Tuesday, May 3, 2011

40 Days and 40 Nights

So I technically didn't give up Magic for Lent but I haven't played since before Lent began. It was like giving up a vice for sure.

I finally have a chance to play at last week's FNM rocking Martin Juza's Tezzeret Forgemaster deck. Its kind of a combo/control deck that uses Kuldotha Forgemaster to search up a few win conditions: Mindslaver, Myr Battlesphere, or Blightsteel Colossus.

Here is the deck I rocked:

Kuldotha Forgemaster x 4
Blightsteel Colossus x 1
Myr Battlesphere x 1
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas x 4
Jace Beleren x 3
Ratchet Bomb x 3
Sphere of the Suns x 4
Everflowing Chalice x 4
Contagion Clasp x 3
Tumble Magnet x 4
Mindslaver x 1
Inquisition of Kozilek x 4
Duress x 1
Halimar Depths x 2
Inkmoth Nexus x 4
Creeping Tarpits x 4
Darkslick Shores x 4
Drowned Catacombs x 4
Islands x 2
Swamps x 3

Wurmcoil Engine x 3
Go for the Throat x 4
Duress x 3
Jace Beleren x 1
Ratchet Bomb x 1
Black Sun's Zenith x 3

My reason for rocking the deck is because of the acquisition of Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and the STOOPID GOOD things he is able to accomplish. The problem with the deck is that it is part blue and without Jace the Mind Sculptor, I would be at a disadvantage. I didn't care. OG Jace worked out for me actually. Being able to net all the card advantage is so important in the game.

What I learned about the deck is the various roads to victory it can take. The combo with Forgemaster is nice and your first strategy IMO. Being able to tutor out Blightsteel basically ends games. And it can totally be a sucker-punch to the neck for the unprepared. EOT Blightsteel, untap, swing for the win? Good game. Tutoring up Mindslaver seemed less relevant to me and underperformed IMO. There was only 2 situations where I played it. Both times lead to victories but it was still weak to me. I'll get there. Myr Battlesphere also seemed weak to me and I only tutored it up once in all the games I played.

The other roads to victory are obvious Tezzeret 5/5 beatdown mode. Turning Spheres or Chalices into 5/5s is funny. Another victory, which is fucking hilarious, turning Inkmoth Nexus into a 5/5, getting two hits in and poisoning dude out. That's awesome. The other plans: C and D are Jace mill and Creeping Tarpit beats.

I got there a bit early and played some games with George, an older dude who is very nice and always brings his rogue builds to FNM. Props to him for that. I played Tezzeret to get a feel for the deck and it was pretty fucking money. I beat him handedly in two games then lost with my GW Aggro list. I tossed my board together and decided to rock the deck for the night.

Usually I'm a Green and/or Red player but that night I wanted to take the powerful Planeswalker for a spin.

Round 1: John playing RB Homebrew Control
This dude looked exactly like my friend JACO from back in the day. While I played him I kept thinking he was Jaco, when we used to rock Type 1 and 2 tournaments 10 years. Feels like forever ago. John is a very solid player and does not make many mistakes. He knows his deck to a "T" and all the interactions it provides him.

Game 1: I ramp up with Chalice and stick Tezzeret turn 3 and start digging and going for cheap artifacts because I have Forgemaster in hand. John plays out Hexmage which I contagion clasp. He sticks Abyssal Prosecutor and I stick a tumble magnet and tap it down a few times. I stick Jace and let him draw to keep him out of Bolt range. I stick a Forgemaster and pass. He comes at me to get rid of my last
Magnet counter. I declare a Proliferate off of Clasp, increase counters on Chalice, Jace, Tez, and Magnet. He's like, "Wait! What?!?" He reads the card, shakes his head and passes. I EOT sack some shit and fetch out Blightsteel. He scoops.

I curved out perfectly and hit all my guys with little disruption from him. From what I can gather he's playing a deck a dude I know, Flavio, was rocking a time ago. Its a solid deck with tons of 2-for-1ing and mad card advantage. In his defense, I was running on all cylinders while he was stuck on 4 lands. I side out Battlesphere and put in Jace. I also take out some shit for 2 more duress.

Game 2: He goes first and Inquisitions me. He snags a Chalice. I have Tez in hand too. No ramping for me. I draw a Sphere, play Tarpit and pass. He plays Hexmage. I play Clasp instead of Sphere. He plays Mimic Vat, I'm like, "Fuck." I play Tez and dig getting a Forgemaster. He plays a Prosecutor and Bolts Tez to 1. I play Jace and just draw for myself. He untaps, Bolts Jace and swings in to Tez. FML. I stick a late Tumble Magnet which I use to stall the game for a while with Clasp. He eventually sticks Liliana and start searching up his Silver Bullets. He eventually Into the Core (2-for-1) my Magnet and Clasp, 4cc destroys land or artifacts, my other magnet. He sticks Sarkhan the Mad, turns his prosecutor into a 5/5 Dragon, imprints Mimic Vat with Prosecutor and I scoop.

