Friday Night Magic: The Winner’s Circle #8

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Hi Everybody! Bill Carrig here again in the Winner’s Circle. This time I’ve got two winners to chat with. Joe Cox won the FNM at Dave & Adam’s Card World on Transit Road on 11/1/13 and Joe Santini won our FNM on 11/8/13.

FNM Winner Joe Cook

FNM Winner Joe Cook

Joe played a Black/Green Midrange Brew. He’s titled it Golgari Slivers. Here’s the Decklist:

3 Hero’s Downfall
3 Syphon Sliver
3 Elvish Mystic
2 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
3 Giant Growth
3 Lay of the Land
3 Manaweft Sliver
2 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Predatory Sliver
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Gaze of Granite
3 Putrefy
1 Reaper of the Wilds
2 Vraska the Unseen
3 Mutavault

The Lands and Sideboard are to be kept secret.

Bill: Looks like we’ve got creatures, removal, a mana curve and all the usual things we would see in a Black/Green deck. What makes this list so special?

Joe: Giant Growth! They help out a lot to save creatures from burn spells or to surprise someone with a bigger blocker. They also help feed the Deathrite Shaman. Garruk and Lay of the Land are just there to cycle through deck faster. Abrupt Decay is a nice answer to Detention Sphere. And I’ve got a number of  Mistcutter Hydra in sideboard are nice for blue decks too.

Bill: I’m sure Garruk does more than just help you cycle through the deck. The card advantage he provides has got to be tough to beat. I imagine once he gets going your opponent is likely to get overwhelmed, but what’s a tough matchup for this deck? Is it just agro stuff?

Joe: The decks that give me issues are the white or green/white. They protect their creatures by making them indestructible or by giving protection them from a color for a turn.

Bill: Yea, I can understand that. Countering your spot removal has got to be trouble for this deck. I imagine sweepers would be a problem too. What does your deck do against Supreme Verdict or Anger of the Gods?

Joe: Against Supreme Verdict, Mutavault is a nice recovery to keep damage going. I always try to keep a creature or two in my hand so opponents think I might have another giant growth or two.

Bill: Right. And Mutavault is a Sliver too, so he’ll pick up all the bonuses from your other creatures. So how did the deck play out over the course of the event?

Joe: I played against a red deck first. Giant Growth was the key to victory in that match. Then
I played a Maze’s End deck. I got the victory there thanks to Deathrite Shaman. After that it was two Green/White decks and I just gained more life than the damage they dished out.

Bill: Sounds pretty easy! Any changes you’d make to the list for next week?

Joe: Thoughtseize is a card I would like to add to deck. Just got to pick them up and then figure out what to cut.

Bill: Very cool! Thoughtseize is really good right now. I’d go get them right away! Well, thanks Joe. And congrats!


FNM Winner Joe Santini

FNM Winner Joe Santini

Up next we’ve got Joe Santini. He won our FNM this past week with the following list:

Boros Control

4 Sacred Foundry
4 Temple of Triumph
2 Boros Guildgate
2 Plains
3 Mutavault
9 Mountain
1 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Chandra’s Phoenix
4 Anger of the Gods
4 Chained to the Rocks
2 Assemble the Legion
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Blind Obedience
2 Ratchet Bomb
4 Lightning Strike
4 Magma Jet
3 Warleader’s Helix
2 Mizzium Mortars
4 Shock

2 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Chandra’s Phoenix
2 Skullcrack
2 Glare of Heresy
2 Wear/Tear
1 Warleader’s Helix
3 Guttersnipe
1 Pithing Needle

Bill: I don’t think I’ve seen a Red/White Control deck in a long time. These colors are usually reserved for agro decks. I imagine you can surprise a lot of players that way. But it looks like there are only 3 creatures in this list. Eventually they are going to figure you out. So how do you go about winning?

Joe: This card wins by slowly grinding out your opponent with spells without committing a lot of creatures to the board. After handling your opponent’s creatures you play a token producer like Assemble the Legion or Elspeth and just swing into victory from there. That is just the basic game plan though. There comes a point during each game where the combination of Chandra’s Phoenixes and Blind Obedience do enough damage where I can just drop burn spells and switch to quick damage to finish the opponent.

Bill: Wow! That’s really good. Just hang out long enough and then point it all at their dome. It looks like there are lots of different uses for those burn spells. What do you think is the best card in the deck?

Joe: I think that Blind Obedience is the best card in the deck because right now there is a lot of haste in the format and this card just destroys those decks that rely on their haste creatures to win games. Then when I have to direct my burn spells at creatures, I can extort each spell and get tons of value from each card which by the end of the game adds up. Having this mana sink was a huge boon. Being able to drop Blind Obedience on turn two or three allows my Mutavaults to attack for longer than they would otherwise be able to. This attributes to the line of finishing out the opponent with burn spells. I really like that this deck can win without its token producers. I think is its biggest draw for me to play it. If the opponent Thoughtseizes away an Assemble the Legion or other high end threat it just means less damage for me to do with burn spells. The sideboard in this deck is just as important as the main with this deck because it allows the spells we play to change up to either be more controlling or more proactive with more creatures if need be.

