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Author Topic: 1st @ ELD  (Read 3350 times)
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« on: October 08, 2008, 05:26:59 pm »

Preamble – With Shards of Alara providing a lot of new powerful cards, and recent restrictions leaving a lot of untapped potential for metagame arbitrage, I started testing new forms based around Ad Nauseam, Ethersworn Canonist, and, most of all, Tezzeret.  Ad Nauseam proved extremely powerful, but the shells we tried weren’t significant improvements over TPS and didn’t build synergies with the new card in ways I found compelling.  Canonist seemed to be the most powerful card in the set, and its effect has so many subtle implications that each deck choice you make reinforces certain in game tactics.  We came to a list that I was impressed by, but I didn’t have the time to test enough matchups.  I just wasn’t comfortable enough.

The deck that had the best overall performance and I had the most experience playing with was a Tezzeret list using typical drain elements (8 counterspells, some utility, and restricted cards + engine) with trinket mage.  Like others, I expected Canonist and UBG Fish to be popular, so I wanted lots of my 1’ofs to engage the board.  Here’s the list I ran:

Implements of Win
2 Tezzeret
2 Trinket Mage
1 Sundering Titan

Implements of Cool Tricks
1 Time Vault
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Pithing Needle
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Sensei’s Divining Top

Implements of Fuck No
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
1 Cunning Wish
1 Fire/Ice
1 Echoing Truth

Implements of More
4 Accumulated Knowledge
2 Intuition

Implements of Nut on Your Face
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Tinker
1 Ponder
1 Brainstorm
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Yawgmoth’s Will

Implements of All of the Above
8 Solomoxcrypt
6 Fetchlands
2 Island
2 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Library of Alexandria

Implements of Hate
2 Tarmogoyf
2 Viashino Heretic
2 Thoughtseize
1 Pithing Needle
1 Massacre
1 Tropical Island
2 Ancient Grudge
1 REB
1 Extirpate
1 Darkblast
1 Krosan Grip

On Card Choices – Although my testing circle has been improving by joining Team Car (We Get There, Together) and having a few Hadley-ites move to Boston, other work and play intrudes on my vintage time to the extent where I can’t really test enough for it to be as effective as I want.  Most of the choices are largely intuition (zing) and prior experience coupled with a small amount of testing.  That being said, a lot of it worked.

Intuition/AK – This was suggested by Dave Lawrence the night before the tournament.  While I’ve always liked this engine, it was more secondary considerations which made me go with it.  First, I REALLY wanted to be able to use ancient grudge effectively against what I expected would be a sea of artifact decks.  Second, I wanted to cheat on the mana curve but still be able to play like a ‘big’ drain deck.  The low cost of the engine’s parts allow you to go down to 23 sources and effectively create another 1-2 metagame slots.  That and TFK is pretty terrible.

Trinket Mage – This card tested really well and reinforces my goal of engaging the board.  It’s possible I should have used more discretion when choosing the targets to include in the maindeck, but all performed well except for Tormod’s Crypt.  The key thing is that opponents often miscalculate the effect mage will have on a board position and he’s useful in any matchup (only getting sided out against Oath).  He tutors, he chumps to buy a turn, we wins small – he’s a champ.

Sundering Titan – I’m not sure where the idea came from that DSC is better than this guy against “tier 2” (creature) decks.  Something mumbled about clock and trampling, and heavy amounts of rationalization.  Titan is a HOUSE.  He singlehandedly won four games in a row against UBG fish.  Even when he doesn’t create a board position where you can swing for the win with him, he acts as a moat and destroys the opposing manabase allowing you time to stabilize and win.  I ran four colors in this thing, and was never pigeon-holed by him blowing up my own lands.  Play this card with tinker.

Four Colors – I flat out wanted to play Ancient Grudge.  I had a good feel for the metagame, and I knew that card would trump it.  I also wanted Fire/Ice main to deal with Tezzeret, Canonist, BoB, Welders, and anything else annoying and small.  Tarmogoyf was gravy.


Tournament Matches

Round 1 – Jeff Carpenter, Playing UW Etherium

Jeff summarized the match pretty well here (thanks Liam-K).  LoA was certainly a key ingredient to victory, no doubt.  The card is really sick, and if Canonist is as big as I expect, this will be a must of for lots of decks.  However, another key ingredient was my sideboard which was great at dismantling his attack game 3 (and later in the finals).  Intuition for grudge is just disgusting against these strategies.

