Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #330 – UST: Are Affinity and Academy In or Out?

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Thursday, June 24th – I am finalizing the list of the 32 best Standard decks of all time to compete in the Ultimate Standard Tournament. The tournament will start soon. This week, I’m looking at the decks that were Standard legal for a time, but had critical cards banned before the Standard season ended. These cards include Skullclamp in Affinity, Tolarian Academy in Academy decks, Memory Jar in JarGrim, and so on.

I am finalizing the list of the 32 best Standard decks of all time to compete in the Ultimate Standard Tournament. The tournament will start soon. This week, I’m looking at the decks that were Standard legal for a time, but had critical cards banned before the Standard season ended. These cards include Skullclamp in Affinity, Tolarian Academy in Academy decks, Memory Jar in JarGrim, and so on. I want to look at whether these are so broken they should be banned. Let’s do the numbers.

What’s going on: I am going to run a tournament matching 32 of the best Standard-legal decks of all time in a single elimination tournament. The idea is to find out if modern decks can run with the best historical decks. The event will play best of five matches, with two unsideboarded and up to three sideboarded matches. The decks chosen are a selection of the most famous historical decks, as played at the time.

Here is the list of decks I’m intending to use at the moment. The list has changed a bit from last week, based on feedback from the forums. Here’s what I want to play — but notice that this list has 40 decks. The question is — what do I cut?

The List so Far

NecroPotence (Brian Wiessman, CA Regionals, 1996)
Cuneo Blue (Randy Buehler, Worlds 1998)
Covetous Wildfire (Kai Budde, Worlds 1999)
Deadguy Red (Rubin, Worlds 1999)
Tolarian Blue (Chris Warren IL States version)
Sabre Bargain (Jon Finkel, Masters 2000)
Napster (Jon Finkel, U.S. Nats 2000)
Tinker (Jon Finkel, Worlds 2000)
The Rock and his Millions (Sol Malka)
Replenish (Tom Van de Logt, Worlds 2000)
Angry Hermit (Aaron Forsythe, U.S. Nats 2000)
Brawler Ponza (Sean McKeown, Grinders, 2001)
Fires (Zvi, PT Chicago 2000)
Squirrel Opposition (Eugene Harvey, U.S. Nats 2002)

Tog (Carlos Romao, Worlds 2002)
Goblin Bidding (Wolfgang Eder, Worlds 2003)
UG Madness (David Humphries, Worlds 2003)
Astral Slide (Gabe Walls, U.S. Nats, 2003)
Skullclamp Affinity (Go Anan deck)
Ghazi Glare (Katsuhiro Mori, Worlds 2005)
Dragonstorm (Mihara, Worlds 2005)
Faeries (Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Hollywood 2008)
Doran (Yann Massicard, GP: Seattle)
Plumeveil Control (Charles Gindy, U.S. Nats 2009)
Chapin 5CB
Naya Lightsaber (Andre Coimbra, Worlds, 2009)
Mythic Conscription
Super Friends (Carlos Romao — GP: DC)
Next Level Bant (Brian Kibler, GP: Sendai)
Jund (Owen Turtenwald, GP: DC)
Rec/Sur (not sure which list — Free Whaley lists are mainly Extended.)
Death Cloud (Chris Manning, U.S. Nats, 2005)
Stompy – various
Corrupter Black – Adrian Sullivan
Machine Head – Frank Karsten
Comerzilla – Alan Comer
Accelerated Blue — a.k.a. PatrickJ.dec
Eminent Domain — Adrian Sullivan
Skred Red – Frank Karsten
Turbo Xerox – Alan Comer
Counterbalance – Frank Karsten, 2006
Quick n Toast – Oliver Ruel, 2008
Tooth and Nail or Elf & Nail

The first question is whether to cut the banned decklists — Academy, Skullclamp Affinity, JarGrim, and Elf and Nail. These decks were insanely good at the time — but are they still too good to play now? Put another way, can modern decks handle these decks?

My preliminary thoughts are that Academy and JarGrim would be very tough for modern decks to beat. The only real way to beat such Combo decks is with counterspells, discard or disruption — and those have to be fast enough to disrupt the combo before it goes off. Modern discard may be good enough — Duress is legal, of course — but modern decks play far fewer cheap counters. We will see.

I have fewer worries about Skullclamp Affinity. It was a format-warping deck in it’s time — but that was a long time ago. What Affinity did was drop 2/2s on turn 2 and 4/4s on turn 3 or so. Is that good enough nowadays? Is Myr Enforcer really that scary compared to Baneslayer Angel, Vengevine, or Sphinx of Jwar Isle? Let’s find out.

First up, let’s smash Academy against Jund — the one modern deck with enough discard / disruption to have some chance against Academy.


Academy versus Jund

I’m using the Academy decklist Adrian described as highly consistent. It seems pretty good. Here it is.

Tolarian Blue
Chris Warren, IL States

4 Tolarian Academy
4 Blasted Landscape
4 Remote Isle
1 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Brass
4 Island
4 Mana Vault
4 Lotus Petal
4 Mox Diamond

4 Twiddle
3 Mind Over Matter
1 Rescind

1 Voltaic Key
1 Scroll Rack
4 Intuition
4 Brainstorm
4 Time Spiral
4 Windfall
3 Stroke of Genius

4 Hydroblast
4 Pyroblast
3 Circle of Protection: Red
3 Power Sink
1 Fireball

I’m using the Jund deck I have been playing recently — it is basically Owen Turtenwald list from GP: DC, but with one Malakir Bloodwitch maindeck.

Time to battle!

Academy is on the play. It draws Tolarian Academy, Intuition, Mana Vault, 2 Brainstorm, Lotus Petal, and Scroll Rack. That’s a keeper. Jund’s opening hand is Raging Ravine, Dragonskull Summit, Lightning Bolt, Putrid Leech, Malakir Bloodwitch, Sprouting Thrinax, Sarkhan the Mad. On the play, against an unknown deck, I would probably mulligan it (too many five-drops), but on the draw I would keep.

Academy’s opening turn is debatable. The question is whether to blow the Lotus Petal to play the Mana Vault and Scroll Rack before playing Academy, or to play the Mana Vault off the Academy. I’m going to play the Vault off the Petal, then tap for Scroll Rack and play both Brainstorms with the Academy mana. The first Brainstorm reveals Stroke of Genius, Mox Diamond, and Lotus Petal. I put back Intuition and Stroke and play the Petal, then Brainstorm again. This gives me a Mind Over Matter as well. I stack the Mox Diamond, then Mind Over Matter on top and pass. In game 1, I don’t have to worry about Duress, so I can Brainstorm on my own turn.

Jund draws a Thrinax, plays the Raging Ravine and passes.

Academy takes one from the tapped Vault, draws the Mind Over Matter, then Scroll Racks into Mox Diamond, Mox Diamond, Windfall. With UU floating, Academy can blow the Lotus Petal for Windfall. Both sides pitch their hand, and draw seven. Academy draws garbage — 2 Mind Over Matter, 2 Time Spiral, 2 Intuition, Mana Vault. With no land and nothing to play, it passes.

Jund drew much better off the Windstorm: Maelstrom Pulse, Blightning, Bituminous Blast, 2 Lightning Bolt, Savage Lands, Rootbound Crag. Jund draws another Blightning for the turn, plays Savage Lands and passes.

Academy draws a third Mana Vault, taps Academy for UU, plays Vault, taps it for 3, plays another Vault, taps that (U5 floating) and Scroll Racks for five, (U4 floating) keeping only Time Spiral. It draws Lotus Petal, Ancient Tomb, Intuition, Voltaic Key and Time Spiral. Academy plays the Lotus Petal, then Key, uses Key to untap a Vault, taps the Vault again (U5), then plays and taps Ancient Tomb. (U7 floating, life at 16). Academy blows the Lotus Petal for U and plays Time Spiral, untapping the two lands. Jund taps Raging Ravine to Bolt Academy in response.

Off the Time Spiral, Jund draws Bloodbraid, 2 Thrinax, 2 Bituminous Blast, Verdant Catacombs, and Dragonskull Summit. Academy draws 2 cycling lands, 2 other lands, Mind Over Matter, and 2 Twiddle. Academy taps its namesake land and uses some of the floating mana to play Mind Over Matter, taps Ancient Ruins and cycles a land, drawing Intuition. Academy discards the lands and discards Twiddle to untap Academy (using Mind Over Matter), cycles the Remote Isle to draw a Lotus Petal, plays the Petal, then Intuitions for three Time Spirals. Academy taps Ancient Ruins, plays the Time Spiral and draws another seven. This time it’s Mox Diamond, Lotus Petal, Twiddle, lands, and Time Spiral. It plays the Lotus Petal and Mox Diamond, then discard three cards to tap and untap Academy (now adding UUUUUUUU per tap), then casts Time Spiral again. Academy now has over 30 mana floating, and Time Spiral untapping the two lands once again. (For what it’s worth, there is only one Time Spiral left in the deck at this point.)

