Game #123: Nemata, Grove Guardian

Game #123: Nemata, Grove Guardian
Date: 2014-03-36
Location: Family Game Store, Savage Mill, MD
vs. Sisters of Stone Death; Nekusar the Mindrazer
Result: Fun Loss

Nemata, Grove Guardian, Magic, PlaneshiftvsNekusar, the Mindrazer, Magic, Commander 2013Sisters of Stone Death, Magic, Ravnica

For the last game of the evening, I decided to try out this recently thrown together deck. I had a good land hand, plus some ramp spells and an opening play Essence Warden, followed by a Pendelhaven Elder. I paid into the Join Forces ramp spell that Sisters of Stone Death played. Nekusar had an early Anvil of Bogardan and was soon also playing his general and two other draw-into-damage guys on us. I continued to have rad draws though and was able to un-morph a Thelonite Hermit after playing Doubling Season, with a Cradle on the table. Sister’s had an Urborg and a Mana Reflection, I had some enchantment/artifact removal and a lot of choices. I decided to kick out the Anvil because I didn’t want an extra draw and discard, and Nekusar was the bigger current threat.

Thanks to Urborg, my Spreading Algae had a lot of targets, but I should’ve put it on Cabal Coffers instead of trying to limit Nekusar even more. I had a pretty strong board presence and my life was high and played my General with enough mana to make another 10 saprolings. I had 8 that could attack (they were 2/2 thanks to the hermit) and decided to swing at Nekusar, he asked if I was just going to kill him, but I was honest and said that I hadn’t intended to use Nemata to pump my guys (because I forgot about that power) so he just took the damage. He played an Overloaded Cyclonic Rift before my next turn came around. Looking back, I could have killed off Sisters that turn (both of them, if there weren’t an impending rift).

I was able to come back from the Rift though and actually restored my entire board state (minus the general) thanks to 1-drops and the Cradle (Spreading Algae on Coffers this time around, but it was also vesuva-ed). Pendlehaven Elder saved my non Saprolings from a Cycled Decree of Pain. Then Gorgons played Hythonia and went Monstrous in one fell swoop. Nekusar was attacked and taken out of the game. Then Sisters played a Twilight’s Call that, thanks to some massive discarding caused by Nekusar, set up a Gray Merchant/Nim Deathmantle soft combo that basically destroyed me. The best part: I had given him the GM for his deck, only to have it destroy me.

About the Deck (no TappedOut yet)

This is Saprolings and Fungus Matters green.  It’s got the doublers and most of the ways to make Saprolings, also most of the Thallids.  It also plays a few Mold or Algae based cards. Mold Adder and Spreading Algae (thanks to ubiquitous Urborgs) are smart and thematic (and possibly tasty) meta-game choices. I picked Nemata because she was always my favorite Treefolk.  This deck was one that was just one that I decided to throw together.

The Rest of the Evening

Two other games were played before this one.   The first game I played creatureless Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts against Balthor, Sisters of Stone Death, Sakashima and Sidar Jabari (Knights),  I had a good start, but scooped after Sakashima took 20 minutes to play through 5 straight extra turns without a win condition, and then generated 5 more extra turns. I was bored.  The rest of the table stuck it out though on the assumption that if boring blue hadn’t won by then, it probably wasn’t going to  (I had hoped to just start a new game).  That game went on for a lot longer (a 6th player had shown up), one another player died, we started another 3 player game (the first one was actually won by the Knights!)

The second game of the night was Sisters, Purpuros (goblins) and I played my Karador “everything costs 3cmc” combo deck.  I had a good start, but Sisters of Stone Death had a ridiculous start and we just got dead from it.

