Week six of the Armada Games EDH League set the standard for creating the chaos. Surprises and eleventh hour rescues were the order of business for the evening. I understand that Hive Mind and Warp World both resolved in one of the later games, but we’ll come back to that.
It started in the casual games leading up to the League. Kyle was playing his incorrectly-named “Group Hug” deck, which isn’t group-huggy at all, it’s just chaos-inducing. Let’s just say that with Eye of the Storm already on the battlefield and three or four things already under it, a counter war over him trying to resolve Hive Mind got out of hand. My suggestion for the future would be to have a pile of index cards and a Sharpie ready to represent everything on the stack. Otherwise, it’s a brain-scrambling exercise in keeping straight 24 different things, some of them with Cascade.
I sit down with two new players, Jesse and Elizabeth, who don’t actually live in the area (they’re investigating moving here), and two Armada regulars Matt (who is playing EDH League for the first time) and Patrick. Jesse is playing blue Braids, so I’m automatically intrigued. Elizabeth is playing Brion Stoutarm, Matt is playing Progenitus (we later find out it’s a version of local L2 Judge Ben McDole’s Planeswalker Control deck), and Patrick playing his Stonebrow deck (that I think I’ve now played against nearly every week of the League).
Jesse: Island, Library of Leng
Me: Badlands, Suspend Greater Gargadon. It will stay Suspended longer than any Gargadon that has come before it.
Matt: Volcanic Island
Matt: Blood Crypt
Patrick: Jund Panorama, crack it for a Mountain.
Jesse: Island, Ponder, Grim Monolith.
Elizabeth: Vivid Crag
Me: Verdant Catacombs, crack it (39) to get Overgrown Tomb
Matt: Also Verdant Catacombs, but he gets Savannah (39) and casts Ghostly Prison. And it’s not even one of the cool new FNM foils.
Patrick: Land, go.
Me: Karplusan Forest
Matt: Steam Vents tapped.
Patrick: Wilderness Elemental, which is already pretty big.
Jesse: Island, Clones Wilderness Elemental (Patrick getting a point for Copycat). EOT, Elizabeth Flashes in Seht’s Tiger
Elizabeth: Flickering Ward on the Tiger, naming Green.
Me: Reliquary Tower, Copperhoof Vorrac. EOT, Matt Intuitions for Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Rout, and something else. He chooses Jesse to make the selection, and Jesse gives him the Rout.
Matt: Reflecting Pool, Wrath of God. Jesse Negates, giving Matt a point for That Was Rude.
Jesse: Attacks Matt with the Cloned Elemental (27)
Elizabeth: Naya Panorama, Stun Sniper. Nice little card choice.
Me: Greater Good, Tower of the Magistrate.
Matt: Island, Bribery targeting Patrick (always Bribery the R/G guy, he has fat), getting Multani. Seems okay.
Patrick: Boartusk Liege (getting himself a point for Blackjack)
Jesse: Vesuva copying an Island
Elizabeth: Plains, Cloudgoat Ranger
Me: Swamp, Darigaaz.
Matt: Scalding Tarn, which he cracks (26). Elspeth, makes a token.
Patrick: Stonebrow. EOT, Jesse untaps Grim Monolith
Me: Swamp, Darigaaz.
Matt: Day of Judgment. I sacrifice Copperhoof Vorrac to Greater Good, which Jesse Trickbinds. I sacrifice Darigaaz to Gargadon since I can’t use Greater Good any more. The rest of us get a point for First Blood.
Patrick: Rofellos, getting a point for Here Comes the New Challenger.
Elizabeth: Vesuva, copying her own Mountain
Me: Gargadon to 1. There are 10 creatures in yards, so I cast Avatar of Woe for BB, then Solemn Simulacrum.
Matt: Hallowed Forest
Patrick: Garruk, untaps 2 land.
Jesse: Mind’s Eye
Elizabeth: Brion Stoutarm
Me: Gargadon comes in. I cast Shatterstorm, Jesse casts Mindbreak Trap, which Matt Counterspells. I pay 2 to attack Jesse with Gargadon (31)
Matt: Plays his 10th land, but doesn’t cast Progenitus. Hrm.
Patrick: Taps Rofellos for 2 and casts Lurking Predators.
Jesse: Copy Enchantment (Patrick reveals a Mountain), and copies the Predators. Drops an Island
Elizabeth: Sigil of Distinction. Jesse reveals an Island, which he ships to the bottom, Patrick gets Mossbridge Troll. Equips it to Brion. At EOT, I kill Brion with Avatar, getting I’m Cool Too.
