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Feature Article – A Legacy Journey

Today I want to take you guys with me on a journey, as I prepare for GP: Amsterdam this month. Seeing as Legacy is as relevant a format as it could ever be, maybe you guys can learn something form my mistakes and my road to finding a deck.

I saw the announcement in late 2010/early 2011, there was a Grand Prix coming to Amsterdam. There it was, a Grand Prix… a shot at greatness. Seeing as my schedule in recent years has made it increasingly difficult to be the roadwarrior I once was, I was super excited. Untill I saw the format.

The Grand Prix format was Legacy.

First there was shock, then disbelief, then the feeling of what am I to do next?! See, I might be an Magic player, I might play every format in Magic (including casuals like Cube, T4 and Commander) with the exception of a single format… I’ll let you guys guess which one…….If you guessed Legacy, you just won a digital cookie.

The start of the journey

Back when the announcement was made I had played in a total of 4 Legacy events in my entire 12 year career. (2 events during day 1 of EuroVino and Bazaar of Moxen that had 300+ Players, 1 GPT for GP Chicago and 1 local 8 man legacy event) so my first course of action, naturally was to go find if there were Tournaments around.

I noticed there would be Legacy Nationals (a event part of the Eternal Champs weekend hosted in the Netherlands each year which determines the Vintage and Legacy Dutch Champion), it was in Eindhoven which made it a 20-ish minute drive from where I live, nice. Second up was getting a deck together. At the time Survival wasn’t banned yet and I shot a mail to GerryT seeing as he was sporting a Necrotic Ooze Survival list I liked. After discussing the deck a bit and ending up at a tuned build for Champs I was off.

The event had 208 players duking it out for a shot at being called the Champ (with bragging rights), some old boosters and what not. I started the event off losing my first round because I had no clue of the interactions, nor how to correctly combo with my deck. During the time between round 1-2 I sought out some of my teammates on R&D and talked stuff over. The next few rounds saw me get to 3-1, with relative ease, I was in contention, then I lost another game to Merfolk making me unable to make T8, seeing as I could still finish in the money I duked it out and ended up at a 5-3 record good enough for a top 64 finish (ended up 52nd out of 208 players) earning 3 boosters or something silly like that, not bad for my first travels into legacy I thought. Then Survival got banned, there where no events around and my focus shifted back to other formats. The GP became a distant thought in my mind.

I tried Legacy again in February 2011, mostly because some friends asked me to come and play and I felt like hanging out, I ran the Zoo list my friend and teammate Matt used to win a SCG open with. Winning the first 2 rounds I lost 3 straight rounds to various combo decks (Hightide, TES, etc) and dropped to go draft. The format unlike others, didn’t appeal to me for whatever reason.

Flash forward to June, I knew I had to get some practice in for the GP and I had to find a way to make it appealing to me, since I was so far behind in knowledge regarding the format. I hadn’t looked at Legacy since my bad experience playing Zoo (I felt awfully fair playing 3/3 Cats vs Dark Rituals and High Tides and I hate being a “fair” deck) it was time to get to know the format and get to studying! I poked around our team boards and saw a list my good friend Rich Shay used at GP Providence to win against LSV (Sorry Luis !! 😉 ) I guess this would be a great starting point, since everybody was on Stoneforge in just about every format but Vintage. I stayed up late one night (I love timezones) and caught our resident Atog Lord online and we talked about the deck, what he’d change and what not. Now with a new list and a quick look at the tournament schedule I knew there was an event in Rotterdam (at the awesome Magic United shop owned by my friend Rudy) so I piled into a car with 5 other guys and headed to the event. It went horrible, I was 1-2 going into round 4, out of contention but determined to keep learning how this format worked. I had lost to people having massive hate for both my Stone Forges and my equipment, people where ready and I had no clue how to out control or how to out tempo them. I ended the day at the abyssmal record of 1-4 but with some good lessons learned.

