BYOS Season Two Wrap Up
|by Nafiz Erman
Hello dear readers and welcome back to Rogue Play. The second season of BYOS has ended after sixteen weeks of battling. This Sunday there will be the big "Season Finale" which will determine the champion of the season. I will cover that big tournament next week, but this week I want to warm you up a bit. It's been sometime since I last wrote here about BYOS and I believe that now that the second season has ended, it's once again the perfect time for it.
First of all, for newcomers and for those who are still wondering what the heck BYOS is, here are a few useful links:
Rogue Play - Self Service: In this article I explain what BYOS is, when and where the tournaments are happening etc... All the basic information you need to know about the format. I'd say take a look at it because it has some very useful information.
Rogue Play - Wrapping Up the BYOS Season: This article has tons of good decks that people played during the first season as well as the report of the first season's "Grand Finale". Our fellow Puremtgo writer Flippers_Giraffe won the final tournament (beating me at the semi final) and became the first season's champion.
Rogue Play - Your Guide to BYOS Season Two, Part I: In this first part, I go through all the sets from Ice Age to Onslaught and show you all the best deck options you can choose for BYOS. There are tons of useful information so don't miss it.
Rogue Play - Your Guide to BYOS Season Two, Part II: I conclude the guide and cover all the blocks from Mirrodin to Zendikar as well as all the core sets. Another great source of information if you are looking for deck ideas.
Okay those are the links for you to check later. Right now all you need to know is this: BYOS (Build Your Own Standard) is an unofficial format where you choose two main blocks (for example Mirage + Onslaught) and then add a core set to the mix (Seventh Edition for example) and build a deck out of that card pool. It's so far the most exciting and fun format I ever played and this has several reasons:
1- The options are endless: Apart from the MED sets which aren't allowed in BYOS, the format uses Classic's card pool. And that basically means tons and tons and TONS of deck possibilities.
BYOS is so exciting!
2- The format is healthy: The format may have the card pool of Classic (almost that is), but unlike Classic where you can do some really sick things within the first few turns, you can't really "blow up the table" in BYOS; at least not that early. All of those broken(!) Classic decks use cards from many different blocks and that is what makes them so powerful. In BYOS, however, all you have is two blocks and a core set.
Besides, the format also do have a Banned List which prevents some really broken things from happening.
3- There are no netdecks (as well as netdeckers) in the format: Unlike today's "real" Standard, in BYOS there is no such thing as "netdeck". So you don't get frustrated because you lose to some random guy playing exactly the same seventh five cards that just won a Pro Tour. BYOS is all about being creative and all what people play is all what they can come up with by themselves.
4- No $500,00 worth decks are needed: As BYOS has a very large card pool, budget players can find tons of different possibilities that can both win and that are cheap. Below you will see a lot decks from various weeks that made to the final Top-4. When you see some of them, you will understand what I mean.
5- BYOS is played to win!: The above number four may make you think that BYOS is a casual format that is only played by budget players. However this isn't entirely true. In BYOS tournaments people are totally free to bring the BEST deck they can. Force of Will, Tarmogoyf, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and other such powerful cards are no strangers to BYOS tournaments, and the power level of decks is really above average. But I also witnessed those decks losing to a $10,00 worth Empty the Warrens storm deck too and that's the beauty of the format.
So these are the main reasons why you should try this format. I personally like it a lot because this format is exactly THE format where I can show BOTH my deckbuilding skills AND my playing skills. If one is a very good pilot but a horrible deck builder, then that person will have hard times in BYOS tournaments. Similarly, if he can build excellent decks but lacks the skill to play them, he will once again not win easily in BYOS. And this is personally why I like this format so much. One needs to be good in both deck building AND in playing.
And right at this point a big thanks to clan Yawgmoth for hosting this event and a bigger thanks to KillerOwen and to bluedragon123 for their continuous support. If one day BYOS will have a big player base and support from WotC, it all will be because of you two. So thank you!
Okay that's enough advertisement of the format. Let's take a detailed look at the decks of Season Two. First I will show you the decks I played the whole season and then will show you some really good decks of others.