Me: Darigaaz for the second time. Jesse reveals Vedalken Shackles, Patrick Spellbreaker Behemoth. Jesse decides to keep the Shackles on top. At EOT, Matt Routs. Patrick reveals one of the best things he can reveal off of Predators: Woodfall Primus. It takes out Ghostly Prison when it comes in, and I know it’s going to take out Greater Good when it Persists back. I sacrifice Darigaaz and the Avatar, dumping creatures and a couple of lands into the yard. I know my path victory here is to get into Living Death, so the creatures are going to do a better job from the yard than play. My only worry on that account is Jesse and Matt playing blue, but Jesse’s hand is small, and Matt’s is currently nearly empty, so I should be OK.
Matt: Now comes Progenitus. I smile inside because I know I can kill it. Patrick whiffs on Predators.
Patrick: Garruk to 5, casts Paleoloth.
Jesse: Casts the Shackles. Patrick ships a Sol Ring to the bottom.
Me: Sol Ring (Patrick and Jesse both whiff). Azusa, Lost but Seeking (they both whiff again). Rampaging Baloths. Now we’re talking! I drop Temple of the False God and two other lands, and cast a Kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir, taking out Progenitus.
Matt: Luminarch Ascension. Patrick and Jesse swing and miss for a fourth time in a row. This is weird for Patrick, because he’s playing somewhere north of 40 creatures.
Patrick: Garruk to 6. Vigor. Jesse gets another Island. Elizabeth casts Master Warcraft. The Woodfall Primus attacks Matt (21) and the Paleoloth attacks me, with my tokens blocking. She confesses that she thought the Primus was 7/7, not 5/5. At EOT, Jesse Shackles the Baloths.
Jesse: Suspends Ancestral Visions
Elizabeth: Volcanic Fallout. I go to 36, Matt to 19, Patrick to 38, Jesse to 29, and Elizabeth to 38. She recasts Brion.
Me: I cast Eternal Witness, getting back Greater Good. Patrick gets Baloths of his own off Predators, and putting the Spellbreaker back in his hand. I cast Demonic Tutor (for Living Death), which Jesse Twincasts.
Patrick: Sandstone Needle, Rofellos. Garruk untaps 2 (he’s now at 7) to cast Spellbreaker. Swings at me with Paleoloth, which I block with EWit.
Jesse: Untaps Shackles, and I get back the Baloths.
Elizabeth: Nothing. At EOT, I sacrifice a token to Greater Good. One of the things I discard is Big Game Hunter, killing Brion. I cycle Krosan Tusker.
Me: It’s now or never, so I cast the Living Death, bringing back my Army of the Damned. With Azusa, fetchlands, and Harrow, I kill Matt with Hellkite damage and Ob Nixilis drains as well as hitting Jesse for a few. It looks like Elizabeth isn’t going to be much of a threat for a single turn, so I attack Patrick with everything except Ob Nixilis (trying to get Overkill), who heads toward Jesse. He’s 24/24, so it’s going to kill him. Elizabeth decides she’s going to save Jesse, and casts Chastise on Ob Nixilis. I shrug, and then Jesse says “Wait, Lurking Predators.” Then the unthinkable happens. Jesse reveals Kederkt Leviathan. I sacrifice all my Beasts to Ravaging Baloths (62). I guess there’s nothing else to do, so I end my turn. Elizabeth flashes in Seht’s Tiger.
Patrick: Time is called, so we’ll run around the table once, and Patrick will get the last turn. He says that he’s going to try to kill Jesse, so he casts Warp World. I get mostly land. Patrick gets Greater Good and Dragon Broodmother. Jesse and Elizabeth don’t get much. Patrick casts Wilderness Elemental, which he sacrifices to Greater Good, but gets nothing interesting.
Jesse: Blue Braids. Awesome.
Elizabeth: Sigil of Distinction with 3 counters. At EOT, I flash in the Hellkite, dealing five to Jesse (12)
Me: During my upkeep, I put Ob Nixilis in play from Braids. Foothills, drain Jesse to 9, crack it (61), drain him to 6. Cast Azusa, drop Contest Cliffs and then a Forest to kill him, then Vampire Hexmage and I’m done.
Patrick: Last turn, and Patrick casts Insurrection!!! He definitely doesn’t have enough to kill me, so he swings at Elizabeth. He has enough until she casts Awe Strike on Ob Nixilis. He sacrifices the Hexamage to remove the counters so she doesn’t gain so much life, but that means he doesn’t have enough to kill her. We end there. I’ve piled up points, as has Patrick, so the two of us are going to Table 1.
