SCG Daily #3: Unreweaveable

Welcome back to the Grand Reweave Experiment. I guess it sounds kind of arrogant, calling it that, huh? There are not too many Reweave experiments going on, though, so I guess I can put on some airs until there’s another one. Anyway, thanks again to everybody who’s sticking with me this week and responding in the forums.

Welcome back to the Grand Reweave Experiment. I guess it sounds kind of arrogant, calling it that, huh? There are not too many Reweave experiments going on, though, so I guess I can put on some airs until there’s another one. Anyway, thanks again to everybody who’s sticking with me this week and responding in the forums.

We’ve learned so far that in order to compete with the other control decks in the format, we have to be running Green, but in order not to scoop to Eight-and-a-Half-Tails and Hokori, we must be running some kind of blockers, Ethereal Haze tricks, or removal.

After part 2 of the experiment and the Honden decks that it involved, I decided that the natural choice for this removal was Final Judgment. After some brief toying with adding the Honden of Cleansing Fire to that deck along with the board-sweeping spell, I decided to go a different route. The problem with the Honden plan was that it was far too slow, it didn’t have a big impact even in the control matchups, and some of the most popular decks in the format are running Wear Away and Kami of the Ancient Law anyway.

Obviously, the first sort of deck that suggested itself when I started the Grand Reweave Experiment was one based on a lot of splice spells, possibly including a Hana Kami engine. Before I tried that, I wanted to be sure that other, simpler approaches did not work, but my first two tries didn’t turn out so well, and thus there was no question what the correct approach should be. Soooooo…


Obviously inspired by Mark Herberholz Top 8 deck from Pro Tour: Philadelphia, this deck gets to be called a Reweave deck despite running only one Reweave because it features the tutor-liciousness of Gifts Ungiven. Resolving Gifts means that whichever combo you would like to use is available to you. It’s simply unavoidable.

For that inevitability, you pay a heavy price; you can only get it if you have Green, Black, and Blue available to you (and White also, of course, if your combo involves Ethereal Haze). As a result, this deck has some of the ugliest mana on God’s green earth. It’s pretty easy obtaining the GG necessary to play and use the Hana Kami in one turn, but when you throw in the Black mana for Soulless Revival, the WW for Final Judgment and Yosei, and the UU for splicing Reweave, and suddenly you find yourself wondering if even Kodama’s Reach can solve your problems.

Those problems were the last straw that decided the White Weenie matchup in favor of the aggro deck. Obviously, if you can get infinite Ethereal Haze going, they just scoop the cards. The problem is that they have Hokori coming after you in post-board games for certain. Plus, after two big-mana decks met in the finals at Philadelphia, you can bet the Dust Drinker is going to show up in some maindecks.

Against a version without Hokori in the maindeck, Re-Splice split six game ones; the games it lost were entirely due to poor mana draws (one interesting thing about White Weenie is that it can goldfish on turn 6 if the Green deck has mana-light draw, so I lost one game with a Final Judgment in hand even after resolving Kodama’s Reach). Once Hokori moved into the deck, it got even uglier, to the tune of one game out of five. What this all adds up to is, if you were to play a deck like this in a tournament, Hisoka’s Defiance would have to be an auto-four-of in the sideboard, and even then I don’t know if it would be enough.

The performance was much better against the control decks, however. That’s the resiliency of the Hana Kami combo for you: once you get it going, nothing short of Cranial Extraction for Hana Kami will stop it, and there are some other cards which the opponent will probably want to Extract first. Cranial Extraction, for one. Yosei, for another. They’ll probably want to rid you of Final Judgment, also. All of that is assuming you are not able to play Cranial Extraction first and remove their Extractions.

Yes, your mana is still ugly, but your opposition is not much better off. I think that the second reason that Gadiel Szleifer deck did so well was that its mana is probably the most consistent of all of the Gifts Ungiven decks present (the first reason was that he is just a really good technical player); he basically played a B/G deck that tutors for its Islands or Plains when the time is right. The Re-Splice deck is not in that good a place with its mana, but it can usually find the lands that it needs if it’s not facing a clock as fast as in the White Weenie matchup. Also, in the late game, you have the ultimate weapon in mana control – the threat of playing two copies of Yosei onto the table. None of the control decks in this format like to see that.

In five game ones against Szleifer.dec – I wanted to play more, because you can really learn a lot from control-on-control matchups, but this particular matchup is slow to the point of coma induction – Re-Splice won three. That is such a small number, however, that I would not take it too seriously. For example, one of the games won was due to mana screw on the part of Szleifer.dec, a result which I would throw out if I had more testing time. I state those numbers just so you can see that this deck can at least compete with the other splice decks in the format; that it can resolve Cranial Extraction first, for example, even given its ugly mana base.

It’s kind of frustrating to be at this point in the Daily and still have not found a deck that can go toe-to-toe with White Weenie, but that is the kind of problem you encounter when building your deck around a six-mana spell. It’s also annoying that the mana of the decks has gotten progressively worse: already I’ve decided that I need Green for acceleration, White for Yosei, and Black for Cranial Extraction to go with my Reweaves. Kodama’s Reach is a really good card, but it can’t do everything for you.

The big problem I had with this deck, though, was that it sort of breaks the rules of my self-imposed little contest. The goal of the deck is not to play or splice Reweave. There will be a great many games where you’ll never even see the card, nor need it to win. Most of the test games that I won against Szleifer’s deck were simply a result of playing Cranial Extraction first to remove opposing Extractions, getting a flying legend on the table, and going all the way with it.

That may mean a good deck, but it’s not very much in the spirit of the Grand Reweave Experiment. Fortunately, I have a solution for tomorrow, so don’t go away.