The Cave Open was held 11.07. I didn’t have a good tournament and went 2-3. This was the meta: Oath, Jeskai Arcanist, Bug Aggro, White Eldrazi, Golos Stax, HollowVine, PO Storm, PO Mentor, Doomsday, Breach, 4-colour Planeswalker Control, Bant Aggro, Song of Creation Combo and yours truly.
A short write-up of my matches at the bottom. Since I use this forum as a notebook for coming years, Ill include the sideboard plan first. Feel free to scroll right through it.
I had made a few more changes, notably making room for the fourth confidant and fourth Knight in the sideboard for grindy matchups. This is what I went with:
3 windswept heath
3 verdant catacombs
1 strip mine
1 the tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 black lotus
1 mox emerald
1 mox pearl
1 mox jet
1 mox ruby
2 mox diamond
1 chalice of the void
4 wrenn and six
2 swords to plowshares
1 mental misstep
3 abrupt decay
4 once upon a time
4 force of vigor
4 deathrite shaman
4 thalia, guardian of thraben
2 collector ouphe
3 dark confidant
3 knight of the reliquary
1 swords to plowshares (Comes in in 7 matchups)
2 surgical extraction (Comes in in 6 matchups)
3 pyroblast (Comes in in 9 matchups)
1 abrupt decay (Comes in in 9 matchups)
1 grafdiggers cage (Comes in in 5 matchups)
1 sylvan library (Comes in in 11 matchups)
1 dark confidant (Comes in in 8 matchups)
2 collector ouphe (Comes in in 5 matchups)
1 elvish reclaimer (Comes in in 8 matchups)
1 scavenging ooze (Comes in in 8 matchups)
1 Knight of the reliquary (Comes in in 8 matchups)
Updated sideboard plan:
Oath: -2 collector ouphe, -3 dark confidant, -4 deathrite shaman, -1 savannah, -1 tabernacle, -1 chalice (11) +2 surgical extraction, +1 abrupt decay, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 swords to plowshares, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 grafdiggers cage, +1 knight of the reliquary (11) (22 green in library, minimum)
Im not particularly happy with elvish reclaimer against oath. If I play reclaimer and the opponent responds with oath, the reclaimer can only find a tapped Karakas and the oath player gets a full turn to go off. At the same time, I have a bunch of creatures that are little but liabilities against oath that I want to take out. Loosing containment priest hurts here. Grafdiggers cage is a weaker card in my deck, but I like having a strong one-drop and a piece of hate that is not a creature.
2x UR Arcanist (brings in blood moon): -2 collector ouphe, -1 Karakas, -1 force of vigor, -4 once upon a time, -1 mox ruby, -2 swords to plowshares (11) +1 abrupt decay, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 Knight of the reliquary, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 dark confidant, +1 scavenging ooze, +2 surgical extraction (11) (22 green in library)
I will try to get maximum value from all my cards and if I can kill off or control arcanist, I should dominate on the board. The surgicals are earmarked lightning bolt, but can function as a counter to a flashbacked ancestral. The three pyroblasts and last plow in the deck are weak to his counter-magic. I will do what I can to play them on his turn.
Jeskai Arcanist: -4 force of vigor, -4 once upon a time, -2 collector ouphe, -1 mox ruby (11) +1 abrupt decay, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 knight of the reliquary, +2 surgical extraction, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 dark confidant (11)
In this matchup, there are still weak cards in the deck after boarding. I think I should drop one mana source, but am unsure if the ruby is weaker than the second surgical extraction, or if the third swords to plowshares should come in.
Bug Delver: -3 force of vigor, -4 once upon a time, -2 collector ouphe (9) +3 pyroblast, +1 swords to plowshares, +1 sylvan library, +1 knight of the reliquary, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 dark confidant (9)
This should be one of my hardest matchups. I plan to keep all my mana, and even tabernacle as a late-game option I could try to maneuver towards if I fall behind on creatures. My opponent probably plays TNN, and after cutting plague engineers, I need to counter it with pyroblast or pressure with two knights to go over it. The fourth dark confidant found its place in the sideboard mainly for this match. Deathrite and W6 should be really good, while Thalia could be cut if I decide I want 1-2 more force of vigors for leylines and other sideboard tech on his side.
