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October 17, 2012

37

2011-12 Precon Championships: Round 3 and the Leaderboard

by Dredd77

And just like that, we’re one division down with only three to go as the Innistrad Event Deck Hold the Line storms to victory over the outmanned and outgunned Carnival of Blood. As for the Prediction Leage leaderboard, well… that’s another story entirely!

For one thing, we saw a fairly static board as every last predictor bet hard on Hold the Line. This meant that everyone playing took 2 points right off the bat- but that left a joker in the deck in the form of the other matchup, Carnival of Blood versus Hold the Line. It was Innistrad all over the place as the decks clashed for the right to take on the waiting Event Deck, and nearly everyone picked the latter based on its strong showing. Those who picked up points here tended to go more on a whim than with any hard evidence, though it certainly paid off. Diannea picked it “just to change the trend a little,” while signofzeta picked the Vampires to advance because that was the only one of the two decks he’d played with.

As for the barnstorming Hold the Line, table-topper Jay Chong noted, “Mono colored aggro event deck versus three color…control?” Grue gave the hapless Political Puppets some respect in saying “Puppets can be surprising, but I don’t think it will be enough to win this one.” Lastly, Robin infected us with an earworm in observing that “Toto wrote a song about this deck.”

As for the Leaderboard, the rising tide of Hold the Line lifted a great many boats, but thanks to the right call on Carnival of Blood tenthtechpriest jumped from the pack to share glory at the top of the table. Still, with only seven matches done, there’s all to play for and all to win!

As always, if you note a discrepancy, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll be happy to correct it.

Now, we move on to the Tinsman Division, the other half of the Rosewater Conference. Here’s a look at this weekend’s thrilling clashes!

For this week’s Prediction League, yuo’ll want to pick a winner for each of these four games. To help you in your decision, here’s some background on the eight contenders for Tinsman glory!

Blood and Fire

Colours: Black, Red

Set: Magic 2012

Rares: Flameblast Dragon, Warstorm Surge

Detail: Bloodthirst, the original Gruul mechanic as featured in the Gruul Wilding Theme Deck from Guildpact, received a fresh coat of paint in Magic 2012 as the set’s returning mechanic. Blood and Fire plays a steady stream of creatures that get bigger when your opponent has been dealt damage in the same turn, and a number of unconventional ways to get that damage across the table. (Reviews: deck, play)

Bound by Strength

Colours: Blue, Green

Set: Avacyn Restored

Rares: Deadeye Navigator, Wolfir Silverheart

Detail: Built around the soulbond mechanic, Bound by Strength promises to overwhelm your opponent with creatures that only get better when they team up with one another. Massively creature-heavy, this deck is one to watch as it’s capable of some fast lines of play that can catch a slower opponent off-guard. (Reviews: deck, play)

Counterpunch

Colours: White, Black, Green

Set: Commander

Rares: Acorn Catapult, Alliance of Arms, Attrition, Awakening Zone, Celestial Force, Chorus of the Conclave, Dark Hatchling, Hex, Hornet Queen, Hour of Reckoning, Karador Ghost Chieftain, Scavenging Ooze, Spawnwrithe, Storm Herd, Symbiotic Wurm, Teneb the Harvester, Vish Kal Blood Arbiter

Detail: The Commander decks have been havign a rough go of it, but will Counterpunch be the deck that redeems them and restores their fortunes? Capable of churning out a large number of token creatures before ‘harnessing the poweer of growth’ to go large, it might be just the tactic that works. (Reviews: deck, play)

Deathfed

Colours: Blue, Black, Green

Set: Innistrad

Rares: Birds of Paradise, 2x Bonehoard, Green Sun’s Zenith, Hinterland Harbor, Ratchet Bomb, Splinterfright

Detail: Innistrad’s other Event Deck, Deathfed relies on filling up your graveyard as fast as you can, then playing outsize cards that get more powerful the more you’ve ‘stocked the larder.’ It has a “stall and buildup” approach, and can punish your opponents for letting you live too long by cleaning up with a massive Splinterfright or a horde of Spider tokens off of a Spider Spawning. (Reviews: deck, play)

Graveborn

Colours: Black

Set: Premium Deck Series

Rares: Avatar of Woe, Blazing Archon, Crosis the Purger, Entomb, Inkwell Leviathan, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Terastodon, Verdant Force

Detail: Another of the competition’s darlings is the last of the Premium Deck Series line. After Graveborn, no more of the all-foil constructions will be printed by Wizards. But what a bang to go out on! This deck packs a ton of fat from all five colours, then uses Black reanimation spells to bring them into play with a speed that’s almost unfair. (Reviews: deck, play)

