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By: phe0bus, David B Strimple
Oct 06 2010 10:09am
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By the time this article gets to you, I'm sure that you will be done with M11. Therefore, I will keep the game descriptions brief, so you can get your brains back to 3xSoM.



I'm pretty geeked going into the first round.  This is the best deck that I have drafted.  I only need a little luck, not screw up too badly, and I think I can win the whole thing.

Match 1:  Game 1:

I went up against a BW deck.   A Mind Rot and a Liliana's Specter put me at a disadvantage, but I still got out a Chandra's Spitfire's and a Vulshok Berserker, which I enchanted with Shiv's Embrace.  Opponent was chumping with Squadron Hawk's.  I ripped a late Hoarding Dragon.  The dragon hoarded the Triskelion.  A turn later when the board advantage was starting to switch from neutral to Opponent's advantage, I made the mistake of letting a Nether Horror hit me and bring me down to 6 life instead of taking it out with and sacrificing the dragon.   Opponent followed with four more creatures for the weenie overrun.  I then had this board state, which looks like a Magic Puzzle.  Can you figure out how to win?  I couldn't, and I gave this game away.


Very frustrated, I was off to game 2.

Match 1:  Game 2:

I boarded in Leyline of Sanctity to protect myself from the discard spells.  I took out Inspired Charge.

This was a funny game.  I got an early Goblin Piker and Cyclops Gladiator to his Viscera Seer and Black Knight.  A Quag Sickness on the gladiator made him into a nonfactor by bringing him down to a 1/1.  I swung and challenged the seer.  Instead of trading, he sacrificed himself to scry.  He then followed with another seer and we did it again.  So, in the late game we had a board standoff. 

I swung in and cleared a lot of the board on both sides.  I then brought in the Triskelion and the second spitfire, causing a concession. 

Match 1:  Game 3:

I mulligan to six cards, then faced the Mid Rot and specter combo again.  I got a hasty berserker to connect, then brought down a spitfire.  Opponent quagged the spitfire off of the board.  He took out a 1/3 evasive creature instead of the 3/2 body and let me get in another swing.  I guess he did this because he had a Nether Horror.  He brought that down, and although I offered up a trade, he declined.  He got in a swing himself, before I ripped the gladiator.  He got a Palace Guard and Infantry Veteran, but I got the Sword of Vengeance.  We would have been at a standstill, but the Sword on the Gladiator is too much for just about anything to handle.  I won.

Match 2:  Game 1:

Up against another BW deck I got the action started with a Goblin Piker.  Opponent followed with a Roc Egg.  I brought down Goblin Chieftain and decided to swing into the egg, giving Opponent a 3/3 flyer to play with.  I wasn't too worried because I had Lightning Bolt in hand.  Opponent thwarted me, though.  He put Holy Strength on the Roc token, putting it out of range of not only the bolt, but all of my direct damage.  He then put Pacifism on my Piker.  I got down a Vulshok Berserker and we raced for a couple of turns until he tapped out to get down a Siege Mastodon.  I hit him with his own Mastodon using Act of Treason, then finished him off with a Lava Axe.

Match 2:  Game 2:

This was a quick one.  Opponent got out a Bloodthrone Vampire then a Roc Egg.  You can guess what he did with that.  An Unholy Strength brought it out of bolt range.  I got out a spitfire, followed by my dragon.  I had to put Shiv's Embrace on the dragon just to race.  I almost didn't make it.  I had to win on turn six, or it was over.  Opponent hit me with the Roc, making it (11-2).  I had Act of Treason, Triskelion, and Sword of Vengeance in hand.  I had 4 Mountains and 2 Plains as well.  If that was all he had, I was going to hit him with the Act of Treason and swing for 11.  But, that wasn't all he had.  He dropped a Griffin in the second main.  I was going through all kinds of combos, but with that second card up, I was hosed.  I drew my second Act of Treason.  It took me a while to figure it out, but the double Act of Treason was just enough to win it. 

Match 3:  Game 1:

In this game I had Fire Servant, Shiv's Embrace, and a Lightning Bolt in my opening hand.  I made my fifth land drop on turn five, having already drawn and hit with the Vulshok Berserker.  Fire Servant came down asap.  By this time I was facing off against a Nether Horror and a Nightwing Shade.  I had to use the Fire Servant offensively, so I put Shiv's Embrace on him.  I ended the game with a six point lightning bolt to the face. 

Match 3:  Game 2:

I mulligan to six.  This was an uneventful game where I got out a Goblin Piker and Canyon Minotaur while Opponent got mana screwed.  Before it was over I had the Hoarding Dragon on the board, the Cyclops Gladiator, Triskelion, and an Act of Treason in hand.  Opponent couldn't put up much of a fight, and I won the draft.

Lesson's Learned:  I learned that red can win.  Act of Treason is a fine spell all by itself.  It won the entire second match for me.  Beyond that, it is hard to name the MVP of this deck.  Triskelion with Chandra's Spitfire were big in my first two games, but the Gladiator and Sword of Vengeance combo finished off the match.  Hasty creatures, Act of Treason and Hoarding Dragon won the second round.  Fire Servant and mana screw finished things off.  Overall, the deck just worked well, and had great combos.  My deck didn't get a single white spell out the entire tournament, which means that this was a mono-red win, theoretically. 

Interesting note:  There are two M11 uncommons that I have yet to have a chance to draft; Fireball and Ajani's Pridemate.  The former is easy to understand, the latter is a little strange. 


Match 1 game 1: Easy. Play by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 11:34
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Match 1 game 1: Play the trike. Ping the specter. Ping him: lifetotal down to 13, spitfire up to 4/3. Ping him agan: lifetotal down to 12, Spitfire up to 7/3. Swing with the 7/3 and the 5/4 to deal 12 damage.

