Saturday, January 21, 2006

Guildpact Prerelease

What a fun day! Prereleases are pretty much the only (non-online) magic I get to play these days and they're always a blast.

Without further ado here was my card pool (cards included in my deck are in bold):

Blue:
Leyline of Singularity
Train of Thought
Runeboggle
Frazzle
Remand
Crystal Seer
Infiltrator's Magemark
Vedalken Plotter
Grayscale Gharial
Tattered Drake
Stasis Cell
Vedalken Entrancer
Torch Drake

Green:
Greater Mossdog
Gruul Hodorog
Bramble Elemental
Wildsize
Beastmaster's Magemark (x2)
Doubling Season
Dowsing Shaman
Dryad's Caress
Gather Courage
Stone-Seeder Hierophant

Black:
Moonlight Bargain
Disembowl
Douse in Gloom
Strands of Undeath
Roofstalker Wight
Brainspoil
Orzhov Euthanist
Sewerdreg
Shred Memory
Hissing Miasma
Caustic Rain
Cry of Contrition

White:
Harrier Griffin
Ghost Warden
Absolver Thrull (x2)
Veteran Armorer
Benevolent Ancestor
Oathsworn Giant
Lionheart Maverick (x2)
Guardian's Magemark
Dromad Purebred

Red:
Sparkmage Apprentice
Scorched Rusalka
Viashino Slasher
Sabertooth Alley Cat
Fencer's Magemark
Rain of Embers
Seismic Spike
Blockbuster

Gruul:
Gruul Scrapper
Scab-Clan Mauler (x2)
Gruul Signet
Savage Twister
Burning-Tree Bloodscale
Ghor-Clan Savage
Wild Cantor
Streetbreaker Wurm

Selesnya:
Pollenbright Wings
Selesnya Sanctuary
Selesnya Signet

Golgari:
Golgari Rot Farm
Golgari Signet
Golgari Guildmage

Boros:
Flash Conscription
Boros Signet
Thundersong Trumpeter
Searing Meditation (foil)
Boros Swiftblade

Izzit:
Pyromantics
Djinn Illuminatus
Wee Dragonauts
Izzet Signet
Izzet Boilerworks
Leap of Fire

Orzov:
Angel of Despair
Conjurer's Ban
Castigate

Dimir:
Dimir Infiltrator
Consult the Necrosages
Dimir Signet

Artifact:
Spectral Searchlight
Leashling

Land:
Skarrg, the Rage Pits

My mana base was much more solid with this build than any of my opponents (with 6 mountains, 6 forests, and 2 plains supported by various guild kharoos and signets). I saw many four and five color decks throught the day which I felt was not necessary even in this inherently multi-colored format. There's something to be said about playing your best stuff, but I think even with all the color fixing available in Ravnica, it's often best to leave out some bombs for a solid mana base and curve. That said, it's almost impossible to stick to just two colors. So I'm very happy with a solid Gruul build splashing white for access to both Selesnya and Boros.

My other option was to throw black in there. I do have some goods in black (three removal cards) as well as the Angel of Despair and you might consider me crazy for not playing them. But besides those the color is so shallow. Both Angel and Strands can't really be splashed although I could see myself putting in the Disembowl and Douse in Gloom. As it was though, I had a strong bunch of creatures with good acceleration and a handfull of tricks. Ofthen removal wasn't necessary as my guys were the biggest on the board and were backed by pump from Wildsize, Skarrg, and Ghost Warden.

I do think I made a deck constrution mistake in not including the Golgari Guildmage. Even without black he's a good guy. Also, with the Golgari signet and kharoo I'm second guessing myself even more about not going 4 color and splashing for my black goodies (or even dropping white to go more heavy black and get to use the Angel). Of course, without white I loose the Pollenbright Wings, Thundersong Trumpeter, Ghost Warden, and Harrier Griffin--three very solid creatures and a game winning enchantment which all mesh perfectly with my general plan of turning massive red-green men sideways. I feel it's a toss-up but leave a comment! Let me know what you think :).

How did the actual tournament go? Well I called in to record an audioblog entry after each round of the tournament, so I'll let them speak for themselves:
Round One vs Gereth (2-0)
this is an audio post - click to play

Round Two vs Paul(2-0)
this is an audio post - click to play

Round Three vs Ryan(2-1)
this is an audio post - click to play

Round Four vs Zach(1-1-1)
this is an audio post - click to play
So there you have it. An undefeated record with 11 Guildpact packs at the end.

Some impressions of individual cards:


Gruul Scrapper--I was really not impressed with Gruul Scrapper. He just never did anything amazing for me even when he came out with haste. He did fill a spot in my deck where I didn't have much action however.

Streetbreaker Wurm--Go go gadget cheaper Craw Wurm! A beatstick for sure.

Wild Cantor and Scorched Rusalka--Decent one drops on their own to start the beats flowing, amazing when you play Scab-Clan Mauler turn 2.

Ghor-Clan Savage--Another huge beatsitck. With the right deck its pretty easy to make sure this guy will always come out with his counters, just don't try to combo him with Spectral Searchlight :(.

Absolver Thrull--I didn't end up main decking these guys, but I almost always had targets for them and wish that I had. Since I had (almost) no enchantments the worst they could do is be a 2/3 dude. However with Pillory of the Sleepless hanging out with Faith's Fetters, as well as all the Magemarks (which I don't really think are worth playing) there are always targets out there.

Overall I had a great time and loved the set. It provides a lot of answers (like the absolver thrull) which I think makes for very interesting and more skill testing matches. I love the Gruul already, although I would really like to get my hands on some of the Izzet's toys. They look like a very fun guild as well (I really wish I would have had time to do a draft and force Izzet.dec). Ahh well, there's always the Magic Online prerelease in February.

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