STORMING INTO EE3 (10/24/2015): 11TH


The weekend of Eternal Extravaganza 3 (EE3) or as I like to call it, "A weekend at Aaron's" begins with me taking a half-day on Friday so that I could travel down to Allentown, PA from Syracuse, NY so that I could fit in getting some cards signed at Illuxcon!

 

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For those of you who don't know, Illuxcon is an illustration convention held in Allentown, PA every year. Which was incredibly convenient that it lined up on the same weekend, in the same town as Eternal Extravaganza 3 this year. It's fantastic for people who enjoy signed cards, since there was over fifty (that's right - 50) Magic: the Gathering artists in attendance. Just phenomenal. When I arrived in Allentown it was about 3:30pm and the first person I recognized was Cynthia Sheppard roaming the hallways. I asked her if she wouldn't mind signing some cards for me, she chatted for a few minutes about how it was my first Illuxcon (new to the signing game) and how she was actually there head hunting (looking for new artists) for Wizards.

After that I searched down other individuals on my list such as: Mark Poole, Chris Rhan, Greg Hildebrandt and Ryan Pancoast just to name a few. Unfortunately, by the time I made my way by some booths, it was dinner time and some artist had left briefly. Being on a schedule, I took off. It was time to see my good friend, Aaron Garritillo!

You see, Aaron foolishly moved away from the tropical paradise that is known as Syracuse, NY. In his time while he was away, he opened up a sister store of another location here in Syracuse - Cloud City Games. I went to Aaron's store when it first had opened, this weekend was my first time seeing it since it's expansion. It's truly one of the nicest Magic: the Gathering stores I've ever been in. Incredibly clean, great selection, vibrant colors, plenty of space & tables/chairs, reasonably price snacks & beverages and a great owner. Aaron offered to buy me dinner for coming down to see him over the weekend, like the true gentleman he is. Where I ate a burrito that was so fantastic it put every other burrito I've ever had to shame. I can't remember the name of the place, but it was amazing.

That night, I played two FNM events at his store. First, a standard event where I seemed to mulligan and/or flood out every game with Esper Dragons. The second being a draft event that I was sadly convinced into doing, my limited skills are embarrassing. Needless to say, my only win on the night came from the bye.

The next morning, I got ready for EE3. I saved some time by printing out my deck list, which is always located in the footer of this website as a PDF. I arrived to the event center right on time, talked to some friends and met some new ones. One thing was for certain, I was ready to play some Legacy!

 

 

Round one: Dominic Lodovichetti with RUG Delver

Dominic is one of the original "Virginians" from mtgthesource back in the mid-00's, he had a knack for playing "Threshold" variants. I put him on some sort of Delver of Secrets deck.

Game one: Dominic wins the die roll and starts off with Tropical Island into Nimble Mongoose, CALLED IT! I kept a hand with two lands and three cantrips because of this. I search up a basic Swamp, cast Duress and see: Dismember, Lightning Bolt, Daze, Wasteland and Force of Will. Discarding the Force of Will. The game progresses to the mid-to-late game and I'm now at 14. I manage to make fourteen Goblin tokens (had to use a fetchland in the process). He Lightning Bolts me on my end step. Attacks with Nimble Mongoose, I block with one token. He plays a Tarmogoyf. I attack with twelve tokens leaving two back. My thought process is that Dominic likely shuffled away the Dismember with a Brainstorm a few turns ago. Dominic casts a second Lightning Bolt on my end step knocking me down to seven. He untaps, draws, and casts Ponder, shuffles, draws and thinks. Cast Brainstorm, shuffle with a fetch land. Cast Ponder and immediately apologizes revealing the top card of his deck to be Forked Bolt. I'm at seven, his Nimble Mongoose is a 3/3 and Tarmogoyf is a 4/5. Exact. I sigh and can only be upset with myself since I didn't need to swing with twelve.

Sideboarding: None.

Game two: Dominic mulligans looking for an aggressive hand while explaining that he can't keep five spells that interact with me and two lands. I notice that he doesn't scry afterward, but opt not to tell him. We play "Land, go" until his second turn when he thinks and ultimately casts a Tarmogoyf. I draw a Gitaxian Probe and cast it, revealing: Stifle, Preordain, Spell Pierce, Misty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn. The coast is clear! I play a second land, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Cabal Therapy (Preordain), Burning Wish (for Empty the Warrens), and generate fourteen Goblins.

