No time to editorialize this week as I'm busy getting ready for Gen Con. Also known as geek Christmas (nobody calls it that -- Editor) Gen Con is a plague that descends on Indianapolis, Indiana every year in August. Reminiscent of locusts, the swarm of cosplayers and furries is so thick over the long weekend it can blot out the sun, and most residents of the city stay indoors until Monday.
Its aftermath is nothing short of devastation; large swaths of the city are stripped bare, from the shelves of comic book and costume stores to the city's entire supply of Pocky, erased from existence. The downtown Steak and Shake, voted the best place in Indianapolis to get hepatitis, does 90% of its annual business and closes for the next month to remove the smell of clove cigarettes from the curtains.
Not to be trifled with, Gen Con is serious business and I'm putting in enough prep work to ensure I bring everything I want to get rid of.
If you want to know how to get ready for this momentous weekend, this guy has you covered.
I'm Not Going to Gen Con, You Clown. What You Got for Me?
Wow, I was getting to it. You're kind of a jerk sometimes, imaginary person I use as a rhetorical device to establish flow in my article.
Make My Favorite People into Cards!
Done! I found quite a bit of that.
Redditor BearSole gets us started with his creation of Ender Wiggin, the savior of humanity and scourge of kids with names like "Bonzo". If you haven't read the Ender's Game series, shut up, yes you have. If you actually haven't, you really should because they are quite good.
Mightyskunk has graced our day with his rendition of Monty Python's tenacious Black Knight. Completely insusceptible to flesh wounds and scratches, this guy can take a real beating and keep on defending. Not the blackest of abilities, this card still has a lot of casual appeal, and should incite a lot of "python" quoting.
RainInHeaven wraps up our hit parade with this lovely rendition of the Waste's most dangerous eight-fingered badass. I try to structure my articles like the Dark Tower series; an exciting build to an inevitably disappointing ending.
Going for Gold: Not Just a Ravnica Draft Strategy Anymore
Ever wish they had Magic events in the Olympics? I haven't either. Anyway, enjoy this thing:
IrrelephantInTheRoom is all about Magic in the Olympics. I'll compete if they have medals for fastest pack to power.
Modern Goes to Kansas, Gets a House Dropped on its Head
As Magic is the second most enjoyable activity in Kansas (the most enjoyable being packing a bag and going somewhere else) there was an SCG Open event in Kansas City over the weekend. Let's take a look.
Three Delvers in the top 8, which seems OK to me. The winning list, piloted by Mike Prokop, is a bit of a throwback to the Delver lists of six months ago, augmenting the instants and sorceries that flip [card Delver of Secrets]Delver[/card] with a Runechanter's Pike or two.
Pike has gotten better recently as a strong synergy piece with another card that's seeing more play in several formats -- Talrand, Sky Summoner. When I said on the podcast that I thought Talrand bore looking at in Legacy, I wasn't just being cute. I was close but not quite spot on. Talrand is currently seeing some experimental inclusion in Vintage decks such as Gushbond. Nothing beats a free 2/2 plus two cards. Well, maybe some kerosene and a lit cigar. Not much else though.
Gut Shot, Gitaxian Probe, Dismember; the old favorites are all here. This feels very much like a throwback deck, but a throwback to a time when Delver was on top and didn't even have the absurdity of [card Talrand, Sky Summoner]Talrand[/card] to abuse the high instant/sorcery count. Now Runechanter's Pike feels like cheating with both Talrand and Moorland Haunt spitting out fliers to Pike up.
All in all it feels like the way the deck should head in the future, at least until the Phyrexian mana cards are gone. As stale as it is for Delver to win, this list seems at least a bit innovative. Congrats, Mike.
Bugs and Pump Spells
Second place is.... Mono Green Infect? What in the actual crap?
Not as cutesy as it appears at first glance, this deck goes all-in on one dude with the protection suite to ensure he gets the job done. Abusing the absurd interaction between Apostle's Blessing/Ranger's Guile and Wild Defiance, this deck is explosive and dangerous. A nuts draw from this pile is unbeatable without the right removal from the opponent, and the deck can even eke out some amount of post-wrath inevitability. Day of Judgment is fine and all, but if your opponent has Forest, two Cathedral of War and Inkmoth Nexus left over, you're dead anyway.
