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Meta Slave

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

This past weekend I had a double PPTQ. Both events ended up being Modern, although one of which was originally listed as sealed. The whole not doing Sealed and only Modern events during a split season because it’s financially sounder to do so really grind my gears. But that’s an entire different article in and of itself. Once I arrived in Orlando I quickly realized what the meta game was. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t prepared. I had brought with me two different decks and that’s all the decision making I was afforded. Option A was the tried and true Affinity, my bread and butter. Option B was playing the burn deck that won a recent WMCQ. Burn is a deck that is always misrepresented and misunderstood because the majority of people who play burn decks are inexperienced players. Before arriving they both sounded very appealing to me. Upon arriving they both sounded pretty bad. You see, there was a sea of Bogles and Jund. Affinity has a close matchup with Jund and a so-so matchup with Bogles. Burn has a close matchup with Jund but a completely trash Bogles matchup. I was in a bit of a pickle.

For the first tournament I decided I’d run Burn. I wanted some variety in my life. Especially since the majority of the room but me on Affinity (for good reason) meaning there would be an abnormal amount of hate for my deck. My hope for the tournament was dodging the Bogles. I did accomplish that, but in the process I drew quite poorly. Mulliganing to 5 or less on multiple occasions, I ended up having to play the last round instead of drawing in because of bad tie breakers. I ended up losing to a Mardu control deck and his endless amounts of Leyline of Sanctity. It wasn’t all bad though. Following the first tournament my friends and I went to a video game/arcade bar for some fun shenanigans. They had a lot of arcade games that brought me back to my childhood. X-Men vs. Street Fighter, sign me up!

The second event on Sunday I went with Affinity. I mostly copied the list that made top 8 of the Invitational. The changes I made were mostly in the board. Since I knew there was a lot of Bogles I went up to 3 Spellskite and had 2 Blood Moon. Sure enough I got to play against Bogles round 1. After a mulligan to 5 I decided my best chance to win was go “all in” with Ravager and Inkmoth Nexus. I hit him with 5 Infect on turn 2. Turn 3 I tried again but he had the Path to Exile. Game 2 I deployed a turn 2 Blood Moon and got the free win. Game 3 I baited the Path to Exile with Steel Overseer. I then ran out my Spellskite which met the second Path to Exile. He then proceeded to draw some auras and kill me. After trouncing an inexperienced Tron opponent I got paired against Abzan. This was a great meta call by the opponent even if it wasn’t intended since they have Liliana for Bogles and Lingering Souls for Jund. I got an easy win game 1, game 2 I kept a hand needing either a land for any 1 or less cmc creature in 2 draw steps to be good. Needless to say I bricked off. Game 3 I got Damnation’d and couldn’t quite stabilize before he went wide with Lingering Souls.

Going forward there’s something I plan on doing to make sure I don’t get meta gamed out. In a room completely lacking in Infect, has a ton of Bogles and Jund, what’s a good choice? I already mentioned Abzan was a good choice, but an even better one since it also beats Abzan is Tron!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about some decks (http://legitmtg.com/competitive/shady/) I’d be keeping my eye on and I was pretty spot on. My wanting to play Tron was perfect for these events. Heck, if you go across the country to the Invitational, Elves won the entire event. This result proves that familiarity can bring success and I made some pretty good picks. If only I’d take my own advice…….

This weekend I’ve got my only chance to qualify for Honolulu. There’s an LCQ and it’s Standard. I’ve been playing around on MTGO in some leagues brewing up my own decks. In particular I’ve been working on my B/W Eldrazi list from last week. (http://legitmtg.com/competitive/processing-emerge/)

After some testing online this is currently where I’m at:

The deck has been performing very well. This deck has a clear disruptive and proactive game plan. The online meta game unfortunately isn’t the same as you’d see in person. So far I’ve been facing mostly just a sea of Fevered Visions and Emrakul decks. The current sideboard shows that with how many cards are skewed to those matchups. The only matchup I want to make sure is good before this weekend is the Bant Company matchup. On paper it looks very nice. There’s a decent amount of hand disruption and creature removal. Our guys are bigger than theirs and they don’t have many answers to an Eldrazi Displacer. But I won’t know for sure until I play against it at least five or six times. Throughout the week my goal will be to work that matchup to see if it’s something I should continue pursuing or look elsewhere. The Eldrazi package is a powerful one that’s currently underrepresented and I plan to find the best version.

If I fail on Saturday then I shall make a trek to Gainesville (2 hour drive) for another Modern PPTQ on Sunday. This time I’ll have available six or seven different decks to make sure I don’t fall victim to the meta game. I’m really interested in trying out the Elf deck that won the Invitational. Of course doing so makes me nervous only because I imagine a lot of other people will want to do the same thing. If you see someone win with something different everyone wants to relive that success. That’s magic for you.

John Cuvelier
@JCuvelier on Twitter
Gosu. on MTGO

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