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Posts Tagged ‘Arid Mesa’

Woolly

Big and dumb can be pretty dangerous.

 One of my favorite decks is Naya Zoo. Yeah, it is a tier 2, at the moment,  but I think the deck has the potential to break into the top tier.

I’ve been playing Naya Zoo for quite some time now, and it seems pretty solid. That being said, I cannot say much about how it matches up in today’s metagame. I haven’t played consistently enough against the same sort of decks you would see at a major tournament.

What I can tell you is what the deck does well. It plays cheap and powerful or cheap and potentially powerful creatures and turns them sideways. Yes, it is a beatdown deck. However, it has a few tricks. Naya Zoo generates card advantage with cascade and Ranger of Eos, a pretty nice trick with all of the removal out there. It also has a bit of removal too, for things like those pesky Baneslayer Angels.

As much as a dumb monster deck as Naya Zoo is, you cannot just throw things out there without thinking and expect to win. I know this from experience. Naya Zoo still requires brains. I would have to say 50% of my losses with this deck were due to user error.

Here is a build I went 5-2 with last Friday.

Naya Zoo

 
Creatures
3 Scute Mob
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Woolly Thoctar
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Ranger of Eos
3 Enlisted Wurm Planeswalkers
2 Ajani Vengeant

  

Instants
4 Path to Exile
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Naya Charm

Lands
2 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
4 Arid Mesa
4 Rootbound Crag
3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Sideboard
3 Qasali Pridemage
3 Dauntless Escort
3 Volcanic Fallout
3 Great Sable Stag
3 Journey to Nowhere

Again, I can’t say a whole lot about the matchups. I only played a few decks what I would consider “mainstream”. However, I can briefly discuss some of the cards  and how they perform.  

Scute Mob: Some say he’s great, others say he sucks, but his board presence is undeniable. He has to be answered eventually, or he will quickly get out of hand. Yes, all removal kills him, but you only paid one G. Maybe he’s a 1/1, maybe he’s a 9/9.  

Knight of the Reliquary: The best trick with her is to blow up a plains and then look for an Arid Mesa. You can figure out what to do next. Not only does this help her grow by 2 each turn, but it helps to thin your deck out too. Block and do it before damage is dealt.  She can be a lot of work, and I would suggest boarding her out in control matchups where the chances of your hard work paying off are minimal. Against other creature decks with little removal, she’s a superstar.

Enlisted Wurm: Cascade is insane, and to keep up with something like Jund, you need to be able to “cheat” in as many free monsters and spells as possible. Not only can the wurm do that, but he has a solid body as well.

Naya Charm: I only saw this a few times, but it was a monster each time I did. All of the charm’s abilities are pretty relevant. The least useful ability is the 3 damage. The charm’s other two abilities are what really makes it shine. In a standoff situation, it will win you the game. It also counts as “extra copies” of spells or creatures already in the graveyard.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood: Sometimes, 4/4 Nacatls are really useful. The extra point of power and toughness can sometimes make a huge difference.

Sideboard: Was terrible, except for the Journey to Nowhere. Sometimes a little extra removal is necessary against those big finishers.

After Friday, I made a few slight changes to the mainboard, and quite a few changes to the sideboard. Here’s the new makeup.

Naya Zoo Two

Creatures
3 Scute Mob
4 Wild Nacatl
3 Woolly Thoctar
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Ranger of Eos
3 Enlisted Wurm 

 Instants
4 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Naya Charm

Lands
2 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
4 Arid Mesa
4 Rootbound Crag
3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Sideboard
3 Captured Sunlight
2 Luminarch Ascension
2 Uril the Miststalker
2 Volcanic Fallout
3 Dauntless Escort
3 Journey to Nowhere

Ajani sucked in all of my games. If I saw him, that was. Even in control matchups, there was always a sphinx or sodding Baneslayer Angel flying over my head to kill him if I didn’t have a path. However, an extra bolt or Naya Charm would have won me a few games, so I added them in.

Sideboard 2

Naya does horribly against the stupid mono-red decks out there. They burn your creatures, hit you with earthquake a few times and then Spire Barrage you to death. I wished for some Captured Sunlight, which I had in the original sideboard but took out. It will also help you get back some of your burned monsters. Uril the Miststalker should be great in removal-heavy matchups, and as an added bonus, bigger than anything Jund has. The Luminarch Ascensions should help with control matchups.

Here are a few tips on how to play Naya Zoo.

Your deck is best at 5 + lands. Never keep a hand with less than 3 lands in it. I am willing to bet I’ve lost most of the games I’ve tried it with fewer.

Unless you really need guys on the field, use Bloodbraid Elf and Enlisted Wurm as if they were removal; cast them when there’s something you need to get rid of. Cascading into a path when you don’t need it sucks, and being able to get a free one and a monster is great.

Scute Mob should be dropped on turn one, if you have it in your opening hand. They’ll have to get rid of it eventually, and even if you only get in for a couple points before you have to hold it back or it gets removed.

In a control match-up, play Ranger of Eos whenever they don’t have the mana to counter, even if you don’t think you need the guys. You will. Playing a Bloodbraid Elf or Enlisted Wurm into a counterspell is okay. They’ll have to choose.

