Well, after nearly 20 years of casual playing, I finally took the big step and played in my very first competitive event this last weekend. I headed down to CoolStuff in Hollywood with nearly 200 other dedicated MTGers of all ages and skills. I opted to take a slightly modified version of Aaron Barich’s Naya Aggro list. I liked it’s matchup against other aggro decks and against reanimator decks. What I wasn’t expecting was the number of control decks. After starting 3-0 vs Jund, URW Control and the mirror match, I was paired against eventual winner Jimmy Hartman. His big Naya Aggro deck was really just better in almost every axis. Mark Nestico wrote an excellent article on the deck and the tourney over at Star City Games, I suggest you go check it out.
Next round I faced a really interesting BUG Control list and I kept a greedy mostly land hand in game 1 and was forced to mulligan to 4 in game 2. His deck featured heavy removal and Jace, Memory Adept and double Nephalia Drownyards was enough to mill my under-aggressive start. Al was a really nice opponent to play against, and I never mind loosing to what amounted to a rogue deck piloted by a nice opponent.
I dropped so I could make it to my grandma’s 97th birthday dinner, but considering that if I’d stayed and played and won 1 more round, I could have easily top 32ed, I was really happy with my performance. I learned that the slightly slower but bigger threat aggro decks are kings of the roost. They are fast enough to run through control, but their creatures are big enough to stall out traditional smaller aggro matches. I think this archetype is well suited for the next few months, and then with the loss of some of the bigger threats and unburial rites, Barich’s list is poised for a big comeback.
So that wrapped up my intro to competitive play. I enjoyed myself so much, I think I’ll be attending many more GPs/PTQs and Open series events. Time to look for that calendar.