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Spreading Cheese – Dredgeful Mistakes

Hi everyone! Did you all watch the live coverage of the Star City Games DC Open? If so, you might have seen me on SCGLive! I appeared both days, each after the only round I won in the day. In the Standard portion of the tournament, I was running Mike Flores’s Pyromancer Ascension list, which I had actually been running before Flores published it, after a Twitter conversation I had with him. I made some awful misplays, most not out of carelessness but out of being too cautious, and I mulled down to 6 every single game except for one, and mulled down to 5 twice. And yes, I was shuffling properly, in case you were going to ask. It just wasn’t my day. When I did draw a proper hand, I destroyed a U/B Tezzeret deck, so the deck was legit indeed. But my fourth opponent was a complete nightmare. He had maindeck Thrun, Gaea’s Revenge, Hero of Oxid Ridge and Vengevines. Game 1 I had two Heroes and a Thrun facing me, and game 2 I was confronted by 3 Vengevines and a Revenge. By turn 5. After that, I just packed up my stuff and left.

Spreading spells.

I was pretty hopeful day 2. I was running a Dredge list, as I mentioned I would on Yo! MTG Taps. Here’s the list:

Card Draw for Dredging
4 Breakthrough
4 Cephalid Coliseum
3 Careful Study
2 Deep Analysis
1 Sphinx of Lost Truths

Combo Kill:
1 Flame-kin Zealot

Disruption/Self Discard:
4 Cabal Therapy

Self Discard:
4 Putrid Imp
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond

Dredgers:
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Golgari Grave Troll
3 Golgari Thug

Mana:
4 Gemstone Mine
3 City of Brass

Stuff that makes creatures:
4 Narcomoeba
4 Bridge from Below
3 Dread Return
4 Ichorid

Sideboard:
4 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Firestorm
3 Chain of Vapor
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Realm Razer
1 Ancestor’s Chosen

This list is what is called LED Dredge, but it has cards that are played in LEDless Dredge. Here’s me explaining the basic idea, and playing the deck:

NOTE: I make a mistake when I cast the Breakthrough by skipping the 4th draw and forgetting to discard my hand; however, if I’d have resolved the spell correctly, it would have only made my win easier, because I would have more zombies (I would not have used the flashback on Cabal Therapy to target myself), and I would have more cards in my graveyard.

I also keep calling the Golgari Thug a Golgari Grave Thug. Apologies!

In the tournament, round 1, I destroyed a Landstill deck, rounds 2 and 3 I was stomped by a Junk deck (BGW card advantage/beatdown deck basically) and a Countertop Foundry deck (Counterbalance + Sensei’s Divining Top to control the game, Thopter Foundry to make many creatures and win).

Against the Junk deck, I dredged two Bridges and brought back an Ichorid. He had a Dark Confidant, and I thought he would never block with it since it was his main advantage engine, but I had totally forgotten about the two Bridges in my yard. I was planning on sacrificing the Ichorid to Cabal Therapying myself to put a Troll in my yard so I can dredge the next turn, and I’d have 2 zombies, and I would probably win next turn. I got greedy and attacked, he blocked my Ichorid, destroying my Bridges and giving me 2 zombies. Then I had to sacrifice a Zombie to Therapy myself, so I had 1 token instead of two, which also prevented me from flashing back Dread Returnin the next turn. I lost that game because of this. Game 2 I mulled down to 4, he Wasted my Coliseum, and I was out of gas at that point.

Against the top deck, I had extremely slow hands and he brought in a Moat on turn 4 both games. I got rid of it in game 2, but then he dropped Ensnaring Bridge. I Chained it, with enough creatures to alpha strike, but he had 2 on top of his deck. I had 1 Deep Analysis in my graveyard (had already flashed back the other one), and I only had 2 lands in play while he was 2 turns away from lethal. I had lethal too, but I couldn’t attack. I just passed the turn, hoping to draw my last Chain to bounce the Bridge and maybe alpha the next turn. After I passed, I realized my fatal mistake. I could have casted Deep Analysis on him, and he was tapped out so he couldn’t use Top to change his top card, which was cost 1. There was no way he could counter my Analysis, his hand was empty. If I had cast Analysis targeting him, I could have won. I thought I could save the round by attacking next turn (we were 1-1), but he topdecked a Wasteland and destroyed one of my two lands, rendering me unable to flashback Deep Analysis. Of course I didn’t draw a land, and I lost that turn, dropping out of the tournament.