Round 2 – Rich Shay, Playing Oath/Tez

G1 – Rich wins a fight over an early ancestral.  His duress or FoW allows him to drop Oath (with Orchard).  I have a few outs if I draw well, but Ponder and Sensei’s Top don’t reveal a selection of cards that will get there, so I scoop.  Rich remarks that he expected some sort of trick or hail marry, and I reveal that I had a low probability option, but decided to give up game 1 and keep some information hidden since it wouldn’t win through FoW, which I (correctly) suspected he had.

G2 – Rich mulligans and I’m able to push this advantage in a series of normal control moves involving intuition.  A big Yawgwill sets up a Tezzeret win.

G3 – This one was weird.  I have to mulligan this time, and my turn 1 thoughtseize reveals a hand of: Oath, orchard, Yawgwill, Merchant Scroll, FoW, Duress, Time Walk.  Given my weak hand, which includes Krosan Grip, I have to gamble.  I take duress.  My thoughts are that if he gets stuck on one land for any amount of time, I can get back into the game, force him to play conservative, and bottleneck him around trying to defend his Oath.  He draws a fetch.  He duresses, and it’s down hill from there.  This is not where the story ends, however.  While my hand is weak, Rich needs to play around a mana drain (I had two) and the aforementioned Krosan Grip.  Not only this, but spirit tokens and now mana crypt are starting to eat into his life total somewhat.  After Gripping his Oath, Rich Yawgwills it back and is in a precarious position while debating whether to attack.  He does, but then gets confused on life totals.  A judge is called, and the result is Rich has to win a crypt roll on his next turn in order to survive and swing for the win.  Drum roll…he wins the die roll.  BUT, then he improbably oaths over all his entire deck, revealing Akroma as his last card –decking for the loss.  I’m not going to say it was karma, but it was a surreal twist in a strange game.

Dave and I break for Lebanese food across the street and discuss the bizarre turn of events.  Inside, the spread looks tempting, but their microwave and oven aren’t working, which means cold spinach pies.  Dave opts for yogurt soda in a move of spontaneity.  While washing down his pie, Dave realizes the awfulness that is yogurt flavored soda and spits up all over the sidewalk.  I sample and concur.  Picture Mylanta minus the pink plus the stink.

Round 3 – Guy who usually plays RG Beatz, Playing RG Beatz

G1 – I’m able to nullify his gorilla shaman with pithing needle and mog fanatic is not effective against Sundering Titan.  Trinket mage was integral at buying an extra turn and a half here.

G2 – I’m in a pretty good position, but I hesitate to blow up a null rod I order to unlock my sol ring and fuel a large yawgmoth’s will.  My strong hand gets depleted in the face of trip magus of the moon.  Lightning bolt wins him the tarmogoyf mirror.  I lose this match by playing too conservatively.

G3 – The last match unravels my play some.  In spite of a series of strong positions, I make my pledge too late, and even manage to tutor for the wrong win condition (got tinker when tezzeret would have won).  We draw the turn before I would have won.  Dave remarks that I played like yogurt soda.

Round 4 – New guy, playing UBG Fish

Game 1 – This plays out in typical fish fashion.  Thoughseize begets null rod, which begets a number of other threats.  Tarmogoyf seals the deal.

Game 2 – I’m able to stabilize by grudging away null rod and blasting away cursecatchers.  I get comfortable enough to tinker out titan which clears his lands and goes head to head with tarmogoyf for the win.

Game 3 – We posture with duress effects and trinket mage buying me time to set up a strong midgame.  I’m about to set up a Yawgwill with Tezzeret when he wastes on consecutive turns, sealing the deal.

We have a good time during these games, and he talks about being new to the format and him and his friend playing near identical lists of UBG fish except for stifle vs. annul.  I remark about my testing and dislike for stifle as well.  This information would come in handy later.

Round 5 – Some guy, playing mana’d ichorid

So I go from 2-0 to fighting for T8.  That and I have to play against the die roll in ichorid.  I guess in a room full of canonist and tezzeret, it makes perfect sense to play something that doesn’t use the stack much and beats hard.

G1 – Ichorid does what it does…mulligans to four.  He’s never in this.  I suppose tormod’s crypt was somewhat useful in sealing the game, but I could have won pretty much anyway I wanted.

