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By: BlippyTheSlug, Volker Kirstein
Dec 21 2011 1:26am
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Firing Off TWO Modern SEs (formerly DEs) in One Day! 

 And so it began, not with a whimper, but with a mighty ROAR!. We managed to get two (Count 'em! Two!) Modern SEs fired off on the 11th of December. I took the following Zoo deck for a ride, and failed miserably. While I would love to blame the shuffler, and poor draws, the fact of the matter is that the "power" cards in this deck were borrowed from a clan member, along with three shocklands from another player, on the day of the event. So I only had a few hours to get to know how to play this particular deck. I can only blame myself in the end. Or could it be that the meta has evolved to hate Zoo? Judge for yourself.


 One would think Zoo is pretty straightforward: turn your creatures sideways and smash face. But I managed to do this wrong somehow.

Event #3137375

 This event fired off with sixteen players. I didn't keep track of who my opponents were, because at this point of the event, I hadn't considered writing this article yet. I remember the games clearly, but cannot for the life of me remember who my opponents were. I used opponent names from the results page for this event, based on the decks I saw across from me. My apologies, and in future SEs that I might play in, I will keep better notes! 

Round 1

 I faced a Storm deck. In game one I was on the play. My opponent managed to combo off on his turn two with a god hand, and plopped down umpteen Goblin tokens. I had one blocker out when he went off, and got a second one out on my turn. But by then it was too late. Goblin pie was force fed into my gullet at an alarming rate, and I was dead on his turn four. 0-1

 I sided out one each of Bloodbraid Elf, Blightning, and Tribal Flames, and sided in three Gaddock Teegs. My opponent fiddled as I played creature after creature, including a turn three Gaddock Teeg He managed to combo off a Grapeshot storm, but not enough for lethal, and I killed him by turn six. 1-1

 I left the deck as it was, taking time to smoke half a cigarette to make it seem like I was sideboarding, and the third game was pretty much a rehash of the second. 2-1

 I was feeling good about the deck, and thought I might stand a chance! But pride cometh before the fall...

Round 2

 It started out bad. I was sitting across from either timthetornado or DMKking. I was on the draw, and had a Goblin Guide, Knight of the Reliquary, Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, and three fetches in hand. To me, it seemed like a decent hand, and in many matchups, it would be. Then, suddenly there was Darksteel Citadel, Memnite, Ornithopter, Signal Pest, and Mox Opal across from me. I knew I was in trouble. I drew a Gideon Jura, fetched a Sacred Foundry, paid two life, and exiled the Pest. I believe that was a mistake in retrospect. I somehow got my formats confused and thought "he doesn't have any basic lands". But this is not Pauper, and out came a Mountain. On his turn he laid an Inkmoth Nexus, and brought out another Pest, and a Vault Skirge. Oh boy. I drew an Overgrown Tomb, fetched a Temple Garden, brought it in tapped, and bolted the Pest. Out comes Arcbound Ravager and Cranial Plating. I drew another bolt, fetched a Forest, and laid out the Knight hoping to mitigate some of the damage. My knight was promptly Dispatched into exile. It continued on in this fashion for another two turns, and I was dead. 0-1

 I sided out all three Planewalkers for Ancient Grudge. My opponent had dud draws, and I had good ones, because I managed to win that game by the skin of my teeth with four poison counters on me. Ancient Grudge came in handy, and served me well. I thought to myself "I may be able to pull this off!"  1-1

 Game three found me leaving the deck as sided for game two. I was on the play, and had to mulligan to five before I saw a land. A land. I paid two life to have my Sacred Foundry come in untapped, and swung with my Goblin Guide. My opponent dropped a Mountain and some artifacts, and Galvanic Blasted my Guide. It went downhill fast after that. 1-2

Round 3

 Again, I was sitting across the table from the other one of either timthetormnado or DMKking. Game one I'm on the draw, keep a decent hand, and felt my heart sink when suddenly there was Darksteel Citadel, Memnite, Ornithopter, and Signal Pest across from me before I even draw a card, again! At least there wasn't a Mox. Yet. I won't bore you with the details of this one, because it was basically a replay of Round Two.

 After my second match loss, I dropped with a record of 1-2. I put myself in queue immediately for the next SE, because I believed this deck could still show decently. After all, wasn't Zoo the flagship deck of Modern? Isn't it the "most powerful" deck in the format? This gave me a little time so that I could playtest the deck some more. Perhaps to see if I couldn't learn how to pilot it a little better as well.

