Embracing The Chaos – Going Berserk with Kresh

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Tuesday, January 26th – The Armada Games EDH League is back on! For the first week of this iteration of the League, I wanted to play Kresh, since he’s my signature guy. As you’ll see, the deck came through a little, and let me down a little, but as usual, he sometimes comes out of nowhere to deal a pile of damage.

The Armada Games EDH League is back on! For the first week of this iteration of the League, I wanted to play Kresh, since he’s my signature guy. As you’ll see, the deck came through a little, and let me down a little, but as usual, he sometimes comes out of nowhere to deal a pile of damage.

This week’s installment of Embracing the Chaos is fueled by Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I don’t know who the five guys are, but they make one tasty burger. It’s no Big Kahuna Burger, but the fries are awesome. And they’re almost finished building one right outside the back gate of my development, just over one mile away. That’s walking distance!

Armada owner Aaron Fortino came up with something like 50 new awards for the League. I think our list now exceeds 100. He randomly chooses a set amount (around 30) each week. Note that two of them, the one for eliminating a player and the one for being last person in a pod, will always be in.

-2 Points

Chasm: Destroy or Remove all lands in play through spells or abilities. (This penalty is in the spirit of the rule, and not the letter of the rule; effects that would reset the board for all or most of the players at the table will be awarded this penalty. This can be awarded to the same player more than once per pod.)

-1 Point

Greedy McGreederson: Take 3 or more turns in a row. This can be awarded more than once.

+1 Point

123’s: Resolve the third spell that’s converted mana cost is the third number in a row. Player A plays Mogg Fanatic (CMC 1) then Vexing Shusher (CMC 2) then Player B resolves Volcanic Fallout (CMC 3) Player B would be awarded this. If Player C then casts Chameleon Colossus Player C would get an extra point for follow this pattern and each successive spell resolving in an increasing fashion would awarded 1 point.
Attention: Do 5 or more damage to yourself in 1 turn.
Big Game Hunt: Kill a creature with power 15 or greater.
Blackjack: Control two creatures whose total power is exactly 21. May be awarded for a specific creature pair only once per pod (A creature that leaves play and comes back is a different creature).
Chernobyl: Destroy all permanents of one type with a Russian language spell or permanent.
Choke Out: Keep at least 1 of an opponent’s permanents from untapping for 3 or more turns; must be the same permanent.
Chumpzilla: Control 10 or more token creatures.
Copycat: First player to have a spell or permanent copied by an opponent.
Déjà vu: Be the first player to have a card put on top your library from the battlefield, graveyard, or the stack by an opponent.
Die Already: Survive after being attacked for lethal damage 3 different times.
Durka Durka Durka: Eliminate all remaining players at the same time (yes, this includes you).
Edge of Disaster: First player to have fewer than five cards in his or her library.
English Only: Have a foreign language permanent destroyed by an English language spell or permanent.
First Blood: First player to have a creature killed by an opponent. Kill includes destroy, exile, or cause a player to sacrifice the creature. Combat damage doesn’t count. (This can be awarded to multiple people if they all have creatures killed at the same time by the same effect: Wrath of God, Damnation, etc…)
Fourth Time’s the Charm: Resolve your General 4 times in a single game from the Command Zone.
Generalissimo: Kill a player with General damage. Can be awarded more than once.
Getting to Basics: Control at least 7 Basic Lands.
Hey, That’s Mine: First player to have a permanent stolen (exchanges don’t count).
Hot Potato: Redirect any portion of non-combat damage directed at you to another opponent.
I Got This: Eliminate an opponent during another opponents turn.
Indiana Jones: Control 5 more non-land artifacts.
Intention: Do 12 or more damage to yourself in 1 turn.
It’s Wafer Thin: Eliminate an opponent with a 1/1 creature.
Just Enough: Deal exactly lethal non-General damage to a player who is at 7 or more life.
Karate Chop: Destroy a permanent with a Japanese language spell or permanent.
Keep What You Kill: Reanimate an opponent’s creature that you killed this turn.
Look at Me: Last person standing in a pod.
Lucky 13: Have a single creature deal exactly 13 combat damage to a player at once. May be awarded for an individual creature only once per pod. (A creature that leaves play and comes back is a different creature).
National Parks: Control 5 different basic lands, 1 of each type.
Ninja Vanish: Kill 5 or more creatures in 1 turn. This can be done through Exile, Destroy, or Sacrifice effects.
Overkill: Deal 40+ more damage to a player than is required to kill them.
Salsa Dancer: Cast the fifth spell on a single stack, cannot be awarded in the same stack as Flamenco Dancer. Copies of spells do not count.
Straight: Control at least one creature of five consecutive powers (for example, Mogg Fanatic, Jackal Pup, Mogg Flunkies, Ravenous Baloth, Shivan Dragon). This will be awarded only when the stack is empty. This may only be awarded to an individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded to multiple players.
Taste the Rainbow: Sacrifice five total different creatures in one turn. Of those creatures you must sacrifice a creature for each color of your General. Multicolored creatures can be sacrificed for this, but will have to choose what color they are being sacrificed for. (Example: You are Playing Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker as your general, you will only have Red and Colorless creatures, to get this award you must sacrifice 5 creatures in one turn and at least one of those must be Red. Example 2: You are playing Vorosh, the Hunter you must sacrifice five creatures in one turn and of those you must sacrifice at least one Blue, one Green, and one Black.)
This One Goes to 11: Play 11 permanents that share a color (this can be done over the course of the game, not just in 1 turn.)
Tribal Dance: Control 5 or more non-token creatures of the same creature type.
Underdog: Be at 7 or less life and eliminate an opponent that was at 15 or more life.
Where’s Timmy: Put an opponent at 1 life.
You Bastard: Kill the same General 4 or more times.