Academy draws into Stroke of Genius, plus six cards. Discarding those other six cards to Mind Over Matter to untap Academy adds another 56 mana to its pool. Academy casts Stroke of Genius for 80 cards, targeting Jund.

Nice turn 3, Academy!

Game 2 Jund is on the play. It draws the following hand: Dragonskull Summit, Verdant Catacombs, Mountain, Lightning Bolt, Putrid Leach, 2 Bloodbraid Elf. That hand is a keeper. Jund plays the Summit and passes.

Academy draws a hand with 2 Windfall, 2 Land, Mox Diamond, Stroke, and Mind Over Matter. I think that hand is a mulligan, even with a potential turn 2 Windfall. The six-card hand is Voltaic Key, Mox Diamond, Windfall, 3 land. Keeper. Academy plays out Mox Diamond, Voltaic Key and a cycling land and passes.

Jund draws another Lightning Bolt, plays Catacombs into Forest and drops the Leech.

Academy draws City of Brass, plays Island and casts Windfall. Its new hand is Academy, Stroke of Genius, Mox Diamond, Island, Time Spiral. Great, provided it does not get Blightninged, so it passes without playing the Mox. The Mox and land are Blightning protection.

Jund drew 2 Leeches, 2 Blightnings, and Savage Lands off the Windfall. It does not have a land that enters the battlefield untapped. On the draw it gets Blighting number three, so it attacks, pumps the Leech, then plays the Savage Lands and another the Leech and passes. (Jund at 17, Academy at 16.).

Academy draws Island, plays Academy, Mox Diamond and Time Spiral. The Time Spiral provides another Time Spiral and trash, so the second Time Spiral results in both Mox Diamonds being tapped, but Academy getting another hand and untapping its lands. Jund also got a new hand, but since it is tapped out, I’m not even going to mention what it drew. It’s irrelevant.

Academy now draws Mana Vault, Ancient Tomb, Blasted Landscape, Brainstorm, Rescind, Lotus Petal, Island. It plays Lotus Petal and Mana Vault off the Islands, then taps Mana Vault for 3, uses Key to untap it and retaps it for 5, then cycles Blasted Landscape drawing Windfall, then Brainstorms drawing Lotus Petal, Twiddle and Remote Isle, returning Island and Ancient Tomb. Academy plays Lotus Petal, taps Tolarian Academy (now floating 3UUUUUU.) It Twiddles Academy, cycles Rescind and Remote Isle, then casts Windfall (now floating UU, with the Academy untapped). Academy draws Twiddle, Lotus Petal, Twiddle, Brainstorm and lands. It plays the Petal, Brainstorms (drawing Stroke, Intuition, and another Academy, and putting two bad lands on top of its library). It taps Academy for seven U, Twiddles Academy, then casts Intuition for three copies of Mind Over Matter. It casts Mind Over Matter (nine U floating), then discards the two lands and Windfall to Mind Over Matter to untap Academy, tapping it again each time. With 30 mana in the pool, it can cast Stroke of Genius for 27, targeting itself. This leave Academy 3 cards in its library, but it can now play a couple artifacts, discard a dozen cards to untap Tolarian Academy a dozen times, then Stroke Jund for 100 cards.

Die, Jund, die.

Academy seems like a totally fair deck.

Jund has very little to sideboard with. It can take out the Terminate and Bituminous Blasts for Duress and Ruinblasters, but it does not seem like enough.

Jund’s seven has 2 Bloodbraid Elves and a Bolt, but no Duress. The six has lands, Thrinaxes, and a Ruinblaster. The five has four lands and a Maelstrom Pulse. Pulse on turn 3 could be relevant.

Academy has Lotus Petal, Academy, Island, Windfall, Blasted Landscape, Time Spiral, and Mind Over Matter. I think that’s a mulligan, since Mind Over Matter is almost certainly being discarded to Windfall or Time Spiral, and Windfall and Time Spiral are redundant. Debatable, but seems like a good squander — especially since Jund is already down a card, making Windfall smaller. The six is worse — Mox Diamond, Island, 2 Remote Isle, Twiddle, City of Brass. Still, Academy can cycle on turn 1, so it’s a keeper.

