I'm 'bout to get Primeval on your ass."
That about sums up an evening of FNM.
I couldn't decide on which deck to run since I had plenty of Tier 1 options: Valakut, Boros, BR Vampires, or GW Quest.
I settled on Valakut because I think its hilarious to get a Turn 3 or 4 Primeval and win next turn. Basically if you can untap with an active Primeval Titan, you win most of the time. The other reason I wanted to play it is because the consistency of the turn 3-4 Titan off the back of the turboland package: Lotus Cobra, Oracle of Mul Daya and ramp spells. Oracle is an all-star in a deck with 27 lands, hitting multiples off the top to ramp with Cobra is absurd. Also, if played properly, the mixture of fetchlands and shuffle effects helps even more. I don't know how many times I had Oracle out with a non-land card on top, played and cracked a fetch for a mountain, domed for 3-9, shuffled and hit another mountain off the top FTW. I found the other all-star in the build is Green Sun's Zenith. It is perfect for this deck. My only issue is it doesn't have the instant speed trickery that Summoning Trap afforded. But being able to tutor into play your win conditions is pretty good.
Here is the decklist I rocked:
Primeval Titan x 4
Overgrown Embattlement x 4
Lotus Cobra x 4
Oracle of Mul Daya x 3
Avenger of Zendikar x 2
Harrow x 4
Explore x 4
Khalni Heart Expedition x 4
Green Sun's Zenith x 4
Mountains x 11
Forests x 6
Misty Rainforests x 4
Terramorphic Expanse x 1
Evolving Wilds x 1
Valakut the Molten Pinnacle x 4
Tumble Magnet x 3
Acidic Slime x 4
Pyroclasm x 4
Creeping Corrosion x 2
Ratchet Bomb x 2
Round 1: Logan playing Mono-Green Infect
I half expected to at least SEE some infect decks but never actually PLAY against an infect deck. Infect can be a powerful mechanic but I just don't respect a deck that is all in on ONLY one plan. If you can't infect them out you lose. I don't like nor respect that. There are plenty of aggro decks that have a Plan B, i.e. Boros: if the fast turn 4-5 kill doesn't happen there is the Spikeshot equip or Koth Emblem back-up plan, BR Vampires has enough reach to get there OR the nice Highborn/Bloodghast rebuy combo works too, GW Quest doesn't NEED to have Armor up because it has the 4 Vengevines in the graveyard Plan B, etc. Infect just needs to Infect. That's lame. Just like I think Kuldotha Red is lame. If you don't turn 2-3 kill then your game is done. That being said...
Game 1: He wins the die roll and goes Forest Infiltrator Lens. I immediately think I'm playing a noob. I'm half right. I ask him how long he's been playing. He says, "Since December of last year." Yeah, that's like 2 months ago. I play Valakut and pass. He plays Inkmoth Nexus and Blightmamba. I make him on a derivative of Jacob Van Lunen's Mono-Green Infect. I play Forest Lotus Cobra. I plays a second Blightmamba and attacks. I don't block and he pumps. I'm at 4 poison. I go Cobra number two, Misty Rainforest, Harrow, sac a Forest and fetch a Mountain and drop a Primeval. It doesn't get any better then that. I bring in a Valakut and mountain. He plays Panic Spellbomb and makes my Titan unblockable. He swings and Giant Growths and uses the Landfall pumper for +4/+4. I die to poison sickness on his turn 4. Ouch.
I'm almost on Tilt.
Game 2: I sideout Avengers of Zendikar (which feel are too slow) and a mixture of ramp for 4 Pyroclasms. I draw and keep a Valakut, 3 Mountain, Explore, Oracle, mana Wall, hand and hope to hit a Forest. It doesn't matter. I'm poisoned out by turn 4 again.
Un-fucking-believable. I was super mad at myself because against my own judgement I took out the maindeck Lightning Bolt x 4 for a faster Titan clock Cobra ramp package. The day I don't play Lightning Bolt in a red deck it fucks me in the ass. FML. Logan, a tight player for sure, and not noobish (albeit dorky) ended up 4-1'ing as well and infecting out a lot of the players at my table. Ended up getting 3rd place with the budget Infect deck. Props (to a degree because I fucking hate infect).
