It’s a miracle: Back-to-Back Victory

© 2017 photo credit: magiccardmarket.eu

Editorial Note: “It’s a miracle: Back-to-Back Victory” is a guest entry by Johannes Gutbrod. Read more about Johannes in “Meet the Pros: Johannes Gutbrod, Legacy”. Johannes Gutbrod is not affiliated with Snapcardster.com

After Show-and-Telling in Frankfurt I was testing a lot of different archetypes but mostly various miracle variants. In may I began testing an UWB MentorMiracles deck. It was the Ovino list from my good friend Claudio Bonanni, which I thought had more potential as he seemed to think himself.

After months of testing we both came to the conclusion that the red splash is superior to the black one at the moment. Blood Moon is a hell of a card and helps with the harder MU’s like Eldrazi, Czech Pile or Lands. Pyroclasm is great against Delver, Elves and Death and Taxes and Pyroblasts are still superior to Discard effects in the control mirror.

We figured if we could somehow fix the combo matchups (we upped the number of Ethersworn Canonist), the UWR-variant would be better in every regard.

In the last weeks we settled on a quite stock list, but were still differing in 4-6 cards in the 75. This is the 75 I registered for the Legacy Main Event:

Not Quite Miracles by Johannes Gutbrod

Creatures (7)
Snapcaster Mage
Monastery Mentor

Spells (33)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Portent
Counterspell
Flusterstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Swords to Plowshares
Terminus
Engineered Explosives
Predict
Lands (20)
Tundra
Volcanic Island
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Arid Mesa
Island
Plains
Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Flusterstorm
Pyroblast
Blood Moon
Surgical Extraction
Ethersworn Canonist
Vendilion Clique
Pyroclasm
Wear // Tear
Relic of Progenitus

The Relic of Progenitus was a late addition as I wanted another card for Grixis/ Grixis Control and still have the same amount of graveyard-hate. We were 295 players, and here is the part you all came for:

Round 1: Deathblade 1:2
G1: My opponents overextends and Force of Wills two Terminus, of which I force back to resolve the second one. I try to fetch for a Dual to make him use his Wasteland and turn on my Daze for a potential True-Name Nemesis. He does so but finds another land with his last draw slams True-Name Nemesis and I don’t find an answer in four turns.
G2: Opponent keeps one land.
G3: Double Lingering Souls are quite good in this matchup…

Round 2: OmniSneak 2:1
G1: I’m still trying to figure out what my opponent is on until he plays a Boseiju, Who Shelters All turn three. I think I’m pretty much dead, as my hand is slow. Next turn I can resolve a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and manage to lock him out with Portent + Jace while countering all his cantrips aggressively.
G2: Got combo’d out.
G3: Ethersworn Canonist rides to a close victory.

Round 3: Grixis Control 2:1
G1: Hymn to Tourach and early beatz bring me into Lightning Bolt range, and when I finally stabilize it is too late.
G2/ G3: My superior control cards (Predict!) take those games.

Round 4: Czech Pile 2:0
G1: We play draw-go for a while until I find a window to resolve my Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He fights back quite well with several Snapcaster Mages and Kolaghan’s Command, but in the end Monastery Mentor joins the party and he gets monk’d out.
G2: Blood Moon is a fair magic card, no?! 😉

Round 5: SneakShow 2:0
G1/ G2: These games were similar to my first match against OmniSneak. In the first game Jace, the Mind Sculptor drew me a lot of cards as well.

Round 6: Elves 2:1
G1: Can’t find a Terminus in time before I get run over.
G2: Is a long fight, involving Pyroclasm, Nissa, Vital Force and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The blue planeswalker helps me establishing control in the end.
G3: We go to time. My opponent kindly scoops, as a draw in this stage of the tournament is pretty bad for both of us. Thanks again!

Round 7: Lands 2:0
G1/ G2: I aggressively counter Gamble to prevent Life from the Loam-shenanigans and win with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. It helped that he didn’t find Punishing Fire in game one as well (I fatesealed him out in the end).

