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July 16, 2016

5

2014-2015 Precon Championships: Nagle Division (Part 1 of 2)

by Dredd77

There have been six previous Preconstructed Championships, and the outsize Nagle Division of the Rosewater Conference has tasted eternal glory not once, but twice. In the 2005-07 Season, Endless March from Planar Chaos was the last deck standing. Then for the 2011-12 Season, an Event Deck from Innistrad, Hold the Linelaid it all on the line and saw its name enshrined in the halls of heroes forever. 

Will the 2014-15 Season see a three-time champion emerge? With the qualifying rounds over, eight decks stand ready to battle it out for the right to represent the Nagle Division in the Grand Final.

Now, let’s get to those games!

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Game 1: Price of Glory (M15) versus Red Sample Deck (M15)

Round One

In the eternal rock-paper-scissors world of Magic, lifegain is a tried and true method of thwarting fast Red decks. The idea is, if you can last long enough, Red will run out of gas. The pregame friendly proved just that, with Price of Glory racking up scads of life and Red having little it could do to win. With the friendly out of the way, could it repeat the feat for victory?

In the opening tilt, Red takes advantage of a slow start by Price of Glory, stringing together a Borderland Marauder, Paragon of Fierce Defiance, and Thundering Giant to deliver a quick beating. Price of Glory can hardly keep up, leading with a Staff of the Sun Magus and (thanks to the presence of the Paragon) instantly-outclassed Wall of Essence.

Although an Ajani’s Presence threatens to help congest the red zone, Red draws a Furnace Whelp, gives it haste from the Paragon, and turns it sideways for the win!

Round Two

Sensing victory within its grasp, Red goes all-out with the Borderland Marauder and Paragon a second time, though Price of Glory puts together some lifegain with the Soulmender and Wall of Essence.

Unfortunately, Price of Glory struggles with mana, giving Red plenty of time to get the job done after nuking the Wall with a Seismic Strike. Price never breaks even, and falls in two straight games.

WINNER: Red Sample Deck (Magic 2015)

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Game 2: Kiora (Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora) versus Stampeding Hordes (Fate Reforged Intro Pack)

Round One

Hordes is off to a solid start, leading with a Sandsteppe Outcast and Highspire Mantis. Kiora, meanwhile, only gets a pair of 2/2’s, but as they’re both Grazing Gladeharts, she’s able to start padding her life total quite nicely…until the land stops coming almost immediately after playing the fourth- and that one a useless Temple of the False GodStampeding Hordes keeps firing in through the red zone.

Useless, at least, until Kiora finds a land off of a main-phase Accumulated Knowledge, plays it, then uses mana from the newly-activated Temple to fire off Explosive Vegetation for two more. In a stroke, Kiora’s gone from potentially faltering to being able next turn to clear the opposing board with a Scourge of Fleets. That turns the game on its axis, as Kiora uses a Man-o’-War and Peel from Reality to keep the attack lanes clean.

Hordes never recovers the momentum, and falls beneath the pressure.

Round Two

Stampeding Hordes opens with a run of terrible luck, having to mulligan down to five cards. Still, it makes lemonade from lemons with the Sandsteppe Outcast and Geist of the Moors, though the latter is set back a turn with a Man-o’-War.

Undaunted, Hordes plays the Mantis, while Kiora counters with a Netcaster Spider to keep it stymied. Hordes gets the upper hand, however, when it uses Act of Treason to take the Spider for a ride and hammer in with attackers. Kiora tries to bounce the Mantis, but Hordes thwarts that with a clever use of War Flare.

The board thins out a bit with the Spider and Mantis trading, and the Outcast getting picked off with a Time to Feed. Things are going Hordes’ way, and Kiora is forced to play Kiora, the Crashing Wave to try and deflect some incoming fire. Hordes doesn’t take the bait, using Dragonrage on the a 1/1 Spirit token to drop Kiora down to 1 life.

Kiora claws a little back with another Time to Feed, trading the Man-o’-War for the Geist. She then deploys a Lorescale Coatl, and activates the planeswalker card for card draw. A replacement Netcaster Spider helps bide time.

The planeswalker +1 ability keeps a menacing Goblin Roughrider at bay, but Kiora is playing around a possible Deflecting Palm and has to be conservative on the attack. The Lorescale Coatl grows to a 13/13, but is kept on defense for fear of haste creatures. Finally, Kiora draws into a Plasm Capture, giving her the ability to alpha strike.

Sure enough, Hordes has the Palm, but the game is won when it’s countered.