SEASON TWO - WEEK ONE / WEEK THREE / WEEK SIX
Deck Name: Fantasic Four
Deck Style: Planeswalker Control
Blocks: ALA + ZEN + M10
Before I start talking about my own performance in Season Two, I actually should remind you what I did in Season One. I finished the season, which was again sixteen weeks long, at the third place. Then the Season Finale took place and I finished in Top-4. I had a very successful first season and I wanted Season Two to be a better one.
During my first three appearances in BYOS, I played the same deck which was a Planeswalker Control deck we knew from Standard. It was the deck to beat in Standard back then, and I simply thought that it would be good enough to win in BYOS as well. I was sooooo wrong!
These three tournaments reminded me of something I forgot a long time ago: What makes a deck good is the meta it is played in. This is especially true for Standard decks. Back then that planeswalker.dec was a Tier-1 deck in Standard, but BYOS was a different story. Here we had tons of different cards, different combinations and I saw that this wasn't the best deck for the format.
During the first tournament I went 2-1 and couldn't make it to the Top-4. On week three I adjusted the deck a bit and went 1-2 this time! Normally I never play the same deck twice, but I insisted making to Top-4 with this deck and therefore I tweaked it again and brought it once again to the table; this time I was in Top-4.
This looks good, right? You'd think that one should easily win this list, right? But you're wrong. I thought so too and I too was wrong. I lost to Storm decks, I lost to Tooth and Nail, I lost to... I don't even remember the rest. I so badly wanted to reach to Top-4 with this deck and finally on week six I did that.
And you know what was funny? That week's tournament was a single elimination tournament. Normally it's a Swiss and then the top four players battle for the title. So I won a game and I was in Top-4! I have no idea what would have happened if this would have been a regular Swiss tournament.
The second season really started horrible for me.
SEASON TWO - WEEK NINE
Deck Name: Korlash's Vampires
Deck Style: Mono Black Control
Blocks: TSP + ZEN + M10
My next appearance was on week nine. So far this was a very bad season for me. Until this week, we had eight winners and none was me. So far we had eight Top-4 lists and my name only showed once in those lists. Which was something I couldn't tolerate of course.
And I was also wondering what people were thinking of me at that point. During Season One I was a feared opponent. I never stayed out of Top-4 and won most of those tournaments I played in. People knew back then, that a game against me was going to be really tough. But now? Eight weeks and no winnings. Maybe I wasn't so tough anymore. Maybe a game against me wasn't such a bad thing after all. Maybe... well, I had to end those "maybe"s. On week nine, I was there to win and to win only.
Oh, and I did win after all. With this:
That was a satisfying 5-0 streak to the victory.
Winning felt really good and yes, I was still a feared opponent.
SEASON TWO - WEEK ELEVEN
Deck Name: Eldrazi Invasion
Deck Style: Mono White Control
Blocks: MRD + ZEN + 9th Ed.
This week what I brought to the table was a Mono White Eldrazi deck. This one to be exact:
Sadly I went 1-2 with this deck and once again missed the Top-4 which was totally surprising for me.
Actually my testing results were all okay. I was winning against Aggro and I was winning easily against Control. But my two losses in the tournament were neither against Aggro nor Control. I lost to a VERY fast RDW and to a Combo deck. Exactly the two type of decks I knew that could give me a headache.
Actually I was optimistic during the match against RDW; especially after winning the first game without even having my Dragon's Claws in the deck. Then I brought them in too and I was so sure that I was going to win. I mean, I had Kabira Crossroads, Dragon's Claw and Sun Droplet in deck. What could possibly go wrong?! Well, sadly my opponent was very fast in game two and three and never gave me the opportunity to recover.
And then I lost to the well known Heartbeat of Spring combo deck. I had no way to battle Combo in my deck and the loss was inevitable. I was very well prepared against Aggro decks and Control decks but sadly played against some really tough decks.
Ah well, I can't win always, can I?
Well actually, yes I can. As you will see in a moment.
SEASON TWO - WEEK TWELVE
Deck Name: Jace Control
Deck Style: Mono Blue Permission
Blocks: TE - ZEN - 5th Ed.
I always say that I'm a true Blue mage and this week I was going to prove that. I was going to play a mono Blue permission deck that week but I had a problem; mass removal. Blue always likes White but not because White is a nice guy and because it's fun to hang out with him, but because being friends with White gives Blue access to mass removal. But Blue alone has difficulties against decks with lots of creatures.
