Tag: FNM (page 2 of 2)

FNM: One More Time

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

Return to Ravnica is right around the corner. And when it comes, I will be wearing the blue and red of Izzet with pride. I have at least one Standard deck planned, and the guild is looking strong in Limited formats as well. On top of that, I’m planning on dipping my toe into Legacy soon, and the deck I’m considering is entirely red. But that’s a post for another time. Today we’re talking about Friday Night Magic.

I love FNM as a concept. Having a steady night for competition at a low cost provided you can assemble a deck is very appealing. And the Internet has made deck assembly even easier. Any deck being played by the pros can be found with a quick Google search or two, and if you have the disposable income, even the rarest of cards can be found for sale somewhere.

Now, I will admit to a bit of emotional and cultural bias when it comes to this. It’s one of those moments where I shake my walking stick at the young whipper-snappers taking up table space in my hobby. You see, I first played Magic back before there was an Internet, and all you really had to go on was sheer deckbuilding instinct, hard-won experience, and the occasional article in Scrye magazine. Does anybody else remember Scrye? Anyway, there really isn’t anything wrong with copying a deck from an online pro-winning deck list, I just get a little peeved when I keep losing to the same online pro-winning deck list because everybody and their kid seems to be playing it.

Like I said, nothing wrong with this. Play what works for you. I just prefer building my own decks.

Of course, there’s no way to test my deck ideas other than playing them. While I recently got back into Magic Online for the first time since some point during the Renaissance, I don’t have anywhere near enough cards from the Innistrad block to replicate my deck. Speaking of which…

It will still be a couple weeks before my full Izzet plan comes to fruition. I do have a somewhat viable deck I’ve been monkeying around with, and I think I need to revisit its most successful iteration. At the same time, there are some concepts from the latest version of it that I really like, but the way it was set up was simply too reactionary. Still, having responses planned is good, and going fully aggro didn’t really work for me, either. The result is what the pros like to call “midrange.”

[mtg_deck title=”WB Token Midrange”]
// Creatures
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Hero of Bladehold
3 Stonehorn Dignitary
3 Blade Splicer
2 Bloodline Keeper
2 Captain of the Watch

// Spells
4 Lingering Souls
3 Honor of the Pure
3 Go for the Throat
3 Oblivion Ring
1 Intangible Virtue

// Planeswalkers
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
2 Elspeth Tirel

// Lands
11 Plains
7 Swamp
4 Isolated Chapel
2 Vault of the Archangel

// Sideboard
3 Revoke Existence
3 Celestial Purge
3 War Priest of Thune
2 Day of Judgment
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Doom Blade
[/mtg_deck]

Cutting [mtg_card]Venser, the Sojourner[/mtg_card] hurts, but vigilant soldiers that slow down aggressive enemies while quick token generation holds off opposing creatures and makes it difficult for control decks to keep up may be a more viable path to victory.

I really can’t wait for Return to Ravnica. This deck need some time off, probably until Gatecrash shows up. Or I pull enough good cards to make a Junk Tokens deck…

Unlikely Allies

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

It was with a heavy heart that I decided to retire my House of Markov deck. It simply wasn’t performing up to my standards. There wasn’t much good news following the Avacyn Restored release events, either. My notion for a white-green Humans deck had little to distinguish it or make it truly competitive, and other than [mtg_card]Elspeth Tirel[/mtg_card] had few major threats to speak of. Things started to come together, though, when I paired Elspeth with [mtg_card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/mtg_card].

At first glance, it may be difficult to understand why two such disparate personalities would work together. Elspeth is a driven and skilled warrior with righteousness in her heart and little tolerance for the corrupt, and Sorin is something of a hedonist who’s only concerned about Innistrad because it was his plane first, and the vampires he once fostered have gone a little bonkers in his absence. However, as fun as it would be to play out this dynamic, in terms of the card game they have an incredible amount of synergy.

