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By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
Jan 25 2011 12:01am
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BYOS Season Three Wrap Up
Part III

by Nafiz Erman

Hello dear readers and welcome back to Rogue Play. The third quarter of BYOS Season Three is finished and in this article you will read what happened in the past four five weeks, what people played, which decks are winning and what the meta of BYOS looks like.

But before I start with the week-by-week report, I want to give you the links to the first two articles of mine:

BYOS Season Three Wrap Up, Part I: This article covers the first four weeks of Season Three.
BYOS Season Three Wrap Up, Part II: And this is the report of the second quarter of the season.

Okay, you can check those links later if you are interested in the format. Right now we will focus on the past five weeks of the season. I say five and not four because we also had one special event sometime in between, and in this article I will also cover that event as well.

So, shall we start?



I'm playing in BYOS tournaments almost since the beginning and I keep a table on my computer which shows the blocks and core sets I played so far. I will share that table with you once the season is finished, but there was one thing that was always bugging me when I was looking at that table, and that was the number of times I played CHK block (which was zero that far).

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of that block. There are only a few really interesting cards and deck options in that block, but still this doesn't mean that CHK is a bad block. It's just not one of the best modern day blocks but still it has its own (kind of) interesting dynamics. And somehow I haven't tried any of them in BYOS. And I decided to change that fact that week.

So for this first week of quarter three, I prepared this deck:


I took the main shell of  Graft deck that was being played quite heavily back in the day, and added a few "modern" cards to make it even better. The additions of Garruk Wildspeaker and Primeval Titan made the deck a lot more powerful than it ever was, and Brittle Effigy replaced the conditional and situational Cytoshape.

And here's how things went.


ROUND ONE - Opponent: n/a - Playing: n/a

I got a BYE! Well, that happens for the first time in my "BYOS career". So I get a free three points. Nice, isn't it? Isn't it?!


ROUND TWO - Opponent: Jiggywiggy - Playing:  Teachings Control

We start and I put him under early pressure with my creatures but a Damnation resets the table. Then I keep hitting him with a Coiling Oracle carrying a Jitte for a while but he also gets Terrored. After that I bring in Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Cytoplast Root-Kin and together they manage to end game one.

I do all I can to kill him early but he deals with my threats all one by one (or all at once with Damnation). I bring him down to five life but then I lose steam. Which of course means death in the hands of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Dralnu, Lich Lord.

I start game three with a first turn Brittle Effigy and a second turn Umezawa's Jitte. That artifact is the most important card in this match-up as he has no way to deal with it, and therefore I'm happy to get it through. Then as expected, the counter wars over my creatures begin. I play two Mana Leaks and three Negates during that "counter wars" and finally end up with a "loaded" Jitte and Garruk Wildspeaker. Garruk's never ending tokens are a big problem for him and finally Cytoplast Root-Kin comes down as well, and they end the game.

Game: 2-1
Overall: 2-0


ROUND THREE - Opponent: Ranth - Playing: Zoo

Ranth starts very fast with two Steppe Lynxes and one Plated Geopede. I finally stop him when I'm at nine life and then bring in my Primeval Titan and then use my Brittle Effigy on his Plated Geopede carrying a Basilisk Collar. He doesn't draw any lands and that helps me greatly against his Landfall creatures. After we trade a few creatures (which also include my titan), I finish the game with two Cytoplast Root-Kins.

Game two starts good for me and I manage to hold off his creatures on the ground, but sadly he brings in not one but two Baneslayer Angels. With no Brittle Effigy or Meloku the Clouded Mirror in sight, I scoop and we move onto the final game.

Game three is a real game of survival for me. Long story short, he brings me down to two life and the table looks like this at that moment:

Doesn't look good.

And from there, with the aid of my Jitte (and with the aid of Ranth not being able to draw lands to achieve Landfall), I end the game like this:

Epic win.

Game: 2-1
Overall: 3-0

There were two lessons I learned from this match:

1- Luck is a big factor in Magic, no matter what people say.
2- After all those years and all those sets, Umezawa's Jitte is still an excellent card.


