Like a Boss, an SCG Standard Top 8 Report

I would like to start by thanking my team, (Sam Meyer, Kourtnee Clatterbuck, Jon Kornacki, Adam Percy, Justin Carter and Eddie Caudill) for their support and efforts not only during the tournament, but before and after. I would also like to thank Ed Caudill, JJ Moore, Rookies 2 Legends and Manawerx for sponsoring the team, and most of all providing an awesome place to play, and a great community to call home.

Our goal as a team is not to be the best. We are just a group of friends that have a passion for this game. We simply work together and use our strengths to boost our weaknesses.

I’ll admit, I am less equipped to write a tournament report than I should be, but I guess I’ll have to chalk that up to focusing more on my games than taking notes during them. My goal for this article is not to tell you about all of the times I flipped Delver on turn 2, (or the times I didn’t for that matter) but more to share my experiences that led up to the tournament, and how play testing and working together as a team affected my overall tournament experience.

A big part of getting ready for any tournament is play testing. In the weeks coming to the Open, I couldn’t tell you how many games I played with my 75, but it seemed like when I wasn’t fulfilling my other obligations like work, I spent every other waking second eating, breathing and thinking Magic. I have to say, based on how well the group in general did, it paid off.

There are some pretty huge misconceptions about play testing, because a lot of people will put in the game time and still fall short on the day of the event. Simply jamming your deck against another really doesn’t help you get better, or teach you more about the way your deck functions. When we play tested, we took notes about the matches, and more importantly talked about the games we played. We discussed lines of play, hands to keep, and sideboard strategies. This is why having a focused group of people to battle with is so important.

The point is to learn something from every game you play.

When you are play testing, it’s important that you slow down, and get as much information as you can. Ask yourself or your buddies questions like “Would you keep this hand?” or “How would you board in this matchup?” and make sure you understand the answer and ask yourself why. Creating a strategy is as simple as that. Now all you have to do is keep that hand, or side those in, and if it improves your win percentage, you’re on the right track.

At any given playtest session, there were at least four team members. We all had a pretty good idea of what we were going to play, so we spent the last month tuning our decks. Another important thing to note is that after we would play a set of ten games, alternating who went first, we would sometimes switch decks. This allowed us to get a better perspective of the decks we would be playing against.

I did pretty well at the tournament. I was confident in my deck, although I made some changes the night before, cutting probe entirely for a few 1 ofs and main deck dungeon Geists. I also changed my board at the last minute, just factoring in the metagame change from 40 man FNMs, to 300+ man Open events.

Here’s what I ended up with

Creatures (15)
Invisible Stalker
Delver of Secrets
Dungeon Geists
Geist of Saint Traft
Snapcaster mage

Spells (24)
Vapor Snag
Thought Scour
Faith’s Shield
Mana Leak
Gut Shot
Midnight Haunting
Sword of War and Peace
Runechanter’s Pike

Land (21)
Glacial Fortress
Seachrome Coast
Moorland Haunt
Sideboard (15)
Timely Reinforcements
Phantasmal Image
Sword of War and Peace
Surgical Extraction
Celestial Purge
Dungeon Geists
Oblivion Ring
Steel Sabotage
Revoke Existence

Overall, I think my list was fine. It’s got some very niche cards in it, I felt like 4 Geist was too many all day, and 1 stalker was too few. I haven’t seen my feature match versus Michael Shippy yet, but I think Brian Kibler made fun of me for Faith’s shield.

Getting ready the night before the tournament is also very important. Get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, bring snacks in case you don’t have time to go for food, etc. staying up until 2 or 3 play testing is pointless. This is why you play tested earlier. Avoid drinking energy drinks in the morning; wait until about halfway through the tournament. That way you don’t crash before the bubble rounds.

All of these things seem like common sense, but I’ve gone to quite a few SCG Opens, and I’ve only top eighted ones where successfully did all of these things.

I hope you guys have found this article useful and entertaining, and hopefully there will be more to come. Please feel free to comment and criticize. I promise to take better notes next time, I’m having trouble fitting it into my normal game routine. If there’s something you guys would like me to write about, let me know!

p.s A HUGE shoutout to everyone who took the time to get dressed up before the tournament. I feel like we represented our city pretty well this weekend, and looked damn good doing it. Thank you.

Congratulations to Kourtnee Clatterbuck for top eighting the draft open, Jon Kornacki for top eighting the standard open with me, Chris Basco for making top four, to Adam Prosak,
Chris Higashi, Leon Kornacki  and Sherwin Pu for crushing in Legacy. You guys are all the nut.

But most of all I am proud of Christian Nickerson, whom I had to beat to make top eight. Keep it up man.

Until next time,