I’m playing again with a table full of good guys who appreciate EDH in the same fashion I doâ€”strong decks, good interaction, but not overbearing. Anthony is playing Sek’kuar, Keith is playing a new Lin-Sivvi deck, and my old Armada EDH League companions Ryan and Patrick with Child of Alara and Stonebrow, respectively. Patrick and I go to a roll-off for first, and I win.
Me: Spinerock Knoll.
Keith: Plains, and in another “what the heck is Keith playing?” moment, Inheritance.
Patrick: Treetop Village
Ryan: Seaside Citadel
Anthony: Swamp, Skullclamp. I gently poke Anthony about playing “mean” colors, and he starts to defend himself, and then says “Hey, wait a minute…”
Me: Forest, Heart Warden. I have a hand that’s going to generate mana early, but might run out of steam.
Ryan: Vesuva, copying his own Citadel.
Anthony: Forest, Talisman of Impulse.
Me: Reliquary Tower, Oracle of Mul-Daya, and the Contested Cliffs for my second land.
Keith: Plains, Lin-Sivvi.
Anthony: Takes a pain (39) to play Call of the Wild.
Me: Forest and Miren, the Moaning Well. Compost and, apologizing to Anthony for potentially hurting his mana base, Molder Slug. I start thinking about how many cards I have in this deck that are there just to prevent other people from going too insane, and wonder if I’m better off with something a little more proactive.
Keith: Light from Within. Seems good in mono-White.
Patrick: Panorama, getting a Mountain.
Ryan: Forbidden Orchard.
Anthony: Untaps, says “Let’s take a chance,” sacrifices Skullclamp instead of the Talisman, then peels and cheers. “Got there!” He drops Blood Crypt untapped (37) and Nekrataals the Molder Slug. I’m okay with that. I get a point for First Blood.
Me: Land, Genesis, no second land. Top card is Spearbreaker Behemoth. Oracle of Mul Daya is not Future Sight.
Keith: Zealot Il-vec, Plains.
Patrick: Casts the ever-popular Wilderness Elemental.
Ryan: Knight of New Alara.
Anthony: Buried Alive for Eternal Witness, Crypt Champion, and Genesis (I draw two cards). Hopefully Anthony is going to keep me in cards for a while.
Me: Mountain off the top, revealing Ravenous Baloth. Cast the Spearbreaker. At EOT, Keith searches up Defiant Falcon.
Keith: Strip Mine and takes out my Contested Cliffs, which I see as a reasonable play. Attacks me with Zealot, which he redirects to the Heart Warden. I keep mana up to potentially activate Spinerock instead of drawing. Keith casts Righteous Aura.
Patrick: Spellbreaker Behemoth
Ryan: Gives Patrick a token from Forbidden Orchard, then Twilight Shepherd.
Anthony: Genesis back Crypt Champion.
Me: Survival of the Fittest. The table groans.
Keith: Fetches Lawbringer and searches up Children of Korlis to complete his Flush. Changeling Hero, removing Lin-Sivvi. Attacks Anthony (35).
Patrick: Greater Good. Keith responds by Exiling Spellbreaker.
Ryan: Gives Patrick another token and then casts Vulturous Zombie. Every time I see someone play him, I wonder why I’m not.
Anthony: Pain (34) to cast Lurking Predators.
Me: Mosswort Bridge and after shipping stuff to the bottom, get a Mountain. Cast Acidic Slime. Anthony whiffs on the Predators, and I destroy it. Attack Anthony, and he blocks with Nekrataal.
Keith: Plains and a point for Getting to Basics. Attack Anthony for 7 (27), Keith going to 45. At EOT, I activate the Spinerock Knoll, putting Rampaging Baloths on the table, and getting a Flush of my own. Patrick sacrifices the Elemental to Greater Good (looking for some kind of answer?), drawing 9 cards. One of his discards is Darksteel Colossus.
Patrick: Multani. He has to discard, and when he does, Ryan’s Zombie is big enough to give him Blackjack (the Zombie is 16, the Shepherd 5)!
Ryan: Fracturing Gust. Frowns. He gains 18 (58). At beginning of attack, Keith searches up Bound in Silence and puts it on the Zombie. He attacks Keith with the Shepherd (40).
Anthony: Tainted Peak. Casts Rise from the Grave on Patrick’s Hellkite Charger.
Me: Crucible of Worlds, so I can replay the Cliffs from the yard, and I drop a Wasteland as well (getting 2 Beasts). I’m satisfied with that at the moment. The top card of my library, revealed for the world to see, is Obliterate. As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s not a card I love playing, but sometimes I feel like I need it as protection. I make sure everyone is aware that the card is there.
Patrick: Strip Mine. Keith Disenchants my Crucible. Patrick casts Acidic Slime (getting Better Late Than Never) and targets the Cliffs. I kill Keith’s Rebel with it before it goes away (getting I’m Cool Too).
