Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Do What You Gotta Do

I played one of the least fun games of Magic I've played in a while last night, then played one of the dullest right after that.

The first was a Commander game; I was mono-blue, I have no idea what Matt was playing; something green, and then Mark had a Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind deck.

Things got stupid Pt 1: With Niv-Mizzet equipped with Basilisk Collar, (so now a creature dies whenever he draws a card)

Pt 2: Mark casts Sunder

Sunder is an unfun card. I know: I play it in a deck of 60. I don't object to unfun strategies but if you're going to do it, cut the throat of the other players, don't fuck about. To his credit Mark did have ways to speed up his win condition but casting Sunder just drug everything out in the must tedious manner.

Matt was able to recover and speed my recovery from Sunder using Exploration and New Frontiers. Mark is still well in control of this game but I have a chance to get us out from under his thumb. So I Call to Mind a Cyclonic Rift and cast it, overloaded. I'm tapped out but I am hoping that Matt and I could establish a board presence and maybe turn the game around.

It's unsurprising when Mark recasts Niv-Mizzet and the Basilisk Collar. It's a huge risk for Mark when he casts Windfall, causing all of us to draw twenty two cards. Sure, Mark does a lot of damage there but he doesn't kill us and there's an opportunity for Matt and I to make Mark pay for that decision.

What's surprising is that Matt decides to cast (Things Get Stupid pt 3) Storm Cauldron.

Now, given what Matt's deck wants to do (play lands often and repeatedly) Storm Cauldron makes sense! It's a bad card for me and for Mark, should we all be at or near parity.

But we aren't at parity. Mark has established control of the board. All I have is a Tormod's Crypt. Matt doesn't have a single creature out there. We've just drawn 22 cards; somewhere in those cards should be great ways to cut Mark's strategy off at the legs.

Instead, Matt cuts himself and me off at the legs. There isn't a card in my hand worth playing now, because all the land has to come back to my hand when I use it. Matt himself doesn't do anything else to put pressure on the board or disrupt Mark. If Matt had followed up with an answers to the problem-namely Basilisk Collar- I would have understood.

I looked at the board state and was so discouraged, out of my 22 cards I kept seven Islands and discarded the rest. Why? Because my options were: Prolong a terrible game while stabbing myself in the neck or wait for death so I can move on to the next thing. When those are the options, waiting for death is the better one. That game was one of the least fun I had played in quite some time: not only did I not do anything, there weren't any cool interactions, or better plays I could have made. It was just a waste of time.

The second game (the dumb one) I got to test out changes to Revenge.

I was stuck on three lands with three Kor Sanctifiers in hand, while Mark's zombie deck cast Door of Destinies and ran us over. That was dumb because I have been running a deck with only twenty two land and not adapting to the higher casting cost of the cards I've been putting in there; Kor Sanctifiers costs four if I want to use it. Order costs four. When Bedlam was the only four casting cost card, twenty two lands was feasible. Now it isn't.

I went home feeling annoyed. I still feel annoyed. But I made these changes to Revenge.

I didn't want to take the Arcbound Sliths out. But the game I played against Fuz's Zombie deck said that the Arcbounds weren't helping me.

I'd suspected as much in other games; the ability, while cool, exists to help other artifacts. I'm wasting space and, as I've noted before, I don't build the kind of decks that can afford to waste space. This is a weird, deck and weird decks can't muck about with cool things: the weird idea is the cool thing.

So to that end, after getting stomped on by another aggro deck, I cut the last Double Cleaves and the Arcbounds to add in another Boros Charm and three Brimstone Volley.

I'd thought about Bonfire of the Damned but quickly realized two things: first, I'd want four copies of that card if I was going to play it and second, I don't have enough mana in the deck to play that card properly, should I have to play it without it's Miracle shortcut.

But Brimstone Volley, in addition to being cheap, provides me with an additional interaction with Kami of False Hope. This could be a very cool thing, because, if in addition to creature damage, I can do 15 points of damage with Brimstone and 12 points off Boros Charms, Revenge of the Slith starts to get a little reach!

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