I finally tried standard FNM, folks.

For my first standard FNM, I played a Selesnya token deck, with a black splash. (Mainly for the lingering souls.)

For my first standard FNM, I played a Selesnya token deck, with a black splash. (Mainly for the lingering souls.)

This won’t be a normal recap because I didn’t have my normal FNM draft experience. Despite top 8’ing July’s pick-a-pack, I decided to forgo August’s in favor of finally trying standard at FNM. I’d found a deck I liked online (Travis Woo’s Supertoken deck), and one of my friends at my LGS helped me build something similar. I only actually played with the deck for one quick game before the tournament started, so not only was it the first standard tournament I’d entered, I didn’t really have any practice playing with my deck. I felt very out of my element.

THE DECK 

I had a lot of fun playing my version of the token deck. I don’t have the full decklist, unfortunately, and I’m not so familiar with it I can rattle it off by heart, but I can tell you a few key players. Its power comes from Collective Blessing and Intangible Virtue, powerful enchantments to make my tokens more beefy. I ran Lingering Souls, Call of the Conclave, Midnight Haunting, Advent of the Wurm, Gather the Townsfolk and Increasing Devotion as my main token generators. I also had Selesnya Charms in there and other cards like Rootborn Defenses to help protect them. I only ran a few actual creatures: Sublime Archangel, Trostani and Mikaeus. I also had Gavony Townships to make my tokens stronger. I felt pretty good going into the matches because  in the one game I did play with the deck before the tournament I absolutely smashed the aristocrats deck. I got two Intangible Virtues on board with an Advent of the Wurm and then played Trostani and populated. It was awesome. Turns out two 7/7 tramplers can just win games.

I was excited because I thought my deck could do some really awesome things, but I was also nervous. I’m not a regular standard player, so I had no idea what to expect. Except that everyone would probably side in Ratchet Bomb against me, if possible.

THE TOURNAMENT (Overall record: 1-4) 

Round one (0-2) — I got stomped by a very talented player and an awesome Jund deck. I didn’t really have a chance. The first game he got out his Huntmaster, and it almost immediately flipped. I survived for a couple of turns, but not long. Game two, I started off a bit better. But when he played his Olivia on curve and I didn’t have a single answer, it was pretty much game over then, too. Like I said, I got STOMPED. But it wasn’t really a good matchup for my deck, and I learned that the sheer power of standard decks is higher than that of limited decks. I kind of knew that going in, but it didn’t really hit me until that match.

Round two (2-1) — My only match win! I was up against a fairly strong sliver deck. I won game one through careful defensive strategies and patience while I assembled a large token army. He had curved out really well and had the sliver that gave his guys flying, two Predatory Slivers, the Bonescythe Sliver and the one that gives all his slivers vigilance. I didn’t do much attacking — I had and Intangible Virtue out, and was slowly building an army of spirit tokens. I was able to whittle down his forces through mostly defensive plays and careful trades. I started sending in my centaur token after I played another Intangible Virtue, offering some good trades. And when I played my Advent of the Wurm, things swung in my favor. He’d locked up the air, but I forced him to deal with my Wurm token with trample, which knocked out enough of his slivers I was able to finally get through. Games two and three weren’t as good or as skill-intensive. I just wasn’t able to keep up with his slivers game two. I missed a couple land drops and he killed my enchanment, so my tokens were weenie. Plus all his slivers were flying, and I just wasn’t able to get enough spirit tokens to make a difference. Game three was great for me — I got plenty of tokens and a wurm right away, and he had no responses…. but that was because he kept a one-land hand and wasn’t able to draw the second in time to stabilize.

