Down And Dirty – A PTQ Stereotypical Exit *6th*

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Thursday, August 28th – In the forums of last week’s article, Kyle shared a Billy Moreno deck for Block Constructed, claiming it to be the “best that Block Constructed had to offer.” Of course, he was roundly mocked for his cheek. This week, he puts his money where his mouth is and throws the deck at a local PTQ, with excellent results…

I dropped fire in my last article, and apparently too many people suffered third degree burns. Few, however, noticed the fire that followed in the forums when I proclaimed a deck designed by Billy Moreno to be the best that Block Constructed had to offer. It’s a rather silly exaggerated statement, but the deck really did impress me in playtesting, far more than any others I built. Here’s the list.

When I got the deck initially from Billy, it contained twenty-six land, and no Spectral Procession or Torrent of Souls. After mentioning Torrent to Billy he immediately switched it up, but he wasn’t so quick to follow on Spectral Procession. His stance at the time was that it didn’t do anything the deck didn’t already do, and Flitter was a better option on defence, which is how this deck tends to play until you decide to kill the opponent.

There is a lack of two-drops, mainly because there are too many stronger options up the curve. This may make the deck look a little underwhelming… however, all of the three-drops are designed to play catch-up in the event you don’t draw one of the five two-drops. Fulminator Mage negates the biggest attacker on the next turn while also taking away a Windbrisk Heights, Mutavault, or Vivid Land to make up for the slower curve on my end. Kitchen Finks is an obvious way to get back some ground lost to an early rush, while also being nearly impossible to remove effectively in combat. Spectral Procession is the last three-drop, and is clearly the best token producer in the format. Sorry Bitterblossom, Spectral has thrice the output without the life loss at a meagre raise in property taxes. It’s another hard one to attack into, as you’re looking to trade two tokens for a creature to make the later drops that much more impacting.

At first glance, Fulminator probably looks like the worst card in the deck, with Shriekmaw being much more valuable in numerous situations. However, Fulminator does something Shriekmaw can’t. Fulminator Mage gives you free wins. How many times has your opponent stalled on three or four? Killing a land can potentially take up multiple turns of action, and when combined with Mannequin and Torrent you can set up an LD curve from turns 3-5 that will send the opponent reeling. There is nothing more frustrating than battling LD tactics, and no better way to win Game 1 to set your opponent on tilt.

The real impressive feature is how closely related all the spells are. All of them reek of greedy play, with nearly all the spells producing multiple ways to gain card advantage. Once you start making multiple dudes per turn you really never stop, since Makeshift Mannequin and Torrent of Souls both act as additional copies with their own special bonuses. Mannequin gives me options to combat Cryptic Command and other counters, while Torrent will usually win the game or set you up for the win upon resolution of any creature in the deck. It’s also important to note that if you Torrent a Flitter or Cloudgoat Ranger, the tokens they create won’t have +2/+0 and haste. However, with Cloudgoat it’s not that big a deal since you can tap the tokens to make him a 7/3 Giant with Flying and Haste.

After you go about creating a herd of dudes with Cloudgoat Ranger, Marsh Flitter, reanimation shenanigans, Spectral Procession, and Bitterblossom, you look to put the nail in the coffin by either sending in the overwhelming horde of underwhelming creatures, or land a Furystoke Giant or Torrent of Souls to make the numbers not as important.

One of the advantages of playing this sort of deck is the inevitability that you’ll draw a card you need. All the cards either make dudes or make those dudes more impressive, so your average draw is extremely reliable at accomplishing the same game plan over and over again. When you get a Torrent or Furystoke in your opening hand, it’s fairly easy to anticipate how you’re going to kill them since you’ll add roughly three creatures to the board every turn past three. The fact that all of the cards make multiple creatures also invalidates any one-for-one removal spells, like the popular Lash Out, Puncture Bolt, Nameless Inversion, and Peppersmoke. Cryptic Command is also somewhat stifled opposite this deck’s cards, given that they are never going to be able to pull off the tempo swinging Counter-Bounce against you, lacking good targets to return.