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Game #122: Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker

Game #122: Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker
Date: 2014-03-19
Location: My apartment
vs.: Balthor; Karona
result. Neutral loss

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Magic, From the Vault: LegendsvsBalthor the Defiled Karona, False God, Magic, Scourge

Kiki-Jiki was another new deck for the evening. It had played well in fish-bowl tests, and I wanted something a bit stronger after the loss Tymaret suffered.  I had a 3 land hand, with a few things I could cast and lots of good 4 drops.  I did not drop my 4th land on time.  Balthor, again, had an early Urborg and Bazaar, followed by Liliana of the Dark Realms.  Karona hit an early Vraska and Hythonia the Cruel.

I managed to sac a Skirk Prospector to get a 4th mana to cast a Keldon Champion that took out Vraska, but I didn’t have mana to pay the Echo (I hoped Balthor would bring him back). I drew a 4th land finally an played an Avalanche Riders to kill the Urborg. Next turn I played a Rage Forger.

Balthor was down to a low life total, but he Beseeched for a Gray Merchant to solve that problem, and then a huge Balthor-activation did bad things to all of us (and brought back the GM.  Mikaeus was involved also).  I finally hit 5 land (there are 39 in the deck) and cast Kiki-Jiki just to say I did.  I copied the Rage forger (giving  KJ and the original Forger a +1/+1… Synergy!) and then died to massive zombies (I was at 1 life anyway).  I had Thornbite Staff in my hand.

About the Deck (Tapped out someday)

This deck was going to be All-Creatures, but I decided to let Mr. KJ have a suit (Darksteel Plate), some gloves (Illusionist’s Bracers), and a cane (Thornbite Staff) because he is a classy goblin.  He also got a hat (Skullclamp) but he is un-classy and lets other people wear it.   It used to have a Zealous Conscripts in it, more to steal stuff than to infinite combo, but I decided to take it out because it was too obvious. Instead I put in Felhide Spirit Binder (because Shaman and copying).    I decided to keep the Thornbite staff because it needs at least a 3rd card to go crazy and because I really enjoy the card.  I know a lot of people hate Combo decks (which this one very much is NOT meant to to be) so I adopted the policy of always carrying a Steamflogger Boss with this deck and asking if anyone is opposed to the existence of the Staff; if anyone protests, Staff is out and Boss is in.

The Rest of the Night

Seton vs. Balthor vs. Pheldagriff.     Balthor died really fast when all of my creatures became Primal Crux (thanks to Phelda’s Mirrorweave) making the one that I swung with 70/70.  Then all creatures named Primalcrux got bounced.  I was able to replay everything (druid’s make Hella Mana), but I died due to hippo influx and Suture Priest (and a repeatedly cast Seht’s Tiger that kept my multi-kamahled Hippos from ever hitting).

Prossh vs. Balthor vs. Arcades Sabboth:  I stared the game   Kobold-Gaea’s Cradle-Sol Ring, and played an early Prossh, but Noxious Ghoul effectively ended any hope at kobold swarm. I could make tons and tons of mana, but had nothing to do with it.  I think Balthor crushed us.

Game #121: Tymaret, the Murder King

Game #121: Tymaret, the Murder King
Date: 2014-03-19
Location: My apartment
vs.: Balthor; Karona
result. Interesting loss

Tymaret, the Murder King, Magic, TherosvsBalthor the Defiled Karona, False God, Magic, Scourge

I went to the usual locale for Wednesday nights, but from the sounds of what was going on, I had the suspicion that the store would be closing early. Karona arrived and we started a game, but as Balthor arrived, the owner came up and said he had to kick us out and close early (which was fine by me, since Seton had just gotten tucked). We considered going in to a restaurant to play, but I offered up my place since it wasn’t too far away and was on the way home for at least one of the others. I had to do a bit of scrambling to get the library/game/computer room table cleared off, but eventually we were ready to play.

