SCG Milwaukee Tournament Report
Milwaukee was really fun. My weekend was filled with friends, food, and mediocre Magic: the Gathering. I went a combined 6-7 over the Standard and Legacy portion (noob). That's not counting the intentional loss in the fourth round of the tournament where I scooped to my opponent after beating him because I wanted to go see Captain America: The Winter Solider(very good choice). Although I'm disappointed in my finish in both tournaments I did learn a lot from the event. My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes and not learn the hard way like I did.
Going to Milwaukee Going to Have Ourselves a Time
Our trip started at the home of Lucas Dimmel, the Magic: the Gathering level 2 judge; Jeremy Quinn (the Yeti) and I met Lucas and after the removal of six inches of snow from our cars we were off to Waseca. A short stop in Waseca yielded the men’s fragrance designer Cory Radke (Explained Later) we were on our way.
Our car ride discussions covered many topics including but not limited to: Pokemon, MUD, Legacy Decks, Crazy Judge calls, JOU spoilers, Standard Deck Choices and Standard Meta Game.
Here is the consensus I came to before the car ride: if you want a shot at winning the Standard open tournament you should either be playing mono blue devotion, mono black devotion, or esper control. I still think that this is true. My travel companion's minds agreed with this statement but their hearts wanted to play Reid Duke's latest Junk midrange deck. I however went away from my heart aka Naya Control and played what my mind thought was best, U/w devotion splashing white for detention sphere.
2 Godless Shrine
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Azorius Guildgate
4 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Judge's Familiar
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Tidebinder Mage
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
4 Master of Waves
1 Ephara, God of the Polis
2 Bident of Thassa
4 Detention Sphere
2 Glare of Heresy
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Rapid Hybridization
2 Revoke Existence
I had little to no experience with this deck. I had played against it a few times and found that it was basically an unwinnable match when piloting Naya Control. I made a meta call because I thought that Mono-Black would be a big percentage of the Meta based on recent results. I thought wrong but will get into why a bit later. The rest of our car ride was uneventful. We arrived at our hotel at a relatively early time and went out to eat at a restaurant called Pitches.(picture) It was tradition in every way and given the chance to eat there again I would see what else Milwaukee has to offer. After our meal we play tested our decks and went to bed at a reasonable time.
Standard SCG Opens are Just Big FNMs -Matthias Hunt 2014
My day started at 6:30am as Luke had to be up super early to work the StarCity Dealer Booth and I couldn't get back to sleep. After a quick shower I went downstairs and met up with Gunther Wersal, Sean Weihe, and Matthais Hunt who had come in late the night before. After a bite to eat the combined group jumped into a shuttle and we were off to the event site about one mile away.
Getting to events early is always a big deal to me. I don't like to wait in long lines and truly dread being late. What this meant was we were very early and got to sit around and talk about sideboard slots, the meta game, and deck choices in general. During this discussion my friend and Star City Games Commentator Matthias Hunt dropped this nugget of wisdom on me. He said, "SCG Opens are just like big FNMs". I had heard this before, actually probably from him but it hadn't sunk in like it did 10 minutes before the tournament. I was playing a deck that I had played very few times. Panic set in and I knew that I had doomed myself. This tournament was not even a PTQ level competition; the meta game would be evenly distributed across all imaginable decks and I had crafted my deck to beat just one. The pairings for round one were called and all I could think to myself was Lifebane Zombie be damned I wish I had Naya Control.
Round 1 vs Medanic, Stephen D (Esper Control)
Game 1 - He steam rolls me. I'm pretty sure barring a poor draw from the esper player game one is next to impossible to win as the Blue Devotion player.
Game 2 - I keep u/w Temple, u/w Temple, Gainsay, Jace Memory Adept, Dispel, Detention Sphere, and Nightveil Specter.
Play temple, scry to the bottom
Draw not a land
Play Temple, scry to the bottom
Draw not a land
Draw not a land
Draw not a land
Opponent plays Archangel of Thune
Round 2 vs Lannoye, Travis ( Reid Duke Junk ) 0-1
Game 1 - I stick Thassa and her bident which draw me like 5-10 cards
Game 2 - Double Master of waves protected by my one of dispel takes it
Round 3 vs Blomquist, Jake Grixis (Young Pyromancer) 1-1
Game 1 - Thassa and Ephara get in play and go to town.
Game 2 - He leaves 5 elemental tokens to block my team and I use detention sphere to clear the path.
Round 4 vs Kliber, Jason (Bant Control) 2-1
Game 1 - Judges Familar and Mutavaults kill him in a very grindy game.
