Drew the Bye

So, I got a bye in the Return to Ravnica Block daily event tonight, so I thought that instead of trying to double queue, I would take a little time to talk about RTR Block Constructed.

Single set block is always weird. There are only a few ‘real’ decks you can build usually. In ISD, there was U/R all in, R/W tokens, and Planeswalker control. Nothing else was any good. Of course, I played U/R all in, and was rewarded with many turn three 4/1 dagger wielding Invisible Stalkers. In case you were wondering, not much beats that.

I jumped into RTR Block Constructed after looking at the What’s Happening page on the mother ship and seeing that every single 3-1 or better deck in the latest daily all had some number of Supreme Verdicts, Detention Spheres, and Sphinx’s Revelations. I decided to build a budget Bant deck featuring token generators, Dispel, Mizzium Skin, Rootborn Defenses, and Growing Ranks. Yeah, I know. Sometimes, probably in this case, it would have just been better the join em rather than beat em.

Still, I went 3-1 in the first daily I played in, and had a ton of fun, even if I didn’t learn a whole lot since block constructed is, to everyone not qualified for PT San Diego this year, a useless format. But it did pique my interest in small scale constructed formats. I scoured the daily lists, and played in the two man queues a bunch, looking for cool ideas to attack the format from.

Eventually I ended up with some pile that had Slitherhead, Deathrite Shaman, and Civic Saber, backed by Lotleth Troll, some removal, and Cryptborn Horror.

Hey, when you only have one set, you do what you gotta do, dammit.

It was good at what it did, and performed reasonably well on it’s own. The strange part was that I started seeing far more aggressive decks in the queues, especially ones that looked like mine. I don’t think I was the catalyst for this change in what people were playing, but it was a strange feeling riding the crest of the metagame, and being almost ahead of it. I realized if I just adapted to my own strategy that everyone else was also adopting, I could easily be crushing the queues and earning some always appreciated tickets.

What’s the best way to beat an aggro deck? Go bigger.

Oi, what is with that sideboard?!

Oi, what is with that sideboard?!

Those are four Trestle Trolls lurking in the maindeck. The card is almost useless against Bant unless you plan on decking them(a realistic possibility really if you make them burn a few Spheres early), but they are unreal against all the bad aggro decks out there. You don’t even care about leaving regeneration  mana up most of the time since it will still absorb damage before eating an Annihilating Fire, which is all you want to do before playing a four mana fatty. That plan is backed by Pack Ratting, which is almost as good as it is in Limited, except that half the other decks ALSO have Pack Rat, making for some weird games.

The sideboard is mostly a nod to the vestiges of Bant. Being able to board into Rakdos Keyrune AND Slaughter Games is sweet, since the Keyrune is a recurring threat that gets past Skyknight and helps cast Games. There are plenty of terrible cards against Bant, so boarding the full sideboard in against them isn’t hard really. Grave Betrayal actually does some work against them since they lean so heavily on Angel of Serenity to win the game, so for this event, which is almost ready for round two by now, it got jammed in there since I wasn’t paying 7.5 tickets for Rakdos’ Return.

As I stated initially, I sacked into a bye for round one. I noticed some Traitorous Instincts in some of the Rakdos main decks in yesterday’s daily results, so perhaps people are already adapting to the fatty plan. I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.

Always accepting challenges on MTGO as Lumbermen,

Nigel

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