Once again I had to skip playing the 60 card decks this week. I’m sure it doesn’t happen much among other 40-somethings (although perhaps a little more likely among the gaming crowd), but my wife, Gretchyn, had an appointment on Friday to get a tattoo, and I wanted to go with her. Tattoos might not seem all that unusual these days, but are a little less likely in her field. You see, Gretchyn is an aerospace engineer (yes, she’s literally a rocket scientist). She works for one of those think-tank places, where body art really isn’t the norm. She designed it herself, and was really excited about getting it, so missing FNM wasn’t a big deal–although I was anxious to try out my build of the Bant Aggro deck featuring Finest Hour. It’s built and waiting to play.
Even though it was a holiday weekend, I figured the gang would still get together for EDH at Anthem games on Sunday. I decided to take the Kresh deck this time. At the League day I wrote about in the previous installment, we had played a few games afterwards with Kresh, and all of them were memorable (although perhaps a little less memorable than the Prince of Thralls shenanigans with the Thraximundar deck). Here’s the list:
At the last minute, I swapped out [card]Magistrates Veto[/card] for AEther Flash. While I like the idea of most decks not being able to block, tokens have become moderately popular at the shop. In particular, Dale, he of the “Group Hug” [card]Phelddagrif[/card] deck, plays a [card]Rhys the Redeemed[/card] deck that is just silly. I figured that since most of my guys are fatties, I’ve could afford some protection from the weenie hordes.
We wait a bit for some folks to show up, but there are only five. We decide to move forward. Just as we’re shuffling, a sixth shows up. Within five minutes, 7 more people have shown, and we have the biggest Sunday EDH turnout since Anthem started doing EDH League on Sundays. We end up with two tables of four and one of five. We talk about how we’re going to do two rounds, and Jeremy, who is a great ambassador for the shop, suggests that the final table be the winners of the three tables and the person playing in their first League event who otherwise has the most kills. This seems a clever suggestion to draw the new guys right into the spirit of things and make them feel part of the community.
I’m seated with Jeremy to me left, playing his new Kiki-Jiki build, and two new guys, Kyle with [card]Captain Sisay[/card], and Manny with [card Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir]Teferi[/card]. Manny tells us he’s getting back into playing “from about Tempest block” and that he’s adapted a 60 card deck to make his first foray into EDH. He needs to borrow about 10 cards to fill out his deck, so we scramble together a few commons and uncommon and he trades for a few more to get to 100.
Kyle wins the roll, and I am the first person to play anything, a turn 3 [card]Fierce Empath[/card]. I look at my grip, which includes [card]Spellbreaker Behemoth[/card] and [card]Mycoloth[/card], so I fetch [card]Paleoloth[/card]. I figure worst case I can run some recursion foolishness with uncounterable fatties. I suspect that Jeremy is the only one playing any real mass destruction, so I’m just going to run the beats. Turn 4 is Kyle’s [card]Captain Sisay[/card], my [card]Bone Shredder[/card] taking out the obvious target, and Jeremy with Rakka-Mar.
Turn 5 sees Kyle playing [card]Glissa Sunseeker[/card], Manny with [card]Theft of Dreams[/card], me with [card]Spellbreaker Behemoth[/card] (after not paying the Bone Shredder’s Echo), drawing a groan from Manny, and Jeremy with [card]Heartless Hidetsugu[/card], which draws a big groan from everyone.
Turn 6 Kyle drops Gaea’s Cradle (which reinforces my idea that he’s not playing too many board sweepers) but doesn’t do anything else. Manny plays his newly-acquired [card]Clone[/card], copying Spellbreaker. I play [card]Paleoloth[/card]. Jeremy plays Kiki-Jiki, and at his EOT, Kyle plays [card]Crop Rotation[/card], swapping a Plains for a [card]Savannah[/card].
Turn 7 Kyle plays [card]Eight-and-a-Half Tails[/card], Manny passes, and I play Kresh. I figure that this game is going to go quickly with Jeremy’s Hidetsugu out, so I’ll need beatings soon. At my EOT, Jeremy activates the Ogre Shaman, and we’re all at half life. On his own turn, Jeremy plays [card]Sword of Fire and Ice[/card] and equips it to Rakka-Mar. Manny’s the only one he can swing at safely, so Jeremy heads that way. Kyle destroys the Sword anyway using the floating mana to play Eladamri’s Call and take a burn.
