Embracing The Chaos – Through the Kindness of Strangers

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Tuesday, April 27th – After taking a week off of EDH League for visiting family, I was once again ready to dive into slinging the 100 card decks. Although I’ll play Kenny’s contest-winning deck a few more times in the league, it felt like it had been such a long time since I had played Kresh, I was itching to trot it out.

After taking a week off of EDH League for visiting family, I was once again ready to dive into slinging the 100 card decks. Although I’ll play Kenny’s contest-winning deck a few more times in the league, it felt like it had been such a long time since I had played Kresh, I was itching to trot it out.

I hadn’t gone to the prerelease, so I didn’t have any Rise of the Eldrazi cards in hand, but Kyle (of the chaos deck) slipped me a Mortician Beetle and Pawn of Ulamog (foily!) beforehand, and just as we were shuffling up shop owner Michael Fortino tossed me an Artisan of Kozilek, so I swapped out a few cards for them. I also thought long and hard about putting Vicious Shadows back in. There’s been a bit of power creep in the League, and I sit on the fence of protecting myself from it and thereby being a contributor to the escalation. It’s a tenuous line in any environment. From what I saw in play, there are folks who aren’t holding anything back (which is respectable), so I decided to put it in. I took out Spellbreaker Behemoth, Sprouting Vines, Bloodchief Ascension, and one more thing I don’t remember. After some play, I realize that Mortician Beetle isn’t actually all that good, so it’s coming back out (Carrion Feeder seems like a better one-drop). There are several RoE cards I want to put in, such as Tajuru Preserver, Momentous Fall, several of the Eldrazi, and any number of Totem Armors, but what to take out? EDH is really hard sometimes.

I’m also swapping the Civic Wayfinder out for Wood Elves. As Draconis in the EDH channel put it,” Kresh seems to want the acceleration instead of the Grey Ogre.” I also want to find room to put back in the Worldly Tutor, which seems kind of good with Lurking Predators (a card you play in EDH if you have any Green).

We end up with a turnout of 12 players, which makes a nice, even three tables. I’m seated with Jeff, who is trotting out his new Reaper King deck; Jason, with Lyzolda (“I’m tired of everyone else’s B/R Generals”); and Ryan, with Child of Alara. I keep a hand stocked with land and nothing else terribly exciting.


Ryan: City of Brass. Ryan plays Beacon of Immortality and some other life gain in this deck, so I know he really doesn’t care about early City damage.
Jason: Swamp
Me: Savage Lands
Jeff: Ancient Amphitheater

Ryan: Crystal Quarry and takes a pain (39) to cast Demonic Tutor. Announces he’s going for a land.
Jason: Swamp
Me: Swamp, Mortician Beetle. I play the first RoE card!
Jeff: Rupture Spire

Ryan: Reflecting Pool, and pain (38) to cast Jace. We all draw.
Jason: Mountain, Rakdos Ickspitter.
Me: Forest, Sprouting Thrinax. Attack Jason with the Beetle since I know it’ll be dead soon (39).
Jeff: Swamp, Worn Powerstone.

Ryan: All draw, Prahv, Spires of Order, which on second review is better than I thought, since it’s any source and doesn’t target, then takes another pain (37) to cast Diabolic Tutor (for more land).
Jason: Mountain, Sandstone Eidolon. Ickspits the Beetle (39).
Me: Mountain, Creakwood Liege. Thrinax bashes Jeff (35).
Jeff: Island, Soul Foundry Imprinting Scuttlemutt. I have Survival in hand, and I assume I’m going to have to go get something to deal with the Soul Foundry. Once he casts Reaper King, it’ll be bad for us.

Ryan: All draw. Exotic Orchard, takes pain (36) to Wargate for Shimmering Grotto.
Jason: Lyzolda. Kills the Liege with Eidolon.
Me: I peel my fifth land, and it’s Temple of the False God. Seems decent. I cast Pawn of Ulamog and Survival of the Fittest.
Jeff: Starts doing math. Makes a token with the Foundry, drops a bounceland, and casts Drift of Phantasms.

