MTGO: If You Can't Beat Em...

It's been a few weeks of 'radio silence' but I've finally found something to write about. Just to catch you up, when last I wrote, I was floundering with my Mono-white Mimic-Lifegain deck. Even with the newly found Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard for anti-Valakut, I was still losing consistently since it appears Acidic Slime is the standard sideboard for that deck. I was also losing to the new up-and-comer UB Jace decks.

So, I finally gave in and decided to just make the deck that was my nemesis - Primeval Valakut. Unfortunately, without any Primeval Titans, and the deck probably at its peak popularity, getting a full playset set me back 150 tickets. While that was extremely painful, it is an investment I am very happy with, but I will get to that later. I also had to grab a couple other cards that were missing from my collection such as Raging Ravine, Gaea's Revenge, and Obstinate Baloth.

I tooled around a bit in the 2-man tourneys with a few wins and a few losses. Wins can basically come just from the deck playing itself, while the losses were stupid plays or lack of familiarity on my part with optimal play order, etc. Once I felt comfortable enough though, I took it into a Daily.

Lo and behold, I went 3-1! Woo Hoo!

I unfortunately don't have a tourney report but I believe I beat a UB Jace deck, a WG Hybrid Quest deck, and a Vamps deck that I can't remember whether it was RB or Monoblack. The one loss was to another UB Jace deck.

I played another daily a few days later and lost 2-2 (meaning I was 2-1 going into final round). I still don't know if my play was a mistake or the optimal choice given the info I had. Playing against a mono-white Quest deck with 1 counter on their quest, 3 cards in hand and 3 land in play, I chose to play a Primeval and start building lands rather than cast my Acidic Slime to destroy the enchantment. On my opponent's turn though, he cast Memnite, Glint Hawk (returning Memnite), same Memnite, Ornithopter. That got him to the 5 counters he needed to pop his quest and grab his Argentum Armor and that basically sealed the game as he swung in with his battle-ready and newly equipped Squadron Hawk, destroying my 2nd Forest in the progress and locking me out of my Slime. Should I have been more proactive about destroying the enchantment or did he basically just have (or draw) the perfect hand to beat me?

In any case, that did not put me off the Valakut deck, and I still play it in the 2-man tourneys when I can't get into a Daily. But I think the 'rogue deck-builder' is in my blood because I feel no real enjoyment playing the deck. Maybe because it's a 'netdeck' or because it has a somewhat narrow win condition, but playing the deck feels very mechanical to me. Whatever the reason, I felt compelled to come up with another deck. But, after sinking 150+ smackers into my Primeval Valakut, I knew I had to build something that made use of my newly acquired cards.

Enter WG Titans! That's actually what I have saved the deck as in MTGO.

Here's the decklist and a quick overview. Suffice to say, I am loving this deck right now. It has been doing surprisingly well in the 2-man tourneys and I'm about to start my first daily piloting this thing.

4x Overgrown Battlement
4x Wall of Omens
4x Primeval Titan
3x Acidic Slime
2x Avenger of Zendikar
2x Baneslayer Angel
2x Sun Titan
2x Wurmcoil Engine

4x Summoning Trap
3x Day of Judgment
2x Condemn
2x Horizon Spellbomb

2x Emeria, the Sky Ruin
4x Khalni Garden
4x Stirring Wildwood
2x Razorverge Thicket
2x Sunpetal Grove
8x Plains
4x Forest

2x Devout Lightcaster
2x Gaea's Revenge
2x Kor Firewalker
3x Leyline of Sanctity
2x Naturalize
2x Obstinate Baloth
2x Ratchet Bomb

First, the deck basically tries to ramp up mana as fast as possible via the 2 Walls. I don't know why I haven't seen it more often but these seem to be in so many decks, but never together and yet they are an awesome pair. Turn 1 land, turn 2 land + Battlement, turn 3 land + Omens (cantrip!) + whatever for 3 mana (another Battlement if I'm lucky), Turn 4 land and I'm online for a Titan or a Summoning Trap!

