stsung's picture
By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Nov 02 2017 11:00am
5
Login or register to post comments
573 views


In certain countries German Highlander is still being played and sometimes the attendance is way higher than one would expect. On the 14th of October I went to participate in one such event. There were 57 participants. We played 6 rounds of swiss and top8. I came up 9th losing my feature match. One of the players watching the match said that it was as if 'my opponent cast Demonic Tutor in upkeep for free each turn'. There was a consolation prize for the 9th place - A Masterpiece Counterbalance - which was a really nice thing and I'd like thank the TO for it. I played 4c Blood at the event and I wanted to honor the deck with playing with it in the next Chainsaw Massacre before I'd move onto something else like BUG Loam that I wanted to try out.

On Magic Online we do not play German Highlander but 100 Card Singleton with a slightly different banlist. For example one of the differences is that Demonic Tutor is banned while Mystical Tutor is unbanned. With many cards that got unbanned recently the format can easily gravitate towards the German Highlander metagame. The format will still be unique and different since 100CS uses sideboard and German Highlander does not. This for example allows us to have an edge post-board against decks our deck is not really that well equipped against.

At Chainsaw Massacre 4.02 we saw a shift towards German Highlander or at least I did since I was paired against German Highlander-like Scapeshift, BUG Loam, UW Control and 4c Blood. I was piloting 4c Blood which was the deck to beat in German Highlander for years till Izzet Control became popular in communities around Europe. I wasn't the only one piloting 4c Blood though - there were at least two other players piloting the deck - Lowman02 and Socanelas (I saw Michelle_Wong play it but later found out that it was some Magic Online joke - it switched the players.). Since introducing the deck would take ages in a written form for me I decided to record a video, not being entirely sure how it would end up. The video is up at my channel on Youtube but you can also view it here.

What is 4c Blood?
For those that will choose not to watch the video, here's a quick recap of what 4c Blood is. It is a 4-color (without blue) good stuff deck filled with value cards that can either stop an aggression (go over it), or 'out-value' control decks (get the control player in top deck mode and win because 4c Blood simply top decks better). It behaves pretty much like Jund or Junk decks that are good not because they would have many good matchups but rather because many of their matchups are very close to 50%. This is true for 4c Blood as well and that is what it made it the premier deck of German Highlander. It could deal with RDW that was keeping Control in check while it would also deal with the Control decks. The weak point of this deck are combo decks or slower card advantage based decks. Since this format features a sideboard the deck can find means how to fight such decks if they would become more prevalent.

 

Tournament Report

Round 1 - Scapeshift
I kept Marsh Flats, Badlands, Copperline Gorge, Polluted Delta, Sylvan Advocate, Dark Confidant, Birds of Paradise which was more lands than I'd need but I had two good creatures in my hand so no reason for mulligan. My opponent was on the play and played Gitaxian Probe and Misty Rainforest. That suggested that my opponent would most likely be on a combo deck or very aggressive build of something (which I doubted). I fetched for Savannah and played Birds of Paradise which would allow me to play a 3 drop next turn if I drew one. My opponent fetched for Stomping Ground which made 'Scapeshift blink' in my head. They continued with Breeding Pool. I drew a very good card - Tidehollow Sculler - and played it because I was very curious about my opponent's deck. I saw Damnation, Fact or Fiction, Snapcaster Mage, Island, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Vesuva. I really wanted to choose Fact or Fiction but Snapcaster Mage could block my Tidehollow Sculler so I picked that instead. I attacked with Tidehollow Sculler, played Dark Confidant and Wasteland. Wasteland destroyed my opponent's Vesuva copying my Shambling Vent. My opponent top decked Forked Bolt and destroyed both my Birds of Paradise and Dark Confidant. I just continued in playing creatures and swinging. My opponent didn't seem to be able to play Damnation since they were missing any black source.

 

 

My opponent's Fact or Fiction that came later showed me two fetchlands, Scapeshift, Dack Fayden and Rampant Growth. I didn't want my opponent to get Dack Fayden and I didn't want my opponent to get Rampant Growth with Scapeshift so I put that in one pile and the lands and Scapeshift in another one. I had enough power in play in order to win before my opponent would manage to get 8 lands in play and play Scapeshift. Thanks to Thalia, Heretic Cathar I also slowed them down, so they wouldn't be able to play Damnation. After resolving Dig Through Time my opponent conceded.

