Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Playing to your (meta) Strengths

By Norman Ralph

Week 2 of my FNM Hero series was a roller coaster ride. I again ended up going 2-2 but this time without the help of a bye and yet still managing to come fourth in the Swiss, meaning I made my first ever FNM Hero profit!

My sideboard is still causing me headaches and removal heavy decks are still trouncing me in every match up, but against mid range and aggressive decks that are light on removal I have the edge pre-board and on the play, so winning 2-1 is my usual course.

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt so far in FNM Hero is that I really should have considered the local meta when deciding on my deck. My main deck Pillar of Flames are the cards I take out most often, along with my Guttersnipes. Pillar comes out as we have a Voice of Resurgence light meta (although Strangleroot Geist appears in a couple of local decks) and getting red on turn 1 to kill the mana elves is awkward the majority of the time. Making the decision between turn 1/2 Pillar of Flame and Thought Scour/Izzet Charm/Faithless Looting is also a really tough one against a lot of match ups. I wonder whether this would be better as an Unsummon or similar. or even a set of Mizzium Skin across the main deck and board. I am always disappointed to draw a Guttersnipe as I feel that if the game goes long enough where the damage from Guttersnipe is relevant, then I have already lost. In an ideal world, I would swap these out for Geists of Saint Traft, but seeing as I have £20 to play with, I doubt that I could manage that, even if I got super lucky on eBay. The other priority is the mana base. The Guildgates are great and help fix the mana better than basic lands, but after turns 1 or 2 I usually prefer to throw them away to a Faithless Looting than a basic. Ensuring a more stable access to white to allow me to play cards like Nevermore or Blind Obedience is something that I am considering too.

R1: UG Tempo, won 2-0
R2: Jund, lost 2-0
R3: Bulletproof Eggs, lost 2-1
R4: RG Aggro, won 2-0

Round 1
I was playing a brand new player and it was barely a contest. In game 1, I won with Young Pyromancer and Elemental Token beat down. Game 2 saw me combo off turn 5. In neither game did my opponent play a threat. 

Round 2
This was the match up I had been fearing since I picked this deck. The combination of efficient threats and excellent removal package is tough for me to fight through. In game 1 I was in with a shout, despite multiple Huntsmasters of the Fells, until he found a Mizzium Mortars with enough red up to overload it. I had the combo in hand to win the next turn. With a flipped Huntmaster on the table and no bodies in my hand I scooped in my draw step on hitting a blank and being dead on board. Game 2 was not as close, my opponent kept the nut draw for Jund and won at a canter.

Round 3
This was a match up that I wasn't expecting in our local meta, but the Bulletproof Eggs deck should be a good match up for me as I actually benefit from having Electrickery in the sideboard and being a turn faster to win. This was borne out in game 1 where I won the race comfortably. After sideboarding in Electrickery's and Wear // Tear I was confidant of game 2. I was even more confidant when my opponent then mulliganed to 5 on the play. Unfortunately, the 5 he kept was 3 land, hexproof 1 drop and Unflinching Courage. The lifegain was just too much for me to race and I drew my Electrickery turn 3, a whole turn too late. Game 3 was just a horrible draw for me and I lost the race after flooding out.

Round 4
My favourite match up, RG Aggro. I won quite comfortably in 2 games after my opponent kept a 1 lander in his 6 cards after a mulligan in game 1 and then he drew no red mana in game 2.

Cost to enter: £3.50
Prizes: £5.00

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