June 9th, 2012
Been on something of a roll these last two weeks and I’m stuck at a kids’ birthday party at a bowling alley so I thought I’d generate a report.
Last week (June 1st) I had had a really busy week at work with a pair of grant proposal deadlines so I had no time to think about MTG, so I went least-effort on deck selection and just played Gerry Thompson’s list from SCG Nashville. It’s a REALLY good deck, though having played it I would tweak it a little.
Anyway, the event. 34 players, meaning five rounds cutting to top 8. I’ll admit up front that my memory for some of these is pretty sketchy.
Round 1: Jack, playing Bant Pod Spirits
I do like this deck. It’s a lot like Finkel’s deck from the last Standard PT, but with green for Strangleroot Geist and Birthing Pod to make sure you get the Captain. In this particular matchup, I should be favored unless the game goes long, because a whole bunch of hexproof spirits is not something I can handle. Game 1 I got an early Delver to flip and got a Sword on it, and that was it. Games 2 and 3 were much the same, in that I got stuck without white mana in either game and just could not stop him, even though I had Divine Offering in my hand in game 2. Game 3 I lost mostly because my two Delvers did not flip for four or five turns. A source of white in either game would have won it for me, but some days you just don’t draw it.
0-1 matches, 1-2 games
Round 2: Seth, playing UB Zombies
I got turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft, got it in a couple times with Snags, got a Resto and a Sword, and that was it. Game 2 was better. He got a Diregraf Captain, then another. I had Timely Reinforcements to buy time. He Imaged a Captain, I Snagged the Image, he cast another, I Snapped and Snagged it, got a Geist and a Resto, Snagged yet another Image, and that carried it.
1-1 matches, 3-2 games
Round 3: Nick, playing UG blink/bounce
This is kind of a weird deck, designed to bounce ETB creatures with things like Conjurer’s Closet. Frankly, it’s not really all that good, and I didn’t have that much difficulty. Restoration Angel with a Sword carried it both times, I believe.
2-1 matches, 5-2 games
Round 4: A.J., playing Jund Wolf Run
This is Wolf Run with black for Black Sun’s Zenith, Glissa, and Go for the Throat. I got a turn 3 Geist, blinked out of combat on turn 4 with Resto Angel. Next turn I swung in again with both the Angel and the Giest, he double-blocked Giest with Solemn and Glissa. I Snagged Glissa and used Divine Offering on the Solemn, dropping him to 8. Next turn I swung again, 7 through the air he couldn’t block, and did the lethal point with Vapor Snag. Game 2 he mulled and looked unhappy, on turn 2 Zenithed for a Bird, and I Gut Shot the bird and he missed his turn 3 land drop, casting only an Emissary. I flipped a Delver early, and raced his single Viridian Emissary, using counters and Snags to keep his other threats off the board. I got a Sword on the Delver, beat him to 1, and Snagged for the win.
3-1 matches, 7-2 games
Round 5: Nathan, playing BR Heartless Summoning
My tiebreakers were awful so I could not draw in. I won the roll and Pondered into a couple of Mana Leaks. He killed my turn 3 Geist with a Whipflare, , but ultimately I got a Delver flipped and Sworded, Leaked both of his attempts at Heartless, and that was it. Game 2 he got out a Wurmcoil Engine, which I copied with Image and then killed with Divine Offering. He Doom Bladed my Image, we traded tokens, but I had a flipped Delver and an Angel and they went all the way pretty easily.
4-1 matches, 9-2 games
Quarterfinals: Warren, playing RG Wolf Run with Glimmerposts
I have to confess that I don’t remember the details of this one very well. The important point was that I didn’t take a single point of damage in either game and his life total went down in large chunks both games.
5-1 matches, 11-2 games
Nobody else in the top 4 wanted to play it out so we all split, got $42.50 each. I got myself a couple more Huntmasters so that I could play Naya the following week along with some Pokemon cards for my younger son.