Both planeswalkers produce tokens, provide intangible benefits (life and emblems), and have powerful ultimate abilities that can turn the tide of battle. Plus, their colors, white and black, also meet in one of the best token-generating spells in Standard: [mtg_card]Lingering Souls[/mtg_card]. Combined with enhancing cards like [mtg_card]Intangible Virtue[/mtg_card], removal such as [mtg_card]Go for the Throat[/mtg_card], and the deceptively powerful [mtg_card]Vault of the Archangel[/mtg_card], these two form the core of a very solid, very competitive, and very frightening weapon.

[mtg_deck title=”Vengeance at Dawn”]
Creatures
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Hero of Bladehold
2 Bloodline Keeper

Spells
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Lingering Souls
4 Intangible Virtue
3 Midnight Haunting
3 Go for the Throat
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Day of Judgment

Planeswalkers
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
2 Elspeth Tirel

Lands
11 Plains
7 Swamp
4 Isolated Chapel
2 Vault of the Archangel

Sideboard
3 Revoke Existence
3 Celestial Purge
3 Doom Blade
2 Terminus
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Banishing Stroke
[/mtg_deck]

The most important part is, of course, that I love playing this deck. It’s very rare for me to be in a position where I feel helpless. It has not won every match, but every loss was a close game that left both me and my opponent smiling. And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

As much as I like Vengeance at Dawn, I do have another idea for a deck that has nothing to do with tokens, plays to my colors of choice, includes perhaps my favorite planeswalker, and may give my opponents nightmares instead of smiles.

Doing Bad Things at FNM

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast
Haters, etc.

I haven’t been playing a great deal of Magic lately, due to various reasons, but I recently returned to Friday Night Magic armed with a new deck. As much as my previous FNM decks seemed interesting to me, neither of them had a great deal of oomph. It was difficult for them to be consistent. And then, at the Dark Ascension release, I acquired a playset of not only the [mtg_card]Stromkirk Captain[/mtg_card], but also the lovely [mtg_card]Markov Blademaster[/mtg_card].

Not only is it decent art and a double-striking, self-pumping vampire for 3 mana, there is a way to get her on the field on turn 1. I’m not usually one for odd or janky combos, but I had to try this one out. And it worked, some of the time.

You see, I felt the biggest problem with Memento Mori was a lack of consistency. It also was limited in terms of how it could deal with certain threats. And my vampires faced the same problem. Individual threats I could deal with using [mtg_card]Tragic Slip[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Go For The Throat[/mtg_card], but quickly-appearing groups of tokens proved problematic. I knew I needed more consistent performance rather than flashy shenanigans, which meant turn 1 actions other than waiting for something to Slip or wondering where my combo was. I also needed more reliable vampires.

I needed [mtg_card]Stromkirk Nobles[/mtg_card].

Fortunately I made out well at the last FNM. Not in terms of playing, my nascent vampire deck went 1 and 3 in the brackets. I did, however, swing a pretty good trade. I parted with my pair of [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card]s for an entire playset of the swaggering nobles, a foil [mtg_card]Bloodlord of Vaasgoth[/mtg_card], the [mtg_card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/mtg_card] that partially inspired this flash fiction piece…

…and my very first [mtg_card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/mtg_card].

I know three colors is very difficult to curve properly, and I may be setting myself up for failure. But the notion of adding white to the red/black vampire deck means I can include something else I need: an answer to token swarms in the form of [mtg_card]Day of Judgment[/mtg_card]. I need two or so, another Sorin and some of the lands required to pull this all off. Once I get them, the deck should look something like this:

[mtg_deck title=”House of Markov”]
Creatures
4 Markov Blademaster
4 Stromkirk Captain
4 Stromkirk Noble
1 Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
1 Olivia Voldaren

Spells
4 Faithless Looting
4 Tragic Slip
3 Go for the Throat
1 Curse of Stalked Prey
2 Day of Judgment
1 Fireball
1 Diabolic Tutor
2 Trepanation Blade
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Land
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Clifftop Retreat
10 Mountain
6 Swamp
2 Isolated Chapel

Sideboard
3 Doom Blade
3 Bump in the Night
2 Fires of Undeath
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Curse of Misfortunes
1 Curse of Bloodletting
1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
[/mtg_deck]

We’ll see how it does, if I can acquire the necessary cards, at my next FNM.

