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Subject: FNM - Forcing the Win rss

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Eliot Hemingway
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I've previously posted this on several CCG-specific forums. It occurred to me, however, that this report and the decklist that goes with it might be interesting to BGGers who are curious about how Magic is doing these days in semi-casual tournament play (specifically Friday Night Magic (FNM)). So here is my report of Friday the 29th of December.

After a month and a half of testing, a span dictated by my schedule that didn't allow me to go to the cardshop on Friday nights, I finally played my Mono-Green Scrybforce at FNM.

The Decklist:

Land: 21
17x Forest
3x Desert
1x Pendelhaven

Creatures: 24
4x Llanowar Elves
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Scryb Ranger
4x Silhana Ledgewalker
4x Yavimaya Dryad
4x Spectral Force

Enchantments: 4
4x Moldervine Cloak

Instants & Sorceries: 11
2x Resize
1x Squall Line
4x Call of the Herd
4x Stonewood Invocation

Sideboard: 15
4x Might of Old Krosa
2x Squall Line
4x Krosan Grip
3x Giant Solifuge
2x Serrated Arrows

For any readers with only a casual understanding of Magic, I'll explain a bit about my deck. This is an "aggro" deck, or aggressive deck. That means that it attempts to overwhelm its opponent as quickly as possible. In this case the deck uses mana-generating creatures to play larger creatures as early as possible. A side theme is small but evasive creatures that can slip around or over blockers. Pump spells like Resize and Stonewood Invocation (which also makes the creature untargetable by other spells) can make creatures expectedly larger, inflicting a hefty amount of extra damage. Additionally, Moldervine Cloak can make even the smallest creature in the deck a powerful threat, which is very important against controlling decks that can wipe out an over-extended board position.

Some useful terminology:

Force: Spectral Force, my biggest source of beatdown. It's a huge creature for its cost, with the downside that it only untaps every other turn unless it attacked a player with black cards in play. It also tramples, allowing it to deal damage over smaller blocking creatures.

Sacred Mesa: an enchantment that can be used to create flying Pegasus tokens for a mana investment. Used as a win condition in many control decks.

Squall Line: a spell that damages players and flying creatures. A potential win condition for my deck since it can deal damage directly to the other player.

Desert: a mana-generating land that can also be used to damage attacking creatures.

Solifuge: a moderately-expensive critter known for being untargetable by spells and able to attack on the turn it comes into play. Plus, it tramples. Strong against control decks.

Dryad Sophisticate: a creature that is unblockable when attacking a player with a non-basic land in play.

Akroma: an expensive legendary Angel that is almost impossible to kill in combat and hard to kill with spells. A powerful control deck win condition.

Remand & Snag: Remand and Rune Snag, two different counterspell-type cards. Staples of most blue-based control decks.


The first match was against U/W control. The first game was won by playing one critter at a time when possible and chipping away until I could land a final blow. I sided out Resize and a Force for my three Solifuges. The second game he got Sacred Mesa well before I could kill him, and got crushed. So I sided out two more Forces for my two sideboarded Squall Lines (like I should have done in the first place, really). This game proceeded much like the first one until he dropped Mesa. I had a Solifuge out, and he's at roughly 7. Luckily for me, I had a Squall Line in hand - I swung and squalled away the token (doing 2 in the process). He drew and conceeded, since he couldn't make enough tokens to avoid dying to trample damage.

1-0 (2-1)

The second match was against a funky Thallid/Forcemage/Gargadon/Pandemonium combo deck. Both games were basically the same: I had bigger creatures and got them out fast enough that he could never assemble a combo in time. What little quick aggro he had was stopped cold by Desert.

2-0 (4-1)

The third match was against a Gruul aggro deck that I'd seen doing well nearby. These were close games, but in both I was able to seal the deal with Invocation before he could swing and burn me out. Spectral Force also proved to be a house in this matchup, trumping every other creature and being almost unburnable. The main worry was his Dryad Sophisticate + Moldervine Cloak in the second game, when the first land I'd played was Pendelhaven. But I managed to squeak enough through in time to take the game and the match.

3-0 (6-1)

The fourth match was against a U/R/W control deck. The first game he stalled me a bit with removal, but I was able to get out two Moldervine Cloaked Birds. Then he dropped Akroma. Amazingly enough, I was able to swing enough through and block just enough for me to get in a winning strike with a Cloaked Force (lethal even after Akroma's block). This was really close - I was at 6 with no airborne blockers. The second game, unfortunately, was not as interesting. He ran out of point-removal before I ran out of creatures and didn't draw into WoG mana before I killed him. We looked at each others decks after the game, and it turned out that he was missing a number of cards that were not critical but kept it less consistant that it could have been (like 3 WoGs rather than 4). The oddest choice, and the one that I think was simply a mistake, was his lack of countermagic. I'd played around counters during the game, assuming he was running Remand + Snag. He wasn't.

4-0 (8-1)

A number of games were close. Yet I could have afforded a loss here and there and still gotten first. This deck is fast and consistant. I never expected to do this well with it, but it simply flat out beat the opposition (my play didn't hurt either - a number of games could have been lost if I'd made subpar choices, and this was by far one of my best outings in terms of play skill).

I also sat down with a friend after the last match and played against his Boros build. I shut down his early aggro with Deserts and then dropped a couple Spectral Forces. I think that I finished it with Invocation on my second Force. It wasn't really close.