Once my mana is online, I'm either trying to just beat them senseless with the Titans, or slowly working to get Emeria online to seal the deal. Additional synergies in the deck are the spellbombs which not only can fetch plains for Emeria in case Primeval isn't showing up, but which also can be returned from the graveyard with the Sun Titan. The Days are there for creature control, and maindeck Acidic Slimes is primarily playing around the metagame, working double-duty against both Valakut decks and Quest decks.

Sideboard is pretty standard I think for the colors I'm playing and the metagame. I'm using Naturalize over Nature's Claim just because I don't have any at the moment but I'll likely switch that as soon as I can.

So there you have it, from one rogue deck to another, with an expensive dip into netdecking in the middle :) I'll update once I get some results out of my daily, hopefully this will be somewhat more consistent. If nothing else, I definitely have more fun playing this deck.

Oh, and did anyone notice something very strange about this new deck?


Just a quick update, just went 3-1 in the daily. Deck performed awesomely, although I think I need to review it to see what, if anything, can be improved for the loss I had. I went down quick to a Red Black Vampires deck. Wins were against a White Green Fauna Shaman deck, a Mono-Black Vampires deck, and a Mono-Red Koth deck so I don't know if the loss was 'typical' or just bad luck (or good luck for opponent) as far as draws. In any case, not a bad way to start things off with my new rogue deck!

4 Response to "MTGO: If You Can't Beat Em..."

  1. Unknown January 3, 2011 at 12:34 AM
    How do you sideboard or deal with Valakut? I understand the leyline, that's a given. But what do you side out? Any suggestions?
  2. Jensyth January 4, 2011 at 11:47 AM
    Hi Vlog,

    Thanks for reading! My deck has changed slightly but not any way that impacts the Valakut matchup. Against valakut, it is still a tough fight as I need to kill them before they can get enough Valakuts out to be lethal. I don't know if it is 'optimal' but here is how I sb:

    -1x Sun Titan
    -1x Avenger of Zendikar
    -2x Condemn

    +3x Leyline
    +1x Naturalize

    My reasoning is that the Condemn is usually a dead card until they get a Primeval out and since I need them to attack, the damage is already done by the time I can use it. The Avenger I remove 1 of because while it can be a very quick finish, most often they can kill the 'leader' before I can add counters so it's also useless. And the Sun Titan I remove 1 of because they are usually not killing my creatures or lands so there aren't often many targets for me to return. My primary goal is to get my life gainers into play as fast as possible, and I usually will mulligan unless I have an extremely strong hand or at least 1 leyline. It is definitely not a walk in the park but definitely doable.
  3. Mills January 6, 2011 at 12:54 AM
    What ways has it changed? I still find the UB control match up a pain sometimes, but I like the general idea for the deck. I did not enjoy playing the mechanical play style of pulling out Valakuts when I played RG.
    The sideboard tip helped, by the way. Thanks a lot. :P
  4. Jensyth January 8, 2011 at 9:40 AM
    I can't say how it's changed when I first commented, but it's been constantly changing due to what I perceive as the meta-game shifts. Now, my main deck is:
    -2x Baneslayer
    -1 Razorverge Thicket
    -1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
    +1 Condemn
    +1 Day of Judgment
    +2 Tectonic Edge

    This is primarily due to UB control matchup. The baneslayers are usually immediately killed with doom blade or whatever so I opted for more removal for their Grave Titans. The land switch is also due to more special lands and playtesting showing that 2 Emerias was unnecessary and the Razorverge would often slow me down since I needed to have lands that don't enter tapped past turn 4.

    The sideboard has also changed primarily for the UB matchup:
    -1 Devout Lightcaster
    -2 Naturalize
    +1 Nature's Claim * I wanted nature's claim anyways, this is more of a net removal of 1 'artifact/enchantment kill'
    +1 Gaea's Revenge
    +1 Obstinate Baloth

    Again, due to metagame shifts, the nature's claim/naturalize wasn't as necessary and the same for Devout Lightcaster. In place I added another Gaea's for UB and the Obstinate Baloth as a more general-purpose sb card against aggro decks.

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