This week on Compulsive Research I was fortunate enough to take a break from all the Islands I’ve been playing to get back to the foundation of my Modern roots. I had the privilege of slinging some GB Midrange with a friend of mine, and great fan of the stream, Matt Mealing. Matt has been playing GB for some time, and I know that he is always good for the most up to date tech on the archetype. It struck me as odd that he was eschewing red cards in favor of GB for some time now, but it seems that now even the prominent pros are advocating this build as well. Saito has been posting revisions on his twitter feed for some time, as apparently the GB version is the most major portion of the metagame in Japan, so much so that cards like Bloodline Keeper are viable sideboard options for the mirror match. Even Gerry T took GB to a PTQ recently, indicating that he felt it was the better version of Jund possessing more consistent mana and access to 4 Tectonic Edge. With all of the hype and pedigree behind the archetype, I had to get it on stream for you. With Matt knowing what would be in store for him if he did. I was happy to have him copilot this week. Here is the list we would be battling with this week.
There is a lot going on here. This list in particular is designed to provide a lot more pressure than the traditional GB builds, as showcased by the use of 4 Kitchen Finks in the main deck. Most of the decks of this archetype opt for a higher top end in order to capitalize on the sheer amount of disruption that the deck possesses, but this one uses the Finks for a more grinding approach, allowing us to maintain pressure on the board all the while overloading the opposing removal as much as possible. One of the most interesting cards in the list is of course, Bitterblossom. The traditional weakness of the GBx midrange archetype is an over abundance of fliers. Bitterblossom allows us to combat that weakness, and provide an inevitable win condition that while left unchecked can take over the game all by itself. Bitterblossom is a very powerful card by itself; there is a reason that it was banned for some time in the format. A turn 1 discard spell on the play into a Bitterblossom was the subject of nightmares for a lot of players during Lorwyn standard, and it is only a little less so today. The removal in this deck is versatile and powerful, and the threats are all questions which demand answers. The deck is one of the best fair decks in the format, and has great game against the unfair decks, making this one of the better choices for attacking the format if you know what you’re doing. Thankfully, I had someone along that does. Here is the stream recap:
Individual interactions aside, there is a very special lesson which I learned this week. Matt is a top quality player, especially better than me, and his knowledge of my tendencies has given me a great insight into a weakness in my game. I need to improve upon my decision making in game. More specifically, I need to consider the implications of my choices more closely. There are so many in game decisions to be made while playing, and every one can either lead you to victory, or defeat. I have recently discussed my penchant for punting away games that I should have won due to simple incorrect decisions, and I had many people share with me some strategies for combating this. I feel that by scrutinizing your choices, however simple, on a constant basis will lead you down a cleaner path. Knowing what the best and worst cases of each decision might be will better prepare you for being able to plan ahead in a match, and more effectively execute your game plans. Many professional players will tell you to just play one game at a time, and keep your eyes off the prize. Focusing on the task at hand will keep you from taking unnecessary risks, keeping bad hands, or chasing down bad play lines. I’d like to take this one step further. I’m going to play Magic one turn at a time. I’m going to make sure that each turn is played as close to perfectly as possible. Each cycle of turns is a new opportunity to make good on that. As long as I can do that, fueled by the “how do I play to win this game” mentality, I know that I will start to find more success. And you all can watch me try it!
Tune in tonight when I go back to the UWR Geist deck which I will be firmly playing in Boston for the Grand Prix. Jason, Larry and I have been working very hard at the list, and we all like the plans we have for each match, and the card choices therein. We are working on some Special commemorative tokens for the event, and of course the Compulsive Research Playmat will be available for $25.00 shipped anywhere in North America, or for pickup at Boston for the special price of $20.00!! Support the stream, show everyone else what a sweet stream looks like! Payments made to PayPal to email@example.com are accepted!
See you guys tonight!!
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