Modern IQ Report - Collector's Alley, Columbia TN

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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:



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.


Round 1:
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.

Round 2:
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.

Round 3

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.

Round 4

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.

Round 5

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....

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Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I'm sad Jotun Grunt didn't work out for you. I've been wanting to try it for a while but haven't been playing Modern.

Question: how often did you actually cast Ruinator, compared to just using Vial to cheat it in? 
Next Question: what made javelineers so good? 
Next Next Question: No swords? Were they ever considered?
Last Question: did you consider Resto Angel, or were you worried your mana was too tight to manage it? 

(at)MrEnglish22

The only times I couldn't play ruinator was when I wasn't playing any magic at all because of mana screw on mulligains. He is always the last guy you play, and that means there's been several predecessors who died or are getting it done...and you don't need him yet because there's still value in playing the disruption game (ie thalia and arbiter and familiar and gq/tec edge have got them on their back foot... they're missing a land drop... and I was very careful not to reveal the ruinator unless necessary). He was actually as easy to play as I suspected when I considered most D&T lists are on 30 creatures+vial.

Javelineers let me answer: V. Clique, Heirarchs, Bob, Lotus Cobra, Inkmoth Nexus, Blinkmoth Nexus, Signal Pest, he can damage planeswalkers directly, he lets my 3 power guys 'trade' with 4 toughness guys... and he eats lightning bolts from America. I lol'd at the america opponent when he bolted it.

No swords... couldn't search them, had more value from trinket mage package.... sometimes I didn't have 5 mana to play with to cast/equip... so spreading a sword out over 2 turns changes things a lot. Now... I *am* considering a Bone Splitter to go in my trinket mage package....

The 4 slot is one that technically doesn't exist in a deck with 21 lands, of which 6 are getting sacrificed. Glen Elendra was a techy insertion that survived a supreme verdict and then countered a spot removal to save a ruinator one game. And she flies... so good. Extra blink effect wasn't that big a deal for a card I couldn't hardcast some games. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I think you're vastly overestimating Javelineers.  Sure, there are a few X/1 dudes in the format, but most you shouldn't be worried about.  There is exactly 0 reason why it should have been in against UWR, and less reason why it should have eaten a Bolt.
Against America, which is on Snapcaster and V.Clique and planeswalkers like Ajani Vengeant which generally roll up to 4, or roll down to 1 javelineer was fine. It has to be removed before they can play a V.Clique or snapcasters. It also helps to finish off resto angel which would normally flash out to eat a flickerwisp... it starts to hang back more.

I wouldn't say I'm vastly overestimating it... I felt like it was worth 2 slots in the sideboard... and I was not sad to board it in when i went to retrieve it. The deck is already light on spot removal and since there's a lot of must answer X/1 creatures in the format its an ok thing to have access to. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I think even considering it as having any place in a 75 is overestimating it...

Dismember would just be better in most cases.  Seeing as it actually kills pretty much everything in the format and doesn't cause a 2-for-1 (I'm not counting the 1/1 body as worth a card).
Except Dismember doesn't always cost just 1 colorless and 4 life... sometimes it's costing me 2 colorless and 4 life and that can be unplayable. The mana base is tuned up pretty tight (maybe too tight since I'm considering one extra land).

I would like to point out that this deck had a lot of easy races when I don't hurt myself and some decks were starting at 17, or even 15 to lay a thoughtseize on me. I'd sooner leverage Sunlance (which was the original 2x but I suspected my manabase and the flexibility to poke at white creatures would be a good thing) or maybe Condemn... but just maybe. I also briefly considered azorius charm for this deck.... but the 2cc non-creature part is tough.

At any rate, I'll disagree on Javelineers. I went to the sideboard for it several times for exactly what I intended it to be used for, it did exactly as I expected, and when I used it I gained tremendous value from it directly or from my opponent having to hold back cards or nexus activations... so some virtual CA. My theory proved out, and I gathered positive results at a decent sized modern event with it. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

You're theory isn't proven out by 11 rounds of Magic, especially against some questionable players (i.e. Bolt the Javelineers, drawing/not drawing correctly, missing triggers).  You need a lot more data than that to say something is worth the slots or not.

Plus, I can almost say it's 100% wrong to hold anything back against Javelineers.  You just force the opponent to use the counter, and then the card does nothing.  Heck, if you really want the 1 damage effect, Gut Shot is probably better...   
But then I'm back to paying at least 2 life for spell, possibly 2 life, 1 mana for 1 damage....

I can flicker or blink my javelineers to reset the counter and get further usage. If the counter is gone I can use it to chump something larger or poke at the opponent.

This deck is all about efficiency and maximization of resources while minimizing your opponents. Dismember rails against that and javelineers synergizes perfectly.

You're right that a single event isn't infallible evidence, but so far the evidence we do have here today supports my theory and in light of the deck in discussion I cannot agree with you regarding dismember at all. Also, javelineers has been a card used by D&T in the past and remains in the 1cc consideration set.... the best? Nah, that's the familiar. Useful? Absolutely. Viable? Signs point to yes. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Have to agree with Admiral here. As much as I love questionable cards that kill x/1's (Forked Bolt FTW!), they're almost always worse than cards that just kill everything.

Javalineers especially seems questionable, needing to untap, not doing much else, and not really providing you any value that a straight kill spell wouldn't provide. 
Etiamnunc sto, etiamsi caelum ruat.
I can only direct you guys to the manabase that drives the deck and reinforce that there are tight games against aggro decks where the 4 life to dismember something is actually as painful as just racing it. And paying 4 to dismember Bob just feels bad... particularly when I had bob helping me race twice to my opponents detriment. Efficiency of effort guys.

It's also worth pointing out that this card slides out early, on the cheap, and half the decks you want it for (america type decks) getting it under mana leak is important for forcing them to answer it. Its ironically strong there.

I'm going to keep your pleas for Dismember in mind, but I intend to continue working with Javelineers until I find a situation where I need more removal from the side to compete and there's nothing else in the sideboard that helps and I need a cut from the 15.

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

This deck is a pile. I'm glad to see a bunch of terrible white creatures all together. Seems like something I would play. I might be taking my terrible white deck to GP KC if I can get the rest of the cards for it. Stay tuned.
Bonesplitter sounds fine. I was mostly just saying swords because your dudes are overall unimpressive, and I like swords.
 
As for Javalineers, I feel there has to be something better to use as removal. Sunlance, though a Sorcery, seems more than capable of killing the cards you listed (barring pinging Planeswalkers)

Oh, and my personal favorite sideboard card, that I think is just bonkers: Supression Field. Dropping it on T2 and watching your opponent sit with fetchlands they can't really use in play makes me a happy camper. Unfortunately, its a nonbo with AEther Vial

(at)MrEnglish22

Thanks Shadow, I knew I could count on you to make me feel bad, because I am bad.

I'm a little shocked at the javelineer hate. The card was sweet all day. The deck needs early instant speed removal for x/1s... one could argue I need more than 2 so I can find them in sideboard games. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

The problem is that Javelineers isn't instant speed hate.  It's "please, please, PLEASE let me untap and kill that" hate...

Just because a card was "sweet" in one tournament or in very specific situations doesn't mean it was correct or a good choice.  Trust me, I love seeing sweet "tech" in decks.  It's just that when you actually play test it and get numbers behind the card, it often falls apart. 
It comes down on turn 1, generally before a lot of the cards it wants to kill. 

It did everything I wanted it to against Robots and America and that 4c-I-dont-know-what-the-hell-he-was-playing. I guess I shouldn't be so results oriented. 

I'll cut it for slower and reactive answers. 

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I will certainly give you that Icatian Javelineers is a very neat trick, that's all I see it being. It's exceptionally efficient on mana, but being able to kill Bob is no great feat. Fiend Hunters can do that, too, and is very synergystic with blinks, and is also good against problematic things like Tarmogoyf. It's also at a relevant cc for Aether Vial. Hell, if you're looking for the early game option, Condemn'll deal with the same creatures and many more.

Icatian Javelineers is just too narrow to be a sideboard card against things that are largely trivial to deal with in the first place. If you were having troubles against some sudden meta of tokens, absolutely I could see a Tim based effect having a spot in the sideboard. Blood Cultist was probably one of my all-time favorite sideboard techs. However, not only is such a deck absent from the role call, but lacking a repeatable effect, Icatian Javelineers would be hard-pressed to act as a solution.
lel♯ jenk♯ ∞


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Meh, BW Tokens is a thing. But its not there for that deck... thats why I mb trinket + ee.... because otherwise Tokens destroys me.

Javelineers is just a card that goes with the flow of the deck... disruption and VCA via mana denial, rescue/blink, and generally deading cards in hand. I don't need a permanent answer... just one that works for a couple turns so I can get ahead and start trying to close. That's all it does. I was outracing and eating goyfs yesterday (which I was surprised by, but then again Skaab Ruinator is like this giant instant speed blue penis that just slaps goyf down).

I said already I'll look at ditching Javelineers. I did consider Fiend Hunters... but man the deck already has like 14 3cc plays... I was trying to be curve sensitive to creatures that provide utility that will not oblige me with condemn opportunities. I don't care about non-utility creatures. I need the slippery ones to die.

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Any reason for ancient ziggurat instead of Seachrome Coast? Coast seems like it has a little bit more utility and only drawback is that it comes into play tapped if it's your 4th or 5th land which doesn't seem like too big of a drawback in a 21 land deck. 

Serra Avenger seems like a decent aether vial target.  

"This list much made Niche barf a lil' in his mouth, so I can be proud of that." -rstnme

Seachrome is a legit suggestion and would almost always etb untapped here.

I was just cobbling this thing together on short order and it works easily. 

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2011 States Top 4
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Designer of Top 8 States finishing MBC decks in 2011, 2010, and 2009 
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Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Probably going to:
-1 Jotun Grunt
-1 Stonecloaker
+1 Cursecatcher
+1 Darksteel Citadel (Trinket Mage grab, might do Academy Ruins instead for EE loops)

-2 Ancient Ziggurat
-3 Marsh Flats
+4 Seachrome Coast
+1 Adarkar Wastes

Sideboard:
-2 Javelineer
+2 Oust (there, you happy? I found the card that lets me pop any creature and buys me tempo + can get shuffled out)

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Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

hey niche I'm going to be making a thread about the mono white deck I've been playing. Keep an eye out. 
Ok.

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Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Decks finally posted to scg.

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"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Enjoyed the read Niche, thanks.
Agreed^. I read the whole thread avidly. Lots of good back and forth. I'd love to hear about more playtesting and stuff. I'm sad to see the Javelineers go; is Oust working out better?
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There's been no opportunity for testing recently. Modern has dropped off.

Oust is a marginally better card in a vacuum. I'm a-ok with it. Also stuck some Kiras in my sideboard. 

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2011 States Top 4
Multiple 2013 IQ Top 4/8 Finishes
Designer of Top 8 States finishing MBC decks in 2011, 2010, and 2009 
Standard Forum - Iron Deck Builder Season One Champ

Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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