Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Competitive EDH - Blue White Control in French EDH?


I used to play The Mimeoplasm (combo) at local tournaments and I usually won those tournaments as well. But I could see that the metagame actually calls for a different kind of deck. One with either more disruption or playing a completely different deck. The majority of decks that place well here are Vendilion Clique decks or Geist of Saint Traft decks. In general blue based decks are everywhere. Also with the printing of Anafenza playing reanimator does not seem the best thing to do. So what should I play?

Some time ago...two months ago? I put together some kind of Grand Arbiter Augustin IV deck. I was trying to find the decklist but it seems that I never wrote it down (I remember writing a report from the tournament but it seems that it is not on this blog). I placed well in the tournament even though playing very badly but I found out that it is actually enjoyable to play even though the games take ages. I chose GAA because it seemed as a good choice. But what does the general do? Well most of the time for me it gave me one more turn to do something. When I managed to play it from time to time I usually had to play some kind of wrath effect the turn later. That is something I did not really like much. But Esper generals are just meh and UWR is something I did not want to play. Because when I tried these colors I found out that the more efficient way to win is by bashing my opponent with creatures.

I wanted to try UW control deck because it would be fair and it would follow a normal game of magic. It wouldn't warp the format in anyway. Would such a deck be good enough? The deck is good enough, that is for sure but sometimes it feels like my deck is not really well prepared against some other generals. This deck cannot counter or deal with Narset, Prossh or Geist all the time. It needs to find a win condition fast in order to end the game. The general itself is not good enough for that and that is the reason I wanted to include Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace. Before including this I had to draw Elspeth, Jace or Gideon in order to win but sometimes I just couldn't draw it and died to a opposing general.

Helm/RIP takes up some slots (because I need to find the combo pieces as well) but does that matter? Or rather how much does that matter? The first time I came to play with GAA deck I wasn't really sure what kind of counterspells or card drawing cards I want in the deck. There were about ten cards I did not consider good and played them and even though they were not really good in the deck the deck in general worked I tried swapping those with some other cards (and I messed that up once again, the decklist is not ideal yet and won't be for a while).

1 Remand
1 Absorb
1 Miscalculation
1 Disenchant
1 Exclude
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Negate
1 Force Spike
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Force of Will
1 Spell Snare
1 Cryptic Command
1 Mental Misstep
1 Mana Leak
1 Impulse
1 Memory Lapse
1 Repulse
1 Condescend
1 Into the Roil
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Sphinx's Revelation
1 Dissolve
1 Forbid
1 Dismiss
1 Dig Through Time
1 Spell Pierce
1 Logic Knot
1 Brainstorm
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Jace's Ingenuity
1 Counterspell
1 Repeal

These are the instants I played the last time. There are cards I would not normally play in a highlander deck - Exclude, Jace's Ingenuity, Dismiss and Repulse. Exclude and Repulse hit a creature and in a game of EDH each of us has a general that is usuallly a creature so I thought that these cards would actually be ok. But after staring at Cliques and Geists in play/command zone I might reconsider this and play Dissipate/Hinder or something like that instead of it. I don't want to play Daze because it usually makes no sense to play it for its alternative cost and 2 mana Force Spike is not something I want. Even Rune Snag would be better in that case. Mana Tithe is a card I might actually include but I never missed it. Muddle the Mixture is there to tutor Rest in Peace primarily.
One of the cards that I'm not really convinced about is Cyclonic Rift. In 99% of the time I'm not happy seeing it in my hand and many times I need to bounce something of my own and this card just can't do it. The overload mode seems nice, but well...I used it once? Against an opponent that should have killed me no matter what I tried to do? This card will get few more chances but I will most probably cut it in the end...

1 Preordain
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Wrath of God
1 Serum Visions
1 End Hostilities
1 Terminus
1 Ponder
1 Day of Judgment
1 Fabricate
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Entreat the Angels
1 Portent
1 Supreme Verdict

This deck runs white so it means that it can run global removal. I added End Hostilities and do not regret it. I'm not sure about Serum Visions. I never liked the card but in german Highlander this card is better than many others because it just costs 1 mana and it still allows some kind of library manipulation. I decided to try more expensive spells next time. One of them is actually Jace's Ingenuity that I added. I cut Deep Analysis but I might try to put that back in and cut something else (Fabricate). I do not want to play sorcery speed card draw but I might play Compulsive Research and Think Twice is coming back in too if I find place for it.
There is one more sorcery that could actually make it in - Armageddon. This card just wrecks everything and is usually efficient in a completely different decks. But certain decks will just kill this one when they reach a certain amount of lands and if this can land a walker and play geddon it can win. I don't really like the thought of me playing Armageddon in this kind of deck, but I see it's worth even in such a deck.
I hardly killed anyone with Entreat the Angels. Even though Mystical Tutor -> Entreat the Angels look sweet in reality it does not work that much probably because of the starting life total.

