The last week of the Armada Games’ EDH League was on me, and after Merieke’s showing was only mezzo-mezzo last week, I decided to simply play the deck I love the most: Kresh. I ported over a few cards from the Darigaaz deck–most notably Nezumi Graverobber. It seemed like I’d seen a fair amount of creature recursion from graveyards, so I figured that I wouldn’t mind making use of other folks’ stuff. Graverobber is less about hate and more about usage. Bringing in someone else’s Eternal Witness seems full of win.
In the standings, I’m clinging to a slim 4-point lead over Todd (and 10 over Brennan). I thought that wasn’t much, since I had seen Todd really run it up last week with his Rith deck. I would need a good showing and hope that Todd and Brennan couldn’t pile up big numbers.
The turnout was lighter than normal, 10 players, which I attribute to school starting that day. We were split into two tables of five–seems like my objection to pods of three was heard. I was seated with shop owner Aaron (Sharuum), Patrick (the awesome choice of Rune-Tail), Keith (Doran), and Robert (Scion of the Ur-Dragon). It was Robert’s first week playing with us. He’s an FNM regular and given to playing wacky decks, so I was looking forward to see what he had cooked up.
I don’t have the list of which awards got crossed off this week, but I remember ABCs was one of them.
Patrick wins the roll, and we get right to it. I keep an all-green hand: 2 Forest, Vesuva, Solemn Simulacrum, Nantuko Vigilante, Acidic Slime, and Lurking Predators. Seems like I can get a start from that.
Patrick: Bushi Tenderfoot.
Robert: Stomping Ground.
Aaron: Faerie Conclave.
Seems like this one’s going to start quickly.
Patrick: Plains, no 2 drop.
Patrick: Rune-Tail. Flips right away. It’s on!
Aaron: Cephalid Colisseum and taps it (39) to play [card Solemn Simulacrum]Jens[/card].
Patrick: Voice of Grace.
Keith: Jens (I’ll wait while you look it up). [Looked it up; doesn’t exist. 🙁 More on this later -Riki] Extremely saucy.
Robert: Nothing. Confesses to a hand of 6-cost stuff.
Me: Jens (and a point for Better Late Than Never).
Aaron: Trinket Mage, announcing he’s going to go get Sol Ring. He starts searching from the bottom of his deck, and of course, the Sol Ring is the top card. He takes pain (38) to play it. He attacks me with his Jens, and we trade.
Keith: Silklash Spider. EOT, Robert announces that now is the time to get him out of the game if we want. He plays Summoner’s Pact. We do discuss that it’s a “rule” that if someone plays a Pact, you have to go out of your way to stop them from paying for it. He gets Joiner Adept, and his mana situation starts looking a little better.
Me: Lurking Predators. Love it.
Aaron: Taps pain (37) and asks me if I want to have some fun. I say “sure,” and he casts Enigma Sphinx. I reveal Indrik Stomphowler. The most reasonable target seems to be Warhammer. Unfortunately for me, Aaron’s cascade is into Esper Charm, so he waxes the Predators. He attacks Robert with the Trinket Mage (38).
Patrick: Wall of Glare, coupled with a huge grin. Someone asks if that’s the guy that can block any number, he says yes. He then tells his friend that he can give him the pizza now. He takes the entire box of pizza, leans up against the wall, and starts eating it. He waves Keith onto his turn.
Robert: Joiner Adept.
Robert: Scion. At EOT, I sacrifice the Elder and unmorph to kill Sharuum, getting a point for I’m Cool Too. Strategically, it was a reasonable move (Sharuumis a fat flyer, after all), but at this point, I’ll confess to a little point-grabbing. I figure that I can close out things with a good showing in this game, and since the two guys chasing me are playing in the other pod together, I hope that one will keep down the other.
Me: Fires of Yavimaya, and Acidic Slime, targeting Rune-Tail’s Essence. I figure that I can make him go through the effort of re-casting it, and in the mean time, someone might kill that Wall of Glare. Patrick seems nonplussed and continues eating his pizza.
Aaron: Attacks Keith with Jens, who trades. Casts Angel of Despair and kills the Honor Guard (since he has to target it). [I suspect that this means this card is actually Coalition Honor Guard, although it is also possible that “Coalition Bodyguard” is this card as well -Riki] It seems like he just wants to get the Angel onto the battlefield; I imagine recursion coming sometime soon.
