Hey guys,

Like I said in my last article, I planned on writing another tournament report from the next event I attended.  I was going to write one, good result or bad.  Luckily for me, and I guess you too, I had a good one.  I won the Star City Games Legacy Open this weekend in Birmingham, AL.  This was the first “open” I had played since I won the Legacy Open in Charlotte in February.  I played at the invitational in the middle of these events (I wrote about it in my last article), but that is a different animal.  I played a list that was almost identical to what I played in Charlotte/Invitational:  U/R Delver.  This deck fits my play style very well. It is the only legacy deck I have been playing and I’m getting rewarded for my familiarity.

When I won on Sunday I didn’t realize I did them back to back, so even though I was super proud Sunday night, I was even more stoked on Monday morning when I figured it out.  Tony Chu did this with the Charlotte and Atlanta Legacy Opens 4 or 5 months ago I remember being really impressed.  I remember thinking; I want to be that successful/consistent in magic.  I don’t really know when my play “switched” but it did. “Switched” may be the wrong term; I can see myself improving after every game I play.  I say to myself, “well I won’t do that again” at least 4 or 5 times a tournament.

I’m the definition of someone who learns from their mistakes.  You can ask any of the friends I play with regularly, I do a lot of dumb things because of not seeing how an interaction works or not reading a card all the way through (especially in cube and legacy).  I’m positive I have lost to every combo deck I have ever played against the first time I faced them (except High Tide in the finals of Charlotte, sometimes you get lucky right?).  Once I get a feel of what their deck is trying to do I have a much easier time playing against them and adjusting my game plan accordingly.  I struggle with visualizing how a match up will play out; I really need to play through the match up myself before I’m comfortable.  I think this is the reason for my recent success.  I have played against almost all of the popular and semi popular decks in legacy at least once and I have previous information to pull from when trying to figure out my lines.  I’ve read it in other people’s writing many times, but I’m going to repeat it: If you want to be successful in tournaments pick a deck you know you will enjoy, play it a lot, and don’t audible.  Sounds simple right?  It isn’t.  This is the reason I’ve been having terrible results in standard.

In the Standard Open in Birmingham I wasn’t feeling the honor of the pure/Delver deck I had been playing on Modo for the past 3 weeks so I decided to test the list David Caplin won MOCS with.  I hated it; invisible stalker is not a card I like on my side of the board or my opponent’s.  This lead to me not having a deck I enjoyed or felt comfortable with the night before the tournament.  After playing a lot of games against the guys I came with:  John Person, Phillip Lorren, Adrian Throop, Jon Baldwin, Zack Elrod, Scotty Croft, and Will McHorter, (EVEN THOUGH I WANTED TO CUBE INSTEAD) I still wasn’t set on anything so I decided I’d play my favorite form of Delver from the past with a little update.  I don’t think the deck is very good, but for those of you that are curious.

U/W Delver:

4 Delver of Secrets

4 Phantasmal Bear

4 Snapcaster Mage

4 Geist of Saint Traft

2 Dungeon Geists

4 Ponder

4 Mana Leak

4 Vapor Snag

3 Gut Shot

4 Gitaxian Probe

2 Sword of War and Peace

3 Moorland Haunt

4 Seachrome Coast

4 Glacial Fortress

1 Plains

9 Island



3 Celestial Purge

3 Phantasmal Image

1 Batterskull

2 Dissipate

2 Revoke Existence

2 Timely Reinforcements

2 Corrosive Gale


I went 3-3 Drop with losses to Esper control, B/W tokens, and R/B Zombies.  I can’t seem to figure standard out, even though I spend way more time on it than I do with legacy.  I’m pretty sure that I’m just going to play whatever list Phillip Fortner is on from now on.  That guy has moneyed in every standard event he’s played in: 2nd in Charlotte, top 64 at Grand Prix Baltimore, 7-1’d standard at the invitational (4-4 with his bad legacy deck put him in 11th), and he top 16’d Birmingham.  He seems to have an idea of what is going on.  Also, congrats to the owner of this site, Adam Eltarhoni, for his 32nd place finish in the Standard Open.  That’s what I get for calling your deck bad. (Adam’s note: Thanks Andrew, I didn’t expect Solar Flare to do as well as it did, but it was pretty fun for my first Star City event.)


Legacy list I played


U/R Delver:

4 Delver of Secrets

4 Goblin Guide

3 Grim Lavamancer

4 Snapcaster Mage

4 Brainstorm

3 Ponder

3 Force of Will

3 Spell Pierce

1 Daze

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Chain Lightning

3 Price of Progress

4 Scalding Tarn

4 Arid Mesa

4 Misty Rainforest

2 Mountain

2 Island

4 Volcanic Island



1 Price of Progress

1 Force of Will

2 Smash to Smithereens

2 Pyroblast

2 Sulfuric Vortex

3 Submerge

4 Surgical Extraction


The Legacy Open didn’t start well for me.


