Milan 🇮🇹 | CMS – Fresh New Season

It’s the start to a fresh new season! The previous weekend in Milan some of the best and brightest minds in European Eternal gathered in the Lombard capital of Milan to crown the first champions of the season. And I was there, too! With MKM introducing the so-called “Power 8” rewards system, my plans are to hit all their events this season, hopefully finishing among the Top8 players in their leaderboard to collect the sweet attendance rewards of up to 300,- € per event. Last year Milan was my first step in establishing a strong lead in the rankings that I would not drop until the end of the season — and I was determined to repeat this performance in 2017! Kind of. As determined as someone not playing Miracles can be, I guess. At least the other players on the tour think my odds are pretty good.

No Pressure.

Our team for this ride consisted of:

Christian Reuschel — Food Chain
Duc “Le Canard” Tran
— Death & Taxes
Marius Hausmann — Food Chain
Me — Elves

Friday- Grand Legacy Trial

Conveniently for us, the Grand Legacy Trial on Friday would only start at 2pm, meaning that we could just make our way from Munich in the morning. After an uneventful ~5h ride, we arrive at the legendary Casa dei Gnocchi Giochi. Last time we stayed here I misspelt the venue’s name, leading our host to believe we were in town for some weird pasta fetish party or something. Here’s what I played and how my trial went:

Creatures (27)
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Nettle Sentinel
3 Heritage Druid
3 Quirion Ranger
2 Birchlore Rangers
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze

Sorceries (11)
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Natural Order

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Nissa, Vital Force
Lands (20)
4 Gaea's Cradle
2 Windswept Heath
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Bayou
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Forest
2 Dryad Arbor
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Pendelhaven

Sideboard (15)
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Thoughtseize
3 Surgical Extraction
2 Winter Orb

I initially wanted to run three Winter Orbs in the board, but Marius convinced me to go with the third Surgical Extraction because he expected “a lot of crap decks” to show up. Previously, while still busy hunting down that third copy, I eventually decided to just scrape off the super thick layer of paint on one of my “altered” Winter Orbs I once wanted to submit for a Secret Santa but ultimately decided against since it turned out really (for the lack of better words) repulsively ugly. Scratch-off Magic cards, you’ve heard it here first. Take note, Wizards of the Coast!

Before => After

Round 1 — UR Painter 2:0 WIN
Round 2 — Miracles — 1:2 LOSS
Round 3 — GBr Nic Fit — 2:1 WIN (but scooped since I was paired up vs my friend Tomáš Vlček)
Round 4 — Miracles — 1:2 LOSS
Round 5 — Elves — 2:1 WIN
Final Record: 3-2 // 2-3 – No Byes for me

In the first round my opponent was about to Grindstone himself but accidentally flipped over a couple more cards, leading the judge to issue a Warning and instruct him to shuffle his deck. This turned out really bad for him as it looked like Painter’s Servant might have been his third card down, which would have put him in an excellent position to win the game from there.

After losing R2 to Miracles, I was paired up against everyone’s friendly neighborhood Czech Miracles player Tomáš Vlček. With the 2 Byes only awarded to the winning player, I didn’t want to stand in my friend’s way, but still wanted to ensure I could get a competitive match versus him. So instead of outright telling him I was going to concede I secretly wrote “I will concede if I win this” on a piece of paper and hid it under our playmats. What followed was a very intense game3 I can only describe as Nissa, Vital Force vs Meren of Clan Nel Toth. Getting a 5/5 every turn is surprisingly bad when your opponent has access to recurring Veteran Explorers. “Fortunately” Tomáš eventually ran out of basic lands and soon found ~12 of his lands semi-locked under my polar bears’ grip of death. Problem was, I also didn’t really do too much as I kept drawing lands and useless spells. Since Nissa was also constantly on the verge of dying to some giant Scavenging Ooze Tomáš had assembled, my board was stuck in “Abyss Mode”. Best I could do was to improvise and build my own Constant Mists, throwing one of my lands in front of the Ooze-bus every turn in order to keep my Planeswalker alive with their noble sacrifices. Eventually Tomáš just had Overwhelming Forces overwhelming forces, leading me to trade my Planeswalker in for her emblem. And then another one soon after. Drawing FOUR cards per Fetchland, I was finally able to overcome Tomáš’ rag-tag crew of random value dudes and bury them deep underneath a Behemoth stampede. Great game! Afterwards I turned over my hidden trap card underneath the playmat and filled out the slip in his favor. He would later unfortunately lose the finals to David “I-Top8ed-the-Bazaar-with-a-73-card-maindeck” Teze’s latest mad creation: Daze Elves.