Game three: Dominic mulligans again, I still don't say anything. He keeps his six while shaking his head. He casts a turn one Delver of Secrets off of a Tropical Island. I play a Gitaxian Prove revealing: Rough/Tumble, Rough/Tumble, Brainstorm and Wasteland., once again, I'm ready to move in. Volcanic Island, Rite of Flame, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Infernal Tutor), Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish for Empty the Warrens and create twelve Goblins. Sacrifice one to flashback a Cabal Therapy discarded to Lion's Eye Diamond hitting the pair of Rough/Tumble. Dominic extends his hand.

Would you have told Dominic about the new scry rule immediately? With 40 duals lands on the line? In a dead-even match-up? It's a tough call but I ultimately decided to tell him after the round was over, it's a moral grey area but as far as I know - you're not technically obligated. I'd like to hear some feedback on this. He was in shock that the rule changed and couldn't believe it, he also wondered why no one had told him.

2-1 | 1-0

 

Round two: Mark Strassman with Maverick

Game one: I win the die roll, and start with Polluted Delta for Volcanic Island and cast Ponder. He looks at me and says, "You're either a Show and Tell player or a storm pilot" to which I respond, "Do I look like a combo player?" "Yeah, you do - 100%." Guilty as charged. He plays a basic Forest and casts Green Suns Zenith for Dryad Arbor. I draw a Gitaxian Probe for turn, right on time! Swords to Plowshares, Gaddock Teeg, Knight of the Reliquary, Mother of Ruins, Wooded Foothills and Windswept Heath. I then proceed to cast Chrome Mox (Imprint: Cabal Therapy), Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (Rite of Flame), Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, lay Underground Sea and cast Infernal Tutor for Empty the Warrens. Acknowledging the fact that he could in theory play a turn two Knight of the Reliquary, block and then activate it and search up a Tabernacle of Pendravale. However, these sorts of decks typically don't play it, his sleeves were warn down along with being old as was his deckbox. Sometimes it's about reading the situation, not just the game state. He conceded on the spot.

Sideboarding: -2 Duress, -2 Ponder, +2 Chain of Vapor, +1 Void Snare, +1 Thoughtseize.

Game two: Mark starts off with a Savannah and passes. I play Gitaxian Probe which reveals Gaddock Teeg, Taiga, Cavern of Souls, Engineered Plague, Dryad Arbor and Plateau. I follow it up with an Underground Sea and Cabal Therapy naming Gaddock Teeg. He draws, plays Noble Hierarch and Dryad Arbor. I draw and then cast Brainstorm. I have Empty the Warrens, Ad Nauseam, Lion's Eye Diamond, Cabal Therapy, Chain of Vapor and lands. I play nothing but lands until I could cast Ad Nauseam off of four lands and Lotus Petal. His draws weren't very good either, nothing of relevance.

4-1 | 2-0

 

Round three: Bernie Parisi with Shardless BUG

Bernie is a nice guy, he says he's a fan of my work which is always a pleasure to hear.

Game one: I search up a basic Swamp off of Bloodstained Mire to begin the match, before casting Duress: Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Abrupt Decay, Wasteland, Wasteland, Creeping Tarpit, Tarmogoyf and Force of Will. Force of Will down. Bernie plays a Creeping Tar Pit, it's also the last thing he does. I play a Volcanic Island, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (Rite of Flame), Rite of Flame, Infernal Tutor (Rite of Flame), Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish for Empty the Warrens for sixteen tokens.

Sideboarding: None.

Game two: I keep a hand of Duress, Swamp, Gitaxian Probe, Lion's Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame and Bloodstained Mire. Bernie Starts with a Creeping Tar Pit. I play a Gitaxian Probe which shows: Force of Will, Brainstorm, Hymn to Tourach, Hymn to Tourach, Ancestral Visions and Shardless Agent. This is a tough call, but I ultimately decided with Force of Will over Brainstorm as if he drew a black source I couldn't top deck to win. I play my Lion's Eye Diamond to avoid it being discarded. Bernie untaps, draws and Brainstorms, thinks for a while and plays Wasteland before passing. It ends up being a very long game, as I never draw a cantrip or tutor effect. Just plenty of ritual effects, he finally draws a second land and plays Meddling Mage on Infernal Tutor followed by back to back Hymn to Tourach in consecutive turns. He beats me down to ten with the Meddling Mage. I draw Burning Wish, I have so much mana that I can cast Dark Petition for Burning Wish for Past in Flames. Bernie missed removing his Ancestral Visions counters twice which allowed me to stay in the game longer. He revealed the top five cards of his deck, three lands, a Deathrite Shaman and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I'm unsure if it would've mattered.

