Fueled on a Sourdough Jack and Red Bull to 16th place

Hi, everyone! My name is Jeffrey Abong and I am one of the co-owners of this website AZMagicPlayers.com. I started playing Magic back when Judgment came out. Used to play at a shop called Hardcastle in Tucson (where I’m from) on Fridays way back then. Eventually I lost interest in Magic. But, unlike most people, I did not sell my cards; I just kept them in random boxes under my bed. Eventually one of my other friends picked up an interest in Magic and we started playing at Showtime Sports Cards in Tucson. This is where we started getting a bit more competitive; a dual here, and dual there, and soon I was playing some dumb Aluren deck that, though I have a soft spot for it, probably doesn’t fly at all in today’s super fast metagame. My collection grew faster and faster when I got a summer job. Then I started college and moved up here to ASU, where I play weekly now at Pop Culture Paradise in Tempe since it’s pretty much next door.

Why did I play Maverick? Well, my favorite deck of all time is G/W Survival. There’s nothing like plopping a Noble Hierarch on turn one, Survival on turn two, then even before I realize it, I have three or four angry Vengevines smashing face. And even my opponent deals with those, I still have Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary coming in. After Survival was banned, I wandered in between decks, playing a homebrew version of Esper Faeries, Goblins, or B/W Stoneblade. Then I found G/W Maverick. Though it didn’t have the speed of Survival, Green Sun’s Zenith was still a very powerful card. And since I like big creatures + Mother of Runes, I picked up this deck. I’ve played the Punishing Maverick version of this for awhile and while I liked the flexibility to deal with Planeswalkers or just otherwise burn out the opponent, I didn’t like the vulnerability to Wasteland and its match up against burn.

I played this deck the night before at the Legacy challenge, going 2-1-1. I faced Aggro Loam, Elf Combo, Maverick mirror (I lost this one) and drew against U/W Stoneblade. Last night’s build had some different changes, notably -1 Sylvan Library -1 Thrun and instead +1 Stoneforge Mystic and +1 Sword of Fire and Ice. I used to run Batterskull but eventually I found myself fetching it less and less so I cut it.

So I got to the tournament fairly early at 8:20 am or so. My brother and I got food at a Jack in the Box for breakfast like we did the day before; I bought a Sourdough Jack… it was the last thing I ate until In-N-Out at 8pm later that night. I didn’t even feel hungry until like Round 7 or so. Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. Anyway, I guess the City of Phoenix is running the Iron man triathalon so they closed off a lot of the streets and took us like an additional ten minutes to get to the convention center. Good thing we left early.

I had two extra slots open in my sideboard, which I wanted additional graveyard hate since sometimes Scavenging Ooze can be a bit slow against Dredge. I decided to go with Surgical Extractions; my friend told me that they had some left at the shop when I was eating breakfast outside of the convention center, and so I walked in and proceeded to… not buy any because they were sold out. Thankfully I borrowed some, then when the player’s meeting started they got two more in stock so I bought those and returned the borrowed Extractions.

Anyway, enough backstory; you probably just wanted to see my decklist. Here it is:

Creatures (26)
Birds of Paradise
Eternal Witness
Knight of the Reliquary
Mother of Runes
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Scryb Ranger
Stoneforge Mystic
Gaddock Teeg
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thrun, the Last Troll

Spells (11)
Green Sun’s Zenith
Swords to Plowshares
Sylvan Library
Sword of Light and Shadow
Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (23)
Forest
Plains
Horizon Canopy
Savannah
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Dryad Arbor
Gaea’s Cradle
Karakas
Sideboard: (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Choke
Leyline of Sanctity
Gut Shot
Krosan Grip
Surgical Extraction
Umezawa’s Jitte
Bojuka Bog

Some explanations:

Birds of Paradise – I misplaced a Noble Hierarch and had already been running this because I used to play Punishing Maverick. Kept it in because I didn’t feel like finding another Hierarch and also in the random matches that I played, sometimes the Flying was actually relevant. It actually ended up working against me though in one game.

Maindeck Thrun – Thought there would be more Stoneblade. I was wrong. Faced only one all day in Round 7.