For sometime I thought of using Evacuation but that was not the solution to my problems. Then I tested All is Dust but it was also destroying my Jace, the Mind Sculptor! I had to find another way and in fact I did. What I was looking for was actually in Fifth Edition; it was the dreaded and infamous Nevinyrral's Disk.
And so my deck was complete.
I told you that I'm a Blue mage, right? And this is my proof. Oh and what happened? Who won the event?
I won the event but this wasn't so easy. During the swiss rounds, I lost to that Heartbeat of Spring deck from last week; it was a horrible 0-2 loss. But luckily for me, its pilot lost during the semi final and thus I avoided that Combo deck in the final. Had I played it once again in the final, most probably I was going to lose again to it.
But that did not happen and I won! And was it fun? Oh you bet it was!
So yes, I had huge fun.
SEASON TWO - WEEK THIRTEEN
Deck Name: Sneaky Eldrazi
Deck Type: Sneak Attack Combo
Blocks: UZ + ZEN + M11
After winning with a very slow deck the previous week, I decided to win with something very fast this week. I decided to throw big Eldrazi giants to the domes of my opponents!
And before you ask... yup, it was tons of fun!
Here's the deck that I built:
I once again won the tournament but it definately wasn't that easy. During the swiss rounds I lost against a very good Psychatog deck and it was again the same deck at the final. Our first meeting ended 1-2 but this time I was more prepared and did the right sideboarding and won 2-0 this time.
Just at the beginning I said that those broken Combo decks do not exist in BYOS. Well, that was true of course but partially. If you are clever enough, you can build "copies" of those decks for BYOS. Surely Sneak Attack decks in Classic play tons of stuff that I cannot in BYOS (due to the "two main blocks and a core set" restriction), but there is always a way. Preordain, See Beyond, Gamble and Treasure Hunt were all the correct choices and with their help I had the pleasure of cheating a third turn Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play.
Surely that Psychatog deck with lots of counter magic and bounce spells gave me a hard time (and even won our first meeting 1-2), but in the end I managed to emerge victorious once again.
SEASON TWO - WEEK FOURTEEN
Deck Name: Affinity for Mishra
Deck Type: Aggro
Blocks: MRD + TSP + M11
After winning two weeks in a row, I decided to slow down a bit and to have fun. The points I gathered so far were already enough to secure me an invitation for the big Season Finale, and therefore for this week I decided to bring a totally fun deck to the table.
This was also the week when I was very busy testing Extended decks for my articles. I wrote one recently (this one), which also had a deck I built around Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, and that deck gave me an inspiration for a fun BYOS deck.
But as I was free to use any block with Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, I obviously chose to play Mirrodin. And just for Steel Overseer, I also added M11 to the mix.
Well that one and Phylactery Lich too of course.
And how did the tournament go? Well, I went 1-2 and once again stayed outside of Top-4. But you know what? That week I wasn't there to win only. I also wanted to have fun and I had huge fun with this deck. Actually I lost my first match 1-2, then won 2-0 and finally lost 1-2 again. Which means that I won four games and lost four games as well. Which also shows that it wasn't such a bad idea. Surely the banned list prevents abusing some of the most important parts of Affinity decks, but it was fun nevertheless.
Oh, and here's the deck I played.
So yes, I had my fun. Round one I won my first game but then lost the other two to Krosan Grip and Trygon Predator, and round three I lost to a very fast Aggro deck; even faster than mine. Seriously, Krosan Grip should be banned!! Especially during those times when I'm playing with lots of artifacts!
SEASON TWO - WEEK FIFTEEN
Deck Name: Doran Rocks
Deck Type: Aggro
Blocks: LRW - ALA - 10th Ed.
After one week of "having fun" and "chilling out" and "relaxing", I was once again there to win. And to do that, I had the known Doran Rock deck at my disposal. This one to be exact:
Nothing too fancy, nothing unheard of. Just the list back from last year's Standard. Well what can I say, sometimes I get seduced by the sheer power and appeal of some netdecks. Hey! I'm human as well!
The tournament went fairly nice and it was one other 5-0 streak to victory for me. Doran, the Siege Tower is an incredible creature and the deck performed very well.
|Storm decks are surely very fast but my Doran deck is faster. Game ends on turn four and Lord Erman wins.
