Last month I wrote about my current Standard deck, and how I was preparing for the Toronto WMCQ hosted by Legends Warehouse. It was a point of pride to put up a positive result after my performance in last year’s WMCQ. I went 1-2 drop with a deck I cobbled together two weeks beforehand and later went on to crush the Legacy side event. This year had to be different, as I actually really liked the deck I was playing. I jammed this deck every FNM. I tested every night I could on Cockatrice for the past month. This was my deck, and the event was being run by my home store. I wouldn’t accept anything less than five wins this time around.
I left the house at about 8:00 after a night of Conspiracy drafting at Scotty Mac’s house. I was operating on roughly three hours of sleep, which in my mind was the perfect conditions for playing a large Standard tournament. It worked well for me in Niagara Falls when I made the finals of a GPT, so why not try to recreate that success? With Dio’s Holy Diver album on full blast I showed up the event site and checked in with the owner. He told me that the PTQ he ran the day prior had about 350 players, and he was expecting at least 270 people for today. That was a bit of a jump in numbers from last year’s WMCQ, but I was undeterred. I resleeved my deck and sat down for the players meeting, anticipating one hell of a fight.
Round 1: Dan (My greatest matchup)
Dan was a pretty well-known player in downtown Toronto, and one of the few names I immediately recognized. However, I as a sat down I knew I had the game won on the grounds that he didn’t even show up to play. He just took his Geist of Saint Traft promo and walked, so I won by default, the two greatest words in the English language. I spent the round hanging out with some Twitter friends from out of town and getting in some practice games. It was also at this point that John, the owner of Legends Warehouse, informed me that we had about 296 people. That meant I still had eight rounds to go. 1-0
Round 2: T.J. (GW Aggro)
T.J. is a Toronto local who actually recognized me through some articles I wrote about my Modern Jund Scapeshift deck that influenced him to build it himself. I felt honoured, and wished him luck and that we would have a good match. He keeps a slow-ish hand game 1 with Fleecemane Lion and Loxodon Smiter, which would normally be fine were it not for the Abrupt Decay and Mizzium Mortars in my opening hand. This slowed him down long enough to develop my mana, with my Sylvan Caryatid holding off his turn 4 Voice of Resurgence. He ripped a second Voice, then Selesnya Charmed his first one to trample over my Caryatid, but thankfully I scryed into Stormbreath Dragon to race his Voices. I continued to draw removal spells to pick off his other creatures while we traded four damage back and forth. Eventually I got to activate the Dragon and hit him for 9 total damage for the game.
Game 2 he gets off to an aggressive start with Voice of Resurgence and Fleecemane Lion, but I wall them off equally as fast with Caryatid and Reaper of the Wilds. I kill off the Lion as he drops an Experiment One and two Smiters in a row. I draw into Desecration Demon and Stormbreath Dragon to hold them off long enough to use my Temples to scry into Scavenging Ooze. I play Ooze with five Green mana open and a bunch of creatures in the graveyards so I’m feeling pretty comfortable. He rips Ajani, Caller of the Pride and jumps his 4/4 Experiment One. I’m sitting at 10 life, and he has one card in hand. I have him dead in the air, but I need my Stormbreath to do it. If I block with Dragon and his card is Selesnya Charm then I take 6 and can’t kill him on the crackback next turn. This would also free up his Smiters that were being held at bay by my pro-White Dragon. If it’s Ajani’s Presence then I also lose my Dragon. I want to end this next turn, so I start doing the math in my head, and I proceed to eat three creatures with my Ooze to get up to 13. As long as he doesn’t have Boon Satyr I’m in the clear. I take the hit for 8 and he scoops his cards. I had actually tested this matchup extensively after losing to it in the finals of the Niagara Falls GPT, so I was ecstatic that the match played out how I wanted it. 2-0
Round 3: Andrew (Rw Rabblemaster)
Andrew was running a Rabble Red deck, a recent addition to the metagame that was scary fast. I had tested against it a fair bit, so I knew what the big things to target were. I also knew that Sylvan Caryatid was going to be an all-star because it walled off most of their creatures. Little did I know he was splashing White for maindeck Banishing Light and Chained to the Rocks, slowing himself down slightly to get rid of some of the larger roadblocks for the deck, namely my Reaper. He was also running Borderland Marauder which could actually punch through my Caryatids. Suffice to say I was blown out game 1. My fortune changed in the second game as I brought in my Golgari Charms and Anger of the Gods over some of my more vulnerable creatures, opting to become a full-blown “Kill ‘Em All” control deck.
