I attended the Star City Games Standard Open yesterday. Of course with only the scraps of pre-BFZ Mono-red I couldn’t enter the actual event confidently. Instead I entered 2-Headed Giant BFZ Sealed with my roommate. We had high aspirations for the event. Unfortunately our hopes were quickly dashed by one of the most underwhelming card pools imaginable.
- Dragonmaster Outcast (This card was actually good, but we only drew it one round when we were already winning and it didn’t resolve)
- Smothering Abomination (Never played it)
- Dust Stalker (Didn’t play this either)
- Royan Dar, Roilshaper (Only drew this after we were already dying)
- Lanturn Scout (Not relevant until round 4)
- Barrage Tyrant (Never drawn)
- Brutal Expulsion (Didn’t play this color combination)
- and don’t even remember the last one.
Our Uncommons/Commons of Note
We got no Complete Disregards, Clutch of the Currents or any of the cheap green landfall creatures. Valuable uncommons/commons were as follows:
- 2 Retreat to Emeria (Not relevant until round 4)
- Sheer Drop (This card put in work)
- Stasis Snare (Never resolved this)
- Tightening Coils (This also put in Work)
- Spell Shrivel (This was amazing)
- Blighted Woodland (Very decent, but also very slow)
- Ulamog’s Despoiler (MVP round 1)
- Plated Crusher (Runner-up MVP overall)
- Halimar Tidecaller (Got us value and almost a blowout)
- Retreat to Hagra (Not relevant until round 4)
Despite this we still ended up building Red/Green Landfall and Blue/White Awaken.
So our white was pretty good and we have a great late game in Green with Plated Crusher and Breaker of Armies. However, what we didn’t realize until it was too late (round 4) was that we had no early game at all…
Round 1: Vs RG Landfall and UB Control
As would be a constant theme for the day our opponents ravaged us for the first 4 turns of the game before we made a significant board presence. The most foreboding moment being us at 13 life versus 30 life around turn 6-7. It got worse when our opponents dropped a Dragonmaster Outcast on us.
BUT then my roommate top-decked an Outnumber killing the Outcast after casting Ulamog’s Despoiler processed. Our opponents had run out of steam, did nothing and passed. I added Cloud Manta and Windrider Patrol to the board and got the consistent beats in the air while Despoiler and the later summoned Plated Crusher ran over their ground troops. We ultimately won the game thanks to this starling comeback.
Round 2: Vs 3-Color Converge and UB Control
This game was pretty depressing overall. Our opponents got the card Retreat to Hagra (which is the second most broken card in 2HG that we dealt with that day) allowing them to get consistent attacks/damage in. Ultimately we made a ballsy play to get lethal that got ruined by Turn Against. We lost horribly as Breaker of Armies broke our Ulamog’s Despoiler instead of their horde of scions.
Round 3: Vs The Ultimate Sacrifice Event Deck and UW Ingest
Ok so getting processed consistently in the early game by the UW player wasn’t the issue. The problem in this game was Zulaport Cutthroat, who is the most broken card in 2HG (at least that we saw). Also once you combine that with Broodbutcher and Eldrazi Scions there’s not much simple piles of jank can do against it. We managed to kill the Cutthroat after losing 10 life to him, but our opponent used Dutiful Return to get it back. The last turn we stared down: Brood Butcher, 3 Scion tokens and the Cutthroat with only 11 life to our names. We died the following turn.
At this point fed up with our decks we radically built new decks before the final round. I became Blue/Black Control (adding Ulamog’s Nulifier and dropping Noyan Dar) and my roommate became Red/White Allies adding our 2 Retreat to Emeria and Lanturn Scout in exchange for the Eldrazi and Plated Crusher.
Round 4: Vs Abzan and Jeskai
Somehow how hasty switch was the correct decision as we steamrolled our last 2 opponents. The Jeskai player didn’t make a move until turn 6 while the Abzan player desperately blocked our allies and my Sludge Crawler, who not only ingested 3 cards, but also became a lethal threat in the late game. To be fair our opponents fought well (once Jeskai guy got online), but 11 life vs 48 life is not the place where you want to be.
I learned from this that the early game is really important in 2-Headed Giant. We lost mostly due to being behind in board presence and life consistently. Overall this was still very fun and if possible I’d do this when the new magic sets come out instead of regular sealed.
We won 2 packs each and opened nothing of value (though I guess the foil mountain is sweet). I guess expecting/wanting a Gideon was too greedy, but honestly these pulls were doubly brutal.
Get it because we pulled a second Brutal Expulsion!
Progress as Magic Player
My roommate bulked out his Standard staples to get 2 Expeditions. Following by example I decided it was finally time to send my Mono-Red Standard pieces away once and for all. At first I was going to get a Karn Liberated, but when the guy asked me if I wanted a Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy I got a slightly crazier idea.
And so in exchange for my Standard deck and my Magic binder I got 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I call this progress because I’ve long realized that Standard Magic is the most expensive format over time and currently is disturbingly pricey.
I do love Standard mostly because it never seemed to have any broken cards or crazy combos. However, if you look at virtually any meta Standard deck right now they’re all comparable to Modern decks in price(I’m looking at you Jace). So rather than own Standard cards that would ultimately lose value after rotation or simply sit on cards I’m not actively using I figured it was a fine time to get a card that SHOULD hold value.
I reconfirmed for myself that BFZ is fun sealed format and a painful money pit. The sad thing is I would defintiely do this again if given the opportunity. 2-Headed Giant is awesome and I’m very glad I got into it for events. I hope maybe some day I can play Standard again when cheap Mono-Red is a thing. Still if that doesn’t happen I know EDH will see me through.
Thanks for reading as always.