I’m back. Don’t blink.
2012 was a strange year. I changed, or maybe grew more so as a twenty-two year old than any year before. I pushed my boundaries out into the world while trying to keep centered on my personality. It made me unsteady at times, but it was necessary. That change meant that Magic, the game I had been playing weekend after weekend since I was sixteen, was put in my back pocket. I probably attended a dozen live tournaments in 2012. And yet, it was some of the best Magic I’d played. I’d never made the Top 8 of a PTQ before 2012. Of the few tournaments I attended, I made the Top 8 of a PTQ and had a near-miss the very next week. I didn’t play in any more PTQs that season.
And then there was this. Just a week into 2013, I went 7-0-2 in a nine-round Legacy Open and went on to split the Top 4. Is this good luck? Am I looking at things differently? I’m not sure. Let me Show you.
On With the Show
I was unaware of the Columbus Open (just 100 minutes north of Cincinnati) until the week prior. Taylor asked me if I wanted to go. I gave my standard 2012 response of “eeeeehhhhh…” Good friends, a small itch to sling cardboard and the fact that Legacy is fun combined to spur myself, my roommate Auggie, and James “Lopey” Grendell to make the trip up on Sunday morning. Like most good car rides, this one included sausage biscuits and Hollywood Undead.
My preparation was minimal. Two days prior, I looked over the decks. I wanted to play something fun–probably a combo deck. My experience with Legacy Dredge in the previous year was so bad that I am currently resolved to only play Stinkweed Imp with Bazaar of Baghdad. I felt I was too inexperienced to play Elves or Tendrils, so I asked Lopey to lend me an Omni-Show deck that I had seen Luis Scott-Vargas play through a Daily Event on MODO a couple months earlier. I changed only a few cards in the sideboard. I was not pretending to know anything about the format. Here is what that looked like:
Bro and Tell by Peter Johnson — 3rd Place at SCG Columbus
Somehow, I ended up with only 14 sideboard cards. I started asking around for “any sorcery.” The funniest option was Army of the Damned. It was a troll. The plan was to get the full Omniscience and Griselbrand combo, draw 14 cards, then cast two Burning Wish for Army of the Damned, and THEN cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This led to a day-long conversation about the funniest spells to cast out of your sideboard to rub in an Emrakul victory. Some of my favorites were Goblin Game, Emrakul; the minimalistic Molten Rain, Emrakul; Golden Wish for Bridge from Below, Emrakul.
Other mid-round hi-jinks included Big Two (also known as “BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG TWO”), grid drafts with Matt Kranstuber’s combo cube, much needed walks for Mountain Dew, and lots and lots of hugs.
Round 1 vs. Belcher
I kept a hand with a few cantrips in game one and was promptly Charbelched on turn two after my Brainstorm missed a Force of Will or Daze. The next two games featured a quick combo from my side and a well-timed Force of Will on a Manamorphose that was cast off of two Simian Spirit Guide.
Overall: 1-0 (2-1)
Round 2 vs. Merfolk
In game two, my opponent mulliganed then got a little land flooded. He was beating me down with two Mutavault after I Pyroclasmed two of his Merfolk. I dropped a Jace to Brainstorm. My opponent tapped two of his four lands to play a Lord of Atlantis, hoping to attack my Jace with a 3/3 Mutavault. I forced the Lord, and Jace lived through the turn. I activated Jace and my opponent emptied his hand of two lords and attacked. I resolved my combo uncontested the following turn.
Overall: 2-0 (4-1)
Round 3 vs. BUG
This round was a very interactive match of my turn two Show and Tell with Force backup, followed by a game where my opponent mulliganed to four on the play.
Overall: 3-0 (6-1)
Round 4 vs. Conflux Dream Halls
This was a very interesting match, since we were both on Show and Tell. We split the first two games after he cast four Cruel Ultimatum off of a Conflux. In the third game, I went for Show and Tell first, which he Forced. He Gitaxian Probed me, seeing that I had another Show, then went for his own. He dropped a Dream Halls, and I correctly chose to put Griselbrand into play over Emrakul. He went for a Cruel Ultimatum. I responded by drawing 14, and used Dream Halls to pitch a Burning Wish to cast a Pyroblast. On my turn, I pitched a Preordain to cast Omniscience, and had a Burning Wish to make sure he never untapped. Paying mana for spells is so passé.
Overall: 4-0 (8-2)
Round 5 vs. Elves
The notable play I remember was not cracking my fetch on my opponent’s turn 2 when he cast a Glimpse of Nature with a Deathrite Shaman, Forest, and Gaea’s Cradle in play. Every mana was critical for him at that point and not cracking the fetch denied him one. I think I Wished for a Blasphemous Act to curb his enthusiasm, and then was able to combo later. In game two, I made a line of play where I got two red sources and a City of Traitors in play so I could Burning Wish for Grapeshot to kill two of his few Elves through a Thorn of Amethyst. Fortunately, I got the mana to do this the turn after he cast Green Sun’s Zenith for Priest of Titania, setting up a lethal Craterhoof Behemoth. That bought me enough time to play a Jace and combo later on.
