Disclaimer: This is quite the long winded ramble; CliffsNotes at the very bottom for the "tl;dr" crowd.
A follow up to the earlier blog entry regarding the games vs. UB Reanimator and Ichorid—I couldn't sleep so sometime around 2 AM I decided to drift back into the internet wasteland known as MWS and do battle with its myriad planeswalkers.
I was more than sick of getting my ass handed to me with my piece of garbage green deck so I decided to give something a bit more competitive but still fun to play a day in court. Feeling lazy, I just copied down Nightmare's Uw deck card for card.
It looks a little something like this
3 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Lord of Atlantis
2 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Relic of Progenitus
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Absolute Law
The only thing I wasn't entirely satisfied with was the sideboard but I didn't have the energy or the inclination to tinker with it. I would mind seeing another Jitte, Relic, and Disenchant somewhere but overall it's a very good aggro-control deck with solid threats and tremendous synergy.
I found an opponent with the message "Legacy 1.5 fun games" and decided to join his game. He was a nice guy by the name of Eric who knew the rules. We chatted a bit and I ended up adding him to MSN messenger like I try to do with anyone good/friendly who knows the rules.
He was playing a self described "budget pox" deck with multiple copies of the following notables: Withering Wisps (w/ Snow-covered Swamps, 'natch), Bloodghast, Innocent Blood, Small Pox, Pox, Tombstalker, Dark Ritual, Phyrexian Arena, and Necroplasm (which turned out to be not that good against my deck despite theoretically being incredible). His deck was slow and controllish and probably inferior to a more disruptive deck filled with discard effects as a supplement to Pox. My memory is just a little fuzzy regarding specifics since we played 5 games back to back but here are the highlights of our games.
He drops a snow-covered swamp and I'm not sure what to expect when he passes it back to me. I play an island and pass. He drops Snow-covered Swamp no. 2 and passes it back to me. Island 2, go. He plays a third swamp and passes. I drop a wasteland and make a Sovereign. He plays Innocent Blood which I allow and then I find a replacement Sovereign on my turn. Finally I start beating him down while countering his Pox with a Daze, his Tombstalker with a FoW, and a Withering Wisps with FoW #2, pitching FoW#3. Along the way I played a Standstill, though I don't remember when. I just remember top decking the two FoWs and a land and thinking "not bad." Eventually I drop a Lord and the fish go the distance, supplemented in damage by the P. Arena he gets out.
-1 Relic of Progenitus
-1 Umezawa's Jitte
-1 Aether Vial
+ 2 Disenchant
+ 1 Swords to Plowshares
I haven't seen any creatures from his deck other than Tombstalker at this point. My sideboard isn't really geared towards beating Pox but I seem to have the edge anyway so I'm not too concerned.
Turn one Vial. He rituals out a Necroplasm and drops a Mishra's Factory and I let the 'plasm through, then I drop a Standstill to his puzzlement. He attacks for a while with the 'plasm and gets in only one hit with the Factory before I can waste it. Eventually his plasm self destructs and I use vial to get out 3 Merfolk Sovereigns. He breaks the Standstill for a Pox and I counter, then drop another Standstill which he also has to break with another Narcoplasm and an Arena. I drop two Cursecatchers (4/4 thanks to Sovereigns) and send in the troops. He draws and scoops.
At this point we've been chatting amiably and I mention that I'd like to try another deck, which he welcomes. So I break out the godawful Mono G control.
I've yet to post a deck list for this pile on this blog yet, mainly because it changes daily. It's a pet deck, not very competitive, and frankly somewhat embarrassing. Nonetheless, you won't be able to follow the next few games without an idea of what the deck looks like and tries to do, so here is a list and mini-primer.