WINNER: Kiora (Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora)

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Game 3: Cruel Plots (Dragons of Tarkir Intro Pack) versus Black Player’s Guide (Magic 2015)

Game One

The Player’s Guide opens with Typhoid Rats followed by a Shadowcloak Vampire, while Cruel Plots finds a Silumgar Monument and Youthful Scholar. Both decks go toe-to-toe from there, exchanging blow after blow. Plots chains some exploits, popping the Scholar for a Vulturous Aven and a Shambling Goblin to a Qarsi Sadist, using the Goblin’s death to kill off the Rats.

The Player’s Guide, meanwhile, blasts Plots’ hand with a Mind Rot, then drops down a Soul of InnistradPlots counters with a Ruthless Deathfang, then begins exploiting everything it can get its hands on, just to string Edicts together to cull the Black creatures facing it. Of course, with the Soul on board, they don’t stay dead for long.

The game is a tight one, but the tide soon turns when the red zone’s ground game gets too congested for effective attacks. Cruel Plots finishes the job in the air with the Deathfang and Monument.

Game Two

Black comes out to another solid start, behind an Accursed Spirit, Mind Rot, and Sign in BloodCruel Plots again finds some fuel for the engine, however, with the Youthful Scholar, and it keeps the board under control with Sidisi’s Faithful and a Silumgar Butcher.

And so it goes, with Black landing threats and Plots finding answers. Ob Nixilis, Unshackled? Have a Death Wind. Soul of Innistrad? Here’s a Rakshasa Gravecaller and Coat with Venom. Though a couple of Rotfeaster Maggots keep Black in the hunt, both decks end up playing off the top of their libraries.

Plots turns in the play of the game facing down a Black Cat and Soul of Innistrad when it offers a Shambling Goblin up to a Qarsi Sadist, sniping the Cat. The forced random discard hits the only card in hand, an Island, but with a Ruthless Deathfang in play Black is forced to sacrifice the Soul of Innistrad, too. That opens the way to an alpha strike that just gets there for the win.

WINNER: Cruel Plots (Dragons of Tarkir Intro Pack)

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Game 4: Surprise Attack (Fate Reforged Intro Pack) versus Fate and Fury (Magic 2015 Clash Pack)

Game One

Surprise Attack is happy enough to deploy a morphed Thousand Winds. Meanwhile, Fate and Fury has dropped a pair of Elvish Mystics and a Prophet of Kruphix. Although the Prophet finds its end with a Hunt the WeakFate and Fury drops a Nessian Game Warden, scoring a Hypnotic Siren.

Surprise Attack looks to turtle behind a Wall of Frost, but Fate and Fury opts to steal the Wall with the Siren and keep the pressure on. This forces Attack to lock the Wall down with Singing Bell StrikeFate and Fury simply refuels with Jace’s Ingenuity and Divination.

As Fate and Fury closes in, Surprise Attack manages to unmorph Thousand Winds, sending a flood of creatures back to their owners’ hands (including the Wall). Against the odds, Surprise Attack manages to steal one when a morphed Woolly Loxodon slips past the enemy defenses, then uncloaks for lethal.

Game Two

Attack finds Secret Plans, but Fate and Fury opens with a Mystic- a troubling sight. Attack then casts Write into Beingmanifesting a Temur War Shaman. This is promising, as it’s an extra bit of removal once ready for flipping. Alas, Attack stalls out on land, setting it back at a crucial stage of development.

Fate and Fury has no such problems, landing Prophet of Kruphix and making the most of it to power out a load of creatures like the Nessian Courser, Horizon Chimera, and Nemesis of Mortals, all the while keeping its hand full through its card drawing options. It’s Surprise Attack’s nightmare scenario, and the poor Intro Pack can hardly keep up.

Whisk Away and Reality Shift buy some time, but as the Arbor Colossus touches down it knows its fate is all but sealed.

Game Three

Fate and Fury stumbles early, getting stuck on Green mana- though it still manages a mana dork and Nessian Game Warden. Surprise Attack, meanwhile, brings out a Nimbus of the Isles and Arashin War Beast. Against all odds, could Surprise Attack pull off the upset?

Nope. Fate and Fury draws an Island, uses Curse of the Swine to destroy Attack’s offense, and stampedes in with Green fatties until Surprise Attack is dead.

WINNER: Fate and Fury (Magic 2015 Clash Pack)

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And that’s it! Four decks down, four to go. Tune in next week, when the remaining four take one another on, and a winner of the Nagle Division is declared!

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jeskai Angel
    Jul 16 2016

    Woooooo! 3/4 on predictions! And the one prediction I lost I don’t mind, since it means Player Guide Black (unworthy pseudo-precon that it is) is knocked out. 😀

    Interesting that only one match went to game 3.

    Reply
  2. westbrook57
    Jul 16 2016

    Yes! Got 3/4. That isn’t bad.

    I severely underestimated the Black deck. I just thought the Nixis deck would be just as insane as the planeswalker card.

