Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Standard Ixalan UG Explore

I have taken this deck as far as I could with this limited Standard. There are many decks that are better than it, and I could also play it more, but at this stage I am only surveying the new set, and that may even be all I do before Standard gets more sets. This is the first go at it. It lost a lot.

I added some defensive and offensive cards, and now the deck does not lose as much.

Here is a win. I was able to hit hard early. I got lucky that my opponent had a late game that I could beat.

I could lose one creature a turn to their big critter and continue to edge closer to a win.

Here is a close-up.

And then I was able to counter Walking Ballista.

Yeah, that was fun.

Here I lost against a deck that must have been playing Approach of the Second Sun, even though none got cast. My opponent could temporarily exile and do so often enough to slow me down by a lot.

Gideon's Intervention naming Siren Lookout and Hostile Desert (after I attacked with it to almost win the game) broke my advance.

And even though I took out one Torment of Scarabs, there were two more to win the game.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Standard Ixalan UR Dinosaurs

Following the theme of UG Merfolk, the enemy color decks have a strictly worse manabase than the friendly color decks. Still, this deck is stronger than the Merfolk deck, I just need to play it better.

I was able to beat a deck with no flyers, but that should be no surprise. My opponent stalled to see if I would concede instead. This is a common technique by players online who care about their constructed point score.

The more interesting games were two I lost against decks I may build later. The first one is a mono-blue deck. I was wondering what the big critter would be at the end. I show Field of Ruin taking out one of the flip lands (Treasure Map).

With two of Pacification Array (battlecruiser Icy Manipulator), I get my two critters tapped every turn.

Once my opponent played their first Mechanized Production, I knew the game plan, and there was nothing I could do about it with the configuration of this deck I was playing.

Six artifacts with the same name, and two to go. Nice deck!

I also lost against an explore deck (which is definitely on my list of decks to build). The deck uses Wildgrowth Walker (Whenever a creature you control explores, put a +1/+1 counter on Wildgrowth Walker and you gain 3 life.) as the big creature that gets buff when creatures explore. The deck uses these three explore creatures: Merfolk Branchwalker, Ixalli's Diviner, Siren Lookout. The deck uses Siren's Ruse to protect it's creatures, and Shaper's Sanctuary to draw cards when the deck's creatures are targeted. I love it. Another great deck.

Standard Ixalan UG Merfolk

If we get better UG lands in the next set, this deck will be a better deck. It also needs a Merfolk lord, a better mana dork, and Naturalize.... it needs a lot more support. Yes, there are some money cards that make it better, but I wish it would work as a casual deck, and it did not work for me. Oh, and all of the 'add counters' spells in this Standard want you to have two or three Merfolk on the board. Because the deck has such a slow manabase, and is just battlecruiser slow, if you are playing against any target removal, you will be dead real quick.

Here is an example of how weak this deck is against removal. I start with a reasonable, yet slow position.

After enough target removal, I am top-decking and have no Merfolk left. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Many Ways to Name a Card in Current Standard

We went from not having that many ways to do so, to having many.

The cards are:

Sorcerous Spyglass (As Sorcerous Spyglass enters the battlefield, look at an opponent's hand, then choose any card name. Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.)

Desert's Hold (Enchant creature When Desert's Hold enters the battlefield, if you control a Desert or there is a Desert card in your graveyard, you gain 3 life. Enchanted creature can't attack or block, and its activated abilities can't be activated.)

Lost Legacy (Choose a nonartifact, nonland card name. Search target player's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with that name and exile them. That player shuffles his or her library, then draws a card for each card exiled from hand this way.)

Ixalan's Binding (When Ixalan's Binding enters the battlefield, exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Ixalan's Binding leaves the battlefield. Your opponents can't cast spells with the same name as the exiled card.)

Gideon's Intervention (As Gideon's Intervention enters the battlefield, choose a card name. Your opponents can't cast spells with the chosen name. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and permanents you control by sources with the chosen name.)

I lost a match against an Approach of the Second Sun (6W Sorcery If Approach of the Second Sun was cast from your hand and you've cast another spell named Approach of the Second Sun this game, you win the game. Otherwise, put Approach of the Second Sun into its owner's library seventh from the top and you gain 7 life.) deck. The games took a long time, and I was playing one of my casual janky Pirate decks... a good way to watch your opponent's deck show off in all it's glory. Here is the first game.

Here is the second game. I countered the fist Approach of the Second Sun, and my opponent resorted to Guideon as the alternate win condition.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Standard Grixis Ixalan Pirates

This is my second attempt to make Admiral Beckett Brass worth playing, and it just isn't. It has similar mana restrictions to Siege Rhino, but it fails to deliver. The Admiral gets removed easily and does not deliver anything by itself.

The poor Admiral yields nothing by herself, and gets removed easily. Boo Hoo Hoo.

Here I get board-wiped.

Yet my opponent gives up because thanks to Hostile Desert, I can swing in the late game right after a board wipe.

In this other game against yet another control deck, all my Pirates get removed.

At this point, my opponent gave up. My deck had plenty of gas to keep going.

I also lost against several other control decks. Each one was able to wipe me at just the right time for them, and the wrong time for me. Dynavolt Tower is great in this deck, and with ways to build up energy, the removal was very effective against me.

This deck will be much better without the Admiral, unless I learn more about Ixalan and come up with a smarter way to play it.

Standard UR Ixalan Pirates

Here is another take at two-color Pirates. I was trying to use Saheeli Rae just because I have a playset, but that didn't work so well. It was worth a try.

This deck IS able to keep casting Pirates, and has enough interactions to continue to deliver damage. Here my opponent gave up. As will all poorly-constructed or unlucjy Red Deck Wins (RDW) decks, if the RDW deck runs out of gas before winning, it just flops.

Standard UB Ixalan Pirates

I started with Grixis (UBR) splashing Red to cast Admiral Beckett Brass, but the admiral is quite clunky with the current manabase. Once I took red out, the deck became fluid, fast, and a lot more playable. This is only a first round of early deckbuilding. If I have time, I will remake this deck with more cards from the other sets in Standard to make this deck even better. At this point, it's a learner deck to master the new cards.

The flip enchantments take a while to trigger. My deck was much faster in the following game.

Much faster...