This past weekend, me and my team of Spellsnare editor and writer Jonah Gaynor and former Spellsnare writer Sam Chapin played in the SCG Team Constructed Open tournament in Baltimore. Today, I’m going to give a quick recap of our tournament and some insight into the deck I played.

The Tournament

Our tournament story is a classic tale of glory, defeat, and fighting to the bitter end. Jonah, to my right, was on Esper God-Phraoh’s Gift, while Sam, to my left, was on Intuition Lands. All of us were happy with the decks our team had picked and our ability to play them, and we started off with a quick 3-0. Sadly, our tournament went from great to awful really quickly, as Sam wasn’t able to keep more than 5 cards in most rounds and Jonah’s deck lost a ton of extremely close games when it functioned, and other times simply didn’t draw the correct mix of lands and spells. I, on the other hand, somehow managed to drop only a single match throughout the whole weekend, with my deck blessing me with three mulligans over the course of 9 rounds and an equal number of topdecks for the win.

As a brief aside, I want to state that in a team tournament, everyone should be focused on helping their team succeed, not only their own personal record, as that could easily create a bad team dynamic where people end up being irritated at each other. Jonah and Sam are two of my best friends, and we had a blast over the course of the weekend, with our team dynamic being fantastic. That being said, I did go 8-1 with Ad Nauseam, which is my best result ever, and so I think the deck is definitely something worth talking about.

The Deck

Without further adieu, here is the list I played this weekend:

Ad Nauseam by Riccardo Monico at SCG Baltimore – 8-1

Creatures (5)
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Laboratory Maniac

Non-Creature Spells (35)
4 Phyrexian Unlife
4 Pentad Prism
4 Lotus Bloom
3 Spoils of the Vault
3 Pact of Negation
1 Lightning Storm
4 Angel’s Grace
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Serum Visions

Lands (20)
2 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Temple of Deceit
3 Seachrome Coast
2 Island
4 Gemstone Mine
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
3 Darkslick Shores
1 City of Brass

Sideboard (15)
1 Echoing Truth
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Fatal Push
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
4 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
3 Thoughtseize

Immediately, what I want to change is the second Island has to be a Plains. There are two reasons for this, one being the fact that the deck needed one more white source for Supreme Verdict, and the other is because Ghost Quarter taking out your only white source is super painful, and sometimes the deck actually can’t recover.

The second change I’d like to make is removing the sideboard Boseiju, Who Shelters All. Jonah and I were discussing the sideboard the night before the tournament, and we both agreed that Boseiju was not the optimal option, but was fine because of my relative inexperience with the Control matchup. Because of the increasing popularity of Jeskai Control on the SCG circuit, we were expecting more than a few people to show up with it. In its place, I’m not actually sure what I would have wanted, but I am currently playing a Slaughter Pact because of its power against the newly revived Infect deck and Spellskite, along with its ability to get rid of troublesome creatures like Eidolon of Rhetoric for free and having just enough mana to combo.

Before we get too deep into the deck, I want to say that Jonah is the Ad Nauseam master, and most of what I learned about the deck comes from him. This helped our team a ton during the tournament, as he was able to help me out when I needed advice, and his advice ceratinly contributed a ton to my success.

With that said, I want to discuss the actual list and some of the interesting choices we made, while the actual matchup guide will come at a later date.

The first interesting thing comes from the land section.

0 Dreadship Reef

Dreadship Reef, while good at ramping you into a turn 4 combo, actually doesn’t do much else. To begin with, it has to be considered a colorless land. This is because it doesn’t add blue mana for your turn one or even turn two cantrips. Running a land that can’t add colored mana until turn 3 hurts the overall game plan a lot, especially when you often won’t have all the pieces you need in your hand and will need to dig with cantrips.

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

Mikokoro is fantastic, and we play it over Reef for a few reasons. First of all, they are both colorless lands, so you certainly cannot play both, and the choice has to be between one or the other. Mikokoro is one of those cards that absolutely tears the “fair” control and midrange decks apart. When playing against this, your Jeskai opponent better have a Ghost Quarter handy, or the accumulation of combo pieces and Pact of Negation will quickly earn you the game.

0 Opt

While not many Ad Nauseam lists play Opt, I think it is interesting, and would be willing to test it. However, I’m not sure if the deck wants another cantrip, and Sleight of Hand is certainly better in the deck, so I could not imagine cutting another cantrip for it. The Opt would likely take the place of the fourth Phyrexian Unlife, but the card is an all-star in so many matchups and four copies are almost a given because of the presence of Spoils of the Vault, so I’m not sure the change would be worth it.

Sideboard

0 Godhead of Awe2 Supreme Verdict

To put it plainly, Godhead of Awe is bad, and I don’t think it warrants a spot in any Ad Nauseam deck. Godhead of Awe is five mana to Verdict’s four, and that is a huge deal for Ad Nauseam. First off, a bunch of your lands enter the battlefield tapped, and often, you’ll only have one land that can enter untapped past turn 3, whether it be Mikokoro, Gemstone Mine, or City of Brass, which means that Godhead of Awe may have to be played on turn 6, opening yourself up to a ton of damage in matchups where it matters.

Secondly, Godhead of Awe is a creature, and certainly not uncounterable. This makes it susceptible to about a million more things than Verdict, with a few of those being Reflector Mage, Unified Will, Logic Knot, or even a simple attack plus Galvanic Blast. There is really no reason to open yourself up to these cards, which many will leave in in fear of Godhead of Awe. Some may argue that Godhead attacks, to which I reply, true, but the deck actually doesn’t need another win condition! Remember that Godhead just makes Eidolon of Rhetoric and Spellskite 1/1s, but does nothing for its abilities! Devoted Druid and Walking Ballista? Still kills ya! Sure it’s good against Death’s Shadow, but it’s not worth it. Please, for the love of Godhead, don’t play it.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for an upcoming article with a full deck tech, and have a great week of Magic everyone!

Riccardo Monico

Are you excited for Unstable, the latest installment in Magic’s Un-series, which features all the cards and mechanics too wacky for normal printings? Read this article by Jonah Gaynor, where he looks at and grades some of his favorite Unstable cards spoiled thus far.

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