Friday, July 26, 2013

TABLETOP TALES: MY M14 PRE-RELEASE "RAMPED UP BANT FLYERS!"

TABLETOP TALES PRESENTS
MY M14 PRE-RELEASE

To check out my other decks, hit the link below:


This article serves two purposes: To share the nerd entertainment around with anyone who might find it interesting and, in this case, to share my experiences with the M14 pre-release.

You can find Magic Cards in super stores (Ex. Walmart, Target) but the best place you can buy your cards, meet other players, and play in events is at your local comic book store or hobby shop. I buy most of my cards at The Comic Cellar. Here is a link to its Google Maps location at 3620 Austin Peay Highway #2 Memphis, TN 38128.

And here is a link to Comic Cellar's Website

I took part in the M14 pre-release on July 13th at The Comic Cellar. For the entry fee, each player received 6 booster packs, from the M14 Core Set, and all the lands they need to make a 40 card deck. Then the player took part in 5 one-on-one matches, each a best of three rounds. The highest ranking players got to split the packs of a M14 booster box.

The thematic monster of M14 are Slivers, a multi-colored tribe of monsters with overlapping and stacking effects, that are one of the most iconic creatures in the game. To celebrate the theme, everyone who participated received a special Megantic Sliver, shown above, as a promo card for participation.

M14 is the newest Core Set in Magic the Gathering. Core Sets serve several purproses; they arguably the best way to introduce new players to the game, serve as a way to add deck-building tools that thematically wouldn't fit in the featured sets in standard, and introduce upcoming themes for players to grow excited for-- in this case, it is clear that certain tribes will be relevant in the next set, Theros, coming out in the Fall, and enchantments will be important to the standard scene soon. M14 will be in standard until Fall of 2014.



Besides enchantments and slivers, the other cool things to spring up in M14 are new version of the planeswalkers Chandra & Garruk, reprints of some classic cards, and themes like monoblack, symbiotic creatures, blue-white flyers, and more...

I participated in two pre-releases; the deck we're looking at today is from the midnight prerelease in which I went 3-2 (a fairly successful pre-release that shows my progress). Now, let's take a look at...

MY M14 PRE-RELEASE DECK #1
"RAMP UP THE TEMPO" OR "BANT FLYERS"!

I had three themes with this deck; the first theme relied on my green ramp like Lay of the Land and big bombs with trample like Garruk's Horde. The second theme relied on tempo-- basically, the ability to stall out a match with control, suppression, and removal until you can drop bombs with non-creatures spells like Pacifisms & Claustrophobias with a lot of help from Deadly Recluses. Finally, in order to survive long enough to put out bombs come the strongest theme of the set, in my opinion, blue-white flyers like Griffin Sentinel and Nephalia Seakite that take potshots at the enemy until you can alpha strike with a big bomb or turn them into a truly devastating air force with Archangel of Thune.

The biggest threat to this deck that I ran into in 4/5 of my matches that night were better constructed blue-white control/flyer decks. After my third match, I changed up a few of the cards to build more agression, better tempo, and card advantage (Opportunity) by removing the walls I had in the deck. The Achille's Heel of these stall decks is that, if you're not careful, you can stall a match long enough to run out of time or mill out. To help compensate, I added five more cards to my deck and brought the total to forty-five (and only 16 lands out of that due to the incredible land-get ramp I could pull off in this slow format).

Now, let's take a look at one of my very best Pre-Release decks...

Contains 40 Cards
CREATURES
(17 Creatures: 1 Arifact Creature, 4 Blue Creatures, 6 Green Creatures, & 6 White Creatures)


Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Ladies and gentleman, I present the star of my deck, Archangel of Thune. This threat is gonna make a splash in several formats, including standard, because she is a solid creature in the 4 toughness good spot (able to survive most cheap burn spells) and her life-gain ability makes her a creature boosting engine that, with all the life gain from Ravnica combined with her not being a legendary, is a winner in almost any deck. She synergies with the Verdant Havens, Dawnstrike Paladin, & Soulmender in this deck and is a killer threat in her own right. Her biggest challenge to confront in this limited format is probably Deadly Recluse.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Another solidly tough creature for this tempo deck that's biggest achievement is it's ability to work well with Archangel of Thune.


Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? Probably top five best creature of core set limited, this spider's efficient price, reach, and deathtouch guarantee that it can kill just about anything that it tangles with; from the smallest white weenie to the biggest red dragon to the most despicable demon to the most angelic angel, Deadly Recluse is a huge player in M14 limited and any other limited format that includes him.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This guy is a cornerstone of this deck's ramp and basically functions as an expensive forest that, in a pinch, can chump block or ping an enemy in the earliest rounds of the game. Also, it is literally Lanowar Elves with a different name, a classic elf card, so here's a big hip hip hoorah to the most over-powered tribe in MTG.
 
Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Ramping up into this win condition is no laughing matter, but still very achievable in this deck & format. A 7/7 with trample is a great thing to have but the ability to net more and more creatures is even sweeter.

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? I had a set of these in the very first deck I made and in limited they get the job done with their strong poke and defend potential. Every turn they don't have an answer to Griffin Sentinel is time to swing.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Severely underrated-- Guardian of the Ages is a threat that has to be dealt with or will lock up the board for several rounds. No opponent wants to swing into you when you got this guy locking up the battlefield because the moment they swing you've suddenly got a 7/7 with Trample (note: it loses defender and gains trample permanently--NOT UNTIL END OF TURN).

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? Here is a solid flyer/combat trick that works well and survives through most early drop swings. This surprise blocker would catch people off-guard if it wasn't so common in this limited format.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? At worst you can swing this guy for two every round but, combo'd with Illusionary Armor or boosted by Archangel of Thune, he becomes an instant win condition.
Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? A solid creature in limited, I was never short on mana to pump Rootwalla up for a block or a swing (so he was essentially always a 4/4 when attacking or blocking).


Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? I do not have to explain this staple of Angel tribal and limited format, but I will anyway. Serra Angel is the definition of a cost-effective Uncommon. A turn five Serra Angel will swing for four every turn as long as your opponent can't answer her with a Deadly Recluse or tougher flyer.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This guy seems like crap until you look at all the life gain combos in M14. In this deck, he mostly works as a combo with Archangel of Thune by guaranteeing life gain, even if you can't swing with lifelink creatures safely.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This solid creature is really flexible in this format. You can turn it into a glass cannon or a wall of water with your extra blue mana in a pinch.
Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? The Timmy in me loves Woodborn Behemoth. At worst, he is an overcosted 5/5 that would be kinda okay in limited BUT if you get eight lands, and you bet this deck can get you eight lands, this is an 8/8 trampler for five! BROKEN IN LIMITED!
NON-CREATURE SPELLS
(12 Non-Creature Spells: 1 Artifact,  2 Blue Enchantments, 1 Blue Instant, 1 Blue Sorcery, 2 Green Enchantments, 2 Green Sorceries, 2 White Enchantments and 1 White Instant)


Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? A conditional but very solid bit of removal, Celestial Flare and removal of it's ilk have a place in limited.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? As far as I know, there are few ways to untap your creatures in this set and so I was quite glad to see a repeat of this solid limited card from Innistrad. It's basically a more expensive Pacifism that also ruins your opponent's ability to use tap abilities. A solid piece of suppression in this deck.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? I'm not a huge fan of counters but, in this creature heavy format where I can be guaranteed to have mana to spare, this card barely slides into my anti-creature set-up.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This card seemed way better than when I first looked at it but it's a strong mixed bag of effects; it can win you games by turning a flyer into a hard to kill beat stick but is removeable to just about any ability or spell.

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? No where near as solid as Terramorphic Expanse or Evolving Wilds, Lay of the Land was still an important component of my deck. There were plenty of times that I needed an extra Forest, Island, or Plains and Lay of the Land made that happen for me. I wouldn't recommend this in most but the most aggro of ramp decks but, in this three color deck with some expensive creatures/spells, it really made a world of difference.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? I cannot believe I overlooked the opportunities this card presents in late game card advantage. With the extra five cards in this deck, I felt confident in including a card that would accelerate my ability to draw lands, removal, or creatures that I need to pull ahead of my opponent in a flash.
Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? Pacifism is one of my favorite go to cards for tempo because of its cheap suppression. Two of these babies allowed me to survive long enough to get out and swing my deadly blows.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This little baby made the difference when I was losing a race to get creatures down or down on my luck. It won me several rounds by turning the tables on my foe and required a lot of fun and thought out interactions. You gotta know how many turns to tap it and when to sack it. This is a fun card that I hope becomes a staple of core limited.


Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? This deck has six sources of mana/ramp fixing but Verdant Haven goes the extra mile by also working as a combo with Archangel of Thune.

LANDS
(16 Lands: 5 Forests, 5 Islands, 6 Plains)

 CONTAINS: 5

CONTAINS: 5


CONTAINS: 6
 
IDEAL 1ST HAND

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