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By: xger, Xger
Apr 07 2017 12:00pm
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Last time I started off strong with a Blue Green deck headlined by Verdurous Gearhulk, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, and Quicksmith Spy. Unfortunately, I hit some mana issues and faced a super aggressive deck to end 6-3. Let's get to the matches!

Click here to jump past the intro.

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!

Friendly League 4 Stage 2

So, this is where we left off, having just opened the Aether Revolt pack:


Again, briefly, here is the pack value:

Category Value
Pack Value  $0.18
Winnings                                        40 PP
Costs $3.62
Outcome $0.18 + 40PP - $3.62

Overall, the pack is decent for the deck, even if not valuable in any way. With the addition of Renegade Map number 2, I think that Greenwheel Liberator becomes a feasible option, hoping for the turn 2 4/3 dream. Another important open was Implement of Examination--it helps increase the artifact count, enables revolt, and has and easy switch. It seemed fairly easy to drop Tezzeret's Ambition here and replace it with the implement because while it is one less card, it is cheaper and has a number of synergies. The extra Scrounging Bandar is also quite nice, as it is just a solid card. The other consideration is adding the second Peema Aether-Seer, but at this point I feel as though she is the worst creature already, so there is probably not room.

Also worth noting is whether it is wise to switch into red at this point, as the pool now contains 3 Chandra's Revolution. Or perhaps dropping the Fairgrounds Warden and adding red as the splash. For reference, here is the Green, Red, Blue, and Artifact pool:


In the end, I just don't think that red is strong enough. While triple Chandra's Revolution is enticing, there is practically nothing else there. So, I just updated the Green Blue deck:

Stage 2 Matches:

Match 1 vs. KrazeeEye White Blue 2-1 

Game 1: I keep Sky Skiff, Renegade Map, Prey Upon, and lands. Perhaps not the best keep, but I will have access to double blue and green and as well as my Plains, so I decide to go with it. My first three draws are lands of course, as I play out my mostly worthless artifacts. My opponent plays their first spell on turn 4 with Sram's Expertise and a free Era of Innovation. I draw another land and pass. My opponent plays Skyship Plunderer and Conviction on it. I draw my first non-land of the game--Implement of Examination. It draws me Mobile Garrison and the second Prey Upon. My opponent adds Skyswirl Harrier and swings me down to 11. I draw my first creature in Aetherstream Leopard. My opponent plays Thopter Arrest and there is nothing left for me to win with, so I scoop.

Game 2: I keep Fairgrounds Warden, Verdant Automaton, Renegade Map, Reverse Engineer, and lands. My opponent opens with Pacification Array and Aether Swooper as I play out my hand. I draw Trophy Mage and use it to fetch Lifecrafter's Bestiary. My opponent plays Aerial Responder and then I add the bestiary to the board. My opponent kills it on their turn with Decommission. I use the warden on the responder and my opponent adds Ghirapur Osprey. I finally cast my Reverse Engineer, drawing Scrounging Bandar, Sky Skiff, and land. My opponent does nothing and I empty my hand (which includes an Implement of Examination). My opponent again passes, no attacks this time. I pop the implement and draw Aetherstream Leopard and land. Play the cat and kill the bird with Prey Upon--strangely fitting. My opponent plays Thopter Arrest on my warden, getting back their responder. I draw and play Verdurous Gearhulk, making my team all 4 power. My opponent plays Caught in the Brights on my cat. I draw Quicksmith Spy and starting drawing--giving me Experimental Aviator. When I attack, my opponent taps one and flashes in Shielded Aether Thief. My opponent adds Animation Module and I add Scrounging Bandar. On my opponent's next draw, they concede.