White Eldrazi: -1 force of vigor, -1 once upon a time, -1 chalice of the void, -1 mental misstep, -2 collector ouphe, -1 thalia, (7) +1 swords to plowshares, +1 abrupt decay, +1 knight of the reliquary, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 sylvan library, +1 dark confidant (7) (25 green in library)
This sideboarding looks strange, but I believe that after ouphe, chalice and misstep, the fourth thalia and the fourth force are the worst cards in my deck.
Ravager Shops: -1 chalice of the void, -1 mental misstep, -3 thalia, -2 once upon a time (7) +1 swords to plowshares, +2 collector ouphe, +1 knight of the reliquary, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 dark confidant (7) (26 green in library)
The shops player may opt to play Golos stax or something similar. Even though games change, I believe sideboarding should be the same: I have enough removal to be the control, and I will cut 3 or 4 thalia, since it slows down all the removal spells.
HollowVine: -2 collector ouphe, -3 abrupt decay, -1 mental misstep, -1 chalice of the void, -1 Karakas (8) +1 swords to plowshares, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 elvish reclaimer, +1 knight of the reliquary, +2 surgical extraction, +1 sylvan library, +1 grafdiggers cage (8) (23 green in library)
The plan here is really simple: Kill the first few creatures with spells, stonewall with Kotr for a turn and land tabernacle. W6 gets tabernacle back if he wastes it and tries for a comeback. Im not interested in paying an extra red to pyroblast his counterspells: There’s no time, and he will run out of counterspells quickly.
PO Storm: -4 deathrite, -2 wrenn and six, -1 Karakas, -1 Savannah, -1 Tabernacle (9) +2 collector ouphe, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 swords to plowshares, +1 abrupt decay, +1 grafdiggers cage (9) (22 green in library, minimum)
The single grafdiggers cage made its way into the library because it answers tinker perfectly (I hadn’t considered that it stops Bolas’ citadel).
PO Mentor: -3 deathrite, -1 dark confidant, -4 wrenn and six, -1 Karakas, -1 Savannah (10) +2 collector ouphe, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +knight of the reliquary, +1 swords to plowshares, +1 abrupt decay, +1 grafdiggers cage (9) (22 green in library, minimum)
I will try to find out if he plays back to basics. If he does, I will keep in 3 deathrites and cut the tabernacle and one knight instead. Tabernacle isn’t a great answer to monastery mentor in this matchup, since he plays a bunch of basic lands.
Bomberman: -2 mox diamond, -4 wrenn and six, -2 swords to plowshares, -1 Karakas, -1 Savannah, -1 Tabernacle (11) +2 collector ouphe, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 abrupt decay, +2 surgical extraction, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 dark confidant (10) (25 green in library).
I will be on the lookout for tinker in his main or side and side in cage and plows if I see it. All my hate hits bomberman hard, so this match should be one of my easiest, as long as he aims for the salvagers kill.
Breach: -2 mox diamond, -4 wrenn and six, -4 force of vigor, -1 swords to plowshares, -1 Karakas, -1 Tabernacle (13) +2 collector ouphe, +3 pyroblast, +1 sylvan library, +1 abrupt decay, +2 surgical extraction, +1 scavenging ooze, +1 dark confidant, +1 grafdiggers cage, +1 knight of the reliquary (13)
I’ve never played against breach before, but it seems as though it needs a few turns to set up while it plays control. So I can ease a bit on the fast mana. W6 looks lackluster, but as far as I can discern, he cannot win through thalia, ouphe or cage. At the meantime, deathrite and ooze snack at his graveyard. Surgical should probably be aimed at ancestral or bolt in the midgame or black lotus or lions eye diamond if he is about to go off. I may be wrong here, but it seems like I should not aim at his combo pieces directly (breach, brain freeze or sprite dragon), since I will win the game if I can prevent his deck from functioning and lose the game if I spend too much resources trying to survive. Still: Pyroblasts, abrupt decays and the last remaining plow can easily be aimed at a sprite dragon.
In the weeks prior to the tourney, I had played plenty of vintage and thought of vintage way more than I should. I had slept poorly and wasn´t very focused. I also intended to be drunk from round one: I like that very much, but it contributed to keeping hands I shouldn´t have kept and not reading my opponents all too well. Needless to say, I am not at all happy with the 2-3 record.
