Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #333 – More UST Round 1 Play

Grand Prix GP Columbus July 30-August 1, 2010
Thursday, July 15th – We have the brackets. Play has begun, both online and off. This week, it’s Faeries versus Replenish, Mythic Conscription battles Deadguy Red, Corrupter Black takes on Academy, and Rec/Sur goes up against Necropotence. Time for some coverage!

We have the brackets. Play has begun, both online and off. This week, it’s Faeries versus Replenish, Mythic Conscription battles Deadguy Red, Corrupter Black takes on Academy, and Rec/Sur goes up against Necropotence. Time for some coverage!

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.

The brackets and decklists can be found here.

Where possible, I’m playing these matches out online, on MTGO. It’s obviously not possible for some matches, of course, since many of these decks rely on cards that just don’t exist online. (Rishadan Port is a great example.) When necessary, I’ll end up playing these matches between my two accounts, but I’d prefer actual opponents. When I’m online and available, I’ll hang out in a room called UST. Just type “/join UST” in any window on MTGO. (Unfortunately, this week has been busy, and I haven’t been online often. I’ve also got conflicts Thursday and Friday, but I’ll keep trying.)

Faeries versus Replenish

This was left over from the last bracket, but I ran out of time last week. I thought this would be a tough battle, based on the first playtest game I played. However, a few more games made it obvious that the first game involved Replenish having a great draw, and Faeries had a really bad one. The rest of the games were just not that good / close / interesting.

Here’s a sample game. Faeries had Secluded Glen, Sunken Ruins, Faerie Conclave, Rune Snag, Bitterblossom, Spellstutter Spite, Mistbind Clique. Replenish did open with Mystic and Enlightened Tutor, Counterspell, lands and Parallax Wave — and even drew Rishadan Port turn 1. However, even with Port locking down one of Faeries’ lands for several turns, Faeries operated pretty well on two. Replenish tutored for Frantic Search and Attunement, and both were countered. Replenish did counter the Mistbind Clique, but that was pretty much irrelevant. It was already dying to the Bitterblossom.

I played a number of games. Replenish never came close to stealing a game.

Faeries advances.

Corrupter Black versus Academy

I took a lot of flak about allowing Affinity and Academy in the event. I think Affinity can be beaten, but Academy — well, the more I play it, the better it seems. I will admit that anything versus Academy was beginning to feel like Bambi vs. Godzilla. I was considering taking Academy out of the event, but decided to play out this match first, to see how bad it was.

The first couple of practice games were all Academy. I learned a few tricks — things like casting Diabolic Edict targeting Academy end of turn whenever CB had mana free. This was because Academy used Windfall to refill, and Windfall draws cards equal to the greatest number of cards in any player’s hand, so Corrupter Black needs to get rid of its hand — including the Diabolic Edicts.

Then there was this game.

CB: Spawning Pool, tapped, go
Academy: Lotus Petal, Mox Diamond discarding Blasted Landscape, tap Mox for Mana Vault, tap Vault for Vault, Scroll Rack, Academy, go. (One card — an Intuition – in hand.)
CB: Dark Ritual, Duress. (Academy taps the Academy, uses Scroll Rack to hide the Intuition in response, drawing Windfall, which is discarded to Duress.) Wasteland, killing Academy, cast Powder Keg, then sacrifice Powder Keg to kill Lotus Petal and Mox Diamond. Suddenly, Academy went from an insane position, with a Time Spiral next turn, to no lands, no hand, no colored mana and a tapped Mana Vault pinging away.

A few turns later, Academy got a colored mana and managed to cast Intuition for three Academies, played one and cast Windfall (for just three cards.) CB untapped, played Dark Ritual, Duress (Academy Brainstormed in response.) CB then played Yawgmoth’s Will, both Dark Rituals from the graveyard, the Powder Keg, the Wasteland (killing another Academy), cast Rapid Decay to remove three Tolarian Academies from the game, and finished by casting a Ravenous Rats.

Academy did not win that one.

