"If you could get it a little faster," Jason said.
This is a pretty clear circumstance where I had zero way to interact with his lines of play: Red can do a lot, but it can't take out enchantments. I got Jason down to 8 before being overrun by angels and was still hoping that I might draw into just enough burn to make it work. I couldn't quite get there.
It's not all bad, though.
Rize of the Fenix was at least somewhat impressive to Jason: He saw me cast a Demigod, bringing another Demigod into play and then attack for 10.
"That's scary," he said.
Yup. However, what it wasn't was reliable. I'm not sure if this is because of variance due to a small sample size or because I've got a flaw in the deck. There would be times when the draw spells would just whiff and I'd end up with phoenixes I couldn't recur or no pressure on board.
Sometimes decks don't work-sometimes they do. How do I figure out where or if it's broken?
I also ran into a problem I didn't expect: Jason had maindeck artifact removal in the Opalesence match so I couldn't get Kuldotha Phoenix to recur. I could cast it, but I couldn't bring it back. Granted, this was only versus Opalesence but usually I'm the one who has the maindeck artifact or enchantment removal. An interesting role reversal for us, if nothing else.
I often felt in those games like I was on the cusp of something. Sure, there were a couple times when Rize came out of seemingly nowhere to win but it always seemed like I was hanging on with my fingernails. Close but not quite.
On the plus side: I never felt short on mana. I'd transitioned the deck to running Simian Spirit Guide and didn't feel like I missed a thing. On the down side: I just couldn't close out. Chandra's Phoenix wasn't recurring the way I'd hoped and I would get so close, as I did in my burn matchup with Noah, and then the deck couldn't quite complete the game.
So now what?