Ryan: All draw. Gives me a token with Forbidden Orchard to cast Maelstrom Nexus.
Jason: Mountain, Endrek Sahr.
Me: Skarrg, Oversold Cemetery, Scrabbling Claws and Survival away Graveshell Scarab for Civic Wayfinder. There’s some kind of point for resolving three different types of permanents in a single turn.
Jeff: Neurok Stealthsuit. Reaper King. Goes to equip the King, and Ryan attempts to Path it. Jeff responds by activating the Stealthsuit’s ability.

Ryan: All draw. Beacon of Immortality Cascades into Breath of Life with no target (70).
Jason: Gobhobbler Rats. It’s like a Ravnica Block Constructed deck over there. Gets the Entropic Eidolon back to hand and gets two Thrulls off of Endrek Sahr. Casts the Eidolon and gets four more Thrulls.
Me: I pitch Dragon Broodmother to get Acidic Slime and take out Soul Foundry. Since I have 2 mana left and neither of them green, I cast Demonic Tutor for Pernicious Deed.
Jeff: Stonehewer Giant and Sea Gate Loremaster.

Ryan: All draw. Beacon of Unrest targeting my Broodmother, Cascading into Oracle of Nectars. I consider for a bit using the Claws on myself, but Ryan has proven in the past to be a pretty good ally, so I decide to see what will happen. He also casts Top. At EOT, Jason sacrifices the Entropic Eidolon to drain Ryan (69), Jason to (40).
Jason: Ryan gets a Dragon token. Jason transmutes Netherborn Phalanx into Malfegor, but doesn’t have enough to cast it. Casts Rakdos Guildmage, and with the Sahr token on the stack, sacrifices it to Lyzolda. Ickspits the Broodmother, Ryan to (68).
Me: Forest, Boneshredder on the Broodmother. Also the other reason I didn’t Exile it earlier. I knew it’d be nice to have in the yard for Oversold Cemetery.
Jeff: Karplusan Forest and nothing else. Probably going to activate the two things he cast last turn.

Ryan: Child of Alara, into Venser, bounces Lyzolda. We all draw. Takes a pain to Clone Acidic Slime, targets Scrabbling Claws. I remove his Tutor.
Jason: Swamp, Lyzolda, Malfegor. Jeff pitches his full grip. We all sacrifice dudes. I keep the Pawn of Ulamog, but Ryan decides to let Child of Alara go to the graveyard, wiping the board clean. At EOT, I Makeshift Mannequin back in the Broodmother.
Me: Get a Dragon token. Forest, Skullclamp, Clamp up the token. I was actually thinking a little ahead of myself that the token was 3/3, but that would be next turn’s Devouring guy. Anyway, I draw two cards, one of which is Jens, one of which is Spawnwrithe, both of which I cast.
Jeff: I get another token. Jeff Clones the Broodmother then takes a pain (34) to cast Gilt-Leaf Archdruid.

Ryan: We start putting tokens out, but Ryan says “don’t bother” and casts Damnation. He Evokes Reveillark, getting Venser and Gild-Leaf, bouncing the Skullclamp. Pain (66) to cast Top.
Jason: Lyzolda, which returns Eidolon, and he recasts it.
Me: Peel Reliquary Tower. Only real play is Kresh and Clamp him.
Jeff: Reaper King.

Ryan: Azorius Guildmage, Rupture Spire. Anathamancer would do lots of damage to him right now.
Jason: Sandstone Eidolon. Delirium Skeins, to which Ryan responds by taking a pain (65) to cast Beacon of Immortality (130). I discard Swamp, Deathbringer Thoctar, which I had planned on casting next turn, and Pernicious Deed. I keep the Insurrection and Decree of Pain.
Me: Decree of Pain. Jason responds by sacrificing stuff. With the Clamp, I end up drawing 9 cards. I Suspend Greater Gargadon, Flash in Caller of the Claw (getting only one guy, but that’s OK), and I keep up one red for the Red Elemental Blast I have in hand. Hopefully, it’ll be Insurrection protection, but I’ll need a fourth Red for that.
Jeff: Seahunter.

