March 6th, 2010
Been a while since my last report. My local shop, Montag’s Games, alternates between draft and Standard, and last month was draft, and I don’t ever feel like writing reports on draft; hence the gap.
So, this was the first post-Worldwake Standard for me, and I’d been thinking about what to play for a while, and had been kicking around both a Grixis build and a Naya build for a while. (Prior to PT San Diego.) @dcampa93 and I had bounced some Naya around on Twitter and had both come to the conclusion that Stoneforge Mystic was the way to go, getting Sledge and the Collar… and then PT San Diego happened, and it turned out we weren’t the only people with that idea. Not to hard to come up with, right? Of course, the Boss Naya that was played to an undefeated record in the Swiss was without a doubt a better build than mine (I kept trying to work in Thoctar), but I wasn’t at all surprised that it did well.
So I played it. I made some microscopic changes and played this list:
1 Scute Mob
3 Bird of Paradise
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Noble Hierarch
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Ranger of Eos
3 Bloodbraid Elf
2 Baneslayer Angel
2 Stoneforge Mystic
Other spells (11)
3 Lightning Bolt
1 Path to Exile
2 Ajani Vengeant
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Behemoth Sledge
2 Oblivion Ring
4 Arid Mesa
2 Raging Ravine
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Behemoth Sledge
4 Cunning Sparkmage
2 Dauntless Escort
1 Goblin Guide
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Bloodbraid Elf
The minor changes are that I moved two Baneslayers into the main, trading out for a Ranger of Eos and a Bloodbraid, and I went with 3 Birds and 3 Hierarchs rather than 2 and 4 because sometimes the deck gets a little stuck for red mana, so I wanted the extra red source, but one I could still get with a Ranger. And, frankly, after playing it, I would most certainly keep only 3 Rangers in the main deck, because I never wanted to cast more than two in a game anyway, as most of the 1 drops will be exhausted by then. As LSV himself noted, an unanswered Baneslayer is game over a lot of the time, and that just seemed better in the main than either Ranger #4 or Bloodbraid #4.
Round 1: Jason, playing Mystic WW
Game 1: My deck did very little here, and he had the Journeys and O Rings for my threats, and I got beaten down with a Kor Skyfisher with a Sigil on it.
Game 2: All about the Baneslayer, baby. I got one on turn 4 thanks to a Hierarch, and the exalted monster provided the beats.
Game 3: I have to admit my memory for this game is a little shaky. What I do remember is getting hammered with Kor Firewalkers that I had trouble stopping. However, I did get down 3 Sparkmages (without any equipment) and managed to keep the board otherwise pretty clear, and I believe a Knight went all the way.
Round 2: Nathan playing Bant
This was a ramp-style Bant running Khalni Heart Expeditions, Summoning Trap, Avenger of Zendikar, Iona, and Empyrial Archangel. Prettyf interesting, actually.
Game 1: We clogged up the board with relatively modest dudes, then I got a Scute Mob and a Sledge, and he got Avenger of Zendikar. Monster Scute Mob applied and he threw the Avenger and many pumped up Plant tokens in front of it. I then put the Sledge on a 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary and applied beats with that for a couple turns. He got a Summoning Trap for Iona naming Green, but I had another Knight out and gave my Sledged Knight protection from White and finished with burn.
Game 2: Neither of us had anything particularly impressive in the first three or so turns, but I got a fairly early Baneslayer. He managed to get a Empyrial Archangel out with a Summoning Trap (hard cast), but I had a Bolt so I applied with the Angel (6/6 thanks to a Hierarch) and then Bolted. He ran off some more Summoning Traps but missed anything big and never found an answer to the angel of awesome.
Round 3: Jeff, playing Bant
This was a completely different take on Bant. Finest Hour, Rafiq, Pridemages, Hierarchs, Loam Lions, etc: guys made huge by Exalted and swinging twice.
