Hi guys Márcio it’s me…Márcio! 😀
Today, I will talk about my tournament preparation and how the Kaldheim Championship went (as you might already know I’ve got 9th place in tiebreakers). 🙁
Despite the bad beat, I was pretty happy with my performance and how the testing influenced it.
In the Kaldheim split, I was testing with the “Latino Heat Crew”: Portuguese, Spanish, and Argentinian with a lone wolf Brazilian Patrick Fernandes, (for me he is already Portuguese so let’s just say we were Portuguese, Spanish, and Argentian haha).
We got all together and brainstormed about this particular tournament and we’ve decided that we should spend more time in Historic trying to find the best deck. Standard is already solved and what is the most important is knowing how to play every matchup with every deck (i know it’s not that easy but it’s kind of doable :P).
Later on, we figured out that we wanted to play with one of those 4 decks:
Some players of our testing group tried to “metagame” with White Weenie and I really thought about playing it too, but in the end my friend Thiago Saporito convinced me that the matchup versus red wasn’t even that good and I was abdicating a lot of power that red had over white.
In Historic, we tried every brew we could and Javier Dominguez found pretty earlier the Cycling strategy that he quite liked. Hemmed games every day with the deck sculpting that little diamond as much as he could.
We thought Jund would be like 40 percent of the metagame and that’s really significant so…we had to make sure our Cycling deck would have a favorable matchup versus the “boogeyman” of the format. The truth is that it would have to be the case for any of the decks we chose.
Later, we’ve started to focus on the following decks:
Sonner, we’ve concluded that these were gonna be the most played decks and then we found out that Azorius (as always) performed poorly in game one but are very good after sideboard in a lot of matchups. Our take on Azorius deck crumbled pretty fast and with the help of João Moreira, mostly known as Doomswitch on MTGO, we figured that if we wanted to play a control deck, Bant would be far better because of 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 and “THE PIGBLADE” 《Yasharn, Implacable Earth》.
What we really really missed was the Orzhov Aura deck in our testing. We thought it wouldn’t be the top 2 most played decks because our version was folding vs Jund Sacrifice with 4 《Priest of Forgotten Gods》 and Jund Food. Even without the 《Priest of Forgotten Gods》 I still think you are an underdog but well…I might be wrong. This was the main reason we have chosen a deck like Cycling but, in the end, this was a bad choice because Aura’s matchup was truly difficult!
In my heart always lives a good midrange deck.
I haven’t played it in a while and Jund Food is just my “cup of tea”: The cards are individually strong and the part I’ve liked the most about Jund Food was that cards like 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 and 《Rest in Peace》 don’t even do that much. The only exception is 《Yasharn, Implacable Earth》, but as for the rest, you can beat everything without much effort.
《Gilded Goose》/《Trail of Crumbs》 combo just leaves you with a never ending stream of resources and the “new card” 《Binding the Old Gods》 just glued the deck all together solving a lot of problems: 《Yasharn, Implacable Earth》, planeswalkers and whatever they can throw at you. And please…don’t even talk about THE DRAGON (《Korvold, Fae-Cursed King》!) whenever you drop this “little” fellow you have a one/two turn window at best before you are dead. This card is just bonkers!
These insights let me think that I was like 99 percent (“NASA stats”) set in playing Jund Food but the only thing I needed at that time was a good plan vs the mirror/Jund company and some plan to not fold to Gruul aggressiveness or other random aggro decks. A light bulb went over my head and then I found……《The Akroan War》!
This card was the answer we needed vs Gruul and random aggro deck and you could even find it with 《Trail of Crumbs》 and the other normal synergies with oven and 《Woe Strider》 so it was an MVP in those aggro matchups.
Another card that I thought about was 《Lovestruck Beast》 because Gruul has really difficulty dealing with a 5/5 creature and the beast is an amazing card (as you all know in the Standard metagame). In the end, I didn’t have an infinite sideboard slot so, we had to settle on just 2 《The Akroan War》.
So with the Historic format out of the way, I had to find a Standard deck that I thought was well positioned in the metagame.
In the end, I was stuck between playing Javier’s Temur deck or the Bolo-Red.
Finally, I’ve decided to play Bolo-Red (let’s say it again, BOLORED!!!) because I hate bad manabases and Temur have some games you just feel like you playing against two opponents (your manabase and the real one).
I think we improved the Temur list a lot, we didn’t play any 《Alrund’s Epiphany》 copies just because we thought the deck had so much power and card advantage that making the deck “clunkier” wouldn’t give us more advantage. Also, when the card was bad it would be awful. In the end, Javier convinced me of playing the “bad birds of paradise” 《Jaspera Sentinel》!
