Hey guys and gals! Recently I took the time to attend a Modern Night at my LGS and I wanted to share not only the results of my matches but my experience as a whole. So what did I play? After some last minute hmm’in and haww’in combined with texts to Noob to get his last minute words of wisdom, I went with Tron, which is always a solid performer in competitive tournaments. I was going to go with Bushwacker Zoo as I’ve played in a few modern nights at this store and know that the regular participants usually run Aggro or Control decks, but I decided to go with giant colorless beatsticks instead.
Match 1: Tron vs Bogles
The guy I played kind of froze the minute I dropped an Urza’s Mine. “Yeah, I don’t do well against Tron”, he laughed. The minute “Tron” came out of his mouth, heads turned. I was enemy #1. Another player told his opponent that he hoped he got matched up with me in the next round because he wanted to see how his deck would do against Tron. I tried to ease my opponent’s nerves a bit by reassuring him that it was MY Tron deck, not the RG scourge of the tournament scene. By turn 3, I wished I had the RG version as I was staring at two Urza lands and an Eldrazi temple on my side with a wimpy Eldrazi Mimic as my only form of defense, and on my opponent’s side, a couple of Slippery Bogles each pumped up to Eldrazi-esque proportions with Ethereal Armor, Daybreak Coronet and Rancor. I quickly conceded. Game 2 went exactly like game 1, I wasn’t able to get the correct cards in hand to loot for the Urza Tron pieces and was dispatched of with ease. We shook hands and he gave me some tips for tweaking my deck to make it slightly faster. We still had another 18 minutes left before the next round began so we played a couple more casual games to pass the time. The first one went like the last 2 “real” games as he blew me out, although I sensed that he gave me an extra turn or two to get something going on my side. The 2nd casual game went my way as I took a chance and aggressively mulliganed to get an opening hand that I could work with. This tactic stuck in my head and I realized that I was playing my deck wrong. Always mulligan (well down to 5 cards if necessary) til you get an Urza land or two, a green mana source and Sylvan Scrying or forgo the hunt for the green mana source and have either the aforementioned 2 Urza lands (or 1 Urza land and 1 colorless source) with Expedition Map in your opening hand.
End of Round 1: 0-1
Round 2: Tron vs Infect
I hate infect. Just absolutely hate it. Infect is such a garbage mechanic. It’s basically the equivalent of you starting with 10 life. So yeah, I lost in 2 straight games. Hate the deck but liked my opponent as he was a really friendly guy that offered me some good advice on making my deck run better. Notice the theme? Since he won the match fairly quickly he wanted to play a couple of casual games. He suggested that I play against his Burn deck as it would be good practice for my deck. We played two really close games, he won the first and I won the second with Kozilek, the Great Distortion and basically used it’s ability to counter his spells. Seriously, how does Kozilek not get more love? He is basically a 12/12 counter engine that also lets you fill up your hand with cards. Total late game nightmare.
End of Round 2: 0-2
Round 3: Tron vs Grixis Control
I felt good going into this one. My friend has a Grixis deck that he likes to play often, so there wasn’t any surprises here. I mulliganed down to 5 to start the game and ended up with Tron in my opening hand. Unfortunately my opponent was mana screwed and only was able to put down a couple of lands. Even being screwed, Grixis isn’t a joke and he was able to fend me off for a few turns, countering everything I did, including using Remand on Kozilek back to my hand. Unfortunately Kozilek’s ability triggers when it’s cast and I was able to fill my hand with the necessary weapons to seal the game. On my next turn I dropped 2 Reality Smashers with an Eldrazi Mimic already in play and ended it. Game 2 was all him. Classic Grixis control game. He had an answer for everything I tried, and was able to use a devastating mix of burn spells, Snapcaster Mage and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet to take me out. Game 3 lasted quite a few turns as I had a hard time drawing a creature that could do some real damage. Game 1 repeated itself as my opponent was unable to hit his land drops and when he did, it seemed like I was drawing Ulamog, Ceaseless Hunger on the next turn. Even though it was being countered, his ability to exile permanents still triggered and I would exile his lands, keeping him at only 2 lands again. I ended up winning by playing Kozilek, and ironically, using its ability to control the control deck.
End of Round 3: 1-2
Well, I was happy that I was at least able to get into the win column, even though I knew that I wasn’t going to be a finalist as the tournament is 4 rounds and I had lost 2. I didn’t expect to make it to the finals even before I played the first game so I wasn’t terribly disappointed. I did regret not playing my Bushwacker Zoo as I think I could have started the tournament stronger but it is what it is. One more round to go..I was hoping to bat .500.
Round 4: Tron vs Esper Mill
My opponent was really friendly as we both knew that this was essentially a casual game as I was 1-2 and he was 0-3. I was battling to just finish in the middle of the pack and he was attempting to avoid being last. We chatted for a while even after the final round had started, sifting through each other’s deck and making observations. He told me that I should ditch blue in my deck and just stick with Green and colorless and include copies of World Breaker. I offered my opinion that although impressive, 4 copies of Liliana of the Veil didn’t fit with his deck and that there should be more Mill cards. Game 1 started with him casting Gitaxian Probe and looking at my hand. He laughed out loud because I had all the pieces of Tron in it. Nonetheless, he put up a good fight and was able to counter a lot of what I was trying to do but a Thoughtknot Seer removed a Path To Exile from his hand and a Reality Smasher ended the game as besides some Snapcaster Mages, he didn’t have much for creatures in his deck. Game 2 went his way as he milled me out after about 10-12 turns in which I had accumulated over 26 mana but had no creatures as he had milled or countered then all. Game 3 was all me as he had mana issues and I was able to use Ulamog to exile the few lands he had and then used Kozilek to counter whatever he tried to play.
End of Round 4: 2-2
Well I achieved my goal of at least breaking even. To be honest, even with not having the strongest showing I had an enjoyable time. I learned a lot about my deck thanks to everyone wanting to help me out between rounds. I used to be turned off of competitive Magic because of all of the horror stories of poor nerdsmanship I had heard over the last few years..but I can honestly say that I have participated in a few tournaments so far and haven’t experienced anything but good natured Magic players who are more than willing to offer advice. Now I can’t guarantee that it’s the same wherever you go to play, but I’m willing to bet that a majority of the players you run into are good people. And if they’re not, well, a throat punch solves everything.