My failed decks and why they failed

Lazav banner

Inspired by the episode “Failed Decks in EDH” from the Five Commander podcast, I wanted to expand on my historic EDH decks, what commanders they were based around, and why the decks were all dismantled eventually. This isn’t a top 5 of any sort, it’s a chronological run-down of my shitty decks.

MimeoplasmThe MimeoplasmI only got into the format with the first release of the Commander preconstructed decks, and this one is the one I got first. Later on, I bought the Zedruu, the Greathearted deck to play with another group, and I actually liked that one a lot more. The good thing about picking The Mimeoplasm as the first deck was that it was quite easy to expand upon – adding some Fauna Shamans and Survival of the Fittests to the list increased its consistency, and I owned most of the tutors since my Vintage days even before I picked the deck up. I strongly believe that BUG is just about the best three-colour combination you can play in EDH – the generals are nothing to write home about, but the colours themselves are excellent. This meant that the deck was often quickly the target of the other players around the table in both of my play groups, and since graveyard decks are quite easy to disrupt, well… It didn’t end too well most of the time. Sometimes the deck just got to cast the general on turn four or five, remove Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and something with 6 or more in power, pay a black and swing for lethal. It’s quite stupid and it’s quite boring. The deck itself failed not only because people started to hate on it, but also because I grew bored with it. Come to think of it, the latter is probably the main reason why I stop playing EDH decks.

vorosh,thehunter.hqVorosh, the HunterAfter rebuilding the deck almost from the ground and up, The Mimeoplasm changed to a Vorosh deck, a sort of a ramp-combo deck. The idea was to ramp up to about a dozen mana of assorted colours and chain Time Stretch and Time Warp with various Regrowth effects and kill everyone around the table with the commander. In theory, it was very durdly, but in practice it had a lot of very powerful synergies, like Eternal Witness + Crystal Shard, which made the time walking effects absurd.

The deck failed because it was really boring to play against once it could go off. Forcing the table to watch you play your solitarie game of cards before you finally kill them in your sixth or seventh extra turn isn’t really fun for anybody. The deck made me feel awkward at how linear it was in its execution as well, since it employed all the neat little tutor effects available in the colour.

dromar,thebanisher.hqDromar, the BanisherHoo boy. This was the first-ever EDH deck I built from scratch, this was after dismantling the decks above, but before I really knew anything about the format. Dromar was essentially a control deck with like 12 sweepers main-deck, but without a real way to win. I had just cracked a box of Innistrad the weeks before, and I really loved the flavour of the set. Thus, I also had a human sub-theme in the deck which turned out to be more of a sub-human theme, since the deck really sucked.

The deck eventually went through a lot of changes to turn from a combo-control reanimator deck with Sharuum the Hedgemon at the helm, to a straight-up, balls-to-the-walls Sharuum combo deck. This deck was also dismantled later on, since it was a proper glass-cannon and too linear to be fun to play.

Dromar remains the worst deck I’ve ever built and though I really like the card, it’s just not powerful enough as a commander.

intet,thedreamer.hqIntet the DreamerCan you tell I really like the shard/wedge dragons yet? Intet was the last proper attempt at making a deck with these 6/6 flyers in them. It was essentially a worse version of Vorosh – it also won through recurring time walks, but my idea was to cast them from the top of my library with Intet rather than paying ten mana up front. It had Scroll Rack and Sensei’s Divining Top as ways to get the good cards at the top of the library, where Intet would break the game in half with them.

The deck failed because in the end it not only looked like a strictly worse version of Vorosh, it played like a strictly worse version of Vorosh. It had less consistency – something I don’t really mind in general when it  comes to EDH, but it is really frustrating to sit around and topdeck a bunch of 8-12 mana spells while everyone else is advancing their board states. The deck was too weak and too random to do what I wanted it to do, and when it finally did what I wanted it to do, it just took a bunch of turns in a row. How exciting.

lazav,dimirmastermind.hqLazav, Dimir MastermindThe last and latest of my truly failed deck experiments was Lazav. After receiving one in an online Secret Santa, specifically a Simplified Chinese one, I decided to make a deck with a bunch of spot removal and Lazav in the deck. The idea was that Lazav would always be the best creature on the battle field, and the deck would steal stuff indirectly.

