Since quitting real life magic nearly a year ago I have been nearly exclusively playing online, which while it has its drawbacks, its advantages suit my lifestyle. One thing I do miss is the social interaction, but I still get to play tournaments and keep up with the formats, so with that I can still write the odd article about what I find.
This is primarily a tournament report of a daily event I played, while not the most demanding of events, the matchups I played were a good cross section of the meta, it covers Valakut (my deck choice) which hasn’t been written about much recently– and I went 4-0 which is always nice…
My list – Valakut Ramp by Dave Baldelli aka bobbydazzler on MODO
4 Primeval Titan
4 Oracle of Mul Daya
2 Avenger of Zendikar
3 Overgrown Battlement
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Rampant Growth
4 Lighting Bolt
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Raging Ravine
3 Terramorphic Expanse
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
The list borrows a lot from Makito Mihara’s list that did well at Japanese Nationals, when it comes to combo I trust the guy implicitly, he was a god playing Dragonstorm and I loved his take on Valakut.
A few card choices I think deserve some explanation however. 4 Oracle of Mul Daya is not for everyone, but the card is basically Titans 5-8 against control, (or rather 9-12 if you count Zenith’s) the value you can get from an Oracle of Mul Daya when you have so many shuffle effects is amazing and not to be underestimated, Lars (Solemn Simulacrum) is cool and all but vs control he is slow and ignorable. With that in mind, 4 Cultivate keeps your hand stocked for multiple land drops and increases the consistency of the deck, while also being better with the black splash in the board.
The Sideboard is pretty tight, you need plenty of cards vs aggro and the mixture of Corrosion, Natures Claim, Slagstorm and Baloth combine to keep mono red, Tempered Steel and elves in check, the latter probably being the least favourite matchup but also the least represented.
A last word on Memoricide before I get on with the matches, the card while obviously awesome in the mirror, and good against the other combo decks is also not bad in the right control matchups. Vs a draw go style control deck the games go long, so sitting back developing your mana, and Memoriciding for Flashfreeze can be very frustrating for your opponent.
Right the event…
Round 1 – theplayer87 – Ubw control.
Game 1 – I keep a generic hand aginst a mystery deck with Bolts, Oracle and some ramp, my opponent makes me discard some spells and Doomblades my Battlement, I land my second Oracle and it takes over the game ramping my lands and drawing me to my fatties.
Sb – + 4 Memoricde +1 Swamp / -4 Bolt -1 Forest
Game 2 – I keep a good hand containing Oracle, Memoricide plus ramp, my op makes me discard a Zenith and I draw a second Memoricide which I play turn 3 naming his Memoricides (I take the 3 from his deck and see his hand, land, 2 Grave Titan 1 Wurmcoil) I feel good.
Turn 4 I play Oracle having drawn a Titan but without the mana to play it, but he topdecked the Mana Leak and I curse my luck. Turn 5 I’m still a mana short to play Titan so I Memoricide his Grave Titans away – I get stuck on 5 mana, after he Doomblades my Battlement and I lose a game I feel I should have won.
Game 3 – I keep double Rampant Growth and double Memoricide, after no turn 1 discard I feel happier and play some ramp spells, I draw in to Titan and bait a counter with Memoricide, my opponent taps out for Lilliana and I discard my 2nd Memoricide leaving me with Titan and the Avenger I’d top decked. I draw Zenith and play out my Titan fetching 2 Valakuts (against control just get as many Valakuts as you can) I discard my Avenger and on turn 7 I play out my Zenith fetching Titan with Mana Leak mana, I do 12 to his face and my opponent concedes.
Round 1 eskyer – Mono red with Kiln Fiends.
Game 1 – I keep a dodgy hand of BoP, double Zenith but keep because its game 1, my opponent plays turn 1 Mountain and I stare at my Birds in disgust. Sure enough Goblin Guide comes down and my turn 1 bop gets Bolted.
I carry on getting hit by Goblin Guide then I play the first of my 2 Zeniths for Battlement, next turn I draw Bolt, burn his fresh Ember Hauler while he’s tapped out and play a second Zenith for Battlement, the first one having caught fire. Again he burns my wall and Guide takes me down to 6 with double Valakut in play and 3 Mountains 2 Forests with a 3rd Zenith in hand. I play a fourth Mountain, Zenith for Titan, get two Mountains, and kill his Guide hoping he doesn’t have the burn, an end of turn Bolt scares me but after a nervous draw step his concession allows me to steal game 1.