 

I couldn't decide what to put in so I just put Gaddock Teeg and Winter Orb in my deck. I kept Stirring Wildwood, Garruk Wildspeaker, Swamp, Bitterblossom, Sylvan Advocate and Ajani Vengeant. My opponent suspended Search for Tomorrow. I played a tapped land. Next my opponent surprised me by missing a land drop. I played Bitterblossom which would do a better job at attacking than Sylvan Advocate and passed the turn. Search for Tomorrow resolved and my opponent played Sakura-Tribe Elder and sacrificed it in my upkeep. I drew a land played Sylvan Advocate and Birds of Paradise meaning I could play a planeswalker next turn. My opponent once again though had Forked Bolt ready and destroyed both a Faerie Rogue token and Birds of Paradise. I had a fourth land in my hand but it was Horizon Canopy not producing red mana I needed for Ajani Vengeant. I played Garruk Wildspeaker that got Remanded. It started to look bad for me since my opponent was reaching enough lands to kill me with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. They discarded my Garruk with Duress since it was the only card I could play at the moment which I didn't mind since I expected Ajani to be more relevant. My draw for the turn was Lightning Bolt. I animated Stirring Wildwood and hit my opponent for 6, meaning to get him in double-bolt range next turn. My opponent then played Tainted Pact and I wondered what the searched for card would be. It was Forest (casting Scapeshift requires double green). They played Courser of Kruphix which meant my attack wouldn't be that good and since the tutored card wasn't global removal I suspected something would be in my opponent's hand dealing with my board. I played Tidehollow Sculler to find out seeing Fastbond, Submerge and Pernicious Deed. I picked Pernicious Deed knowing that it would still wipe my board since my opponent could just Submerge my Sculler. It would cost them 5 mana though since I didn't have a Forest in play. I attacked with my Flying creatures and hoped to deal enough damage to get my opponent to Bolt range next turn (which also meant I needed to draw a source of red. A red source was a very probable out. I still had Horizon Canopy to help me with that). I was lucky and top decked my first fetchland! I animated my land and swung with everything, meaning I could Bolt at the end of turn and (Lightning Helix) next turn. I'd die to Scapeshift but I could win the game after my board would get destroyed with Pernicious Deed. Since my opponent had Courser of Kruphix in play I knew that nothing bad would happen to me, but for some reason I still doubted myself. That's probably why my opponent wasn't happy when I played the Lightning Bolt after I let them play the whole turn. I didn't mean to be mean or something. I was just lost in my thoughts. Thinking about my previous matches against Scapeshift that all ended up in such a strange way. I always had the feeling that 4c Blood is not really favored in this matchup (may also be because I used to play a lot against Scapeshift while running Jund and often feeling helpless. You know the moment when you play Thoughtseize and your opponent draws for the turn, taps four lands and plays Scapeshift.).

Round 2 - BUG Loam
Next game I took a mulligan, keeping Oath of Nissa, Shambling Vent, Path to Exile, Blooming Marsh, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Llanowar Elves. I expected my opponent to be on some kind of a Prison deck. They started with Breeding Pool and I thought of Loam for some reason. That reason might have been the fact that my deck is not particularly good against Loam decks. It can win against them but when they start gaining card advantage winning gets very difficult. BUG Loam is a control deck which has favorable matchup against slower decks (midrange decks in general). One land does not usually reveal what deck a player is playing so I just continued in the game trying to put my thoughts aside. I played Llanowar Elves on turn 1 and Oath of Nissa on turn 2. I needed a land and hit one. It was Treetop Village which I didn't really want but it was still a land it allowed me to play a planeswalker (even though with one turn delay). My opponent continued with another shockland - Watery Grave. I wasn't really sure what I play against so I tried playing all creatures I had available, swinging with them. Even though I thought that my opponent was on BUG Loam I didn't want to run into permission. When Life from the Loam happened I knew that my plan can be playing anything and winning the game as soon as possible. Unfortunately my mana dorks died and I couldn't play either card in my hand. The turn after Life from the Loam, Titania, Protector of Argoth hit the table and I knew I was doomed unless I drew Toxic Deluge. I drew Mana Confluence then which was in theory a life saver but I played the wrong card costing me the game for sure. I needed to have something to attack with and I played Garruk instead which was the only card in my hand that couldn't get through bunch of 5/3 cards. My opponent let me discard my hand with Raven's Crime and destroyed my Mana Confluence next turn which was practically the end for me unless I'd drawn that Toxic Deluge and got rid of both Life from the Loam and Dust Bowl. I drew two lands in a row and conceded.