Ryan: Nothing
Jason: Jagged Poppet. Sandstone Eidolon.
Me: Akroum Refuge – there’s the fourth Red! (40). Kresh again, and Clamp the Bear token.
Jeff: Chameleon Colossus via painland (33). Big Game Hunter = useless.

Ryan: Ghostly Prison
Jason: Diabolic Tutor, Entropic Eidolon. At EOT, I sacrifice the token to the Gargadon.
Me: Defense of the Heart. Jason has three dudes, but I explain that the condition also has to be true during resolution. He says he’ll sac guys to keep it from going off. I say “fair.” I cast Null Rod, which gets a few looks from both the table and the spectators. At EOT, Jeff’s Seahunter gets Cairn Wanderer.
Jeff: Attacks me with Cairn Wanderer (36).

Ryan: Nothing. On his turn, Jeff Seahunts (now he gets how you do it!) and shows the Changeling Sentinel. I tell him that he can change his mind if something else happens before his turn.
Jason: Wit’s End, targeting me. There’s a WTF moment. There are a few ‘ouches’ from the crowd. Ryan and I look at each other, and he asks me if I want to keep my hand. I say “of course,” and he saves the day by Makeshift Mannequin, getting back Venser, putting the Wit’s End back. I remember to pay back that favor some day, since it’s a game-changer.
Me: Defense of the Heart triggers. Jeff now also has three guys. I ask more than once if it resolves. Jason yells at Jeff “you brought this on yourself.” Something in Jeff’s body language tells me he doesn’t care what I get. I get Lord of Extinction and Stalking Vengeance without much other consideration. Without Split Second cards, I can kill someone that threatens me. Of course, I also see that I can kill someone by attacking with Kresh—after playing Insurrection and sacrificing people’s stuff to the Gargadon. I cast Insurrection. Shop owner Aaron Fortino says that I have to write “Yay me” on my sheet. I grab up all the creatures. Jeff says “During Declare Attackers,” and it’s obviously Master Warcraft. He casts it. I sacrifice the 57/57 Boom Tube, and Stalking Vengeance kills him. Kresh, now a monster, kills Jason with General damage. I also have a longshot plan for Ryan, so I attack him for 4 (126). Jason once again yells at Jeff.

Ryan: Ryan casts Legacy Weapon, then taps out to Exile Stalking Vengeance, the definitely smart play. I respond by sacrificing the Caller to Gargadon, taking him to (123), then Grab the Reins second mode on Kresh (who is now 66/66) to his face, killing him. I deal 132 damage and don’t even get overkill! Jason yells at Jeff for a third time.

I win the table pretty cleanly.


I’m with Nate (Teneb), who I hear hard-cast Emrakul; Steve (Vhati il-Dal, definitely a General that gets props); and Kyle and his Cromat of Chaos pile. Steve had won the table, but Kyle had the best score of all the non-winners, so he’s with us. There seems to be a little tension between him and Steve already.

Nate: Krosan Verge. Note that since this doesn’t have any mana symbols on it, you can actually play it in a deck without white… but then you’d be paying 2 and sacrificing a land to get a Forest.
Kyle: Greypelt Refuge (41).
Steve: Oran-Rief, the Vastwood.
Me: I complete the cycle of enters-the-battlefield tapped lands with Barren Moor, since it’s the only black source in my hand.

Nate: Plains
Kyle: Exotic Orchard, Fellwar Stone.
Steve: Swamp
Me: Moutain, Sol Ring, Goblin Bombardment.

Nate: Cracks the Verge, plus Forest.
Kyle: Vesuva, copying Exotic Orchard, and a Morph
Steve: Forest
Me: Forest, Sprouting Thrinax

Nate: Miren, Kitchen Finks (42). Demonic Tutor.
Kyle: Howling Mine.
Steve: Swamp, Maelstrom Pulse on the Bombardment since he’d otherwise have to discard—although I wouldn’t fault him for the play anyway.
Me: Swamp, Withered Wretch. Thrinax attacks Nate (39).

