In the last post, I covered the events of our first 4-Pack as a group/clan. In this part, I cover the cards I opened and the deck that I built.
I am also very much looking forward to people's comments on the decks and what they themselves would have built!
READING THE CARDS
Here are the Mythics/Rares/Uncommons I got. I liked the Rare/Mythics, but felt I could only use one this time. Would be happy to be proven wrong, though ^_^
I felt that Garuk would have been great if I had a lot of creatures. He also spawns 3/3 tokens so that's very strong too and he could be a creature machine. However, I didn't feel that I was getting much quality in the creature department, especially in the early game creature department to warrant using him. But at the moment, I am starting to wonder if I could have made a very strong Blue/Green deck using Garruk. He certainly would have buffed my Blue creatures while producing one or two tokens. Acidic slime is a green card I like, not enough experience to tell how valuable it is in this format but deathtouch and land/artifact destruction is a wonderful thin imo.
Royal Assassin is the card I went with. He's so good in this format and nasty with whispersilk cloak. In this list of Mythics/Rares/Uncommons alone, he pairs very well with sleep as well (though almost anything pairs well with sleep).
Merfolk Sovereign just wasn't happening in this tournament imo, and though I ended up playing him--he's the card I think I should have cut.
So let's see the full card list of what I got...
I didn't have too many complaints about my cards. I just didn't see enough creatures for an army, but at the same time I really liked the quality of my creatures!
There weren't any special lands, so nothing is missing in the above picture.
White has cards I want, but not enough of them or not enough support (aside from squadron hawk). It quickly fell off my list, but in retrospect, I wish I splashed it for Blinding Mage.
I really liked Blue right away. It seemed to have a package to keep me in the game and eventually control it. I am a little prone to mill, but I felt that in this deck, it was finally warranted--especially if paired with Rise from the Grave in black as well as some discards. I believe an early game erasure followed by a preordain, and eventually a tome scour puts a lot of pressure on the opponent and pairs well with something like Rise from the Grave. I'm also a very big fan of Sleep and Mind Control. At least Mind Control can make up for a creature deficit and give you some choice.
Black might be where my bias shows here. I really like the black package despite it being the fewest cards I had on the table. I'm almost wondering if someone will shake me and say "your Green might actually pair well with your Blue" or something. In any case, I liked Black too much maybe and went with that. I felt it went so well with Blue. Discards, grave robbing, and assassination felt like great control cards.
The hard part about Red was that it's all support. I like all these spells, but I just didn't feel I had an aggro army in either color that wanted to use them as much. I felt these were the slower red cards that would be nice if I already had speed on my side (which I don't think I had at all).
Green was tough and I don't think I spent enough time considering it. Garruk is good and I have a late game army that could probably win. Sylvan helps me thin the deck while ensuring early land. If I spend time thinking about Blue and Green, maybe that would have won me over... But I do think it would depend too much on drawing Garuk or Mind Control. Looking for comments on my green ^_^
For the artifacts, there was no question I would use whispersilk cloak. Lifegain is too slow without something like a pridemate--it costs tempo and and you buy yourself one turn at the cost of who knows how many spells. And voltaic key obviously has no targets (and that would be too complicated to rely on anyways).
CHANCHAI'S BLUE BLACK CONTROL DECK (wish I splashed White too)
In general, I like playing control decks as well as combo decks. I'm not great at it by any means, I still have to improve my fundamentals. But I love playing these types of decks. In a sealed format, it feels very different--the consistency you are used to isn't there so each turn can be a little dramatic if your opening hand wasn't great or you don't have a lot of draw or scry engines (gotta love how good crystal ball is in 30 card decks).
I did not intend to make a control deck coming into the event. In fact, I always hope I can build the sort of decks that germanjerk usually ends up with, great balance of early game aggro and control and maybe a couple bombs. But it wasn't happening in this tournament.
In any case, here is the Blue Black control I used in the tournament.