The deck failed because it was slow, it didn’t synergise well enough in itself, and it was miles behind all the other decks in the room in terms of raw power. The four coloured mana needed to cast the commander himself was sometimes a hinderance, but often times the deck just drew a few cards, played a single spot removal and then rolled over to powerful combos. A huge let down.

What do you think of this list of deck? What EDH decks have you played that didn’t quite work out? Leave a comment!

Top 5: Decks that should’ve never existed

Anger of the Gods banner

The history of Magic is full of missteps in design, development and other areas that has broken the game in half, on occasion. Sometimes, Wizards prints way too powerful cards that degenerate and centralize a metagame, sometimes the rules committee screws up, and sometimes players with low self-esteem gather to make a format unfun for everyone. No matter the source of the mistake or the deck, this is my list of decks that should have never existed.

arcboundravager.hq5: Ravager Affinity (Standard, 2004): It’s no secret that whenever Wizards tries to print a free mechanic, it tends to break the standard format at the time. Affinity was no different, and apparently, playing a bunch of 2/2:s and 4/4:s for 0 was pretty good in Standard. The deck broke the format completely with the release of Darksteel in January of 2004, which brought its namesake, Arcbound Ravager, along with Skullclamp, one of the most broken pieces of equipment ever. The deck was obviously too powerful, and Skullclamp was soon banned from Standard, but it took another round of banning which included all the artifact lands and Disciple of the Vault for the deck to be neutered completely. A funny story in the midst of all this travesty is that Mirrodin, the set that introduced the eponymous world and the “artifact matters” theme was long-awaited and much anticipated, so it sold rather well. Darksteel then came along like a thug and through Ravager Affinity’s dominance of the Standard format, made lots of people quit the game. Thus, Mirrodin held the record for most sold set for a really long time, even though the block itself must be considered a failure by many accounts.

Stephen Gnedovic wrote about the deck on StarCityGames.com and the article is both funny and informative. The second list from the top is the bog standard version of the bane of Standard in 2004.

secondsunrise.hq4: Eggs (Modern, 2013): Modern is a shitty format, and on its inception, proved to be broken beyond belief. They had to do a huge round of bannings right before the first Modern PT, PT Philadelphia in 2011, but they still did a new round of bannings right after the PT, powerhouses which the format could not handle – like Green Sun’s Zenith and Blazing Shoal. Yeah, the format is a joke. However, being an “eternal” format, i.e. non-rotating, means that the Modern card pool is huge, and without stuff like Force of Will and Wasteland to keep the worst of the stuff in check, some decks are free to run rampant, which Eggs did in 2013. Eggs as a deck is actually a lot older than the Modern format, it started off as a joke deck using the Odyssey eggs (i.e. Mossfire Egg and frieds) to generate mana, card-drawing and storm count with Helm of Awakening. The deck is an even bigger joke than Modern, meaning it found a place in the Modern format around 2013, but with some better artifacts like Lotus Bloom, Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star etc. The deck casts these artifacs during the first few turns, then generates a ton of mana by cracking them all in the same turn, casting Second Sunrise or Faith’s Reward to do it all again, draw a bunch of cards, and proceed to kill with a single Pyrite Spellbomb. In case you couldn’t tell, these combos took a long time to play out, meaning these decks frequently went to time, delaying tournaments for everyone there. A joke of a deck in a joke of a format, but it shouldn’t be allowed there – and indeed, Second Sunrise is now banned from Modern.

