Duels of the Planeswalkers: Thoughts of the Wind (Part 2 of 2)
In my last post, I broke down the new Duels of the Planeswalkers preconstructed deck, Thoughts of the Wind, and found a few flaws in its design. “While other decks rely on direct aggression and confrontation,” the blurb reads, “this deck prefers a more elusive approach.” Was I wrong? Did I underestimate its “elusive approach?”
To find out, I challenged Sam to three duels… with her piloting the Liliana Vess “Eyes of Shadow” deck.
Here’s how we did.
Winning the roll, I opened with a Cloud Sprite, Sam returns with The Rack. Next turn I pass while she plays a Demon’s Horn, slipping it in behind The Rack (“Too embarrassing,” she said.) Meanwhile, I’m going in with my Sprites every chance I get.
She tries to drop out a Severed Legion, I Essence Scatter it. She drops a Drudge Skeleton, I don’t respond. By turn 5, the turn she Terrors my Sprites, she’s only at 19 life thanks to that miserable Horn.
She follows up her Terror the next turn with a Mind Rot, my turn like so many of them with this deck being “draw-go.” Another Drudge on turn 7. I play the next ferocious creature in my arsenal: the mighty Wall of Spears. She Mind Rots again, I Cancel. She drops an Abyssal Specter, I Essence Scatter. She tries to drop- of all things- an Unholy Strength on her Drudges, I Unsummon it in response. I’m into turn 12 before I actually replace the threat I lost on turn 5, playing a Thieving Magpie.
Sam Terrors it.
Both of us by this point are looking for the exit. She’s too polite to say so, but I can tell that deep inside, Sam’s wishing she was able to trot out one of her own decks rather than the precons. For my part, I can’t say I blame her.
A Dusk Imp comes out. I Mind Spring for 5. She kills off my Spears with a Consume Spirit, and keeps whittling away my life with the couple of creatures she has in play. It’s a race to get there. I drop another Magpies, followed up with a Cloud Sprite. She tries another Consuming Spirit on the birds, but I have the Boomerang. Next turn I replay the Magpies and add a Phantom Warrior for good measure. She Terrors that, too, but I replace it with an Air Elemental and am ruling the skies with my admittedly lacklustre army. When she plays Underworld Dreams, I know it’s gonna be close. I need something… but what?
I go to draw my next card. What is on top of the deck? What is on top of the deck?? Oh it’s Kraken’s Eye! Oh my God! Oh my God!!
Alright, so maybe it’s not the topdeck of the century. But curse this deck for making that hideous card one I’m actually happy to see… this once. Sam plays her last-ditch blocker, a Crowd of Cinders, I Mind Control it and romp through for the win.
If you thought “Game 1” was a long read, you ought to have tried playing it. Thoughts of the Wind has been colossally underwhelming on my first pilot, but I still had hope that despite my bleak assessment, it would provide some amusement. “This is the first time I’ve ever been mored of Magic,” she noted as she finished shuffling her deck.
Sam and I drop a land for the first turn, then she plays the Rats, Drudge Skeletons, and the Severed Legion in short order after that. All I manage is a Phantom Warrior and an Essence Scatter against her Abyssal Specter. Her deck’s creature engine is flowing well: Sengir Vampire, more rats, a Dusk Imp, and still more rats. I manage to get out a Snapping Drake and Cloud Sprite, which I use to trade for the Vampire. She Terrors my Warrior, and swarms for the kill.
Congratulations, Jace, you just got spanked by my eleven-year-old stepdaughter.
This game was the only of the three that ended up resembling fun for the either of us. I get out a Cloud Sprite and Wall of Spears early. She’s out with the Demon’s Horn and a Megrim. I sneer and slap down a Snapping Drake. She sneers back and lives the dream with a Mind Rot followed by The Rack.
I take a gamble and play a Thieving Magpie- now down to one card in hand- to try and build my hand back up and give me some options while doing so. Obviously having something against birds tonight, she’s ready with the Terror in response. But my Cloud Sprite is still earning its keep, flying in turn after turn uncontested.
It would do so for the rest of the game. Sure she was mana flooded, I think she missed her first land drop around turn 12. But what options she had were spent putting out bigger fires, like another Terror for a Snapping Drake. The miserable Demon’s Horn was good for a few life here and there, but the Sprite was relentless. “I can’t believe you’re gonna kill me with faeries,” she mumbled at one point as I flew in for still another single point of damage.
This was the first game of the three when the Blue deck did what Blue decks do best, which is establish control of the battlefield. Crowd of Cinders: Scattered. Consuming Spirit: Counterbored. Ascendent Evincar: Scattered. The best she managed was Rats with Unholy Strength (R.W.U.S., anyone?) On her last draw, looking for a miracle herself, she reached for the card, looked at it, and slumped her head down. “Why this, out of all things?”
A second Demon’s Horn.
The faerie got there.
In the end, I suspect that Thoughts of the Wind will rank amongst the very least-played preconstructed I own. For creature-based aggro it’s weak, and the control is lacklustre, indeed precisely as I had supposed when I broke it down in my last post. I had hope then, but having piloted it I can think of little redeeming about the deck: it’s dreadful dull.
Liliana’s Eyes of Shadow deck at least has a Black discard theme to keep it hopping, and is light fun to play. It builds around a nice theme and does a good job backing it up with support. Not so this one- it lacks any semblance of focus. Unless, like me, you’re a collector, I’d urge you to save your money on this one.
FINAL GRADE: 1/5