‘**** the mirror’ – Top 8ing Duals to Protect the Jewels with Death & Taxes

Sunday the 12th of March 2017 was one of those days where you realise how gas belonging to a like-minded community of awesome people really is. The Melbourne Legacy scene is thriving right now due to the great efforts put in by people like Sean Brown and Steven Stamopoulos and this event was no different. Duals to Protect the Jewels was an event organised primarily by Steven, Rob Gascard (he even has gas in his name) and NLG Moonee Ponds as a wonderful crossover for the Legacy community to help a charitable cause, in this case Prostate Cancer awareness.

I was very unsure of what I wanted to play for this event and in the past Death & Taxes had always been my go-to deck. The past few events however I had been jamming a ton of RB Reanimator for the longer round breaks it tends to give, whether winning or losing. However, I’m a bit sour on the deck now, because I realised I play Legacy for me and my opponent to have fun, which doesn’t often happen when you have a turn one Griselbrand. In the end I decided to go back to Death & Taxes purely due to the comfort factor that I have with the white weenies. I don’t regret this decision at all.

My decklist was as follows:

Creatures: (26)
4 Mother of Runes
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Flickerwisp
3 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Recruiter of the Guard
2 Mirran Crusader
2 Serra Avenger
1 Sanctum Prelate

Non-Creature Spells: (11)
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Aether Vial
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands: (23)
10 Plains
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Karakas
1 Horizon Canopy

Sideboard: (15)
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
2 Path to Exile
2 Council’s Judgment
1 Pithing Needle
2 Rest in Peace
1 Containment Priest
2 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Faerie Macabre

My list is fairly stock; I’m only playing two Karakas which is extremely loose and I plan on going up to three. I was just too lazy and didn’t feel like proxying or borrowing a third.

Round 1 – Justin on Sneak and Show (2-0)

Justin is a great magic player and absolutely great guy who I really enjoy interacting with. I was extremely happy that I’d be playing a great match up to start the day, but it was bittersweet for it to be Justin.

Game 1 – Game one started out very traditionally with a turn one Mother of Runes followed up by a turn two Thalia to slightly slow down the game. I got out a prelate on three and felt pretty firmly in control of the game. Eventually Justin managed to hard cast a Sneak Attack and my heart sank a little. Luckily he didn’t put anything into play, so I untapped and played a Revoker naming Sneak Attack and the bears took the game from there.

-4 Swords to Plowshares
+1 Pithing Needle
+1 Containment Priest
+2 Ethersworn Canonist

Game 2 – This was much more of a mana denial game. Again an early Thalia ruled and the Wastelands and Ports did their job as the tiny white dorks beat in. Far less of an interesting or interactive game, it’s nice to be on the right side of that un-interaction against Sneak & Show every now and then.

1-0

Round 2 – Jacob on Grixis Delver (2-0)

Jacob was a super nice guy, we had some fun back and forth. This is going to be a recurring statement for most of the matches I played.

Game 1 – Game one is pretty interesting as it becomes a little bit of a board stall early on. He counters a few of my creatures and hits Thalia with an early Cabal Therapy. The game essentially comes down to a Mother of Runes staring down a Gurmag Angler and holding the fish back. Through some Recruiter and Flickerwisp chaining I’m able to grind out of the board stall and bash in the air for the win.

-1 Phyrexian Revoker
-1 Flickerwisp
+2 Path to Exile

Game 2 – Game two is far less interesting. My opponent somewhat locked himself out of the game by fetching for perhaps the wrong dual and playing a Delver of Secrets which I quickly Pathed, assuming my opponent had zero basics in his deck. A turn or two later he conceded believing there was no way to get himself out of this land lock as he had seen the top few cards of his deck.

2-0

Round 3 – Thomas on Omnitell (2-1)

My notes on this match are extremely slim. I was sweating profusely and just trying my best to stay engaged in the match at the time. I’ve played Thomas in Legacy before and so I knew he would be on a Show and Tell deck from prior experience. I also know he’s an extremely solid player.

Game 1 – My memory of this game is basically just feeling extremely hot and sweaty due to sitting directly in front of a window with sun beaming down on my back. This was the kind of game where I never really felt ahead and he eventually killed me with Release the Ants after I Vialed in a Flickerwisp targeting his Omniscience.

