2011-12 Precon Championships: Make Your Predictions!
Welcome to the first prediction thread for the 2011-2012 Preconstructed Championships! As has become an Ertai’s Lament tradition, we’re running the Prediction League alongside the Championships to give you, the reader, a chance to flex your prognosticative muscles and see if you can call the matches. One the line is fame, glory, and- perhaps best of all- the chance to win fabulous prizes, ranging from Return to Ravnica Intro Packs, boosters, or a copy of Premium Deck Series: Graveborn!
One change we implemented last Spring season was to put the deck synopses for each round of matches in the prediction thread instead of the event coverage, to better to help the punters make informed calls in case they’re not familiar with all the decks. Otherwise, the competition is the same as in past series- one point for each correct call, match reports on the weekends and prediction threads during the week. We’ll accept predictions (in the form of replies to this post) up until the match report goes live- this week’s action appears this coming Sunday, 07 OCT!
As always, we begin with the Rosewater Conference, Nagle Division. Here are this week’s clashes:
Here’s the rundown of the Nagle Division contenders!
Colours: White, Red, Green
Set: Duel Decks: Ajani vs Nicol Bolas
Detail: Although balanced against his nemesis Nicol Bolas, Ajani’s was the faster deck of the two. A three-colour deck, however, it lives and dies on the strength of its manabase. Packed with beaters and lifegain, if Ajani can have the mana fall his way he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. (Reviews: deck, play)
Carnival of Blood
Colours: Black, Red
Detail: A poor performer in our reviews, Carnival just made the cut to be included in a year that saw more than a few disappointing entries. Much of this was due to the toned-down removal environment. We can accept paying a little more for a little less if that’s what the environment dictates, but in a Black and Red deck you should expect to be able to snipe your opponent’s best threats on a relatively consistent basis. Instead, Carnival focused its energies in the red zone where, absent the ability to clear out roadblocks to get to your opponent, you had to hope for the best. Still, it’s more than capable of overwhelming starts! (Review: deck, play)
Devour for Power
Colours: Blue, Black, Green
Rares: Avatar of Woe, Butcher of Malakir, Damia Sage of Stone, Dark Hatchling, Dreamborn Muse, Extractor Demon, Grave Pact, Lhurgoyf, Living Death, Memory Erosion, Minds Aglow, Mortivore, Oblivion Stone, Patron of the Nezumi, Riddlekeeper, Sewer Nemesis, Skullbriar the Walking Grave, Scythe Specter, Shared Trauma, Solemn Simulacrum, Szadek Lord of Secrets, The Mimeoplasm, Triskelavus, Troll Ascetic, Vorosh the Hunter, Vulturous Zombie, Wrexial the Risen Deep
Detail: If a deck could win simply on the power of its rares alone, Devour for Power would walk the competition. Unfortunately for it, there are a number of other factors in play, not least of which is speed and consistency. As a hundred-card singleton deck, the Commander releases were optimised for multiplayer play in their particular format, and are widely considered a bit of a longshot in a straight-on, head-to-head duel. The first of three Commander decks in the Nagle, this sacrifice/graveyard-themed deck has its work cut out for it! (Reviews: deck, play)
Colours: Red, Green
Set: Magic 2012
Detail: In stark contrast to its highly intricate Commander opponents, Entangling Webs embraces a very solid, classic strategy- pound in with Green beaters and back it up with Red burn. It has a superb Spider tribal subtheme- though is hindered a touch by a rather steep mana curve. (Review: deck, play)
Hold the Line
Detail: As a mono-coloured Event Deck, Hold the Line has to be an odds-on favourite for taking the Division. Add to that the fact that it’s one of the highest-rated decks we’ve reviewed, and you might just have an unstoppable juggernaut! Packed with a swarm of cheap, efficient creatures backed by a robust removal package and Equipment. (Review: deck, play)
Colours: Blue, Red, Green
Rares: Animar Soul of Elements, Avatar of Fury, Call the Skybreaker, Chain Reaction, Collective Voyage, Conundrum Sphinx, Disaster Radius, Edric Spymaster of Trest, Garruk Wildspeaker, Homeward Path, Hydra Omnivore, Intet the Dreamer, Magmatic Force, Magus of the Vineyard, Prophetic Bolt, Riku of Two Reflections, Ruination, Simic Sky Swallower, Trench Gorger
Detail: Mirror Mastery is heavily built around having Riku of Two Reflections as your Commander, letting you duplicate a horde of creatures with extra abilities. Outwith the Commander format it loses some of its potential, but it does remain one of the few decks with a Planeswalker you’re going to see. If it can weather early storms, incremental advantage can take the day! (Review: deck, play)
Colours: White, Blue, Red
Rares: Arbiter of Knollridge, Austere Command, Brion Stoutarm, Champion’s Helm, Chaos Warp, Chromeshell Crab, Crescendo of War, Dominus of Fealty, False Prophet, Flusterstorm, Howling Mine, Insurrection, Martyr’s Bond, Nin, the Pain Artist, Numot the Devastator, Oblation, Reins of Power, Ruhan of the Fomori, Trade Secrets, Wild Ricochet, Windborn Muse, Zedruu the Greathearted
Detail: Given the multiplayer format of Commander, interpersonal politicking plays a large role and Political Puppets plays this role to the hilt. This makes for great Commander, but in the Championship all politicking goes right out the window. Zedruu’s deck loves to give out freebies as an incentive to be left alone, but in a duel all those gifts do is make it quicker for your opponent to kill you. Can it pull off the upset against a Core Set deck? (Review: deck, play)
Repel the Dark
Colours: White, Green
Detail: The tribal Humans deck of Innistrad block, this deck is par for the course with a somewhat underwhelming removal suite but makes up for it with a fairly robust suite of cheap beaters and an arsenal of Equipment. Can the Elder of Laurels lead his people to glory? (Review: deck, play)
And that’s it! Best of luck to all entrants in this season’s Prediction League, and just leave your picks in the comments below. As before, those who leave some explanation as to why they made their choices may be quoted in the post-match wrap-up!