Week 3 of the Armada Games EDH League demonstrated just how out of hand the format can get in the wacky and wild. It got so wacky and wild that I actually couldn’t keep up writing fast enough to record everything that went onâ€”and you’ll see why.
I finally had the opportunity to work on the Lord of Tresserhorn deck, and decided to run with the Zombie theme, since he is indeed a Zombie. I borrowed a few ideas from user Tarasco’s build on the EDH Forums, and went to town. I had a few cards from Worldwake from the Prerelease, so I found some spots. Here is the deck:
Sword of Fire and Ice
Lich Lord of Unx
Lord of the Undead
Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Shepherd of Rot
Grab the Reins
Read the Runes
Shadow of Doubt
Red Elemental Blast
Stroke of Genius
Creeping Tar Pit
Maze of Ith
Jwar Isle Refuge
Death Baron is supposed to make an appearance, but I couldn’t find one. I’m sure in a pile somewhere there is about a dozen. Over the last few weeks, you’ve seen that there has been an infestation of Sliver decks, so I put into this deck a little help to keep from getting overrun. First is Mindlock Orb, which prevents players from searching libraries. I know it will hurt me occasionally, but since I have control when it drops, then it should be fine.
Second is Vicious Shadows. With many of these Sliver and token decks, killing the creatures once just isn’t enough. They keep coming back and coming back. Killing the player for having too crazy an army PLUS a handful of cards doesn’t seem as mean as I once thought it was. Playing around it last week, I saw that it wasn’t an auto-win card, but it will certainly change the nature and tenor of the game pretty quickly. I’m fully aware that in any Grixis deck, the only way I’m personally going to get rid of someone else’s VShad is at the same time that I’m killing creatures (with Disk), so I’m kind of hanging it out there.
I think for the format, and perhaps even in other Constructed formats, Basilisk Collar might be simply better than Loxodon Warhammerâ€”the Deathtouch element is just too strong. Finally, I wanted to put in Sorin Markhov to see if I could actually do something interesting with other people’s turns (like killing a third person) instead of just screwing them over.
I’m seated with Christian-of-the-sixteen-decks, this time playing Xira Arien, Ryan with Child of Alara, Keith with his new Merieke deck, and Kyle who is playing Karona but announces that it’s a “Group Hug” deck. For an insanity to follow, I blame Kyle.
Kyle: Seijiri Refuge (41)
Ryan: Arcane Sanctum
Me: Badlands, Basilisk Collar. Good start.
Kyle: Terramorphic Expanse, get a Forest
Ryan: Reflecting Pool
Christian: Graven Cairns
Me: Dimir Aqueduct
Kyle: Dimir and Boros Signets. The ramping has begun
Christian: Forest, Xira
Me: Badlands, Undead Gladiator
Kyle: Izzet Signet, Prosperity for 4. “Look, I’m helping everyone!” he says. I don’t believe him. I had already played against this deck in a casual game, and it’s one that looks like it helps everyone but ends up killing them.
Keith: Crimson Acolyte, Land, Mystical Tutor for Whispers of the Muse
Ryan: Plains, Vedalken Orrery
Christian: Peels a Reliquary Tower, and drops Creakwood Liege.
Me: Creeping Tar Pit and Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Kyle: Eye of the Storm. Here’s where the madness begins, but more in William Shatner way than full blown Mel Gibson. I’m holding Cruel Revival as one of my Instants, so it seems like I might be able to get everyone else to keep the board clear for me.
Keith: Land, Merieke
Christian: Siege-Gang Commander. I sense a token theme
Me: Swamp, Equip Gladiator, attack Kyle (37), me to (43), Phyrexian Arena.
Kyle: Captured Sunlight, which gets caught in the Eye of the Storm. He Cascades into Prismatic Lens and goes to 41. He then casts Recollect targeting Prosperity, to which Ryan responds with Venser, targeting Eye (realizing this will go beyond beyond if left unchecked). Kyle Cascades into Hunted Horror, giving Keith the tokens.
Keith: Land, nothing else.
Ryan: Prahv, Spires of Order, and Darksteel Ingot.
