NRG Team Event Victory Report

My preparation for this tournament began about a month ago when I was in a voice call with Oliver, Nate, and a few others. I had expressed interest in playing the tournament, as my plans to attend the January NRG were derailed by the outbreak of the Omicron variant. I don’t really remember the context of how it happened, but Oliver offered a spot on his and Nathan’s team to me, and I accepted. I’m not really sure why this happened, but I am incredibly fortunate that it did.

I decided that I wanted to play Legacy in the tournament, as I had been having a reasonable amount of success in the format at the time. This left Sealed and Modern, and Nate proclaimed that he “wasn’t flying to Mundelein, Illinois to play sealed.” Therefore, Oliver reluctantly agreed that he would be the one to battle in the limited seat.

The next aspect of my preparation came in deciding what I would play. I originally had intended to play my beloved UR Saga deck, but the Ragavan ban unfortunately rendered this deck obselete. Therefore, I thought I would probably just play Delver, and I did. I knew Nate was going to play Grixis Shadow after he won the MOCS with it.

Sealed Deckbuilding & Round One:
Before the tournament began, teams had to open their sealed pools and build their decks. Clearly our team’s biggest weakness, NEO sealed was a format that I knew literally nothing about, and Oliver was also reading all the cards for the first time as he built the pool. Thankfully, Nate had looked at the set and helped Oliver deckbuild while I registered the deck and grabbed us basic lands. Our deck was four-color excluding red, and from what I could tell the card quality was decently high.

In round one, I played the Delver mirror. I managed to burn my opponent out in game 1, and in game two he cast Daze on my ponder, which was a peculiar play because it left me with a lasting mana advantage that I used to resolve an iteration with my own Daze as backup, eventually winning. Oliver won in sealed before Nate’s match finished, but he ended up playing it out and winning. 1-0.

Round Two:
In round two we played against the monster team of Max Mick on sealed, Abe Corrigan on modern, and Marcus Luong on Legacy. Marcus was playing Oliver’s UWRg control deck (jeskai control splashing green for carpet of flowers).

In game one against Marcus, I applied a lot of early pressure backed by aggressive uses of Force of Will and Daze, but he eventually managed to stabilize the board at four life with a resolved Teferi. However, I had two bolts in my hand, and as his only land was a fetchland and force of willing my bolt would lose him a life and the game, I thought I had it locked up. I bolted him once, and he force of negation’d my bolt, not taking a damage. I passed the turn, he did effectively nothing, and I drew brainstorm for turn. I brainstormed into the third bolt and bolted him twice; this time he died.

In game two, I decided to sideboard out my wastelands, baubles, and a couple removal spells. I knew he was boarding in carpet and I wanted to play a game where I was almost the control role, allowing carpet to resolve and countering his payoffs with pyroblast and force of wills/negations. In hindsight, I think Delver is forced to play an aggressive role in the matchup, but my controlling strategy ended up working out in this particular game. I was able to counter all his payoffs while resolving my own iterations and eventually Narset, which led to his demise. Oliver lost in sealed but Nate won in modern, making us 2-0.

Round Three:
In round three we were a feature match, paired against another extremely strong team: Andrew Elenbogen on sealed, Max McVety on Modern, and Clay Spicklemire on Legacy. Clay was on delver, and I managed to get game one with a murktide regent that outsized his, followed by another Murktide which prompted his concession.

In game two, we traded resources as normal, but I was eventually forced to overextend into his pyroblast, allowing him to play a young pyromancer which I could not answer. He made several tokens, and I had a turn in which I resolved Iteration where I could have found one of my two End the Festivities, but I did not and lost.

I don’t really remember what happened in game three, but I managed to win. However, both Oliver and Nate couldn’t get there (Nate’s modern matchup seemed really bad and Elenbogen played some planeswalker on turn 3 against Oliver), and thus we were 2-1.

Round Four:
I played against Doomsday. My opponent mulliganed to five game one, allowing me to win pretty easily. In game two, I kept a strong hand with a delver, force of will, and pyroblast. He had a very strong hand with a turn 3 kill with double backup, but the turn before he cast doomsday I had brainstormed into Force Force Pyroblast, so I had two forces and two blasts up for his doomsday. After I countered it, I surgically extracted the rest of his doomsdays from his deck, prompting him to concede. Nate won in modern against 4c Blink.

Round Five:
In round five I was paired against the delver mirror and I got absolutely demolished. Game one, I was on the draw and my opponent played polluted delta pass. I played and cracked my fetchland, and he stifled it. Anyway I lost the match, and both of my teammates were down a game. I thought we were going to lose the match and be out of contention.

However, both my teammates are exceptional players and they ended up making a sick comeback, winning both their matches.

