For Week 3 of the Armada Games EDH League, I trotted out two different Rith, the Awakener decks,
one belonging to Monday Night Gamer and Armada employee Todd Palmer
and the second being my Rith Soldier deck.
Todd provided me with a few updates. He took out All Suns’ Dawn, Stonecloaker, and Rise of the Hobgoblins, replacing them with Praetor’s
Counsel, Green Sun’s Zenith, and White Sun’s Zenith, the last absolutely wrecking house in a casual game we played beforehand. I also
played a casual game with John Bolt and his all-commons Child of Alara deck, and it was surprisingly good. Grim Harvest was the superstar. I’ll
see if I can get him to put together the list.
I’ve been promising for a few weeks to get the League 10 points list, and Michael Fortino finally shipped me a copy (I guess I could have just
taken the hard copy the other night). It’s a pared-down, easier-to-manage list from previous Leagues and a little more difficult to point farm
with. With fewer points, you’ll note that each individual point is more meaningful. It’s also more difficult to overcome penalties. With
kills being reduced from two points to one, it also makes them less significant—hopefully engendering more play and less focus on just killing
people. Sure, at a certain point, you have to go for the win, but it’s a more rewarding experience for everyone if there’s actually a game
The footnote includes how points can be awarded:
(M) = Each player can get this award any number of times.
(P) = Each player can get this award only once.
(1) = This award is available to one player only, and only once.
Negative points may not be awarded due to an opponent’s actions.
This is new, and Michael says that it’s the only way to make “Too Many Options!” work. The list changes slightly from week-to-week.
This is the full list from Week 3.
-4 Points (M): But We Just Started – Eliminating a player prior to their 5th turn.
-2 Points (M): Chasm – Be the instigator of wrecking one or more players mana bases, in part or in full. This includes spells like
Armageddon, Bust, etc.
-2 Points (M): I Want To Play Too – “Mindslaver” a player for the 2nd + time.
-1 Points (M): Greedy McGreederson – Taking your 3rd+ consecutive turn.
-1 Point (M): Get on with it! – Take a turn of 6 minutes or more.
-1 Point (M): Something New? – Play the same spell for the 3rd+ time in the game. Your General doesn’t count.
-1 Point (M): Too many options! – Draw or add a total of 10 additional cards to your hand in one turn.
+1 Point (P): Off the Top! – End the game or be eliminated having searched your library for no card besides a basic land.
+1 Point (P): I Like Land! – End the game or be eliminated having put no extra lands into play under your control.
+1 Point (1): So Much To Look Forward To – Be eliminated with the highest life total immediately before elimination.
+1 Point (P): Flow of Ideas – Control 3 or more permanents with chainable names (e.g. Sword of Fire and Ice, Ice Cauldron, Cauldron of
+1 Point (P): Block Party – Have a non-land permanent in play or spell present on the stack from each set of a block. Three consecutive Core
sets with set symbols also counts for this award.
+1 Point (P): SOLVED! – Destroy or Exile an opponent’s Maze of Ith, Maze of Shadows, Mystifying Maze, or Pravh, Spires of Order.
+1 Point (P): Start with the Top – Destroy or Exile a Sensei’s Divining Top you don’t control.
+1 Points (P): I Got This – Eliminate an opponent during another opponents turn.
+1 Points (M): You’re Outta Here – Kill a player or being directly responsible for a player’s elimination.
+1 Point (P): Generalissimo – Eliminate a player with General damage.
+1 Point (1): You’re Still in This – Prevent a player from being eliminated from the game.
+1 Point (1): I’m Out – Be the first player eliminated from the table.
+2 Points (P): Get There – Play your General for the Fifth time from the Command Zone.
Chasm has been the penalty that’s generated the greatest number of questions, most of them starting with “Is it Chasm if…”
since “wrecking mana bases” is decidedly subjective. The stock answer from Aaron and Michael has been “If you have to
ask…” We’ve discussed it at length and come to the agreement that when there’s a question, it will be judged on a case-by-case
scenario. I’m fine with that.
Whether or not you like or agree with this particular system (I’m sure we’ll have the whole range from “LOVE IT!” to
“THIS IS THE WORST THING EVAR!”), I think that you can agree that it fosters a certain kind of play while discouraging some others. I think
it’s great for a store League where you want people to keep coming back. Nothing will drive off players like getting repeatedly T2 comboed out.
I’m willing to accept that your mileage may vary, but the Armada gang has set an ideal on what kind of feeling they want the League to have, and
I think they’ve done a good job of capturing it.
ROUND 1, Table 5 (Todd Palmer’s Rith, the Awakener)
There are 24 players, which means six tables, meaning there will be two “Table 1”s in Round 2 (six table winners and two wild cards).
I’m seated with Billy (Kangee, Aerie Keeper), Tyler (Intet, the Dreamer), and Todd, who has decided to stay and play and has borrowed my
Billy has an opening hand Chancellor of the Spires for us. I mill five lands and Sol Ring, but the whole thing isn’t horrible because I’ve
drawn Karmic Guide, Eternal Witness, and Regrowth, along with my first turn play, Mosswort Bridge, under which I put Overwhelming Stampede. I cast
Eternal Witness just to get the Sol Ring back right before Todd casts Ground Seal, rendering those cards pretty useless. When Tyler taps out, I cast
Chord of Calling on turn 5 for Primeval Titan, then follow it up by casting Rith.
