All I kept hearing at Odiez card shop, about my writing, was:
“Gawd, your awful!”
“Ummm, Shawn, your article didn't make sense”
“Why'd you write that?”
“He said some oink about you!”
I would consider myself a writer of MTG, before a player of it. I enjoy trying to amuse, entertain, make them ponder, or confuse anyone who dares to read them.
After all-it's just a card game I enjoy flopping on the weekends. But, the friendship, and the few valuable lessons I have learned have made it all worth my time.
Last week I jabbed about how 'I am only good as those around me'. This can be applied to any store anywhere in the world. You'll have the beginners, the mid-level, and then your top pack. However, in my area, the guys that play are a great influence in my skill level, and how I've seem them improve has been more impressive.
You can read my article here
After some thought..I decided to get these guys to write. To see how hard it can be to write something interesting. Or maybe just to get them motivated. A push in the right direction. So I borrowed two guys MTG cards for their tournament as a bargaining chip that they write a report for me.
Once again, I have a story. (Imagine that, huh?)
News of Marty changing decks came from some of this friends a week and half before the JSS in Milwaukee. At first, I thought-Why? I couldn't understand why he was changing from a deck he knew, a B/W, to a U/W deck. My other concern was Marty being able to play a control deck.
Haven't we all doubted our friends ability at one time or another?
In every play group we have the 'beat down' player, 'combo' player, all the way to the 'control' player. However, when you become good at Magic, you transcend all these boundaries. You just become a 'good' player. So I mocked his decision. Only half-kiddingly. But he stepped up and told me, “That is fine, but I am going to WIN the JSS.”
Marty seemed a little upset at my doubt of him. I told him, “I will bow down to you if you win it WITH U/W”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Houts eating his words. [The 'wrong' meter has flipped over 100,000...*click*]
The report you are about to read is from Marty Amacher. As I have stated in my previous article, he is a young, talented force to be dealt with in Type 2. He is still homing his skills in drafting.....
Marty Amacher attended this JSS the past weekend in Milwaukee and WON it. So this is his winning tournament report. I am hoping you Type 2 players (who do play a little more seriously) will get some insight into the current environment that includes Dark steel. Also, I am hoping this will set the tone for Marty to continue writing.
UW Still Alive in the JSS World
My name is Marty Amacher, and I am from Kenosha, Wisconsin. I have been playing MTG for about three years now; I am even becoming pretty good . Pre-Dark Steel, I had been playing a lot of BW control, at local tournaments and at multiple Junior Super Series. Lately I have even been doing well with BW, at the last three JSS I played it and placed Top 4 twice, and in the finals once. I realized that Dark Steel was becoming legal soon, so I quickly switched over to UW in hopes of trying my luck at it before it became inviable in Type 2, due to the addition of Dark Steel, and more importantly, Skull Clamp, the supposed 'super card that will annihilate all control decks'.
After playing UW for a while I realized that I really enjoyed playing the deck and knew it was the deck to play. So I looked on the Internet and talked my friends Houts, Mike, Lukas, Peter about ways of keeping U/W alive post Dark Steel. Mike and Peter both suggested that I add Pulse of the Fields, because it might allow you to not lose to the amount of card advantage that goblins will draw. Also, they suggested that I add Damping Matrix to my sideboard, because if that hits the board against goblins- they literally sit there; it turns multiple cards into dead weight. I learned that the first JSS of the new format was next Sunday in Milwaukee and my friends suggested I go with them. I definitely wanted to go because of the limited number of JSS's I can attend since I am turning sixteen soon. However, losing to the Super Card(with the big “S” emblem) of the format AND my fifteen dollars seemed sickening. Of course my friends talked me into going, and I do ended up play testing a little bit against the Goblin Clamp deck, and figured out this vital information:
IF YOU CAN GET MATRIX on the board you are in amazing shape. So with this knowledge, 15 dollars, and a little more confidence than previously, I felt confident gong into the JSS.
[u]Here is the list I ran:[/u]
4 Eternal Dragon
3 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Wrath of God
4 Akroma’s Vengeance
3 Decree of Justice
2 Pulse of the Field
4 Mana Leak
3 Thirst for Knowledge
2 Oblivion Stone
2 Mind slaver
4 Coastal Tower
4 Flooded Strands
4 Cloud post
3 Seat of Synod
3 C.O.P. red
3 Exalted Angel
3 Scrabbling Claws
2 March of the Machines
3 Damping Matrix
1 Pulse of the Fields
Round 1: Mono Green with only big creatures “hard match” *heh*
[u]Game 1[/u]: Not a whole lot to say here, he did not do anything until turn seven or eight, when he tried to play an Enormous Baloth that got Mana Leaked. Surprisingly, my two Solemn Simulacrum's went all the way in this game.