Artifact [2]
1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Helm of Obedience
Enchantment [3]

1 Oblivion Ring
1 Rest in Peace
1 Detention Sphere

As for artifacts and enchantments I don't know why I play Shackles. The card was always good in a control deck but with all those wrath effects and generals with shroud or some that I can hardly steal (because they can become way bigger or kill themselves) why play them? I will keep the combo in probably. I'd like to include Future Sight and see if I can manage to play it. The card is just too good. I wanted to keep this deck relatively fast but against all those other blue decks the games usually take ages and this is something that can simply win the game. The other card I was considering playing was Oblivion Stone but I think that the deck does not need the card.

Creatures is something I wouldn't bother playing but in the end I played Venser, Shaper Savant and Snapcaster Mage. If I would play any other creature it would be Vendilion Clique.

1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Gideon Jura
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, Architect of Thought

Planeswalkers is what usually kills my opponent. Jace Beleren is on the watch list to go out. I would replace him with a more expensive card - Karn (or just a card draw). I considered Ugin but in all the games I managed to play it Ugin was more or less useless. I don't really like Jace, AoT but he showed to be actually quite good and I really like Elspeth Tirel. I never thought that I would play this card anywhere but she's good.

I played 39 lands and I have no idea if that number is ok, good or bad (I usually had enough lands). I would include Flagstones of Trokair and probably added a land or two. I ran quite a lot of utility lands (Maze of Ith, Wasteland, Tectonic Edge etc...and I should not really take those in account).

I came back from the last tournament convinced that this deck would do better with Geist in its lead even though the deck is not built around it (I might actually try that). What I don't like about Geist of Saint Traft is that he warps the format. The card is simply too good. Same goes to other cards or generals but this one annoys me quite a lot because it reminds me of Delver of Secrets. So that's about it...for now. ^_^. Maybe it is time to play Geist as well and see what it can do in a control deck^_^.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking after cats part 1 - Day 1 to Day 4

For a relatively long period me and my sister should be taking care of my mother's cats Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Leontyna. My sister got the first shift and I have the second one now. I went through a lot of stress lately and I was quite depressed in the past week. It was really difficult for me to do something...but now I hope to regenerate a bit here with the cats. Plans for the upcoming two weeks:
Play some DDR (every day if possible)


play some Magic (I plan to try some THS block sealed and FRF/KTK drafts)

play the piano (oh I figured out the notes in The Great Giana Sisters...but well not the rhythm) and learn something new if possible...

alter some cards (Tarmogoyf, Force of Will, Abrupt Decay, Life from the Loam, Swords to Plowshares) or at least finish Tarmogoyf and prime Force of Will with some coats of red paint so they would look like more or less this ->

and then try to figure out how to fix some problems and update all the tables I was supposed to update ages ago...

So how were the first four days here?

The very first day I came here and I was wondering which bowl belongs to Sheldon and which one to Leontynka. I did not figure it out. I put food for one cat in one bowl and food for the other in the other one. They ate what they were supposed to eat. The day after they switched the bowls^_^ when the contents were the same. I hoped for some instructions here, but they were not left here for us to see. After those few days there were few things I shouldn't have done...

Rule no.1 - Do not let Sheldon enter the bathroom. He attacked the toilet paper roll, totally destroyed it and started eating the paper o_O

Rule no.2 - No food should be left alone, not even for a few seconds. Sheldon ate my breakfast.

Rule no.3 - No drink containing milk should be left alone. I left alone my lovely looking coffee for a while and then turned around to find Sheldon drinking it....

Rule no.4 - Do not shuffle cards if you don't want your hands to bleed all over... I started shuffling my deck to do some test draws (which were really scary) and Sheldon grabbed my hands and started scratching that was painful.