necropotence.hq#3: Necro (Standard, 1996): Necropotence is a really good card, there’s nobody denying that. There were people denying that in 1995, however, when Ice Age was released, featuring arguably one of the best enchantments ever printed. Famously, the Inquest magazine called it one of the worst cards in the set in its Ice Age set review. Then again, the same magazine labeled Balduvian Horde as the best card in Alliances, according to this article. Hilariously misleading magazines aside, Necropotence is a force to be reckoned with, and it has been in all format it has ever been legal in. It ushered in a period of Magic (the summer of 1996 to be precise) labelled “the black summer” because of how obviously overpowered the Necropotence decks were and how utterly dominating they were in Standard at the time. Standard was, basically, Necropotence and a bunch of decks designed to beat Necropotence – Turbo-Stasis and other examples of how to have fun with your friends and a card game.

Even more hilariously, Mark Rosewater tried to “fix” Necropotence and balance it in the form of Yawgmoth’s Bargain, which too proved to be way too powerful and had to be banned in several formats, including Extended and Legacy, as well as restricting it in Vintage. Today, the card remains banned in EDH and Legacy.

Paying one life for one card is awesome, it was in 1996, and it is still awesome to this day. The Necropotence decks of the black summer proved it over and over, but the card itself was never actually banned from Standard play, strangely enough.

flash.hq#2: Hulk Flash (Legacy, 2007): In May of 2007, the DCI made a number of erratas to existing errata of cards, that effectively made them function closer to the printed text rather than the errata. One of the cards to be effected by this was Mirage’s Flash. Previously, the card’s function in that it put the creature into play no matter what was considered dangerous with cards like Academy Rector and the card was erratad to not put the creature into play, but to the graveyard directly from the hand. A few years later, the DCI decided to revert back to the original text, and this meant that Flash now put the creature into play. This was right before Grand Prix: Columbus in 2007 and the deck based around Flash and Protean Hulk was the talk of the tournament, and eventually won it all. Flash had to be banned shortly after the tournament, and the deck itself was really only legal in May of 2007.

A version of the deck was played in Vintage as well for some time until the deck’s namesake, along with Gush and Merchant Scroll were restricted. These days, even though Flash remains restricted, the card is in theory playable in the format, but Vintage has a lot of things you could do instead of playing Flash that’s way more effective, and the deck is more or less completely competitively unviable.

tolarianacademy.hq#1: Academy (Standard, 1998-1999): The Urza block is, as admitted by Mark Rosewater in his podcast, a complete failure from a development perspective. The block broke the game even worse than Mirrodin would do a few years later, and drove tons of people from the game. This period in the history of the game is known as “combo winter” where most of the stuff hit the fan. The outrage from the player base led to massive bannings in Standard, and though the block is cramped full of broken cards – Yawgmoth’s Will, Tinker, Memory Jar, Time Spiral to name just a fraction, but one of the cards that has had the highest impact of the game of them all has to be Tolarian Academy.

Academy as a deck is an extremely fast and stable combo deck that generates huge amounts of mana through mana artifacts and the namesake card. The mana is recycled through the “free” spells of the Urza block that nets you even more mana, since you get to untap Tolarian Academy, and then the deck finishes off the opponent with a huge Stroke of Genius. Tommi Hovi, Finnish hall of famer, played the deck at PT Rome in Extended all the way to the trophy. The deck is as busted as can be, considering its dominance in both Standard and Extended, and even to this day, Tolarian Academy is a Vintage staple, despite the fact that it is restricted. It’s banned everywhere else, go figure.

What do you think of the list? Any decks I missed? Leave a comment below!

