Friday, December 2, 2011

IPotW #3

Interesting Play of the Week #3:

Welcome to Snow-Covered Swamp's Interesting Play of the Week #3. This week it will be a little different than the normal duels of Magic we do, to a more casual setting: Elder Dragon Highlander, or Commander as Wizards sought to put it.

A couple of friends and I went to our card shop with the intent of drafting Innistrad, but a bystander walked up to our group and asked if we had any EDH decks. Basically everyone and their mothers has an EDH deck now, even if it doesn't have a lot of work put into it.

By now, EDH is really popular--especially between my friends. If you don't know what EDH is, I suggest you read into it. It's basically 100-card singleton with a Legendary Creature which is your general whose colors will dictate what color are allowed to be in your deck.

Anyways so we start playing a 4-player EDH match. Each player's general was:
Jhoira of the Ghitu
I will be re-naming the players as their generals for ease of reading.

This week's Interesting Play of the Week will actually feature game 2 of our EDH match. It is important to note that my friend whose general was Kaalia of the Vast was a prime target for most of our spells and combat damage because the previous game he had drawn a turn 1 Sol Ring. If you know anything about Sol Ring, it's basically an all-powerful colorless mana ramp that is an auto-include in any EDH deck regardless of composition. At least in my opinion, a card that is banned in Legacy should not see casual play. But that's a completely different article that I may write later.

We start the game, a couple of us take our free mulligans. I end up keeping a hand of an Island, Serum Visions, Ponder, Archivist, Explorer Scope, Rapacious One, and Spy Network. It was a one land hand, but with so many 1 drop blue spells to rearrange my library and drawing a card I figured it wouldn't be too bad. As with most EDH games, the beginning turns were fairly slow--some of the other players had to bounce their lands with the cycle of Ravnica dual lands. This game luckily there were no Sol Rings, only my Explorer Scope. A couple of creature enter the battlefield, Perilous Myr, Vesper Ghoul, Undead Warchief. Glissa tried to Instill Infection on Undead Warchief, but Undead Warchief's second ability affects itself, a little bit of a misplay but Glissa still got to draw a card. Voice of All enters the battlefield declaring Protection from Black, then during my turn I cast Fire Imp to kill it. I'm actually quite surprised I still use Fire Imp, for being in my first ~60 cards it still has a surprising amount of uses. And is still exceptionally powerful.

The first major play of the game was Luminarch Ascension by Kaalia. Needless to say it painted a target on his back. I end up playing Arc Trail to deal one point of damage to Vesper Ghoul and 2 damage to Perilous Myr. When Perilous Myr died, Glissa had it deal 2 damage to Undead Warchief, killing it. When Warchief died, it dropped Vesper Ghoul back to a 1/1, and it died with its damage. Unfortunately Glissa, the Traitor wasn't on the battlefield, so her triggered ability didn't happen.

I end up equipping Explorer scope and swinging at Kaalia to prevent a quest counter on Luminarch Ascension and getting a land off the top of my deck. Then I resolve my Archivist so I can start getting some card advantage. Thraximundar ends up resolving Zombie Infestation. Glissa resolves a Bellowing Tanglewurm, which unfortunately ends up getting a couple of counters on Luminarch Ascension. Kaalia plays Pyrohemia which endangers two of my plans, one, I cannot save Archivist or Fire Imp from dying, but more importantly with my Rapacious One he could totally nuke all of my Eldrazi Spawn with just one red mana. Kaalia holds off on activating it's ability for now.

I finally end up playing Rapacious One, and swing with just Fire Imp, ready to tap Archivist in response to Pyrohemia's ability. He let's the damage through surprisingly, and I sit comfortably. At this point I didn't realize that he was actually short on red mana and couldn't use it. Thraximundar draws and goes. (In the previous game he was also mana-starved, I had a feeling it was poor deck construction with not enough lands.)

