Tuesday, June 14, 2011

“Yes they deserve to die! And I hope they BURN in Hell!!!”

“Yes they deserve to die! And I hope they BURN in Hell!!!”
– Samuel L. Jackson, A Time to Kill

Last week, Friday Night Magic rolled around and I didn’t have a deck I wanted to play nor did I have time to build anything prior. I knew I could just pull out ExTwin (which I'm going to call Madrox from now on) from the box and probably do pretty well but I made it a point to not play the same thing at FNM twice. The reasoning behind that rule is that I don’t have much time to play so I rather play something different and new each chance I do get. I could just as easily play Boros, Valakut or Vampires as well.

I’ve been known to throw some burn spells at people’s faces from time to time. Red Deck Wins is a strategy that I’ve always loved and hold dear to my heart. But I don’t like the current iteration of the deck or similar decks, i.e. Kuldotha Red, Goblins, etc. nor do I like those single minded strategies. I prefer to have plenty of options while playing and JUST throwing around burn spells is no longer my cup of tea. Granted the first few times I played FNM in Lakeland I did take down first place with my version of a Red Aggro build.

This is what my oldest and truest Burn deck looked like before I got rid of it all to finally grew up and get married.

Type 1 5/C BURN circa 1998:
Serendib Efreet x 4
Ydwen Efreet x 2
Lightning Bolt x 4
Chain Lightning x 4
Incinerate x 4
Psionic Blast x 4
Icy Manipulator x 3
Fork x 1
Wheel of Fortune x 1
Timetwister x 1
Time Spiral x 1
Yagamoth's Will x 1
Ancestral Recall x 1
Time Walk x 1
Demonic Tutor x 1
Vampiric Tutor x 1
Regrowth x 1
Balance x 1
Sol Ring x 1
Black Lotus x 1
Mox Ruby x 1
Mox Emerald x 1
Mox Jet x 1
Mox Sapphire x 1
Mox Peal x 1
Library of Alexandria x 1
Strip Mine x 1
Maze of Ith x 1
Mishra's Factory x 4
Volcanic Island x 4
Badlands x 1
Plateau x 1
Taiga x 1
City of Brass x 3

Disenchant x 2
Shattering Pulse x 1
Diabolic Edict x 2
Swords to Plowshares x 2
Pyroblast x 4
Red Elemental Blast x 4

What I like about this deck is it has plenty of options in good effective creatures that are hard to kill, some control elements in Icy Manipulators, ways to fill its hand in the multitude of orgasmic card drawing spells, and of course…BURN.

I wanted to build a deck that took advantage of similar themes and ultimately burned people out but had different angles to work from. Here is what I came up with and threw together an hour and a half before FNM started:

Kuldotha Phoenix x 3
Inferno Titan x 2
Koth of the Hammer x 4
Lightning Bolt x 4
Galvanic Blast x 4
Comet Storm x 1
Volt Charge x 3
Tezzeret’s Gambit x 3
Shrine of Burning Rage x 4
Everflowing Chalice x 3
Sphere of the Suns x 2
Tumble Magnet x 3
Contagion Clasp x 1
Mox Opal x 2
Tectonic Edge x 3
Mountains x 18

Slagstorm x 3
Manic Vandal x 3
Comet Storm x 1
Wurmcoil Engine x 2
Ratchet Bomb x 2
Shatter x 4

Trying to convert the strategies from my old school Type 1 Burn deck to a modern Standard deck was difficult but I think I found a build that I liked. It runs good and resilient creatures in Kuldotha Phoenix and Inferno Titan, and lets be honest, Koth of the Hammer is really a 4cc 4/4 Haste creature. It is running Tumble Magnets for control and some card draw in 3 maindeck Tezzeret’s Gambit.

Being able to attack from different angles is why I really like the deck. The cornerstone to this strategy for me is Shrine of the Burning Rage, which creates a board state of inevitability if not dealt with. There is a minor Proliferate theme so that helps to charge up the Shrine as well as refill the Tumble Magnets and ultimate Koth faster.

I played a deck like this when Scars of Mirrodin first dropped. It was a Big Red deck with a more Metalcraft theme, which becomes more of a minor theme in this new iteration. More on that when I get to my FNM report.

ROUND 1: Tim playing UB Myr Control
Game 1: I've played this guy before he unfortunately he is quite the douchebag and I hate having to play him. This game is long and drawn out but it comes down to me bulls-eyeing him with some burn, reaching Metalcraft and doming him with the full Galvanic Blast and Rage Shrine damage.

Game 2: Is pretty bad for me. I keep a two land hand with Mox opal, ramp and a chance for a turn 3 Koth. I don't see a third land for a while and have to discard a Phoenix in hopes of getting it back. By this time I'm holding all three of my Koths. I finally get a chance to play one and swing in for 4 damage. He draws and passes. I activate Koth again, knowing he's got the kill spell but I have to reach ultimate if I'm going to kill him. He does have the Go for the Throat for my Mountain and Stone Rain me. He then Into the Roils Koth. ugh. I've basically lost all the tempo as he proceeds to drop lands and plays draw go. I just dome him with burn spells so I don't have to discard. He eventually gets Myr Turbine out and me not drawing any Manic Vandals or Shatters. I eventually get a Koth out again and he proceds to stone Rain me again. He gets Myr battlesphere out and then a second one and just plain kills me. I HATE LOSING TO JANKY DECKS.

