The Running GAGG (02/17/2007) — 15th Place

The weekend begins as I wait in line at the bank, that’s when my phone rings, “Hey, you ready to pick me up?” and I reply back “Yeah, I’ll be there in 20.” as I go to pick up my childhood best-friend Pat. In the car on the way home, I ask Pat if he’s been reading up on The EPIC Storm (TES) as he was also playing it this weekend — of course the answer is no. He says, “it’s only like what 20 pages?” an hour later and he’s only on the fifth page. Forget that! I decide to try and teach him the basics, but he isn’t really paying attention. I start to give up hope on him and instead, we play Heroes 3 of Might and Magic Complete until two in the morning.

Nat (Brushwagg) and Doug McKay (Damping Engine) pick us up early in the morning and we’re off to the event! If I’m being honest, the car ride there was pretty much a bore.

We arrive at the tournament site and I see the man, the myth, the legend — Adam Barnello! He’s handing out name tags and take mine. I proceed to grab my Chinese Undiscovered Paradises from Zach tartell (LonelyBaritone) and fill out my deck list.

the epic Storm

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 4 [[Plunge into Darkness]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 2 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]
  • 4 [[Xantid Swarm]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Cabal Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 4 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 4 [[City of Brass]]
  • 4 [[Gemstone Mine]]
  • 2 [[Undiscovered Paradise]]
  • 1 [[Tomb of Urami]]


  • 4 [[Dark Confidant]]
  • 3 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 2 [[Shattering Spree]]
  • 1 [[Duress]]
  • 1 [[Tranquility]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Earthquake]]


I register and buy new sleeves because who doesn’t like new sleeves right before a big event? I ask Colin (Diablos) to help because I’m in a rush, as we’re sleeving Jesse Krieger walks by and flashes me an Alliances Spanish [[Diminishing Returns]] from his main deck (he’s also playing TES). At this point I’m a little frustrated because [[Diminishing Returns]] is the last card I need to finish my deck. Krieger says, “It’s Anwar’s” just as Anwar walks up and I offer him $20 for it (I’m aware I overpaid, but I REALLY wanted it) and that’s when Anwar made my day… “Pairings for round one are up!”

The Running GAGG

Round One – Brian Feigley (Torgar) with Rabid Wombat

Game One:

The match starts off slowly as I cast [[Burning Wish]] into [[Duress]], Brian casts [[Abeyance]] in response, draws an [[Orim’s Chant]], and I quickly discard it. Brian plays a [[Jötun Grunt]] and an unmorphed [[Exalted Angel]]. I combo out on my turn with [[Ill-Gotten Gains]].

Sideboarding: -2 [[Plunge into Darkness]], -2 [[Cabal Ritual]], +4 [[Dark Confidant]]

Game Two:

I play two copies of [[Dark Confidant]], a [[Xantid Swarm]], and start bashing in. Brian’s sitting back on [[Glowrider]]. He becomes forced to block and casts another copy. UGH! He drops [[Jötun Grunt]] and attacks my life-total down. I attempt to combo but am one mana short (a lot of “ritual effects”) and [[Infernal Tutor]] but am unable to win the game without tapping [[City of Brass]].) I put [[City of Brass]]’s trigger on the stack (I’m at one life) and then cast numerous [[Dark Ritual]] before using [[Plunge into Darkness]]’s life-gain ability for 6, but ultimately it was still not enough.

Game Three:

I get to play this game! On turn two, I cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], and then [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in response Brian casts [[Orim’s Chant]]. I’m holding [[Infernal Tutor]] and I think to myself, “AWESOME! My opponent did it at the wrong time! I’ll cast [[Diminishing Returns]] into the win now.” Nope! On my turn, [[Diminishing Returns]] was the draw step — I’m screwed. The opponent casts [[True Believer]] rubbing insult to injury. My draws after that are [[Empty the Warrens]], [[Tendrils of Agony]], and then finally another land (I was waiting on any mana source). But by this point a [[Jötun Grunt]] had landed, I play my land, and cast [[Diminishing Returns]] (sacrificing [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]). Brian draws another [[Orim’s Chant]] effect in the freshly drawn seven cards… I take another attack step to the face. I think I can win, attempt to go all in, but get hit by another [[Orim’s Chant]] off of [[Bandage]] draw.

1-2 | 0-1

Round Two – Allen Sorenson (URABAN) with Red Death

Game One:

[[Duress]] takes my [[Burning Wish]], I play a land, and Allen destroys it. I play more lands and they all die as does my hand (discard spells). Luckily, I draw [[Brainstorm]]! I put back [[Cabal Ritual]] and [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] back on top. Allen [[Duress]]’s me again find all acceleration. I cast [[Cabal Ritual]] which allows me to [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] with enough mana to get back [[Burning Wish]] with plenty floating.

Sideboarding: -4 [[Xantid Swarm]], -1 [[Cabal Ritual]], -1 [[Plunge into Darkness]], +2 [[Empty the Warrens]], +4 [[Dark Confidant]]

Game Two:

Allen mulligans and then casts [[Duress]] once again hitting my [[Burning Wish]]. Allen plays a turn three [[Hypnotic Specter]] into a turn four [[Rotting Giant]]. I am too far into the hole to recover.

Game Three:

Allen mulligans TWICE! I feel a little bad now, but my opening hand is [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Empty the Warrens]], [[Ill-Gotten Gains]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[City of Brass]]. I make 8 [[Goblin Token]]s and Allen concedes.

