Friday, January 23, 2015

Adventures in Legacy


Well, I haven't written much in a while. I guess I've not felt like I've had a lot of terribly interesting things to write about, so I guess I'll just offer up a quick summary:

Okay, "supreme" might be a bit much.
I've run a couple of PPTQs, and I'll be running another one this weekend. I like them. Simple, laid-back, but great opportunities to get reps head-judging Competitive REL tournaments. Working SCG Indy next weekend, and looking forward to it.

Awesome character, awesome card.
Playing Naya Superfriends and loving it. It's not an awesome matchup against every deck ever, but it's a blast to play. Getting the Xenagos/Elspeth/Ajani engine going is a thing of beauty.

Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
I kinda lost interest in Modern once my Jund deck got pushed out of the meta. But now that Pod, Cruise, and Dig have been banned, I'll probably dust it off and give it another go. I'm also working on building Travis Woo's Doubling Jace deck.
Speaking of the bannings, I agree with them. I'm not sure about Dig, but Cruise and Pod needed to go. They were pushing out too many strategies. At some point, though, I'd like to see them try a mass-unbanning and shake things up.

Still legal in Legacy!
Okay, this is where I wanted to actually do some writing. I finally got a deck to play--BUG Nic Fit Pod--and I absolutely adore it. It's got almost everything I love about Magic: ramp, disruption, midrange value creatures, synergy engines, and a decent metagame position. Right now my list looks kinda like this:

Land (22):
4 Verdant Catacomb
3 Polluted Delta
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
2  Underground Sea
3 Forest
2 Swamp
1 Island

Creatures (23):
4 Veteran Explorer
2 Deathrite Shaman
4 Baleful Strix
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Wood Elves
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Entomber Exarch
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Acidic Slime
1 Shriekmaw
1 Thragtusk
1 Grave Titan

Spells (15):
4 Cabal Therapy
3 Brainstorm
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Pernicious Deed
1 Recurring Nightmare
3 Birthing Pod

Sideboard (15):
2 Chill
4 Force of Will
2 Riptide Pilferer
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Thoughtseize
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Notion Thief
1 Agent of Erebos
1 (something else, I forget)

The "Nic Fit" part is the synergy between Cabal Therapy and Veteran Explorer. You get a couple of stupid cards out of their hand, while ramping you up to your midrange awesomeness. Pod helps you fetch up silver bullets (and ramp with Vet, if you don't draw a Therapy). Grave Titan and Thragtusk finish games. Baleful Strix and Brainstorm smooth out draws. Recurring Nightmare enables infinite ETB-value awesomeness. Pernicious Deed and Abrupt Decay are safety valves.

I'm still learning a lot of the ins and outs of the deck. There are TONS of decisions to be made along the way, and little things trip me up all the time. I played a $5 event at my local store last night, and I had a decent finish, though. Here's how things went:

Is it really "pernicious" if it's being used to clean up the elemental nuisances littered about by a twerpy little Chandra fanboy?
Round 1: vs. Grixis Delver
This one wasn't really close. He blew through his Force of Wills countering stuff like Veteran Explorer and Birthing, and I was able to get Pernicious Deed out to clear his board and Recurring Nightmare to get absurd value going. I won in two games, but there were only like 10 minutes left at the end of the match. I need to learn to play faster.

Still good with Top.
Round 2: vs. UWr Countertop
I lost this one, partly because of a couple of technical blunders. In game two, I was facing down a Helm of Obedience and a Counterbalance. I resolved a Brainstorm after Counterbalance blind-flipped Rest in Peace. I saw fetchland, Strix, Abrupt Decay. "Sweet, I Abrupt Decay something, and then I can start taking over the game. Oh, wait I can keep Strix and draw into Decay! Yeah, I'll do that." So I cast Strix, and I see Counterbalance, and I remember RIP, and my hopes of winning deflated faster than Tom Brady's balls.

Great against Abrupt Decay. Not so much against P-Deedy.
Round 3: vs. Death and/or Taxes
We both played kinda loose, and found ourselves starting game three with a couple minutes left. He had a fast start, with two Aether Vials and a swarm of doodz (Mom, Revoker, Stoneforge, and I think Thalia). But I was able to rip a P-Deed and clear his board on the 5th additional turn. I showed him my hand of two Pods and something else, with something sweet on board for me (I forget what), and asked for a concession. He balked, so I just told a friend to report 1-1-1 draw. I explained him that coming soon was Swaggy and Gravy, and he agreed to concede. But it was already reported a draw. Oh well.

Still good with Thopter Foundry.
Round 4: vs. Thopter Sword
Crazy grindy match where I'm on my back foot, constantly trying to find ways to disrupt his engine. One game I thought was lost, but I was able to stave off defeat by bashing in with a bunch of ground doodz, and forcing enough chump blocks to enable me to chump block in the air to stay alive. Eventually I found some combination of stuff to force through an attack for lethal. Again, I played kind of loosely, not realizing how resilient his engine of Foundry + Sword + Academy Ruins is. Next time I play this matchup, I need to prioritize a few things: setup graveyard hate for Sword, land destruction for Ruins, and then I can try to blow up the Foundry and/or nuke his graveyard. We were only able to finish the two games, and I would have loved to see how it would have turned out. We agreed to split our two pity packs of prizes, and he conceded to me.

So yeah. The deck is a ton of fun once I can start getting my engine going, and it has enough tools to disrupt explosive starts from opponents, while also being able to stabilize losing positions (with a combination of Slime effects, and P-Deedy).

There are a couple of changes I'd make. I wasn't too sure about what to do about the 4-slot, so Phyrexian Metamorph was kind of a random thing to pop in there. I was thinking about Sad Robot as yet another value creature, but I think it should be a Murderous Redcap. Not only does it ping things, making it a great piece for the Nightmare engine, but it has Persist, giving it added synergy with Pod. There was at least one time where I had Pod on board, but no way of Podding past 3-drops. I'm also pondering putting Massacre Wurm in the 6-slot. Gravy is awesome, don't get me wrong. But there were times (especially against D&T) when I had a 5-er out, and Pod, and Gravy just wasn't what I needed. Massacre Wurm would have ended it very quickly. Also, good synergy with Nightmare. Speaking of which, sometimes I think about tossing another Nightmare into the sideboard. I dunno, though; I'm not sure I want to dilute the creature count anymore than it already is.

I'm also pondering a couple of more mundane tweaks: the exact number and mix of lands. Underground Sea is an awesome $300 card, but it could be that it should be a 3rd Bayou or Tropical Island. Deathrite is another thing I keep going back and forth about. I'd love to see one most games, but rarely (if ever) more than the one. I dunno.

But yeah. The deck is a metric ton of fun to play. I love synergistic decks and engines and value, and this deck has all of that. And it has decent game against the best decks of the format. I'm sold.

Thanks for reading!

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