Phoenix Rising – September 20th Bannings and a 1k Report

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the new Modern bannings, I honestly like the fact that Wizards is taking a very hands on approach to this format, trying to slow it down with the various cards that have been banned. It gives people that want to play more “controlling” decks a little bit of a chance and also gives the expensive yet powerful cards like Gifts Ungiven a chance to fully flourish.

ManaWerx sponsored a 1k event on September 10th, which will be most players first “major” event under the new planeswalker points system. For those that are unfamiliar with this system you can click here. I chose to run the UR Exarch Twin deck due to it’s powerful interactions as well as my familiarity with the deck. Here’s the list:

Artifacts (3)
Shrine of Piercing Vision

Creatures (6)
Deceiver Exarch
Grim Lavamancer

Instants (14)
Mana Leak
Mental Misstep
Spell Pierce
Into the Roil
Twisted Image

Sorceries (10)
Gitaxian Probe

Lands (24)
Halimar Depths
Scalding Tarn
Arid Mesa
Misty Rainforest
Sideboard (15)
Mental Misstep
Azure Mage
Mutagenic Growth
Act of Aggression
Into the Core

The sideboard is pretty stock in what I’ve been playing mainly, Act of Aggression gives me a way to deal with a Phyrexian Obliterator that stays on the board as well as killing two of their creatures with a cast in response to an attack. I’ve also used the card in the past to not die off of an attacking manland, stealing the creature before damage is dealt. The Into the Core found it’s way into my sideboard as a result of a very… interesting board situation the night before at FNM. I’m playing against the ExarchTwin mirror in a 6 round FNM. I win the first game, my opponent is very slow during his turn so the first game takes a matter of 30-35 minutes, giving us about 15-20 to resolve the remaining games. My opponent plays a Spellskite which I let resolve, to promptly kill with a Twisted Image. I then land my own Spellskite and then we play a bunch of draw-go. My opponent winds up having two Spellskites on board and I have my one, he then casts an Exarch which I just left resolve because he needs to deal with my Spellskite before he can do anything. On his next turn he casts a Splinter Twin which I redirect to my Spellskite, and he then redirects to his own Spellskite. However, my opponent thought that it would redirect to his Exarch somehow and when I informed him it would not he visibly slumped a little bit in his chair. We played draw-go a little bit more then he cast another Splinter Twin, which I redirect on my Spellskite and he redirects it to his other Spellskite and I let him have his aura. The game winds up going into draw-go again while my opponent is taking up a large amount of time on his turn, I don’t mind about the time coming off the clock because I won the first game. The game winds up going to time and my opponent immediately scoops up his cards as he cannot win the game even with 3 blue Shrines on his side of the board with varying charge counters on it. Anyway, on to the 1k report.

Round 1: Caw-Blade

My opponent wins the die roll and I take a mulligan and we’re off to the races, I Probe him early in the game to reveal: Sun Titan, Gideon Jura, Oblivion Ring, Emeria Angel, Squadron Hawk, Phantasmal Image, and a Mana Leak. My opponent starts to beat me down to 13 with his Hawks and he then taps out for a Sun TitanĀ  which I go to counter with a Mana Leak, which he uses the one in his hand for. I’m only representing blue mana with two red fetches, so it’s possible my opponent doesn’t know what I’m playing when I play the combo for the win due to his tapping out. Game two he gets to an early beat down start with a Celestial Colonnade then a Sun Titan enters the mix again, I tap down his Titan with a Deceiver Exarch and draw a Splinter Twin off the Halimar Depths I had played the turn before.

1-0 (2-0)

Round 2: Mono Red

Both of these games were very close, in game 1 a combination of Goblin Guides and Ember Hauler knocked me down to only 3 life before I was able to safely go off with the combo. This is one part of my play that I constantly get commented on about, which I don’t necessarily know if I should change it or not. I basically wait until the last possible second to use the combo, heavily using my life total as a resource. In game 2 I get down to 1 life, bounce my opponent’s Grim Lavamancer to their hand right after it’s played in an effort to draw an extra card. I wind up drawing in a Ponder which shows me 2 Spellskites and a Gitaxian Probe. I draw the Probe, which I cast revealing the one card in his hand he’s held for a good majority of the game: an Act of Aggression for when I combo out. I draw and play my Spellskite and pass the turn, my opponent can’t really do much do me so I’m able to stabilize with the second Spellskite and I draw into a Shrine which eventually, after I naturally draw into the combo, allows me to get a dispel for his Act.

2-0 (4-0)

Round 3: Cobra Valakut

This game was my worst played round of Magic on the weekend. I made several misplays including flashing in an Exarch to block and kill a Cobra in an obvious bait situation, which got burned out by an Inferno Titan and the next card that I drew was the Splinter Twin which would have won me the game.

2-1 (4-2)

Round 4: Valakut

This round was much different, I only ever actually got to take 4 points of damage throughout the entire game. When my opponent played his Primeval Titan and passed the turn I promptly flashed the necessary cards in my hand to win (Exarch at end of turn, Splinter Twin maybe a second red fetchland that I needed.)

3-1 (6-2)

Round 5: Big Mono Red

I had to play against a friend of mine for the chance of drawing in the next round to go into Top 8. We wound up playing it out and neither of the games were really that close. I won both games while my opponent was made every right possible move he could but still fell to millions of 1/4 dudes.

4-1 (8-2)

Round 6: Goblins

Going into the last round I was pretty hesitant to draw in as just the other night I drew myself out of Top 8 in a less significant tournament and I did not want that to happen again. I called over my friend and opponent from last round Kyle to help with tiebreakers and we figured out that I was the last person that was guaranteed a draw so I took it. We wound up playing for fun right afterwards and I crushed my opponent, his Goblin Guides met Mental Missteps and when I did resolve one Goblin Cheiftain it was met by a flashed in Exarch followed by a Splinter Twin.

4-1-1 (8-2-1)

Round 7: Valakut

In this round I again played against one of my friends, I won the roll and we started out match. I wound up winning game 1 rather quickly as my opponent had to mulligan and was punished for it. Game 2 the opposite happened, I barely put up any fight as Valakut triggers killed me. Game 3 was a much better game for both parties involved but I wound up coming out the victor, guaranteeing myself $100 while my opponent got $75.

5-1-1 (10-3-1)

Round 8: Puresteel

Game 1 I lost this game very quickly as I could not get a Grim Lavamancer to save my life. I did nothing of consequence and lost the game to the Puresteel Paladin‘s raw card avantage. Game 2 I started to take poison damage as a result of Inkmoth Nexus, but fought of the corruption and won with the infinite creature combo. Game 3 I was quickly under the gun and wound up Shattering a Flayer Husk in response to a Sword of War and Peace[/mtg_card equip activation which wound up killing me later in the game when I could not draw a counterspell for the removal in my opponents hand I knew he had from an earlier Gitaxian Probe.

5-2-1 (11-4-1)

Overall I took 4th in this event and definitely was pleased with my performance and my 61 card special concoction. I’ve been doing very well with it only losing I think 3 swiss matches in the past 3 weeks which is an absurd number. However, I am glad that the deck will be rotating soon as the lure and option to play this deck will no longer exist. I’m also glad to announce that I will be working continually on playing more legacy matches with a legacy report coming up from the Dual for the Duels that hosted this past weekend on the 17th.