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The McShake

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The McShake Alchemist on Magic
Running with Wolves (1st place at DKA gameday!)
March 5, 2012

Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I've written an article for the MTG side of things, but I would like to try to keep up both sides of 'the spectrum' perse` (between this and Yugi) so I'm going to be writing about my win at the Dark Ascension Game Day tournament at Hillside Games in Asheville, NC

--The Night Before--
This 'prequel' of sorts is just here to show what influenced my deck choice and to give another decklist since I haven't had a chance to write any mtg lately, so, without further ado, I present the 75 I sleeved up for Friday Night Magic.

24 Forest
Creatures (20)
4 Dungrove Elder
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Vorapede
1 Acidic Slime
3 Strangleroot Geist
2 Daybreak Ranger
Instants (2)
2 Gut Shot
Sorceries (4)
4 Green Sun's Zenith
Artifacts (6)
3 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of War and Peace
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
Planeswalkers (4)
2 Garruk Relentless
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
Sideboard (15)
1 Glissa, the Traitor
3 Ratchet Bomb
3 Corrosive Gale
1 Gut Shot
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Precursor Golem

The deck is pretty straight-forward. If anyone keeps reading my articles, they will find that I love forests, and this was just a less thought-consuming way of playing them and the other decks out there. There are some really cool interactions in this decks as a whole. Some cool ones that I would like to highlight

-Garruk, Veil-Cursed can kill legendary creatures via grabbing Metamorph
-If you metamorph a creature with undying, then it still returns to play, and, you can choose a different creature in play, AND it still gets a +1/+1 counter.
-Sword of Feast and Famine = Protection from Green
Bellowing Tanglewurm - (basically) all of your creatures can only be blocked by Green creatures (and artifacts). Cute combos ftw.
The deck overall isn't very hard to play, but just some primers for matches
Wolf Run: Aggro as fast as you can. If they start stringing back-to-back titans, you will lose. Period.
Spirits: This isn't a bad matchups, pretty much 50/50 due to the lack of war and peace, but, spirits aren't very prominent in my area, so it wouldn't hurt to play more W&P if you have access to them. Corrosive gale is a bomb here (obviously) and so is ratchet bomb. Game 1 I would say that it is 40/60 in their favor, but post board I am pretty sure its about a 70/30 in your favor.
UB(W) Control/Walkers: Primal hunter is key here. You just want to sandbag that guy, and when you are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that they do not have a counter, then slam it. Most control decks don't play volition reigns anymore, so Karn is literally their only out to this guy, and control just cannot keep up with the steady stream of beasts and cards that he provides. I cannot say enough good things about him.
Humans: Pray they dont get mirran crusader. Precursor golem is your (only) out to him, since most humans decks use o-ring and Leonin Relic Warder as their outs to artifacts, he is really good. Not to mention you can triple block a hero of bladehold, and only lose 1 golemn.
I know that I make the Wolf Run and Humans Matchups out to be horrible, and that is mostly because they are slightly worse than 50/50, so I just have all kinds of horrible visions stuck in my head of t4 titan->t5 titan->t6 titan->t7 titan. Overall it is a very fun deck to play, as well as one that durdly decks in the format just can't stand up to. It also punishes any decks playing too many phyrexian mana spells, simply by being such an out the gates style of deck.
I finished fnm with a 3-2 record, losing to spirits nut-drawing, and the mirror match drawing t1 mana dork -> t2 sword -> t3 geist equip two games in a row, which is simply one aggro deck coming out faster than the other. I can't complain too much, my breakers weren't bad, but not great either, I ended up finishing in 10th out of 40 people overall.