Decks of tournaments past: BitterStalker

Bitterblossom banner

In the fall of 2010, I was already knee-deep in Legacy and playing mostly Canadian Threshold (later: RUG Delver). This was before the printing of Delver of Secrets himself, meaning that the blue-based tempo decks at the time actually had to go to their splash colours to find creatures to play. Meanwhile, Standard was being dominated by blue-white control decks featuring Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic, but this was before New Phyrexia – meaning Batterskull was still almost a year away, meaning Stoneforge Mystic had yet to make a splash in Legacy. I had a playset of her and played a couple in a deck that was at the time known as UW Tempo, where she was more or less just extra copies of Umezawa’s Jitte. However, the previous Standard season had been dominated by Faeries, specifically blue-black Faeries, and many Legacy pilots tried to port the deck to Legacy. One of the takes was Blue-Black-Red Faeries, nicknamed “BitterStalker” after its primary threats – Bitterblossom and Tombstalker. In fact, the only faeries the deck played was Spellstutter Sprite and Vendilion Clique, and Bitterblossom if you count non-creatures with the creature type.

Here’s my take on the list: Link to the list on TappedOut.net.

BitterStalker, fall of 2010

4 Polluted Deltabitterblossom.hq
3 Scalding Tarn
3 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
1 Badlands
4 Wasteland
1 Island
1 Swamp

4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Vendilion Clique
3 Tombstalker
3 Bitterblossom

4 Brainstorm
3 Ponder
4 Stifle
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Firespout
1 Smother
1 Terminate

Sideboard:
3 Spell Pierce
3 Submerge
3 Pyroblast
1 Perish
1 Firespout
2 Extirpate
1 Ravenous Trap
1 Tormod’s Crypt

vengevine.hqSeveral things are very archaic when you look at the list. First of all, one needs to consider a few things about Legacy at the time, fall of 2010. First of all, Zoo was a very popular deck, and aside Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary, the entire deck died to Firespout, which is why I chose to play three in my 75, two of them in the main deck (!). Secondly, Rise of the Eldrazi had come out the spring before, and with Vengevine in the format, Survival of the Fittest decks were everywhere. The straight UG Survival was easily the best deck in the format (with a rather disgusting win rate against an open metagame), but it lost against GW and Bant Survival more often than not, and since those decks had a number of positive match-ups in an open field as well, those were common choices too. Thus, I chose to play no less than four graveyard hate cards in the sideboard, along with Submerge, Perish and a spare copy of Firespout – all effective at dealing with green creatures, all coincidentally killing Vengevine as well. Also consider that this was before New Phyrexia, so Surgical Extraction didn’t exist yet, unfortunately.

Otherwise the list is a fairly standard tempo deck, what I liked most about it was that I got to play Terminate in Legacy, plus Bitterblossom doesn’t require any mana investment after the initial two, meaning one can keep up mana for reactive spells very easily. The fact that Tombstalker is huge, shrinks Tarmogoyf, and has evasion, made him a premier threat in the format at the time, and the rest of the creatures had flash! What’s not to like?

So, how did I do with the deck? Well, not great. I played it in a couple of tournaments that fall, actually never making a Top 8 with it. In hindsight, playing only three Ponder is a blatant mistake, something I tended to do at the time. The mana-base of the deck is quite horrid too, playing basic lands over more fetchlands to power out earlier Tombstalkers seems just wrong and quite paranoid. I remember I had loads of fun with the deck, however, and maybe that’s what really counts?

Decks of tournaments past: Birdshit

Birdshit, or “Birdsh!t” as it was sometimes stylized as a work-around on different english-language message boards with their language filters, was a deck in Vintage back around 2005-2007. I regard it as somewhere between Fish and Noble Fish in its evolution, and it is pretty close to the UGw Threshold that was around the same time one of the best decks in Legacy. Vintage is a different sort of game most of the time, however, and it forced me to make some strange main-deck choices. The list:

Birdshit, fall of 2006
4 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
3 Elvish Spirit Guide

meddlingmage.hq

Chris Pikula, the meddliest of mages

4 Nimble Mongoose
3 Werebear
4 Meddling Mage
2 Kataki, War’s Wage

2 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
3 Mental Note
3 Stifle
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
2 Misdirection
3 Null Rod

Sideboard:
1 Swords to Plowshares
3 Ray of Revelation
4 Sacred Ground
4 Arcane Laboratory
3 Oxidize

