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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Dec 21 2007 12:20am
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Weatherlight Release Event Walkthrough
 
The weeks before Worlds were hectic, with almost no MTGO. Worlds, itself, was a blast, as was spending a couple extra days in Manhattan afterwards. I got home from NYC on a Friday afternoon, to find three feet of frozen snow in my driveway. I got that cleared away – a not insignificant undertaking with a driveway 200 yards long – then drove 300 miles early the next morning to play in a PTQ. (Tenth – not really bad, but only top eight counts. On the plus side, my paper limited rating is back up to the 1850 range.) 
 
Sunday morning we drove back home, and unpacked. Monday I tried to dig out from under the pile or work at work. By Tuesday, the cold that had started in NY was really bad. I could not talk, could barely stand, and had a racking cough. I stayed home.
 
Time for MTGO. I decided to play in a Weatherlight release event.  I figured that I could stay awake, slumped in a chair, for five rounds. Besides, I wanted some Weatherlight cards, and playing sealed seemed a good way to get them. 
 
I logged into MTGO and looked for a Weatherlight release – no top eight. I am collecting cards mainly for constructed, and really don’t care all that much about the draft. I was also happy to end a tournament after five rounds, instead of eight (counting the top eight playoffs.)
 
I logged on, found a no top eight release event, and noted that there were zero players in the event. True, it was not going to start for half an hour, and it was 7:35am CST, Tuesday morning, but no players at all seemed strange.  Maybe a glitch in the spreadsheet view. I joined the event, and now the spreadsheet showed one player. No glitch.
 
Hmmm.
 
There was 4X event starting at the same time, and that had fifteen players. By 7:50, it was clear that the no T8 event would never fire, and that the 4X was questionable. I quit the one and joined the other. I was not happy paying the extra tickets (entry fee for a 4X is product plus fpur TIX; entry for the 2X is two TIX), but I had little choice. 
 
We started about eightteen  minutes late, with exactly twenty four players – the minimum to start the event. On the plus side, 4X events pay out packs to the  top 16 players, so getting packs seemed pretty certain. Actually, I thought I might have a reasonable shot at top eight: I hadn’t ever played Mirage / Weatherlight sealed, and I was sick as a dog, but I’m not all that bad. My online limited rating was sitting about 1750, despite being only an occasional drafter, and a rare-drafter at that.       
 
After a long wait, writing in a window all the while, the tournament finally started. The build screen appeared. My first action was to export a CSV, for this article, then look for the rares, because that’s what I really wanted.
 
Morinfen - okay, I have played with this guy in the past. For the old school folks, he’s half of the Brothers Grimm. I like him, especially in limited, but he is not amazing. 
 
Maraxus of Keld - I don’t like this guy. He can be a beast, but only if he is attacking alone, and that is a lot to expect for a non-evasive creature that costs six mana. Worse yet, he is often tiny, and occasionally dies because you forget he has combat damage, and tap lands to cast something second main phase.  
 
Scorched Ruins – Scorched Ruins can be a nice constructed card, and one of the better mana accelerants, at least until Tempest block appears online. In limited, however, it is pretty much useless.
 
The Mirage rares were Spectral Guardian, Shimmer and Hall of Gemstone.  I was robbed!
 
This setup cost me something like twenty six dollars. Even at release prices, I can only break even if I win a bunch of product. 
 
Anyway, I was really disappointed in the rares. Not even one that I cared about or wanted. 
 
Here’s the pool, with my comments beside each color.

Angelic Renewal
Ardent Militia
Argivian Find
Argivian Restoration
Benalish Knight
Benevolent Unicorn
Disempower
Disenchant
Duskrider Falcon
Ekundu Griffin
1  Empyrial Armor
Favorable Destiny
Kithkin Armor
Serra's Blessing
Spectral Guardian
Teremko Griffin
Ward of Lights
White is not impressive, but it is not terrible. It has Empyrial Armor, which can make small creatures into monsters – and is a major factor in any Weatherlight limited event. (Back in the day, the rule in Mirage / Visions / Weatherlight drafts was to draft white, in hopes of busting an Armor.) The pool also has Ardent Militia, which is nice for clogging up the ground, a couple griffins and some small fliers. The downside is that the fliers are really small – a couple 2/2s and a 1/1. A first-striking 2/2 or a x/3 flier completely shuts them down – and white has very little in terms of tricks or removal.   
 
A Pacifism or any other white removal would have gone a long way towards making the color playable. 
 