G2 – He mulligans to five this time and goes ‘gemstone, pass’.  I’m a little confused, but I am not at all seasoned in how to play the deck (with or against).  Although he lays pithing needle on crypt (with me holding trinket mage), the three turns he gives me allow me to tutor up extirpate to back up my double counter.  He tries to go in on breakthrough, which I let resolve.  He whiffs on finding dredgers and my echoing truth, mage, and tormod’s crypt sow up the game.

Having a party to go to, I’m looking to split any chance I can get.  Especially when I realize I’m paired with my only loss of the day UBG fish from round four.

T8 – New guy, UBG Fish

He tells me this is his first Vintage T8; I congratulate him and win the die roll.

G1 - Some early LoA action pushes me out in front.  Echoing Truth on null rod allows me to set up a big turn with Tinker>Titan, which goes the distance.

G2 – He has a barrage of wastelands, but, as I typically try to do against fish and workshops, keep a land heavy hand and continue to stay above water.  In fact I’m so high above water, by turn eight I have every land in my deck on the table.  I don’t draw enough action and a Bob eventually sticks and turns the tide.

G3 – See game 1

T4 – New guys new buddy, playing UBG fish

G1 – Knowing he’s playing stifles gives me the advantage as I hold up fetches, bluffing drain, while he sits on top of null rod, but no clock.  When he taps for a creature, I bait him into stifling and then set up tinker next turn, circumventing negate.  I blow up all his lands, and trump his bear with a meaty 7/10.

G2 – I mulligan, but still have some options in spite of heavy mana denial and cursecatchers.  I EOT mystical tutor, which he forces.  While often times this is a mistake, in this game, I would have been able to back up the tinker with drain (but not while tutoring).  Sometimes tempo>card advantage.

G3 – An early trinket mage buys me time and finds me lotus to accelerates my draw engine.  I’m able to bait ancestral recall end of turn, and then DT for Tinker, backing it up with a REB.  I wipe out three lands, but am stuck at low life in the face of earlier beats.  Eventually a second trinket mage shows up and I go into attack mode.

T2 – Jeff Carpenter – UW Etherium

G1 – I have a busted hand that may mean a quick game if he doesn’t have FoW or Thorn.  On the play, I resolve ancestral recall on his upkeep.  He lays factory, but I draw trinket mage for lotus, for tezzeret and a turn three win.

G2 – I underestimate his swarm, and evidently SoFI gives pro-red, so my viashino heretic is useless even as a blocker.  His factories were very strong here as well.

G3 – I’m able to resolve intuition early for ancient grudges.  His thorn and canonist are troublesome, but eventually I get out of the woods and clear his last threat with Krosan Grip.  I did have to chump a Tarmogoyf and a Trinket Mage in there, so I’m searching for threats.  Sensei’s top reveals Viashino Heretic, which laughs in the face of three disenchant effects on the other side of the board.  A second follows, and eventually goyf #2 and titan join the fray.


I think the list was solid in a number of ways.  The manabase was stretched to just the right degree.  In spite of playing mostly aggro all day, I rarely had trouble getting to a threshold of mana.  My opponents were a lot of fun, with the small exception of the judge ruling with Shay; I hope to see more of the brothers' UBG Fish at T1 events, we could use more new blood like that.  My metagame choices were spot on, backed up the flexibility and power of intuition AK.  A good day of magic overall.  The ride home with Team Car was aided by Arik’s GPS, and a party full of sauced wenches would follow.
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 05:57:55 pm »

Congrats on the win, was a pleasure playing against you (I'm guy #2 with Fish).
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 06:47:24 pm »

A grotesque, 4-color manabase; a huge toolbox plan; savage long game with a big draw engine and lots of countermagic to set up a limited number of kill conditions...... Keeper?  Is that you?

You won like one game with Tezzeret.  Do you think he's really the way to go?  I know he's the shiny new tech, but you seemed to fall back heavily on Sundering Titan.  Was that just a phenomenon of all the aggro you faced?  Clearly Tezzeret is much better in the control mirror, esp. against the now-prevalent mono blue builds.  Is that the thinking?

Edit:  Congratulations on the win, of course!
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Smmenen
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 07:23:20 pm »

Congratulations Steve on the victory Smile
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 07:33:10 pm »

Round 1 – Jeff Carpenter, Playing UW Etherium

Jeff summarized the match pretty well here (thanks Liam-K)...

wait, what?

Congratulations on winning, though.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 09:55:29 pm »

Quote
wait, what?

