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Coming Back

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Coming Back

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

I guess I kinda just disappeared there for a while huh?  I can’t remember the last time I sat down to write an article for LegitMTG.com, it might have been July, and some things have happened since then.  Yeah back in July, during the first StarCity Online series, that was the last time.  When I dropped from the last event to help my mom get ready to go to the emergency room I didn’t think it would be a harbinger of things to come. 

Turns out mom would go on to have a heart attack.  Just not that day.  It would be a couple of weeks later.  She went back in early August 4th, and I don’t think anyone really realizes how close we came to losing her that day.  She got two stints, was put on a ventilator for three days, and I was here, by myself for the first time in nearly a decade. 

I was more alone than I had ever been.  She got out a week later, only to go back in the next day.  They released her to soon, never checked for fluid and couldn’t breath.  She cried, not wanting to go back to the hospital, and that haunts me.  Had the emergency room doctor taken her seriously the first time she went in, none of this would have happened, but he didn’t, so it happened. 

The only good thing that came out of this was how wonderful my friends and my community is.  I was able to lean on them while I was here, alone, and they helped me take my mind off of things, and encouraged me to do other stuff. 

That other stuff meant getting a distraction from Magic.  I was already miserable playing the game, the StarCity series didn’t help, and Standard was an absolute train wreck.  The day before mom first got out of the hospital, August 3rd, they shook the format up, banning four cards.  While it was super close to rotation Wilderness Reclamation, Growth Spiral, Teferi, Time Raveler and Cauldron Familiar were shown the door.  I actually got excited about this change, but couldn’t really play it, as mom was going to be home any minute, and I needed to make sure that I was able to take care of her. 

I did a great job, helping her up the steps, making sure she didn’t fall because the medicine made her dizzy and waking up when it was time for me to call 911 again to send her back to the hospital.

I turned to Magic as a distraction the second time she went in, and this time, it failed me.  The Standard format was still awful, I couldn’t afford to do anything that I wanted to in Pioneer or Modern, and it was clear that work still needed to be done.  I skipped the second season because I didn’t want to bang my head into a stale metagame, and decided that I would just wait out rotation. 

Rotation came, Zendikar Rising was released, sets rotated out, and I was happy to spend a bit of money to get my Arena account up and running for the new set. 

Standard.  Still.   Sucked. 

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath had somehow not been banned, and combined with Lotus Cobra and Omnath, Locus of Creation, the format soon became a bunch of Omnath and Uro piles ramming in to each other.

I enjoy battlecruiser Magic, but this was not that.

They finally banned Uro on September 28th.  Other than The Walking Dead Secret Lair, I can’t think of a change Wizards of the Coast made that upset so many other players.  Of course they couldn’t ban Omnath, they said, how else will they move product?  Keeping Omnath in the format was a mistake then, but it just meant the best decks were four color Omnath piles, be it Adventures or Ramp.  With egg on their face, Wizards hosted the Grand Finals. 

It was a thirty two person tournament. 

Twenty three people played an Omnath deck.  Standard wasn’t getting any better and it was clear that things needed to be removed to the format to make it better. 

It finally happened on October 12th, the day after the Grand Finals ended. 

Omnath was banned and to address the dominance of Adventures Lucky Clover and Escape to the Wilds were also banned. 

Since then though, Standard has felt like it’s been in a great place.  I read tier list articles for Standard and recently, no writer is giving any deck in the format the best scores.  Gruul Adventures may be the best deck, but it’s got incredibly awful mana, so it’s hindered that way.  Dimir Rogues may be running up behind it, but it has small creatures and an easily disrupted gameplan.  Recent tournaments on MTGMelee show that nothing is dominating in the way that previous decks in Standard were dominating.  We were looking at events that had 60 to 70 percent of one deck, and now, Gruul Adventures is hovering around 24 to 35 percent of the field. 

That is a marked improvement upon format health and hopefully it stays that way when Kaldheim releases next year. 

Right now though, Standard seems fun, inviting, replayable and exciting to me. 

In fact, I’ve even begun to play in events again.  Not as high stressing to me as the Starcity Series (mainly because right now, there isn’t one.) or LCQs or anything like that, but just finding events on MTGMelee to play in.  Local Game Stores that aren’t around me but still running events to reach their community, nothing more serious than a league on MTGO or the Angela Chandler Memorial event that was held Sunday, November 1st. 

It was cheap to enter so the stress of making my money back was gone, it just didn’t exist.  I was able to justify the entry cost as a donation to the family.  I did next to zero testing for the event, having spent the previous day watching college football and giving the Arena Open a go (I had gems from the Creator Program, so I could justify spending the 15 dollars I needed to make up the rest of the gem cost) and ended up 2-3 in then open, playing a deck that I felt was tuned to do well against Gruul Adventures, and instead playing against Dimir Rogues three times (I won one of them!) a mono green food deck (also won) and a green white blink deck that just absolutely smashed me. 

Of course I had to play that, because it looked like it was so much fun!  I paid to sign up for the event, saw a reasonable Selesnya Blink, added it to my Arena account, saw I was missing a card, removed it for something similar and set my clock to the right time in order to play.  I am not going to write a long report about it, just show off the deck, because I did go 1-3, but I didn’t beat myself up after play mistakes, I didn’t get down because I lost.  I was fine. 

While a friend may have won the event, the real winners were the community, friends and family of Angela Chandler. 

Despite my misplays, I was really happy with the deck, I felt like I was in each game, and had draws gone differently, the results might have been in my favor. 

Mostly I was happy that I was okay with losing, and losing a lot. 

I am not sure when I will be back here, I plan on making a video at least once a week for our YouTube channel, and streaming as much as I can, so content is still happening for LegitMTG. 

Hopefully I will be back next week, but I am not making any promises! 

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