Afterboard this deck looks to cement matches by using Thoughtseize and Cloudthresher opposite the fearsome Fae. Makeshift Mannequin is our maindeck option to play around with the Faeries, and post board Cloudthreshers go a long way at continually blowing up all the fliers in play, combined with the reanimation spells. An end of turn evoked Cloudthresher into countermagic is the best way to accomplish that, then using a Torrent of Souls on the following turn to bash them for at least eleven.

Runed Halo and Shriekmaw are the two-drops for this deck, coming in against the leaner curved Kithkin and Red decks. Both of these are very strong matchups for this deck, given their inability to out-creature you, with Runed Halo covering the more troublesome creatures like Figure of Destiny, Demigod of Revenge, and Cloudgoat Ranger. Naming Wizened Cenn is also a key play to ensure you won’t fall victim to a random Mirrorweave, which is Kithkin’s only hope at beating you if you’re above 15 after turn 4. Red is equally outmatched both preboard and postboard. All of their creatures are big and dumb, and unless they can draw 20 damage in burn spells they have a hard time sneaking critical damage through.

The singleton Primal Command probably shouldn’t be there. I boarded it in once against a Red deck to have a fifth way to gain some life back, but never drew it or really needed it. I’d probably find room for a 2nd Shriekmaw maindeck (cut a Flitter?) and cut the Primal Command to make room for a pair of either Chameleon Colossus or Hallowed Burial/Firespout. A Twilight Mire should also become a Wooded Bastion to avoid drawing two at once.

This format is also a high-paced race, with each player scratching for the slightest advantage to squeak through those final points. This deck presents an awesome way to combat the decks out there right now since, after each attack, whatever card you play will create an army to use on defense. If your opponent has a like-sized army, it is nearly impossible to get good blocks or attacks. Killing your token producers is also a key role in gaining an advantage. Trading Cloudgoat Ranger for Wren’s Run Vanquisher isn’t a bad trade, since it gives Mannequin and Torrent the best possible target in the deck.

I copy/pasted the PTQ address from the Wizards site, and it sent me ten miles up the road instead of at the Howard Johnson at 183 and 35. Weird, but Billy was kind enough to navigate me back to his bosom. We discussed matchups and such before the tournament started, and witnessed one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen Aaron Tobey do. Turns out he misplaced his deck and didn’t realize it until round 1 was posted.

He stood at the head of the room after announcements were made, and begged for whoever took his deck to give it back and he’d give $100 no questions asked. No replies, as his heart reached out to a sea of heads looking down. He pleaded again, this time with a bit more emotion, which drew several stares but still no Kithkin deck. Eventually he screamed some profanities and tomahawk slammed his backpack to the ground in a fit of rage. The game room finally paid attention to the stunning act, but still no Kithkin list to be found. He hobbled his way to the restroom to regain his composure, only to find a deck box on the sink. His Kithkin returned with no $100 transaction fee. He claims he didn’t use the restroom, but with everyone seated how did the deck get there? I for one think he was too busy checking out the urinals on the other side of the mirror and left his deck without thinking. Still, pretty entertaining, and they didn’t even give him a game loss and he bashed his first round opponent.

Round 1 – WB Tokens

I remember vividly having a double Bitterblossom hand this game, and leading out with them on turns 2 and 3, followed up with a Windbrisk Heights and Spectral Procession on the following turn. He was also up to some token tactics, using a Spectral Procession of his own to match Spirits. My Heights brought a Cloudgoat Ranger into play, which he Nameless Inversioned on his turn to set me up for a lethal turn 5 Torrent of Souls.

He grabbed pretty fast for his sideboard, which probably meant Wispmare, but I couldn’t really board out Bitterblossom, so I just brought a Primal Command in for Shriekmaw.

Game 2 he started out with a Bitterblossom of his own, but I had double Spectral Procession to make his token generating look much less impressive. Flitter came down, then died, got Mannequin’d, then died again, and eventually came back via a Torrent for lethal a couple of turns later. Once you have a creature that generates tokens, there really no stopping the incoming herd. This game Goblins and Spirits worked together to seize the day in this awkward concoction of tribes.


