Modern Mastery: Mishaps Edition

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

Welcome to Week Three! This week was my first solo mission since beginning this journey, and I wanted to execute the things I had been working on all week. I thankfully wasn’t totally alone, as you, the adoring (or maybe just mildly curious) public were there to lend your expertise. Here’s the list I played:

Deck changes

As mentioned in my last article, I really wanted to try the Blood Moon tech because it is a versatile card that could have devastating applications in many matchups. Decks like Jund and Zoo (and to a lesser degree, UWR Delver) should have a very difficult time playing around a resolved Blood Moon, ideally netting myself free wins in the process.

I wanted to try out some other changes, such as replacing Grim Lavamancer in the maindeck for another Vapor Snag. Last week, Jay Boosh and I were equally impressed with the consistent work of one Vapor Snag. I increased the count to two because it is a good way to temporarily deal with threats that are too large for Lightning Bolts and Vedalken Shackles. The fact it is another instant to potentially flip Delver of Secrets also influenced the decision.

I opted for the split on Firespout and Engineered Explosives over the Volcanic Fallouts from last week because of the potential uptake in Zoo decks. Those decks tend to be much better against the two damage from Volcanic Fallout because of the Kird Apes and such.

Lucas Siow, from Team Canada WMC and GP Columbus runner-up fame, had indicated GR Tron was definitely the worst matchup for my deck. In Columbus, Lucas had three Sowing Salt in his sideboard to try to shift the matchup in his direction. I expected an uphill battle when testing, but I still had faith that a quick start and a resolved Blood Moon should be enough to help me push over the big Eldrazi menace. The match is here for reference:


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Misclicks and tilt

I was able to take one game in the expected fashion — early and consistent pressure coupled with the right counterspells. But there is a lot I would love to take back. Being still somewhat new to the MTGO experience, I am obviously prone to human errors such as misclicks and skipping phases unnecessarily. Both still often cost me matches or simply result in play errors. I am not using this as a crutch to justify my losses; I am simply trying to take my Fearless Magical Inventory so I can fix these issues in the future.

I also really need to deal with Stream Tilt. I reference an episode of GBTV on SCG Premium that really should be watched by everyone. In this episode, the dynamic duo discusses improving your mental game and focus as part of important tournament preparation techniques. I normally am not that big of a tilt. Often I take my mistakes stoically and have a very analytical approach toward discovering why the mistake was made and how to prevent it.

Having to reconcile these errors while streaming in front of all of you, however, is quite another matter. I completely let the clicking error, which cost me the game, cost me my entire next match. It should be pretty clear that in the storm matchup below, I’m not really even there. I continually make bad decisions, and each one makes the next one that much worse.


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Brutal, right?

I did learn one of the more important skills I need to develop is knowing when to mulligan. I have a pretty good idea about which hands are “sneeps,” but the marginal keep or ditch hands require a lot more thought and understanding of your opponent’s list and expected game plan. This is something that will become much more important for me in the coming weeks, and I clearly threw at least one of the storm losses away by mulling terribly.

Hanging with Hayne

This week we are testing against the new Modern lists that came out of the MPC: UW Aggro and Next Level Blue. I have a very special guest to help me pilot through this challenge. Alexander Hayne, the Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Champion, Team Canada WMC Captain and MPC competitor, will help tighten up my play. Alex already had some feedback for the list, and here is are starting point for this week:

We may have some last-minute changes before the show, but this is where we are for now. I’ll be trying to win the night from my regular competition, @realevilgenius and @plasticshrapnel. Check it out tonight at 9 p.m. EST at www.twitch.tv/legitmtg. Come watch a Pro Tour Champion give us his thoughts and tips live!

Scott MacCallum
@mrscottymac on Twitter

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