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By: Paul Leicht, Paul Emerson Leicht
Oct 26 2012 1:47pm
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Dad doing Aikido at Shobu Aikido of the Berkshires.

Into the Fall:

For the last month and some change I have been in upstate New York, enjoying my Dad and Stepmom's hospitality and company and have been a little too occupied to play a lot of magic. Their dog "Figaro" (pictured below) has taken me on many a walk, there have been gardening chores and general outdoors work and then the old pastime I never seem to find time for in the city any more: Reading. I've also been going every couple days to watch my Dad do Aikido in Great Barrington, Mass. which isn't too far from the house. (He's 76, suffers from periodic bouts of lyme disease and still moves like a young guy. I put that down to his mostly vegetarian "leaves and twigs" diet.) With all of these activities my spare time has become almost nonexistent.

And then my friend bought me a copy of XCom: Enemy Unknown on Steam and THAT has eaten almost a week of my time (mysteriously). Shooting down alien badguys has rarely been more fun or intriguing or in some cases frustrating. All of this means I haven't had a lot of time to sit for hours and brew decks or play. I've also spent some time recording my music which is something I have neglected recently. (For the brave here is a video on facebook of me doing my song "Tattoo": )

Figaro, a Lab Poodle mix with a golden heart.
Figaro, A Lab/Poodle mix with a heart of gold.

 

The Community.
I asked WOTC to consider Heath Newton again and to invite Keya Soleh (aka Gamemaster32, who along with AJ_Impy upholds the Freed from the Real podcast tradition (started by the late and lamented Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg) by cohosting it every week), to the Community Cup Challenge. They did give Heath a return invite and he's been representing very nicely. Hopefully next year they will recognize Keya too. :)

But what about the rest of us? Well Tuesday (October 23rd), BlippyTheSlug (The Grand Poobah Slug himself) hosted a Modern format event "Pwn The Poobah" for some big prizes including a seat at the table playing against the Poobahs of WOTC for the top 4 players. The winners of said matches will affect the final score of the CCC by accruing some Multiball points (I am not clear on exactly how but we will know soon enough.) Congratulations go to the winners of the PTP event: slug360 (1st place), pk23, leviatanCL, and xMiMx.


The Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg Community Cup

PTP Update:
After being told they would play 5pm est on Thursday, the players on Blippy's Team were forced to start at 4pm instead. Three of the four were available so Blippy brought in auxillary runner up, Ranth (he took 5th in the PTP tourney), in place of PK23. Of the 4 matches we only dropped one after Ranth playing BG Zombies, had as he described it "Got too greedy with my keeps." against WotC_Andrew's Jund. Slug360's Rock Zoo took Monty Ashley's BG Zombies in 2 straight games, while xMIMx's infect did the same with MattS's Izzet Control/Storm and leviatanCL made it in a tense 3rd game vs WotC _Astocles with his control UW deck vs Jund Zoo. (I am not sure of all the decks names so I am making this up as I go based on what I saw played.)

CCC Update:
I expect by the time this goes live, the games will be over for all but the crying. As of now (11:30pm Thursday night) the WOTC team leads the community team 186 to 147 but in the multiball "wacky" draft portion it seems the community has made up for their dismal earlier performances by thrashing the WOTC team soundly 7 matches to 1. And again in round 2 of that draft they won most of their matches.  There is still hope that we will prevail. I hope we do.

I think we have a fine bunch of players and while I saw some very disappointing plays on the part of the pros on our team, the really awesome stuff outweighs that. I watched Heath Newton and Bubba take down their opponents in style. They played like pros themselves. While I saw Jackie Lee miss a crucial play yesterday that cost her, her match (She had an opportunity to bring Gargadon in on her own turn a turn early by saccing a land and avoiding the eventual counter while giving her attack a serious +9 damage.) that she missed it after long grueling days of playing magic isn't that extraordinary. And someone questioned whether perhaps she was still tilted over her technical DQ over the weekend at the PT Return To Ravnica which wasn't given out for anything shady but apparently some mismanagement on her part. On the other hand I did watch her masterfully take down her opponent in the first round of the wacky draft so I think maybe she has shaken off whatever blues that might have incurred which is more than I could say for myself given similar circumstances.