Rule no.5 - Do not leave any clothes on a surface on which one can lie down on (if you still want to wear them the next day). Leontynka confiscated my t-shirt...(she really liked it)

Day 1 - After their meal they happily slept but during the night I could hear them fighting each other.

Day 2 - Leontynka, capable of sending messages to several people at once!

Day 3 - Sheldon eating a dance pad...

Day 4 - Sheldon vs Fate Reforged Booster Pack. I tried to play with him but he wasn't really interested in that blue bird so instead he was biting Ugin. He got through the wrapping...

Day 4 - Sheldon tired and me playing FRF/KTK Draft. I was glad I could caress him during the games^_~

So I wonder what the next days will bring?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

GPT Krakow - Standard Abzan Midrange

This weekend there were several type 2 events - PTQ, PPTQ and GPT Krakow. After several type 2 events I decided against playing in the (P)PTQs and decided to play at a smaller event because I don't like the format much but still wanted to give it a chance and because the PTQ entrance fee was pretty high.

The day before the GPT/PTQ I was trying to figure out how my deck should look like. I noticed few things I wanted to fix. My deck was trying to be more of a control than it can actually be so this midrange deck needed more threats and Elspeth is not one of them (after playing few times against UB control and Abzan/BG Constellation). I decided to try out Abzan aggro for a while to see what it does (few games actually). I wasn't fan of Rakshasa Deathdealer but Fleecemane Lion was pretty cool and Anafenza seemed good as well. The games I lost during the few tournaments were actually against Abzan Aggro so I decided to change my deck a bit. I added 2 End Hostilities (because I really need a board wipe after all...), 2 Bile Blight (because Seeker of the Way and Rabblemaster are pretty annoying) and Fleecemane Lion. I cut Sylvan Caryatids because they are not really good blockers anyway and getting ahead with mana is not that important. Because the only thing I actually want to play earlier is End Hostilities anyway. Elspeth is not something that can save the day earlier in the game...and sometimes it does not even save it late game (sometimes I should read some cards, but my opponent playing Temur Charm and desperately wanting to draw it told me what the card does. So far it usually countered my cards...or killed them. I wasn't aware what the last ability does). Fleecemane Lion is a way better blocker and it can actually attack. Against aggressive decks or heroic decks it showed up to be pretty good. Even though the lion dies most of the immediately it does way more than the Caryatid. Having access to a creature that can attack also helps a bit with planeswalkers so I cut Utter End from both sideboard and main deck and when the Lion is monstrous it usually stays on the table. I was thinking about cutting one Courser of Kruphix and adding another Fleecemane Lion, in the end I left it as it was. I was considering playing Wingmate Roc as this card managed to kill me many times, but I'll rather play End Hostilities to deal with those birds. There is one card though that I wanted to try. The card I wanted to add to my deck was a creature or a threat in that is how Tasigur, the Golden Fang ended up in the deck. At first it did not really seem to do much, but my opponents actually had to deal with it and I at least got a replacement card. (most of the time it was Courser of Kruphix). So after some thought about that...I decided that it is actually worth it (and during the tournament it was usually target number one).

As for sideboard. I took out Utter End, End Hostilities and Bile Blight (and wingmate rocs) so I could replace those cards with other ones. I left 1 End Hostilities there, added 3 Anafenza and 1 Back to Nature. I was thinking about adding Elspeth but that did not happen^^ I did not regret having Back to Nature there instead of Elspeth. I always managed to hit more than one card with it.

Junk Control
By STsung
Creature [11]
3 Fleecemane Lion
4 Siege Rhino
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
4 Courser of Kruphix

Instant [12]
4 Bile Blight
4 Abzan Charm
4 Hero's Downfall

Sorcery [6]
2 End Hostilities
4 Thoughtseize

Land [25]
4 Temple of Malady
4 Temple of Silence
3 Llanowar Wastes
3 Windswept Heath
3 Forest
1 Plains
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Caves of Koilos
4 Sandsteppe Citadel

Planeswalker [4]
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

SB: 3 Read the Bones
SB: 1 End Hostilities
SB: 2 Unravel the AEther
SB: 3 Drown in Sorrow
SB: 2 Nissa, Worldwaker
SB: 3 Anafenza, the Foremost
SB: 1 Back to Nature

When FRF came out people started to change their decks a bit, they were trying new cards and were trying to figure out what to play. Those games were actually quite fun and I did not need to face a mythic card after a mythic card. In the end it all came down to the (almost) very same decks they played when only KTK was around and it started to get boring once again^_~. But because the last two tournaments did not make me angry and I had relatively fun during them I decided to participate in the GPT Krakow.