Gut Shot – Suggested by Jacob (Round 6 opponent) and my brother Jason. This card was amazing in the matches I sided it in against. I don’t know why I didn’t play it before.

3 Savannah – I know most builds run 4 but I like running tons of basics versus Wasteland and Price of Progress.

Also, if I got anything about the games wrong, I apologize! I am just going off my poor, undetailed notes (most of them just consisted of life total changes and the causes of the change) and my faulty memory. If I played you or you saw the match and saw something different that happened, let me know please.

Round 1 – Zane with Burn

Game 1 – I start off with Mom that gets Bolted. I get Rift Bolted and get a Thalia down. He continues to Bolt me anyway. I cast a Sword of Light and Shadow (unfortunately it cost 4 mana). I equip the Thalia with the Sword next turn and swing, gaining 3 life. He Fireblasts my Thalia next turn, leaving him with a Mountain and a Barbarian Ring. I Wasteland his Barbarian Ring (his Fireblast left him with 6 cards in the graveyard). I equip the Sword to Gaddock Teeg and he tries to Bolt it; I Swords it in response. I cast another Thalia and he scoops shortly afterwards.

Game 2 – He goes turn 1 Rift Bolt, turn 2 Rift Bolt. I had turn 1 fetch, turn 2 fetch :( So I start turn 3 at 12 already. I get a Mom out but eat a Hellspark Elemental and a couple more Bolts so I am at 2 at this point. I play an Ooze next turn and exile his Hellspark Elemental and a Keldon Marauders. Then next turn I cast a… Leyline of Sanctity! My opponent obviously is surprised by this and next turn plays a Keldon Marauders, taking some damage himself.

I cast a Knight next turn and play a Wasteland. I’m at 4 after I had activated the Ooze earlier in the game, and so I was dead to a Price of Progress with two Savannahs in play. The Wasteland was to ensure I only took two damage. When he passes the turn with nothing, I sacrifice a Savannah during my own turn to grab a Horizon Canopy and draw a card. I attack full force and put him to 8 with a topdecked Swords to Plowshares in my hand against a surprise Flame Rift. He doesn’t draw anything and offers me the hand.

2-0, 1-0

Round 2 – Angel with G/W Maverick

Game 1 – I start off with a Mother of Runes. He starts off with a Maze of Ith. I play a Knight of the Reliquary on turn three as a 4/4. I fetch out Wasteland next turn. I got a Scryb Ranger out and my Mom + Knight makes quick work of him.

Game 2 – I don’t remember much of this game; he gets out a Tormod’s Crypt. I pre-empt its removal by using a Pridemage on it. He plays yet another Crypt. I do the same thing. His life total when from 19 to 15 to 8 to dead so I assume I managed to get a Knight out. I remember he had a Savannah and Dryad Arbor and I Wastelanded him out of the game.

2-0, 2-0

Round 3 – Matt with … you’ll see.

Game 1 – We were talking a bit before the match and he mentioned something about his deck being a bit different. He started off with a Volcanic Island into Ancestral Visions. Not bad I guess, it is a bit different anyway. I start off with a Mother of Runes and he Bolts it during his turn. Next turn I play another Mom. The turn after that he fetches a Tropical Island for… a Quirion Dryad! Wow, haven’t seen that card in forever. He passes the turn and I cast a Scryb Ranger. He plays ANOTHER Quiron Dryad. He does some combination of Brainstorms/Ponders in the next couple turns, making the Dryads about 8/8s each.

Fortunately, my Mom along with Scryb Ranger allows me to block both or one of them. I go down to 4 and find a Knight of the Reliquary. I untap with it and get a Maze of Ith to stop his Dryads; I didn’t see Wasteland so I was hoping he wasn’t running it. The Knight was big enough that I gave it Protection from Green with Mom and swung in with the Knight. He takes some damage. During the end of the next turn, I untapped the Knight with the Ranger and activated it, making it bigger. I attack the next turn for lethal.