[Short aside]
I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s worth more to keep playing and learning then it is to drop at 0-2 and go draft or play some other game (depending on your goals obviously) The best way to qualify before the PW points system (which I absolutely love) was introduced has always been to win a PTQ or GPT and it hasn’t changed. I hated sitting on any kind of rating, I want to play else I wouldn’t have come in the first place, being 0-2 or 4-0 doesn’t change that for me.
[end aside]

The Falling

This left me confused, my first event (Legacy Champs) had me perform good enough for my liking with no testing and no knowledge of the format, what had happend? Had I become a worse player during my hiatus? Was I never good enough to begin with? What was going on here? (self doubt is the worst enemy)

I never, even in my worst periods ended events at 1-4, at worst I’d break even or win more then I lost (going X-2 or something) always ending up near the top half. Did the format become worse? A ton of questions popped up into my head, with a ton of answers in return. None of them made sense, maybe my first event had me play the most broken deck that anybody with half a braincell could pilot to a decent finish (I doubt it, survival wasn’t exactly easy to play even with Vengevine and the Necro combo). Was I simply picking the wrong decks?

Seeing as I picked Zoo the first event I “failed” at this could be the case. Zoo is what I’d call a “fair” deck, as far as you can call somthing that kills you on turn 4 with dudes a “fair” deck. It has no way of really interacting with the opponent beyond burn and bashing face before something nasty takes over. I have never liked this style of play and I have played Zoo in Extended in the past with the same feeling. Sometimes it is correct to play this style of deck, at these times I’m at my worst and I knew this. It’s good to know and recognize your own strenghts (as well as weaknesses), I’m at my best when I can hang around the midrange / control side of the spectrum unless there is some crazy combo that you can pull off with consistancy. I’ll always gravitate towards these styles regardless of format. This didn’t explain my failure with U/W/r Stoneforge (Crime City as we called it). It was control deck, although the fact that I was playing a deck people where gunning for with no real knowledge what type of answers they where able to bring in against me might have played a big part in me not understanding what was important during the games I lost.

This is one of the hardest things you can do for yourself, because you have to be brutally honest with yourself. You have no choice if you’re goal is to learn and improve. There’s no sense in denying the fact that you might be a worse player then you first thought, it can be the correct answer. As long as you realize it and are honest about it, you can work to improve it. It’s very hard not to get into circular logic while thinking about this, blaming outside sources like fatigue, a “bad day”, the decklist being incorrect or you just facing “bad beats” ™. All of these, except maybe the decklist being incorrect although that’s a subject I can go on and on about are traps and fallacies. Sure they have an influence in 1 event or 1 testing session, but when you have multiple events and testing sessions having the same result it’s time to stop blaming these things (although I think you shouldn’t in the first place but that’s another subject all together) and start looking at what’s really going on.

Square one, back to the drawing board

So there I was, back to square one, with the GPT’s starting up soon I was still at a complete loss regarding how the format worked and where I wanted to position myself. Normally this is something I spend a lot of time on and it has brought me my biggest success, let me try and explain.

Formats, as a whole, tend to contract for me, especially older more defined formats where less cards rotate in / out. One of my favorite quotes and dearest lessons I ever learned while playing Magic is best summed up by our own Paulo when he was talking about Zvi.

I think Zvi approaches deckbuilding in a way most people don’t by identifying the main questions in the metagame and then trying to come up with answers for the questions, instead of just randomly brewing. -Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

I’ve always tried to do this as much as possible, I remember Zvi once stating he’d always search for the most unfair thing he could be doing in the format he was trying to prepare for. Hating the fact that he played a “fair” deck once and lost because of doing so. Like I stated before in this article, I hate playing a fair deck more then I hate losing. Yes, even if the fair deck is winning me games.

What I mean with the previous statement of formats contracting, is I try to narrow down as much as possible which decks are actually capable of winning events, quickly dismissing which decks aren’t positioning themselves where I want to be. While a lot of decks tend to be “viable” or lots of people call decks viable because they are capable of winning games and even matches, this is not enough if you want to do well. People fall for this all the time, especially in Legacy, where everything under the sun is declared viable once it’s proves it can actually win a game or 2 against some of the better defined decks.

So, lets take a look at all the unfair things you can be doing in Legacy, this is going to mostly be defined by playing “combo”.
• You can cast [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] on turn 2-4 either using Elves, [card]Show and Tell[/card], [card]Doomsday[/card] and [card]Shelldock Isle[/card] or [card]Sneak Attack[/card].
• You can cast a Lethal Tendrils on turn 1-3 using [card]Ad Nauseam[/card], [card]Ill-Gotten Gains[/card] or [card]Doomsday[/card].
• You can [card]Show and Tell[/card] a [card]Hive Mind[/card] into play and cast any of the Pacts between turn 2-4.
• You can win by abusing the Dredge mechanic.
• You can win by activating [card]Grindstone[/card] with a [card]Painter’s Servant[/card] in play.
• You can win by playing [card]High Tide[/card] and generating a ton of mana to Stroke / Zenith / Brainfreeze an opponent.