Game 2 I manage to stabilize his board of two Burning-Tree Emissary, Foundry Street Denizen, and Borderland Marauder with Anger of the Gods. This bought me more than enough time to set up my own board. I hit the other two Angers to keep him from ever really establishing a board presence. Game 3 is a bit more back and forth, with my plan of killing everything that moves working in full force. He Chains away two of my Coursers, but I still manage to sweep his board time and again until he’s in topdeck mode with me at 8 life and a hand full of removal. Eventually I hit my creatures, peeling Scavenging Ooze with roughly half the lands in my deck to get myself out of burn range before getting hit by Banishing Light. I follow up by dropping a pair of Dragons into play. He kills the first with a Stoke the Flames, but the second puts him on a clock. I get him down to 10 when he draws, and calls a judge over. They wander away and I’m more than a little confused. He returns after a minute, taps his lands, and plays Chained to the Rocks and Banishing Light with no targets so he would take less damage from when I activate Stormbreath. I untap, monstrous, and knock him down to 3 for the concession. 3-0
Round 4: Pascal (BG Midrange)
This round was a unique spin on a matchup that I was not only familiar with, but actively wanting to play against. However, Pascal had some changes to his deck that just completely blew me out of the water. The opener for game one was like your typical BG Devotion deck, Thoughtseize into Pack Rat, which was fine because I had two pieces of removal in my opening hand to handle the Rat before he could activate it. As the game progressed I soon found myself on the wrong end of Nissa, Worldwaker. Despite her untapping ability being limited to untapping his singular Forest, Nissa provided him a steady stream of 4/4 tramplers that quickly overwhelmed me. Game 2 wasn’t any better, as his first five plays were Thoughtseize, Thoughtseize, Lifebane Zombie, Desecration Demon, Desecration Demon. I was never really in this game, which was unfortunate, but I remained undeterred. 3-1
Round 5: (Naya Hexproof)
Truth be told, this round infuriated me to no end. Naya Hexproof is one of those decks that is almost guaranteed to win game 1 against me simply because so much of my removal are dead cards. What doesn’t help is when game 1 I don’t hit my fourth land to play the three monsters sitting in my hand. I sided out pretty much all my Dreadbores and Putrefy for the Charms and Angers in the hopes of catching his creatures when they were small enough. However, my opponent’s opening hand consisted of land, land, Gladecover Scout, Madcap Skills, Ethereal Armor, Ethereal Armor, Ethereal Armor. By the time I was able to even cast Anger on turn 3 he had a 15/12 first striker that needed two blockers. It was insufferable to say the least, and I required more than a little recovery time to calm myself. Thankfully, most of my friends from Twitter, The Eh Team, Heavy Meta, and LegitMTG’s own Scotty Mac were hanging out near the draft tables, so after some chilling with them I was able to recover my inner peace and get my head back in the game.
Round 6: Matthew (Jund Monsters)
Finally, my favourite matchup! This round was a cavalcade of all the things that made my list stronger than the stock list. Early in game 1 we traded dueling Rakdos’s Returns for each other’s hands, leaving us both in topdeck mode. Due to the sheer size advantage my creatures had over his, namely Desecration Demon over his Polukranos and my Reaper of the Wilds over his Xenagos, the Reveler, I was able to quickly take over the game and out muscle him.
Game 2 I stumble on my fourth land for a bit, but my inclusion of extra removal spells allowed me to keep his board clear of threats until I could run out my own monsters. We trade removal and monsters back and forth, my Dreadbore for his Polukranos, his Hero’s Downfall for my Desecration Demon, etc. It all came down to a clutch turn where he ripped a Stormbreath Dragon and swung into the red zone with an Overgrown Tomb and a Blood Crypt open. I casually throw a Putrefy onto the table, to which he responds with Golgari Charm to regenerate his Dragon. I shrug and tell him that’s fine, but his Dragon still dies. “I’m so used to playing against Hero’s Downfall” he says dejected as I played a Dragon of my own, killing him. We shared a laugh and wished each other luck in the next round. 4-2
Round 7: Martin (Naya Hexproof)
This crap again. He was sitting next to my Round 5 opponent, so we knew what we were in for. Thankfully, game 1 he keeps a greedy hand on the draw with Stomping Ground and Gladecover Scout as his only plays for the first four turns. This gave me the time to drop Desecration Demon on turn 3 for the concession. I was informed that any White source would let him cast the three Ethereal Armors in his hand, which I believe would have made me engage in several disqualifiable actions had he pulled it off.
Game 2 was a bit closer, but my Reaper of the Wilds and its 5 toughness did wonders for keeping his Witchstalker at bay long enough to drop multiple monsters on the board. He doesn’t hit a way to interact with my Desecration Demon and Stormbreath Dragon and dies in rather short fashion. I had my goal of 5-2.
It was at this point that I had to make a decision. I was 5-2, and there were still two rounds to go in the Swiss, and I needed to win both to have a shot to squeak into the prize bracket. I asked what the bare minimum prizes were, and found out that I would get a quarter of a box if I made top 48. It was more than doable, however, at this time I was told that the Heavy Meta/Eh Team/LegitMTG crew were about to go to dinner. After listening to my rumbling stomach, this felt like infinitely higher value than slogging through two more rounds, so I dropped with my head held high.
Overall I’m happy with the way the deck performed. It won all the matches I expected to win, and barring the insanely high variance in Round 5 and the unexpected Nissa beatdown in Round 4, it performed wonderfully. I still feel like this list is the correct evolution of the Jund Monsters archetype, and I look forward to playing the deck all the way up to rotation. While I didn’t come as close to the top 8 as I would have liked, at the end of the day I got to sling some spells, hang out with friends, and have a wonderful time, and ultimately, what more could I ask for?
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