20 players showed up to the Dragon’s Lair St. Mary’s 7ph event. Phil Wessels who owns the store has been a long time supporter of eternal events and its great to see him get back into hosting a 7 point highlander event after a decent while! There were many new faces alongside long timer players which is very promising for the format’s future in Adelaide. Local interest for the format has been reinvigorated and I can see it blooming from here on!
Although the meta had Adelaide’s usual suspects of Midrange and Mana Crypt/Artifact based strategies. What was a surprising turn of events, however, was a higher than usual representation of combo decks.
Out of the 20 players, 8 chose to bring combo decks of various flavours from 7 point classics like Flash Hulk, Storm, Doomsday and Thoracle, but we also saw home-brews such as, Artifacts Combo, BG Yawgmoth, A deck which I can only describe as “Combo Tribal”, which contained Flash hulk, Thoracle, Hermit druid and even a Cephalid Breakfast combo in there. Another deck I saw that some may not classify as combo was “Wheelie Bin” a motley crew of Sheoldreds, Hullbreachers and Orcish Bowmasters working with wheel effects to make your opponents not very happy (Trust the Cutting brothers to bring the spice).
What is even crazier is the awesome conversion rate of these combo decks with 4 of the top 8 decks being combo or hybrid combo strategies.
I had a blast watching Sarven McLinton pilot Storm, a deck I have rarely seen in my time playing the format. In the quarters, his turn 1 was: Black Lotus > Rite of Flame > LED > Wheel of Fortune! Soc also had a combo in his Doomsday deck that I had never seen before: Puresight Merrow and Paradise Mantle as a sort of weird DIY Tainted pact.
What was also strange was a low representation of the initiative mechanic compared to the last event held at Dragon’s Lair Salisbury. With only two Initiative decks showing up, while initiative creatures did feature in some decks which were not dedicated initiative decks.
However, once the dust settled the deck that stood standing at the end was the old reliable, Jund Midrange piloted by Liam Whelan!
The Top 8:
The top 8 decks at the end of swiss were two Jund midrange decks, two Moon decks (UR and RUG) and 4 combo decks including Grixis Thoracle, Esper Flash Hulk Rector, Esper Doomsday and Will Storm! Top 8 players and decklist links can be found at the end of the article.
My Deck Choice:
Midrange decks can grind most competition to dust in long games, however, there are weaknesses that can be exploited. Adelaide has historically turned to Blood Moon to punish the greedy midrange mana base or simply going over the top with big mana artifact decks. The third way is to simply make attrition pointless by combo-ing to a win. This is the route I chose, by running Grixis Thoracle/Tempo. I built the deck to be a hybrid deck to strain the opponent’s resources. Plan A is to use a suite of hand disruption spells and soft counterspells to keep the opponent off balance while beating down with evasive threats like Dragon Rage’s Channeler, Murktide Regent and Ledger Shredder. If the opponent can beat this, you can fall back on to the Thoracle half of the deck to get the win. I cut various dedicated combo slots like Gifts Ungiven, Profane Tutor, Snapcaster Mage, Lim Dul’s Vault, etc and replaced it with tempo elements such as Force of Will and Murktide Regent. The deck felt fun to pilot, but its tempo game plan was soft to Jund Midrange which were my only losses for the day. I ended up 3-1 in the swiss and finished 2nd losing out to Jund in the finals.
The Winning Deck:
Enough talk about bridesmaids, let’s move on to the number one deck, Jund Midrange! The deck was piloted by Liam Whelan who is a long time member of Adelaide’s 7 Point community and a master of the sealed format! Adelaide thought it came prepared to beat midrange, but Jund had other ideas. What sets the archetype apart from some other midrange strategies is the sheer flexibility the colour combination provides, it can be aggressive with efficiently costed creatures, it has solid disruption with the classic black hand attack, and access to red blasts in the sideboard to beat combo and blue decks and against other midrange decks it can very happily play the resource game. Green, black and red also give you the answers to deal with pretty much every permanent type. It is no surprise that the deck does well in other cities as well. Liam mentioned that Slimefoot & Squee was the card that impressed him most through the afternoon. In his own words, “Powerful card that one.” A card that forces you to kill the 1/1 it makes first before killing it is truly obnoxious for the opponent. And if it comes back from the bin it brings a friend back with it! An undefeated performance meant Liam secured first place and a gorgeous GP promo Chrome Mox!
Special thanks goes out to Lou Kahler for taking the time out to run a smooth and enjoyable event!
|Player’s Standing||Player’s Name||Player’s Deck List Link|
|2nd||Rajdeep Tokhi||Grixis Thoracle|
|3rd-4th||Sarven McLinton||Grixis Will-Breach Storm|
|5th-8th||Zachary McDonnell (‘Tight fit’ Flash Hulk Rector)||4C Flash Hulk|
|5th-8th||Daniel Stoney||UR Blue Moon|
|5th-8th||Paul Ferguson||RUG Moon|