Robert: Obelisk of Jund. Mana worries seem to be over.
Me: Swamp (and a point for Getting to Basics), Kresh (looking for a counterspell that never materializes) and Spawnwrithe (which I think I can get a fair number of guys out of). I attack Aaron with the first (34) and Robert with the latter (34) and get a token. Someone makes mention that Spawnwrithe tokens could get out of hand fast.
Patrick: Battlegrace Angel.
Robert: Broodmate Dragon and a bounceland.
Me: Attack Aaron with 2x Spawnwrithe. He suspects trickery, so he doesn’t block (30). The only trickery was making him think there might be.
Patrick: Recasts Rune-Tail.
Me: Land, go. I definitely want some Kresh defense.
Aaron: [card]Profane Command[/card] for 7, targeting [card scourge of kher ridges]Scourge[/card] for -7/-7, and bringing back [card]Angel of Despair[/card]. The [card angel of despair]Angel[/card] comes in, targeting the [card silklash spider]Spider[/card]. Keith responds by dealing 6 to all flyers. [card kresh the bloodbraided]Kresh[/card] ends up with 20 counters on him. Robert is the only guy without blockers, and Aaron shrugs (he thankfully doesn’t give the insincere apology; I hate it when people do that), then swings at him for the kill. [card kresh the bloodbraided]Kresh[/card] takes one down!!! Wow that was fast. Robert smiles and says he understands. He stays at the table for a while and watches, and then begins retooling his deck.
Keith: Order of Whiteclay and Augur il-Vec. Nice choice on the former. The latter makes me think that he’s just playing stuff so I’ll have to read it. Attacks Aaron with Doran and Scouts. Aaron throws Jens under the bus, mentioning “Jens knew what this was.”
Me: Nezumi Graverobber. I consider dropping the Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in my hand to power up graverobbing, but wait. I see Aaron has only two black sources, so I ask “Has anyone played Urborg yet?” Aaron responds by telling me that he would have definitely played his by now “because I need it.” I keep the thing in my hand. I think it significantly shifts the outcome of the game. He tells me later that he had Consume Spirit in hand.
Patrick: Shield of Kaldra. Someone asks if he is playing the set, and he says “sure.”
Patrick: Finally plays his 7th basic land for the point (seems kind of late in mono-white). Steelshaper Apprentice (which it seems like he’s going to get the Kaldra set with).
Me: I want to recast Kresh. Too bad for me he’s 80 cards down.
Keith: Attacks Aaron with Doran, who once again consents to trade. Aaron raises everyone’s eyebrow by putting Sharuum in the yard. Keith, announcing that he too will be getting the “Fourth Time” point, casts Doran for the third time.
Me: I draw Skullclamp and cast it, but have nothing to equip it to.
Keith: Luminous Guardian. Attacks Patrick for 9 (36).
Me: When I draw Eternal Witness, I play it, getting back Lurking Predators, which I cast, and then drop the Lightning Greaves that I’ve been holding just for this moment–getting the point for “Three’s a Crowd.” I Clamp the Witness.
Aaron: Asks everyone how many cards they have in hand, then Mind Shatters, targeting Patrick, knowing he has the rest of the Kaldra set. He kills Doran (since it’s tapped from Cryptic Command). Attacks Keith with Divinity (32). Aaron goes to 25, making Divinity bigger.
Patrick: Gains life with Ajani but does nothing else.
Me: Graveshell Scarab. Woodfall Primus targeting Academy Ruins (forgetting that he has Crucible in play). Sacrifice Primus to Greater Good so that I have a 5 power guy, so now I get the Straight (Big Game Hunter, Sapling, Thrinax, Graveshell, Primus, Penumbra Wurm). There are no bonus points for having 6 in a row. I cast Anathemancer, targeting Keith (21) and Clamp it. Unless something bad happens at this point, I think I’m in a pretty good position.
Aaron: Attacks me with Gargoyle (29).
Patrick: Myojin of the White. That’s the something bad. He doesn’t blow it, however. Hrm.
