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Today I have a tournament report from a friend of mine named Robert Toups, or as most of his friends know him “Toups.” Toups recently Top 4'd Texas States but felt I should write the article for him because he used a deck I made. Unfortunately I managed to scrub out of this event in the last few rounds after audibling to Wolf Run Ramp right before. I felt Wolf Run Ramp was going to be breakout deck that weekend and wanted to take a swing at it.
First things first, I'll tell you a little about the crazy Mr. Toups. He is a very entertaining guy so I was strongly trying to get him to come with us. We are talking consistent entertainment all around and countless hilarious stories. He is also a guy who has been playing competitive magic for a long time but hasn't really played in a while. He had been out of the loop lately but I told him I have a good deck extra and he knows it would be fun. So Toups was on board for going last minute and he was also excited to run the deck I originally planned on running: GW Humans. Definitely the deck I put the most work into.
Toups managed to battle through a field full of Solar Flare all day and make Top 8. It was quite a grind. He wasn't even going to attend the tournament until about 10:00 pm on Friday. I convinced him to run my extra Human deck because we had several people Cancel and mentioned I wouldn't charge him any gas money. Then he was immediately in. He had about 100 goldfish games but hadn't had any actual games with the deck. I gave him the complete run down of the deck, matchups, and sideboard plan then next thing I know he is sitting at 5-0.
One other thing that aggravates me more than my decision to audible, is that I made that decision without really losing many games with this deck. This human version did nothing but surprise me as I was rolling through most of the matchups but I decided to switch anyway. Next time I'll have to remember my play style and trust in myself more. Even though I have plenty of solid results with net decks, most of my success has come from under the radar brews. But I'd like to talk about what makes this version of Humans so much better in my opinion. I believe that this version is more efficient and consistent than most human builds while still keeping being extremely fast.
As I watched Toups run the deck, it seemed to be performing extremely well. It was just incredibly fast and resilient. I saw him win a game through 5 Timely Reinforcements in a row and another game through 3 Day of Judgments. Not only is the deck resilient, the fast clock gives some decks nightmares. There are enough lord effects that you can end the game before your opponent has a chance to set up anything. Then combine that with cards like Garruk Relentless and Angelic Destiny and the deck has some late game potential. Garruk Relentless is what pushes the deck over the top and makes it better than UW Humans. It is very helpful to have a cheap planeswalker available to help fight through board sweepers. Garruk also acts a solid removal spell against creature based decks.
Angelic Destiny is just amazing in this format right now. I try not to play it until my opponent taps out for a big creature. Once they tap out, you can usually cast the beastly enchantment and win the game right there. The other card I believe is great right now is Hero of Bladehold. Wolf Run Ramp is extremely popular right now and the original creator, Zac Abbott, even claimed that the deck is weak to Hero of Bladehold. Slagstorm can't stop Hero so if you get to swing with her it's usually over. Anyway, I'll get onto the tournament Report and let you see for yourself.
We end up getting up around 6:00 and driving to Houston from Waco. We eat at the awesome donut shop next door to 3rd Coast Cards and figure out there are going to be over 200 people at this year's states. It was going to be a long day.
Round 1: UB Random Stuff (1-0) 2-0. This was a younger kid who was kind of new to magic. He played multiple Bloodgift Demons, Invisible Stalkers, and counter spells. His deck was all over the place. Toups just took over the game with Mirran Crusaders and lord effects. Not much to say here.
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Round 5: UB Control (5-0) 2-1. Game 1 was unexciting because a fast curve won the game mostly through the help of Mirran Crusader. His opponent kept casting Forbidden Alchemy and Think Twice and blocking with Snapcaster Mages but it wasn't enough. Sided out Gideon's Lawkeeper for Shrine and Elspeth. Game 2, an early Ratchet Bomb slowed Toups down. Then following it up with a curve of 3x Dissipate and 2x Mana Leak's through the help of Snapcaster Mage. It was just too much and he eventually killed Toups with Grave Titan. Game 3, Toups got him down to 12 with a few one drops. Black Sun Zenith killed all of his creatures although Toups still had a shrine he played turn 3 and a Garruk he played turn 4. He plays a Ratchet Bomb, Toups Oblivion Rings the Ratchet Bomb. Then his opponent sacs the Ratchet Bomb before Oblivion Ring resolves which kills the wolf tokens. This also makes Toups have to target either Garruk or Shrine with his own Oblivion Ring. Toups chooses to remove his own Garruk. His shrine had around 7 counters on it and keeping it eventually won Toups the game. He saced a shrine for 14 tokens and at the end of one of the turns and swung for lethal.
Round 6: Solar Flare (5-1) 1-2. Game 1, Toups won with an excellent curve. Fighting through Solemn Simulacrums with a few Adaptive Automatons. Game 2, Toups admitted he over committed a little by dropping a one, two, and three drop right into a Day. Afterward he casted Solemn Simulacrum into a Sun Titan and took over. Game 3, Toups had the triple Elite Vanguard start. A turn three Timely Reinforcement simply wrecked that start. Toups oddly didn't draw any lord effects or Gavony Townships. Then his Mirran Crusader and Garruk were both immediately Oblivion Ringed and the game was pretty much over.
