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Pojo's Book Reviews



Hey everyone.  I hope you enjoyed the last article because this one is a little bit different.  I’m going to give you a tourney report to show how the deck works its magic (get it?) and then let you know what Odyssey cards would have helped out at least a little.

The Deck

Well, since I hadn’t played at this place for about three years, (and even then, I was a scrub) I had no idea what was going to get played by everyone else.  So, I just packed up good old White Weenie (no blue splashed) and had my friend Jeff come over to do a little testing and pick up my friend Erik (who played Draw-Go).  He was playing Sligh while testing and I was losing horribly in the first game.  I knew that after sideboarding it was going to be a slaughter, though.  Which reminds me, here’s the deck list:

1 Ramosian Sergeant
4 Tithe
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Seal of Cleansing
3 Longbow Archer
3 Soltari Monk
4 Steadfast Guard
4 Warrior en-Kor
4 Paladin en-Vec
4 Empyrial Armor
4 Coalition Honor Guard
4 Cataclysm
18 Plains


2 Disenchant
1 Seal of Cleansing
3 Honorable Passage
4 Story Circle
2 Lashknife Barrier
3 Armageddon

Now, let me explain the deck.  The lone Ramosian Sergeant was great all night.  He drew all sorts of burn out, along with Steadfast Guards.  Tithes are pretty obvious.  Originally, there were only three Swords in the deck.  That changed immediately after I played a few games against a 3-Deuce deck.  One Sergeant was pulled to put it in.  Seal of Cleansing were also pretty good all night.  I noticed how the deck just died to Morphling (doesn’t everything) saw that these guys could block fliers (and were pretty efficient) and in went three.  The Soltari Monks should have been Priests but I couldn’t find any.  Steadfast Guard just owns Stasis and is great with the Sergeant.  The Warriors are excellent when you have a Paladin out against Sligh or Empyrial Armor against everything else.  The Paladins were another great critter all night long (there seem to be a lot of those).  The Empyrial Armors are great against everything and get even better when put on the Honor Guard.  Speaking of whom, they were probably the MVP of the night.  A few people had to try kind of hard to play around them and others just didn’t want to play anything, which was great for me.  Cataclysm is the card that everyone just hated.  It saved me from dying quite a few times and helped me kill people a lot of the other times.  The Disenchants and the Seal in the sideboard are pretty self-explanatory.  The Honorable Passage was another attempt to stop the Sligh decks I expected so much of (two of them showed up from what I saw).  The Story Circle was the MVP of the sideboard.  I believe it came in every match except one (3-Deuce) and even stopped a Morphling from killing me.  The Lashknife Barriers were there to help against the random Counter-Phoenix deck that I might play, although they did help out against something a lot harder on my critters (how’s that for foreshadowing?).  The Armageddons were there to put in against Draw-Go in place of Cataclysm since it lets me leave more creatures on the table afterwards.

The Tourney

Since it took about an extra hour and a half or so to get the tourney started (we couldn’t find enough people to get to the 18 limit) I had a chance to do deck changes (see above), play, and trade.  First round pairings went up and I was playing against (drum roll, please) my friend Jeff.  I know, I know, every report has the match where you play against each other to get into Top 8, but since you could still get in at 3-1, it wasn’t such a big deal.

Round 1  Jeff  (Sligh)

Game 1 went according to plan with him beating the crap out of me with Pups and the rest of the gang while I tried to regroup.  I cast a Cataclysm on turn four which slowed the bleeding but still sent me to the sideboard.  In came four Story Circles and three Passage.

Game 2 was the opposite.  Turn three I had the Paladin out, turn four I armored him, and turn five was the Cataclysm.  He couldn’t race with me and it was off to game three.

In game 3, I was taking Pup beats while he took the bear beats.  When he was at eight and I had an Honor Guard out with another guy, he decided to cast a Ball Lightning and swing with everything.  I blocked the Pup, Passaged the Lightning, and that was game.