Event #3137387
 We had twenty players join this event! Woo hoo! 
Round 1
 Here I sat, across from apaulogy, who had confided in me pre-event that he was running Esper Control. I know the only way to beat control is to come in swinging hard and fast, and beat it to the ground before it can stabilize and turn the tables. In game one, I managed to do this. 1-0
 In game 2, I boarded out all four paths for two Searing Blaze and two Tormod's Crypt. I only saw a few critters come out Spellstutter Sprite and Vendilion Clique, so figured I'd be better off doing damage than exiling, and also to prevent Think Twice from flashbacking. I came out hard and fast again, and got him down to low single digits, but he managed to stabilize, and start turning the tables. With Esper Charms and Cryptic Commands, he was managing to keep his hand reasonably full, while I was reduced to topdeck mode. I knew there was no way to come back at this point, as everything I tried was being rendered useless. Rather than prolong the agony, I conceded the game to go to game three. 1-1
 Game three, I left the deck with the same configuration as game 2. I managed to get him even lower before he stabilized, and it was close going. I was this close to finishing him off before he managed to stablize. Topdecking a bolt could have given me the win, but no such luck. With him teetering on the brink of death, he turned it around and strangled me. 1-2
Round 2
 In round two, I faced a RDW deck piloted by alex79008. In game one he blasted me over and over again, much too quickly for me to do anything other than scream for mercy. Lightning Bolting my Goblin Guide or Wild Nacatl, followed by a Brimstone Volley was tearing me a new one in five life chunks, much too fast for me to deal with. It was over by turn five. 0-1
 For game two, I boarded out three Blightning for three Searing Blaze, because his hand was emptying fast in the first game, and I'd much rather pop the Stormblood Berserker I had seen in first game. I had a god hand, and managed to beat him down hard and fast, though it was a close game. Blood Moon came out, but I already had beasts on the board when it came, so it didn't hurt me too badly. I was still in the low single digits when I finally managed to kill him. 1-1
 I left the deck as it was from round two for the next game, and it was nailbiter that has us both down to bolt range and "empty" (I think he had two lands in hand) hands by turn 5, where we topdecked useless cards for a while in a race to see who could do something first. I actually had a full hand, but he had layed out a Blood Moon which made my manabase useless. This "race for a bolt" is one that favors RDW. And sure enough, he drew the damage he needed, and finished me. 1-2
 Since I was out of the running, again, I dropped, and played around with the deck some more. While I still think Blightning is an awesome card to splash B for, I feel I missing some "key concept", and for the life of me, still can't figure out exactly what that is. Maybe it was trying to incorporate some damage/discard strategies in a Zoo deck. Maybe I should go for more B and some disruption rather than Goblin Guide. Maybe it was poor sideboarding. I'm still hurting from the beating I took.
 I have looked in on the SE room (Menu > Play > Tournaments > Scheduled Events) at random times throughout the week, and a few more have fired, and continue to fire. I know that others, as well as myself, plan on continuing to promote these informal weekend SE parties. It's wonderful to see Modern being played! And I had a great time, even if I did fall flat. And I hope to see you there, as well! 

Punishing Fire and Wild Nacatl Hit by M'banor!

 The December 20th Banned and Restricted List came out, and Punishing Fire and Wild Nacatl both were smashed under the mighty banhammer. We will see what happens to Zoo now. 