Game 2 – He Delvers turn 1. I play Mother of Runes turn one. It gets Chain Lightning the following turn (the Chain Lightning flipped the Delver). I cast a Jitte next turn. I draw a Birds next turn and equip the Jitte to it. But the Jitte can’t deal damage with the Birds :( I had to Green Sun for 1 to get the exalted trigger from the Hierarch but it gets Spell Snared. I could have done it for 2 to get a Pridemage or even a Hierarch out, but the problem was that I fall prey to Daze. So I don’t know what the correct play was. I shortly lose after he Forces my Green Sun on 2 (where I was going to fetch a Scryb Ranger).

Game 3 – I get a Knight of the Reliquary out which gets Dismembered. He has a Delver which flips from a Force of Will reveal. I take some damage from the Delver until I get a Scryb Ranger and Maze of Ith to block. I swing for a couple turns with the Scryb Ranger and eventually he casts a second Delver. When the second one flips, I Swords it. He casts Snapcaster Mage to flashback Dismember on my Scryb Ranger but I draw into a Knight and he concedes.

2-1, 3-0

Round 4 – Leon with Combo G/W Elves

Game 1 – Whelp, can’t do anything here. I Swords a guy but he combos off with a billion elves in play and ends his turn with Ezuri, Renegade Leader.

Game 2 – I mull to the following hand: Gut Shot, Umezawa’s Jitte, Dryad Arbor, Wasteland. I keep. I start with Dryad Arbor. He goes Savannah -> Nettle Sentinel. I go turn 2 Wasteland, ┬ácast Jitte. He plays one more Elf; I believe it was a Fyndhorn/Llanowar Elf. I draw into another Wasteland, and equip the Jitte to the Dryad Arbor and swing. I kill his Nettle Sentinel. Next turn he plays a Wirewood Symbiote and a Heritage Druid, then casts Crop Rotation sacrificing his basic Forest. I respond by Gut Shotting the Symbiote. He thinks for a moment, then lets it resolve and fetches a Pendelhaven.

Next turn I attack my Dryad Arbor into a Heritage Druid which is pumped to a 2/3 via Pendelhaven. During his upkeep I machine gun his Druid and Fyndhorn with the Jitte and double Wasteland him leaving him with nothing but a Forest. I draw into a Teeg afterwards and win.

He told me after the match that if I hadn’t Gut Shotted the Symbiote, he was going to fetch for a Gaea’s Cradle, add 3 mana, then cast a Viridian Shaman to kill my Jitte. That would have definitely changed things and I probably would have lost.

Game 3 – My opening hand: Savannah, Mother of Runes, Stoneforge Mystic, Ethersworn Canonist, Ethersworn Canonist, Surgical Extraction, Surgical Extraction. I figured the Extractions would be good on Heritage Druid or something. I rip a fetch off the top and cast Mom turn 1. Turn 2 Ethersworn Canonist. Turn 3 Stoneforge Mystic. He goes turn 4 Natural Order. Whelp, can’t do anything about that. I cast and equipped my Jitte and still lose. This was probably the hand all tournament I should have mulliganed.

1-2, 3-1

Round 5 – Sam with Dredge

Game 1 – I knew he was on Dredge so I kept a hand with land, Noble Hierarch, and Green Sun. I start off turn 1 with Hierarch. He starts off turn 1 with City of Brass and Faithless Looting. Drops a Stinkweed and Golgari Thug. I go turn 2 Green Sun -> Ooze. He Dredges and casts more Faithless Lootings and before I know it I am facing like 8 Zombie tokens alongside an Iona. I draw a Knight but play the Maze I drew earlier in the game. I exile a couple things with Ooze over the next couple turns but still lose since he saw all four Bridges early in the game.

Game 2– I mulligan to 4 with Mom, Mom, fetch, Green Sun. I start off with Mom. He plays FOUR Lion’s Eye Diamond but only Dredges into one Faithless Looting. I Green Sun next turn for a Dryad Arbor (I ripped a Knight off the top). Next turn he Dredges more. No additional Faithless Lootings. I rip a fetch off the top and cast Knight. He Dredges more, but nothing relevant. He only had two black creatures in his graveyard: two Ichorids. When I untap with the Knight I fetch a Bojuka Bog and exile his graveyard. He scoops shortly afterwards.

