October 30th, 2010
So, it appears that Standard is completely wide open right now with no single dominant deck. I think that’s fantastic! It does make it hard to decide what to play. I didn’t actually think I’d be able to go to Game Day so I hadn’t been thinking too hard about this problem and I had almost no time to put things together, so what I ended up playing was essentially what I happened to have already thrown together. I had a Valakut deck together, a UGR Fauna Shaman/Vengevine/Titan deck together, and a Mono-Black Control deck together. I figured there’d be the least hate around for mono Black, and I haven’t played much control of late, so I went with that. Here’s the list:
3 Tectonic Edge
This is obviously based on Philip Green’s Monoblack Control from the Nashville Star City Open. I made a couple pretty minor changes, dropping one Grave Titan and putting in a pair of Wurmcoil Engines and going down to only two Consuming Vapors. It’s pretty much “kill everything and then drop fatties.” One of my favorite things with this deck is that you are pretty much guaranteed to actually go ultimate with Lilliana at least once during the day.
Turnout at Montag’s wasn’t all that great, so we only played four rounds of Swiss and cut to top 4.
Round 1: Cory, playing Esper Allies
Game 1 he never really developed any board presence. I beat him down with a Gatekeeper and a collection of his own dead guys from the Mimic Vat and then when it was pretty much academic I beat him down with a Wurmcoil. Game 2 he definitely made a game out of it. He started with a turn 1 Hada Freeblade and just kept dropping guys and I wasn’t quite keeping up on the removal front, so he beat me down to 9. I managed to Corrupt a 5/5 Nimana Sell-Sword to stabilize both my life total and the board position, and then I got down another Wurmcoil and then managed to keep his board clear and beat him up with it.
1-0 matches, 2-0 games
Round 2: Melissa, playing B/r discard
The deck was interesting, Slavering Nulls and some burn for removal/finisher, then the full Lilliana suite including both Spectres and Caresses, as well as Mind Rots and Doom Blades. Game 1 I opened with a turn 5 Grave Titan off a pair of Chalices, and she never had any answer for the big fattie and his zombie minions. Game 2 was a much more drawn-out affair because not only did I get a slow start, but she got a turn 5 Painful Quandary and that was pretty annoying. However, I was able to work around it. I had her dead Slavering Nulls in the Vat and got Liliana down. She did Bolt Lilliana once, but I was able to go ultimate and then pop the Ratchet Bomb for 5 to kill the Quandary. Then I rushed her. She actually killed many of the things out of the graveyard with a Pyroclasm, but not the Wurmcoil that I had thrown away to her last Mind Rot, which was after I was pretty sure I’d be able to get Lilliana to go ultimate. Oh, and I should note that in both games the lethal final two points of damage were done via Sign in Blood.
2-0 matches, 4-0 games
Round 3: Jeff, playing Pyromancer’s Ascension
This is a horrific matchup for my deck. Game 1 was just a festival of dead removal cards. I did not get a fast enough start, and he got two active Ascensions and Bolted me into the earth. Game 2 I sided in 11 cards: both Memoricides, the Sacraments, the extra Mind Sludges, and the 4th Ratchet Bomb. This game took forever, with neither of us able to do much. He had permission, but I managed an early Ratchet Bomb and then had another one for his Jace, and then a third for another Ascension. However, I then proceeded to draw nothing but land. I drew a total of 13 Swamps and 2 Edges, and not much from my sideboard or in the way of significant threats. I had him in top-deck mode (both of us were) from a good Sludge, but no help from my deck. My last draw was a Swamp, of course, and underneath that was a Corrupt that would have hit for 12 (yes, I had 12 Swamps on the board) and almost certainly would have been game because he was nearly out of burn spells. Grr.
2-1 matches, 4-2 games
Round 4: Parker, playing mono-green infect
Small, fast Infect dudes, some Arbor Elves for acceleration, and lots of pump spells. It’s actually pretty decent, and a really cheap deck. However, Game 1 I opened with two Doom Blades, a Grasp, a Ratchet Bomb, and a pair of Swamps. Pretty good. He got several good swings in with little guys—i let them through and held on to the instant-speed removal in case of pump spells, and stabilized at something like six poison counters before dropping a Grave Titan, to which he scooped. Game 2 was more of the same. I opened with a Doom Blade and two Ratchet Bombs, some land, and a Wurmcoil. He actually got me up to nine poison counters but I blew up one Bomb set to 2 to kill two small Infect guys, and then another Bomb for 1 to kill a pair of Elves. I also got off a Sludge so he was in topdeck mode. Soon after I got a Coil out and an active Vat, and that was it.
3-1 matches, 6-2 games
Semifinals: Joe, playing UB control
I’ve lost to Joe in the semis of two recent FNM SOM drafts, so this all seemed eerily familiar. I knew what he was playing going in and I knew it was going to be a tough matchup for me. Sure enough, he pretty much wrecked me. I made one “duh” play error (he tapped out to cast a Frost Titan as his only creature on turn 6 of game 1, and I used a Doom Blade as a sorcery to kill it when I had not one, but two Gatekeepers in my hand… d’oh) but I think that was the only real mistake. I liked his build a lot. i knew he was playing Mimic Vat and Frost Titan and Wurmcoil Engine, but I did not realize he was playing two main deck Negates until Lilliana ate one of them game 1. Things did not improve from there. The worst problems with mono black are, of course, artifact/enchantment removal, and planeswalkers. Ratchet Bomb is an answer, but a slow one.
3-2 matches, 6-4 games
So, it was feast or famine with MBC, win 2-0 or lose 0-2. I don’t think I’ll play it again, but if I were going to do so, I would definitely dump Sorin for something else. Going down to 2 Consuming Vapors was definitely the right thing to do, as they really weren’t all that good. It’s an OK deck overall, but nothing special. It’s great against creature-heavy decks, but less so against anything else.
Now I have to figure out what to play at FNM on Friday, since we’re done drafting Scars and now we get a month of Standard, yay!