2010-11 Precon Championships: Turian Division (Part 1 of 2)
Welcome back to the exciting 2010-11 Preconstructed Deck Championships! We’re about halfway through our coverage with the Rosewater Conference now down to two remaining contenders, Knights and Doom Inevitable. They’re on hold for now as we move the action over to the Forsythe Conference’s historic Turian Division. We say ‘historic’ for while this is a relatively new competition, we’ve already crowned two champions for their respective seasons. The 2008-09 Champion, Alara Reborn’s Dead Ahead, came from the Turian and defeated two different Duel Decks– including a titanic final battle against Jace. Will the Turian prove to be the spawning ground of champions? Or just another contender?
Let’s take a look at this season’s Turian bracket:
The Teams to Beat
This season’s Tinsman is a hard place to be a little guy in. With power-packed decks from Archenemy and a pair of Event Decks, the lesser Intro Pack decks will have their work cut out for them. We’ll begin with a review of the eight decks contending to lead the storied Tinsman to a repeat championship!
Bring About the Undead Apocalypse
Detail: With a strategy as straightforward as it is diabolic, Apocalypse looks to dump enormous brutes into its graveyard then animate them back out again on the cheap. With a sizable number of ways to do so, it is a monstrous threat when given time and space to set up its recursion engines. For any deck facing down the shambling hordes of the undead, Apocalypse’s weakness might well be that it can take some time to engage, meaning a quick deck might be able to pull off a win. (Reviews: deck, play)
Into the Breach
Set: Mirrodin Besieged (Event Deck)
Detail: One of the first two Event Decks to make themselves known, Into the Breach is a version of the “Kuldotha Red” Standard deck. A variant of Goblin aggro that throws in a few tricks, it goes up against Bring About the Undead Apocalypse in its opener. Will it have the speed it needs to secure victory before being outclassed? (Reviews: deck, play)
Life for Death
Set: New Phyrexia
Set: Scars of Mirrodin
The antidote to artifice, Relic Breaker was included in Scars of Mirrodin to give a silver bullet to the overreliance upon artifact decks- namely, the other four in the set! While the rest of the decks of the block give it plenty of juicy targets to smash, the big question Relic Breaker has to face is how it will perform against the premium decks in this season’s playoffs- decks which may carry little of interest to Relic Breaker. (Review: deck, play)
Rot from Within
Set: New Phyrexia (Event Deck)
Powerful on paper, Rot from Within is the very definition of a ‘glass cannon.’ It looks to dump almost everything it has in just a few attacks, getting in with a cheap infect creature then using Green pump-spells to take it over the top. With nearly half its rares mothballed in the sideboard (which won’t be in use here), it’s a good thing it can get the job done with just commons! (Reviews: deck, play)
Stampede of Beasts
Set: Magic 2011
Detail: A traditional heavy Green stompy deck, Stampede will be looking to ramp into trampling fatties and overwhelm its opposition. As the lowest-tier deck in the Division (as a Core Set Intro), it will have its work cut out for it. But it should take heart- it’s not every deck that can deal with the rolling thunder of a Green stampede, and if it can get its bruisers into play anything can happen! (Reviews: deck, play)
Set: Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Tezzeret
Trample Civilization Underfoot
And now… to battle!
Trample Civilization Underfoot vs Rot from Within
Rot from Within leads off with a Glistener Elf, then hits for extra damage next turn with a Mutagenic Growth. Trample Civilization Underfoot manages a Wall of Roots to buy it some time, then adds a morphed Thelonite Hermit. By then, however, Rot has added a second Glistener Elf and a Rot Wolf. A turn-4 strike with a Groundswell seals the deal for Rot, and Trample never contended.
Rot plays out its optimal curve- Glistener Elf, Overgrown Battlement, Rot Wolf + Glistener Elf, then Viridian Corrupter… then Putrefax with a Mutagenic Growth for lethal. Trample? It played a Watchwolf and Fertilid. Grats?
WINNER: Rot from Within
Relic Breaker vs Life for Death
Both decks play to their strengths here, and both begin equally strong. For Life, a turn-3 Pristine Talisman enables a turn-4 Rage Extractor after erecting some defense with an early Cathedral Membrane. For Breaker, it was an early Copper Myr into a Prodigal Pyromancer, with an Oxidda Scrapmelter smashing the Rage Extractor before it can do any harm. It gets a Barrage Ogre on-line as well, pitching the now-obsolete Copper Myr to team with the pinger to tear down the wall.
Breaker’s numberical advantage is crushed when Life chains an Act of Aggression and an Incite to bring over the Pyromancer (now a 3/1 thanks to a Vulshok Heartstoker) and trade it with the onrushing Ogre. Life then lands a Shattered Angel and rides it to victory.
Breaker struggles early and leaves itself wide open. It lands a turn-2 Copper Myr and follows up with a Molder Beast. Meanwhile, in those few turns Life has brought out a Cathedral Membrane, Pristine Talisman, and Rage Extractor. This time, the Extractor sticks.