6-1 | 3-0

 

Round four: Alex Stratton with Stoneblade

Alex is another devoted Mets fan from northern New York. I'm undefeated against him and wasn't about to change that!

Game one: Alex mulligans to five while being on the play, we play, "land, go" the first turns. Alex then casts a Stoneforge Mystic on turn two searching for Batterskull. I untap and play a second fetch land before casting Cabal Therapy. Alex casts Force of Will. I follow up with a Duress leaving him with only a Pierce in his hand. On my next turn, I make fourteen Goblin tokens through his Spell Pierce. The game quickly ends after that.

Sideboarding: -3 Ponder, -2 Chrome Mox, -1 Swamp, +3 Abrupt Decay, +3 Xantid Swarm.

Game two: Alex begins the second game with a Relic of Progenitus. I start with my patented Gitaxian Probe: Force of Will, Brainstorm, Ponder, Scalding Tarn and Flooded Strand. I follow it up with a Dark Ritual, Alex's response isn't a spell but a, "Are you kidding? Are you bluffing me? C'mon." I stare back at him with a blank face. I had 14 Goblins through a Force of Will if it resolved. He removes Ponder before putting Force of Will to the graveyard. Alex draws and immediately slams a Meddling Mage on the table. It's chanting Infernal Tutor. Conveniently I had Empty the Warrens already. I generate eight 1/1 dorks while keeping three cards in hand. Over the next few turns, I attack and Alex blocks (now at three life). He then knocks on the top of his deck saying, "One time" well, he got it. Supreme Verdict. I Cabal Therapy him naming Flusterstorm. He has a Force of Will as his only card with four lands. I play Infernal Tutor (naturally hellbent) with a Lion's Eye Diamond on the table along with four lands for Ad Nauseam. We play "draw, go." for three turns. I play a Duress, Alex has to discard the Force of Will. He now only has Blue Elemental Blast. I resolve Ad Nauseam from thirteen life. Stop at four and put Xantid Swarm into play. Alex would be defeated from my stacked Ad Nauseam hand.

8-1 | 4-0

 

Round five: Hank Zhong with Reanimator

I check the pairings and say his name, a friend says that he's playing Reanimator. Great...

Game one: I start off by playing Chrome Mox (Imprint: Infernal Tutor), Volcanic Island, Infernal Tutor for a second copy of Dark Ritual (I could go off the next turn with a Duress if I drew a land). Hank's start is better with a first turn Iona.

Sideboarding: -1 Empty the Warrens, -1 Ponder, -1 Swamp, +3 Xantid Swarm.

Game two: Shockingly, this is a long game because I kept a hand that could in theory, turn one Duress then combo on the second turn. When I cast my Duress, Hanks hand is stacked with a pair of Force of Will, Brainstorm, Ponder, Daze and a few lands. I don't draw much and eventually lose to a Griselbrand.

8-3 | 4-1

 

Round six: Tony Chiarlanza with Elves

Game one: I start the game with a Volcanic Island from a Polluted Delta into Ponder. I can combo off on the second turn with a Cabal Therapy, feeling good! Tony plays a Heritage Druid. I draw, I have to get the Cabal Therapy out of my hand for natural hellbent. I do some math, I can Ad Nauseam but I'll be at eighteen after using two Lotus Petals or I can Empty the Warrens while casting Cabal Therapy twice in one turn. But I'll let the first Cabal Therapy decide, I name Natural Order. Tony reveals: Nettle Sentinel, Wirewood Symbiote, Deathrite Shaman, Green Sun's Zenith and a pair of Gaea's Cradle. I decide the Goblins route is safe. I force him to discard his Green Sun's Zenith after making sixteen Goblins. He draws and goes, "Hmmmph....", Glimpse of Nature? I slump in my chair, he draws four cards off of it before passing. I attack and pass. He draws again and starts to think deeply, I look at the clock. I wait for exactly one minute before saying, "You need to make a decision." His was to pick up his cards.

Sideboarding: -2 Duress, -2 Ponder, +2 Chain of Vapor, +1 Void Snare, +1 Thoughtseize.

Game two: Tony starts off with Verdant Catacomb into Bayou and plays a Deathrite Shaman. My start is a Gitaxian Probe into Cabal Therapy, after discarding his Green Sun's Zenith, Tony is left with: WWirewood Symbiote, Glimpse of Nature, Forest, Wooded Foothills. He casts a Wirewood Symbiote and passes. I play Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam from my hand.

