Manlands? Creaturelands? What difference does it make? Hear Zuby's take on the whole issue and what we should REALLY be doing to make sure MTG is diverse and inclusive.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
I'll post the list below but what I found out right away with this deck is it requires a lot of thinking and different lines of play and really having to think and be ahead of the opponent. I did pretty abysmal this past Monday night Modern but I was excited to play this deck and will begin to practice with it more and more.
Round 1: Grixis Delver vs. Affinity
Ahh, good ol' Affinity. Sad to say I lost both games but I did give my opponent a run for his money. I had to make him really work for his wins as I consistently countered his spells or killed his creatures. My sideboard included Thoughtseize and some more kill and counter spells. As you can see in my sideboard I don't have any Fulminator Mages which would've helped me greatly. I lost, but I also won by learning my deck a bit more.
Results: 0-2 LOST
Round 2: Grixis Delver vs. GR Tron
I sort of underestimated this match up when I went into it. As soon as I saw the first Urza land pop down I thought, ok I'll just counter his stuff to win! Yea, that doesn't work out so well when you can't counter anything because your deck decides not to give it to you. With no land destruction in sideboard or Blood Moon I felt like I couldn't do much but stall the inevitable.
Results: 0-2 LOST
Round 3: Grixis Delver vs. Helix Pinnacle Combo
This was a deck I have never heard of nor ever been up against. Helix Pinnacle will win you the game if you have 100 or more counters on it. Game 1 I did all 3 of my Gitaxian Probes to understand his deck and tried to beat him down. I lost Game 1 but Game 2 and 3 I played the more counter package. I countered almost all of his spells and slowly won both Games by consistently disrupting his combo.
Results: 2-1 WON
Round 4: Grixis Delver vs. Affinity
Affinity again? This time I was a bit more prepared and by Round 4 I understood my deck a lot better than I did in Round 1. The problem? It was getting late and if you know me I cannot play Magic well, if at all, late at night. I make horrible stupid plays. Such as in Game 2 when my opponent plays an Arcbound Ravager and I have a spell snare in hand and I choose not to counter it because I am just that good at Magic. Game 1 I won by killing and disrupting her hand but Games 2 and 3 I WANT to attribute to me playing poorly cause I was tired. I'm not sure though so.
Results: 1-2 LOST
Final Results: 1-3
So I did pretty bad and I was expecting that and not unhappy with the results. I have a lot more learning to do with this deck and I need to upgrade the sideboard a bit as well. I was thinking Engineered Explosives perhaps? My local meta is a pretty common Modern Meta so far, not really any Eldrazi are dominating it (yet). So we shall see how next Monday goes! Thanks for reading!
Hey everyone! The latest episode of Magic with Zuby has been released! You can listen to it below or find it on iTunes or MTGCast.com! Be sure to listen to Part 1 before going on to Part 2.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Another week, another Standard update and another FNM gone by. This past FNM I played my Eldrazi Ramp again and with much success again I managed to get 2nd place after splitting in the final round. I ran the same list but after the night was over I updated my list in preparation for the PPTQ I went to on Saturday February 20th.
The list I ran Saturday is below:
As you can tell it's a big improvement over what I had. When test playing with World Breaker that card just put in it's work over and over again. So how did I do in the PPTQ?
You can listen to my Podcast Episode below or just read my results to see how I did!
Round 1: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Black/White Tokens - 2-0 WIN
Round 2: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Mardu Green - 2-0 WIN
Round 3: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Red/White Aggro - 2-1 WIN
Round 4: Split
Final Results: 3-0-1
Place: 2nd Place
Round 1: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Grixis Dragons - 2-0 WIN
Round 2: Eldrazi Ramp vs. 4 Color Rally - 1-2 LOST
Round 3: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Atarka Red - 2-1 WIN
Round 4: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Atarka Landfall - 0-2 LOST
Round 5: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Mardu Green - 1-2 LOST
Round 6: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Mardu Green - 1-2 LOST
Final Results: 2-4
Place: 34th Place
Follow my gut instinct. Listen to it more. I have a problem with keeping hands that are sub-optimal and I need to stop that especially when I go on a losing streak. Trust my feelings more! Thanks for listening and reading! Stay tuned for more!
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
If you've played EDH, you know you will sometimes encounter a player who likes to build a pillow fort. What I mean by Pillow Fort is someone who likes to have a lot of enchantments, artifacts, creatures out that make it impossible for someone to attack them. Now that doesn't sound like fun right? Well for your opponents it will not be fun but when you're the King/Queen of your Pillow Fort and overlooking the walls and watching the others kill themselves while you amass your army and assortment of powerful spells, you'll just be giddy with excitement.
If stopping everyone from even attacking you does not sound like your cup of tea, stop reading now. This sort of Commander build is for those who think participating in the foray of fighting is above them and they would rather have everyone else do their dirty work for them. Think of it as being like a Prius owner. Once you own a Prius you automatically become too smug to do your own work. So running Oloro is the equivalent of being a Prius Owner.
