by Kevin Michael
My alarm goes off, it’s 9:40. It’s time to for me to call up approximately 100 people and get ready for the NJ TCGplayer States tournament that’s happening today. After getting all showered up and brushing my teeth, I get a text: “Where are you?” After freaking out and calling the store that was hosting the tournament, I realized that I had somehow made myself and everyone else believe that the tournament started at noon. But all was not lost! After some quick Googling and triple checking, I found out that DE States was starting at noon, and that we might just be able to make that one instead. So, I loaded my car with a sad Chris Bauer and an excited Antonino Baldasari, and off we went at 100mph down Route 95.
We got to the tournament with approximately 7 minutes to spare (we had to stop at Dunkin Donuts so Chris could order $70 worth of food). After realizing that I needed to make changes to my deck and didn’t have any time to spare, I decided to sleeve up what I had. For some reason, sleep-deprived Kevin decided it was a good idea to SB an additional Wear // Tear. I don’t know why I made my deck worse, but I did. Here’s what I played:
As you can see, my deck only got worse for this tournament.
Round 1- Chris Bauer- Mono Blue Devotion
Game 1- I took game 1 from Chris pretty easily. He didn’t have all of the cards he needed to play his deck, so he had to play some pretty bad cards such as Runner’s Bane. His SB was also built out of Kemp’s trade binder before the tournament, so that wasn’t very much help to him.
Game 2- Chris actually took this game from me. The Blue Devotion deck is so powerful that sometimes all you need to do is turn on your Thassa, God of the Sea and put a Master of Waves into play to bury your opponent.
Game 3- This game was a nail biter, but I was able to win the game with not even a turn to spare. Had Chris’s deck been at all optimal, I would’ve surely lost this match.
Round 2- Eric Meadows- Esper Control
-3 Chained to the Rocks, -3Anger of the Gods, -4 Boros Reckoner
+1 Duress, +1 Obzedat, Ghost Council, +2 Wear // Tear, +1 Whip of Erebos, +1 Underworld Connections, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Glare of Heresy, +1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa, +1 Hero’s Downfall
Round 3- Nick Fasciglione- Mono Black Devotion
Game 1- I’m fairly certain his deck didn’t really do anything this game. I landed an Obzedat, Ghost Council into play and he prematurely scooped to it for some reason.
Game 2- His deck was all business this game, and I SB’d like he was playing a control deck so I had quite a few dead cards. He landed a Lifebane Zombie on turn 3 and took my Blood Baron of Vizkopa. After a few turns of hitting me for 3, I was burned out of the game via Corrupt and Gray Merchant of Asphodel.
Game 3- This game went very similarly to game 1. I was able to land my big monsters into play, and he ran out of gas fairly early. I don’t think I dropped below 10 life this game.
Round 4- Brad Robinson- G/W Aggro
Game 1- I had a decent enough hand this game, but his deck curved so well and I wasn’t able to deal with him drawing 2 Rootborn Defenses.
Game 2- I must’ve killed every creature he cast up until turn 4. But a well timed draw allowed him to play a Fleecemane Lion and make it Monstrous on the same turn, making all of my removal useless.
-3 Thoughtseize, -1 Devour Flesh, -2 Rakdos’s Return, -1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, -1 Read the Bones
+2 Shock, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +1 Dreadbore, +1 Hero’s Downfall, +1 Anger of the Gods, +1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa, +1 Glare of Heresy
Round 5- Jim Crossey- Mono Green Devotion
Game 1- I actually played against Jim the week before in the top 8, so I knew mostly what to expect. In this game he came out of the gates very quickly and put me to a low life total fast. But once I was able to hit him with a Rakdos’s Return for all of the cards in his hand, I was able to take over the game in a few turns.
Game 2- I literally played 10 removal spells in a row this game. It felt like his deck threw everything it could at me, but still came up short. There was a turn where he could’ve killed me, but luckily he missed it.
Round 6- Wil Rosario- Esper Control
I drew this round to lock up top 8.
Top 8- Josh Southwick
Game 1- I made a mistake that cost me the game this match. I got a little too conservative with my life total and gave him the chance to top deck a burn spell on me.
Game 2- This game wasn’t as exciting. I mulled to 4 this game, and he stuck a turn 4 Burning Earth on me.
-3 Thoughtseize, -2 Rakdos’s Return, -1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, -3 Read the Bones,-1 Hero’s Downfall
+1 Anger of the Gods, +1 Duress, +1 Dreadbore, +1 Mizzium Mortars, +2 Shock, +1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa, +1 Obzedat, Ghost Council, +1 Whip of Erebos, +1 Devour Flesh
Even with making my deck worse for the tournament, it was still powerful enough to give me a top 8. Going forward I think this deck is still a fine choice in any tournament. It plays extremely powerful cards, and as long as you don’t get too far behind it gets extremely hard to lose.
Thanks for reading, and also make sure you give Tony a congrats for making it all the way to the finals!