Battle Royale Round 14 – Hijacking The Eye

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Stuart took one of his favorite strategies – Mana Denial – and aimed to break down Kyle’s Combo by removing the precious, precious land. On paper, this matchup was a blowout. In reality? Well, it was a blowout. Still, it;s good to read about one-sided matches… they need winning too!

Apparently, all Kyle’s base really did belong to me. Including the seven mana Eye of the Storm-shaped bases, which he seemed to think were his win condition.

When I first looked at both decks, the matchup seemed to be in my favor. It was going to be quite hard for him to resolve his seven mana enchantment while stopping me from stealing all his lands. In practise it was even better, as even when I mulligan to five and sit about doing very little, he still couldn’t really do much. I’ll go over the individual games in a bit more detail in a while.

Overall I was pretty happy how the deck worked. Games ended with me in complete control. I remember the Kyle seemed to think that I couldn’t hijack his Eye of the Storm, so that was definitely one of my goals for this event. As I have played with Eye of the Storm before, I figured I could probably remember how it worked even if it was only during single set Ravnica Block Constructed deck. Luckily, MTGO handles all the triggers… I can only imagine what a nightmare this sort of thing would be in real life. I almost want to let Kyle make Eye of the Storm just so we could have some fun!

Before the event I picked up the cards I needed with some casual trading in the Casual Trades room. This is a relatively new room that was set up to replace the old casual room, which has been overrun by bots. I find it relatively easy in here to pick up 1-2 ticket rares for other cards and various ¼ and ½ ticket uncommons as well. I would recommend this room to anyone else who wants to do a similar thing. Trading cards for cards can be a bit of struggle with certain people, but with a little patience you get a much better deal than selling your cards for tickets then buying stuff with those tickets. In general, when I build a new deck I start here and try and trade for whatever I need before moving onto buying cards directly off people. The best option is just to borrow cards, and I’d like to thank anyone who lent me cards for this.

After finding some people with Sol’kanar the Swamp Kings, my deck was ready to battle. Given the matchup, it was pretty much totally irrelevant what my win condition was, but I just couldn’t resist a Swamp King. I guess Mindless Automaton would have been slightly better in this matchup as it turned out, but the difference was pretty minor anyway.

We started pretty much on time, with Kyle and I having a little chat beforehand. Both of us admitted to doing no testing. This seemed reasonable to me, but other people might think differently I guess.

My sideboard plan was pretty simple – take out Pyroclasm for Mana Leak. I wasn’t sure Kyle had anything he wanted to take out or bring in, and nothing seemed too much of a problem anyway. Below are the two decklists that we played. I think he brought in Exhaustion for something. I was slightly worried that he might be able to Gigadrowse me down and then go off, but in practise he never seemed close to doing this so he might even have taken them out for the Exhaustions.

To be honest, the first game wasn’t too exciting, with me stealing a few lands then backing up my Wildfire with Remand… and something pretty similar happened in game 3. Although these games seemed pretty one-sided. I guess that he could have had Gigadrowse to tap me out then go off a few times, but he never seemed to draw it. This matchup felt a bit unfair in practise, with Kyle needing to draw Remand for my early plays and then enough acceleration to power out an Eye of the Storm with enough mana left over that he could go off. Even when this did happen, there was still a danger of me hijacking his combo. Luckily, game 2 was a little different and left a few people rather confused.

Game 2 started with me mulliganing down to five cards. This meant that Kyle had plenty of time to set up, as I didn’t do much more than play out lands and try and leave counter mana up. After what seemed like ages, with Kyle drawing lots of extra cards, he cast Early Harvest then Eye of the Storm with some mana floating. I had four Islands open with two Mana Leaks and a Remand. Kyle started off with a second Early Harvest, which I let be removed and then resolve. He then tried a Walk of Aeons, which I was less happy about so, I moved in to hijack the Eye. With the copies on the stack I put a Remand under the Eye and used it to Walk and Harvest myself, and Remand his walk. When he tried an Exhaustion, I used my Mana Leak in the same way, again stealing the extra turn and preventing him. When I untapped after this, I played out all my spells using every Wildfire I had to get an extra card off Remand and an extra turn off Walk of Aeons. After taking quite a few extra turns and leaving more than one spectator rather confused, I somehow drew enough lands to let Kyle have a turn, but he couldn’t untap due to the Exhaustion. I’m not really sure why he got a turn at all, as it went back to me taking multiple turns in a row after that. I probably screwed up the Eye somehow.

After a bit more messing around I found another spell and used it finish him with the Eye’s Wildfires. If you think this was complicated, try to imagine the game itself. I had to do rather a lot of clicking to get to this point. Sadly, the third game was pretty much exactly the same as the first, and my win condition was totally irrelevant at all times, so Sol’kanar the Swamp King was pretty useless.

I guess next week I will have to find a new card to build around, so feel free to suggest something that never quite made it to the big time for me to work on. I’m quite partial to Braid of Fire myself, and of course I do love a Blue card. I would do Vesuvan Shapeshifter but that was done a few weeks ago (unfortunately). Cards like Compulsive Research are very powerful in this sort of format, providing an effect that people play in “normal” Standard that you can always add to your budget deck. Blue seems to have quite a few cards like in Mana Leak and the like.

I’d also like to point out that I have in fact never said “tally ho,” and would in fact be pretty disturbed by anyone who talked like that at all. [I think Stu’s talking about my editorial lead-in to the last article… heh. — Craig.] I could make fun of Americans here, but I get enough flames after my serious articles so I think I’ll resist.

That is quite enough Magic-based waffling. I guess I should talk about TV programs, or music or something. Maybe not, as I don’t really watch much TV and I think I broke my CD by playing it too much. (Don’t ask me how, but it is starting to skip now). Heroes sounds good, but the only way I could watch it would involve some sort of illegal download, and I probably shouldn’t be encouraging people to do things like that. And my PC doesn’t even have speakers, so it would be rather confusing to watch anything. I guess there is a new Doctor Who on Christmas Day, so we do get a few things worth watching ahead of American audiences. I guess I could talk about the spin off called Torchwood, but it is so average I’m not sure I can be bothered. It’s not even a bad program… it just so ordinary, which is pretty miserable for what is meant to be a sci-fi show.

In conclusion, this was not the most exciting matchup… which was certainly partly my fault. Next time I will try and build a more interactive deck, or at least one that does something more interesting that steal people’s lands. Any suggestion about this, or anything else, are welcome in the forums. This deck wasn’t the sort of thing people would want to play against in the casual room, but I’m not sure if that matters or not – input on this too would be helpful. I just built my sort of deck, and I did enjoy myself so I guess that is what counts.

Season’s greetings for whatever you think this holiday is all about.