10/2/2009 TWTW: "In the Wake of the Prerelease"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's The Week That Was, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I was BDM's first opponent at the Sunday Pre-release in Columbus (see his sealed pool #3). Either the Sphinx of Jwar Isle or the two Zektar Shrine Expeditions did me in all three games we played (he went U/R from the pool in his article).

I had no real answer for the Sphinx either in my deck or in my pool, but was happy to have pushed someone like BDM to a third and decisive game.

The game I still kick myself over was the first (I ran G/R), because in an early sequence I passed a turn when he had a Zektar Shrine Expedition out with two counters on it, as I planned to Punishing Fire the 7/1 Elemental in response on his next turn. Well, he missed his land drop. He passed back to me, and I opted then to accept eating the seven to establish board position and play more permanent threats to his one-shot deal. I really didn't want to pass two turns in a row not playing anything. Predictibly, he whacked me for seven the next turn. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered, because he got the Sphinx into play later that same game which ultimately did me in, but I still keep going back to that game wondering if I misplayed there in the early rounds and gave that one away.

What was most frustrating in the matchup was having two Plated Geopedes in my deck, three Adventuring Gear, and two Goblin Shortcutters, yet always hitting them in the reverse order of what would have been workable for my deck. In fact, I didn't see a single Geopede in any of the three games we played, which would've certainly held the 7/1s at bay barring BDM having his Into the Roil in hand.

It was a fun experience and I lost to a better player ... so live and learn. Very cool story to tell for me to be able to say I played Brian and, you know ... didn't completely embarass myself in the process. Tongue out

Sick sealed pool! Real easy deck to build:

9 Swamp
8 Island
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Guul Draz Vampire
1 Bloodghast
2 Welkin Tern
2 Umara Raptor
1 Mindless Null
1 Nimana Sell-Sword
1 Windrider Eel
1 Heartstabber Mosquito
1 Guul Draz Specter
1 Crypt Ripper
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Shoal Serpent
1 Grim Discovery
1 Hideous End
1 Sadistic Sacrament (Take their best 3 cards for 3? Yes.  Win the game for 10? Yes.)
1 Soul Stair Expedition
1 Into the Roil
1 Paralyzing Grasp
2 Disfigure

Why u/b no splash?

Adding a third color is going to be tough without better duals.  We could be base green, but the creatures in this pool's green don't curve very well.  White only has a few legit splash-able cards, but not nearly enough cards in quantity to make it a main color.  Red has some ok creatures, some ok removal cards, but overall just isn't deep enough to play. Playing red at all takes a large commitment in Mountains to make it work with this pool, and it just isnt' necessary.  Blue and Black are both very deep in this pool: good curve while playing the best cards.

I see that sealed pool as U/G or U/B. white is an auto out, and I don't think the red is that strong. Allies is very strong in that UG pool, and you could attempt accelling into kicker spells with good finshers.  If you go UB you've got great removal and effiecent creatures.  BG seems alright as well but it seems that strong compared to the two blue decks.

Why isn't Trusty Machete in your BR aggro deck? Seems made for it and also not really a card you leave in the SB, especially with an aggressive strategy.


Nice decks and article!

Gotta work on that pool...

Still yet more Lotus Cobra. Congrats on opening a $30 card, BDM. Moving on...

As someone who drafts with and does FNM's with Todd and Kali on a semi-regular basis, it's entertaining to suddenly see the two of them pop up on the Wizards website like that.

Anyway, I enjoyed the article.

Both of the Toyman stores are local to me, the one in Menasha is closest.  Cool stuff, didn't expect to read that on there.  Even though I don't live around there currently, Seattle being my new magic home, I miss it and go to the store anytime I get to go home for vacation.

