First off, I want to say congratulations to Colin T. Addington!
We stuck everyone’s names in a random generator, and Colin came up as the winner of the Modern Masters 2015 Noble Hierarch! He mentioned in the comments that he’ll be putting it in Modern 5 Color Humans, which I think is a great place for such an awesome card.
Back From Vegas
As you may have realized, we didn’t have a vote this week for the column. Vegas took a lot out of the team and I, so instead of our normal programming we’ll be talking about my experience in the Modern Grand Prix, and I’ll be highlighting my favorite cards from each match! Don’t worry, we’ll be back next week with another vote – and another chance to win a sweet card!
Grand Prix Las Vegas was a ton of fun if a bit exhausting! I drove up on Thursday with my ABU teammates Chris and Chaz. We got there in the early evening, tracked down the rest of the team, and got settled at the Air B&B. We had a ton of people all shoved into the two bedroom apartment, but miraculously it didn’t seem like we were sardines in a can.
As you’ll read in a minute, I didn’t do as great as I had hoped I would, but I learned a lot and had a fantastic time meeting people and spending time with the team.
I want to give a shoutout to Brian and Joby for making Day 2! Way to kill it guys!
Without further ado, let’s get to the report.
I was running UG Infect, with an almost identical list to the one Aaron Barich ran at a Star City Invitational. I’ve been playing UG Infect off and on for years, and definitely felt like going with the philosophy of “play what you know best” when heading to a GP I admittedly didn’t have enough practice for. Plus, I think Infect is pretty well situated against the most popular Modern decks right now, so after some discussion with the team, it didn’t seem like too bad of a plan!
I sleeved it up, tried to calm my nerves, and headed into the fray.
Round 1 was a loss right out of the gate 0-2 to Ponza. My opponent seemed surprised he was beating Infect, but early Blood Moons followed up by debilitating Inferno Titans made sure I wasn’t able to build up enough of a board state to get in for the kill. It was a quick defeat to a deck I’ve normally had great games against in testing, but my opponent was a fun guy to play against so I tried to not tilt too hard. Inferno Titan gets the title of my “Fan Favorite” for this matchup. The Titan is just neat! Coming in hot, clearing the board of little creatures (especially infecters), and having a big body with a Firebreathing upside? That’s pretty darn legit if you ask me.
Round 2 was a 2-0 win against a nice young man playing Jeskai Control. I know, losing to a decent matchup and then smashing against one of my worst matchups? Weird. I don’t think he was super familiar with Infect decks, and my Inkmoths swooped in for the win on turn three twice in a row. Both him and I had been accidentally dropped from the tournament after round 1 (which happened to me a few more times over the weekend for some reason), so we had a chance to chat for a bit beforehand. He was a nice kid, and I hope the rest of his tournament went well! My “Fan Favorite” for this matchup definitely goes to good ol’ Inkmoth Nexus. It betrayed me several times later in the tournament, but since I rode to victory on the back of this wonderful flying 1/1 infect creature land on turn 3 twice in a row I’m definitely giving it a shoutout.
Round 3 was a hard fought battle against Spirits that I managed to win 2-1. They were tough games! This was one of those matches where I had to really hold back and be careful with my swings. Sequencing your pump spells right is super important in these kinds of matchups (I mean, against anything with tons of removal and counterspells I guess.) Finally, I thought I saw an opportunity to slide through for the win on game 3. I swung in, played all of my pump spells, Spell Pierced a counter, I swung in on game 3, and the opponent asked, “so is that game?” I replied, “it’s well over 10 infect if you take it” and he picked up most of his cards, prompting me to pick mine up as well. As he went to grab the rest of his creatures, he realized he had a Mausoleum Wanderer which would have saved him and allowed him to win on the swing back. He goes, “uh, sac my Wanderer?” We’d already picked up our cards. “Dude, you just conceded to me and picked up your cards.” He knew that it was a long shot, but asked if I minded if he called a judge. Of course, I didn’t mind – I would never begrudge someone a judge call! The judge came over and ruled in my favor. I feel bad because I hadn’t noticed the Wanderer either. If he hadn’t conceded and immediately picked up his board things would have been much different! It’s hard to take things slowly like you should in a high-stress environment like that, which is something we could all work on I think. I’m going to pick the Wanderer as my “Fan Favorite” for this round – the dang thing has caught me unawares so many times it’s not even funny. You’d think I would learn eventually, but for some reason, my brain has a Mausoleum Wanderer block. Here’s to the one time I wasn’t the only one to forget about this wiley spirit!
