Last weekend was a great success for Team Cardhoarder!  We took down our first SCG Tour event with the Bant Company deck we worked on in the hands of Devin Koepke.  Congratulations again Devin, and great job to Andrew Tenjum for putting the list together, and the rest of the team of working on tuning the deck.  Great Job guys!

This week I’ve been hard at work on all things Magic.  I started working with a couple more students for private lessons.  I showed one student how to play Living End in Modern.  He had only played “kitchen table” Magic before, and getting to see the twinkle in his eyes as he discovered what a competitive Magic deck is capable of was really cool.  My other student had seen a little bit of competitive play at her local FNM.  We played a bit with Bant Humans, but she didn’t really enjoy battling with it that much.  So we switched to Mono-White Humans and she was much more enthusiastic.  She was having a lot of fun with the blitz style sequencing of the deck.  I’m looking forward to further lessons with both of my new students!

I also decided to fire up the ol' stream.  On Monday, I just did a test run by streaming Dark Souls 3, my favorite console game for a day (just to make sure everything was up and running smoothly).  On Tuesday and Wednesday, I switched to Magic and got started testing Modern in preparation for the next stop on the SCG Tour in Syracuse in a few weeks.  I would have loved to stream some Standard, but unfortunately Eldritch Moon was not yet available on Magic Online.  That changes starting this weekend though, so get ready to watch some Bant Company on my stream starting next week! 

I started my Modern testing by trying out the hot new tech of the format: Dredge.  I had been hearing some pretty good things from my friends about the deck, and I was excited to see whether or not it was the real deal.  My results were very polarized.  I started off white hot, winning six of my first seven matches.  Then I ran into a swath of hate cards, and had a really hard time dealing with them.  My next seven rounds were as bad as my first seven were good as I went 1-6.  The jury is still out on Dredge.  I think the deck is very real and should be respected, but if the appropriate amount of hate shows up, the deck will crumble to pieces.  In other words, the classic Dredge dilemma.  Either way, I am glad that the dredgers of the Magic community finally have a valid option in Modern.  Expect this deck to be a major player in the near future, and a healthy member of the metagame in the months and years to come.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of recording a Modern league video with the “Smolder from Boulder” himself, Lucas Kiefer.  Lucas is an excellent aggro mag, and we had a (literal) blast playing his favorite Modern deck, Burn.  Burn is still a highly consistent deck and one I would happily recommend to someone starting out in the format. It is still a powerful, linear strategy with built-in defenses to the hate that exists in the format in Skullcrack and Atarka’s Command.  Look for that video to come out later this week! (Editor’s Note: Actually, Chris, it came out today!)

Finally, in the evenings the talk in the team chats was all about Bant Company!  I spent a good deal of time talking to my roommate, Kent Ketter, about the deck over the course of the week, while also chatting with Joey Andrews and Andrew Tenjum on voice chat at night about where to take the deck moving forward.  We considered using Eldrazi Displacers in the Thalia, Heretic Cathar slot to give ourselves an edge in the mirror match, because we expected the metagame to be nearly 40% Bant Company.  However, I was a bit skeptical.  Thalia was great for me in Columbus, and I felt that the Displacers would just get swept up in the Tragic Arrogances that felt so great in the mirror match.  After playing some games with Kent on Thursday night, my skepticisms played out the way I had expected them.  Displacer was often just a Trained Armadon, and while sometimes it would dominate the mirror in conjunction with Reflector Mage, that only happened about once in every five or six games; it just wasn’t consistent enough to warrant cutting the Thalias over.

We got up at way-too-early o’ clock on Friday morning and began our journey out to Baltimore.  In the car, we hammered out the last few sideboard slots, and put together our sideboarding plans.  We arrived in Baltimore around 5pm, and spent the rest of the evening catching Pokémon at the Inner Harbor, while writing down our sideboard guide over drinks.  It might not be saying much at this point, but I think this Bant Company deck is really something special.  I can’t wait for this weekend, and hopefully I can improve on my Top 16 finish from last week, and finally crack the Top 32 on the SCG Tour Leaderboard. (Editor’s Note: Something that you accomplished this past weekend, Chris!)

Until next time!