Time, Money and the M13 Core Set Gamesday – Stablising with Tim Stables

Religion, Misconceptions and the Adventures of PTQ Manchester 2012 – Stablising with Tim Stables


I came to a sudden realisation the other day.

You see, on Christmas Day 2011, I proposed to my lovely Girlfriend of just under four years. Sarah and I have known each other since high school. After leaving in 2004, it took us nearly four years to realise we liked each other as more than friends. Sarah and I finally got together on the 9th February 2008 following a Death Metal gig (featuring Mr Greg Shanks band at the time, Visceral Deity)

Chicks dig Death Metal, guys. Let it be known.

So as my blurb below states, I have lived with her for near enough 3 years now, with our cat and her asshole rabbit, and come the end 4th May 2014, I shall be married!

Marriage doesn’t come cheap either. I understand that money isn’t the point, but it’s an obvious factor. Both Sarah and I work, and we live very comfortably, but we’re by no means “rich”.

The majority of the wedding will be either DIY or paid by ourselves. Neither of us are the kind to presume that our families will fork out for the various things we want on the day, so for the most part, it’s pretty much batten down the hatches and get saving.

But Sarah and I have yet to start saving. We’ve been meaning to open a joint bank account to start with, but we’ve either forgotten or put it off for one reason or another. This has led to us not saving at all. An account, for me at least, would be somewhere I can put the cash and in doing so, would put it out of reach of my “eager to spend” fingers.

So why do I mention this?

Well, the other day, my mate Greg Shanks, being on the same path as I am, put a bunch of cash into MODO for tickets as the M13 sealed queues had started. One of the many things people we had asked had said was that playing more Magic was a big step forward to getting better, and Modo is often the way to go about it. Though the one issue with that is the daunting task of another “money sink”. Greg, with his plans in motion, went ahead following the advice from Michael Jacob via his FAQ on “Going Infinite”.

Greg and I figured that, using Skype, we can talk over his pool and also, through Skypes Share Screen function, I can watch his games too. With Greg living near enough 2 hours away from me, it was a great chance for him and I to get together and bash ideas off of one another.

We had a blast. Greg opened a great little pool, consisting of a very nice Green/Black deck. The big hitters were Thragtusk, Xathrid Gorgon and Roaring Primadox. Follow that up with a nice little “Bounce Package” consisting of Ravenous Rats, Acidic Slime and ol’Thraggy himself. Couple of kill spells.

Oh, let’s not forget the Beast Tracker package with which we could fetch our Gorgon, Sentinel Spider, Vampire Nighthawk, Giant Scorpion or Acidic Slime. You know, the business.  Our Farseek and Rootbound Crag even allowed for a post-board splash of Flames of the Firebrand if our opponent was unfortunate enough to be on the aggro plan.

Our last game was a cracker…

Greg: “Just so I get this right. Can you think of a configuration of blocks where he takes less than four damage, so I can Essence Drain him to death?”

Me: “Mate, you’ve got lethal on board.”

Greg: “Oh, yeah. Thanks.”

Anyway, my point is, I got a lot from this, but I didn’t spend a penny.

This, to me, seemed a good way of “playing” and keeping up with the progress.

Time & Money

Magic is an expensive hobby/lifestyle. Numerous months I spend well over £100 attending events, travelling and buying cards. And not just financially, but with my time as well. Money and time, at the moment, I should be putting towards my wedding.

On time being a big issue, it’s plain to see that sometimes, “real life” just comes first. Though I’m feeling good. The more you think about Magic, the better–and since writing my first couple of articles, I…

A) Get my small hobby of writing out of my system, which I enjoy greatly, and…

B) Considering the articles are for a Magic Website, I obviously think about Magic more!  Hooray!

The worst part of it is that it’s not fair on Sarah. She supports everything I do when it comes to Magic, but Magic will be around for a long time. Sure, I want to get better. A lot better. But I’ve been putting it first instead of Sarah and our Wedding. That’s not right.

I love Magic. It’s changed my life, but it’ll be there after I get married. Juggling Magic and the Wedding is not only unfair on Sarah, but me as well, and I think it’s had a lot to do with my premature plateau.

Prioritising and ordering “plays” is a life lesson, and can teach you a few things when it comes to Magic as well.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m quitting Magic for the time being. I’ve been thinking about ditching the game for a while now, but a lot of that is due to being in a stale place with the game. It’s just not my time. There will be plenty of local events, such as FNM, that will tide me over. Plus, as a side note, there’s no chance I’m missing out on Return to Ravnica considering I wasn’t a player back during the original Ravnica.

Come the end of 2014/2015, you’ll all be fearing getting smashed by my Big Green Men.  No doubt.

M13 Game Day

Speaking of which, check out the deck I played at the M13 Gamesday Standard Event at Spellbound Games.