Round 1 – Austin Yost – Dream Halls

I’m hurrying to my table and I see my friend Austin Yost sitting across from my empty seat.  I was talking to Austin the day before and was surprised to find out that he wouldn’t be playing his signature deck, burn.  He told me he was playing dream halls and of course I had no idea what that was.  He explained and I said, “Well that’s confusing. I don’t want to play you.”

Game 1 he is on the play and he casts show and tell on turn 3.  I spell pierced it but he had a force.  He put a Progenitis in play while I added a Delver to accompany my other un-flipped Delver.  Both my Delvers flipped on my turn and I attacked for 6.  With a volcanic and an Island in play I could only cast 1 lightning bolt a turn.  The three in my hand would have been enough but I didn’t top deck a 2nd red source.

Game 2 I kept a 1 land Brainstorm hand that had a lot of counters.  It was greedy and I got punished for it when my Brainstorm showed zero lands.  He cast Show and Tell, put in Dream Halls, and killed me with False Cure and Beacon of Immortality.



Side note: Austin went 0-3 after beating me; I blame my abysmal tiebreakers on him.


Time is go 7-0 to top 8, right?!?


Round 2 – Chris Wooland – Dredge

Chris mull’d to 2 Game 1.  I was pretty sure he was on dredge, and my hand didn’t look like it had the creatures to get him before he got online.  I ended up using Snapcasters to beat him down I’m pretty sure.

In Game 2, I had to mulligan to 5.  My hand was Snapcaster, Snapcaster, Delver, Surgical Extraction, Ponder (I think).  I thought a long time about going to 4, but I decided that Surgical would buy me enough time in hopes that I hit a land drop in one of my next two draw steps.  I got lucky and had 2 lands on top of my deck.  My Surgical hit Golgari Grave Troll and then Snapcaster’d it back to hit bridge from below.  Pretty good huh?




Round 3 – Jason Temple – Zoo

This was a really good, attrition match.  I had never played against zoo, but I have always been worried about it.  All of their creatures are bigger than Goblin Guide and they have as much burn as you.  Lightning Helix says gain 3 on it, gross.

Game 1 I set it up so I could kill him with double Price of Progress that I had in hand but he decided to cast 3 Lightning Helixes.  That made my plan a lot worse.

Games 2 and 3 involved me making the most of my Snapcasters and Submerges.  Sorry for the lack in detail.




Round 4 – Brian Freese – Maverick

I don’t remember a lot from this match.  I tried taking better notes during this tournament, but when I started 0-1 I lost a little motivation.  My life pad shows that I had a flipped Delver turn 1 and added a Goblin Guide to the board the turn after that.  I remember my opponent keeping a 1 land hand in Game 2 with a lot of 2 drops in his hand.  He whiffed for a couple of turns and it put him too far behind.




Round 5 – Adam Richie – Affinity

I don’t think Affinity is that good of a matchup.  If they stick an etched champion, you kind of lose.  That thing is Progenitis-level annoying with its protection.


Game 1, the key point was where I Chain Lightning’d his arcbound ravager and he responded by sacking 2 things and then sacked the ravager to put the counters on a vaultskirge.  I bolted the skirge in response.  Too much for affinity to come back from.


Game 2, Arcbound Ravager + Etched Champion = I literally can’t win.


Game 3, I kept a 1 land Brainstorm hand that had Lavamancer and burn.  I whiffed on my Brainstorm, but I hung in there with burn spells and Lavamancer activations.  I hit another Brainstorm eventually and it didn’t miss.  3 cranial platings on the board doesn’t do much when there aren’t any creatures in play.




Round 6 – Dan Fiquette – Maverick

We were randomly selected for deck checks this round.  When Dan pulled out his deck box he told the judge the extra cards he had that were unsleeved were not in his deck and he had just bought them from the vendor.  Myself, and Brad Nelson who was sitting beside him, both made the uh oh face.  This is one of those rules that everyone has found out the hard way, whether it was to a friend or them personally.  If you didn’t know, you are not allowed to have extra cards in you deckbox while playing a tournament.  Dan clearly meant no harm by having them there, but rules are rules and he got a game loss for it. Also, Dan was barely tilted by this, and I admire him for it.  It was a rule that he had never heard of and it was costing him late in the tourney, but he was calm and logical about it the whole time.


Game “2” was a pretty good game, but I gave the game away by attacking with a Lavamancer that I definitely should have left back incase he played a 1 drop and tried to equip it to his sword of fire and ice that he had in play.  He played a Hierarch, equipped, and I lost.