Another option by opal mouse at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 12:17
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Another option would be to cast the Triskelion. Ping your opponent down to 13, spitfire up to 4/3. Ping him again: life total down to 12 spitfire up to 7/3. Attack with th 7/3, 5/4 and the cyclops and put the cyclops damage on the spectre to take out the flying blocker. Still have another point on the Triskelion for kicks.

That doesn't work, does it? by MMogg at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 16:45
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That doesn't work, does it? I mean, he will obviously block the Cyclops with the Child of Night and gain 4 after a pump with the Infantry Veteran. So, when the dust settles he'd be at 4... unless I suck at math too. =D

veteran only pumps attackers by Baldr7 at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 17:25
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veteran only pumps attackers

Oops, my bad, thanks. I was by MMogg at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 19:19
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Oops, my bad, thanks. I was thinking it was like Angelic Page. Luckily it's irrelevant to my main point about lifelink. =)

Well, he was in a real though by Thisismich at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:15
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Well, he was in a real though spot and the only trick that comes to mind for his opponent is a condemn so there was no real reason to keep something back, especially since he would have blocked the gladiator with the child of night regaining the 2 life points he lost to the pings.
You could ping the child of night but at this point is better to outright ping the specter and deal lethal.

that way you can deal 15 in by TugaChampion at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 12:24
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that way you can deal 15 in total (if you pump shiv's embrace) but there's a way to deal 16: play triske, ping him 3 times and attack with everything. Kill the flier with the 4/4 and pump shiv's. Now you deal 3 from triske, 6 from beserker and 10 from spitfire. He'll gain 3 from lifelink. 19-3=16. Not relevant in this case but he could be at 16 and it would matter.

One thing I like about mtgo is that in situations like this (and those more complex) you can take your time to stop and think about every option. IRL even if you have played fast the whole game and there's a really hard play that you need to think for a few minutes you'll probably be called on slow play. In mtgo if you have been playing fast (and are used to the interface) you can take your time in a few situations when you really need to.

uh.. yeeeeaaaahhh.. people by lenney at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 12:28
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uh.. yeeeeaaaahhh.. people need to learn a little patience, and mathematics.

I'm a math teacher. The by phe0bus at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:41
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I'm a math teacher. The mistake wasn't a math mistake. It was a patience mistake, but really it was a combination of three mistakes. It was my first time playing the Trikelion, and Spitfire. I did not realize that the Spitfire got a +3/+0 EVERY time I did direct damage. For some reason, I thought I could ping from the Triskelion four times (brain fart) and I missed the Chiv's Embrace pump. After the swing, I was so upset from the bad play, I did set my mind to concentrate on all of my plays. I didn't make any of these mistakes again. As a matter of a fact, In R2G2, I made sure to spend my time going through all situtations until I found the correct win condition. In short, I learned from this mistake in time to make use of the lesson and win the next match.

Shocked you gave that one up by Neverloze at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 13:23
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Shocked you gave that one up aswell. Weak play.

Apart from that its good to see a mono red deck drafted. Haven't seen too many of those. Nice work on that!

When I said that I gave that by phe0bus at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:29
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When I said that I gave that away, I meant I screwed up the play, not conceeded, if that is what you thought.

Wow, giving up when you have by Odindusk at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 14:06
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Wow, giving up when you have lethal on the board. I hope I've never done that!

pyretic ritual over fling? by seydaneen at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 17:09
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pyretic ritual over fling? wow

I ended up with two Flings. by phe0bus at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:33
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I ended up with two Flings. I could in any draft. At the time, I thought I may have actually found a need for the Ritual. That use would have been that I would end up in Red as a secondary color and want to run a 1RRR Gladiator. It wasn't a bad thought. It wasn't a bad pick at the time. It certaintly isn't 'wow' material.

quote: "It certaintly isn't by lenney at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 14:04
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quote: "It certaintly isn't 'wow' material."

That's debatable.

"It certaintly isn't 'wow' by Raremage at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 14:24
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"It certaintly isn't 'wow' material."

Could not agree less. It's a bad pick, but it happens. I don't see a good way to justify it.

Pyretic Ritual by Felorin at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 15:12
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I think Pyretic Ritual is never the right pick - it's debatable whether there's a home for it in constructed yet, though I imagine there will be at some point.

One rule of thumb is that typical draft games often last long enough for you to see about half of your deck. So if you're splashing the Cyclops off a Pyretic Ritual, you should have 1/4 your games with Ritual and no Cyclops (bad), 1/4 of your games with Cyclops and no Ritual (bad), 1/4 your games with neither (neutral), and 1/4 your games with both (good). Except in some fraction of that 1/4, you don't have a mountain. D'oh! Since including both cards is good in less than 1/4 of your games, I think the correct way to build the deck is to leave 'em both out rather than try to splash that way.

That said, it was a fine draft overall. Thanks for sharing it with us! I was wishing for you to somehow get the Pyromancers AND the Lightning Bolts, though of course that's not possible. Pyromancers go so great with the Spitfires you got later - but of course the Triskellion makes a fine substitute.

Good job, but you won by by walkerdog at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:30
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Good job, but you won by getting most of the best red cards in packs that were deep in red. If one more red drafter had been drafting, I think you were screwed.

There had to be another red by phe0bus at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:46
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There had to be another red drafter. I passed two Pyromancers and a Lightning Bolt. No doubt I had the luck in the draft, but the only bomb passed to me was the Trikelion. (I think... I can't get Flash to work from this computer) My great picks were all first and second picks. That was very lucky. Also, after the first game, I did play fairly well, but yep, it was a very lucky draft.

Not necessarily a red by Thisismich at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 15:25
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Not necessarily a red drafter, those cards are perfectly splashable, especially the bolt but the pingers are a very good card to splash too.