It was hard for me to narrow my cards down. The biggest obstacle was creature count at 8. Eventually, I felt that Mind Control counts as a creature, Rise from the Grave counts as anywhere from 0.75 - 1.50 creatures (1.5 if the situation calls for using it on grave digger) and Grave digger is 1.5 creatures in lategame. Thinking about it that way, I was comfortable with the lower creature count and I still had my options.
I think Merfolk Sovereign was a mistake. It only has tiny synergy in this deck and costs a lot for not using those abilities. In retrospect, I wish I tossed sovereign out and splashed in a Blinding Mage which works in this deck if it comes out to play.
Cloud elemental is good, but weird. It can only block flying creatures which isn't really a problem in this format, but when your creature count is low, you might run into situations where you don't have enough ground creatures to block your opponent. His value is still okay, but it becomes good with a decent aggro set. He did keep flyers at bay, so I have to consider how good that value was. I don't think there's anything I would have cut him for in the current card list. Again, always happy to be proven wrong (much easier to learn from being wrong usually).
The idea of this deck was to slowly control and hopefully mill the opponent down while building a win condition. Royal Assassin, Whispersilk Cloak, and Sleep were wonderful at stalling and controlling the fights. I'm also glad that Josep used the Cloaked Assassin Combo too.
I love Aether Adept's ability to control tempo. I especially like having it as an option for Gravedigger. Speaking of Gravedigger, I like having Liliana's Specter as an option for it too (and of course, Royal Assassin). Rise from the Grave is also nice for these applications, but I try to save it for grabbing something really worthy, for a win condition.
I don't think there's much to say about Mind Control aside from how nice it is at robbing advantage and controlling tempo.
I was partial to the mill package of Erasure, Preordain (after Erasure if possible, but also for getting out of a bind), and Tome Scour because of how I felt it would work with Rise from the Grave late game. It also puts a clock on the opponent and I felt my deck was able to control long enough to make full use of it. A second Tome Scour or a Traumatize would have been wonderful however. A second Tome Scour, I think, would have been game winning.
Tome Scour is a tough card to have great discipline with, imo. In this deck, I only get one crack at it. And it has a secondary purpose in this deck of finding a target for Rise from the Grave. Therefore, throwing it down early doesn't feel so right when you might just scour land. You hope to get a bomb, but there are still good odds the opponent has them already. However, as the game progresses, and with the control being applied in the game, it does feel like the opponent will be put into a position of relying a little more on a top deck later--not to mention you can always count lands late in a game to know the odds of a scour. If the opponent had terramorphic expanse played already, at least the deck is already thinner. And if you have already forced the opponent to discard most or all of his hand (which this deck has done), the value of tome scour imo seems to go up.
IT WAS A BIG CHALLENGE TO TELL MYSELF NOT TO SCOUR UNTIL LATE IN THE GAME. Well, there's one exception. If opponent is mana screwed, I think it's worth tome scouring, but even more valuable to force discard.
Anyhow, that's how I felt about this deck I built. It's not the best deck it could have been, but I somehow feel like I built a contender in this one. But control in this environment is hard because of the lack of consistency.
Also, oddly enough, I did not include negate or counterspell. You can rely on people casting creatures on this format, so negate is a hard call for me--it feels like it only belongs in sideboard and used when you know what your target is. If that target never arrives, it's a wasted card and that happens a surprising amount in this format, I think. Counterspell is better suited and can stop a big bad creature. I do feel I should have kept it in but am struggling with that debate in my head. Hope someone clarifies to me the value of counterspell.
Finally, here is the deck that I now wish I had built.
It simply replaced Merfolk Sovereign with Blinding Mage, took one Swamp out for a Plains.
True to germanjerk's article on building an M11 4-Pack deck, double color requirements are difficult to work around. This deck prefers to have more Swamps than Islands, but it still really uses those Islands. I wasn't sure what the best way to distribute land was, I'm almost wondering if in this final (post-tournament) deck, if I should have added one more Swamp at the cost of an Island. But it's really hard to say with the mid-game blue stuff.
Looking forward to seeing what decks other people would have built!
Also, because I had the wrong image size set (Wizard's default) for scoreboard, here it is again (sad my results don't look so hot despite how upbeat I feel about this tournament).