Thursday, May 14, 2015

I've Lost Count

62 cards.

While it isn't a rule that you can't have more than 60 cards in your deck, the conventional wisdom is so strong that it might as well be. It makes sense, of course; you want to pare things down so that you have the most efficient deck possible. You want to reliably and convincingly execute your game plan and less as they say, is more. 

On top of that, all the math that has been done to help people understand how likely it is that they are going to draw a card they need or cast a spell they have, as been done using a 60 card basis for their decks. That data isn't something that can easily be cast aside! A deck that can reliably execute its game plan is always going to be better than a more 'powerful' deck that cannot. 

Yet here I am, at 62 cards. The card drawing effects (Sign in Blood, Underworld Connections, Erebos, God of the Dead) keep the lands coming. 23 lands (coupled with the card draw) seems right; I've rarely had an issue with mana. Six pinpoint removal cards (adding two Eyeblight's Ending), four global removal. Nine creatures--possibly the fewest I've ever had, but also not counting the four artifacts that can become creatures. 

What can give? Everything, if the deck isn't playing right.

But: the games I played against stonethorn suggest that the deck IS playing right.

I had  two matches; one against a UR deck that wanted to steal my creatures. Spawning Pool was an MVP here, as stonethorn was often left with no creatures to target during his main phase, while I beat down. The matches were interesting but one sided as he didn't have enough targets to make his deck work.

As a brief aside; I nearly made a huge mistake by playing a Deadly Wanderings to make Erebos an active creature. However, stonethorn bemoaned his lack of instant speed theft aloud and so instead of pressing my luck with Erebos, I just kept attacking with Spawning Pool. It was a big reminder to watch my body language and vocalizations while playing. 

The second match was against his GW populate deck and here is where Killing Wave shone and Doomwake Giant earned its keep. 

Our removal was fairly evenly matched; he had Oblivion Ring and Selesnya Charm to take out my creatures and I could create repeated removal issues with Doomwake Giant, and force stonethorn to make difficult choices about which creatures he would keep via Killing Wave. 

Game one ended when he cast Entreat the Angels for the miracle cost, getting eight 4/4 flying creatures. OK, so shit happens...

Game two ended with me at over 70 life, hoping he wouldn't topdeck an Entreat again, while using the MVP Spawning Pool to continue to attack for 3 then 5 then 7 life a turn. This was after I paid sixteen life to draw cards via Erebos which game me plenty of confidence near the end game. I had two Killing Wave in hand and I was certain I'd be able to wipe out one side of the board if I had to.

It turned out to be unnecessary but the presence of extra Killing Waves helped the victory felt like a solid one, one that the deck felt cohesive through.I know; this isn't a victory against an aggressive red deck, which would take advantage of the early game, nor a blue control deck which could probably negate my win condition but I think I'm on to something good here and I'm going to stick with it a little longer.

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