Game #191: Ayli, the Eternal Pilgrim
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland OR
Vs. Mizzix of the Izmagnus; Horde of Notions; Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Result: Mostly fun Win.
I kept a 4 land hand, all of which entered the Battlefield Tapped (my Tainted field tapped for colorless the bulk of the game). I played Ayli on turn 3 and Sigil of the new Dawn on turn 4. Isamaru came out early and had an Umezawa’s Jitte, which spent most of the game on a flying double striker and got as high as 15 counters on it. Mizzix was ramping and Horde of Notions was color fixiing. I didn’t play another spell until turn 8, when my Rhox Faithmender got countered by Mizzix. I responded by Ashes to Ashes-ing Mizzix and Melek out of spite. I was down to 23 life, having been hit for 6 by the doublestriking Jitte-holder a few times.
Mizzix stole Isamaru. On turn 9 I cast Serra Avatar. I looked around to make sure it was good, and went to sacrifice it to Ayli when Mizzix said he was killing Ayli in response to the casting of of the Avatar. I rarely argue about timing and stuff, and I’m usually pretty chill about Takesies Backsies (though I did turn down the opportunity to take one earlier in the game), so Ayli died, but not before I shuffled my Avatar and went back up to 46. On turn 10 I played a Vizkopa Guildmage and a Nomad’s Assembly for 7. I was setting up to win via a Congregate/Guildmage next turn, but Isamaru cast rout, and my Assembly failed on the next turn. Mizzix was able to exile the Jitte, though Isamaru gained 24 life from it. Turn 11 I cast a Whip of Erebos and a Disciple of Griselbrand, and then someone Cyclonic rifted. Turn 12 I played down my Whip, Sigil and Disciple. Mizzix had 5 Bringers of the Red Dawn thanks to Horde of Notions and a Rite of Replication.
After a Windfall, I amazingly got my Serra Avatar back in hand, though I lost some good stuff. I replayed Ayli and started doubling my life (using Sigil of the New Dawn to beat Avatar’s shuffle trigger). Mizzix was doing Shenanigans with his army of bringers (and thankfully Ayli can’t sacrifice herself to herself). A Curse of the Swine was aimed at Horde of Notions board and followed up with a Contagion engine that gave Swine Flu to all of the pigs.
I doubled and redoubled up to 264, patiently waiting to get to 15 mana. I was amazed that there was nothing stopping me. I hit 15 mana on turn 15 which was enough to cast the Avatar, Whip in the Guildmage, activate it and sacrifice the Avatar to Ayli, putting me up to 528 and everyone else down by 264. In a game where everyone was playing really good stuff, and I only cast 3 spells in the first 8 turns, it was a fun surprise to win.
About the Deck: This deck was in the works as soon as I reconfigured my Vish-Kal deck to scavenge cards for a Karlov deck. Since that one was about incremental life gain, I had many big-gain cards left over. Ayli was announced, and I knew what I needed to do.
This one has a bunch of life-doublers, and the goal is to get a big life total and use it for value or for winning. As it was being built, I realized that it needed some token creatures to make use of Ayli’s second ability, so I rethought it a little bit. It plays Boonweaver Giant and 2 combo auras (Shade’s Form and the other one), because I love Boonweaver. It initially had a B/W allies theme to it, but there wasn’t room for that, and in building this one the rest of the cards that didn’t get used spilled over into a Selenia, Dark Angel deck that is nearly complete.