Me: I’m not going to be able to stop Patrick from Wrathing, but I can punish him for doing so. I figure I’ll just draw through my deck until I get to the Living Death. I sacrifice Thrinax to Greater Good. I cast Tormod’s Crypt and Grave Pact. Aaron Draining Whelks the latter. I attack Aaron with Woodfall Primus, which he takes (14) and Graveshell which he blocks with Whelk.
Aaron: Cavern Harpy. With the Harpy trigger at the bottom of the stack, Predators gets Mycoloth, but I don’t devour anything. He kills Woodfall Primus with the Liege. Keith sacs Terminal Moiraine to get a land. Cavern Harpy trigger still on the stack, Keith casts Second Sunrise, and my eyes light up–although I have to be a little careful with the number of cards in my library. Even better, the card off Lurking Predators is Bloodshot Cyclops. I sacrifice Big Game Hunter to Greater Good to throw more dudes in the yard. When Second Sunrise resolves, I get back Primus (destroying Crucible) and Big Game Hunter (destroying Whelk). Cavern Harpy bounces itself.
Patrick: Mass Calcify, which isn’t great for me. Cyclops domes Patrick (29). Primus Persists and takes out Academy Ruins.
Keith: Volunteer Reserves. Predators gets Lord of Extinction! He then takes one for the team and casts Retribution of the Meek. I want to throw the Lord at Keith’s skull with Grab the Reins, but someone kills it in response (my notes are a little garbled here). The sacrifice on Grab the Reins is part of the resolution, not the cost (which is why you can steal something from someone and fling it at them).
Me: I ask Aaron how many cards he has in hand, and he says five. I ask him if any of them are bad for me. He refuses to look me in the eye, so I know he has something. I figure I’ll draw it out now and have more opportunity later. I swing at him with the team, and he plays Sudden Spoiling. Forunately, he has no dudes to really wreck me with. I then cast Oversold Cemetery.
Aaron: Nothing, leaving me wondering what he has in his hand.
Patrick: Beacon of Immortality–targeting Aaron! That doubles his life to 26, meaning Patrick gets a point for giving an opponent more than 10 life.
Keith: Cheers when he FINALLY draws his 7th basic land. He casts Doran, and I get Stalking Vengeance. I’m pretty sure that now it’s pretty bad for them.
Me: I Oversold Cemetery back Lord of Extinction (all I need for it to do is resolve, since I have Greater Good and Stalking Vengeance). When I pull Living Death off the top, I still need something, since I can’t actually sacrifice Boom Tube to Greater Good without decking myself (unless it’s the last guy left–then they’d die before my card draw), but my graveyard is so full of dudes by this point, I suspect that I’m OK. I Living Death, which importantly doesn’t get countered. Anathemancer coming back takes Keith down to 4. Aaron, shaking his head at all the insanity, points out that I get a point for Cramped Quarters, since I have like 2/3 of my deck on the table. Spellbreaker Behemoth going down to Greater Good nets me the Scarland Thrinax that I need to safely sacrifice stuff. I have to do it in pieces, but I eventually kill everyone by sacrificing stuff and letting Stalking Vengeance trigger. I eventually get points for the kills, one Overkill (from Lord of Extinction), and a Straight Flush. I end up with 19 points, I think my best single-game showing–and it came at the right time. Keith is second with 5, Aaron has 4, Patrick 2, and Robert 2.
We’ve run a little long on game 1, and Todd announces that he’s got to work very early in the morning and can’t stay. He’s done well enough in round 1 to go table 1 with Brennan, who also did well, and me and Keith. Todd’s a gamer and really wants to stay, but he suspects that the lead I’ve opened is a little too much to jump over in a single game. He suggests that if it were really close, he’d stay and play, but with it being a longshot, he makes the adult decision to head home, since he has a bit of a drive. I’m pretty sure he made the right choice.
I’m seated with Keith again, Brennan, who is now 21 points behind, after putting up a respectable 8 points in game 1, and Jon (previously of the Ib Halfheart), playing Niv-Mizzet. I think Brennan is playing Vorosh after not being happy with [card Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund]Karrthus[/card] last time, but come to find out he’s playing Horde of Notions. This worries me a little more. Brennan is an excellent player, and I can see him killing me quickly and then doing his best to catch me at the expense of everyone else.
