Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So Busy

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days... I had two homework assignments due earlier tonight, an essay due tomorrow, more homework to be done by tomorrow night, homework, a project due Wednesday morning, and an exam Wednesday night. Not to mention getting back with an ex-girlfriend last night. Or the fact that it's my birthday today.

I'll get back to posting more in a couple of days when everything cools down.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caw-Blade Combo

Playing Stoneforge Mystic and Squadron Hawk with equipments, or Caw-Blade as it has come to be known, is the most powerful thing in Standard right now. You get a win condition, hard to deal with evasion, and card advantage out of this simple two card synergy.

Spot removal doesn't work. If you play Lightning Bolt on a Squadron Hawk, he'll have three buddies right behind him to pick up the slack. It may delay you for a turn, but using spot removal will be a losing battle.

If you have a Naturalize or a Crush, you can destroy the Equipment that Stoneforge brings in. The problem is, you've used up a card in your hand and your opponent still has the 1/2 on the battlefield.

One card that's seeing more and more play to stop this combo it Tumble Magnet. It never actually destroys a creature, but it can stop the sword bearer in its tracks for 3 turns. And unlike Naturalize, it works against non-equipped creatures, it works well with Proliferate, and it can be replayed thanks to bounce effects.

Two creatures that have are good at stopping Caw-Blade are Linvala, Keep or Silence and Baneslayer Angel. Even with a Sword, Squadron Hawks will not want to attack into either of these angels. It should also be noted that because these creatures are white, they will not be able to be stopped by either of the swords, where a card like Abyssal Persecutor would.

The most effective thing to do against Caw-Blade is playing a creature that can destroy artifacts. The creatures in Standard that do this are Manic Vandal, Oxidda Scrapmelter, Kor Sacntifiers, Virridian Corupter, and Acidic Slime. These cards allow you to remove the sword, while still keeping a creature on the battlefield. It's really the only way to keep up with the card advantage that Stoneforge provides.

I've got a R/G/W decklist that both uses the combo effectively and has the power to stop it quickly. I'll put it up sometime later today or tomorrow.

My First Post, and an FNM Report

Hey everybody, this is my first post here on Blogger, but I plan on publishing posts multiple times a week. I'll be covering a wide range of Magic topics, from Sealed to Draft, from Standard to Vintage, card previews to format rotation, and whatever other topics come to mind. I'll start with how my Friday Night Magic went this week.

First off, I've got to tell you a little bit about my Friday Night Magic. We're not actually an official FNM, but a club at my university. Wizards had recently decided to shut down all FNM locations that were not run in hobby shops, for whatever reason. This doesn't mean that we don't have official DCI tournaments, it just means that we don't get FNM promos. Fortunately, we do receive money from the school for being a student organization. This money is spent on prize support, or for special nights like a $10 Sealed tournament (where I pulled about $2 worth of rares). We get things like sleeves, playmats, dice, or booster packs as prizes, which is pretty nice.

On to this week's event. Tonight was 2-Headed Giant Sealed, where each team received 4 packs of Scars of Mirrodin and 4 packs of Mirrodin Besieged. My partner and I got there a bit early, and discovered that we would need a team name. For some reason, my partner chose the name "Lemmings" and soon the tournament started. We cracked our packs, and took a look at the rares. Molten-Tail Masticore, Blighsteel Colossus, (foil!) Hero of Bladehold, Sunblast Angel,  Red Sun's Zenith, Phyrexian Vatmother, Engulfing Slagwurm, Mirrorworks,  and Grindclock. We got some good removal in Go for the Throat, 2 Arrest, 2 Tumble Magnet, Burn the Impure, Spread the Sickness, Into the Core, Skin Render, Viridian Corrupter, Revoke Existence, and 2 Virulent Would. Our only other real bomb was a foil Corrupted Conscience.  Despite the massive amount of big powerful rares, we decided to run infect.

We had decided before hand that infect would be good in the format. In 2HG, if one player takes 10 poison counters, the team loses. We thought this would be simple to accomplish, with two of us pushing towards one player. We only had 13 creatures with infect, a Pistus Strike, Spread the Sickness, 2 Virulent Wounds, and a Plaguemaw Beast, but we figured this would be enough thanks to the heavy amount of removal we had. I played a B/R deck, that only had three red cards: Into the Core, Red Sun's Zenith, and Burn the Impure. My partner played G/W with infect creatures, removal, and couple of pumps spells.

Our first game seemed to start off well. We laid down a pari of infect creatures on our second turn. They both died to choking fumes the next turn, but we kept the pressure on. When they played a creature, we had the removal and we quickly brought our opponents to 5 poison counters. Unfortunately, I had drawn 4 lands in my first five turns and my partner drew none and was stuck at three. Then a Carnifex Demon landed on the other side of the board. We Arrested it, but only after it wiped most of our board. At the end of our next turn, the Demon was sacrificed, and the next turn it was found with Morbid Plunder, along with a Phyrexian Rager. it was replayed, and we didn't have anything more to stop it with. It attacked twice, and we conceded after we drew nothing to save us.