ROUND TOP-8 - Opponent: DirtyDuck - Playing:  Rock

Game one is actually a "Root-Kin Fest". I play three Cytoplast Root-Kins one after another, and keep hitting with them. Umezawa's Jitte is as useful as always and kills his Fauna Shamans constantly which he keeps playing over and over again, and thus the first game ends.

For game two I do a different sideboarding. I know his deck and I know that he will bring in Krosan Grip to deal with my Jitte. He also has Putrefy in the deck and thus I decide to remove my Brittle Effigys and Umezawa's Jittes from the deck. I want him to end up with lots of dead cards in his hand. I add a bunch of Cytoplast Manipulators and Voidslimes and start game two.

I start this game with a first turn Birds of Paradise and a second turn Plaxcaster Frogling. And then Garruk Wildspeaker joins them and that's actually all I do in this game. I Mana Leak his Korlash, Heir to Blackblades twice and then ultimate with Garruk and end the game.

Game: 2-0
Overall: 4-0


ROUND TOP-4 - Opponent: nightviper429 - Playing:  Allies

Ally decks are always one the most preferred decks in BYOS tournaments, but apart from one single exception, they never win anything. But this doesn't mean that one can take that deck lightly. Currently I'm facing an Allies deck that crushed its way up to Top-4. I watch the replays and see the slaughter myself. I know that there is one card in my deck, one single card only, that can deal with them and it is without doubt Umezawa's Jitte. I hope to draw it on time and start playing.

We start and Allies also start coming down right and left, and finally I manage to hold them at nine life. As expected Umezawa's Jitte is in business once again. I play patiently, kill every Ally he brings in from there and win with Meloku the Clouded Mirror and his tokens.

My opponent is playing a two colored Allies deck but sadly for him, he gets stuck with Forests only and I kill his Harabaz Druid with my Jitte and put him into more trouble. I play in calm, bring in my Brittle Effigy, my mana creatures, and then just like in the first game, Meloku the Clouded Mirror comes in and says the last word.

Umezawa's Jitte

Game: 2-0
Overall: 5-0


ROUND: FINAL - Opponent: Jiggywiggy - Playing:  Teachings Control

I played him during the swiss rounds and I know that this will be a hard match. We start and I lose the first game in the blink of an eye! All my mana creatures get hit by a Damnation and I get lost between all his counterspells and can't even move a finger. Well, that was frustrating.

Game two on the other hand is much better. This time all I do is to bring in one Trygon Predator and to equip it with Umezawa's Jitte. Then I just do nothing and counter all his spells and win with my lone creature.

Game three is epic. We fight over my creatures and I lure him to tap fully and then bring in my Garruk Wildspeaker. He does everything to stay alive but I have no need to rush; Garruk will eventually finish him. At one point, when I have two Garruk tokens on table and when Garruk is at two loyalty, he brings in his Venser, Shaper Savant at the end of my turn and gets rid of one of my tokens. He's at two life at that moment and I still have nothing to fear.


He types "I need Perish" and I answer that with "Perish the Thought :)". I'm so confident that I'm going to win, so I even make jokes! He untaps, draws his card and types "Wow". I say "no!". He taps three lands. I say "no no no no!!" but yes; it's Perish.

My token dies and then his Venser kills my Garruk and we start the game all over again. I still don't have any fear because he's at two life and I'm at eighteen. But guess what happens? That lone Venser, Shaper Savant brings me down from eighteen to four!!! And no, this isn't a joke. For seven turns in a row, I just draw three lands, two Mana Leaks (which are totally useless at that point) and two Voidslimes.

Then finally I draw and cast my Plaxcaster Frogling and cast two Voidslimes to get it through. That frog stops his Venser but a Damnation this time clears the board. I sit with two Mana Leaks in hand when he plays his Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and he ends the game.

Game: 1-2
Overall: 5-1

As I said above, this tournament thought me that luck in Magic is really a VERY BIG factor. I won one game because my opponent was unlucky, and lost one because my opponent was lucky enough to draw the ONLY card that could save him.

