Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thinking about: Level Up

Now, I'll admit, I doubt that this mechanic will ever become mainstream.  As an aggro deck, it's just too slow, but as a control deck it involves way too much tapping out and leaving yourself vulnerable.  However, I feel like there's definitely some potential for the mechanic, and it comes from an enchantment I had completely forgotten about, stumbling across it when shifting through a binder of uncommons.

Suck it, Glorious Anthem.  Your time is up, for now is the time of heroes!
Ah, 'tis a time for heroes indeed.  Stronger than Honor of the Pure and cheaper than Tempered Steel, this enchantment can produce some serious results in the right hands.  After all, one counter on a mere Enclave Cryptologist turns it into a 2/3, able to block and kill goblins in combat and then looting after all the slaughter is over.  Then there's the mighty Student of Warfare, who becomes a 5/5 for three mana.  Eat that, Wooly Thoctaur.
He claims that Wooly Thoctaurs taste like chicken, but honestly, I refuse to believe it.
Now, of course, that's not all the deck has access to.  One of the best powerhouses in the deck is a mere common, the Venerated Teacher.
"Where should I train my Kargan Dragonlord, Professor Oak?"
Since many of the stronger level creatures, like Kabira Vindicator or Hada Spy Patrol, need three mana for a single counter anyways, this card allows you to ramp up many of your creatures at once, providing excellent support.  And yes, I'm not forgetting Training Grounds, just choosing to ignore it.  The enchantment does nothing for cards like Student of Warfare, Coralhelm Commander, Lighthouse Chronologist, etc.  Personally, I prefer using the teacher.

But the question is, what's the gameplan for a deck based on Level Up.  Like I said, it's caught in a bit of an identity crisis.  However, I have my own theory on how the deck could run.

Against Aggro decks, Level Up is all about the counterattack.  You can go ahead and drop a Time of Heroes if you don't have any instant speed answers, but Mana Leaks, Journey to Nowheres, and Ratchet Bombs are much better choices.  The idea is to survive just long enough to drop that Day of Judgement or pop that Ratchet Bomb and stabilize, at which point you drop 2-3 creatures with level up followed by a Venerated Teacher and the Time of Heroes if you hadn't already cast it, effectively winning the game.

Against control decks, your deck operates in the same fashion as any U/W control build with Figure of Destiny.  On the play, drop that T1 leveler and fuel it until you need mana to counter a potential JtMS.  Leveling only as a sorcery may put you at a disadvantage, but remember this- all your potential bombs start off cheap.  Once you get to seven mana, any threat in your deck can get past a mana leak, and some can even get past two.  On the other hand, your opponent needs to get up to nine to resolve a mana leaked titan.  Never completely tap out against a control deck, just keep 2-3 mana open to counter stuff, even if you don't have a counterspell in your hand.  Only leave one creature in play at a time and force your opponent to deal with it before placing another, instead using that excess mana to make the one you have on the table even bigger.  With any luck, as long as your opponent can't stick a Jace, you should have the win.

Against Valakut, You can do a full-on aggro rush, or you can drop Transcendent Master and level him up as quickly as possible, hoping your opponent doesn't have the T5 Titan/win like Valakut decks often do.  Also, you do have access to Spreading Seas, and Mana Leak those traps and zeniths all day long.
I don't get it.  I mean, he's flying in the artwork, so why is he landlocked as far as the game is concerned?  It's not like he stays on the ground because he's scared of dominating an Iona.
So, now that I know what I need to do in each matchup, it's time to flesh out a list.

Spells (18)
4x Mana Leak
2x Spell Pierce
1x Stoic Rebuttal
2x Journey to Nowhere
3x Day of Judgment
3x Time of Heroes
3x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Creatures (18)
4x Student of Warfare
3x Enclave Cryptologist
4x Coralhelm Commander
2x Hada Spy Patrol
2x Transcendent Master
3x Venerated Teacher

Lands (24)
4x Seachrome Coast
4x Glacial Fortress
3x Celestial Collonade
3x Tectonic Edge
4x Plains
6x Island

Now, remember, this deck does very different things from matchup to matchup, so the sideboard is very important.  Here's what I'm thinking:

1 Day of Judgment
2 Journey to Nowhere
2 Spell Pierce
2 Stoic Rebuttal
4 Spreading Seas
2 Transcendent Master
2 Ratchet Bomb

VS Control-
-2 Journey to Nowhere
-3 Venerated Teacher
+2 Spell Pierce
+2 Stoic Rebuttal
+1 Transcendent Master

VS Aggro-
-1 Stoic Rebuttal
-2 Spell Pierce
-1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
-1 Enclave Cryptologist
+2 Journey to Nowhere
+2 Ratchet Bomb
+1 Day of Judgment

VS Valakut-
-3 Day of Judgment
-2 Mana Leak
-1 Stoic Rebuttal
+2 Transcendent Master
+4 Spreading Seas

Note that this list is indeed untested, as are most all thinking abouts until I decide it's worth going back to, usually because either the deck gets new stuff or I'm looking for something new to build.  Use at your own risk, but if you do use this deck, I'd love to hear how it turns out.

Until next time, this is Yo Mama, and finish your vegetables or you won't get any dessert.

No comments:

Post a Comment