One interesting note: Four out of my five matches ended 2-1. I don't know why but I always lost a game. The only game that ended 2-0 was against a Polymorph deck. I won game one pretty fast and in game two Gaddock Teeg shut down his nasty high cost spells (Polymorph and Summoning Trap) and so the match ended 2-0.
And so there I was with another satisfying win. And for the last week of the season, I decided to visit an old friend.
SEASON TWO - WEEK SIXTEEN
Deck Name: Orzhov Control
Deck Style: Control
Blocks: INV - RAV - M11
Orzhov Control is one of my all time favorite strategies and with it I even won a tournament back in Season One. That one was a RAV / ZEN / 9th Ed. deck that I built around Luminarch Ascension. I was clearing the table with my never-ending removal spells, clearing the opponent's hand with my discard spells, filling my hand with Phyrexian Arena and killing my opponent with my Luminarch Ascension's Angel tokens. If somehow that plan was failing, I was then killing my opponent with my Angel of Despair(s).
That was a very successful deck and for this week I decided to re-visit it. But of course I was not going to play the same deck again; that would have been totally against my own rules (Lord Erman house rules: No same deck twice)! So I tweaked it. I kept RAV as one of my main blocks but then replaced ZEN with INV, and replaced 9th Ed. with M11.
And after everything was finished, I ended up with this:
Looks nice, no?
Well, during the swiss rounds I first won against an Allies deck 2-0, then round two I lost to a Mystical Teachings deck 0-2 and then round three I played against one other Allies deck and managed to win 2-1 this time (this one was very close!). Actually this was a very interesting tournament because there were like four or five Allies decks in the tournament.
|Slaying some allies.
After slaying two Allies decks and going 2-1 during the swiss rounds, the tournament cut to Top-8. I finished the swiss rounds at sixth spot out of twenty players, and in my first match of Top-8 I got paired against a... uhm, I don't know against what I got paired because my opponent left the tournament just before our game was about to start. Strange. So I automatically won against a "I have no idea what he was playin'.dec", and we moved onto Top-4.
My opponent in this match was bluedragon123, who is also the host of the tournament, and he was playing his famous Sea Stompy deck (you'll find his list below). After getting beating by a huge and shrouded Giant Solifuge in game one, I managed to win the other two games with my Baneslayer Angels and my Grave Titan and his zombie horde; but more importantly I won those games with my discard spells and my removal spells I played during early turns. Those kept me alive long enough to bring in my big beaters.
My opponent in the final was once again the same player with the Mystical Teachings deck (to whom I lost during the swiss rounds). Well, as you can guess, the result was once again 0-2. The problem here is that Mystical Teachings decks draw an insane amount of cards. My discard spells were therefore useless, my removal spells were always countered and my creatures destroyed, and this result was inevitable.
Ah well, let me lose once in the final, will ya'?
Okay dear readers, and that was the last deck of mine of the season. But before I move onto the other players' decks, there is one question I must answer.
Why do I build so many decks?
Well, the answer is simple: I'm a deckbuilding addict. I have to build decks. Always and non-stop. But as any other Johnny/Spike hybrid out there, I take the next step and play them in tournaments. I want to win just like any other Spike, but I also want to win with something original.
And do you know what the biggest satisfaction is dear readers? Well, I will not tell you what it is. I will show that to you.
For me dear readers, there is no bigger satisfaction than this.
And now it's time for some other great BYOS decks.
What you saw above, were some wicked creations of my twisted mind. And now in this part I will show you what other mages brought to the battlefield. Some are particularly interesting.
Oh and by the way, all the decks you'll see below are decks that made it to the Top-4 and that won prizes. Just a reminder.
Okay, I want to start with this:
Tooth and Nail was also in my "to play sometime" list but it wasn't a priority; it was somewhere below that list. Actually I always wondered whether this could be a good deck for BYOS or not, but after getting "disintegrated" by it and after watching it win the whole thing, that question of mine was answered. So yes, Tooth and Nail is a good option for BYOS!
Next I have two decks played by Flippers_Giraffe:
Here's the thing: After you get to know someone, you also get to know what to expect from him. Take me for example; if you see me in a tournament you should actually know what I'm playing. Unless I'm hanging out with
Dora the Explorer Doran, the Siege Tower, I'm most definately playing Control. I mean, I always play Control! And the same is kind of true for Flippers_Giraffe as well.
