PTNY, AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIPS (and the face of post-Prophecy T2)
I had planned to take the weekend of PTNY and drive up to see what was going on, but after hearing that 95% of the people were playing either Rebels or Rising Waters, I’m glad I didn’t. Just reading the Feature Match reports here on StarCityCCG.com was enough to put me to sleep. Every time a report started with
"John and Billy are on the same team, and are therefore playing identical XXX decks"
my eyelids would start getting heavy. And then having to hear about how Seal of Removal was the key play to winning the game, I was totally over my insomnia. I’d wake up fifteen minutes later, refreshed enough to dash into the NEXT Feature Match report. Just typing and remembering now is making me groggy.
Did you know that there was not ONE of the Feature Matches that didn’t contain either Rebels or Rising Waters?
We all praised Wizards R&D for figuring out their mistake in printing high-power cards in the Artifact Cycle, but we still want a LITTLE variety.
So now I’m looking ahead to the Amateur Championships in July. I mean, who WOULDN’T go play in a tournament where the top prize is Magic cards for the rest of your human life? (I’ll be 52 and still receiving boxes of boosters. "Yeah, Junior, back when your granddad was a young man, he could cast a mean Child of Gaea.") And it turns out that I have an old college buddy in Columbus, so my wife is going to run around with him while I go and play Magic. Fortunately it’s a one-day thing, so I can go in, win, and still have Sunday to run around before driving back on Monday. I can already feel my cold coming on.
*cough cough* "Yeah, uh, I won’t be in today, I’m feeling a little under the weather. Oh and I don’t think it’ll be gone by Monday. In fact, uh, if I feel REALLY better by Saturday I may not come in Tuesday either." *cough*
Type 2 right now is looking pretty diverse. Bargain and Replenish are the top-tier decks, but there seems to be a lot of variety. I imagine as we get the full look at Prophecy, we’ll start to see trends establish for what the Amateur Championships will hold. Replenish, right now, seems to be the strongest for that tournament based solely on its adaptability. If any stellar enchantments come out in Prophecy, they can be squeezed into the current incarnation of Replenish and tested, with little adjustment to the win mechanism. It’s a nice, tight package.
Too bad the deck itself costs somewhere in the range of eight THOUSAND dollars. ;^)
WHAT DAVE WILL PLAY AT THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIPS
I want to go and play something fun. I want to go play Green with big fat creatures like Rhox and Thorn Elemental and Child of Gaea. I -really- want to make a Food Chain deck, with Battle Ramparts (!) and Howling Mines (?) that just let you continually crank out a different creature each turn. Would be interesting. Sneak Attack gives you that same kind of feeling – if only there was some way to continually draw big fat creatures.
Here’s an interesting idea. A long time ago, back before Mercadian Masques even came out, I built a R/G Sneak Attack deck that recursed Weatherseed Treefolk and Shivan Phoenixes for damage. I always felt it had a chance to be good, especially since it had a better mana base than the 5-color version, and it could actually CAST its creatures without the Sneak Attack. I wonder if something like that would still work.
The main reason I ask is because with Prophecy, Green will have its Survival of the Fittest engine back. This is one of those things that’s been rumored, and I haven’t heard anything much about it beyond that, but I guessed they’re making Spellshapers for all the Tutors for Prophecy. And if I’ve got a 2/2 guy that I can pay G and tap to turn my extra Llanowar Elf (or heck even a Forest) into a Rhox or a Thorn Elemental, and then I can bust 5 or 7 on my opponent, well that my friends is almost a combo.
Of course, now the Prophecy spoilers are out, and this guy (and his brothers) are nowhere to be seen. Curse you, whoever you are, spreading your evil lies! But still. Because you’re playing R/G at least, you can use stuff like Shock and Seal of Fire, and hey, why not? Rebels are going to be popular, and keeping a Sergeant (or whatever goes in those silly decks) off the board may be key to surviving long enough to bop for 7-14-21.
And then, as usual, inspiration hits while I’m typing – this time in the form oh "Doh Pack Hunt."