We realized infect might not have been the best choice, but we pushed onward. In this game, our opponents played Burn the Impure on turn 2, Burn the Impure on turn 3, Go for the Throat on turn 4, destroying three infect creatures. At the end of our four turn, we played a Tel-Jilad Fallen. One opponent played a Sangromancer and the other, who was mana screwed with only three Plains, played a Mortarpod. On our turn we attacked with the Fallen, only to get hit by the saced Mortarpod. My partner pumped with his Unnatural Predation, and my opponent decided not to block with Sangromancer, for whatever reason. This gave them 4 poison counters, which were about to go a long way. Next turn we dropped the Plaguemaw Beast. For the next four turns, we proceeded to proliferate by sacraficing Fallen (after a Choking Fumes), a Gore Vassal, Priest of Norm (who was had a -1/-1 counter), and finally the Plaguemaw Beast itself, as my partner cast Pistus Strike and I played Virulent Wound. We pulled out a win, but it was partially due to the dumb luck of our opponent's mana screw, and the Plaguemaw being so clutch. We had about 20 minutes before we started the next game, so we decided to remove the infect.

Our decks actually looked really good after the makeover. My partner removed his infect cards, and added 2 Kemba's Skyguard, 2 Leonin Skyhunter, and some dinosaurs. I removed 9 cards from my deck, then added lots of red cards like Goblin Galvanizer, Barrage Ogre, Kuldotha Ringleader, and Ogre Geargrabber, and I also took some of the equipment from my partner's deck to use with the Galvanizer.

Game 3 came to us going against a B/G deck that was heavy infect, and a U/R deck that had a sort of Draw/Go feel. This match didn't last too long. They pulled out lots of early infectors, but we locked down the board for a bit. We were up to 4 poison counters after a short time, but once we had enough mana the game quickly turned around. We removed their infect creatures, and soon all they had was a Myr Sire and a Serum Raker. We mounted the offensive, dropping cards like Alpha Tyranax, Barrage Ogre, and Ogre Resistor. We pushed in some flying damage with 2 Kemba's Skyguard, while they chumped and double blocked to get rid of the Ogres. Soon I threw down a Tumble Magnet, and we attacked again. On the next turn, w drew Red Sun's Zenith (for the second time that game) and Arrest. Arrest and Tumble Magnet got rid of the blockers, we swung in for 8, and Red Sun's Zenith finished the life total.

We were much happier with the decks, but we realized that even if we won the third game, a 3-1 record would not be good enough to make the top 8 with our poor strength of opponent (which is top 8 players, not top 8 teams), but we played anyway against our 1-1-1 opponents. This game had some early creatures, and early removal on both sides of the battlefield. Our opponents tried to play a Sword of Feast and Famine, but it was Revoked before it could do any damage. The game got interesting when our opponents cast Decimator Web. This card will win the game by turn 9, even though it eats up all of one of our opponent's resources. Luckily, I was holding onto a Rust Tick, which made it's way down to the field. At the end of our turn, my partner got Decimated, and he lost Lead the Stampede, Hero of Bladehold, Molten-Tail Masticore, and Arrest. It was pretty discouraging, but the Rust Tick would be able to put a stop to it. At the end of my opponent's turn, I tapped it down, and he hit the library for 6 again. I held onto a Tumble Magnent, but had nothing else in my hand or on the field. My partner was holding onto Sunblast Angel and had a Molder Beast on the battlefield. It got tapped down by a Tumle Magnet, but it was going to be out of fuel soon and we were starting to feel in control of the game. We were very wrong though. Our opponent played a Sunblast Angel of his own, but not before using his last counter of Tumble Magnent to get rid of the Molder Beast, along with my Rust Tick. On our turn we responded back at them with a mirror play of Tumble Magnet and Sunblast Angel, but it didn't work out so well. They used a Quicksilver Geyser to bounce their Angel and Magnet, and we were really backed into a corner after that. The Decimator Web was online, and we couldn't do anything to stop it. We lost two turns later.

We ended up 2-2, but I think I learned a bit about infect, played some 2 Headed Giant, and won a door prize: a 20-sided die. We wished we didn't use infect, with such weak creatures in our deck. Even though it only takes 10 poison counters to win (a rule which is changing next Friday, April 1), this was too difficult to achieve with our card pool. Games were long and drawn out, which is why I had wished we tried out Grindclock. If that thing lands on turn 2, we should win by turn 11, if it isn't removed. We probably could have made a better deck from the get-go, but we had a fun night. Not too bad for my first ever 2HG event.