By Mike Kohler
Well it’s been a while since I’ve had an article out and most of that is due to school, as it is the time of the semester for midterms. Anyway, for this week I got an exclusive interview with Jeff Lynch, an up and coming player from Indiana that got 15th this weekend at GP: Chicago. Additionally, I’d like to look to go over a few lists from Pro Tour Kyoto that you may not have seen, but both of which look very promising for the Indianapolis Standard 5K event in a couple of weeks.
Chicago was great, let’s just get that out of the way, and anybody that wasn’t able to attend really missed out. A congratulations is in order for Gabe Nassif for his second premier event win in two weeks and to Conley Woods of MTGCast for moneying in yet another Grand Prix. I had the great privilege of meeting Tom of Monday Night Magic, and it was really cool to be able to put a face with a voice. Well, my friend Jeff had already left I had thought of interviewing him, but I guess that’s why they invented email. Here’s the correspondence between myself and Jeff:
How old are you?
What do you consider your occupation?
Indiana University Student
What is your biggest Non-Magic related accomplishment?
I got a nice scholarship for French horn performance at the Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music.
What is your biggest Magic related accomplishment?
Top 8ed a sealed ptq back in time spiral block.
How did you become interested in Magic?
My friends introduced me to the game. We all started playing it when Odyssey came out and had a lot of fun playing leviathan and boomerang.
How long have you been playing competitive Magic?
I have been ptqing since UG Madness. My first regionals I played merfolk opposition when 7th ed. was legal.
Would you say that you are more of a Constructed or Limited Player?
I’m definitely a better constructed player. My constructed rating coming in to the Honolulu ptq season was a 1950 and my limited rating was a 1650 after scrubbing out 5 different Kyoto qualifiers.
How much do you usually prepare for big tournaments?
I prepare a fair amount for ptq season in constructed. I played a couple hundred games with Elves of Faeries before I took them to the ptqs. I don’t really prepare for sealed ptqs.
How much did you practice for the Grand Prix?
I played in one Win-A-Mox tournament where I lost 3 games in 8 rounds of magic.
Do you play Legacy very often?
Not at all, this is my first time.
Has this tournament maybe tempted you to play more Legacy in general now?
I love the format a lot. There is a different viable deck for everyone. Its much more skill intensive than I first thought, but the problem is that it is a format that is close to irrelevant since there are little important Magic events in legacy.
What did you think of the format, the diversity, the old cards, etc?
I loved the diversity, and the format reminded me how glad I am that Sensei’s Divining Top is banned in extended. That card is way too good. Same thing with Aether Vial.
Did you see any Conflux or Shards of Alara cards in any of the Legacy decks this weekend?
Yea, I saw some Nacatyls and some Ranger of Eos’.
What archetype did you sleeve up for the Grand Prix?
Merfolk with Tarmogoyf
4 Merrow Reejery
4 Lord of the Atlantis
4 Silvergill adept
4 Aether Vial
4 Force of Will
4 Polluted Delta
2 Flooded Strand
3 Tropical Island
3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Krosan Grip
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Blue Elemental Blast
Note: At this point Jeff, if you want to, it’d be really sweet if you gave a quick tournament report.
R2-Threshhold with Nature’s Order, Progenitus, Noble Hierarch, and War Monk 2-1 (closer then I would have liked).
R3-RG Aggro Loam 2-0 Blowout.
R4-Thresh with Red 2-1 (Game three I realized that I always bring in BEB to stop his REB and Fire and Ice. Also, turn two I played Standstill with nothing on board and we passed turn back and forth for 10 minutes until I drew a Mutavault.)
R5-Goblins 2-1 This one was really close. Game 2 I had a nuts draw, and Game 3 I stopped his turn one Vial and I Wastelanded. His next play was hardcasting an Incinerater…
R6-RDW 2-1 This was my hardest won match the whole weekend. Game 3 I won when he flipped his top card when I was at three and it was a Figure.
R7-Countertop 2-0 Even though Utter-Leyton is an amazing player, I can’t lose with a Vial on turn one, and I got there both games.
R8-Mirror 1-2 This one is really draw dependent, and I mulled to 5 game 2 and to 6 game
three with an awkward keep. Gaudenis Vidugiris even told me after my match he thought the Tarmogoyfs seemed really good in the deck.
R9-4 color Thresh 2-0 Vial gets there.
R10-RDW with Goyf and Nacatyl. 0-2. I get too far behind game one, and game 2 I threw away when I wanted to go aggro. I don’t know how to play defense. This game was almost unlosable for me, but I found a way. Brian Six top 8ed.
R11-Mono Blue Grindstone and Painters Servant. 2-1 He mulled to 5 game 3.
R12-Aggro Loam 2-0 Blow Out.
R13-ANT 2-0 Game 1 I keep a double Wasteland, double Vial hand and he thinks I’m Goblins. The look on his face was priceless when I Forced his Ad Nauseum.
