A combination of some of the top players in the Northeast and local players came to Academy Games today for the MagicSingles.com Invitational, with $2500 in cash up for grabs. Immediately, all the buzz was circulating around the Your Move Games Verdant Succession deck designed by Rob Dougherty. He posted the deck to StarCity Games on Friday, where he declared that the odd creation would be exactly what he played if he had to compete at Regionals. Today he put his money where his mouth is and played the deck, along with teammates Zvi Mowshowitz and Alex Shvartsman. Ironically, Dougherty’s teammates made the Top 8, but he did not. Mowshowitz and Shvartsman faced off in the Quarterfinals, and make no mistakes about it- Verdant Succession creates what has to be one of the strangest mirror matches in Magic history. Shvartsman came out victorious, and beat Mike Landers’ green/red deck to head to the finals.
Once he got there, he had to face Andy Stokinger, who played a unique white weenie deck with an interesting origin. Lucas Glavin played in the Grudge Match Finals against Neutral Ground representative Dave Chung a few months back at Grand Prix Boston. The rules of the format were that each player had to build three decks, all of which could not use more than four of the same card combined. Once he built his first two decks, Glavin realized he didn’t have many options for a third deck, and decided to make white weenie. He won the first Grudge Match finals in history for Your Move Games, but no one thought much of the white deck at the time. Tony Patronick took it and improved upon the design, adding Planar Guide and White Knight. Planar Guide is particularly good, since it can act as a failsafe for Upheaval, kill token creatures and turn Exalted Angel face up among other tricks. Stokinger decided to play the deck today and didn’t look back, destroying a field where white weenie was entirely out of the metagame’s focus.
In the finals, Shvartsman always seemed one or two cards away from his combo, and couldn’t get it at full power before dying to Exalted Angel. In game two, he was able to generate a massive army of bears with two Caller of the Claw, but Planar Guide easily wiped them all out. It was a matchup of two new, exciting innovative decks in the current metagame, but in the end it was Stokinger, the local hero and manager of Academy Games who emerged victorious.
With one week to go, one can’t help but wonder if Verdant Succession or Stokinger’s “Master A” white weenie deck will show up at Regionals in significant numbers. The Succession deck can be rather difficult to play and is not the kind of thing you want to pick up right before a big tournament, but the white weenie deck is simple, powerful, aggressive and consistent, yet versatile. If nothing else, it’s proven that you can actually play plains in the current Standard environment. Those who might complain about white not being powerful enough in Magic should probably talk to Andy Stokinger- he’s got 1000 reasons why you’re wrong.