I win the roll and keep a crappy hand of three lands, two of which enter the battlefield tapped. We use the Gis mulligan, which means if you can’t play your hand, you set it aside and draw seven more, repeating if needed. This is certainly open to abuse, but our gentleman’s agreement is that if you have 3 mana-producing land, you keep. My first hand has two lands a a Sol Ring, but it’s worth shipping. The second one has the three land, so I keep it. The good news is that I’ll start slow, but I’ll have all three colors of mana from the get-go.
Me: Face-down Vigilante.
Keith: Announces that he’s play “Doran Aggro” this game, and drops his General at first opportunity. I can see him getting a kill or two with it pretty quickly.
Brennan: Land, face-down Morph, which I suspect is Willbender, since I know that’s one of his favorite cards.
Keith: Land, attack Jon (35). Harvest Gwyllion.
Brennan: Land, go.
Me: Land, go.
Keith: Vindicate on Fires, noting that he’s seen what my deck can do with haste. I appreciate that he’s right. Attacks Brennan with both guys (31).
Brennan: Horde of Notions, attack Keith (33). It’s getting chippy already.
Me: My only play is Kresh.
Keith: Benalish Infantry (Banding!!!). Keith is a Level 1 Judge who runs our Constructed FNMs, and he said he was reading up on the rules and came across banding. He notes that M10 combat rules don’t really appreciably change the power of banding.
Brennan: Attacks Jon with Horde. Jon responds with Starstorm for 5, and we all get a point for First Blood (except Jon, obv).
Me: I’m pretty much on the topdeck already. I get Sapling of Colfenor, which should help a little.
Jon: Land, go.
Brennan: Trygon Predator.
Me: Kresh for the second time. Attack Jon with the Sapling (33), revealing Creakwood Liege.
Keith: Border Patrol. I repeat that I think he’s playing cards just so I have to read them.
Me: Cast the Creakwood Liege. Forget to attack.
Brennan: Kodama’s Reach. Reanimate, targeting Keith’s Deathbringer Liege. I target Keith with Scrabbling Claws. Keith takes it for the team. Attacks Jon with Predator. Jon casts Leap of Flame (!) on the Taurean Mauler to block and KILL IT. I’m so excited by the play, I forget the Kresh trigger.
Me: Get a Liege token. My draws get better when I can finally now cast Greater Good.
Jon: Land, go.
Me: Liege token. Attack Brennan with token (28), Keith with Sapling (knowing he has the 1/6 guy). Reveal is land.
Jon: Draw, go.
Keith: Draw, go.
Brennan: Siege-gang Commander.
Me: Same attack, this time 2x tokens at Brennan. He blocks with 2 tokens and then shoots the Liege. I don’t miss Kresh this time (+6).
Jon: Draw, go.
Keith: Do or Die, targeting me. I scratch my head when he splits the Kresh and token into one pile and the Sapling in the other. I choose to destroy the Sapling pile. Brennan smashes his forehead onto the table and Keith facepalms. Jon just giggles.
Jon: Trade Secrets, targeting Brennan. This is one of my least favorite cards to see (if I’m not the other guy drawing cards!). They repeat once. I was worried that Brennan would choose to go deeper. He then casts Exhaustion, targeting Brennan. At EOT, Keith Deeds for 6. I sacrifice the token to Greater Good to put some guys in the yard, then pump up Kresh with Skargg to draw one more. I’ve peeled the Reliquary Tower (I knew it was there from the Sapling), so I’m OK with having 11 cards in hand.
Keith: Kicked Benalish Emissary destroys Urborg. Seems pretty reasonable. Unless he forgot seeing the Tower.
Brennan: He’s Exhausted, so he does nothing.
Me: Reliquary Tower, Suspend Greater Gargadon. Jens, get a Swamp for the Basics point. Sapling attacks Brennan (24).
Jon: Siege-Gang Commander of his own.
Keith: Luminous Guardian.
Me: Nezumi Graverobber and Skullclamp, which goes onto Jens. I now expect someone to Path it. I feel safe playing Akroma’s Memorial since no one countered the Graverobber. Attack Brennan with Sapling, Jon with Jens. Reveal Woodfall Primus. Brennan casts Putrefy on the Memorial. Jon chumps with a token. I draw 3 cards off Jens/Clamp, getting Tormod’s Crypt and Skullclamp.
