Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Journey to Somewhere feature. I’ve been away from mtgUK for a while due to university, but I’m back now with a tournament report from the Innistrad Game Day held at the fantastic Fanboy3 store in Manchester.
With the rotation of Standard, my love affair with Tempered Steel was slowly dwindling. After a bad draw cost me my place at the National Store Championsips (top of the swiss, knocked out in the quarters of the Top 8, sob sob etc,) and some pretty mediocre results at recent FNMs (2-2 and 2-2), I realised it was a time for change. However, I didn’t want to stray too far from the path of the Steel, because I, freaking, love, artifacts.
When you play a deck with lots of artifacts in, it’s very difficult to get colour screwed, and there are some awesome artifacts that have been printed recently, especially in Scars of Mirrodin, that really make them value for money. The three swords, Spellskite and Wurmcoil Engine, just to name a few. Luckily for me, there’s a new artifact deck rolling into town, and it’s based on the combo of Heartless Summoning and Myr Superion. The way it works, in short, is that Heartless Summoning reduces all your creatures’ converted mana cost by 2, with the drawback being that all your creatures get -1/-1. A bargain when you consider that the two-mana Myr Superion is a 5/6, meaning you can play it for free as a 4/5, whilst ignoring it’s own drawback (can only use creature-created mana to play it). Another way to summon the Superion is to use Grand Architect‘s ability to generate 2 colorless mana to play it.
So, without further ado, a report on the tournament, which had 4 rounds before a Top 8 cut (a very low turnout for a Game Day (13), which was disappointing. However, the tournament was a lot of fun, nevertheless).
Round 1 – U/B Infect Artifacts
Game 1 saw me in quite a perilous situation, as he managed to get Karn Liberated up and running. However, I had 2 Inkmoth Nexus on the board, as well as a Grand Architect to make them blue to give them +1/+1, as well as multiple Spellskites to protect them from Karn’s exiling ability. I got the 10 poison in before Karn could restart the game.
Game 2 was also initially tight, as I was facing down 2 Phyrexian Juggernauts. But I managed to ride the storm, using Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas‘s first ability to find me Wurmcoil Engines to deal with the Juggernaut threat, before using Tezz’s -4 ability on consecutive turns (yup, it had 8 loyalty counters on it at one point!) to drain him of all his life.
Round 2 – Mono-Red
Game 2 was much slower for me, and I kept a hand which didn’t seem particularly quick. In terms of stabilizing, I was a turn too late and without a Spellskite to protect me from the incoming Shrine of Burning Rage on 9, it was on to the deciding game…
…which turned out to be very similar to Game 1. I was lucky in the sense that I got the required Heartless Summoning from a shuffled-away Ponder to put my two waiting Myr Superions into play, but luck is very much a part of Magic, and I took advantage of that luck. With no Ancient Grudge to stop me, I took the match.
Round 3 – MonoB control
Game 1 was quite strange, as we had negotiated our way in to a stale mate. However, I was gaining 5 life a turn from a Vault Skirge (my former best friend until about a week ago) that I had copied much earlier in the game with Phyrexian Metamorph, and then made it a 5/5 with Tezzeret’s -1 ability. By the time I had finally ground him down, I was on 68 life.
Game 2 and he had a suprisingly fast start, and unfortunately my hand has been dismantled with his vast array of discard spells. I could do nothing to stop his Bloodgift Demon beating me down.
Game 3 saw me mulligan to 6, and never drawing a 3rd land. By the time I had drawn it, a Vault Skirge with a Lashwrithe equipped was dealing me some serious damage whilst gaining a ton of life, and my inability to draw a kill spell was my downfall (I don’t think he took the breakup well at all). Having said that, there were only removal spells in the deck, and they were Go for the Throat and Doom Blade, and if you look closely, you’ll realise that neither of them stop Vault Skirge!
I ID’d Round 4, which I’m not a fan of doing any more with the new Planeswalker Points system, but I was desperate for some food so I took the opportunity to go to one of the many brilliant restaurants in Manchester city center. If you ever get the opportunity, a place called Rice is definitely worth having a look at. A bit dear, but the food is fantastic, and you get to see them cook the food in the open kitchen. Om nom nom…
Quarter-Finals – U/W Humans
Game 1 saw me horrendously mana-screwed on 2 land. I only played one spell of note (a Spellskite, which was dealt with by Oblivion Ring) before conceding. My hand at one point (before I had to start discarding) was this:
Game 2 saw me get an early Heartless Summoning out, and I got plenty of board presence to overwhelm his army to win the game. He never saw a blue source in that game, which was unfortunate, so I was hoping we could make a proper game out of the decider.