Game 1: I kept a five-land draw and mostly got run over. He got Loam Lions early on and I got small Knights. He got Rafiq and a Battlegrace Angel and I just did not have answers.
Game 2: A similar deal, but very slowly unfolding. I had a Collar and a Sparkmage in my opener but when I went to equip the Sparkmage, he had the Bant Charm for it. He had Finest Hour and multiple Ranger-generated Hierarchs, so anything swinging for him would be large and was coming twice. I, however, had the Collar and Ajani, who was alternately tapping and Helixing things, so every time he attacked it cost him a creature and I maintained some life total. This stalemate was pretty drawn out and we had time called on us, so this worked out to be a match loss.
Round 4: Paul, playing mono-White Emeria
I love this deck. Knight of the White Orchid and Kor Cartographer, then a toolbox of white creatures including World Queller. Very hard to beat if you don’t kill it early. However, we both had really good tiebreaks and did the math and realized that we’d both get into the top 8 if we drew in, which we did.
Quarterfinals: Carlos, playing Eldrazi Green/Red
This is similar to Eldrazi Green, of course, but with Red for Bloodbraids and Bolts and such.
Game 1: I once again have to admit that I don’t remember this game very well. I had multiple early 3/3 Nacatls and he, uhh, didn’t.
Game 2: For the third match in a row I sided in the same seven-card package of 4 Sparkmage, 1 Mystic, 1 Collar, and 1 O Ring. I didn’t get the red machine-gunner, but I had early fetchlands and Knights, and either a Collar or a Sledge, and beat him down pretty quickly again.
Semifinals: Jeff from round 3
Game 1: This was a pretty good game, with some momentum swings. He got early Sejiri Merfolk and Loam Lions and I got a Mystic and had a Bolt for Rafiq. He managed a Finest Hour and beat me down to 5, but I got big a big Knight and with equipment and had many chumps for his big double-shots, so I was able to gain serious life and turn the tide. I got him down to 2 but he had chumps and I finally drew burn in the form of Ajani and roasted him out.
Game 2: In went the same 7-card package as before. Whee. This was a very dumb game because his deck just deserted him. He got stuck on two land, and while he managed a pretty solid board with that, it just wasn’t enough and I just pounded him with a big lifelinked Knight.
Finals: Ray, playing Jund
Ray actually wanted to play for it, which is rare in the finals at Montag’s . Not a problem, but a surprise. Fine with me, of course, I don’t mind playing for it—we came to play, right? Anyway, this was a lot like the semis in PT San Diego in terms of deck matchups, because his Jund was also running Rampant Growth and Siege-Gangs.
Game 1: Pretty even early, with us trading Bloodbraids and other 3/3s. I Bolted a Garruk after it made a token and he got a Siege-Gang which he used a couple tokens to kill a big Knight. I was getting through with Nacatls, though and we kind of traded down to 11 and had more or less a board stalemate. He then drew Bolts, and won with Bolt-Bolt-Bolt throw a Goblin. Ugh.
Game 2: I had Bloodbraids early, the second of which hit a Mystic. He Pulsed off both the Bloodbraids but he was at 10. I hit him with a Nacatl down to 7. Next turn I activated a Ravine and swung with something else, bringing him down to 1, and he was unable to topdeck an answer and that was it.
Game 3: Absolutely stupid game in much the same way as my second game in the previous round. However, unlike that game, in this game we both drew lots of land. As in out of the first 16 cards I saw, 9 were land. I had a Path for his turn 3 Thrinax and Bolted something else. I got a Mystic and therefore a Sledge, but he Pulsed off the Mystic. He got a Ruinblaster, which hit nothing (all I had in play were six basics at the time) and a few turns later I finally had to O Ring it—In the meantime, he was drawing all land as well. He got a second Ruinblaster, which hit a Rootbound Crag, and all I had on the board was a Sledge. I drew more land and he just killed me. Whee.
Overall a pretty good night, even if the last two matches were decided by mana issues. The forces of chance giveth, and they take away—I just would rather have had action both times.