Modern PPTQ For PT Dublin & Standard GPT Providence: September 3rd 2016

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The Hairy Tarantula is proud to present our next Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier! This event is hosted by our Downtown store.

Where: Hairy Tarantula North, 6979 Yonge Street (at Steeles), Toronto, ON.

Start Time: 10am sharp, on-site registration from 9am-9:55am.

Entry Fee: $30

Format: Modern

Competitive REL, 4x PWP Multiplier

Decklists will be required. Decklist can be emailed to the store 24 hours prior to the event to hairytmagic@gmail.com – Please include your name and DCI number

Duration: Swiss Rounds based on attendance, cut to Top 8.

Prizes:
1st: Invite to RPTQ for PT Dublin, $ 400 Store Credit
2nd: $ 200 Store Credit
3rd-4th: $ 100 Store Credit
5th-8th: $ 50 Store Credit
This event will be hard capped at 90 players.

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Standard GPT for GP Providence

Start Time: 1:30pm, or after Round 3 of the PPTQ, whichever is later.

Entry Fee: $20

Prizes:
1st: 2-Round Bye at GP Providence, $200 Store Credit
2nd: $100 Store Credit
3rd/4th: $50 Store Credit
5th-8th: $25 Store Credit

Preregistration is now open at either Hairy T location.

The Budgetmander: Commanding on a Budget By Abe Park

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Here’s an oxymoron; budget commander. With the prices of magic cards going up, filling up a hundred card slots with one hundred different playable cards on a budget may seem impossible, but after reading this you may have second thoughts. Now here’s a quick disclaimer; although you can create a budget list that does not mean it will always be at its full potential. Due to the nature of magic there will always be better cards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a competitive list.

To start off a good commander list, in my eyes, begins with an idea. This idea is the foundation in which the deck will be built around, one of these ideas that we will work with is token combo. We then proceed to build on this idea by starting to look for a commander that fits this idea. In this case we can try Zada, Hedron Grinder. If you’re playing on a budget often times you’ll find that finding a good commander that can be reliably cast with a relevant ability will be the core to your strategy since you may not have the funds to spend on powerful cards. Essentially the commander is a re-castable, always-present combo piece or ramp or what have you, this allows for consistency without expensive tutors.

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So now that we have a relevant commander we can begin the deck building process. I usually begin by thinking of creatures or token generating spells, especially since we’re playing a token deck. Let’s start with the creatures; first off is Mogg War Marshal. This card does everything we’re looking for when playing a token deck, it is a creature that comes in with a friend, and is on the low end of the curve. Another creature we can choose is Siege Gang Commander. Although he is on the higher end of the curve, he comes in with 3 other tokens and gives the relevant ability to sacrifice a creature to shock your opponent. As a side note when building decks, even in commander, you should always check your curve. Every turn casting a spell or reacting to one is a turn well spent. Other spells you can add to this list is Krenko’s Command. This card, although not a creature, brings in two tokens, adding to your creature count when taking Zada’s ability into consideration. This brings up the point, especially in budget commander, think of your strategy and play around it, sometimes you don’t need expensive cards to strengthen your deck, cards like Krenko’s Command and Dragon Fodder are commons that cost under a dollar.

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Now begins the process of adding in utility spells. Cards that I would consider utility are basically everything that isn’t a win condition, so cards that draw cards, removal, counter spells, etc. First I begin by adding in some ramp. This is important as having mana means your able to cast more spells or your getting closer to casting one big spell that wins you the game. Since we are in red we don’t have much access in the ways of ramping with lands, however that doesn’t prevent us from abusing artifacts. Some relevant ramp artifacts are Sol Ring, Fire Diamond, Mind Stone, and Hedron Archive. On a side note, remember to play to the colour’s strength, in this situation we don’t have access to land ramp like green, but red does have access to tinkering with artifacts with cards like Goblin Welder or Hoarding Dragon. Next we add cards like Magmatic Insight and Faithless Looting. These cards help by allowing us to toss lands and draw more cards later in the game where mana is less relevant. Some other hidden gems especially with Zada, include Accelerate, Expedite, and Crimson Wisps. Although they usually only draw a card, with your commander and just three tokens, whether they be 1/1 or 9/9, draw you four cards in total since Zada’s ability allows you to copy the card for each other creature. Other cards you may want to add are, Chaos Warp, Blasphemous Act, Vandalblast, Lightning Bolt, and Reverberate. Remember to be prepared to deal with everything. Also as a little fun addition you can Reverberate Counterspells, effectively countering the counter to your spells and leaving the blue player speechless.