Jund plays Savage Lands and passes.

Academy rips the other City of Brass, drops the Mox Diamond (discarding City), plays Island, and passes.

Jund draws Swamp, plays Verdant Catacombs and passes. Academy cycles Remote Isle, drawing Academy, at end of turn.

Academy draws Time Spiral, cycles Remote Isle and draws Mox Diamond. It plays Mox Diamond, discarding the other City of Brass, taps Academy, Twiddles it, taps both Mox Diamonds and casts Time Spiral. Its draw is bad — 2 Mind Over Matter, Remote Isle, City of Brass, Stroke of Genius, Windfall, Intuition. No artifacts. Academy passes.

Jund has got five lands, Sarkhan the Mad, and Maelstrom Pulse, and draws Sprouting Thrinax. Pulse kills the Mox Diamonds (Academy cycles Remote Isle in response, drawing Rescind). The Pulse leaves Academy with just two lands — one of which does not tap for mana — and no other permanents.

Academy draws Windfall, then cycles Rescind into another Academy, and passes.

Jund draws another Pulse, plays Thrinax and a land, and passes.

Academy draws another Windfall and discards the spare Academy.

Jund draws another land, beats with Thrinax (Jund at 19 Academy at 17), then plays Sarkhan the Mad and makes a Dragon.

Academy draws yet another Windfall, and discards it.

Jund draws another land, and goes to attack step. Academy Twiddles the dragon and takes three. (Academy 14.) Jund drops another Thrinax, Lavaclaw Reaches, and makes a second dragon.

Academy draws a Mox Diamond (no land in hand) and scoops.

Game 4…

Academy is on the play. Its hand is Voltaic Key, Island, Academy, Mind Over Matter, Windfall, Time Spiral, Blasted Landscape. Not insane, but the chance of a turn 2 Windfall for seven (unless Jund mulligans a lot) is solid. Academy opens with Island and Voltaic Key, and passes.

Jund has an opening seven of 2 Catacombs, Rootbound Crag, Swamp, Leech, Thrinax, Ruinblaster. Great hand in any other game, but no relevant disruption. Its six has Duress, Leech, Catacombs, and lands. Better. Jund draws Bloodbraid, plays Verdant for Swamp, and plays Duress. Duress takes Windfall.

Academy draws another Time Spiral, plays the Blasted Landscape, and passes.

Jund draws Raging Ravine, plays a Forest and the Leech, and passes.

Academy draws Mox Diamond (no land except Academy), plays Academy and passes.

Jund draws Forest, plays the Ravine, then attacks for 4.

Academy draws Intuition, Intuitions for three Blasted Landscapes and uses one to play Mox Diamond.

Jund draws Duress. Jund’s hand is Bloodbraid, Duress, Lavaclaw Reaches, Forest, Rootbound Crag. It can Duress, or cast Bloodbraid and cascade. The Cascade could hit Blightning, the last Duress, Sprouting Thrinax, Maelstrom Pulse, one of the last three Leeches or Lightning Bolt. The Cascade seems like the better odds — but it cascades into an unkickable Ruinblaster. However, the beats send Academy to 7 — dead on the board next turn.

Academy rips Mana Vault. It plays the Vault off the Blasted Landscape, then taps the Academy, the Island, the Mox Diamond and the Key/Vault combo to produce UUUUU5. Academy casts Mind Over Matter, leaving U3 in the pool, discards one Time Spiral to Mind Over Matter to untap Academy, taps it again and casts the second Time Spiral with just U floating. Time Spiral untaps the lands, and gives Academy 2 Intuition, 2 Windfall, Twiddle and two lands. Academy taps its namesake for UUU, taps Blasted Landscape and cast Intuition for 3 Mana Vaults, then plays and taps one. (UU3 floating.) Academy casts the second Intuition for three Lotus Petals and casts one. It now uses the lands and Twiddles to untap (via Mind Over Matter) Academy, ending up with 21 Blue and a colorless mana in its pool. It casts Windfall for four cards.

It draws Time Spiral, Mox Diamond, Windfall, and land. After casting the Mox Diamond, using Mind Over Matter to produce another 24 Blue mana with Academy, it cast the Time Spiral. (It is now floating 36 Blue mana.)

