Thursday, September 13, 2012

Golden Blunders

Man, I hated this deck. Named after the song by the Posies, maybe because subconsciously, I just knew it would not work out like I was hoping.
1 Apocalypse Hydra
4 Vigean Hydropon
2 Simic Guildmage
4 Animar, Soul of Elements
4 Fertilid
2 Protean Hydra
4 Primordial Hydra
3 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

4 Abundant Growth

1 Evolution Charm
4 Cytoshape
4 Manamorphose

11 Forest
7 Island
5 Mountain
So what's wrong with this? The idea which captured me seemed to be a good one: cast Animar, build up, then drop massive Hydras or Jin-Gitaxias (which is frequently a game ender by itself) and go. Versus Black or White decks, just wreak havoc with Animar. To the testing!

Now, the good news: Jason liked the concept. Fuz even gave it a bit of a head-nod but both of them pointed out that there were some pretty big flaws here.

The up side: opposing creatures have rarely been a problem in testing. Vigean Hydropon and Cytoshape generally mean dead creatures. This wasn't quite enough and it was Fuz who suggested adding Prey Upon. Turns out Hydropons can be very useful with the Fight mechanic too.

Unfortunately, that was about the only bright spot. I kept going up against blue or green decks that didn't care about Animar's abilities and, without much in the way of acceleration or disruption, I found myself quickly outclassed.

So I changed the deck. Out went the Evolution Charm, 2 Manamorphose, Apocalypse Hydra and the Fertilid. In went three Prey Upon, one Ulvenwald Tracker and three Viridian Acolyte to help ensure the color fixing.

More testing. More blue decks. More failures. In one game I drew three Jin and zero Animar. That situation is terrible for this deck. Speaking of terrible: so is having your creature stolen, which happened to me three times and there was nothing I could do about it.

Here's the crux of the problem: There isn't enough disruption to make it to the long game, not enough acceleration to force the short game and the midgame is just kind of there.

This deck needs some help and I'm not sure where that help needs to come from. Protean Hydra could become something else and it's becoming pretty apparent that between Abundant Growth and Manamorphose I have the color fixing and draw to get enough mana to cast the usual suspects. A Utopia Tree, should I have them, might be better than Viridian Acolyte because that may give me the boost to cast Jin or a very large Primordial Hydra without Animar assistance.

What is certain at this point is this deck needs more than just a clever idea.


  1. Perhaps more dramatic removal than Cytoshape: Mirrorweave?

    Also, I'd rather you went cheaper in terms of the creatures. I still think Jin is not the card for you here. I mean, if you land him, you're sitting decently pretty...but then again, you have probably already won the game before Jin came into play.

    If the core win mechanism of this deck is to land Jin, then the hydras are a distraction. If the point is to land hydras, what's Jin doing there?

    My thought would be to place cheap critters (to boost Animar quickly) or some kind of tutor (to ensure that you get Animar).

    1. The thing about Jin is that 1) it increases my threat count and 2) it wins games by itself, like an unchecked Hydra.

      Removal isn't a problem: 8 removal spells--including a reusable one, which testing has shown to be bananas--acceleration or disruption is. I think I've got a lock on the acceleration. Protean Hydra might stay in just to fight things but it now essentially has a CC of 3. Still; it survives deathtouch and similar effects so it's worth considering.

      Search for Animar isn't a bad idea for replacement though. However, at least so far, it's been remarkable how often I have multiples of both Animar or Jin in hand.

  2. I still haven't figured out how to use Jin...

    1. This is one reason why I hold on to cards like this for so many years. Sometimes the idea just takes awhile before it becomes viable.