Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Faster and Faster

Before this post starts up, I recommend everyone reading this article by Jim Davis at SCG. It emphasizes what I've been trying to hammer on about, not only in decks for myself but with friends who are playing as well. I cannot think of a better place to start, if you want to improve your game, than to ask: Why? Why make that choice? If I can answer that, even if it's a bad answer, I feel I'm much better off as a player.

Whenever I have a deck I'm writing about, I try to goldfish it a lot in my free time. I'm sure many players do: it's a nice way to get a feel for how a deck flows, what decisions seem to help/hinder the goals, etc. As a result, I have discovered why I just don't like Burning-Tree Shaman: it has no immediate board impact for the cost. The only other card in the deck that this can be said of is Radha, but Radha has the advantage of allowing me to cast spells at a discount whenever she attacks and like the saying goes, 'free is a very good price.'

So here are what I feel are my best alternatives:
2 Bestial Fury
2 Snake Umbra
2 Burning-Tree Emissary
2 Rancor
or Radha, Heir to Keld and Sudden Shock.

Radha and a fourth Sudden Shock is very attractive, because it will increase the consistency of the deck and it's inexpensive to implement. I have the Shock and Radha costs under a buck and my money > less of my money. Rancor is one of the best green cards ever printed, and is partly responsible for the shift away from UW decks in Standard, towards RBG decks. However, all my copies are currently in use, and getting more would cost me around $3 apiece. My money rule invoked.

On the other hand, when you're named after the fastest Autobot, acceleration matters which puts Burning-Tree Emissary at the door because free is a very good price. A turn 2 Emissary + Radha/Hackblade? A turn 4 Bloodbraid Elf into Emissary, into something cool I have in hand? The Glory of Cool Things is rising up here in a big way and it's very, very hard to resist.

Bestial Fury holds a great deal of attraction for me for a few reasons: 1) can be cast for free off Bloodbraid Elf, 2) Draws me a card, and 3) makes a tiny creature risky to block. A great deal of my creatures have a power of only 2 and it is only the use of boost effects that they become truly problematic. However, opponents will block to stop the bleeding if they have to: why not make them pay for it? Finally, it's an old, weird card that nobody cares about and as a result it holds more gravity for me.

Finally, Snake Umbra, which I like for some of the same reasons as Bestial Fury, but it also has the advantage of keeping something like a Boartusk Liege alive in the face of destruction. It also has a nice interaction with Wildsize, helping ensure I hit an opponent and get to draw a card, and Psychotic Fury, allowing me the potential to draw two cards.

Looking at my choices, I really want to try Snake Umbra and Bestial Fury so that's where I'll take the deck but I'll also admit that I may have enough card draw and Burning-Tree Emissary might be the best choice.

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