Round 8: Goblins 2:1
G1: My opponent is seemingly nervous and mulls a hand that’s good against miracles but bad against the rest of the format as he fortunately doesn’t know what I’m playing. He ends up going to 4 cards, though.
G2: Aether Vial on four and several Goblin Ringleaders find too much gas for me to handle.
G3: This one is really close, I can Force of Will a crucial Tarfire targeting my Mentor. Next turn I resolve Jace, the Mind Sculptor and keep my army back to defend him. He taps out for Goblin Ringleader and I have the window to prowess my army and slam Pyroclasm to extinguish his board and swing for the win.

Round 9: TurboDepths 2:0
The draw could leave me at a potential ninth place, so I decide to choose my fate myself and play it out.
G1: I play Monastery Mentor, Swords to Plowshare on Marit Lage and beat him slowly down while he bricks and gets Portented out of the game.
G2: Instead of cantripping I decide to leave my mana open, even if he just has a forest. He tries to play Crop Rotation, I have Flusterstorm and the game is basically over as he can’t cast any spells.

After the dust settles I’m 8:1, and second place in the final standings.

Quarters: Elves 2:1
G1: I fail to find cantrips and die with all the good stuff in hand.
G2/ G3: Mass removal, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and a hail-mary Terminus for his Progenitus.

Semis: UnexpectedMiracles 2:0 (these matches are covered on the MkM-site as well)
G1: My hand is very blueish, and I resolve Predicts and Snapcaster Mages while countering his.
G2: I manage to tap him out with an end-of-turn Vendilion Clique and mainphase Monastery Mentor, so that my hand with Daze + Ponder can go completely out of hand. Later I manage to fateseal a crucial Terminus to the bottom and make my way to the finals.

Finals: RUG Lands 2:1
G1: The game lasts for forty minutes and in the end I have just 8 cards left in my library. The game is basically Life from the Loam vs. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Unfortunately after 14 hours of Legacy I miss a trigger of The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, that might have enabled another sequence and could have won. Happens!
G2: Relic of Progenitus takes away a lot of goodies and Jace, the Mind Sculptor fateseals him out of the game.
G3: I can clear away his first turn Chalice of the Void on one with Engineered Explosives and play my hand with a lot of cantrips. I hold my Blood Moon for a long time until he finally taps under three mana. Then I cast the enchantment and he scoops them up. Props to his beautiful foiled out lands deck though.

Hope you enjoyed the read, see you all in Hamburg!

Johannes Gutbrod

Meet the Pros: Johannes Gutbrod, Legacy

© 2017 photo credit: magiccardmarket.eu

Editorial Note: Read more about Gutbrod’s performance at MKMSeries Prague – It’s a miracle: Back-to-Back Victory

Hello Johannes and congratulations for taking down the Legacy portion of the Magic Card Market Series this weekend! Thank you for stopping by today. Please give the readers a quick introduction of yourself as a Magic player.

Hello guys, thanks for having me 🙂
I’m a 25 year old student and Legacy enthusiast from Nürnberg (Germany). I only play this format, as I enjoy it the most. I organize Legacy tournaments, playtest a lot with friends and try to play all the big European tournaments.

I like to learn new interactions in this format and I’m a person who analyses his own gameplay and tries to find mistakes in there in order to get better and to develop my skill further.

I know you played a fair share of Miracles in the past, and at this event you brought a new version of the deck. Talk a little about the card choices. Monastery Mentor + Daze package opposed to going harder on the Snapcaster Mage + Predict engine with multiple copies of Unexpectedly Absent.

First of all this version can win games much faster than its controllish cousin. Monastery Mentor and Daze can swing games in two or three turns. But that’s rarely the case.

What I like about this version is that it can switch roles so effectively. Often it’s correct to keep a Daze, even when it seems counterintuitive to protect a crucial spell later on when your opponent will never expect it, or taps out. Daze is a safety net for many problematic cards in the format as well (Show and Tell, True-Name Nemesis, Planeswalkers…).

I’m curious about the strengths and weaknesses of the deck. Obviously the Miracles plan has become less consistent after Sensei’s Divining Top got banned, so the deck has lost some overall powerlevel. How does your version make up for that?

I don’t even think that the deck lost as much powerlevel as most people think. Counterbalance was weak in a lot of matchups and with more Predicts and Mentors previously harder matchups like Eldrazi got way better.

Moreover the bluecount is higher than before. And Portent, although being weaker than Sensei’s Divining Top, is another shuffle effect (important e.g. under Blood Moon) and enables locking out the opponent in topdeck mode.