POLARIS v. 3.0
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Tranquil Thicket
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
2 Wooded Foothills
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Drop of Honey
1 Helm of Possession
2 Krosan Grip
3 Life from the Loam
4 Powder Keg
1 Primal Command
4 Sensei's Divining Top
Sideboard (most recent version; updated: 12/8/09)
1 Krosan Grip
1 Night Soil (theoretically playable vs. Ichorid/Reanimator; never actually drawn it)
4 Ravenous Trap (recommended over Tormod's Crypt vs. Dredge)
1 Tranquil Grove
2 Zuran Orb
Heavens, quite an eyesore if I do say so myself. Nonetheless, a fun deck to play and something of a pet project for a fixer upper like myself. Some guys buy broken down cars and spend their weekends fixing them up as a pet project. Me, I build God awful Magic decks and then try to make them suck slightly less. And since Green is obviously the worst color in Magic, it presents itself as a fixer-upper's dream come true! For the most part competitive green decks have been aggressive creature decks, namely Stompy, Trinity, and Cradle-Elf. Along the way you've had the occasional Legion Land Loss, Green Tide, and more recently the son of Green Tide, Elves! w/ Skullclamp. Very rarely have green decks been slow, controlling decks mainly because green has the worst of everything in terms of removal, card drawing, etc. Well, what's life without a challenge?
Anyway, enough musing on Magic's Red Headed Step Child™. Here is a breakdown of what the deck wants to do in a nutshell: abuse Life in conjunction with Exploration, Wasteland, and Tranquil Thicket. A much better 4 or 5 color Life deck has already been built that uses Seismic Assault as a win condition and for board control. And if you actually want to, you know, win games consistently, you should probably try that deck over mine. But if you just want to act like an imbecile and win games in the Wakefieldian style of old—with fatties galore—give my pile a shot. Drop and Keg help you clear out hordes of weenies and can even be used to sweep the board clean of tokens though against Ichorid this is moot since it just helps you die faster when they get twice as many tokens via Bridge from Below game one. Tarmogoyf is obviously the best creature in the format and possibly the best card in the format period (quite a statement, I know...more testing is needed to really back it up; Bob is also insane, obviously).
Thornling is there to finish off your opponents in the late game when they have less land than you and have used up their Swords on earlier beaters. Finks are quite good against Naya Burn while still being "okay" as a 3 power for 3cc against everything else. They get sideboarded out against a lot of decks, obviously.
And now briefly, just to cover some funky choices.
Primal Command—an experimental one of that has been quite good so far though somewhat expensive at 5 mana. The 7 life is welcome against red decks in the late game whose only hope is to burn you out. It also fetches a late game fatty and if needed, can prevent you from decking yourself or reshuffle some graveyard card into your opponents deck at a key moment. It's also nice sometimes as just a Fallow Earth when you're beating down with 6/7 dinosaurs.
Helm of Possession—theoretically this has synergy with Finks, though I've only drawn it once. It was quite good, allowing me to steal a Tombstalker against a GB heavy discard deck, which I then used to kill my opponent as our Goyfs stared each other down. Not a card you are thrilled to draw in multiples or even in your opening hand. A poor man's Vedalken Shackles you wonder? If by "poor" you mean 80 pound homeless junkie with a rusty syringe sticking out of his arm, then yes. Still, cuteness counts when one is building a pet deck and so this card shall stay put for the nonce.
Night Soil—a supplement to, not a replacement for, Ravenous Trap/Tormod's Crypt. The problem with this card is that it's quite slow and a good Ichorid deck can be quite explosive. My thinking was that you could play this after a Trap/Crypt for a borderline lock but this is probably a "wins more" fantasy. I'll probably eventually cut this but first I'd like to actually draw it and play it and go from there in terms of reevaluation.
Tranquil Grove—This doesn't have tremendous synergy with Drop, I know, but Drop 'fades out' after it's outlived its usefulness anyway so I don't know how self disruptive this would be. Theoretically good against Enchantress (obviously) and maybe playable vs. CounterTop. Another experimental single.