Game 3 – I mulligan to THREE this time; my opening hands for 6 and 7 had Noble, Green Sun, and Thalia, but no graveyard hate other than the Green Sun fetching Ooze. I mulliganed those because on the draw Thalia isn’t fast enough. I wanted to draw into the Surgicals to at least slow him down for Ooze to get him. Hands with 4 and 5 cards had Wasteland or no land for the only mana source. Mull to 3 netted a Swords, land, land, so not bad at all. But of course mulls to three rarely win and though I did Swords a Narcomoeba, I didn’t draw into anything relevant and lost.

1-2, 3-2

Round 6 – Jacob with G/W Maverick

Game 1 – Another mirror match! I start off with Mom that gets Swords. He starts off with Hierarch. I rip two Knights while he only has one that gets Swords. I win shortly afterwards.

Game 2 – Best starting turns ever. He goes Karakas, Mom. I go Gut Shot, Karakas to Legend rule the Karakas. He goes Savannah, Noble Hiearch. I go Wasteland Savannah, go. He swings for one but plays no land. I go Savannah, Mom. He goes Gut Shot, Wasteland Savannah. So we’re on turn 4 or 5 or so and have almost nothing on board. Unfortunately my notes don’t cover much beyond that beginning; I do remember ripping another Mom and a Knight off the top alongside a Sword of Light and Shadow after destroying his. Then I take it with unblockable Knights.

2-0, 4-2

Jacob and I played each other at the Legacy Challenge the night before (he was my only loss). Basically the mirror almost always came down to the one who cast a Mom that lived.

Round 7 – Cameron with U/W Stoneblade

Game 1 – I start off with Mom that gets Swords. I play another Mom and then a Hierarch. I play a Knight that gets Forced. He plays Stoneforge Mystic for Feast and Famine. He goes Elspeth. Then Jace. Uh yeah. I have no flyers to stop Soldier tokens from swinging over and I die in a couple turns.

Game 2 – I start with turn 2 Scryb Ranger. I attack for a turn and then he Path to Exiles it. I gladly take my land and play a Knight along with a Mom. Eventually my Knight gets there by swinging for lethal, unblockable.

Game 3 – It starts off heavily in my favor. I start with a Mom that gets Path to Exiled. Then follow up two more Moms. I play Stoneforge for a Jitte and the turn after, equip swing. I play a Knight and the attack with the Stoneforge bringing it up to 4 counters. He has done nothing up to this point, but he plays a Jace and Brainstorms. I Wasteland his Tundra then swing in, pumping the Stoneforge to an 8/9 and the Knight was a 6/6, dealing 14 damage. He was at 15. He’s now at 1. If I had just Wastelanded my own Gaea’s Cradle, I would have won the game! Well, not a big deal because there’s no way he can deal with all of my guys, right? WRONG. He Wrath of Gods the next turn! Crap.

Thankfully, my brain stopped me from over extending (I had a Scavenging Ooze, Stoneforge, and Green Sun in my hand), on the slight, slight intuition that he might be running Wrath of God. At this point of time, I should have realized it was U/W Stoneblade. Well, I did, but I forgot that U/W Stoneblade runs Wrath; it’s Esper Stoneblade that doesn’t. And it was Esper Stoneblade that I playtested against (my brother). So I just derped there. With a Jace on board after Wrath, he Brainstorms. I play my Scavenging Ooze and my Stoneforge. He needed a way to deal with both of them, otherwise it would have been game. He plays Elspeth and makes a Soldier token. Next turn, I play a Sword of Light and Shadow and attempt to equip to the Stoneforge. He Paths it. I respond by casting Swords targetting his Soldier token. He realizes that the Swords would make him go to 2, but he would still die to the Ooze. He concedes.

2-1, 5-2

Round 8 – John with Punishing Maverick

Game 1 – I mulligan to 5 since I knew he was on Punishing Maverick; I had seen him earlier in the day (and he was the guy that knocked my brother out of the Top 8 in SCG Open: LA! Grr) My hand was something like: Knight, land, Green Sun, Noble Hierarch, some nonland card. I go turn one Hierarch. He plays Savannah and passes. I draw and play Mom and Green Sun for zero for Dryad Arbor. He plays a Taiga and Punishing Fires my Mom. I play turn 3 Knight. He plays Maze of Ith. I play Green Sun for second Knight. Then I EOT Wasteland his Maze and he scoops.

