Thursday, April 16, 2015

Looking Back On... FNM 04.10.15

RW Token Burn

Main Board:
4x Goblin Rabblemaster
2x Soulfire Grand Master
4x Monastery Mentor
2x Purphoros, God of the Forge
3x Outpost Siege
4x Chained to the Rocks
3x Hordeling Outburst
3x Valorous Stance
4x Stoke the Flames
4x Lightning Strike
4x Wild Slash
3x Temple of Triumph
4x Battlefield Forge
1x Evolving Wilds
10x Mountain
5x Plains

Side Board:
2x Glare of Heresy
3x Erase
1x Temur Battle Rage
3x Banishing Light
2x Mastery of the Unseen
2x Stormbreath Dragon
2x Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

The deck is quite simple really: flood the field with creatures, burn opponents' creatures or life totals, have indirect damage dealt from creatures entering (or leaving) the battlefield. One of the most frequently asked questions is why I don't use Seeker of the Way in place of Monastery Mentor. My deck build is inspired by Purphoros's "as a creature enters the battlefield" triggered ability. I choose to play Mentor over Seeker because Mentor is a token generator and can become more powerful. I believe there are enough noncreature spells (burn them! BURN THEM!) to consistently trigger his prowess. Lifegain? I'm usually not too concerned by about it. My deck should be aggressive enough early game to not have to worry about taking a hit or two. By turn 6 I should be winning or have a set up to be able to win.

For the most part, I've been running a version of this deck since January. This is the specific deck list I made to compete in Grand Prix Miami back in March. To be honest, I've been a bit lazy to update my sideboard, even before the Dragons of Tarkir release. It's built to deal with Abzan and U/B control decks, which my friends and I had anticipated to see a lot of when we had gone to GP. There are a few minor changes I'd make to to the deck but even without being updated to include the latest card set, it has been doing quite well.

My most recent FNM has been the best yet for myself and the deck! For the first time since attending my current LGS, I made it into Top 8! -dance it out- Typically my goal is to just make it into the top 10; always so close but not close enough. Deck piloting aside, I'm pretty sure this girl right here is the reason for my success that night. (I'm a huge Game of Thrones/ASOIAF nerd). The only deck I lost to was my mirror match up, which surprised me that there is even a mirror match up now! I have been the only one at my LGS playing this build of Tokens. Ever since the DTK prerelease, a few others have started to try it out.

Round 1: Loss. 1 - 2. RW Token (Mirror)

This is the second time since the DTK release where I have played a legitimate mirror match up. By this, I mean a token deck that deals a lot of indirect damage due to enter or exit the battlefield effects. Although my build is a bit out-dated, it was still able to go toe-to-toe with my opponents build, which incorporated Impact Tremors ( aka "Baby Purph"), Secure the Wastes, and Raise the Alarm. I've been strongly considering putting these cards into my own deck, but am not sure of what to take out. My opponents' deck has a very low mana curve with few creatures and lots of instants. However, it was easy for him to run out of gas very quickly. There are burn spells galore to help protect creatures and push more damage through, but not too many outs on dealing with threats. What I like about my deck over his is my playing Outpost Siege. I love this enchantment because it allows me to have some sort of card draw or if my creatures are going to be on the field for a short period of time still do damage as they leave. Depending on how the game is going, either ability is fine. Regardless, this match up is truly a race and can go either way depending on the cards drawn.

Memorable Moments:
Game 1 I won by playing Stoke the Flames twice to my opponent directly. I had enough goblins to pay the convoke cost for the first. I also had a Mentor and Purphoros out, so as long as there was no hidden blue counterspell somewhere I was guaranteed of putting through 12 damage where I only needed to deal 9. Game 3 my opponent won by playing Stoke the Flames twice directly to me. Oh the deja vu.
I was very proud of my sideboard and opening hands choices. Both decks are fast, aggressive, and depend on an early game push. Impact Tremors is a card that needs to come out as early as possible, so T2. I made sure to keep hands that had an Erase and some way of dealing or trading with a T3 Rabblemaster. I lost game 2 because of having been mana flooded, allowing my opponent enough time to draw his gas and keep pushing damage through.

Round 2: Win 2 - 1 UW Heroic

This is a fairly popular deck at my LGS. It is also one of my least favorite to play against since I do not have ways of dealings with enchantments in my mainboard. Even sideboarding against this deck is difficult because I have a hard deciding what to take out and did not make note of the changes I did for games 2 - 3. I know I used Erase, Glare of Heresy, and Stormbreath Dragon. This particular build of UW Heroic I found annoying because it used and abused Lagonna-Band Trailblazer. I was also reminded of why I had loved having Ordeal of Heliod in a White Weenies Heroic deck. My opponent gained 20+ life during Game 1. I find this match up incredibly annoying because I don't know exactly which build of UW Heroic is being used. I assume that Hero of Iroas is used and try to save some kind of removal for him but was unable to do so during Game 2 thanks to mana flooding and having to deal with powerful creatures early game. I just wasn't able to draw outs.