Spectral Legions

Colours: White, Blue

Set: Innistrad

Rares: Angel of Flight Alabaster, Geist-Honored Monk

Detail: Another Intro Pack deck, Spectral Legions harnesses the tribal power of Spirits, taking flight to the air in a skies-heavy construction. Packed with Spirits and other creatures that spawn them, the evasive haunts and ghosts will be the stuff of nightmares for any opponent! (Reviews: deck, play)

Vampire Onslaught

Colours: Black

Set: Magic 2012

Rares: 2x Blade of the Bloodchief, 2x Bloodghast, Kalastria Highborn, Mimic Vat, Verdant Catacomb

Detail: Vampire Onslaught is perhaps the most controversial Event Deck ever released. A farewell love letter to one of Zendikar block’s premier tribes, there was very little Magic 2012 in the deck itself, and most of it left Standard a few short months later. Nevertheless, Wizards managed to craft a highly-focused tribal deck that packs in a ghoulish arsenal of strong creatures that synergise with lethal efficiency! (Review: deck, play)

Venser

Colours: White, Blue

Set: Duel Decks: Venser vs Koth

Rares: Clone, Galepowder Mage, Sphinx of Uthuun, Sunblast Angel, Windreaver, Venser the Sojourner

Detail: Although Venser met an untimely end in the Scars of Mirrodin storyline, his memory lives on in this Duel Decks release themed around flickering permanents and enters-the-battlefield creatures. It also has a subtheme involving unblockability and ‘saboteur’ effects that trigger when creatures damage an opponent, giving Venser an entire arsenal of tricky shenanigans. (Reviews: deck, play)

And there you have it! Good luck to all participating, and we look forward to seeing your picks in the comments below. As always, leaving a little blurb about why you chose a particular deck to win is a great way to get yourself into one of our writeup articles! The matches go live this Sunday, and predictions will be accepted up until the very last moment before.

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Icehawk7
    Oct 17 2012

    Graveborn: The PDS went out with a bang. Mono-B built to discard and reanimate, including its opponent’s creatures. Oh and the catering! Got to love that wide assortment of powerful creatures to choose from. Go PDS!

    Venser: Blood and Fire will give it a shot, but Venser will just send them into Denial. 😉 Heck, he may even out blast them.

    Spectral Legion: What’s better than an army of tokens? An army of guys who fall and make flying tokens.

    Vampire Onslaught: Two event decks go in. I bet the Mono-B comes out on top. Love ’em of hate ’em, vamps get the job done.

    Reply
  2. mcc1701
    Oct 17 2012

    Say what you want about Vampire Onslaught, it is a nice little deck, and I look forward to it being played here. Idk if it will trump decks like grave born but at least for now I can see it running strong.

    Game 5: Graveborn
    Game 6: Venser
    Game 7: Spectral Legions
    Game 8: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  3. Jay Chong
    Oct 18 2012

    1)Graveborn – This thing could show up at a legacy tournament and I doubt anyone would raise an eyebrow.

    2) Venser – The blink plan trumps the bloodthirst plan, although bloodthirst might be fast enough to take a game.

    3) Counterpunch – Surprise! Yes I’m betting on the commander deck: the opposition is slow enough that the 100 card deck might actually have enough time to deploy its bombs. Counterpunch has solid removal –even a sweeper– and a few flyers of its own. Counterpunch even has an anti-flying card in Squallmonger!

    4) Vampire Onslaught – One dabbles in the graveyard while the bloodsuckers go for the throat.

    Reply
  4. outhouseinferno
    Oct 18 2012

    1) Graveborn. There are decks in the championship that can punish Graveborn if it misses a step. Bound by Strength is not one of those.

    2) Venser. I’m pretty sure Koth’s deck hit harder than the bloodthirst deck does.

    3) Spectral Legions. This matchup seems similar to Carnival of Blood vs. Mirror Mastery.

    4) Deathfed. In prior playtests, this deck managed to go 3-3 against Hold the Line, a deck with both more removal and speed than the vampires. Its defensive strategy was built to stymie exactly such an offense.

    Reply
  5. Diennea
    Oct 18 2012

    1) Graveborn. I played recently against it and it was really strong.
    2) Blood and Fire. Venser (and Koth) were two big letdown for me.
    3) Spectral Legions. If I remember well Counterpunch is not big on anti-air.
    4) Vampire Onslaught. This is one of the best event deck in my collection.

