Last week, I battled Valakut (with no real sideboard for the matchup) against UB, and this week I started off the UB Gauntlet by playing against a very similar Valakut list, this time with a sideboard. Seeing as how UB got swept 5-0 last time, I was interested in playing the matchup some more, to try and see what was really going on.
First, the UB list:
[deck]3 Consecrated Sphinx
2 Wurmcoil Engine
4 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Mana Leak
3 Spreading Seas
3 Go for the Throat
1 Doom Blade
3 Jace Beleren
1 Stoic Rebuttal
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Tectonic Edge
3 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Volition Reins
1 Karn Liberated[/deck]
This seemed like a good a starting point as any, and had all the cards I was interested in trying. I really like starting with 4 Preordain and 4 Inquisition of Kozilek, and it’s the real reason there is any merit to UB as a deck. You get to play 8 one-mana cards that make your deck more consistent and their deck less consistent, as well as giving you more information and letting you sculpt a plan to win any game.
Let’s get to the matches:
I wasn’t unhappy with how these went. I went 3-1, despite Titan resolving in many of the games. That does lead me to think that Spreading Seas is very important, though I’m curious to see if I could run less and still have a good matchup. Between Jace and Sphinx, I was basically able to Doom Blade/Counter/Tec Edge all of his threats without issue, and sit on a 6-drop when all was said and done.
1 jace beleren
1 Inquisition of kozilek
2 solemn simulacrum[/draft]
Just look at the cards I’m taking out! All of them seem decent against Valakut, which ALSO leads me to believe that this list might be a little too slanted in that direction. When the worst cards in the deck are still good, that is definitely something. The package of 3 Flashfreeze and 2 Memoricide is also quite good, and should help the matchup greatly.
These also went 3-1; after losing match one 0-2, I won six games in a row. He always seemed to draw his second Titan the turn before my Memoricide hit, and I was easily able to kill/counter all of his threats. He was running Urabrask, a card choice I no longer like, so that may have been a problem, but even without them I still think this would have gone well.
Overall, I’d say that you should combine the results from both this and last week’s RtG for a more accurate view. If you add them together, Valakut won 6 matches to 3, which is still probably not totally accurate, but it shows that the matchup is a little closer. In fact, this seems as good a time as any to talk about what these matches should be showing.
The numerical results of 3, 4, 5, or even 10 matches are pretty irrelevant. Me going 5-0 on one side of the matchup and 3-1 on the other doesn’t mean that the matchups are skewed, or even that I’m just awesome (though if that’s the conclusion you draw, I won’t argue). It just means that a small sample size doesn’t tell you everything. I don’t think the games are of no value, either. If you watch the videos, you will learn about the matchups, how to play each deck, and what cards are effective/ineffective. Ultimately, that’s a big part of testing. Telling someone that a matchup is 60/40 is a) meaningless and b) often incorrect. What is useful is explaining that UB can attrition Valakut out by using Mana Leak, Doom Blade, Spreading Seas, and Tectonic Edge, then finishing the game with a Sphinx.
Ultimately, I’m not going to record 30 matches of me playing against every matchup; nobody has time to watch all that, and it would just be a waste of my time to get it edited and posted. The best I can do is record these 3-5 match sets, and try and fill in the rest with my explanations. I think you, the reader, get plenty out of that, but just don’t get too hung up on the numbers. They aren’t meaningless, but they aren’t everything.
Getting back to today’s matchup: I’d rather be on the side of UB. It feels like they do a good enough job of trading 1:1, even if a resolved Titan is more like a 2 or 3 for 1, but UB has actual card draw. I don’t really like Valakut’s sideboard options, since they are really the following:
Against Grave Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, or Vampire Nighthawk, Revenge is a joke. It is decent against Sphinx, but that’s it, and with Caw-Blade making a resurgence, Gaea’s Revenge seems even worse. I would highly recommend against it (and Thrun, for the same reasons, except Thrun ALSO loses to Sphinx).
This is probably the best option, since it just straight up counters a counterspell for one red mana. It isn’t exciting, but I don’t think you can do better.
In order to play Summoning Trap, you have to dilute your deck with more giant monsters than I’m happy with, especially because I like playing Green Sun’s Zenith over most of them.
Given that these cards are most of what Valakut has to choose from, I’d rather be on the team that sides in three Counterspells for 1U and 2 Memoricides.
Changes I’d Make
Nothing major here, but I’m going to fiddle with the numbers as the week goes on. Karn and Volition Reins are definitely getting the boot, but past that I’m open to trying new things.
Tomorrow I battle against Vampires, after which I take on the aggressive version of Caw-blade!