GP Niagara Falls Grand Prix Niagara Falls Tips And Tricks

1st place at Grand Prix Niagara Falls with U/W Stoneblade in Legacy

I am not in enjoying actual games of Magic. I really like a very good Splinter Twin mirror and I take pleasure in enjoying real games of Magic, but if your objective is to win an event, you want to win so many games in a row. Making an attempt to truly grind via win after win for a whole event is extraordinarily arduous. I wish to have a neater means.

To avoid enjoying games of Magic, make it so your opponent’s cards line up poorly versus yours. It doesn’t matter if their hand is sweet and yours isn’t. If your cards line up properly versus theirs, you’ve got such an absurd advantage. Usually, I might name this exploiting their cards, as the best way you neutralize what your opponent is doing is so brutal.

Runed Halo

One instance is Lantern Management, proper when Grixis Shadow was choosing up steam and other people have been calling for Shadow’s ban. I keep in mind continually enjoying towards decks with main-deck Runed Halos, Leylines, and extra removing spells and playing cards like Auriok Champion/Wall of Omens/Kitchen Finks, and so forth. In a format where virtually everyone is hedging onerous to destroy creatures, Lantern is the right selection. Your Shadow matchup gained’t be excellent, but you will do nicely versus everyone else packing their deck for Shadow.

Lantern was so good as a result of it interacted on a unique axis in the times of Shadow’s dominance. It didn’t matter if your opponent had a weird brew, as a result of all decks have been hedging to beat what they perceived to be the decks to beat.

In case you are making an attempt to know learn how to “steamroll” a event it’s essential be very conscious of how one can exploit what individuals are doing with out being exploited yourself. Typically the exploit is clear. When you forged Chalice for 1, your Delver opponent may be lifeless in their tracks. You exploited their 1-drops, however understanding that Chalice exploits Ponder isn’t actually very helpful. The opposite exploits are like puzzles you want to put collectively yourself.

I recall hearing Brad Nelson once say he was enjoying Gruul Ramp at a Pro Tour. One of many matchups was excellent, until your opponent found out a wierd method to play towards the deck that exploited the ramp deck. Because the ramp deck was a brew, Brad wasn’t very fearful that folks would uncover this and felt that towards opponents enjoying “normally,” the matchup was very favorable for him. So we will also exploit strategies by enjoying in sure methods. To do that, that you must think about what is going on in the matchup and check out totally different and bizarre methods.

Rite of Flame

One other option to exploit is to subvert individuals’s expectations and get them to board poorly towards you. Once I play U/R Presents/Baral Storm in Trendy, I virtually all the time aspect out Presents Ungiven and Previous in Flames, and aspect in Pieces of the Puzzle and Empty the Warrens. I discover lots of my opponents mulligan to graveyard hate when it doesn’t do anything towards me, and I get a huge edge due to it.

This can be a widespread experience for TES players in Legacy as nicely. There are two distinct Storm decks: ANT and TES. ANT is a slower, grindier deck that utilizes its graveyard, whereas TES has actually no playing cards in the primary deck that work together with the graveyard except Ceremony of Flame, and solely a single Past in Flames in the sideboard to grab off Burning Wish. Right here you possibly can achieve an enormous edge by deceiving your opponents, just like siding in and out of Sealed decks. Presenting an all-in aggro deck and siding right into a midrange deck causes them to sideboard suboptimally.

I’ll end this by sharing a couple of foolish examples. One is enjoying a primary Island in the Grixis Delver sideboard. Individuals had achieved this earlier than, however Omar Beldon informed me to do this and I used to be discovering how obscene it was when individuals would Ghost Quarter me turn 1, assuming Delver has no lands, go all in to forged a Blood Moon/Again to Fundamentals, or even Path to Exile my Deathrite on the primary flip. By simply making a small change to subvert individuals’s expectations, the rewards have been big.

One other got here in a recreation versus Lands. Most Delver lists run three of 1 dual and two or three of the other. I used to be enjoying seven duals in my deck and pretended for a lot of turns I was out of lands by failing to fetch off fetchlands, and set up a turn the place my opponent went all in on a Tabernacle, slightly than arrange Punishing Hearth to kill my lethal menace, and I sneakily fetched my remaining Sea.

The purpose of those examples is for example how it is attainable to realize an immense edge by making an attempt to think about what you can do to take advantage of your opponent’s cards. In case you can successfully do this, the rewards are there.

