Monday, December 21, 2009

My Life in the Zoo: Legacy pt.5

So I have been able to do a bit of testing since my last revision, but no actual events. I've really been underwhelmed with both Knight of the Reliquary, and Ranger of Eos. I think these may have real value in Standard/Extended version of the deck, but for Legacy I just feel like they are dead cards in my hand, only really being cast when I'm desperate. For this reason, I'm going to cut it, but it brings up the same old problem, of what to use to fill the spot? I've beat this horse to death, and just haven't been able to find a good answer for this.  I've spent some time this week, going over my notes from past deck development efforts, in preparation for Extended conversion discussion. I think I may have found just the thing, a card M.Nash and I help bring to the spot light during the Timespiral period, in a little deck I called Gobladon. I'm going to fill that slot with Greater Gargadon.

What you're cutting a 3 drop for being to slow, and replacing it with a 10 drop? Yes, this beast serves two purposes in one. I can suspend it turn one, if for some reason I don't have a better play. It's still surprises me just how many hands I have to consider putting back because I don't have a profitable first turn play. This deck, like any agro deck, is pretty vulnerable to removal of virtually all kinds. while ol'Garga doesn't solve the vulnerability to removal, it at least allows me to get some secondary use out of the targeted assets. You wasteland me, I sac the land to Gargadon. You bolt my creature, I sac it to Gargadon. I trust you see the pattern. An added benefit is Counterbalance, which I am particularly vulnerable too with my cmc of all one and two, will have no answer to Gargadon, so they either have a hard counter in hand, or I get a beat stick. It's not a perfect world, but it is a step in a new direction, and gives me something to build on when I eventually have to deal with a lack of Goyfs.

My last Legacy event, I finished in the top half, and won two packs as a result. While I did not crack an Arid Mesa as I had hoped, I did get lucky enough to crack a Day of Judgement. A bit more luck, and a dash of trade magic, and I was able to transmute said DoJ into my desired Arid Mesa, in fact my fourth Arid Mesa. This little puppy gives me 6 fetch lands in Grove Level Zoo, and pushes my domain factor up over 75%, a long awaited targeted goal of mine. Just one more of the proper domain lands, and I can cut my lands back to 20, and add another threat card to the deck. For this reason, I've added a foil Sacred Foundry to my shopping list, since I think it's the perfect domain combination for my next major land, and It can benefit me in both Legacy and Extended, plus upgrade to foil in DoMT. A Plateau would be equally nice, but couldn't be used in Extended. At this point, I really have to be able to use a card in more then one version of the deck in order to justify a major acquisition like a dual land.

I also got around to reading the source this week. What a wealth of information that is. The Zoo thread is 90+ pages long, and while some of it is simple internet crap, there really has been a lot of good information in the 42 pages I've read thus far. In addition to getting answers to many of my creature based considerations, which ultimatlly led me to Gargadon, I also found a few things I hadn't thought of. For instance, Scroll Rack is an incredible card, and would make a nice addition to my deck, giving my Top like abilities, while still allowing me to to Needle my opponent's Top. I added it to the shopping list, and since it would pull double duty in DoMT, it makes the short list. With any luck, I'll be able to acquire one in 2010.

My last set of tweaks for this week will be to the side board. Word on the street is that there isn't going to be much in the way of dredge on the field this weekend, and my testing this week has proven to me that there is no such think as to much blue hate in the board. In this mind set, I made a run out to AFAG, and picked up a full set of Pyroblasts, and finished my set of REB's for a grand total of $2.50. What a deal! I was also able to pick up a set of Ethersworn Canonist for my board. I gave a little too much for them in trade, but it's off the list with no cash spent. At least it gives me some answers against a combo deck.

So, I went into Sunday with the following list, and side board;

Kavu Predator x4
Kird Ape x4
Greater Gargadon x3
Qasali Pridemage x4
Wild Nacatl x4
Tarmogoyf x4

Invigorate x3
Lightning Bolt x4
Sensei's Divining Top x2
Swords to Plowshares x3
Punishing Fire x3
Umezawa's Jitte

Arid Mesa x4
Ghost Quarter
Grove of the Burnwillows x4
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Terramorphic Expanse
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each.