So let's first discuss what the commander actually does. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic can be seen below:
So first, when Oloro is out on the field you will gain 2 life during your upkeep. Not bad right? The plus to that is, whenever you gain life you may pay 1 mana and draw a card and each opponent loses 1 life. Ah, another plus! Card drawing is always! Make note though, that ability only triggers for each time you gain life not how much life you gain.
So for example:
You have two creatures with lifelink and they attack and you get two separate life gain triggers from them thus triggering Oloro's ability to draw cards twice. Understand? Good, cause I didn't at first!
Lastly, Oloro allows you to gain 2 life even if it is in the Command Zone. This would not trigger his card draw ability though since it is not technically in play.
So not a bad commander right? You can see where his pillow fortiness comes from. Gain a lot of life, draw a lot of cards (potentially) and sit back and relax. Life gain in the early game of EDH is always nice but if you don't keep control of the board and let your other opponents go crazy and out of control that life gain will not matter. This is where being a King/Queen comes in handy and sometimes you have to smite the peasants down or keep them from revolting. Before we get into how to play the deck let's discuss the spells and creatures:
Academy Rector: An oldie but goodie. This 1/2 Cleric allows you to exile the card if it were to go into the graveyard and search for an enchantment of your choosing and put it into play. A very good early game card to be sure but be sure you have the utility to protect that enchantment of your choosing.
Ajani's Pridemate: Whenever you gain life you may put a 1/1 counter on this? Sign me up! Since you'll be gaining life left and right, this is a good creature for you to take care of!
Archangel of Tithes: A very good Pillow Fort creature to have in your arsenal. A 3/5 body as well as not allowing creatures your opponents control to attack unless they pay 1 or block as well.
Burnished Hart: The main reason to have this creature in this deck is purely for mana fixing. It's nice to have in the early game so you can get that third color or extra color you need for whatever you have in store.
Defiant Bloodlord: A pretty basic 4/5 flyer but with the added bonus of having a target opponent lose life whenever you gain that much life.
Drana's Emissary: This creature is useful for giving you another life gain trigger for Oloro's draw ability while slowing draining your opponent's life force.
Erebos, God of the Dead: Maybe you have another Oloro player in your midst? Shut them down with Erebos, heck shut all your opponents down with Erebos so they can no longer gain any life. They'll enjoy that right?
Felidar Sovereign: Want the win the game quickly? Get this bad boy out on the field. Only problem is, can it survive a whole turn before your next upkeep if you have over 40 life? Be sure to have plenty of utility backing you up!
Obzedat, Ghost Council: Another good creature that not only gives you another life gain trigger for Oloro's ability but also blinks every turn draining your opponent constantly and consistently.
Serra Avatar: So you have about over 100 life now. What can you play that will scare people? This card right here. Know this, it will not survive long if at all if it resolves onto the battlefield.
Sun Titan: A good creature to allow you to keep getting back a particular cheap enchantment or artifact back onto the battlefield for you.
Sunscorch Regent: A card very similar to Managorger Hydra but it gains you life as well and counts as a trigger for Oloro's card draw. Plus it has Flying? Count me in!
Treasury Thrull: It's exploit is nice as well as it's ability to get you back an artifact, enchantment or creature of your choice from the graveyard!
Vizkopa Guildmage: A very good card that could help you win early enough if you also managed to get Exquisite Blood on the field as well. You can tap for it's second ability on the upkeep in response to Oloro's life gain and thus cause you to win. See? You didn't even need to attack to win!
Windborn Muse: Another Pillow Forty creature similar to Archangel of Tithes.
For the sake of ease of reading and instead of lumping all spells under one like I normally do for other deck techs I will separate these out by their type. Sorcery, Instant, Artifact etc...
Dark Petition: The poor man's Demonic Tutor. This card is in here for budget reasons as I don't normally spend a whole lot on EDH deck's, it's usually a culmination of what I have laying around and may be buying some cheaper cards as well.
Debt to the Deathless: A good way to have opponent's lose a lot of life if you get to late game and have a lot of potential mana on the field.
Diabolic Tutor: The other poor man's Demonic Tutor. Same deal as above, this is a budget piece.
Merciless Eviction: Are your opponents flooding the field with creatures, artifacts, enchantments or planeswalkers? Exile one of them now with Merciless Eviction! Only 1 easy payment of 6 CMC!
Read the Bones: Simple and easy draw spell. Scry 2 and if you like them draw them, if not draw 2 and see what you get!
Supreme Verdict: The King/Queen has read their decree. All soldiers on the battlefield must die. You cannot stop this!
Toxic Deluge: Got some pesky indestructible creatures bothering you? Drain some of your own life to get rid of them, life comes easy to you anyway!
