Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bury it

After making a final decision on a decklist, I was off to indigo's for some game time to see how the deck worked. In two three player games, I ended up pulling it off: Scavenger seems to slow-play which works in its favor in  multiplayer games.

The two decks were U/W Delver with a Miracle bent and a Merfolk mill deck first, then a red pinger deck second. In both instances, the Delver deck struggled to get rolling and ended up using Banishing Stroke on Phyrexian Lens than anything more useful and soon I had 10/10 Lhurgoyfs coming out, coupled with Wingcrafters to make them a serious pain. In the second game, the turn after Avacyn came out, I dropped three Splinterfrights at 6/6 each. It was the kind of hurt that just wasn't going to be walked away from.

In the one 1v1 game though, I had to make difficult choices due to Bone Splinters: I don't need to sacrifice my own creatures at sorcery speed. I have enough issues as it is.

I'm also, admittedly, trying to learn how to play this deck and understand when to not care that I have to sacrifice a creature in order to get a leg up. Still, it doesn't seem like a great choice at this point, so I think I'll be looking for different creature removal. Recoil was excellent, as one might expect, so whatever other non-creature spell I put in there needs to be at Recoil's level, at least.

All of which is a long way of saying that I lost to the U/W Delver + Miracle deck. They got a reasonably fast Delver out, coupled with some savage beats in the form of Blessings of Nature and I couldn't recover quickly enough.

This deck is still on the drawing board: I'm going to stick with it a little longer. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sifting through filth

It took me so long to figure out what the hell to do with this deck. The usual suspects of mill and poison I already had decks in that vein. I thought about a G-based mana acceleration deck with big U/G creatures but there really wasn't support in Innistrad for that and I wasn't feeling the thrill in that.

The graveyard based decks had tensions: black wanted zombies, which had no support in green, green wanted creatures that got bigger with the amount you had in the graveyard but blue wanted to play creatures that caused you to remove creatures from your graveyard. Green and black could make tokens but blue had nothing there for it.

So I decided to work a more green creature angle and this is the list I finally came up with:

       4 Phyrexian Lens

       4 Salt Marsh 
       5 Island
       10 Forest
       3 Swamp

       3 Recoil

       4 Bone Splinters

       3 Apprentice Necromancer
       4 Hapless Researcher
       4 Lhurgoyf
       4 Splinterfright
       4 Wingcrafter
       2 Fungal Shambler
       4 Urborg Elf
       2 Vorosh, the Hunter

I didn't think about replacing Opt and I wanted to keep Anavolver because it's old and cool.

Except it's bad. And I found myself goldfishing this deck with a continual set of Splinterfrights in hand and no creatures in the graveyard. So I needed something to let me play those on turn 3, and Hapless Researcher seemed to be the best choice, since I could potentially have a 2/2 out that balloons up quickly.

One concept I especially like is the potential to have my big monsters, which wouldn't ordinarily be to scary, pair with Wingcrafter. This could even work Vegas Wedding style, as the Apprentice Necromancer pops a Lhurgoyf into play for one big, near unblockable swing.

I didn't get a chance to test the deck though; I didn't really come up with it until Sunday night and there just wasn't enough time to give it a go around. But we shall see.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Maybe the name I chose for this deck was more appropriate than I thought it was. What a friggin' mess this is:
2 Fungal Shambler
3 Gaea's Skyfolk
2 Anavolver
3 Urborg Elf
2 Vorosh, the Hunter
3 Dimir Guildmage
4 Lhurgoyf
3 Deadwood Treefolk

2 Opt
3 Recoil
3 Vendetta
4 Memory Lapse

4 Phyrexian Lens

3 Swamp
4 Salt Marsh
7 Island
8 Forest
The only thing that ties this deck together is the fact that it's all printed on cardboard and sleeved in plastic.  Looking at it, I can understand why I ignored this poor selection of cards; I don't have a theme driving it nor a hook to keep me interested. There's no reason for it to win and every reason to lose. 

So it's time to fix this pile and that means first, remembering why I built it. The Fungal Shambler was definitely an inspiration, and Urborg Elf is a mana fixer so let's keep those; as a matter of fact, I ought to go up to four. Vorosh will probably stay because 6/6 flyers for 6 that have a nice ability never suck.

The Skyfolk, the Guildmage: these don't fit in well. Vendetta is probably too expensive for what I want or there are likely better options.

The Lhurgoyf, this presents an interesting thought, given what Innistrad and Dark Ascension, along with the Treefolk. Maybe this deck wants to go into a 'big creatures + big graveyard' theme? I think I'll give that a go.

Unfortunately, I'm running out of time so let's shift gears, albeit briefly.

There have been complaints about Avacyn Restored as a draft format. I can't speak to them because I don't draft but: I've been playing games of sealed and enjoying the hell out of them. Even the girlfriend got in on it:

sealed decks

It's fun! If draft isn't working, give the sealed thing a shot. Maybe it'll be more amusing?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


With the last post being about the number of decks I've got, I figured I'd need a filler post between then and the next new decklist. However, instead of filler, I thought it might be cool to go back and play some of the decks I've been working on and provide a little update to them. As an added bonus, I had a chance to meet indigo.rider and play with him and it's always cool to meet new people and play (or make guinea pigs out of for my blog.)

