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Panthers, Nishobi, & Bears (oh my!)
by Aaron Teare

The purpose for me writing these little posts each week is an attempt to help you (the reader) get some insight into the IBC scene as well as divulge a little tech in the process. My hope was that this information would improve your playing skills as well as your deck building skills. Along the way I hoped this would make me a better player and builder as well. Unfortunately this weeks deck proves my skills are getting worse, not better. In my attempt to build a semi-original deck with the hopes of coming up with something to beat the fearsome r/b archetype, I accomplished neither. As embarrassing as this is for me, I'm gonna reveal my god awful deck in the hopes that it will at the very least teach all of you to never, EEEEEEEEver, play a G/W deck like this, again!

Panthers, Nishobi, and Bears (oh my!)

4 Llanowar Knight
4 Kavu Titan
4 Noble Panther
4 Jade Leech
4 Charging Troll
3 Sabertooth Nishoba

4 Wax/Wane
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Death or Glory

11 Plains
10 Forests
4 Elfhame Palace

An all too simple beatdown deck that I thought (yes, thinking was involved in this weeks deck… granted it wasn't much obviously) could be deadly in the right hands. While more of a fattie deck, most of the creatures were selected as all on their own they had to be dealt with or they would just win the game. Even the few grizzly bears seemed like champs combined with Cloaks and Wax. Using this strategy, I thought this deck could even overcome the overabundance of removal in this set. I was thinking about referring to this set as RBC (Removal Block Constructed) instead of IBC from now on because of all the playable sweepers and spot removal/bounce. 

Anyway, in theory the deck had an ace in the hole, Death or Glory. Once an opponent dealt with each threat, Death or Glory would bring half of them directly back into play! Restock was another thought here, but Death or Glory's ability to bring them back into play really sped things up whereas you had to recast the creatures you get from Restock. 

Here's the results (don't be fooled by the first few matches, I just ran into some sub-par decks and/or opponents)…

R/B/U Control
Key Cards: Blazing Spectre, Pyre Zombie, Void, Terminate, Pain / Suffering (?)

I go first game one, dropping a Knight turn 2 and he plays Crosis Lair turn 2. I Cloak my Knight, he requests a new game, and rightfully so with him having 1 land in play! (Had I seen more Armadillo Cloaks thru the rest of the week maybe I'd be happier with this deck. If you have a knack for drawing Cloak at the right time, this deck may be right for you as it is an awesome card early. I however, am not that fortunate.) Game 2 the key play is when he Voids to take out my Leech which takes out his Spectre as well. I untap, play Death or Glory and show him the Titan, Leech, Troll, and Panther in my graveyard. He disconnects…

2-0 Me

B/U/W Familiar deck
Key cards: 12 Familiars, Doomsday Spectre, Dromars Charm, Cavern Harpy, Stormscape Battlemage

This deck was more of a experimental 187/Gating deck that tries to use the familiars to speed up the process. Game 1 he plays a Nightscape Familiar turn 2 and I play MVP Llanowar Knight. Next turn he plays both the Blue and White Familiars, I drop a Panther. We soon start racing my creatures against his Doomsday Spectre and I'm in bad shape as I'm stuck at only 3 lands. Wax shows up in multiples and wins me this game by squeezing thru more damage than he thought I could, even tho he was looking at my hand every turn! This was his error as he was grabbing fatties like Nishoba when I only had 3 land in play, he should have been taking spells like Wax that I could actually cast, especially when we were racing. Game 2 is more drawn out, he gets some Harpy chump blocking going early, although again this doesn't help him as the Harpy wasn't actually killing my Troll and over a few turns the gating actually hurt him more than helped. He eventually kicks a Stormscape Battlemage to kill my troll, and next turn uses 2 Dromar Charms to kill my panther. Next turn I drop another Troll while he's at 5 and next turn pants him up for the win. 

2-0 Me

Key Cards: Recoil, Undermine, Nightscape Familiar, Rushing River, Wash Out, Prohibit, Blazing Specter, Warped Devotion, Crosis

This deck reminds me quickly of this decks weakness… bounce. Death or Glory doesn't work when the opponent refuses to put your creatures in the graveyard. L Game one I was lucky as he was stuck at 3 mana and had to kick a Rushing River. My luck ran out the next 2 games as Nightscape Familiar puts a kink in my "lay only 1 threat" strategy by blocking and regenerating, and soon Blazing Spectre empties my hand. I actually find a topdecked Death or Glory, but Crosis + Wash Out is really cool, for the opponent anyway. Game 3 I put pressure early with 2 Knights, he draws Wash Out at just the right moment and then locks the game up with Yawgmoth's FRIGGIN Agenda.

2-1 Opponent

R/B aggressive
Key Cards: Flametongue Kavu, Blazing Specter, Terminate, Shitu Fire, Nightscape Familiar

Again I get lucky game 1 as he gets slowed by a lair early (splashing green, see below) and I go beatdown dropping creatures turn 2, 3, 4 and 5. Where the heck does my luck always go after game 1? Game 2 I again curse the regenerator Familiar, as well as multiple Flametongue Kavu that remove all my threats and then beat down super-fast like! Game 3 looks like my luck will return as he burns 4 fatties and I Death or Glory, bringing a troll and leech back into play. Next turn I think I win for sure as I Cloak BOTH of them dropping him to 2 life! Enter the green mana for Tangle. (?????????????) This catches me totally off guard but I'm still cool as the troll doesn't tap and I can still win next turn. My luck fails as he topdecks terminate and is able to finish me off with 4 offense Kavu's before my Leech ever untaps. L

2-1 Opponent

Key cards: Absorb, Undermine, F or F, Reviving Vapors, Dromar and his Charm, Phyrexian Infiltrator

By now I'm upset at the last 2 losses and this ends up being the nail in the coffin. Game 1 Dromar resolves turn 5 and I scoop. Game 2 I get what seems to be the only thing this deck can do, win with multiple Knights fueled by Wax. Game 3 I go total attrition playing 1 fattie at a time, somewhere in there he steals my Cloaked Nishoba with an Infiltrator and it's all I can do to stop myself from throwing my monitor across the room…

2-1 Opponent

I dunno, there are a lot of positive things about this deck. Sabertooth Nishoba is immune to all targeted removal/bounce in this set, and is also immune to EVERY Legendary Dragon. (if there was any playable fast amana in theis clock, I think Nishoba would be house) Charging Troll is certainly a wrecking ball as it doesn't tap and is immune to burn due to Regeneration! I don't understand why people aren't using Jade Leech… he's a 4 cc 5/5 people!! If it's good enough for T2, it's good enough for IBC. This deck had 15 fatties including Kavu Titan, but at the end of the week the results are in. There is just not enough card advantage to support this deck in my opinion. Certainly the sideboard would shore up the worst aspect of this deck (the complete lack of removal) but in the end I'm convinced that this deck isn't worth any more of my time… what do you guys think?

Hope this helps… Have fun!

PS Stay tuned for next week, I'm working on some killer tech that I don't think anyone has yet noticed!!