Oops, I Win? – *20th* with BUG Aluren at Legacy Masters

My name is Andrew Anastasi and this is my first tournament report here at the Salt Mine, so let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m from Melbourne along with most of the other Salt Mine boys and fairly new to the format, starting on Elves back in November of last year for the 1 year anniversary of Weekly Legacy in Melbourne. After playing Elves for a few weeks, I decided I wanted a little bit of Blue in my life, so I asked my friend James O’Brien for a Blue/Green deck that I’d like. He suggested Aluren.

Aluren

I started looking at lists and played a BUGw list with Recruiter of the Guard for a few months, jamming it at weeklies and the recent-ish Duals to Protect the Jewels tournament to varying degrees of success, from punting 0-4 to my best record being a respectable 4-3 at Duals. However, recently, I decided the White splash was a bit clunky and opted to switch over to the pure BUG value list, with a slightly worse combo plan, requiring three cards to combo instead of two, but a much better grindy plan similar to your typical Shardless BUG deck. I was very happy with the list and decided to pilot it at the recent Eternal Masters tournament to a decent result of 4-2-1, placing 20th in the Swiss.

If you’re not familiar with how the deck works, the basic idea is to grind like a normal Shardless BUG deck until you can resolve a copy of the namesake Aluren, at which point you can play all your grindy, durdly creatures for free, churning through your deck with Shardless Agents and Baleful Strixes to find and play a copy of Cavern Harpy and Parasitic Strix.

Cavern Harpy Parasitic Strix

Parasitic Strix drains your opponent netting you two life, at which point you can pay one life to bounce your Cavern Harpy, replay it and then pick up the Parasitic Strix. This will drain your opponent again, and you can just repeat the loop until they’re dead. Because all the creatures have flash thanks to Aluren, it’s hard to disrupt the combo once it goes off, besides countering one of the combo creatures.

Volrath's Stronghold

Even if they do, a singleton Volrath’s Stronghold can get back any dead pieces. We can also use it to chump with Baleful Strixes and then get them back for even more card advantage. I’ve also experimented with a single Eternal Witness, but I feel like it’s better in the White builds as it can be fetched with Recruiter of the Guard.

Anyway, enough about the deck, here is my list:

Creatures: (21)
3 Cavern Harpy
2 Parasitic Strix
4 Shardless Agent
4 Baleful Strix
4 Deathrite Shaman
2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
2 Glint-Nest Crane

Non-Creature Spells: (19)
4 Aluren
4 Brainstorm
3 Ponder
4 Force of Will
1 Sylvan Library
3 Abrupt Decay

Lands: (20)
2 Bayou
3 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Swamp
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath’s Stronghold

Sideboard: (15)
2 Flusterstorm
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Karakas
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Null Rod
2 Pithing Needle
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Toxic Deluge
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

Going into the tournament, I was feeling fairly confident with my list. I’d played a ton of games with it, 3-1ing the last weekly (coming in 8th of 46 players) and tweaking up the sideboard to where I was really happy with it. I had stuff for most matchups I was concerned about, and knew rough sideboard plans for all the major players I expected on the weekend. After an ungodly four hours sleep, a hour and a half of driving and a healthy, balanced breakfast of chocolate cake, Doritoes and a Snickers bar, I was ready to jam some Legacy.

Round 1: Steve Duombos (ANT Storm)

Game 1

I hadn’t played against Steve before, so I had no idea what I was up against. I lost the dice roll and end up on the draw with a neat seven, including my two creature combo pieces (no Aluren), a Sylvan Library, a Ponder and some fetches. My opponent leads on Underground Sea into his own Ponder. At this point I’m thinking my opponent’s either on Grixis Delver or Storm, so I’d like to draw some interaction. I draw for turn and it’s an Aluren! I now have the entire combo in hand and am feeling pretty comfortable. I Ponder looking for gas, get some random BUG stuff like a Baleful Strix and pass the turn. The opponent land, goes. I play Sylvan Library which resolves, making me think Steve’s on Storm, as Honda Civic would never let a Library hit the table, especially so early in the game. Steve’s next turn consists of Volcanic into second Ponder. I get to turn four where I could choose to slam Aluren with no Force backup and easily lose to a Daze if my opponent is actually playing Honda Civic (but has just had a slow start). I decide to wait a turn before deploying the combo since there wasn’t much else going on in my hand. I pass to my opponent who proceeds to Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual… Fuck Storm.