Overall: 5-0 (10-2)
Round 6 versus Jund
In game one, I cast a Show and Tell on turn two when he had Deathrite Shaman and Bayou in play. It resolved. I thought he might be on BUG, since I only saw those two cards. I boarded in Pyroblast and had a very fun time shuffling them away over and over again in our very long game two. I lost a Show and Tell to a Thoughtseize and a Pyroblast. A Liliana of the Veil came down, but was not used to make me discard because of a hate card in my opponent’s hand. After a Jace was killed by a Bloodbraid Elf, I found a Pyroclasm. Liliana sat there while both of us tried to find some gas.
I was able to Show and Tell an Omniscience into play, but my last cantrip missed a fatty. My opponent found a Dark Confidant and a Sylvan Library. A turn or two before I died, I found a Burning Wish. Since my opponent was on 13 life, I went for Time of Need for Emrakul. My opponent finally cast the Mindbreak Trap that he had been sandbagging. Fortunately, my extra turn from Emrakul yielded another Burning Wish for the win.
Overall: 6-0 (12-2)
Round 7 vs. UR Delver
After I won a quick game 1, my opponent served with a Goblin Guide and Delver of Secrets. On seven life, I went for Show and Tell with a Lotus Petal up off of Ancient Tomb. He Forced, I Forced back, he Pyroblasted my Force, and I Pyroblasted his Force. I dropped an Emrakul into play on four life. I was dead to a Goblin Guide or any burn spell, but fortunately he drew a Spell Pierce. He was on more than 15 life, but he only had 5 permanents, so the Emrakul was lethal.
Overall: 7-0 (14-2)
Rounds 8 and 9 — ID
Meanwhile, my roommate Auggie was 6-1 with his Recross the Paths Charbelcher deck. Recross the Paths is a Sorcery for 2G that is only cast by maniacs. Casting it with no lands in your deck allows you to stack your deck, which usually starts with a Meditate. You draw three Lion’s Eye Diamond and a Gitaxian Probe, check yourself into an insane asylum, then draw a Charbelcher and activate it to kill them.
Auggie actually did this to a guy on the live stream for the win. I sure can pick my roommates. He was on the camera in round seven, but unfortunately he was knocked out of contention by the Jund player that I beat in round six. He drew into Top 32 after going 6-2-1. Our apartment garnered 42 match points.
Win, Place, or Show
Quarterfinals vs. RUG
In game 1, he beat with a Delver while we jostled over lands and cantrips. Eventually, I was put into a position where I had to Show and Tell an Omniscience into play with only a Jace to follow up, or else I was dead to a Delver plus Lightning Bolt the following turn. Fortunately, Jace found a Burning Wish for the Grapeshot kill.
In the following game, I played into a Stifle on a fetchland that I had to Force of Will. Back against the wall against his two Tarmogoyf, I had two Show and Tell and two Pyroblast but no big spell. I promptly ripped my two-outer of Griselbrand. I Pyroblasted the Show and Tell through, and I was stabilized for the moment.
My next draw step was an Omniscience. I decided that waiting was a losing proposition, and with the Omniscience and Show and Tell, drawing seven would be good. I jammed and went to draw seven, he Stifled, I Pyroblasted. I drew the land I needed to cast the second Show and Tell for Omniscience, and Burning Wish wrapped up the match on the spot.
Overall: 8-0 (16-2)
Semifinals vs. BUG
He had no Force of Will or discard spells maindeck. Easy, right? On turn 3, I have Show and Tell, Griselbrand and Omniscience. He hits me with Hymn to Tourach. I Brainstorm in response, hiding Show and Tell. I figure that the chances that he hits both of my combo cards out of five cards with the Hymn is small. He does hit both of them, and my next turn is useless. He Hymns me again and the game goes into a slog. Eventually, I Show and Tell an Emrakul into play, but he has Baleful Strix. I attack and put him down to just a Deathrite Shaman, but I have nothing, and he has two Ancestral Vision coming in.
A few turns later, a Jace comes down on his side and starts Fatesealing me. Eventually, I draw a Show and Tell, then a second. I Brainstorm and put two Show and Tell on top of my deck. He Ffatesealed me, and let me have the Show and Tell. I fetched away the second and Preordain, hoping to hit something to Show and Tell. Jace was good enough, so I played mine to destroy his. I tried a Ponder the next turn, but I shuffled and missed. All of a sudden, I was dead to a Creeping Tar Pit and two Deathrite Shaman.
Overall: 8-1 (16-4)
I had hoped to hoist the trophy, but having split the cash for Top 4, I couldn’t complain too much. I had qualified for the Invitational in Atlanta, and I was happy to see Riley Curran take the whole thing down.
The deck was incredible. I dropped two games over the eight matches I won. The combo is easy and powerful, and the twelve cantrips allow you to both sequence your plays perfectly and to dig for whatever piece you need. If Daze and Force of Will are falling out of favor, I can’t imagine this deck being a bad choice. I was happy with my play for most of the day. I played some of my best Magic in the early rounds.
Thank you for reading.
- The two of spades.
- The thirteen of zombies.
- Cinnamon and Sugar Pringles.
- Everyone who sent me a “nice run” or “rough beats” text.
- My parents for watching my semifinal match even though they had absolutely no clue what the hell was going on.
- My friends, who make Magic tournaments enjoyable, win or lose.
So where does that leave me? I can’t Tell. I’ve been saying that a lot lately. What I do know is that $1,200 will buy some college books, some really good bourbon, and maybe finance a trip to Atlanta.
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