Well would you look at that, I’m actually writing a second one. This might really become a habit! Today I’m starting from Platinum Tier 2 Step 0, and I’m hoping to move up to Plat 1. I also woke up early enough this morning to catch Reid Duke actually playing his Gruul Fury deck on stream, and while I didn’t work up the courage to ask any questions in chat, I learned a lot. From general sequencing advice to tech tricks, as well as how to more effectively sideboard against aggressive decks. Let’s see if that knowledge comes in handy today!

Match 1: 1-2 vs Snow Red Aggro. First game I got predictably run over, but after sideboarding out the Fury combo in favour of removal and 3 Ox of Agonas, the second game went much better. Third game I managed to stretch out, but I never drew the Oxes or any adventure creatures. I may still need to work on knowing when to play removal spells, as I kept a Scorching Dragonfire in my hand for quite a while instead of using it on the 1/1 that managed to deal at least 6 damage to me throughout the game. Wilt was surprisingly useful, as it allowed me to kill Stonecoil Serpent in both games.

Match 2: 0-2 vs Snow Dimir Control. Not sure what I could’ve done better in this match. Couldn’t really get anything to stick to the board, and when I did, they always had the counterspell for the Fury shenanigans. Snakeskin Veil doesn’t protect against board wipes or Soul Shatter, unfortunately. I think the way I’m supposed to win the post-board games is still through the combo, but it didn’t pan out this time.

Match 3: 2-1 vs Obosh Temur Adventures. This one was interesting to sideboard against, After winning game 1, I sideboarded for a typical Adventures deck — I took out the combo, and focused more on grinding them out. However, they surprised me with some dear old friends of mine, Genesis Ultimatum and Terror of the Peaks! Obviously, I failed to grind them out with a top-end like that, so going into game 3 I put the combo back in and lucked out with another T4 Dragonsguard Elite + double Unleash Fury kill like yesterday. I’m still not sure exactly how to sideboard against this deck. The normal list is probably better than fully boarding for grind, but I imagine there’s a happy medium wherein I keep some of the combo but also put in a bit of removal to give me time to set up.

Match 4: 2-0 vs Selesnya Landfall? Yup, people are trying out all sorts of weird stuff I’ve never seen before. Their deck used Azusa, Lost but Seeking to play a bunch of lands for Felidar Retreat. But what are they doing with all that mana? Casting Baneslayer Angel, apparently. I didn’t stick around to see the rest of their top-end, closing game 1 with brute force and screwing up the combo but recovering through complete luck in game 2. I don’t think my opponent’s deck was all that great, but hey, a win’s a win.

That’s all the matches I have time for tonight, but I’ll go through how I screwed up the combo in match 4, so hopefully I don’t make the same mistake again: Opponent is at 14, and I’ve got 5 lands in play, with Goldspan Dragon, Charge Through, Unleash Fury, and Kazuul’s Fury in my hand. I cast the Dragon, swing, no blockers. Looking good so far, but here’s where I mess it up. I know I’ll need an extra mana for Kazuul’s Fury, since it costs 3 and each Treasure only gives me 2. So, I cast Charge Through and Unleash Fury on the Dragon. Since Charge Through only costs 1, it nets me 1 floating mana, leaving me with 3 mana to cast Kazuul’s. Of course, I have to deal 8 with my buffed Dragon first. I pass to damage, bring my opponent down to 6, and pass turn. Wait, what? I wanted to cast Kazuul’s! Did I not have enough mana? What I forgot is that floating mana disappears between phases, and once combat damage has been dealt, the Combat Phase is over. Instead of casting Charge Through in the Combat Phase, I should’ve cast it in my Second Main Phase, right before casting Kazuul’s Fury. In that game, I lucked out by topdecking another Unleash Fury for lethal, but it was still careless of me.

I finished today at Plat 2 Step 2, which isn’t great but at least it’s higher than I started. Hopefully, over the coming days, I’ll have more time to play and therefore climb faster than I have over the past week. See you tomorrow!

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