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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Jul 16 2015 12:00pm
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      I have been writing about Standard pretty exclusively but that does not mean that I haven't been enjoying other formats. I love playing Modern and Legacy in paper magic and wanted to build solid decks online for me to test for the real world tournaments that I play weekly.

When I heard that there would be a Modern festival I was pretty excited and really wanted to take part in that thinking it would be a great way to build my collection and work towards fulfilling the goal of getting QP's so I could someday take part in a MOCS.


      I wanted to choose a deck that I knew and thought had a good chance of getting me the wins that I coveted. Unfortunately I ignored the first half of that sentence and just focused on a deck that I figured would get me those wins. What deck did I choose? I decided to jump on the Grixis bandwagon and I sleeved up this.



      I changed a few cards due to budget constraints but nothing that really affected how the deck played. I also played a full set of Snapcaster Mage. I just really enjoyed the value he gave and wanted it more often. I tested the deck a ton and thought I felt comfortable with it and then decided to take it into my first Modern Festival Preliminary.


      I won round 1 and was feeling pretty confident (more-so cocky) and that high transferred into the next round and after 2 rounds I was 2-0. At that point I really wished it was 4 rounds thinking that I could definitely squeeze in another win and happily be 3-1 but alas these events were 5 rounds and I needed to play tight and continue my little win streak. Round 3 came and when I saw my opponent played an Urza's Tower I was pretty excited thinking that I could easily get a 3rd win. However a turn 3 Wurmcoil Engine that I had no answer for ended the game in a few turns. For game 2, I thought I would be slick and side in my Blood Moons hoping to mess up his mana. I got a fast start, with a turn 2 Tasigur, The Golden Fang but I drew no overpriced red enchantments and I lost to his Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

Round 4 I was up against the mirror match and it came down to poor draws and sequencing on my side and great play by my opponent. So after 4 rounds it was a 2-2 drop for me.


      I tried to shake off that performance but instead of learning from my play mistakes I ignored them. The next day I loaded up the same deck and had the same lackluster performance. Though this time I was destroyed by burn and then 3 other Grixis matches. I was feeling pretty frustrated but I tried to figure out what happened.


     The deck seemed fine but it never really was my cup of tea. I am not a huge fan of those type of tempo decks. In paper I was happily playing a straight UW control list that is really good in the meta but when I played it online it just seemed different. Which is why I went toward Grixis to begin with. After some thought I tore apart the Grixis Delver deck and sold all of my blue Modern staples. That left me with quite a few tix and a need for a new deck. Finally I came to my senses and built this. 

     This was good enough to top 8 at a GP and the deck is definitely in my wheelhouse. I have been playing Legacy Death and Taxes for years and honestly this is not too far off from the mana and resource denial. I made a few minor changes by taking out a Spellskite, and putting in a Brimaz, King of Oreskos and taking out a Flickerwisp and putting in a Restoration Angel. Otherwise I really liked how the deck was put together. It is very good against both Tron and Amulet Bloom which are still represented in high numbers online. The other decks that seem to be popular are Burn, Delver, and Control variants. I think this deck is good against all of those match ups and I decided it would be a good deck choice.

     So once again it was time for me to try and take on a Modern Festival Preliminary. This one felt a lot better and sometimes the deck can just have an aggro draw and you can punish your opponent with the random hatebears that you draw. After 4 rounds I was 3-1 and just had to win 1 more so I could gain entry to the Modern Festival. Game 1 was kinda quick as I was able to get out a bunch of beaters and destroy most of his lands. From the little that I saw I thought he was on UR twin. I sideboarded accordingly and hoped for another quick game. Well it was another quick game but this time on his end and I learned that he was on Grixis Twin when he used Kolaghan's Command to blow up my Aether Vial making my hand pretty terrible as I was stuck on 1 land and relying way too heavily on the vial. 

     Game 3 and I knew I had to play tight and was unsure if he left his combo in or out due to me being killed by Tasigur and burn in game 2. I kept a decent hand and got to work. Let me set the scene. I was at 24 life thanks to my Kitchen Finks and I had 2 other creatures out. He was at 1, on his board he had 6 lands 2 cards in hand and a Pestermite. I was pretty happy at this point so all I had to do was attack and even if he flashed another creature in to tap 1 down he would still lose his Pestermite. So I click my mouse... but I it appeared I clicked too many times and then the attack step was gone. I was pretty annoyed but I figured I would still be ok. Then he untapped quickly tapped 4 lands and played Splinter Twin. I normally do not go on "tilt" but him typing LOL did not help matters. I made him go through the combo and then shut down MTGO for the day. I had no other times available for me to play in another Prelim and knew that the goal of going to the finals was shot down in a blaze of embarrassing not so much glory.

     Losing is not fun. I think we all know that, but there is still a lesson in it. I learned some valuable things from this pretty crummy experience. Maybe my mistakes can help you out as well.

Lesson 1. Play what you know and what you are really comfortable with. This is super important when that 1 tournament really matters and you need to place well. If you are playing for fun then try whatever you want and have as much fun as possible.

Lesson 2. Pay attention to what you are doing and do not get easily distracted. I have a daughter and watching her is my first priority but I often do way too many things when I play MTGO and don't always give it the same attention I do when I am at a paper tourney. That is most likely my biggest flaw online and it is something I am really trying to work on. Even when testing I have music or T.V or something else that I am working on get in the way. I really need to get into a zone or something and if you guys have any suggestions I would love to hear them. 

     I am still playing Standard heavily both in paper and online though this week I am on vacation so for the first time in almost a year I haven't played magic in days. (feels really weird) I now have that 1 modern deck and will continue to work on more and now I have Legacy Death and Taxes as well though without the Wastelands and Rishadan Ports it is not at the same power level but it seems to be ok with the Leonin Arbiter and Ghost Quarter combo. I am looking forward to the new set and the chance to play mono white in every format. We will see how that goes.  Until next time!


One thing I've found that by TheKidsArentAlright at Thu, 07/16/2015 - 21:27
TheKidsArentAlright's picture

One thing I've found that really helps me concentrate is any kind of instrumental music. You just want some sort of background noise that you aren't really going to pay attention to. The Black Mages and Deadmau5 are two of my favorites for this. It's something I picked up from a WoW buddy when we were pushing for server firsts. It really helped for that and I've continued to use it to great effect ever since.

Thanks! by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 07/16/2015 - 23:24
Plainswalker83's picture

That sounds like solid advice, I appreciate it.