On turn 8, Kyle does nothing. I realize at this point, I’ve forgotten what he tutored for, but I guess I’ll just see it eventually. Manny plays [card]Treasure Trove[/card]. I play [card]Mycoloth[/card], Devouring the Empath (adding a counter to Kresh) and regrowing [card]Bone Shredder[/card]. I play the [card]Bone Shredder[/card], killing [card]Heartless Hidetsugu[/card] (Kresh up to 5 counters). Jeremy decides, probably correctly, to not activate it, since everyone’s board save mine was weak. I nonetheless attack Jeremy with Behemoth and Paleoloth and Manny with the 8/8 Kresh. Jeremy blocks with Kiki-Jiki and Manny blocks with the Clone of Spellbreaker. The path for my big guys is getting wider-open. Kresh now has 12 counters. Jeremy takes his turn and laments being stuck on 5 land with a bunch of 6 cost things in his hand.
Turn 9, Kyle plays [card]Defense of the Heart[/card]. I know that he’s going to be able to resolve it, so I figure that I’ll take out whomever I can on my turn. Manny doesn’t do anything. I let the Bone Shredder go again, growing Kresh by 1. I put tokens into play from Mycoloth, and swing with the team at Manny for the kill. I play [card]Skullmulcher[/card], devouring the two tokens, triggering Paleoloth (bringing back Bone Shredder again) and giving Kresh counters 14 and 15. The two cards I draw off Skullmulcher are [card]Greater Gargadon[/card] and [card]Demonic Tutor[/card]. I Suspend the former and hang onto the latter. This is the first turn I’ve missed a land drop, so I’m pretty flush, and my plan is to find an answer to whatever Jeremy and/or Kyle come up with. Jeremy, sadly, fails to draw another land and is once again stuck. I feel bad for him, but know I have to kill him next turn in case he has something crazy like [card]Jokulhaups[/card].
Kyle starts turn 10 by resolving [card]Defense of the Heart[/card], getting [card]Akroma, Angel of Wrath[/card] and [card]Eternal Witness[/card], regrowing [card]Reborn Hope[/card], but he does nothing else after he swings with Akroma, taking me to 14. Akroma is problematic, but I feel like I have solutions. On my turn, I see the path to victory. I tutor for [card]Vicious Shadows[/card], then play it. I swing at Jeremy with the team. He responds with [card]Price of Progess[/card], taking me to 10 and Kyle to 9 before he dies. Kyle complains a little about the 6 damage that he eats, but Jeremy explains to him that the game is over anyway. Kyle doesn’t understand, so Jeremy explains that with 5 cards in hand, he’s going to take 5 damage every time a creature goes to the graveyard and that I can just sacrifice guys to [card]Greater Gargadon[/card]. He realizes that he won’t get a turn, and scoops.
Another notch in the [card]Vicious Shadows[/card] belt!!!
We play a casual game while waiting for the other tables to finish, and then find out that there’s been a clean sweep at each table. Jeremy cleverly suggests we just roll a die for all the new guys, and one of them will go to the top bracket. This is a good plan. Manny wins the roll, so he comes with me, Dale (playing Rhys the Redeemed) and Trevor, who is also one of the new guys (playing Teneb). We randomly pair the remaining players into two tables.
In the League, 2/3 of the $3 entry fee goes to that day’s prize pool, and 1/3 goes to the League pool, which means that we’re playing for $26 in store credit. I suggest, especially since we have two new guys, that we split the pool $5 each, and then the winner takes the extra $6. Dale readily agrees, and Manny and Trevor follow.
I win the roll and go first. Dale and I both mulligan, then get playable hands. Turn 2 has Dale play [card]Priest of Titania[/card] and Trevor with [card]Gaeas Herald[/card], which gets a big moan from Manny and a big cheer from me. Turn 3, I play [card]Fierce Empath[/card] and go right for the Gargadon. Dale plays Rhys, Trevor plays [card]Coldsteel Heart[/card], and Manny plays [card]Empyrial Plate[/card]. I then realize that Trevor’s Herald and my Empath are going to enable Dale’s Rhys craziness (I’ve seen the deck really explode, and it will in this game) since they’re both Elves.
