Embracing The Chaos - Back to Basics
After the experimentation with Isperia deck which I intend to go back to at some point I just wanted to play “my way.” This of course involved getting into the Red Zone with Karrthus.
We had another great turnout for the League with 16 players. As I had earlier expressed I was a little concerned about power creep but if it had crept up too much I assume it would chase away players instead of draw them in. Hopefully this trend continues.
I made a few changes in the Karrthus deck after realizing that the Landfall sub-theme was a little limp. The stuff that I used to get the extra lands has proven most excellent but Landfall itself (save perhaps the heady Ob-Nixilis) hasn’t really panned out like I thought it might. I’ve really liked how Pawn of Ulamog has worked out and put in the Eldrazi trio to capitalize on it. I also slipped in two ‘extra combat’ cards: Savage Beating and World at War. I mean if we’re headed for the Red Zone let’s commit!
The Beast theme has worked pretty well (Greater Gargadon plus Contested Cliffs kills nearly everything that doesn’t have Annihilator on it) but playing in a casual game before League made me realize that Changelings are Beasts too. I could very easily slip in Taurean Mauler and Chameleon Colossus. I realized this because other folks in the casual game had them and they’re both also Dragons.
I sit down with Todd (Rith) who is finally back to playing with us after having been unable to attend because of work Keith (Hanna Ship’s Navigator—and no doubt some creatures with Banding) and Torin (Dakkon Blackblade). I win the roll and we draw our initial hands to wait for the first Enchant World.
It’s Revelation—and there’s just too much stuff to write down. We all note the Titanic Ultimatum in Todd’s hand and knowing that he can spit out tokens pretty quickly keep an eye on him. The difference between us knowing that and not will make a world of difference.
Side note: This is where I stopped writing to watch the Italy-New Zealand game. Before I restarted I took off the blue jersey. I’m considering burning it. They’re certainly not playing like the 5th ranked team and if they don’t make the elimination rounds they have no one to blame but themselves.
Me: Spinerock Knoll under which I put Spearbreaker Behemoth. Suspend Greater Gargadon. I swear that card levitates to the top of my deck.
Todd: Cracks Mountain Valley drops a Forest plays Sensei’s Divining Top.
Keith: Island Sunscape Familiar
Me: Crack Bloodstained Mire for Badlands (39) Wilderness Elemental.
Torin: Plains Evokes Mulldrifter.
Todd: Sungrass Prairie Congregation at Dawn. I tell the story of the first time I ever played that in EDH I didn’t RTFC and ended up trying to put all three cards in my hand. It’s good but it’s not that good. Todd shows us Acidic Slime Yavimaya Elder and Jens.
Keith: Plains Crimson Acolyte.
Me: Tower of the Magistrate Pernicious Deed. I know Todd likes to generate lots of tokens so this seems like reasonable defense.
Torin: Oblivion Stone for the board-sweeper overkill.
Todd: Elder Sacred Foundry tapped.
Keith: Island Telemin Performance on Todd getting the Jens he knows is there. Fetches a Plains.
Me: Forest Withered Wretch.
Torin: Exotic Orchard Vedalken Orrery. This tells me Torin isn’t super-committed to his O-Stone.
Todd: No land drop so he sacs his Elder for it. Plains Eternal Witness targeting his Congregation which I remove.
Keith: Island. At EOT I remove the Yosei and Performance from his yard (he discarded them after the Mulldrifter).
Me: Draw Survival but don’t play it since it’ll just get blown up.
Torin: Sol Ring puts a counter on Orrery. Maybe he’s a little more committed to the O-Stone now.
Todd: Forest Harmonize Scroll Rack.
Keith: Draws Whispers of the Muse. Plains. EOT I exile everything. Since I’m tapped out Torin Paths the Wretch. I want the land so I’m okay with it and don’t sacrifice it to the Gargadon.
Me: Gargadon to 5 I keep up mana for Deeding. My plan is to let everyone else to commit to stuff until they’re going to kill me with it then Deed. It’s a plan as old as the hills.
Torin: Draws Copy Enchantment. Puts counter on Sol Ring.
Todd: Tops during Upkeep. Draws and casts Skyshroud Claim. Temple Garden untapped (38). Kodama’s Reach taps him out so I respond by Deeding for 4 which will either blow up his Top or make him shuffle it away. He chooses the latter. At EOT Keith Whispers with Buyback.
Keith: Insight which seems okay but then I realize he’s probably playing some kind of Sleight of Mind deck which might make it slightly more interesting. Casts Wall of Reverence and at EOT goes to (41).
Me: Karplusan Forest Lurking Predators. Keith draws.
Torin: Copies Predators (for a point) I ship a non-creature to the bottom.
Todd: Avenger of Zendikar on which both Torin and I whiff. Krosan Verge.
