Tournament Report – SCG Classic Columbus 1/6/19

I figured I needed to write something about this event sooner or later and I just haven’t had the time to get anything down about it.

I attended the SCG Columbus Legacy Classic on January 6, 2019, taking Scapewish.

Here is the list I played: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1460823#online

My overall record of the event was 3-5, which is frankly, not great. However, an analysis (and you will see why this event did not turn out great) is helpful in understanding where to move forward with this deck.

One note about this event: I did not have much practice at all prior to this event. Roughly a month before the event I played a local where I went 3-0 but that’s basically about it. I still chose to subject myself to this because I knew Scapewish well enough (and have spent enough time with it) that I could keep expectations low and just have a good time at the event (which I did).

That being said. Some thoughts.

  • Assassin’s Trophy – This card performed much better than I anticipated during the event. It felt pretty much never dead, and it was able to hit multiple targets (Mentor, Jace, etc). I was very happy with it, and lists going forward will continue to utilize two copies of this in the main deck over Abrupt Decay.
  • Abrupt Decay – I ran two in the sideboard because I feel that often times that it is still necessary especially if the format is very Shadow/Delver oriented. I cannot 100% say that Decay should not be in this list. I did not play against a deck where Decay would matter (Delver for instance) but I do think I would not mind trying dropping Decay in the sideboard for something like 2 Lightning Bolt.
  • Huntmaster – This card was great. It did a lot of things and was very good in every game I resolved it in. Forcing my opponents who wanted to be reactive to play around Huntmaster’s trigger was very strong.

 

With those thoughts on the table, let’s take a look at the event.

 

Round 1 – Miracles (2-0 WIN)

Game 1 – My opponent spins his wheels a bunch and taps out for an Entreat the Angels. I untap and Therapy him for Force of Will, snagging one. His hand contains a Counterspell and a Brainstorm. There is a chance that he could Brainstorm into another Force of Will, but flashing back the Therapy only potentially gives him two blue mana, and also sets me up for Scapeshift but then I’m snagging Counterspell with the flashback. That being said, to me the line should have been to allow me to attempt to resolve Scapeshift and then Brainstorm at that point to try to hit Force + blue card. My opponent chooses to Brainstorm in response to the flashback Therapy, putting him down to 1 blue mana available. He does not have a second Force of Will (which I name for Therapy), I jam Scapeshift and go through the motions, presenting him a kill.

Sideboarding – This is something that I’ve come around to over time. In the era of Top Miracles, effects such as Slaughter Games + Lost Legacy were long considered bad, because they could just get around it with the power of Top. In current Miracles lists however, Slaughter Games is phenomenal. Getting rid of Jace is putting them on the ropes of being able to find a better kill condition is simply amazing. Bring them in. I also have Tsunami for blue decks, because it is insane.

Game 2 – This game is grindy and insane, we go back and forth through most of the game and I gain life off both Thragtusk and Huntmaster. I resolve a Slaughter Games hitting Entreat (given that I had answers for Jace and Mentor), and we continue to grind. Eventually though, my grind is just far better than his grind and I end the game at 23 life.

 

Record: 1-0

 

Round 2 – Lands (0-2 LOSS)

Both games of this matchup are determined by the fact that my opponent has early Marit Lage and I don’t have the appropriate interaction to deal with it. Unfortunate, but this is Legacy. It happens. There might be some more to do to this list to better set it up vs Marit Lage, but Trophy deals with Depths, so maybe long term more copies of Trophy to see them (maybe 3 over 2) might be helpful.

 

Record: 1-1

 

Round 3 – 4C Loam (2-0 WIN)

Game 1 – Another grindy game where I start off with Thoughtseize and he gets stuck on a Mox Diamond for many turns. I establish a great board state and continue to slam in the damage. My opponent gets to 6 life and I throw a Scapeshift. My opponent reads Valakut, and then proceeds to throw a Trophy into one of my nonbasics. I grab my other basic from the deck, and he cracks a Knight of the Reliquary to to get a Wasteland to get a Badlands, nullifying the Scapeshift. However, I have a Thragtusk, Regisaur, and two 1/1s and he’s at 6 with an untapped Knight that he just played the turn before. He ded.