Turn 4, I play [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card], get a Mountain (I feel like this game is going to be red-intensive) and swing at Dale with the Empath. Of course, he takes the 1; the extra mana will probably be good for him. He plays [card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/card]. Trevor plays Creakwood Liege, which means he’s going to start generating tokens also. Manny plays Sword of Kaldra. At this point, I realize that no one is playing many board sweepers, save for Dale, who I know from previous games has [card]Martial Coup[/card]. It means I should start trotting guys out there; I know Dale’s army is going to get big fast.
Turn 5, I only have one red source, but it’s [card]Graven Cairns[/card], so I use a Swamps to cycle [card]Forgotten Cave[/card] and Suspend the Gargadon, but don’t do anything else. Dale attacks Manny with Tolsimir and Trevor with Rhys. Manny eats the 3, and Trevor throws the Herald under the bus to further decelerate the Elves. Dale plays Mind’s Eye and passes. I [card]Putrefy[/card] the Mind’s Eye before Trevor’s turn. Trevor plays [card]Jedit Ojanen of Efrava[/card], whose Forestwalky goodness seems bad for me and Dale, then attacks Dale for 2 with the Liege. Manny plays [card]Acquire[/card] targeting me. I don’t have much, but I know I have Akroma’s Memorial. He surprises me by taking the [card]Sol Ring[/card].
Turn 6, I attack Dale with both my guys, the play [card]Skullmulcher[/card], Devouring them both. Dale playing [card]Doubling Season[/card] and I see the wave starting to crest. He also regrows Mind’s Eye. Trevor plays Kodama’s Reach and then [card]Captured Sunlight[/card], Cascading into”¦[card]Living End[/card]. He decides to not play it. He attacks Dale with Jedit and a token. Dale blocks the token with Tolsimir and eats the 5, taking him to 28. Manny plays [card]Mirror Golem[/card]. He says to me “just remove a guy.” I tell him that he should probably take the Empath because there are more things it can do than the Simulacrum; he consents to removing the Elf.
Turn 7, I can play [card]Grave Pact[/card] and [card]Withered Wretch[/card] courtesy of [card]Graven Cairns[/card]. Dale plays [card]Llanowar Elves[/card] and does nothing else. Trevor attacks me with Jedit to go to 34. Manny plays [card]Thoughtcast[/card], then equips the Golem with both the Plate and Shield, but doesn’t attack anyone (good thing he didn’t remove [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card]! – LSV).
Turn 8, I play [card]Gleancrawler[/card]. I think about putting EOT triggers on the stack and then sacrificing my guys to Gargadon, but I hold back. I actually don’t want the Gargadon to come out too quickly. I’d like to save it for tricks and for if and when Dale plays [card]Martial Coup[/card]. At the end of my turn, Dale makes a token with Rhys (which turns into 2 from [card]Doubling Season[/card]). On his turn, he plays [card]Crucible of Worlds[/card], then Wasteland. He then wastes his own [card]Riftstone Portal[/card], and I double check his lands. Before doing that, he only had 1 white source. I brace for Martial Coup, but he replays the Mind’s Eye. Trevor plays [card]Wild Pair[/card] and attacks Dale for 6 with Jedit. He’s building up a little token army of his own. Manny passes his turn without doing anything.
Turn 9, I play [card]Fires of Yavimaya[/card] and [card]Demonic Tutor[/card] for [card]Dragon Broodmother[/card]. I figure if Dale is going to play the Coup now, I’ll have a good restart. Dale does indeed play [card]Martial Coup[/card] with X=5, so he gets 10 tokens. Trevor plays Teneb and the rather odd choice of Oriss, Samite Guardian. Manny plays Isochron Scepter, imprinting Whispers of the Muse.
Dragon Broodmother makes her appearance on Turn 10. Dale, having gotten a second white source, plays the [card]Riftstone Portal[/card] from his graveyard via Crucible. He then plays Mycoloth, devouring 5 tokens, giving [card]Mycoloth[/card] 20 +1/+1 counters, due to Doubling Season. It’s gotten ugly fast. Trevor attacks Dale with Teneb, taking him to 16, then uses the ability to get Manny’s Mirror Golem, removing my [card]Gleancrawler[/card]. Manny plays Teferi on his turn.
