6.19.04 As fun as it is to just ramble on and on about different things here weekly, I need to steer the boat in a slightly different direction this week. Pojo is known for people a reader friendly site. The owner of Pojo has even gone out of his way to cater to a ton of different games and give the readers what they want.
Well, that hasn't stopped. My weekly mail and the responses I get at tournaments let people know that they enjoyed my writing. That's not enough though. The great Pojosama has been receiving e-mails asking for more decks and decklists. People want more on the current decks and more hot decks. I can relate to that.
What I've noticed in the past, is that reader "wants" tend to flow in cycles. When writers seem be getting tired of talking about the hot decks, that's what readers want more of. The problem though, is that writers get tired of stating the same things that others have stated about the same decks over and over again. Eventually, the writers come around and start writing more about the standard popular decks. Then the readers get glutted with information on the same decks for a few weeks. This is great if you are playing one of the decks in question. Pretty boring and uninteresting otherwise.
Regardless of the fact, Pojosama and I had a discussion and I got an idea. Why not spend the next few weeks working on decklist using cards from Fifth Dawn. It will be something different and should definitely spark some fun conversation. I'll be willing to offer up some strategy as to how the decks work against known/existing decks. I may change up in the future and every other week, or every third week, just work on a popular tournament deck instead of giving you something new.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Knowledge is power. Knowing how popular tournament decks work will help you both play the decks well and beat the decks regularly. Also, it keeps things from getting stale. You can look forward to having something thought provoking here.
So, after all this talk, I guess I've reached the put up or shut up point. My only decision this week was to give you either a new deck or just go over an existing deck. Either way, the deck I post isn't going to be legal for a few days. Four to be exact, since the format changes to include Fifth Dawn on Sunday. For those of you that are unaware, when Magic sets release now, the sets become legal of the 20th day of that month in which they are released. The 20th for us in on a Sunday this go 'round. This means that most of us won't get to use the new decks until next week.
Man, it's easy to get sidetracked. Anyway, I decided to post a deck I featured here a while back with some updates to include new cards. It was once called Fiery Randors. But now, it's got a new creature involved and is called, Hot Momma.
2 Leonin Shikari
3 Auriok Champion
4 Savannah Lion
4 Silver Knight
4 White Knight
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Raise the Alarm
2 Glorious Anthem
2 Chrome Mox
4 Isochron Scepter
4 City of Brass
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
3 Sulfuric Vortex
2 Scrabbling Claws
2 Second Sunrise
3 Wipe Clean
This deck has taken a turn for the better I think. Previously, the deck included Skullclamp and Leonin Skyhunter. Obviously, the Skullclamp had to be removed with it being banned from Standard and block Constructed play. The Leonin Skyhunter was a tough call to pull. It was the only creature with flying. However, the cards I replaced each of these with made the ability to fly, less important. There is now a fourth Bonesplitter and two Leonin Shikari. The Shikari help you take down blocking creatures as needed. However, they are no good without equipment. So I made sure to up the count to four Bonesplitter to the two Leonin Shikari and it seems to work fine.
The new cards are also easier to cast. Bonesplitter is one generic mana and Leonin Shikari is one white and one generic. This enables you to reliably get more creature onto the board. The double white in the Leonin Skyhunter's casting cost gave us just a few too many guys with double white to play. Also, the Auriok Champion combos well with Raise the Alarm when it is Imprinted on an Isochron Scepter. She can also make your City of Brass hurt less over the course of the game. There are now four City of Brass as well. Now that the life loss isn't as scary AND the fact that Granulate will be getting played quite a bit, they were much more welcome in the deck.
So how does this fair against other decks out there?
vs. White Weenie
This is probably the most awkward matchup and you want to avoid this one like the plague. Yes, I'm including white weenie on my list, because people always seem tot try playing it and you will find someone at your local tournament scene with it. They have multiple creatures with protection from red now, so your job pretty much becomes one of killing off all the creatures without and then throwing damage at the opponent as fast as possible. If possible, use burn spells to kill creatures before they get equipped up. The sideboard doesn't offer much help outside of the Shatters to destroy equipment.
vs. Astral Slide
This isn't so scary. The only bad times you'll really have are the ones where you get a ton of artifact lands out early and a vengeance goes off. Depending on what version of Astral Slide decks we are talking about here, you can side in multiple things to smooth out the match. Sulfuric Vortex (against Exalted Angel and Renewed Faith), Wipe Clean (against Astral Slide and Lightning Rift), and Second Sunrise (against Akroma's Vengeance) are all good sideboard options. However, it's possible to bring in Scrabbling Claws against versions that include Eternal Witness. I would sideboard out, two scepters, Chrome Mox and probably the Bonesplitters, since we know they will have Damping Matrix in some way, shape, or form.