I was still thinking of these as playtest, when I realized that Corrupter Black had just won three out of four, then Academy got another turn 2 kill on the play. I decided to call it 1-1 for unsideboarded games and move on to the sideboarding. Academy brought in the two Power Sinks for two Twiddles. Corrupter Black took out all the anti-creature stuff (the Diabolic Edicts, the Bottle Gnomes and the super-slow Corpse Dance) and brought in anything faster — the Persecute, the Negators, two Rapid Decays, the Hatred and a Carrion Beetles (it’s a one-drop, after all).

The match became a best two out of three.

Post sideboard was stupid lucky for CB. Academy mulliganed two garbage hands, then played Remote Island. CB started with Swamp, Dark Ritual, Stupor. Its next turn was Wasteland, kill Academy, Ritual, Phyrexian Negator. Academy managed to play a Blasted Landscape turn 3, and cycle another turn 4, but that was it.

CB: 1-0.

Game 2 started out looking like a sweep. Once again, Corrupter Black managed a brutal early Powder Keg that proved a three-for-one (five-for-one if you count the lands that had been discarded to the Mox Diamond). However, the only offense it had was a Carrion Beetle and a Ravenous Rats. The beatdown was too slow, and Academy managed to draw into some Mana Vaults, a Voltaic Key and — eventually — Intuition for Academy, which let it cast Time Spiral, dump lots of stuff, Windfall (drawing seven because CB could not cast anything), another Time Spiral, more artifacts, Mind over Matter, Windfall, Stroke self for lots, Stroke opponent for more.

All tied at 1 game apiece.

Game 3, for all the marbles.

This game was weird, and very, very complex on both sides. CB had a double Wasteland opening hand, and this kept Academy off its mana. Academy also had some awkward draws, and had to discard a Time Spiral to a Windfall early, and another Time Spiral got caught by discard. Once again, CB managed to do some serious damage via discard, but had little pressure. Academy had some artifacts in play, and Academy, and a Scroll Rack — but it only had one card in hand, and that only until CB could draw a Ravenous Rats or the like.

A couple of turns later, Academy was in a strange position. CB had Ritualed out a Phyrexian Negator, but was stuck on one land (it was maybe turn eight, and most of its lands draws had been Wastelands.) Academy cast an Intuition, fetching the last card draws left in its deck. These were two Time Spirals and a Stroke of Genius. CB gave it the Stroke. Academy had also accumulated an extra land and a Windfall, and it drew Mind Over Matter.

The game had turned into Magic the Puzzling. Under normal circumstances, Academy could cast Mind over Matter, use the land to Twiddle the Academy for mana, use Scroll Rack to swap Stroke for another card, discard that card to Twiddle Academy, Stroke itself for the rest of its deck, twiddle some more, then Stroke the opponent for the win. The only downside — the other Strokes and the Time Spirals (the cards which could shuffle the Strokes back into the library) were all in the graveyard.

Time to count libraries. More puzzling. A Stroke alone was not enough, but another card to use for mana, plus Stroke and then Windfall could almost deck CB. Academy had to pass, and hope that CB did not draw a discard spell.

CB had a Ravenous Rats and a Stupor in hand.

CB did not draw a land. The Negator and Rats crashed in for six damage. Academy dropped to 11. Academy drew, then used both spare cards to Twiddle Academy, tapped everything, including Ancient Tomb, for mana. This produced 22 mana. Academy Stroked CB for 16, then cast Windfall. CB drew 16 cards off the Stroke. With the four cards it had in hand, CB drew 20 more off the Windfall. CB had one card left in its library. Academy was at 9 life; CB had 6 damage on the board.

CB drew, played a Swamp, then cast Dark Ritual and Yawgmoth’s Will. It then cast more Rituals from the graveyard, and cast the one card Academy had not yet seen: the Hatred out of the sideboard. Ravenous Rats swung for 20 damage!

Corrupter Black, punching way beyond its weight, floors Academy.

In all seriousness, though, this matchup was a toss-up. Academy is insane, when not disrupted. Corrupter Black has 4 Duress, 2 Stupor, 4 Wasteland, Persecute and 4 Powder Kegs, and thanks to Yawgmoth’s Will, it can cast them all twice. Even Rapid Decay is useful since Academy typically shuffle its graveyard into its library twice a game, usually after Intuition has put critical pieces of the combo into the graveyard.

