Taylor Parnell has been to two Pro Tours previously, but is not a name that you would associate with anything Magical prior to this weekend. Now though, he can be recognized as the creator of one of the unique decks at GP: Orlando, a deck he designed named D.C. Green. We sat down with him to figure out why he chose this deck and how a relative unknown managed to take a little time out of his vacation to pilot it to a top 4 finish on the weekend.
Sideboard: Where'd deck come from?
Taylor Parnell: I made it all by myself. We actually have another version that is also very good, but it runs more black so that it can play spells like Greater Harvester.
SB: Have you played this deck in other tournaments? If so, what kind of results did you post with it?
TP: I won a Grand Prix Trial with this deck, and then went 4-2 with a similar version in a PTQ, but that version had a considerably worse mana base.
SB: How did you settle on this deck?
TP: Basically I wanted good, quick beats. I really wanted to be able to race Tooth and Nail, which is why I have Karstoderm in there instead of Solemn Simulacrums and why I have basically seven Grizzly Bear type guys (4 Joiner Adepts, 3 Tel-Jilad Chosen). Protection from Artifacts helps shore up the Affinity matchup.
I dropped a Chosen against Huey Jensen in our quarterfinal matchup and he couldn't attack through it. It can really shut down that whole deck while they try and find their fliers. I really like the Joiner though, because if you play it on your second turn, you have almost no mana problems for the rest of the game. In a format where Mirrodin's Core is the best mana-fixing land, it's a huge boon.
SB: How do you think this deck fits into the current metagame?
TP: When I made the deck, I kind of pre-sideboarded for the metagame. I thought there weren't going to be that many Affinity decks, but a lot of the Pros ran it so that was a bit of a surprise. They tend to keep what they are playing a secret, surprise, surprise. I don't really have a team, so I'm kind of just a lone wolf deckbuilder.
SB: What are the Death Clouds in there for?
TP: I thought there were going to be a lot more Tooth and Nail decks, that why the Clouds are in there. It's also good against the W/U deck… it's great against Pristine Angels, though every time I Clouded one away this weekend, another came out the next turn. Without Clouds, the matchup against Tooth decks is a lot worse.
SB: What would you change if you had to run this deck again?
TP: If there's more Tooth running around, I'd leave in the Clouds, and probably just leave the deck alone. If it was like today, I'd take out the two Clouds and two Terrors and put in Oxidizes. I thought there'd be more Qumulox here, which is why I had Terrors maindeck, but it didn't work out that way.
How's the matchup against Big Red?
TP: It wasn't that bad when I was playtesting it before, but in the semifinals, my opponent thrashed me with some good draws on his part, and some bad on my own. You have a good curve, plus Terrors for Arc-Sloggers, so if you keep pressure on them, you usually have a good shot at pulling it out.
SB: What are the deck's Best/Worst matchups?
TP: Tooth is probably still the worst matchup, while the best matchup is easily mono-Green. After sideboarding, Affinity gets pretty easy, though there's always the danger they will squeeze some games out. That's just what Affinity does.
SB: Can you tell us anything about your sideboard?
TP: The lone Bloodscent is in there because I only had one space left and it's a decent one-of in the sideboard. You're never really upset when you draw a Bloodscent in the mid-game because you can just steal a game randomly. I'm not sure I'd keep it in there or not after today. I'd still keep the Cloud in the board plus all the artifact removal, because those are good options to have, and if you change the deck to compensate for more Affinity in the metagame, just swap all the Death Clouds into the sideboard and put Oxidize in the main.
SB: Thanks a lot, Taylor, and congratulations on this weekend.