So, the deck deserves some commentary:
• It’s a terrific deck. This version, running Sword of Feast and Famine instead of Pike or War and Peace, plays more like Caw-Blade. Basically if you get to four mana you just sit on it and do nothing, either countering, Snapping something in, or dropping an Angel. The Angel is pretty amazing.
• I hated Thought Scour and sided them out literally every single match. I would replace them with two things from this set: a fourth Probe, a third Gut Shot, a Mutagenic Growth, or a Faith’s Shield.
• Too many Moorland Haunts. You don’t have enough targets, and you need colored mana. I’d replace it with a Plains, especially if I had added a Faith’s Shield.
• The sideboard is excellent, and it’s a really easy deck to sideboard; I always took out the Probes, the Gut Shot, and the Scours for whatever the best six were in that matchup.
Now, this most recent Friday I had a little more time and decided not to play someone else’s list. Yes, Naya Pod isn’t exactly an original idea, but at least this is my own take on it. I actually looked at a bunch of recent successful lists, did some math to come up with an “average” version, and then did something else anyway. Here’s what I sleeved up:
The single Angel of Glory’s Rise was because Zombies is moderately popular at my local FNM and I thought it’d be funny to pod into that. I would rather have run a Wurmcoil over the Inferno Titan but my son had all the Wurmcoils in his Tezzeret deck this week.
The really dumb thing here is that while this is ostensibly a Pod deck, I drew a Pod exactly once all night, so this was pretty much Naya Aggro.
Round 1: Eric, playing Mono-Black Infect
I actually played a version of this deck off and on for a while prior to Dark Ascension, and it can be better than many people think. Anyway, I won the roll and led off with a Strangleroot Geist into turn 3 Blade Splicer, he led with turn 2 Livewire Lash followed by turn 3 Phyrexian Crusader. I Slimed the Lash and dropped a Huntmaster. He came back with a second Crusader and a Lily, making me sac the wolf token. Neither of us could productively attack, but the stalemate let me flip the Huntmaster to kill Lily. I followed with a Borderland Ranger to fetch out a seventh land, and cast Elesh, to which he scooped. Game 2 he again led with a Lash but followed with a Whispering Specter. He hit me for three poison but did not make me discard and the Specter died when my Huntmaster flipped. From there I had gas and all he could muster was another Lily, so it was brief.
1-0 matches, 2-0 games
Round 2: Chris, playing Resto Delver with Blade Splicers
I lost the roll and he opened with Probe and Ponder. I had kept a sketchy hand with a Geist but no second source of green, but it didn’t matter that much. We both had Blade Splicers and were both blinking them with Angels, but he drew one more Angel than me and Leaked my third one and that carried the day. Game 2 he again opened with Probe and Ponder, and followed that with a Delver. I came back with a mana dork into a turn 2 Splicer. His Delver did not flip, but did hit me and I came back with a Fiend Hunter. He answered with Geist of Saint Traft. I played land and swung with everything, and he took the bait and blocked the Splicer with Geist. I activated my Gavony Township to pump my team so he lost his Geist and never recovered from the lead that created. Bit of a punt on his part, but it’s easy to forget about lands that do stuff like that. Game 3 was the most interesting. For the third game in a row, he opened with Probe and Ponder on turn 1. I opened with a mana dork on 1 and a Mimic Vat on turn 2. I next stuck a Garruk and made a Wolf, he came back with Geist. He swung with Geist and I flashed in an Angel which I threw in front of the token, meaning the Angel died… and I put it under the Vat. Today’s MTG Tip of the Obvious: Restoration Angel under Mimic Vat is amazing. I was able to protect Garruk and kept pumping out Wolves, blocking with my Angel token. He got a Snapcaster to Snag a token, and I killed that with Garruk to make smaller, but more lethal, Wolves. He got a Resto Angel of his own to save his Geist from a Wolf and we were kind of stalemated, except that he couldn’t get through to Garruk, and so tokens continued until I could build up enough mana to both make an Angel token with the Vat and activate Township on the same turn, and then things quickly went my way.