I stumbled over to Billy’s match afterwards and saw him battling opposite former JSS superstud Sam Trejo (pronounced Trey-ho), who was piloting a stock Kithkin list and clearly overplaying it, obsessing over every little attack and block. He had a horde of Kithykins, and swung in with his team, but didn’t hold back his Knight of Meadowgrain. This was extremely important because now all Billy had to do was chump Knight with Furystoke, let it die to first strike (Wizened Cenn in play), then annihilate his entire team. When the dust settled, Billy had three creatures and Sam lost five or six, but still had his Knight in play.

Billy went on to get manascrewed and lose since he couldn’t find a second Green source to evoke Cloudthresher for a flying Spirit army.

Round 2 – Doran

More like Bore-an.

Game 1 was pretty close, and it quickly became apparent to me that people really didn’t understand how to play against my deck. He did his best job to apply as much pressure as he could, but Doran and Chameleon Colossus aren’t so hot at dealing with recurring Cloudgoats, although it did make it much harder to kill him since Doran took away the +2/+0 bonus from tapping three Kithkin. This had me trading my Cloudgoats for his Vanquishers while the tokens jumped in front of his Treefolk. Marsh Flitter led a Spirit army in the air to deal the full twenty.

The full set of Runed Halo came in here, removing Shriekmaw, Marsh Flitter, Bitterblossom, and Fulminator Mage. The all around shave, but I wasn’t too worried about it since I didn’t really sacrifice any power, just some excess baggage.

Fulminator Mage showed up and blocked Doran three times before I landed a Runed Halo. Fulms slowed him down, but he still wasn’t missing any land drops. Cloudgoat Ranger came down and I was again stuck in the awkward race situation where Cloudgoat couldn’t get in for as much as he should. I had a Furystoke underneath a Windbrisk Heights, so I was just looking to set up a combo kill somewhere down the road, but when I ripped Spectral Procession off the top he had a timely evoked Cloudthresher.

The game dragged out a bit longer, but I was able to land a second Runed Halo on Colossus to completely kill his attacking force while I started stacking reinforcements. Eventually I attacked with three random dudes and brought Furystoke out to finish him off.


Round 3 – Chris Schiber playing Cry of the Mimic (WB Jank)

Pretty lame deck name, but Schiber made Top 8 with it so he can call it whatever he wants. Basically, this was a WB hybrid deck to exploit the Orzhov Mimic with other powerful hybrid spells, like Deathbringer Liege.

Game 1 was quite grotesque. I was light on mana and couldn’t get my Cloudgoats in play quick enough. Once I hit five mana the pistons started to fire. Cloudgoat after Cloudgoat resolved and got reanimated while Marsh Flitter held the air with some Spirits. I left a Spirit back and played Marsh Flitter to defend against his increasingly unimpressive army. An end of turn Unmake took care of the Flitter, and he was getting in a couple of damage each turn with Stillmoon Cavalier, but I had him in top deck position so I wasn’t too worried… until, of course, he drew Deathbringer Liege into Edge of Divinity. He slammed them both on the same turn, killing off my Spirit blockers and making his Mimic an epic 9/9, killing me in one strange swoop.

While boarding he mentioned that I should try and Top 8 also, as if he’d already won the match. Salty statement, so I responded that I’d only need three more wins after this round, but I’m not sure he could follow what I was hinting at. I only brought in three Runed Halo and two Thoughtseize this time, taking out Shriekmaw and all four Fulminator Mages.

He led out with a Figure of Destiny this game, and I was able to Time Walk him by blocking with Kitchen Finks, forcing him to turn it into a 4/4. From that point I dropped a Flitter, and followed it up with Cloudgoat Ranger and finally a Furystoke to demolish his board of a pair of Figures (2/2 & 4/4), Nightsky Mimic, and Knight of Meadowgrain. An Unmake killed Cloudgoat, but I still had enough creatures to make a Torrent of Souls for just Red to kill him.

