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BG-Rock in modern

05-03-2018

Preface

I have finally decided to play magic again. I have had a break for, I don't know, four or five years. Back then I played legacy, now the first event I have decided on is a local modern tournament. This my first modern tournament sort of coincide with my first real legacy experience, so I think it needs a short tour of history as an introduction.

I started playing magic when I was about 10. I was introduced by my older brother, and I instantly loved the game. He bought me an ice age starter deck that I played after we had modified it some. I'm pretty sure the deck was poor. At that time everyone played magic, or at least had magic cards. Back then it mostly was a collectible object, we just traded cards. I remember one guy who had a suitcase full of cards nicely ordered. He had like 4-5 Shivan Dragons which was incredible. The center of magic in Denmark was and is Faraos Cigarer. I loved travel to Copenhagen back then because it meant going to that shop. We lived on a small island with no place to do magic trading and playing. Faraos Cigarer was like a weird, nerdish wall street. People were all around inside in a three story shop. You could look all around and down from above like sitting in a chandelier hanging in a ball room midst of crowded balconies. One had got hold of four Mox Diamond, one had traded a bunch of duals for a Timetwister, and they had this nice display in the store containing moxes and such rarities. Back then there were not much use of the internet, so some cards reached the status of notorious. Like Black Lotus. Rumors flourished around about these cards like : one knew some guys who played all the power but with no sleeves. One knew a guy who burned a Black Lotus on a bonfire. Since then the internet has lain a rest to lot of these stories. So lets fast forward.

Ice Age starter deck like the first deck I got. I might still have the rule book.

I had to move to Copenhagen to study. Around 2007 I decided to start playing magic, and I entered the tournament scene evolving around Faraos Cigarer. I managed to trade a Mox Perl and some duals for an Ancestral Recall which i put into my Mahamoti Djinn/Air Elemental deck only to discover legacy was the new thing. And I actually think it is here the story start to take form. My big brother had gave me the rest of his cards. Among the decks were a mono black knight deck which I decided to play. My knowledge of cards available stretched from Alpha to Stronghold, and sporadically I knew cards up until Scourge. Online I found some vintage decks, they ran Duress which I managed to get a playset of, and I ended up with a deck like

CreatureQty
Black Knight4
Hypnotic Specter4
Order of the Ebon Hand34
Knight of Stromgald4
Mirri the Cursed3
SorceryQty
Duress4
Hymn to Tourach14
Night's Whisper4
InstantQty
Dark Ritual4
Diabolic Edict4
LandQty
Swamp121

Even though my deck by any standard since 2000 is horribly outdated, I managed to get some beating done. Mainly because the main removal at that time was Swords to Plowshares. Some played a mono white creature deck which just couldn't handle these knights.

Power to the green

Up until 2007 green probably was the weakest color of the game. I mean, any other color had power spells, green had creatures and not that good creatures. You could play Blastoderm or Spirit Monger, but compared to Dark Confidant or Jotun Grunt? But then this guy came along : Tarmogoyf. Deck splashed green to play him, people played sideboard anti-graveyard cards against him. Some people even insisted that he should be banned. An almost always 4/5 for two mana. My knights simply could not deal with him. I had made a lot of friends in Faraos, and from time to time I borrowed a deck from one of them. At a tournament one guy borrowed me an Affinity deck with which I made it to the finals. I won a Mana Drain which I among other cards traded for a set of Tarmogoyf.

Eva Green

Online I found a deck called Eva Green. I had the cards needed for this. Besides 4 slots for my newly traded Tarmogoyf, it contained some of my favorite cards like Sinkhole and Hypnotic Specter not to mention really cool synergi between Pernicious Deed and Tombstalker. And then I like the picture on Bayou the most of the duals. At this point in time Lorwyn was released and thus Thoughtseize. And If I remember correctly I got together something like

CreatureQty
Hypnotic Specter4
Nantuko Shade4
Tarmogoyf4
Tombstalker4
InstantQty
Dark Ritual4
SorceryQty
Hymn to Tourach14
Sinkhole4
Duress4
Thoughtseize4
EnchantmentQty
Pernicious Deed3
LandQty
Bayou4
Bloodstained Mire4
Polluted Delta4
Swamp45
Wasteland4

With the right hand you had a turn one Tombstalker. In some cases even with a Duress played before. And the right hand wasn't that rare. I remember winning a matchup against some counterbalance resolving a Hypnotic Specter which gradually removed his hand after which i played a Pernicious Deed and cleared the table. The deck indeed was powerful yet simple. Now a days it can't hold it's creatures in play because of cards like Lightning Bolt.