Game 3: I keep Scrounging Bandar, Prey Upon, Reverse Engineer, and lands. My first draw is Greenwheel Liberator, but I put the first creature on the board with the cat monkey. My opponent responds with Aerial Responder. I draw and play Aetherstream Leopard and my opponent missing a land drop and adds Watchful Automaton. I move a counter to the leopard so my opponent has to 2 for 1 on the attack. They don't take the chance, and I Prey Upon the responder, then add the automaton. My opponent hits the land, then adds Peacewalker Colossus. I get in some damage, and when I go to cast a Hinterland Drake, my opponent Metallic Rebukes it. So, I use my other Prey Upon to kill the automaton. My opponent adds Ghirapur Osprey. I finally cast the Reverse Engineer, but fail to hit my fifth land. My opponent finallys hits their fifth land and drops Skyswirl Harrier. I then hit my land and add Experimental Aviator. My opponent adds Untethered Express. I draw and land and pass. My opponent adds a second osprey and on their end step I use Appetite for the Unnatural on the colossus. I move the last counter on the cat monkey, make a 4/3 Greenwheel Liberator and drop Lifecrafter's Bestiary--which immediately eats a Decommission. My opponent does nothing, and then I play Quicksmith Spy to make one of my thopters a draw machine. My opponent gets Dawnfeather Eagle and swings for the second time of the game, bringing me to 13. I hit Verdurous Gearhulk to make my fliers big enough to block. My opponent passes. I get Trophy Mage, finding Mobile Garrison. My opponent Negates that and then trades their train for my 4/4 gearhulk. My opponent does nothing, I Malfunction their harrier, and they concede when I play Peema Aether-Seer. This game I drew 9 more cards than my opponent--this is a sweet deck.

Match 2 vs. gamertamers son Red Black 2-1 

Game 1: Opener: Verdant Automaton, Prey Upon, Hinterland Drake, Renegade Map, Peema Aether-Seer, and 2 Islands. I lead with Verdant Automaton, which eats a Shock. I add Aetherstream Leopard and my opponent adds Alley Strangler. I play Peema Aether-Seer post combat to get 4 energy, then on my opponent's turn, they Cruel Finality. I add Hinterland Drake, attack making the cat a 4/3, then use Prey Upon to kill their lone creature. They add Aether Chaser. I draw a fifth land, and play Verdurous Gearhulk, pumping my team and bringing my opponent to 2. After they draw, they concede.

Game 2: My opponent chooses to draw, and I keep Experimental Aviator, Armorcraft Judge, Implement of Examination, Verdurous Gearhulk, and land. I lead with Implement of Examination after my opponent's Sky Skiff. They add Salivating Gremlins and swing. I miss my land, pop the implement (still missing land), and drop Scrounging Bandar. My opponent adds Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and shocks my cat monkey). I hit land four, and play Hinterland Drake. My opponent plays Aether Chaser and swings. I hit a fifth land and play Experimental Aviator in an attempt to stabilize. My opponent makes an attack that tells me there is likely a trick, but I am too low on life not to block, so I do lose creatures to Chandra's Pyrohelix. I play Verdurous Gearhulk to buff my remaining team. My opponent swings with the team, and has another burn spell with Hungry Flames. I make a last attempt at stabilizing, but my opponent played Enraged Giant which was too much, taking the game.

Game 3: I keep Scrounging Bandar, Greenwheel Liberator, Fairgrounds Warden, Reverse Engineer, and lands. I lead with the monkey, draw an Aetherstream Leopard. My opponent's first play is main phase Cruel Finality on my cat monkey. I play an unrevolted liberator and my opponent plays Prakhata Club Security. I get Mobile Garrison, but no fifth land. My opponent plays Filigree Familiar and Aether Chaser. I draw a fifth land and decide to just draw three, hitting lands and Armorcraft Judge. Next, Salivating Gremlins joins the team. I make my garrison into a card drawer via Quicksmith Spy and then use Prey Upon to kill the first striker. While not the most threatening card on the board, my opponent has shown so much burn that I don't want to face first strike in combat. My opponent kills my garrison and passed. I draw and pop Implement of Examination, then play Aether Swooper. There is some passing back and forth, then I draw Lifecrafter's Bestiary off a Trophy Mage. I get Verdurous Gearhulk, though the swooper gets shocked with the counters on the stack. After an attack, my opponent 2 for 1 themselves with Shock to kill my gearhulk. When I draw and play Scrounging Bandar, Fairgrounds Warden, Prey Upon, my opponent scoops. This time I drew 14 more cards, leaving 8 in my deck!

