The Invitational did not go as planned. After a disappointing 2-2 start in Modern, a 3-1 record in the standard portion pulled me into Day 2 at 5-3. However, I came up short and didn’t get a good finish in. That’s how Magic is sometimes – even with good amount of preparation, you can still fall short.

Here’s the decks I played in the Invitational

Burn by Roman Fusco at SCG Invitational

Creatures (12)
4 Goblin Guide
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel

Non-Creature Spells (28)
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Helix
4 Skullcrack
4 Boros Charm
2 Searing Blaze
2 Deflecting Palm

Lands (20)
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Mountain
2 Sacred Foundry

Sideboard (15)
2 Harsh Mentor
3 Path to Exile
3 Ensnaring Bridge
3 Smash to Smithereens
2 Deflecting Palm
2 Searing Blaze

 

B/G Energy Constrictor by Roman Fusco at SCG Invitational

Creatures (24)
4 Longtusk Cub
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4 Walking Ballista
4 Winding Constrictor
1 Rhonas, the Indomitable
2 Greenbelt Rampager
2 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
3 Verdurous Gearhulk

Non-Creature Spells (15)
1 Never // Return
3 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
3 Blossoming Defense
4 Fatal Push
4 Attune with Aether

Lands (21)
4 Aether Hub
4 Hissing Quagmire
4 Blooming Marsh
2 Swamp
7 Forest

Sideboard (15)
3 Bristling Hydra
4 Transgress the Mind
2 Yahenni’s Expertise
2 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Skysovreign, Consul Flagship
3 Tireless Tracker

Let’s start with my deck choice for Modern. Surprise! I decided to run Burn back. It’s what I know best and I think it has decent matchups across the board. One interesting note, there’s no green in the entire 75.

A testing partner and I came to the conclusion that there weren’t many enchantments we had to worry about in the whole format, aside from one or two copies of Worship in the Bant Eldrazi sideboard and Leyline of Sanctity (which sees little play to begin with). Smash to Smithereens was exactly what we wanted, a Lightning Bolt tacked onto a Shatter effect is great against both Affinity and Eldrazi Tron. But I didn’t play perfectly and lost some tight matches to Jeskai Control, Menfolk, and Titan Breach.

For Standard I decided to choose B/G Energy Constrictor. I wasn’t sure what to play for the event and after I saw this list doing well on MtGO, I decided to go for it. I think the deck is powerful and can have incredible nut draws. I went 3-1 day 1 losing only to Mardu, but day 2, while I pulled off a win against U/W Monument, I fell short to 2 other Monument matches and in the Temur Energy matchup.

Falling short in Magic tournaments is tough, especially for events as big as the Invitational. While I thought my weekend might be over, Daniel Ward put a Standard deck in my hands that led me to the top 8 of the Standard Classic. Dan has a brilliant mind and this deck is one I was excited to sleeve up.

Dan’s Angelic Blessing (aka Bant Delirium) by Roman Fusco at SCG Standard Classic Roanoke – 6th

Creatures (17)
4 Thraben Inspector
3  Tireless Tracker
4 Primal Druid
1 Gisela, the Broken Blade
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Linvala, the Preserver
1 Bruna, the Fading Light
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Non-Creature Spells (23)
4 Cast Out
4 Spring // Mind
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
3 Fumigate
3 Dissenter’s Deliverance
2 Nissa’s Renewal
1 Quarantine Field
1 Descend upon the Sinful
1 Immolating Glare

Lands (21)
4 Fortified Village
2 Scattered Groves
2 Island
3 Plains
6 Forest
1 Irrigated Farmland
2 Evolving Wilds
1 Lumbering Falls

Sideboard (15)
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
3 Negate
1 Dissenter’s Deliverance
1 Quarantine Field
2 Descend upon the Sinful
1 Bruna, the Fading Light
1 Immolating Glare
2 Declaration in Stone
1 Essence Scatter
1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk

Dan had chosen this deck for the Invitational. The goal of the deck is just to ramp into big huge threats after clearing the board with sweepers. The deck originally didn’t include the delirium package and instead played cards such as Tamiyo’s Journal, Sandwurm Convergence, Thalia’s Lancers, Weirding Wood, Gideon of the Trials, and Approach of the Second Sun. After bouncing a bunch of ideas off each other and focusing to include a delirium package in the deck we settled on this list. Let’s go over some of the card choices in this deck:

Spring // Mind

This counts as both a instant AND a sorcery for delirium, which is important for setting up Ishkanah, Grafwidow or Descend upon the Sinful. Spring also has a nice interaction with Tireless Tracker.

Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker is a threat that has to be dealt with and can help you gain an advantage with multiple clue tokens when you run low on gas later in the game after you Fumigate. It also combos with Nissa’s Renewal, putting 3 clues into play.

Dissenter’s Deliverance

Mardu Vehicles is definitely one of the tougher matchups, although the deck is on the decline as of late. Dissenter’s Deliverance gives you a good option game 1 against Heart of Kiran or Scrapheap Scrounger, and also can be useful in clearing a Torrential Gearhulk. It also puts an instant card type into the graveyard when you cycle it, and is simply great against the Metalwork Colossus decks.

Gisela, the Broken Blade/Bruna, the Fading Light/Linvala, the Preserver

This is the angel package. Bruna is what really turns the corner after you Fumigate, but the Gisela/Bruna combo wins games on its own. Bruna buys back every creature in the deck besides Ulamog and Ishkanah. Additionally, Linvala just does it all – it’s a Thragtusk that flies!

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

And you thought Ulamog was done in Standard. Nope! Ulamog is another game-ender in this deck, which can be found off of Traverse the Ulvenwald and end the game after you cast a Nissa’s Renewal.

The reason why this deck is so powerful and put me into Top 8 is due in part to the current Standard metagame. With Temur Energy, B/G Constrictor, Zombies, and Mardu Vehicles being the top decks in the format going into this weekend, this deck is a great choice, since it hoses on all creature strategies. Originally, planeswalkers posed a great problem to this kind of strategy, since they can’t be wiped away, but my inclusion of Quarantine Field alongside Dan’s choice of four Cast Out helped alleviate this problem.

Here’s how I did in the event.

R1 – Temur (2-0)

R2 – New Perspectives (2-1)

R3 – Temur (2-1)

R4 – Mono Black Zombies (2-1)

R5 – Grixis Metalwork Colossus (2-0)

R6 – Mono Black Zombies (2-0)

R7 – U/W Control (0-2)

R8 – (Intentional Draw)

Quarterfinals – Temur Emerge (1-2)

Although the swiss rounds were kind to me, an unfortunate matchup to Temur Emerge knocked me out. I won game 1 and lost a close game 2 on a mulligan to five, where I set up an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger but was one turn too late to his attackers. Game 3 I got a little choked on mana, and unfortunately did not play tight when my opponent triple Elder Deep-Fiend‘d me. The triple Deep-Fiend draw was hard to beat, but I didn’t optimally use my mana to flashback Spring // Mind when my opponent was tapping down my permanents.

It was upsetting to lose, but that’s Magic. You win some, you lose some, you play great sometimes, and you don’t other times. “Variance is a feature of the game, not a bug,” Invitational top 8 competitor Miles Rodriguez said to me over the course of the weekend. A quarterfinals loss is nowhere as crushing as a loss in the finals, but it just motivates me to play tighter and continue to succeed.

This weekend was one of my most memorable Magic weekends. I want to say thanks to Dan Ward for putting this crazy masterpiece of a pile into my hands for the event and to Miles Rodriguez for being there to pat me on the back when I needed it most. Although Miles and Dan chewed me out for not winning the whole thing, at least I can say I had the best success out of all of us for the weekend (haha). Magic is a great game, and I had a ton of fun both in the event with this deck and in the weekend as a whole. I’m not sure what my next event would be, but I’m going to take a little bit of a breather until the next big weekend.

If you have a chance to play this deck while it’s still in Standard, give it a go! I promise you’ll have the most fun ramping into Eldrazi and Angels.

Cheers,

Roman

Already looking towards Hour of Devastation Standard? Look no further, as Riccardo Monico takes a current Standard favorite and brings new cards into it.

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