This was what I found, 2 of these types of decks (Tendrils and Dredge) revolve around [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card] (well dredge could play without but whatever). Others revolved around [card]Show and Tell[/card] with some other enablers filling up the void. All these decks have the fact that they are brutally fast and once their enabler card resolves almost always win the game on the spot. They also all have in common that they aren’t really that consistent as you might think with the exception of the Painter combo (which has it’s own faults).

None of these seemed very appealing to me, I knew from experience that I don’t want to be playing anything that needed Storm or [card]Doomsday[/card] when we’re talking about something more then 5-6 rounds. The mental fatigue kicks in rapidly unless you have had month’s of goldfishing and practice under your belt making you able to navigate most interactions on auto pilot. I didn’t have month’s to practice, beyond getting married and spending nearly a month away on honeymoon, my life has become increasingly more busy. I have around 1-2 evenings if I’m lucky to get some testing in and the rest of the time I would be mostly playing in GPT’s during the weekends or otherwise doing other non-magic activities. This almost automatically made any deck based around [card]Dark Ritual[/card] or [card]High Tide[/card] be incorrect for me.

After testing out Dredge and various Hive Mind type of decks they became mostly one trick ponies for me that meant, if an opponent wants to beat you, they can choose to do so. I hate these types of decks as they are only really good when people don’t expect you. I don’t want to be relying on any of my opponents not knowing what I was doing before it was too late. Unlike myself, most of the people playing in the GPT’s and eventually the GP are going to be more up to speed regarding the format. What was left? Casting or showing Emrakul? People seemed prepared for that as well. Then I read this article, now that seemed impressive! One of the first ever decks I made when I started playing Magic was a reanimator deck, I owned [card]Entomb[/card]s, it looked unfair, it looked good with [card]Mental Misstep[/card] and it would make me have to worry less about what my opponent was playing as they (or I) would be dead by turn 3-4 anyway. Making for short rounds and ample time to refresh I got together the list and looked for the first GPT I could use it in.

GPT: Enschede

God, I swear I am never going to drive two and a half hours to attend a GPT again. At least not crammed into the backseat of a small car because I was the smallest person of the group and they all veto’d me (I’m about 1.73 meter which is around 5.6 feet for you people wondering, which is small for a Dutch guy). I started the event off with 2 losses, one against Stone Blade and 1 against B/W Stone Blade. The fear of all the thoughts I had being wrong and me just being a worse player then I ever suspected was creeping up.

I was out of contention seeing as there where 77 players duking it out for the byes I still had 5 rounds to figure this out. I ended up winning my next 2 rounds against TNT and U/W/r Blade respectively, playing well and knowing what to do as I had tested against both decks. Then I lost to Dragon Stompy (Really?!) because I had no clue how to handle his deck and [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] set at one is really really good against my deck. I faced and beat another Storm player and lost to another Storm player who was packing [card]Leyline of the Void[/card] game 3 which I obviously didn’t expect and didn’t board for. Ending up at a 3-4 record. At least it wasn’t 1-6! All kidding aside, the deck, although brutal, felt way to clunky, you either had it and they couldn’t stop it or you didn’t (or they stopped you) Basically I felt like I was playing Belcher (not a deck I’m fond off) I hate it when a deck simply cannot win if you fail to draw any of your pieces or hit a game where you cannot win in the first 3 turns. The deck had no late game, no way to come back when you fall behind.

The Drawing board, again

So I was back where I started, without a deck but with more knowledge, I had played in 8 events now (a doubling of my former amount! 😉 ) and was still without a proper grasp of the format. I saw the banning come up on September 20th that by October 1st [card]Mental Misstep[/card] would be gone and the format would change dramatically according to the self proclaimed Legacy experts, it would be a brave new world. Seeing as [card]Mental Misstep[/card] didn’t create a new deck but just improved existing decks and made others totally unplayable, I suspected people where getting to excited. Yes, Legacy would change, not to unknown country, but back to the decks that where around before Misstep. Seeing as there was a GPT coming up soon I set my sights on finding a deck I could play even after Misstep got axed. I stumbled across an article by GerryT (Again, I should play more decks suggested by Gerry) he made a case for playing BUG. I started examining his list, thinking about if he was on the right track for me. Off course Gerry is great at building decks but this doesn’t mean that you can pickup his brews without seeing if you can actually pilot it.

