I had an awkward week.
Sunday: I play a Standard league on Magic Online with B/G Midrange with four Burglar Rats, during which I crush a U/R Phoenix list even though I dump their Arclight Phoenix for them with an early Burglar Rats. I mention to Corey Baumeister that I'm going to Grand Prix New Jersey and he tells me to remind him to ship me a deck next week. I am excited at the prospect of this because Corey is gas.
Monday: I write an article. In it, I claim the Phoenix deck is bad, internally citing the one (1) match I played against it.
Tuesday: Corey ships his Grand Prix: New Jersey list. It is U/R Phoenix. I had anticipated some flavor of B/G Midrange for some reason.
Wednesday: I purchase four copies of Arclight Phoenix via TCGplayer Direct. My coworker Collin sees my order, and having read my column from Monday, is very confused. I do a lot of shrugging.
Friday: I take off work and spend most of the day goldfishing the deck. It is very, very fun. Collin and I drive down to the GP venue and I play a handful of games against his stock B/G Midrange deck. He mostly gets smooshed, with the occasional win coming for him when I don't have an Arclight Phoenix in the top half of my deck.
Saturday: 3-3 drop, but the deck was great. Collin makes Day 2 at 6-2.
Sunday: 4-2 the PTQ, get a sealed box and change for my troubles. Collin hits 11-2 but loses the last two rounds to finish 67th. Going 11-4 at a Grand Prix and not cashing should be illegal.
To the Top 10!
Very obviously good card is very obviously good. NEXT
I have never seen a Risk Factor turn a losing position into a winning one. It's either an irrelevant Flames of the Blood Hand or they're so far ahead that Risk Factor could've been any spell and the outcome would be the same. As I've noted before, I've never been wrong about anything before, so yeah. Risk Factor is bad.
B/G Midrange was the story of GP Lille and the Magic Online PTQ, but was nowhere to be seen in the elimination rounds of GP New Jersey. What this tells me is that while the deck is extremely good, it's also eminently beatable. The other side of that coin is that it's totally customizable; if you can predict how players are going to attack Golgari that week, you can shift gears in deckbuilding and attack on a totally different axis.
After playing in 11 sanctioned matches this past weekend, I have no clue if it's actually good or not. Corey Baumeister's pretty high on it, though—his videos dropping Thursday will be U/R Phoenix gameplay. So check that out.
Dredge continues to be great in Modern, thanks to Creeping Chill. Now that it's seen as a legitimate threat, it didn't dominate SCG Charlotte quite like it did SCG Dallas, but once the format levels out, Dredge is still going to be good and it's still going to stretch everyone else's sideboard options thin. Isn't Modern great?
The only Chamber Sentry deck I know of is this one from Wedge, who is straight-up the best human ever and I highly recommend hanging out with him.
Dawn of Hope sees obligatory play in lots of white sideboards. It reminds me a lot of Mastery of the Unseen or Mobilization—it's got the potential to give control decks serious headaches.
Oh yeah. Put this card in my veins, baby. Tocatli Honor Guard crushes B/G Midrange single-handedly, forcing them to make odd sideboard concessions. For example, Golgari would love to have access to Moment of Craving as their two-mana removal spell out of the sideboard, but Moment of Craving does nothing to stop The Buzzsaw That Is Tocatli Honor Guard. So Cast Down it is! But Cast Down sucks! There is a long list of problematic cards that Cast Down can't even target, and Brad Nelson's GP runner-up list employs a lot of them:
Much like how Standard always has a Cancel with upside, in recent years Standard has always had a Roast variant. Sometimes it's called Mizzium Mortars. Sometimes, it's called Roast! Lava Coil is the latest variant, and it's pretty sweet, dispatching Rekindling Phoenix and Shalai, Voice of Plenty cleanly and also shutting off Golgari Findbroker / The Eldest Reborn loops. It's a good card, if uninterestingly efficient.
See you next week.