Academy draws badly — 2 Brainstorm, 2 Twiddle, Blasted Landscape, Lotus Petal, Mox Diamond. Academy cycles Blasted Landscape and draws Windfall. (Ka-ching! Time Spiral gave Jund a seven card hand, and Jund is still tapped out.) Academy plays the Lotus Petal, both Brainstorms, and then discards six cards to Mind Over Matter to generate another 42 Blue mana. Then it casts Windfall. Since Jund has seven cards in hand, Windfall is another draw seven.

Academy draws Twiddle, Brainstorm, Intuition — no need to list the rest of the cards. Academy Intuitions for three copies of Stroke of Genius, uses the other cards to Twiddle its namesake, then decks Jund with Stroke.

Academy won on turn 4 this time — a bit slow, but it was Duressed early on.

I played a few more games all with Jund on the play. Jund won two out of three — once on the back of Blightning followed by Elf into Pulse killing two Mana Vaults, once with a Duress, Blightning draw. However, just when I thought the matchup was looking almost reasonable, I played a few more games. Academy ripped off three straight turn 2 kills.

Playing Academy is so much fun! I have to keep this in the tournament. This is great!

I’ll compromise by killing JarGrim. JarGrim is yet another combo deck — but it was banned in about a month. Academy may have trouble with other decks – decks like Draw-Go.

Time to try a different match-up with a different broken deck.

Go Anan Affinity verses Naya Lightsaber

I’m using Andre Coimbra list from 2009 Worlds. I tend to grab a premier event list for all the old decks, so I’m continuing the trend with the new. I wish I had a list with the Cunning Sparkmage / Basilisk Collar sideboard tech, but I’ll play what I have.

Here’s the Affinity list.

Shuuhei Nakamura

2 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Darksteel Citadel
3 Glimmervoid
4 Great Furnace
3 Seat of the Synod
3 Vault of Whispers

4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Arcbound Worker
4 Disciple of the Vault
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer

4 Chromatic Sphere
2 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Skullclamp
4 Thoughtcast
4 Welding Jar

3 Furnace Dragon
3 Genesis Chamber
2 Mana Leak
4 Pyroclasm
3 Seething Song

Ready… Fight!

Lightsaber plays first game 1. It draws Mountain, Forest, Arid Mesa, Noble Hierarch, Lightning Bolt, 2 Ranger of Eos. That seems fine.

Affinity draws Darksteel Citadel, 2 Disciple of the Vault, Welding Jar, Thoughtcast, Arcbound Worker, Shrapnel Blast. With nothing to cast, until it draws colored lands, but a 1/1, this seems worth a mulligan. (For what it’s worth, the first land was a Seat of the Synod, three cards down. A Chromatic Sphere was next.) The six was a pair of Myr Enforcers, Electrostatic Bolt, Chromatic Sphere, Welding Jar, Frogmite. This is a tough choice, but any land gets a Frogmite down, and Affinity is on the draw, so I keep.

(A note — these are practice games. I haven’t played Affinity for years, and I’m rusty. Live with it.)

Lightsaber plays Forest, Hierarch, go.

Affinity draws a Disciple and drops the Welding Jar.

Lightsaber draws and plays Arid Mesa, beats for one, and passes.

Affinity draws and plays another Welding Jar. Lightsaber fetches a Plains at end of turn.

Lightsaber draws Scute Mob, plays a Mountain and the Ranger, fetching two Wild Nacatls.

Affinity draws Ravager and passes.

Lightsaber draws Sunpetal Grove, beats for 4 and plays both Nacatls and the Scute Mob, leaving Lightning Bolt mana up.

Affinity draws a non-land and scoops.

Bad mulligan decision? Let’s try again.

Game 1B:

Naya on the play once more. Naya has Oran-Rief the Vastwood, 2 Wild Nacatl, Rootbound Crag, Lightning Bolt, Arid Mesa, and Baneslayer Angel.

Affinity has Seat of the Synod, 2 Thoughtcast, Disciple of the Vault, Frogmite, Shrapnel Blast, and Myr Enforcer.

Lightsaber plays Oran-Rief, tapped, and passes.

Affinity draws Darksteel Citadel, plays Seat and passes.

Lightsaber draws and plays Mountain and a Nacatl.

Affinity draws Chromatic Sphere, plays Citadel, Sphere, Frogmite, and passes. Lightsaber Bolts the Froggie at end of turn.

Lightsaber draws Bloodbraid Elf, plays Arid Mesa and fetches a Plains, and beats for three. Lightsaber drops its second Nacatl.

