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Wow! I’m very happy to be the 2023 SCG Con New Jersey Legacy $10K Champion. Sometimes large events go real slow. This one went fast! 11 rounds in one day is a lot. This report will focus on the community and mental aspect of the game.

Big shout out to the community organizers!

Roland Chang (@RolandMTG) has spent countless hours developing personal relationships with new Legacy players, old ones returning from extended time off, tournament organizers and shop owners to glue together a tight-knit community. He is the first to welcome and the last to help broker a deal for your first piece of Vintage power. I cannot thank Roland enough for everything he has done.

Chris Banuchi (@90sMTG) used his expertise in photography and passion for Legacy to build the 90sMTG community. He started recording matches at Gamestoria (our LGS in New York City) and streaming them on Twitch. His commentary style is competitive enough that the grinders get strategic insight from matches of some of the best Legacy players and casual enough that someone new to the format can enjoy the stream and have a good time. When in-store play was shut down in 2020, Chris created a setup where two players had webcams at home and live streamed the match. He kept paper Legacy going in our community and around the world. Thank you Chris!

Kevin An runs Gamestoria (@Gamestoria) in New York City. There are weekly casual Legacy on Monday nights at 7PM and monthly competitive Saturday at 12pm. It is very hard to dedicate tabletop space in NYC given rents and Gamestoria caters to the Legacy community. It’s a very welcoming store, hope to see you at the next event.

Anuraag Das (@AnzidMTG) has taken the initiative to stream live content at large Eternal events independently with support from the community, as most organizers no longer offer coverage. Thank you!

I’d also like to thank Bob Huang (@Griselpuff) for his Delver guide and advice shared. The guide is well worth the value, details available on his Twitter. 

Congratulations to Greg Berlinrut! We were able to draw into the Top 8. He's been riding high on his version of Reanimator for a long time!

There are too many friends and competitors in the Legacy community that have been instrumental to my growth and success as a player. Hank Zhong, David Tao and John Li have been close playtest partners and so many more have helped me for this tournament.

In terms of the mental aspect of competitive gaming, being able to enjoy a tournament without walking away with first place is imperative. When I can congratulate my friends on their success, share a bad beat or just dinner afterwards the day can be great. Being able to laugh about a misplay or give my opponent credit for finding a line against me is valuable. 

I’ve read that a player in a multi-day tournament made four real decisions during all of their games. It is a bit of Sun-Tzu, The Art of War: every battle is won before it is fought. The preparation is key. Playing a deck with draw spells and countermagic of course complicates that, but the idea is there. When the Delver engine is working, it feels like a well-oiled machine. The gears shift fluidly and intuition is the key driver of decisions. Who’s the beatdown? How do I win? How do I lose? are three questions to be asking ourselves throughout the game that help shape direction.

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Dragon’s Rage Channeler
4 Murktide Regent
2 Brazen Borrower
1 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
4 Expressive Iteration
2 Mishra’s Bauble
2 Flooded Strand
1 Island
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Mystic Sanctuary
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Steam Vents
4 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland
—
2 Force of Negation
1 Hydroblast
1 Meltdown
4 Pyroblast
2 Fury
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Counterbalance
1 Unchained Berserker
1 Abrade
1 Soul-Guide Lantern

Chain Lightning over Unholy Heat to clear turn 1 White Plume and Archon, go face and count as a sorcery. I felt that outweighed Heat going 6 when delirious. 2nd Borrower is flex, could be Pyroblast or 3rd Bauble. Fury was great. I 5-0’d my first five round opponents all on initiative. Abrade outperformed. Berserker was fine, it could be a Sprite Dragon or TNN. Blood Knight would be last of my preferences there. Soul-Guide was a nod to red Painter and Uro, I felt good having it available. Getting Hydroblast or Counterbalance #2 in could be worth it. At the end of the day, I won my matches by Delvering people. I would not advocate cutting the 4th Wasteland. I do not like playing this as a pure-midrange deck. EI does drift us away from the true tempo days of Stifle, but my playstyle is Delver, Daze, Wasteland.

Feel free to reach out: @david_h_kaplan

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