Choices, Choices

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Return to Ravnica is close, people. SO CLOSE! Now that we have the full spoiler I’ve been brewing and brewing hard, and some of my conclusions are surprising. I know I want Pithing Needles in almost every sideboard so far!

We’re a couple of weeks away from that yet though, and I have some heavy jank I want to play before it is relegated to the Modern box.

Weapon Selection

So many cards, so little time. With rotation upon us there are still a large number of cards I want to play with and build around. How do I fit them all in? With Vader refusing to speak to me after I stopped him from sleeping on my clean and freshly-folded clothes (AGAIN), I had to come up with my own ideas. That’s easy enough, but how was I going to choose?

I had had so much fun the previous week with Equipment and Puresteel Paladin that I really wanted to try the Puresteel Combo deck I played on Brad Nelson’s Trainwreck Tuesday that I worked on with Carlos. The problem is: I’m a chicken sometimes. The deck is kind of inconsistent and I wanted something I knew could win, because too much losing just isn’t fun.

Primeval Titan was my other possibility. I was late to the Primetime Party, but once I was able to get my playset I built many many ramp decks. Primal Surge isn’t rotating but a lot of the creatures I want to play in the deck ARE going away, so maybe I should go that route instead.

Puresteel…Primetime…Puresteel…Primetime…it’s like being asked to choose between bacon and coffee!

The only way to settle this epic confrontation between the 6/6 trampling land-fetching Giant and…errr…the 2/2 Human Knight who really likes toys…yeah, this doesn’t seem like a fair fight. The decks are equally fun on the face though, so let’s build them both and see what feels better.

This list is a slight modification of the one I worked on with Carlos Gutierrez and that he ran with. He didn’t have a sideboard at all so I had to figure out what I was afraid of and work with that. The Sword substitutions should be obvious. The Images were to counteract Titan decks or give me extra Puresteels. Mortarpod is good against Zombies and Infect. Spellskite is used against removal-heavy decks and Infect.

The idea with the deck is to get Puresteel Paladin and Piston Sledge in play, then play out as many equipment as you can find. Sacrifice them all to the Sledge, play a Faith’s Reward, then draw a ton of cards. Eventually you win with Laboratory Maniac while your opponent is still in shock that you are playing Kite Shield and Accorder Shield. Added bonus to playing this deck? I have a foil Spanish Riddlesmith. Score!

The Primal Surge list was similar to this one, but with a few changes. I won’t go into too much detail about the deck, as its gameplan is fairly obvious:

The sideboard was a mess, but I was in a hurry. Having broken my toes earlier in the week (don’t ask…Seriously, don’t), walking was not an option this week. I had a few minutes to goldfish both decks and of course both were doing their thing on turn 5 or 6. Hey decks…NOT HELPING.

I hobbled to the bus stop and headed down to Midgard still not sure what to play. Puresteel was so much fun when it worked, but casting Primal Surge into all the sweet sweet fatties was equally tempting. The worst possible thing to do to a brewer? Give him options.

Limping into the store I immediatley located a Twinja and started playtesting. He was playing Zombies, which is rough for the Puresteel deck and can be the same for the Surge deck. It went…poorly. Somehow a deck with 21 lands was drawing too many lands and not finding Puresteel Paladin anywhere near enough to be any good. I did not win a single game.

I didn’t feel a need to test Surge. I knew the deck and was sure it would do what it was meant to do. I trust in my big dumb dudes and dudettes to smash face on command, so with Puresteel playing hide and seek with me, Surge seemed more likely to give me some success.

Decision made then!

War Report

The best-laid schemes of giants and men often go awry. There was very little to chat about this week, but I’ll go through what I remember as notable.

First round I get stuck with Mev (Stephen Whelan) playing mono-black Infect. He was the first L1 I certified and is one of the best local players. Game 1 was pretty tight as he stumbled on land but managed to stabilize. He took out Primeval Titan and Inferno Titan while I had to sit back on my Inkmoth Nexus and Wolf Run as he was keeping a Swamp open at all times. He had a Phyrexian Crusader with two Predator’s Gambit playing defense, but I managed to get him to 9 poison and 5 life. Fearing the Virulent Wound on my Inkmoth I played it safe and waited on Primal Surge, which sealed the game. Unfortunately games 2 and 3 saw Primal Surge pulling the same trick as Puresteel, and his removal was too much to handle.

Should have played Puresteel.

Round 2 saw me paired against my friend, “Extra Balls” Chris Stoyles. For a while we would face off every week in round one, to the point where we just started sitting opposite each other to start the night off. It had been a while since we played, but this match would prove to be as interesting as most of them had been up to that point. He claimed he was playing a janky brew but killed me in game 1 with a Geist of Saint Traft that he saved from blockers twice with Restoration Angels. Yup that’s pretty janky. Luckily I had the cure for jankitis in game 2 (mono 6-drops) and game 3 (turn 3 topdecked Inferno Titan after 3 Birds in the first two turns).

Round 3 pitted me once again with Crocker, whose love affair with Diabolic Revelation was continuing. It was a GB version this week, and it took me down in three tight games. Yup, should have played Puresteel. I dropped, I drafted, I got third.

I must apologize for the short article this week. A combination of fatigue, a nasty flu and an overdose of Magic has me feeling very out of it right now. Next week, with any luck, we will return to a more interesting read.

Really should have played Puresteel.

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