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With all that taken care of we begin the win conditions. In this case they are as simple as Brute force, Adrenaline Rush, Downhill Charge, and Fists of the Anvil. Since Zada copies all instants and sorceries that target her, she can replicate pump spells for your whole team, meaning you can attack for 80 damage out of nowhere! However, since this deck is essentially a combo deck, remember not all win conditions come in the form of pump abilities; there may be infinite combos or just really, really big creatures.

In the end what matters in Commander isn’t necessarily the power level of each individual card, it’s the consistency, and the synergistic aspect of the deck. So to improve the consistency of a Commander deck, cards that have the same abilities, also known as effective reprints, like Krenko’s Command and Dragon Fodder, are very important; the more cards with the same text the better, and also don’t ignore the curve. As a final note, the deck list below was made with most of the cards being under a dollar and no card exceeding 4 dollars, and as mentioned in the disclaimer although this deck can win consistently, it can still be improved.

With everything taken into consideration here’s a fully built list:

A final thought. If you are a budget player, try staying away from blue as your main colour, although very powerful tends to be on the expensive side since many of the decks rely on very powerful combos to win the game.

Force Of Walderman: How to Beat Modern Dredge

Over the past two weeks Dredge has finally started to flex its muscles in the modern Star City circuit. Ross Meriam was able to clinch the Syracuse open with the deck and Tom Ross was able to Top 8 with a similar build this past week at the Player’s Invitational in New Jersey. Before the addition of Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon, Dredge was not considered to be a tiered deck in modern, let alone a tier one deck. The new block in combination with the unbanning of Golgari Grave-Troll breathed new life into the archetype and catapulted it into the ranks of other competitive decks in the modern meta-game. Even more interesting than the deck’s rise in power is the change it went through since the original Innistrad block to where the deck exists today.

Before the existence of the Shadows over Innistrad block and before the unbanning of Golgari Grave-Troll, Dredge decks were mostly considered “Dredgevine” decks. The name Dredgevine comes from the combination of dredge creatures in the deck plus the creature Vengevine. Dredgevine decks had a core of 4 Gravecrawler, 4 Vengevine and 4 Bloodghast. Creatures like Hedron Crab, Satyr Wayfinder and Dredgers were used to fill the graveyard with the 12 core creatures and the goal of the deck was to cheat Vengevine into play. Vengevine itself is a hasted 4/3 that would put the opponent on a fast clock. Most game plans were linear exercises of finding as many Vengevines as possible and hoping that your opponent could not handle them in time. This style of deck was resistant to removal that destroyed creatures and wrath effects since the creatures could be easily and efficiently reoccurred. Although there are powerful interactions contained within the deck it was clunky and never saw any prolonged competitive play. Among the more valuable lessons learned from this precursor deck was the value / importance of cards such as Squee, Goblin Nabob, Lotleth Troll, Gurmag Angler, Hedron Crab, Zombie Infestation, Vengeful Pharaoh and Magus of the Bazaar. Over the course of the deck’s history all of these cards saw some amount of play and each of the above was found to have flaws for various reasons. The initial builds of dredge were mostly four colour decks as well which made the mana very delicate as well as painful. People began to build subtypes of the Dreadgevine archetype and ultimately the archetype fell into obscurity.

After the unbanning of Golgari Grave-Troll occurred many players, pros and brewers alike, became interested in the dredge archetype again. Golgari Grave-Troll is the best dredge card available and allows a player to really maximize the amount of cards they are getting into their graveyard each turn. Although the unbanning of Golgari Grave-Troll was necessary to increase the overall power level of dredge, the unbanning alone did not provide enough tools to bring the deck back from the dead. The simple addition of the Golgari Grave-Troll to Dredge lists did not fix any of the deck’s issues and the Dredge archetype was still clunky and underpowered. It was the combination of this unbanning and several cards from the new Innistrad block that worked together to create a more powerful and explosive deck that could compete with other tier one decks.

