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Road to Grand Prix Cleveland: Part 2 - Number Crunching

Last week, I presented my deck to you all, and went through an analysis of the cards within it. This week, I take it a step further and give you some good old fashioned number crunching, testing results, and sideboarding strategies. But first, let's review the deck:

After Midnight (MBC) - OBC deck - By Andrew Chapman
4x Morbid Hunger
4x Gravestorm
4x Chainer's Edict
4x Innocent Blood
3x Mutilate
4x Diabolic Tutor
1x Mirari
3x Mind Sludge
2x Decompose

4x Faceless Butcher
2x Laquatus's Champion

3x Cabal Coffers
22x Swamp

4x Braids, Cabal Minion
4x Rancid Earth
2x Coffin Purge
3x Grave Consequences
2x Slithery Stalker

This is how the deck was presented last week, and I shall review with you at the end of any possible changes that may be taking place. Trust me, there will be some. Let me cover some of the match-ups, how this deck has been faring, key cards, and sideboarding strategies against each.

G/W Madness:
Pre-sideboard win percentage: 40%
Post-sideboard win percentage: 37%
Ok, this is a hard battle game 1. As much as I don't like to admit it, Anurid Brushopper just does wonders against me. While just the Brushopper wouldn't be a problem, having all the other creatures with it just becomes too much. Currently, I also don't have much hate against this deck type, and things just don't get much better after boarding. This is a major concern for me right now, and a problem I hope to fix in the couple weeks I have left.
Sideboard: -1 Mind Sludge, -1 Morbid Hunger, +2 Slithery Stalker

Mono White Weenie:
Pre-sideboard win percentage: 78%
Post-sideboard win percentage: 82%
This is just a great match-up for this deck. While there most likely won't be many mono white versions of this deck in big tournaments, testing this match-up gives some very good ideas as to how the match-ups against WW builds will go. Mutilate rules the roost here, as WW simply can't beat it. Butchers remove bigger creatures while eating away at Phantom Nomads, and everything seems to be an easy ride against white weenie.
Sideboard: -2 Mind Sludge, +2 Slithery Stalker

R/G Burn:
Pre-sideboard win percentage: 60%
Post-sideboard win percentage: 65%
This is a fast deck, and really only has a shot when it plays at its fastest. Other than that, creature removal and eventual life gain prove to be too much for this deck to keep up with. When a Champion hits the table, it rules against everything, regenerating against the big guns while knocking down everything in its path.
Sideboard: -2 Mind Sludge, +2 Slithery Stalker

U/G Madness:
Pre-sideboard: 55%
Post-sideboard: 52%
This is a good match-up as long as they don't get a super fast start, which happens more often than I'd like to admit. Often times, it is hard to keep up with this deck without a Gravestorm in play. However, due to the nature of the madness mechanic, a single Gravestorm nets you cards early and consistently against U/G madness, and this is just the boost you need to keep up with their speed.
Sideboard: -2 Mind Sludge, +2 Slithery Stalker

Pre-sideboard: 85%
Post-sideboard: 75%
Poor Tog, this is the reason it isn't showing much success in block. Mono Black Control decks wipe the floor with Tog for the most part, and in block especially. This deck gives the same result, having too much removal for the number of creatures Tog produces, the ability to negate Upheaval-Tog with a simple Innocent Blood, and enough general disruption to cause continuous fits. Gravestorm makes for either a very full hand or a very hungry Tog. Either way, things are looking up.
Sideboard: -2 Decompose, -1 Champion, -1 Mind Sludge, -1 Morbid Hunger, +2 Coffin Purge, +3 Grave Consequences

U/G Speculation:
Pre-sideboard: 40%
Post-sideboard: 56%
This is a deck I am geared at beating, and I'm simply not getting the results I want to be having. Granted, the results have come along much better since Faceless Butchers were added to the deck, but the overall feeling is one of a pendulum that could go either way. Whichever deck gets the better draws seems to win without a doubt. After sideboarding, my hopes get a little better, but the math is still pretty neutral in deciding this match-up.
Sideboard: -3 Mind Sludge, -1 Mutilate, +2 Coffin Purge, +2 Slithery Stalker

MBC (the mirror match):
Pre-sideboard: 48%
Post-sideboard: 59%
This, like other mirror matches, is fairly dumb and very based on luck. Game 1 is a bit different as Rancid earth does in fact hurt me. Gravestorm can often pull you back from defeat if you get Sludged first, but Mind Sludge is still the key card in this match-up. Mirari also seems to be a key card, as the Legend status really gives one player twice the resources as the other. After boarding, however, all the strengths come together. Having Rancid Earths, Braids, Mind Sludge, and Gravestorm is a lot of attacking against the mirror, and has proven to give me a slight edge thus far.
Sideboard: -3 Mutilate, -4 Faceless Butcher, -1 Innocent Blood, +4 Braids, +4 Rancid earth

Pre-sideboard: 61%
Post-sideboard: 52%
This match-up is all about Gravestorm. Gravestorm provides disruption against Balthor, and it also generates enough card drawing to keep up with the constant attack of small black creatures. Butcher wars are quite common, and this deck is often quite exciting to play. The longer the match-up goes, the more it favors me.
Sideboard: -2 Mind Sludge, -1 Morbid Hunger, +3 Grave Consequences

Well, after all the testing I have done thus far, I have seen some trends that need to be analyzed closer. Slithery Stalkers seem to come in a lot. While I will not justify that with putting them in the main deck, I will try to up their number in the sideboard. Likewise, Mind Sludge seems to be coming out a lot, and thus I think its number should be reduced by 1. A couple of the hard to win match-ups would seem to be easier to beat with the assistance of Haunting Echoes. The G/W match would do nicely to see an Echoes, as it would help slow them down. The U/G threshold decks (which I didn't cover due to my limited playtesting time against them (which haven't provided favorable results)) also would crumble to a single Haunting Echoes in a lot of circumstances. Thus, the need for Echoes is obvious, though early playtesting said elsewise. There are just certain decks that Echoes is too useful against to not include it. Thus, the changes to be made at this point are:

-1 Mind Sludge
+1 Haunting Echoes

-3 Grave Consequences
+1 Haunting Echoes
+2 Slithery Stalker

These changes should really help against those weaker match-ups while not hurting the good ones very much, if at all. Grave Consequences was mainly used against Tog, and Tog is already greatly in my favor. 

That's all for this week. Next week, I'll report on how well I did in a Grand Prix: Cleveland Trial in Rochester at Millennium Games and Hobby. I'm looking to get some byes into the big thing, or at least some vital tournament experience with this deck.

Until thenů

Andrew Chapman
IM: wchrisrock




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