Importance of Stuff You Don’t Think About

I went to my local FNM today, as I often do on Fridays if I have the time. Its pretty much my only opportunity to play standard and its conveniently located from our offices, so why not?

I played my often mentioned monogreen aggro-control deck.

First two rounds went well. First match I dominated. It was over pretty quickly. Not as quickly as my usual decks, but still, pretty quickly. However, the whole round was over quickly, so I didn’t have time to breathe.

Second round took me a while to get there, but once I did, I dominated again. It was pretty intensive and decision heavy, but the Predator Ooze came through again even though my opponent got plenty of life from Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice. Again, I didn’t really have time to breathe between rounds.

Third round I was facing a pretty classic blue-white control, with modern flash elements in the form of Restoration Angels and Snapcaster Mages against a player I had never won in a match. This is where things went really long. First game I lost. I just didn’t have the tools to go under him, so the first game was his. It wasn’t quick, but it was obvious. I thought about conceding, but couldn’t do it.

Next game, I sided out all my mana-elves and Ulvenwald Trackers and took the long game. Sadly, I didn’t draw many lands, do it became REALLY long game, but the waiting paid off. Eventually I won by budgeting my threats and just being patient.

Obviously, by doing this, the game went long and although I managed to get my opponent to one life twice, one life is the same as twenty when considering wins and losses.

Again, as we went overtime, there wasn’t any downtime between matches.

Final round began with me still scrambling to de-sideboard my deck from the last match. First game went pretty well for a while as I managed to build a great board presence. Then came the Sublime Archangel. People are clearly thinking the same way I am and using the fun cards before rotation as I haven’t seen that particular card in anyone’s deck before (except my own). Anyhow, my monogreen could handle that… but not this time. Especially with six other creatures backing it up and a Boros Charm.

Second game I was ready for the angel, but in the end, I again dominated the board pretty well, but made a huge mistake in the end by attacking when I shouldn’t have.

I attribute it to tiredness. I was probably dehydrated, I hadn’t been able to leave the store to breathe fresher air outside and four grueling rounds just left me exhausted mentally. Obviously, I had a full workday behind me, which didn’t help either. I did pretty well. Can’t really complain. After all, I chose the deck I play myself, fully knowing it isn’t the easiest to play.

Still, one should think about these things. One should bring something to drink and, if possible, practice beforehand. With practice, we can form mental shortcuts, which let us dismiss full decision trees and just take the (hopefully) right course without using too much brainpower. Often there are hidden synergies which won’t be obvious until you play enough. I – for one – have learned a lot about how to use the Trackers just from playing enough. (Fighting with your attacking creature after blocks have been announced is just evil.)

Sadly, I don’t really have an opportunity to do this, but hopefully in the future I get to test somewhat with some people in the guild.

[EDIT] Yes, I originally forgot to name this.

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