Premodern Online Monthlies

When I got back from LobsterCon last summer I had a fever, and the only prescription was more Premodern. I immediately built a gauntlet of decks I planned to play in the Fall Brawl and upcoming monthlies. When all was said and done I built The Rock, Sligh, Pit Rack, Goblins, FEB, Naughty Hermit, Mono U Nought, Elves and Replenish. With the exception of The Rock I was committed to giving each deck a shot, either in a monthly or IRL tournament to explore more of the top tier space in the format.

Although I had been a member of the community for a few years most of my play had been brews or The Rock. I found Premodern through Old School, a format which is not nearly as spiky as Premodern. I always felt slightly bad when I thought about bringing The Deck or 12 Bolt to an Old School tournament (even though there’s no reason to feel bad, you do you) simply because most of the crowd (more than half almost always) is on a full blown tier 3ish brew, and mashing The Deck into CrawWurm.dec just doesn’t feel good on either side of the table. One of the many, many things I love about Premodern is precisely the fact that the community is filled with tons of good players playing optimized top-tier decks. Amazingly though, there are just about zero dicks (other than the amazing Aaron) and almost zero saltiness when you’re drawing cold. So while I cut my teeth in Premodern exploring the tier 2-3 space and trying my hand at brewing, over time I decided it was time to get some reps with the top tier decks and form some opinions on them.

Remember back in 1998 when you played Type 2? Remember going to The Dojo and sleeving up some deck that just won a tournament (minus a few cards you didn’t have in your binder) then taking the deck to your LGS and learning how to play it on the fly because no one play tested for anything? I’m going through that right now and I love it. There’s only so many scenarios I can play out in my head looking at a paper list or goldfishing for 5 minutes after the deck is built. For example, Replenish doesn’t need to be very scared of Crypt because of Attunement. It’s fun to figure out nuances and corner cases you didn’t realize were a thing before you played the deck, and obviously the more you learn about playing a deck, the better equipped you are to play against it.

December Monthly: Goblins

I held off on Goblins for a LONG time. I thought what’s the big fucking deal, bitch? If they don’t get the play or the Lacky, or if I kill the Lacky, Therapy the Lacky or just play Wall of fucking Blossoms I’m good!

Wrong. I had gotten out of constructed Magic before the reign of Goblins and didn’t fully understand how powerful Piledriver is, or how resilient Ringleader and Matron make the deck, or how against some matchups you can just mull to Lacky and straight up win. Mulling properly is probably the main skill you need to start playing the deck optimally, and from there just a few reps to figure out what to play off Lackey and search up with Matron. But the power of Goblins is undeniable. Michael Arnold is on record saying Goblins is quietly the best deck in the format. Maybe he’s not wrong. We just played in the top 4 of the December monthly. What other deck can bounce back from a board wipe so quickly, or mull to 5 and win on turn 3? You can check out some of those highlights on Andrew’s Twitch stream here: top 4 match Against Michael Arnold. As far as deck choices I added a second main deck Tinkerer to help against Dreadnought and to some degree Parfait. I skipped the main deck Naturalize because I think unsearchable 1-ofs are terrible. I’ve never played Port in Goblins, but on paper I’d rather have a more consistent mana base, plus I realized I didn’t even own Ports when it came time to tune this for the monthly. As I write this I believe I’m either playing U Nought or Stasis in the finals of the monthly, so I guess we’ll see how this turns out pretty soon. I had more fun than I thought I would playing Goblins, maybe because in playing it you get slight hints of combo magic in your creature-based strategy, and if you didn’t know, I love combo.

January Monthly: Replenish

When I got back into Premodern at LobsterCon after a reasonably lengthy hiatus I not only lost my working knowledge of the metagame, but I had absolutely zero knowledge of how some archetypes even functioned. Replenish was one of those archetypes. Thankfully, Michael Flores was kind enough to teach me how the various combos worked as he thrashed my Rock deck in round 4 of the tournament (documented here and much more thoroughly here). I was impressed, so when I got home I built it for my gauntlet, then I just let it gather dust for half a year. Fast forward to December when I met PJ Priestley in the top 16 of the December monthly playing Replenish. I lucked out bigtime when he drew ice-cold the whole match, but we had a really nice conversation about his deck. He then published an awesome deck tech video here which contains everything you need to know about the basics and some of the directions you can take if you sleeve it up. For my personal deck building choices, I thought it was important to get 4 Seal into the main. Turn 2 seal, turn 3 Tide or Wave is just fantastic and can win games, or at least stall your opponent if your primary combo isn’t coming together quickly enough. My starting point was Michael’s list, so I squeezed them in at the expense of the Swords and 1 Intuition. Going forward I would free up 1-2 spots by cutting Solitary Confinement and maybe 1 Squee. As advertised, this is a very powerful deck that consistently does busted stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s also really fast, win or lose, which is an added bonus in my opinion. My main advice if you’re thinking about playing this is to just make sure you fully understand how your triggers work and how your cards interact with each other. You shouldn’t assume your opponent understands and if you have to explain things, it’s kind of a bad look to be kicking someone’s ass and not be crystal clear on exactly how you’re delivering the beating.

Vintage Cube

Outside of Premodern and the Old School Winter Derby, I have a literally unhealthy addiction to playing Vintage Cube on MTG Online. I haven’t slept more than 5 hours a night since it released almost a month ago. I always have and always will think booster draft is the best way to play Magic, and I think the Vintage Cube is the best drafting one can do (rivaling only the Broken Draft, of course). If you haven’t dabbled in Vintage Cube and want to see what it’s all about before jumping in, I started streaming drafts and matches on Twitch and posting some of the video’s on YouTube. Once Cube closes up in 5 days, I’ll likely stick to drafting whatever cube is available on MTGO or Arena, and I have been known to draft the current sets on Arena as well, since again I have an unhealthy addiction to the rush of anticipation you get you’re about to crack that first pack. So if you’re interested in any of this, feel free to follow me on either platform @questfortheshark and bear with me while I get the hang of streaming (and of course you’re have to excuse the new frames… gross). In the meantime, here’s a taste of some busted shit!

Nice little reanimator deck.
I hope he didn’t want those 7 cards
That’s a lot of triggers…

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