|Posted on October 25, 2011 at 10:40 PM|
I started preparing for SCG Baltimore about a week before Innistrad dropped. I knew I wanted to play some sort of incremental advantage deck, so Pod lists seemed like a logical place to start. I started with BUG, which was good at forcing Skaab Ruinator in conjunction with Reassembling Skeleton and Pod, but lost pretty hard if it didn't hit a Pod. RUG was promising, and in my opinion is the superior list. It plays like a somewhat slow ramp list that drops Titans if you miss a Pod, and is just nuts if you hit the Pod on turn two. I had made my mind up that I would play RUG Pod.
But that was all before Nashville. When I started to test against Wolf Run, I figured out pretty quickly that no matter the 75, I just couldn't consistently beat it. While testing, someone mentioned to me the Mono Black Infect list that won States here in Maryland. I heard the Wolf Run matchup isn't abysmal, even if it is less than even. Ialso heard it was the supposed most common match up at SCG Baltimore. But it couldn't be worse than the Pod lists, so I started pulling the cards together for it Wednesday night.
After some phone calls, some trips to all the stores in my area, and some deep digging through my collection, I managed to pull together what I thought was a fairly solid list:
4 Phyrexian Crusader
4 Plague Stinger
2 Whispering Specter
2 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
2 Doom Blade
1 Tribute to Hunger
2 Victim of Night
3 Virulent Wound
2 Contagion Clasp
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Tumble Magnet
3 Liliana of the Veil
2 Tezzeret's Gambit
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Tumble Magnet
3 Phyrexian Vatmother
1 Whispering Specter
2 Tribute to Hunger
1 Virulent Wound
2 Black Sun's Zenith
I played this at FNM at Collector's Corner the night before to a 4-1-1 record, which really boosted my confidence in piloting the deck. Games end pretty quickly when all of your guys have evasion and you have a Lashwrithe. I didn't get much of chance to grind the deck through the gauntlet, but I was comfortable heading into Saturday morning.
I played the deck to a 9-1 finish, before losing to AJ Sacher in the quarterfinals. Here's a brief summary of how the deck performed against the meta:
Red Deck is pretty much a non-issue, especially on the play. You want to keep hands that can lay down an early Crusader, or answer their guys with Virulent Wound and Clasp. The game I dropped to Red was due to a sideboard mistake. Spellskite is good against Shrine, I've heard, but it completely slipped my mind.
I played against three UW based Blade aggro decks, one of which splashed green. Tribute to Hunger and Liliana is the MVP here. Having Edicts over targeted removal really helps here, because all of the guys you care about are Hexproof or Pro Black. The matchup again is rather easy when you have a few Edicts and a Crusader. Against the Green versions I tend to keep in Virulents to stop a turn 2 Mirran Crusader, turn 3 Angelic Destiny.
I only played against two control decks on the day, but I cannot stress how good Whispering Specter is against them. He's better than Mind Sludge would be against a control deck. With Lashwrithe, he can completely take away the opponent's way to answer effectively, and then you follow up with Inkmoth plus Lashwrithe the following turn.
The only match I dropped in the Swiss was a close one to Wolf Run Red. I like my odds against the Dungrove builds a lot better, but this match up isn't terrible. I lost in game 3 after missing my fourth land, and then getting Beast Withined and Acidic Slimed. I don't think it's a terrible matchup, but it's certainly one I would have loved to have more sideboard for.
The last matchup I'd like to talk about is Solar Flare. I just don't know how to play this one. I lost to AJ Sacher piloting it in the quarterfinals, and Game Two he pushed through multiple Nihil Spellbombs and managed to win. I think that's probably the wrong way to go, after seeing it in action. I think it's better to just try and race them. This is one of the few matchups where Vatmother is actually good. Last season, Kibler used Vatmother as a way to fight Valakut, but it doesn't really do anything against the new Primeval Titan decks. It does, however, provide another threat, that's basically a must-answer.
This is just my third large event, so I didn't expect to do as well as I did. The audible decision was absolutely right, but it wasn't a decision I took lightly. Audibling is very dangerous in big events, especially when it's last minute like mine was. I only did it because I lost all confidence in my previous deck choice.
I really think this deck is a solid choice going forward, but there are a few things I would do to make it more versitle. Nihil Spellbomb is just garbage. Sword of Feast and Famine would help against Ramp.
-1 Nihil Spellbomb
-1 Liliana of the Veil
+1 Whispering Specter
+1 Sword of Feast and Famine
-1 Tumble Magnet
-1 Phyrexian Vatmother
-2 Nihil Spellbomb
+2 Postmortem Lunge (I saw this in someone elses board, and it seems legit. Ideally, this will kill them, but recycling Whispering Specter seems strong.)
+2 Apostle's Blessing (It's basically Turn Aside in this deck, except you can't protect Crusader. It's also good for forcing through a few poison.)
All in all, I highly recommenc this deck. It's a highly adaptable deck, that can easily take the beatdown or control roll as needed in each matchup. I'm going to try to streamline it to beat Solar Flare and improve the Wolf Run Red match-up. Now, my eyes are set on the SCG Invitational! Wish me luck! Thanks for reading.