SCG: Philly Feature Match vs Michael Braverman

Game 1 Notes:

Braverman casts a t1 Brainstorm on my end step.  This usually indicates one of three things: the opponent has a weak hand that is missing a vital component, the player does not understand how powerful saving a Brainstorm can be, or the opponent is a combo deck that is close to going off.  I deduce that his hand is weak, and I opt to Wasteland the green source.  My play was obviously quite rewarding.

On turn two, I play an Aether Vial without playing my second land.  While Baleful Strix is a play that very likely puts him on Shardless, there is a small possibility that he is a Delver deck of some nature that is just getting cute.  This play was meant to bait a Daze.  If my opponent returns his Underground Sea, then I Wasteland the Bayou and my opponent is pretty much back to square one.

On the last turn of the game, you can see me Wasteland a mana source in my main phase, Port a mana source during the beginning of combat step, and finally use my Jitte counters in the declare attackers step.  There’s no need to take any chances.  Let the mana empty before taking action when possible.


Game 2 Notes:

I keep a one land hand on the draw with multiple one drops (two Mother of Runes and a Swords to Plowshares).  These cards should buy me enough time to find lands, even if I brick for a turn or two.  Don’t *always* send back one landers; they can be pretty reasonable at times.

Braverman did not come prepared for this matchup.  Without cards like Golgari Charm or Dread of Night in the sideboard, he was forced to Abrupt Decay my Moms on the first two turns.  This left my Rest in Peace, Umezawa’s Jitte, and Aether Vial to run unchecked and take over the game.

You’ll note that Braveman had two Wastelands while my first three land drops were basic Plains.  While many people try to squeeze maximum value out of their manabase, there are major benefits to having many basics, especially when you mulligan.  My deck for that weekend had 12 Plains since I expected Wastelands to be at a relative high since Eldrazi were the talk of the town.

Braverman Wastelands my Karakas, and the commentators expected me to save it with my Flickerwisp.  The Karakas was unnecessary to anything I had going, so I didn’t want to use it.  That card was there to protect Mirran Crusader and Jitte.  Once Braverman went in for the attack, I figured the coast was clear, so I used the Flickerwisp as a Fog.

While it may look like I navigated this game skillfully, I did make one error.  I realized it immediately afterwards, but I still did it.  When I connected with Mirran Crusader, I used three Jitte counters to remove a Deathrite Shaman and a Tarmogoyf.  I should have either done nothing with the counters or used two counters to push an additional four damage.  Both of those lines play around a top decked Toxic Deluge, one of my opponent’s few outs to the situation.

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Phil Gallagher

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