A couple of things to note about the list – Vintage is a crazy format, and was so even back then. It amazes me how we even hoped to compete without the power nine cards, but we made due with Elvish Spirit Guides over moxes and Brainstorms over Ancestral Recalls. The list above pre-dates Tarmogoyf, it pre-dates Ponder and it obviously pre-dates Stony Silence, which is why it plays the suboptimal choices instead. Mental Note might seem like a poor card, but it cantrips, it combos well with Brainstorm in case I don’t have a fetch, and it quickly fills the graveyard for Nimble Mongoose and Werebear. Only two Swords to Plowshares might seem iffy at best, but again, Vintage is a very different beast from Legacy, and I didn’t feel I’d need more.

The tournament itself:

R1: Rector Tendrils (0-2)
R2: Landstill (2-1)
R3: Illusionary Mask.dec (2-1)
R4: TNT (2-1)
R5: Gro, ID

QF: Gifts (2-1)
SF: Uba Stax (0-2)

Overall, I’m in no way displeased with a 3-1-1 and a semifinal loss with the list above. It could probably be built better, but it worked okay for the day.

Decks of tournaments past: Uw Merfolk

Though Merfolk has somewhat of a presence in today’s Legacy metagame, much thanks to True-Name Nemesis, it is by no means a true DTB, or even a tier 1 deck. This wasn’t always the case, however, Merfolk was a true force to be reckoned with back around 2010 – it had a great match-up against Bant CounterTop, one of the best decks in the format, it was alright against the format’s combodeck due to 4 Force of Will and 4 Daze paired with some quick beats, and it was okay against most random decks, simply because beating up people with 4/4 Islandwalking fishes is straightforward and easy enough. It was terrible against Goblins and Zoo, however, but that didn’t stop me. The fact that everyone else ran mono-blue didn’t stop me from trying various splashes, for example Tomoharu Saito’s GP Columbus 2010-winning deck which effectively was mono-blue in the maindeck, but splashed black for sideboarded Engineered Plague and Perish.

As for myself, I played with a white splash. White gave me access to a bunch of sideboard tools, but more importantly, it allowed me to play Sejiri Merfolk (for real) and Swords to Plowshares in the maindeck. Most importantly, I got to play with my expensive lands. I played this pile to the semifinals of a tournament in may of 2010, just as the black splash Merfolk began to rise in popularity:

Uw Merfolk, summer of 2010

Easily the worst card in the list, by far

Easily the worst card in the list, by far

3 Mutavault
4 Wasteland
4 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta
3 Tundra
3 Island

4 Cursecatcher
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Merrow Reejerey
3 Sejiri Merfolk
2 Merfolk Sovereign

3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Aether Vial

Sideboard:
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
1 Swords to Plowshares
4 Spell Pierce
1 Threads of Disloyalty
3 Submerge
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Relic of Progenitus

Sejiri Merfolk is obviously quite terrible, but I thought it was unique, and it shored up the aggro match-up, and it was cute. First strike is great vs. Zoo, and the whole idea with the white splash was to turn Zoo from a 35/65 match-up to like 40/60. Not worth it, but the Swords to Plowshares were great all day, they allowed me to beat, in turn, Umezawa’s Jitte; Llawan, Cephalid Empress and Iona, Shield of Emeria in the quarter finals, all three essentially death penalties for a mono-blue Merfolk list. The sideboard is okay too, in retrospect, I’d cut Sejiri Merfolk for something more relevant, and add the fourth Swords to Plowshares to the maindeck instead, and the one-of Threads of Disloyalty is as random as they come in a deck with no card-drawing outside Silvergill Adept. The full set of Spell Pierce and the four grave hosers were both good calls though, and Submerge is always Submerge, especially in a metagame where everyone and their dogs were playing Knight of the Reliquary.