Wrath of God: As a King/Queen your subjects look up to you for answers but who do you look up too when you need answers yourself? You pray to God and pray he strikes down these pesky enemies and their minions! Let them feel God's Wrath!
Aetherspouts: Also known as, how to make someone who plays tokens in EDH very very angry.
Cyclonic Rift: Also known as, how to make the whole table gang up against you.
Disdainful Stroke: I said no!
Dissolve: Holy crap, I said no! Ohh lemme Scry!
Lim-Dul's Vault: An easy way to constantly look through your entire library and get the cards you want/need.
Memory Plunder: Probably one of my favorite cards in the deck. Oh, your opponent played that awesome instant/sorcery spell? Cool! I want to play it too! Thanks!
Mystical Tutor: Search for that possible No you will need!
Path to Exile: While it doesn't say No when they try and cast a big creature it does give you the satisfaction of saying No when it resolves.
Psychic Strike: Tell them No without saying it.
Render Silent: Just shake your head at them.
Utter End: Similar to Path to Exile but not just for creatures!
Narset Transcendent: This is a very good planeswalker for this deck. Since you run hardly any creatures you have a good chance of being able to dig for something here. Her second ability of giving spells rebound doesn't do much for us except for the tutor cards or cards like Debt to the Deathless. If you manage to get the 3rd ability off, it's practically game over for your table.
Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath: Ob's first ability is good for Oloro card draw trigger. The second ability, I could see it being useful if you need a body on the field. His third ability isn't bad if you have something worth sacrificing so you can draw some cards!
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: Need another board wipe? Here you go! His first ability isn't that great in EDH but can be useful. The last ability can be a hit or miss for us. I mainly keep him around for the board wipes.
Alhammaret's Archive: If you would gain life, you gain twice that much life instead. Ok, you've intrigued me go on....If you draw a card, except the first one you draw in your draw step, you draw two cards instead. Ok, you've sold me. Take my money!
Armillary Sphere: Basic mana fixing/mana ramp card.
Chromatic Lantern: You ever wish that Swamp you just played was a Plains instead? Well this artifact grants you that wish!
Commander's Sphere: Add any one mana color you need of your commander's colors or sac it and draw a card! Win win!
Crawlspace: To only aid you in your dreams of a nice pillow fort. Think of this card as building a draw bridge to your pillow fort and only two soldiers at a time can cross it to come at you.
Darksteel Ingot: Basic mana rock
Everflowing Chalice: Another basic mana rock
Norn's Annex: Not only is this an excellent Pillow Fort card but if your opponent is not playing white, that have to pay 2 life for each of their creatures just to attack you!
Obelisk of Esper: Another basic mana rock....again!
Orbs of Warding: Not only is giving you hexproof good but it also prevents creatures from doing damage to you by 1. Not much in the grand scheme of things but something to annoy your opponents with.
Pristine Talisman: A great mana rock that can trigger Oloro's card draw ability!
Sol Ring: Why wouldn't you run this again?
Swiftboot Boots: I recommend putting this on Oloro or Serra Avatar ASAP if you can find this.
Well of Lost Dreams: Want to draw cards? This is how you draw cards!
Baneful Omen: While not the most ideal enchantment to have out it is a decent one to get your opponent's to lose life.
Exquisite Blood: This card and Sanguine Bond can just have you win games as soon as Oloro's life gain trigger happens.
Ghostly Prison: One of the more popular Pillow Fort cards. Very good indeed.
Greed: Since you'll be gaining so much life, paying 2 and a black to draw a card means nothing to you!
Palace Siege: Always choose Dragons. I've never had a reason to ever choose Khans. This card was meant to have Dragons chosen for you in this deck.
Phyrexian Arena: You lose a life in your upkeep only to gain it back from Oloro and you get to draw another card? Yes please!
Phyrexian Reclamation: Allows you to return a creature of your choice. Not bad since you don't run many creatures in here and could be useful for you.
Propaganda: Another sweet pillow fort card at your disposal. Use it well!
Sanguine Bond: As mentioned above with Exquisite Blood. These two cards can cause you to win early if played correctly.
So that's a lot of cards yeah? Now, how do we play this deck? I don't recommend you play this sort of deck 1 on 1 as it is very slow and has a clunky start. It's not meant to win fast but win in the long game. The early life gain ability will help you a lot if your opponents decide to come after you first.
A good opening hand may contain a few lands, some mana ramping/fixing abilities and some enchantments or creatures to help you search your deck or slow your opponents down long enough to get what you need. Since you have a decent amount of counters and board wipes it's important to get these when you can to help clear the board. If your board wipe affects you as well make sure you have the ability to come back out stronger than before.
Just as in any EDH group, politics will be involved so try not to be an early threat and let others take that role instead. Slowly build up your pillow fort if you can and then when your opponents least expect it, start unleashing some wipes or life gain combos to help you win. As you can tell there are not a lot of creatures so you'll need to rely on your spells instead.
