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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Feb 20 2008 12:17am
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It's been a long time since I have played in a Premier Event.  It's not because I had a lack of tickets or the lack of cards (although, I am taking up a collection for the following cause:  Joshua Claytor and his Pernicious Deeds, you can PM me if you would like to contribute!) 

Okay, that was a joke.  Playing in events is a time consuming project to be sure, and with a nine month old that I take care of (His name is Cassius.) it is often times too hard to do so.  Lucky for me, my wife took off of work today, because she has a nasty case of the kidney stones, so I had time to sit down and play a few matches. 

Recently I have been playing Goblin Bidding in the Tournament Practice room, and eight mans.  I had a pretty fair amount of success with the deck, but had grown bored with it.  So I did what any player would do when they become bored with a deck. 

I innovated! 

What a funny joke I just made!  What I meant to say was this:  I fired up Firefox, surfed on over to www.deckcheck.net, and looked at decks.  This site has become one of my favorite ones to look at for Magic decks.  Featured there are European PTQ lists, magic-league lists and local tournament results.  For me, the site is like a Wal-Mart.  It's a one stop shop for all formats! 

Anyway, I surfed over, and looked at some lists, and had to dismiss the Death Cloud decks, because well, I do not have Deeds.  I had to dimiss Zoo because of a lack of Vindicate and I had to do the same with Enduring Ideal and Heartbeat of Spring because of a lack of cards. 

Maybe I can start a collection for Burning Wish and Cunning Wish.

I was pretty close to giving up, and deciding that I was just going to play Goblins again.  I mean, there is nothing wrong with the deck, and I do enjoy attacking with a Goblin Piledriver, but every so often, you want to switch things up a bit. 

I clicked the link to the PTQ that was held in Denver, and saw the deck I was going to play.  It won the tournament, which is no small accomplishment, and it had been packed with a lot of hate for the field.  I bought the cards that I needed from MTGOtraders.com (Shill!) and signed up for the event.  Did anyone catch my mistake?

I went into the event cold.  By that I mean, I had never played the deck before.  This is going to cause me to make mistakes, and play a little more loose, because I have no idea what the correct hands are, or how to actually play the deck.  I am sure with the speed of the Extended format, that a mistake on turn two could be enough to make it impossible to win.  Of course, I should have not played in this PE, and just playtested the deck.  Maybe I could have found out that it was suboptimal in testing, or at least learned how to play it. 

Here is the decklist that I played in the event:

So what drew me to this deck?  The long and short of it is this.  It looks like it has a lot of hate against the top decks in the format.  Let's break that down.

Dredge:  Main Deck we have Gaddock Teeg.  In game one they have very few answers to this Kithkin Advisor.  I know that is not much against the powerful deck game one, but some players will not know how to play against him without their sideboarded cards.  Games two and three look even better (although game one does hinge on me having a certain legend.) as I have access to Extirpate, Rule of Law, and Pithing Needle.  I've been advocating the use of Extirpate against Dredge, as hitting the key cards (Narcomoeba and Bridge from Below) makes it almost impossible for them to win, while Rule of Law keeps them from having one big turn.  Pithing Needle shuts off Putrid Imp and Cephalid Coliseum.

Against Affinity we have main deck Kataki, and he is a beast against them!  Viridian Zealot is also a good guy to have, and we have targeted removal for their men in Mortify and Smother.  Game two sees us bringing in Krosan Grip as another way to deal with their artifacts.

Red Deck Wins, and the Mono Red Burn deck have started to see more play online.  We have Silver Knight main to get past their huge men, and Troll Ascetic is a beater that does not care about their burn.  Armadillo Cloak is the best threat to them though, as the life gain we get from the card makes it harder for them to burn us out.   The board can bring us Spectral Lynx, which is better than Kataki and gives us a blocker for Tarmogoyf for what seems like forever! 

Next Level Blue is another popular deck in the format, and is quite possible the best deck in the format.  This is the match up where I feel Viridian Zealot shines the most.  It gets rid of Shackles!  We also have access to the little used Blinkmoth Well, which can help in the Shackles based matchup. 

I think maybe the best way to describe the deck is a good stuff deck.  Plenty of diverse threats for what I would call the most diverse Extended format ever!

Okay, with deck in hand (or in a file, whatever.) I paid my six tickets, signed up for the event, and waited for round one to kick off. 

Round 1 vs.  A Bathing Ape playing Next Level Blue. 

I lost the roll and kept this hand.  Armadillo Cloak, Gaddock Teeg, Troll Ascetic, Dark Confidant, Temple Garden, Bloodstained Mire, and Kataki.  It was not explosive, but it would allow me to play Dark Confidant on turn two, and would allow me hopefully to out draw him. 

