I’m not so great at making first impressions. When I interviewed for my current job, I wore sneakers with my suit. I met Ted Knutson at Grand Prix: Atlanta by looking over his shoulder after a Feature Match and suggesting corrections to what he wrote (as you can imagine, he hates that). I saw Al Franken at a book signing earlier this year, and when I said, “Love the show!” he gave me a weird look, like he thought I was a Republican spy or something. As a movie critic for my college newspaper, I got to meet both Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel … in each case, the famous critic complained that I was sitting directly in front of him and blocking his view of the screen.
So, in my first day of the Grand Reweave Experiment, it should not be surprising that I submitted an absolute pile of a U/W deck based upon the combo Reweave + Yosei, the Morning Star. The only thing good about the deck was that its incredible sucktitude pointed out some important things to me:
*Reweave is very mana-intensive, whether you’re casting or splicing it, so much so that the deck’s engine of Sensei’s Divining Top + Journeyer’s Kite would not cut the mustard.
*Countermagic is good in this format only for temporarily holding your opponent off, and in the long run most decks – especially Hana Kami splice decks – will simply outlast your counterspells.
*You can’t go threat-light in this format – as soon as Cranial Extraction for Yosei resolved, I had only two cards to win with and a terrible draw engine with which to find them.
So, knowing this, my next try was to correct those problems as best I could. The first one (the deck’s mana and slowness) was especially important, I thought, so I fell back on the go-to color for mana acceleration, as well as a strategy designed to abuse an artifact we saw in Tsuyoshi Fujita’s original deck:
- 10 Forest
- 5 Swamp
- 6 Island
- 3 Waterveil Cavern
This deck reminds me of the first time I thought Honor-Worn Shaku might be Constructed-playable. Several months ago, I watched a triple-Champions team draft at Dreamwizards in which Morgan Douglass abused a Shaku with a deck containing Hondens; against opponents with no enchantment removal, it was practically like he had a Sol Ring on the table. I would have liked to run more Hondens in this deck, but I was constrained by the fact that I wanted to run six dragons for lots of spicy Reweaviness.
The combo is again Reweave + two Stream of Consciousness, this time in concert with Kokusho and Keiga. It’s actually a lot easier to get that combo going with this deck, because having three Hondens on the table, in combination with all of your land-search effects, can get yourself decked in a hurry. Or, if you should be hit with a Cranial Extraction for your dragons, you can instead use Reweave + Stream as a pseudo-tutor for needed Hondens.
The results were an improvement, mainly because it was actually able to win some games against Gadiel Szleifer PT: Philly winning deck. In these wins, Reweave was as good as advertised; one game was won by Reweaving Keiga into Meloku, simultaneously stealing Ink-Eyes (what a blowout!). Also, simply drawing multiple copies of Kokusho was occasionally good enough to burn out the splice deck.
However, Szleifer.dec still won the majority of of games, because the matchup is very much defined by one card: Cranial Extraction. Every game Szleifer.dec resolved Extraction first (naming Cranial Extraction, natch), it won, and in blowout fashion, because it can so easily set up multiple Extractions in a row. R2 won many of the games in which resolved Extraction first, but not all of them, because even with Hana Kami Extracted, Szleifer.dec can still clear a path for Ink-Eyes by reusing Horobi’s Whisper on Sickening Shoal.
What’s worse, R2 has a serious hole: White Weenie. Ryan Cimera deck from the Top 8 of Philly destroys R2, and without even pulling the four copies of Hokori out of its sideboard. Reweave is your only removal, and by the time you can cast it the WW deck will have either Blessed Breath or Eight-and-a-Half-Tails. Even if the WW deck doesn’t draw Kami of Ancient Law, the Green Honden is too slow to generate sufficient blockers. Basically, R2’s only chance is for the White deck to draw no copies of Umezawa’s Jitte and to draw either Meloku.
So, this deck represents progress, but it’s not ideal. The Hondens in particular were subpar; the Green and Blue ones are too slow, and the Black one doesn’t affect the board. The biggest problem, though, is that some kind of removal is absolutely necessary. We’ll see tomorrow how I handle this problem.
Finally, I’d like to thank everybody and anybody who comments in the forums. At least, I hope there are people commenting in the forums; the first four parts of this column were written a week or more in advance, so I don’t really know how they’ll be received. At any rate, I hope to be able to respond to your criticisms and suggestions in the Friday version of the column, including some suggestions on how to integrate Saviors into the mix. So keep an eye on this space all week.