While sideboarding I found out that Toxic Deluge was in my sideboard which meant I could have just conceded after I messed up my play. I play Toxic Deluge in German Highlander and remembering which cards are exactly in my deck (and which part) is not that easy for me. I boarded in half of my sideboard including Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast to deal with newly unbanned cards like Intuition, Mystical Tutor or Dig Through Time which I really wanted to counter. I kept a hand featuring Shambling Vent, Savannah, Badlands, Pyroblast, Gaddock Teeg, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Scrapheap Scrounger. On turn 2, I played the Scrapheap Scrounger and started attacking. Gaddock Teeg joined it and I wondered if I want to attack with it too since it could die to a possible Snapcaster Mage. I decided that it is worth the risk even though I didn't really want to lose the card either. I had Elspeth in my hand though and if Gaddock would die I could follow that up with her. I swung into open mana and my creatures survived. I played Liliana of the Veil and let us discard leaving mana open for Pyroblast. My opponent fetched and played Intuition in response to Liliana's ability. I happily countered it. I felt I couldn't lose the game after this. My opponent played Toxic Deluge which worked for me. I'd have two planeswalkers in play and a creatureland. I played Elspeth, created a token and let us discard (poor Lotus Cobra got discarded). Garlan discarded Maze of Ith which surprised me. Next turn Ajani Vengeant joined the ranks of the two planeswalkers. I gave my Soldier +3/+3 Flying and my opponent conceded.

My opponent mulled to oblivion which still didn't mean it would be easy for me to win. I needed to put a lot of pressure on my opponent otherwise I could easily lose. My hand wasn't fast and was also dependent on Lotus Cobra (my hand contained planeswalkers). I played the Cobra on turn 2 and hoped it wouldn't die. I knew it was likely to stay but it would lose me the game if it would die. What were the chances of it dying? My opponent played Intuition instead which also didn't feel good from my point of view. I couldn't counter it. My opponent looked for Life from the Loam, Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage, so I let them have Life from the Loam. That Intuition meant that I had only one relevant play next turn and that was to play Ajani Vengeant on turn 3 and keep my opponent's green source tapped so they wouldn't be able to play the tutored Life from the Loam. There was no way I could deal 19 damage before Marit Lage would kill me. I played Ajani Vengeant keeping Bayou tapped and bolted my opponent since I had some mana left. My opponent missed a land drop which was good for me, I had a chance to win! Turn 4 I played Anafenza, the Foremost and Fleecemane Lion which I was lucky to draw and kept the Bayou tapped. This way I'd deal 12 damage next turn which would be exactly lethal. My opponent conceded. After I screw up game 1 I was glad I avoided death by Marit Lage.

Round 3 - UW Control
I was paired against Michelle_Wong which I saw playing 4c Blood earlier during the event. I kept City of Brass, Elves of Deep Shadow, Taiga, Eladamri's Call, Scrapheap Scrounger and Lotus Cobra. I played Elves of Deep Shadow. To my surprise my opponent played Misty Rainforest and fetched for an Island. I was like 'What just happened?'. Switching decks during a tournament is not possible. I remembered that Michelle_Wong's opponent was on UW Control and it started to make sense. Magic Online somehow just switched the players. I played Lotus Cobra and Scrapheap Scrounger on turn 2 and I hoped that this would be enough to win the game. When I was presenting lethal next turn my opponent played Moat. I had no means of getting rid of if but I still had relatively high number of outs. One of the possibilities was also burning my opponent. I played some creatures in the meantime since I had some uncounterable creatures in my hand. I drew Natural Order which could look for an answer but I also needed some discard to see my opponent's hand and get rid of one counterspell. Playing Natural Order into 7 cards in hand is not a good idea. It was very likely it would get countered. I lured one counterspell with Elspeth, Knight-Errant. Natural Order was also countered with Mana Drain and I lost.