Bear with me a second, before you all start saying, "Hey Dave – remember CounterOgre?" If you Sneak out a Thorn Elemental, and then Pack Hunt for his buddies – well that my loyal readers is what we call "a combo." Sorta. Since the damage is unblockable, and the creatures are uncounterable, it’s got a low interruption rate.
The only problem is, it’s nowhere near as fast a combo as Bargain or Replenish, and it needs early defense against Rebels and Stompy. But it’s a start:
4x Thorn Elemental
4x Sneak Attack
3x Pack Hunt
3x Worldly Tutor
(I went with Worldly Tutor and Pack Hunt in even parts because it’s just as important to have the Thorn or Rhox in hand, as it is to have the Pack. Also remember that this deck is designed to cast the fat if need be.)
4x Yavimaya Elder
4x Vine Trellis
4x Birds of Paradise
2x Seal of Fire
4x Karplusan Forest
2x City of Brass
It’s a start. It looks like a lot of fun to play, as it combines two of my favorite deck qualities – guerrilla warfare and big fat creatures. Weatherseed Treefolk definitely go in the sideboard, although I’m not sure what against. Possibly against Rebels or Stompy, where the need for additional (reusable) blockers is greater. The nice thing about this plan is that you can still maintain one set of unblockable damage after sideboarding in the Treefolk. Brutal Suppression is another necessity, and I’d also include Keldon Firebombers against Control and Replenish. Because you can run on low-land counts (and you have the mana-acceleration), AND because the Firebombers are uncounterable through the Sneak Attack, they make for a great surprise against Control. It also could be nice against Replenish, which needs its mana.
The deck also could work with stuff like Nesting Wurm, thus lessening the need for Pack Hunt. You can cast one Nesting Wurm, and then Sneak out the next three for a huge attack.
Here’s another deck I’m building for fun, based around the new win condition presented in Celestial Convergence:
Celestial Convergence, 2WW
When Celestial Convergence comes into play, put seven omen counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a counter from Celestial Convergence. If there are no omen counters on Celestial Convergence, the player with the highest life total wins this game. If two or more players are tied for the highest life total, the game is a draw.
I used to have a deck I called "Fortress of Solitude," which is perfect for the win condition. It will probably need a little tweaking, but it sets up great for the Convergence because it’s purely defense – no offense. I know, weird coming from me.
I built the deck originally because my wife wanted to play again. She likes Blue and White, and she likes the Angels and the Drakes and the Faeries. She’s not at all an aggressive player, so we built a deck with a ton of Walls and a couple nice-sized fliers to come over and whap the opponent. The flier of choice was Herald of Serra, because she could be used on both offense and defense. For added defense, we plugged in the Lifeline/Angelic Chorus combo to gain her life should any of her walls fall, plus a few Congregates, as this was definitely a late-game deck.
As we started playing, the deck consistently found itself getting down early Walls and ending the game in the mid-60’s in life. Just when you’d think she was on the rocks, she’d find a Congregate and go back up to 20 life, and then drop a Wall with two Choruses out and be back over 30. And she didn’t care if I was losing guys, because she had enough to block them.
So here’s the new version. It will remain to be seen if it’s even playable, if it can outlast Replenish. Bargain should be no problem, as even a little lifegain goes a long way. The real test will be against Control, as they should be able to keep the Convergence off the table.
4x Angelic Chorus
4x Celestial Convergence
4x Wall of Junk
4x Wall of Glare
3x Mobile Fort
2x Karn, Silver Golem
2x Herald of Serra
1x Avatar of Hope
2x Scent of Jasmine
2x Blessed Wind
4x Forbidding Watchtower
The deck probably needs Enlightened Tutors, although it may not be necessary due to the mid-game/late-game nature of the deck. I’d definitely put them in the sideboard, because some necessary enchantments like Ivory Mask will be in there.
So I’m started at least. I always have a Stompy deck built, so that’s a third deck possibility that I’m already quite comfortable playing. And as playtesting begins – who knows what else will rear its ugly head? The Pros are already looking at the cardlists and beginning the long process of creating the next big deck – and so are we.
Next week – my hot picks from Prophecy. I won’t cover each card as you’ve all seen the spoilers already – just pick out my favorites and duds. Until then!
Dave Meeson, Super Wrong Guy