    Not going with my feeling this time 😀

    Reply
  6. Doomed_Traveler
    Oct 18 2012

    5) Graveborn – unless Bound can get big quick, the mono-B just overwhelms.
    6) Venser – just cause I loves me some flicker.
    7) Spectral Legions – I think Commander decks have a built in downside in these matchups.
    8) Vampire Onslaught – this is a tough one, but I think the aggressive tribal deck beats the combo graveyard deck.

    Reply
  7. DomaDragoon
    Oct 18 2012

    1. Graveborn: Anything taking down Graveborn is likely going to need a strong stalling/removal suite. BbS has neither of those.
    2. Venser: Bloodthirst gets hit harder by Venser’s exile shenanigans than most other mechanics.
    3.Counterpunch: Going with the upset in this one. A lot of SL’s removal and tricks are based around enchantments, and Counterpunch is pretty good against those. There are enough flyers and flying hate in the Commander deck to make me think a win is possible.
    4. Vampire Onslaught: This is probably the closest of the four matches to me. I’m pretty much going with quantity over quality for beaters here.

    Also, both of Deathfed’s links appear to go to the match instead of the deck review.

    Reply
    • Oct 18 2012

      Nice catch, and thanks for the head’s up! It’s fixed.

      Reply
  8. Oct 18 2012

    5: Graveborn
    6: Venser
    7: Spectral Legions
    8: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  9. Hirshey
    Oct 18 2012

    5: Graveborn – I think this and onslaught are gonna make it to the finals, unless they end up playing each other. So much synergy here!

    6: Venser – good curve with a lot of synergy
    .
    7: Counterpunch – Spectral doesn’t really have removal to handle the larger guys in this deck. I also think that the deck will be able to out last the fliers of legions. This was the hardest of the 4 matches to predict.

    8: Vampire Onslaught – very powerful deck… it will overwhelm deathfed completely

    Reply
  10. Oct 18 2012

    5: Graveborn – Both decks have a paucity of removal, but Graveborn brings the beats.
    6: Venser – Venser made the mistake of not blocking early against Koth. Knowing his opponent is bloodthirst, that shouldn’t happen this time.
    7: Spectral Legions – A “robust removal suite” and air power should overwhelm Counterpunch’s slower starts, and be able to out-tempo its faster ones.
    8: Deathfed – Barring a particularly aggressive Nighthawk draw, I think Deathfed’s durdle power will eventually overwhelm while the Vampires are stuck drawing 1/1s and 2/2s lategame.

    Reply
    • mcc1701
      Oct 18 2012

      The thing that makes Vampire onslaught great is not only that it is aggressive, but increases in power the longer a game goes. Kalastaria Highborn(sp) enables you to suck life to close a game, and blopdthrone can grow BIG. Try playing with or against this deck and see blade of the blood chief on blopdthrone. NEVER let her pass through you defenses even as a 1/1. Sac Bloodghast, get an eldrazi spawn from Pawn of ulamog, and sac that. Crack verdant catacombs and get your Bloodghast back to do it again. Lastly sac your Pawn and that’s 21 damage and game.

      There are 4 Bloodthrone, 4 pawns, 2 bloidghasts, and 2 blades. Couple that with lots of value cards(gatekeeper of Malakir for one) and this deck dominates. It even ramps well with the pawns, so if you edit it for something fun like Butcher of Malakir, you can ger him and destroy your opponets. Of course when it was reviewed it didn’t perform nearly as well as it does for me, but that happened before(carnival of blood) and I have high hopes.

      /end rant

      Reply
  11. Grue
    Oct 18 2012

    5. Graveborn – I just don’t think ‘BBS’ has the tools to stop it.
    6. Venser – I can see Venser’s blinkers neutralizing Bloodthirst easily.
    7. Counterpunch – This one feels iffy, but I think Counterpunch can slow down Spectral Legions enough.
    8. Deathfed – I don’t know. My brain says Vampires, but my gut thinks this could be an upset. Might as well take a chance…

    Reply
  12. level7
    Oct 18 2012

    5: Graveborn
    6: Venser
    7: Spectral Legions
    8: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  13. Varo
    Oct 18 2012

    Excuse me Jay, but i think you misscounted (is that a word?) my score, i think i should have 4 points by now.

    Anyway, for these decks:

    Game 5: Graveborn
    Game 6: Blood and Fire
    Game 7: Counterpunch
    Game 8: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
    • Oct 21 2012

      Quite right, mate, sorry for the oversight! It’s fixed, and will be reflected on the next board.