Blue can be so good – but the blue in this pool really disappoints.   It starts okay – Azimaet Drake is the sort of flier that can completely destroy all of my white fliers – or an opponent’s air force.   Dream Cache is card drawing. However, too much of the rest is either dependent on the opponent having islands (e.g Manta Ray), or too prone to self destruction (e.g. Fog Elemental.)    Once again, a Control Magic effect – like Ray of Command – or a bounce effect like Boomerang would really have helped.  
 
Most importantly, blue is good because of card drawing, and this pool just does not have enough. 
Abjure
Azimaet Drake
Cloak of Invisibility
Dream Cache
Dream Fighter
Flux
Fog Elemental
Kukemssa Serpent
Manta Ray
Merfolk Seer
Phantom Wings
Sage Owl
Shimmer
Timid Drake
Tolarian Drake
Barrow Ghoul
Dark Ritual
Fatal Blow
Fledgling Djinn
Grave Servitude
1 Morinfen
Sewer Rats
Shadow Guildmage
Shadow Rider
Skulking Ghost
Spinning Darkness
Strands of Night
Urborg Panther
Wall of Corpses
Withering Boon
Zombie Scavengers
I like the black, here. It has two fast black fliers, some removal, and a 5/4 flier that is quite difficult to eliminate.   Spinning Darkness is decent, if not exceptional, removal.   I also remember winning a draft with Strands of Night. Now that was an only crap-packs draft – a format we used to draft at a local store. It was basically drafting on the cheap, using only the packs that were deeply discounted. That usually meant Fifth Edition, Homelands and Fallen Empires – and those packs had some terrible cards. The sets had a few good cards, but Fifth Edition had something like 550 total cards, and a 3/3 for five mana was a first pick bomb in ass-drafts. 
 
We’ll see if Strands is good enough or any good in this format.
 
The downside of black is that it had some conflicting themes. It wants to resurrect creatures, and wants to remove them from the graveyard to pay upkeep. It also wants to pay life for a lot of stuff, but has only Spinning Darkness to get any of that life back. 
 
Black has three removal spells (counting Grave Servitude and Fatal Blow) and a handful of decent creatures. It also has a Guildmage, who will be quite good if I splash the right colors. I still like it, mainly for Morifen, but it could be better. Swapping the Dark Ritual for a Dark Banishing would have been a good start.
I have a Torch! That is a very good start. 
 
It also seems to be a finish. I also have a couple hill giants, and Maraxus of Keld. I talked about Marakus before. All I will add is that if I am paying six mana for a creature, I want a dragon. A non-evasive creature that can die to Incinerate the turn he arrives won’t cut it.
 
Red has two walls that die immediately, three 1/1 guys (although the Berserker is not bad), and three hill giants. That is such an unimpressive card pool. Looks like I will be splashing Torch.
Choking Vines
Crash of Rhinos
Gibbering Hyenas
Granger Guildmage
Hall of Gemstone
Llanowar Behemoth
Redwood Treefolk
Rogue Elephant
Roots of Life
Sandstorm
Seedling Charm
Superior Numbers
Uktabi Efreet
Uktabi Faerie
Vitalize
Green has a foil Vitalize.  Zowie!
 
Green has some very nice creatures. The Rogue Elephants are beasts, if you can maintain a very low curve. Llanowar Behemoths have won me games in many limited formats – especially since opponents often forget that they can pump themselves the turn they come into play. Redwood Treefolk is just okay, and Crash of Rhinos is huge – especially if you have tricks to keep it from dying. (White has Angelic Renewal...)  Uktabi Efreet is an undercosted 5/4, which is rare in this old a format.
 
The downside is that the green creatures have negative synergy. The two rogue elephants require you to sacrifice forests. The Rhinos and Efreet want you to have a ton of forests in play. You cannot have both, not effectively.
 
Green has some nice ambush effects. Sandstorm is great for killing x/1s out of nowhere. Choking Vines can really mess up an alpha strike, or stop filers – but neither of those can seriously hurt an opponent with larger creatures. Sure, Sandstorm plus Fatal Blow is good, but you have to have both cards, and it’s two of your cards for one of theirs.

And now for all the rest:  
 
Savage Twister
Windreaper Falcon

Chariot of the Sun
Crystal Golem
Jabari's Banner
Jangling Automaton
Lead Golem
Touchstone
Gemstone Mine
1 Scorched Ruins

I have Wrath of God! I have Wrath of God!   I am playing RG so I can play my Wrath of God!
 
Seriously, Savage Twister is so very good.
 
As for the rest, Gemstone Mines will both complete my playset (woot!) and allow splashes. Touchstone might be worth siding in against artifact-heavy decks, but it isn’t worth maindeck space. Crystal and Lead Golems will probably make the deck. Neither are very good, but none of my creatures are actually all that good, and colorless fatties are nice in what will be at least a three color deck. 
 
