Legacy in Detroit

I had a chance to visit Detroit this past weekend for a Magic the Gathering Grand Prix. I really enjoyed my trip, and wanted to write up a report of the games I was able to play.

15 Creatures
4x Deathrite
4x Tarmogoyf
4x Shardless Agent
3x Baleful Strix

24 Spells
2x Liliana of the Veil
1x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

4x Brainstorm
4x Ancestral Vision
4x Abrupt Decay
3x Force of Will

3x Hymn to Tourach
2x Thoughtseize

1x Sylvan Library

21 Lands
3x Wasteland
3x Underground Sea
2x Tropical Island
2x Bayou
1x Swamp
1x Forest
4x Verdant Catacombs
3x Misty Rainforest
2x Polluted Delta

Sideboard
2x Golgari Charm
1x Toxic Deluge
1x Dismember
1x Disfigure
2x Grafdigger’s Cage
1x Nihil Spellbomb
1x Surgical Extraction
1x Null Rod
1x Maelstrom Pulse
1x Force of Will
1x Duress
1x Pithing Needle
1x Engineered Plague

I played my first event on Saturday, a 5-round Legacy tournament with Swiss pairings. First round I was paired up against Thomas.

Game 1, I win the die roll and keep a hand with a couple Deathrite Shaman and Force of Will. I open with Deathrite, and pass. He plays a Mox Diamond, Taiga, plays Gamble, pitches a cycle land, and plays Molten Vortex. My next turn I have Abrupt Decay for the Molten Vortex to protect my Deathrite Shamans, and play a second Deathrite. The next turn he casts Life from the Loam, which I Force of Will. Back to me I play Tarmogoyf, and he can’t find anything else, and I kill him two turns later.

Game 2 I keep a decent hand, including Deathrite Shaman, but not good enough to match his second turn Crop Rotation into Dark Depths, and plays Thespian Stage to make a 20/20 Marit Lage. I’m unable to find an answer, and die the next turn.

Game 3 Thomas mulligans down to 5 cards, and over four turns I’m able to answer and remove everything he plays. Starting with a turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, on my 2nd turn I wasteland his only land, and Abrupt Decay his Mox Diamond. I repeat the same thing on my third turn, and he’s left with no permanents. My fourth turn I play Shardless Agent into Tarmogoyf, and although he plays Tabernacle of the Pendrel Vale, I have five lands, more than enough to pay for the upkeep on all my creatures, and am able to win.

Round two I am paired up against my friend Sean playing Grixis Delver. Game one I keep a hand with lands and two Deathrite Shaman, but he has a quick start with a first-turn Delver, which flips the next turn. He gets me to 12 before I can remove it, and he finds burn for my Shamans and some Shamans of his own. Although I have two Shamans on the board, he is able to fly overhead with Delver of Secrets and finish me off with some burn.

Game two I bring in Golgari Charm, Toxic Deluge, and Disfigure to try to deal with some of his quicker threats, and board out my Force of Wills. I am able to lead with Thoughtseize and follow up with Deathrite Shaman, while removing his threat-light hand. Golgari Charm proves key as I remove a Young Pyromancer and a couple token. I close it out with Tarmogoyf and Deathrite Shaman activations.

Game three I’m on the play and keep a hand with two Wasteland, a fetchland, Golgari Charm, and some discard. I get a slow start without Deathrite Shaman, and although I find two more lands, he double Wastelands me after dropping a Young Pyromancer. He recovers from my double Wastelands, and after I get back up to two lands on board, I wait on casting the Golgari Charm to wipe his board of Young Pyromancer and two Elemental tokens. Fearing counter magic, I hedge and cast Baleful Strix, which eats a Red Elemental Blast. The next turn I Abrupt Decay the Young Pyromancer, but he follows with a Gurmag Angler. Both playing off the time, I find a Deathrite and, low on life, I chump the Gurmag Angler. My next turn Shardless Agent into Brainstorm finds Maelstrom Pulse, but too late, as even though I’m able to block, he takes me low enough to find a bolt and kill me.

