SuckmyLobster does not have time for my foolishness

Went 7-2 in my last “Friendly Sealed League,” which I’m happy with. I get a little buttsore if I can’t hit at least 6-3 with a decent pool.

One of my two losses, I misplayed a close game 3 that I’m sure I could have won if I’d done just one or two things differently. My other loss, well, frankly I got wrecked by this guy named “SuckmyLobster.” I did manage to drag the match out – I had some big rares to dig for (e.g. Bruna, the Fading Light) that could stabilize an unfavorable board.

In the end, though, it just wasn’t very close. I gave him the ‘ol “GGs” in the chat window and he really let me have it! I can only smile at how perturbed this guy was after winning. I haven’t run the numbers but I don’t think the “Friendly Sealed League” is where you want to be if you need to focus hard on converting time into value on Magic Online. Then again, this guy is smarter than me so who knows?

Harsh!

y u mad tho

Half of my Bruna decks work out

I advanced (declined?) to 0-4 in paper drafts at the LGS. I think my deck was fine, no complaints about the draft portion:

Game 3 I was on the draw and had mulled to 5 but I feel I was in it to the end. There was one specific play where I made a subtle mistake and it probably informed the rest of the game; not exactly sure. It was a close damage race at the end so missing even one attack probably mattered.

Opponent had a couple of 3-power creatures (Wretched Gryff, Soul Swallower) and I cast Faith Unbroken on my 1/1 spirit token. All at once as I’m casting the spell, I say that I’m going to target the Wretched Gryff with the exile effect. Now, I should have cast the Faith Unbroken and not said anything about which creature I was going to exile until it hit the battlefield attached to my own guy. By keeping my mouth shut, my opponent would have to let the Faith Unbroken resolve if he wanted to learn what I was going to target. I strongly suspect that opponent has Clear Shot and I have Strength of Arms in hand so if he did, in fact, let the enchantment resolve, my guy would be 3/3 – he’d presumably then Clear Shot it with whichever of his 3-power creatures did not get exiled, then I could have responded with Strength of Arms.

All of that requires opponent to not Clear Shot with the Faith Unbroken on the stack regardless but I feel that by getting ahead of myself in naming his creature, I probably prompted that play at least slightly. So that didn’t work out. Even so, I kept grinding and eventually played Bruna, the Fading Light. I was one attack away from a win but opponent used Grapple with the Past to retrieve a Stitched Mangler and tap down Bruna so I died.

I was also one Swamp away from a pretty fancy play on the last turn. I had Haunted Dead in my graveyard and Voldaren Pariah in-hand. If I had 4 black sources, I could have discarded Voldaren Pariah to return Haunted Dead, play the Pariah for its Madness cost and then activate it (I had an irrelevant creature or two I could have sacrificed in addition to the Haunted Dead and its token). That would have been sick. Alas.

Fired up MTGO later that night and drafted a better version of the same deck. I considered maindecking the Emrakul, the Promised End for funsies but ultimately decided to leave her in the sideboard, happy enough to have snatched a money card.

I went 3-0, the deck seemed great. Round one, opponent made things hard on himself by not showing up for nearly 10 minutes, so his clock would have killed him if I didn’t. In round two I got to put Choking Restraints on a Devilthorn Fox that opponent had enchanted with a Lunarch Mantle on turn 3. I have lost a few matches to the ‘ol “Can you deal with this Lunarch Mantle?” gambit and it felt great to shut it down.

Round 3 was close and I had a couple of challenging decisions. I was on the draw in game 3 and had mulled to 6. Opponent was green-red werewolves with lots of beef. We made some early trades and the mid game was looking to be a race. I cast Distended Mindbender and had the choice of leaving him with only Gatstaf Arsonists or Kessig Dire Swine in hand. He had 5 mana (including a Cryptolith Fragment) so he could definitely play the 5/4 but would have to draw a land to play the 6/6. He also had a Cultist’s Staff in play so either one of them would be quite large. I let him keep the 5/4 because I would have been okay with him trading for my 5/5 when I attacked. I had a Bruna, the Fading Light in hand (with no target in my graveyard, however). I had also drawn and played a sideboard Peace of Mind. It was a tough to decide what to do with that – do I want to discard land and miss hitting Bruna mana? As it turned out, I did not activate it even once but I still think it was a good enough card to bring in here.

We each swung past each other once and then opponent equipped the Gatstaf Arsonists with Cultist’s Staff but did not attack, letting it flip into an 8/7 menace, ready to block my 5/5 Distended Mindbender with impunity.