Windreaper Falcon might come in against blue decks, but I won’t maindeck it. Three mana, in two splash colors, for a 1/1? I don’t think so.

Here’s the deck I made. 

1 Barrow Ghoul
1 Crystal Golem
1 Fledgling Djinn
1 Gibbering Hyenas
1 Lead Golem
1 Morinfen
1 Raging Spirit
1 Sewer Rats
1 Shadow Guildmage
1 Shadow Rider
1 Skulking Ghost
1 Urborg Panther
1 Wall of Corpses
1 Withering Boon
1 Zombie Scavengers

1 Choking Vines
1 Grave Servitude
1 Fatal Blow
1 Kaervek's Torch
1 Sandstorm
1 Savage Twister
1 Spinning Darkness
1 Strands of Night

1 Gemstone Mine
4 Mountain
4 Forest
8 Swamp

I’m not completely sure I made this correctly. Please comment.
 
Round 1: Rating 1932
 
He played a blue green deck, and dropped turn four and five Uktabi Djinns. (I killed the first immediately.) We got into a big creature stall, with his banding creatures completely dominating combat.   He had both Benalish Infantry and Volunteer Reserves – and later a Heavy Ballista.   The Ballista does not have banding, but it is a monster in limited. Eventually his banded fliers came over for the win. In what was to become a tradition, the first card I drew after both the first and third games was the Savage Twister that would have blown him completely out and given me the game. 
 
0-1, 1-2
 
Round 2: Rating 1852
 
I was beating down with the Fledgling Imp, but his banding creatures had the ground sown up. I was chump blocking and holding on, and had him dead on my next turn. He drew Kaervek’s Torch and was able tap out to Torch me to one, then the Imp killed me on upkeep. The downside is that I made a mistake early – I simply did the math wrong when attacking into banding – and it cost me.
 
Game two I beat him down to two with Morifen, and he again knocked me exactly to zero with Kaerveck’s Torch. True, suicide black has a problem with Torch, but an opponent can only have one (the pool for an event like this has just a single Mirage tournament pack, so duplicates would mean one would have to be a foil), but he drew it, and enough lands, by turn thirteen each game. The odds are against him having even one: Mirage has 110 commons in the set, and the tournament pack includes only 33 commons, making the odds are less than 1 in 3 that he has one. He beat the odds.
 
Now I was not only out of top eight contention, but may be out of contention for the nine through sixteen prize of sixteen packs as well. That’s open to question – one player has dropped already.
 
Round 3: Rating 1532
 
My opponent had a better deck than I did, but I could outplay him. Once again, Duskrider Falcon showed up, and held off nearly all my offense. However, I was able to bait him into attacking, and then wrecked him with a combination of Sandstorm and Fatal Blow. 
 
I don’t have a ton of notes on this game. I was planning on replaying games (replay is back on), but MTGO crashed and the games are gone.
 
Round 4: Rating 1808
 
I was destroyed by Duskrider Falcon again. I won game one, lost game two and lost game three the turn before I would have drawn Savage Twister. That made the fifth time that my Wrath was top card of my library when I died.
 
I am wondering whether playing a heavy black deck in a format with a common pro-black flier might have been a mistake.
 
Round 5: Rating 1730
 
At this point, there were seventeen people in the tournament, including one at 0-4. He will get the bye, and if we draw, one of us will be at three points and would lose to the guy with no wins, on tiebreakers. 
 
My opponent won’t draw.
 
It went to game three, and I had him close. I drew lands, he drew creatures. I made a couple of possible misplays – possible, but since I was still really sick, I don’t think I was thinking all that clearly. Eventually he was at five life and I was at three life, and we each had with three 3/3s. Unfortunately, one of mine was the disappearing Golem, which phased out and I lost. 
 
I finished 17th. I won zero packs. My rating dropped from 1750 to 1690.
 
I am not happy.
 
I wonder if I could have built the deck differently. 
 
Here’s a white-black build. No Savage Twister, but more evasion creatures. One advantage of a league is that I could try this out. 
 
1 Angelic Renewal
1 Fatal Blow
1 Empyrial Armor
Grave Servitude
1 Kaervek’s Torch
1 Serra's Blessing
1 Spinning Darkness
Strands of Night
Ward of Lights

Ardent Militia
1 Barrow Ghoul
Benalish Knight
1 Duskrider Falcon
Ekundu Griffin
1 Fledgling Djinn
Lead Golem
1 Morinfen
1 Shadow Rider
Skulking Ghost
Teremko Griffin
Urborg Panther
Wall of Corpses
1 Zombie Scavengers
1 Gemstone Mine
1 Mountain
7  Plains
8  Swamp

I’m not really sure that is better. Some cards clearly are: Teremko Griffin is a lot better than Crystal Golem or Raging Spirit. Empyrial Armor, if you can stick in and have cards in hand, is a beating. I looked at this build, but I’m not sure anything in it is worth losing Savage Twister.
 
