March 25th, 2012
Yep, two reports for the price of one. It’s been a while since I’ve written a report—partly because we drafted for a month after Dark Ascension came out, and I don’t get much out of writing (or reading) reports on drafts.
First, here’s the list and report from March 2nd:
Nothing too fancy here, just my take on an archetype that was still sort of forming right after rotation and DKA became legal.
Round 1: Daniel, playing Boros Aggro
This was an original deck, basically a fast White Weenie deck that also ran Red for burn and Hellriders. Basically, I had bad draws both times (definitely should have mulliganed the second game given what I knew was coming) and got run over in about ten minutes. Not what you’d call an auspicious start.
0-1 matches, 0-2 games
Round 2: Andrew, playing BR Vampires
This match was all about early stalling with Lingering Souls and early removal/counters, then taking control with the planeswalkers. In game 1 I had both Gideon and Sorin out, and was able to protect Sorin long enough to get his ultimate, which was pretty much game over. Game 2 I got Lili, Elspeth, and Sorin and just killed him with 3/1 tokens.
1-1 matches, 2-2 games
Round 3: Daniel (obviously a different one), playing RG Kessig
Game 1 was interminable, a really long grinding, close game in which I got him down to 2, but eventually I ran out of counters and ways to kill Nexuses. Game 2 was not short but I had Flashfreezes when I really needed them and got there with Gideon and tokens, but again, it took a while. We were in like turn 3 of the third game when time was called, so we didn’t have a chance to finish that. This is a very tough matchup for this deck; I think it needs more than two Flashfreezes in the sideboard.
1-1-1 matches, 3-3-1 games
Round 4: Jared, playing mono-Black
He won the roll and opened with a pair of Gravecrawlers early, but I got a turn two Ratchet Bomb followed by Liliana, and after I blew up his guys and we both discarded (I discarded a Lingering Souls, then flashed it back), I was able to keep his board clear with a combination of Lili, Leaks, and an O Ring, and got there with tokens. Game 2 I don’t actually remember hardly at all, but my life total reads 12-18-24 and his reads 14-8-0 so I’m pretty sure it involved Batterskull.
2-1-1 matches, 5-3-1 games
My breakers were just good enough to squeeze in at 8th since we only had four rounds of swiss, but with the lighter turnout, only top 4 paid out. So I had to win…
Quarterfinals: AJ, playing mono-White Humans
Game 1 was a bit of a back-and-forth that got a little annoying when he dropped an Angelic Overseer. I was able to chump a couple turns with spirit tokens until eventually I got Gideon and a spot removal spell to take out all his other humans, and then I had to use Sorin’s ultimate just to kill the stupid Overseer. However, once I did that, I had an active Gideon and a badass angel. He actually killed the angel, though I don’t remember how, but it was too little, too late. Game 2 he got off to a fast start and got me all the way down to 4 before I could cast a Day and wipe the board, which I followed with a Gideon and flashed back a Leak with a Snapcaster and just killed him with the pair.
3-1-1 matches, 7-3-1 games
Semis: Festus, playing Esper control
His build was totally different, and it’s a deck he’d been playing at FNM for a while before DKA rotated in. Both my son and I had actually kind of owned him lately, so I figured it was time for karmic retribution, and it was. My draws weren’t all that good, but it sort of doesn’t matter since nobody did anything for a while. I got really behind on land in game 1 and he just got to the point where he could play around my Leaks and I couldn’t play around his, so he was able to grind it out. Game 2 was a little more interesting because I mulled down to five and while I didn’t have much board presence for a lot of the game, whenever I did I had Vault active so I was gaining life. Eventually he was able to kill everything of mine and got a Sphinx out on me, and I just could not overcome the card advantage generated.
3-2-1 matches, 7-5-1 games
Not great, but not too bad. The next time I got to FNM, March 16th, I played JunkPod, which was a lot of fun but is, as Pod decks can be, a little inconsistent, and I went 3-2 and missed the top 8. The game of the night for me was getting a Stonehorn Dignitary under a Mimic Vat against B/u Zombies. He didn’t realize right away that it was a lock since he had a couple Ratchet Bombs, but of course I just podded the Dignitary token into an Acidic Slime in before the third counter.
This most recent Friday, March 23rd, I decided to try Frites since I’ve never played a reanimator deck before. It’s a strange choice for me since there’s not only no blue, but no planeswalkers in the deck, for two weeks in a row! Actually what really got me feeling weird about is the complete lack of main deck removal of any kind. I thought it would be an entertaining challenge. Here’s the list I played:
Yes, there are only 3 Elesh Norns in there, because I only own three. I filled the fourth slot with Sheoldred, which seemed an OK substitute. I also played one Flayer of the Hatebound because I thought it would be cute, but I literally never saw it all night long. This week we had a really good turnout, meaning six rounds of Swiss, paying all the top 8.
Round 1: Zach, playing GB Pod
Game 1 there were no shenanigans but I just beat him up with fat things including a very timely Inferno Titan. Game 2 he got a turn 2 Mayor and a turn 4 Bloodline Keeper, and I could not find an Elesh and he just swarmed me. Game 3 I managed to unearth both a Grave Titan and an Inferno Titan and they got there, amazingly enough.
1-0 matches, 2-1 games
Round 2: Craig, playing WB weenies/tokens
Game 1 I Rited out Sheoldred on like turn 5 and she slowly ate all his weenies, and of course he couldn’t block her so it didn’t go well. Game 2 I unearthed an early Elesh but she only stuck around for one attack before he got her under an O Ring, and of course I hadn’t boarded the Rays because I’m an idiot. I hard-cast a Wurmcoil which got in once before also eating an O Ring. I flashed back a Looting to get me an Inferno Titan, and he carried me the rest of the way.
