It has been several weeks since I wrote my last article and much has happened. After placing in my first FNM top 8 about a month ago I followed it up with two consecutive 3-2 records. In an attempt to make adjustments I tried a few different things that did not prove successful. Two weeks ago I replaced several of my cards with Rakdos Shred Freak's in an attempt to make the deck faster and made other adjustments which did not prove fruitful, as Rakdos Shred Freak's haste was overshadowed by his double red cost and only one toughness. That week ended in a disappointing 2-3 record and last week did not go much better. I researched several aggro decks that performed well in recent Star City Games Opens' and tried a mono red deck that looked promising. The deck ran only mountains for the mana base and maintained big hitters such as Boros Reckoner and Hellrider . In cutting back to mono red however, I lost the versatile support of Boros Charm and the deck did not quite come together all night, ending that week with another 2-3 record. Back to the basics: I decided that while some Red Aggro decks performed well at certain events, that those decks did not fit as well as I'd like into my personal play style and didn't necessarily account for the meta game across the board. Although my decks had not been successful the previous two weeks, a few jewels had presented themselves. Firefist Striker for example, was in my first FNM top 8 deck several weeks back and through its performance in the new decks it proved itself to be a valuable asset, and not just a one time fluke. At a 1R two drop that is 2/1 it does not immediately look too impressive, and even with its battalion ability to assign a creature not to block it doesn't raise too many eyebrows. My deck however, is not centered around battalion but rather around speed and fast creature drops, quickly establishing board presence and triggering his battalion ability.
Having learned from my two previous events I decided to go back to a deck that I felt was my own. I was running a Boros-esque deck, meaning that I had all 8 eight dual lands, was main boarding 4 Boros Charm's, and side boarded 2 Bonds of Faith, which proved to be a powerful card in itself. I was able to play test for about two hours prior to the event and before you know it Round 1 pairings are up. I take my seat and my first opponent is playing a Simic deck, I quickly establish board presence and all seems as it should be.....until a certain Primordial Hydra came into play on turn 4. A few turns later I had a Boros Reckoner on the field as a 16 toughness Primordial Hydra trampled over my Minotaur Wizard and won the first match. I was able to bounce back on matches two and three however, and managed to steal the round 1 win with the help of my aggressive creatures. I then proceeded to win round 2 against a Naya deck going 2-1, lost round 3 against a mono green deck going 1-2, won round 4 against W/B/U Human Spirits deck 2-1, and tied round 5 against a U/B/G Bug Aggro deck, ending the night with a 3-1-1 record. I then encountered a nerve wrecking 30 minutes before finding out that I had made the top 8 bracket. I was paired against my round 3 loss and once again faced off against the mono green deck that had bested me. Remembering the decks win condition however, I used my burn spells to destroy my opponents creatures and let my creatures do the rest of the work. After 2 matches, I extended my hand, briefly spoke to my opponent, and rejoiced in happiness as I moved forward to my first Top 4 bracket.
As I continue to improve as a magic player I feel that the hours of play testing, podcasts, and articles have proven a valuable investment. I look forward to continue on the magic competitive path and to to share my experiences through the median of online writing. Now if you will excuse me....I have some play testing to attend to.
4x Boros Charm
4x Ash Zealot
2x Vexing Devil