Choking Restraints came off the top. Holla.

Ulrich of the Lollenhorde

Got killed in round one at the store again this week, by the same guy who killed me last week! At least this week I think my deck was actually pretty good. In pack 1, both I and the guy to my immediate right opened Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. You have to reveal your flip cards so we both laughed, shrugged, and each took our respective mythic. He actually went on to not be in green so we didn’t trainwreck each other too badly.

Game one, I kept a hand of Gibbering Fiend, Ulvenwald Observer, Spreading Flames, and lands. I flooded out pretty badly, drawing and playing something like 14 lands while opponent was able to turtle up behind an early assemblage of the Call the BloodlineSanitarium Skeleton combo, which I was always going to hard-pressed to beat. I even 3-for-1’d him with the Spreading Flames but it just didn’t matter. Game two, I sided in Root Out (and drew it) but I couldn’t get much else going. Opponent just played average stuff like Gavony Unhallowed but it lined up well against me and he went a little wider.

Rats off to ya!

Won my third Eldritch Moon queue in a row. I’d better retire from the format before the other shoe drops. Pride goeth and all that.

This time I was black-red with 3x Graf Rats and 3x Midnight Scavengers. I foolishly only maindecked 2x Scavengers but I got wise and brought in the 3rd copy after every game one, typically taking out the Dusk Feaster. Stensia Masquerade also came out; I think that card might suck and I just missed the memo for an entire format?

Not much to tell, I just melded Graf Rats and Midnight Scavengers over and over again. In the couple of games where I didn’t assemble that combo, Devils’ Playground usually showed up for a little reach.

Twins of Rawr Estate

Went to the store for week 2 of Eldritch Moon drafting. I first-picked a Stitcher’s Graft and second-picked Impetuous Devils. My deck ended up being pretty terrible. I was trying to go super aggro, I had the Stitcher’s Graft, 2x Ride Down and a little bit of burn but my creatures were all piddly garbage. I had lots of X/1’s and opponent had a couple different effects that dealt 1 to multiple targets. Kind of a bloodbath.

The set just hit Magic Online so I joined a 6-2-2-2 Swiss queue later on after the kids went to bed. If I understand correctly, they are going to begin running these queues for the current sets instead of the traditional pack-per-win payout for Swiss. I think the much-maligned 4-3-2-2 single elimination queue may be going away as well. I don’t know how this will shape the playerbase of the different queues. Will people who were typically dedicated to the 8-4’s now spend some time in the Swiss queues? Winning 6 packs is much closer to 8 than 4 was (8-4 vs 4-3-2-2) not to mention “winning” a pack-per-win Swiss queue and likely still being down 2 tix was never super appealing (i.e. win back 3 packs, minus 2 tix entry fee, assume no money cards to sell off).

Maybe we’ll get some stats on current set 8-4’s vs 6-2-2-2’s in the near future, it will be interesting to see what happens. Speaking for myself, I’m stoked for the change. I spent a lot of time playing older set queues simply because I liked the 6-2-2-2 Swiss structure so much.

So, anyway, I first-picked a Faith Unbroken and ended up with a moderately aggressive white-black deck. I was concerned that I didn’t have a big finisher, like a rare flier or something, but I did have some synergy with 2x Ironclad Slayer and some removal auras (Boon of Emrakul, Faith Unbroken). Abundant Maw played out really well. I typically sided out Harvest Hand and Weirded Vampire for Inquisitor’s Ox and Give No Ground.

This deck seemed okay(ish) but I definitely felt like it was a “let’s scrape out a 2-1 and salvage 2 packs” type of deck. As it turned out, I won rounds 1 and 2 without much fuss. Round 3 ended up being pretty sweet. Opponent was black-red madness/vampires. He went off in game 1 and really beat me up with a Stromkirk Condemned and a bunch of madness for value. Game 2, he stumbled on mana while I built out a board.

Game 3 was super close, I made a video of the replay with some trademark erudite commentary:

The next night I joined another 6-2-2-2 and 3-0’d that as well. This deck was much more fun to play than the black-white pile.

I was firmly in green-black when I saw the Sigarda, Heron’s Grace early in pack 3 (second or third pick). I threw in 3 Plains and ran with it. I happily had no mana problems all draft.