He knows that I like Limited but this is too much for me! It’s tough to test with “the” Javier Dominguez…we argue a lot but I think in the end we always end up with very strong decklists.
So I think we make a good partnership in terms of testing and understanding the game.
So, at this point, our team was pretty much divided in:
Let’s go to the second best part…the four decklists we ended up!
I will give you a quick walkthrough of my tournament and in the end after reading all this I will give to the masses what they really want……the holy grail……SIDEBOARD GUIDE!!!!!!!!
Round 1: Sultai Control
I’ve started the tournament vs what seemed a Sultai Control without 《Emergent Ultimatum》. This matchup is easier than the normal version because they don’t have a trump card that makes them win the game on the spot. It was still a good fight and I end up winning 2-1 to start the tournament with a……
Total Score: 1-0
Round 2: Jeskai Cycling
This is a favorable matchup for Red, you have a lot of cheap spells and 4x 《Embercleave》! This card is almost unbeatable. If they played in a reasonable fashion way they had the fearsome 《Irencrag Pyromancer》 that 《Lightning Bolt》 when they cycling the second card, so I’ve sided in some 《Redcap Melee》 and was rewarded when I drew it.
I had just one mana open and just crushed him on turn 4 when he tried to go 《Irencrag Pyromancer》 cycling to kill my 《Bonecrusher Giant》 and I promptly responded with 《Redcap Melee》 untapped and 《Embercleave》 him. GG.
Total Score: 2-0
Round 3: Temur Adventure
This is a “die roll matchup” and it depends if he stumbles a bit and their mana base won’t work perfectly all the time. In the end, Bolo-Red escaped victorious in three games! Long live to the Bolo-Red!!
Total Score: 3-0
After the 3rd round, we’ve started the Historic portion and I was pretty happy about starting 3-0 with Bolo-Red and feeling good about my odds.
Round 4: Jund Food
I quickly won game 1 and lost game 2. In-game 3, I thought I was going to win for sure because I 《Thoughtseize》 my opponent and saw a 《Mayhem Devil》 and nothing more relevant so I took the devil and four turns later my opponent had…3 《Mayhem Devil》 in play!!!
It was a bit frustrating knowing my opponent drew FOUR devils in the first FIFTEEN cards……#variance. Sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you don’t……it’s magic and we have to accept it. No hard feelings……
Total Score: 3-1
Round 5: Azorius Control
In this round, I won the die roll and had an early 《Gilded Goose》 and 《Trail of Crumbs》 both games 1 and 3 and just felt pretty hard to lose from that spot because of the quantity of card advantage generated by the synergy of those cards. Let’s go!
Total Score: 4-1
Round 6: Temur Adventure?
Yup, I know 《Lucky Clover》 (or Bernardo Santos’s 《Lucky Clover》) is back and when I saw his decklist I thought this was a pretty good matchup for me until……0-2! Nothing worked for me in the first game……I was a super flood and in game 2 I was a super screw. I’ve tried to fight but in the end, it didn’t matter. At this point, I was deeply sad about this round :/
Total Score: 4-2
Round 7: Jund Food
At the end of day 1, I was playing another mirror match and I just drew very well and won in 2 quick games. Basically, I’ve cast 《Casualties of War》 and he could never recover from it.
Total Score: 5-2
Ended up day 1 with a 5-2 score……not the best but not the worst neither. On day 2 we would return to the Standard portion and I was feeling pretty confident about the all mighty BOLO-RED (props to BOLOVO again)!
Round 8: Temur Adventure
I won game 1 easily but in game 2……wohooo……it was a rollercoaster of emotion! I’ve started on the draw with 2 lands in hand and after I missed my third land drop and my opponent played turn five 《Elder Gargaroth》 and I thought it was over but I quickly drew my third land next turn and was fortunate to block with my trust “Javier Dominguez’s card” giving first strike damage first and then 《Frost Bite》 plus 《Bonecrusher Giant》 the lonely 《Elder Gargaroth》 but, on the same turn, my opponent played the second one and I need to draw my 4 lands right away because I had 《The Akroan War》 in hand and yes……I did it……I’ve drawn the land……I’ve stolen 《Elder Gargaroth》……later on I’ve “《Embercleave》 it” putting my opponent at 2 life and the third 《Bonecrusher Giant》 in my hand made it lethal!!!!
Total Score: 6-2
After winning this match, I felt truly blessed and thought the deck was on my side and I was going to 7-0 the Standard portion. I had the feeling that I was in the zone, reading my opponent well, and have activated ultra instinct like Goku xD.