After the match he told me his draws off the Glimpse were three lands and another Glimpse of Nature.

10-3 | 5-1

 

Round seven: Nick Cummings with Eureka Show

I sat next to Nick earlier on in the event and watched him defeat Dredge by playing Show and Tell into Omniscience. Play Jace, the Mind Sculptor (his only business spell), use the ability to Brainstorm. Draws another Jace, the Mind Sculptor and does the same. Third card down this time is Preordain, casts it bottoming two cards and draws Brainstorm. Casts it and hits Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn. Takes his extra turn, attacks and it isn't enough damage. I'm thinking that Jace, the Mind Sculptor could minus to bounce a big Golgari Gravetroll that maybe he can live? Nope. Unsummon Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn using Jace, the Mind Sculptor and do it all over again. Didn't see that line of play at all.

Despite knowing all of this, I actually forgot what he was playing initially...

Game one: Nick starts with a Polluted Delta searching for Tropical Island and casts Ponder. I also cast Ponder off of a Volcanic Island. He plays a second Tropical Island and passes. That's when it dawns on me, HE'S PLAYING EUREKA SHOW. Damn. My hand is a turn three. I play a Polluted Delta and Ponder off of the Volcanic Island, hoping to draw a discard spell. I do not. He plays a third Tropical Island and casts Show and Tell, I put a land into play... Nick puts Omniscience into play. He casts Brainstorm, I ask, am I dead? Nick slumps and passes the turn. I Brainstorm and fetch on his end step. I draw a Gitaxian Probe and fire it off quickly: Show and Tell, Show and Tell, Omniscience and Eureka are what's left. I follow this up by resolving Ad Nauseam.

Sideboarding: -1 Empty the Warrens, -1 Ponder, -1 Swamp, +3 Xantid Swarm.

Game two: This is a game where I draw a lot of discard off of my lone Chrome Mox (Imprint: Infernal Tutor) and Underground Sea. Which is convenient since Nick ends the game with three Carpet of Flowers in play and a Griselbrand in hand. We get to a point where I find Xantid Swarm and a fetch land off a Ponder. I search up Bayou and cast Xantid Swarm in consecutive turns, he allows it to resolve then uses his Echoing Truth that I knew about. I cast it again, which brings down a Force of Will removing a second Force of Will. This leads me to believe Nick drew another dead card, I move in with Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseam.

12-3 | 6-1

 

Round eight: Roland Chang with Grixis Delver

Roland is a super nice guy, we chat before our match just making small talk. We shake hands before we begin, I know that this is going to be tough.

Game one: This is a long one, I don't have great notes but Roland has a Delver of Secrets (unflipped) and a Deathrite Shaman when I resolve my Ad Nauseam with no mana floating from 14 life. It's an absolutely awful Ad Nauseam - miserable. I stop at five and have to hope he doesn't kill me. He doesn't. I untap and draw (another Burning Wish), I Ponder, shuffle. Brainstorm? Nothing. It's worth noting that I couldn't retrieve Empty the Warrens because I drew it.

Sideboarding: None.

Game two: I don't have any notes on this other than, "Turn two natural storm."

Game three: Roland mulligans to five, his face is getting red and he's visibly upset. He scrys to the bottom, plays a Wasteland and passes. I play a basic Swamp and pass. He draws and passes without a land drop. I play a Bloodstained Mire and pass. He draws and it's a fetch land, he searches up Underground Sea and plays a Deathrite Shaman. I play a Volcanic Island and Brainstorm. I go to fetch, Roland thinks and says, "I'll Wasteland your Volcanic Island and then Surgical Extraction it." I'm forced to get an Underground Sea. Which shows him my hand of Burning Wish, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Empty the Warrens, Lion's Eye Diamond and Lion's Eye Diamond. I play Lotus Petal and then Rite of Flame which is countered by Force of Will. After seeing Cabal Therapy while he shuffled, I get nervous and play my pair of Lion's Eye Diamonds out to avoid them being discarded. Roland exiles my Rite of Flame on his turn and motions for me to take mine. I draw and it's Chrome Mox, awkward now that I've played my Lion's Eye Diamonds. I play Chrome Mox (Imprint: Empty the Warrens), Burning Wish and can't get Dark Petition because I actually don't have spell mastery... I have to get Empty the Warrens (I'm now down to one Lion's Eye Diamond). I do the math and realize it's not enough. Roland draws, plays a fetch land, searches for a Volcanic Island and Lightning Bolts a token.

