Friday, December 7, 2012

Mull to Five: Brainstorming

A pair of 2-1-0s, placing 4th in one and 3rd in the other.

Now that's what I call a successful tournament run! But that's all icing on top of a very sweet cake however, because of the myriad of lessons I have learned last Wednesday (November 28, 2012), both from the tournament itself and from some brainstorming and discussions I had with an experienced player (and two-time first round opponent, and with whom I lost to both times, haha). Tossing ideas around with someone more experienced is a really good exercise; you might end up revisiting ideas you could have dismissed sometime ago on account of being too weak or too clunky. Like I almost always do, though, I might be getting too ahead of myself. I'm really excited to talk about my tournament exploits this week, all the more so because I wasn't able to play all that much last week, so let's begin.

I apologize, however, if this post is a little late. I was really busy with work the past few days and I had to fight off illness; it was actually a blessing I was able to squeeze in time for not just one, but two tournaments (actually, two pods from the same event, and they were both rather small, hence having only three rounds each), and a very timely one at that.

EDIT: I've been able to go to another Standard event last Saturday, so expect a write up on that soon too!

Anyways, let's begin by talking about a certain four mana sorcery that confounds me to this day...

The Hunger Games Got Nothing on This!

It's game two, and the start of the fourth turn. You have a Blood Crypt, an Overgrown Tomb, and a Kessig Wolf Run in play, and a Dragonskull Summit in hand. You nonchalantly draw the top card of your deck, thinking about your plans for the next few turns. Maybe you'd play your Summit, then cast a Huntmaster of the Fells, or maybe gain a little bit of card advantage while testing the waters at the same time with a Garruk Relentless. You then take a quick glance at the card you just drew:


What do you do?

Against most decks you board this card in, casting it is almost always the best play to make on the fourth turn, or on any turn you draw this card and you have enough mana for it. The only reason I think it's wrong to play this on the fourth turn is if you are playing catch-up against a faster opponent, which means you should not have been boarding in Slaughter Games in the first place. This card is virtually unstoppable right now in Standard, due to it's uncounterability clause, and would almost always be backbreaking for your opponent - if you could name the proper card...

So what card do you name?

The answer obviously depends on your opponent's deck. I used to think (and up to this day I still do) that it's best to name your opponent's kill card, or in the absence of one, the card that can or will kill you the fastest. However, after casting this card a bunch of times and following this extremely rudimentary rule of thumb, I can honestly say that playing Slaughter Games this way is at least partly wrong. Like many things in Magic, you cannot just go auto-pilot just because a card is strong; you have to always consider the current game state. It's still okay to keep a list of priority targets, and there are situations where, indeed, the right answer is the most obvious one, but you should not complacently fall back on that list and lazily name the top card in it. That's just bad Magic, and that complacency has certainly costed me quite a few games in the past.

If you are ahead on the board and you are already actively looking to finish the game, it's probably a good idea to Slaughter Games away their sweeper, mass removal, or any card that would stop you from getting ahead, so you can keep building on your advantage with impunity. If you're falling behind, then maybe it's best to name their threats so they can't go ahead any further. Most of the time, though, the best card to name is the card that directly trumps and counters your deck's plan against your opponent's deck. This means that you must actually have a plan against your opponent's deck, and that you have to know what cards your opponents have (INCLUDING sideboard cards) that are detrimental to that plan.

Slaughter Games is a sideboard card of our team's Jund Midrange deck; a deck that I have been playing a lot and has been my default go to deck when playing against an unknown field. I normally board the card against controlling strategies and sometimes against rogue decks that rely heavily on a certain card or a bunch of cards to win. Against decks like Bant Control, Bant Midrage, American Tempo, American Midrange, Reanimator, opposing Jund Midrange decks and even Azorius Flash, Slaughter Games can really do a lot of damage, preventing them from winning or buying you enough time to set-up your own victory. I have also been heavily tempted to board in Slaughter Games against Green White aggro decks when I'm playing second, stripping them of explosive cards like Silverblade Paladin or Wolfir Silverheart (although this might be arguably wrong, as you generally don't want Slaughter Games boarded in against decks that are faster than you, after all, casting Slaughter Games on turn 4 does not have any immediate impact on the board state, and will not get rid of that Silverblade Paladin beating your face).

