Mirrodin: Little Bashers Review (Part 2 of 2)
There’s a certain symmetry to today’s clash between Mirrodin decks. While I’m piloting Little Bashers to complete the review, Sam reaches for Wicked Big to act as foil. Not only is a mono-Green beats deck right up her alley, but the flavour contrast between the two makes for a very compelling match on its own. As customary we set in for three games, and here are our notes and final review of the deck.
My cats and I are on the play, and get things rolling with a turn-2 Leonin Skyhunter. Sam’s already landed a first-turn Brown Ouphe, but has only land to play next turn. I begin the beats on turn 3 as I fly in for 2, then add a Skyhunter Cub. The Cub’s a funny one- flavourfully, it’s supposed to represent a Leonin Skyhunter-in-training, a cadet who has yet to earn his wings. Equip her and she becomes a full-blown Skyhunter… only actually better that the Skyhunter without even counting the equipment bonus. I see what they’re doing there and it didn’t quite work, but as I establish board dominance I’m certainly not going to complain. Sam’s turn 3 is a blank as well, save for a Forest.
Now turn 4, I get my first piece of equipment- a Leonin Scimitar– and move to equip it to my Cub. Sam counters the equip with her Ouphe, but at the cheap cost of one mana it’s no bother to do it again. Still, a good play by Sam as the loss of the one mana prevents me from doing anything else on my turn, though swinging in for 6 in the air is already plenty good. I follow up with an Auriok Bladewarden and pass. Down to 12 life, Sam tries to establish a board presence, but a lone Needlebug isn’t worrying anybody.
Next turn I swing in again for another 6, cutting Sam in half. Finally she gets an answer- after swinging in for 2 with the Needlebug, she lands a Tel-Jilad Archers. I swing in with both anyway- the Archers block the Cub, so I use the Bladewarden to pump the Skyhunter and drop Sam to 3 life. Although she’s able to blast the pesky Scimitar with a Creeping Mold, I have the numbers I need for a lethal alpha strike next turn.
Sam’s turn-2 Copper Myr is the game’s first summons, and I answer with a Leonin Skyhunter right away. Sam stalls on turn 3- playing only a Forest- while I press on with a Slith Ascendant after a 2-point attack. Thanks to the Myr, though, Sam powers out a Fangren Hunter on turn 4, and we’ve got a race! Back to me, I send in both flyers for 3, then put a +1/+1 counter on the Slith as a reward for dealing combat damage to my opponent. I add a Skyhunter Cub and pass.
Sam stabilises the very next turn. After attacking with the Hunter for 4, she drops the Tel-Jilad Archers. It’s way to soon for me to profitably throw away attackers just to get in with the rest, so Sam effectively has me stalled. However, the Fireshrieker I drop and equip to my Skyhunter Cub should give me some throughput. I attack with the double-striking Cub and chunk Sam down to 9 life.
Now turn 6, Sam continues the beats with the Hunter (I’m now at 12), then adds a Tel-Jilad Chosen. Back to me, I swing in again with the Cub- but this time, Sam’s got the combat trick. A Predator’s Strike on the Archers brings low my poor, brave Cub. Anxious to keep the momentum going, I then replace it with an Auriok Bladewarden and a Leonin Den-Guard. Next turn, Sam finishes the job she started on the Cub and destroys the Fireshrieker with a Creeping Mold. And of course, in comes the Fangren Hunter for 4 more. I’m down to 8 life and running out of time. Back to me, I send in the Skyhunter and the Slith, using the Bladewarden to keep the 2/2 Slith alive when Sam blocks with her 2/4 Archers. The Skyhunter slips past for 2, and Sam’s down to 7 life.
I’m on the ropes on turn 8 as Sam cuts me down to 4 with the Hunter. Back to me, I draw a Leonin Scimitar and equip it to my Bladewarden. I’m sorely tempted to attack as I can now use the Bladewarden to ensure the Archer’s demise, but this close to death I opt for the path of caution and hold back. Sam makes me pay for it as she plays a turn-9 Viridian Shaman to destroy my Scimitar. I respond by pumping the Skyhunter to an all-too-temporary 4/4, but it at least stalls Sam’s attack for a turn. Untapping, I add a fresh Slith Ascendant and pass.
We’re now into our tenth turn. As expected, Sam goes for the win with the Fangren Hunter. I’m forced to gang-block it with my Skyhunter and Slith Ascendant (the one with the +1/+1 counter), but the Bladewarden keeps Sam from claiming both blockers. The Slith dies, the Skyhunter lives to fight another round. Back to me, I catch a break when I topdeck an Arrest– where were you six turns ago? Still, I stitch up the Archers and send in the Slith Ascendant for 1.
