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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Jun 10 2008 11:52pm
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So last Thursday (the 22nd) I knew Id be off work, and I planned to play in the SPDC event. Ive played in a few Classic PDC events, but havent ventured into any of the STD events, as Im usually working or busy on the days they are held. I went to the forums over at PDCmagic.com, and asked if there was a meta-game summary much like Jaknife does for Classic PDC. I was pointed to a thread at the top of the STD forums that summarized the results of the seasons events, but didnt go much into depth past that. This is the Morningtide season, and from examining the thread and recent results, Storm Control seemed like the best deck, winning a lot of tourneys recently. It combines powerful effects in the forms of counterspells, suspend, and the storm mechanic.

Heres the list: 

I put it together the night before and decided to test it some, given that it seemed like a mildly intricate deck. After mashing it against KingRitz a few times, I gave up on it. I was making too many play errors and I didnt like the deck. It seemed mildly powerful but only against aggressive decks. The deck is still very strong and DOES dominate aggro, but I just didnt like it. However, it was still in the back of my head, given that it placed first, second, and third in the Monday PDC game.

I threw together a RDW build, and tested it. It was acceptable, but I wasnt excited about it. I felt like it was probably good against Storm Control, but it didnt feel inherently powerful, just a consistant burn machine. Still, I have a fall-back plan I liked better than Storm Control. I rejected White-Weenie outright, even though it is the second-best deck according to the meta-game info. It has won the same amount of events as Storm Control, but given that SC has been increasing in popularity and has a favorable match-up against WW, I didnt want to play it.

So, I started browsing the lists from the Monday event againt. I noticed the Fifth-place list. Apparently it had beaten SC twice in the swiss portion of the event, and then was matched up against a Burning Skies in the Top Eight and lost. Seemed fine to me. I took a list at the list. Wow. UWB? Three colors of mana seems greedy. It has the Grim-Drifter package. I like that a lot. It also has Momentary Blink? And Aven Riftwatcher? And Ravenous Rats, Phyrexian Rager, and a solid removal suite? I liked every card in the list except for Blightspeaker. Oh, and it has Mystical Teachings. The only main-deck change I made was adding one more Phyrexian Rager to the main-deck, dropping a Momentary Blink to the sideboard. I also cut a Plains for a Mournwhelk. Im not sure this was correct, but I didnt hate it. This gave me this list:

Dark Evocation
A PDC STD deck by Various contributers, tweaked by Walkerdog
4 Aven Riftwatcher
4 Blightspeaker
4 Mulldrifter
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Ravenous Rats
1 Mournwhelk

Other Spells
3 Momentary Blink
3 Mystical Teachings
3 Prismatic Lens
3 Strangling Soot
3 Terror
2 Grim Harvest
9 Snow-Covered Swamp
4 Plains (didn’t have Snow-Covered)
4 Snow-Covered Island
4 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Snow-Covered Mountain

Grim Harvest

So, I liked the deck. I didnt get any practice matches in, due to settling on it about five minutes before the first round. In the first round, I was matched up against Teliot. He opened with what seemed like a Storm Control start, with Mountains and Islands and suspended Errant Ephemeron. Then I saw he was running regular lands, no Snow-Covered, and then he started suspending Keldon Halberdiers, dropping Looter il-Kor, and I realized he was a much more aggressive deck. I killed his ik-Kor after taking a hit with Soot.

In the mean time, I played Rats on turn two and Rager on turn three, and commenced beats. When his EE joined his board, I took the hit. Then I tutored up Terror and wasted it my next turn, with a Soot in-hand for the Halberdiers. I kept hitting him and eventually got a Mulldrifter into play, trading with one of his men (dont remember which it was). Then I tutored up Grim Harvest and the game ended quickly. For sideboarding, I added Festercreeps since they keep his X/1s down and let me Soot his EEs in a pinch, and also Isolations as another solution to his fatty flyers. Game two was similar to game one. I get Rats out, Riftwatchers to hold off his aerial assault, Smother for his (Infiltrator ik-Kor), and then recursive dudes to quickly grind him down.