I had a two land hand, Balthor led with an Urborg and a Bazaar of Baghdad, Karona mostly played lands. I kept drawing mountains (thanks Urborg!) and managed a Lord of the Undead, that helped balthor more than me. I stalled at 4 lands, but was able to cast Anathemancer to hit Balthor for 5 (all of his lands were NB), but had no sac outlet to get my guys to the yard when Balthor popped for huge amounts of Zombies. Balthor swung at a defenseless Karona (forgetting to hit Tezzeret) for big damage. I had nothing but a Murderous Redcap harbinger-ed to the top of the library. Missing Tezzeret proved huge though, when Karona hard cast a Decree of Annihilation and wiped everything but Tezzeret (who fetched up artifact lands). I drew non lands for 5 straight draws, and then didn’t hit my second drop until “new” turn 8. By that time Karona had an army of planeswalkers including an Ultimate-d Vraska (just added today from the Jace v. Vraska set, so I was happy he got to win with it). I managed to make 3 zombies with Zombie Infestation, but Karona was able to tap 2 of them and send enough lethal assassins to kill us both.

About the Deck (Tapped Out someday)
I had a foil Tymaret and felt like building a Zombie deck (I forgot about my Lord of Tresserhorn deck). Adding Red meant that I could get more value out of any potential Balthor activations, and also let me dip into Goblins a bit for things like Squee and Dralnu’s Crusade and Murderous Redcap. I also inherited a lot of foil good Zombies from Balthor (since he found a connection to get German foils), so they needed a home. There aren’t too many tricks in this one, other than it likes to make Zombie tokens. Tymaret, isn’t integral to the deck, but he and Squee are useful as cards to be discarded.

My Five-Cents On… a Commander Cast Article

I’m going to try out a New Feature here on the EDH100 Project, wherein I will take an article I’ve read on another site and give my thoughts or reactions to it (linking back to their original article… of course, if you’re reading this blog and NOT reading the ones I’m linking to, Shame on you! Theirs are way  better than mine (but I’ve got more decks))

I like CommanderCast a lot. I enjoy the articles, and I was an avid listener of the Podcast for many seasons (though I’ve fallen behind), and was even on one of the Call in Shows.

Distorting Lens, Magic, 8th Edition

They posted an article a few days ago entitled  “90 Minutes with Brian (or ‘Why I Hate Commander’),” in which the author gives his well-thought-out opinions for reasons he “hates” commander, or things he hates about the format.  One of the great things about a social/community-based format like commander is the variety of opinions and reasons for playing the game.  I thought I’d throw in my Nickel’s worth of opinions on the same topics.

Here are my feelings on the 8 Things that Brian Hates…

1. Color Identity Restrictions.  Me: LOVE

Yes, it’s an extra challenge sometimes, but I actually like that I can’t play Debtors’ Knell in any deck with White OR Black, or have Bringer of the White Dawn in any white deck.  The color identity restrictions actually open up the card pool for people who play a lot of decks by taking away some things that might be the dreaded “Auto Include/Staple”.   It also  causes me to have to build more decks.  Hybrid cards, to me at least (Sorry Maro) are two-colored cards: just look at them.  This is one of those restrictions that breeds creativity for me, and I’d be displeased to see it go a way (which is why I’m glad Maro don’t EDH).

Debtors' Knell

Only for special occaisions

Debtors' Knell, Magic, Guildpact

2. Commander Damage.  Me: ‘LIKE’ LIKE

If Commander Damage didn’t exist, I would only play arbitrarily large life-gain decks, ever.  I sometimes dislike losing too quickly to Voltron decks, but I wouldn’t ever want to lose the Commander Damage rule, as I think it gives some character to the format and it makes the General into something more than just “This is what colors of mana my deck can produce, and what colors of spells I can play.”  Any general should be able to win the game for you more easily (even Isamaru or Jasmine Boreal).

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

I hate you the most because you CAN’T kill via commander damage.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon, Magic, Scars of Mirrodin

3. Casting from the Command Zone .    Me: LIKE

Other than the occasional desire to use Ith as a general and not have to pay 7, it doesn’t really bother me that there are a few Legends of the 300+ that don’t work as generals, or at least require hoops.  I’m actually really glad that the Myojin require you to have a bounce effect to make them useful as generals.

