Modern Standard

Dragons of Tarkir Game Day

Went to SCG Modern States a couple weeks ago. I was all set to play Black-White Tokens, I had even printed up some new Warrior tokens to go along with Secure the Wastes.


But then I switched to Blue Tron at the last minute, with a fun-of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

It was a bloodbath.

Setting aside whether the deck choice itself was a mistake, I can only think of one really egregious error I made, having to do with wasting counterspells in a game I had mostly locked up via Platinum Angel. Other than that, I just ran into multiple bad match-ups. I’m not abdicating responsibility, here – in retrospect I should have played BW Tokens in this tournament – but I got paired up against a bunch of fast aggro decks and even some Life from the Loam + Tectonic Edge + Smallpox thing.

I relate this not to whine about bad beats, but rather to set the stage for the triumph to come. Much like Sarkhan, whose striking visage adorns my new playmat, I was broken, very nearly driven insane by the trials and tribulations of having my Tron lands repeatedly Tec Edge’d.

Lo, behold a new future, a future where bees rule the earth and Tectonic Edge is not in the format.

I roll in to Game Day – I love Game Day – with this Hornet Nest + Chord of Calling deck. The odds are long, as an absolute murderers’ row of… wait, three? Three other people showed up for this? So there are four of us total? How does this even work?

So, um, cut to top 4 and play single elim for the mat? Alright, then…

Semi-finals versus White-Green Heroic: Game 1, on the play, I keep a one-lander with multiple Elvish Mystics. I miss land drops but still develop my mana via creatures. Eventually I go off and Chord of Calling for Dragonlord Atarka. Game 2, he hits me for 20 with a Fabled Hero. Not really anything I could have done in that game – he just “had it,” which these combo’ish decks will do once in a while. I have a fond memory of 20’ing a guy with a Fabled Hero back in a Theros draft, so now I know how that feels.

Game 3, he had a mid-game Abzan Falconer which was an interesting way to give evasion to his team. He got in one good smack with a large Favored Hoplite but then I had a strived Setessan Tactics to wipe his board. From there, I just attacked a couple times and got the match.

I sided in Rending Volley but that doesn’t even really do much, since they are most likely not going to tap out and expose an important creature to your conditional spot removal. The new rebound spells, like Center Soul, seem pretty good in the deck. I even sided in Scuttling Doom Engine in a desparate bid for an additional colorless blocker.

Finals versus Mono-Red: This was kind of a swarm-token aggro build with Foundry Street Denizen, Dragon Fodder, Hordeling Outburst, etc. Hornet Nest shined against him, as all his removal was damage-based. Game 1, on the play, I blocked early and often, developing my mana. Eventually I dropped Dragonlord Atarka, wiping his board of tokens.

Game 2 was weird, we both stumbled on mana early, and he had 3 Roasts for my 3 Courser of Kruphix. We got deep into the mid game and neither of us had done much at all. I couldn’t get off of 3 mana and had fallen to 11 from a few¬†attacks. He eventually found a Lightning Strike and 2x Stoke the Flames over a couple turns to kill me.

Game 3, I stayed ahead on board and we both ran out of cards, me at 15 life. He fired a Twin Bolt at a facedown creature I had manifested from Whisperwood Elemental… and I flipped up the Hornet Nest. The ground was locked up and the top of my deck was generally more powerful than his. I found an Arbor Colossus (sided in because it didn’t die to Roast) and started bashing.

Hard-fought, lemme tellya.

The deck was sweet, I’ll probably stay on this for whatever Standard events I attend in the near future. Shout-outs to the other 3 dudes that showed up for Game Day!

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