Running It Back with Mono Blue Control v2.0 *1st @SPDC 29.07*

I took last Sunday off from SPDC hosting duties to go party at the Bay to Breakers run/costume extravaganza in San Francisco, CA after winning with Mono-Blue Control 2 weeks ago.  I made some suggestions on what I would change should I run the deck back, and I stuck to those suggestions, and then made a few more!


+1 Voyage’s End
+1 Rise of Eagles
+1 Palace Familiar
+1 Whisk Away
+4 Divination

-1 Cancel
-1 Disdainful Stroke
-1 Nimbus Naiad
-1 Enhanced Awareness
-4 Weave Fate


+1 Sidisi’s Faithful
-1 Aqueous Form

Follow along as I explain the card choice changes and the breakdown of each play throughout the tournament by clicking on the pretty picture below:

Aside on MTGO vs IRL Game Integrity and Rewarding Sportsmanlike Behavior

In game 2 of the top 4 I made a misclick where I failed to block a 3/2 with my 0/4.  I meant to block it, but some lag and a momentary lapse in my concentration resulted in the classic ‘MODO mislclick’.  So I took 3 damage that I should not have taken.  I clearly was frustrated by this play, evidence by my blank expletive of “dammit ha,” which you can see got censored by the chat filter.

So I made a mental note at that point – I should be at 16 instead of 13 life – let’s play on and see what happens – most of the time it won’t be relevant and if I win then it doesn’t matter, but if I lose maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t matter.  Well wouldn’t you know it, my life total becomes relevant.  I have my opponent dead on board but with 2 Impact Tremors in play and me at 4 life – he had one out – Dragon Fodder.  And of course he hit it!   If I was at 7 life he would have died to my flyers the following turn.

With the goblin minions on the stack I engage in an admittingly passive aggressive conversation with him, basically stating my case.  I let him know that I have conceded in other spots like this before (to Forli when he misclicked with the Retraction Helix/Scribe combo when I was dead on board) back in the first event of this season, also a top 4 match-up.  I did so because I believed it was the right thing to do.  There’s such a small chance that I would have made the mistake of not blocking IRL that it seems ridiculous to have the outcome of the game decided by that play.

My argument was that my mistake would never have happened IRL magic, so the integrity of our game was compromised by my misclick.  I didn’t expect my argument to work, and I told him he had complete control of the situation, because lethal damage was on the stack for me.  If I proceeded the game then I would die.  Either I will time out or he would make it perfectly clear that he will not be conceding.  After some time passed he had a change of heart and decides to concede the game.  My logic made sense or he just didn’t want to make me mad?!

Game 3 is a game I thought I was losing every single turn, until the second to last turn where I devised a plan to win in 2 attacks that would only work if he had nothing relevant.  A single removal spell on my 2/2 bird would end it in his favor.  It was the closest game of the tournament, and game 2 was the likely the second closest.  I thought it would have been justice for me to get streamrolled game 3, but the MODO gods had other plans.

In an effort to reward Thunderus/JohnnyinaBucket for showing good sportmanship, I decided to gift him my prize difference between what I won and what I would have won if he did not concede.  I went on to get 1st place, 7 tickets, where I would have only won 2 tickets, so I am hooking him up with 5 tickets.  I did not coerce him into conceding with this prize split – I chose to do this after the fact because I want players to understand that this is how you should be treated for doing the right thing.  Obviously there are tons of scenarios where we will forget to make a land drop or F6 through our whole turn, which will inevtitabley change the course of the match, but won’t necessarily merit the pity plea of “please scoop to me.”  Exercise good judgement, make a reasonable argument, and give your opponent control of the situation.  If they choose not to scoop then you need to be fine with that, too.  Maybe don’t make those mistakes next time!  Either way someone is going to feel the sting of defeat after the match concludes.  Realize that the pain will fade and you will get to play again another day!

Our character gets tested through the game of magic time and time again.  We all have opportunities to show our true colors.  I want to inject good-natured, casual/competitive spirit into this community just I used to do with the juniors I used to teach tennis to at college prep camps.

I hope that the standard pauper events I host and participate in create a welcoming environment so that more players will continue to join them.  While I know I was the beneficiary of an act of a good sport this time, realize that I hope to live up to the same standard in the future, and I believe I have in the past.  If I don’t – please call me on it.  As iron sharpens iron, so to does man sharpen man!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the videos 😀  Mono Blue Rules!

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Mono Blue Control *1st @ SPDC 29.05*

I’ll let the video do all the heavy lifting.  Click on the scary island and enjoy 😀

Follow me on Twitter @DrChrisBakerDC

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Free Standard Pauper Tournaments on MTGO sponsored by PDC

Join us for SPDC (Standard Pauper Deck Challenge) on Sundays at 11:30am PST
(Free to enter – 15 ticket prize pool – 7-4-2-2 to top 4)

Izzet Blitz *1st SPDC 28.07*

If you’ve played NFL Blitz in your tender childhood years, then you know what it’s like to lay the smack down with some of the most punishing tackles and flagrant late hits the gridiron has ever seen.  My favorite defensive scheme was “Suicide Blitz” which was an all out attack on the quarterback.  You either get the sack for a loss of yards or they most likely score or get a huge gain that play.  Suicide blitzing was fun and created a lot of turnovers – it put the pressure on them to make a good counter play.  A classic high risk, high reward scheme.

