Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Defeat by Dragons

I managed to play Push The Fader in three different matches, two multiplayer and one 1v1. The 1v1 matchup was against a newly built deck, a GW beast thing that was still in the testing stages. I blew that one out but on the plus side, was able to give some advice on how to restructure that deck for the better.

The two multiplayer games were interesting, however. In one case, I was up against a GW Knight of the Reliquary deck and Groove.

Here's where I made my mistake: the Groove player had a morph creature in play, the GW deck hadn't really gotten going yet, and I have a Parallax Tide, Spellbound Dragon and a Wildfire in hand. So I decide to play the Dragon, then I can Tide, then Wildfire and it's all good!

No, it isn't. The Groove player morphs his Chromeshell Crab--which I know is the only morph creature in the deck because I built that deck--and steals my Dragon.

Now I'm getting desperate, because a Zedruu comes out and the Reliquary deck is starting to drop creatures. But instead of slow-rolling this until I had options by say, stunting my opponent's mana with Tide, I just stuck to my game plan, cast Wildfire clearing the board...except for the Dragon. Which isn't mine anymore. And I lost to.

In the back of my mind, I'm figuring that I will draw into another Wildfire and a Shock; there's plenty of time, I have eight draw spell cards, I've blunted my opponents in a pretty severe way, I can do this.

No, I can't; I'm relying on drawing into a two card combination AND having 7 mana to make it work. Fader can do a lot of things, to stay in the game but once I Wildfire with that deck, I really need to have an advantage at that moment.

The game swings a little bit, with the GW player loving being able to cast an 8/8 Knight of the Reliquary, but it's too little, too late. The Dragon does us in.

Last night, I was up against a mono-U Illusions and UB deck that wanted to mill itself for neat effects. I didn't get to see it in action much because, with six mana up and a Spellbound Dragon out, I cast Wildfire. Now, with the only other problems on the board being a Phantasmal Image, copying my dragon and a Phyrexian Metamorph doing the same, this seemed like a good idea. Kill everyone's lands, wipe out the Illusion player's advantages, and with the rest of my hand consisting of two Shock, lands, a mana artifact and a second Wildfire, I could re-establish board position, the Image is easy to kill now, ditto the Metamorph. I knew the Illusions player had a Wurmcoil Engine in hand so keeping him off six mana was critical. I also knew that the UB player had a Cancel-but everyone was tapped out, so now was the time.

No plan survives contact with the enemy. The Metamorph player, while not getting much else, had a Khalni Gem out, and this meant that he would recover faster than I would like. Still, I wasn't worried until he topdecked Into the Roil, bounced my Dragon and started swinging at me for 8, then 6. I managed to get my Dragon back out quickly, but then the waiting game began. The UB player didn't press an advantage with an unblockable illusion, so I didn't mention anything and the Illusions player was stone cold dead in the water, not drawing anything to help him out.

The board went into stalemate for a little while, until use of Prophetic Bolt brought me a Parallax Tide. I decided I should press my advantage and cast it; I had enough mana to cast Wildfire and Shock, killing the Metamorph (Dragon), the Illusions player would be out of lands and out of creatures and I could wrap things up.

But when I go to cast Wildfire a funny thing happened: the UB player's Cancel-which I let him have, oh so long ago on turn 4-reminded me that I'd let him have countermagic.

Drat. Still, I dropped two Burning-Eye Zuberas, a Covetous Dragon and figured I could make a game of it, killing the Illusions player off. Then Phyrexian Ingester came out, nomed my Dragon and that was that.

In both losses, my inability to draw into something else seemed to be part of my downfall. I could establish board position but I couldn't press it forward hard enough. Inattentiveness factored into both losses for certain and maybe a little touch of panic in the first case, where I just got worried about what I wasn't drawing instead of focusing on what I had. I may make this deck a bit more consistent but I'll probably go for underpowering it it than amping it up (Shock over Incinerate, for example) in order to enable spellcasting post Wildfire. For now though, I like it, even if the deck is causing my own death.

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