Guest Tournament Report with Theodore Jung

Theodore Jung had a great run at the SCG Team Open last weekend and offered to write up his experience. The content that follows is his, though I’ve done a bit of editing here and there. -Phil

Hey guys! My name is Theodore Jung and my team finished 13th at the SCG Team Open in Worcester. I was playing Death and Taxes in the Legacy seat, and my friends James and Andy were playing Affinity in Modern and RB Aggro in Standard (respectively). I picked up D&T about 2-3 years ago; now I won’t play anything else. My notable Magic accomplishments include a top 8 at SCG Syracuse in 2014 as well as many top 16/32 finishes at various Opens/Classics.

the team
(psst, I’m the one in the middle)

In the weeks leading up to the event, I spent a good amount of time testing various WW and RW builds. However, all that work became mostly irrelevant when WotC dropped a bomb on us: Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe were banned!

After thinking extensively about what implications this would have and consuming way too many hours of ban-related Legacy content, I made my card choices based on the following assumptions:

-RUG Delver, Miracles, and various flavors of Stoneblade will be the most popular fair decks in the format.
-Reanimator as well as Sneak and Show will make a resurgence and are going to be the most popular combo decks.
-I’m going to be playing the mirror match a lot more often.
-I’m going to play against Kolaghan’s Command and Marsh Casualties a lot less often.
-The mana denial plan involving Wasteland, Port, and Thalia becomes a valid angle of attack without every fair opponent having 4 Deathrite Shamans in their deck.
-People are going to play jank that they’ve somehow convinced is playable because Deathrite got banned.

These are similar conclusions that Phil came to in his video about how the Legacy metagame was going to shift. Thus I made my list very similar to his with minor changes to the sideboard.

D&T

Creatures (25)
Phyrexian Revoker
Brightling
Flickerwisp
Mirran Crusader
Mother of Runes
Recruiter of the Guard
Remorseful Cleric
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Spells (11)
Aether Vial
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Swords to Plowshares
Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (24)
13 Plains
Rishadan Port
Wasteland
Karakas
Sideboard: (15)
Sword of War and Peace
Ethersworn Canonist
Faerie Macabre
Leonin Relic-Warder
Sanctum Prelate
Rest in Peace
Path to Exile
Surgical Extraction
Cataclysm
Council’s Judgment

Since Phil has discussed his reasoning for including Brightling/Remorseful Cleric in his 75 extensively, I want to talk about some minor differences in my sideboard.

Faerie Macabre instead of 2nd Surgical Extraction
This is a very minor change that’s mostly irrelevant. I just wanted a way to interact with the graveyard right when I play Recruiter of the Guard on turn 3 without needing to have a Vial. I expected a lot of BR Reanimator at this team event, both because of the Deathrite ban and it being a deck that an inexperienced pilot can pick up easily. Having the option to search for Faerie Macabre can be the difference between losing and winning games, however rarely it may come up.

Cataclysm over the third Recruiter and Brightling
I opted for Cataclysm since it provides a unique effect in D&T that it lacks otherwise. The card can restore the board to parity when you’re behind. I was considering this or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in the flex slot, but I felt like the merits of playing Cataclysm were going to come up more this weekend. It’s great against Miracles and Stoneblade while also hosing random strategies such as Tezzerator, MUD, Elves, Enchantress, and Goblins.