I saw Windbrisk Heights game 2, so I boarded all the Fulminators back in for Thoughtseize, Makeshift Mannequin, and a Bitterblossom.

Fulminator blocked Knight of Meadowgrain while blowing up a Windbrisk Heights. Runed Halo on Stillmoon Cavalier meant he wouldn’t be picking at me like he did game 1, and for some reason he traded his Nightsky Mimic for a Spectral Procession token. I guess he figured I wouldn’t block? A pair of Kitchen Finks started the offense and managed to activate my Windbrisk Heights alongside a Marsh Flitter to bring Cloudgoat Ranger into play. Out of nowhere an army sprouted and he didn’t have an answer for it, so Torrent killed him next turn.


Meanwhile Billy managed a 1-2 performance and dropped. Excessive mulligans and awkward matchups on his side meant the deck’s designer would have an early exit.

Round 4 – Jeremy Jackson playing Quick n’ Toast

Last time JJ and I played was Time Spiral Block about a year ago. It was the Teachings mirror, and that was the tournament that took the wind out of my sails where I realized how important the heart is when playing and winning at the competitive level. My heart wasn’t in it that day, but today was a different day and I was motivated to claim that trip to Berlin.

Game 1 was epic, extremely long and drawn out. Multiple Firespouts, Reveillarks, and Mulldrifters on his side, while I kept using my generators to put him in the position to either have the Wrath or lose enough ground that I’d be within striking distance. Usually this matchup would favor the Toast player, but given how greedy all my spells are I never had to commit too much to the board to force an answer on his side. Eventually I deduced he didn’t have a Cryptic Command after several turns of leaving myself open to favorable situations for him to use it, and went into the Furystoke plan I’d been trying to arrange the entire game. I hadn’t gotten much damage in, but once Furystoke resolved thirty five minutes into game 1, he scooped ’em up.

All four Thoughtseize came in for Shriekmaw, Furystoke Giant, Torrent of Souls, and Marsh Flitter. Normally I’d just board out all the Furystoke, but he was packing Doran in his list so I figured I might need another couple of ways to kill him.

He mulliganed to four this game and fell victim to Fulminator Mage and Thoughtseize. It didn’t take much pressure from there to get a quick concession.


Round 5 – Mono Red

Mono Red is quite possibly the best matchup for this deck. All of their spells are so irrelevant and one-for-one oriented that it’s actually like a joke playing against them. I held back my turn 2 Bitterblossom, since it’s practically the only way they can win. I also had a pair of Windbrisk Heights and a Spectral Procession, so it’s not like I didn’t have better options. He must not have had a removal spell for one of my Spirits since I managed to activate both Windbrisk Heights on the following turn, dumping Cloudgoat Ranger and Marsh Flitter into play, giving me ten total creatures on turn 4.

I sideboarded in the Runed Halos for Bitterblossoms, and a Shriekmaw for the Primal Command.

He led out with turns 1 and 2 Figure of Destiny, which my Runed Halo completely shut down. Another Halo on Demigod meant the potential Demons in his hand wouldn’t be doing much either. He had an Ashenmoor Gouger though, which I let him hit me with once before trading my Cloudgoat Ranger for it, then using Torrent to bring the Cloudgoat back and counter attack for seven in the air and nine on the ground. His Figures killed some Kithkin tokens, but he was up the creek without any way to deal me a relevant amount of damage and couldn’t crash past my Halos.


Round 6 – Kithkin

I had already taken down my fair share of White-based aggro decks, so I was pretty confident coming into this match. The only real way Kithkin can ever beat you is if you leave yourself open to a Mirrorweave, which I stupidly did game 1 after mulliganing a couple times.

I sideboarded in Runed Halos and Shriekmaws for Bitterblossoms, a Marsh Flitter, a Fulminator Mage, and a Torrent of Souls. The goal here is to play the control deck. All of my spells are better than theirs and I should always be able to out-creature them to make Mirrorweave useless.

The Shriekmaw engine started this game, first killing a Figure of Destiny, then killing a Knight of Meadowgrain and blocking a Goldmeadow Stalwart before eventually taking down a Wizened Cenn while getting in there for five points of hasty damage. With Kithkin mush spread across the battlefield, it was time for Papa Goat Ranger to come down and finish it off in the air.