I realize that had not feared counter magic and cast Golgari Charm two turns earlier, the game might have turned out much differently. I should have understood that the best path to win the game was wiping his Young Pyromancer and tokens two turns earlier, saving myself four damage. Waiting on it cost me the game. I would have lost if he had counter magic for it, but I lost anyway by waiting.

Round three I’m paired up against Matthew playing Death and Taxes. In the first game, I get a slow start, my single Deathrite Shaman not doing much, and he found a turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic, turn 3 Flickerwisp blinking his Stoneforge, and turn 4 Jitte-equipped Flickerwisp to handle my Deathrite Shaman. I draw too much land, and although I remove the Jitte, he just kills me in the air.

Game two I bring in Golgari Charm, Toxic Deluge, Pithing Needle, Engineered Plague, and Null Rod, removing some of my discard. I keep a hand with two Wasteland and Force of Will, Forcing his turn 1 Aether Vial off Rishadan Port, and over three turns I Wasteland Port, Port, and Karakas. I start beating with Tarmogoyf, and the turn after he plays Mother of Runes. I follow with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and he scoops.

Game three I get a quick start with a second turn Tarmogoyf, and although his Mother of Runes represents a problem, the third turn I drop Engineered Plague naming Human. I’m able to get in with Tarmogoyf, and follow the next turn with Null Rod. Stuck on two land, he shows me his hand of Thalia and Stoneforge Mystic.

The sideboard cards really came through for me in this matchup.

Round four I’m matched against Cameron playing Reanimator. I didn’t know what he was playing when I kept a hand of two Deathrite Shaman, but it worked out pretty well once I figured it out after a Thoughtseize saw Griselbrand and Reanimate. I took his Reanimate, and although he flipped his Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, a third Deathrite Shaman kept him from reanimating any nasty creatures, and I followed with a Shardless Agent that drew me three cards and found more counter magic.

From the sideboard I bring in Grafdigger’s Cage, Surgical Extraction, and Nihil Spellbomb.

Game two he has a blistering fast start, with a turn 1 Entomb and turn 2 Exhume on Elesh Norn. He Dazes my third turn Liliana of the Veil and fourth turn Jace, the Mind Sculptor and beats me soundly.

On the second turn, I find a Grafdigger’s Cage off the top of my library and play it. Turns out that isn’t super important, as he slams Grave Titan into play off Show and Tell. I have to block the Grave Titan with my Deathrite Shaman to save some life. The next turn I find Jace, the Mind Sculptor and bounce his Grave Titan. He kills my Jace with zombie tokens. The next turn my Shardless Agent casts brainstorm, so at least I have a blocker, and I go to 7. I’m able to find a Tarmogoyf, which at 6/7 keep him on the defensive. He blocks my Tarmogoyf with zombie tokens over three turns. By the time he finds mana to cast Abrupt Decay in hand, he’s too low on life and with no blockers that he can’t kill the Grafdigger’s Cage, lacking two black mana to also cast Exhume and would die to Goyf. So he kills my Goyf, hoping to find something with Brainstorm. In response to his Brainstorm, I Surgical Extraction his Show and Tells, wanting to make sure he couldn’t put the Grave Titan back in play. He never finds anything relevant, and I finish him off the next turn.

At 3-1, me and my last-round opponent Kyle decide to split. We play it out, and I discover he is playing Enchantress. The first game I have all the answers, wasting two of his Serra’s Sanctum and Liliana of the Veil for his Argothian Enchantress. He scoops to my Jace.

Game two he brings in a bunch of cards from the sideboard, while I load up on more enchantment removal in the form of Golgari Charm. He gets a blistering start, casting a third-turn Elspeth, Sun’s Champion that I am ill-equipped to deal with. Never seen that in Legacy! But it’s pretty great against my deck.