Dark Ritual

Sideboarding:

In:
2 Flusterstorm
2 Mindbreak Trap
1 Null Rod

Out:
2 Aluren
1 Cavern Harpy
2 Glint-Nest Crane

Against Storm I want to have as much interaction in as possible and just grind for the first few turns, hoping they don’t have a super explosive start, which is why I go down a few combo pieces. Alurens also can’t be pitched to Force of Will if I want to disrupt their combo.

Game 2

I don’t have many notes on this game, but my life total records (-3, -2, -3, -2) indicate the Leovold beatdown plus Deathrite Shaman activation plan. If I remember correctly I used my DRS to power out the turn two Leovold which is great against Storm due to the interaction with Tendrils, letting you dig deep looking for Flusterstorm or Mindbreak Trap. On turn 3 I even manage to drop a Null Rod to turn off their LEDs, making Infernal Tutor basically a dead card. I keep chipping away at his life total, he tries to disrupt my hand a few times, which gives me some extra cards with Leovold, and I’m about to win. Super late game my opponent goes to Brainstorm, draws zero cards and passes the turn. I swing through for a few more turns and get the win.

Game 3

I’m on the draw, and keep a hand with a Mindbreak Trap in it. I’m feeling good about it but I’m also super fragile against hand disruption. Turn 1 Gitaxian Probe lets my opponent know about he has to play around Trap, but no discard follows so I’m feeling pretty safe. I draw for turn and get a Force as well, so I’m feeling very comfortable. On turn two my opponent goes LED, LED, Volcanic Island, Dark Ritual. I contemplate Trapping, but I think the reason he played double LED was to possibly bait out the Trap, so instead I Force the Ritual leaving him with an untapped Volc and LEDs so I know he can’t play a second one that turn. Next turn he spends a bit of time doing math, and proceeds to play some Rituals, crack an LED for Infernal Tutor and tutors up a Past in Flames. He casts it with one mana left in pool, no cards in hand and an LED, so I Trap leaving him with no resources left. He ends up playing the great game of “draw, go” while I’m stuck on beatdown with a Leovold and Baleful Strix. He fails to find much gas so I take the game and the match.

Record: 1-0

Round 2: Jarrod Goodwin (LED Dredge)

Sitting down I knew Jarrod was on Dredge, which I was pretty scared of because my mate Justin Scollo plays Manaless and I know how scarily fast it can be, and even he gets raced by LED Dredge. I knew I was bound to lose game 1, and I think my notepad tells the whole story here:

Dredged

It turns out attacking for thirty on turn two is pretty good. Who knew?

Flame-Kin Zealot

Sideboarding:

In:
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Null Rod
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Toxic Deluge

Out:
2 Aluren
2 Glint-Nest Crane
3 Abrupt Decay

I don’t like Abrupt Decay here, simply because Dredge goes so wide that removing one threat often does nothing. I do know you can Abrupt Decay your own thing to remove their Bridge from Belows, and I might’ve kept in one or two Decays, I can’t really remember.

Whilst sideboarding, I called a Judge over to explain the interaction between Leovold and Dredge because I wasn’t sure how relevant he was. I knew it would make Breakthrough and Faithless Looting a bit worse, but wasn’t sure exactly how it works. Turns out that if they actually physically draw a card then Dredging doesn’t work for a turn, whereas if they Breakthrough and Dredge all four times then that still works. I misunderstood that interaction, so kept Leovolds in, but in future I’d definitely take them out against Dredge.

Game 2

I’m on the play and now have a fair amount of hate, so I’m feeling a little better about my chances. I see five lands and not much else, so ship it back to see no lands. I go down to five and still no lands. It does consist of Surgical Extraction, Deathrite Shaman, Baleful Strix, Shardless Agent and something, so I decide to keep on the fact that I just need to draw one land to have decent interaction and a perfect curve.

Anyway, turn 1 on the play I say “go” and my opponent has a bit of a laugh. He turn 1 Probes to see my crappy keep and follows it up with Faithless Looting to put some stuff in the yard. I draw a land and deploy my Deathrite Shaman. He Dredges and then casts Cabal Therapy from hand. In response I go to Surgical something, and I’m left with a tough decision. Grave-Troll, Iona, Bridge, Ichorid, Breakthrough, Cabal Therapy and Faithless Looting are in the yard for me to choose from. I end up taking the Grave-Troll to force him into actually drawing cards like a normal Magic player (and if I remember correctly he had Dredged one earlier). His Therapy takes my Baleful Strix and I’m left with a Shardless Agent and a Brainstorm. A few turns go by and I’m able to keep eating stuff with my DRS. He draws some cards for a few turns looking for answers to the Shaman until he Therapies me when I have only a Brainstorm in hand. I cast in in response and leave a single Shardless Agent left in hand, so he has to blind name one of about twelve different spells in my deck. He somehow manages to do so, and gets rid of my Agent. He opts out of an Ichorid trigger or two until he does choose to deploy it and I take the hit since I’m on a healthy life total thanks to Deathrite Shaman. I eventually ride the Deathrite Shaman to victory since I can keep him off doing most of his stuff.