Oh and here's the winning list by the way:

Teachings Control - INV / TSP / 6th Ed.
As played by Jiggywiggy
2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Brine Elemental
1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
1 Dralnu, Lich Lord
5 cards

Other Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Counterspell
4 Memory Lapse
4 Mystical Teachings
4 Damnation
3 Prohibit
3 Fact or Fiction
3 Terror
1 Exclude
30 cards
4 Dreadship Reef
4 Underground River
4 River of Tears
8 Island
5 Swamp
25 cards

Mystical Teachings


I know that this is a very good deck because I played a Teachings Control deck myself during Season One and witnessed the power of it firsthand. Even though the victory came by a very lucky top deck, Jiggywiggy clearly deserved to win and there can be no arguing about that.



After losing in the final the week before, I decided to net deck and bring something really good to the table. I had a few decks ready but I needed something really good this time, and so I dismissed all my home-made decks. I looked for netdecks and found this one:


Yes, I know. As the author of Rogue Play, I shouldn't be lured by the power of netdecks. But guess what; I'm a human as well! I wanted to win so badly that week and thus I took an already known and powerful deck.

But things didn't quite go the way I wanted them to be.

I will not give you a match-by-match report from this week. Because it was a big disappointment for me. Actually my start to the tournament was perfect and I won against Flippers_Giraffe's Kor deck without having too many problems.

This is what this deck normally does.

But the next two rounds were horrible for me. Apparently I wasn't the only one who net decked that week. Two players, which were also my opponents in the next two rounds, were also playing netdecks. But their decks (which were exactly the same by the way) were sadly my worst nightmare. One of them even managed to win the tournament and just check his list to understand what I mean:

Tempered Steel - ALA / SOM / M11
As played by cristian85
4 Memnite
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Court Homunculus
4 Master of Etherium
4 Tidehollow Sculler
4 Steel Overseer
3 Ornithopter
1 Leonin Arbiter
28 cards

Other Spells
4 Duress
4 Tempered Steel
2 Thopter Foundry
1 Path to Exile
11 cards
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Marsh Flats
5 Plains
4 Swamp
21 cards



Before the tournament I thought long about my core set. I couldn't decide between M10 and M11. M10 was giving me Great Sable Stag and M11 was giving me Day of Judgment. At the end (after also considering that loss from the previous week), I decided to play Great Sable Stag and thus selected M10. After this tournament I realized that it had to be M11 and thus Day of Judgment.

But hey! At least I put up a good fight in both matches (which were against the same deck) and lost both 1-2. Qasali Pridemage helped surely but it wasn't enough against an army of machines.

There was one really nice deck in this tournament and that deck also managed to reach to the final and lost to the one deck you see above. That deck was this one:

The Dark Side of Mirrodin - MRD / SOM / M11
As played by DirtyDuck
4 Phylactery Lich
4 Skinrender
3 Slith Bloodletter
3 Blind Creeper
2 Grave Titan
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Darksteel Pendant
4 Darksteel Axe
4 Sign in Blood
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 Mimic Vat
2 Lightning Greaves
1 Darksteel Brute
21 cards
4 Vault of Whispers
19 Swamp
23 cards

Phylactery Lich


The idea behind this deck is excellent and this is one of my favorite decks from Season Three. I think I know a few cards that would make this an even better deck and I will build my own version in the coming weeks for sure. 

Oh and here's a screenshot showing both decks from the final in action.

It was definately a nice game to watch.

After this humiliating 1-2 result during the swiss rounds (with a netdeck thank you very much!), we entered the new year break and came back with one special event.



This was the first tournament after the new year and it was a combination of two of my beloved formats; BYOS and Tribal Wars. I prepared my deck for this tournament weeks before the event and I was confident that I would at least reach to the final.

And I wasn't wrong. I even managed to win the event with this list:


Wizardcycling is an incredible ability and I built my whole deck around it. Vedalken Aethermage always gave me what I needed and I won the event without too much trouble; and that even includes a mono Black deck in the second round which was totally immune to my spot removal spells!