Game 3 I got my Halo on by making his Knight of Meadowgrain fairly useless while a hardcast Shriekmaw took care of his Wilt-Leaf Liege and provided some Fear damage. We matched Cloudgoats for a couple turns, each building up our creatures, but a Furystoke sent him from 14 to 0 in two and a half seconds.


Ah, another PTQ Top 8, another two rounds to kill.

With no drafts to be had I retired to my car with Aaron “Anger Management” Tobey to calm the nerves. Churches Chicken was delicious, and remarkably cheap. I witnessed a pair of gamers in front of us pay upwards of six bucks for a two piece with a side. Did they not see the $1.99 for three piece and biscuit on the freaking window?

I played a few games with the esteemed James Wise before handing over the deck to eager onlookers who wanted to pilot the latest Sanchez joint. It was still round 7 so I crashed out on the hotel couch to play on the internet with my new iphone.


Prior to the Top 8 starting, I overheard Ian and Hunter Burton talking sideboarding strategies behind me before our round. Apparently Hunter was coaching him to board out his Mirrorweaves, which basically kills any chance he has of winning a game. Mirrorweave is the scariest card to play against in Kithkin from my perspective, and him boarding them out each game means I’d have a much better chance to win.

Top 8 – Ian with Kithkin

My opener had a Shriekmaw in it with Makeshift Mannequin and Torrent of Souls, so I kept. Shriekmaw killed a couple dudes before Cloudgoat Ranger hit. He used Unmake to answer, but I had Spectral Procession and a Flitter for backup and he didn’t have any more gas.

+ 3 Shriekmaw + 3 Runed Halo, -4 Bitterblossom, -1 Torrent of Souls, -1 Fulminator Mage

I mulliganed into a four-land hand with Marsh Flitter and Cloudgoat Ranger. Slow, yes, but if I draw any three-drop or two-drop in the deck I figured I’d have a good chance to win. He busted out with a hyper aggressive Kithkin draw, and I never drew a nonland spell. On top of that I couldn’t cast my Cloudgoat Ranger on turn 5 because I drew too many Comes-Into-Play-Tapped lands.

Another mulligan game 3, and I had an extremely potent hand of 2 Windbrisk Heights, Twilight Mire, Spectral Procession, Kitchen Finks, Shriekmaw. All I’d need is any other land in the deck to turn this hand into an auto-win. I was on the play to top it off. I didn’t hit a land by turn 3, but I did draw a Cloudgoat Ranger and another Shriekmaw, so I figured this would be an easy game once I drew one of my 22 remaining lands in the deck. Turn after turn after turn passed with no more land in sight. Kitchen Finks went a long way at buying me some time, killing off a Stalwart and Burrenton Forge Tender (he’d sided them in?), but his Knight of Meadowgrain was bearing down on me with some Spirit tokens looming. After six draw phases I still didn’t draw a land, and finished the game with two Shriekmaw, Furystoke Giant, Cloudgoat Ranger, Spectral Procession, Makeshift Mannequin, and Marsh Flitter in my hand.

Stereotypical Exit. I swear it always happens that way, doesn’t it?

Turns out I would have played Chris Schiber again in Top 4, followed up with a concession from Kyle Larson, who scooped to get Evan in the Finals because he had a better matchup against Kithkin. Larson and Evan, both of which would have probably scooped to me since they are buddies of mine from San Antonio. All I had to do was win one game against a Mirrorweaveless Kithkin player to win my first PTQ, and I couldn’t follow through. Sure, that’s assuming I’d beat Schiber again, but this deck was the stone nuts for that PTQ and I’d advise anyone playing this last week to sleeve it up and give it a go. I’d really like to see this deck perform to its full extent, for Billy’s behalf if not my own.