Now, I did get somewhat lucky. I didn't get paired against many decks that could attack my early mana creatures, nor that could overpower the bulk of my creature strength (Force beats everything, but 3/4+ beats up on the rest of my creatures). Neither were there any Dragonstorm or Snow White decks in sight (thank god - no one wants to play against them, or to use the decks themselves it seems). I was able to beat U/W control though, which is the most prevalent deck type at my FNM venue.

In terms of my deck, I'm simply very happy with it. The only change I'd consider is another Solifuge in the sideboard (I sided them in for every control matchup). Serrated Arrows was unimpressive, but I'm not sure what else to use, and it could prove useful against decks with more utility creatures. Maindeck, I wouldn't change anything. Moldervine Cloak was amazing, especially the Dredge aspect. I never drew the Resizes unfortunately, so I can't comment on them. They're really the only thing that isn't set in stone at this point.

This is, overall, a very solid deck. I can't say that it's budget with the inclusion of Birds of Paradise, but it's much cheaper than buying or trading for the new dual-lands.
 
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Simon Johnston
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Nice report.

Quote:
This is, overall, a very solid deck. I can't say that it's budget with the inclusion of Birds of Paradise, but it's much cheaper than buying or trading for the new dual-lands.

There's always the budget option of Boreal Druid.


Quote:
I never drew the Resizes unfortunately, so I can't comment on them. They're really the only thing that isn't set in stone at this point.

I think Resize is worse than either Gather Courage (which can protect your T1 mana-dude from burn) or Might of Old Krosa (which is better for racing).


Quote:
Neither were there any Dragonstorm or Snow White decks in sight

Splash black for Persecute perhaps? Unfortunately that requires those pesky dual lands...
 
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Eliot Hemingway
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1) Running both Boreal Druid and Desert makes this deck embarrasingly vulnerable to color-screw. In a mono-color deck. Birds also has evasion, which is extremely good with pump spells. Yes, you could use the druid - I originally planned to, in fact - but the deck would definately feel the lack of birds.

2) Resize is card advantage, especially against other aggro. It will probably leave for some of the impressive-looking creatures coming up in Planar Chaos, but for now it certainly works better than Might of Old Krosa (Gather Courage I haven't tested). My deck is a Scrybforce variant, and thus gets less milage out of cheap pump spells than a hyper-aggro weenie style MGA.

3) If I had to use another color, I'd add blue. There are proven U/G lists out there that include blue counters and Psionic Blast, and Trickbind is superb against Dragonstorm.
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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Corbeau wrote:
1) Running both Boreal Druid and Desert makes this deck embarrasingly vulnerable to color-screw. In a mono-color deck. Birds also has evasion, which is extremely good with pump spells. Yes, you could use the druid - I originally planned to, in fact - but the deck would definately feel the lack of birds.

2) Resize is card advantage, especially against other aggro. It will probably leave for some of the impressive-looking creatures coming up in Planar Chaos, but for now it certainly works better than Might of Old Krosa (Gather Courage I haven't tested). My deck is a Scrybforce variant, and thus gets less milage out of cheap pump spells than a hyper-aggro weenie style MGA.

3) If I had to use another color, I'd add blue. There are proven U/G lists out there that include blue counters and Psionic Blast, and Trickbind is superb against Dragonstorm.


Gather Courage should be option 1. Its not card advantage, but it usually makes opponents waste removal. And it protects early mana creatures. Not as much about the pump, but its utility.
 
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Matthew Watson
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Interesting report! Thanks for posting it.

Now, if only I could get rid of my Warcraft addiction, I might get back to my MtG Online addiction.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Man, I miss playing Magic! They reprinted Psi-Blast? I would definitley splash blue for a few counters and that direct damage in that type of deck. Then again, I don't know any of the cards, so I should say I'd look to splash blue...

Especially if you're using Birds anyway.
 
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Eliot Hemingway
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Oh, trust me, U/G Scrybforce is better than Mono-G. The only reason that I don't play it is the expense of dual lands coupled with the insane cost of Psionic Blast these days (don't know why since only Scrybforce runs them, but...).

In fact, I took this deck to Friday Night Magic on the 5th. This time there were more people - roughly 16. I did not do as well. I got paired against two U/W control decks in a row, and couldn't overcome shaky starts (the T1 mana-critter T2 3-drop just never lined up well, and I actually had to mull several hands due to lack of colored mana). I also played worse, making some mistakes that were simply stupid.

Still, it could be worse. I saw a Boros deck, with sideboarded Worship in play, lose a game to a Thallid deck.

I finished 2-2, winning against mediocre competition after dropping the first two matches against U/W control. The deck that finally won the turny was a U/G Scrybforce deck.

As a result of those games, I made a few changes to my deck. I pulled the maindeck Resizes and Squall Line in favor of 3 maindeck Solifuges (I don't like dropping game 1 to control by default, and several times I could have won if I'd had another threat instead of a pump spell). To replace the sideboard vacancy I added 3 Ghost Quarter, which I side in to replace Desert in control matchups. Shooting up manabases, especially the Urzatron, is good.
 
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Hunter Shelburne
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Corbeau wrote:
]

As a result of those games, I made a few changes to my deck. I pulled the maindeck Resizes and Squall Line in favor of 3 maindeck Solifuges (I don't like dropping game 1 to control by default, and several times I could have won if I'd had another threat instead of a pump spell). To replace the sideboard vacancy I added 3 Ghost Quarter, which I side in to replace Desert in control matchups. Shooting up manabases, especially the Urzatron, is good.


Yeah, good choice on the Ghost Quarters. At State Champs, when I saw Aggro minues burn and counters (IE scrubbier aggro) if they didn't pack something to mess with my Urzatron, they just died fast. Wildfire was a killer.
 
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