I got a bye in the first round so I wasn't particularly happy but in the end why not. I at least got the time to wake up and check what other people play. There were Sultai Whip decks, Abzan Aggro, Boros Aggro, Mardu Warriors, UB Control, Abzan Midrange, UW Heroic... So I wondered what I would play against in the next round and the only deck I did not want to play was UB Control. I was paired against Mardu Warriors. I helped the player to build the deck the day before so I knew what I was against. I knew that game 1 is not really favorable but after sideboarding I should win relatively easily (I did not know his SB though so who knows what would face me). Anyway the first game was pretty close. I managed to play 2 Rhinos which would seem sufficient, but after seeing his hand with two Hordechiefs I wasn't really sure what I can do. I would be down to 0 if he would play the Hordechief and attack with everything on the table. I top decked courser of Kruphix though, played a land, gained one life and that was game. I couldn't lose the second game so I my opponent got upset about it. But anyway he did not say a word except that I should go 5:0 and win the GPT. I was like 'whatever...'.

Next I played against Sultai Whip. I don't know if that's just me but I haven't seen this deck do what it should do against me. I killed all possible threats and killed my opponent quite easily. He was rather too mana flooded and milled his Whip so it was ok. Hornet Queen was a bit annoying but he had to trade all of his creatures in order to survive so that was ok. In the second game I boarded in Anafenzas and Unravel the Aether. I played Anafenza after Anafenza till one managed to stay in play and won.

After this I played against Abzan Aggro. I thought I would lose the first game but in the end I managed to win. I was down to 1 life because I couldn't deal with Rakshasa Deathdealer and Siege Rhino would kill me. I had Elspeth in my hand though and another one was on the top of my library. I did not have a sixth land to play it so I hoped to get it and be able to win as fast as possible (the card underneath was Thoughtseize...^^). My creatures that were currently on the table had to trade or chump (mostly the latter). I drew the land finally, played Elspeth and created three tokens. I hoped that my creatures wouldn't die to Bile Blight or that I wouldn't die to top decked Rhino. My opponent played few creatures but none of them was Rhino and he did not hit Bile Blight so I won using Elspeth's ultimate ability later. Uff. In the second game after I sided in Read the Bones and Anafenza I kind of had everything I needed.

Then I played against UB Control. I did not look forward to that game. After a late game Thoughtseize I saw that I couldn't win but it took ages for my opponent to kill me. I won the second game somehow?. In the deciding game I tried to desperately hit Courser of Kruphix/Siege Rhino for life gain and End Hostilities to get rid of Silumgar that was killing me. Unfortunately for me my End Hostilities ended up in the RFG or graveyard (Ashiok? or something else?) so I was kind of screwed and I couldn't deal 17 damage in time. I was down to 10 when I decided to still play Read the Bones so I would have at least some chance to get something. I hit Courser of Kruphix that gained me 4 life but in the end I was one life short in order to survive the game. I lost the game when my opponent played Ugin (preceded with 3 Dig Through Times). He decided not to bolt me (I was at 3 life) but rather killed me the next turn by Silumgar's attack and this time Ugin's Bolt^_~ in the last additional turn.

Next I was wondering whom I would play. In the end I played against Abzan Aggro again. We had quite a Siege Rhino battle. My opponent had more Rhinos but Tasigur showed up to help me against them so we were staring at each other for a while...till my opponent attacked, played Bile Blight on my Rhinos and killed them in the process (they weren't blocking Rhinos). So I just Ended Hostilities and we started all over again. I played Elspeth the turn after and she actually managed to win. I won the second game as well somehow, I don't really remember how.

In the finals I was supposed to play against UB Control. I was prepared to play the final match because it would be nice to win something from time to time^_^ but decided against it in the end. Patrik was asking me during the tournament if I go to GP Krakow. I said 'no' because I simply don't have the money for it (I wasn't aware that this Trial was actually to Krakow). When the TO told me this I decided to concede because Patrik is actually one of the few players that don't have the byes for the GP and who is actually going there.

I received about ten packs for my efforts and decided to open them....I opened Tasigur and not much else...^_^. The tournament was fun, I had a great time and did not regret going to the PTQ.