Game 2 – This was a very, very long game. I only have the life totals to go off of here. I play a turn 2 Sylvan Library. He casts a turn 3 Sword of Light and Shadow. The next turn he plays Stoneforge for Jitte. Then a Knight. During this time I get out an Ooze and a Thalia but I don’t remember when. He tries to give his Knight pro green and I Gut Shot his Mom in response. He attacks with a Light and Shadow-equipped Stoneforge. I take the damage and he targets the Mom and I exile it in response with the Ooze. The interesting thing is that because I exiled the Mom that was the target of the triggered ability, that the whole Sword of Light and Shadow ability was countered so he didn’t gain life! Not that it was hugely relevant, but I did not know that and that was definitely interesting; something to keep in mind for the future. I am in a tough position because he has a Knight, Jitte, Sword of Light and Shadow, and Stoneforge while I have a Thalia, Mom, and Ooze. The Jitte had counters on it though and when I Pridemaged it away, I lost my Thalia and Mom. The Ooze is keeping the opposing Knight at bay however.

The Sylvan Library draws me into a Green Sun and a Qasali Pridemage eventually so I get rid of both equipment. He casts Phyrexian Metamorph copying his Knight. My Knight unfortunately dies in combat but gets a Maze that at least stops one attack; it gets Wastelanded that turn. Eventually though he gets his own Ooze so my Knight is kept small. Jon draws a Swords for my Ooze, but I did draw a Swords for one of his Knights though. And I stupidly sideboarded out my Eternal Witness (PLEASE don’t ask me why. I still am not used to the mirror match so I am really bad at this) which I could have Green Sun’d for to fetch by either my Pridemage or Swords (since the Metamorph is still an artifact). The Swords put me up to 17 when time was called though so when I topdecked my own Knight, I knew I just had to play it safe. Five turns wasn’t enough for him to get there so I take the match 1-0.

1-0-1, 6-2

This was good for 16th place! I was happy, though I do know that I made some pretty bad misplays and also got some pretty good topdecks, but that’s part of the game.

Props

  • Mulling to five/four in three different matches and winning. Some people might call me a bit too trigger happy when it comes to mulliganing, and I’d be inclinded to agree. But if a hand is going to be too slow or if I’m going to lose with it anyway, I might as well mulligan it right?
  • To Jason (my twin brother) for going 6-2 as well for 10th place. Not only was it 6-2, but we mirrored our win/loss matches; we both won the first three matches, lost the next two, then won the next three.
  • Everyone that came out to play. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect such a turnout that we got so it was good that we had 138 people show up! It’s definitely the biggest Legacy tournament Phoenix has had in awhile.
  • My opponents. They were all cool guys so even if I lost to them I wouldn’t have been disappointed.
  • My only losses going towards Arizona people (Leon and Sam in rounds 4 and 5).
  • StarCityGames.com, of course. Hope you guys will come back soon!
  • The Eurolands I bought for my Maverick deck before the tournament started. Sure, other people might not see that it’s special like with Unhinged lands, but I still think they look cool. I hate having to fetch out Savannahs now.

Slops

  • Keeping a sketch hand game 3 against Leon playing Elves. Should have mulliganed (probably my only bad hand I should have mulliganed all day)
  • Misplaying horribly against Cameron that would have won me the game that turn instead of having to give myself a mini heart attack when I saw the Wrath.
  • I had Surgically Extracted a Life from the Loam against Jon round 8 to avoid getting Wasteland locked — but I should have probably just extracted the Wastelands since there was one already in the graveyard. That way my Maze would have lived.
  • Sideboarding. I’m terrible at it. Please don’t make fun of me.

So that was my tournament! I’m overall very happy with how I did. I think one of the biggest lessons here is to never be afraid to mulligan. I know some people have a tough time with that; until very recently I was like that too, but I decided to experiment with mulliganing more. And I feel it’s helped out a lot.

 

If you guys have any questions, feel free to ask!