Conley Woods also made errors that had some of us scratching our heads but at the end of the day He took down his opponent down and that is after all what matters in this. I am sure the players on both sides have suffered fatigue so in the sum of things we need to also take that into account. I saw WOTC players make similar errors and then there are the helpers. Some games went to time because playing on the clock on MTGO is unforgiving when you are waiting for input from teammates who are arguing or undecided. Add to that some slow players/complex board situations and the recipe spells unpredicted disasters.

And the same types of things happened last year and the year before where the Team looked to be in dire straits but they pulled together and eked out victories over the relatively well rested WOTC arsenal of players. I expect no different by the end of this challenge. Go Go Team Community!!

Decks

After the record breaking number of decks listed last time I don't ever plan to put that many decks in a single article again. (Though I hope you enjoyed them all.) Record breaking for me I mean. 17 lists with breakdowns and descriptions is not only too much work but also probably too much reading. Though that shows just how much I enjoyed the twilight building time.

I've done some thinking about new standard (post Ravnica) and have come up with:

 

Typically Heartless Summoning is mostly good when I've got Volatile Rig/Trading Post. Since I can sac and play it for 3 mana each turn. (1 to activate post, 2 for rig). The deck is a work in progress  so I'd love some feedback on it. I've already found that many players will just concede if I manage to get a Bolas into play but otherwise it is really an uphill battle until the end game. Casual magic right now is filled with many aggro variants (even more so than when Delver was king.) So I find my deck needing to fend off early attackers. Which is what the Weirds are for. They really stop attacking by many early creatures.

Mizzium Mortars lives up to its hype if I can get to 6 mana. Getting there is rough but doable with Liliana and Vessels and Gems. Evil Twins handles the Angels that stop my removal suite and other things as well.

Unlike many of my black decks in the recent past I am not going with reanimator here so no Griselbrand or other tempting fatties.

Another version:

Red Post
a Standard format deck by Winter.Wolf
Creatures
3 Flayer of the Hatebound
4 Frostburn Weird
3 Zealous Conscripts
4 Volatile Rig
14 cards

Other Spells
4 Mizzium Mortars
1 Chandra, the Firebrand
2 Staff of Nin
4 Vessel of Endless Rest
4 Trading Post
2 Devil's Play
3 Pillar of Flame
2 Helvault
22 cards
Lands
21 Mountain
3 Cavern of Souls
24 cards
 
Trading Post

 

This one plays more like a burn deck relying heavily on a burn out ending and the volatile rig post interaction here is crucial. In theory it should work you both down to a low life total very quickly. Though it might take a little more time to get going as without the Heartless Summoning it costs 5 to do every turn. On the other hand the mana should be very consistent. An early weird can mean a lot of beatings that your opponent will have a hard time dealing with, or alternatively a staunch blocker against the many 3 power guys in the format.

My meager attempt to aid in the Battle against Team WotC via the PTP:

I ran the following deck list:

 

Because the Rock archetype really appeals to me I decided to try this despite not having a real sideboard designed for it. I know there are Death Cloud lists out there but I chose my own because it is one of the lists I already had the cards for. I missed a couple really strong cards (Kitchen Finks for example) that would have been good to see in here and in my redesign they make the cut. But then again I didn't have a lot of prep time for this tourney. Nonetheless at the time I made the choice I was reasonably happy with the deck. It was doing OK in Tourney Practice and has the kind of theme I love.

The idea is very simple and attacks a meta of creature based decks by playing Death Cloud and reanimated Massacre Wurms + Blood Artists in a Rock shell. LOL Troll (Lotleth Troll) is one of my late additions when I realized that I was consistently stuck with a Griselbrand or Wurm in hand with no way to get it in the graveyard and not enough time to hard cast it. In practice Mannequin + Wurm or Griselbrand was enough to win. In the tourney this didn't work as well I was hoping for.

First round I played against LegendaryLegend (from clan CerealKillas )*  who brought Slivers (almost straight from the slivers premium deck.) I narrowly lost game 1 on a misplay (had Black Sun's Zenith to sweep but opted to hold back thinking I was safe and then he played another Might Sliver and the game ended). Game 2 he got out an early (Gaddock Teag) but I managed to respond to it by discarding Griselbrand to LOL Troll and then casting Makeshift Mannequin to resurrect him. With no fliers and no targeting effects he quickly conceded. Game 3 however I was one land away from doing the same thing again when he managed to get Gaddock into play and that was it. I was locked out without drawing a Maelstrom Pulse  (yet holding  Unburial Rites, Makeshift Mannequin, Griselbrand, Massacre Wurm + 2 Death Clouds, with LOL Troll on the table.)  and his horde of Slivers won the match in short order.

