June 3rd, 2013
Well, it’s not completely different, as I guess that Bant Hexproof is on the aggro end of the world, but normally I don’t play much aggro, I’m more for the midrange or control decks, but I dip into the aggro pool for a while. When I do, though, it’s usually something at least a little off the beaten path. This one is definitely off the beaten path. I saw a couple lists kind of like this in the States lists, and came up with my own version. Here’s the list:
I think half my desire to play this deck was just because I wanted to play with Duskmantle Seer. I know other builds with this deck play Zameck Guildmage, but Varolz just seems so much better. Also, most lists I’ve seen didn’t run Lotleth Troll, which seems zany to me; that is a pretty sweet 2-drop. I’ve also been on something of a hot streak at my local FLGS, having finished in the money with great regularity lately. So I thought I’d push that pretty hard. I have to say, my initial thought is that this deck looks like a pile of crap—but it plays a lot better than it looks. The night before my son insisted that I actually build it and test against him playing RWU control. Much to my surprise, I won probably 75% of those games.
So, off to my FLGS Sunday Standard. Only 15 people showed up, so just 4 rounds cutting to top 4.
Round 1: Zach, playing BR Vampires
OK, so not exactly a tier 1 deck on the opposing side, but it’s actually not that bad: Vampire Nighthawk, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Stromkirk Captain, Bloodline Keepers, Olivias, various black removal spells for 1 and 2 mana, a couple Vampire Nocturnus, and a full slate of Blood Artists and a couple Killing Waves. I’ve played worse (and played against worse). To be honest, I don’t really remember game 1 all that well. I know I had some early plays, used Decay to kill a Nighthawk, countered something with a Rupture, and got there. I sided in the Appetites, the Far // Aways, and the Sever. I didn’t have a fast enough early draw, got a little flooded, and he got a Bloodline Keeper going and it was over when he dropped Olivia. Game 3 he came out with two early Blood Artists, which meant this game took a while because he kept gaining life. I eventually got everything off his board except the Artists and fused a Far // Away, which slowed down his life gain, and got Varolz out and was scavenging onto it, which got me there.
1-0 matches, 2-1 games
Round 2: Tony, playing Junk Midrange
This was a pretty terrible round. Tony mulled to five both games, apparently all on 1-landers. At least in game 1, he immediately topdecked a land and was able to cast Farseek, so he was OK on mana. Unfortunately, I came out blazing: Experiment One followed by Strangelroot Geists on the next two turns put him on his back foot, and I Hybridized a Giest to evolve my human ooze to put way too much on the board for him to deal with. I read him as playing Reanimator so I sided in the Deathrites, the Sever, and the Evil Twin. Game 2 he again mulled to five on one land, but he drew out of it in, but even with a Centaur Healer and a Smiter he could not keep up with another relatively fast start from me. The Smiter got Decayed and Rancor let me swing through the Healer and keep the pressure on, and he scooped to me casting Duskmantle Seer with him at 5.
2-0 matches, 4-1 games
Round 3: Zachariah, playing Junk Rites
Zach was 8-8 at Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze, which was his first PT; so this was a real test for this deck. Game 1 he had a slowish start whereas I went Experiment One into Strangleroot, so I quickly had him at 12. He came back with a Thragtusk, but I came back with a Lotleth Troll and eventually a Rancor, so eventually he had to chump with the Thragusk. Then I came back with a Duskmantle Seer. That was kind of interesting, as having him draw cards wasn’t likely to actually be good for me unless he drew something monstrous to take a big hit of damage, which he never did. He also never drew an Unburial Rites, which was good for me because he had Salvaged an Angel of Serenity fairly early. However, he made a tech play after that, and cast Fiend Hunter then cast Restoration Angel with the trigger on the stack, meaning he took out both the Troll and the Seer. Fortunately for me, I had another Seer. My next turn, he was at 7, took 4 from the Resto he drew off the Seer trigger, but he thought he was OK because he had Resto back to block. However, I had not one, but two Rancors for the Seer, so the trample damage killed him. I sided in the same anti-reanimator package I put in round 2. Game 2 he got an early Rhox Faithmender, followed by a Thragtusk (bringing him to 31) and I had a Seer and a couple other dudes with me at 10 and him at 15 when he did pull off the Angel of Serenity, wiping my board. I just scooped to that. I sided in two Appetites for Game 3, and that was definitely the right call, because when I did it I discovered he had no land in hand and was relying on two mana dorks, plus I managed to get the Faithmender in his hand. I also had a Deathrite Shaman out so I wasn’t too worried about reanimation shenanaigans. Next turn I Slipped one of his mana dorks, leaving him with only two mana sources. From there I pretty much ran him over, though at one point I did lose a Dreg Mangler to Renounce the Guilds. I knew he had it from the Appetite, but I wanted to get it out of his hand and I thought I’d rather lose that than the LolTroll on the board. When I played a Seer, he just scooped.
