I thought I’d do something a little different for today’s Highlight, which is to discuss two interesting gameplay snapshots from last weekend’s Innistrad Championship with Izzet Epiphany.
For the Standard portion, I played Izzet Epiphany with black Pathways and two copies of Go Blank in my sideboard. Seven of my eight Standard matches were Izzet mirrors.
Standard Izzet Epiphany by Reid Duke
Round 14 was against a strong and accomplished player named Alexander Rosdahl. Here’s a simplified situation that we faced in Game 2.
Here, Alexander walks me into a trap. I cast Teachings of the Archaics with three cards against his five, but he responds with Fading Hope on my Smoldering Egg. This puts him down to four cards while simultaneously putting me up to four cards. I suffer a tempo loss and my spell has no effect. In other words, a blowout.
In Game 3, a situation arose where I might have the ability to reverse the trap on him.
It was a close game where both players had access to Hullbreaker Horror. However, Alexander had two Fading Hopes with which to manage my Horror. I, on the other hand, was in trouble because I was out of answers to both his Horror and his Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. Crucially, however, I had gathered information about Alexander’s hand from Test of Talents and a flurry of Divide by Zeros and Fading Hopes, but he knew little about my hand.
Recognizing a similarity to the last game, I started my turn with Teachings of the Archaics before even making my land drop. Alexander had already shown a willingness to fight over this card, and (particularly since he hadn’t yet seen my Hullbreaker Horror) he decided to use his two Fading Hopes on my two Bird tokens in order to even up our hands at four cards apiece.
This was a good outcome for me. I happily drew zero cards off of Teachings. I played a land, flashed back Galvanic Iteration and copied Go Blank. This threatened all four of Alexander’s remaining cards, so he was forced to sacrifice his Treasures, cast Behold the Multiverse, and then discard down to only Hullbreaker Horror. The game was still competitive after this, but I was eventually able to overpower the lone Horror and win the game.
A tournament match involves a series of games between two individuals. It’s not just a contest of discrete, inflexible cards. There are times when recognizing patterns and getting a feel for how your opponent likes to play can be to your advantage.
When someone has a good experience with a particular play, card or sequence, they’re often more likely to reach for it again in a future game. Do you think your White Weenie opponent will sideboard out Valorous Stance against you? I’m not sure if they should or shouldn’t, but how good Valorous Stance was in game one can certainly have a psychological impact that might sway their decision. Keep an eye out for things like this, and give some thought to the person that might be on the other side of the table or computer screen.