Thursday, January 19, 2012

Human Nature

U/W Humans...can’t kill them. ::beat:: Pass the beernuts.

After deciding to not attend the PTQ due to inadequate testing with Jund, I decided to return to FNM the following Friday. Since I have been messing with Modern for the past month or so, I didn’t really have a Type 2 deck that I wanted to play. I already played Wolf Run Ramp with success and my Tezzeret build as well (although my only losses were to Humans). I have a Red Deck Wins but un-polished so that was out of the question. The only other Type 2 deck I had was my modified Ghost Blade deck that looked oddly like U/W Humans. Here is what I played.

Doomed Traveler x 4
Leonin Relic-Warder x 3
Fiend Hunter x 3
Mirran Crusader x 4
Geist of Saint Traft x 4
Hero of Bladehold x 4
Dismember x 3
Oblivion Ring x 3
Honor of the Pure x 4
Sword of War and Peace x 2
Sword of Feast and Famine x 2
Moorland Haunt x 3
Seachrome Coast x 4
Glacial Fortress x 4
Islands x 2
Plains x 11

Gideon Jura x 2
Oblivion Ring x 1
Leonin Relic-Warder x 1
Oblivion Ring x 1
Fiend Hunter x 1
Spellskite x 3
Surgical Extraction x 3
Celestial Purge x 3

Yeah yeah. I know. I know. I basically said Humans was a bitch deck that was all about the deck and NOT about the pilot. I was wrong. I said it! I WAS WRONG. That being said, what I complained about few FNM reports ago was ANGELIC DESTINY on MIRRAN CRUSADER was completely the most un-skill intensive play in Magic. I stand by that. Why? Because I have a big fat goose egg in the Angelic Destiny category. Instead I prefer a skill card like Swords of Feast and Famine AND War and Peace.

I played the deck because, heck, if you can’t beat them? Join them? And I didn’t have other options. So what makes my build different then most? NO MANA LEAK. Yes, no Mana Leaks. Why? Because why would an AGGRO deck want to pause at two mana to counter something? You don’t. You want to keep playing threats and apply pressure until your opponent is dead. D. E. A. D. Instead I loaded up with some control elements and shit ton of 2-for-1s. Let me explain. I know my meta at Lakeland CoC is chock full of creature based aggro strategies, mainly UW Humans. So I loaded up on shit to stop those strategies at the same time giving me game against the rest of the field. I did that by playing Fiend Hunters and Leonin Relic-Warders. Warders are great for stealing Oblivion Rings, Angelic Destinies and opposing Swords and provide a 2/2 bear that can pick up your own Swords. Fiend Hunter, IMO, is great because he steals tempo from an Aggro deck and provides a 1/3 body that a lot of dudes can’t get through, mainly Illusions and Red Deck Wins type dudes. The build I played is more or less a Mid-Range deck that can play control vs. opposing aggro strats or aggro vs. control strats. It is a solid deck and is increasing in popularity. Playing against it many times has soured me on the whole deck but actually running it, the deck plays very well.

Here we go...

Before I get into it, because I got smoked by noobs playing Humans before, I honestly didn’t want a repeat of that night. Every game I thought to myself, “No game is an auto win.” This phrase helped me to really focus to make the best plays possible and see the board state clearly and any and all outs that were possible in any given situation.

ROUND 1: Michael playing Red Deck Wins

Game 1: He is a newer player that I helped tweak his deck from the last time we met but he honestly doesn’t stand a chance. He gets me to 10 before running out of gas. I stick a Mirran Crusader with a SOWAP and its on to game 2.

Game 2: I side out all my Dismembers and side in Celestial Purges and Spellskites. He has a grip full of burn and gets me to 8. I stabilize with an Honor of the Pure and Hero of Bladehold. Its done in 2 turns.

2-0 / 2-0 / 1-0

ROUND 2: J.C. Playing U/W Control
J.C. Is an older player but new to our area. I have seen him a few times, the last time he won First Place the week I rocked my Tezzeret Deck. He is a very good player and knows the game, his deck and the matchup very well. No game is an auto win. I hunker down and prepare for a long match.

Game 1: I have an idea of what he is playing but a specific decklist. The advantage I have is the moment he sees Seachrome Coast for a Doomed Traveler he plays around Mana Leaks that I just don’t have. This game is epic. He is basically on his back foot the entire game though. Every card I needed at every given point came to the top of my deck for me. I played a total of 3 Geist of Saint Traft this game as he played 3 Day of Judgements off of Snapcasters. But the DoJs fuel my Moorland Haunt which is an extremely unfair card. I Top deck a SOWP and it is over.