Standard Pauper’s Izzet Blitz seeks to accomplish a similar task – to put the opponent on the defensive if possible and bring the beats!  Swarm them so hard they F6 on accident through their own turn, search for the wrong land with Evolving Wilds, and target the wrong creature with a spell meant for their hero!  OK that’s not exactly plausible, but that intensity is what this deck is trying to harness!

Click on the link below for the deck tech and my journey to 1st place at SPDC 28.07 today.  As they say, the best offense is a good defense!  Readyyyyy – Blitz!

I hope you’re looking forward to brewing with Dragons of Tarkir in the mix as much as me! Thanks for watching 😀

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Dragons of Tarkir Standard Pauper Set Review (with Bonus Sealed League videos)

Spoilers for Dragons of Tarkir have officially completed – time to go rate some commons! But first, some bonus footage of the Standard Pauper Sealed League, hosted by Gwyned.

Click on the picture below for the video playlist


I enjoyed the league a ton and hope that there will be more in the future!


A new labeling system is being implemented!  Changed from a 5-Star system to alphabetical grades as they are much easier to comprehend (at least for me :P)

A = Bad-Ass // Build-Around
(Treasure Cruise, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Temur Battle Rage)

B = Playable
(Akroan Skyguard, Nullify, Read the Bones, Lightning Strike, Nessian Asp)

C = Borderline Playable
(Kill Shot, Negate, Bolt of Keranos, Invasive Species)

D = Borderline Unplayable
(Erase, Cancel, Feast of Dreams, Scouring Sands, Naturalize)

F = Strictly Unplayable

Dragons of Tarkir Set Set Review Video (click on picture below to listen!)

Dragons of Tarkir

One notable omission from my top 10 for Fate Reforged was Gurmag Angler – severely underrated!

Color Rank (based on the amount of impact this color will have on the current format)

5)  Red

4)  Green

3)  Black

2)  Blue

1)  White

Top 10 Commons

10) Vulturous Aven

9) Stampeding Elk Herd

8) Twin Bolt

7) Sidisi’s Faithful

6) Conifer Strider

5) Gravepurge

4) Anticipate

3) Elusive Spellfist

2) Pacifism

1) Center Soul

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Fate Reforged Standard Pauper Complete Set Review #1stToReview #VLogStyle

My 5-Star ranking system for new cards (with some current standard examples).

BA = Bad-Ass // Build-Around = 4-5
(Heliod’s Pilgrim, Treasure Cruise, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Akroan Crusader, Undergrowth Scavenger)

P = Playable = 3-4
(Akroan Skyguard, Nullify, Read the Bones, Lightning Strike, Hooting Mandrills)

BP = Borderline Playable = 2-3
(Kill Shot, Negate, Bolt of Keranos, Invasive Species)

BUP = Borderline Unplayable = 1-2
(Erase, Cancel, Feast of Dreams, Scouring Sands, Naturalize)

SUP = Strictly Unplayable = 0-1

Click on the pretty picture to launch the vlog.

Color Rank (based on the amount of impact this color will have on the current format)

5) Green

4) Black

3) White

2) Red

1) Blue

Top 10 Commons

10) Write into Being

9)  Sandblast

8) Harsh Sustenance

7) Arashin Cleric

6) Goblin Heelcutter

5) Jeskai Runemark

4) Bathe in Dragonfire

3) Temur Battlerage

2) Enhanced Awareness

1) Whisk Away

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Awesome Video Replays (SPDC 27.08 Boros Heroic + MagicGatheringStrat League)

If you haven’t checked out my YouTube channel, you might not have noticed, but I’m really into making video replays now.  It allows me to explain things in much greater detail than I could merely typing up a tournament report.  Plus, as a health care provider, I know and teach about the dangers of excessive typing on the reg.  Especially on these poorly-designed laptops – why isn’t ergonomics an important part of the hardware design?  I digress.

First up – An undefeated run with Boros Heroic at SPDC 27.08 – my aggro deck of choice right now.

2nd up – A look at 4 whopping deck techs and 4 matches covering all 4 rounds of my swiss league matches from magicgatheringstrat‘s Standard Pauper sponsored league.

I was almost bored with the standard pauper meta after brewing Izzet Control about 2 months ago, but it seems like there are tons of viable decks and I bet there are more out there to discover.  Still, I could use the new set already – just a fan of change I guess.

I want to try out live-streaming style of videos in the future, too.  It will allow you to hear my thoughts as things are happening and you’ll be able to see me sideboard.  If you have any requests or critiques – share them – I have thick-skin and appreciate whatever feedback you dish out.

For one I notice that my body goes into oxygen debt once I start talking a lot or too fast and it makes me yawn uncontrollably.  Not the best sound and it messes up my flow.  I don’t hear many others having this problem as I have watched tons of draft videos from channelfireball, so I wonder what I’m doing wrong.  Might need to practice diaphragmatic breathing more.

Again, I’m all ears to requests/suggestions/critiques.  Thanks.

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