Glissa draws and swings at Thraximundar who discards two cards to activate Zombie Infestation to block. At the end of Glissa's turn when Kaalia is about to get a the fourth and final counter on Luminarch Ascension, Thraximundar casts Grixis Charm on Luminarch Ascension, returning it to owner's hand. On Kaalia's next turn he re casts and resolves a Luminarch Ascension again, ending his turn. I tap Archivist to draw an extra card end of turn. I draw and in my first main phase I cast Distortion Strike on Rampacious One and attack Kaalia. Main phase two I end up resolving a Sphinx of Magosi with my lands. With three islands open, I was ready to activate the Sphinx's effect just in case Pyrohemia is activated.

Thraximundar resolves a Stronghold Assassin and passes the turn. Glissa swings at Thraximundar again, which he blocks with Stronghold Assassin. Main phase two, Glissa resolves a Gruesome Encore targeting Stronghold Assassin, which he sacrifices to destroy Sphinx of Magosi. I sacrifice all my Eldrazi Spawn in response and draw three cards, turning Sphinx into a 9/9 shortly before dying. He also resolves his general, Glissa, the Traitor before ending his turn and giving Luminarch Ascension a second counter again. Kaalia resolves a Basandra, Battle Seraph with two red open this time. I still fear of losing most of my creatures including, Eldrazi Spawn from Pyrohemia.

During my upkeep I rebound Distortion Strike back onto Rampacious One. I swing at Kaalia again and in my second main phase I cast both Myr Battlesphere and Chancellor of the Spires and when the Chancellor enters I copy Grixis Charm and bounce Luminarch Ascension. At the end of my turn Thraximundar discards two cards and activates Zombie Infestation again.
He finally resolves an Unscythe, Killer of Kings, however in response Kaalia activates Basandra's ability and forces his 2/2 zombie to attack. Without enough mana to equip Unscythe yet, Thraximundar loses his only creature once again. Glissa uses this opportunity to return Perilous Myr to his hand. Glissa draws his card, and swings at Thraximundar, and then casts Perilous Myr.

Kaalia re-casts Luminarch Ascension and uses Pyrohemia to deal 4 damage to everything on the board, killing most of the creatures, including his Basandra. When the creatures dies Glissa arranges his triggered abilities on the stack so Perilous Myr dies first, and then Glissa's triggered ability happens next. The only creatures that live are my Chancellor and Battlesphere. He then casts his general, Kaalia of the Vast. I draw my card and swing at Kaalia. Unsure what to do with my mana I play Manalith and Jhoira of the Ghitu from the command zone just in case I need it next turn. Thraximundar takes his draw and concedes because he has somewhere else to be, and says he will fix the mana problems with his deck. We bid him a due and continue with our game.

Glissa recasts Perilous Myr and Glissa again and passes the turn. On Kaalia's turn he resolves Anger and passes the turn. Careful not to kill Anger, I only attack with my Chancellor at Kaalia, who is at 7 life, but Glissa saves him from a loss by playing Haze Frog. Glissa then resolves a Kozilek's Predator and Strider Harness, equips the Predator and swings at me and Kaalia. Kaalia blocks with Anger taking no damage and I lose some life. Then on Kaalia's turn he resolves an Angelic Arbiter. End of turn I suspend Prodigal Pyromancer from my hand. On my turn with no way to eliminate Kaalia from the game, I cast Ancient Hydra and pass the turn. Glissa swings at me I take the damage, going down to 16. End of turn, Kaalia activates Luminarch Ascension's ablity a few times.

Kaalia then reactivates the ability of Luminarch Ascension several times, and casts Vow of Lightning on Kaalia. I respond by removing two counters from Ancient Hydra to kill it. He then swings at both me and Glissa for lethal with the help of haste with Anger in his graveyard. I do what I can and block with my Chancellor, and before combat damage I remove the last three counters of my Ancient Hydra to bring him down to 4 life. After losing the game I reveal the top card of my library: Lightning Blast.

We all shake hands and thank each other for a great game. And after typing all of this out I realized there were several misplays--not only my account, but on several others. I could have used Ancient Hydra's ability each turn to prevent Luminarch Ascension, Kaalia should have swung with her Angel before Pyrohemia'ing everything--or even using Pyrohemia at all. You can't win them all, but you can definitely have fun.

Thanks for tuning into our Interesting Play of the Week #3! Please be sure to comeback for our Random Card of the Day!

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