(I’m going to go on a long tangent about the deck, if not interested you can just scroll to the end of part one. Right after the decklist you’ll find a link where someone Top 16’d SCG Indianapolis yesterday with a very similar Naya Pod list. Goes to show that I might have something here after all. lol)
Part I. The Love Machine
As I’ve mentioned in every article I have ever written I love a deck that is flexible. A deck that is flexible let’s me play easily with the card numbers, add and remove cards at will without diluting the deck’s overall effectiveness. Especially when it comes to the sideboard – as long as I can play around with the sideboard the better since I can adapt it to anything I want.
I’ll be honest, I realized a while ago that I was no deck builder, so I don’t bother, but I did find that I have a knack for tuning decks. Unlike my brother, who is better at inventing decks in a vacuum, which is good since he’s been right about most decks he came up with. My brother had a UB Control deck before Nick Spangiolo started winning his share of tournaments and then the deck won Worlds last year. I’ve learned to pay attention to his ideas and this was as good a time as any. He had a Naya Midrange/Aggro deck built and I liked the premise, so I figured why not try something similar. I began looking for lists that expanded on his ideas and I found G/W Birthing Pod.
G/W Birthing Pod was originally built by Smitty from 60Cards.com and he calls it Angles. And friend Mat Marr took it to Grand Prix Singapore went 10-5 (very, very good record which also showcases the power of the deck) and got a Deck Tech to boot.
Anyway, I took it for a ride a few days ago and then decided to add red to increase sideboarding options and Main Deck options for all the match ups I was expecting. I hate surprises when it comes to tournament play so I like to be prepared by having cards that can work against more than one deck.
Red in this case gave me Combust for the worst match up; ExarchTwin. Combust can’t be counter and can only target Blue or White creatures meaning that Spellskite can’t protect Deceiver Exarch from spontaneous combustion. Combust also hits equipped Hawks, Stoneforges, Colonnades, and all of Soul Sister’s creatures. Red also gave me Cunning Sparkmage who I could combine with Basilisk Collar and shoot all the creatures in opposing aggressive strategies like the new White Weenie deck “Soul Sisters” and Vengevine decks which I thought were going to be popular. The little combo works well against the most powerful and popular deck CawBlade since they can’t really stop you from killing all their Birds, Forges, Titans, Celestial Colonnades, etc.
In a previous version of the deck I had Inferno Titan, but I ended up removing it for the most random card… Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. This card just blew my mind. It’s applications are mainly to increase board parity against aggro decks so I can trump them with my bigger threats or with an overwhelming board presence and is there to mess up their combat math; or you can use it to completely stop the Exarch combo. Thing is, they can make a million tokens, but when they attack and I have Kazuul in play he has to pay 3 mana for each of his Exarch copies that are attacking, otherwise, for each creature attacking me I put a 3/3. The Exarchs don’t have flying thus those 3/3s block all their tokens… And you get to keep your 3/3s!
I was skeptical about Kazuul, but he’s the real deal and easily sideboardable as it’s just a 1-of you can look for with Birthing Pod. Or if you really want to avoid getting laughed at Urabrask the Hidden can be brutal as well.
Another red card that was added was Manic Vandal over Viridian Corrupter I debated between the two and still do, but I think the Vandal wins out in the end. Corrupter is great with Sword of War and Peace against most decks since you can get pretty easy wins, especially against Soul Sisters where you can basically ignore their infinite life gain. However, Vandal is easier to cast in this version of the deck (Sometime you can have a Razorverge Thicket, a Plains, and a Mountain) and since it is strictly a 1-of I don’t want to find myself in a position where I have nothing else except a Corrupter and my opponent on two life. (I’m a bit unlucky, if I wasn’t I would be in the PTQ right now [at the time of writing] putting my money where my mouth is) hence why I’m so utterly cautious when I make decisions in deck tuning.
The other Red cards are in the sideboard which are two random Lightning Bolts. These are for all things Jace, Soul Sisters, Vengevines, Lotus Cobras, Birds of Paradise, Goblin Guides, Plated Geopedes, Steppe Lynx, etc. You can also use them against decks where some of your cards might be completely useless (you never know, again, I do hate surprises).