[u]Game 2[/u]: Knowing I did not have to stop anything until turn 7 my turns went like this; turn one, Cloud post, turn two, Cloud post, turn three Cloud post, turn 4 Cloud post, turn 5, Coastal Tower, turn six, Seat of Synod, he played a creature, I played a Rewind, floating ten from the Cloud posts and then I cycled Decree of Justice for twenty two before the end of the phase.
The kid was a good sport and I helped him make a little better of a deck that he could use in future tournaments, since we had almost forty five minutes left to kill.[1:Check Notes]
Round 2: I am already at table one! *applause* My opponent is playing Goblins “nonbidding, non Clamp”
[u]Game 1[/u]: This game revolved around him playing out his hand by turn three, and me playing Wrath of God on turn four; thus, making him run out of steam. After the Wrath I managed to keep the board clear for a few turns with Mana Leaks and Rewinds, then I was able to play Eternal Dragon and ride it to the victory.
SB: -2 Oblivion Stone, -2 Mind slaver, -2 Akroma’s Vengeance, -2 stifle, -1 Rewind
+ 3 Exalted Angle, +3 Damping Matrix, +3 C.O.P. Red
[u]Game 2:[/u] This game was all about me playing the second turn C.O.P. Red and hiding behind it, while I Wrath when he empties his hand. Eventually I found Damping Matrix and it was essentially over. I kept his board to a minimum and played out Exalted Angel when it was convenient, and did not look back...
I was very lucky with this match, had he been playing the Clamp/Clamp Bidding version this match would not have been near that easy.
Round 3: Goblin Bidding “with some surprises”
[u]Game 1[/u]: This game took all of three minutes, he got the “I win hand,” while I cried and begged for mercy. He was too busy hitting me with two Pile drivers and a Warchief on turn three, to notice my pleas.
SB: -2 Eternal Dragon, -2 Rewind, -2 Stifle, -2 Oblivion Stone, -1 Thirst for Knowledge maybe?
+3 C.O.P. Red, +3 Damping Matrix, +3 Exalted Angel [notice I kept Mind slavers in because if I can get off a Slaver, I usually can clear their board, and hopefully make them waste a bidding]
[u]Game 2:[/u] He got a slow hand, and I played a C.O.P. Red and hid behind it for a little while. Eventually he played a Goblin Charbeltcher, although I had a Pulse of the Fields in my hand. After a few turns of remaining alive (only because of the Pulse) I pealed a Mind slaver and took his next turn. During his turn, I shot him with his Charbeltcher for twelve, and also tapped his City of Brasses for another two. Not too shabby, eh?This put me WAY ahead in life totals, and if I remember correctly it was something like him at four, myself at sixteen. Finally, I drew a Decree of Justice and won.
[u]Game 3:[/u] This game was pretty easy, early Damping Matrix and COP Red pretty much made this game mine. Eventually my Exalted Angel out raced his 1/1s.
If I can win this round I would be able to draw into top eight.
Round 4: Affinity(basic version)
[u]Game 1:[/u]This match is incredibly in my favor, so when I saw his first turn Seat of Synod, Mox, and Talisman, I almost jumped for joy. He got a very fast Frogmite and Myr Enforcer out on me, but I Wrathed them away quickly. In the next few turns he played another Frog, Enforcer and a Brood star,and I followed up with Akroma’s vengeance before he could bash with the Brood star. I played Mana Leak when he tried to Override it and the game was mine.
Round 5: Draw
Although we played two casual games, he was playing an Urzatron like deck, the games took a very long time, but I came out ahead both times due to stifle.
Round 6: Clamp Bidding. I know that if he loses he will not make top eight so I made the choice to play it out, since I could afford a loss and still easily make top eight. Also, I wanted to take out a possible Goblin deck from making a Top 8.
[u]Game 1:[/u]He drew an insane hand, unfortunately, I forgot what he had but it didn't matter since the game was over within three minutes easily.
SB: -2 Mind slaver, -2 Oblivion stone, -2 Akroma’s Vengeance, -2 Eternal Dragon, -1 Rewind
+3 Damping Matrix, +3 exalted angel, +3 COP Red
[u]Game 2:[/u]I do not remember this game all that well either, but it revolved around me having both C.O.P. Red and Damping Matrix out. All he had out for a long time where two Skirk Prospectors and three Skull Clamps, that were all useless thanks to the Matrixes. I finally dropped an Exalted Angel and won easily..