Game 3

I’m on the draw and go down to a 6, which I can’t remember beyond having double DRS, so I think I’m in a pretty good spot. He turn 1 Therapies and ruins my day by getting rid of both my Shamans. Nothing interesting happens for a bit, he’s doing his Dredge thing (albeit slowly) and I’m doing my grindy BUG thing (albeit slowly) until I manage to land a Leovold. My opponent attempts to Faithless Looting and I tell him “no” because of Leovold. He tells me that he hasn’t drawn a card yet as he Dredged in his draw step. Oops! He Dredges away with Looting. Next turn I play Deathrite followed by Grafdigger’s Cage to really put my opponent in a pickle. He’s stuck with not much he’s able to do, so I start going on the beatdown plan. I end up taking the game and the match quite quickly with the power of Grafdigger’s Cage and Leovold beatdown.

Record: 2-0

Round 3: Xian-Zhi Lai (Canadian Threshold)

Game 1

I win the dice roll and go on the play. I keep an average BUGgy hand, and nothing interesting happens for the first few turns. I eventually cast a Shardless Agent and Cascade into a Cavern Harpy with an empty board. I cast it anyway since Cavern Harpy is better in hand than on the bottom of my deck, however my opponent misunderstands the interaction between Cavern Harpy and Shardless Agent’s Cascade and Forces the Harpy. I’m not super disappointed with that. Agent resolves and starts the beatdown before it gets killed a turn later. My opponent Wastelands, leaving me stranded on two lands. I Brainstorm looking for gas or some land, but after drawing my three my hand consists of Aluren, Aluren, Abrupt Decay, Abrupt Decay and Aluren. He deploys a Nimble Mongoose that gets through my Abrupt Decays. Since I’ve got dead draws for a few turns, his Goose goes the distance.

Sideboarding:

In:
2 Toxic Deluge
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Pithing Needle

Out:
2 Aluren
1 Cavern Harpy
2 Glint-Nest Crane

Note on this sideboarding, Glint-Nest Crane looks to be pretty bad compared to most cards in our deck so I’m quick to board them out, but considering a lot of my sideboard cards are artifacts like Jitte and Needle, I think going forward I’ll keep the Cranes in and perhaps even go up from the 2-of I currently have, as they’re so good to dig for sideboard cards.

Game 2

I’m on the play and get to turn 1 Pithing Needle naming Wasteland to protect my mana. Probably not the best plan, but it does turn off their mana disruption and allows me to actually cast spells. A few turns go by and I cast Shardless Agent and hit a Ponder. Just Shardless BUG doing its thing I guess… Next turn my opponent Ancient Grudges my Agent, then Flashbacks on Needle and Wastelands one of my lands. There goes that line… He deploys a Mongoose and passes. I manage to find a Toxic Deluge in the next few turns and hastily fire it off. He only has 5 cards in the bin, but has a fetchland on board so I cast it for X = 3 to play around fetchland into a spell. Luckily I did, because he fetches and Brainstorms in response. I successfully kill the Goose only to see True Name and a second Goose deployed in the subsequent two turns. Maybe I should’ve waited a little bit on that Deluge. I Shardless Agent, hoping to find a Ponder or something to dig for my second copy of Deluge and end up hitting… Abrupt Decay. A terrible card in the matchup that I should’ve boarded out, but left in for opposing Delvers or possible Needles. Anyway, after a few turns of getting hitting for six a turn I die shortly thereafter.

Record: 2-1

Round 4: Thomas Ribet (Goblins)

This was by far the best (or at least the most fun and interesting) round of the day for me. I knew Thomas was a Melbourne boy so I quickly asked around on what he’d be playing when I saw we got paired. I got told it was Goblins, so I was excited, as I had never played against nor even seen Goblins in Legacy before. I was in for a bit of a wild ride.