--end prequel--

I arrived at the tournament site with about 30 minutes to spare before the event began, and I instantly began scounting what was being played. The first table I saw in the room, was Conley Woods' styled Wolf run v. CF Wolf Run, followed by Wolf run v. Spirits, followed by a local who I knew was on UW humans. This instantly made me regret my deck decision and 'set up camp' near the back of the store to brew something else. I already knew that I wanted to be able to beat Wolf Run, and that was not optional. I also began thinking of past matches that I had played against those two particular builds of Wolf Run before, and knew they were beatable, and that narrowed it down to two decks

UB Control
Wolf Run (my own 'flavor of the week')

I was definitely more comfortable with Wolf Run than I was with UB (not to mention that my teammate was using the lands, and having to locate UB lands right before a tourny is another whole set of problems), so there I was on the Wolf run plan (this may become a catch phrase). (On a side note, I didn't like that a turn two Abolisher or turn 2 Thalia was borderline GG for UB)
While building I decided that there were so many ways to play Wolf Run that I needed to lay out what was most important for my game plan of beating the various mirrors and humans

Wolf Run
-The 2-4-6 Plan becomes more important
-Karn is a house
-Elesh Norn wrecks
-Olivia is really good late game
-Grave Titan gets in redic damage
-Inferno Titan isn't good by itself
-Wurmcoil is Amazing
-Huntmaster is iffy, but the damage adds up.
-Slagstorm sucks
-Day of Judgment rules
-Frost Titan wins titan wars
-Ghost quarter is solid but usually a win-more
-Phantasmal image is cute, but they just go wolf run for 0
-Black sun isnt too good
-Life's Fanale doesn't suck
-Swords are poorly place because of galv blast and the need of the 2-4-6.

Here's the list I ended up playing
2 Plains
2 Mountain
4 Forests
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Rootbound Craig
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Kessig Wolf-Run
Sorceries (12)
4 Rampant Growth
3 Day of Judgment
3 Slagstorm
2 Green Sun's Zenith
Instants (3)
3 Galvanic Blast
Artifacts (4)
4 Sphere of Suns
Creatures (15)
4 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobyte
2 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Acidic Slime
1 Birds of Paradise
3 Primeval Titan
2 Karn, Liberated
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobyte
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Day of Judgment
1 Slagstorm
1 Combust
2 Act of Aggression
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Beast Within
1 Daybreak Ranger
1 Thrun, the Last Troll

I wasn't super confident in the sideboard, but I figured if I just put in stuff for Wolf run and more sweepers, it wouldn't be a bad default.

Round 1 - UB control
I was most afraid of playing this more than almost anything in the tournament, simply because, this matchup should be hopeless, if the deck is in the hands of a competent pilot (thankfully it wasn't).
Game 1
I won't describe my turns, just his.
t2 leak
t3 leak
t4 snapcaster leak
t5 dissipate
t6 snapcaster dissipate
t7 lilliana
t8 grave titan leak
This is what happens sometimes. Rarely, mind you, but, sometimes, there is just nothing you can do about their draw.
+1 Garruk, Primal
+1 Thrun
+1 Elesh Norn
+2 Karn, Liberated
+1 Ray of Revelation (for curse)
+1 Beast Within
-3 Slagstorm
-3 Galv Blast
-1 Day of Judgment (I left two in for grave titan)
The board is pretty self explanatory. I took out removal that does very little, and just made my deck as threat dense as possible. My gameplan here is just to sandbag a Karn or a Garruk for as long as I can in order for it to resolve, since they both auto-win the game for me.
Game 2
I resolved Karn
Game 3
I resolved Garruk
I'm not kidding when I tell you, resolving either of those cards v. control is basically an auto-win. Karn more than Garruk, Obviously, but, they are both just unfair in this matchup.
1-0 (2-1 in games)
Round 2: Spirits
Game 1: I drew 3 primeval titans in the first 4 turns on the game. Damn.
+1 Day
+1 Slagstorm
+1 Daybreak Ranger
+1 Elesh Norn
-2 Sphere of Suns
-2 Primeval Titan
Most people gawk when they see a Wolf run player taking out their primeval titans, but overall, the card just doesn't do enough in this matchup to warrant keeping it in as a Green Sun bullet.
Game 2: I played a Day of judgment. I proceeded to not have a hand and need to rely on lingering souls + the captain he topdecked. Elesh Norn cleaned it up.
Game 3: Opening hand:
Rampant Growth
Generally speaking in this matchup if you can stall until the late game, your lategame is just better than theirs, and you can out card-advantage them the later it gets.
2-0 (4-2 in games)
Round 3 GB Rock
(This is a deck that I definitely didn't expect to see, for the record)
Game 1
The premier removal spells at the moment are Tragic Slip and Go for the Throat. Wurmcoil says hello
Game 2
I nearly get blown out by Mimic Vat, but topdeck Green Sun's Zenith the turn he casts thrun so I can just Slime the Vat. Following this up with Elesh Norn can be gamebreaking
3-0 (6-2 in games)
Round 4 Teammate with UBW Planeswalkers (similiar to Soornani's list)
We ID because we're both at 3-0 and figure we can win our win-and in, as we both have favorable mirror matches.
Standings go up, and it turns out all the 3-0s (with one exception) decided to draw, so I'm in 3rd place on breakers, so I can draw in.
Round 5: RG ramp
-see above-
3-0-2 (6-2 in games)
I go in to top 8 in 2nd seed after all of that and find out I am playing against the Conley Woods version of Wolf run in top 8

