PlanetWalls’ Classic League 2012-13 QT #3 Matches

Classic League 2012-13 is a player-run Classic tournament series, hosted by Classic Quarter (and run by Unlocking the Vault author enderfall), sponsored by MTGO Academy and MTGO Traders, and made possible through generous prize donations from Wizards of the Coast and a multitude of dedicated Classic fans. As you can read about on the forums, the 2012-13 Classic League is broken into several qualifier tournaments, from which successful players will be invited to an invitational this year on July 20th (my birthday!). Below are the swiss rounds of the third qualifier tournament — which is still in progress — from the perspective of me, PlanetWalls. I’ll be sure to keep updating this page with videos from each round, as they occur, so bookmark the page and keep stopping by!

Feel free to ask any questions about the format, the tournament structure, etc., in the comments. You can see all the decklists represented in the tournament in the Classic League forum on Classic Quarter.

In this tournament, I’m playing a deck based on a combo list originally piloted and constructed by Classic player BaldEagle247. Below is the version of the deck he’s piloting, followed by the version I am. Then you can check out my matches.

NOTE: If you’d prefer to watch all the below videos in sequence, check out the playlist on MTGO Academy’s Youtube channel. Or you can follow general coverage of the event on Gatherling, at the Classic Quarter, or by listening to the Yawgmoth’s Soap Opera podcast.

  1. r2g1 why wouldn’t you wait until he pays life for Channel, then counter the spell? Either he timewalks you with Emrakul and he’s at 1, or he’s at 5 with Blightsteel.

  2. @Alex: Since Emrakul can’t be countered it would mean he loses his board and can’t do anything about dying a turn later. So I think countering the Channel is the best play. (Blightsteel wouldn’t do anything, but Emrakul is the kill, and after the tutor it is too risky to assume he doesn’t have Emrakul)

    I’m not that much a Classic-fan, but it was nice to watch (but I have the feeling that you and your oppents made sometimes really question-able plays) (and in R3 I was thinking you would eventually cast something that simple gets countered by the Chalice – especially the turn you steal his worker, wanting to cast Poweder Keg. [You also should have wated for your draw step bevore stealing the worker - doing it before the Tangle Wire resolves doesn't give you any advantage in this scenario, and if you wated and realized a bit earlier that you can't Powder Keg, you could have wated for his turn to steal a Wurmcoil to block])

  3. Classic is such an unreal format. So much to be aware of with every spell played. great matches!

  4. Yeah, my 3rd round was a disaster of misplays. But thanks, everyone, for watching! I’m playing my next round tomorrow afternoon EDT and will be uploading the video right after.

  5. God, that’s some complicated magic, every mana tapped sees like a decission of a great importance to the world!


    Also: how do yopu play with such deck when you don’t know opp’s decklist?

  6. In Classic League, you get to see your opponents’ decklists in advance. (This is why I run a singleton Stifle — to make my opponent just nervous enough cracking a fetch land.) I probably wouldn’t run a list quite like this in a Classic DE, the metagame of which is more likely to include Affinity & Workshop near the top and Oath & Dredge along the way. I might still run the Energy Field-RIP combo, though, since Affinity and Dredge have a lot of trouble answering at least one of the pieces, and Energy Field by itself can make Shop and Affinity lose unless they have the Strip Mine or occasional Memory Jar.

  7. Classic looks like a sweet format, thanks for the content.

    I must admit that I would prefer it if you were more decisive and less second, third and fourth guessing yourself. You often go: “I might go for X here, I think, – think for 5 seconds – yes, I think that is what I am going to do, but wait, what if he does Z, not sure if it is correct, uhm, but then I can do W so, ok, I am going for it, hope this is correct” as opposed to: “I am doing X here, because of Y, might be wrong because of Z, but I have W, which is not ideal, but Y is more important”.

    I realise it is very hard, especially in hard format like classic in which you may not be overly familiar with the deck you are playing, but should you look to improve the viewer experience, that would be were I would start. It might also help to cut down on the time the videos take, because most of them are very long compared to the actual length of the game and I personally think the introduction is about 4 times the length it should be to cover everything worth covering in the list.
    However, if that is just your playstyle and are doing the video content more on the side as a gift to the community then as something you are looking to improve on, that would of course be totally understandable.

    On the list, you said you were expecting a different metagame in which the list would have been better, which explains the playstyle which seems kind of contrary to the deck itself. Even so, it does not seem like a combo deck really suits you, even if it is more of a kill con in a control deck. It might be that the match ups forced you into the more defensive role, but you generally play from a not to die instead of a to kill mindset. In the games I watched (1,2 & 4) you seemed to play the deck like a bad version of agro-control to great effect. Maybe some form of esper delver would be more suited to that? Delver, meddling mage, counters, discard, maybe some mysticals and some silver bullets?

    Lets ignore the hypocracy of typing an essay in which I make the point your content should be shorter and I wish you good luck in the classic league (-thingy) and hope to see more content, even if it is long.