As for me, I unfortunately dropped another match to Spy Network Miracles. Looks like the format’s finally adjusting to the Birchlore Rangers menace.

Saturday- Modern Main Event

The tragedy of writing is that you can’t see the countless attempts I have made to come up with a clever introduction to the Modern part of this weekend. Looking back, I did actually spend more time trying to think of something witty to say than I spent on thinking about which deck to play in Modern this year. Yeah, I really don’t care much about the format. I’m just happy I was lucky enough to find something stupid that works. Here’s the list Rodrigo had shipped me:

Creatures (4)
4 Simian Spirit Guide

Sorceries (24)
4 Ad Nauseam
4 Angel’s Grace
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Serum Visions
3 Pact of Negation
3 Spoils of the Vault
1 Lightning Storm
1 Conflagrate

Artifacts (8)
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Pentad Prism

Enchantments (4)
4 Phyrexian Unlife
Lands (20)
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Temple of Deceit
2 Plains
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Temple of Enlightenment

Sideboard (15)
4 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Darkness
2 Spell Pierce
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Patrician’s Scorn
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Pact of Negation
1 Laboratory Maniac

As I have mentioned in previous articles, times have gotten tougher for Ad Nauseam. Not only are people now packing Surgical Extractions because of Dredge.dec (a card barely seen before in Modern), there’s also a new sheriff in town: Death’s Shadow has been bossing around the format ever since it became a real deck a couple of months ago. Who would have thought a playset Urza’s Bauble would end up being worth more than Tarmogoyf? Oh Modern, you never fail to amaze me. Anyway, while I was thinking about picking up Death’s Shadow myself, WotC’s recent announcement of heavily decreased support for the format made me hesitant. I never really liked the format to begin with but always played it for the same reason George Mallory said he climbed Mt. Everest for: “Because it’s there.” In the end I just stuck to my guns and went with my (t)rusty Ad Nauseam. Here’s how my tournament went:

Swiss @ Modern

Round 1 — Grixis Death’s Shadow — 1:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Eltronzi — 2:1 WIN
Round 3 — Junk — 2:0 WIN
Round 4 — Living End — 2:1 WIN
Round 5 —
Grixis Control1:2 LOSS
Round 6 — Merfolk — 2:0 WIN
Round 7 — Sun and Moon — 2:1 WIN
Round 8 —
UWr Control — 2:0 WIN
Final Record: 6-2 for 15th out of 117 players

Funny enough, my only two losses came at the hand of the two cards I had previously identified as the two biggest problems for Ad Nauseam these days: a disruptive Death’s Shadow deck as well as Surgical Extraction in Grixis Control. Albeit I gotta admit I made a huge sideboarding blunder in the first round, keeping in Slaughter Pact after seeing both Death’s Shadow and Tasigur, the Golden Fang in game 2. Despite promptly drawing it in our final game, I came pretty close to overcoming my opponent throwing every discard and counterspell my way, but eventually fell a couple of mana short. It sucks to start off with a loss, but next to Infect and Eldrazi & Taxes, this felt like one of the worst matchups I could face.

Angel rocking his new brew

In round 5 I was paired against Tômás Mår (of “Czech pile” fame) piloting the usual greed.dec he became known for in pretty much every format. Usually these decks are great matchups for Ad Nauseam as they’re pretty clunky, have no real clock and can’t rarely afford to tap out at the end of their opponent’s turn. You will still drop a game to them every once in a while, especially when you don’t have Leyline of Sanctity (which is how I lost game2) but overall should be able to comfortably overcome them. It also helps that quite often their only way to deal with a resolved Phyrexian Unlife is Cryptic Command, allowing you to Ad Nauseam and Spoils of the Vault much safer and freely. Accordingly, I managed to set up a board state in game3 where I had said Unlife in play and was sitting on 3 copies of Ad Nauseam, ready draw a counterspell at Tómâ’s end of turn, untap and follow up with even more Ad Nauseams (including Pact of Negation backup!). What could ever go wrong? This was pretty much the perfect hand, it would take an insane amount of countermagic to…..ah fuck, there’s Surgical Extraction. Remember what I said about the format having become harder for Ad Nauseam? My opponent countered my end-of-turn Ad Nauseam and with me tapped out tried to surgically extract it from my graveyard. At this point I had to just blow my Pact of Negation in order to stay in this game. Unfortunately for me, Tømåš was able to follow things up with a Cryptic Command bouncing my Phyrexian Unlife, killing me in the process since my life total was already well below zero from his previous attacks. In a way, Surgical Extraction acts like a 0 mana supplemental Cryptic Command with a locked-in second mode of “you probably win the game.” Not bad.