Against Bant and even against Blue White flash, as you would see later, it's very tempting to name their Hexproof creatures, especially Sigarda. But, provided you sideboarded the correct cards (namely, Vampire Nighthawk and the like), it might actually be better to name Sphinx's Revelation (of course, after assessing the current game state and determining that it's the best card to name; from now on assume this when I discuss targets for Slaughter Games). Why, you ask, and why not name instead the cards they might draw off of it? It might seem a little counter-intuitive at first, but you have to consider Jund's main plan against Bant or Blue White flash. For me, Jund will have the best chance of winning against these decks if Jund can land a hand obliterating Rakdos' Return, removing all of Bant's abilities to react against your plays.


Bant is scariest when it has a fistful of reactive cards like Snapcaster Mages, charms and countermagic that would just rip and pounce on whatever play you might be thinking of making. Robbing them of that ability makes them a lot less dangerous. It's, however, often unprofitable to cast a Rakdos' Return against them, because they can just instantly reload with Sphinx's Revelation. A turn 4 or 5 Slaughter Games naming that card would force them to play a little more honestly, swinging the match-up a little more favorably to Jund (remember that Bant is a bad match-up against Jund, because in terms of resources, Bant has an advantage due to its charms, Snapcaster Mages and the oft-mentioned Sphinx's Revelation, and because their card quality is generally better in the long game).

Against Reanimator, it's often a toss up between Craterhoof Behemoth (which can instantly win the game for them), Unburial Rites (which can put the massive beast into play for cheap), Angel of Serenity or Thragtusk. Sometimes it might still be okay to name Sigarda (even if you boarded in your Nighthawks) if this would mean you would be able to dispatch of your opponent faster. Deciding which to name depends on the current situation; a few guide questions to determining what to name would be: do you have an online Deathrite Shaman? Have you cleared out their graveyards of Unburial targets (in which case, you should be naming Sigarda or Angel of Serenity, as these can be hard cast from hand and just dominate the game)? Can you stop their biggest remaining threat (either in the deck or in the graveyard) in case they Unburial it or they hard cast it?



I  would personally often name Angel of Serenity or Unburial Rites if I'm facing against a Reanimator strategy. Serenity's exile effect is very swingy, as it can remove all your potential blockers for an all out attack, and Unburial just provides massive card advantage as their graveyard suddenly becomes an extension of their hand (and then they could do it again, if needed). Be wary though, as some Reanimator decks board out Unburial Rites and render your Slaughter Games impotent. Also, if you don't have any other means of dealing with it in a timely enough manner, by all means name that blasted Behemoth and stop them from just winning out of nowhere.

Against other decks, while there are no hard and fast rules, just remember, name what would be most detrimental to your plan. Jund does not have any reliable card draw outside of Garruk; you might never get a second Slaughter Games so make sure your first counts. It does not always have to be their finisher or their win condition, but them not having any means of winning the game is as good as them not being able to stop you from executing your game plan, because ultimately, your game plan is to win, and to prevent them from winning is half the battle won.

Now for my tourney match report. I would do things a little differently though, because I entered into two pods and I faced the same first round opponent, and I had a pre-agreed round on both pods. It would make my match report unnecessarily long if I discuss the same match-up twice so I would just discuss the individual matches I played and the decks I played against, regardless of order.

Beginning with the match I never won, even if I already fought against it twice. Even if it was supposedly a good match-up.

Once Again, the Dead is Denied Blessed Sleep

In a previous post, I talked about how badly positioned Zombies is in the current meta, with all the life gain and exile effects floating around. True to it's name however, Zombies just would not remain dead, and at the hands of a skillful pilot, even the shambling tribe that a lot have erroneously counted out can make a shambling comeback.

Zombies have gained a lot of new tools to cope with the recent meta game, and as I have always said about the Standard format, even in a strategy as linear as Zombies, inventiveness, creativity and the boldness to be different is very often greatly rewarded. The most obvious of these new tools is a third 2 power one drop, albeit one that cannot block. This gives Zombies a very consistent early game, able to put on as much as 6 power on the board on turn two (and hit for a ton come turns 3 and 4). This two power one drop hails from the Rakdos guild, and is just itching to be unleashed...


