Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Or: Taking the Atog to the zoo

I played the following list in the New England Old School October monthly tournament (8 groups of 7, round robin within the group, winner advances to top 8, one tournament a month, seasonal standings for each 5-month season, Atlantic format) and some online games.

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Having gone 5-0 in the group play (one player unfortunately had to drop) and beating up some of my friends in casual games, I felt good bringing the deck to the Scandinavian Championships in Arvika, the last one ever before that shark swims to Genoa and WinC0n. I made the following changes:

Maindeck:
-1 Taiga
-1 City in a Bottle
+1 Badlands
+1 Shatter

Sideboard:
-2 Copper Tablet
-1 Shatter
-1 Maze of Ith
+1 Gloom
+1 City in a Bottle
+1 Hurkyl’s Recall
+1 Falling Star

I wanted another black mana to support the third Gloom, and while 11 G is the goal for having it turn 1, there’s still just 7 green cards in total, so I figured going down to 10 would be fine. I also considered adding that extra mana as red or blue.

Note I’m not playing Mox Pearl. The mana is really the weak point of the deck, being 11/10/8/7 in the updated list, but there’s not much else to do, as 4 City of Brass just isn’t feasible with your own Bottles and also bad against any kind of aggro. And I very much prefer not to run 25 mana sources in Atog without Library. The mana does work if you mulligan properly. At least until somebody starts casting Sinkhole against you.

The theory behind the deck is that it’s good to play more permanent damage sources to supplement the Atogs, the burn, and the Vise/Ankh plan, and that the green guys are generally awesome and more resilient than Serendibs which often get hit by Bottle/Maze/REB. Also you get your own Bottles and a better curve. In particular, the setup should be stronger against The Deck, and worse against Bolt decks. I like calling it Atog Zoo, although FarieTog, Faetog, and TaigaTog aren’t bad either.

Copper Tablet is good against The Deck but I have too much to board there anyway, so they should go. Note that I built the deck to playtest for Swedish, so I never considered Psychic Purge, but I am not convinced they are so good, really. That’s probably a topic for another day though.

I do like playing just 2 maindeck Ankhs. At least not more than 3. Boarding them is fine, but they do get boarded out too much for me to want all of them main.

Okay, so what happened? I lost round 1 in Arvika to mono-B due to bad mulligans and sinkhole, then lost round 2 to unpowered BR; I know what he was on, and kept a weak hand with a vise, since how is he going to beat that? By drawing Sol Ring and playing an endless stream of Su-Chis, Sengirs, and Sedge Trolls. Then I lost round 3 as well, to another mono-black. And they don’t even have Hymn in Swedish!

Then I went home and won all my matches in the top 8 of the online tournament as well, including beating Brett Allen on shops in the semis (a matchup I really feared, especially since Brett played 4 maindeck bolts, negating my Pixies) and Will Magrann on dibatog in the finals.

I don’t understand anything. 8-0 or 0-3? Is the deck good or bad? Average? Depends on the pilot? Probably a bit of all of those. I don’t like losing in shark tournaments, though, just like last year, so I can’t say I was particularly happy after Arvika. Before, though, I thought I had really stumbled upon a truly excellent deck, a possible improvement on the now-classic Dibatog. That could still be the case. The numbers could be tweaked; in particular I could see cutting a Scryb Sprite, or all of them, although this might be since I saw them getting outclassed by Hyppies a bit too much. They are definitely good against control, and in the Atog mirror, but the 4th Pixies could get in there.

I’ve said this so much, and I’m still struggling with the issue, but I just have to care less. I’m happier that way. I should relax more, hang out, drink beer, have a coffee in the sun. (Even though it’s becoming increasingly hard with the Swedish winter approaching. The sun is setting at 4 pm now. Who decided that was okay. Fuck.) Taking the Atog to the zoo.

Peace.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Or: Taking the Atog to the zoo

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