Lorwyn: Boggart Feast Review (Part 2 of 2)
Next up in our tour of Lorwyn is a trip to see the Boggarts! The plane’s version of Goblins, they broke from the norm by blending together both Red and Black mana, and hopefully will let us see the best of both! For opposition, we have Sam piloting Elementals’ Path, a five-colour Flamekin-based deck. Which tribe will gain the upper hand?
Opening up the game, Sam drops a leading Flamekin Bladewhirl, revealing a Flamekin Brawler for the discount), while I begin with a Facevaulter. Next turn she swings in for 2 to drop me to 18, then summons the Brawler after deploying a Vivid Crag. Back to me, I also cheat out my “discount” creature, a Squeaking Pie Sneak, by revealing an Exiled Boggart.
Now turn 3, Sam attacks with both beaters, pumping all her mana into the Brawler after I decline to block. Just like that I’m down to 13 life, though after a 3-point counterattack of my own I’m able to shore up my defenses with a Mudbutton Torchrunner. Next turn Sam drops a Shimmering Grotto, then adds a Wispmare to her board. She passes without attacking, and so I then send in just the Sneak. Finally, I summon a Marsh Flitter, putting a pair of 1/1 Goblin Rogue tokens into play beside her.
Now turn 5, Sam turns all three of her creatures sideways, deciding that she can’t be held hostage to the Torchrunner forever. I block the Brawler with Torchrunner, using its death trigger to finish the job. The Bladewhirl is blocked by a 1/1 token- another trade. The Wispmare slips past for 1. She then kills off the Sneak with a Consuming Bonfire. Although she’s managed to tamop down by board, I still have some options with the Flitter, a 1/1 token, and the Facevaulter. I counterattack with all three for 3, putting Sam down to 12. Then I summon a Ghostly Changeling and pass. Back to Sam, she plays a Wanderer’s Twig, snapping it to grab a Plains (which she then plays). I attack with the Facevaulter, Flitter, and Changeling. Sam declares no blockers, and I sacrifice the remaining 1/1 Goblin token to pump up the Flitter. This hammers Sam for 6, cutting her in half. I then add a second Ghostly Changeling and end my turn.
The fresh Changeling is bounced on turn 7 as Sam plays an Æthersnipe, then she follows with another Wanderer’s Twig. Back to me, I send in the Marsh Flitter, eating the Facevaulter to let her kill the blocking Wispmare. I then resummon my second Changeling and pass. Sam snaps her Wanderer’s Twig for a Forest, which she then plays to let her bring out a Briarhorn- a desperation move, since it loses its surprise value and combat bonus this way. I send in the trusty Flitter, chomping on a Changeling to make her a 3/3. Sam’s now on a one-turn clock.
Luckily, she topdecks a Consuming Bonfire on turn 9 to kill the Flitter, then attacks in with her Æthersnipe for 4, leaving me not far behind at 8. The topdecks continue as I rip a Boggart Birth Rite, pulling back the Squeaking Pie Sneak (revealing the same crappy Exiled Boggart I did the first time I played it, seven turns ago). Next turn, Sam attacks in for 4 more with the Æthersnipe, and appears to be winning the race after she replaces it on defense with a Mulldrifter. All I need is one last turn, though- a swing from the Sneak followed by a fatal Tarfire.
Sam opens with a Flamekin Harbinger, letting her tutor up a Smokebraider for next turn. For my part, I bring out the trusty Facevaulter. After attacking for 1 next turn, Sam follows with a Wanderer’s Twig after deploying a Vivid Crag. I counter for 1 with the Facevaulter, then bring out the Squeaking Pie Sneak (revealing a Boggart Birth Rite). Sam’s Smokebraider finally lands on turn 3, then she pops the Twig for a Swamp. I simply attack for 2 with the Sneak and pass.
Now turn 4, Sam burns down the pesky Sneak with a Consuming Bonfire, then puts me at 18 life with a swing from the Harbinger. Over to me, I fire back with a 1-point attack from the Facevaulter, then fetch the fallen Sneak with a Boggart Birth Rite. I resummon the Sneak and pass. Recognising the danger the Sneak possesses, Sam burns it down a second time with a Consuming Bonfire. Undaunted, I tap out for a Warren Pilferers, returning- again- the irrepressible Squeaking Pie Sneak. Because I returned a creature card, the Pilferers get haste and swing in alongside the Facevauler for 4.
Now at 12 life, Sam fires back with a surprise of her own- a 4/4 Flamekin Harbinger courtesy of a Briarhorn, leaving me at 13. Back to me, I play an Adder-Staff Boggart, winning the clash to give it a +1/+1 counter. I then attack for 3 with the Pilferers, which Sam accepts in trade for the Briarhorn. I replace it with a Lowland Oaf and pass. Next turn, Sam sets me back with a Faultgrinder, crushing one of my two Swamps. I then use the Oaf to launch the Adder-Staff Boggart, hitting Sam squarely for 4 before dying. I then replay the Squeaking Pie Sneak and pass.
Now turn 8, Sam kills the Oaf with a Shriekmaw, then plays an Inner-Flame Acolyte. The Faultgrinder- the beneficiary of the Acolyte’s largesse- connects for 6, putting me down to 7. Back to me, I play another Adder-Staff Boggart, once again winning the clash. I then attack in for 2 with the Sneak, trading out for Sam’s Shriekmaw knowing full well I’ll be able to get them back. I then use Boggart Birth Rite to nab a Warren Pilferers out of the graveyard and end my turn.