Keith: Douse which is hilarious especially since we know about that Ultimatum. Torin reveals Fetid Heath and chooses to keep it on top. I reveal probably the worst creature in my deck to Predator out—Mold Shambler. It’s probably getting replaced anyway by either Chameleon Colossus or Taurean Mauler.
Me: Survival of the Fittest and then I watch Keith draw Steal Enchantment. I am sad and secretly hoping he likes me better than he likes Torin.
Torin: Fetid Heath Sword of Fire and Ice and I ship a Forest. At this point 30 minutes has passed so we’re on to a new Enchant World—Concordant Crossroads. This seems to favor Todd and me since we have the dudes.
Todd: Has Arid Mesa and Krosan Verge so we know that Avenger is going to get nasty. Casts Acidic Slime to take out the Douse. I get Rampaging Baloths. He attacks Keith who blocks one of the tokens. Todd then cracks his fetches (37) taking Keith to (12). At EOT Keith Whispers getting me Dragon Broodmother and then I activate the Knoll getting that Behemoth.
Keith: Steals Lurking Predators copy from Torin (I whiff) which I’m glad about but am not sure is the right guy to steal it from. I’m building a pretty good base over here. At EOT I Survival away Kozilek to reshuffle so that I can maybe get back my Deed.
Me: Draw Sarkhan the Mad. I have dreams about having it in play casting Karrthus stealing Rith and doing murder. Unfortunately Todd is simply going to crush us all with his Ultimatum until Torin reminds us he has Wrath of God on top of his library. I try to hide the fact that I have Indestructible guys plus mana. I tap the Spinerock for mana and bounce it back to my hand with Gruul Turf. I get a Beast and don’t really have anything to do with Red mana so I just attack Todd with Baloths Spearbreaker and Dragons. He blocks the Baloth with the Slime (28).
Torin: On his upkeep I have the Dragon token Devour all the guys I won’t be able to save so it’s 10/11. Torin Wraths. The card I reveal is World at War which I think about keeping but decide to ship. Todd isn’t pleased since he got wiped out and I didn’t.
Todd: Riftstone Portal and Rith. Keith gets Benalish Heralds I get Pawn of Ulamog. Love that guy. Attacks Torin and gets 7 tokens. He’s still really really dangerous. If Keith doesn’t have anything I’m going to have to slam into Todd to make him block with his tokens.
Keith: Nothing. Perhaps he wants to see what I’ll do. Would be a good play.
Me: Gargadon comes in. Keith gets nothing off his Predators. I drop Spinerock and this time get a hand full of land. I cast Karrthus stealing Rith. Keith responds with Enlightened Tutor and gets Soothsaying. I get no dude. I swing at Todd with the team and he has to chump a bunch of stuff to end up at 2.
Torin: Clone copies Gargadon (?). I Preds up Jens. Attacks Keith who blocks with Benalish Heralds. Another half hour has passed so we’re onto the next Enchant World: Mystic Decree.
Todd: Wraths. I Preds up Oracle of Mul Daya and I can only make one other guy Indestructible so I choose the giant dragon token. I get five tokens from Pawn of Ulamog. Really love that guy. Todd recasts Rith.
Keith: Akroma (I whiff) swinging and killing Todd. Damn it! That was my kill! Casts Soothsaying and I get Avatar of Woe.
Me: Skargg the Rage Pits which seems better now that fliers don’t fly. I sacrifice the tokens to cast Emrakul. Keith gets Obsidian Acolyte. I attack Torin for 22 setting up killing him on the extra turn. I realize that I have the blackjack point with Emrakul and Avatar.
Me (extra turn): Off the top I peel It That Betrays. Cast it. Attack Keith with Emrakul and Spearbreaker Torin with Dragon and Avatar. I have no way of killing Torin with only one dude or with exact damage but I’ll take it. Keith blocks Emrakul with Acolyte and Spearbreaker with Akroma.
Keith: Casts Mistmeadow Witch and then doesn’t really have any answers to my stupid board position. He points out I actually get the point for having one of each basic land because of the Island and Plains that I get from him after the sacrifice.
I win the table by several points and we hang around and have chats while one other table finishes.
I’m joined at Table 1 by Trevor (Godo) who is new to the shop and format and seems to be really enjoying himself; Jay with Saffi; and Aaron D with Tibor and Lumia. I’m immediately suspicious of the Red/Blue guy. I know that Aaron understands the interactive balance of the format but the Red/Blue guy always just worries me.
The first Enchant World is Caverns of Despair. I hear Todd cry from another table.
Trevor: Snow-Covered Mountain. All of the Mountains he’ll drop are of that variety.
Jay: Mosswort Bridge. His face shows he’s not overexcited about it.
Me: I see his Mosswort with Spinerock Knoll and the best I can do is Rampaging Baloths.