Ryan: River Kelpie.
Anthony: Crypt Champion, getting back Eternal Witness, getting back Buried Alive. Casts it for Gravedigger, Puppeteer Clique, and Kiki-Jiki. I see craziness coming.
Me: Bloodstained Mire (get a Beast), Fetch (39) a Swamp (another Beast), Ravenous Baloth.
Keith: Sky Marshal.
Patrick: Mossbridge Troll. End of turn, Ryan Flashes in Venser, bouncing Bound in Silence. Big frowns for the rest of us. The Vulturous Zombie is immense.
Ryan: Mulls over who to attack after asking life totals. I mention I have Beasts to sacrifice, so he wouldn’t actually kill me, and he says “That’s good enough for me,” and swings with the 36/36 Zombie and the Shepherd. The first thing I do, being a complete point whore, is give my Acidic Slime +1/+1 with Skargg, so that I have a Straight Flush (Oracle, Acidic Slime, Ravenous Baloth, Spearbreaker, Rampaging Baloths). I then sacrifice two beasts to go to 47, and take 41 (6).
Anthony: Genesis back Kiki-Jiki. I know what I have to do now, since either Ryan is going to kill me or Anthony is going to go insane with Kiki-Jiki recursion. At EOT, I sacrifice Genesis to Miren (10).
Me: There’s too much on the board to do attacks first, so I sacrifice three Baloths (22), make the Rampaging Baloths Indestructible, and then say “Guess I’ll take the -2,” and Obliterate. We clear away the rubble, I attack Anthony (16), and then Patrick, who is keeping the score sheet, informs me that Chasm isn’t on the list tonight. Ryan gets a little recovery since both his guys have Persist. I figure that I’m done, I’ll just try to get one more kill and take what’s coming to me.
Keith: Plains. I think he might have been paying attention.
Ryan: Attacks Anthony with the Kelpie (14)
Me: I guess we’re fighting over Anthony’s bones at this point. I attack Anthony with the Baloths (8) and Ryan with the Spearbreaker (53).
Keith: Plains, Ramosian Sergeant.
Ryan: Attacks me (18)
Me: Terramorphic Expanse, get a land and two Beasts, and kill Anthony.
Ryan: Attacks me (14). Show us the bounceland that he just drew.
Me: Attack Patrick with everyone (21). EOT, Keith searches up Whipcorder.
Keith: Third Plains
Ryan: Attacks me (10)
Me: Attack Keith with everyone. Blocks Spearbreaker with the Sergeant, searches up Shield Dancer, and takes 14 (26). With Shield Dancer in play, Keith gets a point for Block Party.
Ryan: Holds back to see what I’m going to do. We’re in one of those situations where the first guy to flinch will lose (well, at least lose the kill on someone). We can’t wait too long, or Keith will end up swarming us with Rebels.
Me: Declare attacks, Keith taps the Baloths. Attack Patrick with 2 Beasts (13). EOT Keith searches up Blade of the Pride.
At this point, there is a quite a bit of hullaballoo from the other table. Apparently, Kyle has played Warp World, and one of the things that Matt puts into play is Phage, the Untouchable. Fortunately for Matt, he has a Stifle in hand. Unfortunately for Matt, Elizabeth has Imp’s Mischief. She’s almost morally compelled to play it.
Keith: Keith is a little conservative, so he stays home.
Ryan: Adarkar Wastes, attacks me (6).
Me: Kill Patrick. EOT, Keith gets Aven Riftcatcher.
Keith: Kills me.
Ryan: Plays his bounceland. At this point, I get distracted by someone for a minute or two, and when I turn back, it looks like I’ve lost track of the game state. Patrick shows me the score sheet. Keith can still win the table by killing Ryan, the point for Last Man Standing being the decider. It looks good for Keith as he starts slamming his team into Ryan. Ryan’s earlier life gain gives him some cushion, and then the tables completely turn as he resolves (some turns later) a Blazing Archon, and on the following turn, Conflux. I also see a Last Stand in there somewhere. Ryan kills Keith, giving me the table.
I hear the other table has finished abruptly when after Kyle has resolved a Hive Mind, Jesse casts Pact of the White (upon further review, this seems like a pretty reasonable card to play). That wacky Kyle. Serves him right that he was the first one to be unable to pay.
All in all, it was the kind of night that EDH is famous for, as the Leviathan play will be one that goes down in Armada Games history. I’m not yet sure what I’ll go back to next week. The Zombies always call, but it’s also been a while since I’ve played either Merieke or Phelddagrif. Whatever way I go, I’m pretty sure that once again, we’ll Embrace the Chaos.