Not killing his Vess was the biggest mistake I made that game. He was able to get all his sideboard action to hate out my artifacts. I put in one more Duress to snag his hate cards.

Game 3: Epic rubber match. I go first get an early Jace and some ramp along with Magnet and Clasp out. He gets his Vat and a Clasp out (which I assume is to pump his Planeswalkers). I get Tez and dig for a Ratchet Bomb to pop his Vat. I Duress him multiple times this game drawing all his destroy artifact hate and just out play him this game. Everything he dropped I had an answer. Vat gets Ratchet Bombed, Persecutor is locked down with never ending Magnet/Clasp, Vess gets smacked with a Creeping Tarpit to death. I even Mindslaver him, use his spell to kill another Vat and his clasp and bolt his own dude. I eventually get enough artifacts out to ultimate Tezzeret and bullseye him for 16. Fucking epic.

After the game, he admitted to just straight up being outplayed, which makes me feel good because he ended up going 3-1-1 for the night, his only loss was to me. :) Hope to play this dude again in the future. He forced me to play super tight.

Round 2: Douche Bag guy playing Kuldotha Red!
This guy was like a ripped out oompa loompa with bad teeth. His play mechanics were tight for sure but he was kind of a dick so I really hated playing this dude. He was on Kuldotha Red, basically taking two event packs, mashing them together and calling it a deck. Its a fine deck if you like that strategy, it is kind of difficult to play optimally as well. Doing the math and knowing your drops for maximum damage is critical. He seemed like a veteran player but was noobish to the entirety of the latest sets.

Game 1: I opens with Mountain, Signal Pest and I know already what's coming. I go Tarpit pass. He goes Mountain, two more Signal Pests and passes. I'm like, "Shit." I go Shores, Chalice. He goes Bushwacker kicked and swings for 14. I go Tezzeret and make a 5/5 but it's irrelevant since he has the bolt in hand. I can block one guy but his battle cryers go off all over my face.

I side in another Ratchet Bomb, 3 Black Sun Zenith's and 2 Duress.

Game 2: I have a choice to make: either play my tapped land so I can ramp into Tez by turn 3 or open with Shores into Inquisition and hopefully grab a Signal Pest, Kuldotha Rebirth, Bushwhacker or anything that will end my life. I choose to go for a ramp into Tez. He goes Mountain, Chimeric Mass for 0 and Kuldotha Rebirth. FML. I told him I made the wrong play. I untap, play a Shores THEN Inquisition thinking it was too late. FML. He has another Kuldotha Rebirth, Signal Pest, Wardriver, Mountain and Bushwhacker. Either way I'm fucked. I take the Rebirth. He plays Signal Pest and swings for 3. I play land, Ratchet Bomb and pass. He goes Contested War Zone and swings for 6. Second mainphase he plays another Rebirth sacing the Pest and passes. I play Tez, make a 5/5 and pass. He plays Mountain, Bushwhacker kicked and says, "Attack step?" I pop the Ratchet Bomb for 0. He turns the card around and says, "I should be better at this game!" and laughs. It doesn't matter though. His next few turns go like this. War Driver, Bushwhacker kicked and Goblin Lord dude and I'm dead. FML.

Kuldotha Red is a solid strategy, very fast and just destroys dreams. But it is so single-minded I find it difficult to sleeve up and rock.

Round 3: Christian with Esper Rogue
Not sure if this is the dude's name. I've played him before and he's a nice guy and really only started playing late last year. Last time I played him I ran Boros and aggroed him out but this time it was a long drawn out match for sure.

Game 1: He pretty much does irrelevant things while I play Tez, into Kuldotha for a Blightsteel EOT for the win. I don't remember much.

Game 2: He actually gets going with some critical removal by snagging my Tumble Magnet with Inquisition and gets his Blightsteel out using Shape Anew. I lay a Tez and he infects me out. What are the chances of back to back Blightsteel kills from two different decks? LOL.

Game 3: This is the oddest game I played all night. He plays some cantrips in Wall of Omens which is pseudo irrelevant since I don't really have dudes that swing. He Trinket Mages his only artifact in Chalice so he can Shape Anew next turn, knowing I don't run counterspells. I snag the only artifact with Duress. He Shape Anews my Clasp and I hit a Chalice for 0. "That's the best outcome I could have hoped for." Awkward for me. I'm holding my Blightsteel in hand. So my outs are to stall and play the Blightsteel. By this time we are trading Creeping Tarpit hits back and forth. I get a few Inkmoth hits in as well and I'm digging with Tez to find artifact mana accelerants to get this Blightsteel out. He eventually Go for the Throats my Tarpit to shut down my free damage. I get enough artifacts out to ultimate with Tezzeret for the win. Just in time too because he had Elspeth AND Venser out. Sick.

Round 4: Danny playing UB Tezzeret Control (with only 2 Tez that he comments about numerous times). He is probably around my age and talks as if he's been playing a while. He name drops Legacy a lot. He is a tight player but I get the feeling he's been away from the game for while or he is off and on playing, just like me.

