It's been a while. I've been pretty busy with Judging stuff, so I haven't been able to update this blog a whole lot. It's been great, though. I got my first two Grand Prix knocked out, including the third-largest GP ever (Jersey).
Jersey was interesting. Ultimately, I felt like I did a decent job, but I felt kind of lost for much of the weekend. I should have been touching base more with my various team leads each day, rather than just assuming I knew what I was doing. I mean, I took calls and gave decent rulings. Just, I was kinda lost much of the time. Also, I definitely need different judge shoes.
San Antonio was a little more like what I'm used to at SCG events. 1100 players instead of 4000. And a carpeted room! (Still need new shoes though.) Smaller teams, and much easier to find a particular person. Plus, San Antonio was a great little town. Okay, it's something like the 6th largest city in the country, but it didn't feel like it. Kinda like a Milwaukee-sized San Diego. (Huh?) And the Riverwalk was amazing. It's like there's this second city underground along a canal. I heard you can drink along it too. I didn't take advantage of that, but it's good to know that it's there. :) I'd like to get back there again someday.
I've also had a couple of Competitive Head Judge gigs. Mox Mania ran it's first SCG IQ thingy, but we fell a little short of the number of players we were hoping for. But it was still a good event. There's a local new-ish L1 that I've kinda taken under my wing, chatting with him during/after events and over email, and I was impressed with how he's been progressing, and I wasn't disappointed with how he did at the IQ. Then this last weekend I ran a PPTQ in Lake Geneva (birthplace of D&D!), which was uneventful, but lots of fun. Good little store down there.
With all that judge stuff going on, I haven't been able to play a whole lot, which is disappointing. But I did finally brew up a Standard deck--Naya Superfriends. Okay, it's pretty much the same deck I played last year, but with Sarkhan, and with Banishing Lights instead of Keening Apparitions. I ran it for the first time last night at Mox's win-a-box Standard event. Briefly, this is how the matches went:
Round 1: vs U/W Heroic. I won a very long, very grindy game 1, he won a quick game 2, and he won a quick game 3 (after I kept a very loose 7--six lands and Sarkhan). I think this matchup is generally okay for me, but I probably misplayed Banishing Light at one point (banishing the aura instead of the creature--playing around Gods Willing a bit too much). I suspect I need to bring in more removal, including enchantment removal.
Round 2: vs. Abzan Midrange. No Hornet Queens, no Whip of Erebos. So, just nice long good old fashioned grindy midrange Magic. Love it. :) I came out on top, but he did take me to three games (mostly because the quality of our draws was pretty lopsided in one game, and I misplayed around Abzan Charms I knew he had). Ajani was an all-star in this matchup. So many heroes.
Round 3: Bye. Blarg.
Round 4: vs. Mardu Midrange. Another nice grindy matchup. Unfortunately, he had too much hand disruption in the two games I lost, and I couldn't get much of anything going before Wingmate Roc took over the games.
I like the way the deck played out. Planeswalkers are pretty much the greatest thing ever. And there's nothing quite like getting some synergy going between them. I especially like going from Elspeth's +1 into Xenagos's +1 into some big-mana play. Sometimes Monstrous'ing some doodz, sometimes a giant Crater's Claws, sometimes just casting a bunch of bodies. Fun times.
The thing I didn't like about it was the lack of interaction at times. I'm running four Lightning Strikes, three Banishing Lights, and a Suspension Field as my main removal spells (plus Elspeth and Sarkhan, if you count those). And I sided out the Lightning Strikes against the midrange decks. So I need to find some other way to interact with those decks. I'm thinking maybe Hushwing Gryff to turn off Hornet Queen, Wingmate Roc, Siege Rhino, and Constellation in general. And maybe another Burn Away and/or End Hostilities out of the board.
I'm also very close to being able to play something in Legacy now. With the very generous compensation package I got from Jersey, I was able to get a bunch of store credit at Mox to get some dual lands and fetchlands to build some kind of BUG deck. I've been going back and forth between Nic Fit and Food Chain, and I'm not sure where I'm gonna land. I kinda want to do a hybrid/transformational list, but that might just be too cute. I'm leaning toward Nic Fit, because I love the idea of playing Midrange in Legacy.
Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading!