‘The Case of the Disowned Ancestor’
CORNER CASE No. 1
You might know me, not personally but in faces at your own FNM. I’ve been playing for just over 2 years now. I have a family and don’t have the income to support four of each fetch land. Thus, since realising draft was my forte I have found my joys in the small victories at my two-out-of-every-three-weeks constructed FNM; the 50p rare/mythic, the strictly value uncommon that no-one remembers exists (Reality Shift – I love you) and then beating top-teir decks with my own pile worth less than the price of a bad lunch.
There is a film with Scott Bakula (the guy from Quantum Leap) about this American College football team, it’s your typical Hollywood story of a bunch of misfits who are drafted in when the school is put on probation and the ‘good’ squad suspended. This film has always resonated with me whenever I have done anything competitive. It’s about pulling together the best of what’s available and seeing what you can achieve. I think Jack White (of White Stripes fame) said something similar about his first guitar which only had two strings – ‘limitation brings about creativity.’
This deck is something I put together from stuff I scrounged together in drafts and by spending leftovers under tickets on bots on MTGO and it had moderate success on there. Assault Formation is the lynchpin so you aggressively mulligan to get it. Basically you either get an early Formation and start the beat down with your now 4/4’s or 5/5s whilst constantly spewing more out for 3 or less mana. Or you build out the board, soak up the pressure and then slam the Formation with a wall of creatures and then turn everything sideways. Shape and Formations second activated ability are often complete surprise your opponent and can sneakily win games by themselves if they’re in range. But before we see how it does at a fairly competitive FNM lets tweak my MTGO bargain bucket deck up a notch or two…
Tombshell comes in for kin-tree against blue heavy decks what with bounce and islandwalk. Cut almost always comes in after the first game. I think with a few tweeks it could be interesting and that’s good enough for me.
Lets go to the games…
Match 1 – Abzan Midrange
There are several ‘doyens’ of the group, those who always provide the sternest of tests, who always have the best cards/decks and regularly scoop up the top three places at a full FNM. Unfortunately in round one I am paired with one of them. Turn 1 and turn 2 Thoughtseize (one of which takes care of my Formation) followed up by a turn 3 Brimaz is not something a lot of top range decks can cope with. My pitiful walls put up a brave fight but in the end are overwhelmed. The tone for the evening is set though…
Game 2 is much more even, even a turn 1 Thoughtseize does little to dent the flow of walls and by turn 5 I feel pretty safe on 18 life and my opponent on 10. Alas 2 Siege Rhinos, like the thud of something incredible dull on cold earth in the most boring strip of land on the planet, turn the tide inexorably in my opponents direction. Despite a Commune no Formation is forthcoming and my walls wither away, one by one. 0-1
Match 2 – Selesnya Lifegain
Our groups meta is very strong with a lot of a very good top range decks but recently a few newer players have provided a fresh take on tried and tested archetypes and match 2 turns out to be the most startling of the night.
Game 1 is very even and despite a mull to four and losing a bit of life early I am able to put up a wall of blockers and deal with his Ajani’s Pridemates easily once I get my walls and Formation out. Then BOTH Dromoka’s land one after the other and with Citadel Siege on the table it’s pretty much game over.
Game 2 is astonishing, seeing a turn three 5/5 Pridemate on my opponents side. My walls cant deal with 5 power this early and I’m dead very quickly. 0-2
My next match is against one of our many current Dragon enthusiasts. My opponent heckles and cackles his way to a victory, although I manage to sneak a first game win of the night in the middle thanks to a timely Formation, several two-for-ones and a Foul Renewal. Turns out though Flamerush Rider with a huge stinking dragon is not something to be sniffed at though and my opponent twice deals me over ten damage in the air out of nowhere to win both his games. 0-3
Match 4 – Gruul Ferocious
I was convinced I was going to get the bye in round 4. Small mercies though. My opponent got stuck on land in game one and I swooped in quickly despite my own mana problems with three disowned ancestors and a Formation. In game two an early unremoved (this was rare for the evening, he drew removal like a magnet) Beastmaster meant almost infinite card advantage and I was able to sneak by – well as much as walls can sneak – with an unblocked Wall of Mulch and a Shape the Sands to deal 9 of the 8 I needed for the win. 1-3
I don’t generally enjoy decks with one giant wincon and although Assault Formation is great fun in theory it needs much better support, which I sadly didn’t have. It would have been nice to set this up with the Hollywood ending but I suppose the moral of the story is when you’re a brewer with a budget such as I there are a lot dead ends. It’s about learning from those mistakes, taking your lumps and moving on to the next brew. I’ll be back next week (well, this particular ‘next week’ it’s draft, so I’ll be back to kick ass!) probably with something that hopefully makes people scratch their heads in wonderment and complain they didn’t know that card even existed.
Necessary Toughness by Toby de Cobain
2 Wandering Tombshell
2 Kin-Tree Invocation
1 Shape the Sands
1 Drown in Sorrow
2 Damnable Pact
2 Murderous Cut
2 Ultimate Price
2 Fade into Antiquity
1 Reviving Melody
Community Question: Do you normally play home-brews? or net decks? why?
Thanks for reading,