2-0 matches, 4-1 games
Round 3: John, playing UB Tezzeret
This is actually a very cool deck with amazing inevitability, but it’s sometimes a bit slow. I mulled my opening hand because the first action it had was a 4-drop into a fast hand with Pilgrim, Geist, Blade Splicer, Huntmaster, and two land. My hand was fast enough to overwhelm him before he drew enough removal to deal with it, especially since my second draw was another Geist. Game 2 was more interesting. I opened with a hand with two Geists, a Sunblast Angel, a mana dork, a Zenith, and land. Turn 1 he Despised me, taking a Geist. I went out hard but didn’t make the kind of progress I made in the first game and he slowed me down with a Torbor Orb and double Pristine Talisman. I drew an O Ring for the Orb and then a Grudge for both the Talismans. I had out a few guys with 1 or 2 toughness and the Sunblast Angel, and he Black Zenith’d for 2 to kill most of my team. I was beating him up with a 2-power Angel and drew a Metamorph that I used to copy my Angel, and fortunately he didn’t draw a Metamorph of his own and my Angels got there.
3-0 matches, 6-1 games
Round 4: Jack playing Resto Delver
I have to admit that I don’t remember the first game very well. I can tell from my life totals that he hit me with a flipped Delver and I had a Huntmaster come out at some point, but other than that, I don’t really remember it. I do remember game 2 better, though, as I distinctly recall getting two mana dork killed via Gut Shot (the second one off a Snapcaster) but he was stuck on three lands, then I hit one of his lands with Slime, then used Restoration Angel to blink the Slime and take out his second land. He did topdeck a land, but then I got a Daybreak Ranger and got it to flip, followed it with another. He got another land and Snapped back a Probe, saw an Inferno Titan, and scooped.
4-0 matches, 8-1 games
Rounds 5 and 6: ID
There were only two of us who were undefeated going into round 5, so we figured out that we could just draw in, which we did.
4-0-2 matches, 8-1 games
Quarterfinals: Daniel, playing UW Miracles
My opener here was pretty awesome: turn 1 mana dork, turn 2 Geist, turn 3 Huntmaster which flipped when he had no play on his turn, then team swing on turn 4, pumping the team with Township, dropping him to 3. He came back with Day of Judgment, but he was at three. Another Geist finished him off. Game 2 I got a turn 2 Mimic Vat followed by a turn 3 Huntmaster, and for the first time all night, I got a Birthing Pod! I made a Huntmaster token, swung, then podded the token into Vorapede. He miracled Terminus, but that didn’t stop me from making the same play the next turn. He miracled Entreat the Angels for only three Angels, but I came back with Zealous Conscripts. Now, I did make a mistake here in that he blocked the Conscripts with one of his two Angel tokens and I didn’t put Conscripts under the Vat. I hit him next turn with a Huntmaster token, dropping him to three, but then he miracled Devastation Tide, so it ended up not mattering. I drew a mana dork, played Pod again, podded the dork into Geist, and he scooped.
5-0-2 matches, 10-1 games
It was a little after 1:00 in the morning at this point, so since there were 40 people, there was $200 in the prize pool and we decided to four-way split again.
Comments on this deck:
• The deck is good, better than I thought it would be. I wasn’t expecting to do so well with it.
• Pod? Who needs Birthing Pod? I drew it once in 11 games. Now, I did only run three in favor of one Zenith, but what impressed me most about this deck was its ability to win without Pod. Since there are a lot of 3-ofs and a couple 4-ofs in drops 1 through 4, it is more consistent than other Pod decks I have played in the past when Pod doesn’t show up.
• Gavony Township is outstanding. Play this card if you’re playing Naya.
• Oblivion Ring was very good. I would not cut this.
• As I said, I would cut the Inferno Titan for a Wurmcoil Engine.
• I’m not so sure about Vorapede, but maybe that’s because I never drew a Pod. Might go with Archon of Justice or Wolfir Silverheart instead. Zealous Conscripts is great, though, definitely keep that.