This deck is not for impatient people or for people who prefer to have a really big board presence with a lot of creatures. It's for people who enjoy everyone else fighting it out while you sit back in your fort and sip some wine and then WHAM! You drain their life and win.
Thanks for taking the time and read this! I'm hoping to do a few more EDH deck write ups! These are pretty lengthy I know but I like to go over all the cards in the deck and what they could potentially be used for.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Before we get into the meat of the article let's discuss any changes to my Elf deck. As you can see below I took out the 2 Essence Wardens and put back in the 2 Elvish Visionary's. After trying out the Essence Wardens it came to be that they did not help as much as I wanted them too. I did however keep the Nykthos. Nykthos was very good to me and I'm thinking about putting in 1 more. I think any more than 2 would not be good for my deck.
Round 1 Elves vs. Abzan Company
So I came up against this deck again. Now having been a little bit more familiar with it I was ready to face it. I thought I had a pretty decent opening hand. 2 lands, 2 mana dorks, a heritage druid, a chord and an archdruid. Unfortunately my hand was not fast enough. By Turn 3 the game was over. My opponent managed to get out his sac engine and gain endless life with Kitchen Finks.
Game 2 was a bit more favorable for me, I managed to win by Turn 4 with Ezuri, Archdruid and some Nettle's out on the field. Very fast game.
Game 3 is where things went down. I kept a not so great hand but I sideboarded in Reclamation Sage, 2 Beasts Within and Aven Mindcensor. My opening hand contained 2 Beast Withins. It eventually came down to a topdeck game and my opponent managed to have the better topdeck in the end. I was just needing a Chord, Archdruid or Ezuri and I could've won but didn't.
Results: 2-1 LOST
Round 2 Elves vs. Bogles
Last time I faced Bogles in paper magic was at an IQ and I lost horribly. I was not looking forward to facing it again and knew ahead of time this would be an uphill battle for a deck like mine. See, in case you don't know, Bogles can win with just one creature and that creature will have hexproof and a ton of enchantments to make it unblockable, so it kills very quickly.
Game 1 started and I had an awesome opening hand of Nykthos, Gilt-Leaf Palace, 2 mana dorks, Heritage Druid, and Archdruid. I managed to draw into Ezuri Turn 2 and by Turn 3 I pumped up my army and swung and my opponent conceded.
Game 2 was very much the same as Game 1. By Turn 4 it was all over and I beat Bogles for the first time. I feel like I won just on pure luck as anytime I've tested and faced Bogles it always felt very lopsided.
Results: 2-0 WON
Round 3 Elves vs. Mono Black Control
This is the first time I've ever gone up against Mono Black Control which I heard the name of the deck was "The Rack" or "8 Rack"? Not sure on the nomenclature exactly but I was curious. I had no idea what to expect from this deck but it killed me, quickly. Both Game 1 and 2 ended quickly with him discarding my hand and playing The Rack and Shrieking Affliction very quickly. I had no outs or ways to destroy those or if I did destroy them my opponent got them out again.
Results: 0-2 LOST
Final Results: 2-2
That was the end of the night for me. The next round I got a bye so I did get to leave early which was nice. What did I learn that night? I feel like I'm understanding better what hands to keep and what hands to mull. My sideboard still needs some work but I'm not interested in investing into the deck right now as I'm so close to being done with Grixis Delver. I've been wanting to get a Pithing Needle and a Spellskite in the Elf deck but for now what I have will have to suffice.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates!
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Today we will be discussing another one of my favorites decks for this current Standard season. Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp. Like many other ramp decks this has the potential of getting out big dumb creatures quickly, but in this case the big dumb creatures are pretty dangerous and ruthless. In one corner we have the vicious Dragon Lord Atarka and in the other the Eldrazi Titan Duo of Kozilek and Ulamog, are they gonna face off? Not against each other but against YOU Rival Planeswalker!
Let's take a look at the current decklist:
As you can see it's built like a typical ramp deck and acts like a typical ramp deck, so what makes it so fun to play? If you're a Timmy at heart (like I am and can be) you love those big beefy creatures. Who doesn't want to play an 8/8 on turn 5 and have your opponent look at you with disbelief? I know I sure do!
Let's go over the creatures and spells and then I'll discuss some of the pros and cons of the deck with it's various matchups:
Conduit of Ruin: A 1 of in the deck and a great 1 of it is. Allowing your creatures to be 2 cheaper for the first one you cast that turn is extremely effective in a deck like this, as well as allowing you to search for a creature card that costs 7 CMC or higher and place it on top of your library is almost a must for this deck. While the creature itself is not a huge body, the effects of the card are more than enough to make up for it.