      Reply
  14. tenthtechpriest
    Oct 18 2012

    game 5: graveborn
    game 6: venser
    game 7: counterpunch
    game 8: deathfed

    Reply
  15. ezra the strange of MMM
    Oct 18 2012

    Graveborn: born to be grave

    Venser: the other one seems a little bit better, but I like blinking stuff, so…

    Spectral Legions: Really close looking, but between the flying and removal its slightly better. and why not go with the deck that has team spirit (har har).

    Vampire Onslaught: Removel, evasion, cool combos, what is not to like. and they will be doing Onslaught soon.

    Reply
  16. servant of yawgmoth
    Oct 18 2012

    graveborn
    venser
    spectral legions
    vampire onslaught

    Reply
  17. Oct 18 2012

    5. Graveborn
    6. Venser
    7. Spectral Legions
    8. Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  18. stric9
    Oct 18 2012

    Graveborn- I remember a certain Into The Roil article that centered around this deck. It still rocks and rolls in Legacy tournaments too.
    Venser
    Spectral Legions
    Vampire Onslaught- 4 Dismembers! Nothing can beat that removal. And Vampire Nighthawks will eat Bonyard Wurms all day.

    Reply
  19. Helmuth Goetz
    Oct 18 2012

    5 – Graveborn
    6 – Venser
    7 – Counterpunch
    8 – Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  20. Jacopo Sassi
    Oct 19 2012

    Game 5 : Graveborn
    Game 6: Venser. Hard match to predict, but I think that the abundant exile shenaningans will set back the Bloodthirsted creatures, as others have stated.
    Game 7: Counterpunch. Another though call, I find Spectral Legions to be a bit “bland” and generic, without permanent removal and a quick curve- Counterpunch might earn just enough time to stabilize and start hitting.
    Game 8: Vampire Onslaught.

    Reply
  21. signofzeta
    Oct 19 2012

    Wow this is tough.

    This is what I THINK would win

    Graveborn
    Venser
    Spectral Legions
    Vampire Onslaught

    From there, Graveborn and Vampire Onslaught makes it through, then Vampire Onslaught is the winner. Deathfed seems to be killed by hold the line a lot, so I would assume that it would be destroyed by vampire onslaught too. Graveborn vs Venser is tough. Never tried the 2, so I predict the PDS to go through to face the vampires. Spectral legions would lose, because seriously, intro packs stand NO CHANCE against event decks, and it shows. It’s not like the worst team beating the best team in the league, it’s like the best minor league team trying to beat an average major league team. It just isn’t done.

    This is what I WANT to win, because I own these decks.

    Bound by Strength
    Blood and Fire
    Spectral Legions
    Deathfed

    If this happens, then I think Deathfed would win, but I WANT blood and fire to win.

    So I’m cheering for blood and fire to go all the way, because I own that deck, and have used it a lot over the others, and besides, I want at least half the event decks lose to intro packs to shut me up about how intro packs should be played in a different league while the other precons should play in their own league to keep it fair and balanced and unpredictable.

    Reply
  22. signofzeta
    Oct 19 2012

    Here is how I pick things.

    Event decks always wins against intro packs.
    Event decks and duel decks are sort of equal and could go either way
    Event decks always win against commander decks
    Duel decks always beat intro packs
    Duel decks always beat commander decks
    Intro packs always beat commander decks

    So I really choose event decks the most, and commander decks the least, and that is how I pick things.

    If there are 2 of the same things, like intro pack vs intro packs, I will only pick the ones I have seen play in my experience, including the free core set intro packs that are shown on magic online free trial, and would pick the intro pack I am more familiar with.

    Reply
  23. signofzeta
    Oct 19 2012

    woah wait, don’t people who bet on the underdog, that is if an intro pack faces an event deck, and they bet on intro pack, they get more points? Sort of like sports betting?

    Anyway, I still think there should be a intro pack only league. As of right now, even I am joining in on the bandwagon, because I know intro packs would never win. If it was exclusively intro packs, we’d see a wide variety of predictions.

    Reply
  24. Jon S
    Oct 19 2012

    Ok here goes!

    Game 1 Graveborn. I like Soulbound but Graveborn appears to have more speed.
    Game 2 Blood &Fire. I don’t think Venser has enough oomph in this case and less consistancy.
    Game 3: Counter Punch. I’ve seen tokens take over the board in short order. Yeah its a commander deck but I think it can get past Spectrual Legions.
    Game 4: Vampire Onslaught- This is going to be the epic match but I think the vamps can take it, especially with Bloodghast making things miserable for deathfed.

