In my previous article here I introduced the Hydro Monsters deck (Green Devotion splashing U with scary big hydras as wincons). I also hinted that I was going for GP Trials of GP Liverpool. Here is my report what happened, when I unleashed hydras to the world.
My story starts at 9 am at McDonald’s. Obviously.
I was sitting there in McDonald’s and speaking to my mate Simon Skipper about borrowing one more Drown in Sorrow for the U/B Control. Yes, at that time I wore Blue/Black colours and was psyching myself up for playing maindeck 3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weavers and hoping that would ruin many a folks day! I liked the deck quite a bit. My personal touches to the list consisted of 2 x Crux of Fate maindeck and 3 x Grindclock in sideboard. Shortly after the Breakfast Bap we were en-route to Brighton on the train discussing strategies for ourselves and for Nancy (another friend) playing Jeskai Burn deck.
Cue 10:45 am. After flipping coins and rolling dice, the fate had decided U/B Control was the deck for me to champion at Trials. But for some reason I couldn’t help but de-sleeve the Control deck in lieu of this crazy idea that Mono-Green Devotion/Constellation could be really really good with Blue as the power colour to enable it.
So, here is the 75 I ended up playing with:
4 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Nissa, Worldwaker
1 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1 Arbor Colossus
1 Monastery Siege
Changes from the previous list included Disdainful Stroke in the sideboard to deal with annoying creatures and the fact nothing under 4 mana massively scares me, so it works better than Negate in this deck. I added Monastery Siege as it makes burn decks and U/B control decks stretch harder to use their spells. Its Khans ability is a sweet one too, since it lets me engineer my draws better. This card, ladies and gents, is a sleeper and a half in my opinion. The final decision was to remove Archetype of Endurance and Hydra Broodmaster for 2 Arbor Colossus, which gives me better results against the dreaded and powerful (but really underplayed) Jeskai decks running Mantis Rider.
The main strategy remained the same: explode with big creatures, get insane value from the Eidolon of Blossoms and Genesis Hydra and really abuse the whole devotion mechanic with Voyaging Satyr and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Stubborn Denial is still the ace in our sleeve, because it provides an insurance to board sweepers such as Anger of the Gods, Crux of Fate, AEtherspouts, End Hostilities, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Duneblast, Perilous Vault, Silence the Believers and so on… The list is endless… It comes from out of no-where and devastates opponents as they can’t successively resolve their trump cards in a late or end game. It’s important that Stubborn Denial is used only for essential countering. It’s no good using it to stop Hero’s Downfall early on, unless it’s literally going to help shut the game out quick!
Now let’s talk about the tournament…
Round 1: Louis (Abzan)
Louis ran a pretty aggro looking Abzan list but couldn’t deal with game one’s explosive start, utilizing a turn 3 Eidolon of Blossoms into many enchantments, netting me too much value and devotion points for his tiny leaders to deal with.
Game 2 was a little unfair with him having to mulligan to 5 and not being able to play much until turn 6. Then he tried to play Elspeth, Sun’s Champion only to meet my ace in a form of ferocious Stubborn Denial. A good start for the devotion train.
Round 2: Simon (B/G Constellation) 3pts
Simon is an established player down at Brighton and often finishes in the Top 8 of events. He can read the game, he makes great plays, runs solid decks.
This time he ran a strategy similar to my own, so I knew I was in a grindy matchup.
Game 1 went really long. Cards like Chord of Calling and See the Unwritten really helped him gain advantage many times throughout the game. On my side, Stubborn Denial saved me from his Garruk, Apex Predator in the turn 10 of the game. This game went into an advanced board state where we stood off for a while building up huge armies. Ultimately Doomwake Giant he resolved late game made the crucial difference…
Game 3 didn’t really go on long enough, because our first game took so damn long. We settled up for a draw and both went about winning our next games…
Round 3: Matthew (Naya Monsters) 4pts
Matt Hawker will go down in history as one of the most fanatical magic players. He’s literally not taken his “Magic the Gathering” fleece off since I first met him way back in Ravnica days. His deck really stymes my deck with early Anger of the Gods and late game finishers like Stormbreath Dragon.
In the first game he got me to 3 life with the Breathy Dragon and Polis Crushers, then I stabilized with Hornet Queen. Unfortunately for me, his suicidal attacks with dragons ate my hornet tokens and some Lightning Strikes. The dragons fell one after another after another… clearing the way for the last fourth one he drew to annihilate me for good.
