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Loooong FNM - Phil's Rambling Rants
August 17th, 2013
08:10 pm

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Loooong FNM
Yesterday, the format for FNM was Standard. I played my own take on Bant Hexproof, an archetype that's been fairly strong in the past several months. I don't own all the cards that might be desired for this deck, and I have no experience with the deck, and both of those things probably contributed to my lousy showing -- though it felt at the time like I was just unlucky. The idea of this deck is to get out a small creature fairly quickly and load it up with auras that turn it into a huge scary creature. The weakness of this strategy -- and the reason why auras are generally considered bad cards even when they are very powerful when they work -- is that the enchanted creature usually eats removal, and you lose multiple cards -- the creature plus all those auras -- while the opponent only loses one. Hexproof lets the creature avoid most of the removal, making it more likely that the beefed-up creature gets through -- but there are still ways the opponent can fight back, and because the deck archetype is moderately popular in the metagame, people are often playing those ways.

The deck I ran:
2 Arbor Elf
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Ethereal Armor
1 Fireshrieker
2 Geist of St. Traft (I only own 2)
4 Gladecover Scout
2 Inquisitor's Flail
4 Invisible Stalker
4 Oblivion Ring
4 Rancor
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Silver-Inlaid Dagger
2 Tricks of the Trade

1 Breeding Pool (only own 1)
1 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
2 Glacial Fortress
2 Hallowed Fountain
1 Hinterland Harbor (only own 1)
5 Island
2 Plains
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden

Sideboard:
3 Detention Sphere
1 Fiendslayer Paladin
1 Naturalize
1 Nevermore
2 Pithing Needle
1 Ray of Revelation
3 Rest in Peace
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Wolfir Silverheart

My intentional deviations from the net.deck version were the equipment, rather than reyling solely on auras, Tricks of the Trade, and Sigarda. Unintentional was leaving out Unflinching Courage, a very strong aura; I just brainfarted when putting the deck together, and I just threw this together Thursday.

Match 1, I was facing Zach Morlock, who has a B/W extort deck he thinks is dedicated to the Exquisite Blood/Sangine Bond combo. He's had this deck for a while, but he's been working on it, and it's gotten better. Desecration Demon is seriously underrated, and now that he's stopped trying to run Soul Tithe, it's looking a lot more like a deck. Game 1 I mulled to 6, I had an Invisible Stalker on the field with a Rancor. I looked the situation and said "if he doesn't have Celestial Flare in hand and I put some more enchantments on this guy, he's in a world of hurt, I'll give it a shot." And he had Celestial Flare. And then he played a Desecration Demon, and I failed to find removal for it. Game 2, I mulled to 5, kept a poor hand, and never really got anything going. 0-1. Match 2, Tucker Campbell was playing a Boros deck. Game 1 I had an OK starting hand but didn't draw anything much to follow up. Game 2, I mulled to 6, kept a poor hand rather than going to 5, and never drew into what I needed. I think it's a weak matchup pre-board, I should win maybe 40%; post-board (siding out mana dorks for more removal) I think it's in my favor (though he gets to board in enchantment hate). Post board against aggro is where I need those Unflinching Courages I forgot to bring. But in any case, I always need to draw a mix of mana, creatures, and supoprt, and I just wasn't. 0-2. Match 3, I played Drake C something, I can't read my own writing on my score pad. He was running U/G, a deck that didn't seem to have any good cards; I ran over him like a truck. 1-2. Match 4, I played Travis Little, and I failed to write anything useful down, like what he was playing or who won the individual games or why. He was running Naya aggro. I remember facing Loxodon Smiters, Ghor-Clan Rampagers, and Boros Reckoners. Not drawing enough of my removal and trying to play around a Ray of Revelation in his graveyard after he'd already hit an O-ring and gotten back one of his scary guys. It went to 3 games, so I must have won one of the first 2, and I lost the 3rd. 1-3. Round 5, out of contention for a prize, I faced Jarred Thierren, who had a deck based on Progenitor Mimic. After a friendly, game 1, he hit me with Acidic Slime, then Progenitor Mimiced the slime, and he cut off my mana before I could make my Invisible Stalker bigger. Game 2, he kept a 1 land hand and received the proper punishment for it. Game 3, I got out a Geist on turn 2 and hit twice with the Angel, and then followed with an Inisible Stalker with a dagger for the win. 2-3. Won the promo Goblin Diplomat that I failed to qualify for at Game Day.

I think I only have 1 more Standard FNM before the new set releases and Innistrad block leaves Standard. I don't know if I'll try to play this deck again or do something else.

I felt reasonably ready to play more Magic, so I stayed for after draft. The good news is that Dave pulled out some Modern Masters; I was sort of expecting him to let everyone buy 1 pack of MMA for afterdraft, but getting to play a real MMA draft was an unexpected bonus. The bad news is that we didn't *start* until midnight, and we had a couple of complete novices who had no idea what the cards were and had to study each pick.

Pack 1 I opened a Path to Exile. Without a windmill slam rare it was an easy pick. I didn't fall into an archetype right away but was getting some decent white stuff and some green ramp. Late in pack 1, I managed to get 2 Bound in Silence and an Amrou Scout, and from there I was actively looking for Rebels. Surprisingly, I got a lot of them. I didn't pull any bombs or huge value, but I had what seemed like a really good deck:
3 Amrou Scout
2 Blightspeaker
4 Bound in Silence
1 Death Rattle
1 Eternal Witness (foil!)
1 Gleam of Resistance
1 Imperiosaur
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Otherworldly Journey
1 Path to Exile
1 Rathi Trapper
2 Search for Tomorrow
1 Stir the Pride
1 Test of Faith
1 Tromp the Domains
2 Veteran Armorer
8 Forest
7 Plains
2 Swamp

Match 1, Brandon (don't know his last name) had a deck that seemed to be trying to combine Faeries and Affinity. He had a couple of blue bombs, but I was lucky enough to have timely removal, and the swarm of Rebels rolled over him quickly. 1-0. Match 2, Dave Shirtz had R/B Goblins. He hit me with an Earwig Squad, and took 2 of my Bound in Silences, but I managed to stabilize by entwining Stir the Pride to gain some life. Game 2, I got a bunch of Rebels out and drew Tromp the Domains for a good alpha strike. 2-0. Match 3, Evan (again didn't get his last name) was running a G/W Thallid deck. Game 1, I never saw any of my 5 tutoring rebels, and he overwhelmed me with creatures. Game 2, my deck worked perfectly while he drew a bunch of land. Game 3 was a long duel, he had a bunch of spore counter guys and I had a bunch of rebels; I needed to draw my Tromp the Domains to get through. We had a standoff for several turns but I didn't draw what I needed, and he got a big stack of Saproling tokens which could be made huge by Pallid Mycoderm. 2-1, I ended up placing 3rd in a 10 man pod, winning a Gatecrash pack and getting my M14 pack back. And made it to bed just after 5.

I love Modern Masters draft. It is so disappointing that the set is so badly under-printed. I was getting solidly playable cards all the way to pick 12 and 13, ending up with a pool of 30+ cards I felt I needed to be running, and I may not have made the best choices on the ones I cut, though I was pretty happy with the ones I ran. Would I have done better with Meadowboon, Sandsower, or Blinding Beam main deck? I don't know. To say nothing of the cards I didn't pick when I faced touch choices. A couple of Avian Changelings to fetch with the tutor rebels would have made my last match much better, for example, and I was really disappointed to not have Cenn's Enlistment -- but there was always something that seemed even better in packs that had one.

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