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Subject: Jund vs Esper vs Grixis, a 3 player seesaw battle rss

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Jeremy Koopmans
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St Albert
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After a great game of Agricola, a typical games night was winding down. Two of the four players headed for the door, as the night was fairly late already for a Monday night. The remaining player pulled out his magic deck which he'd recently upgraded for more Esper artificat shenanigans and challenged me to a match. The wife wasn't home yet, so I readily accepted. One of the other players had just finished tying his shoes, but perked up at the mention of some Magic to be played. The other had already left, so we would miss out on the possiblity of some 2 Headed Giant, but we decided to play 3 players instead, with the restriction that you could only send your creatures to attack left.

The decks that came out were all Shards of Alara block only (as all three of us are new to the game), but bear slightly different pedigrees as to their construction. First up is Esper, which was the result of Shards/Conflux/Conflux draft plus a bunch of other cards purchased after the fact specifically to flesh out this artifact deck. Second up was a green/red Jund deck which was built by combining the Jund intro pack from Shards of Alara and the Rumbler intro pack from Alara Reborn. I opted to play my Grixis deck which was built from Grixis theme deck from Shards of Alara plus cards from the aforementioned draft and another booster or two.

And so we setup around the table, with the turn order being Jund, Esper and then Grixis last. I look at my opening hand and opt to keep it despite it being 5 land, 1 creature, and one 1 spell as I've got all my colours available and don't want to be mana screwed later.

The first couple turns are relatively uneventful with mostly land being played. Early on, I'm afraid of Esper as he's going to be attacking me and I don't know what tricks he's got up his sleeve, so I send an early Blightning his way to try and slow him down. In retrospect, I should have opted to play my one creature a turn earlier, but hey.

At this point, Jund explodes out with a bunch of creatures and swings in for eight damage. Esper doesn't have any creatures, and seems to be having mana issues. He's got a Marble Chalice to give himself back one life per turn, but a turn later, he's down to two life as Jund smashes in again for eight.

I get out a couple of creatures, but am regretting that early Blightning as Esper is on the verge of being eliminated, and I'm not sure I'm ready to go head to head against Jund. Jund looks at my creatures as is worried about not having any defense against me, so doesn't attack all out. Esper unsummons his attacker and survives the turn.

Esper now stabilizes and gets out a couple key creatures, including Windwright Mage, a 2/2 flyer with lifelink. I've managed to get in a couple of key hits over the past few turns, and Jund is down to four life, but has managed to get a bunch of key creatures out which are growing bigger and bigger as other creatures go the graveyard. He is also able to send some damage to players every time that happens and between that, Esper's Windwright Mage, and drawing only land for a bunch of turns, I'm in a world of hurt.

The lifelink on that mage that I can't block has given Esper an abundance of life and he's back up around 20 life. Things are looking grim as Esper puts a Sharding Sphinx into play so he'll start making more fliers every time he does damage to me. Fortunately, I draw a Blood Cultist and am able to start picking off all the 1/1 fliers. This has the downside of growing Jund's Rockslide Elemental to even higher levels of ridiculousness, despite it being unsummoned twice already.

I still don't have a good answer for all the fliers Esper is drawing and creating until I draw Vein Drinker next turn. Suddenly I have a very good way of picking them off one by one. Jund is now in big trouble as he's only got 4 life still, and my Vein Drinker can fly in for the coup de grace at any point. Luckily for him, his creatures are all that is holding back Esper from charging across my front line, so I have to keep him alive for now.

Esper drops a Sphinx Sovereign to replace his Sharding Sphinx and other lost fliers. At this point, my Vein Drinker has only grown to a 6/6 and matches the Sovereign. Esper opts not to attack in with Sphinx, as leaving him untapped will gain Esper three life. Here, Esper makes a critical mistake, as I am able to grow my Vein Drinker to a 7/7 at the end of his turn, and take out the Sovereign on my turn.

Jund crashes into Esper, knowing that Esper will have to block with all his remaining guys just to stay alive and have his Hissing Iguanar send enough damage my way to kill me, as I've dropped to three life at this stage. Fortunately, I left my Blood Cultist untapped for just this purpose, and kill the Iguanar before Esper's remaining troops hit the graveyard.

Esper draws a blank, leaving me to send the Vein Drinker over Jund's 10/10 and 15/15 guys and remove him from the game. Esper has no creatures on the board and doesn't draw anything to stop my guys from crashing in and killing him two turns later.

All in all, a game of crazy ups and downs, with each player being on the verge of being eliminated at some point. I was a bit sad that I didn't draw my Blood Tyrant, although given my precarious life title towards the end, maybe that was a good thing.
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Clement Tey
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I'm an ex-Magic player but I have no idea what you're talking about. Either your friends have really wierd names or.. I just have no idea what's going on..
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Jeremy Koopmans
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St Albert
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The latest block, Shards of Alara, is based on the premise that the plane of Alara was fractured into 5 shards. Each shard only has access to three of the colours. Jund is red/black/green, Esper is blue/white/black, and Grixis is black/red/blue. Each shard has dominant colour and none of the opposed colours for that colour.

With the Conflux set, the shards start to crash back into each other and with the final set, Alara Reborn, a new Alara appears with those shards now merged into a single plane once more.

I chose to name the players based on the shards their decks were built from.
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Clement Tey
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Thanks! I can follow your report now!

EDIT: The only card I recognise is Unsummon. Amazing to see that it's been around for more than 10 years already..
 
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