2-0 matches, 4-1 games
Round 3: Jeff, playing mono-Green
He was beating me down with a few green dudes, and had just gotten Thrun to go with a couple Strangleroots and a 4/4 Elder and I drew a Looting, so I could pitch the Elesh in my hand and flash back the Rites that was in the graveyard. Next turn I got a Wurmcoil, and while he could block it with Thrun, the life gain of 8 per turn got pretty stupid. I got a second Wurmcoil and got up to 65 life before I finally killed him. Game 2 I got the god draw and got a turn 3 Elesh, which wiped his board and pretty much got me home. Mono Green seems like it ought to be pretty much an auto-win since they have neither disruption nor removal, but just wait…
3-0 matches, 6-1 games
Round 4: Daniel, playing Bant Spirits
This is a freaking cool deck, and I want to build it an play it, but of course when we started I had no idea what was going on. He won the die roll and came out with turn 1 Evolving Wilds, so I still had no idea. However, I wasn’t too worried because I had the god draw: two mana dorks, Elesh, Unburial Rites, Looting, two land. If I draw a land, it’s turn 3 Elesh, and my second draw was land. However, I actually lost this game! How, you ask? Well, his turn 2, he played a second land and two Birds. I of course, came back with a second mana dork and used my turn 1 Birds to play Looting, pitching Elesh and Rites. He went land, Geist of St. Traft. He had two Birds untapped. Now, what I had drawn off the Looting was two lands, so I had no action and felt like I had to go for it on my turn 3 because I couldn’t just let him hit me with Giest over and over again. So I went for it, and he tapped both birds and Leaked the Rites. Ugh. He then followed this up with: hit me for six, play land, Consecrated Sphinx, go. I drew… whatever, it really didn’t matter, and turn 5 he came back with Metamorph, copying Sphinx. I scooped. Game 2 was almost as stupid since he had a turn two Geist off a Bird, and of course I did not have a turn 3 Elesh to come back with. This was a merciless beating. Counterspells can be a problem…
3-1 matches, 6-3 games
Round 5: AJ, playing UR DelverBlade
I won the roll, which was good because he had Delvers on turns 1 and 2, but they didn’t flip right away. I had no interesting graveyard action going, but had some mana dorks and three big hitters: Wurmcoil, Inferno Titan, and Elesh. He knew this because he Probe’d me (ouch!) on turn 2. I figured my best bet was to just cast them into his Leaks and hope I drew a Rites so I had a shot to reanimate. Turns out he only had leaks for Wurmcoil and the Titan, but no leak for Elesh, which wiped his board. Now, I was at 9 when this happened, so I was still possibly in burn range, so I was swinging with Elesh and the mana dorks, and did Mulch into a Titan and a Rites, and I Rited out the Titan when he was at 3 so he didn’t have a chance to burn me to death since he had double-incinerated me to three. Game 2 I opened with four land, Elesh, Sheoldred, and a Titan, which I probably shouldn’t have kept, but I did anyway. Well, he mulled to four with only one land, though he did get a turn 1 Delver. I drew a Lingering Souls which I used to buy time until I could cast the fatness, and the first attempt at Elesh (I had drawn both the other ones in the interim) resolved, and that was it.
4-1 matches, 7-3 games
Round 6: ID
I got rounded up to play one of the 4-0-1s and was in like fourth place anyway, so we were guaranteed in so we drew.
4-1-1 matches, 7-3 games
Quarterfinals: Han, playing mono-Green
He was a friend of Jeff’s (from round 3), was playing the same deck, and he saw me crush this deck in round 3, so he wasn’t thrilled with the matchup. I was cautiously optimistic since this should have been an easy one for me. I lost the roll, mulled a zero-lander, and opened with: Elesh, Rites, Birds, and three lands. So all I needed was a Looting or getting anything really good dumped into the graveyard by a Mulch or an Instincts. His fist four turns were: Bird, Strangleroot, Strangleroot, zenith for Dungrove Elder. My first three draws were: land, land, land… I basically goldfished for him and died with nothing in the graveyard at all besides the Birds, which valiantly chomped once but it didn’t matter. Game 2 I opened with land, mana dorks, and a couple Mulches. Mulched on turn 2, saw a Massacre Wurm and three land. He had the exact same stupid start. I mulched again into four land. Turn 3 I played the Tracker’s Instinct I drew… into a mana dork and three lands. I drew a Looting, looted, drew two lands, pitched two lands, flashed back Looting… into two more lands. When the game ended, I had seen 23 cards of my deck, 15 of which were lands, 4 of which were the graveyard-fillers, one of which was the Wurm, and three mana dorks. Wow. Yes, I know, it’s a Bad Beats story, but seriously, Frites should win like 85% against mono-green. Very disappointing.
4-2-1 matches, 7-5 games
Some notes on the deck:
• Flayer is cute but I never cast it. Should have been another Inferno Titan, he’s amazing and should have been a two-of. I sided him in for literally every match, though of course I never saw UB control.
• I have no idea what I was thinking with the Sun Titans in the sideboard. The only thing they could get back is Strangleroot Geist, which is itself a sideboard card. I think something for the mirror, like Nihil Spellbomb or Surgical Extraction, would be better, or maybe weenie sweepers like Whipflare or Slagstorm.
• Should have run some removal in the sideboard, probably Sever the Bloodline.
• I didn’t really like Tracker’s Instinct very much and tended to side out two of them for an Inferno Titan and the Massacre Wurm. I never actually played the Wurm, but Inferno Titan was, as I said, an all-star. Anyway, really glad I didn’t play 4 Instincts.