Sam turns the tables yet again next turn when she drops the Trolls of Tel-Jilad onto the battlefield. I send the Slith back in for 2 (taking her to 4). As we both spiral downward with our hands clenched around one another’s throats, Sam rolls the dice and goes all in, sending in the Trolls, the Chosen, and the Shaman. I block the Trolls with the Bladewarden, the Chosen with the Den-Guard, and the Shaman with the Skyhunter, using the Bladewarden’s ability to pump it up to a 3/3. The Bladewarden exlodes, but Sam loses nothing- with plenty of mana, she has the Trolls regenerate both of her other creatures. Still, with my Skyhunter and Slith still alive, I’m able to close the gap next turn and swing for the win.
After a land-only turn 1, I summon an Auriok Steelshaper turn 2 and drop a Fireshrieker turn 3- a promising start! Sam, meanwhile, hasn’t landed a thing other than Forests. On turn 4, though, she gets rolling with a Deconstruct on my equipment, then plays a Needlebug (again choosing not to hold it as a flash trick because of her projected board development). With so few targets for it in Wicked Big, I blow an Altar’s Light to sweep the Needlebug away, and swing in a second time with my Steelshaper for 1.
Sam’s turn 5 is a blank- she’s having trouble establishing a foothold- and I get a third hit in with my lone beater. I add an Auriok Transfixer– also somewhat suboptimal here- and pass. Sam seems relieved to play a Copper Myr on turn 6, but I have a second Altar’s Light in hand and figure what the hell- away it goes. I send in both critters for 2 (leaving Sam at 15) and summon a Skyhunter Cub. Finally, some aerial beats!
Now turn 7, Sam topdecks a Fangren Hunter and trots it out, but I have an Arrest in hand and lock it up to keep my momentum going. Swinging in for 4, Sam’s now down to 11. Next turn, she manages another Copper Myr. Not willing to risk a trade with the Steelshaper I keep him and the Transfixer in reserve, sending in only the Skyhunter for 2. Then on Sam’s next upkeep I use the Transfixer to keep her Myr on lockdown. Sam’s far from done, though, as she Creeping Molds away the Arrest and atacks with the enraged Fangren Hunter for 4, drawing first blood. I come back in with the Steelshaper and Skyhunter for 3 more. At 6 life, Sam’s time is running out.
I tap down the Myr on her upkeep again to kick off turn 10, but Sam has a Battlegrowth which she uses to give the Hunter a power boost. It comes in for 5, and I’m down to 11 life. I go back in for 3, cutting Sam in half, then add a Skyhunter Cub. After attacking me for 5 more (leaving me at 6) Sam finds salvation in the form of One Dozen Eyes, adding five 1/1 tokens to the battlefield. Problem. I lay a Plains and pass, needing every body back to stand against the swarm. Sam attacks with just the Hunter, and I soak up a little of the damage by chumping with my Skyhunter.
My outs here are limited- a second Arrest for the Hunter would be grand, but the real win would come if I topdeck any piece of equipment. This would make my Skyhunter Cub a 3/3 flyer and seal up the win. I reach over, and draw… a Leonin Den-Guard. I concede on the spot. The next card down? Loxodon Warhammer. Sometimes you’re the beater, and sometimes the beats.
Thoughts & Analysis
In comparison to recent features (including Sacrificial Bam), Little Bashers is almost refreshingly straightforward: land a bunch of Weenies and use a combination of equipment and evasion to get there. And for the most part, the strategy seems to work. To be certain, there will be times where the more mediocre elements of the deck come to the fore, as in Game Three. There, a sluggish start coupled with the playing of only one piece of equipment kept the deck from winning- though, it must be said, it still acquitted itself reasonably well.
Overall, this deck works. The equipment gives it good variation and replayability, while the core strategy more or less stays static. The strong flying component is an effective answer to the ground stall, and gives you something to angle for when the red zone begins to thicken up to unprofitability. This is a worthy addition to the Mirrodin theme decks- silly names and all.
Hits: Solid mana curve; good array of equipment gives variety to the deck without sacrificing a ton in the way of consistency
Misses: Deck can be somewhat equipment-dependant with few ways to obtain them without simply drawing into them; removal suite rather poor- especially for a Weenie deck
FINAL SCORE: 4.30/5.00