Monday, February 7, 2011

My Thoughts on Mirrodin Besieged: Hands On

Alright, I'm a little late as the set's already been released, but it's better late than never, I suppose.  In this article, I'll talk about all the limited events I've played over the last few weeks, and what seems to work or not work throughout.

Event one: Prerelease Event (sealed deck, three phyrexian packs and three Scars packs)

My pool was absolutely depressing.  The only real bomb I had pulled was the Vatmother, and although she seemed powerful, in a room with fourteen players out of twenty using infect, I really didn't want to risk it in the main.
I still say she needs an effect that actually gives birth to Mimic Vats.

I ended up going B/G infect, using eleven infect beats at the three-drop slot and a Genesis Wave for potential lulz.  I didn't pull a single creature with flying, but I did rip open the Inkmoth Nexus, which was a great help.  I also had two pump spells in green (including one that gave trample), and a Trigon of Rage to seal the deal.  My removal pool came in the form of a Trigon of Corruption, a Virulent Wound, and a Pistus Strike, with a Spread the Sickness that also gave potential for a wincon or an extra counter on my trigons.  Add two copies of Morbid Plunder, and my deck was a bit too reliant on three mana, but really the best I could do with what I had.
It's like doing the wave, only if doing the wave was a ritual that summoned hordes of demons intent on destroying the world.

The first round had me playing Shawn Lefebre in what turns out to be the mirror.  He even had his own copy of Genesis Wave.  In the first game, it was really touch and go.  I managed to put on the early pressure and rack up some poison, trading with creatures and then dropping a Morbid Plunder to maintain advantage.  But Eventually, it came to the point where, having two forests and two swamps with nothing but a Genesis Wave in my hand, I drew three swamps in a row, during which he gained a dominating board advantage, finally stabilizing the field with eight poison on him.  At that point, I drew my forest, cast Genesis Wave for five, and hit three lands, my second morbid Plunder, and the Trigon of Corruption.  He drew a couple lands, I drew a creature, and won the game within the next two turns.

In the second game, I dropped a turn one swamp, dropped the Virulent Wound to kill his myr drop, and put on the pressure quickly from there.  He saw his own Genesis Wave eventually, and managed to stabilize with nine poinon counters, myself at eight due to a Hand of the Praetors.  He had a Plaguemaw Beast in play, so as soon as I passed the turn, it was game.  Lucky for me, my topdeck was a Spread the Sickness.  I targeted my own creature to avoid the Beast's activated ability and proliferated him for the win.

My next round saw me playing against Timothy Morgan.  To my surprise, he was actually playing a Mirran deck.  He had creature drops on the first four turns of the game, completely outmatching my tempo.  However, I had the Inkmoth Nexus in play, an Untamed Might in my hand, and enough power on the board to beats for lethal in the next turn.  He attacks with everything, I block with whatever won't die by blocking, and he drops a Rally the Forces out of nowhere, hitting for game.  In the next two games, he doesn't get the tempo he saw the first time, and my deck managed to do what it was supposed to.  Also, Vatmother.  So, even with my lack of any real finisher, I'm still 2/0 so far.
Losing to this card in a draft is about as painful as what I did to your mom last night.

Round three pits me against Raymond Cipoletti, another Phyrexian player.  Only, instead of B/G, he went U/G, due to cards like Steel Sabotage, Vedalken Anatomist, and Decimator Web.  He triggers the web in the first and third games multiple times and I just lose.  Hard.  Both games he managed to control the board quickly with creatures like Rot Wolf or the Vedalken Anatomist, Ensuring that my three-drop beats just weren't going to get there.  I do actually win the second game, however, with a T1 Inkmoth Nexus and T2 Trigon of Rage.  It was the only game that day that I had activated the red Trigon, and I only cast one other spell the entire game. 2/1
This card is where Thrun does most of his trolling.

In the fourth round, I played against Bryan Haak, who had decided to go Mirran and regretted it horribly.  He put up a good fight with a whole lot of cheap fliers and ended up winning the first game as well, but his pool ended up with as little for bombs as I had, and I managed to win two games by using Rust Tick to keep him at bay long enough to swarm the field.  He had powerful combat tricks to keep infect at bay like Soul Parry, but in the end it just wasn't enough.  It was a great set of games, and all of them were rather close.

Round five pitted me against yet another Mirran player, Nathaniel Smith, and his deck was rather similar to Bryan's, only with stronger end-game beats.  I ended up losing this matchup, and I can't say it was ever as close as my games were against Bryan either.

So I ended the main event of the prerelease in fifth place, with my two losses, Raymond Cipoletti and Nathaniel Smith, placing first and third respectively.  Bryan Haak also top 8'd as well, netting him something for his efforts.

Event Two: Side Draft

So again choosing Phyrexian, I proceeded to open Tezzeret in my first pack, and that was my deck.  I proceeded to pull five Myr Sires, two Oculus, one Rusted Slasher, one Steel Sabotage, two Vivisection, three Serum Rakers, three Morbid Plunders, a Gust Skimmer, Mortar Pod, a Skinwing, and an Argentum Armor.  Throw in a Vedalken Anatomist, a Stoic Rebuttal, and an Ichor Wellspring, and deck complete.
Tezzeret has a serious artifact fetish.  Seriously, just think about it.

