Hello everyone of the interwebs! I am Tyler Lundy, here to talk about my experience at the 2013 Colorado TCGplayer State Championships where I took second place with the new Monoblue Devotion deck, or, as I like to call it, Wizards of the Coastline. I haven't been playing Magic: The Gathering for very long, seeing as I only started playing about a month or two before M13 came out, but I have learned a lot during my short time playing. All of my time and effort at trying to become better at this beautiful game called Magic: The Gathering accumulated at this event.
Before rotation, I was on a pretty bad losing streak. I have been a blue player ever since I started playing Magic. Recently I was playing UW Control and doing horribly with it. I believe I only won three to four matches between two events. After these two events, I realized that having to rely on a turn four verdict to have a chance at winning was a disheartening experience. Since then, I have wanted to play a deck that has a more proactive strategy. Because of this, I was at a bit of a loss as to what I should play after rotation. I didn't see a whole lot that seemed interesting to me. I played a Maze's End Turbo Fog deck at FNM since rotation, and I enjoyed it. But, I didn't think it would be the type of deck that would do well at a seven plus round tournament. It wasn't until I read an article by Mark Nestico where he wrote about a UW Master of Waves deck that his friend had built that I found a deck that piqued my interest. I started trying to get a few of the cards to build it, but didn't get around to finishing building it since I wasn't too sure of how good it was.
Then the Pro Tour came along and flipped that thought on its head. I watched as Sam Black, as well as most of the rest of Team SCG and Team Revolution, took the tournament by storm with the Monoblue Devotion deck. From that point, I was hooked on trying the deck.
The day before the TCGplayer State Championships, me and a friend of mine, fellow Top 8 Competitor Alex Walker, did some playtesting. He was on Rakdos Midrange, and I wanted to practice with Monoblue Devotion. I liked the looks of Sam Black's list the most, so I based most of my list off of it. The only changes to the main deck I made was to cut a Bident of Thassa for a second Jace, Architect of Thought, and a Mutavault for a 21st Island. As for the sideboard, I changed quite a bit of it. Sam Black's sideboard seemed built more for a control-based meta, but I was expecting more aggro and midrange decks, so I changed a lot of the sideboard. In the end, this is what I ended up playing.
So, now that you've seen my thought process behind my deck choice, I guess it is time to talk about the tournament itself. I don't remember a whole lot of what happened in the matches, so I will talk about what I do remember.
Round 1 - Jund 2-0: This deck wasn't your grandfather's Jund deck. This deck had some interesting choices, such as Polis Crusher and Ogre Battledriver. Game one was just me trying to figure out what this deck was about. He started off the game by killing most of my creatures, then landed two Polis Crushers and an Ogre Battledriver over a few turns. This brought me down to about eight life, and I was dead on board the next turn. I had just landed a Master of Waves to give me about three tokens, and all he had to do was attack with the Polis Crushers to win, but he didn't quite understand the interaction between Trample and Protection. Because of this, he didn't attack, and I was able to alpha strike him for game. In game two I brought in my Mizzium Skin and some Negates to help protect my creatures, and I was able to Overrun him with Master of Waves tokens.
Round 2 - Selesnya 2-1: Ahh, an easy matchup. If I could play an entire tournament against one deck with Monoblue Devotion, it would be GW. Game one I was able to easily win after tapping his guys down with Tidebinder Mage and overrunning him with tokens. Game two I mulled down to five and kept a one land hand that didn't work out. Game three was pretty much the same as game one.
Round 3 - Rakdos 2-1: Sitting down to this round made me both happy and sad. It made me happy because it was the first time I have played at table one at such a large tournament. But, it also made me sad since I was playing against my buddy, Alex Walker. After our testing the previous day, I had a pretty good idea on how the matchup plays out. The two biggest threats he has are Anger of the Gods and Desecration Demon. I need to be careful of what creatures I play out into his Anger of the Gods, and if I can land an unmolested Master of Waves, Desecration Demon isn't much of an issue either. In game one that is pretty much what happened. In game two, he was able to have a turn three Anger of the Gods that I didn't feel I had the time or resources to play around, and then he followed it up with Desecration Demon into double Stormbreath Dragon. That sequence is pretty tough for any deck to manage. Game three went largely the same as game one except I was able to play a bit more aggressively into his Anger of the Gods since I had Negate backup.