In Game 3 I kept a mediocre hand.  It didn’t have a lot of pressure but it had Spell Pierces for planeswalkers, burn for mom/knight, and a submerge. We traded cards for a while and then it came to this game state.  Dan tapped out for a Batterskull, using Savanna, Savanna, Wasteland, Wasteland, and Noble Hierarch. He had 1 card in hand.  I had a flipped Delver, a Volcanic Island, Island, and 2 Mountains in play.  Life totals are me at 8, him at 12.  On my turn I had a Snapcaster, Ponder, and a Chain Lightning in hand with bolt, Brainstorm, Ponder, and Price of Progress in my graveyard.  I tanked for a long time about what to do.  Maybe you’ll think it is easier than I found it to be.  I attacked him to 9 with my Delver and then I cast Snapcaster for Price of Progress putting him to 1 and me to 6.  He attacked with an exalted Batterskull on his turn, which I didn’t block (incase I drew Submerge).  The life totals were now me at 1 and him at 6.  On the next turn I attacked him with Delver and pointed the Chain Lightning at him for exact.  Again, maybe I found this more difficult that it should have been, but regardless I was proud that I found the right line to get me out of that one.




Round 7 – Dylan Squire – Esper Control

This one was on camera.  StarCity hasn’t separated the videos by rounds yet but if you feel like looking for it, it’s in the first video block on Sunday.

Game 1 I was getting way ahead, Dylan was trying to catch up but I top decked a 2nd Price of Progress that made the Force of Will in his hand irrelevant.

Game 2 I put a sulfuric vortex in to play when I was at 22 and he was at 18.  I had bolt, bolt, chain in my hand when I did this.  So even though I could have killed the Jace he had in play pretty easily, I thought the better choice was to just dome him for 9 while playing around the spell pierces I’m sure he had.




Round 8 – Brian Basoco – Maverick

While all of the other x-1s are drawing in this round I have to play because my tiebreakers were so bad.  That’s what you get for losing round 1 of the tournament though.

I honestly don’t remember much about this game, I was super focused. I really wanted to top 8.  My life pad looks like Game 1 was a blowout and Game 2 was really close because I ended the game at 3 life.




Top 8


I had two friends in the top 8, Tony Chu and Chris Boozer.  Boozer was playing almost the same 75 as me.  I added a spell pierce over a daze that morning, and he had sulfur elemental that I didn’t because the vendor was sold out.  He told me the day before that he was going to try my list out; I bet he is glad he did.  Also, this was Boozer’s 2nd top 8 of the weekend.  Super impressive, Boozer is a badass.  See ** below. J



Round 9 – Jerrod Webb – Dream Halls

I was pretty nervous about playing against Dream Halls again, seeing that it smashed me round 1.  But as I said before, I always lose to combo decks the first time I play them.

I don’t remember a lot Game 1, but I think it involved me having a Goblin Guide attacking while my lone spell pierce was enough to disrupt him.

Game 2 he cast show and tell for Progenitis on turn 2 and had the force for my force.

Game 3 he mull’d to 5.  I had enough pressure and counters to get there.


My last 2 rounds and the interview are located here if you’d like to watch: http://www.twitch.tv/scglive/b/315877021 (the first match is round 1 of the top 8)


We split the top 4 so no matter what all of us were leaving with $850.


Round 10 – Tony Chu – BUG Control

The video coverage covers this one pretty well.  I’m pretty sure I was favored in this one.  Price of Progress is good against a deck that only has one Island.  Even if he draws it every game because he is such a “sack”, as Tony would say (not about himself of course).


Round 11 – Chris Boozer – MIRROR J

I thought it was pretty awesome that Boozer and I had made the finals with my deck.  Boozer hadn’t even tested or gold fished the deck one time.  With this being the case I thought I was favored as long as I didn’t get too outdrawn.

Game 1 I think I got pretty lucky with Boozer’s misplays.  He played a Chain Lightning before he attacked with his Goblin Guide, missing 2 damage.  Later he cast a Snapcaster to kill my creature and he flashbacked Chain Lightning instead of lightning bolt and this let me chain it back to his Snapcaster.  These made all of the difference in this game.

I was trying to figure out how Boozer was going to sideboard for Game 2.  I assumed he was going to bring in Surgical because he had never played the match before and he wouldn’t realize how bad they were.  I know that’s the way I boarded the first time I played the mirror.  This is what he did and him having dead cards in his hand gave me the edge.


yay me



After getting feedback from my last article a few people told me they would be interested in a sideboarding guide for different match ups.  I’m going to save this for my next article. I plan on doing a write up just about the U/R deck. Card choices, sideboarding, why I think the miracle cards would be bad in it, etc.  I should have that done by next week so check back if you’re interested.


Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions or anything I’ve been using Twitter a lot more lately.


Andrew Schneider

@On__the__Grind on twitter (yes that is double underscore between the words)