Round 7: UW Midnight Haunting Blade (6-1) 2-1. Game 1, Toups lost due to Midnight Haunting and Snapcaster Mage blocks that were really bad for him. After those, Toups overcommitted into a Day of Judgment in an attempt to make up for it. Then a Wurmcoil took over the game. Game 2, he won with a mull to 5 while his opponent got stuck at three lands for a few turns. The lord effects didn't give him much time to find the 4th land and it was over quickly. Game 3, Toups played an early shrine. Timely Reinforcements slowed Toups down and so did Midnight Haunting making tokens and a bunch of double blocks. The Oblivion Rings on Toups' Mirran Crusader didn't help. His opponent dropped a Wurmcoil so that forced Toups to drop and Angelic Destiny on Elite Vanguard. He left it back to block because it gained first strike. At this time Toups' two shrines he had out were building up but his opponent gained 12 from two Wurmcoil swings earlier. Toups eventually ended up winning in one brutal swing. It involved a second Angelic Destiny on the Elite Vanguard and 14 tokens made from the shrine. The really funny part was that Toups drew an Adaptive Automaton and played it calling “Myrs” which pumped all of his tokens and got his opponent to scoop.
Round 8: Unintentional Draw - Dominic Le - Solar Flare (6-1-1) 1-1-1. Toups offered the draw as they were both at table 3 and Domic refused. He obviously should have just taken it because after the unintentional draw they both ended up with a decent slot going into top 8. Game 1, an above average draw filled with removal and counters every turn was too much for Toups as he just got crushed. The game took a long time to finish because all Dominic did was play a ton of removal. Game 2, a few mulligans and a bunch of removal again partially got Toups on tilt. It was a very long game including Angelic Destiny being played multiple times and Elspeth making a bunch of tokens. Toups' Gavony Township and Angelic Destiny where eventually able to win the game after it took way too long. Game 3, time was called almost immediately forcing the draw.
Top 8: Mono Red 2-1. Toups stumbled on his curve and a Stromkirk Noble wasn't very forgiving. His opponent simply burned every guy Toups ever played and crushed him. Game 2, his opponent kept a one land hand with a Stromkirk Noble. Toups just curved out and won that game pretty easily. Game 3, Toups kept a questionable hand with lands, a Hamlet Captain, and double Garruks. Garruks kept shooting most of his creatures. The second Garruk came in handy and killed another guy and flipped also making a few deathtouch tokens. His opponent had a Shrine of Burning Rage at 9, but was forced to use it on Toups' Hero of Bladehold. Toups eventually won with Garruk tokens and Gavony Township.
Top 4: Alex Fan - Wolf Run Ramp 0-2. This match was particularly unexciting because Toups mulliganed to 5 both games and didn't put up much of a fight. Game 1, after a quick mull to five, Toups dropped a couple of one drops into a Slagstorm and that was it. Game 2, wasn't much better. Toups kept the five carder with two lands. The game ended pretty quickly while he only had two lands out and his hand was full of Adaptive Automatons and Mirran Crusaders. It was an anti-climactic start but it was still a good run.
Shrine was absolutely amazing for him all day and single handedly won him multiple games. He said his only regret was not playing four. When you make around 10 tokens at the end of the turn, then pump them with Gavony Township or Adaptive Automaton it can be brutal.
Zero Fiend Hunters. Change Fiend Hunter to another Gideon Jura and Oblvion Ring/Dismember. Dismember probably fits in the best. You need something for opposing creature decks but Fiend Hunter might not good enough because of his drawback. When he dies, it can put you too far behind.
Possibly a 4th Angelic Destiny. This card was ridiculous all day. Day of Judgment doesn't even stop it because it will just return to your hand. Also, it seems like everyone thinks this card gives you lifelink. I'm not sure why, but it's hilarious sometimes.
States was a fun tournament overall. Texas is full of good players and it's never easy. Ty Thomason ended up winning the plaque with his Dungrove Elder version of Wolf Run Ramp. He is a friend of ours and jokingly warned us before the tournament that Dungrove Elder was the nuts and doesn't lose to anything. Guess I should have listened! Congrats to both Ty and Robert though and nice job. Also, congrats to another friend, Juan Loya, for winning Oklahoma states with a similar Dungrove Elder deck. I think Ty will have a tournament report soon and I recommend giving both this Human deck and Ty's deck a try. Although Ty claims Owen Turtenwald has a slightly better version than him, the Dungrove versions seems really sick right now. But don't count Humans out quite yet. With the sideboard shrine strategy, it is a legit threat. Plus it's never fun to stumble on your lands a little and get crushed by turn 4. I'm interested to see what decks will show up in standard now that States mixed everything up. I guess we'll find out soon enough. See you guys next time.
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