Last week I thought I left you with a deck that needed some serious attention. Little did I know the deck was actually just a few steps away from what turned out to be a list close to my ideal. This week I can proudly talk of the deck in it’s current shape, which is exactly where I want it to be. Sounds good? Then read on! Also, we have slugs that spit and pods that birth. In short, no reason to stop reading. (Or three.)
Wort: the Final Chapter
Last week, this was the deck that I had sleeved up:
This deck had a few aspects I wasn’t happy with, most notably the fat guys-suite. Rick then suggested Inferno Titan to me, because it costs six mana instead of seven and has an immediate effect on the game. Since I liked the six-is-the-new-seven train of thought, I nixed all the seven mana fatties for Inferno Titans and some Predator Dragons. After some tweaking and tinkering, the latest version was born.
At first I wasn’t very confident in this deck. After all, it’s pretty much the same deck, but with different bad guys. I was thinking the deck needed yet another mayor overhaul, and various ideas flashed through my head: from Lotus Bloom to Tezzeret’s Gambit and from Pyromancer Ascension to Mogg Alarm. Luckily, practice was different from theory.
Last Saturday, I tested the deck again against Rick, with much better results than the last time. This was part because of that I learned how to play the deck more, and part because the top end of the curve was more dangerous. I played mostly against Rick’s Teferi/Teachings-deck. At first I thought it was a bad matchup: he has counters for my crucial spells (mostly rituals or spells that help trigger Spinerock Knoll) and removal for my Goblin tokens. What I failed to take into account was the sheer power of my lands: of the 21 lands the deck has, 10 of them spell danger for a control player. 6 charge lands ensure lots of mana to fight through counters, while Spinerock Knoll also gives my spells some serious discount (whilst also keeping the opponent guessing what’s underneath).
I learned how to wait, how to bait, and how to maximize my turns when Rick was tapped out. With Mogg War Marshal and Dragon Fodder providing enough offensive early on (two damage per turn seems futile, but actually starts adding up real fast) forces Rick to start mainphasing spells like Firespout, or Mulldrifter to dig for answers. The window this grants me is something I can easily abuse. Against this deck, a hasty Predator Dragon is often lethal.
His other deck I tried to beat was his G/R Loam Goyfs deck with four each of Terravore and Countryside Crusher. In this matchup, early Inferno Titans where very good at keeping his Sylvan Safekeepers and Werebears at bay. His Safekeeper can prevent destruction, but at the cost of tempo. When you don’t have a big creature to protect, you’re just sacrificing lands to prevent dying at the cost of tempo. In the end, that’ll kill you.
All in all, you see here a man happy with how his efforts turned out. I took a deck that wasn’t perfect and almost rebuilt it from the ground up. Combo decks are the best to build, but also the hardest. I’m glad my attempts to better it succeeded. The mana is better with more chargelands, the fatties are better, and the right amount of acceleration means I can build towards a combo or an early fatty.
And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Wort. The end.
There’s always room for more Slugs
A lot of players have an affection for a certain cards. Others just collect some card because it is cool. I collect Spitting Slugs because I was forced to.
Back when Time Spiral block was the latest one, my group was pretty enthusiastic about drafts. This in contrast to the current state of affairs, which saw ROE-ROE-ROE as the last time we drafted.
Back then, there was a gaming convention in the first weekend of November not very far from us. Each year me and a bunch of friends would go there to buy, trade, and play. It was there that I played in my first Time Spiral sealed tournament. It was a pretty big one, complete with registration and deck swap. The deck I opened, which I thought was mine, was very cool. I remember it had an Akroma and a foil The Rack. But no, I had to ship it. Instead, I got a Spitting Slug.
The next time I got my hands on sealed Time Spiral products, there it was again. Mocking me from the back of the pack. That green slimy fella. Spitting Slug. Before I knew it, I had gotten quite a few Slugs. I decided this was a divine sign for me to start collecting them. And so I did.
While the collection-mania has subsided a bit, I still try to get my hands on a Slug every time I see one. On second hand, scratch that. That sentence looks gross and mildly disturbing. I want to close this chapter with a few pictures of the back of my binder, which is – at least I like to think it is – a little bit known around the block. Or not. Probably not.
What you see here is a grand total of 71 regular Spitting Slugs (all English except for a Spanish copy I traded for in Barcelona) and 23 foiled ones. The moment I can double-sleeve a deck with 60 Spitting Slugs is the moment I die. Of joy.
Affinity for Architects
Birthing Pod jumped of the spoiler the first time I saw it. Back then I couldn’t wait to power out early Myr Superions, either by Joraga Treespeaker or, well, Joraga Treespeaker (fed to Birthing Pod, mind you). Then I saw Kenny Oberg’s Podcaster block deck, which combined Birthing Pod – an artifact – with the artifantastic Grand Architect, and I was even more sold. The thing was that the deckbuilding kept losing priority to various other decks of mine.
Another strike against the deck was that I didn’t have a lot of the essentials. Because I hate playing with proxies, and singleton proxies you tutor up you see more often than the last proxy to complete a playset, I wanted to acquire the cards for the deck first. Now that I have pretty much everything save for a Wurmcoil Engine, I can start brewing. Let me fill you in a bit on my underlying theories.
1. Blue creatures
Blue creatures are Sol Rings for Grand Architect. Therefore I want to stay mostly blue. I’m ofcourse playing blue for Birthing Pod. Yes, that’s not technically necessary, but the Phyrexian damage can start adding up quickly. I have blue creatures all over the curve, from Augury Owl and Coiling Oracle to Hoverguard Sweepers and Sphinx of Uthuun.
2. Lines of play
Birthing Pod decks are more than decks where every stop on the curve has a few good cards. You need lines of play that can hammer on one particular aspect of the game. This can be critters that leave a dude (Wurmcoil Engine, Wing Splicer, Kitchen Finks), creatures that give you card advantage (Reveillark, Mulldrifter, Deadwood Treefolk), or land destruction guys (Acidic Slime, Sundering Titan, Woodfall Primus). For example, against control you want the LD-plan (with card advantage as a backup), whereas against removal-heavy decks you’ll typically go for recursion and/or extra cards. The key to a good Pod-deck lies herein.
3. Artifact creatures
Artifact creatures are another card type that can easily be exploited with Grand Architect. Each blue mana you have becomes two colorless, so again, you have Sol Rings for creatures.
The best part is ofcourse to have blue artifact creatures. This was another one of Rick’s suggestions. I hadn’t really thought about it and stopped considering after Faerie Mechanist. Later, when Rick told me this, I thought a little bit harder and came up with the great Etherium Sculptor.
Affinity is another credit that goes to Rick. While my first thought with Birthing Pod was Myr Superion, Rick’s was affinity. You can turn undercosted big guys with a medium-sized body (i.e. Myr Enforcer) into big guys with large-sized bodies (Platinum Emperion, Woodfall Primus, Terastodon) long before you should be able to have those guys on the battlefield. I’m guessing a big part of the deck plan will be to Treasure Mage up some Myr Enforcers, get them into play as soon as possible, and pummel the opponent soon thereafter.
This makes me wonder. In the last two articles I wrote, I credited Rick three times for an idea (Inferno Titan, Etherium Sculptor, and affinity). Are my ideas worse than his? Am I more capable of building decks around various ideas? I don’t know. I just appreciate his feedback and ideas and try to build decks I like the most. It doesn’t hurt that Rick has developed a sense of what cards I like over the years. I just hope he would build more decks; after all, I can’t execute all of his ideas 😉
Anyway, that’s all I got this week. Take care.