Now, these are pretty bad mistakes (even though the Analysis one was not too obvious), but it’s not as simple as it looks. Let me give you some perspective. I live in Baltimore, and the tournament was in DC. I had never driven for more than 40 minutes before. I didn’t make any plans for the tournament. On Friday evening before the Saturday tournament (that was supposed to start at 10 AM), I decided (with my girlfriend) that I’d go and stay at a hotel in DC. We arrived at the hotel at 10 PM. I didn’t even have the deck together yet. I couldn’t sleep out of excitement, and I woke up at 6 AM to sleeve the deck up and prepare. We walked to the venue with Marc and Lloyd Frias, and waited for the event, which started extremely late because of the huge turnout. I was already slightly spent by then, and the environment didn’t help either. Here’s another PSA by me to Magic players: Please, wash before a big tournament and put on deodorant. When I sat down with players to both of my sides, my sense of scent was overwhelmed. I don’t know if this is one of those cheap play tactics to distract your opponent, but seriously. I know this is one of those sensitive issues, so I won’t say much, but it’s a big deal. On day 2, I sat next to Gerry Thompson, who played till 1 AM on day 1, and 8AM-10AM on day 2, and when he sat next to me on day 2, it was perfectly clear that he had showered. If even he had the time, you should make the time too. Anyway, after my unlucky plays, I was really demoralized, since I had spent a lot of effort going to the tournament and hadn’t succeeded. Yes, this happens to a lot of people in a lot of tournaments, but this was my first big tournament, and I was actually really hopeful. I had positive expectations from my deck, I had come all the way to DC to “make it”, and there I was, failing myself. That moment was an eye-opener. I decided to try harder the next day, and enjoy the city for the rest of day 1, and left.

Day 2, I realized that I felt even worse. There was even more on my shoulders now, not only did I have all the expectations I had from Day 1, I also had to make up for losing on Day 1 too. I also had slept even worse that night, and for some reason my body ached all over. Also, Legacy is much more complicated than Standard, there are more decks and many more interactions. Add to that the fact that my deck isn’t one of the easiest to play (don’t believe it when everyone says it’s super easy to play, that’s only when you’re goldfishing, if you have a bad hand and your opponent fights back, it’s really hard), I was misplaying all day long. Now, of course, I admit that it was totally my fault and I have no problems admitting that, but it’s not easy on one’s self confidence when this happens.

What does this mean for the future? Am I giving up? Of course not! I’m going to try even harder now! Next time, I’ll plan ahead, and play much more carefully. I also definitely need to playtest more, and I’m also going to make a different deck. I had a conversation with Drew Levin that inspired and encouraged me to make some interesting builds. There’s a lot to be said about the metagame right now, but I’ll do that later. In the meantime, remember that this is, in the end, a game, and you must do what you enjoy. If you enjoy winning, fine. If, like me, you enjoy playing but you still want to win, you need to toughen up. It’s harder for us than it is for the pure Spikes. Just winning is hard enough in itself, but that doesn’t cut it for us. We also need to have FUN doing that. And in the future, I’ll be talking about just how one can do that.

P.S. For questions, comments, feedback, send an e-mail to me at Spreading.Cheese [at] gmail [dot] com or follow me on twitter @nayon7
P.P.S: Want metal? Here you go! The Human Abstract – Digital Veil
Want more metal? I’m now a writer on http://www.heavyblogisheavy.com, so metalheads can check out my writings about metal on there. My username is nayon.
P. P. S: What about that thing I promised in the past few weeks? It’s already in this article in an early form. Coming soon!

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