Match 3 Milotic: 1- 2 vs. Red White Super Aggro

Game 1: Hand is Quicksmith Spy, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Experimental Aviator, Renegade Map, and land. The first real play is Frontline Rebel from my opponent. I draw Lifecrafter's Bestiary, but it eats a Destructive Tampering. My opponent is stuck on 3 lands, and adds another Frontline Rebel. I drop a turn 5 6/6 Lifecraft Cavalry. My opponent uses Alley Evasion to save his rebel the next turn, so things are looking good. I add Experimental Aviator. My opponent forcibly suicides the rebel and adds Renegade Freighter afterward (despite being able to crew it so it couldn't attack). When I pop my second map, make a 4/3 Greenwheel Liberator, and play Quicksmith Spy, they concede.

Sideboarding: I bring in some more defensive cards as my opponents deck seems aggro. 

Game 2: I keep Sky Skiff, Aetherstream Leopard, Implement of Examination, Verdant Automaton, and Forests. My opponent leads with Audacious Infiltrator and Brazen Scourge. After I trade my leopard, my opponent adds Gearshift Ace and an Audacious Infiltrator to replace the one I killed. I play Armorcraft Judge just to have a blocker, and it trades. My opponents adds Wayward Giant. I fail at drawing creatures, and my opponent wins through the menace.

Game 3: My first hand is a 1 lander without a Renegade Map. I mulligan into 2 Prey Upon, Quicksmith Spy, Shipwreck Moray, and two lands. I draw a third land, and Greenwheel Liberator. My opponent goes Audacious Infiltrator, Brazen Scourge, Sweatworks Brawler. I don't get a fourth land, and concede.

Stage 3 Pack and Deck:

Time to jump into the Kaladesh Pack:


Category Value
Pack Value  $0.17
Winnings                                        30 PP
Costs $1.75
Outcome $0.17 + 30PP - $1.75

Another terrible value pack, but that is not surprising. Luckily, there are several cards that are possible for the deck: Malfunction, Saheeli's Artistry, Glint-Nest Crane and Kujar Seedsculptor. The first change I make is dropping the Fairgrounds Warden and putting in Malfunction. The enchantment has different weaknesses, but is probably better here. With the second copy, I felt fine dropping the white splash. Saheeli's Artistry is something I really want to add, and I really want to live the dream of double copying Verdurous Gearhulk. For that, I drop the Peema Aether-Seer. Finally, I switch the Glint-Nest Crane for the Aether Swooper, though I am not sure if this was worth it. I did not add the seedsculptor. 

So, here is the final deck:

Friend Sealed 5, Final Deck
Still lots of draw - 40 Cards Total
1 Verdurous Gearhulk
1 Lifecraft Cavalry
1 Armorcraft Judge
1 Aetherstream Leopard
2 Scrounging Bandar
1 Quicksmith Spy
1 Trophy Mage
1 Hinterland Drake
1 Glint-Nest Crane
1 Experimental Aviator
1 Verdant Automaton
1 Greenwheel Liberator
13 cards

2 Prey Upon
1 Reverse Engineer
1 Saheeli's Artistry
4 cards
1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
2 Renegade Map
1 Implement of Examination
4 cards

2 Malfunction
2 cards
1 Sky Skiff
1 Mobile Garrison
2 cards

8 Forest
7 Island
15 cards

In hindsight, I should have adjusted the mana. By adding the Malfunction and Saheeli's Artistry I increased the curve a bit. Maybe that played a role in mana issues coming up, but no way to know for sure. 

