Monday, October 25, 2010

Beware, I Live!

Seriously, what's with
this card art? BITE
Been a while since I posted here. After I made my last post, I wound up playing a different deck due to missing two of the cards I needed (Vines of Vastwood has mysteriously become difficult to find... fancy that!). Then two FNM's ago, I finally did get to play it, and I guess I just didn't feel like blogging about it. A bit anti-climatic reason wise, but there you go.

While I am going to keep RG Infect and the WWN model in mind for the future, I don't think it's competitively viable in its current form. It's not a bad deck, but it's not consistent enough. Assault Strobe, while good in conjunction with pump spells and Livewire Lash, is kind of dull on its own when most of the creatures have low power. Lightning Bolt is nice, but it falls a bit short of fully justifying the use of red. Splashing black would at least give more consistent forms of creature removal, even if the duel lands are less user friendly.

I still like the concept, though. I'm hoping the next set gives red some better options (if for no other reason than to make red decks that aren't RDW more common), and increases the number of artifact creatures with infect. I'd love to make a viable white infect deck.

Last week, I played black infect, which was more consistent in playability. It had pump spells, discard spells, lots of little critters, and even Skittles! I made the huge mistake, however, of not including Sign in Blood or Mimic Vat. Infect creatures are very prone to removal, especially in a black deck where you're likely pumping power but not toughness. As such, one needs to be ready to replace lost critters faster than they can get taken out, and a lack of card advantage and/or reliable creature spawning meant I couldn't pull that off.

I actually want to retry it with Sign in Blood (Mimic Vat is cool, but I think card advantage would serve me better), but there's a good chance I'm going to bust out knights this week. Or elves. It'll depend on my mood on Friday, I guess, but I've been wanting to make an elf deck since high school and finally have the cards to make a halfway decent one, and people were talking smack about knights prior to the Scars release and I think my old knight deck might be even better post release.

I really wish there was just one more standard tournament each week in my area. There are legacy tournaments I can play in, but legacy frustrates me. Any environment where combos like Sneak Attack + Emrakul are possible is an environment where I'm going to get frustrated even if I win, and that's spoken from experience. In standard, I usually have fun whether I win or lose so long as my deck is actually functional.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wanna Win NOW - Current Version

"I come bearing cysts!
Get it? ...Hello? Is this
thing on?"
In the comments of a previous post, I wound up linking to a thread where others had improved on my design. The most notable additions, the birds, cystbearers and the bolts, were added by a poster answering to Ankiseth. I don't think he's playing it with both Rootbound and Copperline lands, but I honestly can't think of a good reason not to if one has them.

Main Deck:

4 x Birds of Paradise
4 x Ichorclaw Myr
4 x Blight Mamba
4 x Cystbearer
3 x Putrefax

4 x Groundswell
4 x Vines of Vastwood
4 x Assault Strobe
4 x Lightning Bolt
3 x Livewire Lash

4 x Rootbound Crag
4 x Copperline Gorge
14 x Forest


4 x Pyroclasm
4 x Plummet
4 x Naturalize
3 x Combust

I still have yet to test this deck myself, though I hope to this Friday. It will all depend on whether I can get my hands on two more Vines of Vastwood, which, in theory, should happen. I'm not going to play it short any Vines, however, so if I can't, I'll be  tapping in my Myr deck of DOOM (which is probably a better deck, but I'm more eager to try this one).

I'm pretty much winging the sideboard. Yay other forms of removal? Pyroclasm is for dealing with other weenie decks. According to Ankiseth, who actually has been playtesting a version of this deck (some of his results are towards the end of the thread), it's good against Red Deck Wins (RDW).

At first, I wasn't enthusiastic about including Cystbearer. He costs more than Necropede, he has no effect upon entering the graveyard, he tells lame jokes... but being 2/3 with infect is pretty good. For one thing, it can survive one of those sideboarded Pyroclasms. For another, it can still get out by turn three if combined with Birds of Paradise.

And for thirdsies, it can do game-winning damage if unblocked at instant speed without any Assault Strobes. It would still take two cards, but two Groundswells, two Vines of Vastwood, or a combination of the two could still have it dealing 10 poison counters (assuming one pulls off landfall). Either of those with an Assault Strobe also works, so that's five ways an unblocked Cystbearer can end the game with two spells pumping it.

Odds are good that it won't be that simple, but while Cystbearer is less likely to pull of an early win, it's got better odds of finishing a game the deck fails to end as quickly as it wants, which will probably be most of them. Let's face it: the turn three win is an ideal scenario that won't happen most games even if there are lots of ways to do it.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wanna Win NOW (WWN) Deck

"Why haven't I won yet?!"
This is a completely untested but potentially scary basis for a RG Infect deck. I call it "Wanna Win Now", or WWN. The reason for that is because there are six combos (all requiring Assault Strobe) that can result in a turn three win.

4 x Spikeshot Elder
4 x Ichorclaw Myr
4 x Blight Mamba
4 x Necropede
4 x Putrefax

4 x Groundswell
4 x Vines of Vastwood
4 x Assault Strobe
3 x Grafted Exoskeleton
3 x Livewire Lash

4 x Rootbound Crag
6 x Mountain
12 x Forest

Assault Strobe is necessary for the turn three win. It must be combined with a two mana infect creature and an instant that gives it +4/+4. Assault Strobe is a sorcery, so the smart opponent will likely block it, but if they can't stop it, that's game over.

Turn 1: Play a land.
Turn 2: Play another land, cast Ichorclaw Myr, Blight Mamba, or Necropede
Turn 3: Play another land, cast Assault Strobe, and if unblocked, cast Groundswell or Vines of Vastwood. This will either cost RG or RGG depending on which boost is being used.

I'm not 100% certain how to calculate the cumulative probability on this (EDIT: though I give it a shot in the first comment and it MIGHT be about 21.8%), but those are the best odds I've ever seen for a potential turn three win. The linchpin of having to draw an Assault Strobe by turn three keeps the odds from being completely favorable, but the rest is drawing 1 of 12 creatures, 1 of 8 instants, and having 3 land in play by turn three (even if you use Groundswell, you need landfall for it to be +4/+4).

Of course, if you DON'T win on turn three, that horrible failure doesn't leave one with no options. The boost spells combined with infect are still potent, Grafted Exoskeleton on Spikeshot Elder means it can give an opponent 3 poison counters for each 1RR you have available each turn, the boost spells combined with Livewire Lash gives a way to put poison counters on the opponent even if they've got a good defense going, and casting Putrefax is roughly the equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum and saying "I should have won by now!"

As I've said, this deck is completely untested, and for all I know it would get slaughtered in tournaments. Nonetheless, I'm proud of it because it's a deck I haven't seen before. It may turn out to be a lame duck, but darn it, it's MY lame duck.

Of course, if it IS tournament viable, I suspect I'm going to be outvoted on what to call it, and WWN will fall by the wayside. They'll probably call it "Infection Assault", or something. BLEH.