This weekend I attended a SCG Modern IQ at Collector's Alley in Columbia TN. Roughly 50 people turned out which was pretty good for a relatively remote location (not one of the major cities in TN). We played 6 rounds with a lunch break... which I bemoaned at the time but was grateful as the day wore on.
Now for the mono black deck I piloted:
4 x Judge's Familiar
4 x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 x Leonin Arbiter
1 x Jotun Grunt
4 x Flickerwisp
3 x Stonecloaker
2 x Aven Mindcensor
3 x Skaab Ruinator
1 x Trinket Mage
1 x Glen Elendra Archmage
2 x Mulldrifter
4 x Path to Exile
4 x Aether Vial
1 x Pithing Needle
1 x Engineered Explosives
4 x Hallowed Fountain
3 x Marsh Flats
2 x Ancient Ziggurat
2 x Tectonic Edge
4 x Ghost Quarter
1 x Island
4 x Plains
1 x Moorland Haunt
4 x Stony Silence
1 x Kataki, War's Wage
3 x Kitchen Finks
2 x Icatian Javelineers
2 x Mirran Crusader
3 x Burrenton Forge-tender
I built this last week while I was testing Aggro Loam while trying to predict the meta post-modern masters.... Aggro Loam was not doing good even with the best draws against Affinity. I was just getting rolled. I was getting angry about it since I was crushing anything not aggro, but I knew in my heart that aggro would be the most prevalent deck at the IQ... so I decided to test this for 2 games against Robots friday... it went very well... saturday I played 3 games against america control and rolled it and 2 games against scapeshift and that went well. I was really like the feel/play of the deck since it gives me infinite opportunities to outplay my opponent... and it was working out so with 5 games of testing and hours of inconsequential goldfishing to familiarize myself with hands I crashed this into the IQ.
This deck was weird (I understand the irony). I saw a Deathrite Shaman, a Tarmogoyf... and I was like sweet.. Jund... and then he had a Path... and then he cast a Domri Rade... ok 4c Zoo.. then I saw a lightning Helix and an Ajani Vengeant. The game is just completely random from my viewpoint with the cards I'm seeing and I'm interacting and sniping at his cards and looking for the opportunity to start racing in the air. It doesn't happen and I die.
Game 2 I stick a vial on 1, roll it up on 2, cast Thalia. He goes for a path on his turn and I flash in a familiar and counter it. I'm able to whittle him down to around 10 and he gets goyf or something else out comes at me... I flash out Skaab Ruinator and eat it. He untaps and slams a pulse at my ruinator and I flash out flickerwisp and we go to game 3.
Game 3 I see more crazy nonsense like Lotus Cobra and he gets a Thundermaw Hellkite out... which is hilariously poorly positioned against my flashed in Skaab Ruinator. Then he has a second and a sword of light and shadow for it. I get dumped after some chump blocks and I'm left dazed and confused.
America control. Game 1 the only thing significant I remember is having to call a judge in the span of a single stack two times. I turn 2 thalia, and on 3 to get a clock going I flash in a stonecloaker during his End step to exile a path from his GY and stack the rescue effect. He needs a judge to explain to him how I get to choose the order of the stacking of the abilities. Ok... Judge explains and even offers him some free assistance to remind him that he can respond between each of the abilities. Thanks judge. Judge leaves. I resolve the exiling. I look at my opponent and say resolve the bounce and pick up my thalia. He says I want to electrolyze in response, one to thalia one to you. I give him a look and just go ahead and yell for the judge to come back. Long into short the judge backs us up and lets the guy do his electrolyze play and time walk me. Judge feeds me nonsense about not clearly communicating and game state, I tell him I guess I have to accept it since you're the head judge even though this guy didn't have an action until he thought I was targetting, but the stonecloaker doesn't require a target... I just scoop a creature up. At some point in this the judge reveals he isn't familiar with the card but whatever. I'm mad as can be of course because this is just retarded. I lose game 1 off some bricks.
Game 2 I get all up inside his mana base and dead him really fast. When a judge rules against me it generally narrows my focus.
Game 3 I do it again, he cannot get off the ground. Highlights involve icatian javelineers finishing off ajani vengeant and eating a lightning bolt and skaab ruinator gobbling up a v-clique and a funny look when it happens. I also carefully pick at his available mana during his end steps with tec edges and ghost quarters and get him to make bad decisions to pay for taxes, etc. Judge's familiar does some work.
This guy's on Junk, stuffing 4x goodstuffs into a deck. I help him play off of only 2 lands game 1 (with 3 DRS) and just outrace him in the air with 2 Ruinators that only cost a vial activation. Game 2 I play a jotun grunt on my turn to present a poor attack for him for one turn only (he was on finks + bladehold against my ruinator in the air). If he doesn't swing I cannot pay upkeep on grunts, but if he does I can kill his hero and pay upkeep. He opts to not swing and goes for a decay on my ruinator. Flickerwisp saves the day and he scoops since he's at 8. Skaab Ruinator is really proving his value and since all of my creatures are lightning rods I am usually at 3 creatures in the bin so hardcasting is a non-issue.