-4 Swords to Plowshares
+1 Pithing Needle
+2 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Containment Priest

Game 2 – I got a quick Pithing Needle on Sneak Attack followed up by a Stoneforge Mystic grabbing a Sword of Fire and Ice. The game was won entirely off of the Sword while I assume my opponent just couldn’t find any gas.

Game 3 – This game was ruled by Ethersworn Canonist for the most part. My opponent did get out a Blood Moon but I think by that point I was firmly in charge of the game.

3-0

Round 4 – Soohan on Eldrazi (2-1)

These games were among the most enjoyable that I got to play throughout the whole tournament. We had plenty of laughs and some nice back and forth. I would never be upset to sit across the table from Soohan and jam some Legacy. Super nice guy.

Game 1 – I don’t remember this game very well, there was a Thought-Knot Seer at some point but no follow up. I won the game through Sword of Fire and Ice beats that remained unanswered due to mana denial.

-4 Mother of Runes
+2 Path
+1 Sword of Light and Shadow
+1 Council’s Judgment

Game 2 – Pretty brutal game for me here, the Eldrazi deck just did Eldrazi things and before I knew it the possible Reality of winning the game had been utterly Smashed.

Game 3 – This game was super intense and probably the closest game of the whole tournament for me. The tempo swung back and forth creature wise, I managed to remove a troublesome Reality Smasher and begin some mana denial. Late in the game my board was Thalia and Mirran Crusader to which my opponent answered with a Ratchet Bomb. Luckily math was on my side and I was able to kill before the Ratchet bomb ticked up to three.

4-0

Round 5 – Brennan on Miracles (2-0)

Brennan is an extremely good Magic player and someone you know you will get tough and rewarding games out of.

Game 1 – I have the coveted turn two Cavern of Souls on Human to play a Thalia. From here the game essentially becomes me playing a threat and that threat being answered with a Swords to Plowshares, after the fourth Swords threats began to stick to the board. I was able to play a second Cavern later on in the game naming Horror to get a Revoker in play naming Sensei’s Divining Top which is always nice to have, even if somewhat late.

-4 Mother of Runes
-2 Swords to Plowshares
+2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
+1 Pithing Needle
+2 Council’s Judgment

Game 2 – This isn’t much of a game unfortunately. My opponent opened with a Sensei’s Divining Top and I followed that up with a Pithing Needle naming Top. Turns out his hand was extremely dependent on the Top to find gas and he had no counter in hand. He couldn’t regain any foothold in the game after this and I managed to take it.

5-0

Round 6 – Leon on 4c Loam (ID)

Both Leon and I were top of the standings going in and drawing guaranteed us a top 8 spot.

5-0-1

Round 7 – John on Death & Taxes (ID)

Another draw that I gladly took, I hate playing the mirror. This ended up putting me in the second seed for the Top 8.

5-0-2

Quarterfinals – Jack on Death and Taxes (0-2)

I really hate the Death & Taxes mirror. The main note I took from this match was ‘**** the mirror’.

Game 1 – As with the majority of the Death & Taxes mirrors, this game was decided by a Jitte. Jack was able to Swords the few threats I put on the board and I had no answers for his, a Jitte’d up creature which then owned the board for him.

-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
-1 Sword of Fire and Ice
+2 Path to Exile
+2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
+1 Sword of Light and Shadow

Game 2 – I can only remember two things that happened in this game. The first was an Orzhov Pontiff from my opponent to wipe away the little board presence I had. The second and most brutal thing that happened to me all tournament, which in hindsight is always going to happen in the mirror: having two Gideon’s in hand, tapping out to play one and having my opponent Vial in a Revoker on Gideon. I promptly scooped not long after this and Jack went on to win the whole thing.

5-1-2

I only have amazingly positive things to say about the Melbourne Legacy scene and this tournament. Sean, Steve, Rob and so many others work so hard to make the Melbourne Legacy scene a fully welcoming and positive community where everyone regardless of skill level can enjoy the games they play and the human interactions beyond those games. I’m so unbelievably happy and privileged to be a part of this amazing community.

By Michael Kelly

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