Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tired of Being Pushed Around

My first set of matches were against Fuz his W/U/G mill deck.

As a brief aside, I am sure I've mentioned a hatred of milling decks. The truth is, I'm just getting riled because I'm having to try and figure out how to win with a creature deck against a bunch of cheap walls. 0/4s that come down on turn two make for new problems that I haven't quite figured out how to solve in every situation I want to solve them. Which is all of them, because of those filthy, filthy milling bastards...

It is less of a problem with Children, though. In one turn I Firestormed all of his walls, then sit back and waited for the cards to come until I could attack for the win. Worked out nicely.

In game two however, I was caught off guard by the presence of Ensnaring Bridge. I could still win the game via a Fling, and I had a Corpse Dance in hand to make it work but before I knew it, my deck was being milled into nothing and when I saw all four Flings in my graveyard, I conceded.

The final game worked out a bit differently; I went all in early, ditching most of my hand to Last Rites, a move which binned all of his walls and left me with the time to once again bring the massive Ghoul to bear.

The second set of matches were against a G/W humans deck and I had an epic win in a lost matchup, when I attacked for 26 and Flung for another from the humble nadir of one life point.

This pattern repeated itself against thedrowningman last night: I lost 1-2 against an aggressive B/W lifegain deck with Chalice of Life but the game I won, I won at the last moment, reanimating the Ghoul and hitting for 52 with Fling.

This verse repeated against Noah's G/W landfall deck. He would drop a Steppe Lynx, Rancor and use it to beat down while ramping up his mana to cast Rampaging Baloths and then kill me. It worked out very well...for him. I didn't even make it to game three in this case.

Three aggro matches, three losses. One common thread was that in all three games, I really, really needed a Buried Alive. It makes sense: I have redundancies for every other needed card or idea except Buried Alive. Unfortunately I don't think there IS a way to make Buried Alive redundant. As far as I know there is only one other card that allows me to do something like Buried Alive and that's Entomb...which really doesn't help.

What's left then? Two things: First; more card draw. Card draw in Black is tricky, because it usually requires life and while I do play fast and loose with my life total, against aggro decks I'm taking a huge risk. I'm already eating at that total with Night's Whisper. More could be very, very bad. Things have changed though! Red now has card draw and it's card draw that encourages discard. Wild Guess and Faithless Looting both provide me with some extra oomf to help get where I'm going and they don't send me down to worrisome life totals.

Second: more disruption. The creature removal I have isn't enough, useful as it is. Plus, this removal should be something that really does Bad Things, killing 2 or more creatures or having a long-term impact. Anything to give me more time, essentially. Time means more chances to draw into the card I need. In this case, I'm going to have to do some research because there's a great deal of creature removal in Black and Red and I'd like to get the article up before February.

This just leaves the concern of which card to eliminate for space and fortunately, that answer is pretty easy. Brain Pry just isn't cutting it. Last Rites allows me to utterly decimate someone's hand, ditto Firestorm on the board. I need a different card and Brain Pry is the one I've been least happy to see in the aggro matcups. The issue here is: What happens to my matches against control if I remove this discard? And I don't know. Discard is just brutal against any deck that wants to hold onto cards and I do worry about effects like Murder which just ruin my whole day. Going defenseless against that feels too risky. My opponents are going to have creature removal and I ignore this at my peril.

So for now, I'm going to focus on the most reliable path: card draw. -2 Brain Pry, +2 Red Card Draw and I'll see if that brings my consistency up. I'll research removal behind the scenes.

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