Aaron: Volcanic Island
Aaron: Mountain Carnage Altar. We have a brief discussion about agreeing we like it better than Phyrexian Altar.
Jay: Wall of Omens Brushland which I think he actually had to draw off the Wall.
Me: Swamp Wood Elves get a Bayou.
Aaron: Island Wonder. I see a sac and a card draw.
Trevor: Mountain. He is after all playing Godo. Says it’s going to be a while before he casts anything which makes me fear him more than the red/blue guy.
Jay: Erratic Portal I card I much love. Flagstones of Trokair.
Me: Terminal Moraine which is decidedly been trumped by better lands since but I keep playing this one because it’s foily. I crack it now since I really have no plays.
Aaron: Mountain Propaganda.
Jay: Bounces the Wall and recasts it. Clever boy. To keep his cleverness at a minimum I EOT Artifact Mutation on the Portal. I’ve learned my lesson with that card for waiting for something ‘better’ to blow up.
Aaron: Mountain Mirari. I am a boob.
Trevor: Mountain Viashino Heretic. Okay Trevor will help us out.
Jay: Spike Feeder no land drop Suspends Search for Tomorrow.
Me: Forest Ob Nixilis. I have to use the land drop first to be able to keep Spinerock mana open which I think is probably the wrong choice since the card under the Knoll isn’t all that good. The counters would have been better to get him out of Bolt range.
Aaron: Kiki-Jiki. I ask him if there’s also Pestermite and he mentions that he’s not much of a jerk.
Trevor: Mouth of Ronom. Kills Mirari with Heretic Aaron to (35) Kumano. Ooh that guy’s nasty.
Jay: Plains Parallax Wave.
Me: Pawn of Ulamog. EOT Jay fades out Kiki Jiki.
Aaron: Arcanis the Omnipotent. If I understand Magic correctly drawing cards is good. Attacks Jay (37).
Trevor: Godo getting (to no one’s surprise) Basilisk Collar.
Jay: Search for Tomorrow goes off gets a Forest and then casts Duplicant taking out Kumano. Sighs of relief breathed all around.
Me: Evoke Shriekmaw to kill Arcanis then drop Spellbreaker Behemoth which I had discovered in the first game that I somehow had two of in my deck. I was searching after a Survival and the two of them were right next to each other and I had a WTF??? moment. I guess getting older means there are a lot of surprises in store for you in life even when it’s stuff you’ve done.
Aaron: Mikokoro and Sakashima copying Ob-Nixilis. Attacks me (38).
Trevor: Mountain Rage Reflection attaches Collar to Godo. Attacks me and the Wood Elves gallantly give their lives for the cause. Trevor to (43).
Jay: Horizon Canopy Avenger of Zendikar getting 7 dudes.
Me: In the face of a bunch of other people’s dudes Butcher of Malakir seems okay. At EOT we all draw.
Aaron: Quest for Ancient Secrets. Kazuul Tyrant of the Cliffs. If he’s Tyrant of the Cliffs why isn’t he a Beast? Attacks Trevor (41).
Trevor: Vicious Shadows. Game just got a little uglier. In the middle of attacking me with Godo a new Enchant World is called: Field of Dreams. I block with the Ulamog token that I got from the Wood Elves dying and everyone sacrifices a creature. Four VShad triggers go off two targeting both me and Jay. When the dust has settled Jay is at (27) I’m at (30) and Trevor is at (44).
Jay: Wasteland casts Woodfall Primus to take out VShad. Waves out the Primus for the last counter so it comes back (along with KJ) and takes out Rage Reflection. Attacks Trevor with six 1/2s. He blocks one of them (39). He then casts Wheel of Sun and Moon targeting me. I frown.
Me: I draw Pernicious Deed which is alright by me since I can sacrifice it and it’ll go to the bottom. Bad news is that Butcher of Malakir will no longer trigger on dudes except my tokens. I drop Wooded Foothills and Ob-drain Trevor (36). I keep up Deed mana.
Trevor: Also nothing.
Jay: Minion Reflector. Nice.
Me: Mosswort Bridge Drain Jay (24). Everyone has seen the Shatterstorm on the top of my library so I slip it under there. I crack the fetchland draining Jay again (21). Butcher of Malakir attacks Trevor who responds with whacking it with Ronom for 4 damage. I sacrifice a Spawn token for mana making everyone sacrifice a dude and then Deed for 2 with 3 of my tokens going away so there are 3 triggers. Primus comes back taking out Propaganda. Butcher dies and everyone who still has one sacs another dude.
Aaron: Hamletback Goliath. That guy’s going to get huge.
Trevor: Mountain Lightning Greaves Hostility. EOT Jay moves a counter from the Spike Feeder onto the Woodfall Primus. Very clever boy.
