Running with Wolves – SCG Orlando 1st Place

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Running with Wolves – SCG Orlando 1st Place

John Cuvelier

John is a respected deck designer who's been credited with the Modern Aggroloam deck that took down GP Lincoln in 2012. He's a fixture at the Top 8 tables of Florida and MTGO PTQs. He's played on six Pro Tours and his personal goal is to ride the PT train to glory and riches, well at least glory.

As you may or may not have heard I just won the Star City Games Standard Open this past weekend.  The journey began over a month ago. Let’s take a look on how I made my deck decision for this event, and the obstacles I faced along the way.

April 14th – Crazy Bobcat

I scurried out of work at 5pm to rendezvous with some friends and make the four hour trip to Tallahassee for the PTQ on April 15th. I made the decision to play Wolf Run based on the results Stephen Mann and Logan Mize had on Magic Online. During the car ride up, at about 8:30pm, a Bobcat decided that it was a good idea to jump in front of my car. This stranded us two hours away from Tallahassee and taking about four hundred bucks out of my wallet for car repair. Undeterred we spent the night at a local hotel and had a friend pick us up in the morning. I left my girlfriend Allie there to take care of the car situation. (best girlfriend ever?)

April 15th – PTQ Time

We had to wake up early to make it there in time, so the amount of sleep wasn’t at a premium. We arrived at the PTQ with thirty minutes to spare. After sharing some final thoughts with Smann and Mize, we came to the following list :

That is not your average Wolf Run list. The main difference you probably notice is the Glimmerposts, and the smaller quantity of Huntmaster.  Here is the reasoning behind the choice. Arguably the most powerful play in the format is a turn four Titan. This deck tries its best to accomplish this goal by playing the maximum amount of acceleration. It also tries to avoid the mid-game Huntmaster and go straight for the late game Titan. Aggro decks seem to be all over the place and having six board sweepers helps you survive and stabilize. Things don’t always go as planned however, and Primeval Titan with Glimmerpost can help you get out of lethal range allowing your Titan to take control.

The swiss portion of the tournament went as planned. My only loss during the swiss was to Zombies which is by far the deck’s worst matchup. In the top eight I plowed through a mirror match with the trusty Vorinclex in the board. I had a close call in the semifinals against an Esper Control deck. The finals was a heartbreaker against B/W tokens; in all three games he had a turn four Hero of Bladehold. If you have played Wolf Run against the Hero you will know why I lost. Four toughness is a lot when all your sweepers do less than than that.

April 21st – MTGO PTQ

I took a break from testing for Pro Tour Avacyn Restored to give myself another crack at it on Magic Online. This is what I ran for a 12th place finish.

There wasn’t much of a difference in this list. I shaved a few cards from the main to make room for Beast Within. This card really shined for me in the Florida PTQ and I wish I had more. I also made a few adjustments in the sideboard to tighten up matchups I thought needed improvement. The end result however was close, but not close enough. I finished in 12th place, but learned a lot more about the deck.

April 28th – A PTQ with a Twist

Like the week before I took a much needed break from testing (again) to give it another try. From all the experience I had gained over the past few weeks, I decided on the following:

The main again is hardly changed from the prior week, with the board having a few minor adjustments. The deck performed wonderfully in the swiss. My only match loss was at the hands of RG Aggro with a terrific draw and a mana bump on my behalf. The quarterfinals was a little tough, but I managed to squeak out the victory.

Then all hell broke loose.

While waiting for the last match to finish in the quarterfinals the server crashed. After a painstaking twenty or so minutes it came back up. Holding my breath, I was relieved to see the event load. Phew… it wasn’t cancelled! A minute passed and one of the players still playing made the statement “our game is frozen”. Crap! I immediately headed to the support room on Magic Online and asked what was going on. The response looked grim as they said it was unknown if the event would continue. Twenty minutes passed, then thirty. Hope was beginning to fade.

Then I received a message from a fine gentleman named Wotc_K to join a private room. Upon entering he told the remaining players in the event that they were going to relaunch the event! A sigh of relief and one victory dance later I was back to playing. I quickly trounced a Naya Pod player with a lot of confidence. The matchup is quite good for Wolf Run. After dispatching him the finals was against….. you guessed it, Delver.

