SpartanNerd MTG Quest update….TOP 8

I finally cracked the top 8 at the local comic book store’s Magic Tournament!  The Hub City was SLAMMED with snow for the past week, keeping me and everyone else indoors, so I spent plenty of time practicing, and it paid off it seems.

Basically, I played two rounds of 2 out of 3 matches against one of the SpartanSmurfs everyday.  One of them had a BEAST of a BNG Minotaur deck, and I was having a hard time with that, and thought to myself…”This is what people will be playing Saturday…”  (nope)

My two deck choices were either the Fencing Ace deck, which I had been playing and working with for awhile, but it always seemed to lose.  However, it would be fresh with some new BNG cards.

But then I thought I would revert to my pre-Return to Ravnica style…MONO BLACK.

Too bad this guy isn’t legal anymore…:(

I had been playing some black devotion.  But I thought it was time to step up my game a little.  One of the slow things about my devotion deck was that it was a “budget” deck, featuring the complete Bogbrew Witch combo.  I had some success with this deck in the last Modern tournament that I played, balancing the activity of assembling the combo and ramping up my devotion with Vampire Nighthawks.  Basically, I ripped all of that out of the deck and added something I never hardly played…Thoughtseize!  I replaced the Witch combo with Nightveil Spector, Herald of Torment, and Slitherhead.  (In place of the Festering Newts.)  BNG added Temple of Malice, so that was four more scry lands I could play.  Then there is the added advantage of having mana available to play cards stolen with the Nightveil Spector.  (The deck is mono black.  But the lands are not.  Unfortunately, there is no green and black scry land…yet…)

After playtesting it for a week because of the weather, I decided to add Elixir of Immortality in place of two of the Slitherheads…A fine choice!  The Elixir proved to be a star of the deck.  Cracking it over and over replenished my life (which I had to pay from playing Thoughtsieze), and it kept my cards playable, refreshing my deck.

I really wanted three more copies of Bile Blight.  I have whined and cried about this already.  I hoped to trade someone before the tournament.  No one had theirs for trade, or no one had one to trade.  BUMMER.  In the end, this would make a difference.

So at the Tangled Web on Saturday, February 15, I brought my black devotion deck.

Here is the deck list.

4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Nykthos, Shrine ot Nyx
10 Swamps

2 Slitherhead
2 Desecration Demon
4 Nightveil Spector
2 Herald of Torment
3 Pack Rats
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Spiteful Returned

4 Devour Flesh
1 Bile Blight
2 Liliana, of the Dark Realms
4 Thoughtseize
2 Elixir of Immortality
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Whip of Erebos
2 Hero’s Downfall

I also had a sideboard….

4 Duress
4 Doom Blade
4 Dark Betrayal
1 Drown In Sorrow
1 Pain Seer
1 Lifebane Zombie

All evening I played against mostly green and red aggro decks.  I had no problem at all Thoughtsiezeing out Stormbreath Dragons, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Archangel of Thune, or Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

One thing that people were playing that they should not, was Courser of Kruphix.  This allowed me to see what was on the top of the deck…

I had one mirror match, where we played until we had to draw.  It was tough…This was a seasoned player, and to see the same strategy basically across the table was an experience.

In the finals, I lost in the first round.  Devastating.  It was my first loss all day.  But it was a good game against an Azorius Sphinx’s Revelation deck.  I think fondly on this match, it was like an ascension…a catharsis.  Here I was playing against a truly great player, and standing him down with devotion for at least one match…I lost in the third game.  How did he beat me?  I didn’t draw Hero’s Downfall when I needed it.  His Elsepeth, Sun’s Champion continued to supply him with fresh 1/1 chumps, that I could have taken care of QUICKLY with a Bile Blight….He also played Supreme Verdict a good bit after he caught on to my game to squash my devotion, and then would have his Elsepeth give him more board presence.

I mean, what good is a NightVeil Spector if you can’t swing with him because he gets removed?  And you can’t use him for devotion because he isn’t there?)

