2005-07 Precon Championships: Round 5 and the Leaderboard
Welcome back to the biggest ticket in preconstructed Magic, the Championships! We had an exciting second round of Tinsman Division action which left more than a few of our predictors holding ripped-up ticket stubs, but what’s a competition without the occasional upset? We’ve had some twists and turns on the ride thus far, and with plenty of action ahead nearly anything can happen. Congratulations are certainly due to Future Sight’s Fate Blaster, the divisional winner.
In Sunday’s opening tilt, the aura-heavy Custom Creatures squared off with Future Shock, a Red/Green beats deck from an alternative future timeline. Most tabbed Future Shock, but Custom Creatures did have a few rooting for it on the sidelines. Said errtu, “I don’t think that the other decks will be fast enough to deal with card advantage + mana ramp + big creatures (aka everything that makes green so cool).” Only X of our predictors tabbed the Ninth Edition deck to win, but it came through when it counted and left it all on the field. It went to three games, but in the end the quick auras on fast creatures was the difference, and Future Shock didn’t find enough answers.
On the other side of the arena, another Future Sight deck was battling it out. Fate Blaster, a Red/Blue tempo and library manipulation deck squared off against Dissension’s Azorius Ascendant. In a repeat of the previous match, one deck was heavily favoured over the other. The Azorius had the confidence of many thanks to their disruption and aerial aggressiveness, while Fate Blaster had a bunch of tricks and gimmicks. Scorium spoke for many in saying, “Fate Blaster has a lot of cards that don’t do anything, and in the other side, is facing a very good precon with flyers, card draw, and tappers. It’s not to hard to foresee that the Azorius will emerge victorius..” However, Fate Blaster proved surprisingly adept at finding its marquee rare, Magus of the Future, and it made all the difference.
For our final match to play for divisional glory, the storied run of Custom Creatures came to an end. Make as many fat aura-riddled creatures as you want to, that just makes Fate Blaster’s prolific bounce cards go from nuisance to outright threat. It was a tough-pitched battle that went to the limit, but in the end it was Fate Blaster’s day. It was a result that certainly gave the deck a second look from some of the predictors. Said Jenesis, “Is this the part where I shrug and sigh, “You can’t fight Fate”? Once you look past all the gimmicky scry cards, it is quite a solid tempo deck.”
Three-game weeks are always a dicier proposition for predictions, since you have to guess blindly for the third match. That, coupled with some unexpected wins, saw little movement in the standings this week- less than 20% of the possible points available were claimed. Only stric9 and Thewachman picked up two points on the day, and no-one clinched all three. Also of note, league leader Kyle Mueting did not tender any predictions this round, and now has some company at the top of the table! Here are the present standings:
Having settled the Tinsman, we now part ways with the Rosewater Conference, giving its two aspiring champions time to lock their wounds and regroup for their upcoming clash. For now, we’ll be turning our attention to the Forsythe Conference, starting with the Turian Divison. We’ll also begin a slight change to our coverage of the Preconstructed Championships.
Previously, we had given the spotlight to each individual deck in the same article as their opening-round clashes. As a nod to the success of the Prediction League, however, we’ll be running individual deck coverage in this mid-week thread instead, to give Predictors who might not be familiar with all the decks a little additional background information to help guide their choices! Let’s head over and get our first look at this weekend’s combatants.
The Teams to Beat
Beyond the Grave
Colours: Black, Red, Green
Detail: One of the highest-rated theme decks ever to be featured on Ertai’s Lament, Beyond the Grave is a complicated mix of death triggers and recursive shenanigans. Like any such engine, it’s a virtual sitting target if it doesn’t manage to assemble its engine, but once it does it’s virtually unstoppable! (reviews: deck, play)
Colours: Blue, Black
Detail: We always felt that Wizards missed an opportunity by making the “secret guild” one of the first four released, but the Dimir aren’t worried about it. Armed by a host of milling effects and their signature transmute mechanic, they’re a slower deck that looks to begin taking control in the later stages of the game. Will they be able to manipulate the outcome of the match, or will they, like their secrets, be broken? (review: deck, play)
Fun with Fungus
Colours: Black, Green
Set: Time Spiral
Detail: One of the game’s more unusual tribal decks, the humble Saproling of Fallen Empires finally got its due in Time Spiral, and it’s a doozy! Fun with Fungus abuses the spore counter mechanic, growing Saprolings left, right, and center and cashing them in for all sorts of nifty tricks and bonuses. (review: deck, play)
Colours: Green, Red
Detail: The originator of the bloodthirst mechanic, this is a Red/Green aggro/stompy deck that looks to race off the blocks at the starting shot and never look back. Just in case a stream of beaters isn’t enough, it also packs in a few auras- and as Custom Creatures has shown, when facing a removal-light opponent those can be a beating unto themselves! (review: not available)
Set: Ninth Edition
Detail: Blue fliers paired with countermagic and card draw… what else would you expect from a mono-coloured Core Set deck? Of course, both Ninth Edition decks seen thus far in the competition have given at least a fair accounting of themselves, showing they’re not hindered by their simple design. Will Lofty Heights soar over the accomplishments of the earlier 40-card contestants? (review: not available)
Colours: Blue, Red
Set: Time Spiral
Detail: At the intersection of suspend and storm lies Reality Fracture. Play powerful cards early with suspend, then when they ‘hatch’ capitalise on an increased (and ‘free’) storm count! Like any combo-style deck it is only as effective as its engine, but will it have enough gas in the time-tank to claim its division? (reviews: deck, play)
Rituals of Rebirth
Colours: White, Black, Green
Set: Planar Chaos
Detail: A bona-fide reanimator deck, Rituals of Rebirth is another of the more critically-acclaimed theme decks we’ve covered on Ertai’s Lament. Dipping into three colours, the deck has plenty of fat and lots of ways to cheat them into play! (reviews: deck, play)
Colours: Blue, Black
Set: Future Sight
Detail: The Turian Division might just be the most densely-packed division this season with one quality deck after the next! Another constructon that abuses temporal tricks to get ahead, this one embraces vanishing and suspend. A personal favourite here at Ertai’s Lament due to its intricacy, it will be up against mindless aggression with the Gruul in its opening bout. Will it have what it takes to survive? (reviews: not available)
This gives us a weekend bracket of:
For those participating in the Prediction League, kindly leave your picks for these four matches in the comments below. Best of luck! And let us know if you prefer the change this week with the deck breakdown here, or if you preferred the old way (on the weekend match report), too.