Round one I faced an Illusion deck with lots of counter back up but a little bit of patience and careful play led to victory. Then round two I really did play my best against those mono Black Zombies and then in the final I won against mono White Knights as show below:

Attack for the win!

So yes, it was a fun event and it felt good to start the new year with a clear victory.



After the winning the tribal event, I prepared another very good home-brewed deck for week eleven. As a matter of fact I had several decks ready, but this below one performed better than the others during testing, so I took it to the event.

Here's the deck I played:


The whole idea here was very simple: To abuse those creatures with those nice "enters the battlefield" abilities with Venser, the Sojourner. And that's all!

And let's see how things went.


ROUND ONE - Opponent: Jiggywiggy - Playing:  Teachings

His deck has more counterspells than mine and that fact causes me problems in game one. He gets through a Fact or Fiction and then wins the counter wars when I try to bring in something and finally brings in Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. Then he brings in Brine Elemental AND Vesuvan Shapeshifter while all my spells get countered, and they end the game easily.

In game two I start with a Kitchen Finks and then bring in another one. He tries everything to kill them but this time I'm the one with the counterspells and win with both of my boring(!) Ouphes.

Game three I sadly mulligan to six and keep a hand with four lands and two high cost cards. Thankfully his deck is a slow deck and thus we only play lands during the early turns. Then when I have five lands, I cast Vendilion Clique at the end of his turn with two mana open for Negate. Sadly, in response he plays his Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir which gets through, and the game starts going downwards for me from that point.

He then plays a morphed Brine Elemental while I watch it resolve with Cryptic Command in hand, and all of a sudden I have to deal with not only Teferi, but with Brine Elemental as well.

I play Venser, the Sojourner and that planeswalker keeps him busy for a while but I draw nothing that can change the course of the game. At the end, I play two Mulldrifters in the same turn and sadly both get countered, and that pretty much seals the deal.

Game: 1-2
Overall: 0-1

I had four Stillmoon Cavaliers and four Kitchen Finks' in the deck because I wanted to beat him as early as possible. Sadly I started the game with a bad hand and none of those creatures showed up. Ah whatever...


ROUND TWO - Opponent: BaneslayerChimneyImp - Playing: Vampires 

My opponent starts with an Inquisition of Kozilek, then brings in Vampire Hexmage and then continues with Liliana Vess. In the meantime, I'm very busy playing lands and finally I bring in one Kitchen Finks. We fight a bit and his Liliana Vess reaches to her ultimate but right at that point I manage to change the course of the game. Jace Beleren comes down, Cryptic Command bounces his Liliana Vess, and then Venser, the Sojourner joins the party. And of course, from there things become a lot easier.

I'm winning this round without too much of a resistance.

So we start game two and my opponent goes out of the gate with two Duresses; even before I can play two lands! Then I barely save myself from a Memoricide, but in a very short time I found myself in a very bad situation. He constantly make me discard cards and at the end brings in one Wurmcoil Engine. I manage to deal with it and its tokens, but then a second one joins his ranks. He also has his Mimic Vat and after a short time, I eventually lose.

Watcha lookin' at?

Game three also starts bad for me. I lose my Venser, the Sojourner to a first turn Duress, and lose my Oblivion Ring to a second Duress. I mean, it's as if he stocks these Duresses under his keyboard and keeps playing them secretly from there! Because they don't seem to end and a THIRD Duress makes me discard my Day of Judgment. Oh and then he casts a Memoricide naming Oblivion Ring, and so the circle becomes complete!

In the meantime I somehow(!) bring in two Kitchen Finks' and in response he brings in two Vampire Hexmages. He then plays his Mimic Vat which was of course the reason he named Oblivion Ring with his Memoricide. A second Mimic Vat comes down, Liliana Vess comes down and Wurmcoil Engine comes down, and things really start to look bad for me.

But will I give up? Of course not! I try not to "feed" his Mimic Vats and that I do with my Kitchen Finks' (Persist is great!).