Ith, High Arcanist

7 Mana or $20?

Ith, High Arcanist, Magic, Time Spiral

4. Commander Death Replacement.   Me: LOVE

I love the tension of the choice here.  Commanders already have a pretty sweet bonus that you can always have access to them from the Command Zone and get their ETB effects (with a few exceptions, like said Myojin).  Also getting their death triggers would be a little to much if you ask me.   I definitely have generals that I prefer go to the Graveyard (Skullbriar is the first one that comes to mind, since after the first Commander Tax, most of the reanimation I have for him is cheaper than 6).

5. Mana Production Restrictions –  Me: LIKE

Again, apologies to Maro, but I think it’s a fun quirk of the format that you don’t have access to Mana out of your Commander’s Color ID.  It makes the choices different for certain spells, and I think that’s a good thing. Blue theft decks don’t need even more help.  It seems, though, that as of Theros R&D has updated their technology (ala Daxos) to work-around this rule to a degree… and I do like Daxos, so I can’t make a life-long commitment here; the friend-zone will be good enough.

6. The Social Contract – Me: LOVE

I don’t play any other format (I don’t even actually like Pre-releases, though I go to get new cards faster), because every other format is based on the idea that you need to win. Period.*

From my skewed view, everyone that plays a non-Social format is either a Spike or delusional.  So, yes, I like the idea that Commander is a format centered around something other than Winning.  To me the Social Contract is: Play games and decks that the people you’re playing with (“With” not “Against”) could also enjoy.  If other people are consistently able to have fun playing with you, then you’re in the wrong format, or at least playing in the wrong group.  If everyone in your group likes to try to combo out on turn 3, or is at least okay playing under that restriction that a deck has imposed, then you’re with in the Social Contract. … I could go on about my thoughts on the Social Contract and “competition,” but I think I’ll undertake that “write” of passage in a different article.

Common Cause, Magic, Mercadian Masques

* There’s a difference between “I play to have fun. Winning is fun.” and “I play to win.”

7. The Banlist – LIKE

Do I like all of the choices for the Banlist? Not really. Since I’ve started playing, have I ever been happy that a card got banned? No.    The great thing about the Banlist and the “Social Format,” (or at least the fact that, while recognized, EDH is not sanctioned by Wizards) is that you can ignore it if you want .

Due mostly to the fact that She was banned only days after I bought one for my brother as a Christmas Present, Emrakul is fully allowed in any game under my roof or that I’m hosting.    I started playing EDH just days after Tolarian Academy was banned (I didn’t know about the banned list when I built my first deck), and it was one of the first 5 cards I grabbed for my very first deck  (1. Zephyr Falcon. 2. Kangee (general). 3. Soraya, 4. Serra’s Sanctum. 5. Tolarian Academy).

Painter's Servant, Magic, Shadowmoor

To be honest, though, I wish they’d just ban Iona and let Teysa have Painter’s Servant and make many illicit bi-racial spirit children.

8. “Commander”.  Me: TOLERATE

I’ve only been playing since 2010, so I’m not Old Skool enough to have strong ties to the terminology. I use it interchangeably, and don’t care what terms other people choose to use.

 

So there you have it. Me piggybacking off of a better writer. If you hate it. Let me know.

Game #120: Progenitus, 2.0

Game #120: Progenitus, 2.0
Date: 2014-03-05
Location: Family Game Store
vs. Balthor; Captain Sisay; Baru, Fist of Krosa
Result: Ineffectual Loss

Progenitus, Magic, Modern MastersvsBalthor the DefiledBaru, Fist of Krosa, Magic, Future SightCaptain Sisay, Magic, From the Vault: Legends

I had 3 lands and playable spells in my hand, but no creatures. I played an Isochron Scepter (imprinting the Sylvan “turn everything green” instant from Legends) on turn 2, Bident of Thassa on turn 4, and that was basically it.