So, I plan on playing at Friday Night Magic this week.  I will use the same deck, but hopefully have a full set of Bile Blight!  There are some other things I might change as well.  Herald of Torment didn’t do anything all night.  I like him, but he has to go.  He is not as good as Nightveil Spector, and he hurts you for one life each turn he’s out.  He is also expensive to bestow.  Maybe I’ll main deck Pain Seer, a weaker version of Dark Confidant….I might swap out the other two Slitherheads for Elixir of Immortality…The Elixir was a surprise star.  I think I might come up with two more copies of Heroes Downfall.  Most of the good players I played knew how to deal with the Desecration Demon.  I like him for the devotion.  And it’s not like he was useless…But most people either dropped a removal spell on him, or said “Let him through…”  Then I usually wouldn’t swing…usually…I also might go back to playing Underworld Connections.  This card helps with the card advantage better than Erebos, God of the Dead.  Did I mention that I got to swing with Erebos a couple of times?  People don’t like that….I also am thinking of adding a couple of secret weapons…aimed at the Sphinx’s Revelation deck.

You say, SPARTANNERD…HOW DARE YOU POST YOUR STRATEGY?

Well, it isn’t a new strategy or anything.  Plenty of people out in the world are playing black devotion…it is one of the top builds in the world right now!  It is just new to me, and nobody around here hardly is playing it, so….

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Groovy Dork List….MOTUC, Magic, Coffee, Pathfinder, Arkham, and MineCraft.

Groovy…I was able to find a massive local source of Masters of the Universe items!  A dude at the Barnyard Flea-market sells them.  Workable on the price (I AM a cheapskate, remember!), and also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan.  I will be reviewing the three items I picked up today soon!

Dork…The problem finally appeared.  Snout Spout has a crack in his trunk.  The trunk is apparently made of blue foam-rubber.  😦

Groovy…I am Back-in-Black!  I am playing Mono-black devotion as my current for Magic: the Gathering strategy!  Just keep putting black permanents out, get that devotion ramped up, and then slam the opponent with a Grey Merchant of Asphodel.  And unless they cancel the Merchant, there is little they can do.  The fine folk at the Tangled Web were ready to trade the other day.  I scored a few more Nightveil Spectors, which I really, really needed, and a Desecration Demon as well!  Readers of this blog will know that my color is black.  I have recently been playing other colors, but it seems the old dark evil ways are returning!

Dork…Don’t get me wrong…I had a blast, but I would play someone, anyone really, for almost 45 minutes.  And then somehow lose…I would disrupt their strategies over and over, only to be trumped eventually.  You can only run Four gray merchants!

Groovy…In the same vein…The Born of the Gods set looks amazing!  I can’t wait to see what else they reveal.  I have preordered a box, and me and my two boys are going to play in the sealed deck pre-release.  I already see cards with promise for the Fencing Ace deck, and for the black devotion deck.  The inspired mechanic sounds interesting, and Mogis, God of the Slaughter is going to be crazy!

Dork…They haven’t released a new challenge deck  😦  The Hydra has been a blast!

Groovy…The Keurig Vue system is wonderful!  This machine makes not only coffee, but cafe drinks and iced tea!  Most everything I have tried tastes great!

Dork…(semi-dork, I guess)…Those Vue cups cost a bunch.  BUT, I am subscribed to the Cafe Express Savings Club, that basically means I only pay half for the Vue cups.

Groovy…I am now a Dungeon Master…I mean Game Master.  Me and the SpartanSmurfs, and even the SpartanWife have been playing Pathfinder.  This is our first taste of this kind of gaming.  I don’t know what I think about it yet.  I like being the game master.  But I don’t always feel like it.  These games tend to run over an hour.  Also, the SpartanSmurfs are too easily killed off.  I have to be careful not to off them unintentionally.  This has already happened three times.  The first time I considered it a real death, to try and send them a message.  I didn’t like it, though.  So I have been inserting lucky saves into the game.

Dork…I have a pretty good imagination, and can flesh out the Pathfinder world pretty good for the boys.  But they on the other hand tend to just want to battle constantly, rather than take in their world.

Groovy…I have been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum again.  That game is terrific!  I especially like taking out the armed thugs!  That is a lot of fun.

Dork…I don’t get MineCraft.  I played it.  I just don’t get it.

