The last time I checked in I was preparing for the SCG Open in Charlotte, over a month and a half ago. I was undecided, between Grixis Shadow, and Revolt Zoo. I decided to play Grixis Shadow, since I knew the deck inside and out, and I’d logged many hours playing it. I spent a couple of days leading up to the event finalizing my list, and was super excited to play in my first big Modern event.
I had a rough outing, since I was new to the format, and playing Shadow proved to be challenging. I had no idea what my opponent was doing in matchups I hadn’t tested. My tournament ended with a 3-3 drop, and I was pretty down on myself for punting my last two rounds. All of my losses in the tournament were against decks that I’d never seen before while testing at my smaller local events. Which is good for Modern deck diversity, I guess.
After dropping from the Main Event, I hopped into a Standard event that I went 3-0-1 with a pretty slick humans list that I came up with on the spot. Sadly, I never saved the list, but it was fast enough to win three rounds against Aetherworks Marvel (rest in peace). I ended up splitting the last round so I could catch up with some buddies to go get some food (my most pro play of the day).
After a long discussion with friends who are much smarter than me, I realized I had one of two choices. Either bail on Modern all together, or finally take the good advice, and play something that requires less of a knowledge of the format. The next morning, I got to the venue early and traded in a ton of junk that had been clogging up my binder, to get what I needed to finish Burn. I sleeved the deck up, and registered for the Classic. I’d heard that Burn was easy to play, and expected to just pick it up and crush the event.
I made two bad assumptions about the Classic. One, I entered a large event with a Modern List I’d never played before. Two, I assumed that the competition would be easier in the second chance event. As far as number two goes, this was quite the miscalculation. I faced tougher decks and opponents day two than I did in day one. This was the first Classic event that I’d ever played (never showed up day two). The day two field was full of players that traveled far to get here, barely missed day two of the Main Event, and wanted to grind as much value as they could. Whoops!
As for my first bad assumption, I was under the impression that anyone could pilot Burn. I thought it was just a matter of attacking, and casting spells – counting to twenty, as they say. I was wrong. I know now that anyone can play burn, but not everyone can play burn well. There were many situations where I could have easily won if I had sequenced my spells correctly. But alas, I went 0-3 and dropped from the event.
Admitting to myself that my terrible performance this weekend was my fault and highly avoidable was a big step for me. This event was a wake-up call about Modern. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the format and do well at larger events without studying the format, and practicing against more decks. I am fully committed to leveraging Burn, to allow me to be competitive while I learn the format. Burn allows the pilot to play their own game, and have little regard for what the opponent is doing.
So far playing FNM hero with this list, I have won over $200 in cash prizes, and am using my profits to work towards building Abzan. I will be writing a deeper analysis of my card choices for the sideboard, the main board for these decks are pretty standard, but the sideboards are very meta dependant.
After my success at the few LGSs in my area, I am ready to start venturing out again and playing some slightly larger local events. Who knows, maybe I will spike an IQ, or PPTQ with a consistent deck. The idea is to play this deck until I am so comfortable in all of my matchups that the decisions are reactionary, and not actually forced thought. This will take months and months of work, and I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you guys. I know, my long time readers and friends are thinking ‘Yeah Yeah, you have said your gonna write more, and haven’t!’ Well, actions speak louder than typed words, so bear with me, and enjoy the ride.
Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com