Sideboarding – I like interaction in this matchup and I actually boarded out Scapeshift, expecting some form of extraction effect.

Game 2 – Another heavily grindy game, but my board state and creatures are just way better than his. I push through the damage and take the win.

 

Record: 2-1

 

This is where the rails of this event fall off. The gory details are that I am destined over Rounds 4-6 I play against ANT (Ad Nauseam Tendrils) THREE times in a row. I lose these matches 0-2 every time, because frankly my level of practice versus Storm is very nil, and while I do have to make my opponent think in one Game 1 (by gaining 5 life off Thragtusk to go to 25 life), it isn’t enough to push past. In one of my game 2s, I am able to Slaughter Games away a Tendrils, with enough backup (two Burning Wish + a Deed) to deal with an Empty. When my opponent storms off with Empty he is able to chain enough discard to get rid of all three and I don’t see another piece of interaction. Such is life.

 

Record: 2-4

 

Round 7 – Miracles (2-0 WIN)

Oh hey, let’s run back that Miracles train again, shall we?

Game 1 – I am able to gain a bunch of life off Thragtusk and Huntmaster, while whittling my opponent down to 16 life before I am able to locate a Scapeshift and just end the game. At one point, I pay 8 life from 28 to Sylvan Library to dig deeper through my deck. It works so well.

Same sideboarding as before.

Game 2 – This is probably the grindiest game I play all day. Loads of back and forth, Abrupt Decay’ing an Angel token (a single one), having to contend with two Snapcasters while I have managed to Slaughter Games Jace and Lost Legacy his Force of Wills. He did not have Mentor brought in, so two Trophies on the Snapcasters puts us both in a position where we’re just drawing for a kill or something to do anything with. My opponent’s deck is getting thin and not only that my number of mountains in play has risen considerably to the point where going on a Scapeshift and needing to math properly becomes a thing. Eventually I get to the point where I have double Valakut online, I fetch and go to 1 life and dome him for 6 to put him to 2 and then Scapeshift to sac a single land to get a Mountain into play. Literally insane game.

 

Round 8 – Oops! All Spells (1-2 LOSS)

My opponent ends up being the infamous Nat Moes of the Serious Vintage podcast, and head of Team Serious in OH. It was great to meet him since I also primarily write Vintage content.

Game 1 – He reanimates Undercity Informer, sacs it, and Therapies me and I concede. No sense in knowing what he’s playing against.

Game 2 – He goes on the same plan, and with the Narcomoeba triggers on the stack I browse through his library and consider that he doesn’t have a Pact of Negation in hand, and Surgical Extraction the Narcomoebas with the triggers on the stack. He concedes.

Game 3 – He makes a Turn 1 Goblin Charbelcher, activates it Turn 2, and I die.

 

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the event, while having to play against Storm 3x in a row was bad on the matchup lottery I still had a great time and all of my opponents were pleasant to chat with and play against. Furthermore, I made it through this event without a single judge call, so for me that is also a win.

I hope this was informative, and moving forward I definitely am intrigued to continue pushing this archetype. I definitely feel like this version has the most legs out of most of the Nic Fit builds that exists, and it continues to get better with newer sorceries printed for Burning Wish.

With that, I’m out.

-volrathxp

Cabal Therapy Guide

This is a guide on how to use the card Cabal Therapy. Proper naming with Therapy is one of the most important and skill testing parts of the deck. This guide is far from perfect, and what you name will change based on very many factors, but this is a good resource on cards to name with it.

Unknown Deck

One of the most difficult things that may or may not be needed is the skill to be able to “Blind Therapy” someone.  Although it may not happen often, having the ability to read your opponent can provide critical advantage to you in the long run.  Here are some tips and tricks that may help you in developing your ability to be able hit a Cabal Therapy on turn 1 against an unknown deck.