This matchup should be good for you. You've got lots of first striking and protection from red creatures. You've also got Scrabbling Claws in the sideboard. This is simply about outracing their deck. This game should be over before someone gets a crazy bidding off.
This is a tough one. First game I might have to give the edge to the affinity deck unless Hot Momma gets a crazy draw. In theory, you can produce as much damage at they can, almost as fast. The problem is that they can get a few more spells for free, which forces your hand a bit in the first game. After sideboard, you get Shatter and Purge which are both excellent cards in the matchup. Also, don't forget that you can load up either of these on a scepter and slowly wipe away their board.
vs. Elf & Nail
Honestly, I have no idea how this one turns out. I'd have to give the edge to Elf & Nail almost three to one. Using Wipe Clean to get rid of Vernal Bloom could be key out of the Sideboard, but that's the best you've got. However, I'm not sure how much of a threat E&N is without Skullclamp anymore.
vs. Blue/White Control
The biggest problem hear is that the deck hasn't been hot for so long, that no one knows what version is the best at the moment. You have to cast creatures sparingly. Only drop a few out and use your Shock and Shrapnel Blast wisely to keep their creatures out of the way. This forces them to play Wrath of God and Akroma's Vengeance when YOU want them to. Sulfuric Vortex, Shatter, and Second Sunrise are all great in this matchup. I might still give the edge to U/W in this matchup though.
Some other cards to consider include Pulse of the Forge, Pulse of the Fields, Dwarven Blastminer and even Worship. Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow were even options. None of these cards were bad, it was just hard to find space for some of these cards when the deck is so aggressive. Experiment with it. Play around with it. Let me know what you think.
And that my friends, as they say, is that.
On to standard weekly business.
Here is a really good Bad Play of the week from YCBurninator. It's a bit of a two for one special:
Well, with Darksteel out and most people knowing many of the Mirrodin cards by sight alone, you would think that people would think out their plays more... but one of my M:tG buddies proved me wrong. Twice, he has made some of the sloppiest moves I've seen. The first time he was playing against an odd green variant, running artifact lands, etc. The opponent had a Tree of Tales out with a Fertile Ground attached, helping him to smooth out all his mana quite easily. So what does my friend do? He plays Naturalize to stop the mana production... on the Fertile Ground! The opponent just looked at him blankly and asked "Are you sure?". My buddy just said "Yup" and went on playing until about 5 turns later when he realized what he'd done.
In a similar experience, the same friend was playing a game where the opponent was again running artifact lands, but he was getting beaten down by a Diving Griffon equipped with a Loxodon Warhammer. The opponent had only about 4 mana, 2 of which were Great Furnaces. So my friend, once again, plays an echoing ruin... on the Loxodon Warhammer. And if this weren't bad enough, HE had a Loxodon Warhammer out as well that he didn't realize, so instead of destroying half of the opponents lands, he instead destroys their equipment, and one of his own as well.
Well, just thought that these were kinda funny, so I thought I'd send them in. Thanks!
My card of the week is Krark-Clan Ironworks. No real reason honestly. The cards just so good that I figured I bring even MORE attention tot he greatness of this card. Expect to see quite a few combos with this card involved in the very near future. Heck, I even started to think about what to do with this thing in extended play yet.
My tip of the week is simple this week as well. Read. Read a lot. As I said earlier, knowledge is power. The more you know about the decks out there and what's going on, the better off you'll be. Even just reading regular strategy and metagame articles will help you become a better player. The general understanding of how things work and what makes things what they are is very key. Every little bit you know (even about the tournament procedures) will make your playing experiences much easier and more enjoyable.
Well, it looks like that's it from my end of the world.
Until next time,
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