While not a Zombie, it certainly fits the Zombie's hyper aggressive paradigm, able to nibble away 2 life point chunks while the opponent is still busy casting Farseeks and mana dorks. Sure, it cannot block, but Zombies are not known for their ability to block, and if you constantly find yourself on defense with a Zombie deck, you are playing the deck wrong. I'm not exactly sure how many copies of the card Zombies play, but even as a two off, the deck can have as many as ten one drops ready to pounce for two damage on turn two. Talk about consistency!

There is, however, another Devil that Zombies have began to include more often in their deck lists nowadays, one that packs an even greater wallop, and does not even wait a turn to make its presence felt. I'm sure this card has been played in a Zombies deck in the past, but right now, its popularity has began to pick up once again. And woe to the unfortunate guy who happens to be on the opposite end of the table of this guy...


The turn Hellrider comes into play, be prepared to take massive amounts of virtually unstoppable damage. He does not even need to hit you at all to deal that damage, just a swing from this guy and all the other Zombies and you are suddenly in a world of hurt, even if you can block all of the attacking creatures. This card gives Zombies tremendous reach (not the ability to block a flying creature, but the ability to close the game); just when you think you've staved off the Zombie menace with that Thragtusk or that Huntmaster of the Fells, wham! Lethal damage sir? Oh, and here's a Brimstone Volley just in case!

Another card that Zombies have more recently adapted and has become quite ubiquitous among decks nowadays, tribal or not, is Cavern of Souls. I wouldn't really talk about it's applications though, instead, I'd talk about how many of this powerful land Zombies would want to run main deck. Initial assumptions would say that Cavern is an absolute four-off in Zombies, but closer inspection actually reveals the contrary. A lot of Zombie's creatures have heavy commitments to particular colors. Geralf's Messenger and Highborn Ghoul require a heavy commitment to Black and Hellrider requires a heavy commitment to Red in order to play them at the correct points in the curve. Drawing multiples of this land might starve you of colors, thus leading you to delay your creatures a turn or more, where they're no longer going to be optimal.


Ultimately, it's all up to personal preference and play style. I've heard of a Zombies deck running four Caverns manage to put them all into play, making all its creatures uncounterable (naming Zombie, Vampire, Devil and most likely Dragon - more on this in a minute). This is rather dangerous though, as drawing two Caverns early might jeopardize a turn 3 Geralf's Messenger into a turn four Hellrider or Falkenrath Aristocrat, as already metioned. Some players would just run a pair, as counterspell insurance, and because of how low Zombie's curve is, its creatures doesn't have much difficulty slipping under countermagic most of the time.

One final tool, and something that I find personally interesting, is a rather peculiar card, an Avacyn Restored rare that, truth be told, I've never seen and never thought would ever see play, due to its rather steep drawback. But it is this steep drawback that makes it a compelling sideboard card against certain decks, including Jund midrange. Meet Archwing Dragon...


While I must admit that I might be a little overexcited about this card, and I've only seen it played by one player, think about it for a minute. Apart from Ultimate Price, Victim of Night and Azorius Charm, Standard is currently devoid of  Instant speed removals that can reliably deal with the Dragon. Sure, Tribute to Hunger or Murder might snap it up occasionally, but the former is usually a sideboard card that is not boarded in Zombie match-ups and the latter is just outclassed by other removal spells to even warrant inclusion. This makes Archwing Dragon a very compelling metagame card, and a card that might see more play in decks that can support it (RDW, just saying...). There's nothing more satisfying than slamming this badass card turn after turn and swinging for a fifth of your opponent's life total every time.

On to my match report. As mentioned, I faced against this Zombie deck as my first round opponent in both the tournament pods I participated in. The first time around, I was actually able to force a third game, even after getting hit by the Dragon a bunch of times. Game three ended rather quickly though, as a Duress on my one Farseek in hand delayed my Thragtusk (which I also had in hand) a full turn, allowing him to finish me off with Falkenrath Aristocrat and Hellrider. In fact, Hellrider was key in all the matches I lost against the Zombie deck; in the second game of the second pod (I lost the first game) even after I have "stabilized" with Huntmaster of the Fells, Thragtusk, Deathrite Shaman, and Sever the Bloodline, he was still able to put me away with a Hellrider attack, with a little help from a miracled Bonfire of the Damned.

A miracle indeed.

