Greetings! I come to you fresh off of an SCG IQ that I did very well in yesterday. I will be going over my matchups and briefly discussing what I see in the current meta from this and the recent SCG Open in Atlanta.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a rundown on an Esper Mill list I was running for standard, which can be seen here. While this deck was consistent there were matchups that it just lost to 80% of the time. One of these was aggro (read true aggro, such as Naya Blitz). This was due to the fact that it really didn’t have much of a play until a turn 4 Verdict, at which point I was already at an average of 8 life or less.

The other matchup that it always seemed to lose to was Jund. I usually could take game one, but heavily relied on my witchbane orbs from the sideboard to deal with Slaughter Games, Rakdos Return, and Staff of Nin. This was on top of the problem with loss of card advantage due to Garruk and Liliana.

So I switched the deck to have a better overall match up, utilizing more chump blockers for aggro, and an alternative win-con to the all in mill situation against Jund. See the list below.

Notable Changes are obviously the switch up in planeswalkers, addition of spot removal, and the addition of Lingering Souls.

All of those changes are proving to be immensely helpful against aggro. The lifegain from Sorin, is usually the difference between a win and a loss, and adding spot removal lets me kill a creature without wiping my tokens. I still find the need to board wipe at least once per game. The extra chump blockers in Lingering Souls has also been game changing.

Against Jund, game 1 is now much more of a toss up. It really ends up depending on how I am able to deal with the eventual Liliana discarding. increasing my Sphinx’s Revelation to 3 has proved to be helpful, but I find myself using it for one every now and again, because I had one in opening hand and draw another early. This is the reason I only ran 2 of this card in my last deck, and am still in the process of making a final decision on the count. Game two is now MUCH easier as I know have 2 Obzedat in the sideboard that I can hit reliably. This forces them to find a Murder, or a Devour flesh if I have an otherwise empty board (which I usually don’t for this reason). The nephalia drownyards still do the job of getting rid of threats before they can hit the board.

Now on to the matchups from yesterday!

Round 1: I was running against a carbon copy of Melissa Del Tores’ Wolf Run Bant. We both had enough life gain to sustain through the game due to multiple resolved Sphinx’s Revelations. I had enough combination of board wipes and removal to deal with his threats, and ended up winning game one with drownyard in response to an overzealous Sphinx’s. Game 2 he hit his curve going Augur, bounce with Restoration Angel, Thragtusk, and anther bounce with Restoration Angel. I put up a meager fight with a lingering souls and an Azorius Charm. Due to the length of Game One we went to time and ended in a draw 1-1-1.

After this match I realize that I will have to play the clock as well as my opponent depending on how game one goes.

Round 2: Up against Junk Reanimator, the recent first and second from the Atlanta SCG Open. I was able to take away game one thanks to my mainboard Terminus and getting a Tamiyo Emblem. Game 2, my 3 Purify the graves prove to be to much and we went to time and we finished with him at 44 life and me at 1. I win 1-0-1.

Round 3: Jund. Game one I am able to Sphinx’s Revelation through his Liliana, counter a Rakdos Return, and Azorius Charm/Drownyard a Thundermaw. At this point he is topdecking, and I have 3 Cards in hand. I land Tamiyo to tap his lone Olivia Voldaren on the field. He checks his top card and concedes, being mindful of time. Game 3 I hit a turn five Obzedat to which he cannot find a answer. 2-0

Round 4: Gruul Aggro. I hit Supreme verdict Twice (getting it on turn 4) in both games as well as being able to get Tamiyo Emblem in both as well. 2-0.

Being that there are only 6 rounds in this event, if I win the next round I am able to draw into top 8.

Round 5: Jund Aggro. Game one is an all out brawl. I am forced to flash in a Snapcaster to flash back an Ultimate Price to kill an early Stromkirk Noble. A Detention Sphere to get rid of his Domri-Rade took care of his card advantage. Eventually I am able pump through enough token’s with Sorin Emblems to finish. Game 2 he brings the team, going turn one Stromkirk, turn two 2 Burning Tree Emisary. I couldn’t find the board wipe or the Ultimate price to get rid of the Stromkirk Noble, he wins. Game 3 is much like game one, except that I am not able to get rid of his Domri. I have Azorius charmed 2 Falkenrath Aristocrats and Milled them away. At this point I have an empty board with 6 land, and 1 Snapcaster in hand (graveyard is Devour Flesh and Azorius charm) and am at 2 life; he has Domri at 6, empty hand, 4 land, 18 life. This is where stuff goes wrong.

He draws his card, and activates his Domri Rade. I pass priority back and am only half paying attention to him as I am considering my best answer to another Falkenrath Artistocrat. He looks at his top card and puts it in his hand, without revealing it. I ask him “What about the reveal?”, to which he shows me a Flinthoof Boar out of his hand. Here I ask him to wait. I consider the fact that I have the answer to the Flinthoof, but this is obviously a HUGE rules violation. I end up calling a judge over to figure things out. The judge rules that there is no way to clean up the game state and issues him a game loss. I felt terrible about this win, but at the same time it got me into top 8.

Round 6: Don’t play, just agree to a draw with my opponent.

Top 8 Round 1: B/W Zombies. Game one he lands a turn 2 Bloodthrone Vampire. At the end of his turn 4 I tap out to flash back Think Twice to which he responds with a Restoration Angel. The draw ends up being an Ultimate Price. Another Ultimate Price, Snapcaster, and Sorin prove to be to much and I take game one in a landslide. Game 2 I am force to mulligan to 5 off of no land hands and have to keep a hand with only Watery Grave. I lose to Liliana plus triple Geralf’s Messenger, (one would have been enough). Game 3 my opening hand is: 2 Azorius Charm, 1 Think Twice, 1 Detention Sphere, 1 Supreme Verdict, 1 Tamiyo, 1 Hallowed Fountain. I decide to roll the dice and keep it, relying on another land into Think Twice for even more land. I didn’t draw another land until turn 4. He wins.

After such a great run in swiss it was upsetting that I arguably threw away my run at Top 8, but so it goes. I will learn from it and so should you.

Next week is SCG Open Milwaukee, which I will be attending. Junk Reanimator looks like it will be VERY prevalent as it just took 4 of the top 16 spots in Atlanta (two of them being first and second). Milwaukee will be a mixture of Junk decks and people running lots of answers for Junk decks. I think that this is the week where Junk is finally too prevalent for it’s own good and can’t come out on top after sideboard, however I am sure it will still make top 8. Sadly I am liking Jund to come out with the Win this week, being in the best position to deal with the gamut of MidRange decks and the outlying Control/Aggro lists. Wish me luck next week, I’ll be sure to report back on Monday.