Game 1: He wins the roll and opens with Creeping Tarpit and Contagion Clasp. I open with Tarpit and Sphere of the Sun. He plays land and passes. I drop little Jace and draw. He plays Phyrexian Revoker and calls Jace Beleren. Damn. I play Tezzeret and dig. He plays land, Tumble Magnet and passes. I play Kuldotha Forgemaster, which he Doom Blades EOT. I basically have a dead Jace on board and in hand because I cannot actually kill the Revoker. I keep making artifacts 5/5 and swing until I drain my own Tez. He goes, "Let me guess. You have another Tezzeret in hand?” I drop Tez and dig for a Forgemaster. I stick the Forgemaster and pass. He plays a land and passes with no action. I draw, play land, play Tumble Magnet and pass. He plays a land and passes. I EOT his Tumble Magnet then EOT Forgemaster for Blightsteel and he scoops.

Game 2: He is shaking his head the whole time since he had a Jace the Mindsculptor in his grip the entire time, which probably would have won him the game since the only thing I have against a Jace is Ratchet Bomb (or beat it down). This game isn’t even fair. I am able to clog the board enough with Tez and Jace and Forgemaster. I can stick Tumble Magnets for days but when he hits double Precursor Golem it spells the end of my game and we are one to Game 3 with 10 minutes left.

Game 3: With only 10 minutes left we know we will go to time on this game. Danny exclaims, “I’m going aggro on you brother!” He sides back in more Pre-Cursors and Phyrexian Revokers I’m sure. I take out some discard action for 3 Wurmcoil Engines hoping to ramp into them.

We both go Tarpit and I go ramp spell. He goes Clasp and passes. I go Tez and dig. I realize when time is called that going for a 5/5 would have been the optimal play since the following turn Danny goes Revoker set to Tezzeret. FML. I smack him with my Tarpit for a few turns while he tags me with a Revoker as I Magnet his Tarpit and we go to a draw.

We decided to roll for the win and he got it. No biggie. He got paired up with this rogue deck builder named George who SMASHED him with his Red-Green Aggro deck. It was a slaughter. Had I got the win I would have played that. No thanks.

Round 5: Christian with Pyromancers Ascension combo. This is the last round and really being 2-1-1 but taking the 2-2 I got super paired down since many players drop at this point. Christian is 1-3. He’s a good kid that needs to learn a lot to become a better player. Padawan anyone?

Game 1: I get a Ratchet Bomb and set it to 2 for his Ascension action that he never gets online. I eventually ramp and ramp into Kuldotha Forgemaster as he continues to dig and bolt me trying to get his combo going. Next turn I tutor out Blightsteel and he scoops.

Game 2: He sideboards nothing as I side in the 4th Ratchet Bomb and the balance of my Duresses to snag his action early. Doesn’t matter as I ramp and ramp into Tezzeret and start being him down with 5/5 Inkmoth Nexus for a few turns.

Christian is a good kid but has tons to learn about the game. Like he never left mana open for EOT or response effects. He could easily have killed my Inkmoths or countered Tez had he left mana open. Shrugs.

All in all it was a fun night of FNM. As I write this it’s a week later. Another FNM has passed that I could have played in but didn’t want to deal with driving to Tampa. Tezzeret is a superr fun deck with tons of options and outs. I really like the Infect plan as odd as that is to say. One-hit Wonder Blightsteel is the way to go. In no match up did I ever have the same kill two games in a row. Either it was Blightsteel, ultimating Tez, Inkmoth beat down, Mindslaver, Forgemaster into Battlesphere, etc. Good times to be had.

By the time I’m done writing my mind is set on playing in SCG Orlando Open Series. I think Red Deck Wins will be a good option because people will be going Phyrexian Mana crazy since it will be the first even that NPH (Neil Patrick Harris? LOL) is legal. At a large event like a Standard Open with maybe 400-500 players, playing Red Deck Wins will feel comfortable. Funny how when I started getting back into Standard RDW was the first deck I tried then graduated up to other archetypes. Now I’m back where I started, throwing Lightning Bolts at a ninja’s face. Can’t wait. Plus, the deck is super easy to build.

Other options include: Valakut with Beast Within added, Boros (not a real deck anymore L), BR Vampires (which is my second option),  Big Red or GW Vengevine action. I doubt I’ll be able to test since I don’t know anyone.

Til next time! I’ll have at least one more FNM to play then SCG Orlando. Funny story too: my cousin asked if I wanted to do a family Moffit 5K run for cancer. I initially said yes. She’d run for her dad. My other cuzo would naturally run in honor of his mom (my aunt) and I’d run in honor of my brother (who died 11-12 years ago of cancer). But I realize that playing in the Magic tournament would probably be more honoring for my brother in a 5K since he was the one that got me addicted to this dumbass game more then 15 years ago. Hopefully I won’t completely scrub out.

My next blog will probably be some deck ideas with NPH added. Beast Within should probably be in EVERY deck. Peace out my ninjas!

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