Game 1

After my opponent was slightly late to the table and took over five minutes to shuffle and present, I was ready to play. He goes first and plays land, Goblin Lackey. I play land, Deathrite Shaman which gets put on blocking duty. I manage to Abrupt Decay his Lackey but he deploys a second one. A few turns go by with nothing exciting. He plays Goblin Ringleader and totally whiffs, hitting Chalice, Port, Wasteland and a Pyrokinesis. He’s also bottomed some really problematic cards for me, with me already down on mana thanks to his Wastelands. I have an Aluren in hand. A turn or two later I have the mana to cast Aluren with two Cavern Harpies and a Baleful Strix in hand. I’m kinda nervous about deploying Aluren without the guaranteed combo kill in hand, since Goblins could do some pretty busted stuff off Aluren too. I end up going for it since I have DIY Necropotence in hand and play the Strix. I draw the Parasitic Strix off the top for the win, but use my Cavern Harpies to dig a few cards deeper first to get some interaction in case things go awry with something weird like a Pyroblast. However, that doesn’t happen and I take out game 1.

Sideboarding:

In:
2 Pithing Needle
2 Toxic Deluge
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Null Rod

Out:
2 Aluren
4 Force of Will

I can’t really remember what I sideboarded for this matchup, but I know I brought in a Null Rod for Aether Vial, but in future I won’t because it’s a bit of a dead card. I boarded out all my Forces since I wanted to fight on the board for this matchup. I also went down on Alurens because they’re quite bad if my opponent has a bunch of cheap value Goblins in hand that beat whatever I can do (assuming I don’t have the combo yet).

Game 2

I’m on the draw, and my opponent plays Mountain into Lackey. I don’t have anything turn 1 so I get hit by it and he drops a Goblin Sharpshooter. I start to get worried, because most of my grindy creatures are X/1s that just get ripped to shreds. He plays Wasteland, go. Luckily I get to deploy a Deathrite that can sit on the table for a bit, but will die to the Shooter if it blocks. My opponent seems to be a little bit stuck on mana so he doesn’t Wasteland me, which is good, but he hits in with the Lackey and drops a Chieftan to help him with his mana. Next turn I get to play and equip a Jitte to my Deathrite to make a menacing blocker. My plans quickly go sideways when he Matrons for a second Sharpshooter and uses both of them (thanks to Haste) to make quick work of the pesky Shaman. I have Aluren in hand, but no combo, and I deploy some threats but they just get shot down. Goblin beatdown eventually brings me to zero and he takes game 2.

Game 3

I start on the play with a turn one Deathrite. My opponent plays a fetchland, cracks it and swiftly kills my Shaman with Dismember, of all spells. I just get to play another one on turn two, as well as play a Pithing Needle on Wasteland to protect my manabase. Next turn I deploy a Shardless Agent and Cascade into my second Pithing Needle – I choose Goblin Sharpshooter to protect my idiots. My opponent’s lands are a disabled Wasteland, a Cavern on Goblins and a basic Mountain, with a Chieftan in play reducing the cost of his spells. He plays uncounterable Matron, tutors for a Tarfire and shocks my Shaman.

A few turns pass and his board gets a little out of hand with a few disabled Sharpshooters, a Chieftan and some other dudes. I really need to find something, so I cantrip around eventually drawing a Toxic Deluge. He Ringleaders, with another pretty big whiff, only hitting a single Matron off it. What a relief. Unlucky for me he plays it and tutors for an Earwig Squad. An EARWIG SQUAD?!?

Earwig Squad

He swings with his dudes, which connect and he manages to Prowl it in for only one mana thanks to two Chieftans on board, and I’m really worried because he could rip apart my combo and force me to win through fair Magic, which is difficult at this point. Luckily though, I have 1 of my 2 Parasitic Strixes in hand so he can’t get rid of those, and he also punts a bit and misses some combo pieces, opting to take my other Toxic Deluge (not knowing there was one in hand), a Parasitic Strix and a Jitte. Now at this point there’s a small crowd gathered watching our bizarre game, since we’re nearly at time. I have a Shardless Agent and a Baleful Strix on board so I swing in with both. Even though his Earwig Squad totally eats my Agent for breakfast, I still have the Deluge in hand so his block saves me a life in cleaning up his whole board as the rest of were X/1s and X/2s. If he suspects my trick I could possibly sneak in two extra damage with the Agent anyway. Anyway, I then cast my Deluge and my opponent realises his mistake. I deploy a few Baleful Strixes and a Parasitic Strix to drain some life and get a solid clock going.