Christian: Savage Lands, Diabolic Tutor
Me: Arena to 42. Swamp, Noxious Ghoul. Keith responds by stealing the Gladiator, giving me a point for Hey That’s Mine! A bunch of creatures go away, and I get another point for Ninja Vanish. I forget that Lyzolda isn’t a witch (guess I could have just looked), so it’s a small bumble, but the tokens had to die before Christian could really bring the Siege-Gang online. Turns out, that would have been the least of our troubles.
Kyle: Sheltering Ancient, Howling Mine, Prosperity for 5.
Keith: Plains, Justice. Awesome card choice. Will deal quite some damage later. At EOT, Ryan casts Makeshift Mannequin to get Magus of the Future, which he had previously discarded. Kyle Swerves it to Dimir Doppleganger, which I find an odd choice, but whatevs.
Ryan: Mana Reflection, which we all read and realize is really, really good, and Diabolic Tutor. I don’t know if Mana Reflection is better than Mirari’s Wake, but I suppose that would depend on how much non-land mana you’re playing.
Christian: Marsh Flitter and Sprouting Thrinax. Attacks me for 6 (36). EOT I Vampiric Tutor for Reliquary Tower. I’m sure that I could have put a little more thought it this, but I wanted to go for the fun play and keep my hand full. A Disk would have been a better choice, for sure.
Me: Arena to 33. Vengeful Dead. Christian sacs both his tokens to the Flitter.
TURN 8 (Where it all goes to Hell, and I blame Kyle)
Kyle: The Ancient puts a counter on Christian’s Flitter. Recasts Eye of the Storm. Keith responds by Mind Bending the Justice to black. He then Bit Blasts Noxious Ghoul, Cascading into Edge of Autumn. Justice triggers, and will keep triggering every time someone in the future casts it out from under EotS. Kyle attacks Ryan with the Ancient and Horror (27).
Keith: Does nothing
Ryan: There is no way that I can keep up with writing down everything that happens here. Ryan Mana Reflection and a grip full, so he can do quite a bit. He starts with Conflux, Bit Blasting the Ancient and Cascading into Wall of Reverence. He then Confluxes back Prismatic Omen, Twincast, Damnation, Reveillark, and Magma Phoenix. He casts Prismatic Omen, and here’s where it gets stupid: Last Stand followed by Twincast. Keith, who is a Level 1 Judge, tries to keep some order while I write down stuff, and make some sense of what triggers when, what gets copied, and what does what when. It’s raw chaos, since everyone has opportunities to do things in between, which means they get to recast stuff too. To make a long, confusing, and complicated story less complicated, after the resolution of some of the Last Stands, which Ryan is trying to kill Kyle with, Keith casts Momentary Blink, and now gets to copy everything, including the Last Stand, resolving his first, doing the final points of damage. The turn ends with Kyle dead, Keith at 35, Ryan at 31 (not to mention quite a board position and thick graveyard), Christian at 39, and me at 33.
Christian: Violent Ultimatum (imagine that with Eye of the Storm still in play!) targeting Justice, Mana Reflection, and Prismatic Omen.
Me: Arena to 32, Maze of Ith, and Gravedigger back Noxious Ghoul.
Keith: Akroma, Angel of Wrath, attacks Ryan (25)
Ryan: Open the Vaults. I respond with Shadow of Doubt, just in case he has more shenanigans up his sleeve, but doubt that it’s doing to do much. He gets Maelstrom Nexus, Fist of Suns, Mana Reflection, and Prismatic Omen. I kick myself for not playing the Bojuka Bog instead of Maze. He casts Breath of Life on Seedborn Muse and Zombify getting Teferi.
Christian: Deranged Hermit, Empty the Catacombs, which Ryan Rewinds, Cascading into Wargate for 0. He gets Vesuva and copies his own Reliquary Tower.
Me: Arena to 31. Bojuka Bog, targeting Ryan. He Flashes Demonic Tutor (that Orerry is still in play) and gets Trickbind. I Cruel Revival Teferi. EOT Ryan Flashes in Maelstrom Archangel, Child of Alara, and Eternal Witness, getting Teferi and then casting Jace. It’s clear where this game is going without something remarkable very quickly. It will mostly be about Ryan piling up the points.
