In a Gruesome Encore of yesterday, I’m running back the UW matchup. The way I see it, if your deck loses to Cawblade, why play it? The sad truth is that walking in with a bad Cawblade matchup is just asking for trouble. Cawblade is almost 30% of the field, if not more, and once you are 4-0 it’s probably closer to half the field. So, keeping that in mind, I went back to the drawing board.
Here is the list I fought with:
I cut Khalni Heart Expedition, which was always horrible, and instead tried to accelerate with Lotus Cobra. The sideboard was changed as well, and the new plan involves Koth and Tumble Magnet. Let’s see how I did:
To see the rest of this deck’s matchups, as well as the current Running the Gauntlet series, click here!
And once again, I got pretty smashed.
These didn’t seem to change much, though I liked how Cobra played out a lot more than Khalni Heart Expedition. It ramped well enough, and let me threaten to hit six mana much earlier. I still think game one is decent for Valakut, but that was never the problem.
I know the sideboarding looks messy, but there really aren’t many options. I wouldn’t cut anything that wasn’t Cobra or Bolt, and I did experiment with cutting all or none of the Cobras. Either way, things are grim.
The same ugly problem reared its head: I needed more than Cawblade did to win, and with less fixing. Koth was fine but never insane, especially due to Inkmoth Nexus, and the whole Trap/Titan plan just fell apart when faced with the extra counterspells. Missing on Trap sucks, and past a certain point even resolving a Titan doesn’t help. Inkmoth Nexus was actually absurd, and at one point Matt commented that he would rather have a Nexus than a Tectonic Edge against Valakut. That being the case, it is hard to argue with playing 3-4 Nexus in Cawblade.
Tumble Magnet wasn’t bad, though the 3-cc makes me only want two, and Nature’s Claim was still its mediocre self. Honestly, I don’t know what else to try with “standard” Valakut, since all the cheap threats (Koth, Oracle) just don’t do enough once past turn three or four, and lategame threats are too expensive (once you consider the 11 Titans/Traps already in the deck).
Instead, I’m going to try a new strategy. I’ve seen rumors of an “aggro” Valakut list, and in fact even lost to it in a Daily Event while piloting Cawblade, so I think that’s the next step. This has some implications.
First, I’m going to try playing a beatdown deck with six mana threats and ramp spells. That’s a joke, right?
Second, am I really saying that regular Valakut is unplayable?
Yes, that is indeed what I’m saying. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but right now I don’t see Valakut being a legitimate choice. Those are strong words, but I stand by them. The Cawblade matchup seems bad, and having a bad Cawblade matchup is just not an option if you have goals like “winning the tournament” or “having a positive record”.
Sad, but true, and the new cards spoiled today don’t give me any reason to believe this is going to change.
Aside on spoilers: I would like to echo the sentiment many have expressed regarding full-scale spoilers like this. They suck. They take fun away from everyone who wants to discover the set piece by piece, and they overall make it much less interesting. I was looking forward to the Magicthegathering.com preview week, and finding out new cards every day, and now that’s lost a lot of its luster. The cat’s out of the bag, and I’m not going to try and pretend the spoiler isn’t out (or that I haven’t read it multiple times), I just wish it wasn’t this way.End Aside
After a one-day break, I’ll be back Thursday with Aggro Valakut (I can’t stop shaking my head at the name of the deck I’m legitimately going to try, but try I will), and we shall see if that can put a dent in Cawblade’s armor.