Balthor cast about 4 tutors (like Imperial Seal, and other spells that cost more than my deck), Sisay was on the board with Lightning Greaves and Rofellos, and by turn 6 Baru had Boundless-Realms-ed for 8, one of the lands being Gaea’s Cradle  after having played Avenger of Zendikar.  Sisay responded with a Sisay’ed up Myojin of Wrath of God and a Karametra. Baru Chord of Calling-ed for the guy that draws cards for Green Creatures (I could have Dwarven Song-ed everything to Red, but I forgot), and then played a Gauntlet of Power (my lands could only produce blue, red and black), and used a Paleoloth to get back the Avenger .

Sisay wiped the plant tokens away with Elesh Norn (which, had I ever drawn white mana, would have prevented me from playing my white Heroic guy).  Baru Duplicanted Karametra, Balthor Black Sun’s Zenithed for 9,  Sisay played Jedit, Baru got ridiculous and I lost track of the game and started talking about Ethiopian Food with Balthor’s pilot.  Someone won, but I don’t remember who or how.

About the Deck

This deck is Progenitus and pretty much every Heroic creature from Theros Block.  It plays most of the re-playable aura’s from past blocks, all 5 of the 1-mana color change instants from legends (Dwarven Song, etc) that can target any number of creatures, a few Buyback spells.  Progenitus felt Greek-thematic.  It’s not a great deck because the only mana fixing is a Chromatic Lantern and the Scry lands (well 8 scry lands and 2 guild gates).

The Rest of the Evening:

We had time for one more game. Just as we were about to start, another guy had shown up, fired up to play Purphoros. Since it was Purphoros, I decided not to play a deck that I cared about having fun with and pulled out Zur Group Hug. Then, as we were about to shuffle up, a 6th player showed up. We decided it was best to split into two groups of 3 because we only had 45 minutes left.

I got stuck playing against Purphoros and a Sakashima deck that took extra turns and countered things.  I decided to stick with Zur Group Hug, because I didn’t want to put effort into the game, or waste a game with a deck I actually wanted to enjoy playing.  I thought the game would go quick, but it actually lasted way too long.

Game #119: Karametra, God of Harvests

Game #119: Karametra, God of Harvests
Date: 2014-03-05
Location: Family Game Store
vs. Rhys the Redeemed; Arcades Sabboth
Result: Neutral Loss

Karametra, God of Harvests, Magic, Born of the GodsvsRhys the Redeemed, Magic, ShadowmoorArcades Sabboth, Magic, Legends

I arrived to see the tail end of a Sisay vs Arcades battle, and decided it was a good time to also be playing a GW deck. I’ve been waiting to try out Karametra. Sisay’s player switched to Rhys (which, of course, prompted me to correct his pronunciation).

I had a 2 land hand, but playable things, so I went with it. Playing a Scryb Ranger on turn 2 and a Gaea’s Herald on turn 3.   A third land let me do Ranger tricks to get out Centaur Omenreader, and a creatureless Arcades made it so I could tap the Omenreader and get out Karametra on turn 5 with only 3 lands.  Rhys had made a few tokens by this point.

I followed that up with a Fierce Empath, that grabbed a Soul of the Harvest, but I had no reliable way to tap the Omenreader, as both opponents now had blocking creatures.  Arcades dropped a Mana Reflection and Rhys had an Eldrazi Monument, so I Dust Elemental-ed back the ranger, herald and empath, and was able to play them all due to a tapped omen reader. I grabbed a Woodfall primus to take care of the mana Reflection.  Then Rhys dropped a Gaea’s Cradle, so my Primus decided to attack Arcades, but, whoops, there was a 9/9 Prime Speaker and the primus died and persisted to kill the cradle.

I played a Knight of the Reliquary, hoping to fetch my own Cradle to abuse with a Stone-seeder Hierophant that was in my hand, but at that point Rhys was able to swing with many huge flying elves and kill Arcades. I top decked the Archon of Can’t Attack Me, but Rhys had a Martial Coup and I had nothing I could do about it.

