Battle Royale Round 11 – Slow Rolling

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Richie took his honed Angel control deck and threw it squarely in the face of our champion Jeroen Remie. Would the stronger strategy and critical mass of destruction spells ruin Heroin’s day? Read on to find out!

Hi. I’m Rich Hoaen. Here is my Battle Royale Aftermath report.

As usual when there is some Wakefieldian influence involved, it was a complete blowout for the Blue deck.

Jeroen and I discussed the matchup beforehand and decided that he couldn’t possibly win game 1, but it would probably be pretty close after he brings in Cremates for my Firemane Angels. That didn’t turn out to be the case because Jeroen, apparently, sideboarded incorrectly. He took the four Bottle Gnomes out of his maindeck, and the lifegain that they could have provided would have been very relevant over the long game.

Here are the decklists for reference:

The first game was a blowout, as predicted. I had answers for every threat he played, and eventually returned a Firemane Angel every turn until he ran out of both removal and life.

I decided to not make any changes in sideboarding. The only card I considered bringing in was Repeal, but it seemed like it would be far too slow to use effectively. He isn’t putting any pressure on me, so I don’t need it to return his guys to his hand in order to slow him down. I would be using it to gain card advantage, in that I’d use it to return one of my own permanents in response to him removing it, or I’d wind up simply cycling the card, or gaining some life by bouncing my Faith’s Fetters for more prudent re-use. Not only is Repeal exceedingly slow, I didn’t really have any cards to take out to find space for it in games 2 and 3…

I needed the Signets to maintain my overworked manabase.
I needed all my creatures to have any hope of getting Jeroen down to a life total from which I can reasonably burn him out.
I need my controlling enchantments to deal with his big Black monsters.

In the second game Jeroen mulliganed and stalled on lands, but I was extremely flooded so I couldn’t take proper advantage. I was able to get in some points here and there with an Arbiter, or a creature I stole with Dream Leash. I was able to drop Jeroen to two life before I ran out of gas, and soon I was on the receiving end of a Nekrataal and two Sengir Vampires. Fortunately I drew a Lightning Helix a few turns before he could kill me. I believe it would have been unethical of me to send the Lightning Helix to Jeroen’s dome right away. So as not to upset my opponent, I waited until lethal damage was on the stack.

At that point, I misclicked and Lightning Helixed myself.

Fortunately, I also had an Electrolyze. I made sure to send that one at Jeroen.

I had a very good draw in the third game, which let me Confiscate the Sengir Vampire Jeroen played on turn 5, Faith’s Fetters the one he played turn 6, and Remand another Sengir Vampire on turn 7. After that, I ran out of gas. He was able to get his Sengir into play eventually, and we traded. We then sat there passing the turn for a while, until he drew Persecute and nabbed two Dream Leashes out of my hand. For the remainder of the game I just sat there throwing burn spells at Jeroen’s head, in the hope that I could draw enough burn to kill him before he drew Consume Spirits, or before he was able to kill me with his mediocre creatures. I drew Lightning Helix, and once again slow-rolled him for a few turns… until he decided to use his Icy Manipulators to tap me out of Red. At this point I had to stop slow-rolling him, in case he did draw the Consume Spirit.

Now the fun part: updating this deck to include both Time Spiral and money. The people in the forums didn’t seem to like it when I simply stole the template of another deck and changed it a little to suit my needs, so I’m going to ignore Mike Flores‘ Angel deck. My idea originally was to play Grand Arbiter Augustin IV and Remand, so I am going to keep that base and the colors. I think the Dream Leash plan is ill-suited to the current Standard format, because it is just too slow and clunky. I’m able to make the deck far more aggressive since I can use the Ninth Edition painlands and Ravnica dual lands in my new build.

I see two approaches to a U/W/R deck in Standard. Either you can be extremely aggressive and try to use lots of burn like Fiery Temper, Lightning Helix, and Psionic Blast in combination with efficient creatures like Looter Il-Kor, Vexing Sphinx and Lightning Angel; or you can go for a slightly more controlling deck that uses Signets to accelerate to either Grand Arbiter or Lightning Angel on turn 3, and tries to protect that with countermagic while using burn like Electrolyze and Lightning Helix to control the board and finish off your opponent. The more aggressive deck hopes to use Grand Arbiter and Remand to hold off the opponent for one more turn in order to finish them off with burn, while the control deck wants to completely lock them out.

Here is the aggro deck I came up with. The manabase is likely a bit too greedy, and in all honesty the Arbiters may not be the greatest fit, but I think this deck has some potential.

4 Savannah Lions
4 Looter il-Kor
4 Vexing Sphinx
4 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
4 Lightning Angel
4 Lightning Helix
4 Remand
4 Fiery Temper
4 Psionic Blast
1 Demonfire
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Hallowed Fountain
2 Izzet Boilerworks
4 Sacred Foundry
2 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents

And the control deck:

4 Court Hussar
4 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
4 Lightning Angel
4 Lightning Helix
4 Mana Leak
4 Remand
4 Electrolyze
2 Repeal
4 Compulsive Research
4 Azorius Signet
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Izzet Boilerworks
4 Steam Vents
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Shivan Reef
1 Island
1 Plains

I enjoyed Battle Royale more than I was expecting to, but in the coming weeks I have a very busy schedule including two Grand Prix tournaments and the Championships of the World, so I am going to have to retire undefeated, at least temporarily. Never fear, I’ll be back to take up where I left off in six weeks or so… I have a title to defend, after all.

Until then,


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Next week’s Battle Royale will pit two new contenders against each other in a fight to the Magical death. Who will it be? Stay tuned!]