Decks of tournaments past: Next-Level Thresh

Sometimes I like to dig through my old archive of decks, and occasionally I find stuff that I really liked in the past. Often I record decks before tournaments, and I update them with the match-ups and results afterwards, and this time, I found an old relic from the merry year of 2011: Next-Level Thresh.

“Next-Level” was a rip off of Patrick Chapin “The Innovator” and his Next-Level Blue. Someone apparently thought the deck name was silly enough, and this is in a format stuffed full of silly names. The deck is essentially an “evolution” from Canadian Threshold (RUG Delver).

Next-Level Thresh, fall of 2011jace,themindsculptor.hq
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
4 Wasteland
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
2 Island
1 Mountain

4 Tarmogoyf
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Grim Lavamancer

4 Brainstorm
3 Ponder
4 Stifle
3 Spell Snare
4 Force of Will
2 Counterspell
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Dismember

Sideboard:
2 Spell Pierce
3 Submerge
3 Pyroblast
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Mind Harness
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Firespout

Looking back, the deck has a number of flaws apparent. First of all, why would I even play this pile when straight old RUG just got Delver of Secrets? Fall of 2011 was a crazy time, obviously. Spell Snare is mandatory in those numbers, people were scared to death by the newly released Snapcaster Mage, along with the usual threats of Tarmogoyf, Stoneforge Mystic, Dark Confidant etc. The deck also plays a couple of Counterspells, which I really like actually. Essentially, we’re looking at a “tempo” deck that sacrifices much of RUG’s early power and threats in order to have a stronger late game with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I also cut Daze, because returning a land to your hand when you want to resolve stuff like Vendilion Clique, Snapcaster Mage and Jace. In retrospect, the fourth Ponder is mandatory, probably at the cost of a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The sideboard is also quite embarrassing, the fact that I played Nature’s Claim over the much stronger Krosan Grip shows that I didn’t really understand where the deck wanted to be.

So how did I do? Well, 4-2 and outside the T8 on tiebreakers. In fact, I was 4-1 going into the last round, where I had an on-camera feature match against my friend who was playing Lands. Lands is a pretty terrible match-up for straight old RUG, but winnable if you can get a Nimble Mongoose online quickly enough, since it’s immune to stuff like Maze of Ith. If you cut your Nimble Mongoose for spells costing 3-4 mana instead, guess what happens? Yeah, I didn’t stand much of a chance. To boot, the commentators were obviously not really into Legacy, and berated me for making plays like casting Brainstorm in my upkeep in response to my opponent tapping my only land with Rishadan Port. My friend was 3-2 going into the round, but had a shot at the T8 if he won, so I won’t blame him for wanting to play out this extremely positive match-up. Hilariously, my speedy loss in the last round prompted a whole bunch of ID’s on the top table, and my friend ended up 9th after all, on tie-breakers as well obviously. I ended up in 11th or 12th place, if I recall correctly.

The entire tournament:
Reanimator (2-0)
Pattern of Rebirth (1-2)
Bant Zenith (2-1)
UW Stoneblade (2-1)
Reanimator (2-1)
Lands (0-2)

jin-gitaxias,coreaugur.hqThe Reanimator decks of the tournament were obviously not as powerful as they are today, since Griselbrand wasn’t printed yet, but they had Jin-Giraxias, Core Augur in its stead, and he did well enough for most of the pilots. Having a pair of Surgical Extractions and Snapcaster Mage after sideboard was apparently key here. The Pattern of Rebirth deck I lost to in the second round was basically a combo version of Nic Fit, it played Veteran Explorer, Cabal Therapy, Pattern of Rebirth for Protean Hulk for the kill. Stifle interacted well with the deck but I remember making a couple of small mistakes in the third game, and after a while we both found ourselves topdecking, which resulted in him hardcasting (!) a Protean Hulk before I could find a threat or a cantrip. Good times.

I hope this small walk down memory lane was enjoyable, I certainly did.

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