Battle Royale Round 10: I Like Men

StarCityGames.com - Battle Royale!Jeroen has a secret… He loves swinging with men. Big men, small men… He loves them all. Today, he faces off against the King of the Kitchen Table, Abe Sargent. Will the Pro Tour veteran prevail?

I have a problem.

You know what the problem is? I like men.


Stop thinking that.

I don’t like men in that way (not that there is anything wrong with that). No, I like creatures, big and small, but preferably big and small at the same time, and I tend to let my deck choices depend a lot on this fact. When given the choice between a controllish deck and a deck that loves to attack for two, well, I’ll take that as a chance to attack! For two!

This means that I will never build a fancy combo deck for Battle Royale. I will never try and out-tech my opponent with counters, Story Circles or some kind, of lock. Nope, I will attack for two, as often as humanly possible. I know the weakness of “men decks” in general is that against the combo and control decks they will be behind. If you just go plain old attacko, you will simply have better creatures – maybe – but you will always have no disruption for their diabolical plans.

In the past I have covered up this weakness by playing powerful disruption spells, like Duress, Cabal Therapy, Plow Under… that kind of stuff. They level the playing field, so to speak… and they give you something to do while you put up a clock that is as tight as you can muster.

Then, in the last Battle Royale, I used landkill for my disruption. That meant I would have fewer men to swing around, but it did mean I would have a shot against a superior control deck like Sean’s. This time around, I am definitely going to go for creatures again. That is what a thing like Battle Royale is to me: a chance to play what I really like. However, after the response I got from last time, I am not going to go for landkill. Sure, it’s effective in a format where everyone’s manabase is godawful, but it is also a little cheesy.

And by “a little,” I actually mean “a lot.” So that’s why I decided not to go that route. I am still going to want to play R/G – I am still in love with the snow mechanic after all – but I am not going to play landkill in the main. After last time, and being colorscrewed and disappointed by Scrying Sheets, those are also gonna get kicked to the curb. This means I have to find something else to use my precious tickets on.

With Time Spiral on the horizon, everything coming from the Kamigawa block is dropping in value like nobody’s business, and after reading Blisterguy’s article last week, something hit me… Umezawa’s Jitte is worth close to nothing anymore!

That’s right. I am going to drop land destruction, play a deck full of creatures, and I am going to turn to the Dark Side in doing so…

I am gonna go for Jitte, baby!

After shopping around, I managed to pick up four Jittes for 18 tickets (4.5 each) in the Buyer’s Room. It wasn’t even that hard, and after having my request up for no more than half an hour, I had them in my electronic grasp. I guess people are really mindful of the coming set rotation, but as far as this contest goes, that doesn’t really matter. This meant I wanted to fill out my deck with a bunch of efficient creatures, and I didn’t have that much to spend on it.

Testing for Worlds had me play a fair amount with Call of the Herd and Elves, so I decided that that would be the theme of my deck. Combine that with what I already decided on – Jitte and R/G Snow – and I had the core for the deck:

4 Llanowar Elves
4 Boreal Druid

4 Trained Armodon
4 Gnarled Mass
3 Stalking Yeti
4 Skred
4 Umezawa’s Jitte.

Yeah, I know the Armodons don’t get a lot of play in Standard, but that really is only because of rares and uncommons always being slightly better than these already fairly cost-efficient men. Seriously, the only time an Elephant is going to get played is when better stuff like Ohran Viper, Burning-Tree Shaman, or Troll Ascetic (and Call of the Herd itself) cannot be played. Well, that’s the case here, and that is how I am going to roll!

Filling out the deck was a simple question – what did I feel like playing?. It never hurts to have some burn, so I added four Volcanic Hammers, in case I needed to finish off my opponent. I also wanted some high-end fatties that would be able to end the game once my early rush was stopped. I turned again to Kamigawa block, and quickly came to a long-time standby that never saw much play despite having so much potential: Kumano, Master Yamabushi! So much fun, so awesome… yeah, that guy was definitely making the cut.

As for lessons I learned from my last deck, the manabase needed more duals and some help, so I yanked some colorless lands and put in the awesome Gruul Turf, as well as an extra land. I did not want to get screwed out of games this time, and the new manabase looked to be a bit more resilient. This did mean that it was possible that I would run out a turn 1 elf and then have a turn 2 bounceland, stopping my turn 2 elephant, so I wanted to fill out the deck with two-drops. In came to Boreal Centaur, the elephant wannabe. Talk about redundancy!

That left the sideboard, and I had some tickets to spend, as the maindeck was almost all commons and some Jittes. I wanted to make sure that after boarding I would have a shot versus anything from Combo and Control, so I wanted some disruption. I really couldn’t think of anything cool or nice, so I once again reached for the Stone Rains. After filling it all out, the deck ended up looking like this:

After I built this deck, I heard I was going to play our own Abe Sargent. Not knowing anything about him, I went deep into the archives and read some of his stuff. He happened to have done a series of Dailies in September, so I had a view of what he liked, and what his style was. He built, in a row, an artifact deck, a Wild Research deck, a White critter deck, a Green lifegain deck, a justice deck, and a Lowland Tracker piece.

Okay, that wasn’t any help at all.

I decided to just stick to my guns. Maybe I’ll be lucky. Maybe he’ll crush me. Whatever… I have no clue what is going to happen.

As for the cost of the deck…

There’s 15 uncommons (basically the ones I used last week), four Jittes (which cost me 18), and 2 Kumanos that I picked up at two for one ticket. That leaves me with a bunch of wiggle room, but I couldn’t really think of any other cards I wanted to run. So be it! This will have to do.

We will be Battling on Friday October 20th, at 7pm EST. I look forward to seeing all of you there, cheering either me, or Abe, on.

Wish me luck again, as I am going to try and stay on top!

If I win, I promise next time there will be no snow in my deck.

No snow at all.

Okay, well… maybe a little snow… but no Red.