Continuing Experiments

The title is multi-faceted, of course. It refers to both my Constructed brews online, and the move from written draft reports to streamed ones.

Generally, things are going well on both fronts, but there are a few snags related to my stream that must be addressed soon, such as my microphone not picking up my voice clearly. It’s a confounding problem because my voice sounds just fine when broadcast over ventrilo. I’m hoping that tinkering a bit more with the capture settings on XSplit will help, but I might just end up using a different microphone entirely. I also have to be ok with just streaming and not having a ton to talk about. I draft way more often than I stream, but the nature of MTGO transforms me into a hermit of sorts that doesn’t really want to explain what I’m doing. Perhaps I’ll just run some drafts with no mic when I’m feeling anti-social so you aren’t robbed of extra draft coverage.

On the brighter side, the decks I favor online have been performing quite well overall. The G/W/b tokens deck is ready for bigger events. There is a ton of U/B online, along with various weenie decks that can’t compete with the power of Lingering Souls + Intangible Virtue(a pairing that, if you don’t follow formats no one plays, is actually banned in Block Constructed). Before I gush any more, here’s what I’m currently running:

  • 4 Birds of Paradise
  • 2 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
  • 4 Doomed Traveler
  • 3 Mortarpod
  • 2 Gather the Townsfolk
  • 4 Intangible Virtue
  • 4 Lingering Souls
  • 2 Timely Reinforcements
  • 3 Oblivion Ring
  • 4 Mirran Crusader
  • 1 Fresh Meat
  • 2 Increasing Devotion
  • 4 Razorverge Thicket
  • 4 Isolated Chapel
  • 3 Woodland Cemetery
  • 3 Plains
  • 5 Forest
  • 4 Gavony Township
  • 2 Vault of the Archangel

Sideboard

  • 3 Celestial Purge
  • 2 Ray of Revelation
  • 2 Naturalize
  • 4 Shrine of Loyal Legions
  • 2 Timely Reinforcements
  • 2 Fresh Meat

A few points: There are 31 mana sources in the deck, but six of them are good enough to qualify as spells in their own right, and another six can be win conditions on their own with a Township. I’m still not sold on two Vaults, but I don’t draw it enough when playing and I want to get a better feel for just how good it can be. I’m also not reducing Townships/Vaults to a 3/2 split, as Township is the ultimate trump card in creature fights and against counterspells, essentially making Gavony Township the second most important card in Standard behind Delver of Secrets given the decks people like to play right now. The only deck that doesn’t do one of these things in Wolf Run ramp, a deck that has fallen pretty far because of the presence of U/B.

My sideboard isn’t perfect yet either. I really like Fresh Meat, but I don’t really have room to bring in the entire sideboard. Based on what sort of plan you think your opponent has post board, you have to decide whether to fight Curses, Ratchet Bombs, or extra Wrath effects. Remember that Shrine is inevitably going to win, but to enable it you have to keep the hate away long enough. With four Shrines, and most control opponents having very slow clocks, Fresh Meat is looking like it’s going to get cut for an extra Ray of Revelation to fight the 8 Anthem decks(a matchup based almost entirely on the number of Lingering Souls and pump effects drawn on either side), and something else, likely a one of that can catch unprepared foes off guard(so, like Fresh Meat, but serving a different purpose).

Finally, there is the question of Blade Splicer vs. Mirran Crusader. Given that this is a token deck, some would say that the Splicer is a better choice since it gives two bodies to get pumped up. However, there is a key factor missing from my game plan that is almost a requirement to play Splicer. I don’t have any Swords! I could just play some in place of the sometimes weak Gather the Townsfolk, and maybe that is the future of the deck, but until that happens I cannot consider BS over a card that is just incredible right now. Mirran Crusader is the bane of Strangleroot Geist decks and Zombie decks, while being above average against everything else but other token decks and ramp. You might say that Blade Splicer is also good against Zombies and Geist, but that’s only true on defense. You can buy time with a 3/3 First Striker, but the 1/1 is vulnerable to everything, making the 3/3 a liability in combat at times. Also, when you want to go on offense, you have to get through everything you were keeping at bay. Crusader often provides a two turn clock once he gets going, and practically nothing kills him.

If you’re wondering about my adventures in Havengul Lich land, all I can say is I’m not posting any lists right now, mostly because some are embarrassingly bad and some have potential, but they just aren’t ready. Most decent builds have an excellent win percentage in the practice room, but it falls sharply once tickets are spent to play. All my builds are combo based as well, despite my ongoing search for a more traditional control deck that just happens to play Lich/Summoning. It’s also rather expensive to tinker with the deck, because I want to play things like Elesh Norn and Titans, but I just don’t want to bite the bullet and spend on them just yet. I’ve been using stand ins like Massacre Wurm and the like, and the fattie plan shows potential, but not enough to spend $100 on Norns. If I have some sort of breakthrough(or breakdown on the idea), it will assuredly be written about here, so keep watch!

 

Nigel

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1 Comment

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One response to “Continuing Experiments

  1. I’m going to test out your deck. My mono-green deck is lovely, but the mana draws lately have been driving me nuts. Also, in my latest 4-round Standard I played against some crazy crap decks that I couldn’t deal with and that bugs me. Let’s see if Junk Tokens fares better!

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