Last Chance Saloon

It’s just a few days until GG’s ‘Standard for Old Cards’ event, and these next few days are everyone’s last chance to tweak their Standard creations in preparation for Saturday at high noon. Although I could be more excited about the name of said event, I couldn’t be more excited to actually play in it, especially after another monster weekend, where I claimed the top spot in Monday’s Commander league(we also had record attendance, and gave out a prize to the top earner not named Nigel!). I also crushed another GG Standard with a deck I have to give a name to pretty soon; RUG is such a boring name, but more on that later.

Standard was on Friday this past weekend, and usually will be in the future barring this week’s biggie event. I made a few minor changes to the main, and created a new sideboard from scratch. For your browsing pleasure:

  • 4 Delver of Secrets
  • 4 Mayor of Avabruck
  • 2 Grim Lavamancer
  • 4 Snapcaster Mage
  • 2 Cackling Counterpart
  • 4 Mana Leak
  • 3 Dissipate
  • 2 Vapor Snag
  • 4 Galvanic Blast
  • 3 Brimstone Volley
  • 4 Desperate Ravings
  • 8 Island
  • 4 Mountain
  • 4 Copperline Gorge
  • 1 Rootbound Crag
  • 4 Sulfur Falls
  • 3 Hinterland Harbor

Sideboard, this time without sucking:

  • 3 Ancient Grudge
  • 2 Vapor Snag
  • 2 Think Twice
  • 2 Daybreak Ranger
  • 2 Flashfreeze
  • 2 Sword of War and Peace
  • 1 Surgical Extraction
  • 1 Negate

The Sword of War and Peace was not my idea, at least I don’t think, but I ended up liking it. There are a few decks that don’t actively remove your guys, and just try to go over the top of you, like U/W Humans and W/G Humans. Sword really helps squeak out those last few points of damage while giving you just one more turn via the life you gain. I generally liked the rest of the board, but  I didn’t have a great plan against Red. Yes, there were two Flashfreezes and two Snags along with the Swords I could bring in if I wanted, but it’s tough(not to mention risky) to land a sword on a guy against Red. Sure, if you do, you probably win, but it’s a dangerous gambit to run, and I think there are better avenues to victory. In the actual event, the Sword was fantastic against U/W Humans, though again, I had to run a very dangerous gambit to win, mostly because I wasn’t sure if Chase(my opponent) had sided away all his removal, and because it was only turn three and I had no clues as to his hand.

The rest of the sideboard was a bunch of stuff I just wanted to try out. One Extraction never came in, but I would not hesitate to play it in the board again. It gave me a feeling of security against random Plansewalker control decks. The Think Twices might have to go; the deck feels better against control overall now, and doesn’t need a crutch like that, though it’s still the trump card in the mirror since you just want to out-card them. I’d like some beefier ways to win against Illusions, but I’ve never seen anyone playing it at GG.

I won’t break it down too far, but this is generally what happened during the four round event.

I played a bunch of pre-sideboarded games against Chase’s U/W Humans deck before the event, so obviously we play round one. I don’t recall too many specific plays other than the above Sword decision, where his board on three was three land, two Doomed Traveler, and a Grand Abolisher maybe, sitting next to Honor of the Pure I think. I had a few useless dorks, and I had just played land three. My decision was whether to play the control game since my other two spells were Vapor Snag and Brimstone Volley, or play the sword, probably take a zillion, and hope I can keep pace via Sword hits. If he has nothing, my control plan is safer and better. Otherwise, the gambit is best.  I went with the sword, and got there.