The final game, which probably took 40 minutes for seven or eight turns, was a really complex nail-biter. I will admit I am quite happy about the outcome, though. I love playing Academy, but there is a really good reason it was banned.

Deadguy Red versus Mythic Conscription

Burn spells will be up against Baneslayer Angel. Jackal Pup is not so good a one-drop as Noble Hierarch, and Ironclaw Orcs are not in the same class as Lotus Cobra. Fireblast as a finisher is not quite so good as Mythic Conscription. I have to admit that I really don’t see much chance of this turning out well for the old deck. Deadguy Red is fast — but not that fast.

Game 1:

I’m playing Deadguy Red. A couple different people — preferring to remain anonymous – have played the Mythic decks. Mythic draws two straight hands with double Mythic Conscription, one land. It keeps the five. Deadguy Red keeps a hand with Wasteland, Mogg Fanatic, Shock, Ball Lightning, etc. Not great, but disruptive, and since Mythic had mulliganed once at that point, I kept.

Turn 1: Mythic opens with Misty Rainforest into Forest, Noble Hierarch. Red plays Mountain and Shocks the Hierarch.

Turn 2: Mythic plays Hierarch # 2, no land. Red plays another Mountain, and uses the Fanatic to kill the Hierarch.

Turn 3: Mythic plays a Plains. Red plays Mountain, Ball Lightning.

Turn 4: Mythic does nothing. Red plays Wasteland, Cursed Scroll.

Turn 5: Mythic does nothing. Red use Cursed Scroll EoT, and misses (hand is Mountain, Mountain, Shock.) Red plays Mountain, Jackal Pup, and passes.

Turn 6: Mythic plays Misty Rainforest into Forest, then casts Dauntless Escort. Red uses the Shock and Cursed Scroll to kill it. Red plays another Jackal Pup and passes. Mythic is at 12.

Turn 7: Mythic plays out a 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary. Red uses Cursed Scroll EoT. Red draws an Incinerate, beats with the Pups (one is blocked), then plays Mountain and uses the Cursed Scroll to kill the Knight.

Turn 8: Mythic plays another Knight and a Celestial Colonnade. Red draws another Cursed Scroll, and uses the on board Scroll plus Incinerate to clear the way, then beats for 2 and Wastelands the Celestial Colonnade. (Would going to the head with Incinerate be better? Depends on whether Mythic can land another three drop that survives Scroll.)

Turn 9: Mythic plays Sunpetal Grove and a third Knight! Red draws a Mountain, plays the second Scroll and passes.

Turn 10: Mythic draws another Rainforest, cracks it and uses Knight to draw an Island. It then plays Sovereigns of Lost Alara. Red draws another Mountain and passes. It can Scroll twice, but that will only put Mythic at one.

Turn 11: Mythic attacks, fetches Conscription and the 17/17 Knight is lethal, since Red took four damage when the first Jackal Pup ran into the earlier Knight.

We played a number of games, then two that counted. Deadguy Red managed to take one.


Mythic has an embarrassment of riches. We discuss sideboarding, since both sides know the lists, etc., and agree that Mythic wants the Negates, the Bant Charm, and two of the Celestial Purges, while the Jaces, a Gideon and an Elspeth come out. (The Elspeth was debatable.) Deadguy Red brings in the four Pyroblasts and two Dwarven Miners for the Bottle Gnomes, the Goblin Vandals, IronClaw Orcs, and Jackal Pup.

Game 1:

Deadguy Red is on the play. It mulligans a hand with one land, Fireblast and junk. It keeps 2 Mountain, Shock, Jackal Pup, Incinerate, Ironclaw Orcs.

Red drops a Jackal Pup turn 1, and bolts a Birds of Paradise turn 2. Mythic drops another Forest (off a Misty Rainforest) and plays a Lotus Cobra, which dies to a Hammer of Bogardan. Over the next couple turns, Mythic remains color screwed, mana creatures die before they can be used, and Red drops a Mogg Flunkies and the Ironclaw Orcs which get there.

The game would have been completely different if Mythic had gotten a white mana source to live until untap, but it did not.