The next turn is definitely the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen happen to me in a game of Magic. It’s turn 1 of our 5 turns and we have a decent crowd watching. I cast Baleful Strix, draw a card. I cast Brainstorm, rearrange some cards. I cast Leovold, and my Rb Goblins opponent casts a freakin’ Mindbreak Trap for zero and exiles my Leovold. WTF? Well that was a blowout and a half.

Mindbreak Trap

He follows it up on turn 2 with a Siege-Gang Commander and a Krenko. Turn 3 I have to keep my dudes up as blockers so I don’t just die next turn. I stare down intently at my first Pithing Needle on Wasteland and a tear swells up in my eye. One turn 4 my opponent looks at his lands (3 basics, 2 Caverns, 2 Wastelands and a Port), looks at my life total (8) and activates Siege-Gang Commander to put me to 6. Then he puts me to 4. Then 2. At this point he realises he has miscounted and is one red mana short of killing me. I’m super thankful I had a Parasitic Strix in hand earlier when he Earwig Squaded, otherwise I’d be dead at this point! He passes and I go to the final turn of the game. I have Aluren in hand so I play it to try to dig for a Cavern Harpy with the Baleful Strixes I have in hand. I dig two or three cards deep and don’t find it, so extend the hand shake for a draw.

Record: 2-1-1

Round 5: Zachary Gardiner (BUG Delver)

I don’t have great notes on this match, but I’ll try to piece it back from memory as best I can.

Game 1

I’m on the play and mulligan down to six and decide to keep because I have a Sylvan Library in hand, and an early Library always leads to a lot of card advantage. However I draw a Deathrite Shaman on my second turn and decide to play that first to play around Daze. He turn two Hymns me, which I Force to protect my Library. I manage to drop the Library on my next turn, and he plays a Goyf, which I know I need to kill quickly. After my Library I see Shardless Agent, Baleful Strix and a Cavern Harpy, the Harpy redundant as I already have one in hand. I draw the Agent and cast it, Cascade into my Strix and respond to the draw trigger by cracking a fetch. I draw an Abrupt Decay to deal with the Goyf. He pushes my Strix, and goes to his turn. He delves 6, taps an Underground Sea and a Tropical Island and attempts to cast Tombstalker, but he quickly realises his mistake about missing double Black. I draw off Sylvan Library again to see the exact same three cards as last turn, so I Shardless Agent into Baleful Strix, which gets Dazed. Zac untaps and now casts his Tombstalker that I knew about. I only have an Agent on board so I can’t safely attack, and instead cast Cavern Harpy to pick it up, leaving Agent as my only card in hand. My opponent Hymns to make me discard it, swings with Tombstalker, to which I do the old block-n-bounce Cavern Harpy trick, so my opponent casts during his second main a second Hymn. I wonder why he didn’t just save the first Hymn. Anyway, I find a second creature to go with my other Harpy, and the combo of block-n-bounce plus Sylvan Librarying every turn just gives me so much value, and I barely win game one with 4 life left.

Sideboarding:

I can’t remember for the life of my what I brought in against Zac. I know I brought in a cheeky Flusterstorm.

Game 2

I don’t have any notes on this game and can’t remember it, but I get crushed by Hymns and other stuff.

Hymn to Tourach

Game 3

I’m on the play again and keep a good seven. Again, no notes on this game, but I remember us both doing our durdly BUG stuff but then he manages to slam a Tombstalker. I take a hit, but before he gets a chance to do it again, I get the mana to cast my Aluren, with a Parasitic Strix, double Cavern Harpy and Flusterstorm backup. I crack a fetchland to eat with my Shaman and resolve my Aluren with one untapped land to play around Daze, or to cast the Flusterstorm. I play Parasitic Strix and drain him for two. I then play Cavern Harpy and in response my opponent Fatal Pushes my Parasitic Strix. I ask him how it got Revolted and he points to my fetchland, before a Judge kindly points out that Revolt only counts your own stuff. His Push resolves and does nothing, so I’m free to combo off with Flusterstorm backup. An epic end to a really nice and balanced match.

Record: 3-1-1

Round 6: Michael Webb (ANT Storm)

I know Michael from the weeklies and he’s a very adept Storm player. I instantly know I’m going to lose this match because the matchup is already super hard and he’s an excellent pilot.

Game 1

Nothing interesting happens, he Probes to check if the coast is clear and proceeds to kill me on turn 3.

Sideboarding:

In:
2 Flusterstorm
2 Mindbreak Trap
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Null Rod 

Out:
2 Aluren
2 Glint-Nest Crane
3 Abrupt Decay

Game 2

I keep a hand with Grafdigger’s Cage and Force of Will, and lead on early Cage to turn off his Past in Flames lines. He Probes, Therapies my Force and combo-kills me turn two. Fuck Storm.