First up, I brought out Operation: Mindcrime. The deck is still in my brain so it seemed like a good idea. indigo's deck was a bit hamstrung-a W/R humans build, stalled by color issues (he had lots of plains but a grip full of red, or mountains but no plains) and I was able to create the advantage I needed to win the games. As an added bonus, the Parasitic Strix was very useful in helping salve the wounds Underground Rivers gave me in the early game.

The second match was with Undisputed Attitude, with the Pyre Zombie additions that indigo had suggested. Unfortunately, though indigo had changed decks to a G/R build, he was similarly plagued by mana issues and my B/R deck is relentless.

In the third matchup, we were joined by a third human (thedrowningman) and I brought out Oak God for giggles. They both knew what I was playing and I simply said; hey, you still have to stop me.

Which is what they did: I was pounded pretty hard, unwilling to use my creatures to survive and give me time to make my combo work. indigo took over the game shortly after my removal, with a funky Blood Artist/Exquisite Blood combo that thedrowningman found difficult to race.

Last night, I went with Rid of You against stonethorn and Merrick and for the first five turns I thought I was boned. My initial hand was mostly keepable; Island, Mountain, Sundial of the Infinite, Crystal Ball Galvanoth. But what I ended up drawing was: Sundial, Crystal Ball, Crystal Ball, Galvanoth. So...yeah. stonethorn is off to the races playing U/G infect and Merrick had a nice Angel deck happening with green to back it up.

I hit my third land (Island) and drop the Crystal Ball, then start Scrying like hell to find anything that will help. Salvation arrives in the form of a second Mountain and a Slagstorm, which wiped the board and gave me time to set up mean things. Merrick killed stonethorn off (he had put her to 9 poison in one turn so he was asking for trouble) and I pulled off the Galvanoth/Sudden Disappearance/Sundial trick and she couldn't recover.

Finally, I went with White Vision Blowout, against a new human, whom I hadn't played before. He was rocking a G/W golem build that in game one got rolling pretty well until I played the Eye of Singularity, killing two 4/4 trampling Golems, giving my flyers time to get through.

Game two, I had pump for my creatures (Yay, Angelic Voices?) but I could not withstand the Golem onslaught. So we're on to game three.

The key play again involved the Eye, when I took out two Sphere of Suns and two Shimmering Grottoes; that set him back on mana far enough that I was able to get out Lin Sivvi and overpopulate the board.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Task At Hand

Tooling about the Reddit MtG forum, I said that I had 160 decks. Pretty close to the truth: 163, according to the tally in Cockatrice, where I re-build all my decks. That may seem silly but it helps with testing and functions as a 'backup' if you will to my meatspace decks, in case I lose or fuck up something.

Point being: I was asked for a picture of that and I thought that
it might be something to share. After all, this is the basis for the blog. Plus, it's a chance to get some pictures in and this blog isn't very photo-riffic. So here we go:

all the decks

I put the beer bottle in for scale and the decks on top are Commander decks. Unfortunately, the bottom row of those are obscured by the top of the boxes.

But yes, every single deck in that photo can be played. They aren't all good mind you but they are playable decks. Making them more playable is why I'm doing this: re-evaluating these decks, even as casual fun, in front of an audience forces me to think through my decisions better.

Anyway, that's the stack. Let's keep going, shall we?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Mind-Body Problem

So this is what I discovered:

Against a W/B token deck, Mindcrime does alright. Even though they have flashback, cards like Man-o-War are as good as Doom Blade.

Against any green deck, I am boned. And not just boned, but spanked hard, put away wet and left to huddle bemoaning my fate. Because green monsters just don't care about the discard: they're going to come and hurt me. My creatures aren't big enough to stop them and in repeated games, I got stuck on mana.

This happened against my girlfriend, playing a midrange green deck and against Fuz playing a more aggressive Undying deck. There really isn't much to tell you about the plays, here: I couldn't get the deck rolling and in two cases, I found myself holding an Expunge and dealing with either a pro-black or hasty, repeating ghosts. Man-O-War doesn't quite make that work, especially when my delaying tactic can't be followed up with a threat.

Fuz hit me with some suggestions: Countersquall out, replace with, of all things, Parasitic Strix. I was dubious but it actually fits the overall theme pretty well. The Strix I especially like: it gives this deck a little reach that it didn't have before, as well as a cheaper, difficult to block creature. On top of all that, it falls at the 3 spot, which is one that is overlooked in this deck. Ignoring that kind of versatility when I'm having so many other issues would just be foolish.

Finally, with quite a few spells at the 4 spot, I also cut a Lobotomy and added a Darkslick Shores. Adding a land and removing one of the more expensive cards in the deck should help me survive long enough to actually play a Lobotomy when I need to. That's always a good thing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Time Out

I hate to do this but: I have to take a week off. My forearm has been bothering me for almost three weeks now and I'm going to try and rest my hands to see if that helps. I'm also going to see a doctor so don't worry: I'm not being negligent.

As a starting blog, I know how important regular content is but I'm going to have to have my health take authority over the writing, just for a few days. Back next week, I hope!