+2 Points

Lucky 7’s: Control exactly 7 lands, 7 creatures, and 7 non-land, non-creature permanents when the stack is empty.
Pet Shop: Control 5 different non-token creatures, 1 each of the following types: Cat, Hound, Fish, Bird, and Rat.
Terraforming: Control 15 or more non-basic lands.
Three’s Not a Crowd: Resolve three different non-land permanents of three different types on the same turn. This may only be awarded to an individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded to multiple players. (Non-land permanent types are Artifact, Creature, Enchantment, and Planeswalker. Resolving a spell that is any combination of permanent types will count as one or the other, not both. Example: Enigma Sphinx is an Artifact Creature; you must choose whether it will count for your Artifact or your Creature for this award.)
You’re Outta Here: Kill a player or being directly responsible for a player’s death. There is the obvious: controlling the source of the damage (whether it’s direct or creatures). This also includes, although is not limited to alternate methods, such as controlling the Howling Mine that makes the player deck himself, or redirecting lethal damage to someone. (Player A plays Fireball, Player B Swerves the Fireball to Player C.) This can be awarded more than once to the same player.

+3 Points

ABC’s: Resolve the third spell that starts with a third consecutive letter, one additional point to a player who continues the chain. For example Player A plays Storm Herd, Player B casts Terminate then Unsummon. Player B gets 3 points. Player C then plays Venser and gets 1 Point. Player B then plays Withered Wretch and gets 1 point. Player D casts Wrath of God, therefore breaking the chain.
Flush: Control five non-token creatures of EXACTLY the same color (five green creatures, or green and red creatures, but not three green and 2 green and red). This will be awarded only when the stack is empty. This may only be awarded to an individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded to multiple players.
Flamenco Dancer: Cast the eighth spell on a single stack, cannot be awarded in the same stack as Salsa Dancer. Copies of spells do not count.
Milli Vanilli: Perform exactly the same actions (playing spells or activating abilities) as the person before you, that person must have done at least 3 different actions in that turn.
The Cheese Stands Alone: Win the game with 2 or more opponents still in the game.

