All week I have been preparing for a modern MTG tournament at The Tangled Web, the only local comic book and cards store here in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The only problem…when I got there..I found out it was a STANDARD TOURNAMENT!
So no “Amulet of Vigor/Primeval Titan” action for me…and furthermore, I hadn’t brought a suitable Standard deck!
Luckily there is a product for one such desperate weekender as me…an EVENT DECK!
(Many thanks to the store owner for knocking a little off of the price for me in my situation. It was much appreciated, and I implore ANY reader to find this store and shop from there. They are very nice people. And the community of Magic players there are very competitive, generally kind, welcoming to new people, good sports, and challenging opponents as well. You people who don’t live near here only WISH you were so lucky to have such a thing near you to regularly express your nerdery!)
All that said. Here are pictures, and my review of the product!
Here it is. Fresh in the package just before opening. (It is sitting on my angel playmat.)
This is what the box looks like unsleeved.
You get this rather un-inspiring message…the deck is titled “Wrath of Mortals.” REALLY! (MTG has a famous card, “Wrath of God,” which supposedly destroys all creatures with one big move.) So this is kind of a lame title. Wrath or Mortals.
I’m glad the life counter actually matches the deck this time. (If you have been reading my blog, you know it kind of bothers me when the dice doesn’t match!)
You get this divider
And these two pieces of paper. You know what is going to happen to the one on the right?
These three images show the important stuff on the papers. Note the DECKLIST! I really enjoy the art from “Journey Into Nyx” That’s why I’m showing you this!
Here is the suite of creatures you get. These are really good creatures, in general. There are a few that I generally sided out, or just plain took out before the match. More on that later.
These three were the best creatures. Especially “Spellheart Chimera.” I have actually made a deck for SpartanSmurf #1 featuring this card before. He wouldn’t ever play it…(he said he didn’t like the way the chimera looked…ingrate!) But when I saw this in the deck at a full four copies, and that “Young Pyromancer” and “Guttersnipe” were in here, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an entirely new thing for me after all! For once, it seems an event deck has a solid strategy!
For this deck, I could take or leave these guys. “Aetherling” is a great card always, and he got me one win. I never saw “Ogre Battledriver” all night. I actually added more “Battlefield Thaumaturge.” But he isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Usually he would get burned off before you could use him. And this deck has a curious lack of “strive”cards to allow his first ability to work. You also probably won’t ever get his heroic to trigger in this deck. There isn’t even a single aura spell in the deck. “Daring Thief” was always killed off before he could untap. I only saw “Oracle of Bones” once all day. I did get a free burn spell out of him!
“Chandra’s Phoenix” is almost more burn spell than creature! Too bad you only get one.
Now for the instants and sorceries.
The most notable of these is “Lightning Strike.” You get four full copies. But it is rather generic. The most fun is probably “Searing Blood.” I mean, a card like this is really format warping. Creature burn with player burn all for just two red…amazing! Great for hitting those mana elves. I was pleased to get a copy of the red board sweepers, “Mizzium Mortars” and “Anger of the Gods.” I never saw “Steam Augury” all day. But “Divination” was a star!
(“Searing Blood” is comparable to “Bile Blight”, in my opinion. A card that really discourages chumps.)
Now for the lands. This is where the trumpet says “WAA, Waa, waa.”
You get 12 mountains, 8 islands, and 4….GUILDGATES. REALLY? NOT EVEN A SINGLE SCRY LAND? NO SHOCK LAND? NO MANA CONFLUENCE?
Nope. You get slow-butt guildgates for mana-fixing. They might as well have just given us 4 more islands.
This is one of the areas where Event Decks in the past generally drop the ball as well. The main deck cards are pretty good, so I guess they decided to skimp in this area. Don’t want you to be too successful.
This deck came with a sideboard as well.
I sided in every card here at least once, except for “Izzet Staticaster.” Not really sure why he is here. I guess to flash in and block someone but not actually hurt them. I think I will change this card to “Goblin Electromancer” when I get the chance. The Elixir is always a star. Basically, I swapped out the Battlefield Thamaturges whenever I sided, as well as “Ogre Battledriver”, “Aetherling”, or anything else that I only had one copy of and switched to a more “control” game. It is hard to straddle the fence, though, playing burn and control. The upside is, the “Spellheart Chimera” got to be a surprise big flyer a few times. Too bad his toughness is only 3. This makes him susceptible to being killed by bigger flyers, namely “Stormbreath Dragon.”
PLAYING THE DECK.
Before I began, I asked my opponent to oblige me in letting me get my head around the deck. I had a few minutes to “improve it.” First thing I did was swap two guildgates for “Mana Confluence,” which was in the modern deck I intended to play. Next I added two more “Battlefield Thaumaturges” from my trade binder, and added “Keranos, God of Storms” and “Niv Mizzet, Dracogenius” from SpartanSmurf #1’s trade binder. I can’t remember what I swapped out…. Regardless, I was wrong about Battlefield Thaumaturge. He sucks in this deck. Maybe not some other deck. But this one isn’t a place where he shines. Keranos was good. He got me at least one win, but I never had my devotion high enough to make him a creature. Niv Mizzet got me two wins.
Adding these cards got me some attention. People said “Really? That comes in the Event Deck?” But I had to set them straight that I modified it so that I could have a fighting chance.
This deck performed well against green decks that depend on “Elvish Mystic.” It did well against a Dimir deck that tries to mill you to death and hit you with “Consuming Aberation”. It did well against red-green at least once.
The deck didn’t do well against “Courser of Kruphix”, who pretty much takes away your burn advantage. It also didn’t do well against “Prophet of Kruphix,” who makes it so that your opponent can always respond to what you are doing and gives every creature flash. So Kruphix is the enemy of this deck, it seems! Also “Stormbreath Dragon” did pretty well against it, but I was able to “Fated Conflagration” him more than once, as well as a “Palukranos, World Eater” once. Surprisingly, I didn’t see a Black Devotion deck for the entire tournament!
At the end of the day, I had five single wins. Which means I went 2 wins 3 losses. Not bad for a deck I never played before, and just bought so I could have something to do instead of pout about bringing the wrong deck.
The JOURNEY TO NYX Event Deck gets 3/5. I took a point off for a poor mana base. The other point comes off because Battlefield Thaumaturge would probably be better replaced with “Omenspeaker,” who at least lets you Scry 2.
Do you agree? What would you rate the Journey to Nyx Event Deck? Let me know in the comments!