Still yet more Lotus Cobra. Congrats on opening a $30 card, BDM. Moving on...

i noticed quite a few people opening lotus cobra at the prerelease. maybe it's secretly less rare than we think.

also, nice use of three synonymous adverbs in a row, there. Smile

I would go with a build similar to Christopholoph's but would change two cards. I would take out the Sadistic Sacrament and the Mindless Null and would instead add the Summoner's Bane and Trusty Machete. I've never been a fan of cards like the Sacrament in limited because limited decks tend to be less reliant on a few key cards to win and if you are behind it really doesn't help you much. The Null is a pretty bad creature and we are not so creature light that we need to play it. I like the summoner's bane because although it is somewhat situational it is essentially a two for one. The machete is just too good to pass up with all the evasive creatures in this deck.


I would go UB as well...

1 adventuring gear
1 explorer's scope
1 trusty machete
1 vampire lacerator
2 disfigure
2 welkin tern
1 bloodghast
2 umara raptor
1 hideous end
1 windrider eel
1 guul draz spectre
1 nimana sellsword
1 crypt ripper
1 summoner's bane
1 into the roil
2 bog tatters
1 shoal serpent
1 sphinx of jwar isle
1 heartstabber mosquito
8 island
9 swamp

I decided to play the bog tatters main as it seemed to me at the pre-release that black was very popular and it would often be an evasive 4 power creature. If my opponent was not playing black, I'd probably side them out for Soulstair Expedition and Paralyzing Grasp. If I felt my deck was overmatched I might side in a white splash of Journey to Nowhere and Pitfall Trap. I wish there was more green manafixing, because then a GUw landfall/allies deck would have been awsome.

I came up with a UB build that is based more around control and evasive creatures (10 Flying/Guul Draz Vampire).  Also, I used all three Equipments, as they might prove very useful with the evasive creatures.


Island x8
Swamp x7

Sphinx of Jwar Isle x1
Tempest Owl x1
Umara Raptor x2
Welkin Tern x2
Windrider Eel x2

Guul Draz Specter x1
Guul Draz Vampire x1
Heartstabber Mosquito x1

Into the Roil x1
Lethargy Trap x1
Paralyzing Grasp x1
Spell Pierce x2
Summoner's Bane x1
Trapfinder's Trick x1

Disfigure x2
Grim Discovery x1
Hideous End x1
Adventuring Gear x1
Explorer's Scope x1
Trusty Machete x1

At first I considered UG Allies with a white splash with the dual lands for removal, but then realized the speed and removal of the UB deck.
10 spells:

2  Disfigure
1  Hideous End
1  Into the Roil ... bounce into summoner's bane, or bounce a Mosquito or Sphinx ftw
1  Summoner's Bane ... so good in a fast deck like this
1  Explorer's Scope ... great on a 1-drop or evasion creature. Great accel in a deck with kicker spells, and shaves off extra lands of the top for card advantage and for drawing useful spells every turn
1  Trusty Machete ... makes all the evasion better. On average better than Adventuring Gear, even considering the Gear's occasional combo with Explorer's Scope. 
1  Carnage Altar ... the one slow card that allows the deck to handle powerful control decks with mass-removal traps and card advantage and stuff. Also, makes a sick combo with Bloodghast. This is the 3rd card so far that requires drawing a creature to achieve something, so there's no more room for Adventuring Gear.
1  Needlebite Trap ... a good finisher for a fast evasive deck like this, but maybe Sadistic Sacrament is better here. If the opponent has a slow deck with traps, bombs, and tons of repeat life gain, Needlebite gets sided out for Sacrament. Actually, starting out with sacrament would allow me to scout the opponent's deck for more informed sideboarding. But I would expect more aggro opponents than control opponents.
1  Soul Stair Expedition ... good to start out with, awesome with Allies and Sphinx and Mosquito and Carnage Altar.

13 creatures: (a bit low, but then again there's Summoner's Bane and Soul Stair)

1  Guul Draz Vampire
1  Vampire Lacerator
1  Bloodghast
2  Welkin Tern
2  Umara Raptor
1  Windrider Eel
1  Crypt Ripper
1  Guul Draz Specter
1  Nimana Sell-Sword
1  Heartstabber Mosquito
1  Sphinx of Jwar Isle

17 Land: 

9 Swamp ... want more for Crypt Ripper and 2nd turn Bloodghast, but can't increase any more
8 Island ... because I need at least this much for Sphinx kicker

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