Nate: Swamp, Lurking Predators.
Kyle: Vivid Creek
Steve: Swamp, Graveshell Scarab.
Me: Spinerock Knoll. The terribleness of my Hideaways now being legendary, Aaron Fortino runs over to do the Hideaway for me—and shows me three basic lands and a Stomping Ground, the latter of which goes under. It looks like Nate is really ramping up, so I cast Kresh. Looks like I’ll need to get really aggressive.

Nate: Plains, Dreamstone Hedron. Ramptacular.
Kyle: Plains
Steve: Leechridden Swamp.
Me: Bash Kyle, who unmorphs the Shapeshifter, copying Hierarch, and blocks. Kresh +3 and I get 3 tokens.

Nate: Phantom Nishoba.
Kyle: Turns the Shapeshifter face down, Reliquary Tower. Magister Sphinx targeting Steve (10). There is grumbling.
Steve: Plague Boiler (Preds gets Plains), Lightning Greaves (and again, Nate ships second one), Greaves up Graveshell.
Me: Armillary Sphere. Predators gets another Plains, which he also sends.

Nate: Harmonic Sliver takes out Plague Boiler. I was thinking the Sphinx might be a better choice. Bojuka Bog on me. Fair enough.
Kyle: Flips the Shapeshifter, attacks Steve for the kill. Return to Dust on the Lurking Predators and Hedron, which Nate sacrifices in response to draw.
Me: Eldrazi Monument, Big Game Hunter on the Shapeshifter. Kresh +10. Swing into Nate for 14 (36). If I had known it would force his hand like the next turn, I probably would have attacked Kyle.

Nate: Attacks Kyle with Nishoba (34), Nate to (43). Casts Living Death as a Wrath. He gets back Kitchen Finks and that’s all that ends up in play. Explosive Vegetation.
Kyle: Terastodon, but chooses to not target anything. Extremely good play.
Me: I have to sacrifice the Monument. I get a little greedy and cast Hamletback Goliath instead of Spearbreaker Behemoth. It probably costs me.

Nate: Austere Command, choosing Artifacts and fatties. Attacks Kyle (25). Reveillark.
Kyle: Artisan of Kozilek returns Magister Sphinx, setting Nate to 10.
Me: I can kill Nate with Insurrection. I can’t kill Kyle since I can only deal 20. Plus, since I’ll control Reveillark when Nate dies, I’ll get to bring stuff back, since Reveillark’s trigger condition is it leaving play. This is the path I take, and I get back Big Game Hunter and Withered Wretch. Big Game Hunter kills the Artisan.

Kyle: Takes pain (14) to cast Sakashima, copying Magister Sphinx. That changes everything. Attacks me (5). I’m up against a wall, so I Flash in Caller of the Claw to have a dude and hopefully kill him.
Me: In my hand, I have Butcher of Malakir, Decree of Pain, and Grab the Reins. I have enough mana to cast the Butcher and one mode of Grab the Reins, but that’s not going to be enough to kill both his guys. I can Grab Entwined, targeting one of his guys with the other, but if he has anything that protects one or the other, which is more likely than him having a counterspell, I’m sunk. I swing into him. He blocks the Withered Wretch, and I remove the Artisan and Terastodon, taking him to 11. I cast Decree of Pain, drawing 4 cards. I’m left with 3 mana open, not enough to cast Grab the Reins.

Kyle: He has Hunted Dragon, which he casts and attacks me. I lament not having four mana to at least take the Dragon out of combat, but he tells me he has Wild Ricochet anyway.

That kill wins the table for Kyle, and I finish second.

I was glad that I made the choice to play Kresh. I’ll probably go back to playing Kenny’s deck next time, but I really wanted to stretch out my legs, and that fit the bill. Kenny and I have agreed that Kozilek will be the RoE card that goes in. Now the work begins to see what Rise cards do the best to Embrace the Chaos on Kresh, Darigaaz, Phelddagrif, and all my other decks. We’ll see how it goes.