Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'll see you in Hell

I started off vs a Cloudpost variant, wishing to cast Eldrazi in a hurry and rapidly found myself facing a Ulamog's Crusher, with an It That Betrays coming soon. I cast Faith's Fetters on the Crusher to stall for time and begin dredging Nightmare Void in order to keep the opponent's hand empty.

Artisan of Kozilek swings at me and I sacrifice Academy Rector and a Swamp. Using the Rector's ability, I get Confiscate to attach to the Artisan and then....

We don't know what. Do I take 10 or do I just get the giant creature?

Eventually we decide that I don't have to take damage, I get the Artizan and swing until my opponent's dead. Turns out, that's the right play both from a gameplay and a rules standpoint. So go us.

Game 2: I cast Cabal Therapy blind, with a board of Urza's Mine and Power Plant, naming Ulamog's Crusher. I get lucky (sorta) and hit on that, but I fuck up the use of my Sensei's Top through inappropriate mouseclicks and die to Spawnsire and Ulamog. The drawback to playing online is that it can be easier to fuck things up electronically than it is when physically handling the cards. I could've had it, but it was not meant to be.

Game 3: Lots of Top for me...but now what? He's got Cloudpost and Urza's Tower, I get a Phyrexian Ghoul on board...now all I have to do is somehow win without seeing a Rector (yoink!) and hope he doesn't accelerate into death.

I use Nightmare Void to keep the worst things off my back for a couple turns but in the meantime, the Urzatron gets assembled and I just have a 2/2 in play. It see-saws for a bit while I hold off then control It That Betrays with Confiscate but once Eye of Ugin comes out, the searching for Eldrazi spells comes and though I'm able to force the discard of an Ulamog, the search happens and I can't prevent the second.

The deck didn't fail me so much as my play did. Still, maybe there's some tightening up to do. There's always work to do on playskill...

Next up, I was in a three player game, against a G/W beast deck that I'd built and loaned to someone, and a mono-B nasty that runs Phyrexian Obliterator.

My hand had a Confiscate in it but it also had a Sensei's Divining Top, so I kept. Unfortunately, I think I blew the plays again. I managed to use/sacrifice three (three!) Academy Rectors to put a Faith's Fetters on a couple nasties and Confiscate another. But I didn't dredge correctly to get rid of the cards I didn't need, so while I managed to hold out for a bit, eventually the G/W player landed a Rampaging Baloth and that was it.

This deck needs me to practice with it more. Also, I don't like having cards I cannot ever cast in my hand, mocking me like a high school girl. I may like Mythic Proportions but I like having castable spells more.

Next game:
Vs. B/W humans-with the Entomb, Dearly Departed start. Knowing this, I cast Cabal Therapy mostly blind. Next turn, I'm able to cast Academy Rector and take Mother of Runes.

The problem comes when I use Top and find 'land, Confiscate, Mythic Proportions'. This happened in nearly every recent game I've played online. I've been having to dredge or attempt to shuffle away these cards and it's making this deck do things it doesn't want to. I may have to sub out the Caves of Kolios for Marsh Flats.

It's the little things but they add up and being able to use the tools I put in a deck is one of those helpful things that I need to keep in mind when I build/re-build them.

I end up being unable to remove enough creatures and I can't get the combo going, so I find myself overrun by humans eventually. The end comes when the 2nd Dark Confidant comes down.

Next match: BW Humans via Fuz
At this point, I've subbed the Mythic Proportions out for Eldrazi Conscription.

Slow start again, with Swamp, Basilica as my opening plays, vs Champion of the Parish and Tireless Tribe. A Dearly Departed gets discarded to the Tribe and the game ends soon.

Game two, despite having a brilliant turn 1 of Ritual, Buried, and a turn 2 of two humans at 4/4, I'm able to hold out until a Phyrexian Ghoul arrives on turn 3, I suck up 8 damage then cast Rector turn 4, wait, and at the ends step search for Conscription, giving me turn 5 swing for 12 with 2 Annihilator. I pull it out afterward.

Game three: Champion leads, I have nothing again, except a Persecute and a Nightmare Void--but these cards are excellent later in the game; they aren't helping me set stuff up. After a Tireless Tribe and a Blood Celebrant comes in, I've got nothing, still and my draw is a Confiscate after taking 3. So things are looking rough.

When Mom shows up turn 3 I know I'm in trouble, especially since my response is to play a Nantuko Husk. I'm facing an absurd army and nothing to do. It's...troublesome. Putting out a Phyrexian Ghoul next does nothing for me, and when the next human drops has protection from black (Death Speakers!), that's game.

Lesson #1: enable your enablers. Sac-lands and Top have been a combo for years; I should've been on that bandwagon long ago. Change made.

Lesson #2: when something clearly better comes along to help you, take it. I don't run strict enough decks to use cards that don't help me. Conscription is the better choice and I should just take it. Mythic Proportions will find its way into something else.

Lesson #3: Bad matchups are bad. Die, Die was built to handle the slower combo decks/control ones, with the discard and activated abilities. Games that want to beat me by turn 4 will frequently have the upper edge. That's OK; there's always another deck.

Lesson #4: Casting Cabal Therapy blind is...suboptimal. However, no choice remains when the decks that I end up playing are so diverse. I generally think this adds to the fun but I'll acknowledge that for someone taking the game seriously, this play is absurd.

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