Astroglide Ain’t All That: Information From Two Small Onslaught Block Tourneys

Sligh is in trouble; just about any green beast is their doom and Baloth is scoop time. Rotlung Reanimator isn’t good for them either. The good news is that it can occasionally jump Slide. And both of the elf decks present ran Biorhythm, which was being cursed by at least Slide player by the end of the day; it gets cast, the Slide player goes down to one or two life, and then several creatures come over to win.

As some of you may know, I’m now the owner of a game store in a small Missouri town about an hour south of St. Louis. I’ve been open for about six months or so and I’ve been spending my time building up my business. That has kept me more than busy – and while I’ve been able to play and read about Magic, I haven’t had a lot of time and inspiration to write about it. Where decks are concerned, I’ve become much more of a follower with less time to fiddle with building and tweaking brand new designs in new formats.

Early on with my business, I was struggling to get eight players to have events. That didn’t give me much to write about. But I now regularly have twelve to sixteen players and have a weekly draft, Friday Night Magic, and a Saturday DCI event. My best regular player is currently rated at about 1850, and his rating is climbing – in part because whereas before, he was lucky to get posted results for maybe one or two tournaments a month now he is getting three a week. I have several other players in this boat, with some good talent spread among my younger players.

This week’s event was Onslaught Block and The Ferrett thought you might like to know a little about the results and what I thought of the format.

Here are the results…

1st: Zombies.

This deck was played a pretty good player named Perry Richardson. He’s rated about 1750 but has more talent than that number would indicate as he really just needs more practice to climb to around 1850-1900 or so. As it was he built this deck the night before and had little sleep for this event. Perry plays in one of St. Louis’s top bands, Shattermask, and I think they were livin’ the life on Friday night.

There wasn’t anything special about his deck. I know he had Festering Goblins and Nantuko Husks, and was running Cruel Revival as well.

2nd: Beasts.

This was a three-color version that splashed black to play three Oversold Cemeteries. The plan is pretty basic, which is to play Red and Green fat beasts and use Contested Cliffs to clear a path. The deck has some resiliency – especially when its MVP, Ravenous Baloth, comes out to play.

3rd: Elves.

This was perhaps the techiest of the decks of the day and was played by Tom Harlan, who as I said before is my best regular player. His deck ran main deck Steely Resolve, Slate of Ancestry, and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and had access to Biorhythm. I think he was cautious about playing the Steely Resolves because in one match I saw him use Wirewood Lodges and Wirewood Channelers to make over sixty mana and then cast a Kamahl.

4th: Zombies.

This is one of my younger players who has some talent but lacks a lot of money to invest in the game. I’m not really sure what he played specifically.

There were two Astral Slide decks in the tournament. One went 3-0 in the swiss and then lost to the fourth-place Zombie deck in the playoffs. One was my build run by a kid that hadn’t played it before. He went 0-3.

I built three of the decks in the eleven-person field. They included Sligh, and Elf deck, and a Zombie/Cleric deck.

Sligh is in trouble; just about any green beast is their doom and Baloth is scoop time. Rotlung Reanimator isn’t good for them either. The good news is that it can occasionally jump Slide.

Both of the elf decks present ran Biorhythm. The card was being cursed by at least one player at the end of the day. The potential is based on the Slide matchup where they rarely have more than a couple of creatures out and at this point generally don’t have a way to stop Biorhythm from resolving. So it gets cast, the Slide player goes down to one or two life, and then several creatures come over to win.

The Zombie/Cleric deck I built was something I threw together for fun. It runs Dark Supplicant and a copy of Scion of Darkness. If you can go Supplicant, another Zombie Cleric, and then Rotlung Reanimator, you have a very nice little combo that is a tad troublesome for opponents. The problem is that it is just that: A little combo that doesn’t really happen all that often. This deck had a 1-2 showing, piloted by a guy who plays MechWarrior in my shop and just plays Magic casually.

What I get out of this is that there is some power for the Zombie archetype in that it had some results with lesser players and inferior builds. Tightened up and in the right hands, I believe it can post more results. I could go on to tell you that in my scant testing, however, I’ve generally been rolling over to Slide with it. It may have been freak chance that one of these decks went past an undefeated Slide deck in the top eight.

I think I may see something in splashing red into the elf deck: How about playing out all your elves, running Slate of Ancestry plus Words of War? The deck can make enough creatures and generate enough mana for that combo to be quite lethal if the conditions can be preserved. We’ll see if anybody else will bite on that idea.

I have gotten information on one other St. Louis area OnBC tourney. It was won by one of the areas top players, Matt Schmaltz, running a four-color deck that sought board control with Akroma’s Vengeance and then used beasts and Contested Cliffs to mop up. Another deck, ran by Mark Vollmar, ran a bunch of cycling beasts and then played Patriarch’s Bidding with Aether Charge in play. You can read more about this tournament in a report by Casey Elliot.

Slide showing up in the e-league Masters at around sixty five percent is not a good thing. It also may not be a long-term bad thing… But in the game’s history successful decks that ramp up to being played in the sixty-five percent of the field range have usually lead to decks being at least scrutinized. Sixty-five to seventy percent of a room playing one deck is not fun. I guess we’ll wait to find out if this will carry on through PT Venice, or if the e-league was just stunted by an overall lack of an early creative burst.

I would like to say while the overall field there may have been stunted, that they have been a leader in producing new decks. Slide got its start there and they may have punched the Biorhythm button.

Will Rieffer


Green Dragon Games

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