*rumbles into forum*

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*rumbles into forum*

Post by Azrael on Tue May 19, 2009 11:05 pm

- Your name

Greg McCleery, aka Azrael on Salvation.

- How you found out about the team

Gavin's Sig.

- Why you want to join the team

I have an experienced and accomplished playtesting group back home, but I'm looking for players with comparable deck-building expertise and enthusiasm.

- Notable Magic accomplishments

T8 @ Ohio Valley Regionals 2006 - Homebrew Beach House w/Genju of the Fields
T8 @ Kentucky Open 2007 - WRB Sleepless Slivers (w/Pillory of the Sleepless)
T8 @ Ohio Valley Regionals 2009 - G/W Stonehewer Beats (w/Stonehewer Giant)
T8 @ PTQ Austin Columbus 2009 - G/W Stonehewer Beats

Up until two years ago, I hadn't become deeply involved in the PTQ circuit because I was stuck on my love affair with standard. (I've expanded into other formats since then.) So while I've been able to pioneer some ground-breaking original lists, my entire season for many years was one Champs, one Regionals, and maybe a Kentucky Open tossed in. But for a sample size of only 2-3 major events per year since 2006, my T8 percentage has been quite acceptable, often between 33-50%. As I expand into the PTQ circuit I expect my resume will gain some additional depth, but I have a veteran's skill-set and experience already (I've been playing magic since the Ice age. Not the magic set, the actual Ice age).

T8 Builds:

Homebrew Beach House w/Genju of the Fields
http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?id=6699

Spoiler:

Main Deck:
2 Genju of the Fields
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Farseek
2 Dimir House Guard
2 Congregation at Dawn
4 Mortify
2 Putrefy
4 Wrath of God
2 Cranial Extraction
1 Persecute
3 Loxodon Hierarch
1 Grave-Shell Scarab
2 Kokusho, the Evening Star
3 Angel of Despair

Land 24
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
2 Brushland
2 Forest
4 Godless Shrine
4 Llanowar Wastes
1 Overgrown Tomb
2 Plains
2 Swamp
4 Temple Garden
2 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree

SB-
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
2 Cranial Extraction
3 Descendant of Kiyomaro
2 Leave No Trace
1 Night of Souls' Betrayal
3 Phyrexian Arena
3 Pithing Needle

WRB Sleepless Slivers
http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?id=7697

Spoiler:

Creatures-24
4 Shadow Guildmage
4 Sidewinder Sliver
4 Cautery Sliver
4 Dark Confidant
4 Sedge Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver

Burn/Removal-14
3 Demonfire
4 Lightning Helix
3 Pillory of the Sleepless
4 Seal of Fire

Land-22
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Blood Crypt
2 Gemstone Mine
4 Godless Shrine
1 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
3 Swamp

G/W Stonehewer Beats
http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?id=8427

Spoiler:


2 Llanowar Elves
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Gaddock Teeg
4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
3 Dauntless Escort
4 Boggart Ram-Gang
3 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Chameleon Colossus

2 Behemoth Sledge
4 Path to Exile

Land-23
4 Brushland
6 Forest
2 Murmuring Bosk
3 Mutavault
1 Plains
4 Treetop Village
3 Wooded Bastion

SB-
1 Cloudthresher
3 Hurricane
3 Qasali Pridemage
3 Recumbent Bliss
3 Snakeform
2 Stonehewer Giant

#2- PTQ Austin Build

4 Noble Hierarch
2 Llanowar Elves
4 Path to Exile
4 Gaddock Teeg
4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
3 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
4 Dauntless Escort
2 Behemoth Sledge
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Chameleon Colossus
3 Stonehewer Giant

4 Treetop Village
6 Forest
2 Plains
3 Rustic Clachan
4 Wooded Bastion
4 Brushland

SB
2 Qasali Pridemage
2 Cloudthresher
2 Hurricane
3 Scattershot Archer
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Paladin En-Vec
2 Condemn


I personally built each of these lists from scratch with only minimal assistance from my playgroup. In addition, I designed decks for my playtesting group that took 1st place @ Ohio Regionals in 2008 (James Orr, G/R Mana Ramp w/Goyf), and a list of Doran that Akil Steele piloted to Day 2 on the Pro Tour last year (Allowing me to vicariously pwn Pat Chapin along the way).