Game Day

So we are almost back where it all started. I got the last peaces I needed, most notably Fatal Push and Tireless Tracker, and now have the following to play with

BG-rock spread out

Or listed

LandQty
Overgrown Tomb3
Treetop Village4
Verdant Catacombs4
Marsh Flats2
Field of Ruin4
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth2
Forest12
Swamp13
CreatureQty
Tarmogoyf4
Dark Confidant4
Tireless Tracker2
Scavenging Ooze2
Eternal Witness2
Liliana of the Veil4
Liliana, the Last Hope1
SorceryQty
Thoughtseize4
Inquisition of Kozilek4
SorceryQty
Fatal Push4
Dismember1
Maelstrom Pulse2
Abrupt Decay2

And a pretty lousy sideboard:

CardQty
Golgari Charm2
Thragtusk1
Tireless Tracker1
Surgical Extraction2
Kitchen Finks2
Scavenging Ooze1
Nihil Spellbomb2
Maelstrom Pulse2
Pithing Needle2

I actually had included cards in the SB to deal with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but never met any deck that resembled something he could be in. Anyway, lets have a look at the games.

Round 1

I got paired against a guy playing Death and Taxes. I haven't played against this kind of deck for ages. The modern version seems to center around Flickerwisp. Exploiting cards like Blade Splicer this can deal some serious card advantage. I lost 0/2. The first game i mulliganed one time. I attacked my Dark Confidant into his Thalia, Guardian of Thraben totally missing it has first strike. Tremendous bummer! The second match I can't remember too well. There were actually a point where I felt in some control, but then i died. The D&T deck doesn't seem to have any way to draw cards other than during the draw step. It only contains 4 Path to Exile to deal with my quite powerful creatures. Exploiting the ability of Tireless Tracker should really give me card advantage over this deck. I definitely do not see this as a bad match up. I just have to adjust my gameplay.

Round 2

This round I played against some kid with a R/B burn deck. I think he was 11 years old. I always want to cut these kids some slack, I don't want to scare them away from the game. On the other hand when playing against burn suddenly you just loose. Fortunately I only had to advise him on not burning my 2/3 Goyf for three because that would make him 3/4. I won both games, so 2/0, and he actually got me to 1 life in both games.

Round 3

Against UW-midrange. This was one mathcup where I just stopped bothering what some cards did when Thoughtseizing my opponent. I lost first game, I had a lot of trouble dealing with flying creatures, but in the end my Confidant killed me. The second game I won somehow, I was allmost killed by Celestial Colonnade - I was at 4, and my opponent drew a land that comes into play tapped. The third game ended in time, on number four timed turn I attacked with everything, he blocked and killed me. I could have stalled and gone with a draw. I had an insane amount of draws with Tireless Tracker in one game, I mostly got lands, but I think he was 8/7 or maybe bigger.

Round 4

This round I played against a G/W/R-knight of the rel/bloodbraid-deck. I lost first game, won the second with Ooze keeping his Knight of the Reliquary a 2/2. Eternal witness along with push/decay worked well. And the game ended a draw since we went time. I allmost died several times, one to a knight with Kessig Wolf Run.

After round4 I was too hungry and decided to drop.

Aftermath

I think I have misinterpreted the format. And here is what we are going to do about it. First analyze.

Card Advantage

In legacy some cards just give you card advantage pretty easily. Like Hymn to Tourach1. This card is one of the best black spells in the format I'm pretty sure. With a bit of luck you rip you opponent apart. And it's two for one, you deliver one, your opponent loose 2. Cards like Duress is one for one. It's a spot removal used to protect key cards you are playing. Most likely it works as a counterspell in your turn removing threads for you storm spell or very good creature. In the modern tournament I did a lot of wait for turn three to cast Thoughtseize and then Dark Confidant or whatever. I think the right thing to do was and is to play Thoughtseize turn one, recognize keycards and remove them. Path to Exile seems to be the defacto removal. I often removed it using spot discard. But I think this is wrong. Path my Confidant turns him into a Sakura-Tribe Elder which actually is quite useful. However, removing a card like Spell Queller or Flickerwisp or one of it targets actually hits you opponent quite hard since there isn't many ways to otherwise gain card advantages in these kinds of decks.

Anyway, it was pretty cool playing again. I like the format a lot, and I'm definitely back for more next week.

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