Oath of the Gatewatch: Twisted Reality Review (Part 2 of 2)
It’s our next playtest for Oath of the Gatewatch, and this time I’m taking Twisted Reality for a run. Featuring Wastes and loads of Eldrazi, I’m up against Phil’s Vicious Cycle. Can the Eldrazi finish what they’ve started on the plane of Zendikar, or will they find a final, eternal sleep?
I open the match with a Wastes, and Phil follows with a Plains of his own. I then hit an Island to deploy a Mist Intruder, while Phil drops a Forest.
Now turn 3, I add another Island then turn the Intruder sideways fo 1. In addition to the damage, the Eldrazi’s ingest ability forces Phil to exile the top card of his library (a Swamp, as it happens). I then add a Cultivator Drone and pass. Back to Phil, he adds to his manabase with another Forest, then taps out for a Netcaster Spider. That stifles my early offense, so all I manage the next turn is a land and Thought Harvester. Phil doubles down, adding another Spider.
The buildup continues on turn 5. Me with a Deepfathom Skulker, Phil with a Seed Guardian. Next turn, I make the Skulker unblockable and swing in for 4, taking Phil to 16 and drawing a card. Back tp Phil, he simply exiles the Skulker with Oblivion Strike.
Now turn 7, I summon a Kozilek’s Channeler, exiling another card thanks to the Harvester. Phil girds his army with a Broodhunter Wurm and Carrier Thrall. Next turn, I use the Channeler to help bring out the Bane of Bala Ged, a massive beater. For his part, Phil adds a Seed Guardian, and we’ve quite the buildup on both sides.
Stalls can’t go on forever, though, and the Bane gives me some solid firepower. I turn it sideways on the attack, and Phil responds with Natural Connection to grab another land, offering it (and one more) to the Bane’s exiling trigger. He then gang-blocks with his Wurm and Thrall, but I thwart the trade, picking off the Wurm with Spatial Contortion. I add an Eldrazi Skyspawner and end the turn. Back to Phil, he simply plays a Swamp and passes.
Now turn 10, I play a Ruination Guide, then attack in with the Bane. Phil exiles the Scion token (from when the Thrull was creamed by the Bane) and a Swamp, then blocks with both Seed Guardians. Looking at the cards in hand, I have a facepalm moment when I realise I’ve misread Titan’s Presence (it goes by power of the revealed card, not its casting cost), and thus can’t repeat my trick of the previous turn. I kill both Guardians, giving Phil a 2/2 and 3/3 token to replace them, and lose the Bane of Bala Ged. Not the best trade. Over to Phil, he then summons a Stalking Drone and ends his turn.
Part of what has be so bottlenecked are Phil’s reach creatures, so I use Titan’s Presence to kill one of the Spiders by revealing a Culling Drone. I then swing in for 6 behind my Thought Harvester and Skyspawner. Phil opts to trade my Harvester for his other Spider, and drops to 13. Phil simply plays a Blisterpod.
Now turn 12, I take Phil down another 3 by attacking in the air with my Skyspawner and Intruder. Phil plays a land and passes. I swing for 3 more in the air, pressing the advantage, then summon a Walker of the Wastes (a plump 6/6). Phil- stuck on a run of land- plays a Swamp and ends the turn.
Finally, I go for it all on turn 14, turning my army sideways for 16. He’s able to soak up most of it with his defense, but the game has swung in my favor as he falls to 2 and can’t mount a counterattack. The game is mine, and he scoops.
A turn-3 Natural Connection finds Phil another land, while I score first blood with an attack from the Drone before adding one of the Cultivator variety. Next turn, Phil fields a Seed Guardian, stymying my nascent offense. I play a Kozilek’s Channeler and pass.
Phil’s turn 7 is another blank, and at the end of his turn I use Titan’s Presence to kill off his Seed Guardian by revealing a Ruination Guide. I then cast the Guide, and swing in for 11 (giving the Channeler flying through the Negator). Phil chumps the Cultivator Drone with the Rot Shambler, taking 8 on the chin. Down to 11, all he manages is a Voracious Null. Back to me, I wipe it out with a Scour from Existence, and alpha strike for the win.
Thoughts & Analysis
One of the things I enjoy most about the preconstructed decks are how they showcase a set’s themes and mechanics. While on occasion this may be incomplete (imprint for instance, never made it into an Intro Pack deck in Scars of Mirrodin block), the decks are most enjoyable when they’re well-made and showcase the set’s they’re from rather than just being “introductory decks.”
Twisted Reality gets high marks in this regard. Packed full of Wastes, it boasts a huge complement of creatures which bring something more to the table than just a power/toughness. It really brings home the “colorless matters” theme of the set. Colorless mana has long been a “less-than” concept, less useful than colored mana, but credit to the design for making it relevant here, and credit the deck for bringing that out.
It’s a great creature swarm deck, it plays well and can feel relentless as earlier options build momentum for later, more expensive closers. This one’s a keeper.
Hits: good creature curve; solid variety of creatures that reinforce the deck’s themes and/or synergize with one another
Misses: Heavily reliant on creatures, games can stall or go overlong given the relative paucity of removal
OVERALL SCORE: 4.65/5.00