Friday, December 30, 2011

IPotW #6

Interesting Play of the Week #6:

Welcome to Snow-Covered Swamp's IPotW. This week's game took a while to play. I actually had thoroughly enjoyed it despite it being aggravating at times*. I probably would have lost if I hadn't played a thousand blue decks by now. Chock full of counterspells with no clear win condition. His deck actually had a theme to it. Regardless, take a note on how to play blue decks if you don't know already.

Opening hand: Swamp, Spikeshot Elder, Punishing Fire, Go for the Throat, Flametongue Kavu, Serrated Arrows, Kamahl, Pit Fighter

One land hand. I might have kept it if I had a few 1 cost spells like Disfigure or Lightning Bolt, but with literally nothing to play and turn 2 relying on a land draw, I mulligan. Actually, both of us mulligan to 6.

Second opening hand: Swamp, Mountain, Disfigure, Incinerate, Rockslide Elemental, Fault Line.

A decent hand. I have 2 removal spells so that should get me through the early game into more lands. I keep at 6. He mulligans to 5 cards. This game, as with most games, had no explosive starts:

T1: Swamp
T2: Evolving Wilds, search for Island.
T3: Mountain
T4: Island
T5: Dragonmaster Outcast

Let me level with you for a second. Dragonmaster Outcast is a huge priority target. He has two blue open so I'm wondering why he didn't cast Counterspell or maybe Remove Soul. Maybe I'm lucky and he has no counterspells in his opening hand. But that wasn't the point. What's worse is I still haven't drawn into a third land.

He puts down a Mountain, so now I'm curious about what kind of deck he's playing. He just passes the turn. So far I've drawn into a Punishing Fire and a Royal Assassin. It would be nice to get a third land at this point, but he just keeps Land-Go'ing so I'm not exactly going to cast a spell anyways. I swing and pass.

He taps out and casts Cinder Pyromancer. No big deal--I just Disfigure it end of turn. I draw a Go for the Throat. Not a land. Now would be a PERFECT time to play while he is tapped out. Oh well. Swing and pass. He plays a Gelectrode. Okay, now I think I'm beginning to understand the deck a little, but he tapped out again so its an end of turn Punishing Fire. I draw Serrated Arrows. Not a land. Swing and pass. He plays a Kiln Fiend. I Incinerate end of turn. I draw an Ascendant Evincar. Not a land. Swing and pass. He plays an Island and passes. I draw a Flame Slash.

At this point I'm fairly angry at my deck. 13 cards, 2 lands. Well that's Magic for you. Maybe my little 1/1 Dragonmaster will go all the way with all the removal I'm drawing. He draws and passes. I draw a Mountain. FINALLY! I swing with my Outcast but he bolts him. Sad day. I pass since he has 4 untapped Islands. The next few turns were pretty much a stalemate.

T10: Swamp, Rockslide Elemental, resp. Counterspell.
T11: Draw, Go.
T12: Terramorphic Expanse, Royal Assassin, end of turn kicked Into the Roil
T13: Kiln Fiend
T14: Flame Slash, resp. Deprive.
T15: Island, swing for 1. Gelectrode. End of turn Fault Line for a board wipe.

I noticed he didn't counter the board wipe, so I know he doesn't have any counterspells in hand. I resolve a Serrated Arrows--soon to be his worst nightmare. He resolves a Grim Lavamancer. Maybe he didn't read the Arrows, but I just tapped it to kill him. I play Royal Assassin again since I suspect he has counterspells. I want to bait it out so I can resolve Ascendant Evincar.

He taps out for Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. Good God, I wish I had that card. I think about Go for the Throat'ing end of turn but since he's tapped out so I might as well 2-for-1 him with Gatekeeper of Malakir. He sacrifices the dragon wizard and Royal Assassin gets in there for 1 damage. He's at 12! He draws and passes again so I'm expecting some instants here. Especially with 4 cards in hand.

I draw a Swamp but hold onto it. I've already hit the mana curve of my deck so I keep it in case I draw my Seismic Assault. I swing with both my creatures but before combat damage he casts Incinerate on the Gatekeeper. Another point for Royal Assassin! He draw-go's. I draw into a Kamahl, Pit Fighter. So now he's my number one spell. I cast my Ascendant and he lets it resolve. Sweet! He's out of counterspells! End of turn Lightning Bolt. Grr.

Mountain, go. Alright so I have 6 cards in hand and he has 2. I think I got this. He didn't counter Ascendant so I try to cast Kamahl. Response: Deprive again. I actually tell him: "Wow. You just have an answer to everything I play." Not exactly true, though. Royal Assassin (my favorite card) is on the field and is beating his face in--one point at a time.

He casts Gelectrode again. I guess he didn't learn from it last time. I end of turn Serrated Arrows it. I draw a Swamp and swing with Royal Assassin again. He's at 8 life, so he might go all the way. My hand is currently: Go for the Throat, Nekrataal, Pyroclasm, Disfigure, Swamp. I just pass since he's completely untapped, not to mention there's nothing to really play.

He plays another Kiln Fiend. He has one card in hand. I Disfigure Kiln Fiend and he doesn't counter it. I draw a Mind Shatter. It's not exactly the best card right now, but whatever. I swing with Royal Assassin but he bolts him. Good news: he's out of cards. Bad news: I don't really have a card to win the game right now. I could play Nekrataal but I don't know if he has an Inferno Titan or something so I want to 2-for-1 him again.

He topdecks a Seismic Assault. Wish I had drawn that. I draw a Grim Lavamancer. Since he has no cards in hand I just play it. Hopefully he doesn't draw a land. He draw-go's again. I try to resolve another Serrated Arrows but he Dream Fractures it. I've never actually seen that card before. I try to cast a Loxodon Warhammer but he Deprives it. He bounces the land into his hand and discards it to kill the Lavamancer so in response I tap and hit him for 2. He's at 5 life. In hindsight, I should not have even cast a spell, Grim Lavamancer would probably have pinged him to death--a small misplay. He draw-go's again. I still have Mind Shatter so hopefully I can get him to hit my life points instead of my creatures with it. I draw-go.

Okay so he draw-go's again. He's at 5 life so If I somehow manage to draw my Banefire I can win the game. I draw a Burst Lightning instead. I Mind Shatter for 2. In response he hits me for 2 and discards another Seismic Assault. I hit him for 4 with Burst Lightning. He's at one life. He draw-go's again.

Alright, I draw Spikeshot Elder. Moment of truth here. Dream Fracture'd again! Tired of waiting, I recklessly cast Nekrataal. He kills it by discarding a Mountain. We both draw-go a couple of times until I draw an Incinerate. I pass and tell it to stop at his upkeep. It doesn't get there as end of turn he Prophetic Bolt's me (another card I've never seen before). My response: Incinerate for game.

Thanks for tuning into the Interesting Play of the Week! Be sure to come back for RCotDs and our new segment: MUCMondays!

* - I've had a lot of annoying games this week. One of them being a huge misplay at the end of one of my draft games. I pumped Darkthicket Wolf instead of holding onto the mana for Gnaw to the Bone. What was worse is I easily could have seen the game winning play coming because it was on the field. It cost me some packs. It aggravated me, I almost ragedrafted after that.

** - Lolzor on the other hand has had some spectacular games this week. One of which included an EDH match where he was running train with a Hex-proof Glissa, the Traitor and a recurring Mindslaver. It was gross.

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