Mirrodin: Sacrificial Bam Review (Part 2 of 2)
With a nearly wide-open field available to her in selecting today’s opposition deck, Jimi wastes no time in snapping up the modified White Weenie offering Little Bashers. Facing her on the field of glory is the first theme deck to be reviewed from the original Mirrodin, Sacrificial Bam, whose path to victory is carved on the back of an artifact-sacrifice strategy. We shuffled them up and sat down for the customary three matches. Here are our notes.
Jimi begins on the play, and we both spend our first turn beginning our land drops. Next turn our decks veer into their expected directions, though, as Jimi summons an Auriok Bladewarden while I drop down an Iron Myr. Back to Jimi, she adds a most unwelcome sight- a Loxodon Warhammer– but I thankfully am able to play a Goblin Replica to match. Now all I need is one more land, and bye-bye Warhammer.
Now turn 4, Jimi continues building up threats with a Leonin Den-Guard. I pray to draw that critical fourth land but only get a Nim Replica instead. Better that than nothing, I play him and pass. Next turn Jimi catches a break, drawing an Altar’s Light and exiling my poor Goblin Replica, playing it at sorcery speed to ensure I don’t get the chance at using him if I draw into a land. I don’t- it’s a Myr Retriever, and I add him to my forces.
The Warhammer finally comes on-line on turn 6 as Jimi fits it to her Den-Guard and comes swinging in for 6 (including an added boost from the Bladewarden). I’d only taken a nick before from the Baldewarden (on turn 3), so this lays me low to 13, while the Warhammer’s hideous lifeboost puts Jimi at 26. She then follows up by playing a Banshee’s Blade. I need answers, and I need them two turns ago. Instead, my turn 6 is a blank. I’d kept a hand that had no Swamps in it because I figured I could draw into one, and both Irradiates sitting in my opening grip need a little time to ripen anyway.
Fortunately, my opening hand also included a Shrapnel Blast, for when on turn 7 Jimi decides to play a Fireshrieker and equip that to the Den-Guard, I’ve had enough. I offer up the Myr Retriever (I have another in hand, alongside a pair of Disciples of the Vault now) and blast it in response to her attempt to equip it further. This buys me some time, but not much. Jimi is running a bit creature-light, but she has three quality pieces of equipment on the board. Virtually any creature she draws into will become monstrous almost right away. Back to me, I play a Cathodion– a welcome 3/3 body- and pass.
Now turn 8, Jimi summons a Skyhunter Cub, while I gratefully draw and play a Pyrite Spellbomb. Next turn she plays another Leonin Den-Guard (I pop the Pyrite Spellbomb at the end of her turn to kill her Skyhunter Cub), then play another Myr Retriever. I’m able to tread water, but only for a moment. After Jimi gears up the Den-Guard, I’m down in two swings. Jimi ends the game at 38 life.
A very flavourful start begins our second match as I use a Vault of Whispers to summon a Disciple of the Vault. Jimi manages a Plains, then I’m back out with a Necrogen Spellbomb after swinging in for 1 with the Disciple. Jimi lands the hated Leonin Den-Guard on turn 2, and at the end of her turn I sac the Spellbomb to draw another card (and drain Jimi for 1 from the Disciple). The Necrogen Spellbomb is nicely flexible, and against a faster White Weenie deck discard isn’t typically going to be as advantageous as simply drawing another card.
Now turn 3, I play a welcome Nim Replica, while Jimi brings out the Fireshrieker. Next turn I’m swinging for 3 with the Nim (taking Jimi to 15) , then following up with a Krark-Clan Grunt. For her part, Jimi gets an aerial threat in the form of a Slith Ascendant and passes.
I take Jimi down to 10 on turn 5 with an attack from both my Nim and the Grunt, then follow up with an Atog. Jimi moves to equip the Fireshrieker to the Slith, and I pop the Nim Replica to kill it in response. Jimi wins the day, though, with a countering Roar of the Kha for the save, and in comes the Fireshrieker-equipped Slith for 2. Still, popping the Nim did drop Jimi to 9, again thanks to the Disciple of the Vault- a card Jimi is fast coming to hate.
Next turn, I swing in with my Atog and Grunt tandem. Jimi blocks the Atog with her Den-Guard, so I feed my Vault of Whispers to the Atog to make him a 3/4, killing the defender (and again draining Jimi for 1). The Grunt’s through for the damage, though, and Jimi is at 6 life. Back to Jimi, her Slith Ascendant is twice as big, now, thanks to its last successful attack, and it chunks in for 4 damage. This leaves me at 14 life, and the Slith gets another +1/+1 counter. Jimi plays another Leonin Den-Guard and passes.