3-0 matches, 6-2 games
Round 4: Daniel, playing Jund
We were the only two undefeateds, so we ID’d into the top 4.
3-0-1 matches, 6-2 games
Semifinals: Zachariah, playing Junk Rites
The top 4 ended up being me, Zachariah, Daniel, and another Junk Rites deck. Most of them wanted to leave to go eat so I agreed to a top 4 split.
3-0-2 matches, 6-2 games
I got about $20 in store credit, which I used to buy a Progenitor Mimic so next FNM I can play 4c Progenitor Reanimator, and I also got a Domri Rade to go up to 2, or maybe 3 of those.
Now, 3 rounds isn’t exactly a stringent test, so I played a few other matches afterward. One of them I played against the BUG Walkers deck that just top 8’d an SCG Open. I rolled that game 1 with turn 1 Young Wolf, turn 2 double Rancor; lost a sideboarded game 2 off a hand I should have mulliganed, and easily won game 3 with the Experiment One, Strangleroot, Rapid Hybridization EOT turn 3 to just come in with a huge attack the following turn. I also played against a RUG Control deck and beat that 2-0 without too much difficulty, particularly fun was the double-Seer game where he drew Turn // Burn to take 5, then Ral Zarek to take 4. Oops.
So, while the deck kind of looks like a pile, it’s actually surprisingly good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great deck, but it catches people by surprise and is definitely not an easy out.
Varolz is a great addition to this deck, as being able to scavenge everything in the graveyard is really excellent, especially onto Experiment One, giving that regeneration. The really fast draws with this deck are almost as fast as the Gruul Aggro decks, but this deck is a little more resilient in the long run because of all the undying and regeneration. As I said earlier, half the reason I wanted to play it was to see how Duskmantle Seer really plays out. Since other than the Seer, everything in the deck costs 3 or less, he’s actually pretty decent. Given the number of decks running big expensive spells, Seer is actually a real threat, since the opponent is often under 10 life by turn 5 or so, which is when he usually comes down. He’s not a general-purpose card, but in the right deck (like this one), he’s not bad at all.
So, if you’re looking for something different that’s fun to play and a little off the wall while still being good, give this a whirl.
January 15th, 2012
Missed FNM last week because I went to GP Austin, where I scrubbed out at 3-3, but that let me catch the second half of the Texans’ playoff game, which was absolutely worth watching. Also played in a great side event on Sunday, Standard Sealed. One pack of everything from standard, with the exception of Innistrad, which was two packs. Lots of zany decks. I didn’t end up actually doing all that well in that, either, but it was definitely a fun format.
Anyway, I’m back, and since I played Mono-Black Infect last time around, I had to play something different. I find it humorous that Mage-Blade is now a real deck, as I designed a deck along the same lines right when Innistrad came out. It was Esper and more of a control build, and definitely not as good as the current versions, but some of the same concepts are there. Here’s that list, which my computer tells me I generated back on October 7th:
The mana base was terrible and there were too many cards with double-colored casting costs, and it never tested well, but I’m gratified to know that in the long run it had the right direction in mind. I obviously didn’t recognize how amazing Vapor Snag is, and wasn’t up on Delver, but I got Snapcaster/Blade/Haunt/Stalker/Geist, anyway. So, here’s what I actually played:
Note that this is not Gindy’s list from SCG Atlanta, though it is obviously similar. My local meta is pretty aggro-heavy and I really wanted main deck Missteps, and Swords are a little slow at a cost of 3, so I cut down to only one of those.
Five rounds of Swiss, cut to top 8.
Round 1: Mike, playing RDW
Game 1 I got turn 3 Geist, got a Pike on it, and that carried it on my last turn to live. Game 2 he burned me out with a large Shrine on his last turn to live. Game 3 I got a Stalker early and we were pretty even after that, until eventually I got a Pike on the Stalker and that won me the race thanks to a little help from Vapor Snag.
1-0 matches, 2-1 games
Round 2: Scott, playing RDW
Game 1 was very close; he got there because of a Spikeshot Elder—I didn’t realize anyone played those anymore, but it seems very good in this matchup; many Spirits died to it. I drew very badly in game 2, missed turn 3 land drop with only an Island and a Haunt out, then drew another Haunt, and missed the next land drop, and finally drew a second Island, but it was too late.