3-3 | 1-1

Round Three – No Show

During the next 50 minutes, I rummaged the dollar bin found some of the foil [[Island]] I collect and [[Goblin Token]]s. I got to throw packs into the crowd, which was fun.

3-3 | 2-1

Round Four – Ryan Churchill with Burn

Game One:

A first turn [[Chain Lightning]], I play a land. Ryan casts [[Lightning Bolt]], I play a land. Ryan passes. I end step cast [[Plunge into Darkness]] for two life. Pass my turn (I couldn’t find acceleration for the life of me!). Ryan casts another [[Chain Lightning]]. I finally draw the second acceleration piece and was the best one — [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. I “go-off” with [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] and end up casting [[Tendrils of Agony]] for 30 life.

Sideboarding: -4 [[Xantid Swarm]], +2 [[Empty the Warrens]], +1 [[Shattering Spree]], + 1 [[Dark Confidant]].

Game Two:

Ryan plays a turn one [[Mogg Fanatic]] and I play turn one 12 [[Goblin Token]]s. Let me elaborate! Land into [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]] into [[Empty the Warrens]].

5-3 | 3-1

Round Five – James Peyton (jrp) with Solidarity

Game One:

James keep six cards. I play a turn one [[Tomb of Urami]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], then attempt to play [[Cabal Ritual]]. It gets coutnered by [[Force of Will]]. I play a second turn [[Xantid Swarm]]. James plays a cantrip. I cast [[Plunge into Darkness]] into [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then draw a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for turn! (I needed any acceleration) I cast [[Infernal Tutor]] after the two [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and James scoops.

Sideboarding: -1 [[Diminishing Returns]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], +2 [[Empty the Warrens]]

Game Two:

James keeps a five card hand that was apparently [[Force of Will]], [[Force of Will]], two blue cards, and an [[Island]]. I play a pair of [[Xantid Swarm]] over the first two turns that are both countered. A turn later I attempt to go off with floating after [[Infernal Tutor]] with an untapped [[City of Brass]]. James’s lone card in hand is [[Remand]]. The game drags out and eventually I lose.

Game Three:

My opening hand is [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Cabal Ritual]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Empty the Warrens]], [[Empty the Warrens]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]. At this point the WHOLE tournament is watching — I’m nervous. Anwar and David Gearhart have been watching the whole time. I play [[Gemstone Mine]] pass, which is met with [[Island]] pass. I draw for my turn, it was [[Dark Ritual]] (I could’ve drawn pretty much anything for the win) I say once again, “No guts, no glory.” I cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Cabal Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then [[Infernal Tutor]]. James stares at his hand for a more than a second, “it resolves.” I was too ecstatic that I forgot about the correct play ([[Ill-Gotten Gains]]), I make 10 [[Goblin Token]]s and pass the turn. James concedes.

7-4 | 4-1

Round Six – Scott Scheurer (Overlord95) with Duck Hunt

Game One:

“Fetch, go.” I play [[City of Brass]] into [[Xantid Swarm]]. It dies. I attempt to combo twice and lose.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Plunge into Darkness]], -2 [[Cabal Ritual]], +4 [[Dark Confidant]]

Game Two:

This was quite an EPIC game. I cast turn one [[Xantid Swarm]] and Scott kills it on turn one. I play a bunch of spells into [[Empty the Warrens]] for eight [[Goblin Token]]s and then Scott destroys them with [[Engineered Explosives]]. I cast a [[Brainstorm]] into [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Dark Ritual]]. I play [[Gemstone Mine]] (I have no cards in hand). He plays a second [[Wasteland]] and then taps out for [[Crucible of Worlds]]. I play [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and sacrifice to make a 5/5 with [[Tomb of Urami]]. I attack Scott down, Scott plays [[Brainstorm]], fetches, and then [[Brainstor,]] into a second copy of [[Engineered Explosives]]. In the next few turns, I draw another land and play [[Xantid Swarm]]. It resolves. Scott plays [[Standstill]]. Scott then starts the offense with [[Mishra’s Factory]] (While also having [[Wasteland]]/[[Crucible of Worlds]] lock). After five or six turns Scott breaks the [[Standstill]] (which draws me three cards — [[Brainstorm]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Dark Confidant]]) to kill the [[Xantid Swarm]]. If it lived another turn, I think I had it.

I play a land and cast [[Brainstorm]]. I draw [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Rite of Flame]] — I put a [[Burning Wish]] and an [[Infernal Tutor]] on top. I played a bunch of acceleration, then I cast [[Infernal Tutor]] with two cards in hand to bait a counterspell and Scott falls for it! I play the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in my hand and play the other [[Infernal Tutor]].

Scott reveals a pair of [[Stifle]] thinking that I’m dead. I cast [[Diminishing Returns]] and draw [[Brainstorm]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]]. I play [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Brainstorm]] into not what I needed but keep a Dark Condfiant. I play [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to bait counterspell but it resolves and then [[Rite of Flame]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Dark Confidant]]), [[Dark Ritual]] which is met by a [[Force of Will]]. I lose.

7-6 | 4-2

At this point, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t top 8 — I wanted it so badly! I didn’t even care about the dual lands! I just wanted TES to be taken more seriously. The bright side was that Jesse Krieger also had a winning record of 4-2.

Until next time, keep storming!