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Compulsive Research: Practice Makes Perfect

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

Compulsive Research 700x235

This week, I wanted to continue the trend of playing in higher level events in order to continue to sharpen up my play decisions and gain more experience against the top decks of the format. I started the night with an 8-man (which saw me fall before closing out), but then I ended up in the Daily Event anyway.  I went to battle with the following list, which should seem pretty familiar to the regulars of this column:

This is the exact list we played last week to the 4-0 finish. I mean, if it’s not broken, right?

The deck has continued to perform exactly as I have expected, and many of my matches off-stream have yielded great success. I have basically been describing the list as “the new Jund of the format” since I feel like in almost every match I have a shot at winning. There really are no terrible matches outside of Hexproof, and even that can be okay after sideboarding. As long as the control decks with seven Wrath effects stay away from the format, this deck will be a good choice for a tournament if you need one.

This week, I began with an 8-man queue with hopes of simply winning out, but found myself just short. After much deliberation, I opted into the late night Standard Daily Event, looking to polish up my skills even further.

Here is the entire stream. We play a ton of games; it is almost five hours in length, so I have cut down the relevant matches from the Daily event, and the reports on them also.


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Daily Event


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Round 1 – Peddle to the Metal:  I seriously thought this deck was dead. Based on how game one went for the opponent, I can see why. Our opponent basically did nothing while we killed him.

Sideboard: +2 Garruk Relentless, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Oblivion Ring, -1 Domri Rade, -1 Selesnya Charm, -2 Flinthoof Boar. I basically wanted to insert ways to interrupt his combo, should he get it online.

Game 2 – Turn one Pilgrim and turn two Smiter goes all the way with a little help from a Mizzium Mortars.


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Round 2 – RG Aggro: In what is later determined to be par for the course for this evening, the opponent curves out on us while we flood on our lands.

Sideboard: -4 Thundermaw Hellkite, -2 Sublime Archangel, -1 Domri Rade, +2 Garruk Relentless, +2 Unflinching Courage, +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Selesnya Charm

Game 2 – We hold our own, and miss a critical opportunity to kill a Rampager before our opponent cast Volcanic Strength on it. I think it was the correct play in hindsight, but I got caught.


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Round 3 – Jund: We get the opener of six lands and a Domri, and end up mulliganing into a perfect curve of Smiter into Mortars for Olivia, and a Dragon to shove down the opponent’s gullet. It helped that the opponent did nothing.

Sideboard: +2 Boros Charm, +1 Aurelia, the Warleader, +1 Selesnya Charm, +1 Oblivion Ring, +2 Garruk Relentless, -2 Bonfire of the Damned, -2 Flinthoof Boar, -2 Voice of Resurgence, -1 Domri Rade. This is how I have been boarding against Jund and I have not lost yet. At all. We bring in a bunch of ways to deal with Olivia, who is the main threat from this deck.

Game 2 – We get another opener of six lands and this time a Boros Charm. We keep a terrible six, and get there regardless after our second and thirds draws give us the land we need to curve out our threats and answer his removal.


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Round 4 – RG Aggro: The opponent mulls to four. We keep a loose hand and eventually stabilize the board and survive long enough to get the win.

Sideboard: -4 Thundermaw Hellkite, -2 Sublime Archangel, -1 Domri Rade, +2 Garruk Relentless, +2 Unflinching Courage, +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Selesnya Charm

Game 2 – We have a huge amount of back and forth, and eventually trade off both boards to nothing – at which point we proceed to flood out.

Game 3 – I keep a hand of five lands with a Voice of Resurgence and a Mizzium Mortars on the play. I then utter the following statement before clicking the keep button:

I have one quarter of the lands in my entire deck in my hand. How many more can I draw?

As it turns out, the answer is five.

It’s tough to really get upset about the results here. Despite going 2-2, there were a number of games that were perfectly winnable if I had not flooded out. My play is getting cleaner, and my play decisions in-game I feel are improving. If we had not have flooded during the three games that it happened, we could have easily been 3-1 or maybe even better.

I continued to play a series of tournaments this week, and not only was I able to win an 8-man in 80 minutes, but I ended up going 4-1 in the two-man queues in a “make your own FNM” this week. The deck is very powerful; it presents a constant stream of hard to manage creatures and eventually just overcomes the resources of the opponent.

A lot of questions have come out about what my M14 list will look like. Here is the list as I expect it to look like:

(Please note that the results from the event in Richmond have not been released at the time of this article submission, so this may change.)

This configuration is what I am looking to run in Calgary barring something new coming up at SCG Richmond which demands attention. Scavenging Ooze should come as no surprise, as it is a great card overall and simply shines as a late game top-deck during a vehement battle of attrition. This of course says nothing about its value against both versions of Junk – Reanimator and Aristocrats.

Celestial Flare is a card that will replace the Mizzium Mortars in the sideboard, as it has applications against Hexproof, and is still a fine card against the other aggressive decks. There are some very sneaky timings that you should be aware of with this card, especially when dealing with Geist of Saint Traft. Ask @lansdellicious. He’ll tell you.

Chandra also has proven to be certainly worth the slot, as she does a wonderful job holding down many of the token based aggressive strategies, while similarly creating opportunities for us in a number of other matches. I will be happy to split the Garruk Relentless slot with her.

Closing Time

I leave for Calgary this week, and I cannot wait. I will be trying to make arrangements with Willy Edel to come back, so stay tuned to the comments here and on my twitter feed, @mrscottymac.

This week’s winner of LegitMTG money is Justin Walker. Please make sure you email sales@legitmtg.com with the ID of your Legitmtg.com user account to collect. I have been so thankful for all of your help in this, and your support of the show. I aim to entertain, and sometimes, I hope that you get to learn something. (I also don’t care if the lesson comes at the cost of my own play mistakes.) I hope to see a bunch of you in Calgary, and I will have a ton of stickers with me, so come say hi, and let me know what you think of the show.

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