I kept a hand with an actual curve. That was fine, especially when the cards I had were also rather anti-control. I played Avacyn's Pilgrim, Gaddock Teeg and Lingering Souls. Again, I wondered if Teeg wants to swing or not. I had creaturelands in my hand though so I decided to attack with it, meaning that if my board would get wiped I could still continue attacking with something. Losing Teeg would make my opponent lose a card in a rather bad way. My opponent played Vendilion Clique targeting herself, revealing Batterskull, drawing a card and trading with Gaddock Teeg. All was well for me. My opponent's hand was obviously bad and I had good follow ups including Lingering Souls if I chose to play flashback them. My opponent played Humility which I briskly destroyed with Maelstrom Pulse (anyway my opponent was already bound to lose, this just accelerated the game) and swung again. I won the game soon after.

Game 3 I hoped to win locking me for the finals. This deck can win against UWb Combo-Control and it was the best matchup I encountered that event. I also knew though that I won many games against 4c Blood relatively out of nowhere with my UWb deck even though it's hardly good in top deck mode. With cards like Mystical Tutor, Dig Through Time etc unbanned the deck has more chances how to recover from ending up in top deck mode. It still requires drawing two relevant cards. I was wrong about one thing though - I didn't realize that my opponent wasn't playing UWb Combo-Control but rather UW Control which wasn't optimally built against decks like highly efficient decks like 4c Blood (I didn't know that prior the event).

I took a mulligan and kept the strangest hand of all times. It consisted of 1 land, 1 mana dork, Oath of Nissa and Thoughtseize (and an irrelevant card). The hand was fine though thanks to Thoughtseize and Oath. At least according to my assessment. I drew Duress also which meant I would eventually discard a card (I expected the first discard to get countered). I played Duress, my opponent countered it as I expected and then I played my Oath finding Wooded Foothills. I played the land and played another mana dork which in this case was more of a 1/1 attacker. Next turn I checked my opponent's hand and discarded Cryptic Command which practically decided the game. It was a strong discard but my hand was only featuring Lotus Cobra at that point and unless my opponent would draw something, the card wouldn't have had much of an impact. A lone 2 power attacker is not usually enough. I left my opponent with only one relevant card in hand which was Memory Lapse. That would certainly be played on my Lotus Cobra to slow me down. My opponent had all the lands needed to land any high impact card - see any Wrath effect, Humility (which wouldn't do much), Moat etc. - and if that would happen it could mean the end of game for me. I luckily top decked a real beater - Putrid Leech. It resolved and I started attacking with all my creatures, pumping Putrid Leech each time. My opponent needed to find a Wrath effect or Gideon Jura. My opponent though was obviously drawing lands and even more lands (could have also been counterspells which become dead draws very easily in this matchup). The last land played was Faerie Conclave and since I already amassed some creatures in my hand (keeping them for a post-wrath situation) I played Lotus Cobra so I could deal lethal damage even through that Faerie Conclave next turn and not risk giving my opponent one more draw into Wrath of God. I won.

Round 4 - 4c Blood
I was offered an ID with Lowman02 and since it was too late for me and I was very sleep deprived still due to the German Highlander event I traveled to I accepted that. The event took its toll quite badly on me, I was glad I could go to sleep. My tiebreakers were better so a day later I found out that I became a Chainsaw Massacre Champion. Lowman02 donated prizes for the Chainsaw Massacre players and gave me 16 Treasure Chests for winning the event (unfortunately I turned them into 190PP and bunch of totally worthless cards).

When I woke up I found out that I received a trophy featuring Saskia the Unyielding. While the trophy should go to Ajani Vengeant, seeing Saskia also made sense. This card can deal 15-20 damage out of nowhere if you have some creatures around. If not she swings for 6 alone and the moment she hits the table. At first I was thinking that she may be more of a win more card but after playing some games in which I was very far behind, I changed my mind. Thanks to Saskia I was able to deal relevant amount of damage in order to turn the game in my favor. About how many cards can we say this? Saskia doesn't have an evasion but the impact on the game is really huge considering that our starting life total is 20. When staring at the trophy I somehow reminded myself of other Legendary creatures that Wizards of the Coast printed recently and I also remembered a 1v1 Challenge I participated not so long ago. One only needs to look at Breya, Etherium Shaper to see that the power of creatures is totally elsewhere than few years ago. It can be observed especially on the multicolored cards, not just 4c ones, even those are the ones that come to my mind first. If you check some of the lists from 7 years ago you will find out that good stuff was a far cry from what good stuff is now. The creatures we play now are different, since they are way better while noncreature spells stay usually the same. What removal could possibly beat Swords to Plowshares?

While the format became very open to combo decks and control, we can see that a fair deck like 4c Blood is still a viable option and probably will be even if more control and combo decks will show up.

We have created a subreddit S100 to share content and to have the possibility to discuss. If you have any questions or just want to share some memorable moments from your games, feel free to post there. If you want to join us at Chainsaw Massacre check the stickied post in the sub. We play at 4pm EST on Saturdays. If you want to ask questions about the format or try it out, feel free to contact me (stsung) or lowman02.

Thanks for reading
S'Tsung (stsung on Magic Online, stsungjp on Twitter)

Decklist

4c Blood
by stsung, 401tix
Creatures
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dark Confidant
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
1 Fleecemane Lion
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Loxodon Smiter
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Primeval Titan
1 Putrid Leech
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Queen Marchesa
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Saskia the Unyielding
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 Siege Rhino
1 Sylvan Advocate
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
1 Thragtusk
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Tireless Tracker
1 Voice of Resurgence
36 cards
Other Spells
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Arc Trail
1 Bitterblossom
1 Dismember
1 Dromoka's Command
1 Duress
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Fatal Push
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Kolaghan's Command
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Lightning Helix
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Lingering Souls
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Natural Order
1 Oath of Nissa
1 Path to Exile
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thoughtseize
1 Vindicate
1 Zealous Persecution
29 cards
Lands
1 Arid Mesa
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Blooming Marsh
1 City of Brass
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Karakas
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Mana Confluence
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Polluted Delta
1 Raging Ravine
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
1 Shambling Vent
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Stomping Ground
1 Swamp
1 Taiga
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Temple Garden
1 Treetop Village
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
35 cards

7 Comments

Thanks stsung for this by MichelleWong at Fri, 11/03/2017 - 05:56
MichelleWong's picture
5

Thanks stsung for this article, it was a good read.

May I ask you, do you still believe that Sylvan Advocate is better than Grim Flayer in your deck? I favor Grim Flayer (or just Go for the Throat!) but I may be wrong on this. Interested to hear your thoughts.

Hello Michelle, thank you for by stsung at Fri, 11/03/2017 - 06:57
stsung's picture

Hello Michelle,
thank you for reading.

Grim Flayer is a strange card much like Sylvan Library in this deck. This card is crazy good against control and it alone can simply win the game. Against creature decks though, it's not that great. I often had to attack in a very strange way and trample through to be able to use the Flayer's ability at least once. It is true that in some cases that 1 trigger of it was all was needed. Unfortunately the card is often 2/2 when you need a 4 toughness creature or at least 3 toughness creature. In German Highlander Grim Flayer is rather a card to be cut. In CSM it really depends on what you run into. I don't think it is wrong to have it in your 75 cards.

I would not compare Sylvan Advocate to Grim Flayer because each card fills a different role. I still have more use for Sylvan Advocate than Grim Flayer though.

From my point of view Grim Flayer is the better card but its versatility in the format is quite low while Sylvan Advocate can stop (slow down) an aggressive deck and is a fine attacker. Nothing less, nothing more. With more lands in play it becomes a powerful two drop. Grim Flayer is more often a 2/2 but against WW decks or RDW it's just bad. I was boarding out this card relatively often.

I never felt the need for Go for the Throat. I need an edge against control decks (Grim Flayer is good against white-based control decks but not really against BUG/Grixis or Izzet control decks) and additional removal is something I'd rather avoid. Against decks it would be fine I can usually win by having more efficient creatures or planeswalkers. I'd run Golgari Charm over that card for example.