Round 6 saw me go up against a nice Merfolk player who however constantly reminded the two of us that he had won the Grand Modern Trial the day before and how unlucky he had gotten to only face bad matchups following his 2 Byes. That’s something I just can’t get behind. I already feel a bit ashamed whenever I’m complaining about bad matchups to my friends (after all, everyone complains about something at times), but complaining to strangers is something I actively try to avoid. You’ve only got one chance to make a first impression and I’d rather leave a good one. Like, I’m 99% sure my opponent in general probably isn’t super whiny, but that’s just the first impression he gave me and what I will remember him for next time I see him. I’m perhaps reading way too much into this anyway, but I have a very distinct philosophy when it comes to complaining in competitive games: never complain about variance, complain about structure. Meaning if there’s something generally wrong, complain as much as you can in order to get it fixed; but don’t complain about variance unless the source of it is structural in nature, e.g. a powerful card with huge inherent variance or a weird tournament structure. If it is not, complaining about “random” variance itself is rather pointless.

My Modern Decklist

Anyway. I win a couple more games and end up in Top16. The list itself felt strong, even though I wish we had a good way of fighting Surgical Extraction, like maybe Dispel, but probably rather something better like Relic of Progenitus even; Relic earns bonus points for also not using mana, countering Snapcaster Mages and replacing itself. However, I can’t really see myself cutting the two Spell Pierces for it, which performed incredibly well countering Blood Moons, Stony Silences, Liliana of the Veils, Chalice of the Voids and discard spells left and right.

After I collect my prize, Marius, Duc and I head to our favourite pizza place for dinner. Marius, after dropping out of Modern, has won Saturday’s Grand Legacy Trial, taking down Duc in the finals. (Duc, I don’t know how he does it. Every single time I watch him, he’s constantly punting horribly. But then I turn away,  only to come back 4 matches he’s suddenly 4-1. In a way he’s like the Eurydice of Legacy.) Reuschel, Duc and I order one pizza each while Marius is a little hungrier:

Marius: “Two pizzas. One with..”
Waiter: “Just one pizza!”
Marius: “Just one pizza? But I want..”
Waiter: “Sorry, just one pizza.”

I’m still not sure what exactly happened there, but it looked like Marius’ order had encountered a critical error. After a couple more issues we eventually manage to reboot the waiter and Marius finds a temporary fix by ordering one pizza, immediately followed by another one. Checkmate, restaurant algorithm! After dinner we stop by some Indian corner store where we pick up a couple supplies just like we did the night before. Back then the place had already struck me as pretty sketchy since they didn’t have price labels for anything and my random bar of chocolate was 2.50 €. When Reuschel asks me about the price I jokingly tell him that it would probably be 5,- € today as the guy was likely just feeling out how high he could go with us. Little did I know that’s exactly what the store keeper was asking for today as he immediately sticks his five fingers into Reuschel’s face as he puts the chocolate on the counter. After we left the shop I tell Marius about it — who then instantly grabs Reuschel and turns around. Back at the shop Marius starts arguing with the guy, telling him his prices are usury and how he would call “la policia” if he didn’t take back the chocolate. The two of them have a short shouting match at the end of which the chocolate bar is actually taken back and eternal justice is restored to the animal kingdom or shit. Reuschel goes to bed without chocolate that night.

On a more tournament-specific note, special shout-outs go to Angelo Cadei, who made Modern Splinter Twin Swahili Twin great again!