Out of the new block the important cards that were added to modern dredge were Prized Amalgam, Insolent Neonate, Haunted Dead and Collective Brutality. All four of these cards had an impact on the way the current dredge deck and its variants are constructed. In general, these cards filled in missing pieces in the dredge puzzle. Prized Amalgam is perhaps the most powerful addition to the Dredge arsenal. The Amalgam is a 3/3 body that returns from the graveyard to the battlefield. It is triggered by the Haunted Dead, Narcomoeba and Bloodghast that are all staples in the Dredge deck. When dredged, the Prized Amalgam can quickly increase the clock a player has on their opponent. Like all of the other threats in the Dredge deck, the Amalgam is resistant to traditional removal and can easily return to the battlefield. Insolent Neonate was another interesting addition from the Shadows Over Innistrad set that allows you to discard and dredge as early as turn one. If an opening hand contains an Insolent Neonate and a dredger, you are able to discard the dredger to the Neonate and then dredge that same card because of the way that Insolent Neonate is templated. Being able to dredge this early means that your draws can be more explosive, your damage output is vastly increased and the deck is overall more consistent. The Neonate also helps the deck have more turn 1 plays and the ability to keep more hands without mulling into oblivion. Haunted Dead was another gem given to us in Eldritch Moon that creates a solid board presents out of nowhere. If the Haunted Dead is in the graveyard a player can discard two cards, the dream being Prized Amalgams, then the Haunted Dead will return to the battlefield along with any copies of Prized Amalgams that were present in your graveyard. Haunted Dead is a minor addition to most dredge decks, most decks only containing one copy, but a vital synergy built into the deck to help trigger the Prized Amalgam engine. Lastly, the Shadows Over Innistrad block gave us Collective Brutality. The black Escalate card is a method to discard cards from your hand and a pseudo-Duress effect that can rip backbreaking instants and sorceries from your opponent’s hand before they have the opportunity to cast them. By having all these new tools in their arsenal, Dredge has not only become more consistent but they have been able to cut a lot of the lackluster cards that were still present in the deck.

Dredge is a powerful archetype and I believe it will continue to impact the modern meta-game. It is a completely different animal from its legacy counterpart and to some extent even harder to play. Much like Affinity, there are sideboard cards that wreak havoc on a dredge deck and it important to understand what tools you have at your disposal to stop or at least hinder Dredge decks. If you are worried about facing dredge in the future, consider some number of the following sideboard cards:

Anger of the Gods / Flaying Tendrils: Wrath effects that exile are extremely potent against Dredge. Anything that stops their creatures from being destroyed and simply going to the graveyard is important against Dredge decks. When Dredge’s creatures are exiled they cannot return from the graveyard and continue to tax your precious removal spells.

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Rest in Peace / Leyline of the Void / Grafdigger’s Cage / Wheel of Sun and Moon: These cards nuke graveyards and make the Dredge game plan incredibly difficult. In order to beat any of these cards dredge needs to board into enchantment/artifact hate and must have it in hand. At the bare minimum these cards give you the time necessary to attack or find other answers present in your deck.

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Relic of Progenitus / Nihil Spellbomb: Relic and Spellbomb are one-time graveyard destruction cards. There is a bit of a subgame involved with playing these cards. You have to decide when and if you want to activate these artifacts and when you want to deploy them from your hand or hold onto them as a vital resource later in the game.

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Hallowed Moonlight: Magic Origins gave us this standard sideboard staple card that was used primarily to help deal with Collected Company decks. But, this card also has applications against Dredge. Moonlight can stop Prized Amalgams and Narcomoeba from returning to the battlefield. Prized Amalgams have mandatory triggers that require them to be returned to the battlefield when they are activated by a Haunted Dead or Bloodghast. Hallowed Moonlight can prevent the Amalgams from returning and exile them at the same time.

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Anafenza, the Foremost / Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet / Scavenging Ooze: These three creatures have a measure of interaction with graveyards that will help you stabilize against Dredge opponents. In all three cases the benefits provided by these creatures are slow but become more potent as the game drags on. By having utility creatures such as Anafenza, Ooze and Kalitas in your deck in combination with other sideboard cards, Dredge is presented with another problem that they must answer.

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Night of Souls’ Betrayal: While this enchantment does not stop every threat seen in a dredge deck it answers Bloodghast, Narcomoeba and the Haunted Dead spirits cleanly. By having this enchantment in play, you are slowing down and minimizing the number of attacking creatures the Dredge deck has available to them. Additionally, this enchantment prohibits the Stinkweed Imp from being a recursive death touch blocker that constantly trades up with your threats.

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Ghostly Prison: Dredge will eventually find a way to go wide with a huge number of creatures. Ghostly Prison will tax the dredge deck to the point where they can only attack with one or two creatures at a time. Normally dredge will only have a few lands in play and taxing their mana is an effective way of preserving your life total in the long term.wee

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That’s is all for now, see you next week with another article.
- Les

Conspiracy: Take The Crown Launch Party! This Saturday August 27, 2016

Take the Crown! The next installment in the Conspiracy saga is upon us. Join us for the release of this exciting set!
Header-TTC-CJoin us on Saturday August 27th as we draft Conspiracy II – Take The Crown, this exciting draft format is upon us. We will be running draft at the following times:

1PM
4PM
7PM

Entry Fee: $15

Format: Conspiracy Draft

Structure: Players will be grouped into draft pods based on total attendance, then grouped into multiplayer games of 3-5 players within those pods. Each player will also receive a crown (while supplies last).

Prizes: To the winner of each game: $4 store credit per player in that game (e.g. $12 for 3 player games)