I don't rue having played the way I did but I recognize that my decision to hold off the zenith was severely flawed. If I had cast Zenith in the first game I probably would have won soon enough off the back of a hard cast wurm instead of being stomped into the ground the very next turn.

A little shout out to clan Cereal Killas for their excellent trivia contest between rounds run by Treyuk. I won a foil Conjured Currency which I promised to find a way to break at some point. Thanks guys (and gals) for providing us with some much needed fun and relief from the somewhat harder task of playing Modern against a wide open field.

 

Round 2 I faced a Metal Goblins deck (spells to sac Wellsprings for tokens + lots of attackers and goblins) where he started off strong but soon fell to the lifelinking Griselbrand and Massacre Wurm vs his token hordes. Game 2 he got out his attack too fast for me to stop and finished with a Goblin Grenade. Game 3 however he was flooded and I maintained control until the very end.

Round 3 I faced PK23 (eventual top 4 winner) who brought Melira Pod and both games I was one land from being able to wipe the board and mess up his plans when he got the full combo out. I am only a little frustrated by this as I recognize that Pod is one of the top most decks in the format even now after other decks have tried to supplant it. Melira is a bit of a spoiler and you really need to kill her (exile is best) quickly or suffer for it. On the other hand if I had managed to get a Massacre Wurm out he would have had nothing out at all to rebuild with.

Round 4 I faced a canned Zombies list (just pick one off the internet and I think it was pretty close except no Falkenrath Aristocrats). It wasn't even close either game. I did get out some Blood Artists but they were quickly eaten by the hungry undead.

In the games I won and lost I mulled 70% of the time. (7 of 10 games). And in several mulled to 5. This tells me the Deck itself is severely lacking in proper land fetching and mana fixing. I probably needed to play some ramp as well as maybe some elves or other dorks. On the other hand maybe I just picked the wrong deck. After all I was supposed to be heading back to the City Tuesday, and did not plan to join the tourney until that day when I knew I'd be staying on up here.

I was initially thinking of a build like the following:

 

But decided against it because in testing (in the TP room) it was consistently failing. The idea of course is the standard lark combo + sisters to gain early life as a buffer vs aggro/burn. Though with Blood Artist that isn't as necessary. Lark combo for those who don't know consists of having Mirror Entity + Body Double in the Graveyard and a Reveillark in play or Mirror Entity and Double (Copying a Lark in the graveyard) in play with Lark in the Graveyard then put Mirror Entity's ability at 0 cmc on the stack many times and either use Blood Artist or Mulldrifter or something to complete the kill. The combo is rather sudden and can be put together in multiple ways which makes it harder to kill. On the other hand it is subject to graveyard disruption and of course exiling effects. On the other hand it is not hard to go off quickly with a decent hand.

I am thinking LOL Troll is a card that loves this deck as it makes the combo doable at semi instant speed. (Dump a bunch of cards at the beginning of your op's end step and then on your turn go off.) On the other hand slipping green in could be a painful experience requiring dual lands.

Conclusion

This article is a lot shorter than my typical output but then I am almost falling asleep here and want to see it get out in a timely manner tomorrow so I need to put it to bed then do the same for myself. I look forward to playing the free RTR draft with all of you and getting the Trackers as prizes. I sure hope we don't all wake up to Promo Sorrow's Paths instead. Until next time have fun and don't concede until the game is over. Thanks for the Community Cup Challenge, Wizzos and I look forward to next year's as well.

Magically,

Paul Emerson Leicht (aka Winter.Wolf on MTGO)

 

2 Comments

Nice read! Tell your dad I by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 10/26/2012 - 13:58
BlippyTheSlug's picture
5

Nice read! Tell your dad I said "You go, boi!" One nitpick... it's CerealKillaz. One word, ends in "z".

http://wwww.cerealkillaz.org

Thanks Blippy, I knew it by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/26/2012 - 15:03
Paul Leicht's picture

Thanks Blippy, I knew it might be a little off but its what I remembered. :p Thanks for the link too.