This tournament and three others for each Saturday of November are run-ups to the Time Spiral Gold Rush tournament in December. I've been agonizing over the past couple of weeks as to what I can play in the diverse new standard enivornment. In the end, instead of doing my usual thing and building an original decklist, I decided to work from an existing archetype instead. I believe that in order for me to become a better Standard player, I have to get more match experience before designing decks, since my thinking is still on a casual level most of the time.
By Thursday evening I had decided to go for a modified Ghazi Glare build, with a red splash for reach. My decklist, named “Elephant Glare”:
4 Call of the Herd
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Yavimaya Dryad
4 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Thelonite Hermit
4 Selesnya Guildmage
2 Thornscape Battlemage
2 Llanowar Elves
3 Glare of Subdual
4 Assault // Battery
4 Temple Garden
3 Stomping Ground
2 Gemstone Mine
3 Selesnya Sanctuary
3 Vitu-ghazi , the City-Tree
2 Squall Line
3 Krosan Grip
3 Moratorium Stone
4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
3 Giant Solifuge
Mostly a midgame, aggro-controllish deck, despite the high creature count (32???). I go into the tournament with attitude that is just basically a playtest for the next few tourneys.
Round 1 vs mono-white proclamation-tron
This match was disappointing, as it was the first. My deck simply has no way to handle the life gain from multiple Martyr of Sands. I managed to win game 2 off a fast clock. Game 3 I had a good start as I managed to use several Acid-Moss to keep the Tron from coming online, but eventually he had me locked in again with Martyrs, Proclamation, Howling Mine, Chronosavants, etc. He was at 40+ life when he managed to play Akroma. I hold her off with Glare of Subdual and eventually get out enough guys that he's forced to Wrath away the Akroma. But he has the Debtor's Knell in play, and my sideboarded Moratorium Stones failed to appear. I can't recall, but I may have made a misplay at some point when he hard-casted a Sunscour and I had a Hierarch in play, I forget if I had the mana open to save my guys. But I certainly didn't think about it.
Round 2 vs UR Vore
Yay! I've faced UR Vore several times before, so I'm pretty familiar with how it plays, and I crush him easily game one, working around the counters and generally ignoring the land destruction thanks to the almighty Yavimaya Dryad. Game 2 I stall a bit, and he takes me down with an 8/8 Vore. Game 3 I'm back in business, hitting back-to-back Dryad and Acid-Moss into Herd tokens. I overextend a bit since he shows no sign of having Wildfire yet. Despite a Tidings and a couple of Sleight of Hands he does not draw the ‘Fire. I eventually empty my hand and play the hellbent Demonfire for the win.
Round 3 vs Marnel featuring Vesuvan Lockdown
Marnel is an officemante, and he and I were playtesting last night and his deck was a slightly difficult matchup for me – I won 2 out of 4 games but both wins were based on really good draws. So he and I face off in round 3 and I'm like, “This is just a playtest, so we're not going to draw, right?”
Marnel's deck plays morph guys – lots of ‘em. He'd only finished the changes last night. It's an awesome deck and fun to play. And most importantly, people won't know how to handle it! As long as he doesn't play any insanely fast aggro, he's got a good chance of winning.
Unfortunately, I am not insanely fast aggro, and we go to a close game 3. During my last turn I'm at 2 and he's at 5 with a SSS in play. He did the Thelonite Hermit + Vesuvan Shapeshifter bit during the last 2 turns, so he has a battalion of saps on his side and I will surely lose with his next swing. I decide to go for the draw: “Squall Line for 5?” But he shows me the Cancel.
The loss means I don't get top 8 status anymore, but this is just practice. 😀
Round 4 vs UW control
I've played this guy a few times before. He's a nice guy, but he always plays blue =p I eat his deck alive. During Friday's night testing I was able to handily beat a deck that had four Wraths and three Pyros, U/W is a pushover. I don't even think I saw any offence. I finish with the Demonfire on game two and I love the surprised look on their faces when I do that.
Round 5 vs ugr beats
Sometime during the match I morph a Thelonite Hermit and he's like “Eh? Is there still Morph in Standard?” =/
Anyway, this seems like a weaker version of Sea Stompy. I see no Slums or Plaxmantas or Snakes, and I know how to work around the permission. Win game one no problem. Game 2, I was at 9 and he had two mana open so I psyched myself out and did not Demonfire his Yavimaya Dryad + Moldervine Cloak. Oops, lost to Char on the next swing. Game 3, he has a bad draw and only gets two lands out early, plus birds and elves. I hit the Acid-Moss when he taps out for a Viper that trades with an Elephant. Demonfire and Thornscape Battlemage take out 2 birds, and he only has a Karplusan and a Llanowar Elf and a Giant Solifuge out. He's at 5 I'm at 6, I pass the turn. He looks at his hand and swing with the Solifuge. I have a guildmage, a morphed hermit and the battlemage on my side, so the easy play is single-block the Solifuge and swing for six (with the Guildmage pump) the next turn. I'm about to do that, but I realize he hasn't made a land drop yet! If I take 2 from the Solifuge, he can play Mountain, Char for the win! I do the double-block trading 2-for-1, since I'm ahead in board position anyway. He frowns and plays Island, go. I swing with the Guildmage, bringing him down to three, then play 2 more Guildmages. He frowns again, realizes he can't play Char anymore, then offers the handshake.
Round 6 vs ugr tron
Sheesh. This was even easier than the Vore from round 2. I don't think I saw any offense. The magnificent Acid-Moss rears it's ugly head again. And also my awesome power to cut Wildfires to the bottoms of decks.
Round 7 vs Monoblack Aggro
After round 6 I was hoping I'd get paired with this guy… I could take his deck any day of the week. Game one starts out like this:
Me: Stomping Ground, go
Him: Swamp, Rusalka
Me: Land, Assault on Rusalka
Him: Swamp, Dark Confidant
Me: Land, Assault on Confidant
Him: Swamp, Dark Confidant
Me: Land, Assault on Confidant (topdecked the Assault – ah, Assault and Dark Confidant, you were made for each other)
I eventually overwhelm him with Elephants. We go to game 2, and he has a not-so-awesome draw and plays four Bad Moons over the first five turns. He gets a swing in with a 5/5 Nether Traitor, but on my turn, I play the ever-so-awesome Glare of Subdual. I have the Ghazi in play, so I just keep pumping out saps to hold off the ever-increasing army of dudes. He made the mistake of telling me he was waiting for the Plagued Rusalka to come out (so he could finish off my saps with the Rusalka + Nether Traitor combination attack), so I alpha-strike him with just enough damage to kill.
This was my best constructed finish for this year: 5-2 (How sad.) I finish 11th, enough to win 3 booster packs.
The breakout performance was however, Marnel's Vesuvan lockdown deck, which he piloted to a 6-1 (Number 1) finish. Props to him, this deck is awesome and fun to play, both with and against. It's also a very technically involved deck, there are lots of tricks involved, especially with Willbender. I wish I was as successful with my attempts to go rogue. =p
All in all, good practice. I'm planning to play on each of the next 3 weekends as well.