March 7, 2021

Alpha To Alliances: The Big Chill – Event Report

All star

In early February a polar vortex descended on the Midwest, forcing the denizens to seek shelter indoors once again. Frigid temps (and not to mention the ever-present pandemic) once again ushered in a refrain we know now by heart: “wanna jam some games?”

A2A: The Big Chill was organized (passive voice, for humility) to spread the gospel of the new Alpha to Alliances hotness a little farther. We’ve been playing and testing and brewing for some time now and after a companion event put on by the Lords of the Pit, the enthusiasm was high. The Big Chill saw 19 mages gather together virtually to test brews and have a good ‘ol time.

The event was held in batch format. Batch 1 with random pairings, and Batch 2 based on standings. Notably, participants were allowed to change decks between batches–either making tweaks to their Batch 1 deck, or tossing it in the bin and playing something else entirely. Full proxies were allowed as well. Both of these characteristics allowed players to test out brews or get familiar with the nuances of the format. If a stew was too spicy, the second helping could be toned down to a palatable level.

It’s like watching a match in real life, but if you’re hanging from the ceiling.

Here be the results, and a few stray thoughts:

The inimitable Mr. Finney emerged victorious with his 4 color TaxHaupsBind deck, leaving the rest of us decimated in the aftermath of the glacial flood. His mix of Land Tax to fuel a persistent Stormbind and Jokulhaups make for a very difficult deck to beat. It’s a really cool strategy that has several ways of winning, including Autumn Willow or the Dude Ranch. But Jokulhaups itself is so backbreaking, leaving enchantments the only thing surviving (which means Stormbind). Unfortunately for Necro players like myself, it also means that all you have left is the Skull and if you don’t have a hand full of lands to build back up, that 6 mana red card has spelled the end for you.

Next, Josh B took 2nd place with his very tuned brand of Renimator. The combination of Brainstorm and Bazaar works very well with the Reanimator plan to get the most use out of the busted blue instant AND further the game plan of filling the graveyard with ghouls and robots. The mail continues to be fucked nationwide, so that’s why Josh’s Kird Apes turned into Gorilla Shamans between Batches 1 and 2. But the Mox Monkey emerged a star in the event.

In 3rd place was Stephen with a list close to me heart: a RUG aggro deck. This utilized Gorilla Shaman to help with the mana disruption plan, and got some good mileage out of Arcane Denial, another inclusion from Alliances. It inspired me and I wound up building a RUG list much like Stephen’s to test in the future.

Moss came in 4th with Atog. Atog gets Mana Crypt as well as a whole host of burn spells. And with the rest of the field using things like Necropotence or Land Tax to fill their hands, Black Vise becomes more important. Likewise, Ankh of Mishra sees more play. The deck can also leverage Mox Monkey well.

The diversity of the field surprised and pleased me the most. With proxies allowed, people still played what they wanted to test out or brewed. Personal styles were still a big part of determining the metagame. Bazaars are now however much you want to spend in ink, and with all the tools available for Reanimator, it seems to be a very dominant deck. But that didn’t mean everyone defaulted to it. And that gives me hope for future proxy events. We all bring something to the table with the intent of having a good time. Printing your way into the Top 8 isn’t something that I feel like Old School dudes are going to do in order to have the best time we can have. Sometimes that involves a Bazaar and a yard full of monsters. Other times, it involves a double-Berserked Yavimaya Ants. But when you have an assortment of old and newly made friends playing webcam Magic through the coldest month of the year, who cares if anyone sharpied one card to represent another?

It’s about the gathering. However we can make it happen.

Decklists are presented below:

Alan – 1st Place

Alan – Batch 1
Alan – Batch 2

Josh B – 2nd Place

Josh B – Batch 1
Josh B – Batch 2

Stephen – 3rd Place

Stephen – Batch 1
Stephen – Batch 2

Moss – 4th Place

Moss – Batch 1 and Batch 2

Piquard – 5th Place

Piquard – Batch 1
Piquard – Batch 2

Ben R – 6th Place

Ben R – Batch 1
Ben R – Batch 2

Cayce – 7th Place

Cayce – Batch 1
Cayce – Batch 2

Sonny – 8th Place

Sonny – Batch 1
Sonny – Batch 2

Adam – 9th Place

Adam – Batch 1
Adam – Batch 2

Charles – 10th Place

Charles – Batch 1
Charles – Batch 2

Sherry – 11th Place

Sherry – Batch 1
Sherry – Batch 2

JJ – 12th Place

JJ – Batch 1
JJ – Batch 2

Nick – 13th Place

Nick – Batch 1
Nick – Batch 2

Brandon – 14th Place

Brandon – Batch 1
Brandon – Batch 2

Jon – 15th Place (Dropped)

Josh J – 16th Place

Josh J – Batch 1
Josh J – Batch 2

Rajah – 17th Place

Rajah – Batch 1
Rajah – Batch 2

Joe – 18th Place (Decklist Missing)

Cam – 19th Place

Cam – Batch 1
Cam – Batch 2

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