Matches and Sideboarding:
(Sorry if I forgot to write down your name, it was a long weekend)

Round 1- Merfolk (1-2)
Game 1: My opponent sticks a Vial on turn one and I keep a hand with 2 Thalias, a Recruiter, a Vial, and 3 lands. I draw the third Thalia and die to 2 True-Name Nemesis and a lord.
Game 2: I play a Vial on turn 1 and play Stoneforge on turn 2 grabbing Sword of Fire and Ice. They play a True-Name on turn 3, which I have Council’s Judgment for. He didn’t play anything relevant after, which let Sword of Fire and Ice on Brightling clean up the rest.
Game 3: Sort of a repeat of game 1. I play Stoneforge on turn 2 grabbing Sword of Fire and Ice and then Flickerwisp on turn 3 to grab Jitte. However, my opponent played 2 consecutive True-Name Nemesis and then Vialed in a Phantasmal Image to make a third. I scooped up my cards soon after.
Sideboarding:
-4 Thalia, -1 Revoker, +2 Council’s Judgment, +2 Path, +1 Relic-Warder

Round 2- Sneak and Show (2-1)
Game 1: I don’t remember much about this game. I think I played Thalia and Wasteland + Ported them so they couldn’t do anything.
Game 2: My opponent played a turn 2 Show and Tell into Omniscience + Emrakul. I didn’t have Flickerwisp to delay it for a turn or a Leonin Relic-Warder. Welp.
Game 3: I have turn 1 Vial, turn 2 Thalia, into turn 3 Port + Wasteland. My opponent plays Sorcerous Spyglass on his turn 4 naming Port (which I have 2 of in play). I Vial in a Flickerwisp to flicker his Spyglass at the end of my turn, Port him twice on his upkeep, and I have lethal on the next turn.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Stoneforge, -1 Cleric, -1 Jitte, +2 Council’s Judgment, +2 Canonist, +1 Sword of War and Peace, +1 Prelate, +1 Relic-Warder

Round 3: Micheal on Czech Pile without DRS (0-2)
Game 1: My memory of this one is a little hazy. However, I do remember making a mistake by attacking my opponent with a Brightling equipped with a Batterskull instead of an Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver that had a bunch of cards under it. I also saw a Grove of the Burnwillows that told me he was playing Punishing Fire.
Game 2: I lost this game to Punishing Fire + Grove. My Sword of Fire and Ice got Abrupt Decayed as well.Thankfully my teammates carried me by winning their matches.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -2 Revoker, -1 Jitte,-1 Plains, +2 Cataclysm, +2 Judgment, +2 Rest in Peace, +1 Prelate, +1 Sword of War and Peace

Round 4: George on Grixis Delver (2-0)
Game 1: I plowed an early Delver, but then my opponent played a Gurmag Angler. Unfortunately for him, it turns out an unanswered Batterskull with Sword of Fire and Ice and Jitte on it beats a 5/5 zombie fish. I saw Thought Scour so I was inclined to board in Rest in Peace.
Game 2: I play a turn 1 Vial and Rest in Peace on two. He plays two Delvers. One gets Plowed and the other trades with a Vialed in Flickerwisp. Brightling cleans up.
Sideboarding:
-2 Recruiter, -2 Revoker, +2 Path, +2 Rest in Peace

Round 5: Drago on UWR Stoneblade (0-2)
Game 1: I don’t remember this one well, but I believe I eventually died to Jitte or Batterskull on a True-Name after all of my stuff got Plowed.
Game 2: I keep a hand with 2 Revokers, 2 Ports, a Wasteland, Plains, and Karakas on the play. Both of my Revokers as well as the Thalia I drew get answered. I drew 4 consecutive plains after drawing Thalia on turn 2 and die to a Jitte on a Snapcaster.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Plains, -1 Cleric, +2 Cataclysm, +2 Judgment, +1 Relic-Warder, +1 SoWaP

Round 6: Death and Taxes (2-1)
Game 1: I keep an iffy hand of Vial, 2 Ports, Stoneforge, 2 Plains, and a Wasteland. My opponent has two Mother of Runes in play, which I eventually Revoker away along with his Jitte. However, he puts Sword of Fire and Ice on Flickerwisp and starts mowing down my dudes.
Game 2: I play Stoneforge on turn 2 and Flickerwisp it on turn 3 to grab Jitte and Sword of War and Peace. I slap SoWaP and Jitte on my Flickerwisp. It felt pretty dirty.
Game 3: I keep an questionable hand with no white mana on 6 cards with Vial, Jitte, Plow, and a Mom. It turns out my opponent also kept a hand with no white mana. I end up finding Recruiter and making an army of Wisps. He gets stuck on 1 basic plains so I Flicker his Vial to send him back to the stone age. Wisps and Brightling finish the rest.
Sideboarding:
-4 Thalia, -2 Cleric, +2 Judgment, +2 Path, +1 Relic-Warder, +1 SoWaP