GW Elves:

4x Arbor Elf
4x Birds of Paradise
1x Craterhoof Behemoth
4x Elvish Archdruid
4x Elvish Visionary
4x Llanowar Elves
4x Restoration Angel
3x Soul of the Harvest
2x Village Bell-Ringer
1x Ezuri, Renegade Leader

4x Genesis Wave
4x Green Sun’s Zenith

13x Forest
4x Razorverge Thicket
4x Sunpetal Grove


1x Mortarpod
1x Wurmcoil Engine
1x Acidic Slime
2x Thragtusk
1x Wolfir Silverheart
2x Celestial Purge
1x Crushing Vines
1x Plummet
4x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1x Gavony Township

Sweet right?

Kurt Crane piloted this to 2nd place at the recent  SCG Standard Open tournament in Buffalo, New York. The only difference being that he had 2x Mortarpod in the SB as opposed to my 1x Mortarpod & 1x Wurmcoil Engine. This deck can explode on Turn 3, with a turn 1 Llanowar Elves followed by a couple of Elvish Archdruids. You’ll have all the mana you need to go get that Behemoth.

Wave is a bomb when going over 8. Hopefully landing a Village Bell-Ringer as well as the Behemoth, meaning you un-tap all those (now massive) mana dorks to swing in for that sweet, sweet damage. With a Soul of the Harvest already in play, you’ve be drawing all the cards as well. While the deck isn’t Wrath proof by any means, you really shouldn’t struggle stablising with the deck being more than half creatures.

The Tournament

A decent wee turnout meant we had 5 Rounds going into things, with a cut to a Top 4 after the Swiss.

Round 1: Grixis Control

My round 1 opponent, Michael, is a regular at the shop and was playing a Grixis Control List. I honestly don’t have too much to say on this, mostly because his deck was designed to crush the sort of deck I was playing. Following a terrible barrage of spot removal and a Curse of Death’s Hold or two, I get crushed with a pretty convincing 2-0 defeat.

0-1 (0-2)

Round 2: Mono-Green Aggro

Kevin was my next opponent, playing a similar Mono-Green Aggro list as my deck for the recent Machester PTQ, but with added Wolfir Avenger.

Game 1 was a steady race with Kevin coming up on top with Rancor.

Game 2, I hit home with some pumped mana dorks from a couple of Elvish Archdruid following a bit of mana trouble on his side.

Game 3: Mono-Green Aggro

This was a good one. Both of us making our land drops, making a lot of ground in terms of Creature Count. Kevin had both of his Ulvenwald Tracker doing a lot of work with his two Predator Ooze. Unfortunately for him, like my deck often does, I rip the land I need, generate enough mana to search up Craterhoof Behemoth with a Green Sun’s Zenith and hit in for well over the required damage.

1-1 (2-3)

Round 3: Tempered Steel

Florian was running Tempered Steel.

Game 1 was a wash out, with Florian easily boarding his three artifacts meaning his three… yes, THREE Dispatch did more than enough to keep my board clear for him to beat through.

Game 2, despite another viewing of Dispatch and the decks name sake, I ramp comfortably into big Craty B and hit for lethal.

Game 3. Unfortunately for Florian, he only draw two lands in this game. While this usually isn’t a massive issue for Florian, his tempo was lacking. Another Behemoth later and Round 3 was mine.

2-1 (4-4)

Round 4: B/W Aggro

My round 4 opponent was a newer player. Being paired down, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Scott seemed a nice guy with an eager to learn attitude. He was playing a B/W deck that his friend had lent him for the day, as he didn’t have  a deck of his own.

Game 1 I saw a Turn 2 Aven Squire and a couple of Pacifisms targeting my Elvish Archdruids. I take this game and shuffle up for Game 2.

Game 2 Sadly Scott realised his deck only had 47 cards. Forgetting to pick up his 13 missing cards from a previous game where his Graveyard was Nihil Spellbombed, the Judge happily agrees and lets Scott shuffle up so we can play one. Sadly, he had to mull to 5, leaving him with a single land on the board and letting me take a 2-0 win.

3-1 (6-4)

Round 5:  Naya Pod

So far, so good. Currently placed 4th in the standings, I was playing for a place in the Top 4 against none than the 3rd placed Jeremy Mansfield.

Jeremy was the Gamesday Champ for the last 2 previous Gamesdays and was playing a Naya coloured list of his own creation featuring Ajani, Caller of the Pride, all the regular Mana Creatures like Birds of Paradise & Avacyn’s Pilgrim and had at least a couple of Oblivion Rings. I had meant to ask him to see the deck after our games, but the round was pretty eventful.

Game 1 was a steady Beat Down from my end. Ramping into 2 Elvish Archdruid, I pretty comfortably played into my Behemoth for the win.

