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Succumbing to the Onslaught

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

About six months before the SCG Atlanta Invitational, Star City Games had a sale on booster boxes. I decided to obtain one box of Onslaught and one box of Apocalypse, and last weekend I finally had the opportunity to use my Onslaught packs. Draft sets ran us $15 each with the goal to open fetchlands or the holy grail: a foil Polluted Delta. But first it was time to play some legal formats.

Legacy?!?!

I have been out of the Legacy scene for quite a long time and was really on edge when it came to the format. The only thing I had going for me was being in a private “group” with Pat Cox, Orrin Beasley, and Reid Duke. Reid had posted his decklist in our group, and I thought it was a really good choice. Since I know nothing about the format, I just copied/pasted his list and hoped that good decision making would come in-game.

BUG decks have been dominating the Legacy scene lately, and this list had a very solid and consistent way to attack almost every type of deck. This alone got me pretty excited to play some Legacy, where I enjoy being the person playing combo or disrupting the other player’s strategies.

Round 1 — Storm (William Comminos)

I win the die roll and apply pressure fairly well before William digs deep with multiple Brainstorms and a Ponder. Despite all of the card draw, he fails to find a way to go off and concedes. It was much of the same in Game 2 as he struggles to go off; when he eventually finding what he needs, the last spell he plays meets a Force of Will.

2-0 Win, 1-0 Overall

Round 2 — RUG Delver (Raymond Perez)

Raymond was a fun guy. His Delvers where not. At the end of Game 1, he thinks I’m on straight UB planeswalkers; little does he know I had two Abrupt Decays chilling in my hand. I draw all three colors in Game 2 and have no trouble locking him out via Life from the Loam and Wasteland. I find the same combo in Game 3, but he dumps out threats on the board before it gets out of hand. I spend the last four turns of the game trying to kill the pesky Insectile Aberration, which was protected well with multiple Force of Wills. Eventually I simply run out of life.

2-1 Loss, 1-1 Overall

Round 3 — Jund (David Konze)

This is traditionally a bad matchup for BUG. I Thoughtseize him in Game 1, revealing Punishing Fire but no Grove of the Burnwillows. Excited, I take the Deathrite Shaman and leave him with a Lightning Bolt, Punishing Fire and lands. The next turn he draws and plays Grove of the Burnwillows. I’m not detoured, however, because I saved my Wasteland for when it came up. The dagger in the heart came the following turn when he casually drew his one Life from the Loam and brought back his Grove of the Burnwillows. My bad luck continues in Game 2 as I severely struggle with my mana. I put up a valiant fight, but after he sticks his third Liliana of the Veil in a row, I can’t overcome his dominant board state.

2-0 Loss, 1-2 Overall

Round 4 — RUG Delver (Adam Varner)

I get the jump on him Game 1 by handling multiple Delver of Secrets via multiple Abrupt Decays. Then I draw enough Tarmogoyfs to put him down. I again draw multiple Abrupt Decays in Game 2, but it turns out I should have held the last one. When I’m about to take over the game, he drops a Sulfuric Vortex and I’m unable to race the deadly enchantment in time. I stumble on lands in Game 3 and get punished by Wasteland. For a 23-land deck, I sure do have problems getting past three.

2-1 Loss, 1-3 Overall

This certainly was not the way I wanted to start the event. The last Invitational I played in, I started off 6-0. At this point, I’m already against the wall with four rounds to go. Hopefully my trusty Jund deck can get me back on course.

Round 5 — RG Aggro (Joseph Herrera)

Game 1 is fairly unrealistic as he dumps his entire hand Turn 2 via Burning-Tree Emissary. There is no real way Jund — or any deck for that matter — can handle that on the draw. I keep a three-lander in Game 2 and fail to find any more.

2-0 Loss, 1-4 Overall

Well, crap. I was kind of frustrated after driving seven hours just to not get to play Magic. However, with all games of variance, I accept my losses and lick my wounds. Luckily there are multiple events over the course of the weekend that can give me an opportunity to recoup my losses.

Onslaught Drafts

That’s right. Onslaught drafts. After being knocked out I soon found many more players who had similar fates in the main event. We decided it would be best to play the format as was originally intended by having the “old” rules. This means damage uses the stack and creature type “Wall” is equivalent to defender. The latter only came up a couple of times, but when you have a card like Mistform Mask, it is imperative that giving a creature defender makes the card worth playing.

For those of you unfamiliar with damage using the stack, and why it matters, let me quickly break it down. I attack you with my 2/2 facedown morph creature. Being concerned it could be a Skirk Commando, you opt to block my morph with your morph. In today’s rules, if neither player has an effect, damage just happens. Back then, both players would agree to put damage on the stack. This means exactly what you think. Both creatures will have two damage sitting on the stack waiting to resolve. You may then respond before the resolution of the two damage by either preventing damage or pumping your creature, or simply unmorphing your creature. In this example, I could allow damage to stack and flip over my Gravel Slinger. Damage now resolves and my Gravel Slinger survives the two damage because its a 1/3; my opponent’s morph dies from taking the two damage from the morphed Gravel Slinger damage that was put on the stack. Make sense?

We made random teams and started the draft. This tribal-based format is very similar to Lorwyn, and I ended up going UW Soldiers in the first draft. My team won the draft 5-4, and although I didn’t get the Bloodstained Mire or foil Words of War, I did get the Visara the Dreadful and some other random bulk rares.

That was all fun and good, but the second draft was a lot more exciting. This time, instead of all Florida drafters we had our hands full with a bunch of Pro Tour staples in Sam Black, Zvi Mowshowitz, and Matt Costa. I love doing drafts against PT staples because it lets you gauge how your own play level is progressing. Pack 1 I open Pacifism and move into Soldiers again while picking up an elf or two along the way. Pack 2 I open the chase rare of its time in Exalted Angel. I continue to get a stream of very strong white cards in Packs two 2 and 3 so end up going monowhite. My record ends up being 2-1, losing to Zvi as I fail to draw my angel and stumble on lands the last game. My team does good work and we end up finishing the draft going 7-2. We end up splitting the cards randomly and I casually spike the Wooded Foothills and Exalted Angel. Ding!

End side drafts.

Moving Forward

I could tell you more about how my weekend went. But to be completely honest, it was pretty much a bomb-fest. Instead I just wanted to let you know how I’m feeling about Jund’s future. It is still a very strong and competitive deck, but unfortunately I won’t be spending much of my time testing it — most of my time testing online is spent playing USA Midrange. I think that is also a good choice, and since I don’t actually own everything for Jund, it’s logically the best thing for me to use. I’ve got a few PTQs coming up on the horizon, and I look forward to taking either Jund or USA Midrange over the hump and back on the train.

John Cuvelier
Gosu on MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

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