Here’s the other Top 8 lists:

1st Place – Ian Jasheway – Kithkin

4 Cloudgoat Ranger
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
3 Thistledown Liege
4 Wizened Cenn
2 Mirrorweave
4 Unmake
4 Spectral Procession
2 Ajani Goldmane
2 Mutavault
15 Plains
4 Rustic Clachan
4 Windbrisk Heights

4 Moonglove Extract
4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
4 Wispmare
3 Reveillark

2nd Place – Evan Teachworth – Star-Spangled Toast

3 Kitchen Finks
4 Mulldrifter
2 Murderous Redcap
2 Nucklavee
2 Oona, Queen of the Fae

2 Crib Swap
4 Cryptic Command
4 Lash Out
1 Oona’s Grace
2 Firespout
3 Hallowed Burial
2 Incendiary Command
2 Mind Spring

3 Cascade Bluffs
4 Island
2 Mountain
3 Mystic Gate
3 Plains
2 Reflecting Pool
2 Springjack Pasture
2 Vivid Crag
4 Vivid Creek
2 Vivid Meadow

1 Incendiary Command
1 Firespout
1 Crib Swap
4 Fulminator Mage
2 Glen Elendra Archmage
2 Negate
2 Purity
2 Runed Halo

3rd Place – Chris Schiber – Cry of the Mimic

2 Cloudgoat Ranger
3 Deathbringer Liege
4 Figure of Destiny
2 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Nightsky Mimic
2 Nip Gwyllion
4 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 Unmake
4 Spectral Procession
4 Edge of the Divinity
2 Ajani Goldmane
4 Mutavault
13 Plains
4 Rustic Clachan
4 Windbrisk Heights

2 Reveillark
4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
3 Wispmare
3 Runed Halo
3 Mirrorweave

4th Place – Kyle Larson – Kyle Larson

4 Mistbind Clique
3 Puppeteer Clique
4 Scion of Oona
2 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Broken Ambitions
4 Cryptic Command
4 Nameless Inversion
4 Thoughtseize
4 Bitterblossom
2 Jace Beleren

8 Island
4 Mutavault
4 Secluded Glen
4 Sunken Ruins
5 Swamp

1 Sower of Temptation
2 Faerie Harbinger
4 Consign to Dream
4 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 Shriekmaw

5th Place – Sam Trejo – Kithkin

4 Cloudgoat Ranger
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
2 Thistledown Liege
4 Wizened Cenn
2 Mirrorweave
4 Unmake
4 Spectral Procession
2 Ajani Goldmane
3 Mutavault
16 Plains
3 Rustic Clachan
4 Windbrisk Heights

4 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
4 Wispmare
3 Moonglove Extract

6th Place – Kyle Sanchez

4 Kitchen Finks
4 Fulminator Mage
3 Marsh Flitter
4 Cloudgoat Ranger
3 Furystoke Giant
1 Shriekmaw

4 Makeshift Mannequin
4 Spectral Procession
4 Torrent of Souls
4 Bitterblossom

4 Fetid Heath
2 Plains
4 Reflecting Pool
3 Rugged Prairie
2 Twilight Mire
4 Vivid Marsh
3 Vivid Meadow
3 Windbrisk Heights

3 Shriekmaw
1 Primal Command
4 Thoughtseize
4 Runed Halo
3 Cloudthresher

7th Place – Michael S. Jackson

2 Ashenmoor Gouger
4 Boggart Ram-Gang
4 Demigod of Revenge
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Stigma Lasher
4 Flame Javelin
4 Lash Out
4 Puncture Blast
4 Tarfire
3 Unwilling Recruit
23 Mountain

4 Vexing Shusher
3 Chaotic Backlash
3 Moonglove Extract
3 Wild Ricochet
2 Spitebellows

8th Place – Benjamin Cook

4 Cloudgoat Ranger
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Goldmeadow Stalwart
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
2 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Wizened Cenn
4 Crib Swap
2 Mirrorweave
4 Spectral Procession
2 Ajani Goldmane
3 Mutavault
15 Plains
4 Rustic Clachan
4 Windbrisk Heights

1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Wheel of Sun and Moon
1 Oversoul of Dusk
1 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
3 Runed Halo

Thanks for reading…


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