This past weekend I may have registered the worst deck I’ve ever registered for an event. With not much on the line, I decided to go outside my comfort zone and register a real Matt Nass special.
Here’s our 75 from The Crimson Vow Set Championships:
If you’re looking for a deck to play at a high-stakes Historic event, then look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fun ladder deck that can rank you up quickly, this is a good deck to try.
We did quite badly. I went 0-3 and the rest of the team went 3-6 combined. I expected as much when I saw the metagame breakdown with GW Humans at the top. We played against more than our fair share of humans, which is the worst match-up I’ve ever had at a Pro-level event. The match-ups with Phoenix and Food decks are slightly favorable, and we expected those decks to be the most played.
We also expected a lot more players playing humans to play Heliod Combo, as we considered it a better deck. We were fine against that deck, as it had less unbeatable cards like Ranget Captain of Eos. If we had made it into the top eight, we may have had a decent shot given how much Food and Phoenix there was.
Any deck can be a bad match-up depending on how much counter magic and graveyard hate they have, but we expected only some Lanterns and small amounts of counters and hand disruption, which are very beatable.
The main reasons I registered this deck were completely contradictory to anything I would have done in the past. The games were quick, and I enjoyed playing the deck. It’s like playing out that not-so-good combo cube deck you drafted. It can be a lot of fun, and I didn’t want to take myself too seriously for this event, as it’s not leading anywhere but a smaller prize pool Worlds.
This deck is incredibly consistent, as well. It’s consistently able to win on turn four through no disruption and regularly through a single piece.
As I’ve said before, we mostly theory crafted and played some ladder matches. We did test the humans match-up for an hour or two and concluded it was bad, but outside of that we only did a few tests against Phoenix and Food decks.
I don’t think I lost a single match on the ladder with this deck. It was excellent at climbing the ladder through the homebrews you see on the Historic Ladder, but as suspected when put to the real test, it fell flat.
Regardless of how your opponent splits the piles you can put a Dragonstom on the stack even through their enchantment removal. If you put Omniscience on the stack first, resolve your Solve the Equation for Dragonstorm, then your opponent won’t get priority until you already have Dragonstorm on the stack.
One of our biggest misses was removing our copy of cards like Stern Dismissal and Fragmentize. We should have had one or the other in the sideboard, but we removed all of them. This would make it easier to combo off in a single turn.
Sideboarding isn’t set in stone and is list dependent. Generally, you’re just trimming combo pieces and looting effects to bring in reactive answers to problem cards.
You’ll often bring in all four Rip Apart, and two Prismari Command cutting something like two Faithful Mending or Cathartic Pyre’s depending if they have creatures, one or two Emergent Ultimatums, Strike it Rich and Pact of Negation.
Post-board I cut Strike it Rich in all matches. It’s another card you could cut from the main, as it’s a card you don’t want to draw.
Primari Command was a card that didn’t pass my eyeball test when looking at the sideboard, but it’s the best sideboard card in the deck, and I’d never play less than four copies in the 75. It’s ability to destroy a Lantern or a Cage while enabling your combo makes it incredibly valuable in post-board games.
While the deck is built for speed in game one, if you wanted to make extra room in the sideboard I’d recommend -1 Faithful Mending and +1 Primari Command in the main deck.
Generally, you don’t want to ever cut an Omniscience unless you’re cutting the whole Ultimatum package, which is a reasonable approach to decks playing tons of counters, specifically Mystical Disputes. It’s fine to trim a Solve the Equation or Dragonstorm. I was reluctant to cut a copy of any of the dragons while some teammates trimmed a Bladewing the Risen.
I think a good sideboard is a big missing link to making this deck competitive. A transformational sideboard could help this deck wiggle around tons of graveyard hate, but it’s difficult to find anything suitable. We tried cards like Crackling Drake, but it wasn’t enough and made the mana bad if we also wanted Rip Apart, which was a clutch card in answering all of the graveyard hate and problematic creatures like Thalia.
The deck is sweet and fun to play, but it just isn’t very good. I have no regrets, as I had a very enjoyable weekend with my family putting up our Christmas tree and even got to play in the Arena Draft Open to a painful finish on day two of going 5-0 and losing the next two with nothing but some gems to show for it.
During the open, it got me thinking that what I miss most is high stakes Limited Magic, so hopefully the next Set Championships is Alchemy and Limited.
I’d be pretty excited about this pair of formats. We’ll discuss more about Alchemy next time. See you then!