What Didn't Make the Cut
Harmonize—the problem with this card is that the rest of the deck is so horrible that it actually depresses me when I draw 3 more cards and see how awful they are. No, I'm joking (sorta). Actually this card is pretty good, hell, great by the standards of Green but a bit too slow and wins-more-ish. I tried them out and then decided I'd just rather have 2 Thornlings which would win the game outright.
Eternal Witness—it's a nice card, especially if you can revive a fallen Tarmogoyf but since all of your removal consists of incredibly slow Enchantments/Artifacts, you can't really get that much bang from your buck. You're paying 3 mana for a 2/1 basically since the only card you'd want to constantly recur has dredge anyway.
Nevinnyral's Disk/Oblivion Stone—not bad and probably overall better than Helm of Possession. Just kinda slow and unnecessary though.
Elephant Grass—obviously insane vs. Goblins and combos in a fashion with Drop in terms of slowing your opponents to a snail's pace. Ultimately too inflexible a card to main deck. A sideboard consideration perhaps, but you already have 4 Drop and 4 Keg vs. Weenies so I don't know that this is all that needed.
Regarding my choice of names for the deck, as you may have guessed by my nom de plume, I am a huge comic book nerd and name most of my original creations after Marvel Comics characters. Polaris you may remember from the pages of the X-Men. She's the foxy green haired girl with magnetic powers. Yes, I named the deck after her solely due to the fact that she has green hair and a green costume.
Anyway, here are some flucking games already!
vs. Pox (same opponent as above)
Turn one Exploration, Top. He plays a series of swamps and a Bloodghast as I manipulate Top and drop a keg. After reshuffing my deck with a sac land I finally top into Life and Thicket. His only pressure is a 2/1 so I'm able to pretty easily take over the game with Life and Exploration. I dredge at least 6 times in a row and draw many, many cards with Thicket/Life, especially after dredging my second copy. I'm monitoring my dredges with Sensei's Top so that I don't end up milling anything that could actually be useful. Instead I just end up losing uselless Kegs/Drops and the occasional Finks. Finally I drop some GFLs (Giant Flucking Lizards) and he answers with one removal spell after another until finally he has none left for a Thornling. He takes 7 damage before drawing a Small Pox and then he dies to his own Arena.
I sideboard a fluckton of haterade, obviously. I don't remember what came out or in other than 3 Kegs for 3 Composts though I remember drawing Ravenous Trap.
He plays first and drops a sideboarded Pithing Needle, naming Thornling. He later admits it was a mistake and that he should have named "Powder Keg." I tell him it was indeed a mistake but he should have named Sensei's Divining Top, which I ended up playing the next turn. Top finds Life and two sac lands. I have a choice of dropping a Goyf or the lone Keg remaining in my deck on turn 3 after Life-ing. He gets a Bloodghast and then a damn good Pox but I ruin the party with Ravenous Trap when he has Landfall on the stack, squeezing the juice from his orange just as he was about to take a bite. He runs out of steam at this point while I just go bonkers with Life and then I find an Exploration and a Thornling. He meanwhile has two lands in play after I waste his Mishra's Factory (a bad choice for Pox, imo) and two cards in hand he can't cast. He Innocent Blood's the Thornling but then I drop a Goyf and Primal Command for another as I Fallow Earth a Snow-covered swamp with the other half of the command. I even have mana left over after all this to cast the second Goyf, just to let you know how far the Life/Exploration abuse had gone on. He scoops, complaining about how he couldn't find an Extirpate (I can relate since I seem to never draw Compost vs. Black lately).
After this we play different decks. He tests out a Tribal-Rogue deck and I throttle him soundly with UG Enchantress (the U being 4 copies of Brainstorm, in case you were wondering; God-awful deck list coming soon...)
Well, this has turned into quite a novel.
-Uw Merfolk is quite good and will probably become my serious deck of choice.
-MonoG is awful yet fun to play.
-I can ride my bike really fast!