I always sided in the Oath of Liliana. I didn’t maindeck it because I thought people would often have expendable tokens or dies-for-value creatures sitting around but it turned out to always do something worthwhile. I also usually sided out the Gavony Unhallowed. A couple opponents had important enchantments so I’d bring in Mockery of Nature.

Round 1, I melded Graf Rats and Midnight Scavengers right on curve in both games. I had that happen to me in my one loss in the Sealed League I did during the online prerelease. Felt great to be on the right side of it this time.

Round 2, I won game one but in game two he put me in The Abyss with a Blood Mist. True-Faith Censer was huge here as it let me attack and then chump (opponent cooperated by not sticking a second creature for a while). At the time I lost my last creature I was at 10 life. Opponent was at 2 life and had a Lashweed Lurker, lethal with the Blood Mist’s double-strike. He had no cards in hand, I had one card, Confront the Unknown so that was a 3-mana cycle effect plus my draw step for an out. I topdecked Certain Death and won.

Round 3 was versus a red-blue splash green mostly-spells deck that was built around Trail of Evidence. He drew a million cards in game one and killed me. Game 2, I ground him out after a long time. I had the Mockery of Nature in hand for ages but never found quite the right spot to kill his Trail of Evidence. I probably should have pulled the trigger on that many turns earlier. Eternal Scourge did a ton of work. I cast it from exile over and over again, making relatively premium removal such as Lightning Axe little more than an Unsummon. Shout-outs to Swift Spinner as well, she jumped in and ate a few 2-power fliers.

In game 3, opponent missed land drops for a few turns. I had 5 mana on my turn 4 via Ulvenwald Captive, while opponent was stuck on one Island and one Mountain. I chose to run out Sigarda, Heron’s Grace into his open mana and full hand. This was the one and only time I had drawn her all draft. Opponent said “OMG” in the chat window, but he had the Lightning Axe (his deck had at least 2x). I had a few other plays that probably would have been just as good from that position, could have baited out the Axe with a more vanilla creature but I decided to put him to the test.

I beat down pretty hard for a while but he did eventually start clawing back. I found out what his green splash was for: Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, so we were both splashing for a gold mythic legend. Thankfully I had a Kessig Dire Swine strapped with a True-Faith Censer and I went just big enough and wide enough to close it out. I do think I could have done it much more easily if I had been slightly more patient with the Sigarda, Heron’s Grace.

First Eldritch Moon Draft

First pass at drafting Eldritch Moon. I thought my deck was pretty good.

I got pwned in round 1 by a more aggressive deck. He had a bunch of red one-drop creatures, a Cultist’s Staff and three Thermo-Alchemists. I don’t feel like those cards should be so problematic as I look at them listed out here but the way the games played out I was on the back foot the whole time. There was a little more to it, like a play where he had two copies of Dual Shot in hand to clear out two of my creatures but, yeah: I got rekt.

rekt

Eldritch Moon Prerelease

Prerelease time! My promo foil was Eldritch Evolution, might be a thing in constructed but I went blue-white with my pool.

Round 1 vs UW: Opponent was a younger guy who I wrongfully assumed might not be great at deckbuilding and/or playing. I certainly wasn’t disrespectful or rude in my interactions with him, I’m just being honest about having that thought run through my head before we started: “Nice, a small child, easy win.”

I was justly punished for my hubris.

Game 1, I kept a hand of 5 lands plus 2 removal spells. I love making land drops and I figured I’d draw into some creatures. Opponent goes Stern Constable into Devilthorn Fox into Thalia, Heretic Cathar and I’m never really in it. Game 2, I have a little more going on but he Welcome to the Folds my Harvest Hand and even gets to keep the equipment when it dies (we had to check with a judge on that, neither of us knew how it should work).

When the Harvest Hand died, I activated my Grizzled Angler with the trigger on the stack so as to transform it. The two cards I milled were Declaration in Stone and Geralf’s Masterpiece, both of which would have gone a long way to stabilizing the game. Opponent had a Docent of Perfection out at this point, as well as just a generally superior board. It was kind of a slaughter. (0-1)

Round 2 vs RWG: Game one, opponent very quickly assembles a 7/8 with vigilance and trample (Sigardian Priest + 2x Stitcher’s Grafts + Haunted Cloak). Slight non-bo there, but still: I see my life flash before my eyes and wonder if this is how my day ends, the old 0-2 drop?

yeah

Happily, games 2 & 3 were less explosive and I got the match. We did have one small “prerelease etiquette” moment related to imprecise mechanical play on opponent’s part. He was a bit sloppy with his tapping & untapping; often tapping his vigilance guys when attacking, not untapping lands, tapping more lands than were required for a spell, etc.