Affinity draws Disciple and plays Thoughtcast, drawing Arcbound Worker and Shrapnel Blast.

Lightsaber draws and plays Sunpetal Grove, plays Bloodbraid Elf into Noble Hierarch, and beats for nine.

Affinity draws Great Furnace, plays it and Thoughtcast, drawing another Furnace and another Worker. Affinity taps out for Myr Enforcer.

Lightsaber draws Ajani Vengeant, and plays Rootbound Crag, then beats for nine. Worker blocks Bloodbraid, and the Enforcer blocks a Nacatl. Lightsaber then drops Baneslayer Angel. Affinity scoops.

Game 2…

Affinity is on the play, and draws Vault of Whispers, Great Furnace, Shrapnel Blast, Chromatic Sphere, Skullclamp, Frogmite, and Disciple. Great hand. It plays Vault and Disciple and passes.

Naya’s hand is Oran-Rief the Vastwood, 2 Noble Hierarch, Baneslayer, Ajani Vengeant, and Ranger of Eos. Also a keeper. It draws Arid Mesa, drops Oran-Rief and passes.

Affinity draws another Great Furnace, plays the Furnace, beats for one with the Disciple, then plays Chromatic Sphere, Skullclamp, and Frogmite.

Naya draws Plains, plays Rootbound Crag and the Noble Hierarch, and passes.

Affinity draws and plays Welding Jar, then blows Chromatic Sphere for a card and Blue mana, and draws a second Skullclamp. Disciple eats a life. Affinity uses the mana to equip Frogmite and beats for three. (Naya at 15.) It then plays Skullclamp #2 and equips Frogmite with it. Frogmite dies (Naya at 14) and Affinity draws Darksteel Citadel and Electrostatic Bolt.

Naya plays Plains and Ajani Vengeant, then uses the Vengeant to kill Disciple. (Naya at 17.)

Affinity draws Arcbound Ravager. Affinity uses Electrostatic Bolt to kill Noble Hierarch. Ravager eats the Welding Jar, then Affinity equips it with Skullclamp.

Naya draws and plays a Forest, then plays Bloodbraid Elf, cascading into Noble Hierarch. Ajani locks down a Great Furnace.

Affinity draws Great Furnace, and attacks Ajani Vengeant. Naya blocks with Bloodbraid. Affinity draws a second Shrapnel Blast off the Skullclamp.

Naya draws Wild Nacatl. It locks down Furnace with Ajani, then blows the Arid Mesa for a Mountain. It casts Ranger of Eos, getting another Wild Nacatl and Scute Mob. It plays out the Scute Mob and a Nacatl. Affinity Shrapnel Blasts Ajani Vengeant at end of turn, sacrificing the locked Great Furnace.

Affinity draws and plays Frogmite, then equips it with one Skullclamp. It then Shrapnel Blasts Scute Mob, sacrificing a Furnace.

Naya rips a Forest, then plays Baneslayer and Noble Hierarch, and uses Oran-Rief to put a counter on both. It beats for five with the Nacatl. Affinity chumps, and draws another Frogmite off the Skullclamp.

Affinity rips Myr Enforcer, and plays both the Frogmite and Enforcer, and equips both with Skullclamps.

Naya draws another Ranger of Eos, and attacks with the first Ranger, the Nacatl and the Baneslayer. The Enforcer and Frogmite trade with the Nacatl and Ranger, but the Baneslayer gets through for 6. Affinity draws Frogmite and Glimmervoid off the Skullclamps. Naya then plays the second Ranger, fetching Wild Nacatls. It plays all three Nacatls, and pumps them all with Oran-Rief.

Affinity draws Vault of Whispers, plays and double clamps the Frogmite, and draws Myr Enforcer and Skullclamp #3. It plays the Enforcer, but against three 4/4s, a 3/2 and a 6/6 Baneslayer, that is nowhere near enough. [Nice Green Baneslayer, Pete. Bennie Smith will be happy. — Craig, amused.]


I don’t see that big a problem with Affinity anymore. I may look for a different version — one with Cranial Plating over Welding Jars, perhaps – but I see no reason to leave it out of the tournament. Affinity was fast in a relatively slow world, but it will not fare as well in a world of 5/4s for three mana and Path to Exile.

With Skullclamp Affinity in the event, I will leave Elf and Nail out. One Skullclamp deck is enough.

Let me know what final changes to make to the list of decks. What do I cut? What have I missed? Sound off in the forums.


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