1-1 matches, 2-3 games
Round 3: Chris, playing Tempered Steel
Game 1 he got double Tempered Steel but was light on dudes and with Vapor Snags, a Geist, and a couple chumps, I got there pretty easily. Game 2 was a near thing. He opened turn 1 with triple Memnite. I played very conservatively, holding back counters and an O Ring in case of Tempered Steel. He did stick an Etched Champion but I had Spirits and Delvers to block the rest of his team, and got there with a flipped Delver wielding a Pike.
2-1 matches, 4-3 games
Round 4: Festus, playing Esper Control
Similar in spirit to the list LSV has been playing on CFB. Festus is a great guy but a slow player and I was worried about how much time we’d have to finish this. Game 1 was close; I had him down to 2 with a Gut Shot in my hand and another in the graveyard, but was facing down a Sphinx and just could not draw either a Snapcaster or the third Gut Shot. I spent the entire game with a dead Misstep in my hand. Oops. Game 2 I had decent early pressure via a turn 1 Delver, which flipped turn 2, and drew just enough permission to keep him off his big plays, which I knew were coming courtesy of a very timely Probe. Game 3 was a near thing. I drew all 4 Snapcasters through the course of the game, snapping back two counters and two Midnight Hauntings. The end was zany: Haunting end of his turn, swung my turn, he cast Day on his turn, I snapped back the Haunting end of his turn, swung, he snapped back Day, I used the Snapcaster with the Haunt, and also snapped back the Haunting to swing for the lethal 5 on the first turn of extra time. Whew.
3-1 matches, 6-4 games
Round 5: Paul, playing RDW
Since we were both guaranteed a spot in the top 8, we ID’d.
3-1-1 matches, still 6-4 games
Quarterfinals: Tyler playing WW
Not even Haunted Humans, just straight-up White Weenie with Honor of the Pure and a lot of 1 and 2 drops. Game 1 I got counters and Gut Shots and flipped a Delver early and pretty much sailed in. Game 2 was close, we went back and forth, and unfortunately the Timely and the O Ring in my hand were dead because I never drew a source of white, and he killed me on his last turn to live. Game 3 I opened with both Missteps and a Snapcaster, and countered three of his early plays, Leaked another, and pretty much cruised through with Vapor Snags.
4-1-1 matches, 8-5 games
Semifinals: Kevin, playing Uw Delver Illusions
Game 1 he kept a one-lander and was tapped out on my turn 3, so I put down a Geist. I got a Pike on it and he went all the way in three turns. Game 2 I remember my exact opening hand: Misstep, Gut Shot, Midnight Haunting, Plains, Glacial Fortress, 2 Haunts. He went Island, Delver, I Missteped, he Missteped back, and EOT I Gut Shot his Delver. Whee, five cards out turn 1 before I even played a land. My first draw step was a Leak and then next was a Pike. I Leaked his next play, cast Haunting at the end of his turn 4, put the Pike on one of the tokens. He got in once, then got Vapor Snagged, and the other Spirit carried the Pike to victory.
5-1-1 matches, 10-5 games
It was late and I wanted to get my son home since he had a sleepover the next night, so we split the finals. Not a bad night for a deck I had never played before and threw together right before heading over to FNM. The other nice thing was that last weekend at GP Austin I punted numerous times, but I played pretty clean Magic tonight. Not perfect, of course, but a lot better than I played last weekend.
A few deck comments:
• I’ve played some UR Delver and some UW Delver Illusions lately, and I definitely like this better than Illusions.
• Vapor Snag is one of the best cards in Standard when it’s in this deck. I think I boarded in the Disperse against almost everything, so I might go to main deck for that.
• Gitaxian Probe was great against the control deck, but continues to underwhelm me against everything else. I think 2 would be plenty, and zero might even be right.
• I didn’t like Ratchet Bomb out of the sideboard, but then I didn’t play against Haunted Humans.
• I was very happy with the decision to run only one Sword, and I could see cutting it completely. Pike is great, though. Pike plus Geist is amazing.
• Main deck Misstep was great vs. everything except the control deck. I would definitely keep those; there are just so many juicy targets for that right now.
Also, my 11-year-old son Simon played as well. He played Mono-Black Infect, which either I or he have played a few times now. Here’s the current list:
Here’s how it went for him:
• Won 2-0 vs. a Black-Red Vampires deck, which he said wasn’t a very good deck.
• Won 2-1 vs. Esper Control, my round 4 opponent.
• Lost 2-0 vs. Haunted Humans. Deck is solid against Humans, that was a little odd.
• Lost 2-1 vs. RDW. Apparently drew zero Spellskites in game 3, despite boarding up to 4. Grr.
• Won 2-0 vs. a “weird Quicksilver Amulet deck” in a very fast match.
Not a bad showing, really, considering that he’s 11.
December 25th, 2010
Cowboys @ Arizona(+7.5)
Cardinals are awful and have given up. Give the points. Al is taking the points.