Bill: So what cards from the new set, Theros, do you think are really important to the deck?

Joe: I think the best Theros cards for me in this deck were Chained to the Rocks and Magma Jet. Having Chained to the Rocks to so cheaply costed allows me to often play multiple spells in a turn. So I don’t have to commit a whole turn to take care of a Desecration Demon or Master of Waves. This deck doesn’t have any card draw so being able to scry for more lands with Magma Jet and Temple of Triumph makes them absolutely necessary inclusions in the deck.

Bill: Yes, Chained to the Rocks is very good. I love the flavor on that card as well. And Magma Jet is a nice reprint as well. I think it fits well in a set with so many Scry effects. So tell me about how the deck performed for you over the course of the event.

Joe: Not to sound overconfident in the deck or to brag, but I found the deck performed exactly as intended. None of my matches were particularly difficult. Round 1 I played an Esper humans homebrew piloted by a newer player which wasn’t much to talk about. However he did play an Azor’s Elocutors which through an odd turn of events I had to hold off at 4 fillibuster counters for about 5-6 turns before overcoming. Round 2 I played against an Izzet control deck which was more difficult. This was the only control deck I played against all night. I sided in the Guttersnipes, 2 Phoenixes, Pithing Needle, and an additional Warleader’s Helix and took out Mizzium Mortars and the Anger of the Gods. This made the match up resolve quickly. Playing against control I found that the Blind obedience was the best card again as it made the burn spells I kept in hit harder while gaining me useful life. Round 3 was a difficult match up for me. I played against a G/R haste style midrange deck. It played Stormbreath Dragon, Mistcutter Hydra, Xenagos and other hasty creatures like that while also having pump spells and the split card Blood to seal the deal. This match up was hard because his creatures were a bit larger so I would sometimes have to 2 for 1 myself with burn to remove creatures. I found though that having Blind Obedience kept his threats in check and made my Stormbreath Dragon even better since I didn’t have to wait a turn to attack with them. Once I resolved a token producer it took the game out of reach as there are very few cards in G/R that people are playing to deal with enchantments or planeswalkers. The last match up was against mono black control which was undoubtedly the easiest match up oddly enough. I think the card that helped me out the most in this match up was Ratchet Bomb along with Chained to the Rocks. My opponent would Thoughtseize me and often take the Assemble the Legion as one would expect because it’s hard for black to deal with that card. I could then use my Ratchet Bomb with 3 counters to threaten an Underworld Connections and Nightveil Spector simultaneously. Then Chained to the Rocks took care of Desecration Demon. But being able to produce tokens also makes this match easier because you have lots of fodder to sacrifice to tap Desecration Demon. By the end of the match up, my burn spells would just be devoted directly to my opponents life total and would make quick work of the match. Some good sideboard cards in this match up were Wear/Tear, Skullcrack and Chandra’s Phoenix. Wear/tear is great in this match up because this devotion deck likes to play both Underworld Connections and Whip of Erebos so being able to hit both always feels good. And maybe extorting for additional life isn’t bad either.

Bill: Oh man, Wear/Tear is just nasty against Mono Black! Connections and Whip are very important to that deck and this card takes them both out by itself. The extort trigger is just icing on the cake. So how did you come up with this deck? I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.

Joe: I normally play all sorts of control decks so I found this deck to fit right at home with my style of play. I don’t particularly like playing creatures so having a minimal amount outside of tokens makes me feel more comfortable and in control. Knowing when to play your burn and what to target is the hardest part of the deck. Sometimes the correct play is to take extra damage from your opponent if it means you can play 2 Lightning Strikes and a Warleader’s Helix to finish them off early instead of being controlling. My first competitive decks were burn decks so I’ve got this mindset understood at the moment. I would definitely play this deck again. Being a bit of a brew kept opponents off guard so I guess doing this interview means I’ll have to change some things up for when people play me next. I usually play a different deck every week but I think for this deck I can make an exception. I already have the changes to next week’s deck made so it’ll be interesting to see if Boros Control has some flexibility to it.

Bill: Very nice. It’s a burn deck and a control deck all wrapped into one. I think it fits your style exactly. I’d like to see you come back and win it all again! Anyone you want to say thanks to for helping you with the deck?

Joe: I want to “holla” at my fellow Newfane players and I want to thank my best friend Tom Dean. He’s the one who first taught me how to play a few years back. In light of recent events, I was thinking about you the whole time bud.

Bill: Thanks Joe Santini and Joe Cox and congratulations to you both! I’ll see all of you again on Friday for another great FNM and Dave and Adam’s Card World on Transit Road. Maybe I’ll see you in the Winner’s Circle too!

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