With the Extractor in place, a Slash Panther kills off the Molder Beast, then swings in virtually unopposed. While breaker scrambles for answers, Life adds Kemba’s Skyguard and an Ogre Resister. Breaker brings in a Flameborn Hellion in desperation, and it falls prey to the Cathedral Membrane the very next turn. Breaker Arc Trails the Panther and Fireballs the Skyguard, but the Ogre Resister gets stuck in hard. A 5-point blast from the Extractor off an Act of Aggression stealing Breaker’s lonely Copper Myr finishes the game.
WINNER: Life for Death
Bring About the Undead Apocalypse vs Into the Breach
Opening up a blitzkrieg against the undead, Into the Breach blows its hand early with a Goblin Guide, Ornithopter, and Memnite, while Apocalypse looks to stall for time. A Reassembling Skeleton helps a little, trading out with the Memnite, but the Memnite is immediately replaced with another. An Infectious Horror draws a Lightning Bolt, as does a Corpse Connoisseur. A Spikeshot Elder joins the fray for Breach, then a Devastating Summons comes down for a pair of 3/3’s. An Avatar of Discord and a Reanimated Festering Goblin buy it a round, but Apocalypse gets steamrolled by aggressive Red.
This time, Apocalypse holds off the early rush, thanks in part to good removal in the opening hand. Breach opens with a Goblin Guide, Memnite, and Ornithopter. A few lucky hits off of the Goblin Guide fill Apocalypse’s hand with land and keeps it flush with resources. An Infectious Horror and Urborg Syphon-Mage get some early attack damage in after the Goblin Guide is traded with a Dregscape Zombie. A Devastating Summons (again sacrificing a trio of lands) is neutralised with a Terminate and Bituminous Blast, and the cascade of the Blast offers a replacement Infectious Horror. It’s neck and neck, but the Syphon-Mage keeps the life coming and ultimately deals the fatal blow.
Once more Breach has a consistent opener, leading with a Memnite and pair of Ornitopters, while Apocalypse looks to try and outlast the initial rush. A Festering Goblin and Dregscape Zombie hold off the swarm after a Kuldotha Rebirth, but the real play is a Rakdos Guildmage. The Guildmage is triggered to kill off an enemy Goblin Wardriver, and the Scion of Darkness discarded to pay for the Guildmage is then brought into play with a Zombify. A Devstating Summons for 4 is no match as one of the 4/4’s gets Shriekmawed away. The Scion grabs the Wardriver afrom Breach’s graveyard after pounding in for 6, and next turn the Wardriver leads Apocalypse’s troops to victory after the Guildmage picks off the last Ornithopter.
WINNER: Bring About the Undead Apocalypse
Tezzeret vs Stampede of Beasts
A slow start for Stampede gives Tezzeret the time to build up, and with the planeswalker himself touching down on turn 5 to lead by example, build they do! With a Clockwork Condor and Contagion Clasp keeping Stampede’s forces in check, Tezzeret fetches a Trip Noose to bolster its defenses, an Everflowing Chalice, and an Energy Chamber. Against this? Stampede’s Awakener Druid is picked off immediately by the Clasp. A Sylvan Ranger does little. A Greater Basilisk never gets the chance to help, thanks to a timely Foil (discarding a Thirst for Knowledge– painful!), and Garruk’s Packleader is tripped up by the Noose.
Tezzeret builds up into a Pentavus, then Tezz himself goes ultimate with a flock of Pentavites for a stampede of his own!
Stampede looks to go big early with a turn-1 Llanowar Elves leading into a turn-2 Awakener Druid. Again Tezzeret solves the puzzle with a Contagion Clasp to kill the Druid, but Stampede retrieves the Druid with a Nature’s Spiral. Tezzeret sets out a Moonglove Extract in anticipation, and Stampede boldly plays the Druid anyway. Next turn before the attack, Tezzeret pops the Extract to kill the Druid, but Stampede responds with a surprise Giant Growth to save it.
For its part, Tezzeret adds a turn-4 Juggernaut, but it gets Act of Treasoned into a devastating 11-point attack from Stampede. Battered but not broken, Tezzeret holds the line with a Synod Centurion (trading for an onrushing Yavimaya Wurm), an Æther Spellbomb (returning the 4/5 “Treefolk” to hand), and a Triskelion to kill a second Awakener Druid. Although Chandra’s Outrage blasts the Triskelion, it takes the earlier Druid and the Llanowar Elves with it.
All the while, Tezzeret has laid down a foundation with a Stalking Stones and Mishra’s Factory. Along with a Faerie Mechanist, he animates the lands to attack across a clear board (after the Juggernaut trades with a Basilisk). Although pushed to the edge, Tezzeret manages the comback on the back of the animated lands and finishes off Stampede.
Eight walked in, four walk out and today’s coverage of the 2010-11 Preconstructed Championships draws to a close. Join us next week as our four remaining contenders go head to head to see which one will stand alone beneath the Turian Division banner!