Gaea's Blessing
Ethersworn Canonist x3
Red Elemental Blast x3
Pyroclasm x4
Pithing Needle x4

We ended up with 12 players, so it was going to be a four round slug off, but the good news is two wins (and decent tie-breakers) should put me in packs. Round one put me across from JD, and I felt pretty good about he match up. He had made some changes to his deck, going with what I think was a more comfortable build for him. I honestly think it's more efficient then MRB-Legacy, but only time will tell. I think I ended up taking him in two, fighting through a Magus of the Moon for the second win. It was tough, but I got there. Jeff was a little off tilt for the event, so I'm not sure I saw his best game.

Round two was a completly different story as I face Bert's Ichorid Dredge. So much for going with the the "no-dredge" prediction. I really saw my day going down in flames here, since my sideboard tech was very weak. I think Bert must have been a little confident in the match up also, because I think he kept a sub-optimal hand, and just never got there. I ended up pushing through game one, and doing what side boarding I could to shore up for game two. I settled on a sub-optimal hand featuring Grove x2, Pridemage, Kavu x3, and Gargadon. I had visions of turn one Gargadon, and then settling in with Grove powered Kavus, out racing the machine. Turns out Bert had different plans. Two turn one discard effects said good-bye to my Gargadon, and all my Kavu's. I basicly rage-scooped and went for game three, and it was a stupid move. I should have played it out. I told myself that more time in game three was to my benefit, but in reality, if Bert won a longer game two and we tied out on time on game three, it would have been better. Game three was not much better, as Bert had 3 bridges in the yard, and was pumping out tokens. I got to the Pyroclasm that I counted on to sweep the board, but without a way to kill one of my creatures off, I would be just as bad off with the tokens created from the sweep, as the ones removed.

Round three put me in the almost mirror of Grove vs. Dark Zoo. Mike has got a great deck, and I think we both did everything right. I pushed through in game one, Mike came back with game two. Game three was matter of a sub-optimal deck vs. a more traditional build, and my deck just couldn't overcome it's own shortcoming. Now don't get me wrong, I don't intend to take anything away from Mike, as he played a great game. My deck can win with 3 lands, but not when 2 of them are Groves. I think I was able to stabilize a couple of times, but it just never was enough to get on the beats.

Round four was a must win if I wanted to end up in packs, and I was able to pull it off. It had all the makings of a bad beats story, as my opponent was new to organized play, and I'm pretty sure brought a Standard knife to a Legacy  gun fight. He may have been outmatched, and more then a bit distracted, but a win is a win, and I needed it. This puts my sanctioned record to 12-17, which is starting to shape up. Before the event I was able to fight my way through Pox, which is about as close to hell for a Zoo deck as can be. After the event I threw down against Eddie's Dreadstille, and despite his superior deck I was able to pull it out, but then again I do normally beat Eddie. I think something about me or my play style puts him on tilt, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe I've just been lucky thus far, after all, I don't see him that often.

All and all I'm pretty happy with the deck at this point. It manages to win match-ups that it simply shouldn't, and despite being a pile of jank, is starting to get a bit of respect in the local community. More then one talented mage has paid me the respect of killing off my Kavu as soon as it hits the board, waste-landing my Groves, or playing around a possible Invigorate. Gargadon really worked well today, and I think the main deck is running about as well as I can hope for right now, although I do have some concerns regarding Ghostquarter.

Clearly, the sideboard needs some adjustment, but I'll have to continue fine tuning that over time. I'm not really sure what to do with the board just yet, but I'm going to have to take a good look at the field results before tackling that issue. The single thing that needs the most work is my own play. I need to get better at mulligans, boarding for the deck, and most importantly making clear correct decisions in the face of adversity. It's going to happens, and I need to work just as hard to tune myself, as I have my deck. Scooping round two game two probably cost me some packs, and I just can't afford to give up margins I have to fight so hard to get in the first place.

I'm really not sure when I'll be able to compete again, but I'm sure it will be January at the earliest. Extended season is right around the corner, so I'm going to have to face the Goyf issue sooner then later. I have some ideas on that, but it may be best for me to simply take Extended season off, until I can better address my true lack of Goyf.

1 comment:

phfantom said...

hey dude,
don't count extended season out just yet. Jon Bolding and I have 2 different decks in the works for extended, and he's in a similar spot to yours. Limited resources, a card pool that starts with Lorwyn, and a distinctive lack of goyfs. i won't let the cat out of the bag here, but the next time we're both up there, find me and we'll chat. :) i don't have a problem loaning you the possibly 2 cards you might need to borrow for it if you can hit your foil sacred foundry (hint hint, unless you have 3 already that i didn't know about :) )