I started by seeing what the deck did.
• It played unfair cards. Getting hit by [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card] is about the most unfair thing you can have happen to you (Well, getting your Hymn [card misdirection]Misdirected[/card] is a close second).
• It had a solid game plan which made you able to get back in games when behind.
• It played [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], everybody that knows me, knows how I love this card, I was the guy that brought Jace to Vintage before others started playing it and I have played Jace in T2 for his entire lifespan. (I think the old criteria of if you play Blue you play [card]Force of Will[/card] and [card]Brainstorm[/card] can be changed with adding [card]Jace, The Mind Sculptor[/card])
• It had the ability to deal with just about any situation other decks can throw at you. This is mostly true for most decks running blue since they get to have some of the best sideboards in the game.
• It had a decent combo matchup because of it’s permission being based in blue and black which gives it discard and counters, something most combo decks are weak against.
• I love playing Blue/Black… (not at all un-important ) It’s one of those color combinations that usually works out pretty well everytime I pick it up, seeing that it also had green was a minor speedbump.

In essence, I viewed the deck as being Blue / Black control with a splash of Green to support [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] and [card]Pernicious Deed[/card]. This sounded like something straight up my alley. I tweaked around some of the maindeck numbers and the Sideboard. Taking out things I didn’t like for cards I felt where more suited for what I wanted to accomplish. This is an important step in adjusting a deck after you’ve picked it. I usually end up playing 5-10 games with the list as is (either goldfishing or online on any of the free programs you can find, Cockatrice, MWS, etc) before I end up picking it. By then I have a decent grasp of what certain cards are there for.

Seeing as each tournament has it’s own micro meta it’s better to find which cards are in the list with what purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to find out and it’s only later you notice the original creator of the deck played a card you deemed unworthy to solve a paticular issue you didn’t notice. Hopefully you can get enough time with the deck for this not to happen during an important Top 8 match. So I had my list, then I looked for an event. Lucky for me, there’s a GPT nearly every weekend now.

GPT: Sprang-Capelle

After making the 15 minute trip to the local store where the GPT was held I sleeved up some of the missing cards I had to borrow and got underway in the event. Here’s the list I ended up playing in that event. (you guys didn’t think I was going to leave you without decklist this entire time now did you?)

BUG by M. van Zundert

[deck]4 Force of Will
4 Mental Misstep
4 Hymn to Tourach
2 Thoughtseize
1 Dismember
1 Go for the Throat
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Tombstalker
4 Brainstorm
3 Ancestral Vision
3 Pernicious Deed
3 Jace, The Mind Sculptor
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Underground Sea
4 Tropical Island
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Island
4 Wasteland
Sideboard
3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Diabolic Edict
2 Perish
2 Thoughtseize
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Dismember
1 Pithing Needle[/deck]

I ended up missing the top 8 by punting during my last round (which was a win and in deal). There was no excuse for it, other then some external factors, nothing or anybody to blame but myself for keeping a hand that was beyond subpar. My opponent did the only thing left to do, which was beat me resoundingly.

I had learned yet again, taking away valuable lessons. One of the most imporant ones was the fact that this deck, stood head and shoulders above anything else (well maybe not Survival) I had played in Legacy thus far.

It suited my playstyle, it wasn’t “fair” or “unfair but unstable” like the others I tried. It had the correct balance between being thusly unfair that you can get “free” wins without being unstable enough to lose to itself. It was all on the pilot performing and making the correct decisions. No selfdoubt about being a worse player then I had assumed crept up, I knew exactly why I lost, what I could do to remedy it. Same as I knew exactly what I needed to do to win matches at one life (which I did twice) against an opponent that thought to have me dead on board. I had made the correct deckchoice, the correct playchoices most of the situations I got put in. I had just failed to recognize my own limitations (still not studying the format and the decks in it) and tried my best to ignore external factors playing any part in me getting what I wanted.

I walked away from the event with the empowering feeling that I had finally grasped what was needed for me to succeed, with the knowledge that all the selfdoubt wasn’t necessary and I probably wasn’t denying to myself I was awfull to fullfil some stupid requirement my ego wanted. (which I try to ignore as much as possible, one of my biggest faults is definitely lacking confidence in myself) I merely failed to understand the format and it’s interactions. I failed to understand what a deck needed to succeed. I wouldn’t repeat that mistake.