Round 2: Aaron playing UW Control (Superfriends derivative)
Aaron (I'm like 85% sure that's his name) is a nice kid who I've stomped on before. When I first started playing FNMs again he was present at one of them. He played a horrible horrible discard deck with Liliana's caress and Spectres. So I was shocked to see Jace the Mindsculptor come down for him. But he's a good kid apparently a Level 1 judge and does all the local and area events at Phoenix. He is a decent player. I don't know if it's his play or his deck that makes him good. A Turn 0 Leyline can fuck up many the red decks.
Game1: He doesn't really do anything relevant this game but Journeys my Lotus Cobra. I play around blue and make sure not to walk into a Spell Pierce or even a Mana Leak. I quickly develop my mana and eventually stick a Primeval and finishe the game in short order. It wasn't even fair.
Game 2: I side in Acidic Slimes for control matchups because I like to slow them down by hitting their lands. I also know the sideboard tech for UW Control vs. Valakut is Leyline of Sanctity, which I think is a bitch move. Its such a little girl card it makes me sick. He Turn 0 Leylines (as expected), Island and Preordains. I play Valakut. And am praying for mana since I kept a mana light hand with 2 Acidic Slimes. He eventually sticks a Jace the Mind Sculptor and bounces my wall. I do some irrelevant things with Lotus Cobras and he fateseals me so I can't hit lands. I end up with two Titans and 3 Acidic Slimes in hand before I scoop to Sun Titan and Gideon Jura.
Game 3: This is a hard fought rubber game. He sticks turn 1 Leyline again and eventually gets a Jace. As he's tapped out I play a Green Sun's Zenith and hit his Leyline with an Acidic Slime. Later he told me he Scryed his second Leyline to the bottom the turn before I killed his first Leyline. He taps out again to play Sun Titan and I resolve a Primeval and just combo him out with a mixture of Oracle, Cobra snake, Khalni Heart, Terramorphic and Harrow. I really had the turboland engine running on all cylinders. I also used a Green Sun to get another Primeval and domed him for 24.
We played some friendly games afterwards and I rocked Boros. Turns out that Boros versus the traditional UW is a good matchup for the Aggro deck. I tried my best to not overcommit to the board and raced him before he could hit Sun Titan mana. I realized then that I should have played an aggro deck because I am better at that deck archetype. I really don't like drawn out and super long games that Valakut seems to come across.
Round 3: Frank playing Boros
Frank is a nice kid whom I played prior to the tourney starting. The last time I was at FNM he was the Boros deck that went 4-1 to take second as I tied for 1st at 4-0-1. During that tourney I didn't want to play against Boros because that is a horrible matchup for Eldrazi Green. We played a handful of games prior to the tourney starting so I got to know him a little. Thankfully he was half-baked so he made a few errors in my favor.
Game 1: Admittedly this is a very bad matchup for me. The Boros deck is too fast. Our first game takes 25 minutes as a contemplate a turn 3 with tons of gas and a Lotus Cobra out. With my shennanigans I'm able to Green Sun for an Oracle. He's beating me down with Lynx, Skyfisher, has a Feast and Famine out. We trade back and forth for a few turns. I resolve a Primeval but I'm at 7 life. If he can kill me or stop my Titan he wins. He is unable to too and a long drawn out game I win on turn 6 with Titan combo.
Game 2: Pyroclasms and Slimes went in. He hits the God draw of Turn 1 Lynx Turn 2 Geopede with Fetches on the following turn. I luckily have the Pyroclasm but am dangerously low at 7. I ramp like a mofo and stick a Titan with one Valakut out and a Valakut in hand (which I didn't play in order to crack fetches for optimal Cobra mana. Frank needs to kill me on his next turn or he's finished. He does hit a land but not a fetch, plays a Stoneforger for a Sword of Feast and Famine and swings into my team. I kill Lynx with Titan for fear of Lightning Bolt and first strike from the Geopede which I eat and go to 4. He's at 18 from a previous Cobra strike. I draw a Khalni Heart Expedition and play it, then my Valakut (1 counter on Expedition) then attack with my team. I hit with my team for 6 after he trades my Cobra for his Stoneforger. I bring in 2 mountains and double trigger (3 counters on Expedition) sack the Khalni Heart for 2 more mountains for the epic win no time left in the round.