Round two was Infect, a matchup I used to dread, but now I feel I have a handle on how to play against it. It all depends on my opener, and whether I am on the play or draw. On the draw, I must take a control route, since I can’t hope to counter a Crusader through all the disruption unless my whole hand is Mana Leaks. On the play, I can keep aggressive draws, but if they just Virulent Wound my first guy, I put on the brakes usually until I can take control. Only three spells really matter from them; Crusader, Skithyrx, and Contagion Clasp(in game one). I had an interesting play where I protected Snapcaster from Despise by playing it and targeting Vapor Snag, and Snagging it back EOT since I needed to keep it to counter a potentially back-breaking spell later. Game three was close. I had double Delver, and both lived, but were as yet unflipped. Scott, my opponent, had a Plague Stinger, a Whispering Specter, 3 Swamps, and a Nexus. He played Lashwrithe while I am on one poison. My hand is Daybreak Ranger, a land, an Ancient Grudge, and a Brimstone Volley. I’m not very excited about the lack of real removal, and my plan of flipping Delvers and bashing hadn’t been working out. I decided to Volley his Stinger when he paid four to equip, tapping out and hoping he reequips, attacks, and sacs it to empty my hand. Mostly I just needed him to pay eight life equipping twice. He COULD have just attacked with his team, including Nexus, and empty my hand that way, but he must assume I have something, so his line of play is sound once I Volley the first guy. He sees the discarded Grudge as I flip Delvers showing Snag, and scoops soon after.

Round three I played against Tempered Steel. He didn’t have great draws, and I blew him out in one game by unmetalcrafting him with Dispatch on the stack. These games were never in doubt for me after turn two. That’s how Steel rolls though. Don’t draw your great cards, and the deck is somewhat weak.

Round four I played Don and Wolf Run Red. Very, very interesting games two and three(Game one I killed his birds and he scooped on four with no action). I had never played a game in my life against any Wolf Run deck, but I guessed a troll with a Sword was coming my way soon, plus Don had Sphere of the Suns and Nexus, so in came two Grudges and two Flashfreezes. Vapor Snag also sucked, so in came two Swords of War and Peace just in case I caught him tapped out one turn(which is likely in the fourth or fifth turns, after I counter a fatty). Caleb Schievelbein, who was watching on my side of the table, saw my Cackling Counterparts and seemed skeptical. I tried to explain the plan regarding those to him without tipping off Don, but did a poor job. The next two games did the explaining for me well enough. Game two was shifted by Autumn’s Veil, a card I had to read. It allowed him to force a Zenith for Thrun through, and a Sword soon after. Despite this, I had flipped a Mayor of Avabruck, and if Don didn’t have any gas left, or if the gas was just Slagstorm, my Counterpart was going to swing the game WAY in my favor, threatening to easily win through a Sword wielding troll. Sadly, he had Galvanic Blast and Slagstorm. Game three my opener was Delver, Sword, Ravings, Mana Leak, and three land providing all three colors without anything entering the battlefield tapped. When he Blasted my Delver on one, I thought I was in trouble. I Raved four times, while I countered stuff. He played Thrun with no Sword though, and began bashing. Eventually, drew out of the funk I was in, and managed a Mayor, who flipped. He was joined by a second soon after, and a Cackling Counterpart later, I had a large army of 6/6 Wolves and Werewolves to his Titan and Thrun that seemed to come from nowhere. I drew Sword to attack for exactsies, but I kept counting incorrectly and equipped the Sword to the wrong creature(one of the Mayors had two -1/-1 counters), giving him a draw step for his singleton Devil’s Play after his team chumped. Thankfully, I was not punished for my stupidity.

As for naming the deck, Tebow Time probably isn’t really appropriate, since I can flip Delver on two, and that’s not like what Tebow does at all. Maybe I’ll call flipping Mayor of Avabruck ‘Tebow Time,’ since Mayor makes other Humans better, then nothing happens for a while, then it’s Tebow Time and you somehow win. I could also call the deck some kind of poker metaphor about chasing a draw since every time I’m trying to flip Delver, I can’t help but thinking I have some kind of wacky draw or something and I’m just hoping to get there. I’m going to have to think on this one for a bit. Hopefully I’ll have some kind of name by high noon Saturday at GG when the event starts. Feel free to suggest a name for the deck, and hope to see everyone there trying to win a piece of Power!

PS Also, later in the week since the semester is over, a Commander article. Finally!

Nigel

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1 Comment

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One response to “Last Chance Saloon

  1. How about something Sean Casey related. He is the mayor after all

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