Then I "sacrifice" first a Jace Beleren and then a Venser, the Sojourner to his Vampire Hexmages, and try to keep his Wurmcoil Engine off of me in the meantime.

At the end I finally start to draw "real" cards and first a Sower of Temptation comes down and steals his Wurmcoil Engine and then Stillmoon Cavalier comes down, and with those two creatures I win a game I was about to lose.

Another epic win.

Game: 2-1
Overall: 1-1


ROUND THREE - Opponent: BlippyTheSlug - Playing: Elves!

I keep him busy during the early turns with Kitchen Finks, Vendilion Clique and Oblivion Ring, and then finally Day of Judgment clears the table. Then both Jace Beleren and Venser, the Sojourner come down and soon after an Augury Owl joins them and keeps arranging the top of my deck (with a little(!) help from Venser surely). At that point my opponent decides to concede.

We don't play the second game because my opponent tells me that he has to go and concedes.

Game: 2-0
Overall: 2-1

Once again I go 2-1 and once again I wait to see whether I'm in Top-4 or not. And sadly, once again this 2-1 isn't enough for me to get there.

The battle then continues without me and at the end Jiggywiggy manages to win the event with his  Teachings deck. This is the second time he wins with that deck and you can see his list above.

Oh and his opponent in the final was Nagarjuna, and you'll see his decklist below when we talk about week twelve.

As for me, this event was a bit disappointing. I thought that I had a nice deck but apparently it wasen't nice enough. Oh and all these "going 2-1 and staying outside of Top-4"s started to happen a bit too often and that fact also angers me too.



What do I do when I stay outside of Top-4? Yes, I bring a netdeck to the table the week after. And just because I couldn't make it to Top-4 the previous week, it was once again time for a netdeck.

This one was my choice that week:


Yes, your usual Faeries deck. Nothing could stand in its way when it was in Standard, it's dominating Extended now, and it sure is good enough to win in BYOS, right? Right?

Let's see if it is.


ROUND ONE - Opponent: ScionofJustice - Playing: Mono Red

There can't be a worse match-up for this deck. I don't have a way to gain life and as we all know, it's a rule that Goblin Guide comes down on turn one. I mean, it always does!

So we start and he starts with a Goblin Guide (obv obv!), and I manage to stop him when I'm at eight life. The good news is that I also have one Bitterblossom on table. But the bad news is that I have a Bitterblossom on table! I start hitting him with my Faeries but he plays twice Koth of the Hammer who sadly turns my attention to himself rather than my opponent. At the end a kicked Burst Lightning takes me down.

He starts game two again with a Goblin Guide (naturally!) but this time I stop him a lot earlier than he would have liked. I kill his Ball Lightning and his 7/1 Elemental that came off of a Zektar Shrine Expedition, and then win slowly with my Spellstutter Sprites (who also counter things when they enter the battlefield) and with my Vendilion Clique.

He starts game three and AS ALWAYS(!!!) it's a "Goblin Guide, here I come!". I play a tapped land and the second turn he plays a SECOND Goblin Guide. Sadly I don't draw enough removal this time and all my Spellstutter Sprites get burned down before they could even block, and I lose really badly.

Game: 1-2
Overall: 0-1



ROUND TWO - Opponent: Evolver3 - Playing: Elves!

I'm still very disappointed after my round one loss and can't recover from it even though I tell myself to do so. I simply play badly in this first game, because in my mind I'm still thinking about that first round match, and at the end lose to my own Bitterblossom.

I finally pull myself together after this loss and start playing. I keep the board as clear as possible in this second game, bring in Jace, the Mind Sculptor, protect him with my Bitterblossom tokens and ultimate with him.

Game three is similar to game two. Well, at least the start of it. I once again try to keep the board clear and do nothing but play my removal spells. Then I take control with the aid of my Mutavaults, Scion of Oonas and my Spellstutter Sprites, counter what's important and let those unimportant ones through, and win.

Death to the Elves!