For a full collection of decklists I've built or tuned over the years, see:
http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article_search_result.asp?author=Greg%20McCleery

A sampling: Beacon Green w/spashed Wrath (Regionals 6-2-0) Monoblack with Temporal Extortion in TS Block (PTQ 6-2-0), UG w/Warhammer in Rav/TS T2 (Barn played to 6-2-0 at Kentucky Open), Doran w/Anurid Brushopper in Extended (6-2-0).

- A link to your DCI Ratings page

https://webapp.wizards.com/myhistory.aspx?action=gethistory&personratingid=655103613&brandid=1

I believe that link should work for you. If it doesn't, my current constructed rating is 1892, and my total rating is 1915. My (sanctioned play) limited rating is in the basement; but my natural ability to draft is on par with my constructed ability, and I have substantial unsanctioned play experience.

- Why you bring something extra to the team

I build original, techy lists that can consistently outperform the metagame. I am also highly proficient at fine-tuning established archetypes. And I'm not exactly an embarrassment when it comes to play-skill and fighting the mind/information game, either.

I have a very good understanding of deck-building theory, and I'm also innovative and hard-working. There are countless players who can pick up a high-performing list in a fully defined format, and use it to top eight. I'd say you've had a lot of players like that, with lengthier resumes, applying to this team.

However, I doubt you've had many applicants who can demonstrate the same ability to consistently top 8 with their own unique designs. If I come on board, you gain something besides yet another dude who can play good decks a little better than the next guy because he actually playtests. You gain someone with a demonstrated potential to design curve balls that catch the format in the groin.

- What your biggest strength as a Magic player is, and,

I'm a strong, seasoned player who can outmanuever most of my opponents, but first and foremost I'm a deckbuilder. There are few things I find more rewarding than putting in the effort to design a truly first-rate decklist, and seeing those efforts pay off with meaningful results.

- What your biggest weakness as a Magic player is.

I need more support from other competitive players. My playtesting group has had a lot of success over the years, plenty of T8s, and some Nats and PT appearances, but there's not much more I can learn from them that I haven't already mastered. If I'm going to keep getting better, I need to quit in-breeding and gather a wider net of resources and advice.

I especially need to reach out to a new playgroup now that my original group is growing older and spreading apart. I can't test with them as consistently as we used to. So if I join the team, I can guarantee that I'll be a highly active participant.

- Anything else that you would like to add

Now that I've been thoroughly interrogated Wink, I think it's only fair to pose a couple questions of my own to help gauge what I'm truly applying into, here.

1. How has joining Team Unknown Stars contributed to your success?

2. How would you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a Stonehewer Giant package in token-based strategies?


Last edited by Azrael on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:32 pm; edited 28 times in total

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by magicmatt on Wed May 20, 2009 12:01 pm

great questions!

1) personally, I had 1 ptq top 8 before joining and two ptq second place finishes after. I also got 2nd at states and top 8ed regionals since joining. Honestly, none of those lists were ones i got from unknownstars, but most of the lists were edited by the team to some degree. Also, just hearing smart people talk about decks and matchups helps even if you don't take any of the advice about card choices.

2) As you said in your article, attacking token decks by attacking their removal packages is very logical. Playing a deck with many must kill creatures for tokens puts them in a very difficult situation. Stonehewer Giant definitely falls under the category of must kill creature. Other creatures that often don't see play like windborn muse or avatar of might (not for the token mirror for obvious reasons) also become reasonable inclusions. I thought it was an excellent point and if i ever play tokens or any other white deck w/ threats i will definitely consider it. One idea i thought of to even further punish token decks for their lack of removal was to play a meddling mage on path or terror and then follow it up with a must kill creature that they now can't kill.

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by Azrael on Thu May 21, 2009 12:24 am

magicmatt wrote:great questions!

1) personally, I had 1 ptq top 8 before joining and two ptq second place finishes after. I also got 2nd at states and top 8ed regionals since joining. Honestly, none of those lists were ones i got from unknownstars, but most of the lists were edited by the team to some degree. Also, just hearing smart people talk about decks and matchups helps even if you don't take any of the advice about card choices.