R14-Thresh with Red 2-1. Wienburg is good, but not good enough to beat Vial and
R15 ANT 1-2. Neither of us could draw which sucks because I was x-2 and everyone else
with that record got in. So sad. Game one I crush after Wastelanding his land and he
got stuck on no lands. Game 2 he mulls to six on the play. He plays Underground Sea and Duresses me. I FoW. I play a Wasteland and kill his land. He draws off the top with a manurism that implies he needs a rip. He then plays Petal, Petal, Rite, Ritual, Ad Nauseum. Nice 6. Game 3 I keep a bad hand and he has double Duress. He goes off and doesn’t find anything until he’s a five life. I get excited, and he decides not to risk it. He
goes off 2 turns later after drawing a pair of rite of flames for exact tendrils. This game
sucked because I kept and opener of Force, Daze, Lord, Wasteland, Mutavault, Island, and Tropical Island. I could have potentially won if I would have Forced removing Daze
instead of Lord, because for three turns I had Adept in hand with him at 5 life and no
merfolk to reveal…So sad.
Anyhow, I’m pleased. I wish I would’ve top 8ed though.
Would you make any changes to the deck now?
The maindeck is perfect. I always sided out the Stifles, but they blew people out randomly game one. The sideboard is trash. I only really used the BEBs.
What do you think of the current Standard and Extended format and how much Conflux has affected each?
Path to Exile is really good in Extended. Progenitus is a really interesting card. Noble Heirarch and Hellspark Elemental seem pretty good in both formats. I like Shambling Remains in Standard. I think Banefire is okay in Standard.
What is the next big event that you’ll be practicing for?
The Indianapolis 5k Standard event.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got Jeff, if you can think of anything else that’d be great.
Here’s the situation: Mark Conkle, Lorwyn limited master, is 6-1. He is in his 8th round with only one more round to play. He must win one of these two rounds to day 2. He is in game 3 on the play against a Threshhold variant. He mulligans to four on the play. My friends and I all conveniently arrive to see this final intense game.
Mark’s turn 1 elf.
Opponent 1, fetch go.
Turn 2 elf, heritage go, opponent cracks fetch and gets and island to
Opponent turn 2 fetch for an island play counterbalance.
Mark’s turn 3, tap 3 elves and a forest for Nature’s Order.
His opponent had no responses and Mark Conkle got there on a mull to 4 on
the play with Progenitus.
The play heard ’round the world.
What a master.
As this is my first interview (ever), tell me how I did and I’ll definitely employ any constructed criticism. It appears that Jeff and myself will be preparing for the same event next, the StarCityGames Indianapolis 5K Standard event, which will be on March 28th. This brings us to a very different format from Legacy, Standard!
Lets go over what we know, Five-Color Control is good, as is Boat Brew, Black White Tokens, Faeries, and the new guy on the block Dark Bant (although I really like Randy Beuhler’s name: Doran of the Many Colors). However, there are a couple of lists that did well that you might not be aware of. Cedric Phillips making Top 8 with Mono White Kithkin, splashing red for Ajani Vengeant and Shuuhei Nakamura piloting a red/blue Swans list to a very respectable 20th place. Because I don’t care, and because Shuuhei’s list is more unorthodox, I’ll write about his next week and talk briefly on Ced’s list now:
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Rugged Prairie
2 Rustic Clachan
4 Windbrisk Heights
4 Cloudgoat Ranger
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Wizened Cenn
4 Ajani Vengeant
3 Glorious Anthem
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
4 Burrenton Forge-Tender
3 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Ranger of Eos
Cedric himself as already talked extensively about this deck on StarCityGames.com and I suggest everyone to go read it. However, there a few things I’d like to note here before signing off.
As you can see from the list, Kithkin has gained a decent amount of cards from Conflux, with the biggest maindeck inclusion being Path to Exile, which is a great way to deal with what used to be very pesky creatures, namely Mistbind Clique. With that, let’s look at some matchups.
This is probably the deck’s worst matchup, with all of the board sweepers that 5cc has access to but with token generators such as Cloudgoat Ranger and Spectral Procession, the deck shows amazing resilience when played correctly. Additionally, you’ll be bringing in a full 9 sideboard cards to fight 5cc, all of which making the match that much easier.
This matchup was pretty even before Conflux, and with the addition of both Path to Exile in the main and Banefire in the sideboard, it starts to look pretty good for the Kithkin deck. The ability to have uncounterable win condition and a one mana removal spell is not to be underestimated.
Almost a mirror match, except that you run Glorius Anthem and they don’t, making your guys bigger and therefore better. Most of the Boat Brew decks won’t be able to keep up with your really fast draws, which also puts you ahead.
Keeping them off an early turn Noble Hierarch is essential, as an exalted Doran or Rhox War Monk can quickly run you over. I think Elspeth comes in from the sideboard to give you enough chump blockers and time to draw your removal for their big threats.
Well that’s all I have this week, next week I’ll look at the new Seismic Swans list in standard, and maybe some new tech for your Extended decks.