The tournament, in its entirety:
Storm (2-1)
Bant Aggro (2-1)
Reanimator (2-0)
Next-Level Thresh (1-2)
ID
QF: Bant Aggro (2-1)
SF: Goblins (0-2)

The QF Bant Aggro match-up was the same as in round two, and apparently, he got salty as all hell over my white splash afterwards, or so I heard. That alone makes it all worth it, in retrospect.

Funnily enough, I played a similar list in march of 2010, but overall a better configuration I’d say:

Uw Merfolk, spring of 2010
3 Mutavault
4 Wasteland
4 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta
3 Tundra
3 Island

4 Cursecatcher
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Merfolk Sovereign

4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Aether Vial

Sideboard:
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
4 Path to Exile
4 Spell Pierce
1 Echoing Truth
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Relic of Progenitus

A much better deck overall, with a more consistent maindeck, and a better sideboard, played two months before the pile above. The deck actually got worse over time. As luck would have it though, this deck only made it to the quarterfinals:

The death of fishes in 2010

Zoo (2-0)
Zoo (0-2)
Countertop (2-0)
Countertop (2-1)
Bant CBtop (2-1)
Bant Survival (2-1)
QF: RUG (1-2)

The notes from the tournament tells me I lost in the third duel of the quarterfinals after drawing land, Aether Vial, land, Force of Will after he Pyroclasm’d my entire team to cinders. A funny anecdote from the tournament I remember is that after losing to my opponent in the quarterfinals, I thanked him for the match and said “Good luck in the next one”, to which he replied “Yeah, you too… Oh, wait!”

A eulogy for an old friend?

The number of creatures that has once seen play in Legacy but are now overshadowed by younger and more powerful alternatives can be made long. Werebear and Mystic Enforcer were both once played in UGw Threshold, which was the norm back when the format was almost brand new and everyone was playing Goblins, but they are both effectively neutered by the presence of Tarmogoyf. Fledgling Dragon was once played in UGr Threshold, but again, doesn’t hold a candle to the 4/5 for 1G. Tradewind Rider used to be a card, but if you walk a lap around the room at a Legacy tournament and ask everyone you meet what it does, I’m sure about half the people will have no clue whatsoever. In fact, Tradewind Rider was really only good in a specific build if Survival for a time, and even when Survival of the Fittest was the scourge of the format and eventually banned, it was the green-white builds with Iona, Shield of Emeria and Loyal Retainers as well as the straight UG combo build with Vengevine that finally got the enchantment banned.

My point is, there are a lot of cards, especially creatures, that have been very popular and powerful in Legacy but has eventually been overcome by the power creep of Magic in general. To me, the one exception is Nimble Mongoose. I remember opening Nimble Mongooses with my brother and thinking it was a pretty neat card “for an uncommon”, while cards like Mystic Enforcer were obviously better. I remember playing Nimble Mongoose throughout my last year of Vintage, in an UGw Threshold deck called “Birdshit” (which I will feature on here some day). I remember making the leap to Legacy and playing CounterSlivers for the first six months before coming to my senses and returning to my Nimble Mongooses and playing Canadian Threshold for the first time. By now, however, his old pal Werebear was nowhere to be seen, replaced by a really expensive rare from Future Sight, with art that nobody could tell what it was. I remember my brother giving me a misprinted Nimble Mongoose (the mana symbol is missing a part of the little tree) which I still play with to this day. I remember when Innistrad was released and Delver of Secrets, after much debate, was hailed new scourge of the format and the best threat in RUG, and though Nimble Mongoose took the back seat then, he was still firmly in the car.

Now, however, with a format that’s extremely hostile towards graveyards in general with Deathrite Shaman and Rest in Peace, Nimble Mongoose has a tough time keeping up. People have tried time and again to cut him from RUG, only to get stabbed by Miracles and other decks where he shines, before coming back, making reparations and adding a playset of him again. With the printing of Treasure Cruise as an Ancestral Recall competing for the same resource as Nimble Mongoose, perhaps it’s the final nail in the coffin.

I sure as hell hope not.

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.