Round one, I played against a mono-red deck from the Mirran Pool piloted by Jack Martin, and he got absolutely crushed.  In the first game, I never saw Tezzy, but instead four Myr Sires and my Rusted Slasher sealed the deal.  The second game had me dropping a turn four Tezzy and making my Ichor Wellspring into a 5/5 beatstick.  He had a fast start and some unblockable effects, however, and managed to make tezzeret hit the graveyard before having any more of an impact on the game.  It didn't really matter, however, because the only removal he saw was a Crush, and he just couldn't handle my Wellspring and a couple Serum Rakers.

In the second round, I played against the player who was drafting next to me, Andrew Kwiatkowski, who had first picked a Consecrated Sphinx, so we basically had the same deck, only he had 5-6 copies of Oculus instead of Myr Sires and didn't have the Morbid Plunders in black.  The first game was a really entertaining back and forth match, until I got out my Rusted Slasher and he simply didn't have a way to deal with it.  In the second game, I held onto Tezzeret in my hand for two turns, during which I guessed correctly he was holding onto a Fuel for the Cause.  Finally, he tapped out for a turn six Conscecrated Sphinx, which ate my Stoic Rebuttal.  I then dropped Tezzeret, activated his +1, and revealed the Argentum Armor off the top of my deck.  He scooped.

Round three pitted me against Raymond Cipoletti yet again, who had drafted a G/W infect deck with a playset of Tine Shrikes.  I simply didn't see Tezzeret or enough of my flying creatures, and he got multiple Shrikes each game.  My only other real wincon, the Rusted Slasher, did nothing against infect, and I lost 0/2, placing second and earning myself four packs, one of which contained a second Tezzeret.

Event Three: Side Draft

I'm not going to cover this one in detail, mostly because I tanked horribly.  I basically drafted the U/B deck I had the day before, only with a Mimic Vat where there should have been a Tezzeret.  And unlike the day before, every person in the draft had opened Phyrexian packs.  Every game I played, my opponents had a 2 power flying infect creature out by the fourth turn of the game.  Having only two flying creatures in my deck, I lost every round and 0/3'd, my limited rating shot down by 13 points.  Which is a lot for someone who only had 1633 at the start of the draft.

Event Four: Release Event

In my first (and only) draft with actual packs of Besieged, I screwed up pretty bad.  I started out in blue again, pulling a couple Treasure Mages early on simply because the rest of the packs oozed of fail, not knowing that I would end up without a single decent target for them.  I also pilled two green spells from the first pack, two copies of Lead the Stampede, which ended up helping me out in the long run.  My second pack caused me to rip a Glissa, which meant that I went in completely the wrong direction with my first pack. I did turn it around, however, getting two copies of Spread the Sickness, two Rot Wolves, two Fangren Marauders, and a Melira's Keepers, among other cards.  I ended up deciding to use all three colors, putting 18 lands in my deck, but I never got colorscrewed and only got manaflooded once.

The deck ended up going 2/2 that night, losing four games to Corrupted Conscience.  That card is an overall beast in limited, taking the normal creature control power and then doubling the creature's combat strength at the same time.
Insert funny comment here.

So as you can see, I'm no master of limited formats.  Nonetheless, that's not going to stop me from sharing.  Just like that amateur photo shoot I did with your mom.  Anywho, it seems that, at least to me, a blue spash will operate well in any deck.  cards like Oculus, Steel Sabotage, Vedalken Anatomist, and Turn the Tide are all great cards in draft that only require a single blue, with Stoic Rebuttal, Corrupted Conscience, and a handful of other cards that can change the game for UU.  These cards tend to work well whether you're trying to win off poison or not.  The strongest power from infect seems to come from black and white's four-drops with flying, while green's Rot Wolf and white's Priest of Norn lead the ground troops.  Red and White seem to have some extremely efficient bodies, much more than what infect has at it's disposal, but simply still has to play on defense in the early game or be overwhelmed by an opponent's rush of infect creatures.  Get a good amount of combat tricks, however, and a mirran-themed deck should be able to beat through the onslaught.

For type two, I honestly don't think that more than a few cards will see consistent play in the format.  Most all decks get a new card, like the green zenith in Valakut or Phyrexian Rebirth in Caw-Go, but there really isn't any new archetype that this set will introduce.  Metalcraft and Battlecry just seem too slow or inconsistent when compared to the Goblin and Elf decks we already have, and Infect in this format operates in the exact same way it did in the last one.  Get out a cheap flier, swing with it, pump it, and win if if your opponent has no removal or lose if they do.  There's Shape Anew with Blightsteel Colossus, the new Polymorph deck, but I don't really consider that a new archetype because... well, it's Polymorph.  There's about as much difference as the mom of one reader compared to the other.  According to me, they both do the same thing.

Until next time, this was Yo Mama got scared She said "you're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air"

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