Game 2 I came out all guns blazing in a similar story to the game 2 I had in round 2 against Simon.
Round 4: Michael (Sultai Morphs) 4pts
Michael is a superb player, so I had to be on guard!
This time he was piloting a brew: a crazy morphing deck which works around Ruthless Ripper, Icefeather Aven and Kheru Spellsnatcher. It’s basically some kind of bastard Limited deck suped up to fight in Constructed. Unfortunately for him this homebrew couldn’t full engage with my deck and found itself getting overran. Truth be told I don’t overly remember the games, but the game I lost I had some mana issues.
Round 5: Henry (Sultai Control) 9pts
So I was paired up against my team mate! It looked like he had got rather unlucky in game 1 and thanks to my Stubborn Denials I managed to plow through with value-towns like Genesis Hydra and Eidolon of Blossoms.
Game 2 he out-controlled my deck and overran me.
Game 3 went late and it actually ended up on turn 5 with no victor. Henry, however, was on 9 points and already gained 2 byes at GP Liverpool, so he decided to concede to me.
Such situation is one of the many reasons being in a team is good. We look out for one another and make sure if we’re locked into the Top 8 we’re going to get our team mates there too. Henry’s act of kindness played a big part in me achieving… well, we’ll get in to it soon.
Quarter Finals: Mike (Keranos Counterburn)
Mike is an interesting player, the kind who places his deck in the middle of the battlefield, his lands above his creatures, upside down, whilst holding his hand upside down and placing his graveyard and exile piles adjacent to his deck… Despite this peculiar setup and the outside thought that he may be insane, this guy is actually very down to earth and very good at Magic. He plays half in game in the mental Magic part of competitive play and he does a pretty good job at it.
Game 1 I managed to evade his serious control aspects and hit a timely Stubborn Denial for his sweeper.
Game 2 went long and he used the power of a turn 5 Keranos to blast me out with attrition!
Game 3 was a long, tiresome affair, but with the help of a couple of Mistcutter Hydras I broke through and took the streak into the semis…. Blimey, that was a tough match!
Semi Finals: Aaron (U/B Control)
Aaron is a 16 year old prodigy of the game, running a rather tiered up U/B Control list.
Game 2 went to me in a long and drawn out game, where I tried to hold as many cards in my hand as him. I was playing conservatively, which made him to Crux of Fate a singleton creature a few times as well as Dissolve my Voyaging Satyr. Aaron gots a bit unlucky, but ultimately my best Magic was against this guy!
Finals: Nancy (Jeskai Burn)
This match didn’t last long, because Nylea, God of the Hunt enabled my creatures to trample over the pupils of Nancy’s Monastery Mentor. We also have discovered that a different course of blocking and Wild Slash in her turn – and not my turn – could have changed the tide of battle. Lessons learnt: kill the devotion-fuelling cards or a card-drawing engine of Eidolon of Blossoms before my untap phase.
In game 2 I managed to reap the rewards of all 4 Nylea’s Disciples I boarded in. Turn 5 I gained 11 life from one of them – that really just ended the game by itself. A few turns later a 26/26 Genesis Hydra came into play and Nancy couldn’t do much from there.
The deck managed to run the gauntlet and net me 2 byes for Grand Prix Liverpool!
This deck is by no means the best deck out there. It may just be pretty damn good against Control, which has popped up everywhere and with some decent draws it also might just get there against Jeskai. Abzan does struggle against this deck, because it holds many many answers to the usual suspects and with the Stubborn Denials mainboard every opposing deck and their trump card’s struggle to deal! I do not however rate this deck at all against Mardu!
Since the original writeup of this article, I’d like to add it finished joint 1st at a Famous Collectables FNM in Bexhill and actually is a pretty serious contender against all decks I’ve gone up against. Cards which I’d like to include for Game Day (if I am still using this deck) are as follows…
Whisperwood Elemental: Literally wins games on it’s own against U/B control.
Frontier Siege: I’m really unsure on this card for the time being.
More Arbor Colossus: This deck sucks against Jeskai and having more of these could make a great counter measure.
So it’s a lay-in for me in Merseyside and 6 points before I even sleeve up. Life is indeed good, see you in Liverpool!
Community Question: What was the most important card in your deck at the Fate Reforged Game Day?
Thanks for reading,