Game 2:

Mythic has, according to comments, a “great hand.” Red has three Mountains, 2 Jackal Pups, an Ironclaw Orc and a Ball Lightning. No burn, no keep. The six is a Mogg Fanatic, a Wasteland and Mountains, but that is not bad enough to go to five.

Mythic opens with a Misty Rainforest into Noble Hierarch, which dies to Mogg Fanatic. Mythic then plays Dauntless Escort off a set of basics, followed by a Lotus Cobra and Birds of Paradise, leading into a Baneslayer Angel. Hammer of Borgardan had killed the Dauntless Escort, so an Incinerate and a Fireblast (sacking Mountain) offed the Baneslayer. This left Red with 2 Mountains and a Wasteland in play, and a Mountain and Pyroblast in hand. It was also being beaten down with the Cobra, so it was at 11 life when Mythic dropped a Knight of the Reliquary. Red ripped another Mountain, and managed to Pyroblast the Sovereigns on Lost Alara next turn, but the turn after that Mythic used Relic tricks to hard cast Eldrazi Conscription on the Lotus Cobra, and the game was over.

Game 3:

Deadguy Red was on the play. It kept a hand with 2 Mountain, Mogg Fanatic, Wasteland, Cursed Scroll, Ironclaw Orcs and Hammer of Bogardan. Mythic mulliganed a hand with 2 Islands, lots of White cards and no mana fixers. It thought long and hard about mulliganing to five, then kept.

Red opened with a Mogg Fanatic, which beat, then killed Mythic’s turn 1 Birds. Mythic had a turn 2 Birds, and a Celestial Colonnade. Mythic had exactly the same turn 3, but now Red had an Ironclaw Orcs and a Mogg Flunkies in play, and was beating. Red tried to kill the Birds with a Hammer of Bogardan, but it was Negated.

Mythic began a comeback with a Knight of the Reliquary. Red played Cursed Scroll, beat with both creatures (Knight blocked and killed the Ironclaw Orcs) and passed. Mythic was at 9 life.

Mythic played a Lotus Cobra off the two lands, then used the Knight to fetch another land and played Dauntless Escort. Red simply played an Ironclaw Orcs and passed. Its hand, at this point, was a pair of Fireblasts. Simply drawing a Mountain would be lethal.

Mythic played Knight/land tricks and dropped a Baneslayer Angel, then swung with the Dauntless Escort. Red drew a Jackal Pup, not a land, and tried Cursed Scroll naming Fireblast, then Fireblast itself targeting the Angel. The Mythic player was not totally stupid, so the Dauntless Escort died, Baneslayer lived and Deadguy Red was eliminated.

Mythic advances.

Rec/Sur versus Necro

I played this match out with Nico, who was experienced with that version of the Rec/Sur deck. During the practice games, he taught me some tricks for winning and beating Rec/Sur. The 5 color version Worlds version is quite different from the GB version I played for years, but they have similarities. It’s a Survival deck, after all.

Both decks are built around some pretty broken cards. Survival of the Fittest was banned, back in the day. So were Necropotence and Yawgmoth’s Will. These decks both revolve around broken interactions, but that is what I am looking for. The question is whether the best decks of today can compete against the best of the past, and the best of the past are the decks that rely on some really good synergies and, truth be told, on broken cards.

Here’s an example of synergy: Yawgmoth’s Will plus Urza’s Bauble. It’s insane. In one game, I drew two Baubles, and drew six cards off those two Baubles. I played them, sacked them, drew cards, cast Yawgmoth’s Will, cast the Baubles again from the graveyard, sacked them next turn, rinse and repeat. The Baubles were amazing.

These games were long and complex, and I did not take good notes. Apologies.
Basically, Rec/Sur had three ways to win. The least likely (but it did happen) was to beat down with random guys. Once in a while, 2/2s like Spike Feeder and Uktabi Orangutan got there. More commonly, Spirit of the Night went the distance. With Survival and Recurring Nightmare, you could get a Spirit into play on turn 3 or so. (Land, Birds. T2 Land, Survival, Birds. T3 land, Survival random dude for Spirit of the Night, Survival Spirit for something, Recurring Nightmare, sac birds to RN to put Spirit into play, beat for 6.) Necro’s only out to Spirit of the Night was Diabolic Edict, and that only worked when Rec/Sur had no other creatures to sacrifice.

