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Making Mistakes

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Making Mistakes

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

Last time I was here I was talking about a super sweet Narset, Enlightened Master deck in Modern. I played around with it, and decided that in a few short games that I knew better than the original designers of the deck and decided that I could make it better. I thought that I could make it more resilient and more consistent and make it a real player in the Modern metagame.

I was wrong.

You see when I ended my play session with the original build of the deck, which you can see here, I was sorely mistaken about what kind of deck it was. I was mistaken in regards to the tools that the deck had, and was just playing it wrong. The deck didn’t need to be rebuilt, the issue was with me. I was spinning my wheels, thinking that I knew what was best, and made up my mind that this deck just needed to be redone. If anything, the sideboard is incredibly bad, but upon playing it after learning how to properly operate it, the deck is a fine glass cannon combo deck. You just have to optimize the sideboard to fight the current Modern metagame.

I rebuilt it anyways.

I wasted a few perfectly good days of testing with the deck instead of learning how to correctly play it. How to take full advantage of Serum Powder and Pull from Eternity, which are words I never thought I would type in regards to a Modern deck. I just saw these cards, thought that they were terrible and decided that these would not do.

I was foolish.

Who knew that the optimum play with the deck was to Serum Powder aggressively until Narset was removed from the game? You then spend your opponents first end step putting it in the yard with Pull from Eternity and go off the next turn. I put so much stock in having Narset in hand that I was incredibly short sighted to the overall goal of the deck. To me there are different kinds of combo decks. Storm has a certain sense of inevitability. It can win through disruption. Stuff like Necro could do that. The Cat Pact deck could do it. When it goes off it’s going to win more often than not. Belcher, or something like Oops! All Spells are examples of glass cannon combos. They are so reliant on their game play that there is no safety valve in the deck. Either the opponent has Force of Will or they lose. Sure they can transform post board, but glass cannon decks look to take out game one and win one of the post board games. Grishoalbrand, which is what I tried to make this deck in to, can turn on the combo and win quickly, but it at least has a the ability to cast the spells. This version of Narset didn’t even have that. I took a perfectly fine cannon and tried to make it in to something that it is not.

I made a mistake.

It’s okay to make mistakes in Magic. You learn from them and you grow as a player. As long as a lesson is learned mistakes are incredibly great learning tools. I like to think that I’ve learned my fair share in regards to this deck, much like I did with the UR Magnivore deck that turned in to a Splinter Twin with land destruction deck, or the Gruul land destruction deck that turned into a Shivan Wumpus fueled monster. I’m not the deck builder that I used to be, I’m not sure that I can go back to those days because that was nearly fifteen years ago and Magic has changed almost as much as I have. I learned that I need to fully understand what the deck does, or tries to do before I start to make changes to it, and respect the work that others have put in. When I first saw the list and started to share it on Twitter and Facebook, I found out that there was a thread on mtgsalvation about the deck. I ignored it wanting to forge my own path. Instead, had I checked it out upon first learning of it, I would have seen what had worked, what had not, and understood more about the deck. Taking advantages of every available resource is important! Finally I learned it’s okay to fail. This deck didn’t work. The next one might not work, but as long as I have sixty cards, I’ll have a chance.

This deck may have been a spectacular waste of time, but the next one might not be.

Here is what I ended up building. It draws heavily off of Grishoalbrand, and my honest opinion is to leave the decks alone. Keep them separated so to say. You can have multiple Goryo’s Vengeance decks in the format!

Here is the video where I explained my thought process throughout the rebuild. By the time I started to question the inclusion of Brilliant Ultimatum and replacing it with Through the Breach, I knew that the point had been lost and I had made an error in understanding the deck.

Finally here is some gameplay with the deck. To me, it wasn’t as explosive as the original build, and while it did kinda play like the deck it was inspired by, by and large it would have been better to just play with the big Brand daddy and his pals.

So what is on tap for the next article I write? I’m not entirely sure, I’m going to stick with Modern though for stuff on Legit, and leave Standard to Puremtgo.com. Make sure you check out the stream on twitch, and have a wonderful day, thanks for stopping by!

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