However GP Niagara was not a narrative about exploiting cards. I performed a cookie-cutter U/W Blade deck and performed Ponder mirrors all weekend.


1 Arid Mesa
Four Flooded Strand
6 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Tundra
1 Windswept Heath
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 True-Identify Nemesis
1 Vendilion Clique
Three Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Batterskull
4 Brainstorm
2 Council’s Judgment
2 Counterspell
4 Pressure of Will
Four Ponder
2 Spell Pierce
1 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Celestial Purge
2 Containment Priest
1 Disenchant
1 Engineered Explosives
Three Flusterstorm
2 Palace Jailer
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Tormod’s Crypt

I played five U/R/(x) Delver Wasteland decks. One was fairly bizarre with Nivmagus Elemental, Swamp, Jace, the Thoughts Sculptor, Kolaghan’s Commands, and Snapcaster Mages. I played two Grixis Management decks. I played two Tundra mirrors. One was EsperBlade and the opposite was Fabiano on Miracles. I played 42AD, the storm grasp, lands with Rishadan Ports, Steel Stompy, Depths.

With a round 1 bye and conceding to Edgar the final spherical for seeding functions, that was my Swiss portion.

Then in the Prime eight, I played towards Sneak and Show, Fabiano once more, and Dying and Taxes in the finals.

The one games that could possibly be exploited have been towards Fabiano. We had open deck lists in the Prime 8, and I learn via Gerard’s Miracles listing. I observed there were no Mentors principal. I might freely Plow his Snaps and Cliques without considering twice.

More importantly, this meant my Snapcasters have been arduous for him to interact with (on multiple ranges). Usually, I can forged Snapcasters vs. Miracles, however they will use Mentor to answer it, or they will use their very own Snapcasters. If I Plow then I’m bare to Mentor. Without Mentor, my Snapcasters are obscenely powerful. In the matches where he would play flip 2 AK, I might reply by Snapping Brainstorm alone finish step, fairly than put in Batterskull with a SFM (as Snap-Brainstorm helps me strain his JTMS more and arrange my very own JTMS/Sculpt countermagic/TNN).

I also had a large mixture of countermagic (most important 2 Pierce, 2 Counterspells, 1 Snare, Four FoW, sideboard 3 Fluster) making it very exhausting for him to mess around/learn me, while his countermagic was three Pierce, one counterspell, two Counterbalance, four Drive of Will important. He used Meddling Mage sideboard to disrupt the combo, so it was extra snug for me to navigate in that sense.

Chalice of the Void

I chose such a easy deck principally as a result of I needed to play a Ponder deck, but in addition needed to crush anyone who tried to forged Chalice of the Void or use Wasteland towards me. In Legacy, there are such a lot of decks that you simply can’t deliver a 75 that is nicely suited to combat every little thing. I really feel fairly snug so long as I don’t die to Chalice, so I principally hedge my deck choice to beat it, and I don’t consider the other Ponder decks are literally good vs. Chalice. Many disagree and say they feel effective. In case you are 60% towards Eldrazi and go 3-2 versus them, that isn’t a suitable document in case you are making an attempt to Prime 8 a GP. It’s 15 rounds and you want a 90% win-rate—you’ll be able to’t just be okay towards Chalice decks and hope for one of the best.

The Delver matchup, however, is just not good for U/W Blade. You have got very little removing recreation 1, and all your threats are clunky versus Daze/Bolt/FoW, and will not be good at stabilizing via disruption. Submit-board I get Verdicts, so I can simply catch back up on most boards and not die to creatures I could not take away. The truth that in my 5 or so matches towards it, my opponents generally had lifeless Wastelands on the board, helped a ton. I feel Delver gamers ought to be prepared to sideboard Wasteland out more typically. If your opponent isn’t actively fetching nonbasics, Wasteland is just a brick, and you want all your spells to squeeze the opponent. Most of my opponents depart in Wasteland, and I get free worth out of that.

Plague Wind

Shifting forward, lots of dialogue around Blade is on splashes: pink for Blasts, black for Zealous, and inexperienced for Noble. I consider black is stronger than it appears, as the 2-mana Plague Wind is absurd in True-Identify mirrors, and this deck can wrestle with Delver recreation 1. As I stated, your threats are clunky and dangerous at stabilizing vs. Daze/Bolt, and you don’t have much removing. Sweeper effects can really help make up for this and swing the matchup around, hence the 2 sideboard Verdicts.