  8. Comments, thanks for the essay. :)

    While I agree that one of my weaknesses as a content producer is the amount of time I spend talking out my plays, it is unlikely that I will begin cutting back from this to a great extent. Though the videos end up unwieldy, I believe that listening to my reasoning process as it organically unfurls at least showcases something of value to players who may be interested. With this said, making decisions faster is a skill that is instrumental for Magic players, especially serious ones. It is a skill that I don’t readily have, and you are right to critique me for it.

    Your comment about my play-style of the deck is insightful. I have been playing it more as an aggro-control deck than as a combo kill, and I oftentimes find myself Enlightened Tutoring for a Detention Sphere to prep for a Show and Tell than I do for a combo piece. You are also correct that this seems to be serving me well.

    Part of the reason for this is that the matchups I’ve been playing against have been combo decks themselves that lack many alternative win-cons. Naming a single card with Meddling Mage gives me so much time that a beatdown plan (and defending it a little) means a better use of my resources than searching for a combo-kill. However, if I make Top 8, I will assuredly be playing against a deck other than Oath or Shoath, including Affinity, Dredge, and Shop (which I failed against last time due to misplays). In the Affinity matchup, for instance, all I need to do is land an Energy Field long enough to then land a Rest In Peace, and there is literally no way for me to lose. My expectation was that I would be playing against more decks like Affinity in the Swiss, but playing against combo decks like Oath or ‘Flashing Rectum’ instead (which, when disrupted, sit around and do very little) means — as I mention above — that I can almost shut down the opposition entirely with two Meddling Mages, or with a Meddling Mage and a FoW or Detention Sphere. My logic, then, in playing to not die, as you put it, rather than to win, is that the opposing decks lack any way whatsoever to win (or almost any way) when I’m playing to ‘not die’. Hence, my Enlightened Tutoring for disruptive elements rather than win cons, and my perpetual boarding out of expensive combo pieces in the interest of Disrupting.

    With all that said, I won’t play this deck again, though. If the metagame shifted in such a way as to make Energy Field really good almost all the time, I would consider it, but RIP-Helm of Obedience is simply not good enough as a combo kill (given the cost of the latter piece) to pilot the deck when Energy Field is only occasionally effective.

    I hope some of that was clear.

  9. My favorite part of any video in which PlanetWalls speaks is the moment where he says, “What’s happening?” It’s like the world is ending, even though most of the time absolutely nothing has happened! Love it.

  10. This format makes me anxious because it’s so swingy. So many decks play 15 lands and won’t do anything until they explode when hitting their second land drop. Other decks run out of steam and just sit there drawing cards until they see a tutor. Lands getting tapped brings out my neurosis, and I’m glad you enjoy it. :D

  11. I’m through half of the fourth episode. I enjoy listening to you a lot :). You are like this guy from a cartoon that always fears of the doom and then walks out of the cinema with the prettiest chick at the end of the episode: “I don’t actualy think i have a lot of chance to win this round” is probly the standard opening and then you always crush them (besides round 3 where you really gave the game away).

    I also like how you can think about a board state of two lands and a hand of magus and meddling mage for basicly 7 minutes. A lot of people (including me especially) plays semi automaticaly today, this is like a completely different dimenssion. I will happily watch more of those, so very, classic movies.

  12. In regards to a comment made above, I’d like to say that for what it’s worth, I enjoy long videos. As someone who is unfamiliar with Classic, it is helpful to have the decks and interactions explained, so the extra time spend doing that is definitely a plus for me.

  13. The person “comments” had explained it in better words and more drawn out, and I understand that walking through why you make decisions helps some people to comprehend your thought process, it still decreases overall viewership IMO. Sorry if any of this offends you, but I think if you pick up any these tips it will make your videos better, and increase website traffic considerable here at mtgoacademy.

    1 – Always remember your target audience. Who are you wanting to watch these videos? Most people watch magic videos for a combination of entertainment and skill building. Now do the math on how many people actually play classic competitively (very few) and then ask yourself how many of those classic players will watch your videos to improve their gameplay (you stated earlier you are not the fastest or most skilled player). So to get people to actually watch videos about classic matches in your situation it would need to be entertaining.

    2 – With the target audience selected (entertainment/slight skill building) you can develop your videos with that in mind. People who want entertainment or skill building don’t have time to watch 6 hours of mediocre gameplay/commentary. You are the only person I have ever seen look at decklists almost more than you spend playing the matches and that wouldn’t be too much of a problem if you did it to familiarize yourself at the beginning of a match but you switch screens on a constant basis. Your thought process in-game can be entertaining if you speed up your decision time about 50% but nobody is gaining anything from you looking at decklists. Most well known magic video producers cut out down time. Sometimes they even cut out part of a video when an opponent is thinking for more than 30 seconds just to spare viewers wasted time and make a concise product.

    3 – I’m not sure how to do it, but if you make your videos in an album on youtube then we can watch them in a row instead of having to click each one.

    With a few small adjustments I think you could be one of the top magic video producers out there, thanks for the content!

  14. Great play! Using Meddling Mage effectively is one of the hardest strategies in the game. Very though intensive. You did an awesome job. Also has anyone ever told you that you sound like Tom Bodett, the Motel 6 guy?