    Reply
  25. Oct 19 2012

    Match 1: Graveborn
    Match 2: Blood and Fire
    Match 3: Spectral Legions
    Match 4: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  26. Oct 20 2012

    1 – Graveborn
    2 – Venser
    3 – Counter Punch
    4 – Deathfed

    Reply
  27. errtu
    Oct 20 2012

    1. Graveborn
    2. Venser
    3. Spectral Legions
    4. Vampire Onslaught

    Reply
  28. Ender
    Oct 20 2012

    (1) Graveborn
    (2)Venser
    (3)Spectral legions
    (4)vampire onslaught

    Reply
  29. Oct 21 2012

    I missed this when it was on the front page, good thing I checked before shutting down for the night…

    1. Graveborn
    2. Venser
    3. Spectral Legions
    4. Vampire Onslaught

    Fairwell, PDS. I would have kept buying you.

    Reply
  30. Limbonic_Art
    Oct 21 2012

    Here are my predictions:
    1. Graveborn
    This matchup is very likely to end in graveborn’s favor. Having seen a fraction of its raw power in part 2 of the writeup, it is very likely to win, and do so very fast. The revival targets are all very versatile. Bound By Strength is a strong deck but it is no match for graveborn. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wins the championship. It is the deck that can deploy its threats the quickest. The only decks that stand a chance are event decks with a strong removal suite, like Hold the Line and even then it would be a tough matchup.

    2. Blood and Fire
    This one is tricky to predict. Venser’s deck is packed with many singletons and tricks but are hard to pull off. The deck tends to be slow and inconsistent: having self-bounce but no ETB effects to abuse or saboteaurs with no enablers. This was a common issue when playing Koth vs Venser.
    Blood and fire is quick and deadly, although it has a rather weak removal suite for B/R. It has enough bloodthirst enablers to consistently outpace Venser’s deck, and venser’s has little ways to deal with the bloodthirsted 3/3 first striker, bats, or the bloodthirsted gorehorn minotaurs. Consistency and speed will surely prevail over singleton tricks in Venser’s deck.

    3. Spectral Legions
    My bet is on spectral legions, hands down. Why? Counterpunch is a slow deck. Most of the token-producers are in the mid to late game. Cards like Selesnya guildmage and other constant-token producers really shine later in the game when they get more turns and mana to produce more tokens. Even if it does get many tokens, most are grounded without reach(except for penumbra spider) and spectral legions is a focused U/W fliers deck. To top it all, there isn’t much Counterpunch can do once it does have its tokens, unless it hits a bomb like attrition or Hour of Reckoning. Most of the cards in counterpunch are very slow and take a lot of time to be effective. While U/W fliers is not a quick archetype, it will surely dominate the skies before Vish Kal or the bee queen reach to defend the skies.
    Spectral legions must use its removal wisely, eliminating those late-game bombs is key. Utility creatures like golgari and selesnya guildmages are little threats unless there are good targets in the graveyard or lots of spare mana to make many tokens and pump them. Again, consitency will slaughter singleton here.

    4. Vampire Onslaught
    This match could also go the other way, but I doubt it. Vampire onslaught is a tight and focused deck, capable of an early aggression in the form of Vampire lacerator and bloodghast. In the mid game, mimic vat, kalastria highborn, and blade of the bloodchief. Although games without kalastria highborn will be harder to win, the deck can use scry as much as possible to search for her. Mimic vat can copy many vampires, as many of the creatures in the opposing deck would be innefective or inneficient (like boneyard worm and viridian emissary). The 4 dismembers will be very relevant, along with the gatekeepeers of malakir. Spider spawning will be the most difficult threat to deal with, since spot removal is bad against it and their reach will mitigate aerial attacks with the nighthawks or alpha strike ground-based ones. Clearly combos with blade of the bloodchief and Kalastria highborn’s syphoon effect will be the way to victory once that wall of spiders is up.
    Dethfed has so few ways to deal with the troublesome vampires, it can only win via few, massive creatures and vampire onslaught has more than enough ways to chump block.

    Reply
    • Limbonic_Art
      Oct 21 2012

      Sorry, mis numbered the matchups, so here they are:

      5)Graveborn

      6)Blood and Fire

      7)Spectral Legions

      8)Vampire Onsluaght

      I trust my instincts and analytical skills.

      Reply
  31. elias
    Oct 21 2012

    1. Graveborn
    2. venser
    3. Spetral legions
    4. Deathfed
    This time if I’m wrong I can blame it on my kid;)!

    Reply
  32. elias
    Oct 21 2012

    Sorry! 1,2,3 & 4 should read 5,6,7 & 8!

    Reply
  33. Oct 21 2012

    5: Graveborn
    6: Venser
    7: Spectral Legions
    8: Vampire Onslaught

    Reply

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