Modern Mastery: Midterm Time

Written by Scott MacCallum on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern, Multimedia

Welcome back loyal readers! If you have been following this series from the beginning seven weeks ago, then you hopefully have been enjoying the ride. That includes celebrating my victories, critiquing my mistakes, and most importantly, improving from the lessons I have been learning. I decided this week I would rise up a level and play with the big boys — I entered the Modern Daily Event.

Some big MTGO names were in attendance, including Michael Jacob, Cedric Phillips and a swath of regular grinders, but I felt well equipped to battle in the 40-player event. I had a familiar co-pilot for this event even though I have called Jason Clark (@realevilgenius) “The Villain” during our past streams. I knew he would be quite familiar with my common mistakes after played against us in testing for the last several weeks.

We spent some time before the event looking over the recent winning lists in Modern, and we ended up tuning our sideboard to compensate. It looked like we should be prepared for a large number of Jund lists, as well as an influx of RG Tron and monowhite Soul Sisters. Reliable followers know from our first episode that RG Tron is definitely our worst matchup, and Jund is basically about 50/50. Soul Sisters is definitely winnable, but it will certainly be a long game. We made a couple of board changes to take these factors into account:

 

The main cards that came into the list were two Flashfreeze, one Sowing Salt and one Pyroclasm. Flashfreeze was a concession to the possibility of RG Valakut, and being good against Jund was a bonus. Sowing Salt was going to end up great in the Tron and Valakut matchups, and Pyroclasm came in over Engineered Explosives for the WW and Affinity matches, as well as against UWR Delver. Because Pyroclasm can flip a Delver and be flashbacked by Snapcaster Mage, it is of much greater use to me than the versatility of Engineered Explosives.

With our deck selection basically set, we entered into the fray. I know this is a really long one again, and I’m sorry. I was so zeroed in and focused on the games that I forgot to restart the show to separate the videos by matchup. I have included time stamps to help offset this.

Round 1 (RG Tron): 26:19
Round 2 (4 CC): 1:18:50
Round 3 (Jund): 2:07:11 (celebrity match)
Round 4 (UW): 2:55:18 (highlight reel moment at 3:17:00 until about 3:20:00)


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Escaping the Shackles

We ended up finishing 2-2, which was pretty respectable considering we played against our worst matchup and a seasoned professional. I made an epic mistake against Jund in Game 2 of Round 3, which cost us the early advantage we needed to make the round interesting. I went through a good review of the playline afterward on the stream.

I had an opportunity to play Vedalken Shackles on Turn 3 to take my opponent’s Dark Confidant, denying him the endless supply of free cards that I could have used for myself. I instead opted to leave countermagic up to prevent being hit by a pending Blightning. I countered the Blightning, but ultimately got destroyed by the card advantage that Dark Confidant provided.

I did get the Vedalken Shackles into play, however, managing to make one play I am pleased with. Opponent plays Seal of Primordium to attempt to kill my Vedalken Shackles, so I steal his Tarmogoyf in response, preventing the creature from attacking that turn when it gets sent back to my opponent. The play negated an entire combat step and netted me about six life in the process. It was nice.

I felt really good playing in this event. I obviously made a few mistakes that cost me a match or two, but I felt my decisions were made at a reasonable pace and were mostly accurate in terms of strategy. I also was focused and aware. I knew what to expect from each deck and identified the important keys to success in each encounter.

I also began to make good use of the MTGO interface and the information it can provide you. I watched replays of the rounds in between matches, which allowed me to see what decks my opponents were playing with, and rewatch my own matches to analyze my play choices. I made no MTGO errors this week such as misclicking or missing triggers, which also made me happy. I have to say this process has been amazing so far. I feel like I am so much sharper now than seven weeks ago, and I have this project to thank for it. I also have started The OMG 30-day course from Michael Flores, and I’m hoping it will help develop my skill progression.

Ready for Jund

I will be taking on a new decklist for the next stream, which will undoubtedly be Jund. I feel like it’s a great place to be right know after playing against Cedric’s list and feeling the pressure it could exert on basically any deck. It has some of the most powerful card-advantage engines in the format at its disposal (Dark Confidant and Cascade), and some of the most efficient removal (Lightning Bolt, Terminate, Abrupt Decay) and discard (Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, Blightning, Liliana of the Veil).

I also have a lot of experience because it was my deck for last Modern PTQ season. I am still not sure if I will be playing Kitchen Finks or Geralf’s Messengers, but tune in tonight at 9 p.m. EST to find out. I also will be moving the usual Wednesday stream from Oct. 24 to Saturday, Oct. 27, to accommodate one of the most polarizing guests I will ever have. Stay tuned for more information!

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