Welcome back for the third friendly league! I opened a pretty sweet pool, so let's get to it!
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Introduction to Article Series
With this series, I'm aiming to go through the friendly add-a-pack leagues and give readers a chance to give feedback and hopefully gain some insight. I'll likely vary where I break in the article, and sometimes will ask for community feedback as to how to integrate a new pack before playing more matches. Here is a list of previous entries in this series.
I'll also include a value of the pool and pack, and might do some EV calculations (i.e. how much is the add-a-pack league worth). While it won't be true EV, it will be a real world application, which should highlight some of the variance you'll expect to see.
Generally, I will do text write-ups, not videos. There may be times where I do include videos, but I will still include a write-up as well. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how to improve the series!
Let's see where we left off:
The new pack just added a bunch of good Green, and nothing else pulled me as the additional black in Aether Poisoner did not outweigh the addition of Caught in the Brights for white. This pack provided a fairly straight upgrade pack for my deck. Here is the deck I played for Stage 2:
Match 1 vs. vyrnprodigy 2-1 Izzet Improvise
Game 1: I mull a one lander, then mull a zero lander. I keep Greenbelt Rampager, Renegade Freighter, and 3 Forests, scrying a Forest to the bottom. My opponent leads with an Island and Renegade Map while I draw Rishkar's Expertise and start getting Greenbelt Rampager onto the field. My opponent adds a Sky Skiff and I eventually swing with Greenbelt Rampager and drop Renegade Freighter. My opponent adds a Mobile Garrison and eventually plays a creature--Freejam Regent. I draw and cast Peema Aether-Seer, forcing the Regent to block the freighter, forcing the trade. My opponent adds Bastion Inventor and I drop Maulfist Revolutionary. My opponent adds Aether Swooper and I add Aeronaut Admiral which I trade for the Sky Skiff. My opponents also adds Wind Drake and a servo. I draw a Forest and swing with the team, dealing 6 while my opponent eats my Peema Aether-Seer. However, that lets me drop Lifecraft Cavalry as a 6/6. Unfortunately, my opponent has Malfunction for it. I add Aetherstream Leopard and my opponent adds Padeem, Consul of Innovation. My opponent gets me to 5 with fliers and adds another Sky Skiff, which is much better than my Durable Handicraft. Facing 5 power of flying, I concede my mull to 5 game.
Game 2: I keep Peema Aether-Seer, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Lifecraft Cavalry, Rishkar's Expertise, Renegade Freighter, and lands. My opponent leads with Renegade Map again and I start with Renegade Freighter. My opponent adds Servo Schematic, which leads to Foundry Assembler. I drop Peema Aether-Seer, crew and swing for 5 (though I did misplay--I should have crewed with the enter the battlefield trigger on the stack, which would give me 4 energy instead of 3). My opponent is stuck on lands, so I do not force the block. My opponent drops another land and then adds Bastion Inventor. I draw Cultivator's Caravan, play it and also add Rishkar, Peema Renegade, giving the counters to himself and the Renegade Freighter. On the attack, the train trades for the inventor. My opponent plays Malfunction on Cultivator's Caravan. I trade the seer for the worker, allowing a 6/6 Lifecraft Cavalry. My opponent adds another Servo Schematic and then Freejam Regent. I play Rishkar's Expertise, draw 6, use Take Down on the Regent, and go to add Implement of Ferocity to the field, but my opponent scoops first.
Game 3: I keep Thriving Ibex, Decommission, Ridgescale Tusker, Cultivator's Caravan, Greenbelt Rampager, Forest, and Plains. I draw a Forest, my opponent plays an Eager Construct while I get Greenbelt Rampager to stick. My opponent Ice Overs my elephant, while untapped. I add Cultivator's Caravan and my opponent adds Foundry Assembler. I add Thriving Ibex while my opponent adds Padeem, Consul of Innovation. I add Peema Aether-Seer and again fail to get the energy by crewing. I attack with the caravan and my opponent doesn't block. My opponent casts Reverse Engineer. I then attack with ibex and caravan and my opponent double blocks the ibex. I Decommission the Ice Over and add Renegade Freighter. My opponent plays Servo Schematic. I play Ridgescale Tusker and with the ability on the stack, start crewing my vehicles. My opponent scoops.