Den Protector: This little card has surprised me throughout all of it's lifetime in standard so far. I didn't think much of it when it was first announced but now almost a year in it's a must in most decks. It's Eternal Witness like ability when it flips is crucial for a deck like this. Need more ramp? Need more creatures to come out? Flip that Den!
Dragonlord Atarka: One of 3 of the big beefy creatures in this deck. It can certainly help stabilize a board especially if your opponent is trying to wide and you have 1-2 creatures out on the field. Plus it flies, has trample and it's an 8/8. What's not to love?
Jaddi Offshoot: Normally life gain is not that important for decks but it can be for a deck such as this one. You may not get any real threats out by turn 4 or 5 and if you're up against an aggro deck, this little 1 drop can mean the difference from a win or a loss.
Kozilek, the Great Distortion: Oh Kozi, you give me so many gifts, up to 7 of them possibly. I haven't needed more than 1 of Kozilek in this deck. The only reason I run Kozilek is in hopes of drawing another answer I may need in the game. A 12/12 is no laughing matter but Ulamog just provides more benefits than ol' Kozi does.
Oblivion Sower: A 5/8 that has the ability to exile your opponent's top 4 cards and you take all the lands from it, sign me up! Being able to cast this on turn 4 puts you ahead greatly in the ramp war.
Rattleclaw Mystic: Our resident mana dork. With Elvish Mystic no where to be seen in this Standard, Rattleclaw is our next best option for this deck. Leaf Gilder comes a close second and will become the mana dork of choice come rotation (Unless Shadows of Innistrad comes out with a better one). This guy helps alot with his red mana because you're only running one mountain as well.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: Good ol' Ulamog. What more can be said about him? Except he is bad ass! Even if he gets countered, you still get to exile two permanents of your choice and if he does live and manages to attack, welp your opponent has to mill 20 cards if Ulamog attacks. I love this guy! Even more so than his older version!
Explosive Vegetation: Typical mana ramp card. This is the card that will enable you to get your one red mana in the deck.
Hedron Archive: Another mana enabler and it's ability to sac it and draw cards is always useful.
Kozilek's Return: When the great titan Kozilek rose up from the earth he brought upon fire and brimstone. The perfect board wipe for this deck. It used to be Radiant Flames but this card has proven it's worth to me. Plus it comes back to deal 5 damage when you summon a big Eldrazi creature.
Nissa's Pilgrimage: Another typical mana ramp card. The spell mastery is just another plus in late game if you have nothing better to do.
Nissa's Renewal: The main reason I run this card is for it's life gain. As I mentioned earlier, life gain is a tad more important to a deck like this since you normally don't play any creatures until turn 4 or 5. Gaining 7 life can mean a win or loss for you as I mentioned above.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: Ugin, you are the man. Let me tell you what, Ugin is a dragon that will save your butt over and over again. His exile ability and his ability to bolt creatures makes him an absolute necessary addition to this deck. Don't worry Ugin, even though you go away soon, I'll never forget you.
Desolation Twin: What's worse than having one 10/10 creature out on the field? Having two 10/10 creatures out on the field. I've mainly sided this in against the mirror match. I haven't had much use for it otherwise.
Explosive Vegetation: Just when I thought I had enough vegetables, I explode some more. This is just to help me get mana quicker.
From Beyond: If I know a match is going to be a bit grindy I'll side this in, for not only mana ramping but to have some bodies on the field. Also it being an Eldrazi tutor helps me all the more.
Jaddi Offshot: Sided in for the aggro matchup.
Natural State: This is used for those pesky enchantments that like to exile my big creatures. They weren't hurting anyone either!
Nissa's Renewal: Having two Nissa's Renewal can be tricky. The life gain is a plus but if I feel like I'm going to need it, I'll take out an explosive vegetation and side this in.
Pulse of Murasa: If my Den Protector's are hated on quickly, I'll take them out and put in Pulse. It having a similar Den Protector effect and gaining 6 life has been very beneficial for me.
Roast: Need to kill that pesky Siege Rhino and you don't have a board wipe coming anytime soon? Get in a roast and cook some rhino meat up!
Void Winnower: I side this card in more than I expected. Being able to lock down your opponent is a huge benefit.
Warping Wail: A good way to stop those pesky 4 color rally decks. Well it doesn't stop them completely but it can help.
Winds of Qal Sisma: A good fog card to help you against those aggro matches or midrange decks as well.
World Breaker: Another card that can help get rid of pesky enchantments. I've found him more useful as a sideboard card than mainboard, at least in my meta so far.
So there's the deck in a nutshell. What match ups have I found favorable against it?
-Most aggro shells
Control matchups do not fare well for my deck. Countering and destroying most anything I put on the field will just slow me down and prepare me for the inevitable.