Game 3: This game is a reverse repeat of the last game. Instead of not enough land I get TOO MUCH LAND and no action spells. I slow roll a Koth for fear of it getting countered because it is my only real business spell in 3 turns. I wait a few turns and just run out artifacts and Shrine. I also do some Tezzeret Gambit action to dig for more but no real relevant spells. He eventually gets his Myr Turbine, Vess tutoring for Battlesphere action and me drawing every mountain in my deck. By the time I just start doming him with instants he has his plan online and I have 15 mountains in play and no real spells.

1-2 / 0-1

ROUND 2: Davitch playing bastardized Kuldotha Red
Game 1: I haven't played this guy before but it seems he has been playing for a bit. He thinks I'm on ExTwin since he was at the FNM I dominated a few weeks back. He keeps his hand and gives an asshole-ish verbal fist pump, "Oh! You're not going to like this!" and proceeds to drop double Ornithopter, Menmite but no lands. I draw, drop a land and pass. He drops Tettering Peaks and swings for 3. Whoopie! I play a land and ramp. he drops a land and Kuldotha Rebirths a thopter. Shit. I drop a land and Koth and beat with a 4/4 which he blocks. He attacks Koth and rapes him while adding double Signal Pest. I drop a land and a Magnet. He swings in and I'm at 8 and in trouble. I clear one of the Pests with a non-Metalcraft Blast. I do have Inferno Titan in hand but short a land. I draw, rip a Mox Opal with Metalcraft and drop the Titan wiping away most of his board but with no attack. I draws, plays the 1cc Red artifact Tarmagoyf which is a 5/5 but I tap it down EOT. I swing in with Titan and clear the rest of his team. He comes at me with his now 7/7 Red Artifact Goyf dude and I tap it down. Next turn I firebreath and dome him with Titan. GG.

Game 2: I side in all my sweepers and artifact hate. He drops a ton of little dudes including Perilous Myr. I drop mountains and ramp. I eventually Slagstorm and clear all his guys but get domed by the Myr. I'm having a bad Myr day. I don't have much action but a Koth, a slowly growing Shrine and a Phoenix but no Inferno Titans. He gets double Red Artifact Goyf dude (Slag Fiend?) which are both 5/5s. He Arc Trails Koth and himself then finishes off the Planeswalker with an attack. I am forced to chump with my Phoenix. I misplay and snap draw my next card without resurrecting Phoenix for chump blocking duties and I just die to the 5/5 Red Goyfs. I could have bought a few turns with chump block duty from the Phoenix but I just punted it away.

Game 3: Being on the play really really helps when I can turn 3 Koth, which is what I do. His team of chump blocking Thopters can do nothing to stop the gangster Planeswalker. I use Volt Charge on a blocker to ultimate Koth and still have one counter. My sea of Prodigal Mountains quickly out matches the horde of little Red and Artifact dudes.

2-1 / 1-1

ROUND 3: E.T. playing Hey Soul Sister
Game 1: The week prior I was talking with ET the TO about the infinite combo with Leonin Relic Hoarder and Phyrexian Metamorph comboed with a Soul Sister to gain infinite life. Early in the week of the FNM he tells me he's playing my deck. I'm like, "Splinter Twin?" ET replies, "No, Soul Sisters." I didn't prepare for the deck but Red inherently has a good game versus a White Weenie deck. ET is on the play and I have to mull to 6 on the draw. He gets his Leonin Hoarder out and me with no Instant speed removal in hand. I do get a Shrine, Tumble Magnet and Mox Opal out so that helps me get back into the game after he Hoarded my early Chalice. He gets two Pridemates out, one at around 7/7 and the other around 4/4 as well as a Serra's Ascendant threatening to beat my face as a 6/6 when he is at 29 life. He stalls out hoping to topdeck the Metamorph to combo on my face but I luckily use every resource I have, tap down his guys, refill with Volt Charge and Gambit, use Shrine to blow up his huge Pridemate and the nail in the coffin is Inferno Titan to clear his team. He does manage a Batterskull as his next action but my Tumble Magnet shuts that down handedly. My next turn is the second Titan and me taking chunks of his 29 life in two turns.

Game 2: I side in Slagstorms, Ratchet Bombs, a few Shatter and a Comet Storm. ET has a slow start with Kabria Crossroads and no opening guy. I manage to ramp with a useless Mox Opal that does nothing because I never reach Metalcraft. This game is pretty much like the first but this time I DO have the bolt when he tries to combo. He manages to get Relic Hoarder on my Mox and next turn goes to combo. I bolt and get my Mox back and he copies a Suture Priest. This game is highlighted by my blowout Comet Storm to kill two Soul Wardens and Volt Charging my Ratchet Bomb to 2 to kill two Pridemates. He does manage to get Batterskull down which I Shatter and he bounces. I Tectonic Edge his Crossroads, his fifth land, and he is unable to replay the powerful Equipment. I am able to get a Phoenix beatdown play and Shrine him out. It was an awesome game that swung in either direction. The entire series I feel I played the best possible Magic I could and earned those two wins. Traditionally, a lifegain deck spells destruction for a Red deck but I was able to pull out two great games. Whew.

