A NEW SERIES FOR A NEW WORLD.
I have played Magic in almost every possible way to play it from kitchen table to the top 8 of a PPTQ to a MagicFest but I believe my favorite is playing Friday Night Magic at my local game store. I drive to my LGS after work pretty much every Friday for the last two years. It is so engrained in me my GPS automatically takes me there after work and my coworkers ask how I did on the following Monday. I have so much fun playing in a semi casual environment with the same people every week and since there is no buy in where I play you see a variety of skill levels and decks, which makes it even more enjoyable. It is a great place to try out new brews, learn new skills, and teach up and comers.
I have decided to try out a new series where I discuss the deck I took and the results of my matches from the previous FNM. I feel like this could be good for both me and you folks as well. It forces me to take notes on my matches, the different lines I could have taken or misplays I made, maybe even times where I see the correct line and win an unfavorable match up, but those will be few a far between. It can maybe make you feel more comfortable about heading out to your LGS, learning from me, and maybe teaching me a few things in the comments. So, without further ado below is the list I took to FNM on November 15, 2019:
I absolutely love Fire’s decks. I think there is a great chance they can dominate in a standard where Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer are banned. Anytime Wizard’s lets you play spells for free things can get crazy. This list is an example of knowing your local meta. Because I play almost every week, I know that next to no one is playing Oko so I can take out most of the hate cards specifically designed to help with the food variation matchups. This allows me to trim cards like Aether Gust that most of the chalky lists play because it is not needed, especially main board. My local meta is extremely creature heavy so I substitute in board removal like Solar Blaze and Realm Cloak Giant. This meta also led me to try Sphinx of Foresight. I had seen this card being played on a very popular streamers channel a week or so ago. In one game Sjow started the game with three Sphinx’s in his opening hand. This allowed him to scry up to nine cards to try to find a Fire’s. I will give Jeremy his credit as well because I also saw his version during a Land Say Go stream. Sphinx gives you something else to do on turn four when you play your Fire’s, an extra evasive attacker, and a decent blocker. Many a Questing Beast were defeated by this brainy half human half lion with wings. My sideboard is designed even more to stall the game with board wipes with the inclusion of three more Realm-Cloaked Giants and two Chandra, Awakened Inferno. Disenchant is there for other fires decks and the cat oven decks which are very popular where I play. Sorcerous Spyglass and Cavalier of Dawn are in there for the planeswalker match ups and play very well against the oven decks as well. Mystical Dispute is for the control match ups and works in the mirror match as well. Now that I have explained the choices I made let’s go onto the matches.
Round 1-Blue Black Mill
Round 1 was the perfect example of seeing something different when you are playing for fun. My opponent was on a deck where every card in the deck took card off the top of my library or tried to control the board. The first game he resolved an early Drowned Secrets and a Merfolk Secretkeeper milling straight hot action, three of my eight cavaliers, fires and Teferi. After that I was extremely glad, I added more creatures to my deck so I would have some kind of win condition. I got to resolve two Bonecrusher Giants and a Sphinx which were able to take home the win in game one, even through two Frogify’s. Game two I brought in the Disputes to fight their counter spells and Disenchant to remove their Drowned Secrets. The board wipes were next to useless since I did not see a single creature with any power. Game two I countered an early Drowned Secrets and did not see much action from my opponent the rest of the game. He was able to counter a few of my creatures but I was able to grind him out with Bonecrushers and Sphinx frogs again. I ended taking the round 2-0.
Round 2-Mardu Cat
I had played this particular gentleman three weeks in a row so I knew he was probably on some kind of Cauldron Familiar Witch’s Oven combo deck. I was correct but this was a version I had not seen mixing in red for Mayhem Devil. What helped me the most in this matchup was winning the die roll. It is extremely important for the control deck to go first in these aggro matchups so my board wipes can go off a turn early. Game one I kept the board clear of his threats and was able to win with the hasty shenanigans that Fires, and Cavalier of Flame allow. In this match I wanted to keep my cheap board wipes and board in the spyglasses and disenchants to deal with the oven. As expected, game two was a quick one for my opponent casting some shenanigans of his own getting the familiar, oven, and devil on the board. I was not able to do anything about it and quickly lost. I kept the same sideboard plan and headed into game three. In game three my opponent got off to a slow start and was not able to handle a turn four Fires into turn five cavaliers. I scraped by in this round 2-1.
Round 3-Sultai Cat
I told you that cats are running wild at my Local Game Store but luckily, I am there with fire to help control the cat population. Too much? My opponent this round was playing a version of Sultai cat that I had been seeing in tournament lists but with just one Oko instead of four. We went to three games and each of them were a grind fest, I am surprised we did not go to time. This is why I cannot play the cat’s decks too; it seems they are always trying to out grind the opponent, so games seem to take forever. Also, the TRIGGERS SO MANY TRIGGERS, too much for me to keep up with. Being able to cast two threats each turn was too much for my opponent. Not being able to handle all the flyers in my deck was eventually what did them in. I ended up taking the victory and Sorcerous Spyglass was the MVP in this match. Turning off their oven so the infinite value generator stops is key. I rode my sky ponies to a 2-1 victory in that round.
Round 4-Gruul Aggro
This was the final round of FNM. So, all the marbles, or shiny cards, were on the line in this one my fellow nerds. These games were quick, and I would like to tell you your hero was able to slay all his foes this night but unfortunately, my deck fell flat on it’s proverbial face. I got smoked 2-0 in about ten minutes of play. My opponent curved out perfectly with their Paradise Druids, Gruul Spellbreakers, and Questing Beasts. Game one I was about to stabilize when somehow a beast with no arms picks up a sword and beats my head in with it. Game two I got stuck on three land, not a good idea in a deck that revolves around a four-mana spell and got curved out again. This goes to show you that even if you tech your deck to beat certain other ones the Magic gods will sometimes shun you. I take my 2-0 beating in this the final round.
Overall, I ended in second place and still got a sweet promo pack for my accomplishments. I opened a stamped Once Upon a Time, Icon of Ancestry and Slaying Fire. I was super stoked to open my fourth copy Once Upon A Time and then became super unstoked to have it banned the following Monday, I guess there is always Pioneer for now. Until next time may your creatures never by elks in Standard again.