Ape led off with a Delta and passed.  I dismissed his deck choice as Dredge because most Dredge players would have sacrificed the Delta to play an Putrid Imp or Careful Study.  I drew another Temple Garden, and played a Mire, which got me an Overgrown Tomb.  His Delta brought a Breeding Pool into play, and he followed that up with an Island and a Tarmogoyf on his turn.  At least my Dark Confidant would hit play.  

He attacked me for one with his 1/2 goyf, and played a Trinket Mage which searched out a Sensei's Divining Top.  Confidant revealed Jitte on my upkeep, and I drew another Temple Garden.  Here is where I made my first mistake of the night.

I suited up Bob with an Armadillo Cloak.  Instead I should have made another guy.  However, I wanted to attack and keep my Bob alive, in case he blocked with the Mage.  Had I played a Troll I would have been in a better position to follow up his blow out play on turn four.

Yeah I had neglected to notice that most Next Level Blue decks that I have seen are starting to pack Sower of Temptation main.  He attacked me for three, played the Sower and took my Cloaked up Bob.  I may have been able to stay in the game, as my next two plays were Zealot and Silver Knight, which I followed up with Jitte. 

Sower of Temptation


I drew Smother the turn that I played Jitte as well.  The better play may have been to Smother the goyf, but instead I suit up the Knight with Jitte, and get blown out again when he cast Cryptic Command and bounced my Jitte. I sensed the writing was on the wall, and packed up game one.

Game two I sideboarded in Extirpate as I figured I could deal with counterspells or shackles has I managed to get rid of one of them.  Turns out I would draw three of them, which would removed Pyroclasm (The first one resolved and blew me out, killing two men.) Thirst for Knowledge and Shackles.  Note that these Extirpates did not get rid of anything of any relevance.  I lost to a board that degenerated to him have multiple Counterbalance and a Tarmogoyf

At least I got a decklist out of this because of Extirpate! 

Okay, this was not a good start, but I could turn around right? 

Round 2 versus The_Hair playing Dredge
Sometimes Dredge just gets there.  This happened to be one of those times.  I did not know what he was playing, and therefore kept a hand that did not have Gaddock Teeg in the opener.  He cast a Careful Study discarded two Stinkweed Imps and then went off for the combo kill on turn two after the deck failed to cough up a Teeg. 

I brought in Extirpate for the Kataki's, and hoped for the best. My deck however wanted my fail.  I mulliganed to three, and was not able to keep up with his speed. 
Careful Study

So I started off 0-2.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  Right? 

Round 3 versus jimdownside playing Enduring Ideal. 

I kept an opening hand that hand that had Mortify and Zealot, but not the mana to cast Zealot.  I do however get a Silver Knight on turn two, and a Troll Ascetic on turn three.  This was not enough pressure to keep him from going off on turn four.  He cast the Ideal, and fetched Dovescape, and for some reason, I almost conceded.  I started at my hand that had added a second Mortify to it, and the Zealot, and for some reason just did not let the Zealot register in my mind.  Of course, I decide to not pack it up, draw the third green source, but do not run the Zealot out there as soon as I can.  I did not want to lose to Deed!  He fetches up Confinement next, and I finally cast the Zealot.  I did this with a third green source open just in case he got something I needed to deal with.  His third Ideal trigger got Form of the Dragon, I waited until the end of turn, and activated the Zealot, targeting his Dovescape.  I needed another mana source if my hand was going to get there. 

I drew a Flooded Strand, which got a Temple Garden, and allowed me to cast both Mortifies in my hand.  Since he was at five, and he did not deal with my Knight or my Troll, I had just enough to beat him. 

Game two I had what I thought was the hand I wanted.  I was able to cast a Teeg on turn one, (Thanks Chrome Mox!) and put a Cloak on it turn two.  Turns out that is not enough.  He had two Fire/Ice for the Legendary man on turn four, and on turn five he went off.  I of course did not have much of a hand after the mox and the earlier plays, so I conceded instead of playing it out. 

Game three I got back to my winning ways.  However, I tried really hard to give it away.  I had a turn two Dark Confidant, and followed that up with a Gaddock Teeg on turn three.  As of turn four, my hand was Zealot, Troll, two Cloak, Jitte and Grip to go along with other less important cards.  During his turn three, he cast a Pentad Prism, and I was thought I was going to blow him out with Krosan Grip.  The correct play in this case is to put a cloak on the Teeg.  That forces him to have two Fire/Ice again or Burning Wish for Pyroclasm to go with a Fire.  So instead of putting the cloak on the Teeg, I bash and pass.

I let him go through his upkeep and this is another mistake.  Had I gripped the prism then, he would not have had the mana needed to cast both Wish and Pyroclasm.  However, I waited to Grip the Prism in response to the Wish.  He blew me out after that.  However, I was able to keep playing men, and put out a Troll, and then put a cloak on him.  He was forced to rawdog a Form of the Dragon, but I had the mana to cast a Zealot and activate it to destroy the Form. 