Match 1: 2-1 against Bug Aggro
I was well prepared for this matchup. It revolves around having deathrite supremacy: Whoever uses deathrite the best and/or nukes the other player’s deathrites will come out on top. I have W6 and Knight as trumps, but can still lose to TNN and Leovold.
I drew a completely bonkers lotus hand game 1. He played TNN relatively early but needed to keep it on defense against Kotr, which is a hard position to win from. I ended up grinding him out with Tabernacle and deathrite. Game 2 I had advantage on the board, but he beat me down with TNN. Game 3, I had another bonkers lotus hand and nuked several of his lands with W6.
Match 2: 1-2 against Doomsday
This was the match-up I feared the most going into the tournament. My disruption is quite poor against him. The doomsday player can choose to put 2 thassa´s oracle in the pile and go off slowly, playing the second as his last card. Force of vigor is pretty much useless and ouphe only cuts him off his fastest win with lotus. I basically need to hit Thalia turn one and follow up with 2-3 wastelands to have a chance. If he resolves Doomsday, I´m pretty much done for.
I managed to steal game 1 with several wastelands and a timely misstep on dark ritual (after letting mystical tutor resolve). Game 2 I made the biggest mistake of the tournament: I was gunning for turn one Thalia, and kept a six card hand with bayou, mox emerald and once upon a time, hoping to see Thalia. I saw Thalia, but couldn´t keep it, since I lacked white mana. I ended up taking a deathrite instead and got steamrolled. In game 3 I was able to pressure his manabase some and decided to play Kotr on turn 3-4, rather than hold abrupt decay for Oracle, when he was on 2 lands. He drew another land, cast Doomsday and won on the spot. He revealed after the game that he had put a back-up thassa´s oracle in his pile: Decaying the first oracle would have delayed his win with 2 turns, which would still have been fast enough.
I only knew about this deck being in the meta two days before the tourney and decided not to adjust. I onestly don´t know how to adjust.
Match 3: 2-0 against Golos Stax
This seems like a very favourable match-up. I have W6 to out-grind him, deathrite to stay ahead on mana and Knight to tower over his creatures.
In game 1, I opened on a land and a mox and established my mana effectively, while keeping him below five mana at all times. He played crucible, but I had W6 and wasteland and used deathrite to keep his graveyard devoid of lands. In game two, he opened on land, mox, sphere of resistence. I answered with land, mox ruby, mox emerald, mox diamond. He went to play his second sphere and I responded with force of vigor on his mox and first sphere. I was out of cards, but drew business and started nuking his lands. He couldn’t play a meaningful spell after that.
Match 4: 0-2 against oath
This was possibly the most miserable game of magic I have played in my life. I believe my match-up against oath is quite strong, but I had not properly identified Oko as the card to aim for in the match-up.
Game 1 took forever: I destroyed 1 or 2 oaths, but he played Oko, which my deck has difficulty beating through. The stupid subgame of elks ramming into eachother lasted until he hardcast Niv-Mizzet and then Griselbrand for the win. I thought I could manage Niv-Mizzet, but should have scooped to save a few minutes. Game 2 was extremely frustrating. He went orchard, mox oath. I responded with land, mox, abrupt decay, surgical extraction on oath (!!!). After that I tried to play as fast as possible, to have time for a game 3, but he played 3 Okos: I beat the first one down, spending ages to do so, abrupt decayed the second and ended up losing to the third. I´m sure if I had realized that there was only time for two matches, I would have beaten the third Oko and got a draw. I was on tilt most of the match and played sloppily, due both to my anger and drunkenness. My opponent (a dear old friend) also played as fast as humanly possible. Oko stole at least 40 minutes of our time, and I have nothing but hate for that card.
Match 5: 1-2 against PO Storm
This match-up clearly favours me. The two of us have played about a hundred games and I´ve won the vast majority. But to win, I need to play two of Thalia/ouphe/force of vigor by turn two. In two games that day, I didn´t draw more than one such piece and he drew very strong hands. He had Bolas Citadel turn two in both those games. I´m honestly not a hundred percent sure that I took a game from him. I think we had one of those games where he forces a Thalia, but I ride ouphe to victory.
After the event, I´m very happy with the deck, both maindeck and sideboard, and I wholeheartedly recommend trying it out. Chime in if you have a good idea for how to adjust to Doomsday.