+4 Points

Bases Loaded: Control a Land, Creature, Enchantment, Artifact, and Planeswalker, while having both a Sorcery and an Instant present on the stack.

While I’m a fan of the name “This One Goes to 11,” keeping track of it over the course of a game is painful. Also, does “play” mean “cast” or “resolve?” And I don’t think Ninja Vanish was supposed to have “destroy” in it. “Die Already” also needs further clarification. If I’m at 5 and you attack with a 10/10, do I get the point for chump blocking three times?

Whether or not we were going to use Planechase was a question that hadn’t been answered leading up to the start date. In the most reasonable solution, Aaron put it to a vote, and we voted 7-6 to NOT use it this time. I think Planechase is loads of fun, but I’ll be honest—I voted against this time because it slows down matches far more than you’d think, and it means lots of extra writing for me. I’m a big fan of it when we’re sitting around playing and having a few drinks, but otherwise, it’s a little involved. I might have voted differently if I wasn’t taking down the play-by-play, but I’m not 100% certain.

Thirteen players show up, so we are two tables of four and one of five. I’m seated with Christian (Oros), Ryan (Horde of Notions), and new guy Dale (Sliver Overlord). Christian knows Dale and tells us that he’s actually a player from the olden days, just getting back into playing. Dale tells us he likes EDH because he can play all the cards from back in the day.

Ryan: Crumbling Necropolis
Me: Swamp, Bloodchief Ascension. I consider not playing it yet, since it either makes itself or me a target immediately, but I decide to see where it goes. Besides, I’m not doing much early, and if someone else can help it get counters, great.
Dale: Vivid Grove
Christian: New Benalia.

Ryan: Forest
Me: Forest
Dale: Forest (theme!)
Christian: Swamp, Rakdos Signet

Ryan: Shimmering Grotto
Me: Forest
Dale: Rootbound Crag, Spinneret Sliver.
Christian: Swamp, Khalni Gem, bouncing the Swamp and New Benalia. Seems like hanging it out there a bit, but since there’s no obvious artifact destruction in play, seems okay. Uses the Gem to cast Auriok Champion.

Ryan: Float 3, play Treva’s Ruin, and Vedalken Orrery.
Me: Swamp, Call of the Wild.
Dale: Harmonic Sliver. Negotiations begin on what to destroy. His initial target is Orrery, and then there’s more discussion, but he eventually sticks with the Orrery.
Christian: New Benalia. Attacks me (39).

Ryan: Rupture Spire
Me: Temple of the False God, Graveshell Scarab.
Dale: Vivid Creek. Attacks Christian with Spinneret Sliver (40). At EOT, Christian casts Chill to the Bone, targeting Harmonic Sliver, which Dale Negates. I start to write down the point for “That Was Rude,” but it’s not on tonight’s list. It won’t be the first time that we go to write down points for common awards that aren’t active tonight. Apparently there is some amusement at one of the other tables when a player saved someone from getting killed only to find out there was no point to be earned.
Christian: Says “Let’s see who is playing removal” and drops a land and Felidar Sovereign.

Ryan: Plains, and doesn’t seem worried. At his EOT, I cycle Barren Moor.
Me: Nothing other than land.
Dale: Screeching Sliver, milling Christian, getting Heroes Remembered and Bituminous Blast. He also blows up the Gem (with Harmonic Sliver’s ability). At EOT, Ryan Vensers the Sovereign back to Christian’s hand—and with the Gem now gone, he can’t recast it yet.
Christian: Searing Meditation. The life gain is strong with this one.