Round Six:
In round six I was paired against 8cast. In game one, I controlled my opponent’s threats by skillfully drawing my one of pyroblast maindeck, and eventually killed him with two murktide regents. In game two, he mulliganed and I skillfully drew Meltdown. Nate beat Hammer, putting us at 5-1 — we drew round seven and made the top 8 at the fourth seed.

The draft for Top8 went decently well, Oliver got a Bant deck with several pretty strong cards.

We got Thai food for dinner and stayed up to ridiculous hours playing Delver vs Oliver’s deck. Delver for absolutely farmed, we discussed the matchup, and had a very instructive conversation about how to approach talking about magic in a constructive manner. The last thing I remember is being awake at 6:30 AM listening to Oliver and Abe arguing about something I don’t remember. I finally got to sleep after that.

I woke up at 8:00, feeling like absolute shit after getting such little sleep. The top 8 started at 9:00, so as a punctual person I wanted to be there on time; however, my teammates did not get up until 8:50. I started panicking, as I thought we would get game losses for showing up late, and the fastest Uber I could find had us arriving at the venue 15 minutes late to the round. However, thanks to Theo Jung in our airbnb being an absolute goat by driving us himself, we were only slightly late and avoided any penalties.

I got rolled in legacy by 4c Uro. This matchup is pretty bad, and thought I think I played fine my draws and gameplan did not line up as I wanted them to. However, Nathan won in modern, prompting Oliver to play a deciding game three in Draft. He kept a five land hand and drew two more lands in his first two drawsteps; I again thought we were going to lose as Oliver’s opponent had a lot of cards in hand and we didn’t have anything going on. However, our opponent kinda just played a lot of medium cards and we were able to draw out of our flood with a couple powerful cards. Oliver won, and we advanced to the semis.

In the semis, I was paired against Jeskai Hullbreacher/Wheels. I lost game one, drawing three wastelands against an astute opponent who fetched all basics. However, in games two and three, my opponent mulliganed, and I was able to use the efficiency and variability of my deck to win. I applied pressure with Delver and DRC, Pyroblasted his threats, and gained insurmountable advantage with Expressive Iteration + Mystic Sanctuary.

Nate lost what seemed to be a very close match in modern against Hammer, so Oliver’s game three would again be the deciding one. Oliver played several strong threats, and while his opponent was able to get ahead on cards Oliver delivered a lethal blow with the green Go-Shintai and the 4/4 flying enchantment creature. We advanced to the finals.

Having been in the feature match area for the semifinals, we wait for the final boss to arrive. The team of Elenbogen, McVety, and Spicklemire show up and we offer a finals split. They decline, so we battle. In game one against Clay, I don’t remember the context think I ended up winning with Murktide regent, as one does in game one of the delver mirror. Game 2 was a strange game where we both were stuck on one land with a bunch of reactive spells, but I was able to draw a land and play a murktide regent which resolved. Clay had Pyroblast for it, and I didn’t have Daze, but after he passed the turn to me I drew my one Wasteland that I keep in postboard in rhe mirror — I wastelanded him, he pyroblast my murktide, but I just played another and he died shortly thereafter.

Nate lost to Max McVety in modern, and the deciding game was once again in Oliver’s hands. He kept five lands, but was able to scry four to the bottom with the Saga that turns into a 2/2 first striker, which was quite convenient against Elenbogen’s draw of 2/1s and 3/2s. Resources were traded and Oliver emerged with the green Go-Shintai. He proceeded to stall the board while pumping his Go-Shintai, and Andrew just kept drawing dead cards — we won the tournament!

This was my first major paper tournament. I won’t lie, it feels really rewarding to do well, but one thing this weekend made clear is that I still have a lot to learn. I guess talking with and being around players who are better than you is conducive to that sentiment. Anyway, I’m teaming with Levi and Andrei at SCG Indy, so hopefully that goes well. Alright, here are some shoutouts:

Oliver and Nathan:
I’m still not sure which y’all chose to team with me, but it was an absolute blast to play this tournament with you, hope to run it back sometime in the future.

Everyone in the Airbnb:
Being in this environment for the weekend was not just mad fun, I learned an immense amount from it. Unbelievably pumped to run it back 2x at Indy, but with more zoomers this time!

Levi Sprung, Andrei Klepatch, Henry Mildenstein, Julian Jakobovits, Zach Dunn:
My OG zoomers, I don’t think I need to state how much you all have impacted my life. Levi and Andrei, let’s fuckin win Indy.

Rodney Bedell:
Thank you for lending me a legacy delver deck and Modern murktide deck, you’re the goat.

Thank you for driving Henry and me to the event and being so accommodating with all the complications.


I hope you enjoyed reading all of this. I didn’t try to have any sort of structure or good writing, just stream of consciousness. I guess I have 38 NRG points now, so I’ll try to qualify for the Invitational. Hope to see everyone soon.🤝

Reply · Report Post