Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Weathered Every Storm

D'oh! I meant to post this yesterday! Sorry. 

I played two matches against Fuz and found them to be unsatisfactory.

Against a mono-U aggro phantoms deck, I just folded. In the first game, I had everything but the Enduring Renewal and I made a terrible mistake by casting Necrotic Sliver instead of Phyrexian Altar. All I needed to do was draw the Renewal and I had the win but instead of playing to win, I was playing to not lose and it made me squirrely.

Looking back though, I don't think I had much of a chance.

My second match was against GW beasts and in game one I won the game on turn 4. All the pieces showed up and boom, done. Game two did not go as well.

Sigh. I was wondering if Necrotic Sliver was the problem but I don't think that it is: it's a win condition and I need those. Barter in Blood, though, that was an issue. Sure, if Enduring Renewal is out then life is good but if it isn't then I'm just throwing away opportunities to win. Murder is probably a better solution or even Soul Snare, since I can search it up with Enlightened Tutor if I need to. No Mercy is probably a good idea too, for the same reason. Anything that delays them is all the better for me.

I spent my time on a walk, thinking about this deck, trying to work out what the victory conditions were and how I could maximize the fact that I want to cast a ton of spells in one turn and win. Then it hit me: There are already decks that do this.

Storm decks.

So let's talk about Storm. The mechanic, first introduced in Scourge, the last set of the Onslaught block- making a brief reappearance in the Time Spiral block- was a mechanic that allowed players to repeat a spells' effect as many times as spells previously played in that turn. It was also a mistake that WotC had to make. Storm can probably be considered the last gasp of Old School Magic, where spells were more dominant and important than creatures and locking your opponent out of the game via countermagic and weird locks was more relevant than what happened on the battlefield, because that was what Wizards thought people wanted.

It was also absolutely terrible for the game. That's not just me talking: people at Wizards have said the same thing and the reason they say it is because Storm is the epitome of what a combo deck wants: a win condition that allows it to utterly ignore anything that their opponents do.

I hate Storm. I hate it because it encourages Magic decks that want to play solitaire instead of an game where you interact with people. I hate it because it forces Magic into a game of incredibly narrow strategies instead of opening it up to many different ones. That isn't to say that I am hoping for a game where a whole bunch of mediocre strategies are viable, (although I appreciate that since there's still a level playing field) it's to say that once you route a game into 'whose version of solitaire plays faster' then you're removing one of the integral elements of playing a game with other people.

Now, all that said, I am tired of investing in decks that are off the beaten path but refuse to use the best options available to win. Perpetual Motion dies to a Counterspell at the right time. Why should I accept that? I'm not running a tuned, savage deck, I'm running this oddball, interesting creation that I should do as much as I can to make it a deck that has a chance to win against the decks that people play against me. I should challenge them but I should also challenge myself to make decks that feel like I am being true to the spirit I want to play in, as well as provide me with legitimate chances at winning.

So the Drain Life should come out-at least a few of them-and Tendrils of Agony should come in. Maybe Tendrils should replace Barter in Blood, since Drain Life can be used as both removal and a way to extend my game? I'll have an updated list for Thursday to try out.

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