Spoiler alert: 4-0 tournament report ahead. :)
Okay, so I had a really good time with the Naya Midrange/Superfriends deck I picked up last week, so I did some tweaking to it and ran it at the Tuesday Win-a-Box at Mox. Here's what I brought:
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple Garden
4 Temple of Plenty
3 Temple of Abandon
1 Temple of Triumph
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
3 Keening Apparition
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Polukranos, World-Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Selesnya Charm
3 Mizzium Mortars
3 Xenagos, the Reveler
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
3 Magma Spray
2 Unflinching Courage
1 Flames of the Firebrand
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Fiendslayer Paladin
1 Hammer of Purphoros
I figured the Anger of the Gods was too strong a non-bo for this deck. I rely pretty strongly on my mana dorks to fix my mana, and the three-toughness body on Caryatid is too good to just sweep away. So I tried Flames as a substitute. I also decided that the mana dorks plan is crucial enough to warrant the full playset of each. Here's how the matches went:
|Nemesis of Nemesis of Mortals?|
He didn't really get the greatest draws, and I was able to stall with token-chumps long enough to let my planeswalkers and monsters take over.
Win, 2-0. Record: 1-0.
|Chained to the Rocks? Nope. Banishing Light? Nope. Block with Boros Reckoner? Sorry....|
Nice person, but a relatively inexperienced player. I had to tell her bad news repeatedly about how her deck doesn't really interact with Stormbreath Dragon.
Win, 2-0. Record: 2-0.
|This is important. This means something.|
Okay, this was a "real test." Game one, I lost to an onslaught of Stormbreath Dragons. I was able to Mortars one, but the second one and an overloaded Mortars of his own did me in. Second game, I slammed a turn-three Polukranos and a turn-five Stormbreath and he was conceded pretty soon after. Third game was the best actual game, a somewhat grindy affair that involved both of us getting our "engines" set up (mana dorks, Coursers, planeswalkers). However, my setup was much more resilient to an overloaded Mortars than his was, and I rode an Elspeth emblem to victory.
Win, 2-1. Record: 3-0.
|Mentor of Dragons?|
Also known around the store as "Rock Stars." This was another interesting matchup. Pretty grindy with some back and forth. I was a little nervous one game when he took out my Ajani with a Boon Satyr'd Doomwake Giant, but a Keening Apparition and a Mortars (overloaded, I think) evened it out. We traded satyr tokens for enchantment snake tokens for a while, but eventually he ran out of gas. In one game, I was able to flip all four Stormbreaths with Ajani's help, and threatening multiple Monstrous activations with Xenagos's help (fueled, flavor-wise-oddly enough, by Elspeth tokens).
Win, 2-0. Record: 4-0.
So .. yeah! 4-0. Feels pretty good, I'm not gonna lie. But I'm also not gonna lie and claim that I won through superior play skill against a difficult gauntlet of top-notch competition. I only played against one "real deck," and I suspect that that one could have gone either way if my draws in one of the second two games had been worse than his. Nonetheless, I feel good about the deck, and I'm having a lot of fun with it.
But of course I have some post-mortem follow-up thoughts:
- This time, Xenagos was my MVP. I didn't like him much in my Elephants deck, because 2/2 bodies are pretty mediocre, and he didn't really do much to synergize with the rest of the deck. In this deck, he fuels some great, explosive plays. If I don't have anything "big" to do, I'm fine just letting him poop out satyr tokens. But I'm also fine letting him fuel an overloaded Mortars, or summon forth a Dragon. Good stuff.
- The synergy between Xenagos and Elspeth is pretty cool, too. Again, the mana ability combined with Elspeth's tokens makes for some awesome explosiveness. And even if they kill the Monster, they gotta deal with Elspeth and Xenagos eventually. Or if I have Ajani out, he'll just dial up another Dragon. Or just make Xenagos's tokens into 5/5s. It's all good.
- I'm really curious to see how this deck plays out against mono-blue and mono-black. I didn't do that great Friday, but I suspect turn-two Pack Rats are difficult for just about anybody. I read Justin Crandall's article on Star City, and it seems like the way to beat it is to try to keep the rats at bay, and deal with them via Elspeth. And then grind them out with card advantage. I've also been told that Underworld Connections is another key to this matchup. Because of these things, I'm thinking I probably should have the third Ajani and/or third Elspeth in there somewhere.
- In the aforementioned article, Crandall mentions Setessan Tactics as a candidate for inclusion. I like it as a fun-of to bring in against creature decks. I'm also thinking a singleton Wear // Tear might be warranted to deal with potential opposing Pithing Needles.
- One game, I wanted to play a turn-three Courser, but I lacked the requisite GG to cast her. That Temple of Triumph should probably be a Temple of Abandon per Crandall's winning list (I was lazy and didn't want to pull it out of my Commander deck).
- So the latest tech for Control: No D-Spheres or B-Lights. This makes the Keening plan much worse. I just hope it doesn't catch on. :) Otherwise, that's what Heliod and Purphoros are for.
Until then, thanks for reading!