Yeah, it's lame, but I couldn't figure out how to insert different text into hyperlinks for FBB...and you saved me.  Thanks.

Quote
Keeper?  Is that you?

Maybe, but what does that mean?  It still has a kill that works in less than four turns and it has no real mana denial element.  It uses card advantage, does that mean anything?

Quote
You won like one game with Tezzeret...Was that just a phenomenon of all the aggro you faced?

Absolutely.  For example, Tezzeret was obviously awesome against Oath.  However, there's the other side of that question: are we in for a metagame shift that supports decks with lots of creatures.  I would say yes, but not to the extent my matches show.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 11:28:27 pm »

Well done, Steve. Congratulations.
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2008, 01:56:04 am »

Quote
wait, what?

Yeah, it's lame, but I couldn't figure out how to insert different text into hyperlinks for FBB...and you saved me.  Thanks.

Oooohhh.  The thoughts going through my head were more "I didn't give any advice on that list... that matchup... that metagame... did not attend that tournament... IS SOMEONE IMPERSONATING ME?!"  But a bit less hysterical.  Glad to have been of (actual, non-hallucinated) service.
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 07:49:54 am »

Congrats on the win Steve.  I was your first BUG Fish opponent in the top 8 (and I actually said it was my first ELD top 8, not first Top 8).  It was a good set of matches, but I realized that my deck needs some kind of answer to Tinker.  I knew you were setting it up both games, and had no answer for it.

Could you talk about your sideboarding plan a bit?  I noticed you took out Tezz almost every 2nd game, and took out Mana Drains when you weren't going first in a 2nd/3rd game.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2008, 08:34:22 am »

Quote
Could you talk about your sideboarding plan a bit?

I know a lot of people have pre-set sideboarding plans- I'm not one of them.  When I first started playing T1, some article gave the suggestion to shuffle all the SB cards into the MD and then remove those being sided out to disguise the number you're bringing in.  I still do that, but now it's more to get a view of all 75 cards in the same look.  I find that subtle differences in deck construction and what's going on in the match have a large affect on SB'ing choices (which is why I like to play lots of 1 and 2'ofs).

In our matches, when I was on the draw game 2, I expected that you'd probably have a 1st or 2nd turn threat, duress, or wasteland, making mana drain a low probability play.  Even more against your friend, I wanted to avoid stifle by being able to go pro-active.

As for Tezzeret, I almost always kept one in with the vault, even against RG Beatz.  Your list along with null rods, had the duress and counters to back it up, which made that line of play very unlikely.

People have been commenting on the Tezzeret kill being superfluous to the deck's needs, since I killed with Titan so often.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  I won a number of games on the back of this card (and should have won another against RG) and almost as importantly, people were forced to SB in near useless cards post board in order to ensure I didn't win that route.  Game 3 against Jeff Carpenter he's sitting on no threats, but a seal of cleansing and two Dispeller's Capsules.  Sure these affect the Tinker plan as well, but the point is that after comboing him game 1, he felt that he needed this support to ensure a midgame.  Both through sideboarding and through lines of play in the match I was able to steer around them and the card advantage was critical.
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2008, 10:31:32 am »

Congratulations on the win, Steve!  I think we've found a viable control approach with this build.  Here is a thread to discuss the deck: http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=36702.0
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2008, 02:09:01 pm »

to me tezz should just do his job and keep that time vault going and let the moxes do the dirty work.
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2008, 02:35:04 pm »

Definately good games.  I had to play all rounds of swiss, and opted to play all the way through finals (totaling 8 games played) you were my only two match losses.  You bookened all my wins with a round 1 loss, and a loss in the finals.  I agree, as you pointed out, that our match was decided on our Sideboard options and decissions.  I admit my sideboard was weaker and a bit off the mark on what was required to be Tezz. 

I look forward to episode 3 of our back-and-forth tourment saga.
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2008, 03:35:20 pm »

I like your list.  I could see myself playing a deck like this!
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2008, 04:25:19 pm »

I love tits, as well as this deck.


Very nice!
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2008, 05:06:07 pm »

I appreciate the gratz's, especially when it's coupled with bosoms.

@Jeff, I think you're still up in the series, since you used to slap me around with Oath.  Jeremy not so much, and I'm back up on Shay.

Quote
to me tezz should just do his job and keep that time vault going and let the moxes do the dirty work.

Uh, I guess I agree.
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