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Zendikar poses a problem for me. I like obviously powerful cards that have an obvious place in the metagame. A good example of this would be something light Lightning Bolt. It is cheap, powerful and I know exactly where I want to put it.

Zen has a few cards like this. However, the set seems to  have a lot more of what I call cards with potential; powerful cards without an obvious slot in the current metagame. These are cards that are good in a vacuum, “win-more” cards or cards which would necessitate building a new deck.

I think the reasons for this are two-fold. I have never seen cards like the cards in Zen before, so I’m not quite sure how to classify them. The metagame, after losing Lorywn, will probably consist of several Alara based decks such as Bant, Jund and Naya, which don’t have so many open slots and seem to do just fine without the new cards. 

Of course, new decks always come along when one set rotates out and another takes its place. Sometimes it just takes time, and cards with potential.

Here are my picks for Zen, the rare cards.48uutg1a1n_EN

Obvious choices

Fetch Lands
At first glance, fetch lands don’t seem to be all that, but on closer inspection, they do so much. First, they are super mana fixers. A few sets of these will keep the three and four color decks running strong. Secondly, they thin your deck out. Lastly, they trigger landfall twice, once with the initial drop and once when you put the land you searched out into play. Money rares already near $20 per.  

Day of Judgment
It doesn’t kill regenerating creatures, but it is still Wrath of God. Since when has regeneration really been relevant? River Boa will probably laugh at this, but that’s about it. Control will want.

Goblin Guide
Some say he’s better than Figure of Destiny, some say he’s worse. I don’t know who’s right, but a 2/2 with haste for 1 will be played in aggressive decks in his color. Uncontested, on turn three you get the same amount of damage in as you would with the figure, minus the extra 4 mana you played. He doesn’t have late game presence, but the haste could still be relevant for the last few points of damage. His drawback is interesting too. You get to see what they are drawing next turn. Of course, they might get a land, but we’ll see if this ends up being relevant.

Cards with Potential 

Mindbreak Trap
Played for free or for 2UU, you still get to counter any number of cards. It will always counter at least one. Perhaps this will see some sideboard action against cascade. If a combo deck appears in standard, we will certianly see this.

Bloodchief Ascension
I fully expect somebody to figure out how to build a deck around this. I can already see it going in some sort of mono-black Vampire aggro deck or Blightning. With cheap damage and hasty creatures abound in standard, activating two or three of these is pretty feasible. Not to mention devastating.

ScuteMobPreviewScute Mob
I don’t care what they say, Scute Mob has board presence turn one. He will get there eventually if they don’t kill him. Drop him early and get in a few pings, drop him late and he can grow to stupid size in just a few turns. He might be a removal magnet, but that’s okay. He only costs one mana.

Ob Nilixis, the Fallen
Ob might make a good finisher. If he dies before you get to drop a land, he’s underpowered. If he dies after you drop a land, you got a 6/6 and 3 damage in for 3BB. He’s great with Harrow and Fetchlands. He doesn’t even have to swing, but if he does he’ll likely be huge. Of course, he will require a bit of building around, but I think he’ll get there.

Malakir Bloodwitch
On her own, she’s a 4/4 pro white with flying, one life to you and one away from your opponent. For 3BB. Two or vamps on the field and you just got mad value from her.

Pyromancer Ascension
Might be nice on its own, but I see some U/R nonsense with draw a card, discard a card, then double your pleasure. Cruel Ultimatum X3!

Summoning Trap
Nice side for anything heavy in green if counter-control comes into power. Not bad at 3GGG and certainly not at 0. Might help you find that creature you really need in a pinch too.

Oran Rief, the Vastwood
Two of these in play and little guys like Scute Mob, Wild Nacatl and Bloodbraid Elf just seem like fun.

Luminarch Ascension
This card was built for control/fog decks and at the same time for defeating fog/control decks.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Three land draws in a row in mono-red won’t suck so badly anymore.

Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Mono white will have endless creatures.

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Holy crap!

Has everyone seen this yet?

havjpas7uv_EN

 

Yes sir, it is an enemy fetchland, revealed at the Penny Arcade Expo and posted on the MTG Salvation site by Evan Erwin of Starcity Game’s The Magic Show. I’m guessin this makes it pretty legit.

I wonder, is this the rare cycle players have been clamoring for Mark Rosewater was talking about in his little preview teaser a week ago? I’m going to hazard a guess and say yes.

This means we’ll be seing fetchlands in these colors: 
Red/White (Arid Mesa)
White/Black
Black/Green
Green/Blue
Blue/Red

This is huge. Fetchlands are great mana fixing and they thin your deck. They may not be as hot in standard as they are in other formats, mainly because they cannot fetch duals, but they’ll still be money. Especially with the landfall mechanic, as you can trigger the new keyword twice with a fetch. Don’t forget, the land you fetch comes into play untapped.

I’m guessing these suckers will be expensive right out of the box. I am glad they weren’t printed as mythics. I would say a starting price will be around $20+ a pop, maybe settling around $15 for the  colors nobody ends up playing.

What’s next for Zendikar? A new wrath and enemy fetchlands already make this set look pretty expensive.

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