[u]Game 3:[/u] I mulliganed down to five and kept a one lander, while he had a pretty fast hand. I failed to see my second land until nearly fifth turn when it was far too late
Top eight is looking pretty scary to me, there are two Goblin Bidding decks that use Clamp, and my friend Lukas is playing a BG cemetery deck that is also using Skull Clamp. But on the lighter side, I am in the bracket with only one Goblin Clamp deck and two Affinity decks.
Top 8: Affinity
This match was very fun, the person who was playing it seemed incredibly annoying. While he is playing a good build of an Affinity deck, luckily, however he is not very good at MTG.
[u]Game one:[/u] He did not draw very well, as he made sure everyone in the room knew even though he kept his hand. I got a fourth turn Akroma’s Vengeance off, with the help of turn one and two Cloud posts, which helped me clear his entire board. The game did not last too much longer than that, I believe I cycled a Decree of Justice for six and won while he did not have anything on the board.
SB: -2 Stifle
+2 March of the Machines
[u]Game 2:[/u] We both got very good hands, he had two Frogmites out on second turn, and an Enforcer out on third. I played Wrath of God on my fourth turn, and March of the Machines on turn five, which pretty much ended the game.
Top 4: Goblin Clamp Bidding “the same person as round six”
[u]Game 1:[/u] Much like the last time I played him, I do not remember much about this game it was over before I played a spell.
SB: same as before
[u]Game 2:[/u] he got a slow hand, and I played an early COP Red and Damping Matrix to swing things my way. He played a Warchief and a few other small goblins, but I handled them very easily with C.O.P. and eventually a Wrath of God. As usual I got Exalted Angel on the board, and the game was mine after that.
[u]Game 3:[/u] Very similar to game two, early C.O.P. and Damping Matrix made all of his creatures almost useless, while Wrath of God made sure he did not force any damage through at all. At one point he played a Patriarch’s Bidding and he got back almost nothing useful and I got two Eternal Dragons. After I thanked him for the Bidding the Eternal Dragons swung in and gave me the win.
I have been here once before, and I figured that game me a slight edge on the young but good player who is opponent. He is playing Affinity; it is the same kid I played in round four.
[u]Game 1:[/u] Very easy game for me, he did not have a creature on the board until turn three when he played two Frogmites. I let them stay on the board even though I had a Wrath in hand; I played my land and passed it back to him. He didn’t do much, swung and played a Talisman. I drew a Vengeance, played my land and passed the action back to him. He again swung and then he tapped his only two sources for blue and played a Broodstar, which I let resolve. Next turn I destroyed everything on his side of the board with an Akroma’s Vengeance. The game did not last much longer than that, I eventually cycled a Decree for eight and he scooped.
SB: -2 Stifle
+2 March of the Machines
[u]Game 2:[/u] Again, a very simple game. I don’t remember all the details, but I played a March of the Machines when he had a Talisman and a Frogmite on the board. He attacked with his Frogmite and his Talisman of progress. On my next turn I Wrathed, clearing the board. He drew his card for the turn, sat there for a second and congratulated me on the win.
This tournament has totally convinced me that not only is U/W going to survive the new set, but it is still going to be tier one. The only change to this deck I will make for the current format is cutting the third Pulse of the Fields from the board and adding another Damping Matrix. Having four Damping Matrixes in the board may seem like over kill, but it seems to be the only thing that is going to totally swing the Goblin Clamp/Bidding match your way.
Keeping it scrubby in the Midwest, *I’ll pay your copyrights Houts*[Thanks-I need the money]
Questions, comments, suggestions, death threats? Please send them to:
*thanks to Houts for editing and posting this article*
*thanks to Lukas for giving me the cards to play with*
*thanks to Mike and Peter for helping me become “okay” at MTG”
HOUTS side notes:
1: This is what I like to see-Marty, a better player, helping out those 'new' to MTG, or to the tournament scene. Props to you.
2: I would argue that C.O.P. Red was your savior in these games, because although Matrix ended games, C.O.P. Red saved you from death....
Shouldn't I make some analogy of C.O.P. Red saving us from all our sins...?!
3: This is your cue Marty...time to step up and show us, readers, what we need to know in articles, what I am missing out. Also, congrats on keeping confident, and showing me how wrong I was.