Hopping on Magic Online: Issue #4 by: Patricia Hernandez 10/14/2011 7:46:07 PM
With the StarCity Games Open in Nashville down, I learned a lot of things this weekend both in the judging aspect and in the standard aspect. First of all, judging is rough, you often are scared to make a call and have it appealed to the head judge. I have already been there and done that. The good part about judging is the interaction and the people you meet along the way, pretty awesome community to be around and I loved every minute of it. Iíll hopefully visit those people in Charlotte NC or in Memphis TN sometime soon.
Now with standard
Can I say SOLAR FLARE is here!!! Well it was this past weekend that I saw a lot of Solar Flare in the SCG Open Nashville. I can say thatís the deck to play if you want to jump in the bandwagon. No offense to anyone playing the deck, I like the deck but itís still too weak, one or two nihil spellbombs can make you lose a game that you thought you were ahead on. I also figured out that Liliana is kind of good in standard, not the next Jace TMS but is one of the best planeswalkers that black has seen PERIOD! One thing is that if you want to pack this baby for states this coming weekend then please do so, if you want to have one before the hype can bring it up again then go ahead and get some. I personally think that it will go down in price in about a month or two. I know itís really good but the hype is overhyped a bunch. I saw a different hype about Jace TMS and Liliana while it has some hype it is not as powerful as Jace 2.0 was in standard. You can still lose a game with Liliana on the field for a couple of turns and usually Jace TMS a couple of turns on the field meant stretching your hand across the table and congratulating your opponent.
Another hot card and pretty much in every deck that has blue or puts blue in it is Snapcaster Mage. This creature is not only good but REALLY good in standard right now. The ability to flash it in and dismember or mana leak an opponent is something that control could have lacked after departing the glorious Cawblade. I would suggest snagging some of these guys before they go up. They are at around 25-30 right now and they will be seeing more play than what they are now. Grab them while you can, I predict them hitting about 40-50 in the next month or so. If you are playing them in states then snag them now and keep them, they will see play in modern and are already seeing play in everything that has blue in legacy. This is a staple card for just about any format, even EDH and it will keep moving forward and dominating and bringing stuff back.
Mono Red is something that I saw a lot this past weekend, one thing that I noticed while selling cards for the Starcity people is how before the tournament started many players realized there was mono red that might get there again this weekend and packed in Timely Reinforcements in main and side to take care of it. Personally I like timely and I grown to play this card in any white deck I build, itís such a good two for one in many cases and even putting in three 1/1 creatures can slow down your opponent for a turn or two giving you enough time to set up your board and start bashing for the win. The Red Noble has been seeing play and replacing Goblin Guide in Mono Red. I like the noble but I liked Goblin Guide better. This is one of the cards that I see people playing because they donít have enough money to spend on Solar Flare or anything else out there. They are currently at 8-10 and will drop, however, if you are playing mono red this weekend and in need then by all means get them, they will be useful and your deck is not going to be complete without that card in there as a four of. Good cards will come in the next set or two that might strengthen this deck; I see a splash of blue in Mono red in the future to get the control in there for the win against some of the harder matchups.