The King is dead, long live the king

I knew [card]Mental Misstep[/card] was getting banned for my next event. I also suspected that the aformentioned “big change” everybody was excited about was an illusion. Like I stated before, the only thing [card]Mental Misstep[/card] did was make some decks unplayable and existing decks better. It didn’t create anything new. One could simply look back in time and pretty acurately predict what kind of decks one would be facing. So I had 4 open spots in my deck, which needed to be replaced with cards that had a similar effect. You simply cannot fit in random cards because you now have open slots (a common mistake) you need to look at what the cards you are losing did for your deck, know what role they filled and replace them with cards that can fit a similar role.

I knew I wanted more hand disruption as [card]Mental Misstep[/card] being gone meant a resurgeance of combo decks. I also needed a way to deal with cards like [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] as they would still be strong enough to compete. This made me search for a Discard spell that could hit Creatures as well as Spells. I already played 2 [card]Thoughtseize[/card] but I wasn’t willing to go to 4. The lifeloss with [card]Mental Misstep[/card] in the deck scared me the last time I played the deck. It wasn’t a situation I was willing to put myself in again. This lead me to [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card]. It doesn’t hit Jace or opposing Forces, I’d have to bank on Hymn and Thoughtseize (along with my own forces and Jaces) to deal with those. It did hit all the relevant cards in the stone forge deck and the combo decks.

Since going to 10 discard spells is insane I only wanted 2, which left me with 2 slots left to fill. Since the Blue count in the deck was dangerously low already I knew they had to be at least blue. I have a hate/hate relationship with [card]Daze[/card] (Did I mention I hate the card?) especially in a deck that wants to go into the end game where mana is plenty. This left me with a host of other options, [card]Counterspell[/card], [card]Spell Snare[/card], [card]Stifle[/card], etc. I couldn’t replace these slots with something like [card]Preordain[/card] or [card]Ponder[/card] as I really wanted it to be “real” disruption instead.

[card]Spell Snare[/card] seemed to be cheap, hitting the cards I wanted to hit (Stoneforge, Goyf, opposing Hymn’s, etc) so it checked all the boxes I wanted. I knew I wanted to test out the new [card]Liliana of the Veil [/card]as she seemed a perfect fit as another disruption slot / non-targeted spotremoval. It could be played pre-emptively against decks like NO RUG and decks looking to show / sneak [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] as long as I could protect it they couldn’t “go off” as I had a uncounterable way to deal with their big guy.

I had lost a game during the last GPT because I couldn’t deal with a resolved [card]Dark Confidant[/card], so I really wanted a way to deal with X/1 dudes once they hit play. I tried upping the [card]Dismember[/card] count, playing [card]Ghastly Demise[/card], [card]Terror[/card], [card]Go for the Throat[/card], [card]Diabolic Edict[/card] you name it. They suffered from either not being targetted or being counterable. I asked a friend of mine what would solve this problem as I had exhausted my brain in finding a solution. What he said was both obvious and the one thing I hadn’t tried.

He asked me a question (the best way to get people, especially me thinking of a solution themselves instead of giving it to them on a silver platter). He simply countered my question with: Do you remember how we used to win Goyf battles and deal with Confidant in the old Extended?

It clicked, I facepalmed, I sighed and cursed for my own stupidity. How could I have forgotten to try the best near uncounterable X/1 dealing spell in the game. I searched and searched untill I found it stuffed somewhere in a box. I put a [card]Darkblast[/card] into my pile of cards to include. This left me with 63 cards. About 3 cards to many to get the deck where I wanted it to be, I started rethinking the concept, remodeling the sideboard. I came to the conclusion that [card]Pernicious Deed[/card] was great in some matches and slow or horrible in others, It seemed like a natural fit for the Sideboard instead of the maindeck. I had my replacements for Mental Misstep and now I had my slots I could use to run [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] and [card]Darkblast[/card]. The maindeck was set.

Building the Sideboard

I started the sideboard, as I always do with a clean slate, regardless of what event I have been to last week I want to rethink every option. I knew I had 3 slots filled in with the Deeds, which answered a ton of problems. I also remember how many games [card]Perish[/card] won me, taking care of [card]Thrun, the Last Troll[/card], [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card], [card]Terravore[/card] and entire decks if they overcommited. This left me with at least 4-5 sweepers against agressive decks. I really wanted a 6th sweeper on the other hand I really wanted to fit in enough spot removal. Without having to overcommit either way and get stuck I settled on [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card]. It doesn’t sweep as good as Deed or Perish (although it can), it always feels like a waste to use it on a singleton but it was the best option that allowed me the most flexibility.

