This week’s show was one that I had been trying to get scheduled for some time. As soon as I decided that Naya was going to be my deck of choice for GP Calgary, there was a very short list of dream shots that I had for guest spots to fill the co-pilot role. I sent out the regular messages through the variety of social networks that are at my disposal, and you can imagine my surprise when the longest and altogether most exciting shot hit the mark. I received this exact message back from none other than Willy Edel after my initial request letter:
I’d join for sure, but I have 3 small problems:
1- Im not sure If I speak enough english to be live on your stream
2- Monday is nearly impossible for me, since its my busiest day at the office and Im usually out til very late.
3- Im traveling next week for the June GPs on USA, so I will be on hotels’ wifi which are not always reliable heh (not really a problem, but something out of control).
If we can work out these issues, we can make it happen.
It took me almost a full month to survive the schedule that Willy had in June with various Grand Prix tournaments and such, but we got through it and made it happen. Since I had a bunch of experience in listening to Brazilian English, I was not remotely concerned about the language; Willy has always been fine in his interviews on the mothership, and I have gotten my fair share of Brazilian dialect from Paulo through his appearances on The Eh Team and meeting him at some tournaments. Add to this my long history of MMA fandom, and you have the makings of a translator in training.
I had to accommodate a Tuesday night show, but after discussing the importance of sharing this time with someone as amazing as Willy, it was a simple slam dunk from the wife. (Whom I love dearly, and no – she isn’t standing over my shoulder as I write this….) After some time on the anvil with Willy, here is the decklist that he suggested we run for the show:
Naya Midrange, Willy Edel Style
Willy and I discuss the deck in length here:
With this masterpiece in place, we were ready for some games. I entered us into the Standard Daily Event, knowing that with a master like Willy looking out for us, I needed to make sure that the competition would be up to snuff. After looking over the names in the event, I knew that we were in the right place. Todd Anderson, LSV, and a number of other named MTGO grinders were all in attendance, each one of them looking to crush whoever stood in the way of their success. Willy was unfazed; I guess that happens to you after crushing these names on the way to his successes over the years. (That, and it wasn’t his money after all that we were spending.)
Round one saw us facing down a familiar nemesis – Bant Hexproof. After the severe beating that we received at the hands of one @Mildy_Vein the night before, I felt my stomach sink at the first play from the opponent:
The rest of the game was basically us jockeying for some stability as aura after aura kept piling up on top of Geist of Saint Traft. Ajani joined the party for the opponent, and the game quickly fell apart. There was a moment during the last turn, however, where we had a chance to add our Huntmaster of the Fells to the last blocking party to take down the Geist despite the Selesnya Charm from our opponent. It would have cleared the field and given us a shot at a comeback, but even that was very unlikely.
Sideboard: +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Selesnya Charm, +2 Ray of Revelation, +2 Unflinching Courage, -2 Mizzium Mortars, -2 Domri Rade, -2 Ghor-Clan Rampager. Here, we want to add some tools that help us race, and take out cards that will be less effective. Blocking never happens from the Bant deck making Rampagers much worse, with both Mortars and Domri losing some serious value as well.
Game 2- We draw the absolute god hand and drop Pilgrim, Voice, Courage on Voice, Hellkite. Opponent promptly conceded.
Game 3 – We catch our opponent unaware that Loxodon Smiter cannot be countered as he tries to anyway, and then cut him off of white mana by casting Oblivion Ring on his Pilgrim. Once again, an Unflinching Voice takes us home.
Round 2 – We see none other than sandydogmtg himself across from us in the virtual arena. He is a very well known and reputable MTGO grinder, so I knew that we were going to be up against it this time. No room for errors, no time for mistakes. We end up with a double mulligan into five keepable cards, and see turn one Experiment One.
Naya Blitz. Super. And we’re on a mull to five.
We ambush the Experiment One with a surprise knight from Selesnya Charm, Bonfire away an early Force for one, and then drop a Rampager on four against a Mayor of Avabruck. A Smiter allows us to stabilize and start swinging with our trampling Rampager, while a Sublime Archangel next turn puts the game swiftly in our hands.
Sideboard: +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Selesnya Charm, +1 Oblivion Ring, +2 Unflinching Courage, +2 Garruk Relentless, -4 Thundermaw Hellkite, -2 Sublime Archangel, -1 Domri Rade. This is the default sideboard for the aggro decks that you might face. I have tried many different ways to board, but this ends up looking quite good when you lay it out.
