Magic 2010: Nature’s Fury Review (Part 2 of 2)
It’s our first game of the series with Magic 2010, and Sam and I both are eager to dive in and see how the set plays. For her part, Sam’s picked up the Red/Blue Firebomber to give my White/Green deck a run for its money. Who will come out ahead?
I’m on the play for the opener, and we both begin with Terramorphic Expanses, me for a Plains and Sam for an Island. Next turn I add Llanowar Elves, while Sam drops a Mountain and passes.
Now turn 3, I use the Elves to ramp out a Giant Spider, though Sam’s right on my heels with Goblin Artillery. Back to me, I score first blood off an attack with the Spider for 2, then deploy a Borderland Ranger (nabbing another Forest). Sam’s turn is a blank.
I swing in for 4 with both beaters on turn 5. Sam blocks the Spider with her Artillery, then taps it to kill my Ranger. She gets greedy, though, when she then attempts to finish off my Spider with a Lightning Bolt, but I use a Harm’s Way to save it and kill the Artillery, instead. Though neither of my creatures landed a mark on her, Sam still goes down to 15 from the Artillery activation. For her part, she then adds a Berserkers of Blood Ridge.
Now turn 6, this time the blank turn is mine. Sam then adds a Lightning Elemental, and out of nowhere she’s got a serious attacking force as she turns both sideways for 8. I block and trade the Elves for the Elemental, but still get slammed for 4. By comparison, my 2-point attack next turn seems feeble, but it puts her down to 13. Sam attacks again with the Berserkers to put me at 12, then adds a Canyon Minotaur.
Now turn 8, I enchant the Spider with Oakenform, adding another Llanowar Elves to the board. Sam drops a Raging Goblin, attacking for another 8. I eat the Minotaur with my Spider, taking 5. I take a further 5 from a following Lava Axe, and now am clinging to life at 2. When my next turn is a blank, Sam puts me out of my misery with a Fireball.
We swap land drops on turn 1, then I add a second-turn Elvish Visionary (drawing a Harm’s Way). With Sam dropping land and passing, I then attack with the Visionary on turn 3 for 1, following with a Borderland Ranger (fetching a Forest). For her part, Sam finds a Prodigal Pyromancer.
Now turn 4, I attack in for 3 with both creatures. Sam takes the damage, summons a Lightning Elemental, and counterattacks for 4. Back to me, I then summon a bit of muscle in the form of a Stampeding Rhino, though I lose the Visionary at end of turn when Sam snipes it with the Pyromancer. Back to her, she attacks for 4 with the Elemental, which gets traded out with my Ranger. She then plays a Divination to refresh her hand, and ends her turn.
Now turn 6, I attack with the Rhino for 4. Sam chains a ping and a Lightning Bolt to kill it, but I intercede with the Harm’s Way and it’s her pinger that dies instead. I then follow with a Giant Spider and pass to Sam, who is now at 12. She adds a Berserkers of Blood Ridge. Back to me, I then swing in with the Rhino and Spider for 6. Sam considers for a moment, then goes to take the damage. Two Giant Growths later, I’ve evened the ledger.
I’m off to an early start in our last game, landing an opening-turn Llanowar Elves and attacking in with it on turns 2 and 3. Although I’ve found nothing worthwhole to ramp out, having missed my turn-3 land drop means the Elves are going to be crucial. Still, Sam’s landed no defense of her own, so the Elves can safely engage.
Finally on turn 5, Sam finds the Berserkers of Blood Ridge, and the attacks dry up. Still unable to find enough land, all I can do is discard a Naturalize and pass. Back to Sam, she attacks for 4 with the Berserkers, then summons Goblin Artillery. I finally manage to play a card with the Bramble Creeper.
Undaunted, Sam attacks with the Berserkers on turn 7, while I counterattack with the Creeper for 5. At the end of my turn, she then Lightning Bolts me for 3 to the face, taking me to 9. Next turn, when the Berserkers come in I simply Divine Verdict them away, but it’s all for naught. Sam then plays a 7-point Earthquake, finishing me off with the Artillery.
Thoughts & Analysis
In the initial review of the deck I invoked that classic Wendy’s commercial line from the 80’s, “where’s the beef?” I don’t think I quite grasped even then just how true that would be. Written in the margin of my notes from this match was one telling line: This is a Green deck?
Indeed, outwith the Stampeding Rhino and Llanowar Elves, there wasn’t much that I played that would give much joy to fans of Green stompy. That strategy is simple: use ramping options to power out outsize threats early, outpacing both your opponent’s creatures as well as their ability to handle them. Neither of those were true here. The latter concern was as much to the strength of Sam’s deck as to any weakness of mine- she just had a ton of burn at her disposal. But this deck shuld have been a relentless creature generator, and its failure to bring any real threats to bear doesn’t win it any awards for best in breed.
Omn the upside, the ramping package is good behind the Elves and Rangers, and the finishing options are very strong. Although expensive to play, there’s not a lot your opponent can do about a Kalonian Behemoth outside of gang-blocking it (giving you value) or chumping it as long as possible. But at most every point beforehand, the deck is weaker than it should be for the type. In other words, it does a fine job giving you consistent mana, but a poor job of giving you good things to spend it on.
There’s not a lot to recommend Nature’s Fury, though we did see lots of encouraging signs from Firebomber. Hopefully Nature’s Fury is just the outlier, and not indicative of the rest of the set.
Hits: Good ramping/fixing suite gives you consistent mana; very solid closers; combat tricks give deck consistent feel of suspense and unpredictability for your opponent
Misses: Not a lot of good cards to spend that mana on; midrange options very limited and present little offensive threat
OVERALL SCORE: 3.50/5.00
Random thought: have you ever kept, or do you keep, track of average ratings across sets or colors? I.e., what set has the highest average rating among its precons? Is there a particular color or two-color combo that averages lower or higher ratings than others? Probably not something important, but this whole thing is just for fun, and I think seeing more of the picture might be fun. 🙂 Was there a set where Wizards hit it out of the park with all the precons? Is there one color or pair of colors were they often drop the ball?
Great question, sorry for the delay in getting back to it. I’ve been compiling stats for an article once the Championship is over (it takes up a bit more of my time), and it hits some of the notes you’ve mentioned here (though by colour pair is an interesting angle I hadn’t considered… archetype might be another). So… watch this space! 😀