Is this deck rotation proof? Not exactly. Ugin does a lot for this deck, if there isn't any meaningful replacement come April I doubt this deck will survive rotation. It could hang on but if there's no easy way to help you stabilize the board if your opponent goes wide I don't see this deck lasting much longer. Rattleclaw Mystic, as I mentioned above, can easily be replaced for another mana dork. If there is not a multicolor mana dork available I may have to change the lands up a bit and add in another mountain or two.
This deck is definitely fun and for all the Timmy's at heart out there. Enjoy the deck and thanks for reading!
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Hey everyone and hope you have had a great weekend. Today we're going to start our Weekly Standard Update alongside our Weekly Modern Update were we discuss how I did at this past FNM or higher level tournament and what's happening in Standard!
So this past Friday I decided to bring my Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp deck again. Last time I brought it I went 4-0 and was looking to dominate again. I did make some changes to my sideboard before I left for the tournament. I added in 2x Pulse of Murasa, 2x Warping Wail, and 1x Natural State. Pulse of Murasa was a natural add in for me mainly because if Den Protector got a lot of hate I had a chance to return a land or creature and gain 6 life. Win-win right there. Warping Wail was mainly sided in against potential 4 color rally and aggro decks. Natural State was for enchantment hate.
The Decklist is posted below so you can see for yourself:
So how did I do and what did I go up against? Let's discuss!
Round 1: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Abzan Aggro
Ahh, it's been well over a year and a half and Abzan is still the bane of my existence. How excited will I be when Siege Rhino goes away? I think I may hold a big celebration when it's rotated out. At one point in Standard I did play Abzan for a few weeks because if you can't beat them, might as well join them.
So Game 1, I had the perfect opening hand that all Ramp wants. 2 lands, 1 Rattleclaw mystic, 1 Nissa's Pilgrimage, 1 Explosive Vegetation, 1 Ugin, and 1 Dragonlord Atarka. By the time turn 5 came, Atarka was out and wiping my opponent's board and he quickly scooped after that when not having any answers.
Game 2 on the other hand had a very similar opening hand but my opponent sided in Utter End's and Suspension Fields. He managed to exile two Ulamog's but when the third came out he scooped. He couldn't handle that many Ulamog's.
Round 1 Results: 2-0 WON
Round 2: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Atarka Landfall
One of my favorite standard decks out there right now. So when I saw his turn 1 Monastery Swiftspear I knew I was in for a ride. My opponent didn't have the typical landfall aggro, he also had Thunderbreak Regent's as well. Game 1 ended quickly though with me being able to get Atarka out early and soon after Ulamog.
Game 2 however was in his favor. I managed to wipe the board with Ugin but he killed Ugin the next turn and managed to beat me down as I got really land flooded.
Game 3 was much of the same as Game 1. Atarka out early and then Ulamog soon after and a scoop.
Round 2 Results: 2-1 WON
Round 3: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Black/White Tokens
Brutal Hordechief can be a real threat. I underestimated this deck at first glance but with it's ability to go wide and even after a board wipe how quickly it can build back up was too much for my deck to handle. Game 1 ended after a very back and forth battle with Ugin and Ulamog coming out but both getting exiled shortly after coming out.
Game 2 was the same as Game 1. It came down to a 1 life difference and it was over. A very fun game overall but in the end the Eldrazi Ramp deck crumbled to little tokens.
Round 3 Results: 0-2 LOST
Round 4: Eldrazi Ramp vs. Abzan Aggro
We meet again Abzan. Last time we fought I destroyed you, you wish to come again and face the might of the Eldrazi and the power of Ugin? Hmph, I laugh at thee. This round once again tested the mettle of the Eldrazi against the all powerful Abzan army of Warden of the First Tree, Anafenza, and Siege Rhino. They ended up being no match against this deck though. Once Ugin laid claim to the land and wiped their existence off the map it gave me time to summon Ulamog to my aid and destroy my opponent.
Round 2 began and he assembled his army as quickly as he could. The great Dragonlord Atarka was summoned and destroyed Anafenza but kept Warden alive. My opponent summoned two Siege Rhino's but they ended up dying quickly from the might of Ugin and Ulamog. My opponent raised his white flag in defeat and shame. This planeswalker held his head up high as he crushed the skulls of Siege Rhinos.
Round 4 Results: 2-0 WON
Final Results: 3-1 3rd Place!
So the night ended pretty decently. Made some prize money and won a promo. I'm still very pleased with the results of how well Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp is in the current meta. I also like how not many pieces will Rotate out come April. I still have yet to test the might of the almighty 4 Color Rally at FNM. Time will tell though. If Dark Jeskai can fall, I'm sure 4 Color Rally can fall just as well.
What will I run next Friday? If I'm feeling different, I may try UR Prowess just for kicks but if I'm in a winning mood, Eldrazi ramp it is!
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
With it's ability to have 2 fetches out on the field and 2-3 landfall creatures on the board and you decide to let's say, crack both those fetches and then play an Atarka's Command and choosing to deal 3 damage to your opponent and play another land which is a fetch and crack that fetch. Let's just say, that's a lot of potential damage on the field. I've had many a game where that exact scenario played out.