It was a pretty fun game overall. The deck did what I wanted it to (but no Lotus Cobra action, or Stonecloaker).  I had a Twilight Shepherd in my hand, but no mana to cast it, and it wouldn’t have saved me anyways.  My only hope would have been to bounce and re-play the Woodfall Primus.

About the Deck (no TappedOut yet)

Karametra is definitely my favorite of the New Gods (okay, actually, it’s Scott Free). Yes, this deck is about ramping lots of lands out with the God of Harvests, but I limited myself to only creatures and no artifacts (which was made possible by remembering that Stone-Seeder Heirophant is, in fact, a thing).   It uses a lot of bounce creatures to get value out of other creatures (and Kara triggers) and only makes tokens based on Landfall. I did put an Avenger of Zendikar in the deck, but only because I had a spare Foil one lying around from the “Pack to Charity” binder from the 1st Commander Cast “Gifts Given” auction.  Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (or shrine to Nics) is the only non GW color-identity card in the whole deck.  It really plays out like a combo deck, but it has a lot of math, searching and shufflling, so despite really liking it, it’s not one I would play often.

The Rest of the Evening:

I actually played game #120 this evening as well, but by the end of this game  Balthor had shown up, and the other players were all playing Mono decks.  The only Mono deck I had with me tonight was my All Foil Vampires (Team Edward*… because they Sparkle).  I never got above 4 lands, Balthor had Candelbra, Nykthos, Deserted Temple, Urborg, Coffers, etc and was making metric tonnes of German mana.   The coolest play of the game was SunQuan’s player Rite of Replicationing my Captivating Vampire (which didn’t get to steal Baru’s Polukranos)

Ins and Outs

Ins and Outs, wherein I talk about new decks and mention some changes to old ones.

Even though I was briefly caught up, I am now behind in playing my decks again. I have two built that have yet to be played.

On top of that, all of the following are currently in the works.

photo 1From Top Left:

  • Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker:  all creature (or almost all creature)
  • Derevi, Empyrial Tactician:  all permanents
  • Scion of the Ur-Dragon 2.0:  Dragonlance Theme deck
  • Lady Evangela:  Colorful, maybe grief
  • Skeleton Ship:  Pirate and Rogue crewed
  • Jhoira of the Ghitu: Time counters and P/T switching
  • Triad of the Fates:  All of the counters except +1/+1
  • Yomiji, Who Bars the Way:  The Wedding Deck
  • Tymaret the Murder King: Zombie swarm

photo 2

  • Anax and Cymede: Soldier Swarm
  • Mogis, God of Slaughter: Minotaurs
  • Nemata, Grove Guardian: Saprolings!
  • (Maybe) Kaalia of the Vast: (All creatures, but only if I can make it fun)

It will be awhile until some of these are done. KJ, Pirates and Yomiji are probably the closest, where Jhoira and Mogis are still just barely a flicker of an idea.

Outs

I also made some adjustments to other decks. Here’s what came out.

photo 3 (2)

  • I swapped out Auratouched Mages in Bruna and Krond for the new 2-enchantment tutor.
  • I pulled Eldrazi Conscription out of Krond for Ancestral Mask
  • I pulled Corrupted Conscience out of Bruna for that first strike and +1/+1 for each enchantment thing
  • I pulled Nefarox out of two decks (one was only to swap the general for the Foil Russian one I picked up)
  • Tainted strike left Limdul/Chainer for Fated Return
  • Oversoul of Dusk left Krond for a Silent Sentinel
  • Hanna, Reya, Mother of Runes and GAIV all left Kangee so I could put in more Bird themed stuff. (I’m certain they will find new homes)
  • the other stuff were minor swaps

I decided to downgrade (in power) several decks to upgrade for theme and fun. You’ll notice that quite a bit of Poison and Annhilator got pulled.