Record: 3-2-1

Round 7: William Wong (BUG Landstill)

Game 1

I’m on the draw and I go down to 6 cards, against an unknown deck. My opponent leads with a Mishra’s Factory? OK, I officially have no idea what he’s playing. He plays a Bayou or two, a Deathrite Shaman and I figure out he’s on some BUG deck, but I have no clue as to the variant. A few turns go by and he drops a Liliana of the Veil which I Force, as all modes are quite good against me. A few turns later I go to play Abrupt Decay and I have a Bayou and a Misty Rainforest. Trying to play around Wasteland, which I had seen prior, I crack my Misty and go fetch a basic Island. I look down at my hand and realise my mistake. Oops! At this point my opponent is just beating me down with three (!!) Mishra’s Factories so I am looking pretty dead at this point. I mistakenly block with Leovold, forgetting the pump ability, and my Emissary of Trest gets eaten alive. He then deploys an Angler to increase the clock even further. Trying to find something to stay alive, I cast two Shardless Agents in a row, but they both flip into Abrupt Decays which do nothing against the opposing Angler and Factories. His board ends up being too much for me to face and he stomps all over my face.

Sideboarding

In:
2 Pithing Needle
1 Null Rod
2 Toxic Deluge
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

Out:
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Aluren
1 Cavern Harpy

I didn’t like Abrupt Decay here since the only targets I saw were Deathrite and Lili, so I felt that they would probably be dead cards most of the time.

Game 2

I’m on the play and keep a hand with both Leovold and a Null Rod, so I keep. I play land-go, ready to deploy Null Rod on turn 2 to turn off his Factories (Editor’s note: Andrew, this doesn’t work how you think it does 😛). I draw a Pithing Needle and decide to play that instead, in case I later want to use my Jitte. However, within the next few turns my opponent plays two Deathrite Shamans and I stare at the Pithing Needle and the Null Rod in my hand and cry at what could have been. Anyway, looking for more gas I Ponder to set up my Shardless Agent and then Cascade into a Sylvan Library for a massive tempo play and huge card advantage… But Library is met with a Spell Pierce. However, I’m in a good state with my opponent not being able to activate his Factories and I manage to beat down for the win.

Game 3

Final game of the day, fatigue’s setting in and The Salt Mine & co are outside taking a group picture without me, so I’m not expecting to win this one.

Mishra's Factory

I’m on the draw and he plays a Factory and passes. I play Pithing Needle on the Factory (I know, I didn’t learn my lesson from last game) and shut down his early threat. I’m glad to see that over the next several turns he manages to put down three copies of the Factory, so I’m feeling pretty good about my Pithing Needle. Of course, my opponent has to Abrupt Decay it and he goes on the beatdown. My life total quickly dwindles and my board shrinks, so when he plays a Garruk Relentless I have to Force it, since I have a few Baleful Strixes that will get torn to shreds by the big Planeswalker, and I can’t afford to chump his Wolves. In addition to my Strixes I also have a Cavern Harpy on board so every turn I get to perform the old block-n-bounce trick for both damage soaking and card advantage from my Baleful Strixes. I swear I drew at least ten cards off the one Baleful Strix, and that’s even without Aluren making them free! However, I do get all the way down to four life with my opponent on 13 when I manage to top deck… Aluren. I also have a Parasitic Strix in hand for it…

Oops, I win?

Record: 4-2-1

All in all, Masters ended up being a fantastic day. Got to sling some cardboard with buddies, navigate interesting stacks and just play some great games of Magic. I’m really happy with how I piloted the deck and it performed really well. I don’t think there’s any changes I’d make to the deck, however I am looking at Big Game Hunter for Show and Tell and possibly some spicy Coiling Oracles for pure value. Who doesn’t wanna play an Elf Snake Druid in the greatest format of Magic?

Coiling Oracle

I’d like to give a huge thanks to Next Level Games Dandenong for running such an outstanding event, Simon Freiberg for being a great Head Judge and writing the Facebook bot we used for pairings, Steven Stamopoulos and Sean Brown for letting me publish this article on The Salt Mine and lastly everyone who showed up on the day, including both Victorians and interstaters. Without all of you the day wouldn’t have been possible and the Australian Legacy community wouldn’t be what it is today without all of your help (90-man Masters is insane).

Go sling some spells!

By Andrew Anastasi

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