Round 4: Tyler playing UB Control (Traditional version, non-Tezzeret aggro/combo)
I haven't played this kid before (kid? He was probably 21 - 22. That's a kid to me) but he seemed competent at Magic. I did feel he pulled the trigger on some removal too soon and didn't counter some ramp spells but all in all he put up a good battle.
Game 1: He is mana fucked and I am not. I Titan on his face. That's about how hit went. He is stuck on 4 lands for a while but I still play around Mana Leak and Spell Pierce because I don't want my Harrow to blow me out. He Disfigures and Go For the Throats my Cobra and Oracle but I eventually have something like 15 mana out doming him with mad Valakut triggers FTW.
Game 2: I side in Slimes to fuck with his mana even more and Tumble Magnets to shut down his Titans. He is still mana fucked but I still have to play around counters as he kills all my ramp guys. He hits Memoricide for my Primeval Titans. I sided out my alternate win condition, Avenger of Zendikar because I thought I could get there with Primevals. Mistake. I'm basically neutered but continue to play as I Slime his 5th land. I play draw go for a while as he sticks a Frosty and I scoop.
Game 3: I side back in the Avengers so I at least have an out if he can resolve a Memoricide. He does some Preordaining so fix his lands as I stick ramp guys that he eventually kills. I destroy two of his dual lands with a Green Sun for a Slime and a hardcast Slime. I want to race his Memoricide so I stick a turn 4 Titan after the first Slime. Oracle goes to work dropping land after land. He eventually clears my board, Go for the Throat on my Titan and his all-star, Black Sun's Zenith to clear my 2/2s.He never got a threat out. I get Valakut and 5 Mountains but am working off the top of my deck. He plays draw go while I play Forests and eventually get a Mountain to dome him for 3. I later draw a Harrow to finish him off.
It was a well fought match. Even though he wasn't able to stop me from comboing he did slow me down. If he didn't get stuck on lands he probably would have countered all my threats and stick a Frosty or Grave Titan. UB Control usually gains control and wins AFTER turn 10. It could have gone either way.
Round 5: John (we'll call him John since I forgot the kid's name) playing Mono-White Quest
This kid is really just a kid. Literally like 14 years old. He's playing the Quest deck but a White Weenie version, but not the updated Frank Karsten version with a Battle Cry back up plan. Since taking out all the red removal from my deck this is a bad matchup. What I wouldn't give for 4 maindeck Lightning Bolts and some Slagstorms.
Game 1: He has to mulligan to 6 while I keep my 7. He turn 2 Argentum Armors (me with no Bolts! Gah!!!) and we're on to game 2. Shit happens.
Game 2: I sideboard like a champ: Tumble Magents, Pyroclasms and Acidic Slime. He gets an early Armor but I have a Magnet to lock that equipped Ornithopter down for a few turns so I can ramp into a Slime to kill the Equipment. He also sticks a Sword of Vengeance on a Menmite which I have to take for a few turns while I was busy with the Armored Thopter, before I can stick a Wall to block it. I eventually kill all of his stuff with Green Sun's into Slime and Valakut FTW. Tumble Magnet was a champ in that game. It bought me enough time to build up to my combo.
Game 3: See Game 2. We go to time but I pull it out with a commanding board position late in the game as I dome him for 24 with Valakut triggers. I am able to crack fetches to keep the land coming in off of Oracle and I eventually combo out on him. Tumble Magnet and Acidic Slime were all-stars in this match up. I was also able to Pyroclasm to clear his team of little dudes early in this game.
4-1 for the evening as I get 4th with the same record as 2nd and 3rd places. I think 1st place went 5-0. All in all I was happy with all the games I played. Even the loss to Infect didn't put me on tilt because he ended up at 3rd with the same record. Every game I played I think I played like a champ. All the matches were difficult for me. As an Aggro/Combo deck, Valakut is difficult to pilot. You really have tough choices to make whether to ramp or try and slow your game down when it comes to sideboarding. I think I played it well enough though.
I got tons of fun play, an FNM foil which I traded for a Basilisk Collar and three packs of Besieged, getting a Massacre Wurm in the process. Not terrible.
Until next time...