Game: 2-1
Overall: 1-1


ROUND THREE - Opponent: porretas22 - Playing: Vampires

I win the first game rather easily. I Disfigure his creatures, bring in my Bitterblossom and my Scion of Oona and win. In game two I sadly get stuck with two Mutavaults and two Sunken Ruins (and thus no colored mana!) for a very long time and sadly I have to watch his undead army do all the "dancing".

In the final game, this time it's my opponent who gets mana screwed. And to add insult to the injury, I play my Jace, the Mind Sculptor and send his lands to the bottom of his library. Which of course leads to a win...

Game: 2-1
Overall: 2-1

And once again it's 2-1 and once again I'm outside of Top-4. Hurray! It seems that I made this a (very bad) habit!

And the winner? Well, this time it was bluedragon123 who is also the host of the event. And here's his deck:


He dominated Season One and Season Two with his  Sea Stompy deck, but couldn't find a new deck after that. He tried different decks non stop and finally this week he managed to win the tournament with something other than his Sea Stompy deck.

Bluedragon123 beat Nagarjuna in the final. And this below was Nagajuna's deck:


Nagarjuna made Hypergenesis his signature deck. In Heirloom he plays Hypergenesis, in Tribal Wars he plays Hypergenesis and in BYOS he plays Hypergenesis. Basically, if it's Nagarjuna, then it is 110% Hypergenesis.

The final deck I want to show you from this event is ScionofJustice's Mono Red deck. 


Well, this was the deck that beat me in round one and caused me to stay out of Top-4.  



And so we finished the third quarter of the season. Two times we witnessed the power of  Teachings deck and then saw one ultra fast "army of machines" taking down everything and everyone, and finally we had bluedragon123's midrange deck. It was in general a nice mixture of all styles in my opinion and as I always say, this is what I like about BYOS the most; the wide array of decks and deck types that can be successful. There is NEVER a best deck in this format as all the decks that people bring to the events are really very powerful.

As for me, this third quarter wasn't full of successes. I only won the special event and then reached to the final on week nine. The rest was, sadly, not so glorious.



We have only four more weeks to go and then we'll reach to the big season finale which will determine the champion of the season. I already gathered more than enough points to get my invite and therefore will play my old decks in the final four weeks of the season. But not the ones which won events. I will only play the decks that didn't make to Top-4.

Just because I don't have to worry about getting more points, I will give those old decks a second chance. The question is this: Which ones will I play? The Faeries from week twelve? The enchantress deck from week eight? Or maybe a deck from previous seasons?

To be completely honest, not even I know the answer. I will just join "/join BYOS", look who's there, and then will decide which deck to play.


My 'Mirrodin Besieged', Part I

It's finally time. The second set of the Scars of Mirrodin block is coming and in the next two articles I will be talking about that set. Which cards do I think are over hyped? Which cards are really good? Which card will effect which format?

All those and more will be in the next two articles.

And as always, thanks for reading.

See you online
Nafiz Erman, aka Lord Erman


Week 9 final round, you show by Paul Leicht at Tue, 01/25/2011 - 01:29
Paul Leicht's picture

Week 9 final round, you show jiggy's deck as having no venser but you mention it in the report...Which is it?

Good catch Paul. He won twice by Lord Erman at Tue, 01/25/2011 - 01:55
Lord Erman's picture

Good catch Paul. He won twice with that deck and I used his second version in the article. The first time he won, he was playing Venser.


Ok I was curious since it by Paul Leicht at Tue, 01/25/2011 - 02:03
Paul Leicht's picture

Ok I was curious since it seemed so central to the deck's performance against you. Wonder why he eliminated it later?

I agree. Playing competitive by brandonQDSH at Wed, 01/26/2011 - 12:38
brandonQDSH's picture

I agree. Playing competitive Standard has taught me that absolute tight play skill is extremely important because games are often decided by luck. The more powerful the cards are, the more draw dependent games tend to be, and mulligan decisions are tough. Games often come down to being able to deal just enough damage to close the game before dying, or falling just 1-2 points short. A lot of games come down to top decks, so maximizing those odds becomes key to winning. All of this competitive stress would be a lot more fun if Magic were less expensive!!