Angelo Cadei – UWr Copy Cat – Top8 at MKM Milan Modern 2017

Creatures (11)
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Felidar Guardian
2 Wall of Omens
1 Vendilion Clique

Instants & Sorceries (24)
4 Serum Visions
4 Remand
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
3 Spreading Seas
2 Cryptic Command
2 Dispel
1 Spell Snare

Planeswalker (4)
4 Saheeli Rai
Lands (21)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
2 Hallowed Fountain
2 Island
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Arid Mesa
1 Desolate Lighthouse

SIdeboard (15)
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Negate
1 Celestial Purge
1 Blessed Alliance
1 Lightning Helix
1 Wear // Tear
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Timely Reinforcements

Yoshi opted for a different competition.

The obvious Swahili Saheeli combo aside, this deck is full of amazing synergies! Something I saw Angelo do was to über-Fact of Fiction his Jace, Architect of Thought by using Felidar Guardian to blink it. On another occasion he would activate the +1 twice in order to stop an otherwise lethal attack. Another tricky play that might not always be obvious is to blink your own Spreading Seas; if the opponent is tight on colored sources, this forces him to float mana for a potential removal spell as he otherwise wouldn’t be able to react to the resolution of Felidar Guardian‘s trigger, moving Spreading Seas to one of his untapped lands. Apart from that, you can always just Saheeli Rai or Felidar Guardian your own value-creatures like Snapcaster Mage or Wall of Omens to pull ahead in those long and grindy games Modern has always been known for…

I really love Angelo’s deck. And that’s coming from someone who always considered UWr control to be almost unplayable in Modern.

Sunday – Legacy Main Event

Finally it’s time for Legacy! For the main event I made a couple of changes as even though Italy is always full of Miracles, there’s usually even more Delver everywhere. And as much as I liked Winter Orb during my testing, I decided to revert back to the Artifact/Enchantment-less sideboard for the matchup as Wear/Tear is just too much of a beating. On top of that, the advantage generated by those card types is only temporary as per their nature, meaning that in a significant amount of games you’ll get little to no value out of them. I still wanted something with the potential to hit hard against Miracles, which I expected to show up in full force, but unfortunately the best card we currently have that fits my requirements is Krosan Grip. It’s super dedicated to Miracles with minor splash damage to Infect and potentially Omniscience if all the stars align.

Here’s what I played and how my tournament went:

Creatures (27)
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Nettle Sentinel
3 Heritage Druid
3 Quirion Ranger
2 Birchlore Rangers
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze

Sorceries (11)
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Natural Order

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Nissa, Vital Force
Lands (20)
4 Gaea's Cradle
2 Windswept Heath
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Bayou
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Forest
2 Dryad Arbor
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Pendelhaven

Sideboard (15)
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Thoughtseize
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa's Jitte

Swiss @ Legacy

Round 1 — Pox — 2:1 WIN
Round 2 — <opponent didn’t show up> — 2:0 WIN
Round 3 — Shardless BUG — 2:0 WIN
Round 4 — 4c Delver — 2:0 WIN
Round 5 — ANT — 2:1 WIN
Round 6 — Infect —  1:2 LOSS
Round 7 — 4c Delver — 1:2 LOSS
Round 8 — Rakdos Dragon Stompy — 2:1 WIN
Final Record: 6-2 for 10th out of 134 players.

Legacy-wise, I’m picking things right up where I left them at MKM Prague, dropping two win-and-ins in a row, only to end up at an unsatisfying 10th place. Match-wise, here’s a couple of interesting situations I encountered:

Swamp, Dark Ritual, Liliana of the Veil.” — Uargh, what a way to start into the tournament. Funny enough, despite my opponent’s insanely good start, I still manage to stay in the game and eventually just barely fall to a couple of Lingering Souls tokens I couldn’t block with my sizable ground force. After quickly taking down game 2 on the back of overwhelming card advantage, I finally get to apply my deep understanding of the POX matchup: after my opponent passes with just a Swamp I don’t play my Nettle Sentinel on the first turn and instead summon Quirion Ranger. In a vacuum Nettle Sentinel is a much better turn1 drop as it not only brings the better beatz but also allows for a couple of turn2-kill scenarios. However, Quirion Ranger is the far superior turn1 drop against the card I fear the most in the matchup: Smallpox. When I put it onto the table you could even see a short moment hesitation in my opponent, followed by the realization that his plan of turn2 Smallpox suddenly doesn’t sound as attractive anymore. He instead goes for a Hymn to Tourach that hits some random Elves out of my hand, but just makes him fall behind even further when he casts Smallpox soon after and sacrifices an untapped Wasteland to it. Had he tapped it for mana he could have at least flashbacked the Lingering Souls he discarded, but I guess he had already mentally given up on the game…which it pretty much was as my crew of card-advantage addicts takes him down soon after!

