Block Limited is fun.
A bold statement perhaps, but one that I think most
people would agree with. For some reason this set
really looks pathetic on paper... but actual game play
has proven Odyssey to be a very well designed and
thought out set.
Look at past Blocks and their new mechanics. Buyback
and Shadow from Tempest were powerful no doubt. Masques
brought us the powerful Fading mechanic and the abusable
Rebel/Mercenary "search" ability. Everyone
remembers fondly the Gold cards and Kicker spells from
Invasion that were flat out busty.
But that's the thing, up until now in Limited we've
measured cards value based on how cost efficient they
are or how much damage they can deal on their own.
Limited has for the most part in my mind been
ruled by the "bomb" cards. You know what
I'm talking about, the cards that when they resolve
cause your opponent to scoop. Cards that single
handedly win you the game when otherwise you were sure
Odyssey is shaping up to be a format where power cards
are not necessarily gonna win you games automatically.
The new mechanics in Odyssey (Flashback, Threshold
and Madness) play off each other in seemingly innocent
ways. However, good deckbuilders are quickly
learning that by designing your deck around these
mechanics is what it takes to be successful. Kudo's
WOTC R&D, it looks like you've finally built a set
where a good player has just as good a chance of being
successful as the random scrub who happens to open
Having said that, I wasn't such a good deck builder this
past weekend. =(
I guess I really shouldn't be complaining. I did go 5-2
against some tough players and came real close to the
finals with an 11th place finish. Really what I'm
doing is just learning from mistakes and hoping you guys
out there can benefit from them. What am I talking
about? Let me post my deck first...
Chatter of the Squirrel
OK, so what did Aaron do wrong in deckbuilding? Again,
on PAPER my deck looks pretty tight! Look at my
creatures!! I've got a whopping NINE creatures
with atleast a power of 3! That combined with 8
forms of removal... top 8 should be a no brainer right?
Well I didn't... and here's why. My deck didn't
use ANY of Odysseys mechanics to it's advantage... and
the guys who beat me did.
My deck could have had some serious tech if I had
any way at all to abuse all the Threshold goodness.
Cards like Pardic Arsonist, Centaur Chieftan,
Chainflinger, Krosan Avenger and the pain lands Centaur
Garden and Cabal Pit are off the charts... but only if
you got Threshold. And that's the problem... I
think out of 7 rounds and a total of 18 games my deck
only achieved Threshold twice.
Pretty sad. =(
Should I blame my cards? Not really. Yeah
Wild Mongrel or some other tricks woulda been nice, heck
I'd have settled for Clockwork Gnomes happily! But
I didn't get those cards... so I should have built my
My mana curve was off, I'm sure of it. Here's my
1-2cc - 7 spells
3cc - 5 spells
4cc and up - 11 spells
I had nearly as many expensive spells in my deck as I
had 1-3cc! Right there was a BIG reason why I had
a hard time reaching Threshold. Many times my deck
would really fall behind because I could only cast one
spell at a time... and that's assuming I had all the
necessary mana! I should have found a way to use
some cheaper spells or squeeze in some spells that let
you discard but I was to tempted by all the solid high
end spells. The three Flashback spells didn't help
hitting Threshold either... I probly could've been more
patient on using the Flashback to keep cards in the
grave to try and hit Threshold faster. Zombie Assassin,
Gravedigger and Organ Grinder didn't do me much good
either in this department either.
I don't have much to report about the 5 games I won...
but the two games I lost should be interesting and back
up my earlier rating.
Opponent playing G/U
Get ready for a clinic in Madness and Threshold abuse.
I never thought I'd type Nut Collector and the
word "Bomb" in the same sentence... but when
combined with Sephalid Broker he sure looked like
Hiroshima to me! The broker was bad enough being
cast on turn three thanks to Diligent Farmhand... but
using the Madness cost of Basking Rootwalla AND
Obsessive Search on its first activation really was
plain rude. Even then I wasn't completely out of
the game but Nut Collector hitting the board soon after
was pretty much lights out considering he ALREADY had
threshold thanks to the broker.
Nothing fancy about game 2. He just played
Squirrel Nest on turn 3... then ANOTHER shiny one on
turn 4!! A deck like mine with very little evasion
doesn't stand much of a chance versus an opponent who
can generate 2 chumps a turn. =(
Flash forward 3 rounds and I'm 5-1! Despite some
design flaws my deck does OK due to sheer simplicity of
nice creatures and decent removal. Mana screw
wasn't a factor all day luckily and because of it I'm in
4th place after 6th round standings. But as it
turns out my luck had just ran out as I got paired
against another 5-1 record who was in 9th place so he
couldn't draw in to the top 8 like me. =( This
round my deck really decides to crap out on me.
Opponent playing R/B*
I come out slowly due to a bunch of 4cc spells in my
opening hand. At first I think I'm OK as he
doesn't generate much early on either until turn 5 when
he drops a Pardic Lancer. Seemingly innocent, this
guy brings my attack to a screeching halt as a 4 offense
first striker takes out nearly every creature in my
deck. Even worse, the discard that's necessary to
fuel the Lancer made his next turn Gurzigost look like
Nagasaki. A 6/8 with the lone wolf ability makes
for a quick game, especially when all my removal is
hiding at the bottom of my deck.
Game two is just as embarrassing for me when I open both
Cabal Pit and Centaur Garden in my opening hand. I
life total record shows I did 5 damage to myself that
game. Him jamming a Carrion Wurm down my throat
doesn't make things any easier.. Even still, both
his big fatties Carrion Wurn and Gurzigost required he
have the ability to put lots of cards into his
graveyard... and to his credit he built his deck to do
* Another interesting fact worth note... both games I
lost my opponent ran a two color deck. A solid 2
color build seems to have a clear advantage over a solid
3 color build. I can back that up with my 6-0-1
record from the Prerelease where I ran a 2 color build.
So anyway, instead of drawing into the finals I end up
going home with not so much as a booby prize.
And as you can see, when 2 good decks go head to head in
Odyssey the mechanics (and abusing them) make all the
difference. With the difficulty my deck had
reaching threshold I really shouldn't have played both
the Pain lands, their special abilities didn't ever come
into play and they ended up dealing loads of damage with
no real compensation. Ah well, something to
remember for next time. Well, hopefully this gave
you guys something to think about. I know I
learned quite a bit last weekend and hopefully I'll do
even better at next months PTQ!
Hope this helps... have fun!