Game 3 saw a much tighter affair initially, with multiple Oblivion Rings dealing with my multiple threats. However, his deck just seemed to be a bit too slow for an aggressive deck, and it showed as I got Wurmcoil Engine out courtesy of Grand Architect. However, a third Oblivion Ring dealt with it, so it pretty much came down to who could draw better. I eventually managed to get out Myr Superion after a previous attempt had been Mana Leaked, generated through mana created by 2 Inkmoth Nexus which were made to become the creatures which many people fear (as a said note, this little trick is very easy to miss, make sure you’re aware of this when the situation arises, it could win you the game!), and I got the beats in to clinch it.
Semi-Finals – MonoB Control rematch
A chance for revenge after my defeat earlier in the day, and I felt that this match-up was definitely winnable.
Game 1 was a bit slow on both sides, luckily by the end of Turn 5 I was beginning to build up some serious board presence. However, Sorin Markov put me down to 10, and he played Sorin’s Vengeance a turn later. Luckily I had gained 5 life in between those two events with a Heartless Summoned Wurmcoil Engine, and I took the game down soon after with Tezz’s -4 ability.
Game 2 was a war of attrition. Doom Blade dealt with Grand Architect number 1, Surgical Extraction dealt with Grand Architect numbers 2, 3 and 4. However, he didn’t have a lot to back it up with and soon I was on the front foot with Myr Superion (which I had played before the Doom Blade was applied to the Grand Architect) and 2 Wurmcoil Engines (1 being a copied Phyrexian Metamorph). Then he Black Sun’s Zenithed me for 4 to stabilize. Talk about applying the brakes! However, he wasn’t out of the woods yet as I played a third Wurmcoil Engine. Then Karn Liberated hit the table. However, some clever play on my part featuring Inkmoth Nexus, 2 Tezzerets and a Phyrexian Metamorph meant that I got in 10 poison counters before Karn could do too much damage.
Final -Mono-Red rematch
Game 1 saw him get off to a blistering start, and I was soon on the ropes. However, I didn’t panic and managed to negotiate my way to a point where I could get Wurmcoil Engine down, with mana up for Mana Leak should he play anything game changing like Hero of Oxid Ridge to complement his 5/5 Stromkirk Noble and Koth of the Hammer and all his big, smashy Mountains. So of course, he cast Hero of Oxid Ridge, and I had the Mana Leak to stop it. How lucky. Wurmcoil Engine did what it does best against Red deck (it also helps when you get two Phyrexian Metamorphs down next turn to complement it.) and it was onto Game 2.
Game 2 saw me mulligan to 6, and then proceed to do this on Turn 2:
And then this on Turn 3:
Metamorph, copying Superion. Pay 2 life, second Metamorph, copying Superion, swing for 4 with original Superion.
It was as if I was playing Tempered Steel again.
A nut draw, for sure. Nonetheless, I was very happy as the match, and the event victory, was in the bag.
Heartless Summoning is definitely a deck to watch out for. It’s very fun to play, it’s suprisingly effective and consistent, and, like Tempered Steel, is very much currently under the radar. It worked for me, it worked for Laura Dawes (you can read her report, and take on the deck, here) and it can work for you.
And finally, the deck itself. This is the build I’m currently working with.
I’ll go into the card choices in more detail (as well as the quantity of some of the cards, which may raise a few eyebrows) next week. In the mean time, though, let me know how your Game Day went. Was it as successful as you’d hoped? What decks do you think are the ones to beat now?
Ross Silcock, for running the tournament with efficiency once again
Ross Silcock, for giving me somewhere to live in Manchester
Ross Silcock, for generally just being awesome
Laura Dawes, for bringing the idea of the deck into the spotlight on this website, and congratulations on your Store Champs win 🙂
Those of you who didn’t go to a Game Day. Shame on you! No really, SHAME!
Yes, they’re not all that important and no, winning one won’t get you onto the Pro Tour. But they’re great fun and a good excuse to play Magic at the weekend with people you normally wouldn’t play Magic against. Next time the opportunity arises, get down there and see what all the fuss I’m making is about.
Thanks for sharing,