Do you absolutely love playing the Magic: The Gathering® card game?
Does the excitement of preparing for and competing in Magic tournaments drive your soul?
-Yes! Keep going John, I’m listening.-
How does the sound of winning cash prizes for winning those tournaments appeal to you?
-Is this a trick question? –
Do you dream of being immortalized for winning one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year?
-Heck yeah! Who doesn’t?! I like where you are going with this Mr. Klauk.-
Are you 15 years of age or younger?
Hmmm. Awkward. That completely stunted my momentum there. I was on such a roll. Let me think here for a moment.
AHA! Do you know someone who answered “Yes” to all of the above questions?
-Why yes. Yes I do.-
Ok… whew… back on track (thought I lost you for a moment).
Well, then may I suggest that they compete in a Junior Super Series event? Better yet, how about they qualify for the JSS Championship? But they had better hurry! That championship event is taking place Saturday, August 13th. With $100,000 in scholarship payouts being given away, why wouldn’t a tournament Magic player 15 years or younger not want to compete in this event? I know I am always telling younger players about this event. You should be too. And if you are 15 or younger and reading this, then why aren’t you playing in them ya’ darn fool idjit? If you are, then, well… good job. Keep up the good work. Now spread the word to your friends.
Even if you haven’t qualified to compete in the JSS Championship event yet, don’t worry. There is still one more chance! There is a Last Chance Qualifier taking place in Baltimore, right smack dab in the middle of the US Nationals competition (well, maybe not in the middle… more like off to one side, but you know what I mean). This Junior Super Series Open event is for any players 15 years of age or younger who do not already have an invitation to the JSS Championship or do not have a Pro Point.
Might I add that the thought that there are 15 year olds who have a Pro Point when I do not is disheartening, yet uplifting all at the same time. Yeah… but do they have all the Top 8 PTQ pins and State Championship Top 8 playmats that you do Klauk? Perhaps they do… perhaps. Yep, now that I think about it, probably so. Sigh. I guess we all can’t be Magic child prodigies. Kudos young one. Kudos indeed!
The JSS LCQ takes place Friday, August 12th. It will be a Standard Constructed tournament consisting of seven rounds of Swiss competition. After the seven rounds, all players who have 15 or more points will earn a spot in the JSS Championship event the next day. You don’t even have to post the best record. Just chalk up 15 points and you’re in! Basically, that means fight to a 4-0-3 record or better and you gain entry into a Championship tournament. Now that’s a great Last Chance!
And even if you don’t get the 15 points you are hungering for, you still walk away with a JSS Premium card just for playing in the event. Plus you could just hang out for the rest of the weekend. There’s always Nationals or the JSS Championship event itself to check out, as well as tons of side events to play in. Of course, if you do get 15 points, you also get a second one of those cool cards and nine booster packs for your efforts, as well as your hard-fought-for invitation to the main event. Past JSS Premium prizes have included great cards such as Volcanic Hammer and City of Brass. Wizards of the Coast is sure to continue the tradition by handing out another series of fantastically shiny cards at this event.
Ok, now that I have the part of letting you know about the event out of the way, how about we talk a little bit about what to play at the event?
Standard Constructed, Standard Constructed. Hmmm? How about Tooth and Nail*?
You say everyone else is playing it and you want something different? Okay, fair enough. I can respect that. What about White Weenie or Black Hand?
Huh? Those are Kamigawa™ Block Constructed decks? Oh yeah… sorry… too much playtesting. Warps the brain ya’ know.
Ok… how about burning your opponent to death?
Yeah? Ok… good deal. Hold on to your hats… here’s how I would go about it (you didn’t think I would be normal about it did ya’?).
The premise of the deck is simple. Fill up your graveyard with Arcane spells and then aim an Ire of Kaminari at your opponent’s head. The Mesmeric Orbs speed up this strategy immensely, so you almost always want it to be your second-turn play. Usually you will play the tempo and/or control game from turns three through six. Consuming Vortex, Psychic Puppetry, and Glacial Ray do a nice job helping you with those functions. Vortexing their only relevant creature and tapping a land with a spliced on Psychic Puppetry during their upkeep is a fine play on turn three, and downright silly depending upon whether or not you already have Ire of Kaminari in hand and/or Mesmeric Orb in play. After all, this means they will replay their creature again, provided they do not miss a land drop, and you can still tap it next turn. Just hope it is not a Troll Ascetic. He is your worst enemy. Although, I have lived through one Troll assaulting me early on with this deck. It can be done. Two Trolls, now that’s another story.