All this is also based on the fact that my deck is prepared for a wider meta and the fact that I like to have possibilities and answers even in rather aggressive deck.

*in your 115 I agree with you by Sensei at Fri, 11/03/2017 - 22:59
Sensei's picture

*in your 115

I agree with you about GFtT. Like you said, I'd play Golgari Charm or even Chain Lightning/Dreadbore before GFtT (main)

oops. my mistake^_^. by stsung at Sat, 11/04/2017 - 09:16
stsung's picture

oops. my mistake^_^. *facepalm*.

Agreed.

Kindly noted, thanks for the by MichelleWong at Fri, 11/03/2017 - 07:16
MichelleWong's picture
5

Kindly noted, thanks for the explanation, makes sense. I guess my opinion is based on what I fear more. I always fear Grim Flayer from across the table more than Sylvan Advocate, but that's because I don't play aggressive decks.

It feels so punishing to be hit even once by the Flayer. We all know that feeling. It's like a "Sword of Fire and Ice" moment or a "Sword of Feast and Famine" moment - when it's happening to you, you know that something is going horribly wrong for you, and a foreboding of worse things to come! :)

Yeah, I can understand that. by stsung at Fri, 11/03/2017 - 08:40
stsung's picture

Yeah, I can understand that. I'd be very happy to see Flayer against your deck^_~.

BTW I had a funny moment in one of my 100cs matches lately. I equipped Spirit of the Labyrinth with Sword of Fire and Ice which was very cool since my opponent was on Burn and I presented a very fast unblockable clock. Not being able to draw a card though felt terrible :-/

Devil's Advocate by lowman02 at Wed, 11/08/2017 - 12:04
lowman02's picture
5

I'd argue a counterpoint in regards to Grim Flayer and Go For the Throat/Terminate/any point removal.

I think the deck that wants one of them, wants the other. While it seems pretty definitive that everyone sees the power of the Flayer versus control; I think another outlook could be that when combined with point removal in the mirror or vs aggro, Grim Flayer can lead to no small amount of blowouts during the combat step. The fact that this little fellow has trample, can lead to some very interesting block decisions for your opponent (Sensei think this has come up in a few of our matches) and regardless of having to one for one yourself with point removal, the trample clause will still ensure damage is dealt and value is gained off of this card's trigger. I also tend to like Go For the Throat more against aggro than cards like Chain Lightening and Dreadbore, mostly because most of the critters in 4CB styles of lists have large butts and generally foment a double or even triple block from opposing aggro critters after turning the game. When this happens Go For the Throat can protect your most relevant threats, like Siege Rhino, Anafenza, or even Sylvan Advocate. This will tend to lead to 2-1 value off of a 1-1 point removal spell--so I think it's a tough sell to discount instant speed relevance in a deck that primarily looks to win through combat damage. Certainly, it can out value through its PWs but it wins through damage at the end of the day and that means leaving the board open long enough to shut the door on opposition.

But, that leads to a greater difference in how my variants of this deck work and Stsung's works. Hers is focused more so in beating the mirror, mine is designed to beat aggro and control, because often times I feel like against midrange I'll have the time to draw the game out and find a place to force my opponent to make a mistake--if I know they're a better player than me and I'd have to face the mirror match, then I'd take her deck any day of the week. But, as she stated her deck is designed for a wider meta, mine is fairly pointed.

Not saying any of this is right, but I wanted to offer some counterpoints to card assessment and show that I don't think both of these cards can be purely assessed in a vacuum because I think they're linked through a moderate amount of synergy in how different versions of this deck are trying to win.

Another argument would be that this fellow serves nicely as a Sylvan Library that attacks and in the same matchup as Sylvan Library, tends to end the game quickly. Having to run a greater volume of instant speed removal (2 more or so) seems like a fair trade off for a card that can have the same effect vs. control, but have moderate downside vs other removal heavy decks. Plus, if I'm facing aggro or midrange and they're taking up their turn 2 or 3 to remove one of my threats, while I'm playing 4CB, I tend to be happy anyway because I don't expect I'll run out of threats, but they'll eventually run out of removal. This is also why you'll note, Stsung opts to play dismember, because she knows her deck does not want to spend so much mana on turn 3 or 4 that she can't also present a relevant threat.