Round 9: Mono Red
In the first game, I got quickly crushed when I keep 3 lands and never drew the fourth land but sideboarded games favored me! I’ve drawn better and smoothly won games 2 and 3.
Total Score: 7-2
Round 10: Sultai Ultimatum
My first and only loss with the great Bolo-Red. Game 1 and 3 I just got an 《Emergent Ultimatum》 too quickly and couldn’t do much more about it. In game 1, I think it was an 《Emergent Ultimatum》 on turn 5 with removal between turns and in game 3 it was on turn 7 with 《Polukranos, Unchained》 and some interaction between. Nothing I could do but my perfect run was ruined here 🙁
Total Score: 7-3
Round 11: Mono White Aggro(《Yorion, Sky Nomad》)
This was a kind of weird deck, it seemed he wanted to play all the good aggro white cards and for this reason, he thought he could play 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 as a Companion as well.
In game 1, he kept one land after a mulligan to 6 and never recovered from it. Game 2, I was screw for a long time but I think I’ve played really well and was rewarded in the end turning the game around with 《The Akroan War》!
Total Score: 8-3
Back to Historic, I’ve thought I would need 3-1 or a 4-0 to make top 8 so it was going to be hard!
Round 12: Azorius Control
Well, we started the worst way possible and didn’t do anything in game 1 or 2 to be notable and I was quickly destroyed by my opponent.
Total Score: 8-4
After this round, I’ve put my sights on just making the most points that I could since Jund Food wasn’t rewarding me that much but I’ve tried to max focus again. Eyes on the prize…let’s do this!
Round 13: Rakdos Arcanist
Game 1, I was so flood that I thought I had lost the game in many different ways but my opponent was pretty unlucky too. He milled like 40 cards of his deck and never found one of the 3x 《Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger》 he had and in the end, I narrowly escape game 1 with a win.
In game 2, I’ve drawn a lot better and he was screw so there was not much of an opposition to be fair. We took our first league point!!!!
Total Score: 9-4
Round 14: Five-Color Niv-Mizzet
This matchup seemed like a nightmare and I thought to myself that I would need to get lucky and rely on his manabase wouldn’t work out as smoothly as it could, so I’ve put a mental note in my head to be aware of the colors available in his manabase and aggressively killed 《Coldsteel Heart》. Despite this strategy seemed fine I was quickly crushed in game 1.
I’ve won rather easily in game 2 and in game 3, I’ve decided to risk a bit and keep a one lander with 2 《Gilded Goose》 and a lot of good things. After I’ve missed my second land drop and I thought it was over but my opponent played 《Coldsteel Heart》 and then he missed his land too. Later on, I’ve found the second land and 《Binding the Old Gods》 was the star I was looking for to closing up the game 3 just to keep him out of white mana as long as I could and in the end he wasn’t fortunate enough to draw his white source in time and I’ve just overwhelmed him with resources.
Total Score: 10-4
At this point, I knew that I was going to play probably a “win and in” or get 9th place and be the “bubble guy”.
Round 15: Goblins
Total Score: 11-4
After digging a little bit and watching the standings, I’ve figured out that I needed Riku to win vs Cuneo to the top 8 and in the end, it didn’t happen so……9th it is 🙁
I was sad but pretty happy about my testing and with teammates. I’ve added 3 points to my MPL League which is a lot and I am in a very good position to make the top 4 and re-qualify automatically to Worlds and MPL. So I have another chance to be the World Champ!!!
Sideboard Guide: Mono Red
Ok if you reach this spot of the article, let’s be fair……I guess you deserve the holy grail. These are the sideboard guides for both Mono Red and Jund Food:
Jeskai Cycling(if they have 《Irencrag Pyromancer》)
(if not we don’t change any card)
Sideboard Guide: Jund Food
You can keep 1 《Trail of Crumbs》 or 2 in the play and take out one 《Cauldron Familiar》 and 1 《Scavenging Ooze》. 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 don’t do much vs them but if you think they might put some, you can leave 1 《Binding the Old Gods》 or 2 and cut a 《Cauldron Familiar》 and an 《Scavenging Ooze》.
Could be 3 《Trail of Crumbs》 if you want to keep all 4 《Cauldron Familiar》. Sideout 1 《Fabled Passage》 because I think your deck goes dramatically low on the curve so one less land is good anti-flood and without 《Trail of Crumbs》, you don’t have as many anti-flood cards.
Well……hope you guys liked it and hopefully I will be back with an article saying how I’ve qualified for Worlds!!!
Best of luck in your games and……good topdecks!
Marcio Carvalho (Twitter)