Round 4 I lost another quick one to a friendly Jund player. My hands were picked apart by Inquisitions and Thoughtseizes, and Liliana of the Veil finished off any of lingering bastions of hope I had on the field. Jund is always a hard matchup for me, and not even the Geist of St. Traft tech out of my sideboard could save me. I’m going with Inquisition of Kozilek for my “Fan Favorite” for this one! Inquisition is so cool, even if it was my undoing this round. Being able to strip away some of Modern’s best spells out of your opponent’s hand feels so good!
Round 5 I faced down Dredge and won 2-1. I hadn’t played against Dredge in a long time and remembered it being an easy matchup for me. However, round one he cast, dredged, and re-cast SO MANY Darkblasts and I never even got a chance to swing. We were both laughing a bit at the futile attempts of my poor little 1/1s. The next two matches were a different story, and I was able to get him to 1o infect damage quickly and without much difficulty. Those were the kinds of matches I remembered playing against Dredge! Darkblast definitely wins my “Fan Favorite” for this match. Being able to feed the Dredge strategy while recurring removal is good value!
My Round 6 opponent went first and played an Urza’s Tower and I breathed a sigh of relief – if this was regular Tron then I was facing one of my best matchups. To my relief, it was! Both games were over quickly with Turn 1 Noble Hierarch, Turn 2 Blighted Agent, Turn 3 swing with two Might of Old Krosa’s played in the main phase. My opponent seemed to tilt pretty hard and rushed off before I got a chance to talk to him at all. I was on the edge of my seat hoping to get the next two rounds and make Day 2 (spoilers – it doesn’t happen). I’m going with Might of Old Krosa as my “Fan Favorite Friday” because it’s insanely powerful and casting two in one turn makes me feel like a giant.
Round 7 I had my dreams crushed by Grishoalbrand! This wasn’t a deck I had tested against prior to the event, and it had been years since I had gotten a chance to play against it. I managed to get to game 3 without really grasping the combo and made a poor decision that allowed her to combo off in response to me fetching for the blue I needed to have a Spell Pierce prepped, and her trusty Borborygmos Enraged came down with the furious combo and I was out of contention for Day 2. I’m pretty embarrassed about this one – I feel like I should have known the combo better! Borborygmos definitely earned his place as my “Fan Favorite” for this round. What a neat combo piece!
I played Round 8 to try to recoup some points but ended up with a loss to GR Eldrazi. I was tired, and kind of bummed out about how things had been going, and I know I didn’t playmy best. I feel like they started out as close matches, but he slammed all the Eldrazi Obligators (and friends) and won the race. I was so out of it I didn’t take very good notes, but there’s a big frowny face next to the word “OBLIGATORS”, and I remember him casting so very many. I’ll begrudgingly give the hasty little noodle monster “Fan Favorite” for this round. Normally you’d think I’d be able to race something like this, but this time it was really, really not the case.
Not making Day 2 is obviously a bummer, but I still had a blast in the tournament! I feel like I learned a ton, and I met a lot of cool people. The next day I spent some time jamming Elves in the Pauper Championship and following my teammates’ progress in Day 2 of Modern and Day 1 of the Sealed GP!
- Practice More! This is an obvious one, but it’s good to remember still I think. My work schedule had been extra hectic and I didn’t spend enough time carving out room to jam more modern games!
- Get more sleep! This is always a hard one for me. Even when there isn’t a ton of people all jammed in the same hotel room I have a hard time sleeping due to excitement for the day to come and then make silly mistakes the next day.
- Take it slowly – think more! When I get nervous, I tend to rush through my decision making. I really need to work on being able to slow down, take a breath, and think through the plays better.
Well, that was quite an exhausting week! I had such a good time playing and getting to meet so many people – if you had a chance to stop and say hi I really appreciate it!
Congratulations again to Colin! I hope you enjoy playing the Noble Hierarch in your 5 color humans deck. Message us on the ABU Facebook to get your information to us so we can ship it!
I’m going to go take a long nap, and then we’ll be back on Monday with a new vote! Don’t forget, you’ll be able to win the winner!