Round 7: TES (2-1)
Game 1: He has a slow hand and I eventually find Thalia.
Game 2: I play a Mom turn 1 on the draw and I get Ad Nauseumed turn 2.
Game 3: My opponent mulls to a 6-card no-lander with Chrome Mox to cantrip for a land. He doesn’t find one. I play Thalia and Revoker naming Chrome Mox. He scoops.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Stoneforge, -1 Plains, -1 Jitte, -2 flickerwisp +2 Canonist, +1 Surgical, +1 Faerie, +1 Relic-Warder, +1 SoWaP, +1 Prelate, +2 Cataclysm

Round 8: UR Omnitell (2-1)
Game 1: I play Thalia on turn 2 and deny his mana long enough until I have lethal.
Game 2: He plays Show and Tell into Omniscience into Enter the Infinite on turn 2.
Game 3: He Show and Tells in an Omniscience and I Flickerwisp it away for a turn. I also have a Thalia and a Vial in play. I pass after attacking him and he Ponders then shuffles by paying one with Ancient Tomb. He Brainstorms…… and passes. Apparently he found nothing with his cantrips and Brainstorm locked himself. I have more than enough time to attack for lethal.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Stoneforge, -1 Jitte, -1 Cleric, +2 Judgment, +2 Canonist, +1 Relic-Warder, +1 SoWaP, +1 Prelate

Round 9: Alexander on ANT (2-0)
Game 1: My opponent mulligans and I Port him off mana for a while until I topdeck a Thalia.
Game 2: My opponent plays Dread of Night on turn 1. However, he doesn’t combo quickly and Infernal Tutors for a Dark Ritual, then passes. I Surgically extract the Tutor and nab 2 more from his hand. Nice! The rest of his hand is 4 Rituals and a Tendrils of Agony. I draw Rest in Peace next turn. He plays an second irrelevant Dread of Night and Batterskull + SoWaP takes care of the rest.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Stoneforge, -1 Plains, -1 Jitte, -2 flickerwisp +2 Canonist, +1 Surgical, +1 Faerie, +1 Relic-Warder, +1 SoWaP, +1 Prelate, +2 Rest in Peace

Round 10: Dan Jessup on RUG Delver (0-2)
Game 1: I keep a Vial hand with no colored mana on 6 and get Nimble Mongoosed to death.
Game 2: I make a minor mistake that let my opponent Abrade my Batterskull by Wastelanding me off the third land. This would cost me the game since I had Rest in Peace in play and got memed to death by three 1/1 Mongooses while I drew running Plows. Sad times.
Sideboarding:
-2 Revoker, -2 Recruiter, +2 Path, +2 Rest in Peace

Round 11: Jake on Grixis Tezzerator (2-0)
Game 1: I lead with a Vial and my opponent plays a turn 1 Mox Diamond and a land. He misses his second land drop and plays another Diamond. I Revoker both away and grab a Sword of Fire and Ice to attack through his Baleful Strixes.
Game 2: My opponent mulls to 5 and I Cataclysm him on turn 4 when he has a bunch of stuff in play. I then Revoker his stuff away and hit them for the last few points with SoFaI on a Mirran Crusader.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Mom, +2 Cataclysm, +2 Judgment, +1 Relic-Warder

