Aftermath: Neon Dynasty Set Championship

This past weekend was the Neon Dynasty Set Championships. I spoke last week about how I thought it would shape up. While I got some of it wrong, I think I did a good job analyzing the event. 

 

 

You know who also did a good job? The testing team I worked with. Eli Kassis, the Mad Mage himself, took the deck we played, Orzhov Venture, to the finals and won the whole thing by defeating Mardu Midrange, a similar deck, in the finals. 

 

Here are the 75 I registered for the event

 

Orzhov Venture - Alchemy - NEO Championship

Export to:
Planeswalker (2)
2
The Wandering Emperor
Creature (21)
4
A-Triumphant Adventurer
4
Archon of Emeria
4
Citystalker Connoisseur
1
Intrepid Adversary
2
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
4
Nadaar, Selfless Paladin
2
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
Sorcery (3)
3
Duress
Instant (8)
3
Hagra Mauling/Hagra Broodpit
1
Infernal Grasp
1
March of Otherworldly Light
1
Power Word Kill
2
Vanishing Verse
Enchantment (3)
3
A-Precipitous Drop
Land (23)
1
A-Dungeon Descent
4
Brightclimb Pathway/Grimclimb Pathway
1
Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
4
Forsaken Crossroads
3
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
2
Needleverge Pathway/Pillarverge Pathway
2
Plains
4
Shattered Sanctum
1
Swamp
1
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
1
Dawnbringer Cleric
1
Duress
2
Go Blank
4
Graveyard Trespasser
1
Reckoner Bankbuster
2
The Meathook Massacre
2
Thraben Exorcism

 

 

The idea behind this deck was simple—a combination of cheap creatures and cheap interaction backed up by Archon of Emeria made for an incredibly strong match-up against the deck we expected the most of, Naya Runes. In reality, Naya Runes was surprisingly only the second most played archetype behind White Aggro

 

 

White Aggro was on our radar because people were using it in Standard to beat Runes, so we assumed people would try the same in the event. In testing, our match-up was much better against White Aggro since our lists clearly weren’t as refined as the people who spent the week working on White. That said, we still did a fantastic job against White aggro in the event. 

 

 

                                       

 

The package of Triumphant Adventurer and Nadaar, Selfless Paladin allowed for some snowballing if they stuck around. If you watch Eli’s matches against the more powerful Mardu deck, he was able to win long grindy games by choosing early to go into the Dungeon of the Mad Mage, a venture not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

We realized early that deathtouch creatures were effective against Runes, Citystalker Connoisseur, and Triumphant Adventurer were slam dunks. 

 

 

                   

 

Many of us were skeptical about Precipitous Drop. It’s at sorcery speed, it doesn’t always kill what you want, but it has a great upside. It was often easy to get through a dungeon, and all the incremental value was too important. I got gun-shy at the last minute and removed one from my deck, then added an Intrepid Adversary, a card I had yet to play with, but others reported it was solid in the deck. I wanted to have less dead cards in game one against control since the removal count was just a bit too high. 

 

 

 

In retrospect, I would have preferred the additional removal spell when playing out the games. Adversary was, at best, medium for me. I actually may have preferred a single copy of Sigardian Evangel if I were to go down this path because it would be a form of card advantage later in the game and would provide a way to push through Nadaar. That said, I’d change the deck a lot in retrospect and would go another route altogether. 

 

 

Here would be my updated Orzhov Venture list with the expected future Alchemy metagame in mind: 

 

Orzhov Venture 2.0 - Alchemy - Mike Sigrist

Export to:
Planeswalker (3)
3
The Wandering Emperor
Creature (17)
4
A-Triumphant Adventurer
4
Citystalker Connoisseur
2
Graveyard Trespasser
1
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
4
Nadaar, Selfless Paladin
2
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
Sorcery (5)
1
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Duress
1
Emeria's Call/Emeria, Shattered Skyclave
Instant (8)
2
Hagra Mauling/Hagra Broodpit
1
Infernal Grasp
1
March of Otherworldly Light
1
Power Word Kill
3
Vanishing Verse
Enchantment (4)
2
A-Precipitous Drop
2
Wedding Announcement
Land (23)
4
Brightclimb Pathway/Grimclimb Pathway
1
Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
4
Forsaken Crossroads
4
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
2
Needleverge Pathway/Pillarverge Pathway
2
Plains
4
Shattered Sanctum
1
Swamp
1
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
1
A-Precipitous Drop
3
Archon of Emeria
1
Bloodchief's Thirst
1
Dawnbringer Cleric
1
Duress
2
Go Blank
1
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
1
Lolth, Spider Queen
1
Reckoner Bankbuster
1
Sorin the Mirthless
2
The Meathook Massacre

 

 

Going forward, I’d expect a mix of the Set Championship decks with huge downticks in Runes after its poor performance and White Aggro and creature decks because the winning metagame was quite good against these decks. 

 

 

With this in mind, I’ve removed Archons from the main, and I made the deck focus more on value and interacting with planeswalkers

 

 

 

The one card I’m still really unsure on is March of Otherworldly Light. It’s quite costly to reduce its cost but also super-inefficient otherwise by always trading down on mana. If I removed it, then I’d move the drop from the sideboard and open up another sideboard slot. 

 

 

 

I think A-Dungeon Descent was a mistake to play in retrospect. It was few and far between the games you’d activate it and with so many cards that cost specifically black and white mana, it can at times shut you off double spelling, which I saw come up far more often than activations in the event both personally and on coverage. 

 

 

                   

 

I wanted a mix of Graveyard Trespasser and Wedding Announcements. Trespasser underperformed for me, but it’s still a solid, well-rounded card that fills a spot on the curve that needs filling, and I’d rather have a mix of three-drops since both can be mediocre in some match-ups. 

 

Here’s how I’d sideboard with Orzhov Venture against a few decks I think will be popular moving forward: 

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                                     

 

 

                                     

 

                                     

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

 

 

                                      

 

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                  

 

 

                                      

 

                  

 

I would consider adding the second Massacre over a Duress. Duress is a terrible top deck card, and you should be able to interact more favorably with planeswalkers with the new list. 

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                  

 

 

                                     

 

                  

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                  

 

 

                                     

 

                  

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                                     

 

 

                                     

 

The rest you should cut removal according to your taste. 

 

In reality, I expect control numbers to uptick soon. The blue decks are quite strong against this deck, especially if numbers decline on White Aggro and Runes. If this does happen, I’d recommend adding another Bankbuster or Wedding Announcement so you can take out even more removal. This match-up is most tricky because you want the few pieces of removal you leave in your deck to line up with their permanents. If Vanishing Verse or March don’t interact, leave in Infernal Grasp or Power Word Kill if it’s useful. If all else fails and you don’t want any or very little removal, you can bring in Archon. I’d be more aggressive about bringing in Archon if your opponent has few basic lands as well, especially on the play. 

 

We have a new Alchemy set coming out, and the format is ever-changing. I think our team did an excellent job identifying what mattered in this event and executing on that. Our Orzhov Venture list was far from perfect, but it was still great. 

 

I expect Orzhov Venture will quickly fall out of favor. It’s very beatable and not a super-powerful deck. I think decks like Izzet Control or Hinata might see an uptick to combat the midrange. If I had to play something to try today, it would be Jim Davis’ Grixis Control. This deck looked like a ton of fun to pilot and quite good as well. 

 

Truthfully, I had a lot of fun at this Set Championships, and Alchemy is a fresh and fun format. Hopefully it stays that way, and hopefully there are more relevant tournaments to play with the format.

 

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