Round 4 - Gruul 1-1-1: I could have won this round. Game one I was able to Overrun him with tokens as many games with this Monoblue end up. Game two was going largely the same, until the turn where it turned badly for me. I had an army and he didn't have a whole lot. If I would have attacked with everything, including my Master of Waves, I would have won. But, I felt like I had a good enough follow-up that I didn't need to go all in, since if he had something like a Druid's Deliverance, I could lose pretty much everything. So, I left back Master of Waves and put him to one but my follow-up wasn't good enough. He was able to Anger of Gods my board away and he took the game from there. I almost won game three after it went to time, but as I was attacking for lethal, he used Plummet on my Nightveil Specter, which turned off my Thassa and allowed him to survive.
Round 5 - Monoblue Devotion 2-0: I wasn't really familiar with how this matchup played out, but in game one, as I was being attacked for near lethal, I was able to survive at one or two life. I needed to topdeck a land though, so that I could Overload a Cyclonic Rift and end the game. Sometimes believing in the heart of the cards gets you there, and a land was on top. Game two Master of Waves did his thing.
Round 6 - Selesnya 2-0: Hey! As fate would have it, I had my easiest matchup for my win-and-in. Both games I was able to tap down his turn two Fleecemane Lion with my turn two Tidebinder Mage and then Overrun him with Master of Waves.
Round 7 - ID: Well, after a long tournament I was able to ID into my first Top 8 at a large event. It felt good, but I wasn't quite able to celebrate it yet. I still had Alex Walker to wait on. He was 4-2 going into the last round and had a chance to make Top 8 if he won this round. He faced a Bant Ramp deck that he was able to easily Decimate and was able to make Top 8.
Quarterfinals - Monoblack Devotion 2-1: This was a pretty fun game. Having to play around removal spells and such is one of the things I enjoy about playing Monoblue Devotion. There isn't a whole lot to talk about with this match, though, except that he just had to disrupt my sick curve in game two of Cloudfin Raptor, Frostburn Weird, Nightveil Specter, into Master of Waves by Thoughtseizeing my Nightveil Specter.
Semifinals - BWR Midrange: I can't quite remember if I won this 2-1 or 2-0, but the last game was pretty sweet. It was pretty back and forth. He had a Whip of Erebos and a Lifebane Zombie that was hitting me, and I didn't have a whole lot I could do. That is until I drew one of my AEtherlings (I knew this card would come in handy at some point). From that point my gameplan changed quite a bit. I knew I had to ride this AEtherling to victory. I was able to land the AEtherling, and follow it up a turn or two later with an overloaded Cyclonic Rift that he wasn't able to come back from. On to the Finals!
Finals - Monoblue Devotion 1-2: I made it! It had been a long day, and I finally made it to the finals. If I could blame my loss on one thing in this match, it would be my mulligan decisions. I had made it to the finals, and I was pretty content with that, so I kept pretty shaky hands that I really should have mulliganed. But, next time I shall have the fire of victory burning underneath me, and I shall come out victorious.
Overall, I think this deck is quite powerful. It has hands that are very difficult to beat for many decks, and doesn't just fold to a board wipe like many aggressive decks do, since it has things like Thassa, God of the Sea and Jace, Architect of Thought to help dig you out from behind. If I were to change anything in the deck going forward, it would be to cut a Mutavault for a second Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Nykthos gives you access to such powerful turns. It allows you to dump your whole hand against decks that don't have sweepers, and makes it much easier to Overload Cyclonic Rift much more often. I don't think I lost a single game where I was able to Overload a Cyclonic Rift. That card is a house.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my article as much as I enjoyed writing it and playing in the tournament.