I topdeck [card]Bloodshot Cyclops[/card] on turn 11, so I play him with the plan to play Kresh next turn. Dale puts 40 tokens into play from [card]Mycoloth[/card], then plays Garruk, Wildspeaker. I suggest to Manny that if he has a counterspell, now’s the time. He plays Assert Authority. This understandably displeases Dale, so he attacks Manny with 5 tokens and Mycoloth. Manny bounces Mycoloth with [card]Regress[/card], and takes the rest to go to 32. Trevor attacks Dale with Teneb, taking him to 10 and plucking out Tolsimir. The door to Dale is open, since I’ll have enough fliers to take him out. I know that he’s going to crush one of us, and I can’t take the chance it’s going to be me. Manny plays [card]Bottle Gnomes[/card] and [card]Slith Strider[/card], and Evokes [card]Nevermaker[/card] to put Doubling Season back on top of Dale’s library. I’m not sure about the move, but it doesn’t hurt me.
Turn 12 is where things get insane. I play Kresh, then attack Dale for the kill. I know he feels like he got picked on, but when you create 40 tokens in a turn, you’re hardly flying under the radar. On Trevor’s turn, I have the token devour one of his 1/1 brothers, so that he has to sacrifice Teneb to Grave Pact. Kresh gets 6 counters. That means I have four 3/3s and one 1/1. He replays Teneb and Wild Pairs out [card]Dread[/card]. Manny plays [card]Theft of Dreams[/card] for a bunch, since my guys are tapped. He then plays [card]Mindslaver[/card]. He has four mana left, so he Mindslaves me. With Gargadon still suspended, I could be in trouble. I do the only thing reasonable.
At Manny’s EOT, I sacrifice the 1/1 to remove a counter from Gargadon (taking Kresh to 7 counters), letting it resolve. Gravepact triggers. Trevor sacrifices Dread (Kresh to 13) and Manny sacrifices the Slith (Kresh to 14). This leaves me with two counters still on Gargadon. I sacrifice the one of the 3/3s to Gargadon (Kresh to 17), triggering [card]Gravepact[/card] again. Manny sacrifices [card]Bottle Gnomes[/card] in response, taking him to 35 (Kresh to 18) and Trevor sacrifices Teneb (Kresh to 24). I think I don’t have enough and I’m sad. I look at it all again and realize I do. I stack three activations of Gargadon, sacrificing all three Dragons, giving Kresh 30 counters. He’s 33/33. I then sacrifice [card]Fires of Yavimaya[/card] to buff him up the final two. Now that he’s 35/35, I fling him at Manny’s head with [card]Bloodshot Cyclops[/card] for the kill. In the middle of all of that, I get to play a Gargadon.
Turn 13, I play [card]Woodfall Primus[/card], killing the [card]Wild Pair[/card], and swing for 13 with the Cyclops and Gargadon, taking Trevor to 31. He replays Teneb again, and brings back [card]Creakwood Ghoul[/card] with [card]Reborn Hope[/card].
Turn 14, I have a plan. I really don’t need one, since Trevor’s hand is empty save for the Ghoul, and I know that he’ll be in topdeck mode, but there’s no sense in giving him the chance. I play [card]Deus of Calamity[/card]. I then sacrifice Deus to Bloodshot Cyclops, doing to 6 Trevor, and making him sacrifice Teneb. I swing with Gargadon and Primus for 15. I then play the [card]Wound Reflection[/card] I’ve been holding nearly the entire game. EOT comes around and Trevor loses another 21 life, completing the sweep.
Winning one game with [card]Vicious Shadows[/card] and one with [card]Wound Reflection[/card] (although [card]Grave Pact[/card] was the REAL hero of game 2) is a banner day for EDH. They’re the kind of cards you rarely see in other formats that shine in this one. Big props to fellow L5 Judge Toby Elliott for showing me the insanity of [card]Vicious Shadows[/card].
It might be a few weeks until I get to play 60 card decks; until I do, I keep talking about EDH here on “We Play Too.”