I replace my Vault of Whispers with another one on turn 7, then attack with both beaters. The Den-Guard blocks the Atog (deja vu all over again), but this time I don’t offer it any treats and the two just bump off of one another. The Grunt’s in for damage, though, and that’s Jimi at 4 life. I end with a Rust Elemental. Jimi plays a Bonesplitter and equips it to the Den-Guard, making it a 4/4. Still, I have one more attacker than she has defender, and no matter how she blocks she still dies. The Rust Elemental- at 4 power- is a must-block, and whichever of the remaining two attackers gets past can munch the Vault of Whipsers for lethal. Jimi sees this, and reluctantly scoops.
On the play, Jimi lands a Plains and passes. I’m again blessed with the flavourful tandem of the Vault of Whispers and Disciple of the Vault. She adds an Auriok Transfixer, while I press on with a Leaden Myr. Next turn, Jimi summons an Auriok Bladewarden, then has enough mana open to use the Transfixer to lock down my Vault during my upkeep. It’s not too often you’ll see a drawback with the artifact lands, but the drawbacks do exist. Thanks to the mana Myr I still manage my three-drop, a Nim Replica.
Now turn 4, Jimi adds a Leonin Den-Guard to the mix, but still doesn’t have sufficient inclination to start the attacks just yet. Back to me, she locks down the Nim Replica during my upkeep with the Transfixer, but I just go ahead and pop it off to kill the annoying little git (dinging her for 1 in the process with the Disciple). I follow it up with a Talisman of Indulgence, using it to land a Necrogen Spellbomb. The reason for Jimi’s caution makes itself apparent next turn, as she plays a Banshee Blade. She equips it to the Den-Guard and sends it in for 3 (two from the Den-Guard and +1/+1 from the Bladewarden). First blood drawn on both sides, it’s a 19-17 game. Speaking of annoying little gits, my turn-5 play is a Nuisance Engine, then I go ahead and pop off the Necrogen Spellbomb to comel Jimi to discard a card. She places a Gold Myr in the graveyard, then takes a point of life loss from the Disciple.
The attacks against be pick up steam on turn 6, with Jimi sending in the Leonin Den-Guard with Bladewarden backup and a charge counter on the Banshee Blade from her last attack. I use my open mana to generate a 0/1 Pest token from the Nuisance Engine, and chump-block her Den-Guard. The Pest dies, Jimi’s Banshee Blade gets another charge counter, and she loses another life from the Disciple. She follows with a Slith Ascendant, and ends her turn. Back to me, I play a second Great Furnace (I managed my first on turn 3), then add an Atog to the field of play.
Next turn, the Nuisance Engine lives up to its name as it draws an Altar’s Light from Jimi’s hand. In response to the instant, I make a final Pest token, then sacrifice the Engine to my Atog to ensure both that it’s not exiled as well as to trigger the Disciple’s ability to get in one more point of damage. Only slightly thwarted, she follows up with a big swing from her Den-Guard and Slith, using the Bladewarden to pump the unblockable Slith for an extra point of damage. It’s a painful situation- that Banshee Blade isn’t going to get any smaller- so I bite the bullet and block with the Atog, sacrificing my Talisman, the Pest, and the Leaden Myr to make the Atog big enough to kill the Den-Guard and survive. The good news is that all my sacrificing has had the added benefit of draining Jimi’s life- she’s now down to 13 (with me at 15). She ends her turn, then after my draw I go into the tank for a minute. I begin to smile as it dawns upon me that I may well have lethal on the board.
With her defenseless, I send in my Atog and Disciple, sacrificing both Great Furnaces to pump the Atog +4/+4 and draining Jimi a further 2 life. When the dust settles, she’s at 5 life, so I use my one remaining artifact- the turn-1 Vault- to power a Shrapnel Blast for the win!
Thoughts & Analysis
Perhaps the standout aspect of this deck comes from its synergy- so many of the different parts assembled here work interactively with one another. The Disciple of the Vault is an obvious standout, as it can get you quite a bit of life loss for just a single Black mana, but it only gets better from there. The large number of artifacts (including artifact lands) all have their place here- there are few “throw-in” choices that seem to have been selected just because they’re an artifact. Instead, from the Spellbombs to the Replicas each artifact has a job to play, and when it’s usefulness has run its course (for instance, the mana Myr or the Talisman of Indulgence), well, there’s a really good recycling program going on here, and you’ll be able to wring just a little more juice out of every last one. Indeed, the deck can become very dangerous very quickly if you manage even a halfway decent amount of artifacts, as Atogs and their ilk can swallow your board for an unexpectedly lethal strike. There will be the occasional blowout, when your opponent holds the instand-speed removal but baits you into rolling the dice- but that adds an element of risk and balance that makes the deck work well within its theme deck grouping.
Overall, it’s a ton of fun to play, and a great introduction to the set.
Hits: Fantastic synergy between cards; excellent deck theme and is well-supported
Misses: Spot removal lacking; terrible deck name
FINAL SCORE: 4.75/5.00