This left me with 9 slots left to play with. I knew I wanted at least 2 slots that could improve my already Ok combo matchup and double as cards to bring in against other control decks. It seemed only logical to just up the maindeck cards that shined in these matchups, adding a 3rd [card]Vendilion Clique[/card] and a [card]Thoughtseize[/card].

This left me with 7 slots, I felt I needed another way to deal with resolved big dudes or untargetable creatures (like Thrun) so I ran 3 [card]Diabolic Edict[/card]s, together with Liliana this made for 5 untargeted ways to deal with dudes. Guaranteeing the fact I’d see at least one solution hopefully in time.

I’m not somebody that plays in Eternal formats and fails to grasp how good graveyard strategies are in these formats, most notably Dredge (as you can read in my last article, I hate losing to it when it can be avoided) so I knew I wanted at least 3-4 cards to help me deal with the graveyard. I wanted cards that could do double duty again, so [card]Surgical Extraction[/card] and [card]Extirpate[/card] seemed good enough to help me deal with Dredge as well as being able to extract key spells like [card]Life from the Loam[/card] or [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] targets. Even against Ritual decks these cards have some utility in being able to grab a Ritual, Tutor or enabler to make going off that much harder. The only thing that was left was a way to deal with the entire graveyard, nothing beats good old Tormod’s Crypt in that department.

This left me with a single slot open, I figured I might as well have an extra removal spell that could deal with stuff like [card]Tombstalker[/card] if I faced the mirror so I put in another [card]Dismember[/card] and my list was set! I even had the next GPT lined up, here’s what I took with me.

BUG by M. van Zundert

[deck]4 Force of Will
4 Hymn to Tourach
2 Spell Snare
2 Thoughtseize
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Tombstalker
4 Brainstorm
3 Ancestral Vision
3 Jace, The Mind Sculptor
2 Liliana of the Veil
1 Dismember
1 Go for the Throat
1 Darkblast
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Scalding Tarn
4 Underground Sea
3 Tropical Island
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Island
4 Wasteland
Sideboard
3 Diabolic Edict
3 Pernicious Deed
2 Perish
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Dismember
1 Thoughtseize
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Extirpate[/deck]

GPT: Utrecht

The ride to the event was uneventfull but fun, relaxing because we only had 4 people and everybody had ample room to sit. I was poised to give away a good performance, seeing as I was so close last time I felt I had removed some of the kinks that held me back. I had studied the format more, I knew the decks and what to expect from them. I started the event off 4-0 in games and 2-0 in matches, I was pumped, ready and driven. I failed to understand how Merfolk worked against my deck as I hadn’t tested against it a single time and paid the price with my first loss. I won the next 2 rounds and stood at 4-1 with just a single round to play, standing near the top of the pack in 7th place among a riddle of people at 12 points. A quick look at the standings told me I could ID into top 8. This was going to be it. I ID’ed. The format seemed clear, what I needed to do was clear, I understood.

Then the pairing of the top 8 put me against a Combo player (my 3rd of the day) I put up a decent fight, winning game one after I mulliganed to 5 even. Sadly I failed to hit a second Black mana for the 2 Hymns I had in my hand, I knew my opponent was holding 2 LED, 2 Ritual because I had [card]Thoughtseize[/card]d / [card inquisition of kozilek]Inquisitioned[/card] his tutors. I [card]Brainstorm[/card]ed, I digged, I saw cards, I tried to disrupt him as much as possible. I didn’t hit another black mana, he hit his [card]Infernal Tutor[/card] and soon a [card]Tendrils of Agony[/card] shot at my head. It was done, over. I felt frustration, doubt, relief. Was I simply content with making Top 8 and because of that didn’t play my best? Was my deck misconstructed? Did I just get lucky and Top 8 by sheer chance?…. It all started again. I know this deck, I know what I need to do, I know I got what it takes.
Back to the drawing board….

Untill next time, I hope you guys keep drawing..
Marius “Marske” van Zundert
Marske, on Modo (and everywhere else)
Marske1984 on Twitter

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