Match 2 vs. FFperoni86 2-0 Esper Expertise
Game 1: I keep Greenbelt Rampager, Maulfist Revolutionary, and 5 lands. This is one of the areas I am weak--I do not like mulliganing, and so I often keep 5 landers. Here, I had early action so I justified keeping it (whether correct or not). My first draws are Implement of Ferocity and Countless Gears Renegade. My opponent leads with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and follows up with Aether Poisoner. I draw all-star Scrounging Bandar. My opponent adds Dukhara Peafowl. I pop my implement and drop the renegade to make a servo. My opponent plays Sram's Expertise and drops in a Hinterland Drake he otherwise couldn't play. I've started attacking, so when I swing with a 4/5 elephant and a 4/4 revolutionary, my opponent finally throws the Aether Poisoner in front of the revolutionary. The trade lets me drop a 6/6 Lifecraft Cavalry. My opponent flashes in Shielded Aether Thief and on the next turn plays a Dawnfeather Eagle. I start attacking with my now 7/7 cavalry and drop an Aeronaut Admiral to stem the fliers. I get a Caught in the Brights which goes on the eagle. My opponent plays Tidy Conclusion on my cavalry and during an attack trades Glint-Sleeve Siphoner for my Countless Gears Renegade. I get Ridgescale Tusker and swing with the team, putting my opponent in a tough spot. My opponent drops a few creatures but scoops when I attack with the team.
Game 2: I keep Ridgescale Tusker, 2 Cultivator's Caravan, 3 Plains, and 1 Forest. I get the Greenbelt Rampager and start that while my opponent plays a Consulate Skygate. Turn 4 I get my elephant to stick, crew the caravan, swing for 5 and drop the other caravan. Somewhat awkwardly, my opponent plays Caught in the Brights on my elephant--but it does stop the crewing. When I drop Ridgescale Tusker, crew up both caravans to make them 6/6's and swing, my opponent scoops.
Match 3 vs. davis3105 2-0 Game 1 was Green Black, game 2 was White Red
Game 1: I keep a killer hand in double Implement of Ferocity, Countless Gears Renegade, Druid of the Cowl, Ridgescale Tusker, Plains, and Forest. My opponent leads off with Winding Constrictor and Aether Poisoner to my Implement of Ferocity and Druid of the Cowl. I add Durable Handicraft. My opponent gets a bit stuck on lands, and uses his own Implement of Ferocity, making the snake a 4/5. I follow up with a 3/3 renegade and 2/2 servo, thanks to the handicraft. I get a trade the next turn, allowing my to play Lifecraft Cavalry as a 7/7. My opponent Prey Upons my servo token, and I make a 4/2 Aeronaut Admiral. I think my opponent forgets about the activated ability of Durable Handicraft and when I attack with my 4/2 flier, he blocks with his 2/1 Foundry Screecher. My opponent draws once more and scopes.
Game 2: I keep Maulfist Revolutionary, Durable Handicraft, Lifecrafter's Gift, Lifecraft Cavalry, and lands. I draw the Greenbelt Rampager. So, on turn 3 I have a 4/5 elephant to my opponent's Restoration Specialist and Key to the City. My opponent plays Caught in the Brights on my elephant and I play Maulfist Revolutionary. I stack the triggers so that I can add 1 counter via Durable Handicraft first, then double it with the maulfist triggers. My opponent plays a Ghirapur Osprey and I play Snare Thopter with a counter. My opponent plays a Hope of Ghirapur to chump the Snare Thopter and I add Aeronaut Admiral as 4/2. My opponent adds Embraal Gear-Smasher. I main phase Lifecrafter's Gift on my admiral and my opponent scoops.
My stage 3 pack was rather uninspiring:
||$0.28 + 40PP - $1.95
Apparently, I did not write down the full pack, but the important cards are here. It's possible that Restoration Gearsmith and Prophetic Prism are enough to pull me into Green White with a splash of black. In retrospect, it might have been a better choice, as the deck was low on removal. As for as changes to the deck, all I did was add in Peema Outrider, taking out Thriving Ibex. Here is the deck as it went into Stage 3 matches:
Match 1 vs. Turkwitch 1-2 Black Red Aggro
Game 1: I keep Implement of Ferocity, Lifecrafter's Gift, Lifecraft Cavalry, Peema Aether-Seer, and land. My opponent starts with Embraal Bruiser and Renegade Freighter while I play implements. I draw Rishkar, Peema Renegade, and then type my mana wrong so I cannot pop both implements. Doesn't matter as my opponent has Chandra's Revolution for my renegade and he attacks me down to 1. My opponent is able to play another creature and I cannot block everything so I lose.
