MTGO Hero – Battle of Seattle

My anticipation for playing in the Star City Games Open in Seattle, Washington had been building for weeks, and as the days drew closer, I became increasingly doubtful regarding the viability of the MTGO Hero deck. I wanted to give the deck a chance to shine in the real world, but it wasn’t exactly holding its own in the practice rooms on Magic Online the way it was.

I had conversations with several friends and players whom I respect regarding what I should do for the tournament. Some said that I should just play Delver to give myself the best chances of succeeding, but others thought that I should roll with the MTGO Hero deck. Surprisingly, I liked my buddy Jay Boosh’s ideas the best of all.

Jay and I share the opinion that rogue deck brewers are just plain awful. They continue to defend garbage cards that are in their janky decks rather than find the good cards that aren’t currently being played. Jay is the opposite of a brewer in every way, but he had valid arguments for his suggestions, and I was intrigued by what he had to say.

What he recommended was that if I wasn’t playing Delver, I should go with W/U Humans and add better cards. In addition to Feeling of Dread—which is a card he continues to support—he mentioned adding Geist of Saint Trafts, Snapcaster Mages, Phantasmal Images, and a Sun Titan if I could afford them. I already possessed most of the cards that he mentioned, but I knew that it would no longer be the MTGO Hero deck if I added them. At the same time, I didn’t want to pay the money for the trip, entry fee, and physical cards if I wasn’t going to give myself a good shot at winning prize money.

Jay and I discussed a few more card options and play strategies, which eventually led me to my final deck decision. If I wanted to give myself the best chances I could for winning—while keeping the foundation of the MTGO Hero deck intact—I would simply build the deck that I hoped the MTGO Hero deck would eventually evolve into.

Here is the deck that I decided upon:

I was able to piece most of the deck together from my collection, but I still needed a few cards. When I looked up paper card prices, I was reminded of one of the many reasons that I love Magic Online so much. I have listed my purchases compared to their online equivalent because they are great examples of the differences between the online and real-world Magic economies.

Quantity and card name Real world price Magic Online price
2 Cavern of Souls $25.00 each $8.00 each
3 Phantasmal Image $13.00 each $6.00 each
Total cost $89.00 $34.00

Looking at the price differences, it really makes me wish that there were more competitive tournaments online, and yet there are still those who say that Magic Online is too expensive.

I would need to purchase the cards regardless of the cost, but I hadn’t decided on which cards I was playing until the Friday before the tournament. By the time I was home from work that night, the stores in my area were closed. I would be required to wait until the next morning at the event and hope that the SCG traders would have the cards I needed.

The Big Day

I was able to enjoy a solid four hours of sleep before waking up at 3:30 A.M. to make the four-and-a-half-hour drive to Seattle. I arrived at the event destination early enough to find the cards that I needed and help my buddy Justin a.k.a. The Reverend En Fuego, of BJ Shea’s Geek Nation and the BJ Shea morning experience, find a Bonfire of the Damned for his Naya Pod deck.

It wasn’t long before our pairings were posted and we sat down to begin a long day of Magic. I don’t want to go into great and boring details about all nine rounds that I played that day, but I’ve listed the significant details below.

Round 1 vs. W/U Delver

Of course, my first-round opponent was playing Delver!

I felt a little better about the facts that he couldn’t have been older than twelve and he seemed very unsure of himself. Despite that fact, he still played very well, and the match went to three games. In the third game, I had to mulligan to five cards and still wasn’t thrilled with the hand I kept. Against Delver, that is never a good position to be in, and I didn’t last long after that.

Record: 0–1

Delver of Secrets
Geralf's Messenger
Mirran Crusader

Round 2 vs. U/B Zombies

Thankfully, I was treated to a bye (a.k.a Zombies) after playing my toughest matchup in the first round.

Once again, Mirran Crusader for the win!

Record: 1–1

Round 3 vs. R/W Humans

This was a typical aggro slugfest.

The deciding factor was Divine Deflection. I feigned a desperate all-in attack, encouraging my opponent to alpha strike, and this led to a blowout once I had cast Deflection for a lethal 7 damage, thereby winning the match.

Record: 2–1

Divine Deflection
Day of Judgment
Riders of Gavony

Round 4 vs. Solar Flare

In Game 1, I was able to survive three Day of Judgments to steal a win. I misplayed Game 2 by attacking Riders of Gavony into my opponent’s cloned Riders that had protection from Humans. My frustration and lack of experience with the deck led to additional mistakes, resulting in a Game 3 loss.

Record: 2–2

Round 5 vs. W/U Humans

Another aggressive battle, another win courtesy of Divine Deflection.

On a side note, Feeling of Dread was an all-star in every game. Either I was able to hold off my opponent’s early attacks or clear the way for my early aggression, and this made FoD a major player in my success.

Record: 3–2

Feeling of Dread
Restoration Angel
Insectile Aberration

Round 6 vs. W/U Delver

It was another epic match against Delver and once again came down to Game 3.

Against the ropes with 2 life (with seven lands in play), my opponent armed with an extra 4, I was attacked by Restoration Angel and Insectile Aberration. Rather than block with my Spirit token, I cast Divine Deflection for 6 damage, knocking my opponent out.

Record: 4–2

Round 6.5 – The Irrelevant Showdown

I beat The Reverend En Fuego with my G/W tokens Commander deck.

Round 7 vs. G/W Aggro

I was never really in this match.

My opponent was extremely skilled with his deck, and his swarms of little dudes quickly outgunned my own. So in actuality, I was in the game; my little dudes, however, weren’t in it with me. His deck completely negated my Clones because there is nothing more worthless than a Clone of Birds of Paradise.

This is the only match in which I didn’t win a game.

Record: 4–3

Birds of Paradise
Inferno Titan
Phyrexian Metamorph

Round 8 vs. R/G Aggro

The pivotal moment of Game 1 was when my opponent played an Inferno Titan, wiping my board. The Phantasmal Image in my hand was a dead card with his Titan in play. Fortunately, I top-decked Phyrexian Metamorph, which allowed me to put two copies of Inferno Titan in play. They dealt a total of 6 damage to his Titan and were able to swing for the win on the following turn.

In Game 2, my opponent used Zealous Conscripts to steal my Mirran Crusader. Before attackers were declared, I tapped them down with Feeling of Dread. I then used an Image to copy Zealous Conscripts in order to steal my opponent’s Ravager of the Fells for a lethal attack.

Record: 5–3

Round 9 vs. W/U Delver

This was my last opportunity to go home with some money, and of course, I was faced with my nemesis, Delver. It was another great match ending in a heartbreaking mulligan to five in Game 3. I didn’t have the gas to outlast my opponent and was swiftly defeated.

Final Record: 5–4

Wrapping Up

Even with cards that were far superior to those in my MTGO Hero deck, I wasn`t able to beat the top decks consistently and take home a prize. I feel that I could do better with the deck given time, but MTGO Hero has a long way to go before I would be able to obtain all the cards for it.

I have been considering options to modify my deck for use in Block Constructed tournaments. The cost would be minimal to build a top-tier deck in that format. This would give me more options for tournament play and a higher potential for winning prizes.

Check back next week to see what direction I decided to go with MTGO Hero.

Until then,

– Tangent was here . . .