Everything ready for round 2, except the opponent

In round 2, my opponent didn’t show up. Turns out MKM automatically registered all players who had at least 1 *Bye* into the event, no matter whether they had actually shown up or not. I understand that this made registration much easier for them as they didn’t have to manually confirm all preregistrations on site, but it felt a bit weird since overall there were like 4 or 5 players who didn’t have an opponent this round.

In round 3 I am paired against a guy of the “I’m the man!” variety. His deck is all Japanese(?) foil and mostly altered, playing on a black leather playmat. Fortunately he hadn’t really received the memo and was still playing Shardless in the Food Chain meta. Over the course of our games he resolves something like 5 Ancestral Visions, which only end up drawing him into more mediocre cards and a couple of Gray Ogres that cantripped. I eventually cast Nissa, Vital Force, which he picks up to read, then untaps only to concede right after. In game2, we both don’t really do much for most for several turns, until I eventually committed a couple of Elves to the board, cast Natural Order (meets Force of Will), set a Cavern of Souls to “Beast” and pass the turn. My opponent is sitting on 5 lands + a Wasteland at this point which I just had to play right into, hoping he wouldn’t use it. My last two cards are a Craterhoof Behemoth and a Gaea’s Cradle. I figured that if I lead with Cradle and had it Wastelanded, that would probably be worse than losing my Cavern as I would still get to at least try for Behemoth. To my total surprise my opponent just passes back without using his Wasteland. I just play the most powerful card in Legacy, followed by the second-best 8-drop ever printed and my opponent packs it in. He makes a couple of angry remarks about my deck and mocks me personally but whatever. I had to deal with this idiot for half an hour, he has to deal with himself for the rest of his life.

Yoshi was sick & tired of losing to Food Chain

For round 4 I am up against Rodrigo. He reminds me that I have won both our previous encounters on MTGO, which I am somewhat oblivious to, but I take it as a good sign. In the first game I immediately notice he must have maindeck Abrupt Decay since his first Fetchland of the game finds him Tropical Island. I soon get him to pretty much where I want him to be: with double Deathrite Shaman on the table and an already dwindling life total, his only real out is to attempt a tutor chain or overwhelm me with a something like triple Infernal Tutor. When he casts a Cabal Ritual with exactly 7 cards in the yard I’m thinking long about whether I should deny him the 2 extra mana but eventually decide against it. Looking back, I should have at least tried eating one of his lands with one of my DRS, as I would have needed to do so anyway for my second DRS activation (my board was two “live” DRS, Quirion Ranger, an untapped Bayou and some irrelevant cards); it wouldn’t have mattered this game as Rodrigo later told me he would have had me either way since he already had enough mana in hand — but that’s no reason to not analyze and realize you have made a mistake. In game2 I mulligan to 6 and keep a fast hand without any disruption but a Scavenging Ooze. After his (I think) turn 2 Duress fizzles on my hand of just creatures and lands, I topdeck Thoughtseize which sees a hand of just Past in Flames, Echoing Truth and lands. I take the Truth, pass and eventually win the game as Rodrigo couldn’t assemble a kill fast enough. For our final game I keep an ok hand with Deathrite Shaman, Wirewood Symbiote, Cavern of Souls, Bayou and a couple of spells I don’t remember. I keep as a turn1 DRS is always a great start against ANT and later summon my Symbiote with Cavern on turn2 to keep up black for my DRS activation. From what I remember Rodrigo leads with a couple of Gitaxian Probes, but then misses a land drop on turn 2 or 3. I soon add a Nettle Sentinel to my board and eventually get him down to 8 life. While Rodrigo is thinking about what to do on his turn I count the damage I have on the table: a Nettle Sentinel and Wirewood Symbiote attack for 3, a DRS activation for 2 more, untap DRS by bouncing Nettle Sentinel postcombat, replay Nettle Sentinel, then activate DRS for mana on Rodrigo’s Upkeep after bouncing Nettle Sentinel to untap it and for 2 more….that’s seven, meaning I would be one damage short. I think about the cards I could draw that would give me the win: Quirion Ranger, Natural Order, Green Sun’s Zenith and Pendelhaven. Rodrigo eventually passes back to me, I draw and it is Pendelhaven, giving me the needed pump on Wirewood Symbiote to deal exactly 8 damage and advance to 5-0.