Game 2: I keep Lifecrafter's Gift, Aetherstream Leopard, Natural Obsolescence, and lands. My opponent plays Aether Chaser and Reckless Racer, which Aetherstream Leopard conveniently bricks. I add a Peema Outrider which my opponent immediately kills. I get Greenbelt Rampager which I use to crew the caravan and swing for 9, bringing my opponent to 7. On the next attack, I use Lifecrafter's Gift on my double blocked Aetherstream Leopard, which makes it trample for 2 while my unblocked caravan does 5.
Game 3: I keep Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Lifecrafter's Gift, Snare Thopter, Aeronaut Admiral, and land. My opponent opens with Bomat Courier on turn 1, and he follows it with Inventor's Apprentice and Renegade Freighter. When my opponent plays Chandra's Revolution on my only creature, and I cannot play a creature for another turn, I concede at 9 life to my opponents 6+ the next turn.
Match 2 vs. HangJebat 1 - 2 Black White Untethered Express
Game 1: I keep Implement of Ferocity, 2 Aeronaut Admiral, Snare Thopter, and lands. My opponent leads with Pacification Array and I draw and play Scrounging Bandar and Renegade Freighter. My opponent adds Chief of the Foundry and attacks the next turn--I crew my Freighter and block, which dies to Impeccable Timing. I add Rishkar, Peema Renegade and pop the implement on it. When my opponent reaches their 4th land, they add Untethered Express to the board. I play Aeronaut Admiral and attack into my opponent with one open Forest. I didn't actually have a trick, but in hindsight, I don't think I accounted for the +1/+1 from the chief to the express, so this may not have been a wise gamble. Luckily, my opponent did not block and just took 7. They play Sram's Expertise, and get a free Caught in the Brights and then swing me down to 14. I move all of my counters to my admiral, making it a 6/4 and play the Snare Thopter to swing for 9, bringing my opponent to 1. Sadly, I failed at counting and should have left 1 counter on the Bandar so it could block, or played differently somehow, as my opponent had lethal if they played a creature for crewing, which they did. I think my thought process was that with the Pacification Array, they could tap down a blocker, but I could have left a 1/1 cat monkey, dropped a different creature and tried to balance instead of pushing upfront.
Game 2: I keep Renegade Freighter, Cultivator's Caravan, Caught in the Brights, Implement of Ferocity, Natural Obsolescence, Plains, and Forest. While I didn't have a creature, I felt it had good answers to my opponent, so I kept. I draw another Forest and Greenbelt Rampager while my opponent plays Syndicate Trafficker and Ghirapur Osprey. I do the bounce-crew thing with Greenbelt Rampager and the Cultivator's Caravan I played the turn before. I pop the implement on it and swing for 6. My opponent adds Restoration Specialist. I play Caught in the Brights on the trafficker and swing my opponent down to 8. My opponent has the awkward play of Caught in the Brights on my elephant, which still lets me crew my caravan. I add Renegade Freighter and Druid of the Cowl and bring my opponent to 2. My opponent passes without a play and then I add Peema Outrider and swing with my vehicles. The Renegade Freighter gets hit with Impeccable Timing. My opponent plays Battle At the Bridge to kill the outrider and gain 4 life. I add Snare Thopter, attack and bring my opponent to 3 while he chumps the 6/6 caravan. My opponent adds Gifted Aetherborn and I add Maulfist Revolutionary, choosing not to attack with my now 7/7 caravan. My opponent follows up with Skyswirl Harrier. I draw land and pass. My opponent attacks with the bird and plays a Chief of the Foundry, which I use Natural Obsolescence on. That leaves my opponent with his 1 blocker that gains 2 life, but I can swing for 5 other than the caravan (which is a 7/7), so I swing for the win.
Game 3: I keep Cultivator's Caravan, Aeronaut Admiral, Rishkar's Expertise, and 4 Plains. We both start off slow, my first plays being an Implement of Ferocity and Cultivator's Caravan, while my opponent's first play is a turn 4 Untethered Express off 4 swamps. The first creature is my Peema Aether-Seer which crews the caravan for the first damage of the game. My opponent plays Ambitious Aetherborn and makes a servo to crew, bringing me to 15 as well. I add Aeronaut Admiral and pop the implement on my now flying caravan, swinging for 6, while I also force the trade of Peema Aether-Seer and Ambitious Aetherborn. My opponent has Battle At the Bridge for my flier while changing the math with some life gain. My opponent also has Decommission for my caravan, and that's pretty much game. I play a last ditch Rishkar's Expertise and draw 3 lands and no outs to the express, so I concede.
