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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Mar 17 2008 1:41pm
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This week I have been thinking about quite a few different topics, and wanted to talk about several of them.  First up is a quick talk about some Sealed specifics to LM.  Next I’ll go over my current Black Rack splashing for Green, and then breakdown some Morningtide cards that have been proving their worth.
Sealed Lorwyn/Morningtide has been both a pleasure and a pain for me.  While playing sealed tournies, I've been hanging out in the CerealKillaz's Ventrillo Room on the Puremtgo/Mtgotraders Ventrillo Server.  You can join this server at vent.puremtgo.com with port 7126.  Stop in and say, "Hi!"  Meuslix has apparently renamed all lands/mana "Lana," to keep it from being too complicated.  He likes to keep it simple, as big thoughts make his brain hurt.

Back to sealed though,  I’ve finished 5th, 6th, and 8th in my three leagues.  In two of those, I built an abomination of a Blue-based deck that was

Stonehewer Giant
 Blue-White in one and Blue-green in the other, both splashing for removal.  The Blue-White seemed especially good at first glance, with “hits” like TWO Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Summon the School, Mothdust Changeling, Drowner of Secrets, a few other Changelings, and a Stonehewer Giant with Obsidian Battle-Axe and Veteran’s Armaments to summon up. 

Both deck flamed out spectacularly.  I lost round one with my Merfolk deck to a Green White Aggro deck with a nice curve.  Round two, I loose game one and am really mad.  The deck just seems horribly underpowered unless I stick my Giant, and lost to almost any two pieces of removal or aggressive start.  So, I got desperate and totally sided into GW, with solid stuff like Game-Trail Changeling and Woodland Changeling, Earthbrawn, Wolf-Skull Shaman, Elvish Warrior,and Bramblewood Paragon.  I didn’t really have tons elves, but I had some Changelings and Warriors/Shaman I squeezed in.

This deck rolled.  I sided into it rounds two through four, losing my first game each time, then rolling my opponent games two and three.  In round five, I lost to a superior deck in three close games, although I felt like if I had built the right deck that I could have won game one, since I won the dice roll.   The second and third game were decided by who went first.

The deck I built as a Blue Green deck was also weak.  Between a lack of synergy, splashing into too many colors for removal and Reveillark, and Blue stuff that was good in the L format, but isn’t as strong now, the deck was a loser.  I lost 1-2 both round one and two, although I made a HUGE play error in round 1 to lose that game.  Rounds 3-5, I lost game one, and sided into some decent Kithkin to pair with the Green, which really was solid between Garruk Wildspeaker, Changeling Titan, and a few solid Elves (although no bombs).  This deck wasn’t as strong as the previous Green White deck, but I STILL went 0-1, 2-0 the last three rounds to pack out.

There are two things I want to point out from these anectdotes: Blue is not as strong in LM.  Aside from the super-awesome ridiculous Blue-Black Faerie Pool with 2-3 good rares AND 3+ good pieces of removal, the color just lacks the Fatties that Green (and Red to a lesser extent) got in Morningtide.  Previously strong Blue-based builds can be simply out-classed by Green Fatties and some removal, which was harder to do in Lorwyn because of the lack of the cheaper Fatties that Morningtide introduced.

The secondary and complementary point that we all probably know is that White-Weenie-Style aggro is usually good-to-great, given a decent White pool.  Almost every game on the play I simply out-raced my opponent due to my early White beaters that could ALWAYS trade up with a bigger creature and live (Due to the fact that Reinforce is like cheating) or if they didn’t block, I’d hit my next drop every time.  I’d curve out into my larger Green men and just rush all over them.  The White little dudes are also not useless in the long run.  They almost all have some utility ability like First Strike, Flying, Reinforce and the like.  They will have some application and are almost never dead draws.

Next, I want to talk about attacking.  Various pro players have said, "Blocking is loose."  They're only halfway joking.  For example, if you have a 2/2, and the opponent has a 2/2 flyer, and nothing else is relevant to the situation, you should attack.  This is because their creature is better.  His evasion lets him choose when and where to fight you.  So, if you attack, the BEST thing that can happen is him blocking and trading.  The worst thing is probably that he takes the damage, and even that is not that bad, because then you're leading the damage race.  This is a "Good Thing" *TM.  Don't be afraid to attack simply because of the fear of the unknown; rather, set up situations that maximize your chances of success.

Next up is my most recent Classic focus.  This deck is rather fun to play, and will get much better with the addition of Tempest to the mix.  It is a progression from Black Rack, adding Life from the Loam for some card advantage and some shenanigans.  Mostly, you seek to play the same gameplan as before, but now you have improved long game, which was rather shaky before, when top-decks could get around your slower discard after multiple turns.  Here's the deck.

