It’s been a while since I’ve sat behind the keyboard to write anything Magic related. Mostly I’ve just lacked the personal drive to do so. I stopped writing, I stopped streaming, I stopped podcasting, and I was also doing poorly at events. My heart just wasn’t in it. So, I took a break. Not a long one, but enough to clear my head and refocus.
I found out that I’d have the weekend of SCG Spring States off. I decided, correctly, to spend Saturday with my Fiance and her family instead of beating my head in trying to figure out how to beat Mono Red without simultaneously ensuring I would always lose to UB control. I got to go bowling, relax in the nice weather, and just rest. It was perfect.
When it comes time to play Modern there is only one deck that I even remotely want to play. #TeamGeist is my pride and joy. I’ve been playing the deck since we originally formed our little band of Larry, Scott, and myself. We’ve grown a bit, adding recent members Andrew Huska and GreatNateMTG, but the core philosophy of #TeamGeist is still the same. Share ideas, listen to each other, consider everything, and keep nothing a secret. #TeamGeist is very much a community driven deck. We listen to all of the feedback people provide, all of the tech suggested, and try everything. It is through this manner that we consistently provide a deck that evolves with the format. Luckily, not much has changed since Scott and I played the deck at SCG Baltimore.
The story of my tournament begins with a crushing victory, THE BYE! Our event had 29 players, which is actually reasonably good considering this is Modern on a Sunday in the middle of Delaware. A 1-0 start as well as some extra breathing room was a welcome start to my day. I got to scout the field, drink some water, and eat a snack.
Round two I got paired against fellow twitterite @klinkyrules who traveled down from Central PA to play. He was on Naya Zoo, complete with bloodrushing Ghor-Clan Rampager. Luckily for me, our deck plays a lot of efficient removal to respond to Matt’s efficient creatures. In both games that we play I’m able to one for one with Matt’s threats until I can land my own to go the distance.
In round three I ran into Scapeshift piloted by Noah. Game 1 I made a mistake with a Vendilion Clique where I left a Search For Tomorrow while pushing a Cryptic Command. Noah drew the Scapeshift, hard cast the Search and killed me. Whoops! I tightened up for games two and three, both of which were close, but my draws were just slightly ahead of Noah’s in these games.
Now for the very boring part of my tournament. At 29 players we only had 5 rounds of swiss. After the third round there were only four of us at 3-0. We decided to draw round 4 and see what standings looked like before deciding to draw or play for seeding in round 5. With the bye I had the highest breakers. Drawing the last round guaranteed me at the lowest 4th seed if all the other tables played and as high as 2nd if there were a lot of draws. The other tables ended playing and I became 4th seed going into top 8.
My quarterfinals match of top 8 was against the only other player in the room who has as much Modern play experience as myself. Ali is a very good player hailing from our state and he was on his own variation of the Collected Company Anafenza/Melira combo deck. For those readers who don’t know the new Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit combines with Kitchen Finks and a sac outlet to creature the ability to infinitely sac finks to gain life similar to Melira. This adds a bunch more redundancy to the deck than it had before. Collected Company gives it a way at instant speed to add more to it’s board presence and potentially even some more combo pieces.
Game one was an awkward affair both of our draws were a little off. We ended in a difficult race position of my fliers against his ground creatures that could gain protection from my teams colors. I managed to edge my opponent out in damage and won the game. Game two found use trading resources until my opponent landed a Collected Company under my counter magic and hit his combo to gain infinite life. Sadly in game three Ali had to mulligan to 5. He missed a few land drops and I removed both his Noble Hierearch and Wall of Roots while applying pressure with a Geist until he was too far behind to come back.
The semifinals found me squaring off against Seth on Jund. In game one Seth dealt himself 5 to Thoughtseize me. He saw 2 Geists, a clique, lands, and a bolt. He took a Geist, which indicated to me that he likely didn’t have a Liliana. Unfortunately he had another Thoughtseize for my second Geist. He resolved a Courser of Kruphix and I took the opportunity to land a Vendilion Clique. From that point on I knew every card Seth would have in his had thanks to his Courser. Perfect information let me know when it was safe to get in with my Colonnade and when to draw the removal from his hand with a follow up Clique and some Snapcaster Mages. I just slowly bled Seth of his life points over 5 or 6 turns. After the game he was visibly tilted.
We side-boarded and shuffled up for game two. My starting hand was strong, and Seth had to mulligan. I resolved a clique on 3 which thankfully hit my opponents Thrun before he could cast it. Seth would try and play a Scavenging Ooze to block my Geist but I had the Lightning Helix for it. Seth had another Ooze. I decided I needed to really know just how tilted Seth was. I was already pretty far ahead and took a chance I normally wouldn’t take. Seth had 2 green open after blocks. He used one to target his Ooze in his yard with his Ooze in play. In response I calmly casted my Snapcaster Mage targeting my Lightning Helix. He said “Yep”. I paused, then tapped a red and white pointing the Lightning Helix at his Ooze. He put his Ooze in his yard and adjusted my life total. I could tell that Seth just wasn’t in the game anymore and we are done two turns later.
The finals saw a rematch between @Klinkyrules and myself. We split the pack prizes and played for the Champ swag and qualifications. Matt and I both knew going in that I was at the advantage, but Matt was able to take some of that seeing he was the 2nd seed and would be on the play. We both took a mulligan and kept our sixes. Matt started with a Wild Nacatl that was met by my Lightning Bolt. Then Matt passed the turn without playing a creature. Matt missed his second land drop for 4 turns. It wasn’t until I resolved my Batterskull on turn 5 that I saw why he kept such a risky hand. He cast Burning-Tree Emissary into Burning-Tree Emissary into Flinthoof Boar. I had a removal spell for the boar. As Matt started to claw his way back into the game I drew an untapped 6th mana source that allowed me to activate Colonnade for the win.
Game 2 felt like grand larceny. During the swiss I had shown Matt that I had only boarded in two EE and two Stance. After seeing he was playing Emissaries I also decided to board in my Kor Firewalkers. My opening hand for game 2 was two Flooded Strand, Kor Firewalker, Lightning Bolt, Forked Bolt, Path to Exile, and Lightning Helix. I Forked Bolted his turn 1 Nacatl. My opponent didn’t cast anything turn 2, signifying to me that his hand is lands and burn spells. Turn 2 Kor Firewalker essentially sealed the win for me. Matt couldn’t really find a way to deal with the fact that my removal was now gaining me life and the Firewalker and a pair of Lightning Bolts finished him off.
It felt good to finally win again. It felt even better to know that winning had qualified me for not one, but two SCG Invitationals. I now feel the fire burning again. That drive to want to keep winning, the need to produce content and stream. In short, I’m back. You can expect more articles coming from me as I prepare myself for the Columbus Invitational as well as GP Las Vegas. I’ll even be getting back to streaming soon, I just need to get my standard collection back up to snuff with the Dragons of Tarkir staples. Keep an eye on my twitter for the specifics when I have them.
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