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July 7, 2013

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012: Wielding Steel Review (Part 2 of 2)

by Dredd77

The last time we found our friend Gideon, he was helming one of the worst decks of the original Duels of the Planeswalkers series, Weapons of the Warrior. Has he cleaned up his act? To find out, Sam’s sleeved up Apex Predators, Garruk’s lastest offering.

Game One

Sam opens the game with a Forest, while I start with a Gideon’s Lawkeeper. Advantage: me. Next turn she simply plays another and passes, while Gideon’s deck goes full steam ahead with a Kitesail after swinging for 1.

Still, Sam is not without recourse as she fields a turn-3 Grazing Gladehart, but it’s powerless to stop me as I equip the Kitesail to the Lawkeeper and swing in the air for 2. I then add a Trusty Machete and pass. Back to Sam, she plays a Forest for 2 more life off the Gladehart, then attacks in with it to decrease my life total by the same amount. A Borderland Ranger lets her fetch up another land, and she ends her turn. Back to me, I equip the Machete to the Lawkeeper and hammer in for an unblockable 5 to put Sam down to 15, following up with an Elite Vanguard.

Now turn 5, Sam sends in the Range to nick me for 2, then adds a Garruk’s Packleader. I tangle that up with a Kor Hookmaster, clearing the way for a 6-point charge. Down to 11 life, Sam next attacks once more with the Ranger for 2, then brings out Thrun, the Last Troll. This lets her draw a free card off the Packleader, and she ends her turn. Over to me, I deploy a Pennon Blade, then attack for another 4 with the Lawkeeper. Once combat’s through, I then re-equip the Kitesail to the Hookmaster and pass.

Thrun comes knocking on turn 7, after which Sam adds a Garruk’s Companion to go up another card. A Nature’s Lore adds another land as well, seeing Sam go up to 11. I Arrest the Packleader, then summon a Glory Seeker. Sam then taps out for an Engulfing Slagwurm, but I simply load up the remaining equipment onto the Hookmaster and slam in for 9. My liberated Lawkeeper then taps down the Slagwurm on Sam’s turn, and though she finds a Giant Spider it’s not enough to save her as she scoops.

Stoneforge Mystic

Stoneforge Mystic

Game Two

Sam leads with a Forest, and I’m out with a Kitesail Apprentice. Next turn she plays a second land, and again I pull ahead- this time with a Kor Duelist and Trusty Machete. Though Sam does manage a turn-3 Borderland Ranger, the Machete in the hands of the Duelist is a mighty weapon.

Down to 13 life, Sam counterattacks on turn 4 with the Ranger before adding a Cudgel Troll. When I next play a Kitesail followed by a Kor Outfitter (equipping the Duelist), it’s all over for Sam. The Duelist hammers in the air for 8 thanks to its double strike, and Sam simply scoops on turn 5.

Game Three

Sam and I are neack and neck early this time, with my opening Elite Vanguard closely followed by her Garruk’s Companion. I stick an Infiltration Lens on the Vanguard, and begin hammering in for damage while Sam counterattacks with the more powerful Companion. The tide turns, though, not from my turn-3 Gideon’s Lawkeeper, but with the fact that Sam doesn’t find her third land drop until turn seven. While she’s had to discard cards or burn a perfectly good Giant Growth for extra damage, I’ve kept up a steady stream of pressure. A turn-5 Serra Angel– Trusty Machete in hand next turn- starts leading the charge, and Sam falls to inglorious defeat soon after.

Thoughts & Analysis

While we weren’t especially kind to Gideon the last time around, we can afford a bit more generosity this time around thanks to some of the changes that have occurred. The main culprit was the cruelly masochistic removal suite, consisting as it did of Guard Duties. This was an particularly egregious choice, as the removal in this archetype is focused on clearing away defenders, not creating more of them. It wasn’t the only such slight, but Wielding Steel we’re delighted to note has chiseled away that element of the deck. This is a simple, straightforward White Weenie/equipment deck, and it plays considerably better than its predecessor. In short, given the number of carryovers from one deck to the next, it’s fair to say that this is the ‘fixed’ version of Gideon.

Gideon’s Avenger is a much better use of a rare slot than the Loyal Sentry, and while the Stoneforge Mystic is as much window dressing as she was before, it overall manages to be a well-put-together deck of its type, and now one of the high point of the set thus far.

Hits: Very strong, aggressive curve that is one of the fastest in the format; the pairing of equipment and equipment-matters creatures lets the deck punch well above its weight; revamp took out all the right stuff, leaving the best bits behind and fixing the removal problem

Misses: A few discordant notes like the price and equip cost of the Pennon Blade, but overall this deck is solid

OVERALL SCORE: 4.45/5.00

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