Thursday, October 28, 2010

Continuing Koth's Rampage

After a crazy day long adventure with Cooper to see Obama last Friday, I managed to drag my tired self over to Friday Night Magic (FNM) to test out my latest deck creation. I had written about this decklist a couple of weeks ago, so if you need a reminder you can check it out here. I managed to take second place, which is respectable considering I wasn't even sure my deck was all that good. Honestly, I'm still not sure if this deck is any good, but it was nice to have a little bit of validation.

Good thing Wizards made the first black planeswalker a good one.

During the tournament I realized I was taking too many Mulligans, and I needed more lands. I thought 23 was enough since I was running 8 mana sources, but this deck is super mana hungry and its incredibly important that I make my early land drops. I also realized that Galvanic Blast wasn't cutting it. Since I don't try to turn on metalcraft early, the extra damage was never relevant and it was basically shock 90% of the time. I also realized, that oftentimes Koth would be staring down multiple creatures when he hit the battlefield, so a single Lightning Bolt was not enough to protect him. I decided to main deck a couple Pyroclasms to help those situations. I was boarding in Pyroclasms a lot anyways. I took the Shatters out of my sideboard since artifact destruction is worthless in my meta. I added Dragon's Claws since I don't want to lose to mono-red ever. The revised deck list has been posted here.

Match-up Analysis:

VS Ramp Decks (Valakut and Eldrazi): Game one always comes to down to who won the coin flip. Surprisingly, my deck can ramp almost as good as the dedicated ramp decks, so game one really is a race to see who can drop the stupidest bombs first. Kuldotha Pheonix is really good in these match-ups because the ground often gets stalled and it can kill with a pretty fast clock. Post board, the games are in my favor. Tunnel Ignus really slows them down if they can't deal with it immediately and their usual anti-red tech, Pelakka Wurm, doesn't work as well against me as is does vs the other types of mono-red.

VS Aggro Decks (Elves and Mono-Red): Elves and other traditional aggro decks are easy match-ups. Pyroclasm is a beast at the moment and so is Destructive Force. Most of the time, I just take their initial rush and then lay down a Destructive Force or a Wurmcoil Engine and that is gg. Mono-Red aggro decks are a bit tougher however, since they can often kill me right before I manage to stabilize. If I keep a slower hand against a red deck, I lose; that's all there is to it. Post board, the match-up gets much much easier as Dragon's Claw gives me all the time I need in the world. I almost feel like this might be wasted sideboard space though. Maybe instead of the claws and the extra pyroclasms, I could put in Cunning Sparkmage and Basilisk Collar combo as my catch all anti-aggro tech. Regardless, my aggro match-ups are pretty good.

VS Control (U/B and U/R): I used to think this deck was good against control, but then control stopped running white and I started getting my ass kicked. U/W Control is no longer a good deck and it took people a bit to realize that. Anyways, my deck is really really vulnerable to disruption, and a well timed counterspell or duress can be game over for me. Pheonix is an all-star again (which is weird because I thought this card would be worthless in practice), as I can actually achieve metalcraft easily against slow decks, allowing him to be a recurring threat who also happens to be excellent at killing planeswalkers. Koth, if I can get one to resolve, is still a beating against control no matter what colors they are. Post sideboard things get a little better for me with my anti-counter spell tech, but regardless, I'm still fighting an uphill battle if they are the type that runs a ton of counterspells.The control match-up isn't unwinnable or anything like that, but I'm definitely not favored.

Overall, I think the deck still needs some work, but its close to becoming actually competitive. One quick thing in particular I am unhappy with is Lodestone Golem. Sometimes he can be beastly and totally screw over opponents (also dropping him after blowing up all of your opponent's land is lulz). At all other times, he dies at end of turn to a lightning bolt as soon as I play him. I'm not sure if I can find a better artifact creature to run in its spot, since as I mentioned before, I really don't have enough creatures to run the Masticore and adding enough creatures to support him will drastically alter my deck. I am also considering Kargan Dragonlord in his spot, since hes such a good creature and is easy to slide under mana leaks. However, hes not an artifact, he's also easy to remove, and he fails to adequately fulfill my need for a four drop. Regardless, I think I'll try him out soon and report back. I realize that most of you won't enjoy articles like this, since you have to be really into Magic to be able to follow along properly. But I like to write these articles as they really help me collect my thoughts during the whole deck building process. Basically, I just want to apologize beforehand since I'm sure there are more of these to come in the near future.


  1. I can't believe Pyroclasm is such a beast when it sucks so bad in EDH. It would be so perfect in my natural disaster deck. :(

  2. Cards change value from format to format all the time. Pyroclasm used to suck in Standard before Scars of Mirrodin came in because Shards block had a lot of cheap multi-color creatures who didn't die to it. Plus, EDH is special since its a 'go big or go home' kinda format. Pyroclasm is bad in it for the same reason Lightning Bolt is bad in it, it just doesn't do enough when people only drop huge creatures into play.

  3. Don't forget Pryoclasm does wonders against weenie flyers.

    Does standard no longer foster anti-counter spells for red? :(

  4. There is that one in my sideboard but that's all really.

    Also I was thinking of making the following changes to the deck:
    -4 Lodestone Golem
    +4 Kargan Dragonlord

    and -4 Tunnel Ignus and +4 Goblin Guide in the sideboard.

    Tunnel Ignus' ability is really easily played around, but the real reasons he wins games is because hes an additional creature which puts pressure on the opponent. Goblin Guide does the same thing, but better, and is also very useful against control. I can almost transform into RDW post board now, which can potentially be a really good strategy against control/ramp. It occurred to me that one of the reasons I was losing to control is that I don't have enough treats to keep the pressure up. I have 15 threats against control now with an additional 5 in the sideboard. This might be enough to push the matchup into the positive.

    Also Dragonlord is nuts with Koth I don't know why I wasn't playing him before. You can level him up to 8 so fast in this deck, he sneaks under counters, and he flies in a format dominated by the ground.

  5. Damn, that Kargan Dragonlord is a good creature. I can't really tell if it'd be a good fit... it looks like pretty big bolt bait in a deck that doesn't have any other bolt bait items... Are you planning to sideboard some golems, though? It seems like the golems would tear it up against non-ramp decks. And both creatures look like they'd be good against control.