This would be the third time I faced off against Delver that day. The matchup is definitely close, and you need to understand it well to succeed. Sometimes you have to be lucky, and lucky I was. Delver quite literally had flipped once in those two prior matches, and only once in the finals. I ended up winning game one with relative ease. Game two was a nail-bitter but I managed to squeeze my way to victory on the back of Primeval Titan and Glimmerpost. Dealing lethal damage at one life, and having all four Glimmerpost in play.

May 19th – SCG Open

Having just got back from Barcelona on the 14th, I didn’t exactly get much play testing in. What I did have, however, was data from the recent Star City Standard events. I wanted to sculpt my deck to make sure I could take down the RG aggro deck, along with the usual suspects.

The addition of Avacyn Restored gives the deck new options. I’ve added three new cards to the deck from Avacyn Restored. Let’s take a look at the list I played with for the SCG Open, and the suggested sideboard options in the popular matchups.

Round 1 – Brendan Cohen: U/W Delver (1-2)

+3 Cavern of Souls
+1 Whipflare
+2 Natural End
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Huntmaster of the Fells

-1 Inkmoth Nexus
-1 Kessig Wolf Run
-4 Solemn Simulacrum
-2 Beast Within.

Round 2 – Byron King: R/G Wolf Run (2-1)

+1 Acidic Slime
+1 Ancient Grudge
+2 Beast Within
+2 Natural End
+1 Karn Liberated
+2 Devil’s Play

-2 Huntmaster of the Fells
-3 Pillar of Flame
-4 Slagstorm

Round 3 – Christopher Piedra: Mono Black Control (2-0)

Uncommon matchup. Be aware that the main cards in Black that beat you are Liliana of the Veil, and Curse of Death’s Hold. I was able to beat both, on the back of Beast Within.

Round 4 – James Marino: 4 Color Good Stuff Aggro (2-0)

Uncommon matchup. Can’t even accurately describe this deck. It had Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Birds of Paradise, Geist of Saint Traft, and Huntmaster of the Fells. I’m guessing it was a pod deck of some sort that never drew pod. But at any rate, we beat these decks pretty easily.

Round 5 – Justin Soler: R/G Aggro (2-0)

+1 Wurmcoil Engine
+1 Huntmaster of the Fells
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Natural End
+1 Whipflare

-4 Solemn Simulacrum
-1 Primeval Titan

Round 6 – Ryan Hockersmith: Esper Control (2-1)

+1 Acidic Slime
+2 Beast Within
+2 Natural End
+1 Karn Liberated
+2 Devil’s Play
+3 Cavern of Souls

-3 Pillar of Flame
-2 Slagstorm
-1 Viridian Corrupter
-1 Wurmcoil Engine
-4 Glimmerpost

Round 7 – Joseph Herrera: Bant Pod (2-0)

+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Natural End
+1 Whipflare
+1 Huntmaster of the Fells

-4 Solemn Simulacrum

Round 8 – Kurt Carriveau: Blink Control (2-1)

Uncommon matchup. My game 3 of this match was under camera. 8:31:44

http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/318719051

Round 9 – Trek Barnes: Infect (2-1)

Yet another uncommon matchup. The summary of the match can be found here: http://www.starcitygames.com/events/coverage/round_9_john_cuvelier_vs_trek_.html

Top 8

Round 10 – Bruce Strong: U/W Delver (2-0)

+3 Cavern of Souls
+1 Whipflare
+2 Natural End
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Huntmaster of the Fells

-1 Inkmoth Nexus
-1 Kessig Wolf Run
-4 Solemn Simulacrum
-2 Beast Within

Game 2 was under camera at 17:33:30 http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/318719051

Round 11 – Lewis Laskin: Grand Architect (2-1)

Another uncommon matchup.

The entire match was under camera at 21:52:56. http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/318719051

Round 12 – Logan Mize: R/G Wolf Run (2-1)

The entire match was under camera at 22:53:43 http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/318719051

+1 Acidic Slime
+1 Ancient Grudge
+2 Beast Within
+2 Natural End
+1 Karn Liberated
+2 Devil’s Play

-2 Huntmaster of the Fells
-3 Pillar of Flame
-4 Slagstorm

What a crazy month. Wolf Run Ramp has been treating me very well. PTQ win, SCG win, all I’m missing is a GP and PT win. Looking forward to GP Atlanta next month where I think I am on to something…….. Until next time.

John Cuvelier
Gosu. on MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.