Saturday, August 4, 2012

Grixis Arcane Melee: A month of refinement (and losing)

The last (read: first) post I made on here was met with a surprising amount of success, believe it or not. I was pretty shocked with how many people cared about my stupid deck. So it seemed natural to just ignore it and not write here again for another month or so. You know, just to make sure I kept absolutely no momentum. Hey, this way nobody will expect anything of me. I could try to make promises about starting to follow a schedule and posting regularly and I could certainly try to convince you guys to subscribe, but I'm gonna go ahead and... uh, not. Do that. So, sporadic update number two, GOGO!

I suppose the thing to do here would be to start with a deck list. When last we spoke, I had started with Steve Guillerm's list and was looking forward at M13 cards to come. With the M13 Core Set now decidedly Out, and with the pros beginning to delve into the (surprisingly deep) implications of the cards that have seen serious play, I've made what I hope could be considered some progress with the mainboard. The sideboard is still a disgusting hulking monstrosity that we're gonna gracefully pass over without another word.

Anyway! Here you go:

The core (7):
3x Arcane Melee
3x Mystic Retrieval
1x Runic Repetition

The ramp (3):
3x Vessel of Endless Rest

The control (13):
2x Galvanic Blast
2x Whipflare
2x Blasphemous Act
2x Doom Blade
1x Go for the Throat
2x Devil's Play
2x Burning Vengeance

The dig (12):
3x Forbidden Alchemy
3x Faithless Lotting
2x Think Twice
4x Augur of Bolas

Nicol Bolas (1):
1x Nicol Bolas

The untouched manabase (24):
4x Sulfur Falls
2x Dragonskull Summit
2x Drowned Catacomb
6x Mountain
6x Island
1x Swamp
2x Evolving Wilds
1x Shimmering Grotto

Not done. It's really bad, you don't want to see mine. I promise.
That said, here's some cards that should maybe probably go in there:
1x Runic Repetition (against graveyard hate)
somex Pillar of Flame
a couplex Nihil Spellbomb
one or twox Ancient Grudge
Ax Negate or two

So yeah.

I've gone in quite a few directions to end up where I am now with the deck. Let's go through the stuff I've tried so far. Yay, bullet points! My favorite.
  • Stuffy Doll: Yes, I did dome somebody for 26 with Stuffy Doll. Yes, it was awesome. Yes, he was mana-screwed. This needs to not happen. Verdict: Dumb.
  • Rewind: To expensive. We really don't care that much about countermagic, and too much of our stuff is at sorcery-speed to care much about untapping lands on the opponent's turn. Verdict: Super-dumb.
  • Gilded Lotus: I'm really not sure. Conveniently, it's a 5-drop, meaning we can actually cast it on turn 4 after a turn 3 Vessel of Endless Rest. Having 9 mana on turn 5 is a very beautiful thing in this deck, because we really shouldn't ever run out of cards (unless after drawing 2 Augur of Bolas and a Faithless Looting and a Think Twice, you find yourself with all 4 exiled on turn 15 with 10 land, Burning Vengeance and Arcane Melee on the board, and absolutely no spells to cast. Man, fuck that game). *ahem.* Problem is, I can't fit this card anywhere. There's just too much stuff. Verdict: Potentially not totally dumb.
  • The black-focused stuff (Lilliana of the Dark Realms, Murder, Mutilate, etc.): Maybe we end up a little darker in RtR (which I'm fuckin' SO EXCITED FOR by the way!), but with only one swamp in the deck and no Shock Lands, it ain't happening. Verdict: Dumb. For now.
  • Griselbrand: What? No.
  • Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker: Is a really good card. Really, really good. He's awfully difficult to cast, though, so if we're in trouble early and see him in our hand he's more than likely going to be 'Looted away. The perfect singleton. Verdict: Pretty cool!
  • Karn Liberated: The difference between 7 and 8 mana is pretty big, and every once in a while you find yourself at 8 with only 1 black source. Two Nicol Bolas would be pretty bad, he's just too difficult to cast. Karn is a bit easier, and can be much better than Bolas situationally (not a word, don't care). I like doing 1 of each right now, I just don't what to cut to get him in. Verdict: Also pretty cool!
  • Talrand, the Sky Summoner: I messed around with him very briefly, and he didn't impress me here. I don't like the 4-mana slot. You'll notice that there are no creature threats in the deck. This leaves a lot of decks with quite a few dead cards that become very-much alive when he hits the board. Now, this creates an interesting opportunity for sideboard shenanigans when they side out all of their creature hate, so I haven't by any means written him off. Verdict: Needs more thought.
  • Augur of Bolas: Guys. I'm in love. I've been swept off my feet. I didn't even mention him last month. He just didn't catch my eye. Now that friggin' DELVER is running him, I jumped on the bandwagon and realized how incredibly happy this guy makes me when I cast him. Tapping those two lands I feel a little flutter in my heart. This is made even better when I cast Whipflare and they stick around to block the big stuff, and better still when they make my Blasphemous Acts cheaper and I completely blow out the scrubs who DARED face them. It's just perfect (and so cheap! 2 mana! Such a deal!).  Awesome Level: So Awesome.
I'm getting pretty sick of writing at this point (it's hard!), but I suppose I should do a quick FNM report before I sign off here.

Match 1:
U/W Delver. The real one. Now, I won't JUST attribute to the deck being awesome and having a kick-ass matchup here, as the guy I played against was pretty bad. But I definitely held my own. He nearly flipped the table in a 35(ish) minute game 1 where I shut down every threat he had. Two Augur of Bolas do a very nice job against an unequipped Geist of Saint Traft (as does the Legend Rule. More on that in a bit), and Whipflare certainly doesn't hurt. I had all the answers I needed, and eventually whittled him down to 0 with Devil's Play and Burning Vengeance (or just Burning V, as my girlfriend and I call it). We took it to extra turns in game 2, but he randomly whipped out a Sun Titan from his sideboard and I couldn't really deal with it at that point. So we drew. Fun stuff...

G/W Humans: The kids was pretty bad, I got paired down to 0-1. Everything went according to plan in game 1 and 3, and I won the match by hitting him twice with his own Hero of Bladehold. Game 2, however, I drew one land in my opening 7. I mulled to 6 and drew none. Five, none. Four, none. Three... three lands. Fuck you deck.

R/G Elf Ramp: Killed his dudes and won game one. Game two, however, was the one I mentioned earlier. By turn 15 I had all the land I could need, two Augur of Bolas in the graveyard from my own board wipes, and a Faithless Looting and Think Twice exiled after flashing them both back. Now I don't know what the odds are of me completely running out of gas and having exactly zero spells to cast after that, but I know they're low. He had no idea what a bad spot I was in and was still tilted from being crushed the first game and a half. But as I went into fucking top-deck mode, things worked out just fine for him. It was absolutely bizarre. I'd go so far as to call it an anomaly. Whatever that means.

Oh yeah and he won game three. I don't even know what happened there. I dropped after that and watched my friend 3-1 the first FNM he ever played in with his stupid-ass B/R vampire deck that I built with him. Fuckin' dick.

Anyway. Yeah. Arcane Melee. It's fun, or something. Go play it.


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