Ryan: Child of Alara. Looks like he wants to pre-empt any further Sovereign foolishness. EOT, I activate Call of the Wild and get Forest. Whiff number one.
Me: Penumbra Wurm. Attack Dale with the Scarab (36).
Dale: Might Sliver, destroying Searing Meditation (and Christian to 44 from the Champion). Might Sliver makes things a little more uncomfortable.
Christian: Ashes to Ashes, targeting Child and Penumbra Wurm. We go look it up to make sure that it’s Exile and that it’s damage (since he gets a point for Attention). Nice play. Christian to 39.

Ryan: River Kelpie. Nice card choice.
Me: Rakdos Carnarium. Hold back mana for Call. EOT, Dale mills Christian for 3, and it’s 3 land, further slowing him down.
Dale: Brood Sliver, destroys Bloodchief Ascension. Attacks Christian for 10 (30), makes four more Slivers (Christian to 34). This is going to get out of hand fast. With the Harmonic trigger, destroys Call. I call up Red Elemental Blast. Whiff number two.
Christian: Intrepid Hero (35).

Ryan: Forbidden Orchard. Open the Vaults. Gets Orrery, Christian gets the Gem, I get Ascension and Call. Ryan draws a pile, then discards, one of which is Legacy Weapon.
Me: Kresh (Christian to 36). He pays 2 to shock the Harmonic Sliver with Searing Meditation, hoping for something else to happen—so Ryan uses Forbidden Orchard to give me a dude. Christian shocks Harmonic Sliver again. Kresh is +3.
Dale: Sedge Sliver (Christian to 38). Attacks Christian with Might, Spinneret, Screeching, and Brood Slivers. Christian casts Intervention Pact on the Brood Sliver, and goes to 12. Either more Slivers come into play, and Christian goes to 20.
Christian: Drops New Benalia for the third time.

Ryan: Feldon’s Cane
Me: Skullclamp. Clamp up the token, and draw nothing relevant. I have five green cards in my hand, but only two green sources in play. I stay home, given the Sliver onslaught. It seems as though Dale is focused elsewhere, and I’m okay with that.
Dale: Declares attackers, all at Christian. I guess that Sovereign really scared him. After attacks, which include six of the tokens and blocks, Christian is at 5. Kresh +6. Dale casts Fabricate, and gets Howling Mine, which seems a little odd. He certainly has Coat of Arms in his deck (he later confirms this). If he had gotten it, he certainly could have swept us all.
Christian: Soul Links Kresh, which gets a howl of approval from the table. The bad news for him is that it’s a triggered ability, not Lifelink, so he wouldn’t survive an attack from the enchanted creature.

Ryan: Wall of Reverence. EOT, he goes to 46, and I Call up Lurking Predators. That’s three strikes with the Call. I think about dumping it for something that I know is going to work. If you have a suggestion, feel free to make it. I’m already playing Lurking Predators for getting free dudes, so maybe I just need an “action” card.
Me: Drop my seventh basic land, which is worth a point, and Spearbreaker Behemoth, and Tormod’s Crypt. Ryan confesses to forgetting to attack Christian. I Clamp and swing with the Graveshell, and at the last minute, Ryan remembers to give Christian a token to block with. He uses the mana to cast Breath of Life, and I remove his yard.
Dale: Pulmonic Sliver. Great. Now we’d definitely be dead if Coat of Arms were in play. Attacks Ryan for 54 and Christian for 9. Gets two kills. EOT, I sacrifice Graveshell, hoping to find answers. I draw 3 cards, one of them is Berserk. At least I know I have some kind of chance. Kresh is now +13, so I get Blackjack (combined with Spearbreaker).

Me: Howling Mine for the win. My two topdecks are Twilight Mire (giving me the third Green I need) and Stalking Vengeance. I cast Stalking Vengeance and Greater Good. I sacrifice Spearbreaker, making Kresh 21/21. I know I’m going to kill him at this point, I’m just looking for him to get overconfident with the blocks (chumping with only one dude), or to not block with enough to kill Kresh (because he’d take damage from Stalking Vengeance), so that I can Berserk and get a General kill. He has 21 untapped guys, so he has choices. I attack with Kresh, and he blocks with 24 power worth of guys. I Berserk, making Kresh 42/21, with only 18 trampling over. No General kill. When combat damage resolves and Kresh goes away, he takes 42 more from Stalking Vengeance, meaning he took 60 damage this turn, well short of what I needed to also get the point for Overkill.