Lions @ Miami(-3.5)
Detroit has somehow won two in a row, and I don’t like taking the Dolphins at home. Love that half point as I feel like it should be fish by 3. (Yes, I know dolphins aren’t fish.)
Niners @ St. Louis(-2.5)
Another game that feels like a field goal game. I’ll take the Rams at home, to take home a playoff berth!
Jets @ Chicago(-1)
Beating up on the Vikings doesn’t count for anything; beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh does. I’ll take Gang Green.
Patriots @ Buffalo(+7.5)
Tough call. Pats are on fire, but Buffalo is tough to blow out, even if they don’t win many. I’m going to stick with the Pats this time, though I’m worried about the half point.
Redskins @ Jacksonville(-7)
Normally I’d take the Jags but MJD is hurt and I think Jax may have had their spirit broken last week, so I’m taking Washington.
Titans @ Kansas City(-5)
Tough spread, I was hoping for Chiefs by a field goal. Is five too many? Nah, I think I’ll give em anyway.
Colts @ Oakland(+3)
Another tough spread, since the Raiders can really run the rock and the Colts can’t stop it any other way than playing from ahead. With Collie out again, this could go either way. I’m picking Indy just because I really want them to lose, so they’ll win.
Texans @ Denver(+2.5)
Foster is hurt but will probably play, and Andre probably won’t. So, the Texans will have what offense, exactly? And we know they have no defense, so yeah, I’m taking Denver and the points.
Chargers @ Cincinnati(+7.5)
I still can’t believe the Bungles won last week. Won’t happen again, give the points.
Seabags @ Tampa(-6.5)
Still not picking Seattle on the road, thanks.
Giants @ Green Bay(-3)
I’m not high on either of these teams right now. Packers, I guess.
Vikings @ Philadelphia(-14.5)
Yeah, Minnesota is done. Iggles.
Saints @ Atlanta(-2.5)
Not picking against the Falcons at home this season, thanks.
November 25th, 2010
Patriots @ Detroit(+7)
The Lions have been pretty good against the spread this year and the Pats are only really awesome on the road. On the other hand, the Lions have a history of getting just killed on Thanksgiving, and no Stafford, and the Pats are in a tight divisional race. No chance the Pats lose, but will they cover? I think the spread is just right because I feel a push is likely here. If there’s a stronger force at work here than the Lions being awful on Turkey Day, I don’t know what that is. Pats.
Saints @ Dallas(+4)
Tough game to pick. The Cowboys seem rejuvenated but the Saints are playing well, too. I do think Dallas will keep it close but not quite close enough to cover. I think the Saints want a little payback for last year, so I’ll take them to cover.
Bengals @ New Jersey Jets(-9)
The Jets are a lot better, no doubt about it. However, that’s a lot of points and the Jets really have been keeping it exciting lately. Just to riverside Al, I’ll take the Bungles and the truckload of points. Hopefully the Jets will be looking past this game.
October 16th, 2010
Actual plate in my parking lot at work one day:
How awesome is that?
Yes, Fark, you may hotlink…
May 15th, 2009
A little housecleaning before the weekend. First, the blog’s been upgraded to WordPress 2.7.1.
Second, of course, is the name change. “SunBBlog” was always a horrible name and it really, really needed to go.
So, why “Raised Weird”? It’s a play on the age old “heredity vs. environment” or “nature vs. nurture” question that came up in my family when I was a kid. I was giving my parents a hard time, noting that regardless of which mechanism was in play, how I turned out was their fault. So, the only real question was whether I was born weird, or raised weird—but whichever it was, it wasn’t my fault, but theirs. It’s silly, I know, but it sure beats the hell out of “SunBBlog.” I really don’t know what I was thinking with that one…
Of course, my brother now has a blog called “Born Weird.”
So, now that the name change is in place, I plan to start a new series of posts next week. Keep an eye out for it, Mac fans…
January 12th, 2009
The best horrible thing you will ever hear, or maybe the most horrible best thing you will ever hear, is right here. Microsoft hits another home run for computer users everywhere.
September 26th, 2008
Somebody please explain to me exactly why the hell it is that in airport terminals electrical outlets are harder to find than integrity in Washington? Is it really that hard to put more than two outlets per gate? Sheesh…
August 29th, 2008
Well, OK, maybe not ever, but it’s fantastic. I love Mythbusters…
May 15th, 2008
Normally I don’t go in much for “Top N” style lists, but this one is just too much fun: 50 Most Memorable Movie Cars, by Rotten Tomatoes. I certainly don’t agree with where everything was ranked (and who could expect perfect agreement on that?), but it’s a fantastic list nonetheless. Can’t miss Lane’s Camaro from Better Off Dead.