2-0 / 2-1

ROUND 4: George playing UG Aggro
Game 1: The awesome thing about George is he is always ready to play an unconventional deck and just be his own deck builder. He always has surprises. This matchup was no different. The last FNM I had to beat him 3 games in a row because we both punted Game 1 on my error. But this was now a different matchup. George goes first on the play and I have to mull to 6 on the draw. He gets an early Birds which I decide not to Bolt. My mistake. He gets an early Mana Wall and Obstinate Baloth. The lifegain and the 4-ass is so bad for my deck. He continues to drop fat-assed dudes like more Obstinates, Leatherback and the Ooze guy that becomes more oozes. All these guys make my Lightning Bolts and Volt Charges look pretty stupid. I eventually get an Inferno Titan down to defend myself but he drops Phyrexian Metamorph down to copy my dude and I just lose.

Game 2: It is difficult to sideboard this match because his deck is so unconventional and just a horrible matchup for me. Wurmcoils go in to fight his 4/X dudes and a Comet Storm. This game I manage to just go off and ramp into an early Koth but he puts the kibash on that with a Leatherback. I get a Tumble Magnet and Shrine out and start digging with Tezzeret's Gambit. To my surprise...so does George. He gets a Fauna Shaman which I Galvanic Blast for 2, no Metalcraft. I eventually get Metalcraft and that Galvanic Blast becomes very important. I could have killed the Shaman with a Lightning Bolt but decided to not risk it in case I don't get Metalcraft. I could have also Tectonic Edged his Misty Rainforest while he was still at 8 to force that 1 point of damage. Since the game came down to him being at 4 life and me with a Lighting Bolt in hand, Metalcraft and being dead on the following turn to attacks. Had I saved the Galvanic he'd be dead at that moment. Had I forced the fetch he would've been in Bolt range for a bullseye. I guess I just wasn't in the cards and I lose. Bad beats. Bad matchup all together. I NEVER lose 0-2! NEVER! Hahaha. Not true. Damn.

0-2 / 2-2

ROUND 5: John playing RB Midrange
This dude I've played before and it isn't very pleasant because he isn't the friendliest person in the world. Don't get me wrong, he's not a dick, just very serious and not very approachable. He's around my age and looks like an older version of my old friend JACO. He's a good player too. I know I have to really concentrate if I don't want to end up 2-3.

Game 1: He is on Red Black by the Blackcliff Cleave he drops turn 1. I get an early Koth and start beating face as he taps out. I don't have to fear the instant speed Stone Rain. I eventually get Koth's Emblem only off the back of a Tezzeret's Gambit, which draws me more mountains and no gas. Everything he puts out dies to my Mountain pings and he eventually succumbs to the burn.

Game 2: I side in artifact hate since I saw a lot of Equipments like Batterskull and Lashwrithe. He's on the play and Duress effects me and snags a Chalice so i can't turn 3 Koth this game. He sticks a Tumble Magnet and an Abyssal Prosecutor. I too get a Tumble Magnet but keep mine alive with Volt Charge and Gambit. I do get a growing Shrine online at some point and an active Koth. He does get a Batterskull online and after I burn down the token he Equips to Prosector and gains shit tons of life back. After some swings, counter-swings, some burn, getting Koth's Emblem again, he's at 11 and I'm at 10 but he has Prosecutor out with what looks like no way to kill it other then Go for the Throat, which I'm sure is sitting in his hand because he has been digging as well with Sign in Blood and Tezzeret's Gambit of his own. With no way of stopping the Lifelinking 10/10 Flying Trampler at this point I have to try and close the game out now. I just have enough to Mountain ping him for 3 at the end of his turn. On my turn, use Koth's -2 ability to double my Mountains to drop Inferno Titan, dome him for 3 and ping him for a lethal bullseye.  It was quite the match and took a lot to defeat him. 

2-0 / 3-2

Considering I just put the deck together an hour or so before the tournament I think I did okay. I wish I did better but  there some ringers there playing Spikey Caw-Blade and Boros so I'm sure I didn't stand a chance with my homebrew Proliferate/Metalcraft deck. But I enjoyed playing it and know that with some tweaking could do pretty well, post-rotation of Zendikar block because I know it would get out-tempoed by a real deck like Caw-Blade.

I got a foil alternate art Spellstutter Sprite for my troubles and did some minor trading for nothing legitimate. Hit up Denny's with some of the other guys and called it a night. Until next time I rock an FNM I do have tons of decks I want to build so I'm kind of excited about Standard right now after all my bitching and moaning about Jace the Mindscupltor. I do know that I have to play my Stoneforges soon since they will be rotating and I haven't had a chance to play with my Batterskulls yet either.

Decks to build for the near future:
UG Birthing Pod
Mono-Black Control
Aggro Valakut

Peace out!

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