Jay: Regal Force (Goliath to 11/11/). Minion Reflector triggers he pays and draws many cards. Drops a Forest. At EOT I Survival for Avatar of Woe.
Me: Draw Molder Slug. Enchant World changes to Storm World. Seems like it might do some late game damage. I sacrifice a token to play the Slug and then cast the Avatar for BB.
Aaron: Nothing. Guess I didn’t have to worry too much about the Red/Blue guy this time.
Trevor: Sacrifices the Greaves.
Jay: Sacrifices the Canopy draws sacrifices Minion Reflector (which is why I cast the Slug in the first place). Evokes Reveillark getting back Wall of Omens and Duplicant which takes out Ob-Nixilis. Nice bit of synergy Jay has built into his deck (that Minion Reflector would be painful right now).
Me: Take 1 from Storm World (29). Greater Good. At EOT my good friend Aaron has us all draw with Mikokoro.
Aaron: Akroma’s Memorial. I respond by making a Woeful Hamletback. Casts Lightning Greaves. I think Aaron was hoping to go for a quick Goliath kill on someone but there’s no way I could let that go even if he had promised to attack someone else. At EOT Trevor casts Comet Storm for 6 targeting Molder Slug and me. I stay at (29) because of Hostility and he gets six dudes.
Trevor: Attack Aaron with a swarm (9). Casts Jens and Jaya Ballard. At EOT I get that Baloths from under the Knoll.
Jay: Synod Sanctum which is techy. Triskelion which kills Jaya Ballard a move we all support.
Me: Bloodstained Mire crack it (28) Karrthus. Attempt to kill Aaron which is successful since Jay doesn’t help (although it’s not clear that he actually can).
Trevor: Everflowing Chalice for 3. Godo get Shield of Kaldra. At EOT Jay kills a token and puts Trike in the Sanctum.
Jay: Attempts to put the Duplicant in the Sanctum. I respond by killing it with Avatar of Woe. He says “that’s not terrible for me” and casts Marshal’s Anthem kicked twice. He gets Duplicant and Reveillark. Targets the Avatar which I sacrifice to Greater Good. I think “no more Storm World damage” and right then we change to Chaos Sphere.
Me: Refuge (29). Demonic Tutor for Pernicious Deed and drop it. Thanks Jay!
Trevor: Attack Shield to Hostility. I let it go. Attacks me with the team. Block Godo with Spearbreaker Hostility with Karrthus 3 3/1s with Beasts a 3/1 with Baloth a 3/1 with a token and Jens gets through (26). Molten Disaster for 6 Kicked so I have no chance to GG anything. Good play. Everything dies except Karrthus and Reveillark. Trevor gets 14 3/1s and goes to (28). Woodfall Primus blows up Deed. I Deed for 1 to take out the Sanctum. Jay gets back the Triskelion.
Jay: Saffi and Yavimaya Dryad.
Me: Peel Eternal Witness get back the Deed cast it and attack Trevor (22).
Trevor: Godo getting the Helm of Kaldra. He’s gone the classic route with Godo which seems like coolness.
Jay: Krosan Verge. Attacks Trevor with Reveillark who blocks with Hostility. It’s a definite ??? moment. Jay sacrifices Saffi targeting Reveillark letting Saffi go to the yard. When ‘lark leaves he gets back Saffi and Duplicant which takes out Hostility. Reveillark comes back.
Me: Mountain Lord of Extinction which is currently 47/47.
Trevor: Insurrection. Thank goodness for Greater Good. I make a quick count of my library: 56 cards. Of course I also know that I have Emrakul which will reshuffle if it’s one of the ones I draw and discard. Jay responds first sacrificing Saffi targeting Triskelion. He then uses it to kill Godo. I sacrifice the Boom Tube discarding Emrakul in the three then sacrifice Karrthus discarding Big Game Hunter which takes out Woodfall Primus. I sacrifice Eternal Witness just to get it off the board not caring amount the one card loss. He attacks Jay with everything who activates Stirring Wildwood and blocks (12).
Jay: Sacrifices the Verge attacks Trevor with the team (4). I see an opening so at his EOT I cast Artifact Mutation on the Duplicant getting 6 guys.
Me: I attack Trevor with the 6 tokens to kill him. I cast Savage Beating Entwined and Jay extends the hand.
This was EDH the way I like to see it—interesting stuff but games that last more than six or seven turns with some swings some politics and some insanity and of course spending time attacking. Even though it did well for me I’m not actually sure I’m that big a fan of the Eldrazi package. Annihilator just seems so mean. Perhaps I’ll actually consider some anti-Annihilator ideas. Hrm.
Next week I think I’ll either run the Cromat deck back out there and see what kind of Chaos it can Embrace or spend some time in the Red Zone with Kresh. If you have an opinion let me know!