Game 2 – We see another mulligan to five, but this time, we end up with double Reckoners and a bunch of other stuff. This game is the one with the epic Garruk play. Watch it and you will see what I mean. Last known information is a wonderful thing when you are considering damage sources and lifelink. On to the next!
Round 3 – We end up keeping a good hand with slow lands, and end up facing a similarly slow start from our RG Aggro opponent. Despite a crafty line set up by Willy turn four, we still end up falling to a Hellrider and company.
Game 2 – We get a flawless draw, and play in such a way that the opponent cannot possibly answer our threats. I suit up a Boros Reckoner with some Unflinching Courage, and once again show exactly how powerful that combo can be against an aggro deck.
Game 3 – We stabilize the board after ending at five life, and through a combination of a surprise knight on the end step and a Kessig Wolf Run from hand, we end up attacking for exactly what we need, should our opponent block.
I find myself at this point really enjoying myself. I am playing well, most of my decisions are good ones, and just hanging out with Willy was really a blast. I can’t wait to get into the last round to see just how far I can take this run. The fact that all of you were along for the ride and able to witness it is just a trip. RG Aggro and Hexproof have traditionally been two of my worst matchups in my private testing. After felling both of them and Blitz in the hands of a capable pilot, I am feeling pretty invincible.
When my round four opponent offers the split, I obviously decline. It is for the stream in truth, since I do not want to be agreeing to that type of stuff when streaming just in case it can come back. Plus…NO GUTS NO GLORY!!!!
Round 4 – Junk Aristocrats. This is a matchup that can go really either way. As Willy says in this video, the fastest way to lose to this deck is by letting a Skirsdag High Priest run uncontested. We are on the play, and have a chance to play a turn tww Domri Rade after seeing Young Wolf from the opponent, but Willy swiftly suggests that we play a Voice of Resurgence instead and opt to keep Domri back until it can be used to kill a High Priest. Surely the opponent would not have played the card had we played the turn two Domri Rade. Seeing the Voice, the opponent promptly plays the Priest, only to have it gored by our cute deer in the Pit. We use Domri to put our Reckoner into the pit a turn later and wipe the opponent’s board out, moving us on to the rest of our seventy-five.
Sideboard: +2 Rest in Peace, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Selesnya Charm, +2 Garruk Relentless, -4 Voice of Resurgence, -1 Domri Rade, -2 Ghor-Clan Rampager. Here, we want Rest in Peace to shut off Morbid and Varolz, while pulling Voices for more removal to be used for High Priests and Artists. Selesnya Charm is our only answer to Obzedat, Ghost Council post board, and can be used to take down a creature which has been scavenged onto too much.
Game 2 – We have the answer to the turn two High Priest with an Oblivion Ring, and Domri proves he is a nice guy that gives us what we ask him for. Willy is priceless.
“No. Let’s find a Dragon. Up this Domri to get a Dragon”. (activate Domri) “See, I always have the best option for you!”
Love it. After shoving in with our Trogdor a couple more times, we find ourselves the proud winners of eleven packs and three QPs.
If you have the time on your hands, this week’s show was just over four hours long. We played quite a few more matches in between the daily rounds, and also just hung out. Willy is an amazing guy, and the extra games were both fun and educational! (Except for Mazes End. That was neither…)
Here is the show in its entirety if you are into that sort of thing. Also, you should be, so watch it.
Playing with Willy has been amazing for me. I feel so much better about the deck, especially now that I have some cohesive sideboarding plans, and great higher-level experience with it than I had before. I also have a plan for the M14 metagame, and cannot wait for the GP. As if this week wasn’t good enough, Willy actually offered to come back the week of the Grand Prix. That means #moreEdelgenius!!!
I am so thankful for all of you that shared in the experience this week. It was really amazing to have all of you with me during this moment of triumph. I went with the route of more of a tournament report for this week, as I felt that the Daily Event really felt like some serious business. If this worked for you, let me know! If not, let me have it!!! Comments evoke change, and they also get you paid!
This week’s winner of LegitMTG money is Kurt Waechter. Please make sure you email firstname.lastname@example.org with the ID of your LegitMTG.com user account to collect! If you don’t comment on the article, you can’t win any money. Tune in tonight when we continue the meteoric rise of the list, and push ourselves further to the depths of a day two berth! See you then!
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