April 9, 2014 by crew
Today I am going to take you on a journey through a battle of epic proportions where Giant Beasts are sent to battle by their masters, waging war on the mind bending illusions in the deepest darkest depths of the minds of two Planeswalkers!
For those who don’t know me, my name is Chris (Number32) and I am pretty new to the world of Magic the Gathering and I am sharing my journey with you all through a series of articles here on Beasts of War. These take you through from me starting out with intro packs to me attending my first Friday Night Magic and then seeing where it takes me from there.
This article however will take you through some of the battles that I have with a close friend and Regular opponent. My opponent is John or as we affectionately call him ‘Biggs’ and we have known each other for many years and are often coming to blows in video games, board games or any other battle of will that there is. We have both played Trading card games previously and it was our regular games that had led to me having some success in local competitions in the system that we played at the time. Now years later we have both started out Magic the Gathering.
Gathering The Cards!
The Deck that I am playing is a Blue and Black (Dimir) deck that sends cards to my opponents graveyard either forcing them to run out of cards causing the game to end or using their cards to increase the value of some heavy hitting creatures to break the back of my opponent. The deck uses cards that are currently active in standard using the sets Gate crash, Dragons Maze, Return to Ravnica, M14 Core Set, and Theros. Some of the cards that are key to the deck that I will be using are shown below.
The Deck that Biggs is using is a Green and Black deck that fills the board with beasts that keep growing in power as the game goes on. Settling in for a war of attrition that inevitably overwhelms its opponent leaving the battered and broken bodies of its opponent trampled on the battlefield. This Deck is also active in standard but uses mostly cards available in the M14 and Theros sets.
We are playing three games here but are not actually going to be side boarding any cards. The Decks will remain the same and we will see how the games play out. We usually play several games and some games are over rather suddenly if stars are aligned and the cards deem you unworthy of an actually playable hand. Let’s see how we do in our first game.
To start the game we decide who is going first by rolling a D20. We roll to see who scores highest them going first. To start the games we both roll a 10! At this point we were expecting a close game being this close from the start! Unfortunately it ended there with Biggs scoring a 20 on his next roll to secure the first turn.
To start the game an Elvish mystic is played by Biggs, not only was this efficient mana use from the start but it secured additional Mana for the entire game. In response I played Duress allowing me to see Biggs hand and forcing him to discard Giant Growth.
In Turn two Biggs draws and plays advocate of the beast setting him up nicely to use a rumbling Beloth later in the game getting him set going forward with a beast that will rapidly grow in strength.
Unfortunately in my starting hand I was very limited for Basic Land but I had some cards I thought would be useful including some Dimir Guild gates. Unfortunately I didn’t draw a land and this really restricted my Mana having to play a land that starts off tapped keeping me limited to one available mana.
For turn three Biggs plays a Rumbling Beloth as a 4 cost with the help of the Elvish Mystic, This meant that so far Biggs has played a One, Three and Four cost by turn three! Not only is this a pretty strong start but it really puts me on the back foot.
For my turn three I had a choice here as I could kill the advocate with a Dimir Charm or send the Beloth to Oblivion with a Doom blade. I opted to take out the advocate with the Dimir Charm; unfortunately this would be detrimental to my game going forward.
In turn four Biggs played a troll hide on his beast leaving one land available. Unfortunately this was where I really slipped up. By forgetting that the Elvish Mystic can gain the additional mana needed to use the regenerate ability of the troll hide on the beast I foolishly cast doom blade only for it to be negated by the regenerate of the hide.
With Biggs taking undefended swings at me he reduced my total health too low and I had no available creatures to play yet. I had been holding out for Mirko Vosk but was a land short and at this point he wouldn’t have been much use anyway.
The turning point of our first game was my use of a Dimir Charm on the advocate instead of Doom blade on the beast. That may have kept me in the game a bit longer as Biggs was drawing Land at this point and had run out of steam. As a look back my opening hand was very limited for creatures and land but plenty of spells. Unfortunately that didn’t help me against the quick set up of Biggs. The learning point for me going forward was to likely mulligan an opening hand like this in the future and to take out the larger threats first.
With a quick start from the off Biggs had a bit of a smug grin to his game and conceded that this was a textbook start for the Green element of his deck that focused on doing just this.
Game two started quickly and Biggs opened with an Elvish Mystic and Advocate of the Beast with me unable to really respond.
During turn three had another Advocate of the Beast played and I played a Doorkeeper to help stave off the set Elves setting up against me.
Having learned my lesson in the previous game as soon as Biggs played a Rumbling Beloth I was waiting to smite him with a Doom blade.
In the next turn the Advocate of the Beast twins and the Elvish Mystic attack. But a Nightveil Spectre makes an appearance for me.
In the following turn Biggs plays Mark of the Vampire on one of the Advocate of the Beast twins and takes a swing for some health gain and breakthrough as I didn’t want to sacrifice my doorkeeper at this point. What Biggs didn’t know is that I was about to play Soul Ransom to take control of his Vampiric Mystic. As Biggs only had two cards in his hand he wasn’t willing to sacrifice these allowing me to draw to further cards to take him back.
Biggs then plays another Advocate of the Beast and a Kolonian Tusker, Ending his turn this meant that his Tusker received two +1/+1 tokens. Nightveil Spectre Attacks exiling one of Biggs cards that had access to playing, I then played a Clone assuming the role of a Cloned Tusker and the exiled card was an Artificers Hex that meant certain death to the Kalonian Tusker.
Biggs attacked with his Kalonian Tusker that Doorkeeper had to absorb sending my one eyed defender to his doom. In my turn the Artificers Hex killed Tusker. Due to the Nightveil Spectre attacks exiling cards it gave me access to a Dark Favour that I then played on my Nightveil Spectre who then attacked with my Soul Ransomed Advocate of the Beast.
After this Biggs thought it best to regain his Advocate of the Beast and discarded 2 cards to negate my Soul Ransom but also allowing me to draw two cards. I then played Pilfered plans allowing me to draw a further two cards and attacked with my Nightveil Spectre.
Biggs thought he may have a way back in in the next turn by playing a Planes walker Lilliana who was cancelled with Psychic Strike, Having taken that blow Biggs attacked with his Advocate of the Beast that he had regained who due to the Mark of the Vampire enchantment helped Biggs regain some health. I was able to defend this with my Cloned Kalonian Tusker. Whilst this meant the death of his creature Biggs was mainly after the life gained with Life link to try and stay in the game.
On my next turn I was able to play a Consuming Aberration and a Doorkeeper still being able to swing with my Spectre and Cloned Tusker. At this point Biggs accepted his fate knowing there was little to be done and conceded the game.
Whilst a little unorthodox what managed to win me this was by using Biggs own things against him due to my Nightveil Spectre, Soul Ransom and Clone.
We then moved on to the deciding game of the day!
Look out for the final game on Friday and see who wins this Magic the Gathering scrap!
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"...we both roll a 10! At this point we were expecting a close game being this close from the start!"
"...Biggs played a Rumbling Beloth and I was waiting to smite him with a Doom blade!"