Rec/Sur’s third way to win was with Lobotomy. In one very dramatic game, Rec/Sur cast a Lobotomy on turns 3 and 4 — catching Yawgmoth’s Will and Drain Life. With almost no ways to win, Necro was toast.

Rec/Sur had a fourth way to stop Necro — get Tradewind Rider active. If it kept bouncing Swamps, Necro could not cast meaningful Corrupts or Drain Lifes. In games where Rec/Sur had Recurring Nightmare and enough creatures, it was almost impossible for Necro to keep the board clear.

I found one thing very strange. In most games involving Recurring Nightmare, you cast the Nightmare and use it without passing priority. The biggest danger, generally, is that someone could target Recurring Nightmare with a Disenchant effect. Since RN operates at sorcery speed, that kills it. However, in this matchup, where Necro had Duress but no Disenchants, Rec/Sur simply played the Nightmare whenever it could, and just left it sitting in play most of the time.

The above may give the impression that Rec/Sur dominates this matchup. That’s not true. Necro has Necropotence — and if Necro resolves, Necro is going to get far ahead on cards. Necro provides lands, cards, and eventually a Drain Life. Drain Life not only lowers Rec/Sur’s life total, it increases Necro’s life total, and that total turns into cards almost immediately. Survival decks are not super swift — and when they slow down, Necro buries them in card advantage.

Necro also has Nevinyrral’s Disk — a sweeper capable of eliminating Survival and all of the creatures Rec/Sur has accumulated. The only trick is getting it to fire. Nev’s Disk comes into play tapped. If Rec/Sur has a creature in hand and Survival in play, it can get Uktabi Orangutan and kill the disk long before it can untap. Survival can also kill Necropotence with Cloudchaser Eagle — and if it has Recurring Nightmare, it can do that again and again.

Necro can stop this, however. If it can keep killing Rec/Sur’s creatures, it can run it out. Recurring Nightmare does nothing if you don’t have a creature in play to sacrifice, and this build does not have a Gravedigger or Reya Dawnbringer to two for one on creatures. When Necro has cleared the board, it has often won. (On the flip side, pre sideboard, Verdant Force was a big problem. Diabolic Edict is not a good answer to Verdant Force.)

We played four presideboarded games. I was playing Rec/Sur, and I lost three of them — but one may have been lost to pilot error.

Sideboarding was tricky. For Rec/Sur, the three Emerald Charm were a given, since it can kill Necro, and end the card advantage. It also brought in Staunch Defenders, which is both a minor beater and a source of life gain. Life gain could put Rec/Sur so far ahead that Necro could not cast enough Drain Life’s and Corrupts to win. (Don’t forget that, come mid game, Recurring Nightmare can mean that the Staunch Defenders can switch places with a Spike Feeder a couple times, gaining up to 10 life a turn.)

Sideboarding Necro was tougher. I never did find a full sideboard likes for Wiessmann’s Necro deck. We discussed it, and decided that the most likely sideboard would be something like this:

4 Wasteland

4 Terror

3 Phyrexian Negator

2 Dread of Night or Evincar’s Justice

2 Perish

Given that list, the Duress came out for Terror’s and the Perishes also come in. Trading the Skirges for Negators is possible, but risky. We did not.

After sideboarding, the games were still close. The main difference, however, was that Necro now had much better chance to clear the board and get a chance to Disk. It was still tight, but after a number of games, we agreed that Necro had the edge. It won most of the preboard games, and most of the postboard. Close, but Necro plus Yawgmoth’s will is more broken than Survival — at least the versions without Great Whale.

Necro advances.

As was pointed out in the forums, I now have three decks abusing Yawgmoth’s Will: Corrupter Black, Necro, and Napster. I haven’t started playing Napster yet. Should I swap it out — and if so, with what? I was considering something from the 2005-2007 period, possibly Eminent Domain, or maybe Flores Blue. Comments?


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