Positive EV – Turbofog vs. Naya Shaman: The Naya Shaman Perspective

Thursday, September 9th – Aggressive mulliganning is very important in this matchup. You won’t win if your first play is a Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3.

Once again, I’m playing against Antoine — and since

I played
Fauna Shaman last time

, I decided to play it again. I searched for an updated list of the deck by looking at several Nationals results, but didn’t find one… So I’ll be
running Anibal Carbonero’s list once again, even though I’ve already mentioned that I’d rather have a Linvala, Keeper of Silence and a Dauntless Escort
in the main deck.

I don’t expect the matchup to be too difficult for me. The Turboland deck only has a few threats, and they are expensive. Naya shouldn’t have problems
dealing with turn 3 Planeswalkers, since you should easily be able to cast one of your hasty guys on turn 3 and might even have played a two- or
three-drop before.

Antoine was running Lucas Florent’s latest version of Turboland:

The sideboard games shouldn’t make that much of a difference. While the Naya deck is able to sideboard out its few blanks, the Turbo Land deck
has one option in adding Flashfreeze — which can be good, but still doesn’t protect Jace, the Mind Sculptor from a hasty creature.

MAINDECK GAMES (18 wins, 6 losses, 75 % games won)

On the play: 10 wins, 2 losses
On the draw: 8 wins, 4 losses

Aggressive mulliganing is very important in this matchup. You won’t win if your first play is a Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3. Whenever you are on
the draw, you need to have a turn 1 mana accelerator — or a good hand with a two-drop and Cunning Sparkmage. The mana accelerator is a bit less
important on the play, but you still shouldn’t keep a hand where a third-turn creature as your first play.

You want to kill Lotus Cobra in the early game as soon as possible. This means that you rather search for a Cunning Sparkmage to end the Cobra’s life,
or cast a Bloodbraid Elf and build up some pressure. The speed your opponent will get from the Cobra will often be too much for you to handle. My win
percentage here seems a little high — but since I was able to deal with the Cobra the majority of the time, Antoine didn’t have a lot of chance because
he wasn’t fast enough to stop my beatdown.

Don’t skip too many turns in order to set up a big Vengevine turn where you reanimate multiple Elementals. You’re almost goldfishing here, hoping to
win before the turn where your opponent casts Avenger of Zendikar — at which point your hasty Elementals won’t seal the deal. Searching for a
Bloodbraid Elf directly is often the best play.

Even though it’s important to stay aggressive, you also have to keep your opponent’s outs in mind. Sometimes it is better to not attack with Knight of
the Reliquary so you can protect him for a turn against the bounce ability of Jace, so the Planeswalker won’t be a problem later on in the game when
you fetch up a manland at end of turn.

Sejiri Steppe is often very good, even if you draw it. Your opponent will often try to protect his Jace with a Khalni Garden token, and you can get
around the token with the help of Steppe’s protection. It also gives you your main out to Avenger of Zendikar. (Baneslayer Angel can also get around
it, and Cunning Sparkmage or Ajani Vengeant also work if your opponent’s down to a low life total.) Searching for Basilisk Collar when you already have
a Sparkmage and are putting pressure on your opponent makes a lot of sense, and is often better than searching for another Bloodbraid Elf. Your
opponent will have a hard time winning against a deathtouching pinger.

The Sideboard:

+1 Cunning Sparkmage

+2 Naya Charm

+2 Realm Razer

-1 Basilisk Collar

-1 Stoneforge Mystic

-1 Sun Titan

-1 Obstinate Baloth

-1 Qasali Pridemage

Cunning Sparkmage is mainly here to deal with Lotus Cobra, but even otherwise it is likely to be a better three-drop than Knight of the Reliquary,
since it’s much better at dealing with Planeswalkers and randomly generated Plant tokens.

Naya Charm is here to deal with Lotus Cobra and Oracle of Mul Daya. It also gives you another out to Avenger of Zendikar. It might be ugly when you
cascade into it, especially when you have a Vengevine or two in the graveyard… But the times the card will decide a game will makes for the times you
cascade into it when you don’t need or want it.

The Qasali Pridemage is fine, but it often is just not good enough. Casting a creature in the early turns is very important — but the rest of your draw
has to be so good when your early drop is a Qasali Pridemage, that it’s often not worth it. In addition, both abilities of the Pridemage don’t
really matter. The Disenchant effect is worthless in this format, while the Exalted might deal your opponent one or two extra damage, which isn’t
exciting at all.

Basilisk Collar and Stoneforge Mystic are similar; so many conditions have to fall into place before they can shine. They won’t make a game on their
own, but they are able to lock up one a few times. I’d rather have Realm Razer, which locks up games and can also can steal one from time to

I keep the Baneslayer Angel because it can steal a game or two from my opponent after he’s already resolved Avenger of Zendikar. I never want to draw
the card, though, and will fetch it up only rarely. Still, it’ll win more games than Qasali Pridemage.

SIDEBOARDED GAMES (16 wins, 10 losses, 62% games won)

On the play: 11 wins, 2 losses

On the draw: 5 wins, 8 losses

The Flashfreezes were way better than I expected. If you’re on the draw and you don’t have a first-turn mana accelerator, the Flashfreeze will easily
buy your opponent enough time to win the game for him.

The good news? If you’re on the play, the card is such a blank that I wouldn’t even sideboard it in if I was playing against Turbo Land.

Even though the results might seem weird to you, I don’t think they are far off from reality. If drawing first, you might be a slight dog since he can
disrupt your draws and protect his Planeswalkers. Once you are playing first, the Flashfreeze doesn’t stop your first threat and you now have more
early answers to Lotus Cobra than you did in game one.

If you are on the play, a turn 2 Fauna Shaman is often good enough to win the game. If you are on the draw, though, I would mulligan very aggressively
to get a turn 1 mana accelerator. This also explains a few of the losses; I was going down to five cards or less, and couldn’t get anything going.
Still, I don’t think that my odds of winning with the seven-card hand or six-card hand were anywhere high enough to keep them.

Realm Razers did lock up a game or two, but I am not sure I like to have them as a three-of in post-boarded games. They make your draws less constant
and having more aggressive two-drops (like Qasali Pridemage) might be more effective.

This weekend, Pro Tour Amsterdam passed and I couldn’t make it to day two with a very unsatisfying 4-4 record. I was playing a very similar deck list
as Olivier’s, which he’ll be writing about shortly. I added some Shadowmage Infiltrators to the deck, though, and I am positive that this card is very
underrated in the current Extended format. There aren’t many ways to remove the card, and once you deal damage to your opponent, you are very likely to
win the game. The card did well for me in the Constructed part, and I finished with a unexciting 3-2 record. I ended up drafting Green in the draft —
and even though my cards were fine, they just got outclassed in every single game.

Thanks for reading,

Manu B