Memorable Moments:
My opponent scooped during Game 3 even though he would have had lethal damage on his next turn. He psyched himself out over the fact that I had untapped mana and 3 cards in hand, even though he had 2 huge unblockable creatures on field. What was in my hand? A whole lot of nothing.

Round 3: Win 2 - 1 Temur Midrange

Game 1 was deceptively easy. I primarily saw ramp into big creatures/threats: Elvish Mystics, Xenagos planeswalker, Polukranos. No big deal. Slash the Mystic. Strike the Xenagos. Chain the Polky. Ran my deck back . Game 2, whether it was because of whatever he sidebaorded in, was awful. This is where I saw the earlier game plays like Savage Knuckleblade and Sylvan Caryatid, and an early Keranos. I lost. For Game 3 I put in Erase and Banishing Light for Chain to the Rocks and Grand Master. I think my reasoning for this was replacing Chain with more flexible answers. Erase could target the Courser of Kruphix while letting me save Valorous Stance for larger creatures. Banishing Light is able to deal with planeswalkers and gods.

Memorable Moments:
The main reason I won Game 3 is because my opponent had kept a 1 land hand with Elvish mystic and low cost playables. I had kept an opening hand with a mountain and Slash. Guess what I did my turn 2... Bolt the bird! I'm usually hesitant of removing ramp really early, but I'm coming to learn that this is an accepted successful strategy throughout the history of Magic the Gathering and there are others like me out there who keep super risky opening hands. *cough cough* My opening hand was very aggressive, with Slash, Erase, Rabblemaster, and Outburst. My opponent missed a lot of land drops early game. All he could do was sit there while my goblins beat him down.

Round 4: Win 2 - 1 UW Heroic

Very similar to my second round, except I think this specific deck was more enchantment heavy and did not play the Trailblazer. I replaced my Valorous Stances, a Stoke, and a Chain for Erase and Glares.

Memorable Moments:
Game 3 started off with my opponent quickly gaining life. After T3 I started to draw in answers and outs. I slowly but surely cleared his board and grew my own. At the start of the last turn I had a Rabblemaster with 3 goblin tokens and a Purphoros on the field. Opponent only had one large blocker and was at 9 life. I had nothing particularly useful in hand. Decided to go directly into Combat Phase to see if my opponent had any tricks for the mana he had open. Start Combat: goblin token enters the battlefield. Opponent takes 2 from Purphoros's triggered ability. I swing out, assuming he'd block my Rabblemaster with the one blocker available. He does. I use Purphoros's activated ability to pump my goblins and deal lethal damage. Often times, my opponents forget that Purphoros can pump creatures. Always beware my untapped mana!

Round 5: Draw UB Control

My opponent and I had enough points to go into Top 8 and decided to draw. We played for fun and if it had been an actual game would have gone to turns. Not sure who would have won and don't remember the board state at the end since it was fairly late at this point.

Our LGS typically lets the Top 8 decide if they're going to draw or play it out. One person, from my team mind you, voted on playing it out. My opponent from round 1 had made it into the Top 8 as well and was paired against me. He won the race and instead of winning 9 packs I only won 4. I went up to my friend and demanded a pack tax since he had cost me 5, I hadn't cared that half of the top 8 consisted of members from our team. These were the first packs of DTK I had been able to open since the pre-release. I need to open up cards! *grumble grumble* Regardless, the night was a lot of fun.

I'll be trying to write a blogpost for every FNM event I attend in the future. This was my first time doing this and realized I need to take better notes for when I actually sit down and write about it. It might also help if my notes weren't written in my super sloppy short-hand. If you're too impatient to wait for the blog, feel free to keep up to date on my matches by following me on Twitter. I try to tweet between each round as I go and am always down to talk about how the deck is doing!


  1. Against UW Heroic, I think you generally won't want Erase. The deck usually doesn't play that many enchantments and you have a very small window to disenchant them before something like Ordeal of Heliod pops. A lot of the time, you will draw Erase after the fact or vs. an all Gods Willing / Defiant Strike draw and it will just rot in your hand.

  2. I recall something happening during one of the match ups similar to what you described. Thankfully, I had a Stoke in hand to deal with the creature if opponent casted something to protect it. Proc white? Die to my flames.

    Sideboarding is extremely difficult for me, especially now with a new format.