Round 12: Gerard Fabiano on UW Stoneblade (1-1-1)
Game 1: He forces my turn 1 Vial but gets stuck on 2 Plains and never draws any blue mana. Stoneforge and the crew cleans up.
Game 2: This game goes really long. I have 2 Brightlings in play at some point and one gets dealt with. He assembles TNN with Batterskull and Jitte and I attempt to Cataclysm him after playing a Flickerwisp. However, it gets Dazed out of nowhere and a 7/5 unblockable lifelinker with Jitte is good enough to get the job done for Gerard.
Game 3: This game looked a lot like game 2 except my Cataclysm resolved. I kept a Flickerwisp attached to a Batterskull and a Plains. He keeps Batterskull equipped to TNN and a Plains. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and since the Modern and Standard seats split matches, it ended in a draw.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Plains, -1 Jitte, +2 Judgment, +2 Cataclysm, +1 SoWaP, +1 Relic-Warder

Round 13: Paolo on Grixis Control (0-2)
Game 1: I get a Sword of Fire and Ice on a Mirran Crusader and put him down to 4. However, he Kcommands my Sword and bolts my crusader. Darn. I never get down another threat and die to Jace and an Angler.
Game 2: This one was kind of crazy. We trade resources in the early turns and we get to a point where we’re both at a very low life total and on topdeck mode. He plays a Liliana, the Last Hope and after a couple turns, is about to ultimate it. I draw a Recruiter and go grab a Crusader which would deal lethal if I untap with it. Unfortunately, Paolo topdecks a Jace and bounces my crusader. I die to a horde of zombie tokens.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Plains, -2 Revoker, +2 Cataclysm, +2 Council’s Judgment, +1 Prelate, +2 Rest in Peace

Round 14: Matthew on Sneak and Show (2-0)
Game 1: My opponent mulls to 5 in game 1, and I have a turn 2 Thalia. He gets stuck on an Ancient Tomb that I kept Porting and an Island. He plays a Lotus Petal at some point, telling me he’s on Sneak and Show.
Game 2: He plays a turn 2 Show and Tell into Emrakul, which I Karakas a turn later. On turn 3 he slams Sneak Attack which eats a Council’s Judgment. My opponent doesn’t have anything else after and gets beaten down by a bunch of weenies. In retrospect, I think I got really lucky by having a hand with answers that lined up really well with the threats he did have.
Sideboarding:
-4 Plow, -1 Stoneforge, -1 Cleric, -1 Jitte, +2 Council’s Judgment, +2 Canonist, +1 Sword of War and Peace, +1 Prelate, +1 Relic-Warder

Round 15: Ethan on RUG Delver (2-1)
Game 1: My opponent just can’t deal with a Brightling with an active Mom.
Game 2: I play Rest in Peace on Turn 2 but he Stifles the trigger. He attacks me down with Tarmogoyf while dealing with all of my stuff. He plays Sulfur Elemental to kill my Mom and Thalia and I lose shortly after.
Game 3: I play a Vial into Mom into Thalia. He can’t find a third land for Sulfur Elemental even with an active Sylvan Library and 2 Brightlings kill him.
Sideboarding:
-2 Revoker, -2 Recruiter, +2 Path, +2 Rest in Peace
It might be good to find room for Council’s Judgment since RUG players tend to bring in silly things like True-Name Nemesis and Sylvan Library. Worst case it deals with one of their threats for 3 mana.

Individual Record: 9-5-1
Team Record: 10-4-1


Conclusion:
To be honest, my play wasn’t immaculate throughout the course of the tournament. There were definitely spots (such as round 10 against RUG) where I made a couple of poor judgment calls that let my opponent crawl back into the game. I definitely got luckier than usual and didn’t play against any horrible matchups. I also think my experience with the Legacy format paid off, since I’ve been playing against all of these decks for years. Now, I want to examine which parts of the deck over/underperformed in my opinion.