I do know Eric Landon really enjoys the inexperienced splash for Noble. I have never tried it, so I can’t say something useful about it besides that Liliana, the Final Hope does exploit Noble Hierarch in a method I’m not tremendous snug with.

The purple splash is powerful. I felt that the playing cards I might minimize for pink Blasts weren’t large upgrades. I was making marginal upgrades, however the pink Blasts are absurdly robust, and particularly environment friendly at answering Arcane Artisan from Sneak and Present.


One necessary facet about sideboarding in Legacy is differentiating between builds of decks, i.e., between TES and ANT, between Omnishow and Sneak and Show, and so on. as these decks, despite being very comparable, play out very in a different way and are weak to totally different playing cards. Graveyard hate is nearly useless towards TES but distinctive versus ANT. The best way to know your opponent is on TES is for those who see Ceremony of Flame, Chrome Mox, or Burning Wish. Those are purple flags. Some ANT players might play these cards, but this can be very fringe. If your opponent makes use of Infernal Tutor to fetch up a Previous in Flames or Tendrils essential, they’re ANT. TES only performs Empty as a storm card foremost, in order that they would wish to fetch out Tendrils from the board to kill you.

On to how it is best to sideboard in a different way: TES makes Goblins so much. You need to aspect in all your Explosives and Zealous, whereas ANT will go for Empty sometimes however it isn’t their plan A or B, especially vs. Stoneforge. Versus ANT graveyard hate could be very beneficial. They are additionally a bit grindier so that you need to mull much less versus them if attainable or they could simply outgrind you.

The other decks that look very comparable but are very totally different: Omnishow and Sneak and Show. You possibly can inform they are Omni for those who see Intuition, Impulse, or Crafty Wish. Omni means they’re usually going to try to kill you with Omniscience so you possibly can’t actually matter on cards like JTMS or Jailer as a lot to remove creatures. Most importantly, they don’t have an actual sideboard, which suggests you don’t have to worry Arcane Artisan as far as I have seen. When you’ve got Surgical, it is obscenely good versus Omnishow whereas it is merely okay versus Sneak, primarily resulting from Intuition.




These plans will not be set in stone and there might simply be higher options out there. It also will depend on the Delver build. If they’re enjoying Stifles, you’re extra inclined to have Flusterstorm. If they’re a grindier B/U/G deck, I might be extra inclined to go away in all my JTMS. Should you see a number of Winter Orbs, you may want Disenchant. Pressure can also be okay, however evaluating Pressure of Will vs. truthful decks is complicated, so it’s type of the lazy individual’s tactic to aspect it out and not assume too much. Versus Stifle decks Drive arguably gets some worth. A nice trick to take advantage of Stifle is to attempt to fetch once they Ponder. Then in the event that they Stifle you possibly can Flusterstorm both.


Once more, the best way you sideboard is contextual. Versus Gerard I stored in zero Plows, once I usually maintain in three.



This is in all probability flawed, and FoW is probably good however I at present wouldn’t have a greater plan as Legacy is extraordinarily complicated. All the time concentrate on what your opponent is doing and board accordingly.

Sneak and Show

Try to remember if they’re Omni. Versus Omni, you principally board the identical, but you’ll be able to minimize Plows safely until you see Artisan.



Once more I am not 100% on this plan but it’s the greatest I’ve come up with up to now.

Dying and Taxes



In case you are on the play, Counterspell is ok. I might in all probability minimize the third FoW for a single one, however I’m unsure what’s right.

Grixis Control

Siding right here is admittedly tough as Plow is horrible, however if you want to turn out to be the monarch getting access to a removing spell may be good to deal with Strix.



It’s potential that Plains is worse than a Drive. Primary Plains may be good so you’ll be able to forged your Four-drops versus Hymn but you would wish extra experience. Clique might sound awkward versus Strix and Last Hope but it’s so good on so many boards that I might hold Clique in.

The Mirror



This is in all probability incorrect, however like my previous examples I’m not positive of a better option to sideboard with my current experience. I would wish to play extra to know what issues extra.

Shout outs, to Boston and Hans Jacob for lending me cards, and to Eetai/Peter for purchasing me food. It’s very much appreciated. And to everyone else who made the weekend as nice as it was.