I do realize as I’m writing and looking back over the awards, that I might have been able to get Edge of Disaster if I sacrifice Kresh and Stalking Vengeance with the Vengeance trigger on the stack, although without counting to be sure, I might have come up a few cards short.

Dale and I tie at 6 points, and we’re both headed to the top table.

Game 2

Fortunately for Dale and I our six points would make either of us the “wild card,” since no non-table winner got that many. We’re seated with Alex, who swept his table with Rubinia Soulsinger, and Brennan, who won his table with Azami, and is now playing Nath of the Gilt-Leaf. League rules allow switching decks between games; in fact, Christian has already announced that he’ll be playing 16 different decks for the League (two each for eight weeks).

Brennan is a member of Team Lives in the Red Zone, an excellent player, a fine deck-builder, and a great assessor of environments. He’s always playing (in both EDH and in competitive formats) a deck that’s both good and good for the situation. Tonight, however, there’s the added fun that all 125 pounds of him has pounded a fair amount Red Bull. He’s moving so fast that there’s actually a hum coming off of him. His style of play is more like speed chess than anything else. I guess the Red Bull helps, because he wins the roll.

Brennan: Swamp
Me: Swamp
Dale: Shivan Oasis
Alex: Forest

Brennan: Swamp, Withered Wretch (ouches for me)
Me: Mountain
Dale: Greypelt Refuge (41)
Alex: Forest

Brennan: Attack Dale (39). Dosan the Falling Leaf. He announces “I just want to BASH this time.”
Me: Twilight Mire
Dale: Forest, Heart Sliver. Attacks Alex (39).
Alex: Island

Brennan: Attack Alex (35).
Me: Greater Good. I’d rather have a creature right now. GG is just a target.
Dale: Attack Alex (34). Looks like he’s not drawing Slivers he can cast.
Alex: Leonin Honor Guard

Brennan: Attacks Dale (35). Nath.
Me: Temple of the False God, Sapling of Colfenor, Clamp him (hey, you never know—someone might play Gatekeeper).
Dale: Land, done.
Alex: Land, Rubinia

Brennan: Makes Alex discard, gets token. Attacks Dale with Nath, Wretch (29). Defense of the Heart.
Me: Boseiju, Pernicious Deed. There’s some token protection.
Dale: Two-Headed Sliver. Attacks me (38).
Alex: Bant Charms Nath to the bottom of Brennan’s library, giggling hysterically. Arcbound Slith

Brennan: Defense goes off, I groan, he says “no infi combos.” He gets Corpse Connoisseur and Primordial Sage. Puts Genesis in the yard. Viridian Shaman destroys Skullclamp, then he removes it with the Wretch. Attacks Dale with Dosan, Wretch (24).
Me: Attack Brennan with Sapling, reveal Scarland Thrinax. I sit, keeping mana back to blow the Deed if Dale gets out of control.
Dale: Quick Sliver.
Alex: Drops seventh basic land for the point. Casts Soul Foundry, Imprinting Serendib Sorcerer.

Brennan: I know he’s playing Krosan Grip, so on his upkeep, I Deed. I get the point for Ninja Vanish (again, which I think wasn’t supposed to include the word Destroy) and everyone else gets First Blood. He casts Rampaging Baloths and plays a land to get a token. Perhaps I Deeded too quickly.
Me: I’m a little color shy on land, and I miss a drop here. It becomes important later. I use Boseiju because I need to, and cast Hamletback Goliath.
Dale: Homing Sliver (Hamletback +2)
Alex: Pendlehaven Elder, and giggling even more hysterically, Coat of Arms. Brennan and I both GAPE at him. He keeps giggling.