I don’t get into the Red Zone with him because Tyler steals him with Treachery and steals Primeval Titan with something else. He gets one attack
out of the Prime Time before I can Oblation him back into my library (and draw two cards, thank you very much). Poor Billy is still stuck on the three
lands from his opener and is an easy target for Tyler to bash Intet into so that he gets dudes under him. I cast Praetor’s Counsel, putting seven
cards back in my hand (avoiding the penalty), although I see Tyler think about the spell for a bit despite his lack of mana. It’s a clear Pact of
Tyler hits Billy twice, and after the second time, pulls a land and Memnarch from underneath. On that turn, he taps his final mana to cast Goblin
Bombardment, and I see nightmares of an Insurrection under Intet. Fortunately, I rip Rout and cast it on my own turn while he’s out of mana. He
lets it through.
Todd has already cast Mirari’s Wake and Greater Good when I follow the Rout with Acidic Slime. I’m so focused on how badly that Goblin
Bombardment is going to eventually hurt us that I totally gloss over the two better enchantments. It almost costs us all—but at that point, which
of the two would I take out?
A couple of turns pass with me recasting Rith, Billy still unfortunately behind the curve, and Todd using a great deal of mana, finally drawing out
that Pact to counter something big. On the turn after Tyler pays for the Pact, I have to recast Rith, and Todd announces at my end of turn (EOT),
“I’m going to try to go infi…” and I ask him what infinite combo he’s discovered that I overlooked, and he says,
“Okay, not infi, just huge.”
He sacrifices Phelddagrif to draw five, casts Soramaro, First to Dream, casts Sunscape Battlemage kicked to draw two, and off the Battlemage draw,
casts Psychosis Crawler, equipping it with Neurok Stealthsuit. He grabs for the sheet to mark himself down for the penalty for drawing ten or more, and
Tyler is the first to mention he thinks he only drew nine this turn—which is indeed the case. With Psychosis Crawler and Soramaro out, it looks
pretty bad for the rest of us.
Tyler casts Dragon Broodmother and another creature on his turn leaving him with only two mana up, and Billy casts Pride of the Clouds and Rhystic
Study. Fortunately, I have Chord of Calling in hand from the earlier Praetor’s Counsel and enough mana to cast it for ten. I mention
there’s an obvious play, but search through the deck to see if there’s anything wackier. There’s not, so I grab the Avenger of
Zendikar, netting myself sixteen tokens. With the Overwhelming Stampede under Mosswort Bridge, this game is over unless one of them has something.
Todd sacrifices dudes to Greater Good to dig, lowering everyone’s life totals (all he needs is one more dude, and I think he could have killed us
all—but he’s a little short). He even bites the bullet for the penalty, sacrificing the Psychosis Crawler to see if there’s an
answer. There isn’t. I can generate 140-something damage. Since there are a few creatures in play, I ask them if they want me to figure out how
to make sure I kill them all, but they all say they have nothing and not to waste the time. Billy later jokingly mentions he should have made me figure
it out so I would get the six-minute turn penalty.
Since they all go out at the same time, they all get an “I’m Out” point, and Billy, by virtue of actually not being able to do
anything, gets the points for not searching his library, and the two of us tie for first place.
ROUND 2, Table 1A (My Rith, the Awakener and his Soldiers)
I’m seated with two new players, Robert (Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant), and Joel (Mayael the Anima) and the always-friendly Jay (Cromat).
After pitching a no-lander, I keep a five land, Wayfarer’s Bauble, Dreamstone Hedron hand. Everyone gets their General out except for Jay, but
this game is over before it ever gets started. Joel’s turns go Dauntless Escort, Mayael, Seedborn Muse. None of us has any immediate answers, and
his drops off of Mayael on our turns include Spearbreaker Behemoth, Angelic Arbiter, and Iona, Shield of Emeria. He says he doesn’t want to be
mean so he doesn’t choose green (which earns the question “If you don’t want to be mean, why are you playing Iona?”), choosing
white instead (probably a better play anyway, since Hallowed Burial is about all that can hurt him, other than maybe Evacuation).
Jay has dropped Keiga on his turn, but there’s just too much going on Joel’s board. On his own turn, he activates Mayael, getting
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, then Aggravated Assault. He doesn’t bother attacking. Jay swings Keiga into me, which I block with Rith. He steals
Spearbreaker, but it’s just not enough. On his own turn, Joel goes right over the top, casting Triumph of the Hordes.
Total elapse game time: eighteen minutes. Joel has the good grace to apologize for the game not being fun for anyone else but chalks it up to
“wicked topdecks.” Jay is quick to point out that activating Mayael on everyone else’s turns isn’t really topdecking. Weirdly
enough, the way the points work out, we all end up with three, so there’s a four-way split for the prizes.
Joel asks if we want to play another one since there’s time, but I opt for heading home since my wife has just returned from a business trip. I
further opt for the hot tub and some bourbon, which is kind of like hitting the trifecta.
Next week, I’ll be Embracing the Chaos with two Old School Commanders, Phelddagrif and Merieke Ri Berit. It’ll be the last week before
there are MTG: Commander updates to the decks, not to mention a horde of new builds (this League night being the night before release date). Enjoy your
Launch Parties this weekend!!!