Return to Friday Night Magic

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast
Meet my new best friend.

It’s been made known that I’m something of a casual gamer. I’ve stopped playing StarCraft 2 on a regular basis in favor of League of Legends for reasons that include a lower stress level. And for a while I thought I’d be content only playing the Commander/EDH variant of Magic: the Gathering, at least until I started picking up Innistrad. The interest I have in this set plus a desire to support my local gaming store had me picking up an intro pack to form the backbone of a deck, tossing in my solitary [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] and seeing if I could win any games with it.

I ended up winning 2 games and losing 2, and had a surprising amount of fun doing it.

I picked up another pack, and lo and behold, another Snapcaster was looking back at me. After I got home I looked over some of my cards from both Innistrad and the previous expansion block. The result is a deck that, while similar to the Eldritch Onslaught starter, has a bit more bite to it.

[mtg_deck title=”Memento Mori”]
Creatures
2 Snapcaster Mage
1 Sturmgeist
1 Charmbreaker Devils
1 Scourge of Geier Reach

Spells
4 Silent Departure
4 Dream Twist
3 Think Twice
2 Desperate Ravings
2 Burning Vengeance
2 Rolling Temblor
2 Geistflame
2 Grasp of Phantoms
2 Ponder
2 Dissipate
2 Mana Leak
2 Disperse
1 Fireball
1 Runic Repetition

Land
2 Sulfur Falls
11 Mountain
11 Island

Sideboard
2 Cellar Door
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Ghoulcaller's Bell
2 Into the Maw of Hell
2 Curse of the Bloody Tome
2 Brimstone Volley
1 Isolation Cell
1 Desperate Ravings
1 Delver of Secrets
[/mtg_deck]

The inclusion of more instants and sorceries means my mages will have more targets when they reach my hand, and I have essentially twice as many options for dealing with threats. The Flash mechanic on the Snapcasters combined with the huge pile of Flashback will mean I’ll need to work on my timing.

Another idea that occurred to me, perhaps inspired by a recent viewing of the extended edition of Gladiator, was that there are a lot of Human warriors in Innistrad, and the Scars of Mirrodin block was not shy on them either. I’d been toying with the idea of [mtg_card]Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer[/mtg_card] at the head of a Commander deck, but the more rares I see from Innistrad, the more I feel he’s got a place for now in the Type 2 gameplay arena.

[mtg_deck title=”Felix Legion”]
Creatures
4 Blade-Tribe Berserkers
2 Memnite
2 Auriok Edgewright
2 Serra Angel
2 Brass Squire
1 Elite Inquisitor
1 Champion of the Parish
1 Goblin Wardriver
1 Angelic Overseer
1 Victory's Herald
1 Jor Kadeen, The Prevailer

Spells
4 Galvanic Blast
2 Assault Strobe
2 Bonds of Faith
2 Darksteel Axe
2 Viridian Claw
1 Butcher's Cleaver
1 Silver-Inlaid Dagger
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Mask of Avacyn
1 Bladed Pinions
1 True Conviction

Land
12 Mountain
12 Plains

Sideboard
3 Avacynian Priest
2 Razor Hippogryph
2 Seize the Initiative
2 Smite the Monstrous
2 Ghostly Possession
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
1 Rebuke
1 Warstorm Surge
[/mtg_deck]

This deck needs work, in terms of more cleavers, inquisitors and champions. I may pick up the Hold The Line event deck to bolster the ranks. But the berzerkers with metalcraft immediately equipped with a cleaver while Jor’s on the field? That’s 12 points of lifelinked damage in one shot. Think about it.

Any thoughts on these decks? Anything to look out for in the current Type 2 meta?

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