Theros Event Deck….Unboxing and Review

AZORIUS!  That white and blue combo that I so identify with!  I expressed my feelings for Azorius already in this post….

Here we have a sparkly new event deck of the same colors…Does it meet the SpartanNerd’s standards?  Let’s crack it open and see!

I got mine at the Tangled Web…THE comic store in the Hub City.  $24.99…Apparently the average price of event decks these days.

That lion on the front…It’s just a pretty sleeve.  You get this nifty cardboard deck box.  In my past experiences with these, the latch goes bad if you are not OH SO Careful…

Upon opening it, this is what you see.  I am going to take out the pieces.
These are the two decks.  The “Hopeful Eidolon” is the sixty card main deck.  “Triton Tactics” is the sideboard of 15 cards.


You get this divider
And some useless propaganda…or is it?   The green one explains how to play the deck….Who knows how many of these kinds of poster-paper inserts I have put in the landfill?  There is a deck list in the green one as well.
Now this is a pretty dice, that screams AZORIUS!  It is a spin down counter.  Not a D20.
The back of the box has the planes walkers symbol.  I only recently learned that was it’s official title.

Deck breakdown…

This one has a ton of rares!  (HOORAY!)  I went ahead and bought this because they had a deck list at the Tangled Web, and I new I didn’t have some of them, or I wanted more copies.

Imposing Sovereign–Someone beat me down with this guy.  (I should probably tell you that recently I have been playing a three color Fencing Ace deck…It is white red and green…)  So haste is not an issue against this guy.  There are two of them here

Fabled Hero–Fencing Ace’s big brother.  He is one of my current faves.  If you can get him out and load his heroic ability, this double striker can be a game ender.

Lavinia of the Tenth–This chick is BAD.  (I mean a good bad)  OK, turn five Lavinia, you just detained all your opponent’s creatures…and tokens.  (She detains all permanents with mana cost 4 or less…tokens have a CMC of 0!)

Detention Sphere–I’m not sure why this card is a rare…I have like ten of them.  It is a great card.  I like to hold it and then let my opponent drop a fatty on the board…Then dash their hopes and dreams. Another trick, the Detention Sphere gets permanents of the same name…It is great against token building decks.  There are two copies in this deck.

Soldier of the Pantheon–One of the cards I didn’t have before…Maybe haven’t even seen.  It seems the Wizards are making cards that are a reaction to the Ravnica block.  This guy is definitely anti-Ravnica.

Frontline Medic–I always wanted one of these.  Now I have one!  (I have 90% of the stuff from Gatecrash.)

In addition to these cards, there are some good uncommons and commons.

Battlewise Hoplite–technically better than Akroan Hoplite, you get to scry whenever his heroic triggers.

Ascended Lawmage–Now here’s one I haven’t given much thought to.  But Flying and Hexproof, for CMC of 4.  This guy should be a beast in all of Theros!  I need to experiment with this more…

Hopeful Eidolon–The strategy guide advises you to hold onto this card and use its Bestow ability.  It gives something a pump, and lifelink!  This is one of the best Bestow cards!  It was a champ in Booster Draft, and is perfect for the fast paced play that standard demands.

Ordeal if Thassa–  This ordeal gives you card draw…

Ordeal of Heliod–  This ordeal gives you a boost of 10 life.  I wish I had more of these…this is my only copy.

You also get a Hallowed Fountain shock land…But there was no scry land for AZORIUS this time.  (I don’t think…)

The sideboard doesn’t feature any rares.  You get Glare of Heresy and Gainsay, the new spell of choice God’s Willing, and ….  That’s about it.  There’s some more, but it’s all just control stuff.

My first match with the deck…

I played against SpartanSmurf #1 during halftime of the Gamecocks vs. Gators game…He was playing a Boros build, which has occasionally been tough for the Fencing Ace deck I already mentioned, but hasn’t done much against blue ever….

Right at the beginning, he had out Hopeful Eidolon as a creature.  It seems I had a ton of lands.  But then I drew into two Detention Sphere’s, and before you know it I issued a major beatdown with Battlewise Hoplite and Lyev Skynight.  I took damage only from the Eidolon, and shocking in my Hallowed Fountain.