Green Sun's Zenith takes a bit of the sting out of running so few creatures and the sheer number of counter/protection spells make more than one creature unnecessary. Infect has always been a potent strategy and it's good to see it pay dividends. This marks the second SCG event in a row where a fun, innovative deck came along and, you know, got inevitably curb-stomped by Delver in the Finals. Still, second place seems really good to me.
The Top 8 was pretty standard. One standout was a deck I'm fond of -- Zombie Pod. How Matthew Dennis managed to make Top 8 with a whopping zero copies of Gloom Surgeon, I'll never understand. Have you read that card? Lighter on the zombies and heavier on the pod, Dennis instead included a Massacre Wurm and a Thragtusk (TUSK!) as answers for a long game.
How silly is Disciple of Bolas? He's as good as you thought. Everyone who played Limited or Duel of the Planeswalkers knew this guy was a beast, but since no pros had jammed him yet, it took a month for him to reach Top 8. Don't be a follower. [card Flock of Rabid Sheep]Sheep[/card] are followers, and they get sacced to Trading Post. Is that what you want? To get sacced to a Trading Post? Be an Elvish Pioneer and play good cards before it's cool.
Four copies of Stoneblade variants in the Top 8? Is this a regional thing? I was ready to call this deck as dead as Dillinger, but Kansas City saw garden-variety Stoneblade lists dominate.
In the coveted "Jason's favorite deck of the event, naturally in second place" slot is... LANDS! You may remember Lands winning in Detroit. This deck has real gas and as boring as it is to play sometimes, other times you get to ruin someone's day. Nothing beats the rosy cheeks and bulging forehead veins of the 296th RUG Delver player who loses to you round one and complains about your joke deck only to see you wave a few hours later from Top 8.
Some say Lands is a real deck capable of winning events. Others say it's the 75 card version of the a fraternity prank. Can't it be both?
Congrats to Kobie Spaeth for winning and to Alex Olson for ruining eight guys' days.
I Swear There's Something in Columbus Every Weekend
This weeekend it was a SCG Open Series event. See if you can guess the deck that won the event. Don't peek, just say your answer out loud then scroll down.
Got your answer?
No, it wasn't U/W Delver, you cynical planeswalker, you. If you were any more [card Jade Mage]jaded[/card], you'd put saprolings into play.
Could this possibly be correct? No Delver in the Top 8? Hot damn! Let's see what we got here!
Scotty Doolittle made use of his ability to talk to animals and piloted Naya Pod to a first place finish. It looks like a pretty stock list so let's move on. Congrats, Scotty!
Defiant Infect makes another strong showing here, piloted by David Rohlfing. This deck is a contender, and when more than ten people at an event play it, expect to see it compose more than one slot in future Top 16s.
Control's Triumphant Return?
Chandra, the Firebrand sure looks like fun if you're playing Bonfire of the Damned late in the game. Jamming an impressive three copies of Frost Titan, a Grixis Control deck piloted by Michael Kenney took second.
This isn't the least hostile format toward control, but this deck is teeming with removal and getting your counterspells shut off by Cavern of Souls isn't as back-breaking when you can set up a 10-point Devil's Play and double it. [card Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker]Nicol Bolas[/card] is tough for most of the format to deal with if he resolves and he looks like the deck's main win condition, apart from beating faces with titans or sphinx. Tight play is a necessity with a deck like this, so second place is quite impressive. Nicely done, Michael.
Another Dungrove Green deck stands out in an otherwise pretty stock Top 8. All in all, eight players managing to finish better than every Delver deck in the room warms the cockles of my heart.
Get Off My Lawn!
All in all it was kind of a surprising weekend. I sold five playsets of Vexing Devil overnight on eBay, so more on that when I get back from Gen Con and figure out what the heck is running Vexing Devil. Whatever it is, I hope it involves active Blood Artists.
I am done with you now (see title above). Leave me to my Gen Con preparations and leave me some love in the comments. Or some hate. A cookie recipe, anything.
If you see me at Gen Con, ask me for one of the sweet 1/1 Spirit tokens we made for Brainstorm Brewery. There's a prize in it for anyone who uses one of our tokens in a match on camera.
Until next week, don't do anything I wouldn't do. And if you do, name it Gideon. I think that would be awesome.
@JasonEAlt on Twitter