The Events and Decks I Played at MagicFest Vegas 2019

At the time of this writing, I’m about two weeks out from attending MagicFest Las Vegas 2019. At the time you’re reading this, however, the MagicFest just ended … which makes writing about the event a bit tricky.

To manage the gap, I’ve written up a quick synopsis of the decks and events I plan(ned) to play at MagicFest Vegas. I’ll explain my event and deck choices … and through the magic of the internet, I’ll hopefully have added in a brief summary of how the MagicFest went, right before this post publishes. (If I didn’t make it, you’ll be able to tell pretty darn quick.)

Let’s start with my favorite format that I don’t actually want to play right now: Modern.

In a Hogaak World, Stick to Side Events

Modern is my go-to format, but there’s still no way in heck that you could convince me to play the main Modern event at MagicFest Vegas. In the Year of Our Lord Hogaak, showing up to a highly competitive event without the Risen Necropolis himself (or a solid plan to beat him) is just plain stupid.

When you couple the busted-as-heck Modern meta with the main event’s $70 price point, I’m way off it. Instead, I plan to sign up for the hopefully-more-forgiving Modern Madness Qualifier. At $50, and with some guaranteed Prize Tix, the Qualifier seems like a better use of my limited MagicFest time. And hopefully, all the competitive Hogaak-ers will be too busy crushing the main event to sign up.

As for what I’m going to play, I think I’m sticking with my trusty Dimir Death’s Shadow deck (despite some experimentation this summer). I’m playing the same main deck that I’ve been playing since this article released, but I’ve updated the sideboard with some new tech:

I’m still not entirely sold on Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, which is why I’ve replaced the sideboard copy with his older brother. Spell Snare’s my most untested sideboard card, but it seems decent against a good chunk of the current meta.

I don’t know that Dimir Death’s Shadow is a fantastic Modern deck, but it’s the one I’m most confident in piloting – so that’s what I’ll be slinging in Vegas.

RESULT: I’m guessing a pretty even Win-Loss split here. The Shadow deck has decent tools to fight the current meta and I have experience on my side, but I have yet to play against a Hogaak. So I’m running into the current meta just slightly blind.

I Really Want a Promo Sol Ring

And goshdarn it, I’m going to get one – even if it means playing Commander at a MagicFest.

Sol Ring Promo MagicFest Vegas 2019

I’ve gone on (probably too much) about how I dislike playing Commander in unknown waters. If your deck is too good, your opponents feel bad. If your deck is too weak, you feel bad. And it’s impossible to know everyone’s preferred Commander experience before you sit down to play.

That said, ChannelFireball’s Commander event prize structure (which guarantees a promo [P.S. – though not Sol Ring, which I found out after writing this] and a set amount of Prize Tix) helps mitigate those feel-bads. And I’m likely going to get to play alongside one of my best friends, who’s flying out for the tournament. So we’ll hopefully get some great games in. Despite my whining, I’ve played a ton of great Commander games at various tournaments and conventions – with many fantastic memories made as a result.

Because I have no idea what strength everyone else’s decks will be at, I plan to play what I consider to be my strongest deck: Riku of Two Reflections. Riku can midrange with the best of them, and close out games with the Splinter Twin combo or Mindslaver lock if necessary. I’m also hoping to finally draw the Riku “god hand” shown below in Vegas – as it’d be a fantastic place to finally have a turn 3 win show up (and hopefully, get blown out somehow).

Riku Splinter Twin God Hand

RESULT: I’m guessing I’ll have some great Commander games in Vegas, and that all my worrying will be for nothing. I’m also guessing that the promo Sol Ring will look even sweeter in person than online.

And Finally, a Format Where Delver of Secrets Might Actually Flip

No, it’s not Legacy. When Wizards announced that Pauper is now an official paper format, I quickly bought the cards I needed to sleeve up Mono-Blue Delver.

I didn’t need many additional cards. I’ve played Counterspell, Delver of Secrets, Ninja of the Deep Hours, Ponder, Preordain, and Spellstutter Sprite in various casual and Modern decks before. I’m jazzed to now play them all together in one deck, which is why I’m definitely going to be jamming at least one Pauper event during MagicFest Vegas.

This event’s also a trial run for playing Pauper at my local store going forward, as they just added Pauper to their Friday night rotation. Assuming I love the format, I hope to play Mono-Blue Delver not just in Vegas, but at home afterward.

RESULT: I’m guessing I will lose a ton and have a great time doing it at Vegas’s Pauper events. I’m pumped to see everything the format has to offer before building more decks of my own.

Of Course, There’s So Much More to MagicFests

I doubt the above three events and decks will be all I play at MagicFest Vegas. Certainly, my friend Trevor and I will hit up the Spellslinging table, as we had a blast winning free packs and jawing with Magic celebrities at last year’s GP Seattle. It might’ve been both of ours’ favorite part of the event, actually.

I’m also hoping to jam a bunch of additional Commander and Modern games against Trevor during our downtime, as I see him only roughly twice a year at this point. You might’ve run into us at the side event tables … and hopefully you said “Hey” if you did!

With luck, your MagicFest Vegas will be as great as mine (likely) was. And by the time you’re reading this, hopefully Wizards will have decided to free us all from the Hogaak menace – so I can consider playing the main event at next year’s MagicFest Vegas.

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