Magic the Gathering oriented post. If this isn’t up your alley, come back tomorrow when I’ll most likely visit a different laneway or boulevard.
After all that build up, Amonkhet is finally here! I unintentionally stayed out until just after 5am last night, had maybe three hours sleep then got back up for the 10am pre-release. Who’da thought I’d still be burning the candle at both ends after hitting 30? Most anyone who knows me, probably. In any case, I was shattered this morning and felt like I’d been embalmed. Fitting, given the Egyptian themed set I’d be playing. I prayed to whoever the Egyptian deity of Magic was to either have a solid pool or understanding opponents who wouldn’t mind me making terrible plays all day.
My prayers were answered. Praised be Heka and Isis, you did me a solid one.
My pool was actually pretty decent for most colours. My rares were Sandwurm Convergence, Channeler Initiate, Rags///Riches, Dispossess, Heaven///Earth, Regal Caracal, Plague Belcher and Nissa, Steward of Elements. Like I said, I did well all around. Looking at my blue, it was an easy disqualification. There were a ton of counterspells and good draw, but very few creatures. The red couldn’t muster enough to back up Heaven///Earth, so that went by the wayside too. I liked the look of my green. It had a bunch of early beaters, the Cartouche of Strength, the absurd Exemplar of Strength (that I’m pretty sure snowballs Longtusk Cub style if it gets dropped on curve), Rhonas’s Monument and some tricks. I matched it up with my black and had a look at its curve. I had very little in the way of mana fixing, but considered running Nissa as a small splash. To be honest, it looked marginal. The creatures were fine, but not consistent all the way up the curve. I didn’t have enough removal to make it worth it. Bummed, I cast another look at white. I had the Regal Caracal, which was a house. A couple of cheap conditional removal spells. Oh, and a ton of zombie synergies with black. The Binding Mummy could trigger a bunch with a combination of natural and embalmed zombies. Reluctantly, I put my green away (you’ll still be loved, my Channeler Initiate) and looked at the curve with white. It actually looked a little something like this:
1x Fan Bearer (z)
1x Gust Walker
1x Doomed Dissenter (z)
1x Binding Mummy (z)
2x Cursed Minotaur (z)
2x Unwavering Initiate (z)
1x Blighted Bat (z)
1x Plague Belcher (z)
1x Bone Picker
1x Tab-Crop Elite
1x Grim Strider
1x Regal Caracal
1x Oketra’s Attendant (z)
1x Winged Shepherd
1x Time to Reflect (z)
1x Impeccable Timing
1x Rhonas’s Monument
1x Forsake the Worldly
2x Final Reward
1x Stir the Sands (z)
1x Grasping Dunes
*(z) indicates zombie or zombie synergy.
As you can see, I had a ton of zombies or zombie aligned cards, which were excellent with Binding Mummy, Plague Belcher and Time to Reflect. My curve was reasonably low and had a couple of removal spells to back up my solid creature base. Provided I drew lands, I tended to win games. In fact the only games that I lost were to mana screw (and poor choice of hands to keep, let’s be honest) and even then I managed to come back and stabilise after missing my land drops for several turns in a row. Fun interactions:
Plague Belcher and Doomed Dissenter was my dream curve that never happened. One time I killed the zombie token though. Worth it for a 3 mana 5/4 Menace, plus the Belcher drained my opponent for 1 when it sacrificed itself. I never got to play Plague Bearer and Bone Picker in one turn, but that would’ve been saucy as fuck. A couple of times I had an Unwavering Initiate and Rhonas’s Monument. I’d play the Belcher and pump the Initiate, then drop my counters on it. I’d get to attack for 3, then it’d die at the end of turn (leaving it in the graveyard to embalm later).
Binding Mummy did work. Between Fan Bearer and its bigger mummy, I could play an aggro control game. So often I’d curve out post Binding Mummy with a Cursed Minotaur or Blighted Bat and be the beatdown. If Rhonas’s Monument was in play, things went south quickly. My favourite play of the game was at a potential stall, I’d set up a whole table of lifelinking cats (via the Caracal), dudes and a Tab-Crop Elite ready to exert. The Binding Mummy triggers off zombies coming into play, not zombie spells or some kind of cast trigger. I played Stir the Sands and got my three zombies, tapping down the big threats on his board. I swung in with a pumped up team and took him from 15 to 4 in one barrage. Noting that I also had three zombies back on defence in the event of any counterattack.
Obviously Regal Caracal was a bomb, but I wasn’t expecting to get such a swing from it. Having the backup from Tab-Crop Elite or Rhonas’s Monument really pumped up the amount I gained back, letting me stabilise in dire times. I was constantly worried that my opponent would kill my main kitty, neutering my team in the process, but then I RTFC and realised the tokens naturally have lifelink anyway. Dumb card is dumb.
I never got to use my Winged Shepherd or Gust Walker. I played both of them, but they never had a chance to attack. Either I’d win before Winged Shepherd could do anything (or it was fodder for a Rhonas’s Monument pump), or my opponents would kill Gust Walker on sight. Happened three or so times today. Weird. Card’s good, but not backbreaking. Rhonas’s Monument though, Jeebus. It’s a dumb card, even off colour. +2/+2 and Trample is a huge boost every turn. The boost is one thing, but you disregard how easily it lets you punch through. Your beaters usually just end up bigger than theirs. Heka/Isis forbid I dropped two creatures in one turn. Which I did. Ain’t I a stinker?
All in all I came away with a 3-1 record (reminder: Two land hands are a trap no matter how good they look. Don’t get greedy) and 7 prize packs. I didn’t open anything truly amazing, but got the Prowling Serpopard and Pull from Tomorrow I’d been wanting for EDH. Day well spent.