Im not sure how close the various UR decks are to each other, but they havent been impressive in my limited games against them with Dark Evo.

Round two I was against SquirrelRevolution. He led off with Essence Warden. I laughed to myself. Then he plays Thallid Shell-Dweller and Essence Warden and Im not laughing as much. Then he starts to make tokens with Sprout Swarm and Im suddenly thinking very hard. I drop a Lens on turn two, then a Rager on turn three. He doesnt attack into me yet, unwilling to let me eat his men quite yet. I follow up with Ravenous Rats and he tosses a Grim Harvest. Great. I start dropping Riftwatchers. He finds a Deathspore Thallid with enough tokens to kill all but one of my men. At this point, weve each burned about ten minutes off our clocks, and I consider conceding simply because I feel like I should blow him out with my Festercreep sideboard plan. I decide against this though because hes going to have to use more clock than I will to operate his token-machine and because I feel like I can still answer

At this point, hes around 45 life while Im in the high teens. I start my flyer beat-down. On his end-of-turn, I Soot the Deathspore Thalid. This leads to a chain of men dying on my side. I had the Grim Harvest in my hand, and he didnt have mana to keep his around. I saved a Riftwatcher with Blink. At this point, he is low on gas, with two cards in hand. I draw my only Mournwhelk to get them (he makes tokens with convoke in response). Then I begin flying beats.

It takes quite a while, and wed both used over half our match time, but Im able to wear him down from over forty life to kill him. Once you get Grim Harvest going with Riftwatchers and/or Mulldrifters, its almost impossible for most decks to win, shy of maybe graveyard hate. This build is much less vulnerable to that however because it can always fall back on Teachings for a solution, or just Blinking the opponent into oblivion. I side in my Festercreeps to replace the more-or-less useless Blightspeaker package.

This game goes much more to plan. We exchange boring drops, jockeying for an advantage until he drops two Deathspore Thallids to complement his Swarming Until I see that and raise a Festercreep, popping it right away. He drops my dudes with Thallids to make it a full-on Wrath of God. Im fine and keep dropping dudes, drawing extra card, eventually just beat down with Aven Riftwatchers.

I know Spore was a huge archetype back in Rav-Tsp, but I felt like now it just isnt explosive enough to really bother the top few decks much. Its a slightly weaker version of Storm Control now. You still generate tokens and kill dudes, just not as explosively.

A relatively easy 2-0 start is a nice thing in any tourney, and this was no exception. I admit, I felt like I was in a tight spot game one, but even there I was able to out-grind him for the win because the deck just runs a ton of awesome cards. Essentially, it feels like Im pitting Teachings, Blink, and Grim Harvest against Grim Harvest and Sprout Swarm, and while he does have strong cards, I do too in, and more of them.

In round three, CrummyDummy started off against me with suspending Marauders and Ephemeron. I put him on Storm Control. He then dropped a Plains, changing my perception. I had Lens and Rats, then a Mulldrifter. He used Tarfire on the Drifter. He began beating. I dropped to twelve. I was able to pop his 4/1 with Soot, but took four more from EE. I found the Terror for him. I began dropping Riftwatchers to dig out of the hole. After this, its easy sailing. He mentions he felt like he made some misplays, but Im not sure where exactly, so it may have been in the order he played his cards, or cards still in his hand.

Game two was pretty rough. I hadnt seen his Spellstutter Sprite package game one, so I didnt bring in Festercreep which I should have, but I still though he was more of a Burnt variation, with big dude, since I didnt see these cards. I knew he had Mulldrifter and some burn, but I hadnt seen Blink yet but I was pretty sure he had them. He was able to suspend a guy, then on turn three flash out a Pestermite, and follow the up with Spellstutter Sprite to wreck me when I tried to kill his guy coming off of suspend. I fight back, but he has me on a quick clock, and ends up playing all four Sprites, plus Faerie Trickery on a Mulldrifter at some point.

