This week in Magic: Pick a deck, and stick with it

Thassa god of the sea

This past weekend, I tried my luck at the SCG Open Series in Providence. The format: Standard. How did I do? I did terrible. However, like all my failures, I learned a lot, and maybe you can learn from them as well.


Lesson one: Pick a deck


Pick a deck and learn it. Days leading up to the event, I had decided to play Mono-Black with a splash of Green for SCG Providence. However, also, leading up to the day of the tournament, I couldn’t make up my mind and stick with a deck. I was able to play test a few decks to “run the gauntlet.” While playing those decks, they seemed more and more appealing to play. Sadly, I didn’t realize I was headed for a rabbit hole I would never find myself climbing out of in time.


Some of the other decks I played around with included RW Burn, and a form of GB Constellation. I would eventually end up on Esper Control. It’s a deck I, technically, have been playing since the beginning of the Theros block. The early incarnations of the deck even helped me get second place at the Massachusetts TCG States tournament last fall. So, by default it was a deck I had the most experience with.


Unfortunately this decision had come a little too late, as it was made the night before the event. This was the one thing that I wanted to avoid the most, and it still happened. I guess I was doomed all the way through.


Lesson two: Play something you’re most comfortable with


I’ve had equal success with all the decks I previously mentioned. I’ve also had equal amounts of failure with them as well. However, I don’t think playing Esper Control was a terrible decision. Out of all the decks, it may have been the one I was most comfortable with. Well, it was probably a toss-up between that deck and RW Burn.


I’m not a very strong Pack Rat player, and thus why Mono-Black would have been a bad choice for me. I know I put on the early work, but I’m sure I would have been worse off with that deck. In retrospect, I think I should have gone with RW Burn. I know I talked about having the most experience with Esper, though. So, which is more important? Comfort level or experience level. I think they go hand-in-hand. Given the situation though, Esper is a much more complicated deck. At least, it’s more complicated than RW Burn.


Final verdict: it should have been RW Burn from the very beginning. I’ve always had a knack for that deck ever since I started playing it. However, I got discouraged after one poor FNM performance. I gave up too easily, and that’s my fault. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it in the blogs, but I know I’ve probably said it to other people. I wanted to play it at the Boxborough 5K a couple of months ago, and I joked about making an audible to it the night before SCG Providence. Next time I have a gut feeling, maybe I should go with it, especially if it comes to playing RW Burn.


I’ve been having the same inclination in modern as well. I’ve been wanting to play Mono Red Burn. However, I’m worried about how it will do in the later rounds. I guess I’ll never know until I take it to a tournament and run with it.


Looking back at SCG Providence


If the results of last week could speak, they would say that the state of the Standard format is very alive and healthy. Remember the days of Caw Blade?  Out of the Top 8 decks, only two were the same. In the end, Ross Merriam and his Mono-Blue Devotion deck took the top prize.


Some people say that Mono-Blue was well positioned to win, but who even remembered that this was a deck? I didn’t. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the “gauntlet” I had put together in my failed play testing sessions.


For those of you who are interested, Ross has written a wonderful primer on the deck based on his run at this past SCG Open. In the article he wonderfully states, “Sometimes, you just have to accept your limitations and play to your strengths.” Here he’s referring to the fact that a lot of his success has come from only playing “cheap blue creatures and mana elves.”


I remember looking at the results and thinking to myself how great of an example Ross is to the lessons I wrote about above. Now, I don’t know what his play testing was like or his preparations were heading in the SCG Open in Providence. Just from the first two paragraphs he wrote in his article, it’s obvious he went with a deck he knows best and not a deck he thought would be the best out there. “I tried playing Sphinx’s Revelation once in Theros Standard and turned a 4-0 performance in Legacy into a 4-4 day 1 at the Indianapolis Invitational and a pile of frustration.”


A small announcement


If you know me personally, you’d know that I’m pretty much glued to Twitter and Facebook, and all other sorts of social media. Well, since I’m always online, I figured I’d do Battleground Games a solid and offer some of my social media services. For whatever reason, they were crazy enough to accept my offer. So, I guess this is my little formal announcement letting you all know that I’ll be taking on the role of “Community Manager.”


What does this mean? Aside from “word-of-mouth,” social media is a huge means of communication. So, if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, or anything else, you may want to consider getting on board. One of the things I’m hoping to improve upon is getting the word out about in-store events. For example, did you know that this Saturday, June 14th, there is a Grand Prix Trial for GP Worcester/Boston? It’ll be held at the Plainville location. It’ll be a Modern format event, and the top prize will be a two-round bye at GP Worcester/Boston in July. Other prizes will include store credit based on attendance. For more information make sure to click here.


See? That wasn’t too bad right? I’m going to try my best to make sure that people know what’s going on at both stores. I’m not talking just about “Magic: The Gathering” either (although, forgive me if you see a focus there). I’m going to do my best to get the word out about Warhammer 40K, Warmachine, DnD, Weiss Schwarz, Board Game Night, etc.


Hopefully I’ll eventually become a centralized point where you can ask me something and I can get you an answer. That way you’re not chasing numerous people down to get a single question answered. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you follow Battleground Games & Hobbies on Twitter (@Battleground_GH) and on Facebook (click here for a link to their page).


That’s it for now. Let me know what you think of this post, of my new role, or what’s on your mind. If you want, you can also follow me on Twitter @SimeonCortezano. Make sure you say hello!


About the author


Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Donate to the Extra-Life fundraiser!




Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!


BG_ShopOnline_Banner (1)