In the last game he’s able to take advantage of my turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, turn 2 two more Deathrite Shamans with powerful enchantments like turn 2 Suppression Field and turn 3 Choke, locking me out of the game. Probably a mistake to keep a hand of two deathrite shaman and no counter magic or removal against Enchantress!

Ended up 3-1-1, had a great time.

The following day I decided to join the dark side and play in a single-elimination with a different deck of mine: Dredge!

Round one I am paired up against Elijah, who admitted being new to the format. I showed him exactly how Dredge worked, starting quick work with Putrid Imp and then Ichorids and Zombies. Short on mana, he isn’t able to find anything to interact with me.

Game two I keep a good hand, lead with Putrid Imp, and on the second turn cast Cabal Therapy three times, taking Snapcaster Mage and Ponder, blanking the first time on Rest in Peace. I blow up his Counterbalance with a piece of my hate, Wispmare, and net two zombie tokens. They bash in next turn, but on his upkeep meet Terminus and are exiled. I follow up with double Ichorid activation, and he is too late with his Containment Priest. I use my Firestorm in hand to kill my own Ichorid and hit him for two, saving my bridges. The next turn I kill him with the remaining zombies.

Round two I am paired up against Kolton who is playing Reanimator. My Cabal Therapy finds Exhume, Reanimate, Entomb, Izzet Charm, and Brainstorm. I make a huge mistake when, the next turn, with several dredgers in the graveyard and his two mana open, I did not flashback Cabal Therapy to take his Izzet Charm, and cast my Breakthrough right into it. Without dredging about half my deck, he’s able to entomb and reanimate the next turn, getting Elesh Norn out and locking me out.

Game two I mulligan to four, but find a dredger. I get a slow start, but so does he. He plays Pithing Needle and, with my Putrid Imp in play, he names Cephalid Colliseum. Probably a prudent card to name, but I never see a Colliseum the entire game, and just beat with Putrid Imp and Ichorid over three turns, and win after he can’t find a target to reanimate.

Game three I again mullgain to four. He also has a slow start, but finds Griselbrand and reanimates, taking him to 8. My board of two Ichorid, zombie, and Narcomoeba gets him to 1 when he bounces Zombie with Echoing Truth, but he goes back up to 8 with a Griselbrand attack and, drawing 7, finds Elesh Norn to lock me out yet again.

Some very close, interactive games for a couple combo decks focused on the graveyard!

Overall had a great trip to Detroit. All my opponents were gracious, win or lose. Once again I find that the Legacy community is a great group. Looking forward to more Legacy and Grand Prix Columbus in June!

Stardew Valley

Since finishing XCOM 2, I picked up a little country-life RPG called Stardew Valley. Since release, the thing has exploded, and is now kind of an Internet darling. But it’s for good reason, because the game is charming, feels alive, and is just a lot of fun.

Similar to the Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, and Rune Factory series, you engage in a series of activities such as managing a farm, fishing, gathering, and fighting monsters. There are lots of things to upgrade and customize, such as requesting the upgrade of your homestead, building new farm buildings, or upgrading your tools and weapons. You also get to know various townsfolk, befriend them, and even form romantic relationships with a special someone. Because there are so many things to do, you can really play how you want, when you want, and still be able to progress.

I really enjoyed the process of building up my farm, tending to the crops, and seeing things grow and develop over time. Achieving the goals of completing certain objectives through careful planning and management of my resources was hugely satisfying.

The story and dialog is funny, touching, and sometimes very serious, but interactions with the townsfolk draws you into their world, and makes you want to get to know them even more. The more you are liked by a given person, the more they reward you with items or crafting recipes. And friendship is its own reward!

Stardew Valley is a cute, engaging game with relaxed gameplay and a colorful, warm aesthetic. It’s not particularly challenging, but it is rewarding, as you reap what you sow, returning your time spent with an increasingly thriving world.