Lesson learned: Zombies is a very fast and vicious deck, as such, every point of life is crucial, and a life point saved is time earned to set up mid game plays. Even plays as mundane as untapping a shockland could spell defeat, and so, playing lands in the optimal order is important. Life gain from Thragtusk and Huntmaster of the Fells is key in the match-up, along with drawing timely Pillar of Flames and Sever the Bloodlines. Conserve your life, play defensively and never let your life total dip below 5. Remember that Zombies can put you away even at a relatively high life total, so make sure to never let your guard down against the shambling threat.

And even if a deck is supposedly a good match-up for you, it's no excuse to play complacently. Play tight and think before casting your cards.

Scratching the Rogue Itch

Rogue decks are fun; I think I  have a soft spot for fun and interesting rogue decks. While Jund is poised to crush most rogue strategies (and I sometimes feel like a sad bully whenever I face a rogue deck in a tournament), it's still really cool to see what creative ideas deck builders have. Last week's tourneys did not disappoint, as I was able to play against two different, fun, and interesting rogue decks (of varying viability), which I'm both quite excited to talk about.

The first of these rogues that I would like to discuss is a deck called Street Fighter, or at least that's how the deck pilot called his deck. It's a combo deck, but it requires quite an absurd number of pieces to assemble the combo. First, you have to have a bunch of defenders in play, one of them being Axebane Guardian. Then, you have to Soulbond Galvanic Alchemist onto your Axebane Guardian. If you have at least three other creatures with Defender in play, that's infinite mana. Where do you channel this infinite mana you might ask? Well, there are a bunch of ways to finish the game from there, but it wouldn't be called Street Fighter if it doesn't finish the game with one gigantic fireball of death! While Fireball is not Standard legal right now, Devil's Play makes a very convincing impersonation, even able to pop out from the graveyard if needed!


Obviously, the combo is very clunky, and since it requires more than six pieces to work (Axebane Guardian, Galvanic Alchemist, three other defenders and the kill card), it's not one of the more viable combo strategies out there. Still, an infinite mana combo in Standard is rather cool, and seeing a deck that takes advantage of this (even if it's just a "fun" deck) really shakes up that deck designer in me. Maybe one day I'd be able to discover a viable Standard legal combo.

A man can dream.

The deck runs a plethora of defenders to support the combo. Doorkeeper is efficient for its cost, and can serve as an alternate win condition. Hover Barrier can tussle with Thragtusk and Sigarda and survive. Lobber Crew can also pull some weight, and can end the game 1 ping at a time if needed.

Quite predictably, Jund fought extremely well against the Street Fighter deck. Game one was all about Garruk Relentless, as he can fight with the walls without fear of getting hit back. Combined with a few burn spells and transforming Huntmaster of the Fells, the defenders were contained in short order, with Olivia Voldaren dealing the killing blow. Game two was basically the same, with the Planeswalkers (Garruk and Liliana) doing the heavy lifting and Olivia taking control of the board, robbing Hover Barriers so they won't be able to stop her one lady alpha strike.

The other rogue deck I fought against was a little bit more viable. It was a throwback to a popular strategy in the past that aims to strip the opponent of options by making them discard cards from their hand until they have nothing left and are on topdeck mode; a bad place to be for most strategies.

From what I saw, the deck relies heavily on Rakdos' Return as both it's win condition and a way to make the opponent discard all the cards in his or her hand. The finisher would either be Staff of Nin or Chandra, the Firebrand pings (and perhaps, on occasion, Chandra's ultimate).


Sometimes, the deck lives the dream of using Chandra's -2 to double cast a Slaughter Games, which is extremely backbreaking for most decks. Some decks will not be able to win fast enough (or outright win, period) after one Slaughter Games, how much more two?

I'd be naming Thragtusk, and while you're at it, let me take out all your Olivia Voldarens too!


The deck does not run Liliana of the Veil though, on account of being a fun deck more than anything else. The deck would have been stronger with Liliana however, as it could lock out the opponent from ever having any cards in hand. If they cannot cast the card they drew, then make them discard it using Liliana on your turn (which is actually something I was able to, quite unexpectedly, do to someone else in the tournament, more on that later).

The match-up was not particularly hard for Jund however, as he was not able to make me discard fast enough. I was able to build a board presence, which he was not able to contain with his removal spells, which I then rode to victory. We did not have a second or third game however, since he agreed to give me the match win, as he had to unfortunately drop from the tournament.

