This was the first part of our Christmas Eve double-header. These decks felt like they were close in power level, and fairly evenly matched. The final spread of wins and losses were close as a result, which isn’t all that common with the format we use.
We did experience some latency issues while streaming so the video was chopped up into a few pieces.
Game 1 – Elaith vs Zara
One Sentence Summary: Zara suffocated Elaith under the weight of extra armor.
Card of the Match: Bulwark
Bulwark prevented so much damage over the course of this game. Board control was pivotal to win here, and Bulwark was later joined by a Grey Monk to make Zara’s creature even more resilient.
Notable Event: Troll picked up Mantle of the Zealot. Troll has one of the highest base powers and has a built in way to heal himself, so being able to use the Troll every turn was a huge boon.
3 Keys to 0
Game 2 – Hydrochanger vs It
OSS: Hydrochanger kept drawing cards and killing creatures until it eventually won the game.
Mother was played on turn one and stayed in play for the rest of the game. Mother was killed at one point, but a Phase Shifted Regrowth brought her back the next turn. This game went long, and so Mother probably drew ten or more extra cards. Importantly, Mother made sure that the deck cycled all the way through, since Hydrochanger needed to play a certain card twice.
NE: The game ended on a Key Charge from Hydrochanger, who had to play it twice in this game to forge keys, due to the oppressive amount of stealing that It was capable of.
3 Keys to 2
Game 3 – Elaith vs Hydrochanger
OSS: The Martians invaded the board and overstayed their welcome.
This wasn’t a flashy card this game, but the two copies of Tunk allowed the Martians to kill a lot of important creatures. Tunk is very resilient, and this game showed that card advantage can be measured in different ways.
NE: Elaith was down 2 keys in this game, but the Martian presence in the middle of the game carried it to victory. Ulyq Megamouth was letting Commander Remiel activate who in turn let Halacor activate.
3 Keys to 2
Game 4 – Zara vs It
OSS: It who Tackles Duty generated enough aember to forge through Lash of Broken Dreams twice.
Shooler is an underrated card, and he stole a lot of aember in this game. The demon might not get much of a chance to be highlighted again, but this was a good game for him. There were other cards that had a larger impact, but the two copies of Shooler stole aember at the right time to keep Zara from forging at key times.
NE: Zara had control of the board for the entire game, but stealing effects are powerful enough to keep you in a game that you feel like you are losing the whole time.
3 Keys to 1
Game 5 – Elaith vs It
OSS: Elaith and It Who Tackles Duty could have settled this score faster with Monopoly.
COTM: Cooperative Hunting
Before this pod started, we weren’t sure that this deck could use the three copies of this card effectively. This game proved to be the best possible scenario for this card. Elaith had a full board for this whole game, and Cooperative Hunting did more than twenty damage (and probably more than thirty).
NE: It used Oubliette to remove Hunting witch on turn two. This backfired as Elaith was able to Mimicry twice with a Witch of the Eye to remove Carlo Phantom and Nexus from the game. With Hunting Witch stuck in a hole, Elaith had to generate aember the hard way for the rest of the game.
3 Keys to 2
Game 6 – Zara vs Hydrochanger
OSS: Zara slaughtered every creature that Hydrochanger sent to the battlefield.
COTM: Grey Monk
I’ve certainly highlighted Grey Monk before, but this game showed how a single point of armor can really swing a game around. The early and mid-game were dominated by fighting with creatures of the same size, but Zara’s creatures were left on the table when the dust settled.
NE: There were several turns that played out the same but with different cards. Relentless Assault, Potion of Invulnerability and Grey Monk all did their part to kill creatures and keep Zara’s creatures on the board.
