condition. This was the only downside to the entire event, Tales of Adventure is a large store, had food & drinks for reasonable prices, and the cards were fairly priced, and the rounds were prompt.

The list was great, I’d play the same list all over again. I know that I never got to use the [[Surgical Extraction]] but Reanimator was crawling all over the room. I dodged a bullet — I’ll take it.

Until next time, keep storming!