Friday, January 21, 2011

It's the Magic: Constitutions

I mentioned last week that my Archive of Frustration/Koshi matchup wasn’t going to get its third tiebreaking game without a second player. After seeing both decks in action a few times, Jordan offered to play the black deck and help me settle the issue once and for all. 

As with the solo games, the match ran to the bitter end, with dramatic swings back and forth as what would have been finishers in any other game simply shifted the momentum to one camp or another. In the end, I was trying to kill him with a field of no creatures whatsoever while he, with a deck of about twelve cards left--all lands--played Phyrexian Arena so he could retrace Syphon Life quickly enough to kill me. A few turns later, I still had no creatures and he’d Syphon Lifed about nine times and I was down to three. Next turn, he would draw two of his last three cards, Syphon Life twice and the game would be over. I was dead, but as I am wont to do, I continued playing it through. 

My final card draw was as surprising as it was fortuitous: a lone Hedron Crab. Both of us were hard pressed to contain laughter as I played the crab, then a land, winning the game with the most perplexed of all one-drops.

Better Know a Tier – Bravo Tier 
I’ve got a lot of decks, and while the thirteen or so active tiers I have right now will probably change incredibly before I could ever finish a definitive cataloging via my blog, it’s worth sharing, if only because I do like my decks for their character, if not always their effectiveness.

Bravo Tier is my second-best tier and probably my best consistent tier. Alpha Tier is good and contains my signature decks, but effective-but-fun-to-play decks like Deadpool, Domain, and WUBRG, Bitches don’t play on the same level as Two-Fold Method, Evil. Black. Evil., or Twilight.

Bravo Tier contains tried, consistent decks like The Hunt, Naya Reborn, Sundered Veil, Tastes Like Death, and Green, Creatures Leaves as well as effectively stupid decks like Poly Plus and Close Air Support. It also includes my new Elf deck: Elf Chicks

Sundered Veil(BGw) is based heavily around Living Death, making bad trades, dredging, cycling creatures, and fogging to keep it moving until it can drop a few Stronghold Disciplines or a Living Death. I don’t play it much, but it has an impressive win record. It is weak against direct damage and low on removal.

Close Air Support(R) is a deck that exists because I’m in love with a card. Glitterfang and his kin are great early, but the only way they work as the basis of a deck is if I can keep up a good run of removal and enough enchants (Raid Bombardment and Furious Assault[which, now that I look at it is far better than Raid Bombardment]) and artifacts (Dragon Claw) to act as force multipliers. Weak against discard. Hates: Instant speed removal.

The Hunt(BRG) is only around because of Boldwyr Heavyweights. As suicidal as they are (and they are always suicidal), I will always have a deck that plays Boldwyr Heavyweights because they are awesome. In the words of my ancient forebearers, they are a challenge before all human race. Same for the Deathbringer Thoctar, who is The Cadillac of Beasts. That said, The Hunt is a bit out of its league in this tier.

Green, Creatures Lands(Gu) is about dropping creatures that get me lands, then dropping them again. It’s a straightforward green deck with a splash of blue just to fuck people up. Though its heavy firepower is restricted to Pelakka Wurms and Howls of the Nightpacks, it can beat face pretty well. Hates: Day of Judgment.

Poly Plus(URc)
Turn X: Kicked Rite of Replication on an Augury Owl.
Turn X+1: Mass Polymorph for 8.
Turn X+2: Annihilate for 14.

Weak versus discard and fast, aggressive decks.

Tastes Like Death(BG) is a radical rebuild of a Shadowmoor Black/Green precon featuring Doomgape and Marrow Chomper. It features plenty of creatures that persist, regenerate, and recur other creatures. It’s a never-ending line of creatures that won’t die and won’t stay dead. My Doomgape has killed a Kozilek, eaten itself, then come back a turn later for more. It has no win condition except to keep playing creatures until all of yours are dead.

Naya Reborn(WRG) is good. It uses Rumbling Slum and Retaliator Griffins with lifegain with smaller, supporting forces and cascade to just race and wreck other decks. It’s not mono-red fast, mono-green powerful, or mono-white immortal, but it manages to balance all three and play rather well.

Elf Chicks(Gwr) is the fusion of two of my other Elf decks with good elves into one deck. While the Elves themselves are an end unto themselves, they are also a means unto other ends, whether it’s a 17/17 hydra, a 17 point fireball, a horde of deathtouching wolves, or a predictable wave of pointy-eared motherfuckers. Elf Chicks is new (perhaps too new to have a certain place in this tier) but potent.

Huh, That’s Funny
I lost a lot this week to Eric’s Elf/Genesis Wave deck. While it gave me the opportunity to lose (a lot), it also gave me the opportunity to test a hypothesis; with the exception of a few archetypes, I have enough decks now to deal with almost anything another reasonable deck can throw at me. 

While Two Fold Method of the Inflamed Heart, Fucreen, and Archive of Frustration couldn’t quite stop Eric’s flow of elves, I’m confident that my Sundered Veil deck can take it. Between Living Death and Stronghold Discipline(a card of a type I like to call ‘punish success’ that I’m growing increasingly fond of), I think that I can make some strong hits on a field of elves. The only problem is knowing just when to cast it. Right after I run out of Batwing Brumes, I guess.

Should I link the cards I reference here? Would that be easier? For you I mean.

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