But I think the deck got even harder to play than before… so to anyone picking this deck: You have to practice a lot and try to overthink your gameplay in order to become better!

I heard you lost round 1 of this tournament, but you still managed to come out on top. Take us through your mindset as the rounds went by and you kept racking up wins.

Honestly speaking, in the minutes after the loss I was quite tilted, as I expected much more from myself. So I went out to grasp some fresh air and tried to refocus, thinking that if I will lose no one would care but if I will make it to the top it would truly be a miracle.

I try to think of these situations as learning experiences not just regarding legacy but regarding life as a whole. As I was coming closer and closer to my goal I became more focused and concentrated, trying to block out my surroundings and just think about the next turn(s).

What is your opinion about the health of Legacy right now? On the surface it seems very balanced and like you can play a lot of different decks without being horribly behind like in the Top era.

I agree 100% with your statement. I’ve never thought that you could play that many different decks competitively without one dominating the others. I love to see new decks popping up, be it Marcus Ewaldhs Blue Moon deck, or Tomas Vlceks NicFit.

Legacy was announced as 1/3 of the formats for an upcoming Pro Tour next season. In my opinion, it’s a brilliant move by Wizards of the Coast to motivate Legacy specialists to try and qualify to try their skills versus the absolute elite. What’s your take on this in general and on a personal level?

In general I like the renowned interest in the best magic format. Many people will have a look into this format which they might have never tried before. This will help the community as more tournaments would get organized/ articles get written and so on.

For me personally it is a long wished but very high goal to play Legacy at the ProTour. Although qualifying seems to be really hard and I’m not looking forward to playing Standard to do so, haha. On the other hand I can’t wait to play at GP Birmingham!

Thanks a lot for your time. Hope to see you outplaying platinum pros on the biggest stage next year! In meantime, feel free to follow me on twitter and on my twitch channel. See you there! 🙂

Reborn in Vegas!

I believe an introduction is in order first and foremost.

I’m Anders Thiesen, a Legacy enthusiast from Denmark. I’m 23 years old and I’ve top 8’d both European Legacy Championships, once to the quarters and this year all the way to the finals, where I lost to Thomas Mechin. I play almost exclusively legacy, and until some months ago exclusively Miracles. It was a busted deck, they banned the best card in the deck and it is still viable! I love legacy and I love competing …

So, as a complete fool I went to GP Vegas, just to play the Legacy GP!

After some stupidity, I arrive in fabulous hot Las Vegas meeting up with my roommates Daniel Larsen, Daniel Lind and Hans Jacob “HJ_Kaiser” Goddik. There’s a week until the GP starts so our hotel room is quickly transformed into a testing central, we have two laptops, good wi-fi, several paper decks as well as a 24/7 hotel restaurant and a gas station that sells beverages and snacks just across the road.

Testing went great and it felt like we had a good mix of drinks by the pool, sightseeing and actual testing. Hans Jacob and I play the mtgo legacy challenge on Sunday to satisfactory but not impressive results, after a few more days of testing I settle on a list:

Not Quite Miracles by Anders Thiesen

Lands (20)
Island
Flooded Strand
Scalding Tarn
Tundra
Arid Mesa
Karakas
Plains

Creatures (3)
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (37)
Swords to Plowshares
Unexpectedly Absent
Force of Will
Counterspell
Predict
Brainstorm
Flusterstorm
Ponder
Portent
Terminus
Entreat the Angels
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard (15)
Vendilion Clique
Surgical Extraction
Flusterstorm
Leyline of Sanctity
Monastary Mentor

The reasons I like this list are many: The mana is sturdy against Wasteland (we can even afford a Karakas!) Absent is a deceptively powerful card and Entreat is still busted along with Terminus and Predict.

The main deck Flusterstorm has been pulling a lot of weight and I basically find myself wanting for more all the time! The sideboard is very clean, Mentor is great against decks, when they have cut their removal or where you need more of a clock and can tap 3 mana on your own turn.

Leyline of Sanctity is great against discard, basically working as a fair Counterbalance. Catching an unprepared storm opponent is gravy and having it in your opener versus burn is dessert, the rest of the slots should be self-explanatory.

