Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brooklyn FNM

I FNM'ed in Brooklyn for the first time in like a month. Twenty people showed up exactly for the Standard event, and after my first round, I did a bit of scouting. I couldn't identify all 20 decks, but here are the numbers I got.

There were at least...

4 Jund
3 Mythic
1 Chapin UW
1 Valakut
1 Open the Vaults
1 Boss Naya
1 Naya Allies
1 Koros
1 R/bDW +

and there were a few random allies builds and a couple weird black and/or red builds.

But quite a varied field with many people bringing tested decks, so I was quite happy with the meta.

I myself performed poorly, beating Valakut and a random R/b build but losing to Mythic and R/bDW. However I know why I lost those matches, so I didn't feel remotely bad about my final score. I've learned my lessons and moved on.

I stole my Jund build from Manuel Bucher because I really wanted to try out his wicked, sweet list:

4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Master of the Wild Hunt
4 Putrid Leech
4 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Sprouting Thrinax

4 Trace of Abundance
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Blightning
2 Maelstrom Pulse

3 Forest
3 Mountain
2 Swamp
3 Dragonskull Summit
2 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
4 Raging Ravine
1 Rootbound Crag
4 Savage Lands
4 Verdant Catacombs

However, as I was building it, I realized I didn't have 4 Masters. So I changed the manabase like so:
-2 Oran-rief +1 Lavaclaw Reaches +1 Swamp 

But when I got to the place, I was able to borrow 2 Masters but didn't alter my manabase back to the original. How much did this change my matches? Probably not very much, but I am not sure. Oran-riefs are "cool" and stuff, but I figured I'd rather have an additional color-fixer/manland and an additional basic for entering non-tapped purposes. The random Lavaclaw certainly never seemed to be relevant either, but I'm sure it helped fix my mana. 

Playing with Trace of Abundance was a very interesting and fun experience. Probably because my first opponent was a Valakut deck with a LD theme. He blew up a lot of my lands but could never actually prevent my mana from developing. 

In between rounds, I playtested against the UW Tapout deck, and playing Trace of Abundance on a Raging Ravine was basically a game-winning move. In other words, I had 8 "2-drops" that could win me the game. Putrid Leeches and Traces. I found the UW Tapout deck difficult to combat without one of these. But it was nice not having to play around counterspells... knowing all my spells would resolve was a relief. 

Ah, my sideboard. I almost forgot.

Different from Bucher's, but I included his Acidic Slimes just to take 'em for a spin -- I've never had Slimes in my Jund SB ever! 

Without something like Dragon's Claw, though, my matchup against RDW became terrible. I intentionally did this. At the FNM level, I don't really think it's worth devoting a bunch of sideboard cards to the matchup. (There is such a small chance of facing it.) Then again, it might be good to improve the matchup in ways that improve your other matchups at the same time. Suggestions?

Losing to the Mythic deck was vaguely frustrating. After sideboarding, I drew all my Blightnings, which were pretty useless in the matchup. There are definitely reasons to keep in Blightnings, as they're my only "answer" to Thornlings and Sphinxes, which are at the top of the curve and more likely to be hanging around in the last two cards. However Mythic is capable of incredibly fast starts and not doing anything for the first four turns is asking for a beating. 

Sometimes their draw is less awesome (as in slow), and sometimes you can get there. But it's not something to count on. Game one is very hard always since there's so few removal spells before boarding.

Now, to write up my 6-hour long playtest sessions with my friend and playtest partner, Joe Shi! Lots to learn from them.