Round three (1-2) — I want to start by saying I’m really proud of how I played in this match, despite some misplays. But as many people pointed out to me, FNM is where you need to make those mistakes, so you can learn from them and not make them at bigger tournaments. That said, the first game was not close. I had a GREAT start, but was soon just crushed by Supreme Verdict and was never able to recover. He got out a Jace, Architect of Thought, and I couldn’t avoid it ultimating so my opponent was able to play my own Trostani and his Aetherling, and it was game over. Game two was much better. I started by making a few spirit tokens and then immediately following those with my Sublime Archangel. I also had Gavony Township on board, which I could have used to pump my guys. Instead, though, I just sent the Archangel in. I think I would have killed him faster had I used Township, but I still killed him before he found his Supreme Verdict or another answer. If I were in that situation again, though, I think I would opt for the faster method. I don’t want to give my opponents any more chances than necessary to find an answer! Game three was pretty epic. I had sided in Duress to try and get his board wipes out of his hand, and it worked. I got one Supreme Verdict out of his hand fairly early. I don’t remember the beginning of the game too well, but I did keep the pressure on him as much as possible despite knowing he had two Sphinx’s Revelations in hand. There are are a few key moments I remember, though. The first was when he cast Syncopate in response to my Advent of the Wurm at the end of his turn. I had Intangible Virtue on board, and he really didn’t want a 6/6 trample guy on board. I had another in hand and he was tapped out. On my turn I decided I didn’t want to main phase an instant, though, and instead cast Lingering Souls and passed. I think I should have played the Wurm there, but I don’t know if it would have made a difference. Fast forward several turns and I’m at 5 life and I’ve managed to finally play the Advent of the Wurm I’ve been holding and populate it. He’s at 16, but I’ve knocked him down to 4 with my two 6/6 trample Wurms. I notice he’s still tapped out and play Trostani and then Gathering Townsfolk, gaining 10 life because of Fateful Hour and Intagible Virtue on board. So basically he is super dead unless he can find an answer. Which he did. He played a whole bunch of card draw spells, including Sphinx’s Revelation, and he slammed the Supreme Verdict when he found it, and my army was dead. I was left at 15 life with no blockers, and didn’t find any in time to live. Overall, It was a good match against a very good player at my LGS, so I’m just proud I was able to avoid another blowout.

Round four (1-2) — My opponent was playing an awkward Dimir mill deck. I don’t think he played a single creature in any of the games, but he had TONS of black removal. Doom Blade, Tragic Slip, Mutilate, Murder, you name it and he probably had it. The first game I got really close to killing him, despite all the board wipes I suffered with Mutilate — he was at 5 when he finally milled me to death using four Nephalia Drownyards. It was frustrating. He got out Jace, Memory Adept the second game, but I managed to kill both Jace and my opponent before he was able to mill me out. Game three he also successfully milled me out, but I think I made a critical error that cost me the game. I had Collective Blessing on board with two spirit tokens. He played Ratchet Bomb, which I cast Abrupt Decay on. In response, he sacrificed it to destroy my tokens and I… I just let that happen. He milled me at his end step and my upkeep to kill me. But I had, IN MY HAND, Rootborn Defenses. Ratchet Bomb, unlike a lot of his other removal (like Mutilate), “destroys” the creatures. So it would have countered it and populated, giving me three  1/1 spirits with +3/+3 from the Blessing. Had I remembered, and he didn’t have a counter, I would have won the game. Oops.

Round five (0-2) — My opponents deck was just faster and stronger than mine. He ramped up using elves and played HUGE creatures early. His creatures also had enter the battlefield effects like “destroy target non-creature permanent”. I just couldn’t get past him. There might have been a way for my deck to win, but I didn’t find it. Maybe next time.

Overall, I think I did really well, considering it was my first time playing standard. I kind of set a self-fulfilling prophecy, though. I went in saying I’d be happy if I just won one match. And that’s what I did. But I wasn’t really happy. If I do play standard again, I think I will definitely go in with a more positive attitude. My matches were close, for the most part. I played some great players, but only felt outplayed a couple times. I know I have the skills to do better than 1-4, so next time I’ll hold myself to a higher standard.

All for now,
Bale

Do you remember your first standard FNM? What was it like? And do you think going into games with an expectation of losing/ winning influences the outcome? 

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4 responses to “I finally tried standard FNM, folks.

  1. Oh man. Nephalia Drownyard is *so* annoying.

    I’ve played Magic for about a million years, but my first actual FNM was during Alara block. I don’t think I won a single game, but I definitely learned a lot about the format.

    I think attitude can make a difference in winning or losing a game. I’ve seen people so convinced they’re going to win that they don’t pay attention and end up losing to something that could have easily been prevented. On the other hand, I generally expect to be crushed, so I don’t really pay a lot of attention either. I’m trying to cultivate a healthy mix of caution and hope. ^_^

    • Yeah, I thinking milling is the most annoying way to die. But hey, I guess it’s a viable strategy, apparently.

      And yeah, I can definitely see where being cocky can be detrimental, but then again expecting to lose is, too. Finding that healthy mix of caution and hope is something I’m working on as well. Let me know if you figure it out! 😉

      Thanks for reading! – B

  2. I’ve been away from Standard for couple years now, its very competitive locally here. But the first couple times you go are really good fun and addictive.

    I never follow any trends and usually try and build around cards people consider rubbish and try and find something powerful to do with it, this usually gives you the psychological edge in a game because 90% of the players at an event will know the format inside out and what every regular plays and how they play, and will panic when you field something “unknown” lol.

    • Yeah, at first I walked away and thought “I probably would have had more fun drafting”, but then I thought about it more while writing and realized that I really did have at least as much fun. It’s cool to try new things, and I didn’t do too terribly, either! I could definitely see myself being the quirky standard player that just throws people off. That sounds like a blast!

      Thanks for reading! — B

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