Brennan: Genesis back Primordial Sage. Land/beast token (Hamletback +7). Attacks Alex with two Beasts (20). Casts the Primordial Sage.
Me: Vesuva. I have a choice here. Copy Brennan’s BG bounceland or copy my Mountain. The Mountain is currently my only Red source, and I have Insurrection in my hand. I make it the latter, because I see the way things are going. We’re going to get run over by the Slivers (or perhaps even the Beasts). I cast Spellbreaker Behemoth (Hamletback +14), who happens to be a Beast. EOT, Dale Slivercycles for a Gemhide. I think he doesn’t have the right mana and wants to fix that.
Dale: Gemhide Sliver (Hamletback +15). Aphetto Dredging, getting back the three guys in the yard.
Alex: Serra Angel (Hamletback +19). Declares that he’s safe now that he has a Vigilance creature.

Brennan: Genesis back Wretch. Forest, Beast. I go to put more counters on Hamletback; he tells me not to bother, and casts Maelstrom Pulse, getting a point for Big Game. Casts Wretch, draws from Sage. Attacks Dale with the 10/10 and two 8/8s, who blocks the non-trampler with Gemhide, going to 6.
Me: I shrug and attack Dale for the kill with Spellbreaker. Brennan says “Oh, yeah.” Guess he forgot Spellbreaker was a Beast. Cast Scarland Thrinax.
Alex: Attacks me with the Angel (23)

Brennan: Genesis back Viridian Shaman, and drops his seventh basic land. Attacks Alex for the kill with his Beast army. Casts Vedalken Orrery.
Me: Kresh. He responds with a Kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir. At EOT, he Wretches away Hamletback. I’m not worried about casting Living Death in this game. I know the only way I’m going to win is if I draw a third red source before I get killed by Beasts. At least the Coat of Arms is gone.

Brennan: Land, Beast token. Putrid Leech. Lurking Predators. For once, I don’t care about that either. I just need the third Red. He doesn’t attack, which I kind of get (since Kresh would start getting immense).
Me: Fellwar Stone, which is decidedly un-Red right now. He Predators up nothing. I cast Graveshell Scarab, and he gets Civic Wayfinder. At EOT, he Flashes in Viridian Shaman, which destroys Fellwar Stone. It’s not good (since I can use it for Black), but it’s not the end of the world, since I’m still at 10 mana.

Brennan: Land, token, Seedborn Muse, Spiritmonger. Now, I’m done for unless I can peel that Red mana. At EOT, I draw with the Graveshell and get nothing.
Me: During my upkeep, he Flashes in Acidic Slime, taking out Temple of the False God. Now I’m down to 8 mana, and it becomes the play that saves him. I draw Demonic Tutor. Since he destroyed Fellwar Stone, I only have one Black open after the Tutor. If I have another Black, I can get Decree of Pain, and even if I can’t cast it, I can cycle it when he attacks, giving me another turn. If I’m at 10 mana, I can still Tutor up a Mountain and cast Insurrection. In this case, he made exactly the plays that he needed to, so well-played. When I show him my hand, he screams “GAH! I should have been attacking!”

Brennan wins the top table with 8 points. I finish second with 3, Alex gets 2, and Dale 1.

I wasn’t happy with my Call of the Wild whiffs, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. Obviously, I’ll have to take a look at my Red mana sources and make sure that I didn’t somehow swap out stuff that shorted me.

The League at EDH Central is just good times to play, and I think most if not all the players have the developed the keep-it-fun attitude, which promises big dividends for the shop. If I have time between now and Thursday, I’ll rebuild the Lord of Tresserhorn deck. If not, I’ll run Darigaaz or Kresh (I’m telling you, Jund is in my blood!). Until then, keep Embracing the Chaos!