Game three I honestly cant recall. I know I won, and I know we both misplayed, but other than that Im not sure.

So, I go into the Top Eight as the number one seed. Wait, Khem is the top seed? WEAK! Ah well, he lost in the first round of top eight play (due thrilling back-to-back topdecks of removal in the third game). My match in the quarterfinals is against the host, one of the better players, and all-around good guy Icarodx. Ive had poor luck against hosts in the past, so I was a little bit psyched. He led out by suspending a Durkwood Baloth, while I beat down early. He soon has Ephemerons and the like raining down at my head. Im hanging tough with a lead on life because of the early beats and two Aven Riftwatchers that are serving as my late beats. With both of us facing lethal, he sees nothing no his draw, and scoops to my blockers and flyers ready to swing for lethal. This was VERY close. Icarod then dropped due to the very late time and needing sleep. I think this matchup is pretty terrible for me. He was essentially just overcosted suspendable fatties, and I only pack three MD Terrors and three SB Temporal Isolation to stop them. Dark Evocation can win this fight, but it has to get an aggressive start with plenty of removal to slow them down.

Top four was relatively easy, simply because he relied on too many X/1s, and I saw Festercreeps. I believe he was running some sort of UR Aggro variant, with Shadow duders, Halberdiers and what not. According to the meta-game summary from the forums, it was Burt Storm. Im not sure they can ever win if you find Festercreep and either a Grim Harvest or a second Creep. Good times.

In the finals, I had a rematch of my toughest match in the Swiss. CrummyDummy was back with his Burning Skies with the Faerie package. It seemed rather awful for me, but I was encouraged by the fact that I hadnt brought in Festercreeps last time and still came out ahead. This time I knew he would be more prepared though too, and since he was also packing Faerie Trickery, it would be harder to use my GY shenanigans.

Honestly, it was much easier this time. I won 2-0 and the only trouble I had was how long the games went. He would slowly build up an advantage via Spellstutter Sprites and the like, and then Id finally crush him once I resolved a big spell or two. Backbreakers were as easy as dropping a Festercreep, or as seemingly innocuous as resolving Grim Harvest for a key Aven Riftwatcher.

So, I won, and thanks to LostSymphonies, I'll soon have a snazzy trophy!  As always, LS's (and others too) efforts make winning a PDC a cool experience.

As far as the deck goes, it is such a house. The only changes I might make are reflective of the meta-game I expect to see. Against a meta where WW and RDW comprise the beat-down decks, and Storm Control exists, Id probably leave it the same. That said, if youre expecting Tropical Storm and decks with lots of fatties, I might consider dropping the (Blightspeakers) for more Terrors and the like. Otherwise, this deck is awesome. In fact, following my win, Phantomphage and Rozbity_Bezel took the deck, almost card-for-card to the Top Eight of MPDC 2.11, with Phantomphage winning the whole tournament, mirroring my 6-0 sweep.

The deck is pretty awesome, and can be tweaked for whatever meta you expect. Youre running most of the best cards in STD, missing only the Red stuff (Empty the Warrens, Skred and the like). Aven Riftwatcher was my MVP. He was an early beater, held off aggressive starts by my opponents, and in the late game was a chain of life, CA and triggers for Grim Harvest (For example, if I needed to drop and pop Festercreep a second time, but couldnt get it back easily).

If you have any question or comments, please feel free!



Good Read! by khirareq at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 08:15
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Still trying to figure out how you win so much...

nice read by the_hoff (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 06/11/2008 - 11:20
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PDC looks fun - congrats buddy

Thanks! by walkerdog at Wed, 06/11/2008 - 13:53
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It's really a lot of fun.  New formats are always awesome, and PDC is very fun.

by JMason (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 06/12/2008 - 06:41
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Storm Control can be a tricky beast to play, you should refer to kehmesis play and sideboarding notes on the pdcmagic forum. It's not even bad against most control decks, but it is at a disadvantage when the opposition can gain a lot of life by abusing blink and grim harvest.

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