Friday, September 7, 2012

[JT] CGC: Rotating Steel - UW Tempered Steel v2.0

Standard rotation can be a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, standard is the premiere M:tG format, so if you want to play at FNM-level tournaments and beyond, you will most likely have to have at least one standard deck at all times.  The problem is though that since standard is the flagship format, the value of cards that rock the format might be utter garbage in other formats.  Once the card rotates out, that value will plummet.  This is why I started playing budget decks.  I don't see the point in investing all of my money into cards that will eventually depreciate in value, especially since I only play standard for fun and focus on sealed play.

On the other hand, however, budget players like myself do get a form of a last laugh.  Remember when Seachrome Coast was $20+ a piece?  With rotation looming ever closer, I recently was able to pick up an entire play set for $20.  Remember how Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of War and Peace were ~$35 and ~$40 a piece?  They're now down to ~$15.  Yes.  I only get about a month or so to use them, but do you want to know something?  I only play standard every other week or so anyway, and I only trade for them (not buy), because I am considering turning the deck into a Modern deck post-rotation.

So, speaking of the deck, here's the build I used tonight:

Creatures (25):
Riddlesmith x4
Treasure Mage x1
Spined Thopter x3
Porcelain Legionnaire x3
Grand Architect x4
Etched Champion x4
Phyrexian Metamorph x2
Steel Hellkite x2
Myr Battlesphere x2

Planeswalker (2):
Venser, the Sojourner x2

Spells (11):
Mox Opal
Vapor Snag x3
Dispatch x3
Tempered Steel x2
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of Body and Mind

Lands (22):
Seachrome Coast x4
Glacial Fortress x4
Buried Ruin x3
Inkmoth Nexus x3
Island x8

Side (15):
Stoic Rebuttal x2
Oblivion Ring x2
Flashfreeze x2
Celestial Purge x2
Redirect x3
Staff of Nin x2
Tormod's Crypt x2

If you recall from my previous deck discuss on v1.0, there were three things I considering when going into my retweaks: (1) removal of the Tempered Steel's all together.  (2) Blue Sun's Zenith alone just was not enough draw power, and (3) No turn 1 plays.  I addressed these concerns by:

(1) Swapping 2x Tempered Steel with 2x Phyrexian Metamorph.  The Metamorphs gave me more artifacts to make my Metalcraft live, as well as more versatility in what artifacts I have and how many of them are in the deck (in a sense).  They also play well with Venser.  I wanted to keep the other two Tempered Steels in though because I have too many artifact creatures to not.

(2)  I took out the two Blue Sun's Zenith's as well as the Unwinding Clock and a Treasure Mage for 4x Riddlesmith's.  These 2-drops alone help me rifle through the deck incredibly fast; much faster than the Zeniths.

(3)  While they were not intended for this, 3x Inkmoth Nexus's allows for a turn 1 play at least part of the time.  They were originally intended to be three more artifacts to activate Metalcraft that just so happened to fit into my mana base instead of my spell base.  The Nexi are another reason I was set on leaving in a few of the Tempered Steels.

Among the other adjustments I made were the inclusion of two swords.  Why only two?  And why THOSE two?  Because they're the only ones I have ; P

So how did it perform?  Round one I played... Boros (RW).  That's about all I can say from it.  I won 2-0 and never really saw anything come together for the deck.  I want to say it was some kind of ultra aggressive build, but I poisoned him before he was able to really get anything going.  The highlight of this match was in game two, he sided in Combusts, and took out all my early guys.  He even Day of Judgment'ed me when all I had was a lone Etched Champion.  He did that to keep me with no creatures (except twin Nexi) so that he could drop a Thundermaw Hellkite that would not get caught in the DoJ crossfire.  The Hellkite (sadly for my opponent) didn't even see the battlefield because of the Flashfreeze in my hand.

 Round two was against suicide-black zombies, which just out raced me, resulting in a 0-2 loss.  Now, I love this deck.  Maybe not this particular build, but the archetype in general.  If there was anything I took away from the match, though, it was my biggest misplay of the night.  He Killing Wave'ed for 1 with three Blood Artist on the field (two copies via Phyrexian Metamorph).  I had two creatures, and rather than just paying the two life to keep both of them, I kept one... and promptly lost 3 life for the other one thanks to the Artists -_-.

Round three I lost 0-2 to Red Deck Wins.  He just kept burning my creatures before I could activate Etched Champion's Metalcraft.  That in addition to the mana flood I was in game one, and just out racing me in game two was just the end of me.

Round four was such a disappointment.  Don't get me wrong; I won the match.  Just not how I should have.  I was playing against RG Werewolves (not sure if it was a Wolf Run or not.  I didn't see much in the way of ramp though), and game one I won pretty much outright: bouncing his transformed wolves and crashing with a Porcelain Legionnaire with Tempered Steel out.  Game two, I was not able to keep my Champions metalcrafted long enough to survive against the (what felt like) suite of Ancient Grudges he had for me.  He was two turns away from finishing me off for a game three when my opponent looks at his watch and saws "Awe crap.  I scoop."  Apparently, he had a date and was just forfeiting the match to me.  It felt terrible because that was not how I wanted to win, especially when we were having such a great match.

So, at the end of it, I ended up 2-2, with three packs in prizes (maybe four, but I left before round four was over on the condition that if my ranking went up high enough after everyone reports, I will just get my fourth pack next week).  One contained a Liliana of the Veil.  So hey.  I'm happy.  I have a few things to consider for the next time I run the deck, the biggest of which breaks my heart (ironically).  Venser has not been doing me any good.  On paper he looks great and can do all kinds of stuff with my deck.  In execution though, I haven't cast Venser in any of the eight matches I have played with this deck.  I think it is time for him to go.  We'll see though. 

There you have it.  I think I might possibly get one more standard FNM in with this deck before Return to Ravnica hits and Scars of Mirrodin block (I.e. my entire deck) rotates out.  Speaking of which, as you all know (or at least I am assuming if you are reading this, you know) PAX this past weekend marked the start of RtR previews.  I've seen some really cool things so far (and a few things that pissed me off a little more than they should have), and I think I will be sticking with the Azorius guild in standard as I have from the very beginning.  The question will come down to what kind of deck though? 

I have a quasi-Delver build in mind.  Yes yes... I know I ranted against Delver and that's what made me play the deck you see above.  I did, however, state that I had a build in mind that I would not mind trying.  It's still in the planning stages, but I might give it a try once I see the rest of RtR.  Perhaps I'll have you choose the deck I use.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some forms I need to fill out and send off to it's honor, Isperia.


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