October 19, 2012
By PAT aka IRPOTENTIAL
After building and tweaking the decks, I asked my wife to sit down and play a few games with me. It turns out Sheldon is completely right that recording games to write articles about is extremely cumbersome and annoying. My wife was not excited when I asked her to record all of her draws so I could present the play from both sides. I started the games by offering my wife first choice of the decks and she selected Bruna.
We shuffled up, rolled to see who goes first, and drew our starting hands. My first hand only had two basic lands and nothing to do until turn four, so I drew a second hand of:
This hand looks super sweet. I need to hit another land drop or two for the deck to really come online, but it will give a solid start. My wife kept her first draw of:
This hand looks like a good start too. It does not really have any threats, but it can likely deal with any threats Stonebrow produces for the first several turns. We both drew and played lands for the first few turns until I drew Hystrodon and played it face down on turn three. My wife answered promptly with a Ghostly Prison and then a Condemn when I attacked with the facedown Hystrodon. I responded by playing a Primal Rage to setup my creatures to get a boost from Stonebrow. My wife did not play anything turn five, I played Stonebrow, she answered with Bruna stopping me from attacking, and I responded with Hateflayer.
Turn seven the gloves came off and Bruna attacked with a Curiosity and Empyrial Armor for eight. I in turn attacked with a 7/7 trample Hateflayer and my wife made a few mistakes. She did not realize that I could immediately untap and put seven -1/-1 counters on Bruna and declared a block. I killed Bruna and she used Return to Dust to destroy my Primal Rage. Turn eight she made another mistake and I swung with Hateflayer and Stonebrow killing her errant Cryptoplasm before blockers were declared. After learning how devastating Hateflayer is, she played Planar Cleansing to reset my board while losing only a Ghostly Prison herself. At this point, my wife had run out of permanent answers and was down to about half life while I was at 34. I cast my Apocalypse Hydra with X=6. My next turn, I swung for 12 and cast Fires of Yavimaya. My wife topdecked a Flickerform and cast it on the Hydra. She did not realize she could immediately kill the Hydra, but did activate Flickerform after I declared my attack. I shot a few of the counters at her and connected with Stonebrow again. At this point, my wife was completely out of answers and at six life. Stonebrow finished her off shortly thereafter.
For the second game my wife elected to play first again. My first hand had both Skarrg, the Rage Pits and Kessig Wolf Run but no other lands, so I had to draw a new hand. My next hand was not good, but promised I would be able to play whatever I drew. With the high number of creatures in the deck, my general, and one removal spell for Bruna, I decided to keep it:
My wife hit the jackpot with her starting hand and kept:
This hand has some serious firepower and ramp. I was in for a thrashing from the start. My wife started with Dreamscape Artist and I played Lightning Greaves. She immediately went to work turning her auras into Harrows. I drew into a few ramp spells and kept my land count close to hers. Turn four I cast Stonebrow and tried to equip the Greaves. My wife responded and cast Oblation on Stonebrow. At this point I still did not have another creature and began to await my demise. My wife cast Bruna into two Aftershocks courtesy of Regrowth, but she also kicked a Sphinx of Lost Truths and continued to turn auras and dead draws into Harrows.
Turn eight I finally got a creature, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and turn nine topdecked a Plummet to hold Bruna off for another turn or two. I started to do some damage, but was already behind due to several attacks from the Sphinx. Turn ten it completely fell apart for me. My wife cast a Frantic Search and a Blue Sun’s Zenith for six. With a full grip of removal, draw, bounce, and an Eldrazi Conscription it was only three more turns until I lost.
I hope these two games offer some insight into the way these decks can play even though the first game was dominated by a few misplays and the second was decided by a hand I probably should not have kept meeting a tuck spell. Any deck matchup will have close games and blowouts and I assure you there have been many back and forth battles with these decks, they just did not happen when I had a paper and pencil.
As always leave me a comment below or drop me a private message at MTG salvation or the official Commander forum. Last time Joe asked for a link to the deck lists and I promised to provide them here so you can find the deck lists here and here. The lists may not forever match what I have written in this series because I will probably continue to tweak and update them, but they are available for your viewing pleasure. Next time I will wrap up this project with some lessons learned and ideas for the future.