I won one!  Hooray me!  Yes, I know I tried to punt, but sometimes the offense just makes too many penalties! 

Round four versus empanadillahumana with Mono Red Burn

This seems to be one of the decks that my deck is supposed to beat, and beat rather easily.  With Silver Knight, Jitte and Cloak main, I have the tools that I need to make the opponent's game plan falter easily.  Game one was a lot like that.  I hit a turn two Sliver Knight, and stuck a cloak on him on turn three.  As the Mono Red deck does not main deck Vortex to deal with the life gain, I was able to overwhelm his suite of burn spells rather easily.  This might have been different had he seen a Flames of the Blood Hand but he did not.  

Game two, I did not side in Grip to deal with his Vortex that I knew he was siding in, and got beat because of it.  His opener was very good as well.  Turn one he domed me with Lava Spike turn two he had another Spike and a Rift Bolt to put on suspend, and then hit the Vortex on turn three.  I packed at nine life, and a couple men in play, but there was no way I was going to be able to race him and his burn.  

Game three I sided in the Grips (when I side in stuff, I am taking out cards that are dead in each match up.  Kataki, just so happened to be the most sided out spell today.) but it was for not.  I got my same nutty Silver Knight Cloak draw, and he did not see a third land.  Ever.  

Please note that the decklist that I played against of course did not have Shard Volley, the one that I have supplied for this article is a recent one from the PTQ in Dallas, and of course Morningtide is already legal in the real world.  I am very sure that if you replace the Shard Volley with Incinerate you'll be fine!  

So I'm now 2-2, I'm still pretty sure that I am not going to make top eight with a 4-2 record.  However, I will continue to play, because well, I had nothing else better to do!  

Round five versus Gdegaspare playing Mono Red Burn

Sweet!  Another matchup that I am pretty sure I can win without actually having to think!  Sometimes it does not work out that way though.  For instance you may have multiple protection from red men in your hand, but only one source of white mana in play.  In fact that is exactly what happened in the first game, as I drew three of the four Silver Knights, but only one white source.  I was quite soured on this happening to me, but you know, it's a game, it does happen from time to time.  

Game two, I actually was able to put up more of a fight.  Well, until he dropped a turn three Blood Moon.  I just so happened to not have any fetch lands in play, and well the ones that I had used already got shock lands.  I tried to battle with my Troll, but was not able to deal with his Blood Moon and his burn.  

The funny part is I had side boarded in Krosan Grip, and was just sadly unable to get to one of my two main decked Forests.  Sometimes it happens.  

So I stay in to "play" round six, but I end up conceding to my opponent when he is paired down against me.  While no 12 pointers made it into the top eight, it just made more sense to give my opponent who had the better shot of making it in a chance to make it in instead of being a dreamcrusher.  

So what did I learn from this expirement?  

Well, I guess it was not even an expirement, but more so of a train wreck.  The biggest thing I can say I learned is I do not have the playskill to just out play someone with a deck I picked up five minutes before the event started.  I also learned that just because the deck looks like it is good against the field, does not mean it is going to just roll whatever I play.  It seems to me that this deck might have a poor matchup with Next Level Blue, and had I playtested the matchup, I might have been able to figure that out and adjust accordingly.  

Going 2-4 in anything sucks, but I can chalk this up to a playtesting session that also cost six dollars.  Coming up soon is going to be an article that I think you guys are going to want to see, as I gather a ton of decklists and make that the unoffical deckopedia of Extended Play!  Good luck to all of you in all of your events!  


Hate decks by hamtastic at Wed, 02/20/2008 - 09:19
hamtastic's picture

Hate decks are very hard to play and generally take a lot of preperation before becoming proficient (I guess that applies to a lot of decks though, so, whatever ;) ).  But 'hate' decks are especially hard because you have to know the optimal hate plays for each matchup, and you need to know what cards you want to be able to cast first.


Also, it seemed that your mana was out to get you in a few of the games, I counted at least two games decided by incorrect mana, and one where you mulliganed to 3.  Is it possible that you're trying to stretch the mana base a bit too much?  GG/WW/GW/WB, etc is pretty rough requirements, even with fetch+ravduals.  But then again, I don't play extended, so what do I know?  :)

by largebrandon at Wed, 02/20/2008 - 06:25
largebrandon's picture

Sorry about the bad result, mate.  It really is a pretty good meta deck.  I tried making a haterator-type deck in my playtest group.  It was WGU.  U was for Trygon predator, plaxmanta, and Azorious Guildmage.  IT played baloth (plaxmanta AND trygon are beasts! Woot!).  Also played 3sphere with elves.  It was fun.  Sorry, your deck just reminded me of it, and I thought I'd share.