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FNM - Phil's Rambling Rants
December 15th, 2012
08:44 pm

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FNM
I decided to give my tokens/lifegain deck a rest for a week, so I tried my vampire deck. It was announced that Standard would henceforth only run 4 rounds even when there are enough people that it should run 5. I have mixed feelings, because 5 rounds really runs too late for afterdraft, but on the other hand, not having enough rounds for a real winner sucks.

Anyway, for this week, I went 2-2, somewhat underwhelming.
Here's the deck:
1 Bloodline Keeper
4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
1 Necropolis Regent
2 Olivia Voldaren
1 Rakish Heir
4 Stromkirk Captain
4 Stromkirk Noble
2 Typhoid Rats
3 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Vampire Nocturnus
1 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Chandra, the Firebrand
1 Cremate
2 Dreadbore
1 Mark of Mutiny
2 Murder
3 Traitorous Instinct
4 Blood Crypt
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Dragonskull Summit
5 Mountain
1 Rogue's Passage
9 Swamp

sideboard:
1 Cremate
1 Grafdigger's Cage
3 Pillar of Flame
2 Rakdos Charm
2 Rakdos's Return
1 Sever the Bloodline
3 Slaughter Games
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Ultimate Price

Match 1, Cody (don't know his last name) was running mono red aggro. Both matches he kept 1 land and didn't draw enough to follow up on initial effects of his Rakdos Cacklers and Pillars of Flame. After the match, he told me that he was running 18 lands, out of frustration with several games of mana flood, which he bumped up to a much wiser 20. I think the matchup favors the vamps even when the mono red has the right mana base. Match 2, Hayden was playing a Jund midrange deck. Game 1, I drew all 3 Traitorous Instincts and Mark of Mutiny, but I couldn't find creatures. I had him down to 1 life, but he swung all out and hit me for exactly the 13 life I had left. Game 2, I mulled to 6 and kept a hand with 3 land but 3 poor spells. He got a couple of Thragtusks to keep his life total out of reach and finished me off with a Bonfire. I'm not sure of all the cards in this deck. I know it has Huntmaster, Thragtusks, Aristocrats, and Bonfires. It's a powerful deck; I'm not sure what I need to do to combat it, other than the usual need to actually draw a good hand from my deck. Match 3, Miles was playing a multi color control deck, I think with no creatures, big mana ramp including Gilded Lotus, trying to get up to Omniscience. Game 1 he slowed me down with a Supreme Verdict but I recovered fast enough to kill him. Game 2, I sided in Slaughter Games, intended to go for Sphinx's Revelation, but when I actually cast it on turn 4 I had good creatures on the board already and I decided to pull the Supreme Verdicts instead; it proved a good choice as he missed his 5th land drop (fortunate since he was holding a Gilded Lotus, Nicol Bolas, and Omniscience), and I killed him. The best way to beat this deck is to stomp it before it can get going, and it's well set up to do that. I don't think I need to worry about this particular control deck, but more typical builds may be more trouble. I really like Slaughter Games against this kind of deck. Match 4, Ramsey was playing a G/W/B tokens deck. I actually won the roll (I lost it the other 3 matches), and despite mulling to 5 I rolled over him pretty well. Game 2, I kept a 2 land hand and missed a couple of land drops, and he got an Intrepid Hero out, which meant that I couldn't play the Falkenrath Aristocrats in my hand. Game 3, I got mana screwed again; I had 4 mana on board -- two swamps, one mountain, Cavern -- and I had Olivia out. But he had Intangible Virtue and I couldn't activate her ability twice, which meant I couldn't kill a spirit with 2 toughness. I don't know that I really learned anything other than that I need to be less unlucky.

I want to play this deck more; I still think it has potential. I just checked the price on Zealous Conscripts and it's only $2, I definitely want to add at least 1. I'd like to have more Bonfires, but they're still $25, ugh. Not quite sure what else I want to fiddle with. I got Vampire Nocturnus out about 3 times, but my top card was red every time, and it always died before the top card changed; I'm not sure if he really belongs in the deck. I think I had the Necropolis Regent in hand once but never cast it. And I never saw the Bloodline Keeper.

My tiebreaks were good and I won 1 pack; my door prize was the common batch. Afterdraft started early, by 11. I thought I drafted an OK deck, red and black, good creatures, not much removal. Match 1, I beat James Manrique in a hard fought 3 games. Beating James in draft is always an achievement. Match 2 against Cy I mulled to 5 and got walked on game 1, then I came back and won the other two games fairly easily. This let me face Phil Stanton, another player I expect to lose to, in round 3. Game 1, he hit two of my good creatures with Pacifism and took me down. Game 2, I made a major misplay; I failed to realize that Fit of Rage is a sorcery, and tried to cast it in combat after the creature I'd loaded up with Deviant Glee, which needed first strike to not trade with the Giant Scorpion blocking it. After that screwup I needed to draw really lucky and I didn't. Still, I was 2-1. Somehow, I did not win a pack.

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