The GW version might be better since its plans are a lot easier to grasp and execute. This one requires a bit of patience and a certain amount of finesse to really deliver. Smitty and Mat will be talking about GW a lot more in the following days/weeks so I’ll leave it to them. Without further ado, here’s my version of Naya Pod (or as I like to call it, Lavatory Love Machine).
Creatures – 26
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Sun Titan
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Acidic Slime
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Manic Vandal
1 Cunning Sparkmage
2 Mirran Crusader
3 Fauna Shaman
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Birds of Paradise
Spells – 10
This deck definitely plays like a Love Machine: first couple of turns involves a sort of Foreplay where you set up everything, like your Stoneforge equipments, maybe a little Fauna action, get a Pod active; once in the middle turns you start pumping out the good stuff (if you know what I mean.) until; you spill the juice all over the place with Vengevines and Elesh Norn.
*I don’t like to suggest my decks to anyone since my decks feel like Kibler’s decks where he’s the only one who can win with them. Has anyone ever done well with his old UB Infect Deck besides him? Didn’t think so.
Coincidentally, MTGPulse updated its page today and in SCG Indianapolis a very similar Naya Pod list made Top 16. Link here.
Part. II – Puertorican Standards
In this section, I’m going to talk about the metagame I expected to find in this PTQ and how many people were going to play.
Considering that the last billion tournaments were dominated by CawBlade and its brothers (DarkBlade, BantBlade, URW Blade), this was going to be the most obvious deck to beat. Then came ExarchTwin which people overestimate (I probably underestimate it a bit, though I do respect it enough to sideboard nearly 15 cards for it.) it and I don’t see why. Flores might have done well, but none of us helped Finkel win US Nationals 2000 or Coimbra in Worlds ’09 (not saying Flores is God, just that one can’t argue against results). therefore I don’t believe that the same people can effectively pull off the same feat. CawBlade or lucksacks will prevail. I don’t like to lucksack, which is why I play (in Extended) 30 library manipulation spells in my Pyromancer, so I don’t have to cross my fingers and hope to draw something that isn’t a dead Mana Leak (Results don’t lie).
Don’t misunderstand me, I like Exarch, but I don’t have enough luck to play combo decks where the only thing that draws is Jace and that random Consecrated Sphinx that I’m sure I’ll never draw. In fact, I’m so unlucky, that on NPH’s PreRelease, I opened 6 crap rares that don’t do anything (the closest thing to a bomb was an Ezuri and he was pretty much a Grey Ogre in my Pool) and in both of my NPH packs I got a Psychic Surgery as my rares. I digress.
Knowing how the player base in my island thinks, I expected a couple of the old decks like Valakut and EldraziGreen, maybe someone wanted to be a joker and play Pyromancer, Infect, and some other crazy concoctions. I know people would definitely get tempted to play UG Vengevine and Soul Sisters, not to mention the ones the refuse to let go of their Red Deck Wins and Boros decks.
Yeah, for this tournament, I was expecting everything. The next step is finding out the average turn out and then assign a value to the Archetypes according to the expected attendance. I don’t know if many of you know, but I really like to get a little technical and very analytical whenever I’m preparing for a tournament. Today (in the time of writing) I was expecting around 30-45 players. A bare minimum would be near 24, but things can’t be that bad — I’d rather be optimistic. Now to list the Archetypes:
*The numbers in parenthesis are the exact numbers I would expect if there were around 32 players
Cawblade & Friends (BantBlade, UWR Blade, DarkBlade): 6-8 (7)
ExarchTwin & Friends (RUG, UR, Grixis, UWR Exarch/Forge, PyroTwin):5-7 (6)
Vengevine & Friends (UG, GW, GWR, GR): 3-4 (3)
Valakut: 1-3 (2)
Pyromancer Ascension: 1
Elves: 1-2 (1)
Soul Sisters/White Weenie: 1
Red Deck Wins: 2-3 (3)
Boros: 1-3 (2)
UB Control: 1-2 (1)
Infect & Friends (UG, GR, Mono-Green, Mono-Black, GB): 2-3 (2)
Traditional UW: 1 (0)
Random (This might even include decks like Allies and whatnot): 1-3 (2)
Since I couldn’t go, I’d like for someone to confirm this and see if I was right. It will be a great fuel for my fiery ego, right now. [insert sarcastic laugh]
Well, that’s all for today, If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask.
PS: I was going to win this PTQ. ;)