Keith: King Crab. Ryan responds with Teferi, Cascading into Feldon’s Cane. EOT he Beacons himself to 50, Naya Charms Demonic Tutor back, and Evokes Reveillark, getting back Wall of Reverence and Knight of New Alara.
Ryan: Twilight Shepherd Cascades into Aeon Chronicler. Mind of Nephilim on Child, making it 21/21. This game will be even shorter than we thought. Equips it with Whispersilk Cloak. Kills Keith and casts Blazing Archon, Luminarch Ascension, and Putrefy on Deranged Hermit. EOT gains 10 life (because he can’t target the Child).
Christian: Forced March for 5. Ryan responds with Rites of Replication, kicked, on Eternal Witness, getting Trickbind, Rewind, Venser, Naya Charm, and Clone. EOT he Clones Eternal Witness, getting back Rites of Replication.
Me: Noxious Ghoul, to which Ryan responds with Rites of Replication targeting Knight of New Alara, Cascading into Oracle Nectars. I cast Lord of Tresserhorn for the point (for some reason, there’s a point for having a 10/4 guy in play. The name escapes me, but it had something to do with CBs, like “Hey There, Good Buddy”. I swear I had nothing to do with making the points list).
Ryan kills us both.
Ryan ends up with 18 points, Keith with 7, and me, Christian, and Kyle each with 3. It was partially annoying to watch Ryan cast about 90% of the spells in the game (for which I will continue to say “I blame Kyle,” if for no other reason than the comedy value), but partially entertaining as well, since that kind of craziness is exactly what I had envisioned from the earliest days of the format.
Two new players show up for round 2, so we split into an extra table, which is great.
I’m seated with Estavan, one of the new players, who turns out to be a really good guy, playing Rafiq (which always shouts “Danger!”); Jason, playing Razia (another dangerous General); and Colin, with Baru, Fist of Krosa (who is kind of an early Landfall guy). We roll two d10 as a percentile, and after everyone rolls in the high 20s and low 30s, Jason rolls 39.
During the game, I hear Kyle’s deck making some more mania behind us. I think this time it was Hive Mind doing the honors.
Me: Akoum Refuge (41)
Me: Swamp, Withered Wretch
Colin: Forest, Khalni Heart Expedition
Estavan: Forest, Rampant Growth for an Island. Turn 3 Rafiq could be bad.
Me: Basilisk Collar, Equip the Wretch. Attack Colin (38), me to (43)
Colin: Forest, Krosan Grip on Collar. Fair.
Estavan: Plains, Kodama’s Reach. Looks like he’s ramping into something better than Rafiq. Colin realizes he forgot his trigger. I tell him I’ll try to remind him
Jason: Plains, Serra Advocate.
Me: No fourth land, I peel and Cycle Igneous Pouncer for Underground Sea and play it.
Colin: Sporesower Thallid
Estavan: Land and nothing, which frightens me, and I tell him so. He smiles a sly smile, and I pay serious attention to the two Blue he has up.
Jason: Land, nothing.
Me: Graveborn Muse
Colin: Nature’s Spiral, getting back Krosan Grip. Attacks Estavan (36)
Estavan: Sphinx Ambassador. I love that guy! EOT Jason flashes Temporal Isolation onto it. Yowza.
Jason: Land, go.
Me: Muse (41), Maze of Ith, Swampcycle Twisted Abomination.
Colin: Veilstone Amulet
Estavan: Greater Good, sacrificing his Sphinx. I’ve realized that all three of these guys are kind of conservative players, which might work to my advantage or it might not. Sometimes you want to get opponents to hang it all out there so you can counterstrike. I guess we’ll just see.
Jason: 7th basic land for the point. Angelic Page.
Me: Muse (39), Noxious Ghoul. Jason casts Otherworldly Journey on his Page.
Colin: Gaea’s Anthem
Estavan: Conqueror’s Pledge unKicked. Garruk, untaps two lands and casts Samurai of the Pale Curtain. Overrun imminent.