Back to Sam for turn 9, she attacks with the Acolyte, Faultgrinder, and Harbinger. I gang-block the Faultgrinder with my Adder-Staff Boggart and Facevaulter to kill it, but still go down to 3. Over to me, I reclaim the Sneak yet again with a Warren Pilferers, but it’s too little, too late. After clinging on one more turn, I scoop after drawing nothing.
Once more I find myself in possession of an opening Facevaulter, while Sam counters with a Wanderer’s Twig. I swing for 1 on turn 2, then reluctantly play the lowly Exiled Boggart. For her part, Sam worryingly deploys a Smokebraider.
Now turn 3, I attack in for 3 to put Sam at 16. Sam, meanwhile, adds a second Smokebraider, then brings out an Incandescent Soulstoke. Back to me, I then add a Tar Pitcher, while Sam plays a Ceaseless Searblades, snapping the Twig to grab a Forest which is then played.
Sam’s board is coming along a little too nicely, so it’s time to try and take her legs out from beneath her as I play a turn-5 Marsh Flitter. I then use one of the 1/1 Goblins she brings with her to feed the Tar Pitcher, doing 2 damage to kill the Soulstoke. Not to be outdone, Sam triggers the Soulstoke to cheat a Mournwhelk into play- just long enough to force me to discard two of my remaining three cards (a Warren Pilferers and Ghostly Changeling). Sam then gives me even more headaches with a Changeling Titan, championing her Searblade.
Now turn 6, I then play a Warren Pilferers, returning the other Pilferers from graveyard to hand. I then feed the other 1/1 Goblin token to the Tar Pitcher to kill off one of Sam’s Smokebraiders, then end after a 1-point swing in the air from my Faerie. For her part, Sam ends the menace of the Tar Pitcher with a well-placed Consuming Bonfire. She then adds a Springleaf Drum and swings in for 7 with the Titan. I simply chump-block with the Facevaulter. Next turn, I return the Tar Pitcher to hand by casting a second Warren Pilferers, then swing in with the first Pilferers, the Exiled Boggart, and the Fliter for 6. Down to 9, Sam plays a Ceaseless Searblades and passes.
The Tar Pitcher makes an encore appearance on turn 8, after which I attack in with the Flitter. With no cards in hand, I’m free to sacrifice the Exiled Boggart to make her a 3/3, dropping Sam to 6. Back to Sam, she kills the Tar Pitcher with another Consuming Bonfire. She ends her turn, and I fire in again with a 3/3 Flitter, having offered up the Facevaulter as tribute. Sam takes care of the Marsh Flitter for a turn when she bounces it with an Æthersnipe, then hammers me full-on for 7 with the Titan.
Now turn 10, I replay the Marsh Flitter, then summon a Mudbutton Torchrunner. With no way to answer, all Sam can do is watch as I then sac the Torchrunner to the Flitter, directing its 3 points of death-trigger damage to Sam’s face for the win.
Thoughts & Analysis
One of my favourite archetypes with precons is the sacrifice-themed construction- typically, I point to Coldsnap’s Beyond the Grave and Mirrodin’s Sacrificial Bam as been best in breed. They’re a lot of fun not because you get to kill your own things, but because it takes a certain amount of planning and strategy to offset the natural disadvantage that comes from having to kill your own things to get your deck to perform. Although somewhat reminiscent of this, Boggart Feast was what you might call “sacrifice lite.” That’s not meant pejoratively- indeed, for many players, the sort of sac-heavy shenanigans of the examples invoked above make for wildly unpleasant playing. But for the player who wants to dip their toes into the shallow end of the pool, you could do much worse than this one.
In the main, the sacrifices tend to be fairly straightforward and obvious, but at the same token the benefits are as well. You don’t have to orchestrate a chain of events which lets you sac all of your artifacts to burn your opponent out across the table with a Disciple of the Vault. Instead, you can make your creatures bigger, or help pay for some of your spells. This latter point strikes a bit of a dissonant note. Offing one of your creatures for a Fling only typically feels amazingly good in two circumstances: it either wins you the game outright by blasting your wounded opponent in the face, or it lets you kill a dude you wanted killed anyway. For instance, you Act of Treason their best creature, bash them with it, then Fling it for even more wicked delight. Alternately, you kill one of your own guys you want dead in order to force a particular death-trigger, such as when I sacrificed the Mudbutton Torchrunner to the Marsh Flitter to burn out Sam.
Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of these sorts gathered around the Boggart Feast. The Torchrunner is a fine choice, but the Hornet Harasser not only costs four mana, it demands that two of these be Black. That’s not always convenient, or even possible. All in all, you don’t rally get the same depth of machination here we’ve seen in previous efforts, and that’s left us a bit disappointed. Still, you do have an outside chance to live the dream- in our pregame friendly, I used the Goatnapper to steal Sam’s Changeling Berserker, and had the alpha strike not killed her outright (which it did), I would hve been able to pop it to one of my Goblin-themed sac outlets rather than having to return it to her. Fun!
Overall, this is a solidly midrange offering that takes a few turns to get going- not the sort of thing you usually expect from Goblins in Magic. The novelty and flavour is certainly a plus, but overall we’ve thus far been fairly underwhelmed by our Lorwyn experience. Boggart Feast has done little to change that. There’s certainly some potential for fun here, though!
Pros: Strongly-supported tribal theme pulls the deck together; strong evasive cards like the Squeaking Pie Sneak and Marsh Flitter give the deck ways to punch through damage in stalled board states
Cons: Deck doesn’t break any new ground- this can feel like a minor sacrifice subtheme grafted on a fairly generic-feeling deck of creatures
OVERALL SCORE: 4.00/5.00