Matt Plays Modern – In Which Weird Stuff Happens

Hey all, and welcome back for another edition of Matt Plays Modern. I was recently able to take my Grixis Delver deck down to lovely Janesville, WI to check the Saturday afternoon Modern scene there. And while the people were welcoming, the decks were not…

Kryptonite Kollectibles is an old stomping ground of mine, although I’ve played a lot more Heroclix than Magic there. As such, I didn’t really know much about the meta going in, and I used that excuse to try a couple new cards in my sideboard. Enter Smash to Smithereens, sideboarded Thoughtseizes, and a 1-of Electrolyze.

…None of these really helped me out throughout the night, as I got ground out twice and basically played solitaire for my third match. Let’s get into it.

Round 1: Vs. UW Control

This was the controliest UW control deck I’ve ever played against in Modern. I’m talking a bunch of Supreme Verdicts, Remands, Condemn, Gideons, and even Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. I knew what I was playing against, because my opponent came in late and had to sleeve his deck up, and kept a hand that looked a little slow but still reasonable. My opponent proceeded to stall and kill my creatures long enough to land a Gideon that I couldn’t get rid of easily. I did eventually manage to burn it out with a combination of double Lightning Bolt and a Forked Bolt.

The next turn, my opponent dropped Elspeth. We were pretty done there.

Game 2 unfortunately went much the same way, with a couple key points of divergence.

Point 1: I had a Young Pyromancer on board, and my opponent played a Path to Exile on it. I responded with a Bolt to the face, since my opponent was at a decently low life total due to an early Delver that had been Condemned, figuring I’d dome the opponent and leave an attacker behind.

The opponent followed the Path to Exile with a Timely Reinforcements, punishing me pretty hard for making an Elemental off of Young Pyromancer. I still don’t think my play was a mistake in most situations, but maybe I should have been thinking about Timely there.

Point 2: Eventually, my opponent was able to stick a Crucible of Worlds and Ghost Quarter me into oblivion. Only having four basic lands, it doesn’t take many Ghost Quarters for my deck’s mana base to begin to fold in on itself.

Overall, this seems like a tough match-up, as Grixis Delver is a grindier Delver variant and this UW control deck is just going to be better at the grind.

Result: L (0-1)

Round 2: Vs. DredgeLoam

This was another grindy match that I seemed to not really have a chance in game 1. All my threats either died to Darkblast or got absorbed by Stinkweed Imp or Vengeful Pharaoh. Meanwhile, my opponent was getting maximum value off of both Life from the Loam and goddamn Golgari Brownscale.

I’m going to take a moment to help you appreciate why Golgari Brownscale earned that goddamn in front of it in the last sentence. My opponent gained so much life off of that thing during these matches, that his life totals took up half a sheet of notebook paper, because they fluctuated so much. I can normally fit a couple matches on one sheet of paper in my notebook. This time, I could barely fit two games. So, goddamn Golgari Brownscale. Screw you and your ability to consistently gain two life.

So game 1 didn’t go well. Game 2, I brought in Blood Moon and Engineered Explosives, and wished I’d not let my friend Trevor argue me out of bringing a Rakdos Charm (oh, I will have one next time, just you wait). I drew both of my sideboard cards in my opening hand, so I should have been good, right?

Well, I think I blew this one. First, I set Engineered Explosives on 2 on turn 2, thinking I’d need it to handle Bloodghasts. I always forget that thing can’t block. Second, I didn’t just slam Blood Moon on turn 3 because I didn’t have access to my basic Swamp, and therefore Tasigur. This gave my opponent time to fetch his own basic Swamp, which meant he got to cast spells that game. Him casting spells was bad for me, and I managed to lose a game that I probably should have just auto-won on game 3.

But, eh, we learn. Next time, slam the Blood Moon.

Result: L (0-2)

Round 3: Vs. Really Janky Battle of Wits

I don’t really want to get into this one much, because it wasn’t much of a match. Game 1, I played a Delver, it flipped, and my opponent did nothing because he was stuck on one land and I Bolted his Birds of Paradise.

Game 2, my opponent continued to do nothing, and I held up a Mana Leak all game just in case. I never cast it.

Result: W (1-2)

As far as actual games and results went, it was a weirdly frustrating night, but the company was good, and there was minor prize support for everyone. So I’ve got a pack of Oath of the Gatewatch waiting for a Chaos Draft coming at some point down the road. I probably won’t get out to play again before the Shadows Over Innistrad bans are announced, so I eagerly await the new-old Modern that’s coming, just like the rest of you do, I’m sure.

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