Dampen Thought is in the deck to aim at your own library. It adds fuel to the fire so to speak. Psychic Puppetry aimed at their biggest threat with Dampen Thoughts spliced on (or reverse if you need to be able to tap that threat again next turn) is a nice turn three to five tempo play. Double Dampen Thought with Puppetry spliced on is borderline unfair. Put the deck together, shuffle up, and play. It takes many games to get a feel for playing it correctly. Just don’t give up on it early in your playtesting. It really is quite good once you figure out how to pilot it.
Don’t believe me… wait until you Twincast an Ire of Kaminari on turn six for the win. And yes, you can do this against Tooth and Nail. Psychic Puppetry during their upkeep is the key in that matchup. It really feels very much like playing the mirror versus Tooth and Nail. Where that matchup is about who resolves Tooth and Nail first, this one only varies in regards to you keeping them from resolving Tooth and Nail before you take your sixth turn. Though sometimes you can kill them before then if your hand is just the Krazy Klauk Deathgrip. And let me tell you what, resolving Twincast on a Kodama’s Reach almost feels like cheating.
There will be the rare occasion where you can deck someone with this build, but you have to recognize early when it will be one of those times. This usually entails double Mesmeric Orb and double Dampen Thought versus a black-green deck, but play the deck and learn to recognize those games for yourself. The times when just aiming the red instant at your opponent’s noggin is not the best course of action will be few and far between. Man, those games are fun. That one shot feels like you are Luke Skywalker streaking through the Death Star trench with Vader and his punk pilot buddies closing in on you. All of a sudden… ZOOOOM… in sweeps Han Solo in the Ire Falcon to clear your way to blow the whole thing away.
Remember, the Force will be with you, always.
And the force is strong with this deck in the sideboard as well. The four Thoughtbinds are there for one main purpose, and its name is Cranial Extraction. Ideas Unbound should be two of the cards you replace with Thoughtbind, with the others being either Consuming Vortex or Glacial Ray, depending upon the toughness of your opponent’s early turn baddies. Cranial Extraction will always hit your Ire of Kaminari when it resolves, so you are then forced to try to deck your opponent (which can be done and is not that difficult, I might add). Twincast should hit Cranial Extraction for their remaining copies if possible. Note that you can still Thoughtbind their Extraction if that play is available to you after Twincasting their Extraction (see how fun this deck can be?!).
Uyo, Silent Prophet; two Mephidross Vampires, and Triskelion are in the sideboard for the Tooth and Nail matchup. Side out the four Consuming Vortexes and bring those in. Also, take out an Idea Unbound and bring in the fourth Twincast. If you haven’t seen this trick before, refer to my last article, where I saw this great tech at Regionals. Trust me when I say it is good times for you my friend if you Twincast their Tooth and Nail.
The two Unforge replace two Ideas Unbound in the matchups where your opponent is running equipment. Nothing makes this deck smile more than hitting a Sword of Fire and Ice equipped on Troll Ascetic. Well, except for firing your proton torpedoes into that small 2-meter-wide unprotected exhaust port that sets off a chain reaction, blowing up that ingeniously designed space station. Nothing tops that.
The four Toils of Night and Day are present for the not so difficult control matchup. Psychic Puppetry, Toils of Night and Day, and Twincast are your heroes in this game. Game 1 you should be attempting to build up to one lethal Ire and then tapping as many blue mana sources at the EOT. Backup your lethal Ire with a single Twincast and that should be enough to steal game 1. Games 2 and 3 come down to the same scenario, but with the added bonus of Toils of Night and Day. This matchup is a fairly favorable one if you play it patiently.
If you want to try something out of the box, give Irestorm a shot. It has a lot of game versus the current Standard field. Besides, any deck that can burn out its opponent with Circle of Protection: Red in play has got to be all right, eh?** Go ahead, enjoy the deck, whether you plan to use it in a JSS event or not. I won’t tell anyone where you got it.
Now, to end real quick –
If you’re too old to compete in the JSS LCQ, surely you know someone who is young enough. Encourage them to go. Let their parents know how much money they could win in scholarships. Poke them all with a stick until they go. Whatever works here people.
Remember, getting younger players involved in Magic will only help this phenomenal game we all love grow. It really is the best game ever made. Nothing else comes close.
-Now, now… don’t shed a tear John.
Catch Ya’ll Later,
John H. Klauk
Klaukwork Wizard on Magic
*Make sure if you plan on competing in the JSS Open event, that you are familiar with this deck and how it works. It is by far the most powerful deck and resilient deck currently in the Standard environment (IMHO and experience).
**Twincast on Ire of Kaminari is a Blue Ire ya’ know. Tricks, tricks… get your tricks right here!