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21 November, 2006

The FNM Diaries, November 2006 - Part III – A Flarely poor performance

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Matteo Orsini Jones




Well we’re now officially into the second half of my round as official Twincast FNM reporter, in report 3 out of 4. Those of you who have been reading my past few reports will know that I haven’t exactly had some stellar performances, with a double round of 2-2, whether it be through bad and/or incomplete decks, unlucky first rounds or just bad play skill. I therefore decided this week that I’d go back to a deck that I knew would be good, and a deck I had played with before, and a deck that I had done well with before. Having only ever gone 3-1 or 4-0 at FNM with the deck, I was fairly confident that Solar Flare would be the right deck to finally give you guys a winning report to read. On top of this, for the first time in my post as FNM reporter, I had a complete deck built! Furthermore, Marco (my brother) didn’t decide to play any cards that would be in both decks , so I wouldn’t have to pass from person to person repeating an endless list of cards that I needed only for them to reply with ‘I have them, but they’re at home’.
   After telling my brother I decided to play Flare, he asked the obvious question of ‘why not just play Pox, it’s like flare but better…’ Well the answer to that question is ‘because I’m lazy’. The flare deck has been built up (more or less) for ages now and all I needed to do was pimp it up with the latest bunch of textless Condemns, Zombifys, Mortifys, Wraths and Urza’s Factory. The decklist I decided to play was pretty much a standard flare list, with 2 maindeck Condemn over a Mortify and a Court Hussar, as I was expecting Akromas aplenty (as this has been the case over the past couple of weeks – little kids and their angels etc).


“Well it looked like a good idea”

Designed by Matteo Orsini Jones


4 Angel of Despair
3 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
3 Court Hussar
--10 Creatures—

4 Compulsive Research
4 Remand
4 Azorious Signet
4 Wrath of God
3 Zombify

3 Mortify
2 Condemn
2 Persecute
2 Dimir Signet
--28 Other Spells—

4 Plains
3 Swamp
3 Godless Shrine
2 Hallowed Fountain
3 Island
2 Azorious Chancery

2 Caves of Koilos
1 Underground River
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Urza’s Factory
--22 Land—


3 Castigate
3 Faith’s Fetters
3 Last Gasp
2 Condemn
2 Persecute
2 Teferi’s Moat




--The other players and their decks—


   Before starting this, I’d like to apologise for any mistakes made on the basis of who was there, who wasn’t, and what people were playing – unlike the last 2 weeks I forgot to write down the players and the decks they were playing, so I’m going completely from memory here… Also I seem to have an odd number of players down (including me), which seems odd [/pun], considering Hazel only plays to make it an even number – if I’ve forgotten you it’s nothing personal J.

FNMDiary3f Adam – Playing mystery deck! Unfortunately I failed to watch any of Adam’s games, so I can only assume he was playing his usual RG beats deck.

Callum – Nope, fraid I can’t remember that either.

Ding – Playing UB mill. Though not highly competitive, this deck seemed quite interesting and fun to play – Jester’s Sceptre (I don’t care what the card says, you spell it sceptre not scepter) to slowly eat away at the library, with plague boiler to clear them away once they’ve done their job and Academy Ruins to rinse and repeat. It also ran Triskelavus as an alternative win, to add to the artefact recursion synergy.

Fang – Playing UR Tron. – Basically a standard Tron, but unlike my deck last week he actually had win conditions along the lines of Hellkites – ramp up the mana, Wildfire away your opponent’s board, then deal them the killer blow with Demonfire or Hellkite.

Hazel – Playing UW precon (I think). Hazel, the shopkeeper, always jumps in to play if there’s an odd number of players to avoid anyone getting the bye. She appeared to have just cracked open a precon and decided to play it, as every single card in her deck was Time Spiral.

FNMDiary3g Marco – Playing UWG Momentary Blink.dec. The deck basically does exactly what it says on the tin – Momentary Blinks and creatures with ‘comes into play’ triggers, like Hierarch, Yavimaya Dryad and Mystic Snake.

Ollie – Playing, umm, nope sorry, didn’t watch any of his games and therefore have no idea… Ollie did, however, 4-0 the event so it cant have been a bad deck.

Ruaraidh (Rory) – Playing UBW aggro. Rory is one of the casual players, and therefore has more limited resources and less practice time than the rest of us, which unfortunately shows when he gets netdecked all day long. He was playing his own UBW deck with suspenders aplenty like ephemenemeron.