Opponent is tapped out in his first main phase and then goes to make an attack. I block, planning to use Strength of Arms to kill his guy. Opponent looks down at his tapped lands and asks “Did I play anything this turn?” It seems clear that he did not mean to tap all of his lands before going to combat and now wants to untap some lands and cast a spell since I blocked. I tell him it’s no biggie and we can go back before the attack if he wants to untap his lands – but my decision to block was definitely informed by him being tapped out so I may not make that block if he changes his board state. He thinks about it for a minute and apparently decides to just take his lumps for mismanaging his lands, letting me kill his creature in combat.

I think it’s important to be easygoing at a prerelease and some amount of takesies-backsies is fine but as, I believe, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson said, “Takesies-backsies is not a suicide pact!” (1-1)

Round 3 vs WR: This one was super close and I won on turn 4 of extra turns. Definitely made a couple of choices that made things harder on myself, though. This was the first time I executed the Choking Restraints + Ironclad Slayer combo, which definitely seems like it will be “a thing” in this limited format. (2-1)

Round 4 vs UR: I had chatted with opponent about his deck a couple rounds earlier so I knew generally what he had going on. I think it’s fair to say his deck was better than mine and I consider this guy to be a little bit better player than me, to boot. I got very lucky (rather, he got very unlucky) and he drew many, many running lands in both games. Game 2 he led with two Tattered Haunters and I got to Declaration in Stone them both away; seldom that you kill multiple guys with that card in limited. Geist of the Archives was awesome, scrying land after land to the bottom. Kinda felt like I stole this match. (3-1)

Round 5 vs UW: Game one is back and forth for a little bit. He is running at least one, maybe two Convolute. That card seems okay-ish, I think I like Deny Existence a lot better in general. I play Geralf’s Masterpiece, opponent casts Imprisoned in the Moon on it. Then opponent casts his own Geralf’s Masterpiece and I cast my Imprisoned in the Moon on it. Kinda funny. Game two he has Gisela, the Broken Blade but I fortunately had an answer right away. Later in game two I got a full-value Collective Effort, killing a creature, destroying his Imprisoned in the Moon and putting counters on my team. That was pretty nice. (4-1)

Round 6 vs GBU: Our flight was 6 rounds so this was it. There were two guys at 5-0 so they immediately agreed to draw into first-second. Then there were two pairs of us at 4-1. We briefly considered whether drawing would be good for all of us but one of the dudes (not my opponent) did not quite understand how it worked and, indeed, was concerned about it being improper so he declined. I defintely respect the right of anyone to opt for playing it out but I do hope the guy doesn’t think anyone was proposing anything illegal or that he was getting sharked or anything. I didn’t check to see how his match ended up.

But anyway. Opponent had a powerful “Sultai Emerge” deck featuring an Elder Deep-Fiend and a couple other large emerge guys. We split the first two games and got into an exceedingly grindy final game. He was a little soft to fliers and I got in a couple hits with Geralf’s Masterpiece before he neutered it with a Spontaneous Mutation. I was flooding out quite a bit, but that did allow me to easily pay for the Convolute he played on the Masterpiece. The ground was clogged up badly and his creatures were larger than mine so the tide was starting to turn his way. I had a Sigardian Priest removing one big guy from combat each turn, and Lamplighter of Selhoff wearing the Stitcher’s Graft was a good blocker.

I found a spot to chump block with my 0-power Geralf’s Masterpiece while it had low enough toughness to die, sending it to the graveyard. I had sandbagged a few cards in hand and used them to return Geralf’s Masterpiece to the battlefield on his end step. This was no genius play on my part, opponent just forgot about what Geralf’s Masterpiece did. Or, giving him more credit, he knew that he wasn’t going to win by *not* bashing with his huge creatures so what else was he going to do? Maybe by the time I made that move he would have drawn an answer. As it turned out, one last swing with the big blue flier was enough. (5-1)

I got 4th, for 10 packs. I’ve been letting my kids crack my packs with me for funsies. Genny really likes reading the flavor text on these Innistrad cards, hinting at spooky stories. Her favorite is Tormenting Voice.

My pulls were pretty great:

deece pulls

Later that evening we went to Alamo Drafthouse for a late showing of The Burning, the classic 1981 proto-slasher featuring a young Jason Alexander. All in all, a pretty great day.