Sideboarding – +3 Obstinate Baloth +2 Slagstorm / -4 Oracle of Mul Daya -1 Birds of Paradise
Game 2 – This game was a blowout, I Bolt his Kiln Fiend and land a turn four Baloth, but a second Kiln Fiend and a Dismember ruin my plan – a bunch of burn spells later and we are on to the decider.
After seeing the Shrines I decide to take out 2 Explore for 2 Natures Claim for game 3
Game 3 – He starts with a turn 1 Teetering Peeks and I smile, it’s a slow start and my hand of Rampant Growth, Nature’s Claim and Zenith seems fairly safe. A turn 2 Shrine makes my life even better and my Nature’s Claim begins to look pretty pro. He plays back to back Vulshock refugee’s so I play my topdecked Avenger (also being safer against Threaten effects) and after he Dismembers it I Zenith for Titan, deal him 12 with a Mountain in hand and two active Valakuts. (player was at 18 after 2 fetch lands) and take the game easily.
Round 3 – krazykirby4 – Cawblade.
My heart sinks briefly when I get my Rampant growth countered and a fresh Tectonic Edge destroys my only green source, but I rip a Forest and pretend it never happened. I test the water with an Oracle and to my surprise it lands and I go silly with the top of my deck. With the coast apparently clear I resolve a Titan and we play Wrath/fattie for a few turns. My comes-in-to play advantages are too much though and I overwhelm him.
Sideboarding – +4 Memoricide +1 Swamp +3 Nature’s Claim / -3 Overgrown Battlement, – 4 Lighting Bolt -1 Forest
Normally Battlement is good vs control as it navigates Spell Pierce but my opponent had cycled a Twisted Image g1, Nauture’s Claims are for Swords, O-rings and occasional Leylines.
Game 2 – My opponent starts aggressively with turn 2 Hawk, I like this as I know my ramp is free to cast without fear of be countered. He gets down 3 Hawks and appears to stall on mana but doesn’t help him self with overly zealous use of his Tec’ Edges on my Ravines. I’m on 4 mana but that’s fine as Oracle finds a gap to slip in to play and he responds with a 3cc Jace tapping out his blue sources.
With Primeval Titan on top I Zenith for another one instead (despite some amusing protests from my opponent) A few more rounds of Wrath/fattie the second game ends like the first.
Round 4 – aubartender – Valuket Ramp.
Game 1 – I win the roll (big smile as I know what he’s playing) and after he mulls to 5 (I suspect he may have had multiple Pyroclasms that I’d seen him play main deck) I keep and average hand of ramp and an Oracle, but I sort of figure he probably mull’ed his Pyroclasms away.
Turn 2 I draw my Titan and I play it out on turn 4 – which against Valakut is pretty much game.
Sideboarding – +4 Memoricide +1 Swamp / -1 Forest -4 Lighting Bolt
The plan is simple but you wouldn’t want to side more in anyway, consistency is the most important thing, with the Memoricides acting as effectively more (and cheaper) Titans
Game 2 – I keep a hand of Battlement, Cultivate and Avenger because I figure if he Memoricide’s at least I’ll have a threat, and if nothing else if he stumbles I have a chance of hitting turn 4 Titan. Turns out he kept a hand with no green source which you NEVER do no matter how good your hand is. He looses the game and I finish the event 2nd.
Interestingly the guy who won the event was also playing Valakut but playing Harrow, Kalhni Heart Expeditions, Wurmcoil Engines and Summoning Traps so it really goes to show how there is really no best build for Valakut. That said I stand by the list I played. Harrow seems a bit too vulnerable to counters, and there are plenty of Nature’s Claims around for Expedition.
I wouldn’t change anything about the deck, its seems strong and consistent, the sideboard can be tweaked to taste or according to your meta but I recommend some combination of the spells I played. The only thing I would like to test is the forth Baloth main deck as a Zenith target but I’m not sure what to drop and I fear the small loss in consistency is against my combo’ey ethics.
By: Dave Baldelli
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