Did you notice something about the above paragraph? Neither Rodrigo nor I were aware of it during the game, but I actually re-casted my Nettle Sentinel with Cavern of Souls — which had previously been set to Insect instead of the usual Elves when I casted Wirewood Symbiote on turn2. After the game is over one of my friends who was watching asks me about the play which is when I realize what had happened. He tells me not to do anything about it since it was an honest mistake, but I feel sick to my stomach about it; not only because of the play itself but especially since it had happened against a friend. I immediately find Rodrigo and asked him whether he had killed me had I given him one more turn. He says no since he was holding 3 Abrupt Decays, which at least somewhat alleviated some of the sickness I was feeling. Had he told me had the win ready I would have found the scorekeeper and told him to reverse the score on our match slip. Still, there’s a chance he could have drawn Lion’s Eye Diamond, which might have allowed him to empty his hand and take the game; it’s not likely, but I still felt really bad because of it. Eventually I decide that should I Top8, I would give Rodrigo half of my winnings. (Rodrigo won the following two rounds and then ID’ed into Top8, while I….well, see below)

Duc is making a serious effort at building the ugliest D&T on the planet.

For round 6 I am paired against a Swiss Infect player. I got off to an ok but mana-light start in the first game that doesn’t really have anything special going for me except for my opponent muliganning to 6. As usual, I just swallow his attack with Glistener Elf on turn2, as I pretty much never block early vs Infect; if they have it, they have it. I’d rather not fall behind tempo- and/or even cards-wise in case they have something like Crop Rotation into Pendelhaven or a small pump spell to work as removal. Sometimes they also have the Berserk draw wich circumvents any blocking anyway. My opponent just casts Invigorate and makes me take 5 poison, despite the 2 untapped lands he had. At this point I figure he doesn’t have any other pump spell since he seemed willing to trade his hidden information for the guaranteed poison counters.  On my turn 3 I finally get to develop my board a little better – just enough to pretty much guarantee a win next turn…if I don’t block his attack on turn 3. Tengo grandes cojones…y aún más poison counters soon after as my opponent kills me with Become Immense, which he just couldn’t cast the turn before.

After quickly taking down game2 on the back of just doing the Elves thing, I eventually find myself in a game3 where I have the ground pretty much locked up. My opponent respects Abrupt Decay a lot but eventually attacks with 2 Glistener Elf into my wall of dudes. I block both, he Pendelhavens the one running into Nettle Sentinel and casts a pump spell on the other one running into a 1/1. In response I decay the pumped one and bounce my Nettle Sentinel. It then also helps that I draw another Decay for the turn. Unfortunately for me, my opponent’s next threat is the one I fear the most and one of the main reasons I wish I still had Pithing Needles: Inkmoth Nexus. I spend my next couple turns getting in some mediocre beats and accumulating 2 poison counters a turn while desperately digging for Krosan Grip. At 6 poison, I eventually find Cabal Therapy, which fortunately but not surprisingly reveals a hand of just lands+Berserk, meaning that I am free to take the match upon my next untap. I attack with my guys, then flashback Therapy on Berserk. (Rodrigo later made a good point that my opponent should at least have considered using the Berserk on my Quirion Ranger since she was the best creature I had on board. Instead I got to decide which creature to sacrifice to the flashback, which might or might not have been worth the 1 less damage I did). I pass the turn ready to kill my super flooded opponent on the next turn, but unfortunately for me he finally rips a pump spell off the top of his deck and takes it with Inkmoth Nexus. Good Games!

