Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mobile Shooting Gallery

This deck named after a kick ass track on a Bill Ward record has always been a difficult one for me. It's also one of the first decks I ever built, so it's worth bringing up here to give it a refresher course.

When most players start the game, they all love attacking with huge creatures. It seems super cool because it appeals to the lover of Godzilla in all of us. "Rwargh, smash all the buildings!"

In reality, and especially when I first constructed this deck, it's a lot more difficult because the creatures mostly sucked and the spells and ways to get rid of creatures were a lot better. These were the dark days, in a way and at the same time, I miss them; having good spells shouldn't mean that creatures suck, just as having good creatures shouldn't mean that spells suck. But creatures are more fun--even though they still die to Doom Blade.

The problem was: how do I make sure that I can swing with the big creatures and not lose out to tiny swarms? This was my answer:
2 Relentless Assault
3 Firespout
2 Pyroclasm
3 Hull Breach

3 Kavu Lair
4 AEther Flash

2 Spellbreaker Behemoth
1 Iwamori of the Open Fist
4 Tinder Wall
3 Blastoderm
2 Shivan Wurm
3 Hunted Dragon
2 Crater Hellion
2 Tuktuk the Explorer

1 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Taiga
7 Mountain
9 Forest
1 Hickory Woodlot
1 Sandstone Needle
Aether Flash. It just solves so many problems that I am a little amazed nobody else seems to give it much love. Maybe that's just me though. Point being: this deck has an ideal line of play that usually goes: Turn 1: Forest/Taiga, Tinder Wall; Turn 2: land, sac Tinder Wall for RR, play Aether Flash.

All the little creatures are now dead cards in my opponent's hand and now I have time to play lands and get the big creatures going. The Kavu Lair is something I'm going to get more mileage out of than my opponents because my creatures are bigger, the Hunted Dragon's drawback disappears with the Aether Flahs (or Pycoclasm or Firespout) and Crater Hellion is there to clean things up when it gets really nasty. The Shivan Wurm can bounce Blastoderms, which is a nightmare for almost any deck; it all seems so perfect, right?

Well....not quite. First, it may be time for an update: creatures have gotten better. The two slots where Tuktuk is, for example; have always been in flux because I just don't know what to do there. Sure, it's a 5/5 for 3 mana, sometimes but if I draw the second, it's just lame.

In addition, options have opened up considerably since I first took a swing at this: cards like Ulvenwald Bear could be cast on turn 2 as a 4/4, Indrik Stomphowler could take the place of a Hull Breach and Garruk's Packleader installed as a replacement for the Kavu Lair.

The problem is that those creatures are an expensive upgrade to their counterparts. The upside is that they are threats--but they are also threats that will die to a board where I have two Aether Flashes on the table. Believe me: you drop two Aether Flashes and you've stalled out nearly everyone...including yourself, if you don't have big enough creatures. The mana curve on this deck is, I have to acknowledge, high so it become very important that every threat can be played and does a lot of harm because I this isn't the kind of deck that makes comebacks; it wants to set up and then go.

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