Stage 3 Matches:

Match 1 vs. DrAntiderivative Red Green Beats 1-2

Game 1: I keep Sky Skiff, Trophy Mage, and Glint-Nest Crane, then lands. I lead with the crane into the mage to find the Lifecrafter's Bestiary. My opponent had lead with Implement of Ferocity and then Spireside Infiltrator. I play an Armorcraft Judge as a blocker, no card draw. However, my opponent has their second and third burn spell (the Trophy Mage ate a Shock earlier). I add Scrounging Bandar to crew a Mobile Garrison as a blocker, but my opponent has Creeping Mold, and brings me to 4. I move the counters to the crane, and play Verdant Automaton. They play Spontaneous Artist and swing, losing the 4/3 Spireside Infiltrator while I chumped. However, this left my opponent empty handed with a 3/3 versus my 3/5 flier. Luckily, I had gotten down Lifecrafter's Bestiary, which allowed me to start gaining a bunch of card advantage. I get Lifecraft Cavalry and then Malfunction. I don't start attacking though, because I am at 3, and my opponent has already shown burn and haste. Next, my opponent adds Pacification Array. I add Aetherstream Leopard and start attacking. Then, they add Verdant Automaton and add a counter. I get Implement of Examination, drawing Prey Upon and Reverse Engineer. I kill the automaton and draw more cards. At this point, my opponent draws, then concedes. 

Game 2: I open with Hinterland Drake, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, and 5 lands. This is the type of hand I would normally keep, but I am working on being willing to mulligan more often. Also, my opponent's deck seemed aggressive and that was how they played. I decide I cannot try this, so I mull to a one lander with no Renegade Map. The 5 hander is Greenwheel Liberator, Verdurous Gearhulk, Malfunction, Island, and Forest. My opponent leads with a 2/1 (Greenwheel Liberator:AER), Highspire Artisan, and Spontaneous Artist. I draw Renegade Map and lands. They add Narnam Renegade while I add Verdurous Gearhulk. My opponent has Creeping Mold for the gearhulk and I draw Lifecrafter's Bestiary. I scry away lands, but still draw only lands. My opponent adds Spireside Infiltrator and Gremlin Infestation on my bestiary. At this point I am at 9 and have no outs to the infestation, so I concede as my opponent was still at 20. 

Game 3: I keep a very risky hand of Renegade Map, Verdant Automaton, Lifecraft Cavalry, Implement of Examination, Experimental Aviator, Reverse Engineer and Forest. There was enough card draw I thought it was worth the risk, and given how mulliganning went last time, I was not thrilled by the prospect (an issue I still need to deal with). My opponent leads with Narnam Renegade and it takes me a two turns to find land three. I play the implement and next turn pop it to get a land and Greenwheel Liberator. My opponent meanwhile had added Spontaneous Artist, which they did not haste. They then add Lathnu Sailback and give that haste, and swing for 9. I should have traded at this point, but I was stuck on using the Prey Upon in my hand. No excuse here, I just made a mistake that likely cost what chances there were in the game. I play Armorcraft Judge and my opponent then uses Hunt the Weak to kill it. I double block the sailback and go to 4. I play Experimental Aviator and pass back. My opponent attacks and I chump the 4/4 artist, but let the 1/2 deathtouch through. My opponent then drops a 3/3 Walking Ballista to ping the last 3.

Match 2 vs. manxset Red Green Ramp 1-2

Game 1: I keep Prey Upon, Greenwheel Liberator, Reverse Engineer, and lands. I lead with the 2/1 and, awkwardly, my opponent responds with Druid of the Cowl. Next they play Aetherstream Leopard after I pass. I Malfunction the cat, they play Irontread Crusher. I play Verdurous Gearhulk, making a 3/2 and 7/7. They just play Hidden Herbalists. On my turn, I play Armorcraft Judge to draw two cards, then use Prey Upon to kill the herbies. My opponent concedes, which seems quite premature. 

Game 2: I open with the astoundingly powerful no lander. My six is Forest, Renegade Map, Trophy Mage, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Reverse Engineer, and Prey Upon, which I keep. My opponent's first play is Irontread Crusher, while I still haven't found land three. My first play is Glint-Nest Crane, finding nothing. My opponent follows up with Maulfist Doorbuster. When I play Trophy Mage, my opponent snap shocks it. Playing an Aether Herder, they attack for 10 and make my bird unable to block, putting me to 4. When I whiff on land, I concede as my opponent will have two 4+ creatures and can negate one of my blockers. 

