March Radness Revue

by Danny

March Radness Revue

Long time reader, first time poster. You may know of me from my collected works on the merits of including Ancestral Recall in your 93/94 deck list, as well as my pioneering works on the positive effects of moving immediately to the second main phase. At any rate, I’d like to thank you for reading.

This spring, the Lords organized March Radness to keep our degenerates satiated in spite of the global pandemic. Eighteen participants raised $417 to benefit the Chicago Restaurant Workers Relief Fund via Southern Smoke. The formats were Classic and Middle School MTG, two formats I know very little about.

Brain Drain

My first exposure to Magic was in 1994, but I was not actively playing between 1995 and 2004. When I got back in during college, I wanted to play a format where I could play both Sol Ring and dual lands. Thus, I started with Type 1 (Vintage). Aside from a limited amount of Legacy, I knew very few cards from the card pool outside of Type 1. So, as you can imagine, without having played during the Classic and Middle School eras of MTG and never having played Extended, these two formats are pretty far outside of my comfort zone.

Middle School (which seems to be extremely similar to Premodern, but with some key card differences, like Force of Will) has an extremely wide card pool and many viable decks. I’ve avoided the format, largely because I was happy enough with other throwback formats, and I didn’t want to dive into a new card pool. But sometimes in life, if one is extremely fortunate, he or she will encounter selfless individuals who just want to bring everyone together:

Forsaken, Not Forgotten

So with most of a Middle School Stasis deck in my hands as a result of Shane’s kindness, I ended up playing in March Radness. I threw together a Goblin Welder control deck with a bunch of blue draw spells for Classic, hoping to live the dream and weld Tetravites for Triskelion (spoiler alert, it DID NOT happen).

On March 4th, a small gathering of Lords and select associates kicked off March Radness with a virtual happy hour. I’ve been living in Dallas, TX over the last three years, and having the opportunity to play virtually has been a great way to stay in touch with the club. I’ve been grateful to my fellow Lords for hosting all of these virtual events over the past few years.

The event started with Classic, and contained a healthy mix of different decks—Stifle Nought, High Tide, Price of Progress Cam Special™️, Goblin Welder control from yours truly, Food Chain Goblins, Deadguy Ale, Storm Combo, Gro-A-Tog, UR Morphling Control, Devourer Combo, Pox, Goblins, Burn, Zoo Sligh, and Dragon Combo.

Unusual Suspects

I understand very little about this format, but it is very broken. My Goblin Welder deck was fun to play but had absolutely no chance against both of the Strom decks that easily 2-0’d me. Welder was coincidentally amazing against Lorien’s Dreadnoughts (it helped that they never made an appearance G1). Shane’s Devourer Combo deck was new tech to me – I got lucky and won this match, but the deck was clearly better than mine.

Long time friend of the club, Cam from PDX, and I had a fun set of side games. I had always heard Cam was awesome from Moss and just about anyone who had met him. Unfortunately, neither of us had ever hung out at an event. A few years back, I was visiting Portland on vacation. I texted Moss for Cam’s phone number to see if we could find an opportunity for beers. We got a chance to hang, and I cannot wait to visit again – he’s one of the best dudes.

These games were the only time I got Goblin Welder + Tetravus going and it was glorious. Mana Drain proved to be pretty good against Price of Progress + Fork, and I’m looking forward to the next battle.

Classic is relatively unexplored. There are some obvious historical decks—Storm, Gro, Goblins, etc, but I am guessing there is some unknown coolness out there that we’re all missing. This format is also really exciting because the internet is not loaded with deck lists. This makes for a great opportunity to play some interesting games if you can convince your friends to build something other than Type 1 net decks from 2003.

As anyone would have guessed, Storm dominated. This deck benefits from playing most of the restricted list and paving the way with Duress. Playing against this gave me Type 1 PTSD (well done Dom & Punts).

On to Middle School – this format is incredibly wide and really requires expert knowledge of the card pool. As a first-time player who has seen many of these cards in the past, I still had almost no idea what was going on as my opponents ran me over. Mossman dropped after a disgraceful performance with Stiflenought in Classic… Just kidding — he was busy moving (congrats on the new place!!!)—and Standstill expert Greg tagged right in.

Elsewhere, Triple Carno!

The Stasis deck I played was really cool, and Forsaken City is some incredible technology. That said, it’s pretty hard to win with Black Vise when your opponent has Manabond in play. This was a new one for me. Stasis was also terrible against Rajah’s Enchantress, but it was cool to see his deck play out. Very very broken. Same can be said about my match against Baran’s Madness deck. Tim played it very well, and there wasn’t a single turn where I was ahead in our two short games. Bob did some charity work and went easy enough on me to give me a win against his Coco Pebbles deck. I did almost lose this one as well, given that he necro-locked himself with 3 cards in hand. And with this, I’d deck out before he did, and could never kill him with Vise. Double Chain of Vapor gave me the win in one of the weirdest games of Magic I’ve played in a long time.

Middle School was a ton of fun, and I’d like to give it another shot, though I think I need to read up on the card pool more before next time. Again, would never have ended up playing without Shane’s generosity.

Final Standings (Sorry, Dom)

To no one’s surprise, the combo stars of Classic also dominated Middle School with Braun beating Dotterer on breakers (though a mis-entered match result initially gave Dom the win, Moss crushed him with the final, corrected results). Congrats to both of them for slaying us all. Big thanks to Moss for running yet another excellent event despite being in the middle of a move. I’m looking forward to next time.

Agra Baran Beetle Blank Braun Dotterer Dotterer Wishboard Elleman Finney Friedman Grissom James MacDougall Moss Piquard Rohr Semmens Velasco Wall

Agra Baran Beetle Blank Dotterer Elleman Finney Friedman Grissom James Kotscharjan MacDougall Piquard Semmens Velasco Wall