Robots. I knew he was on it and mulled to a 6 with a judge's familiar and a turn 2 thalia. I hold my breath since he won the die roll and he just plays a nexus and passes. Phewwwww. I introduce his vault skirge to a ruinator and path his ravager when he has no artifacts to modular to. Game 2 gets me pretty good. Game 3 I flood hard on lands. I've seen like 12 or 13. I keep throwing chumps at him... carefully managing my life total down to like 12. I get a stony silence out, a needle on plating, and a kataki. Kataki of course is clutch and guts his board. Draw more lands, he has 3 nexus out. I'm panicked. He rolls through his upkeep and draws without paying kataki and I call for a judge. This was a good break for me despite the warning, obviously. Ravager goes. I use a mindcensor to trade with an inkmoth. I get a flickerwisp down. And a thalia. He shrap blasts me to 6. I kill him.
Its GR Tron. This guy shuffles my deck for a solid 2 or 3 minutes. I mulligan. He shuffles it again for 2 minutes. I tell him if he doesn't bring it a close I'm going to call the judge. I mulligan again. He comments about how everyone has been mulliganing against him all day. I tell him it has a lot to do with his shuffle duration and he needs to make this one even faster. I get a manageable 5 and am on the draw. He raw-dogs tron... I stay in it to confirm his decklist and he shows sundering titan instead of Wurmcoil. Phew. BFD. I tweak like 4 slots and he gets warned twice for looking through his deck illegally, once when he's combusting (internal lol) my arbiter and I respond with a ghost quarter to a tron land.... second time when he does something and I respond with a tec edge to a tron land and he searches again... He offers to concede while the judge runs off to determine what to do... I'm expecting a game loss but I tell him not to scoop unless its necessary... because I really want to do it myself... double warning but 3 is the game loss unless the judge determines he was trying to cheat..... and while I could have said something about the cutting... it wasn't relevant to jittery-worst-matchup-for-him-possible-play. Game 3 a turn 2 arbiter, a flashed in familiar to counter a pyro, and a huge skaab ruinator with him on combust gets him. He draws a second burn spell but I've got this sweet Forge Tender on the board.
Round 6 (last round of swiss)
I'm at table 3. Table 1 is mysteriously playing it out. Table 4 draws also, mysteriously. Table 2 draws.... somewhat expectantly but they said it was a clean break. I know my opponent is on merfolk. That's miserable for WU D&T since they're D&T also, with lords, and unbeatable evasion against me. I figure I'm like a 30-40% dog to that deck. He offers to draw. I normally wouldn't draw at table 3... but table 4 drawing ensures those 2 get knocked out before me... and the next table down is the GR tron guy vs. Dredgevine who is x-1-1 already. GR Tron would probably screw cut that guy and board in relics and just stick Karn and win so that guy isn't going to bump me. I take the draw with a lot of hesitation.
I'm a seer regarding the Tron v Dredgevine matchup.
I end up 6th in standings.
First round I'm paired against Chatty McChatterson on a GB rock brew with a lot of 4 ofs and 3 maelstrom pulses. Ok that's terrible. He's in relative shock and awe at my list. I eyeball his sideboard and he's on 2 golgari charm and 2 gaze of granite he might use on me. Probably the charm if he's smart.
Game 1 I mull to 5. This is exciting. He thoughtseizes me twice to help and bob bolts him twice. So I'm floundering but he's at 12. He discards everything but the skaab ruinator in my hand. I get a vial up... and it doesn't get wrecked. He starts clocking me with Finks, but I flash out ruinator and decide not to block. He has no answer, I hit him. His turn he plays a few guys and I flash in a second ruinator and kill him. I shuffle a lot... mull to 6 game 2. He has a cool thoughtseize again turn 1. However he has a decay for my vial and I start bricking on mana. I scoop to game 3. I get to mull to 5 again... but that might have been greedy since I was looking for a fast hand and the first 7 was 5 lands and 2 creatures... slow... but in retrospect was probably fine.. anyway I mull to 5 and keep a 1 lander with a path and thalia. Hey, look, another turn 1 thoughtseize. And he has a fulminator mage for my only land. The female judge beside who is passing gas is going on and on about how good her deck design for him was. I'm gagging and dying and drawing all spells no lands and let them revel in their victory after I mull 5 times and scoop and try to escape the fumes as fast as possible. Seriously.
All told not bad for a deck brewed last week, played 5 times, and including things everyone would question if I told them what I was doing beforehand.
Studs: Ruinator (beat so much face, next levelled combust hate), Trinket Mage package (won me like 3 games), judge's familiar, moorland haunt (won me a game) , javelineers, archmage (beat america), mulldrifter.
Duds: Jotun Grunt, 3 stonecloakers where 2 would have done. 21 lands instead of 22 or 23. Maybe....