Round 2  Erik (Draw-Go)

Wow, two friends in a row.  This must be some sort of a record!  Anyway, this was the match I feared the most (Powder Keg kills almost all of my guys).  In the first game, I hit him with critters early and then he Kegged em all away, dropped a Morphling with a few extra blue mana out, and I entered the Scoop Phase.  In came the Armageddons and Story Circles.

Game 2 was something else.  He got me down to ten with a Morphling and said go.  I drew a Story Circle and smiled on the inside.  I already had a critter out, so I decided to cast the CoP: Morphling.  He started to remove a Force Spike when I said, “Morphling cant be targeted.”  He asked me what I meant and I said, “Have you read Story Circle?”  I told him again that Superman couldn’t be targeted and he let the Story Circle through!  I quickly named blue and said go.  He untapped, drew, and then attacked me with the Morphling.  I told him I would use the Circle and he made the shapeshifter untargetable.  I told him that Story Circle didn’t target like the CoPs and he conceded.

In game three, he didn’t see a Keg or Disk and a Longbow archer went all the way after killing a Morphling (he didn’t see that the Archer could block fliers and had tapped out to play an Ophidian, which I sent farming).

Round 3  Eric  WW variant

Eric was a really nice guy and I had a great time playing against him.

He was playing a White Weenie type deck that used Marble Diamonds along with Armageddons to disrupt the opponent while being unaffected.  Game 1 went fairly easy.  All we did was attack each other until I armored a guy, Cataclysmed, and quickly ended the game.

In game 2 I brought some Story Circles in since they were all I had for the mirror match.  This game was a lot closer than the first.  I was slowly pecking away at him with my guys until he put a Serra’s Embrace and Spirit Link (I think) on one of his guys.  I put an Empyrial Armor on a guy and we raced.  A Swords helped out and we were done with the match shortly after.

Round 4  Lee 3-Deuce

Lee recently got a Top 8 at GP: Minneapolis so I was a little worried.  Before the tournament we were playing and it seemed that his deck was slightly better than mine.  Oh, well.  In the first game, I got a turn 3 Armor on a guy followed buy a turn 4 Cataclysm.  The game was over shortly after since he couldn’t find any Swords.

Game 2 was probably one of the best games of Magic I think I have ever played.  We were going back and forth killing creatures and casting them (although I seemed to be losing way more creatures than him).  He started to break through with Cursed Scrolls (this is where the Lashknife Barriers came into play, even though he Sealed it) and soon was attacking for damage.  He had a Scroll and a Granger Guildmage (has the Fireslinger ability) out when I drew my card.  I was quite happy-Coalition Honor Guard.  I cast it and said go.  During my endstep, he pinged me with the Guildmage and I looked at my life, saw it was at 2 and scooped.  As soon as I started to shuffle I realized what I had done-he had to target the Guard.  Oh, well, it was my fault since I conceded and was guaranteed to make Top 8 anyway.

In game 3, it was pretty much a slaughtering as he beat me down with just about everything he possibly could.  I think I cast a Cataclysm some where but I’m not sure.  This brought us to the Top 8.

Quarterfinals  Steve (Pud)  R/W Ponza

This match was kind of humiliating for me.  I don’t think that his deck had any rares in it and he was really hurting me with stuff like Squee’s Embrace and Goblin Gardener!

Game1was pretty bad.  I kept a one-land hand without a Tithe just because I had some really nice stuff in my hand.  Oops.  He started to play the depletion lands and popped pretty much every land I played.  I think I scooped when he put a Squee’s Embrace on a Gardener.

Game 2 went according to plan.  I got out a couple of quick guys and on turn 4 dropped an Empyrial Armor on one of them.  He didn’t have the burn in response and it was on to game 3.

In game 3 I had to play a little more carefully around his LD since my hand had a few more expensive things in it.  I got out a couple of guys to match his and we started trading.  He kept popping my land, but I was winning the damage race and didn’t really care.  I finally killed him with only a land or two in play and without casting an Armor or Cataclysm.

Semifinals  Ben  Stompy

Sorry, but after my quarterfinal match I stopped taking notes for some strange reason, although I do remember the match fairly well.

Game 1 went fairly easy except for his River Boas that wanted to step in front of my guys and regenerate.  A Swords to Plowshares took care of that problem.  An Empyrial Armor ended the game soon after.

For game 2 I boarded in a few Story Circles just in case things went sour for me.  I had three guys and was attacking him after a few Swords when I cast a Story Circle and attacked.  That turn he tried to cast two Avatar of Might.  It got to my turn when I realized that he couldn’t do that.  He thought that my Story Circle was a creature so we went back to his turn.  I think he cast another guy and said go.  An Empyrial Armor on a shadow guy finished the job.

Finals  Lee  3-Deuce

Since it was 1:30 in the morning we decided to split and I gave him the win so he would go along with the plan.  We each wound up with 21 boosters so it wasn’t too bad for a $10 entry fee.

Odyssey’s Effect

And now for the strategy part.  For this conversion, why don’t we use my deck as a model?  Throughout the night I saw that the game would probably have been over a turn or two earlier if I had some sort of Crusade effect.  This is where Pianna, Nomad Captain caught my eye.  She’s not too efficient by herself being a 2/2 for three mana, but she is great with a couple of other guys out.  She also gives the bonus of not working for your opponent in the mirror match, although they can just block and kill her.  Another new Crusade is Divine Sacrament.  This deck often has threshold with the Cataclysms in there, but they don’t give you the advantage in the mirror match.  This is one of those choices that comes down to the metagame.  I saw a few other WW decks up there so I personally would go with the Pianna’s.  Two should suffice and can replace a Cataclysm and a Coalition Honor Guard.  This will also help round off the mana curve.

One non-Crusade card that jumped out at me was the Mystic Penitent.  He’s pretty efficient at a 1/1 for one mana and only gets better.  He also makes the deck less vulnerable to Powder Keg.  We can take out the Steadfast Guards for this guy and take care of the Sergeant later.  Another creature that would have been great at the tournament was the Beloved Chaplain.  Since every bit of removal I saw did two points of damage anyway and there were so many creature decks up there, we can take out the Sergeant and the Soltari Monks to drop four of these guys in there.  This might not be a great idea if you don’t expect a lot of creatures in your area, although Extended is starting to see more and more of them lately.

The sideboard is where Odyssey is going to help the most, I think.  The Spheres are great against a variety of decks and are pretty efficient.  The ones that will help the most are the Sphere of Law and the Sphere of Duty since Sligh and Stompy will get destroyed by these things.  I am going to take out the Honorable Passages for three Spheres of Law and two Lashknife Barriers for the Spheres of Duty.

One of the creatures that I decided I wouldn’t put in was Lieutenant Kirtar.  He has a nice ability but isn’t worth taking out another set of creatures for a few of him when the Swords to Plowshares are already in there.  Balancing Act was going to replace Cataclysm until I saw that it was number of permanents and not one of each.  Graceful Antelope, while extremely fun, has no place in a deck like this.  Aegis of Honor was going to go into the sideboard, but I have already made a lot of changes to the deck to stop red and felt that this would make it overkill.

So, here’s the new beatin’ machine:

4 Tithe
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Seal of Cleansing
3 Longbow Archer
4 Beloved Chaplain
4 Mystic Penitent
4 Warrior en-Kor
4 Paladin en-Vec
2 Pianna, Nomad Captain
4 Empyrial Armor
3 Coalition Honor Guard
3 Cataclysm
18 Plains


2 Disenchant
1 Seal of Cleansing
3 Sphere of Law
4 Story Circle
2 Sphere of Duty
3 Armageddon

Well, that’s all for this week’s (actually 3) installation.  I will be back next time with an article on who knows what.  If you have any particular deck-type that you would like me to look over, just send me an e-mail and I will see what I can do.

Until next time, keep ‘em legal


P.S.  Sorry this report was so late but it was interrupted by a family trip during which I had neither an internet connection or a computer to type on.




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com

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