Jason: Attacks and kills Garruk. Sigh of relief.
Me: Muse to (36). Badlands, Coffin Queen.
Colin: Krosan Grip on Greater Good.
Estavan: Ajani Goldmane, gives everything +1/+1, then casts Overrun (not the one that I thought was coming, but still!). Imagine if Garruk had still been in play! Attacks Jason with the team. Jason casts Inspire on Serra Advocate, untapping and blocking. He ends up at 10.
Jason: Emeria, the Sky Ruin, then Wrath of God. Crisis averted for now.
Me: Dimir Aqueduct and hardcast Gempalm Polluter.
Colin: Finally remembers to put a counter on his Expedition. I’ll confess to having forgotten as well, even though I had promised to remind him. Writing stuff down, even in a relatively simple game like this one (as compared to the last) will do that. Weatherseed Treefolk.
Estavan: Ant Queen and Rafiq. Here come the tokens again.
Jason: Razia attacks Estavan for 6 (30). A mini-war has begun on that side of the table.
Me: Abyssal Gatekeeper, and the first League casting of Treasure Hunt! I get Shivan Reef and Soulless One.
Colin: Attacks me with Treefolk. The other two tell him to read Gatekeeper again, and he says “no problem, I get the Treefolk back in my hand!” I decide to not block (30). He Harrows.
Estavan: Makes 3 Ant tokens and activates Ajani again. He then Bant Charms Razia to the bottom of Jason’s deck. Escalation of hostilities! He attacks Jason with Rafiq, which would kill him, but I Maze Rafiq and get the point for the save. I tell Estavan that I’ll only do that once (save Jason, that is).
Me: Swamp, Disk. That Maze should keep me around until I can make big threats.
Colin: Nothing. He and Jason seem to have run out of steam.
Estavan: Makes 4 Ants. Attacks me with Rafiq. I Maze it.
Me: I peel Vicious Shadows. I consider not playing it and trying to win some other way, but say to hell with it. I put it in as a win condition, and I’ll own the choice.
Colin: Mwonvuli Acid Moss on my Maze. Finally cracks his Expedition.
Estavan: Gains 2 life from Ajani (32). Attacks Jason with 3 3/3s and Colin with 2 4/4s. Jason casts Chant of Vhitu-Ghazi, gaining 17 (27). Estavan creates 4 Ants. I remind him that he can wait to do that until the end of Colin’s turn.
Jason: Plains, nothing.
Me: With Damnation, Patriarch’s Bidding, and Living Death in my hand and Disk untapped, it seems like it’s time to try to end this. Damnation kills 13 of Estavan’s creatures, 2 of mine, and 2 of Colin’s. Estavan has 3 cards in hand, Jason 4, and Colin 4 (one of which is Weatherseed Treefolk). I use 11 triggers to kill Estavan and the other 6 to take Jason to 3. I cast Living Death, bringing back Igneous Pouncer, Twisted Abomination, Helldozer, Coffin Queen (who is a Zombie, btw), Gatekeeper, Polluter, Graveborn Muse, Wretch, and most importantly, Noxious Ghoul. Jason gets two creatures, as does Colin. Noxious Ghoul triggers, killing all four plus the Gatekeeper, which means I sacrifice another. One trigger kills Jason, five go to Colin’s head. I then pop the Disk, getting enough triggers to kill Colin.
I end up with 8 points, Jason with 4, Estavan with 1 and Colin with 0. It was a much different game than the first one, and I guess I can stop blaming Kyle.
I really enjoyed the Zombies. Without the Eye of the Storm wildness in the first game, it was shaping up to be interesting, but Chaos got Embraced, and that’s the nature of the format.
I’ll have one more week EDH League before going off to Pro Tour San Diego. I think I’ll run the Zombies out there again next week and see what happens. From the first two playing, it seems like a fun-to-play pile that can stand up to the strong decks as well. As always, feedback welcome.
Here’s hoping you had a great time at your Launch Parties and that those of you on the East Coast of the US get out from under the snow soon!