I first tried Tarmogoyf, Wild Mongrel and Basking Rootwalla in the deck, thinking I'd lay beats and disrupt, that classic formula.  It didn't go well.  You ended up not ever having the right lands to cast the BB spells or an all-creature hand when you wanted disruption, etc.  Plus, this many creatures wasn't very complementary to Smallpox, and worse yet, my long game wasn't that much better, simply because I was too slow.  I was trying to go "Duress, Mongrel... now where is that second Black source!"  The reason for the GQs was to take advantage of the fact that many of the three-color decks, Affinity, and most of the combo out there runs few or no basic lands.  You can eventually just start cutting off the opponents ability to ever play a spell, but as it was, this build was a mess.

I went back, and cut off the fat, coming up with this.  You more-or-less suicide to start with, seeking to rip apart their hand of relevant cards, cut down on their mana development with Smallpox and a Ghost Quarter or two, and then win with Dark Confidant churning out cards, dredging back lands via Loam, or just watching them die to The Rack.  Another card I messed around with was Dakmor Salvage as a singleton, but I decided against it, as you don't dredge all that many cards.

Honestly, it feels like yet another viable 50/50 deck, a deck with few awful matchups and few good ones.  You don't get very many bad draws due to almost all your cards being useful against every deck.  The only exception is the Edicts and Smothers, which can be bad against Landstill, but you board those out for Extirpate and Grudges game two.  Affinity tends to beat you up, but you have Grudge, Extirpate and Leyline to side into.

Against an unknown opponent, you obviously hope to have a Duress/Thoughtseize to open up with, along with two Black mana sources.  Other than that, you won't see too many "bad" hands.  You tear into their hand, following up with attacks on the mana-base and finally dropping finishers.  Your finishers against aggro are typically Tombstalker and Mishra's Factory, while control has a hard time with recurring Life from the Loam and The Rack + discard.  

Here's the specific matchup strats against various decks.  Against Burn, you want to side out Dark Confidants for Extirpate and Tombstalker

Ghost Quarter

Even a bad Wasteland is a good land.
comes in for two of your Smallpox.  You really want to successfully hit them with Hymn to Tourach once or twice.  Against more creature-based variants, ala the RG deck that won the last PE, you're really in good shape.  You have tons of non-targetting removal, good ways to get rid of Bob if he drops you too low, and they tend to empty their hand very quickly, leaving them wide-open to The Rack to tick off the points of damage.

Against control (mainly Landstill these days), you're going to grind out a victory via Loam and The Rack.  You will of course hit their hand, and remember, Force of Will on your Hymn is fine, really.  It's the same number of cards, althought they did protect something.  After fighting them over their hand-size, you'll start trying to cast Loam and abuse their man-lands with Ghost Quarter, eventually ripping all of the land out of their deck.  This take a while, and is slightly boring, but is effective.  If you somehow stick a Bob, you'll probably win against them.  After sideboard, get your Extirpate and start hitting their win conditions.  You want to take out Edict, as it pretty much sucks against them.


Rip their heart out!
Affinity is a mess game one.  You do have a ton of removal though, and they don't pack any non-basic lands, so GQ can mana-screw them.  Mostly though, this isn't pretty.  Game two you'll add in some Ancient Grudge loving, and combined with the previously mentioned factors, gives you a comfortable Game Two and Three.  Nothing is guaranteed against Affinity ever, but this isn't bad.

Dredge will probably stomp all over you game one.  You can always pull out a miracle, but really, aside from them getting nothing in their dredges, or you mana-screwing them, they will win.  Game 2-3 you have Extirpate, Leyline and Crypt.  You might be able to pull that out.  Flash is better Game One, as you try to rip apart their hand and mana-base before they kill you.  Games 2-3 you're all about Leyline, but not the other two so much.

Storm-based combo is actually relevant, and in different forms these days.  Sensei Sensei will probably beat you.  You can't do much about it.  Try to disrupt them, but they are quick, and not very vulnerable to what you're trying to do.  Tendrils is another story.  You CAN beat them with your discard (although they will defend against it with discard of their own) and your Leylines/Extirpate can replace your Smother/Edicts to slightly improve things.  All in all, a bad one.

This deck is not a huge improvement over Mono-Black, now that I've finished with it.  It does catch people off-guard, and has more long-game, so for a one-time deal, it is probably a good one.  However, until we have Tempest, Mono-B is probably the way to go in this particular type of deck.

With no PE this week, I don't have much more to say, so I'll keep this short and sweet. To wrap this up, I have two last thoughts. Bitterblossom is probably the most impactful cards on Classic in Morningtide. You might consider grabbing them at some point, either as a Dredge sideboard option or as a "card advantage" option in some sort of Mono-Black or Landstill build. The last note is that if you're craving some Classic action due to the down time, hang out in the Classic Quarter and meet some people.

Thanks for reading guys. Next time we should hopefully have the interview I was hoping for this week.


Classic Quarter by walkerdog at Tue, 03/18/2008 - 01:29
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I've been asked about where the Classic Quarter is.  If anyone wants to look, check out www.classicquarter.com!