  • Prior to the start of the tournament, I always recommend taking a lap around the room.  You will find players frantically writing decklists down and/or getting a few practice turns in against their friends.  In some cases, there will be players just “goldfishing” against themselves to see how their hands play out.  Either way, this is all valueable and free information.  This can help you immensely if your first round opponent is someone you happened to watch and know what they’re playing.
  • Read your opponent’s first turn – This is primarily relevant on the draw but did your opponent say “Basic Land, Go”?  Legacy is not known for its Basic Land plays but the following provides insight as to which basic lands see play in which deck:
    • Island – Storm, Miracles, Sneak and Show
    • Swamp – Storm
    • Forest
    • Mountain – Burn
    • Plains – Death and Taxes, Miracles

It should be noted that there will be times where your opponent will lead with basic land but will proceed to play a card that should tip you into what they may be on.  For example, Forest into Deathrite Shaman almost assuredly means they are on Elves.

  • What about “Fetchland, Go”?  Understanding which Fetchland played can provide valuable insight as to what your opponent is on:
    • Scalding Tarn: Grixis Delver, Czech Pile, Sneak and Show, Miracles-variant, Temur Delver
    • Polluted Delta:Grixis Delver, Czech Pile, Sneak and Show, Miracles-variant, ANT, Sultai Delver, Food Chain, Stoneblade, Reanimator
    • Misty Rainforest: Grixis Delver, Food Chain, Sultai Delver, Sneak and Show, ANT, Temur Deliver
    • Flooded Strand: Grixis Delver, Stoneblade, Miracles-variant, Death and Taxes (Blue splash)
    • Arid Mesa: Miracles-variant, Death and Taxes (Red splash), Burn
    • Marsh Flats: Deathblade, Dead-Guy Ale, Maverick, Tin Fins, Miracles-variant
    • Wooded Foothills: Lands, Burn, Temur Delver, Aggro Loam
    • Bloodstained Mire: Czech Pile, ANT, Reanimator
    • Windswept Heath: Mirror, Maverick, Elves, Aggro Loam
    • Verdant Catacombs: Depths, Food Chain, Sultai Delver, Czech Pile, Maverick, Elves, Aggro Loam, Nic Fit

Czech Pile (4C Leovold)

  • Play: Brainstorm
  • Draw: Hymn to Tourach
  • Post-board Play: Hymn to Tourach
  • Post-board Draw: Hymn to Tourach

On the play vs a fair blue deck, Brainstorm is one of the better names to hit. This holds true against Czech Pile. On the draw, Hymn to Tourach is a very strong card and should be avoided, as most Czech Pile lists are playing at least 3 copies.

This possibly changes on the draw based on the Czech Pile player’s opening line. Any line that involves Deathrite Shaman is potentially a Hymn to Tourach, but if the Czech Pile player plays basic Island or Tropical Island and passes, then it may be prudent to attempt to hit Brainstorm or similar action.

Grixis Delver

  • Play: Force of Will
  • Draw: Force of Will

Vs. Grixis Delver it’s important to develop your mana so you can get to the point where you can overwhelm them. A good Grixis Delver pilot knows to counter Veteran Explorer or GSZ for X = 1, so you want them to be unable to do so. If you know your opponent to play Stifle in his/her list name that first and only fetch your first land when they’re tapped out.

Sneak and Show

  • Play: Show and Tell
  • Draw: Griselbrand

Show and Tell is the primary win condition in Game 1 and is their fastest kill. Post-board, Sneak Attack becomes more of a consideration and Griselbrand becomes dangerous.

ANT / TES

  • Play: Dark Ritual
  • Draw: Dark Ritual

The ideal play against Storm is to name a ritual spell in the blind, and then business on flashback. Dark Ritual is often times the most common ritual that Storm decks are going to keep in their opener so it’s always a solid choice.