Game 2 was pretty frustrating. Like the first, I ramped into my Elvish Archdruids only for them to be O-Ringed and dealt with by Garruk Relentless. It got pretty tough from there, as my Lands stopped coming after the third, leaving Jeremy to top deck a Bonfire of the Damned to finish me off.

Game 3 was worse. With a  Mulligan to 5 due to hands without land, I keep a hand with Elvish Visionary and proceed to draw nearly every Elvish Visionary off the first one. Drawing nothing but air, Jeremy keeps me on ice with all the mana, Garruks, and promptly has answers for everything I manage to play. I scrape a Wave for 8, landing me 3 Elvish Archdruid triggers and plenty of blockers. I draw my first card after resolving my Wave, and my Behemoth stares back at me. SIGH. 

Passing the turn, I hoped for the best, knowing I can win next turn. Drawing another Bonfire, Jeremy takes the final win…

Feeling pretty deflated, I shake Jeremy’s hand and congratulate him on the win. He mentions my last article, saying he enjoyed it and how he things I should write more. I thanked him for that. He then goes on to explain how he’s needing to leave due to a family commitment and was pleased it was me he could scoop into the Top 4. Being the man that he is, he wouldn’t take no for an answer, saying that I now need to go win the all important Gamesday play mat for us both. I reluctantly accept and thank him for the gesture.

4-1 (8-5) – sort of.

There are some that call me… Tim?

The only catch… if I did win, I had to wear one of his famous hats in the Champ Picture that gets posted on Facebook. After thrusting the “Tim the Enchanter” bonnet into my hand, he leaves the shop and I enter the Top 4!

Upon hearing that Stuie McAlpine scooped his mate into the Finals, I know that if I win my next round, I will be playing Antwan Roley Boley with his Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas Artifact Control Deck in the.

The Top 4

Round 6: Esper Mid-Range

I’m famous! My opponent asks “Tim Stables, as in the guy who posted the article on the Spellbound Facebook Page the other day?”. News spreads fast it seems. Banter is shared and we move onto the games.

Game 1 I only see land and a Lingering Souls[/cards] from Alistair, leaving me to ramp away and entertain him by going off in the biggest way possible. After wrathing my board with [card]Day of Judgement, I stabalise all too well, leading to me taking first blood.  

Game 2 was a stinker. I keep a one land hand, and with only seeing one more the entire match, Alistair takes the second win with his army of 1/1 Spirits.

Game 3, luckily for me, was a repeat of Game 1 without the wrath. I play my ever friendly Behemoth and attack for the win. Alistair just laughed, thanking me for the show, as he had only heard of my deck and was pleased to see it go off right in front of him.

5-1 (10-6)

Shaking hands, I move onto the main event.


Finals: UB Tez

I know Antoine. Antoine knows me. It’s all banter. With some ribbing out of the way, we start the ball rolling. Antoine’s deck is a real grind to play against. A barrage of Artifacts, all doing different things, while keeping hands of removal including Black Sun’s Zenith. Not forgetting Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas himself.

Game 1 was an Antoine shaped play ground. Getting him down to 3 life, a terrible case of RTFC on my part made me forget Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas‘ ultimate, meaning our life totals switched dramatically. With Antoine having all the fun with Phyrexia’s Core and a Phyrexian Metamorph copying a Spine of Ish Sah, I decided enough was enough.

Game 2 was all thanks to Gavony Township. I love this land. As Antoine came to realise after a long a grindy game, Township made my lowly 1/1’s a force to be reckoned with. I slowly but surely out tempo’d his Pristine Talisman with my Elves.

Game 3 was pretty much mine from the beginning. Antoine drew blanks for the most part, although the Torper Orb caused me issues. Instead of my main plan, using his dead draws to my advantage, I go all out on trying to land my big men. With a couple of  Soul of the Harvests doing the work, I beat my way to M13 Gamesday Victory!

Final score: 6-1 (12-7)

A great day to say the least. A lot of fun was had and I have a new play mat. Though having never felt the need for one, I shall be new to the whole thing. With Game 3 of the finals being played on the mat itself, I feel Über Nerdy saying that it felt pretty awesome tapping cards on the mat as opposed to a regular table.


Final Thoughts

But I digress. As mentioned, the deck is awesome fun to play. Sadly, I think the Standard Season is all but over for me now, but I certainly say, for those with the chance, that you should give it a try. My Testing Group and I shall soon be moving onto the Modern format for the incoming season. I shall no doubt be brushing off my Elf Combo Deck to see what the newer sets have done to the state of Modern. It was never a massive contender, but it’s certainly a fun deck akin to the one above. For that reason, I shall certainly be giving it another shot.

And for those wondering, I did keep my end of the bargain.

Cheers and Beers, mtgUK.



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