I rarely see him playing an Aggro deck or a Control deck. He most of the time plays this or that kind of Combo deck. And he's good at that! So if you see him in a Standard tournament, you can be sure that he's playing a Pyromancer Ascension deck. If you see him in an Extended event, then he's either playing Ad Nauseam or Scapeshift. And if you see him in a BYOS tournament... well, only he knows what he plays!
Here's another example of him:
You see? Only Flippers is capable of coming up with this kind of deck and only he is capable of piloting it to Top-4. I mean come on, four Wheel and Deals?! Who else would have thought about it?!
Here's another Combo deck played by another player:
I was expecting someone to play the Stuffy Doll / Guilty Conscience deck but I wasn't so sure how well it would do in BYOS. The result? A warm and fuzzy spot in Top-4 of course!
Okay we've seen enough Combo. Let's change the archtype. Let's switch to something fast; something really fast.
Let's switch to the GOBOS!
Goblins, goblins, goblins and more goblins. Those little stupid green buggers are really good in swarming the opponent and finishing him off very quickly, and this deck is another proof of this fact. I think I would personally choose Tempest over Urza's Saga for a wider range of useful Goblins, but then I can understand how charming(!!!!) those Goblin Lackeys and Goblin Matrons look like.
And now I have something really interesting.
Right at the beginning I told you that $500,00 decks are not needed in BYOS to earn prizes. And this deck is my proof. I mean look at it, it's the most budget friendly deck you can ever see. And how well did it do? Well, this deck came second on week five and lost to the Goblins deck just above.
I hope you are satisfied now. I hope now you know that money isn't winning in BYOS but ideas do. And if you are not still convinced, let's examine this one then:
Apart from being a very budget friendly deck that makes frequently to Top-4 in BYOS, there is one other thing I must mention about this deck too. I played against this one several times and I do know what I'm saying: Game one is a typical game against Goblins. If the pilot wins, then the deck stays for game two and three. If he doesn't like what you play, if he thinks he cannot win with his Goblins, then he switches to a different deck. And how?
Just look at his sideboard for crying out loud!! That's a different deck sitting there!
So you side in all your anti Red cards, your mass removal spells and whatnot, and what happens? There are no Goblins around! All of a sudden his deck turns in to a Megrim deck with some burn back up. And you watch either Megrim or Bloodchief Ascension killing you with all your Pyroclasms in hand and your Circle of Protection: Reds on table!
Very clever. Very interesting. This above is truely one of my favorite decks of Season Two.
Okay next I have two really good decks. Remember just above I told you that a Psychatog deck gave me a very hard time? Well, here's that one:
This deck is good. I mean, it's really good.
One other very good deck, which happens to be the last one I'm going to show you in this article, is this one:
This deck became bluedragon123's signature deck. I personally love it because it has everything; it has some real gigantic beaters, it has burn, it has counterspells... I mean, what else there is to have?! And that lone Intet, the Dreamer in the sideboard looks extra sexy!
WRAPPING UP THE WRAP UP
And that was Season Two of this fabulous format called Build Your Own Standard dear readers. I think that I personally did very well during the season. My start was a bit awful, but then I pulled myself together, did what I always do best (which is building decks!), and eventually finished the season within Top-3 out of almost fifty players.
By the way, a big congrats to the host of the tournament, bluedragon123, who finished the normal season on top of us all.
But everything will be decided this weekend. What I did so far, what others did so far, is in a way meaningless. BYOS will have one champion and that person will be decided this weekend. Which actually brings me to...
NEXT WEEK ON ROGUE PLAY
BYOS Season Two Finale
The Season Finale will happen this Sunday. The tournament is an invitation-only tournament but no invitation is needed to watch the games! If all what I showed you in this article was interesting for you, then just be in the Anything Goes Room this Sunday at 1:00PM EST. And while the best players of Season Two are fighting for the title, you will have a chance to observe the format and watch some real action!
You will see what's going on, you will meet the players, see what they play and will have a general idea about the format. And who knows, maybe after seeing players in action, you will find this format interesting and we will then see you in Season Three!
You know what they say; never say never.
Thanks for reading.
See you online
Nafiz Erman, aka Lord Erman