Note - This is a rather sad loss for me, as I clearly punted Game 1. One thing though, this entire process is showing me that I should be watching replays of my own games more often. I have seen quite a bit I missed in the game, so this has turned into quite the learning experience. As another example, in Game 3, perhaps the better play should have been to use Rishkar's Expertise much earlier when I could get 5 cards with the caravan. I mistakenly decided not to because I needed to use the caravan for the second green mana (which could also imply I should have mulliganed).
Match 3 vs. edibecker 1 - 2 Green Black Untethered Express
Game 1: I keep Greenbelt Rampager, Scrounging Bandar, Durable Handicraft, Lifecrafter's Gift, Deadeye Harpooner, Plains, and Forest. I miss my third land drop and my opponent plays double Night Market Guard. I get out Druid of the Cowl with a counter and I lose it to a Subtle Strike on a block. My opponent adds Untethered Express to my Renegade Freighter and Aetherstream Leopard (as a 3/4). My opponent attacks with the Express and I double block, trading the train for my elephant. Which allows my opponent a 3/3 Night Market Aeronaut. I trade my freighter for their 4/2 guard, which in hindsight might have been questionable (especially with a Aeronaut Admiral in hand), although it does allow a 3/3 Deadeye Harpooner to kill the other guard. Still, the Freighter is very powerful and the trade might not have been worth it. My opponent adds Gifted Aetherborn which I use Caught in the Brights on and then I also play Scrounging Bandar. This opponent also has Battle at the Bridge and kills the leopard, gaining 4 life as well. I just add Aeronaut Admiral as a 4/2. Since I'm at 8 life, I trade the fliers. Unfortunately, my opponent has two Silkweaver Elites. I attack with the team and use Lifecrafter's Gift to bring my opponent to 1 and kill one of their elites for free. My opponent adds Lifecrafter's Bestiary and Aetherstream Leopard. My opponent has to chump block both creatures and I add Peema Outrider, meaning my opponent needed a board wipe, 4 creatures, or life gain. They get the life gain in Arborback Stomper. I move the counters to the Outrider, draw and pop an Implement of Ferocity, making an 8/8 trampler, which with a 5/5 harpooner and 1/1 servo presents too much for my opponent.
Game 2: I keep Ridgescale Tusker, Lifecrafter's Gift, Durable Handicraft, Aeronaut Admiral, Rishkar's Expertise, Plains, Forest. My opponent leads with Embraal Bruiser and Night Market Guard while I miss land drops. I use Natural Obsolescence on the guard, which my opponent follows with Winding Constrictor and Druid of the Cowl. I draw a third land and play Cultivator's Caravan. My opponent plays Ridgescale Tusker, which with the snake, makes a 5/3, 4/5. and 3/5, as well as the 5/5 tusker. I concede
Game 3: I keep a rather sketchy hand of 2 Cultivator's Caravan, Implement of Ferocity, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Aeronaut Admiral, and two Plains. My opponent mulls to 5, and I do manage to get a Forest. My opponent kills my Cultivator's Caravan with Creeping Mold and follows up with Druid of the Cowl. I add Aetherstream Leopard and pop the implement on it. My opponent gets stuck on 3 lands and the druid, I draw and play Peema Outrider. My opponent's second creature finally comes--Arborback Stomper. I play Rishkar, making the leopard a 4/5 and the outrider a 4/4 and swing. My opponent plays Battle At the Bridge, killing my Outrider (they did not have mana to kill the leopard). After some swinging on both sides, we are both at 9 life. My opponent adds Gifted Aetherborn and Dhund Operative. I play Rishkar's Expertise for 4 cards, dropping in a free Aeronaut Admiral which crews my caravan to bring my opponent to 4. My opponent attacks with everything and has subtle strike to remove my servo, meaning after blocks, I take exactly 9. So, this time I get too greedy with the expertise. If I hadn't played it, I wouldn't have needed to tap my leopard, so I would have had another blocker.
||200PP + 40PP + 40PP = 280PP
||240PP + 40PP + $1.95 = 280PP + $1.95
||+$6.93 - $1.95 = + $4.98
A bit disappointed to lose all 3 stage 3 matches, but 6-3 is still decent. Watching the replays to do the write up shows me a lot of errors I made, so I hopefully I can improve from there.
As always, I appreciate comments and suggestions!
xger21 on MTGO