Lesson learned: Rogue decks are fun, and, brewed properly, could potentially take on the current Standard format. The dominant decks are not oppressively dominant, unlike Affinity or Faeries of ages past, which means Rogue strategies can actually end up stealing some wins and emerge triumphant simply because players might not know how to deal with the strategy. I, for one, suggest sleeving up a Turbo Fog deck, as most decks right now rely on creature dominance to win, ending the game with massive attacks, which Fogs handle quite nicely.

Untap, play land, attack for 22?

And that's on the third turn too!

So, what deck is capable of this kind of damage output? Is this some kind of frail aggro deck that can only deal that much damage when it's living the dream and drawing all the right cards at the right time? Well, to be fair, 22 on turn 3 is indeed living the deck's dream, but when it's not living the dream, it's still capable of consistently dealing considerable amounts of damage turn after turn, and is equally capable of consistently putting you on a 3 or 4 turn clock. And frail? Well, not exactly either. Sure, it plays a bunch of 1 or 2 toughness guys, but those are either a means of getting to the main beaters faster or would only need to see one turn of play to seal the deal and be effective. So what kind of deck is this?

Why, Selesnya Aggro of course!

This deck was piloted by a teammate, and has ever since the tourney streamlined the deck further to make it more aggro-oriented. Back during the tourney, he played it as a fightclub deck, running Ulvenwald Trackers as a means of clearing the field of blockers so he could get in with his threats. Think of it as an alternative to Rancor. Rancor would let you push in damage past blockers, while Ulvenwald Tracker gets rid of the blockers so you can push your attackers through.


Ulvenwald Tracker has the added utility of actually being able to deal with creatures, taking pesky ones off the battlefield. Rancor on the other hand does not need any more mana apart from the casting cost, and is much harder to deal with.

Unfortunately, this was one of the matches I did not actually play. My teammate and I agreed that I take the win, so we'd have a better chance of landing at least third place (and scoring a Return to Ravnica booster). I had a slightly higher standing than him in terms of games won, but we would, ultimately, both fall short of top 3, with me settling on a fourth place finish instead.

Lesson learned: From a purist MTG player point of view, agreed matches are kind of a bad thing, as you lose the chance to play. However, especially when you are playing with teammates, it's sometimes better to agree to give someone the match as it would allow more people from your team to get the top spots (and in bigger tournaments, a chance at the play offs). I've seen quite a few pro players agree to go 7-0-1 or 7-1-0 just to send another teammate to the Top 8. This is actually quite a common thing, and is an acceptable practice in tournament level Magic.

Battling the Bant Behemoth

Bant Control has been a nemesis of mine for the longest time. It plays almost the same style of play as Jund, but does alot of things a little more efficiently at the cost of speed. Bant Control is still only slightly slower than Jund Midrange, and the power level of the cards Bant Control plays totally mitigates this loss of speed. Early huge bodies (accelerated into via Farseek), Planeswalkers, sweepers, light counter magic, and raw card advantage allow Bant to get to the point where it just overwhelms the opponent, burying him or her in a massive avalanche of cards and life gain. It takes awhile, but as with most control decks, when it gets there, you're gonna have a hard time clawing your way back. Only difference is, at least from my point of view, Bant Control is a little better equipped to get to that point than most other control strategies...


It's really just a Juggernaut of a deck!

Bant is not a new deck by any means. It's been one of the standbys of Standard, along with Jund, Reanimator and Selensya (Green White). It still, however, gives Jund fits. Unlike, say, against American tempo, where the inclusion of a few cards goes a long way into helping with the match-up (Cavern of Souls among other things), Bant is really tough to crack. Jund's best plan against them Game 1 is very dependent on them not drawing their best card at the right time and you doing the opposite, which is not a very good plan at all. The plan on Game 2 improves a little bit, but I don't think it's enough to consistently beat the Bant Behemoth.

Jund's main plan against Bant is to outlast it's threats, playing Thragtusk hopefully one for one until you can land a Rakdos' Return, and doing so as early as possible, hoping they don't have Sphinx's Revelation in hand as you do so. A shaky plan, but a plan nonetheless. Bant is one of those decks that do not do well in top deck mode because it has to play a variety of cards, and some of those cards aren't really good when the deck is playing catch-up (Farseek, counter magic, Selesnya Charm, etc). This is in a huge part mitigated by running Sphinx's Revelation, but still, between top decking the Revelation and casting it, that's a whole extra turn for you to do some damage, and hopefully enough damage at that. Still, do not be surprised if Jund loses a lot of Game 1s to Bant, as Bant is really a tough deck to beat because the deck plays higher quality cards main deck.