Listed below was my first iteration with the deck. Let's take a look together shall we?
4x Atarka's Command 1x Become Immense 3x Bloodstained Mire 2x Cinder Glade 3x Forest 2x Goblin Heelcutter 2x Looming Spires 4x Makindi Sliderunner 4x Monastery Swiftspear 5x Mountain 4x Scythe Leopard 4x Snapping Gnarlid 4x Swell of Growth 4x Temur Battle Rage 4x Wild Slash 3x Windswept Heath 4x Wooded Foothills 3x Zurgo Bellstriker Sideboard|sideboard|Sideboard: 2x Display of Dominance 2x Exquisite Firecraft 2x Plummet 3x Roast 2x Shatter 2x Volcanic Upheaval
I went heavy with the landfall creatures because well, it's landfall! Looking over the creatures, having 2 creatures at 4 CMC possibly 3 CMC with dash wasn't the best idea. I was going with the idea that Heelcutter will help in the long run with it's ability to stop a creature from blocking so I can pump a creature up. Swell of Growth also turned out to be too slow in the long run and Atarka's Command gave us the same ability to play an extra land anyway.
So what did I learn with this deck? It needed to be tighter and faster. I did manage to Top 4 a couple times with the deck at FNM but could never get past the final round. The sideboard was a mess as the meta was still really unsure at the time.
The next variation of Landfall borrowed heavily from Atarka Red but with less landfall creatures and no creature above 3 CMC. As you can see below:
This variation of the deck won me a few FNM's and consistently placed me in Top 4. The tightness of it and it could be forgiving even if I got land flooded as long as I had some landfall creatures out. The amount of fetches it plays helps with thinning the deck and paying for delve for Become Immense as well. Overall I was pretty happy with the deck.
Right now the deck is retired as I've moved on to Mono Green Ramp and UR Prowess but I would definitely consider taking this to a Comp REL event. It can definitely hold it's own and do well.
Thanks for reading!
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Starting a new article series that I will try and do weekly (keyword try!), where I will discuss my trials and tribulations with the Modern format and trying to break into it. Just in case you didn't know I've only recently started to get into Modern this year and I've fallen hard for it. My first deck has been Elves and I'm currently almost done with my second, Grixis Delver. My LGS has begun Monday Night Modern and I've been trying to go as often as I can. My real goal right now is to gain as much experience as I can with the format to help myself become a better player.
So, let's start shall we?
Before I ventured off into Modern Night Modern at my LGS I decided to do some research into Elves, again, and see what the meta may be like for the deck now that Twin and Amulet are all but gone. I noticed some decks that have been doing well decided to take out 2 Elvish Visionary's and place in 2 Essence Warden's and I've also seen people putting in 1-2 copies of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. That made me decide to take out Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers and put in a copy of Nykthos. My sideboard still needs some serious help, especially against my local meta. It's really geared towards Affinity, Burn and infect. I definitely need a Spellskite or two but the high price tag right now has deterred me as I'd rather invest into Grixis Delver for now. As you can see below this is my current decklist.
Round 1 Elves vs. Abzan Company
So being new to Modern still I have not had the pleasure of going up against this deck. When my opponent put down a Wall of Roots, I was a bit confused and wondering what kind of deck he was playing. Game 1 was over fairly quickly as I was able to vomit my hand all over the table with Elves and just annihilate him. Game 2 and 3 though I found out the true potential to this deck.
Infinite combos? Infinite life gain? Yea, this Abzan deck can do it. I sideboarded in Beast Within and Eternal Witness taking out my Essence Wardens and Chord of Callings. Did not help much in the end. In Game 3 it was a non game as the worst thing that could happen to Elves happened to me. Land...I got too much of it. Land flood is a real thing people, it can happen to you! Be wary!
Final Results: 1-2 LOST
Round 2 Elves vs. Jund
The player who was piloting Jund I've gone up against him before and he is a really good player. Definitely more skilled in Modern than I am. If I had to guess I would presume he primarily plays Modern as I never see him for Standard. He's beaten me previously and I was prepared for another beating. The best way I can describe how I won both games is Shaman of the Pack is very real and something people need to watch out for when it comes to Elves.
Final Results: 2-0 WON
Round 3 Elves vs. Soul Sisters
This was a new player I had never gone up against so I wasn't sure. He wasn't playing with any sleeves nor did he have a sideboard so my first thought was he was new. Which I have no problems with new players, heck I enjoy them but he didn't seem the talkative type so we just played.
Game 1 was a blowout, by Turn 4 he was dead. Ezuri and Archdruid both on the field on Turn 3. Turn 4 was just a massacre for him, there was nothing for the Soul Sisters pilot to do.
Game 2 he managed to get an infinite mill loop with Altar of the Brood, Midnight Guard, and an enchantment whose name leaves me creates 1/1 Elf Tokens each time the creature is tapped. Very surprised at how awesome the combo was. You'll come to find out I'm a sucker for combos, I get giddy whenever I see one go off.
Game 3 was much of the same as Game 1. I beast within both his Midnight Guards that came out and I just exploded with Elves. An elfsplosion.
Final Results: 2-1 WON
Final Round Elves vs. GR Tron
The pilot of this particular GR Tron deck is a pretty good player and he's a buddy so right away I knew this was going to be a fun match. I can usually beat Tron as Elves can be quick enough before he gets Tron. This match, my deck did not want to draw for me at all. I ended up mulliganing to 4 which I knew right away Game 1 was going to be a blow out. I should've kept my first hand but it was very slow, it was 3 lands, a CoCo, and Ezuri and Archdruid. Knowing how quick Tron can be this was just not doable for me. My other hands after that were just too much mana or no mana at all.
Game 2 was very similar blowout.
Final Results: 0-2 LOST
Results for the night: 2-2
So what have I learned after this? I learned that even if I mulligan, Elves can still go ahead and win. Especially with this deck I need to be more picky with my opening hand than I can be with other decks. I learned that I still have a lot of studying to do on this format. Even though I went 2-2 I was still pretty happy with the results.
Have a good one and thanks for reading!
Monday, February 1, 2016
In the previous Standard one of my favorite decks to play at the time was UB Control. I never hopped on board the Esper Control train at that time (Ojutai was a bit pricey then) so I stuck with UB. I won a few FNM's with that deck and consistently placed in the Top 4 as well. So I thought, why not try to do the same now that BFZ is out but add some red?
Dragonlord Kolaghan: With his Haste ability and giving other creatures haste, he seemed too good in the meta at the time. Thinking back on it now I probably should have taken this out for another Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury. This card ended up not doing much for me in the end.
Dragonlord Silumgar: Do I want to take your creature or planeswalker? Yes I would like to take your creature or planeswalker. Dies too easily to removal though.
Dragonmaster Outcast: What was I thinking putting this in here? Dies way too easily and ended up not being very good for a control matchup. If I could go back I would nix these and put in more removal/counters.
Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury: As I mentioned earlier I should've made this a 2 of as it's dash ability is just so handy and it's pump ability.
Silumgar, the Drifting Death: Flying, Hexproof and can kill 1/1 Tokens when it or another dragon I control attacks? Count me in!
Thunderbreak Regent: Besides the Dragonlords, this has been one of my favorite dragon cards through the Tarkir set. The fact it hits your opponents face for 3 if they target it makes it that much better. Even if the card resolves and it ends up dying before you can attack with it, makes it worthwhile in the long run. Especially if you just keep bringing the Regent's out.
Complete Disregard: This still isn't a bad card, but mainboardable? Probably not but it does get rid of Jace which is only too prevalent in my local meta. 2 of is not enough though if I were to keep it mainboard, possibly 3.
Crux of Fate: Perfect board wipe for our deck. Not much more to say.
Dig Through Time: Still one of my favorite cards in this current Standard and I'll be sad to see it go. It'll become a small piece to some future EDH deck I build when it rotates out. To me, this card is still a must for any control deck.
Radiant Flames: Hey a board wipe against aggro decks on turn 3? Count it in. Proved to be useful sometimes.
Ruinous Path: A slower Hero's Downfall. Turns out Instant Speed is pretty good.
Silumgar's Command: This card was very conditional in it's use, by the time you get to 5 mana you should be having better things to do than cast this card or wait on your turn and be reactive. If only it cost 4 mana it would be tons better.
Silumgar's Scorn: The closest we've gotten to normal Counterspell in Standard in awhile. Good thing all your creatures are Dragons so this won't be too hard to pull off, right? Right?
Tormenting Voice: Why did I put this in?
I'm going to skip the sideboard in this article and just focus on where I think I went wrong with this deck. I made the mistake a lot of people make when a rotation occurs, thinking they can build their favorite deck from the previous Standard and just add to it and hope it works out. The meta was still forming in BFZ and I was hoping control would take more of a forefront.
If I went back to the deck now what changes would I make? What Oath cards would I include in as well? I think I would definitely add in either a playset or 3 of Draconic Roar. I would definitely take out the Dragonmaster Outcast and Dragonlord Kolaghan's as well and add in another Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury and another removal/counter spell. Possibly go down to 3 Dig's?
I may just go back and retool this deck soon and test it out online and see how it does in this current meta. I've seen R/B Dragons become slightly more popular in the meta, perhaps a more control variant of that list splashing Blue can be done. If I do decide to retool it, I'll be sure to do another showcase talking about it. For the time being, I consider this a dud deck showcase. A good idea on paper, but end up not panning out.