*nods* Do team members ever test one anothers' decks to help improve advice, or is it usually an on-paper analysis?

Also, is there much online testing between members?


2) As you said in your article, attacking token decks by attacking their removal packages is very logical. Playing a deck with many must kill creatures for tokens puts them in a very difficult situation. Stonehewer Giant definitely falls under the category of must kill creature. Other creatures that often don't see play like windborn muse or avatar of might (not for the token mirror for obvious reasons) also become reasonable inclusions. I thought it was an excellent point and if i ever play tokens or any other white deck w/ threats i will definitely consider it. One idea i thought of to even further punish token decks for their lack of removal was to play a meddling mage on path or terror and then follow it up with a must kill creature that they now can't kill.

That's definitely the argument for including him against tokens; and against most of the other decks in the format, really. There's so little removal in each of them.

The question that intrigues me is whether Stonehewer interferes too greatly with what they're trying to accomplish to risk running him inside B/W or G/W tokens against the mirror. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, if he sticks, you're going to shift all but the most drastic tempo imbalances in your favor, and seriously complicate their combat math. On a near-empty board, equipping tokens and keeping your life-total high may spell the difference.

On the other hand, Ajani Goldmane, Anthem, and Zealous are faster, quicker, and cleaner enhancement spells, and additional token-based threats help you get the most mileage out of those. He doesn't have a great deal of synergy with what they're already trying to do, plus the equipment is going to be miserable if you draw it off the top of your deck. So much worse than simply playing Ajani and just winning.

Not only that, but he might serve as an outlet for your opponents' spot removal, which normally does next to nothing in those matchups. Additionally, your 5cc slot is probably too clogged to run many copies of him, and equipment, AND Cloudgoat Ranger, which is already a great card in the mirror. Lastly, equipment is much worse in a deck where your creatures are fairly small, and you have to pay to reequip multiple times and gain less life.

I would suspect he does have a place in G/W tokens, however, due to their higher creature size. Overrun has ridiculous just-win potential, but it's swingy and sometimes unreliable. Zealous Persecution, Wrath, Cryptic Command, Volcanic Fallout, Tidehollow Sculler, Teeg...there's enough answers available that you want a good backup strategy. Stonehewer might give them the ridiculous beatstick and breakthrough potential they need to attempt to keep up with B/W if the Overrun plan tanks. He also works better with their mana-base, since they can ramp into him, and give him exalted. If not MD, it should be a solid card in their SB for a variety of matchups.

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by Azrael on Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:03 pm

Went 6-2-0 at a Pittsburgh PTQ last Saturday using my new build; stayed in contention until round 7. Current constructed rating is now 1904. Hitting another PTQ with a few updates this weekend.

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by Azrael on Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:25 pm

So, I T8'd another PTQ this Saturday, using my updated G/W.

I had a great shot at going further up, but unfortunately encountered some decklist hijinks.

My partner, Akil, also placed 2nd at the same PTQ, using another new deck I gave him a little help with.

Rating's up to 1924 constructed, 1950 total.

Decklist:

4 Noble Hierarch
2 Llanowar Elves
4 Path to Exile
4 Gaddock Teeg
4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
3 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
4 Dauntless Escort
2 Behemoth Sledge
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Chameleon Colossus
3 Stonehewer Giant

4 Treetop Village
6 Forest
2 Plains
3 Rustic Clachan
4 Wooded Bastion
4 Brushland

SB
2 Qasali Pridemage
2 Cloudthresher
2 Hurricane
3 Scattershot Archer
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Paladin En-Vec
2 Condemn

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by vatansever223 on Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:56 am

thanks for sharing

____________

GMC parts car
business opportunity

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by Azrael on Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:04 am

I'm pretty sure this forum is now dead, and they didn't bother to tell anyone. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me...

In the time since I stopped checking here and set up a notification, I've had several more T8s, made it to the PT on my own, and started my own forum-based team of semipros/pros. If any of you guys are still interested in joining a team, feel free to bother me on Facebook or reply here since I'm still getting notifications. Greg McCleery.

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

Post by firstshot on Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:35 pm

This forum is dead and has been for close to a year

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Re: *rumbles into forum*

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