Marius’ player notes

On to round 7, where I would have my second win-and-in for Top8! My opponent is on BUG Delver, a traditionally good matchup for Elves that somewhat suffered a bit from the introduction of Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Fatal Push. I win the die-roll and keep a hand of 3 spells and 4 lands, only to see 5 of my next 6 draws being lands, too. Delver of Secrets quickly does me in without any resistance worth mentioning. Game2 I return the favor and land a turn 3 Nissa, Vital Force, whose relentless attacks soon earn a concession. Game3 I’m naturally behind again as I’m on the draw but keep a reasonab….never mind, Hymn to Tourach hits Umezawa’s Jitte and Abrupt Decay, leaving me with Gaea’s Cradle and Heritage Druid in hand and a board of just Forest and Dryad Arbor against Insectile Aberration and Deathrite Shaman. I draw 2 Abrupt Decays for my two turns, but can’t cast them while my opponent quickly takes me down to low life. I eventually find Green Sun’s Zenith, which gets me Birchlore Rangers to take down the Delver thanks to the now available black mana.. With my opponent super low on cards, I was hoping to also Decay his Deathrite Shaman the turn after to force both of us into topdeck mode. Instead he draws Toxic Deluge and takes out my board. I don’t recover, he advances to Top8.

For my final match of the weekend I’m paired against Czech Legacy madman Jiri Tuma, who’s piloting some Rakdos Dragon Stompy deck splashing black for Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast. I’m on the play, fetching a basic Forest to cast Wirewood Symbiote, while Jiri sets a Chalice of the Void to 1. Without any plays, I just get in for 1, then play a Fetchland which soon after turns into a Mountain Dryad when Jiri adds Blood Moon to his board. I get in for two and just play another Dryad Arbor Mountain Dryad from my hand. And that’s pretty much all she wrote for that game. Not sure what exactly didn’t work out on Jiri’s end, but my two Mountains and the Insect just get in for 20. He later-on ads an Ensnaring Bridge to the board, but can’t empty his hand quickly enough. Game2 he’s off to a much better start, once again locking down most of my hand with Chalice@1 and Magus of the Moon while ticking up his Chandra, Torch of Defiance. I still get to do a couple of things, slowly working towards getting all the tools I need to overcome his barrage of hate. I am holding Natural Order, but my biggest problem was the lack of a second green mana, meaning that I need to get my hands on Quirion Ranger. Once I finally accomplish that, I am unfortunately already “down” to 15 points of life, which are immediately taken out by Chandra’s ultimate. For the final game, I’m on the play again which is always a horrible scenario for any Chalice- or Moon-based deck. Even though Jiri once again does his usual thing, his deck can’t really keep up with the velocity of a decent draw from Elves and he soon scoops them up when I present Natural Order. Hooray for at least Top16!

All the Trophies!

Marius on the other hand has been tearing things up a lot more than I have! He just drew into Top8 where he’s about to face the same BUG Delver player I had previously lost to, which is great news for him. Food Chain pretty much doesn’t lose to Delver. Even after randomly forgetting about two consecutive attack phases (show boat much?), he still easily takes down the match. And after dispatching Basalt Monolith Ramp (“Big Eldrazi”) in the semifinals, he goes on to even overcome one of his worst matchups in the finals, OmniSneak. And honestly, I’m not even surprised: I was pretty sure Marius would at least Top8 the event, given his skill and the most excellent positioning of Food Chain in the meta right now. The deck is one of the most serious forces in Legacy to be reckoned with and has the added advantage of being almost unplayable on Magic Online (killing with Walking Ballista takes something like 300+ clicks), so a lot of people not only have little practice against it — they might not even be really aware of the deck right now.

At this point, the “BUG Wars” which were set off with the arrival of Leovold, Emissary of Trest have come to an end and Food Chain has emerged as the supreme leader of House Sultai. Among the relevant decks, it’s only Achilles heel is game1 against combo, which it makes up for with usually 11-13 sideboard cards, depending on whether Hydroblasts are applicable or not. I’m currently talking to Marius about him hopefully finding the time and dedication to produce a primer about the deck which would later get published on my blog. Let me (and him!) know if you’d like to read it!

A boy and his dinosaur

Overall, MKM Milan was an ok start to the season even though I was hoping to pick up at least one Top8 along the way. For now I’m focused on Eternal Weekend in Paris (31st March – 2nd April) and a couple other cool projects that will be unveiled later this year. Stay tuned for some really cool stuff!

So long,

Bonus Content:
MKM Milan Legacy Main Event Top8 Decklists

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