Top 8 - GBr Wolf Run
Game 1: He wins the die roll and goes
t1 bird
t2 ramp
t3 ramp ramp
t4 solemn sphere
t5 land pass
I also don't have anything except lands, the difference between one of my lands a wolf run, and another an inkmoth. He eventually draws Huntmaster.
Game 2: He resolves turn 4 grave titan, my Subsequent turns are as follows.
T4 day
t5 primetime
t6 karn
t7 primetime
t8 wurmcoil
I have to agree that it is a nut-draw, but I wasn't going to not play the cards because I felt bad, generally people play mtg to win. (I won with another karn in hand)
4-0-2 (8-2 in games)
Top 4: Mono Green Aggro
I couldn't help but lol at the top four, two of the decks were Mono G aggro, and they were both sporting 4 predator ooze. Not that the card is bad, it is just a bit slow for my taste.
Game 1: I stall at 3 lands (gut shot is a bitch) (opening hand being land, land, day, sphere, solemn, wurmcoil, green sun) while he goes
t1 llanowar
t2 ooze
t3 geist gesit
t4 ooze
t5 ooze ooze hellbent
+1 Day
+1 Slagstorm
+2 Karn
+1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
-2 Primeval Titan
-3 Sphere (slime is a thing, so is naturalize, idk if he's bringing either in)

Game 2: We have a long standstill that ends with me being able to wolf run wurmcoil past his vorapede and ooze
Game 3: He mulls to 5 and stalls at two lands, then, I have to be the dick that green sun's for 5 to get slime :/. I don't necessarily like winning that way, but again, I play mtg to win.
5-0-2 (10-2 in games)
Finals: Spirits
My opponent wanted to play in the Saturday Night Win-A-Box and I really just wanted the mat more than anything, so we agreed to a split in which I received 15 packs, the mat, and the win, and he got 20 packs.

The tournament overall was a success, but, there was still a part of me that felt like I hadn't earned the mat. I wasn't going to complain, but, I generally prepare a lot of a tournament and get annoyed when people who don't prepare beat me, so, this win felt very hypocritical. I'm planning to tweak the deck a bit more and see if I can make the numbers better. There were some game wins that I feel I stole from my opponents (examples being where I was about to lose, and day of judgment helped me stabilize at less than 5 life.) Most of the changes I plan to make are to the mana base, I feel that 3 inkmoth may be the way to go, especially in a 3 color deck. For any questions or comments feel free to contact me on any of the various social websites that I participate on!

facebook: facebook.com/shakezilluh
email: andro_sphinx@yahoo.com
twitter: @paper_gangsta_
youtube: Themcshakealchemist
pojo forums: Themcshakealchemis (without a T, because I'm stupid)

Thanks for reading!
Sean H.
The McShake Alchemist

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