Terminus. Still busted.

The key to the deck is realising how busted Terminus and Predict are and building a shell to sustain them.

I bring the list to some single-elimination trials to the following results: 0-1, 1-1, 0-1 and I very nearly go home with zero confidence when another dane who is crashing in our hotel room, Kjartan Uldahl, persuade me to join one last trial, which I 5-0 to get my 2 byes. Knowing I can play my deck and sleep in tomorrow I go back to my hotel room.

I show up for Round 3 with a full tank of confidence only to get paired versus the shittiest, most boring deck known to Magic Eldrazi Post. The sideboard mentor steals one game, but I can’t beat cheaty lands like Cloudpost and Eye of Ugin and I succumb to some Eldrazi Titan. *Yawn*

Yeah… That wasn’t how I planned it out, but a few delver opponents later I find myself at 4-1 and paired against a fellow dane playing Elves. Terminus manage to beat my own misplays and I advance to 5-1, where another elves opponent wait for me, he admitted to not having tested the match-up and he also succumb to the power of Terminus.

This selfie was 18-2 after 5 Rounds of play! (From left Hans Jacob, myself, Daniel Larsen, Daniel Lind, with the 2 Daniels being 5-0, that was unfortunately all the wins they would get in the GP)
At 6-1 I get paired versus 4c Loam. The secret to this match-up is you have to know that your opponent’s deck doesn’t do anything against you, they play some haymakers but all your answers match-up very well against them. If they don’t lead on turn 1 Mox Diamond you are very favored. This was also true here and I just used Jace to draw most of my library before winning in both games.

At 7-1 I get paired versus UW Stoneblade, it was very grindy and I misassigned my role at some point in game 1 leading me to lose a 25 minute game, then winning a 20 minute game, this plus sideboarding meant we had 2 minutes to shuffle up and play game 3 and we decide to not even try and I end day 1 at 7-1-1.

I meet up with Lawrence Harmon and Ethan Gaieski for dinner. They introduce me to Kevin “Daddy” Jones who is one of the most crazy human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of having dinner with, and I mean this in the best way possible. It was a great night and at 1 AM I’m Uber’ed back to my hotel. Seriously when you go to GPs make some friends, bonding over magic is great!

Being the the draw bracket, my day 2 is mostly Stoneblade and Miracles (I actually played the mirror 3 times on day 2!) but I win my first 3 rounds to find myself at 10-1-1 paired vs Sam Roukas of Eternal Extravaganza fame. Sam is very skilled and he ended my top 8 dreams. Fun fact: we both needed a bathroom break and we were deck checked leading to a 15 min time extension and we finished with ~10 min on the round clock, before several of the tables near us. Much to the relief of the judges.

Alright. No top 8, but I can still cash. I recognise my round 14 opponents name on the pairing sheet. Scott Lipp. “Isn’t he some kind of pro?”

So… a pro with a draw at a legacy GP, I’m thinking delver as that is the legacy deck that plays the most like “normal” magic. Never has I been so wrong..

Wow. Scott Lipp had managed to get a draw with GB Turbo depths, my game 1 hand was quickly Duress’d and Thoughtseized to bits and I didn’t cast a meaningful spell that game. Game 2 I keep 3 Swords to Plowshares, he duresses one before surgicalling them, I blind Predict in response in the hope of hitting a Flusterstorm so I can counter the surgical, I mill absent and draw a land. He puts the combo on the board before surgicalling my absents, and we shake hands. That was all my white reactive cards surgicalled, oh well… gg Scott… gg…

In Round 15 I’m paired versus Todd Stevens who had picked up Miracles the night before and I win 2 quick games to finish, 4-2 on my first GP day 2 and 11-3-1 total, good for a 67th place offering a grand total of 0 cash and my first 2 pro points. At least this event lit my competitive flame and I look forward to playing more high level magic with MKM Prague and GP Birmingham (modern) coming up.

I was initially disappointed in my performance as I felt I could have had a better record/result with tighter play and a bit of luck, but here a month after I’ve come to terms with my record and feel satisfied, but hungry for more. I wouldn’t change anything given the things we knew before the GP, but with the downfall of slow combo decks the 3 cliques might serve better as something else.

Thanks for reading

<3 Thiesen

 

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