The biggest primary reasoning here is that most of Storm’s busted starts begin with Dark Ritual usually, and Storm pilots are more likely to keep hands that contain Dark Ritual in them for this reason. Because of how diversified payoff cards now are for Storm (between Infernal Tutor, Dark Petition, Ad Nauseam, and Burning Wish) naming a payoff card does no good because if they have a different payoff card in hand or draw another they go off anyways. Without mana acceleration, they are denied that quick kill and have to dig to assemble a kill condition, giving us time to push through a kill.

Elves

  • Play: Natural Order
  • Draw: Natural Order

This is the card that scares us the most in this matchup. Ensuring they don’t have it clears up a lot of information in this matchup.

Death and Taxes

  • Play: Aether Vial
  • Draw: Phyrexian Revoker

Deed is our best card here. We know and they know it, and Revoker is their answer to it. Shut it down. Vial is still better to name on the play, though, because sometimes you can catch them keeping the 1-lander+Vial hand, and punishing that when possible is good. Vial also lets them break timing with Flickerwisp. Vial has become even more critical as time has passed, due to the presence of Recruiter of the Guard (which combos with Flickerwisp to give Death and Taxes an actual lategame now). Note that sandbagging Therapy activations can be very strong here, as you can wait for them to fetch an equipment with Stoneforge or tutor a Flickerwisp with Recruiter.

Dragon Stompy

  • Play: Chalice of the Void
  • Draw: Chandra, Torch of Defiance

On the play vs this deck, Chalice is the heaviest hit because it shuts off much of our early plays and removal. On the draw (if you haven’t been Chalice’d on 1 already), it’s better to try to his Chandra because she is their biggest engine.

Portent Miracles

  • Play:
  • Draw:

Eldrazi

  • Play: Thought-Knot Seer
  • Draw: Thought-Knot Seer

TKS is a fast and scary card that comes down super early and takes out best card, and Eldrazi is often willing to keep hands with multiples.

RUG/BUG Delver

  • Play: Stifle
  • Draw: Stifle

It’s our number one enemy in this matchup. If they don’t have it, congrats, you have information and the go-ahead for Explorer to ramp past their tempo. Also keep in mind that they give you information on their hand from Delver. Write it down.

Reanimator

  • Play: Reanimate
  • Draw: Reanimate

A quickly Reanimated fattie can easily spell doom. Even though Entomb sets this up, they have plenty tools to do so. Reanimate however is the cheapest way to actually get it on the field, especially when they also run Lotus Petal. After that, just keep stripping relevant bits from their hand.

Burn

  • Play: Fireblast
  • Draw: Fireblast

Fireblast is how you die in nearly every matchup vs Burn. Another solid option in post board games can be Sulfuric Vortex since it additionally prevents us from outgaining life against them. In variants such as Scapewish, Price of Progess is also important to prevent from dying with Valakut triggers on the stack.

Infect

  • Play: Invigorate
  • Draw: Invigorate

Most of Infect’s truly insane starts comes from Invigorate followed by Berserk. Invigorate being free to cast gives incentive to the Infect player to keep hands with multiples.

Lands

  • Play: Crop Rotation
  • Draw: Crop Rotation
  • Post-Board Play: Life from the Loam (if you have Surgical)
  • Post-Board Draw: Gamble/Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation is how Lands “gets” us by being able to Rotate into a kill quickly. Since much of their cards involves the graveyard, trying to bin Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire only allows them to get their engine up and running faster. However, in post-board games where Surgical Extraction is a factor, binning a Life from the Loam and then Surgical’ing it is important. On the draw Gamble or Crop Rotation can be important cards to hit.

Nic Fit Mirror

  • Play: Cabal Therapy
  • Draw: Green Sun’s Zenith

You know how this deck works. Your opponent knows how yours works. Don’t give them the chance to mess up your plan. If you get to cast Cabal Therapy on the draw they probably didn’t have a Cabal Therapy of their own, so go for the next important thing and hurt their consistency as much as you can. This game’ll probably go long, so play accordingly.

Turbo Depths

  • Play:
  • Draw:

Dredge

  • Play:
  • Draw: