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Thread: 1st at the Oklahoma Land Run 2023 with Strawberry Shortcake

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    k_omega's Avatar
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    Jun 2015

    North Carolina, US


    1st at the Oklahoma Land Run 2023 with Strawberry Shortcake

    Last weekend I won the Oklahoma Land Run Legacy event with Strawberry Shortcake. Before getting into the deck and the games, I want to compliment Game HQ on a weekend of expertly-run events. There was enough space for everyone even with other events and a prerelease going on, we had a healthy judge-to-player ratio, the prize schedule was reasonable, and information was distributed smoothly to players. It appeared that a police officer was hired for security given the valuable contents of backpacks, a measure I appreciate. All my interactions with staff, judges, and players were positive. I'm also thrilled that someone made the effort to produce coverage with commentary. That is what makes a tournament more than just a decklist dump to the rest of the world. I'm looking forward to returning next year.

    I've been playing nearly the same 75 for about a year now, but for this tournament replaced the one-of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker with a one-of Phyrexian Dragon Engine (PDE). At first I wasn't very excited about either of these cards - they both seemed like one of the numerous cards you could play which will sometimes be game-winning and other times lackluster. I definitely wanted to cut the Fable since it was too unlikely to cast the one copy on turn one or two when it's at its strongest, but what to replace it with? I considered several options:

    1. 3rd Imperial Recruiter. This was the choice I made for Eternal Weekend 2022 which seemed to go well. Testing on MTGO, however, showed more discard decks cropping up and chump-blocking value going down - Seasoned Dungeoneer usually can't be blocked, Caves of Chaos Adventurer has trample, everything in Delver flies, and most other decks don't present damage in such a way that chump-blocking is likely to be relevant.
    2. 3rd Bolt from the sideboard. When Bolt is good in a matchup it's very good, and when it's bad it's nearly useless. But I noticed I was bringing in Bolts in the majority of matches for one reason or another, and this would open up another sideboard slot for graveyard hate or the Karn package.
    3. 5th basic Mountain. As will be seen below, this deck can frustratingly fail to cough up mana on schedule to activate Grindstone, particularly red mana. The number one reason I mulligan hands or lose winnable games is failure to find sufficient red mana, so this would help. On the other hand, my tournament results with the current manabase have been pretty good and many of these mana-constrained games do end up as victories, so maybe I'm overly concerned.
    4. PDE. This card tends not to do much if drawn, and with 3 Karns and a relatively small number of fast mana sources it's not always easy to get the full value out of the discard-draw because I'm likely to have cards in hand that will be discarded. But I have long felt that this deck doesn't pressure the opponent's life total as well as I'd like, the ceiling on this card is extremely high, and it fits into all the artifact synergies. The mono-red Painter decks seem to do well with this card as a one-of too, which is a vote of confidence.

    I devoted most of my MTGO time testing for the Sunday Vintage event thus did not have nearly enough time to properly test all these possibilities. So I replaced Fable with the card that seemed most promising - PDE - and left the rest of the deck as it was, trusting in experience to smooth over any suboptimalities in the card choices.

    Summaries of the matches follow based on my notes and recollections, which I don't claim to be 100% accurate but should be close enough.

    Round 1: 2-1 vs RW Initiative

    Game 1: OTP keeping 7: Mountain, Plateau, Painter, Grindstone, Engineer, Karn, Cratermaker. A T3 kill if we draw land and if the opponent has nothing, with some interaction and ability to reassemble. I run out the Grindstone and IIRC he had a T1 Fable. I do not draw the land, and now have a choice between Painter, Engineer, and Cratermaker. I decide to go with Painter to either bleed his removal or just win if the next draw step produces mana, but he finds/has a hardcast Solitude. I am obliged to immediately use Cratermaker to kill Reflection otherwise he can copy Solitude on anything else I play. The last-ditch line is to Engineer for Painter and hope to untap having drawn an Ancient Tomb and carefully preserved my life total at 3, but he also has Fury for the goblin so I lose.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -1 Karn, -1 REB
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge
    I don't expect him to have or bring in Moon effects, and ET is extremely important for assembling the quick combos we want in this matchup so both stay in. While I would like the 6th blast to stop the pitch elementals, we can do without it and Abrade is more important because it kills Chalice.

    Game 2: OTP keep 7: Fetch, Plateau, Painter, Blast, Welder, Bolt, ET. I lead on Plateau + Welder to insulate myself against Chalice and to possibly take the initiative. Indeed, he turbos out a T1 Caves of Chaos Adventurer going down to two cards in hand, and I Fetch+Bolt it on my turn to take the initiative and get a Mountain, holding up Plateau in order to ET for Grindstone on his end step. After untapping, and now that I have three mana, I play Painter with blast backup and counter StP with it, after which he concedes knowing about the Grindstone.

    Game 3: I mulligan a super-slow 7 into 2 lands, Painter, Grindstone, Engineer, Recruiter. He has a T1 Dungeoneer to my T1 Grindstone and when he opts to scry instead of forge I suspect his leftovers are weak, though he does have StP for my Engineer fetching Bridge. Having drawn Saga and a blast, though, I decide to run out the Painter holding up the blast rather than cast a second Engineer to recover the Bridge. Apparently his hand was full of lands so he concedes.

    Round 2: 2-0 vs RGu Lands

    Game 1: OTP keep 7, including 2 Mountain, blast, Painter, Engineer. I play Mountain and pass since I have a blast in hand. He plays Mox Diamond pitching Tranquil Thicket, then a Loam so I know it's Lands. I Engineer for Grindstone but can't deploy another artifact while also holding up Engineer mana, so I just wait and play drawn Welders while he makes some abysmally bad dredges. He does find a Wasteland, though, and rotates a land away for Bog sniping my Grindstone. Because of the Wasteland when I draw Saga as my third land I know I have to be very careful about when I play it. After playing out another Engineer getting PDE, I decide to cash in the Saga while Wasteland is tapped to play Painter while holding up blast. During this time I've been attacking for 2 with the otherwise useless goblins and gotten him down to about 10 life. But now he has a good dredge, hitting Grove of the Burnwillows and Boseiju, then a second dredge finds Stage and Depths. I allow Boseiju to turn Painter into a Plateau so I can cash in an ET in hand for Grindstone, then hopefully draw the mana to activate it. At this point my hand consists of Recruiter and Bolt, Bolt being extremely important due to the PDE in the graveyard and his low life total, but the threat of Marit Lage means I won't have time to win that way and I don't have the mana to use the Bolt and the Engineer and the blast after Plateau dies to Wasteland. So on the turn when I know he will play Depths I use the blast on the first Loam (I know about a second) to constrain his mana, then weld in the PDE exchanging Bolt and Recruiter for fetch, Painter, Tomb. He uses Boseiju on the PDE which keeps him off mana for Marit Lage, and having now drawn the mana and the artifact I can double-weld to produce the combo.

    -1 Canonist, -1 REB, -1 Bolt
    +2 Surgical, +1 Needle, +1 Abrade
    I saw Elvish Reclaimer, so I don't want to dump all the bolts. Abrade is for any Needles or Spheres he might have, while also keeping some removal for Reclaimer and possible Collector Ouphe.

    Game 2: I mulligan into Mountain, Fetch, Saga, 2 City, REB, Recruiter. The virtue of this hand is the copious mana, and if Saga survives we have the combo since Recruiter can find Painter. So when he has Exploration with no second land I immediately play the Saga hoping to get Grindstone with it before he finds Wasteland, which naturally is his next draw step. But he instead casts Loam for nothing, and having drawn Surgical I decide to use it before he finds a cycling land. I see 2 Force of Vigor and a Reclaimer in his hand and some red blasts in his deck. Fortunately my hand allows me to play out temporary lands with impunity, so I use a City to make a construct hoping to entice FoV and the Wasteland leaving him with one land and me with plenty. He pitches one FoV to another to kill Saga and the construct but does not Wasteland the City, perhaps in anticipation of another Saga, instead just playing out the Reclaimer. I play a topdecked Painter, name blue with it, and immediately blast the Reclaimer before it can go get lands and before he draws any of his red blasts. Draw-go ensues while I go for beatdown helped greatly by a drawn PDE, and after a fight over Minsc & Boo I win by combat damage.

    Round 3: 2-0 vs RUG Delver

    Game 1: OTD keep 7. He plays Flooded Strand and Mishra's Bauble so I assume Delver, draw the Imperial Recruiter he saw, play a land and pass. A Tropical Island reveals that it is RUG Delver. I wait until I can pay for Daze to Bolt his Delver, after which he has no further threats and no Wasteland for my Urza's Saga(!). Saga gets Grindstone and I cast Painter with REB backup, but he has double FoW pitching double Daze so I have to reassemble while my 5/5 construct faces off against his 5/5 Murktide. Breya's Apprentice resolves and gives me two more artifacts, so with him at 7 I force him to block with either the Murktide or a delirious DRC - it's DRC. At this point I am holding a Bolt in hand but decided to save it in case I have to attack with Apprentice and the Thopter then burn him out. This turns out great since he kills Apprentice with a Chain Lightning but I have an untapped Mox Opal and Mountain so I send the Chain Lightning back at him putting him at 4. He plays Polluted Delta, and on his next turn he cracks it after a Brainstorm and I bolt him for lethal in response.

    -3 Karn, -1 Recruiter, -1 Canonist, -2 ET, -1 Cratermaker(?)
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 REB, +2 Surgical, +1 Blood Moon, +1 Bridge
    I've started bringing in Surgical against Delver which messes up the sideboard mapping. I still want all the removal, and since I suspect he plays zero basics I definitely want the Blood Moon, but this leaves me cutting one more card than I really want to cut. Since he has Tarmogoyfs I decide Cratermaker is the weakest link (maybe it was some other card, I don't recall exactly). The advantage to Surgical is that removing Wastelands makes Saga considerably better since you might actually get to make multiple constructs with one, and removing Bolts leaves them almost entirely with sorcery-speed removal. The Gitaxian Probe aspect also should not be underestimated. This is still experimental.

    Game 2: OTD keep 7 with Recruiter, Welder, bolts, and lands whereas he mulligans to 5. Topdecked Engineer finds Grindstone while I bolt his threats. He Ancient Grudges an Ensnaring Bridge, but eventually blinks with the flashback and I weld the target (recruited Painter) for Grindstone in response, then combo out on my next turn.

    Round 4: 1-2 vs R Prison

    Game 1: OTD keep 7 with Painter, Saga, lands, REB, and some other cards. He has T1 Chalice on 1 so I lead on Saga to get Grindstone ASAP, but he follows up with Blood Moon and then a Trinisphere. I draw more 1-drops and more Painters, and fortunately enough lands to cast Painters through the Trinisphere to block goblins from a Legion Warboss. But eventually he draws more power while I draw nothing nearly so useful.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -1 REB, -1 Karn
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge
    Karn is primarily in the deck now to kill Chalice.

    Game 2: I set up the T3 combo against what looks like a rather weak hand from the opponent, just a Fable and a Rabblemaster which I'm able to bolt. But the combo is stymied by Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and having boarded out the Lantern I now have to either topdeck Karn or shift to beatdown. I recruit PDE and am able to bolt/blast most of his creatures, then eventually attack for lethal. Fable discarded two Chrome Moxes, enabling me at one point to weld out a Trinisphere on his end step and return it after dumping my hand on my turn. Fun times.

    -1 Recruiter
    +1 Lantern
    I don't expect the beatdown plan to work that well again, especially on the draw, so I have to assemble the 3-card combo quickly which means bringing in the Lantern and keeping both ETs in the face of possible Blood Moon (at this point I'm kicking myself for not checking for moon effects when I looked through his deck before the Emrakul shuffle, but oh well. I did see Null Rods though).

    Game 3: Keep Ancient Tomb, Lantern, Painter, Grindstone, Bolt, Cratermaker. I certainly don't like that this hand needs at least one more mana and is unable to cast the red cards which we will almost certainly need to cast. He has a T1 Null Rod which is also bad news, and though I do draw the land it is Saga. I play out the 1-drop artifacts to avoid Chalice, take some small hits from Warboss tokens, then get LED from Saga which leaves me one mana short of comboing after having drawn SSG. I decide to cash in the SSG to Cratermaker away the Null Rod, but he has Fiery Confluence for the Grindstone and to put me to 5 life against Warboss and a goblin token. I draw another Ancient Tomb (one turn too late!), play the Painter and go to 1 with two Ancient Tombs as my only lands. A desperation crack LED -> draw with Lantern provides a Mountain, the hoped-for blast for the Warboss being the next card down so I lose.

    Round 5: 2-0 vs Cephalid Breakfast

    Game 1: OTD keep 7: Plateau, Tomb, 2 Petal, Karn, ET, Blast. Opponent plays Polluted Delta and passes, so I suspect Delver or Shadow and play out Plateau + 1 Petal to be able to Blast or ET through Daze. Instead he plays a Saga and hardcasts Narcomoeba removing all doubt about the matchup. I draw my own Saga, play Tomb and the other Petal to play Karn with blast backup which turns out not to be necessary. I get Tormod's Crypt for insurance, and we set up for a turn or two with Narcomoeba keeping Karn at 2-3 counters. I make a construct with my Saga, but when I draw another Ancient Tomb I decide to end-step ET for the Painter then cash in the Karn for the sideboard Grindstone, all of which resolves. My last play is the Ancient Tomb which gives me the three mana to combo for the win.

    -1 Karn, -1 Apprentice, -1 Recruiter, -1 Bridge, -1 PDE
    +1 Surgical, +1 Faerie Macabre, +1 Needle, +2 Bolt
    We don't really need any of the value cards in this matchup, especially since they tend to be slow and speed is at a premium in the first 2-3 turns. Bridge is pretty much useless except against Kaldra where it is excellent, but the plan in that case is to either combo them or kill the Stoneforge so I'm OK cutting it.

    Game 2: I mulligan into Mountain, Furnace, Petal, Canonist, Grindstone, Faerie Macabre after bottoming a Goblin Engineer. The plan is to T1 Canonist which together with Faerie Macabre insulates me from his combo unless he has natural Oracle, and even then we will get a turn's worth of warning first. Engineer could find the Painter we need, but to keep it we would have to bottom one of the other cards and we need all of them. In any case, if we kept the Engineer we would need an artifact which would have to be Furnace (or Canonist, technically, but not realistically), and then we're putting ourselves down to one land for whatever artifact we tutor. This might be acceptable if PDE were still in the deck, but it is not. Anyway, he has a T1 Saga and no counterspell for the T1 Canonist (I draw a Mountain), but does have T2 Cephalid Illusionist so threatens to combo next turn getting Shuko off the Saga. I draw a Bolt and attempt to kill the Illusionist in his upkeep, earning a Force which is his one spell allowed by Canonist. He gets Shuko, wizardcycles for Thassa's Oracle and then mills himself down to 2 cards in library. I play my third land, Grindstone him in his upkeep, and win.

    Round 6: 2-1 vs Esper Staff Stoneblade

    Game 1: OTD I mulligan to 6 keeping Tomb, Painter, Grindstone, SSG, 2 Recruiter. So we have the T2 kill if we draw a land and he has nothing, with some ability to reload provided we draw a permanent red source. Instead he has StP for the Painter, I do not draw a land, and on the second reassembly he topdecks (I'm pretty sure, based on his reaction) a Prismatic Ending for the Grindstone after shuffling off a Ponder. I don't find any real action and stupidly attack my Painter into a flashed Wandering Emperor putting myself even further behind, too far to recover before a Kaldra Compleat finishes the job.

    -1 ET, -1 Petal, -1 Lantern
    +2 Bolt, +1 Needle

    Game 2: Keep a somewhat awkward 7 with two Recruiters which eventually find Goblin Engineer -> Grindstone and Goblin Engineer -> PDE. Lots of StP and Prismatic Endings go after the creatures, and I struggle to find another Grindstone to go with two Painters naming black. Ethersworn Canonist slows down the cantripping, and a Saga drawn by unearthed PDE eventually finds Grindstone one turn before Serenity would have wiped my board.

    Game 3: I mulligan to another awkward hand of Plateau, City, Engineer, PDE, Canonist, Pyroblast after bottoming a Karn. It's awkward because it doesn't do anything without either drawing a land (unlikely) or playing the City, yet at some point we will have to lose the City and rebuild up to three mana to activate the Grindstone we don't even have yet. But I don't want to mulligan to 5 against a deck full of removal, and we do at least have Engineer + PDE lined up and Canonist + Blast which can be very strong, especially once we find Painter. I draw an Ensnaring Bridge and decide to play it since I don't particularly mind if it's countered (since I have an Engineer), but on the other hand if it resolves I am pretty safe from equipped Germs which is definitely a way this hand could lose. After drawing another blast I play Canonist just to get the colored mana cards out of my hand, and since it doesn't look like I'll be able to protect Engineer with a blast anyway due to having only one red source. I draw two more blasts and a Painter, which I play in order to stop StP, Stoneforge, Teferi, or whatever else he has while I wait to draw some useful mana, a Grindstone, or both. Instead it appears his hand was jammed up with Thoughtseizes until he finds a fetch for Scrubland, and rather than let him see my hand I burn my blasts on two Thoughtseizes. Some StPs exile the PDE and the Painter, but by this time I've drawn a Grindstone and another Plateau so I can finally play the Engineer for a fresh Painter. The Grindstone ends prismatically and then he plays Serenity. I draw a Saga and have Pithing Needle in hand, so pass and let the Serenity kill Bridge and some other artifacts. The board is now empty apart from his Containment Priest and my Imperial Recruiter, so Saga making constructs and Needle (naming Wandering Emperor) making them 4/4 poses a serious threat with him at 10 life. I draw a couple of Bolts to finish the game.

    Round 7: ID into the 4th seed, at the top of the X-1-1 set on tiebreakers.

    Quarterfinals: 2-1 vs UR Delver

    Game 1: OTP keep 6 of Painter, Mountain, 2 City, 2 Karn. This is not the kind of hand I want to see against Delver because Karn is hard to resolve against them, one of the Cities will have to be sacrificed, and the Painter has to resolve and survive for at least two turns. But the hand does already have the mana to cast Karn and anything else in the deck, with one additional mana source we can cast the second Karn, and I don't really want to mulligan again so I decided to keep and see what the top of the deck provides. This was a lapse in judgment - given that I didn't expect the hand to win there was
    little downside to taking a mulligan, since a loss due to low resource count is just as much a loss as one due to failure of the Karn plan. T2 Painter off Mountain + City resolves, then both Karns do not. Fortunately the opponent has no pressure (I think I Bolted a DRC at some point), but then he finds a Murktide which finishes the game in short order.

    -2 ET, -1 Canonist, -3 Karn, -1 Recruiter, -1 Cratermaker
    +2 Bolt, +1 Blast, +1 Abrade, +2 Surgical, +1 Bridge, +1 Blood Moon
    In the top 8 we have open decklists, so I know he doesn't have Null Rod, Unlicensed Hearse, or Pithing Needle so I feel safe boarding out the Cratermaker. I expect him to bring in Hydroblasts, Meltdowns, and Surgicals.

    Game 2: I keep a 7 of 2 Mountain, Welder, Bolt, Apprentice, Engineer, Grindstone. A little light on mana and vulnerable to Surgical if he kills the goblins, but otherwise a solid hand. I play out the Welder, then bolt a DRC on my next turn. Engineer fetches Painter which fortunately did not get Surgicaled in my next draw step, but both goblins from the opening hand have now been Bolted. Fortunately I have drawn two more Welders, so once they are both active I Surgical his Lightning Bolts and see that his only interaction in hand is Petty Theft, I decide to go for the combo using one Welder to return Painter with the activation on the stack. He responds with the expected Petty Theft, to which I respond with the second Welder returning Breya's Apprentice giving me two artifacts with two Welders to combo again on my turn. He does not find any more interaction so the re-combo wins.

    Game 3: I keep 7 with Mountain, Saga, Welder, Lantern, Blood Moon, Bridge, Grindstone. Again, light on mana but with many strong plays available even if we don't draw more lands soon. He starts with a Ponder off Volcanic Island, and after drawing a Plateau I decide to entice Daze on Grindstone here since he doesn't have a threat on board, I can return it with Welder later, it reduces the chances of the Blood Moon getting Dazed later, and to encourage him to replay the Volcanic rather than a fetch that could get the one Island. He does indeed Daze it, then again did not deploy a 1-mana threat on his turn. I play the Saga to entice Wasteland, since Saga isn't worth much if we go for Blood Moon anyway, and he doesn't have Wasteland either. Having still not drawn a way to get Painter yet, and with the opponent having all nonbasic lands I decide on my third turn to attempt Blood Moon at the cost of my Saga. Somewhat to my surprise, it resolves so I figure that he either has Bolts and Meltdowns or maybe the basic Island already. After another turn cycle he plays the Island, then a Delver that immediately flips and threatens to take the game since I haven't drawn a removal spell or a third land to deploy Bridge, but at 5 life I do draw the land and the Bridge resolves (during this time I, like an idiot, missed an opportunity to combo after drawing a Painter because I forgot I had LED in play while he was tapped out, then the Painter and Welder got bolted and I had to wait even longer for the top of the deck to provide action). Bridge buys enough time for me to draw Engineer and recover the Painter with it, and with LED I have plenty of mana to combo.

    This was one of those rounds where you realize you're not actually as alert as you think you are.

    Semifinals: 2-0 vs WB Initiative

    Game 1: (coverage link) As I look over my opponent's decklist I see multiple copies of Chalice of the Void, Opposition Agent, Grief, Solitude, and Touch the Spirit Realm, all of which can be quite troublesome, and of course a pile of initiative creatures with the usual hatebears. My opponent was the top seed so I will be on the draw which makes the situation even worse. He keeps 7, which is not a good sign either, but I see and keep a strong 7 consisting of Saga, Mountain, Tomb, Grindstone, Painter, Karn, Lantern. This hand allows a T3 combo, has mana for Karn which can either kill a Chalice or wish for a Bridge, and can possibly make large constructs if needed. He does not have a T1 Chalice which is extremely good news, so I take the opportunity to play Grindstone before he draws one using the Saga so that I can either make constructs the following turn and/or get a fast mana piece on the combo turn in case I need to hold up a blast or power through Anointed Peacekeeper. That is the card he has, and he names Painter so that I can't cast it on my next turn. On his next turn he plays another AP naming Grindstone, then imprints Dungeoneer on a Chrome Mox which strikes me as extremely strange since he could just cast the creature on his next turn with the mana already available. That suggests Touch the Spirit Realm, which means I'll need time to draw the fifth mana source to activate Grindstone a second time. So I allow one AP to hit rather than chumping with a 2/2 construct, making it instead on his end step since I know it will become a 4/4 on my turn able to stall both APs for a while. The problem is I'm now down to Mountain + Tomb as my only mana sources so Saga has to get one of the fast mana pieces in order to even threaten the first activation. Rewatching this game, the correct line was to get Mox Opal and then use the drawn Enlightened Tutor to get Saga on his end step, which provides not only five permanent mana sources but also the mana for Karn and the option for more and larger constructs. But I was focused on the LED line from the moment Anointed Peacekeeper landed and went straight to that. He apparently had nothing and conceded to the impending combo.

    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge
    -1 Karn, -1 Canonist, -1 REB, -1 Recruiter
    I see on the decklist that he has a sideboard Emrakul which certainly will come in and means I have to keep the Lantern maindeck, otherwise I would have kept the Recruiter.

    Game 2: (coverage link) On the draw again, but this time the opponent immediately mulligans. I see a 7 with Apprentice, which can be good at stealing the initiative, a Bolt, which can kill the hatebears, but only 1-mana lands and no path to even one combo piece. This would be way too slow so I mulligan into Mountain, Saga, Furnace, Tomb, LED, Welder, Apprentice. This hand at least puts Apprentice down earlier thanks to Tomb, Welder + Apprentice can stall his creatures while digging, and Saga can find Grindstone/Lantern while making constructs that will probably be large thanks to Apprentice and Great Furnace. Since a quick combo is off the table due to the Emrakul anyway, I decide to keep and bottom the Mountain. This time he does have Chalice on 1 on the play, making my hand considerably worse, but I topdeck Engineer. Now if the first land drop is Saga, we are basically committing to playing the Tomb next turn and spending both that turn and the next making constructs, i.e. not deploying Engineer. But what makes this hand good is Apprentice + Goblin, and I may need to Engineer for Bridge. So the play is Furnace and pass. Archon of Emeria foils my planned sequence but at least appears to be his only threat and a rather weak one at that. I play LED and the Saga since I will need to find Grindstone/Lantern at some point, and it earns the one sideboard Cathar Commando from his hand. This is great news since I'm still under little pressure, one of his few ways to remove an Ensnaring Bridge is now spent, and it cost him a City of Traitors leaving him with a single Cavern for mana. With the game going so slowly, I decide to Engineer for Phyrexian Dragon Engine since I don't have any of the three artifacts necessary to combo through Emrakul and will need raw card draw to find them. Threatening a damage race is a nice plus, too, and it works even if he has Solitude for the Engineer because LED can provide unearth mana in a pinch. He does have the Solitude (pitching Dungeoneer and going to 1 card in hand, very good news), so it's back to draw-go while taking 2 from the Archon. I topdeck Abrade, which I use to kill the Chalice and free up the Goblin Welder in hand to return PDE, then draw Bolt to kill the Archon leaving him with no threat. Now that I can dump my hand, I go to 9 to deploy Apprentice and a Petal which Welder turns into an Ancestral Recall, drawing Bolt, Blast, Karn. Blast kills a Dungeoneer, and with a Mountain fetched thanks to the initiative I deploy Karn earning a concession.

    Finals: 2-0 vs RUG Delver

    Game 1: (coverage link) This is a rematch from Round 3 and I am on the play, keeping Plateau, Tomb, City, Welder, Karn, Painter, Lantern. Not great, because the path to Grindstone is through Karn and our red mana is vulnerable to Wasteland, but we have the mana for Karn and a Lantern to slow down DRC or Tarmogoyf, which is also a disposable artifact for Welder tricks to keep Painter on board. Welder resolves, Painter resolves after Volcanic-pass from the opponent, so I suspect Bolt but have no real choice but to bleed it out with Painter and recover it later with the Welder. Instead he bolts the Welder, which I'm content with. Karn also resolves, and I decide to cast the fetched Grindstone into possible Daze since I've drawn a fresh Welder and if he finds a Wasteland, we won't have the luxury of playing around or through Daze anyway. Besides, if he does not have Daze and we hold the Grindstone we signal hard that he should cantrip for countermagic. He does have Daze, and the Karn gains me 4 life by soaking up a Tarmogoyf attack, but I'm now at 16 versus two Tarmogoyfs that are now 5/6 thanks to the dead Karn. Fortunately the Welder Resolves, and I use the Lantern to exile the Karn returning the Tarmogoyfs to 4/5. Then, like an idiot and despite my own intentions from mere seconds earlier, I crack Lantern to draw a card instead of leaving it to weld out for the Grindstone. I draw another Welder, then after falling to 8 I draw an Imperial Recruiter which can chump, but I want to give myself some counterplay against Bolt so I just play the second Welder, decline to play the Karn, and swap the blocking Painter for Grindstone. Since that play worked I figure he does not have Bolt, so on my turn I decide to Grindstone-swap-combo him which fortunately works.

    -2 ET, -1 Canonist, -1 Recruiter, -3 Karn
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge, +1 Blood Moon, +2 Surgical
    I see on his decklist four red blasts of his own, so I don't bring in my seventh since I might not name blue. Also, he has only three Murktides and no Brazen Borrower, so blasts are slightly less valuable than against the UR builds.

    Game 2: (coverage link) Not much to say here, as my opponent mulliganed to three. I keep 7 with Plateau, Mountain, 2 Blasts, Engineer, Painter, Lantern. Strong against Delver of Secrets and Force of Will, weak against DRC and Daze unless I draw a land, but since have a path to the combo already I'm willing to keep. His three cards include a land and a Delver, which I immediately blast. I also blast a Bolt on the Engineer, which found Grindstone, and after a card kept on top by surveil wasn't immediately used to kill Painter or Engineer I figure he has nothing so I combo in his upkeep and win. Credit to my opponent, Tom, for being a good sport about the game - I've lost due to deep mulligans in the finals of an on-camera event before and it's not fun.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Eat a real meal before Top 8 so you don't make dumb plays or miss good ones.
    2. Play Phyrexian Dragon Engine. Three of my five combat-damage wins involved this card, indicating that it really does bolster the beatdown plan as I wanted, and the card draw helped win three other games.
    3. It may finally be time to move away from three maindeck Karns. In several matchups I boarded down to two copies and only against Lands and Esper Stoneblade did I really want all three postboard. Both matchups I won without ever seeing a Karn anyway. I see some lists with a 2-1 split which seems reasonable.
    4. On a related note, the sideboard Liquimetal Coating did absolutely nothing. This card has its moments but they seem to be increasingly rare. It is harder to stick Karn in situations where it is not going to be pressured, and in many situations it is better to wish for Bridge, Grindstone, or an exiled combo piece anyway. I originally added this card to combat the Bant and Jeskai control decks that popped up after the printing of Prismatic Ending but decks of that sort have largely vanished, perhaps due to the prevalence of initiative. On the other hand, I don't think there's a pressing need for an additional sideboard spot so Coating could stay in as a hedge.
    5. I kept boarding out Karns or Recruiters not because they were weak in the matchup at hand, but because something had to be cut in order to sideboard the way I wanted and nothing else seemed better to cut. I'm not sure what to change to avoid this situation.

    Thanks for reading. I'm happy to answer any questions.
    a.k.a. Eddy Viscosity

  2. #2

    Join Date

    Mar 2016

    Des Moines


    Re: 1st at the Oklahoma Land Run 2023 with Strawberry Shortcake

    I love Strawberry Shortcake, glad to see it on top. Congrats on the sick run!

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