I draw another fetch land. I attack. He draws and plays a Delver of Secrets. I attack, he blocks with only Deathrite Shaman. His Delver of Secrets flips over with a revealed Lightning Bolt. He kills a token and attacks. I'm down to two now. I attack with the pair as it'll put him at an even life total for Tendrils of Agony if it comes to that. He uses Shaman to exile Brainstorm. Over the next few turns I draw nothing but mana and he draws lands (he's playing them). I knock on my deck, saying, "PLEASE." I draw Ponder. Nothing. Shuffle. Draw Ponder. Ponder (Duress, Gitaxian Probe and Cabal Therapy). Shuffle. Draw? A Bloodstained Mire. He attacks and uses Deathrite Shaman. I have one turn. I draw... another Bloodstained mire. How disappointing.

We shake hands, it was a great match. I came up short. He played very well, he told me that I'm a great player and that he couldn't get any signals or reads off of me. While that's nice, it didn't immediately help the ache of defeat. For those of you who don't know, Roland is a two time World Champion in both Legacy and Vintage. I couldn't help but feel my deck betray me twice that round, first with Ad Nauseam and then not drawing anything in eight looks off Ponder or six draw steps. It's frustrating, but that's Magic. I wished Roland luck in his next round if he had to play (he did) or in top 8. Part of this game is being a gracious person, even when you take a tough loss.

13-5 | 6-2

 

Round nine: Ryan Layman with Stoneblade

I've played Ryan in the past, he likes blue decks. Ones typically with Delver of Secrets in them if I remember correctly. I was right on half of this.

Game one: He mulligans to five and plays a Flooded Strand. I play a Gitaxian Probe to see if the coast is clear: He has two fetch lands, Counterspell and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I then cast Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam.

Sideboarding: -3 Ponder, -2 Chrome Mox, -1 Swamp, +3 Abrupt Decay, +3 Xantid Swarm.

Sideboarding is based on thinking he is actually Miracles.

Game two: Ryan starts this game with an Underground Sea into Sensei's Divining Top? Huh? I play Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond and Empty the Warrens. Force of Will stops a copy. Ryan on his turn plays an Academy Ruins? Then passes. I attack and pass. He plays a Lingering Souls, over the next few turns I'm down to two tokens. I draw a discard spell after he's forced to flop his Sensei's Diving Top and shuffle it away to stay alive. I take his lone Counterspell and then finish him off with Burning Wish into Tendrils of Agony.

I asked Ryan what he was actually playing after, I had no clue. He said it's just a Stoneblade variant with a singleton Sensei's Diving Top.

15-5 | 7-2

 

The Die Roll: 5-4
Mulligans: 2
Ad Nauseam Wins: 6
Empty the Warrens Wins: 7
Natural Storm Wins: 2
Past in Flames Wins: 1

 

My 7-2 finish is good enough for 11th place, which nets me an Underground Sea, Volcanic Island, Bayou and a Scrubland.

 

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I call Aaron to see if he's home or at his store, we end up back at his house we work on price estimates for the dual lands and end up watching "The Mindy Project" together like two grown ass men. It was great. The next day, I woke up early and took the lonely three hour ride back to Syracuse. Which gave me plenty of time to reflect on the event and possible changes to the deck.

The number of Duress at two versus three (which it was in the past) was never relevant. It definitely helped to have the additional land in the slower mid-range blue match-ups. I don't really have an opinion on this yet, although, I did have the Bayou cost me a game in a small local as I needed to find a discard spell and it was a land. It's a small sample size, I'll likely stick with Bayou.

At the same local event this past week and lost to Reanimator as well. It's an awful matchup, it makes me wonder if I should be playing Surgical Extraction as I saw a decent number of Dredge and Storm pilots. I also lost to "Oops, All Spells" at the New Jersey Invitational Legacy event on Sunday in the first round. It would provide theoretical interaction against other fast decks. It would likely be over the sideboard Thoughtseize as it's fairly lackluster and the third copy of Xantid Swarm. I'm open to hearing thoughts on this. The Xantid Swarms were great for me this weekend, which makes me weary on shaving one off. A singleton Surgical Extraction doesn't seem worthwhile. You really want something in the combo match-ups to swap with Empty the Warrens since it's not the greatest.

I would like to congratulate Jacob Redfern for top 8'ing with TES!

Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a message or ask a question using the contact form below. Any questions will likely be featured in an upcoming TES Mailbox article. I’ll see you all at the Grand Prix: Seattle in a few weeks! There's also SCG: New Jersey which is Legacy as well, what a stacked month for events!

Until then, keep storming.

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