3 Keys to 1
Supportive Elaith of the Glade – *Advancing*
This deck won the games it controlled the board and got crushed in the game it could not. The key to controlling the board with this deck is a combination of Tunk and Halacor. The deck relies heavily on its creatures to generate aember and Commander Remiel and Ulyq Megamouth really help with that. If Remiel and Megamouth are on the board together, Elaith’s ability to use creatures efficiently increases significantly. Cooperative Hunting over-performed in this deck, which is good since there are three copies. This deck has a few aember control cards, and some of them are very powerful. Doorstep to Heaven is a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card, and Phylyx the Disintegrator is too dangerous to be left alive. Murmook and Grabber Jammer both tax your opponent and individually can be enough to stop a key. This deck doesn’t do anything really unfair, but seems to perform consistently.
Bune “Zara” Dutchmine – *Advancing*
Zara kept control of the board in all three games tonight, but proved to be vulnerable to stealing effects. Similar to Elaith, this deck performed similarly in the games it played. The creatures in this deck are pretty big, and fight for the board extremely well. Grey Monk and Bulwark both make Champion Anaphiel and Troll into resilient threats. There were no true board wipes in this pod, so it remains to be seen if this deck would perform as well versus Gateway to Dis, but the extra armor would help with against the damage based sweepers like Poison Wave and Ammonia Clouds. This deck did not generate aember quickly, so it does seem vulnerable to decks that don’t care about the board and just pile up aember. Charette and the Lash are the decks best ways to stop the opponent from scoring quick keys. The Brobnar in this deck can generate a surprising amount of aember between the Headhunters and the Warchest, but this requires creatures to fight. Wise opponents might discover the best strategy against Zara is to not play into this deck’s strengths.
Hydrochanger, Center Chieftain – *Eliminated*
The Logos in this deck is very strange. The three Foggify’s do a lot to keep your creatures alive but there are only two Logos Creatures. The Labworks and Phase Shift do a lot to smooth out draws, but for the most part the Logos in this deck doesn’t do much to advance this deck’s board position. Mother was key to the this deck’s only win, and it does feel like this deck will lose games where it plays the same amount of cards the opponent does. The Brobnar in this deck really miss a way to get into the fray immediately. It does seem like Brobnar decks without Anger, Gauntlet of Command and Ganger Chieftain are at an extreme disadvantage, and only Hebe the Huge and Smaaash in this deck give this deck an immediate board impact. Tireless Crocag is awesome, but there’s no way to heal him in this deck, so he will usually kill two creatures before getting tired. Key Charge is always welcome, and Witch of the Eye and Teliga are both must-kill creatures. Flaxia is hit or miss in this deck, but there are a lot of Untamed creatures, so it is possible to play several in a turn before Flaxia comes down for the bonus. Murmook and Grenade Snib are the only ways to interact with the opponent’s aember in this deck, and that is a big problem. There is nothing here to punish your opponent from gaining as much aember as possible, so this deck will often find itself in a race.
It who Tackles Duty – *Eliminated*
This deck was a Key Charge away from making to the next round. There is an annoying amount of stealing in this deck, and even the Untamed helps with that. One big weakness of this deck is that there are a lot of creatures that have powerful effects and small bodies. Truebaru and Shadow Self can help protect them, but without them this deck struggles to keep anything on the board. There is some pretty solid synergy between Guardian Demon and Vigor with Shadow Self, but once again, its hard to keep anything on the board. Carlo Phantom is not at his most powerful in this deck, since he is better if there are Shadows artifacts so that he can use his ability immediately. Nexus is a card that continues to impress, and having two is even better. Inka the Spider is a cool card with a lot of play, but the fragile body means that Inka doesn’t stick around for very long. There are a lot of synergies in this deck, but there’s not a lot of overlap. Inka and Carlo will never get the Vigor extra bonus. There is no direct damage to help Save the Pack, and Shadow Self and Truebaru are vulnerable to it.
Known Mistakes: In game three, Nathan played a Hebe the Huge and forgot to damage one of his own creatures.
Meta Info: Nathan increased the lead with the results from this pod to 48 wins while Justin has 42. Going first did a little catching up, and now only trails by 6 games at 42 wins to going second’s 48 wins.