Friday, March 9, 2012

IPotW #15

Interesting Play of the Week #15:

So I've been nerding out in different games lately. This week I've actually been losing sleep by staying up to watch the IEM World Championship in League of Legends. I have basically not played any Magic at all with the exception of three matches for fun against Lolzor, so guess what! You get uncommon matches with "rogue decks" that would probably never make it into top 8's.

I basically conceded the first game against Lolzor. I grabbed one of my pauper-ish Standard decks (only non-common is Piston Sledge) and realized Lolzor played his R/B Extended-legal deck. My deck plays 12 creatures and his has something like 28 forms of removal, many of which can be direct burn spells. My win condition is aggro with cheap-efficient first strikers, many of which have a toughness of one. Actually they all do. So I just swapped decks to not even bother getting stomped.

I chose to not use my USA control deck. I've been kind of loathing it lately. It used to be my favorite deck because I loved blowing everything up on the field. It can still do that, but I kind of consider the deck "done" as if almost no cards could be added to it. And because of that, I wouldn't like to consider playing it in casual matches. Many times I use casual matches to determine if cards were actually useful in playing or if at any point in a game it would have been relevant. For example: I took Cellar Door out of my EDH deck because 1) it was a mana-sink for having a chance to get a 2/2 black zombie, and 2) many of the decks I faced actually had an advantage in having cards in the graveyard, or specific cards in the graveyard. I probably would have used it on myself if I could get a Think Twice in the graveyard.

So the deck I chose to use was actually my Grixis Burning Vengeance deck. I had the idea for it when someone played it against me in IPotW #9, but if you read Snow Covered Swamp's Dark Ascension Sealed Article, you knew I got stomped on by a 4-color flashback Burning Vengeance deck. That was final straw I had to make a deck around it.

It's actually a fairly one-sided match. Lolzor's deck focuses mainly on killing creatures. My deck doesn't play any creature spells, but it does have creature spawners, such as Reap the Seagraf and Moan of the Unhallowed. Which may shut down his Doom Blades but not Go for the Throats.

Lolzor started with a Smoldering Spires and passed. I started the game with an Evolving Wilds. I cracked it immediately since Lavaball Trap won't come out until turn 5, and Stone Rain isn't legal in Extended. But as a note, always crack it end of your opponent's turn, just in case. I searched for a Swamp. Lolzor laid down a Mountain and passed. I drew and cast Bump in the Night, Lolzor responded with a Lightning Bolt. I thought it was kind of silly matching burn with burn. I laid down another Evolving Wilds and cracked it again for an Island.

Lolzor laid down a swamp and passed. I played a Mountain and played Burning Vengeance. Probably the best turn 3 drop in my deck, and will be surprisingly effective against Red and Black as they are probably the two colors that have the absolute hardest time dealing with Enchantments. Lolzor Staggershock'd me end of turn, and hit me for 2 more on his upkeep. He laid down another Swamp and resolved Battle-Rattle Shaman and then passed. I bounced it with Silent Departure to make him waste his mana again, and then cast Deperate Ravings and drew into another Burning Vengeance. I shuffled my hand and then presented it face down to Lolzor, he chose for me to discard a Burning Vengeance at random. Oh well.

Just as I had predicted, Lolzor re-cast Battle-Rattle Shaman and passed. I drew into another Silent Departure. So I cast it again and bounced it. I Think Twice'd on my own turn--which I normally don't do by I missed a land drop this turn, and it's better to do that just in case the top 2 cards of your library on lands to have more mana readily available. Which I drew exactly that, an Island.

Lolzor is determined to expend all my Silent Departures so he casts Battle-Rattle Shaman a third time and passes. I flashed back Silent Departure, Burning vengeance hit him for 2 damage. Lolzor draws and casts Blind Zealot and Kiln Fiend, anticipating my last Silent Departure from my graveyard. I draw, play a land and pass.

Lolzor draws and swings with his creatures. I declare no blocks but tell him to stop before combat damage. I cast Geistflame targeting his Kiln Fiend. Then I flashback Geistflame targeting Kiln Fiend, and since it was cast from my graveyard I deal 2 damage to his Blind Zealot. Since I'm almost out of bounces, Lolzor plays what I think was the biggest card in his hand: Kuldotha Ringleader. Normally this card would be bad, but considering that high power-toughness creatures are hard to come across in Red, it's actually quit phenominal considering it has Battle Cry. And hell, if I didn't blow up his creature I was looking at a lot of damage next turn. I draw a card and cast Wrack with Madness, targeting Kuldotha Ringleader. Lolzor was kind of surprised to see the card in the deck, because he had never seen it before. There's only two in the deck though, and it's really the only way it can deal with bombs like Sheoldred, Whispering One or Blightsteel Colossus. Then I cast Faithless Looting, discarding Rolling Temblor since they aren't very effective against this deck and another Think Twice.

Lolzor casts Battle-Rattle Shaman for the fourth time and passes. I flashback Bump in the Night, Lolzor loses 3 life, Burning Vengeances hits the Shaman for 2, killing it. Lolzor is unlucky and hits a bunch of lands in a row. I flashback Deperate Ravings, Faithless Looting and Think Twice, dealing 6 more damage to Lolzor. Lolzor plays another Kuldotha Ringleader, but I bounce it with flashback'd Silent Departure and deal 2 more damage to Lolzor. End of turn Lolzor casts Geth's Verdict on me so I lose one life, but I have no creatures to sacrifice. Lolzor Lightning Bolts me again and re-casts Kuldotha Ringleader, but I just cast Bump in the Night from my graveyard to win the game.

Lolzor didn't reveal his hand to me after the match, but I assume it was a lot of creature spot removal and he didn't get the burn he needed. Or maybe it was the wasting of 17 mana over 4 Silent Departures.

Thanks for reading this weeks Interesting Play of the Week! Come back Monday for our most popular segment: MUCMonday-- or come back on Wednesday for another Bangchuckers! webcomic. Or both!

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