Game 2 - He is allowed to resolve a big Sphinx's Revelation and pulls ahead.
Game 3 - Opponent Mulls to five and I grind him our card by card.
Round Five vs Henrikson, Philip (B/w Control) 3-1
Game 1 - He thoughtsiezes me and makes to many dirty rats.
Game 2 - I have detention sphere for his rats.
Game 3 - He thoughtsiezes me and makes to many dirty rats.
Round Six vs Wu, Yu-Ta ( Mono Black) 3-2
Finally I get to play the deck my deck is designed to beat.
Game 1 - Punish him with a Thassa + Bident draw
Game 2 - Crush his hopes with Ephara.
Round Seven vs Newhausen, A.J (U/b Devotion) 4-2
Game 1 - He gets Nightveil Specter on the board and starts playing my permanents :(
Game 2 - I beat him down with Thassa
Game 3 - He steals my Nightveil with Ashiok and starts playing my spells off the top including a Thassa and Bident
Round 8 vs Wynn, Eric (Maze's End)
Game 1 - I draw the best possible hand against him which included two Judge's Familiars and he dies to 9 charging water horses.
Game 2 - I stumble as I mull to 5 and he has all the time in the world to assemble the lock and Maze me out.
Game 3 - I mull to five again and he stays at six saying that his hand was very speculative. I play a Judge's Familiar into Tide-Bindermage which does the majority of the damage as he is stuck on one land for most of the game.
Round Nine vs. Porath, Rodney A (Boros Weenie)
Game 1 - He gets the play and deploys his hand of 3 2/1's for one and uses Brave the Elements to push through damage. I try and stabilize with a Master of Waves but he has chained to the rocks and two boros charms to kill me.
Game 2 - I curve out into Master of Waves and the tokens are able to get the job done.
Game 3 - I have to keep a hand without a one drop and he punishes me wiht a blazing fast draw that culminates in multiple burn spells to the face for a quick turn 4 kill.
Round Ten - Drop
No cash, no top eight glory, just a lesson learned about SCG opens. PLAY WHAT YOU KNOW. I feel like U/w devotion would have been a fine choice for the tournament if I had more practice with the deck but it is not my style. I forced myself to play a deck that I didn't enjoy, in a tournament where I could have played any deck in which I was familiar. I could have had a fair chance against the field where the field was basically every legal deck imaginable. I remember when Caw-blade was the best deck in standard and the other decks were not even close to the same power level. People would still play other decks at SCG opens in a format where Caw-Blade should have been 90% of the field but it was only 40-50% which is a large number. It shows the willingness of people to play what they want at SCG opens.
I won't bore you with the details of my legacy open because I played a bad deck (Jund) poorly (0-4) and its would mostly be a sob story about me playing badly and friends losing win-and-ins. Here is the list I played for those curious.
After the standard open everyone in the group is hungry or super tired - Cory Radke and Luke Dimmel went back to the hotel. The rest of the group walking to Rock Bottom Brewery and to have dinner(picture). Someone once told me that the best things about traveling for Magic tournaments includes turning in match slips and dinner after the tournament. Well, this definitely was one of the great dinners. Great food and friends, I would definitely recommend Rock Bottom Brewery to anyone visiting Milwaukee. After a delicious meal we returned to the hotel where Men's Fragrance Designer Cory Radke was hard at work. Quinn and I got off on our floor to smell the scent of burning pop corn. We got closer to our room and the smell intensified. We opened the door and got hit by the strongest burnt popcorn smell I have ever experienced. Apparently, Cory Radke had been a little bit hungry and bought some popcorn from the vending machines. They put said popcorn into the microwave in our room and pushed the popcorn button. The problem was the tray at the bottom of the microwave did not rotate so the bag got absolutely roasted on only one side. After discovering his creation Radke then took the burnt popcorn bag out of the microwave and put it in the public bathroom on our floor for all to enjoy. We slept in the stench the entire night and the smell seeped into everything in the hotel room. After having a strange dream about over eating popcorn I woke up, checked out of the hotel, and left for the tournament. Upon sitting down to play round one, a player sitting next to me said,"Man does anyone else smell burnt popcorn?” I then corrected him by telling him it was my cologne “Burnt Popcorn by Radke”. lol
Well, that is my article for this week. Within the next couple of weeks I will be writing an article about what to expect for GP Minneapolis as I know many of you are going. My article will explore the Modern meta game and tournament play as a whole. As always thanks for reading.