I didn’t bother to side in any cards.

Round two…The land wasn’t as prevalent.  But I was able to get out Fabled Hero, and that was all she wrote.  Not even SpartanSmurf #1’s Stoneshock Giant stood a chance…I Detention Sphere’d that bad-boy.  He blocked with his big flyer (Hellkite Tyrant?)

I wonder what would have happened if I had played this deck today in the standard tournament.  It seems a little slow…And yet it was effective against a pretty aggressive deck on it’s opening venture.

I believe I am going to make a few changes…

First I am going to add some more Ascended Lawmages.  I think I am going to remove the detain from this deck, and beef up the heroic.  Detain is temporary, while Heroic is usually forever.  So that means the Lyev Skynights and Lavinia has to go, and in their place more Battlewise Hoplites and Fabled Heros.  The Azorius Guildgates are too slow…I am either going to swap them all for Hallowed Fountains and hope for scry lands in February when Borne of the Gods comes out, or swap out some of the plains for the shock lands.  I haven’t yet decided.  I might find a way to put in Tidebinder Mage and more Banisher Priests.

Here is my verdict.

My most recent successes have come from the Red White and Green Fencing Ace Deck, which takes a lot of advantage of heroic and the enchantments in Theros.  In that deck, I would argue that Madcap Skills is the star card, delivering a significant boost and creating scary threats.  The Theros Event deck needs a little more speed.  This deck also needs some more size.  I happen to have a few Medomai the ageless and Isperia Supreme Judge cards.  I also have a few Heliods and a few of his spears…These cards would have lived happy lives if the event deck was build around them.  But the Wizards don’t seem to make these decks around Mythic rares.

I am thinking it might have a hard time against aggressive discard strategies, or aggressive burn strategies.  On the other hand, it should be pretty good against token building decks and big creature decks.

i don’t feel like it absolutely needs any cards swapped, except for the guild gates and the lawmages.  Only for my picky preferences.  So I give this deck a 3/5.

The big deck nowadays is MONO RED.  This deck will probably not stand against it.

Magic the Gathering, Core Set 2014….And THEROS

I’ve done two sealed deck tournaments with the new set, the first at a pre-release, the next on release day (booster draft at The Tangled Web.

Let’s just say I’m not too good at drafting!

I haven’t got any of the much wanted cards in a pack yet.  These are the new Chandra, new Garruk, the new Angel, and the new Hydras.  In fact, the rares I have got are throwbacks, with the exception of Strionic Resonator.

The core set is cool though.  I like the new Sliver cards.  And I have the promo Megantic Sliver.  The best sliver, in my opinion is the Predatory Sliver.  Basically a baby Megantic Sliver.

Uhh…  What’s a Sliver???

Slivers stick together.  They share abilities.  The idea is that they are a hive mind, like the Borg on Star Trek.  The Wizards decided to put these in place of some other friends that we have come to love.  (Krenko, Odric, Yeva, Talrand, and Nefarox, the Knights, etc).

I don’t dislike the slivers, though.  And I could see myself making a deck out of them.

Also, the Duels of the Planeswalkers game incorporates M14.  That’s cool.  It gave me a little edge.

So….

Already I don’t like it as good as M13.  Who am I kidding.  Maybe it’ll grow on me.  What I really can’t wait for is THEROS!

I think I’m going to go crazy with the Theros block.  Ravnica has been fun.  Theros.  A Greek Mythology based set.  Ima be crazy!  Do you know that I, the SpartanNerd, have two PERFECT GOD OW WAR GAMES.  I loved GOW and GOW II.  Being a cheapskate, I never got a PS3, much less whatever has come out since then.  AND I have watched 300 fifty-eleven times.  It is no coincidence that I am the SPARTANNERD.  I put the Spartan in SpartanNerd……

But I digress…..

I already plan on getting that Hydra deck that they are going to be releasing (announced at San Diego Comic Con.)  That just sounds like fun!

And I went crazy for the GATECRASH.  I have a fat pack box full of that set alone.  Alphabetized, of course, cause that’s how I roll.  I’ll probably have a full three boxes of THEROS block cards.  Look for me to be a champion!