Jon: Mana Vault.
Keith: Ardent Militia.
Brennan: Puppeteer Clique, getting Jens. Attacks me, and I block with the Sapling (at least I got the Vigilance out of the Memorial). He draws.
Keith: Alpha Kavu, giving him (Invasion) Block Party. At EOT, Brennan flips the Top, getting Putrefy, targeting my Skullclamp. I sacrifice Madrush Cyclops to Gargadon. Brennan then Oonas Jon and gets a 4-for-4.
Me: Withered Wretch, Sprouting Thrinax, and Brooding Saurian (getting 123s). I Top to put my only creature on top, then attack Keith with the Sapling, revealing Nantuko Vigilante, which I play face down. At EOT stuff goes back (I get the Madrush, Jon and Brennan re-exchange lands).
Brennan: Jens and Coalition Relic. Attacks me with Oona and Enigma Sphinx (26).
Jon: Mana Vault (31). Shoots the Graverobber when he draws and then again when he draws another. Kresh +9.
Keith: 7th basic.
Brennan: Bituminous Blast targeting Cyclops. He makes a comment about me not having enough to kill him unless maybe I want to sacrifice everything I have. I’m OK so far; I want to see what he gets off the cascade. It’s Willbender. He’s obviously forgotten about the Vigiliante. I unmorph it to kill the Sphinx (Kresh +14) I sacrifice the Vigilante to Gargadon (Kresh +17) and sacrifice the Thrinax to Gargadon (Kresh +20). I then fling Kresh at Brennan’s face to kill him (also getting Just Enough). I couldn’t have done it without being able to kill a fat artifact creature.
Me: Gargadon comes in. Jon Rewinds it. I cast Woodfall Primus, destroying the Spellbinder and cast Creakwood Liege. Attack Jon with Primus and Keith with Sapling. Jon blocks with Sprite, throws both tokens at Cyclops and one at the Liege. I fling it at Jon’s head (27). One token goes under the Woodfall bus (22). He kills Withered Wretch from the Sprite draw and one from Niv-Mizzet himself. I cast Fires of Yavimaya.
Jon: Untaps Vault. His draw kills Big Game Hunter. Thought Courier draw shoots me (25). Niv is getting painful!
Keith: Spiritmonger. Ah, the classics.
Jon: Pain from Mana Vault (21). Shoot Brooding Saurian with Courier draw, discard Farsight Mask. Telepathy and [card]Compulsive Research[/card]. Kills the Saurian and does 1 to me (23). Dream Leash on my Reliquary Tower. I get “Hey That’s Mine.”
Keith: Land, Doran. Attacks Jon with team. Niv Blocks Spiritmonger, and he taps it to draw and pings Keith (33). He then Grabs the Reins on Luminous Guardian and flings it at Keith (32). Jon to 8.
Me: Attack Jon with Madrush Cyclops and Sapling for the kill (because of Liege) and Keith with Primus (26). Replay Kresh for 4th time.
Keith: Benalish Infantry.
I take the evening and the League by a relatively comfortable margin. Todd, despite not playing game 2 tonight, still finishes second in the League, followed by Brennan and Ben. We agree that next time we see him we’re going to invite Todd to stop vacationing in and start living in the Red Zone.
We’re not going to start a new League until after the Armada Games Tampa $3k tournament, September 19th (PLUG!). I think we’re going to start running the League with Planechase and new awards. Armada owner Aaron Fortino will take care of all the new setup and will have it up on the website in advance of starting the new league.
Saturday the 12th there’s a charity tournament at Armada for the Florida Big Cat Rescue, so if you’re in town, come on out and play to benefit the kitties. I’m hoping to put together a playable Standard-legal Cat deck for the event (I guess Ajani would be a feature). I know the Standard PTQ season is played out, but I’ll be running out something for this event and some FNMs before the rotation–probably something with cascade. Afterward the rotation, I’m hoping that Bant with Rafiq and Finest Hour will still be playable (since it’s really not at the moment due to the crappy mana base).
I’ll have everything I come up with for you next time on “We Play Too.”