Hereís where I go into what actually happened with me this weekend. Saturday morning was kind of exciting in a way. I barely slept the night before because of jitters and being nervous about judging a big tournament like SCG Opens. Granted itís not a Grand Prix or a Pro Tour but itís still something where I see some Pro players appear and play there. Walking in the convention center in Nashville I thought to myself how I can make my nerves calm down, I thought and thought and basically nothing came into mind. I caught up with some of the Staff looking around finding their location within the convention center and started to set things up with them. I knew that longtime no see in Tennessee Kali Anderson was going to be there. I had seen her around a couple of times in tournaments around the area before her and her husband Todd Anderson (pretty cool guy), moved to Virginia. I have a lot of respect for girls that play Magic and she has a lot of my respect. Her and I trying to fight it out and hoping for a spot in top 8 during a PTQ in Memphis for Lorwyn Block was one of the best memories. I am glad she got into top 8 that day, I made top 16th and was happy to see a girl come out in Memphis and give the guys a run for their money. Well she is now working as a judge for most of the tournaments and handling things with Starcity. I now know why she likes it so much and how it can be something cool to get into. I chatted with her for a bit about Virginia and how life was while both she and I were setting up the tables and such. Most of the morning I spent in the sales tables selling cards to desperate people trying to get decks together for the tournament. I sold a lot of timely reinforcements, nobles, seachrome coasts, hero of bladeholds and pretty much anything that has to do with solar flare and U/B Control. I sold some legacy stuff as well but it wasnít the main topic of my morning. Once ten a.m. caught up to us we started doing our floor judging and thatís where things got heavy. I had never judged a big tournament like this and itís a pretty intense feeling. Basically that day I got to shadow a wonderful judge named Zac Hicks, Zac you did a really good job! Hope everything works out well in Charlotte! He played on Sunday in the legacy portion and had a good time. I took this as a learning experience and I guess a step into the judging community. I wanted to make sure this is what I wanted to do with my Magic Career outside of Magic Online and I think thatís exactly what will happen from now on. I also want to give a shout out to Jason McFarland and Kali Anderson for being there and having everything and anything answered as far as questions and such. A big shout out to Todd (Kaliís husband) for winning the Legacy Open in Nashville, saw the finals and it was intense! A couple of my buddies made it to the top and were featured in matches and they did really well, proud of them all for doing such a great job and supporting me throughout this way.
The top decks you should think about playing for states
Solar Flare - be prepared to play the mirrors and learn how to sideboard against everything in the format right now, known that deck backwards and forwards, if you donít then pick another deck to play that you feel more comfortable with.
U/B Control - Another deck that you will see a lot of mirrors, be careful playing against Solar Flare, donít let them get the upper hand on you, if they do then most likely it will result in a handshake across the table.
Tempered Steel - Make sure to be aggressive because this deck almost has no late game wins. If you make it to the late game, most likely you are going to lose. You have to know which hands to keep and toss and how to sideboard against control.
Wolf Overrun - This is a very aggressive deck but make sure to play calmly against control, Black Sun Zenith and Day are still in the format and will be happy to wipe your board every single time things get out of control
Dungrove Ramp - The only way to lose with this deck is against the mirror and control that plays day every other turn, you have to be aggressive and respect your side of the board.
Mono Red - Timely Reinforcements is a bad friend on the other side. Know how to play against it and use your Koths to the extreme.
Pod Decks Ė A lot of people are taking out Torpor Orbs more so than before, maybe itís time to dust this deck out. Know how to play against Mono Red which is your worst match due to the loss of Baloth for life gain, play thruns in those slots and have the life gainer in the 5 drop column. I would suggest RUG Pod or Bant Pod, RUG with Inferno Titan and Wurmcoils and then Bant Pod with Elesh Norn and Sun Titans along with Images and Metamorphs
A quick word of advice for you guys playing. You have to know how to not make mistakes, those can happen from keeping a bad hand against your opponent to making a simple play mistake. Most of the Pros in Pro Tours and such make little mistakes throughout a tournament; guess how they get that big 50,000 dollar check? Mistake = 1 to none during the day. You have to know what kind of hands beat specific decks and be able to mulligan if needed. Mulligans are not your worst enemy but sometimes your best friend. If you think you are going to win with Bant Pod with opening hand Acidic slime, Venser and Elesh Norn then you might as well give the handshake early. Sideboard correctly and accurate, most of the time people choose bad sideboard cards that can be deadly in some matches. Donít give up just because you are going to lose in two turns, play the game out, you can get more information from your opponent this way, even if itís the third game, you might have to play that opponent in the top 8 later on.
Thatís it peepz! Remember to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a specific topic to be covered. Look me up on MTGO at pathern and holler at me in the Nashville TN area or in TN at all.
Please email any comments or question about this article to pathern at ut.utm.edu