Game 2: J.C. Says, “This is either going to be a very quick game or a very long game.” I curve out perfectly and use Warders to steal his SOFAI and an O-Ring and a Fiend Hunter to steal a Snapcaster. I stick a Geist of Saint Traft with SOWAP and its done. Very quick game indeed.

All in all it was a great matchup and we traded play after play, blow after blow, both trying to stay in it. I think it could have gone either way.

2-0 / 4-0 / 2-0

ROUND 3: Nathan playing U/W Humans
Nathan is the guy that dropped an Angelic Destiny on a Mirran Crusader to end my world a few FNMs ago so I wanted a little bit of revenge. I did beat him last FNM pretty handedly with my Wolf Run Ramp deck but I KNEW he was playing Humans so I really wanted to curb stomp him. No game is an auto win.

Game 1: I feel good about the matchup because my curveball Warders and Fiend Hunters are favorable. It really does come down to that. We both used O-Rings on respective creatures and Swords but with my Warders I was able to get my equipment back. Mirran Crusader picks up SOFAF and it is pretty much over. Double mana a turn is very good.

Game 2: I sideboard in my extra 2-for-1 dudes and an O-Ring which all come in very handy. He makes a huge mistake and plays Nevermore calling Oblivion Ring not realizing until it was too late that it shuts down the O-Ring he draws. I have an awesome play FTW where I Warder his Nevermore, play on O-Ring on a blocker, equip a only dude and swing for lethal.

2-0 / 6-0 / 3-0

ROUND 4: Shane playing Red Deck Wins
I have played this kid before as well. He and his brother are both very solid players and switch between two decks each FNM. They run a very polished Red Deck Wins and a strange Parallel Lives combo deck. I unfortunately have to play against RDW. No game is an auto win.

Game 1: He curves out beautifully with a turn 1 Noble, turn 2 Shrine, turn 3 Gut Shot into Berserker, turn 4 Volt Charge to pump ALL his shit. I have a Dismember for the Noble, a Warder for the Shrine while he is tapped out, and a Fiend Hunter for the Berserker. He lands a Lavamancer and pings away at me until I am at 1 but he ran out of fuel out of his graveyard. By this time I am loading up with a Mirran Crusader and a Geist. He slows me down with some blocks and comes down to a top deck that he needs. He doesn’t get their. He probably had 8 more burn spells left in his deck. I got very very lucky. But I did play it as best as I could.

Game 2: This game he is in trouble as he must mulligan and doesn’t have an aggressive start. I land a Geist and steal his blockers with Fiend Hunters. I strap on a SOWAP and it is done. He did burn me down to 8 before I finally killed him. Tough beats.

2-0 / 8-0 / 4-0

ROUND 5: Felix playing Burning Vengeance
This is a matchup I did not want to play. Felix is a very good player and knows the game, his deck and MY deck very well. The fact he is packing 3 Day of Judgements and 4 Snapcasters really scares me.

Game 1: This is a long drawn out game that comes me who can stick a Geist of Saint Traft first. I keep Legend ruling out his Geists and he keeps on DoJing mine. His deck is geared to grind out wins on the back of Burning Vengeance and tempo stealer Feeling of Dread. This game comes down to me with Honor of the Pure and a Moorland Haunt which keeps pumping out 2/2 Flyers. I squeak a win out here.

Game 2: Is very unfair as I side in like 10 cards against him including Spellskites to stop Burning Vengeance plus Oblivion Ring, Warder, and Surgical Extrations. I think I boarded in Celestial Purges as well. This game I neuter his entire deck of every threat he could possibly have. I hit all three of my Extractions and take all his Geists, Day of Judgements AND Mana Leaks. His deck does what it does and digs and digs. He effectively has zero outs as I Oblivion Ring and Warder consecutive Burning Vengeances. I get a guy with a Sword and close out a very difficult matchup.

2-0 / 10-0 / 5-0

It has been since before Innistrad that I took First in an FNM so this felt pretty damn good. I felt like I played my heart out and made ALL the correct plays in every given situation. It felt like I was Neo from the Matrix. Yes, the deck does a lot on its own because the card quality is so good. But my decision making and play made me get through a lot of the tough matchups. Against the UW Control deck it could have gone either way. Against the RDW decks I could easily have been toast if they had good top decks.

Until next time...

No game is an auto win.

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