maandag 5 augustus 2013

The drama that was my GPT Prague

And off we went yesterday to play Magic again, for the first time in a month (the first of the M14 Pre-releases) and not having followed on the net the chenges in the metagame.  I was, as such, severly underprepared to do battle, and to make matters worse, I forgot some keycards at home.

My Mindsparkers and my Lifebane Zombies where still at my house instead of over at my gf's where my deck is residing these days.

This resulted in that I had to improvise in it's build, and didn't feel comfortable with my deck all day long.

Take that into account, and the fact that I ain't the world's best Magic player by a long shot, but more a 'solid midfielder' in the local watering hole, having after almost two years of play only as decent results a Top 8 in the GPT Moskow, a Top 8 in Gamesday Gatecrash and a top 4 ranking in a midnight prerelease of same Gatecrash set, and you can see the Hall of Fame is still a far way off.

So here is the decklist I took along:

31 Creatures:

2x Legion Loyalists
2x Vexing Devil
4x Rakdos Cackler
4x Spike Jester
4x Ash Zealot
3x Gore-House Chainwalker
2x Hellhole Flailer
2x Pyrewild Shaman
2x Boros Reckoner
2x Ogre Battledriver
2x Ghor-Clan Rampager
2x Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

BTW, she still hasn't called me back for that sado-party

9 Spells:

2x Rakdos Charm
3x Doom Blade
2x Mizzium Mortars
1x Rise of the Dark Realms
1x Immortal Servitude

20 Lands:

9x Mountains
3x Swamps
4x Blood Crypts
4x Stomping Grounds

15 Sideboard:

2x Slaughter Games
3x Dreadbore
2x Rakdos, Lord of Riots
2x Possibility Storm
2x Rakdos's Return
2x Skullcrack
2x Ratchet Bombs

Now, I always build my decks myself, no sneaking on the internet and copy high roller decks.  This might lead to some odd choices, but let me explain some of the more unusual cards you'll see in this list.

Immortal Servitude:  A remainder of the time I played 4 Vexing Devils.   You'll notice no Searing Spears, Pillars of Flame and Falkenrath Aristocrats.
They where in my deck before the m14 and upcomming cycle, but I opted to already cycle out all the 'leaving cards' as I won't be able to play much between now and the moment they cycle out so better to get used to it already.

Rise of the Dark Realms: I admit, an experiment gone sour.  I had it included just for control match ups that tend to draw out, and then bring back all my negated, cancelled and whatevered creatures back from the graveyard.

Possibility Storm: It's fun.  It can make those lifegain, combo decks and control decks get lost in utter chaos.  It actually kinda works as well, oddly enough, but at times only.

The tournament itself

I started with a Sliver deck opposing me, green white in colour, and must say I was lucky I had a Loyalist pretty soon in game 1.  Gore House turn 2, Gore house turn 3, Ash Zealot and Loyalist turn 4... scoop.  He had the double striker sliver and already some of the tokens, I had a Doom Blade.  Second game he had to mulligan to 5 and I could thunder in again.

Match 2 was against Control, and I lost round 1 closely.  Then came a deck check, and being the moron that I am, I had forgotten to copy my 2 Rakdos's Returns from my written paper to the official paper.  Game and as a result match loss due to my own 'attention of a gold fish in a bowl' attention span.

Match 3 was against Evgenyi, a local russian, three bye's at GPs he attends, top player with another control deck.  I was already seriously starting to curse my Mindsparker and Lifebane Zombie issue.  Game 1 I stayed stuck on 2 lands, game 2 I didn't get any of my black sources with 3 Jesters on hand...

Match 4 was against a young 'un that just started playing with a Golgari aggro zombie deck.  He won the dice roll, so predictably it went 1-0 to 1-1 to 2-1 for him.  Yet I feel I should have never lost that match as I made a crucial mistake in hindsight with the sideboarding (why did I take in Rakdos's Return agian?), and as at 2 wins you'd be in the price support, this match would haunt me...  One turn earlier and I could have chupped in my Lord of Riots and it would have been over and in the pocket, yet I waited and burned some with a Return.  I still can't grasp my decision there.

The final match was against a Disciple of Bolas / Thragtusk / Scavenging Ooze deck.  Let's just say I'm counting off the days the green cow leaves the field.

Result, a shamefull 1 - 4, no boosters at all (that has been a while I didn't take home at least something) and back to the drawing board for some extra minor modifications to be ready for the Gamedays next week.

My angle in the deck is the combination Haste and Unleash, and the bumps provided by both Exava's and Battledrivers.  Now, since I started playing, I always build and played something not really 'RDW' to name an archetype, but base myself upon that and remove the burn usually in order for removal and creature finisher angles.  I find for myself this gives a bit more of leverage in plays then pure burn where one miss choice between burning a creature or the opponent means doom and gloom.

So here are the sureshot  changes already done in the deck:

Well, the Stomping Grounds, a late second addition to power the Ghor-Clan Rampagers are already replaced by the intended Rakdos Guildgates and the Rampagers themselves by 2 Mindsparkers.

I also decided, after observing the metagame locally to switch the Dreadbores to mainboard instead of the Doom Blades who go to sideboard.  A lot of black of shared with black creatures where seen, so I think DB is the better option.  Solves Liliana, Garruk and Jace as well...

Another sure shot is the Vexing Devil and Immortal Servitude 'weapon', as I'll be replacing the faithfull one droppers with two more Legion Loyalists, and both the 'return the dead' cards with two Flames of the Firebrand to cope with aggro.  Or small flyers.

And the Pyrewild Shamans will make way for said Lifebane Zombies.

Then there are some small changes I'm pondering of making, just not sure where and when.  I guess it'll depend when Theros starts to get spoiled some more, and how heavy it plays on auras and enchantments truth to be told.

I'm thinking of, for the time being, to temporarily replace both my Slaughter Games with Burning Earths, as well as the Possibility Storms.  Next weekend will still see a lot of Control and Jund, so the dual land penaliser might be handy.

And very perhaps, but absolutely not sure on that, to replace my Boros Reckoners for either a combination (or 2-0, or 0-2) of Mindsparker and Lifebane Zombie, and IF I'll be able to go on the second day as well, an experiment with a Carnage Gladiator perhaps, as with my Unleashers, blocking ain't an option anyways.  Perhaps, very perhaps, but I think I'll be trying it with 2 more 'Sparkers though.  Haste, First Strike... always good even against non blue and white.

We'll see how those modifications will be fairing next week, and if all else fails, by the time Theros comes around, I could finally make work of the Young Pyromancer / Guttersnipe / Chandra deck I'm planning / building in mono-red...

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