Scott – Playing Mono White Snow. The deck he 4-0d with last week seemed to have turned against him after Matty Norton proceeded to win the JSS qualifier with it – a 1-3 performance was the best he could muster with his mono white life-gaining pile of sub-par cards.

Tony – Playing Solar Pox. Tony was basically just playing the faster, more efficient version of my deck – destroy opp’s critters and lands with Smallpox while discarding Akroma to be reanimated at a later date.

Wen – Again, can’t remember what he was playing, sorry

   Again, I apologise to those whose decks I can’t remember, and to the 1 person I completely missed off the list… Like week 1, looking at the list of decks, it appears that there wasn’t 1 repeat of deck (classing my classic Flare and Tony’s Pox as different), showing the huge variety of possibilities in the current type 2. This made for a fun tournament, and meant that every round I would be playing a new opponent (well duh), with a new deck and new ways of killing me…

--The tournament—

Round 1 – Vs Marco – My brother

FNMDiary3h   There’s an upside and a downside to being paired against your brother – the upside is that at least one of us will win the round and therefore neither will end up 0-4ing (though I cant remember this ever happening), the downside is that it means we can’t both go 3-0 and ID the final (I think this has happened at least once). Having built his deck at 5:30 on the day of FNM, I had no idea how it played, how it won and whether I had a good matchup against it. Surely a Wrath would be enough to make him cry (Blink all you want, they’re still dying!), and a resolved Akroma would be more than he could handle. Mystic snake however could be a problem, and Vitu-Ghazi could potentially annoy me.
   Marco won the roll, making the fairly obvious choice to play, and led off with a turn 2 Call of the Herd off a turn 1 Birds. An attempted Hierarch the turn after was Remanded twice, but I slowly took the elephant beats. My traditional bout of round 1 bad luck seemed to be catching up with me as I failed to draw 1 spell for the rest of the game – kept a hand of 3 lands, 4 spells, and proceeded to draw 9 lands!!!! Not the best of starts.
   Game 2 wasn’t any better – a mulligan to 5 left me keeping a 5 card hand with 1 land and 2 Last Gasp, on the basis that once I did draw the land I’d be able to hold off beats while looking for a 3rd land to cast Compulsive Research. Marco started with another turn 2 Call of the Herd, which got Last Gasped after I stalled on 2 land, as did a turn 3 Yavimaya Dryad. My Court Hussar was Mana Leaked (Marco’s sideboard tech), and my Wrath of God had the desired effect of Tempting out a Mystic Snake. Marco then hit me down to 8, I drew a land, played it, and smacked down a Teferi’s Moat naming green. The next turn this was followed by another Moat naming green again, making me invincible against any form of 1-of Indrik Stomphowler he might be running( well unless he drew a Blink). His attempt at attacking with a Guildmage-pumped Birds of Paradise was Condemned and I went on to beat him down with an Angel of Despair.
   Game 3 was pretty much a repeat of the 1st game – a turn 2 Oracle into a turn 4 Teferi left the 2 Condemns in my hand looking rather useless. The Teferi was Mortified, but by this point not even 2 Condemns were enough to stave off the constant beats he was throwing at me.

Current Standings: 0-1

Well, not the best start, but I can always go 3-1 and losing to my brother isn’t the end of the world.

Round 2: Vs Tony Buttery – My arch nemesis


FNMDiary3i   Mwahaha! Finally somebody I can beat! Those of you reading my other reports will know that I seem to get paired against Tony every week, and generally I do beat him. I was therefore fairly confident going into the game, though he is playing the all-round better, more efficient version of my deck.
   Game 1 Tony led off with a Phyrexian Totem, into a turn 5 Skeletal Vampire that becomes rapidly Remanded. He tried again with the Vampire the turn later, which was Wrathed, and the Dread Return he used on it the turn after that (it just won’t go away!!!!) was Remanded, though the second attempt in the same turn I could do nothing about… well except another Wrath. An Angel of Despair the turn after from my side made me feel like I was perhaps pulling back the game, though a Smallpox swept it aside with a fair amount of ease. An Akroma on my side the turn after faced the same demise, and from then on Tony constantly reanimated Hussars to overcome me with ridiculous card advantage.
   Game 2 I started off with a mulligan to 6, and failed to make any notes on the rest of the game, apart from ‘9 lands, 3 spells’ – I think that explains it all - rapid Akroma beats meant I had to swiftly find an answer, which sadly never arrived.