Game 3: This game was really irritating. I open Quicksmith Spy, Malfunction, and 5 lands. I mull into a one lander without a map, then into a 5/5 lander, then into double Island, Greenwheel Liberator, Quicksmith Spy. Turn 4 I manage land three, another Island, and my mage gets Shocked. My opponent then plays the exact same cards as Game 2, in the exact same order, in the exact same manner. Needless to say, I lose.

Match 3 vs. Rob-Dawg-4-lyfe Green Blue 2-1

Game 1: Opener is Prey Upon, Armorcraft Judge, Malfunction, Reverse Engineer, and lands. My opponent leads with a mull, then triple Plains and Audacious Infiltrator. My first play is Implement of Examination, then my opponent plays a Swamp and follows with Gearshift Ace. I Malfunction the 3/1. Next up for the opponent is Restoration Specialist. I play Hinterland Drake, pop the implement, and Prey Upon the ace. My opponent plays Dukhara Scavenger. I draw Prey Upon and kill the other 2/1, then draw 3--Lifecraft Cavalry, Saheeli's Artistry, and land. My opponent follows with Restoration Specialist bringing back the Gearshift Ace. I draw and play Glint-Nest Crane, getting Lifecrafter's Bestiary, playing that and Greenwheel Liberator. My opponent attacks with the 3/3 and 4/6 and I trade my bird for the 3/3. I get Trophy Mage and Lifecraft Cavalry down. My opponent swings with everything, allowing me to trade away 2 of my creatures for 3 of theirs, but leaving me at 2 life. However, my opponent is empty handed, after they play Ghirapur Osprey. On my turn, I make a mistake in not making a copy of my flier--I am dead to removal. What does my opponent top deck? Daring Demolition, of course!

Game 2: I keep Renegade Map, Implement of Examination, Prey Upon, Malfunction, Reverse Engineer, Trophy Mage, and Forest. While risky, I am down a game, so the high risk high reward plan sounds better. A single land in the first 2 draws makes this hand very strong. I draw Scrounging Bandar and Glint-Nest Crane. While not lands, at least I can play both. My opponent plays Gearshift Ace and then Audacious Infiltrator. I move a counter to make my bird a 2/4 and hit the third land. My opponent adds Restoration Specialist and Eddytrail Hawk, which makes his board super awkward up against my 2/4 flying bird. I hit land four, drop the Trophy Mage to find Lifecrafter's Bestiary, and then Prey Upon the 3/1. My opponent passes, and then I play Lifecrafter's Bestiary which immediately eats a Decommission. My opponent simply adds another Audacious Infiltrator and I pop my implement. I play Armorcraft Judge to draw two, finding Greenwheel Liberator and land. My opponent passes. I move the cat monkey token to the judge to make it a 4/4, then play a 4/3 Greenwheel Liberator, Verdant Automaton, and Sky Skiff. My opponent plays Airdrop Aeronauts, which I Malfunction. At this point my opponent concedes.

Game 3: This is one of the shortest Magic games I've ever played. This time I decide to keep a 5 lander. My opponent mulls to 5, thinks for a while, then concedes.

Final Value

Overall, I went 6-3, which is worse than I think this deck is capable of. 

Category Value
Pool Value  $10.11
Winnings                                        200PP + 40PP + 30PP + 20PP = 290PP
Costs 240PP + $3.62 + $1.75 = 240PP + $5.37
Outcome 290PP + $10.11 - $5.44 - 240PP = 50PP + $4.67
Wrap Up

The Red/White super aggro was a really bad match up, and I had some severe mana issues. However, I have to say, despite my reservations, playing the deck was super fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The deck actually had a good amount of synergy and the card draw was insane. I came back from the brink several times and ended up significantly out drawing my opponents. Hope you enjoyed this league!

As always, I appreciate comments and suggestions!


xger21 on MTGO