Speaking of Savage Twister, although I never had it, but did not have the colors to cast it, that was a risk with the build I played. It would be possible to play a Green Red build, to maximize the chance of being able to cast Twister. Let’s look at that option.

1 Choking Vines
Kaervek's Torch
Lightning Reflexes
Savage Twister
Seedling Charm
Superior Numbers
Crash of Rhinos
1 Dwarven Berserker
1 Crystal Golem
Gibbering Hyenas
1 Goblin Vandal
Granger Guildmage
1 Lead Golem
Llanowar Behemoth
Maraxus of Keld
Raging Spirit
1 Sawtooth Ogre
Redwood Treefolk
2 Rogue Elephant
Talruum Minotaur
1 Uktabi Efreet
Uktabi Faerie
10 Forest
8 Mountain

This build has better creatures, but I’m never happy giving up removal spells. I cannot imagine playing this against a deck full of fliers, and even opponents with a bunch of banding creatures might cause some problems.        
 
I would consider finding room for the Cinder Walls. They are useless on their own, but they do help Maraxus, Superior Numbers and Llanowar Behemoth. On the downside, Maraxus and Superior Numbers are marginal cards, and probably to ones I would cut to fit in other cards.
 
I took a nap at that point, but came back for more punishment a while later.
 
I played in two other Weatherlight events. I drafted a decent WB deck, but my opponent somehow got two Cone of Flame, an Incinerate, a Dark Banishing and some other stuff. It didn’t matter: Cone of Flame was enough to beat me – the rest was just gravy. I did manage to get Empyrial Armor on a Dirtwater Wraith game two, but Cone of Flame plus Fatal Blow did for that.
 
I played in a second 4X event later that day. My pool was even worse – pretty much the above, but replace the Torch with an Incinerate and the Behemoth with a second Redwood Treefolk.  
 
Here’s the deck:
 
1 Barrow Ghoul
Breathstealer
1 Cadaverous Knight
Crash of Rhinos
1  Fledgling Djinn
1 Gibbering Hyenas
Jolrael's Centaur
Jungle Wurm
1 Llanowar Behemoth
Mtenda Lion
Razortooth Rats
2 Redwood Treefolk
1 Rogue Elephant
1 Shadow Rider
Sylvan Hierophant
1 Urborg Panther
1 Zombie Scavengers
Briar Shield
1 Incinerate
Rampant Growth
1 Spinning Darkness
Moss Diamond
3 Mountain
8 Forest
6 Swamp

Deja’ vu all over again, but this time I played GBr instead of gBr. 
 
Round one my opponent had both Cone of Flame and Thran Tome. Cone blew me out game one, but I held on game two even though he drew nearly his entire library. I played around the Cone of Flame, stopped his beats, got him to four life, one attacker (while I had two defenders) and one card in his library. His last card – Torch for the win.
 
Round two I fell asleep at the keyboard and timed out. That was a pretty good indication that I was too sick to continue – and being at 0-2 with a bad deck, I had little confidence in my ability to go 4-0 for the next four rounds in order to win any packs. I dropped.
 
My rating has dropped Seventy Eight point in these three events, and I have won exactly zero packs.  Sucks to be me.
 
I am almost over the plague, although it did delay posting this article. At this point, the Weatherlight release events are almost over, but hopefully someone will get some use out of this. If nothing else, laugh.
 
Later – I have to go to work, then get caught up on other stuff. Then I’ll have to play in some Lorwyn or Future Sight sealed events to get my rating back up. I also have to get my EDH deck together.
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO


0 Comments

wow. by Rhad at Fri, 12/21/2007 - 03:55
Rhad's picture

Wow. That sucks, but I appreciate you keeping accurate notes, and really jumping on that grenade for the rest of us. I went 4-1 in a league that I thought had bomb red cards (both X burn spells, incinerate, etc.) but got torched in game 3 of my last match with a torch in hand myself. My other league I went GR for Savage Twist, but that didn't really do much...Thundermare was a bomb, and really what got me 5-0 was a seemingly unending supply for 3/3s and 3/4s (and said 5/4) at 4cc.

You seem to be down on the cinder wall, but in the format, a 3/3 will often trade with something useful (critter or removal) or stall the weenies. Did you have it played against you? Pretty frustrating to get stalled by a 1cc wall, it takes some balls to throw one of your guys into it (always a bad deal) for the sake of the rest of your ground game.