Current standings: 0-2

Oh poopoo, not again. Not only am I now in a position where I can only go 2-2 or worse, but I lost to Tony! Meh, I guess it’s still along the lines of 95%-5% matches won in my favour. On to match 3, hoping for either a stroke of luck, or a shovel with which I could dig my grave.

Round 3: vs Ding

FNMDiary3j   Up till this point I hadn’t seen exactly what Ding was playing, though at 0-2 it was unlikely he was playing the usual GW aggro he’s been piloting to great success recently, which may have caused me problems with Saffi and Griffin Guide doing their best to foil any plans of Wrathing his board I may have had. It turned out he was playing mill, which in a slow control deck like mine, could have been a slight problem…
   Game 1 started in a somewhat comical way – he won the roll and decided to play first, allowing him to Runesnag my attempted Signet on turn 2. A turn 3 Compulsive Research was met with the same fate, as was a turn 4 Court Hussar. Surely he can’t have any more of these Bastards… he was already at 3, but a Persecute from my side proved me wrong, as it was, for the 4th time, runesnagged. I was determined to resolve something during this game, and tried for an Angel of Despair, but to no avail – having run out of Runesnags he decided to switch to Induce Paranoia instead – and that’s exactly what he was doing – it certainly wasn’t looking good considering I was already at 0-2. Luckily however, he tapped out to play a Triskelavus (suggesting no more counters in hand), meaning I could hardcast an Akroma and go on to win the game.
FNMDiary3k   Game 2 I kept a slightly dodgy hand which in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have kept. After a Turn 2 signet from me that got snagged, neither of us did all that much apart from a few Jester’s Sceptres off Ding until I decided to hardcast an Angel of Despair which was unsurprisingly Cancelled. A Zombify on the Angel a couple of turns after resolved, presumably as I had Runesnag mana open, but I was a complete muppet and destroyed his Academy Ruins, despite knowing he had another in hand off Castigate, and despite the fact that he had a fresh Plague Boiler out with enough mana to put a counter on it at the end of my turn (I for some reason decided that the Boiler couldn’t pop next turn… don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion). The Boiler Popped and he went on to keep anything from resolving with a mix of Jester’s Sceptres and Hardcounters, until I was at 4 cards left in my library and he was at 6 life. At this point a spectator came over and asked why I didn’t just move on to the next game. ‘Because there might be an Akroma still in my deck, I don’t know what’s under those Sceptres’ was my answer, then when he placed a Sceptre back on his library with Academy Ruins I glanced at my deck and said ‘Okay, game 3’.
   Game 3 was pretty much quick and painless, as I ramped up the mana with 3 signets, then resolved an Akroma and Angel of Despair in that order, beating him down in the 5 minutes we had left on the round…


Current standings: 1-2

Well at least I’m going to walk away with 1 match under my belt, otherwise I may have had to seriously consider quitting magic…

Round 4: Vs Ruadraidh


FNMDiary3l   Well I don’t mean to sound mean, but I was fairly relieved to hear this pairing. Like I mentioned earlier Ruadraidh (who shall henceforth be known as Rory) is very much a casual player and his decks are based on the cards he has rather than the deck he likes the look of on the Internet.
   Game 1 started with a Sage of Epityr from Rory which went on to deal me a good 6 damage, as I staved off beats from his other beefier creatures like a phyrexian totem which got condemned and ephemeron which was mortified. A turn 7 Angel of Despair on my side destroyed one of Rory’s much needed islands, and the Angel went on to beat him down as he prayed for a blue source with every card he glumly peeled off the top of his deck.
   Game 2 was even quicker and nastier – Rory mulliganed to 5 cards, then watched me cast a turn 3 Compulsive Research into a Zombify on Akroma turn 4. Rory scooped before I even got the chance to attack, saying he had absolutely nothing to deal with an Akroma that would be lethal in 2 more turns.

Final standings: 2-2

Well I may not be Britain’s leading constructed mastermind, but at least I am consistent! 2-2 3 weeks in a row suggests somebody’s fixing my tournaments, or perhaps I’m just doing it subconsciously to give balanced tournament reports – who wants to read about me winning all day long anyway??? Next week, I WILL do better than 2-2, I promise. If I don’t, well… I’m quitting magic! Okay that’s going a bit far, but still, I’m determined – I will break free of my lock!

Signing off,

Matteo ‘2-2’ Orsini Jones



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