Overperformed:
Phyrexian Revoker: I almost always wanted to draw Revoker in most of my matches except against RUG Delver. Being able to turn off opposing planeswalkers, combos, and equipment was a huge factor in winning the matches I did. With Sneak and Show picking up in steam and Delver being less popular as a whole post-ban, I would strongly recommend playing 3 going forward.

Brightling: Phil has sung his praises about this card endlessly. After this event, I couldn’t agree more. It was completely game-warping in all of my fair matchups when I played it and served as a quick clock against Sneak and Show and Storm. I’m still not sure about playing the third in the sideboard but anyone who’s not playing 2 in the maindeck is doing themselves a huge disservice.

Stoneforge Mystic: If I had to attribute most of my wins to anything other than the mana denial package, it would be Stoneforge Mystic. Kolaghan’s Command is at an all-time low which means free wins by grabbing a Batterskull with a turn 2 Stoneforge are a thing again. Even being able to fetch Sword of Fire and Ice and establishing a clock against combo was super relevant.

Underperformed:
Remorseful Cleric: I did not play against any graveyard decks during the entire tournament so my opinion of this card may be a bit skewed. It was lackluster in most of my matchups and I frequently found myself sideboarding a copy out. As for whether this card is good in the bigger picture, we can observe that there were 0 copies of Reanimator in the day 2 metagame and only one copy in the top 16 of the Classic. It seems like graveyard decks are underperforming right now due to people being over-prepared for them; I don’t expect that to change much in the coming weeks. Maybe trimming or cutting Cleric and adding a Serra Avenger would be optimal since it is another flier that races True-Name pretty well.

24 lands: Phil recently went up to 24 lands but the higher land count turned out to be a liability for me. I had almost no problem hitting my land drops but got flooded frequently in long games against fair decks. I understand why the deck would want more mana at its disposal with Brightling, but situations where you don’t draw it, drawing 4+ copies of basic Plains feels miserable. I boarded out the 13th Plains throughout the tournament fairly often and see myself cutting it from the deck.

Faerie Macabre: I thought that having a tutorable Surgical Extraction would be relevant in an expected field with a lot of Reanimator. However, Faerie Macabre proved to be lackluster, having boarded it in once throughout the entire tournament against ANT. Surgical can come in against a variety of combo and graveyard-based decks other than Reanimator, which is often more relevant than the few percentage points the deck gets from including Faerie. I will be playing 2 Surgicals going forward.

Unsure:
Cataclysm/Gideon: Cataclysm is the card that I’m the most unsure about in the 75. While it has gotten me out of jams this weekend, I missed just being able to proactively slam a Gideon on an even board. I think I’ll keep Cataclysm around because the format is still very much up in the air and it is much better at hosing random strategies than Gideon. If anyone has a good argument for one over the other, I’ll be more than happy to hear it.

Going Forward:
All things considered, this is most likely what I’ll be running in SCG Philly:

Revised D&T

Creatures (26)
Phyrexian Revoker
Brightling
Flickerwisp
Mirran Crusader
Mother of Runes
Recruiter of the Guard
Remorseful Cleric
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Serra Avenger

Spells (11)
Aether Vial
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Swords to Plowshares
Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (23)
12 Plains
Rishadan Port
Wasteland
Karakas
Sideboard (15)
Sword of War and Peace
Ethersworn Canonist
Leonin Relic-Warder
Sanctum Prelate
Rest in Peace
Path to Exile
Surgical Extraction
Cataclysm
Council’s Judgment

Overall, I had a blast playing in Worcester. Team Constructed tournaments are often my favorite, since you always end up having a good time with your friends, win or lose. I’ll be playing Death and Taxes in the Team Open at Philadelphia this weekend. Anyways, if you have any questions or comments about the article, please contact me at hojaejung@gmail.com or find me as Theo Jung in the Legacy Death and Taxes Facebook group. I’d love to hear anything you’d have to say!

Thanks for reading and may your Vials always resolve,
Theo Jung

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Phil Gallagher

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