These kinds of decks are a real study in the power of card advantage. Fighting against a deck like Bant teaches a player how important card advantage is, and how, when constructing a deck, a player should look to either gain a lot more card advantage than the opponent, or play enough disruption to counter act the card advantage the opponent may be looking to gain.

Post board, Bant gets a lot more dangerous against Jund, because it can board in Jund's bane of existence, Sigarda, Host of Herons. Jund gets a lot more dangerous against Bant too though, because of Slaughter Games, and to a lesser degree, Vampire Nighthawk. Vampire Nighthawk acts as a soft counter to Sigarda. With a Nighthawk in play and ready to block, Sigarda would have a hard time finding ways to profitably attack. While a Sigarda on blocking duty would most likely kill or trade with Jund's threats, it's still better than taking having Sigarda take 5 uncontested chunks of life per turn. Slaughter Games on the other hand should be naming Sphinx's Revelation as much as possible, as soon as possible, to greatly help with the Rakdos' Return plan.


I faced against the Bant Control deck as the last match for the second pod of the tournament. I was almost resigned to another crushing defeat, but the Bant stalled somehow. Here's a little weakness I noticed with Bant: Bant likes to mulligan, for some reason. I have not really piloted one yet, so I'm not exactly sure why, but, as even my opponent attested, he lost quite a number of games because he had to mulligan. Mulligan to six is not that bad actually, but I've seen a Bant Control deck mulligan all the way to four or five before, which is not good place to be for any deck, let alone a deck that aims to survive the early game to set-up a devastating late game.

I won the first game, I suppose in part because Bant never got to draw into its threats, and every time it did, I managed to deal with it. For this match, I decided to try a new sideboarding technique taught to me by the pilot of the Zombies deck, which involved siding in different cards depending on whether you are playing first or if you are on the draw. If you are playing first, go for more aggressive sideboard cards, while if you are on the draw, go for more defensive ones. For the second game, I was on the draw, so I boarded out my Pillar of Flames and 1 Mizzium Mortars for 3 Slaughter Games and 2 Appetite for Brains. I was able to draw into the Slaughter Games in this game, but unfortunately named the wrong card (Angel of Serenity). I named the card because I saw it during the first game, and I thought that it was the deck's finisher. Still, after much discussion with the pilot of the Zombies deck post mortem (hehehehe), in retrospect, that was a really bad card to name because I had a ton of ways to deal with the Angel. I eventually lost a tight race to a Sigarda beatdown.


For the third game, I sided out a Slaughter Games and my last Mizzium Mortars for a pair of Liliana of the Veils. I had, mistakenly, thought that Liliana could be used to make the opponent sacrifice Sigarda. Still, and rather serendipitously, Liliana had been at least partly responsible for my win. We both started on the slow side, with me starting on Huntmaster and a few other spells. He was also busy accelerating and just playing lands. Then, Liliana resolved and got to work making everybody discard cards, with me discarding my extra lands. It was when I peeled Rakdos' Return from the top of my library however, that things began to look grim for my opponent. Casting it to completely strip my opponent of his hand, I was able to lock him down with Liliana's discard ability from that point forward, making him discard whatever he wasn't able to play on his turn. Eventually, I was able to resolve a threat and win by beatdown.


I wouldn't credit Liliana as the key card though. It was because of the timely Rakdos' Return that I was able to muster enough board presence unhindered, which I was able to ride to victory.

Lesson learned: Slaughter Games and Rakdos' Return are two cards which would be instrumental in winning against Bant. Slaughter Games should always try to name Sphinx's Revelation, to cripple Bant's top deck game and card advantage engine. It's going to be a tough match-up, so be prepared to trade blows and Thragtusks.

Wrapping Up

Whew, took me a while to finish writing this post. Many thanks to Mr Francis Villanueva, the pilot of the Zombie deck, for the discussions we had after the tournament, and all the tips with regards to how to play against certain decks. I will try to visit R4 sometime, perhaps for an FNM.

I again apologize for not sticking with my usual Friday schedule. I had some work deadlines I had to attend to and I had to fend off a mean stomachache. I will try to write another post about my tournament experience last Saturday very soon, but for now, may you always value the wisdom of tossing ideas around with someone else...

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