Eurodrive! #9 Round-up
 This is the winning deck as piloted by grapplingfarang, who also won the very first Eurodrive! with Elves, for his second Eurodrive! championship. This is one of those brutal decks that wrenches and disrupts it's opponent's hand, then proceeds to lay a smackdown. Thoughtseize and Blightning keep opponents hands low, and Liliana of the Veil is an all-star. (As well as being sexy and "all that"!) The big beaters are in here as well. It is more than a little disheartening to see Goyf into Finks into Bloodbraiding another Goyf into one or more Demigod of Revenge bearing down on one's exposed throat!
 WU Caw Blade showed up, piloted by apaulogy, giving everyone nightmares. The Birds! Many of you young folks might not be familiar with this particular movie. After all, it's in black and white. But still, a true classic, straddling that fine border between horror and sci-fi. If you haven't seen it, please feel free to. I give it two thumbs up.
 Anyway, in true Hitchcockian style, this deck pecked it's opponents to death all the way to the finals, where it flew into the side of the Rock.
 Again, I have to say I am not much of a control guy. I have no idea what to comment on in these two decks. Both seem like solid enough builds to me, and both seem to be focused on delay and strangle and dig for answers. I understand that a lot of players like this strategy, and I dabble with it from time to time, but it doesn't suit my mind set. I'm more of an in-your-face kind of player, and like to turn creatures sideways. 
 So, that being said, here are the two semifinalists, which both happen to be WUB (aka Esper) control decks.
 This Teachings deck, piloted by Anihilus, relived Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, being pecked to death in the semifinals.
 BEAFy piloted this Esper Control deck, only to be crushed under the Rock in the semifinals.
Overdrive! #25 Round-up
 The winning deck as piloted by SomeViet. This is the infamous Martyr-Proc rendition of the Soul Sisters skeleton. It definitely has game. With Ranger of Eos to dig up threats, and Proclamation of Rebirth to bring them back, this deck is almost unstoppable in its relentless, lifegaining grind against your soul!
 This "kinder, gentler machine gun hand" version of the Jund Rock was piloted by Asia, but it was unable to grind it out against the lifegain of Martyr-Proc. With more emphasis on control, and a distinct lack of big beaters (other than the ubiquitious Tarmogoyf), this deck did very well against the field!
 FallenCherub continued his exploration of the dark side of RDW, and came prepared with this nasty brew. It certainly put on the hurts, but couldn't burn SomeViet's Martyr-Proc fast enough. Tattermunge Maniac over something like Goblin Guide is an interesting choice. I asked FallenCherub about this, and he told me it was what he had on hand. With some tweaking, this could be an excellent mid-range deck.
 With some modifications to the mainboard, Anihilus brought his Snappy Teachings back for another go 'round. Unfortunately, he fared no better than he did in Eurodrive!: strangling his opponents and clawing to the semifinals, only to be crushed under the Jund Rock of Asia. At least he wasn't pecked to death by The Birds! this time.
Interesting Tidbits
 In last week's article, I called bluedragon123's deck "Dark Zoo". In actuality it was a Rock deck. My apologies for the confusion. I have since studied up on the matter, and should be able to make the more correct call in future events.
 Rock appears to making a comeback, or maybe now that I know what I'm looking for I'm just seeing it more. Control also seems to be appearing in increasing numbers.
 The complete meta/results for Eurodrive! #9 can be found here, and for Overdrive! #25 here.
Modern Format SEs That Have Fired (Since 12/11/2011)
12/11 3137375      12/17 3166027      12/19 3166163*
12/11 3137387      12/18 3166114      12/19 3166177*
12/14 3165939      12/18 3166122
12/15 3165977      12/18 3166127
12/16 3166077      12/18 3166139
Italics indicate my participation in this event.
* These events have fired, but might not be published yet.
 I look forward to seeing you at Overdrive! #26 and Eurodrive! #10! Until then, have fun and good luck!



with recent bannings? how is by whiffy at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 03:32
whiffy's picture

with recent bannings? how is the affinaty deck from pt philly positioned? i have most of that pile, if its honestly competitive mayhaps ill hop in the modern ques.

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When you say "affinity deck from PT Philly", I'm assuming you mean Chikara Nakajima's Atog/Fling Affinity, as it's the highest placed of the bunch. And I'm also not sure what you mean by positioned.

My two face-to-face encounters with R Affinity showed me that's a quick, sturdy deck. (The W(x) Tempered decks I've seen are just a hair "slower" than their R counterparts.) It has shown up a few times on the 3-1 lists, but I haven't seen it on the 4-0 lists. Yet. And with Zoo slowed down just a touch, and Jund losing the Grove/Fire combo, I would not hesitate to take it into an SE after the 12/20 bans take effect next year. Heck, I wouldn't hesitate today, either.

Banning effective date by pryite199 at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 13:36
pryite199's picture

Umm Blippy buddy the bannings went into effect online TODAY. Only paper goes into effect January 1st.

3rd line from the top.

Blarg! My bad! by BlippyTheSlug at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 14:21
BlippyTheSlug's picture

Guess that'll teach me to read fully before opening my mouth! (Yeah, right!)

Punishing Fire ban by apaulogy at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 12:33
apaulogy's picture

It is great for my Caw Blade deck.

I have pretty much settled on that as my deck for this season. I need more card draw and am now testing Baby Jace. I love control decks (aggro-control if we want to split hairs)

Nice coverage. See you this Saturday.

Storm is wrecking the DEs. I would not play a deck with less than 3 Mindbreak Traps.

@Whiffy- Affinity is pretty good. Again, the offer is on the table to test if you are ever on at the same time as me.

I can't wait to see what new by ScionOfJustice at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 12:53
ScionOfJustice's picture

I can't wait to see what new decks emerge with the recent bannings. Will the bannings be effective on mtgo with today's update?

after the banning of the fire by temok at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 13:00
temok's picture

after the banning of the fire engine and wild nactl I also thought about playing affinity, however the lame mono withe soul sisters is been heavily plaed and I cannot see how affinity can beat that consistenly enough, perhaps going the poison route? what do u guys think?

Oooh by apaulogy at Wed, 12/21/2011 - 14:16
apaulogy's picture

@ Temok- Affinity has the ability to go poison with Inkmoth Nexus. Other than that...i think it is die roll. Just race 'em with Platings and flying doods.

@ Scion- YES!!! The Updates are in effect today. good on Wizards for doing this. I think part of the problem last time is tha it took like a month for it to happen before. This is WAAAYYYY better.

Bye Nacatl and P_Fire!! You will be missed (not really)