    😦

    Reply
  3. signofzeta
    Jul 17 2016

    1/4. Still going to predict the intro packs even if I have to put a paper bag over my head in shame. Gotta be a true fan, man. Stampeding Hordes is the one I wanted to win too, boo.

    Stampeding Hordes is gone. Let’s hope these still make it through:

    Hit the Ground Running
    Flames of the Dragon
    Jeskai Monks
    Mardu Raiders
    Cunning Plan
    Enlightened Mastery
    Relentless Rush

    I do wonder how the results would be if this were played in a 7 game series.

    You know how sports teams, especially minor leagues, for one season isn’t necessarily the same the next season? You should make “teams”, based on when the products are released and how they are packaged. I’ll use the planeswalker deck era for now.

    We have 8 planeswalker decks, 4 duel decks, 5 commander decks, 5 welcome deck decks, totaling to 22 decks. A “franchise”, would be a deck and it’s predecessors and successors, and must be released around the same time per year.

    I am going to say this first. You know how when you buy an intro pack, event deck, or theme deck, or any deck that comes in sets of 2, 3, 4, or 5, the barcode is the same as long as the decks are in the same set or group? For every Commander 2014 deck, Magic Origins Intro Pack, or any precon that belongs in a group, the barcode is the same. What is different is the little number underneath the barcode, just to the left of EN, EN probably meaning English version. I am going to give an example with Dragons of Tarkir intro pack. If you look near the barcode, you see a string of numbers, for Dragons of Tarkir, Massed Ranks ends in 1, Enlightened Mastery ends in 2, Cruel Plots ends in 3, Relentless Rush ends in 4, Furious Forces ends in 5. Planeswalker decks, like any precon that comes in groups, and isn’t a standalone deck should also have a little number near the barcode that ends in a 1, or in a 2. Every planeswalker deck that has that little number near the barcode that ends in a 1, and released in the fall, would be one franchise. A planeswalker deck released in the spring set, and has the little number end in 2 would be another franchise.

    A duel deck, let’s say one released early in the year, such as Blessed vs Cursed, and is packaged in the right side, that is Cursed, is one franchise, meaning Cursed, Kiora, Vraska, Tibalt, Koth, Dragons, Coalition, and Demonic would all be one franchise, because they are duel decks released early in the year, and the deck is on the right side when looking at the packaging.

    For Commander, just line up the color of the packaging, so Wade into Battle, Built from Scratch, and Power hungry would be one franchise.

    For Welcome decks, just match the colors.

    If a situation where there is a new product line, that would be like an expansion franchise. In a situation where a product is cancelled the franchise folds. In the situation where a product line changes, the franchise folds and an expansion franchise immediately takes its place, so 5 intro pack franchises fold, 2 enter the league.

    Here are the franchises, or teams:

    Early year left side duel deck
    Early year right side duel deck
    Late year left side duel deck
    Late year right side duel deck
    White commander deck
    Blue commander deck
    Black commander deck
    Red commander deck
    Green commander deck
    White welcome deck
    Blue welcome deck
    Black welcome deck
    Red welcome deck
    Green welcome deck
    Fall set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Fall set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Winter set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Winter set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Spring set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Spring set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Summer set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Summer set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2

    Now that there are 22 franchises, we can set up allegiances, bandwagoners, um supporting a losing cause and all that stuff, oh the paper bag over the head because you are a fan of a crappy team.

    Reply
  4. signofzeta
    Jul 17 2016

    In the case of the theme deck era, theme decks follow the same rules as the planeswalker deck. The little number cannot be located on any theme deck before Betrayers of Kamigawa, but between Odyssey and Betrayers of Kamigawa, the little number is located near the credits in the strategy sheet. The franchise would be as follows:

    Winter set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Winter set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Winter set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 3
    Winter set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 4
    Spring set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Spring set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Spring set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 3
    Spring set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 4
    Summer set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Summer set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Summer set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 3
    Summer set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 4
    Summer set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 5
    Fall set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Fall set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Fall set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 3
    Fall set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 4

    Because the summer set sometimes has 4 theme decks for non core sets and 5 theme decks for core sets, the franchises of these decks would be that the Summer set whose number near barcode ends in 3, the black deck, goes dormant, and the summer set core set theme deck whose number near barcode ending in 4 and 5 would line up with summer set non-core set theme deck whose number near barcode ends in 3 and 4 respectively, so by taking out 3, 1, 2, 4, 5, it would be renumbered as 1, 2, 3, 4 for 4 theme deck sets. Same rule applies going backwards, with Lorwyn. 1, 2, 3, 4 becomes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 3 is added. I will discuss later why instead of 1 2 3 4 becomes 1 2 3 4 with 5 added, it is 1 2 3 4 becomes 1 2 4 5 with 3 added in the intro pack section.

    For intro packs, it is different. I would go by color. Here, we will not go by the little number near the barcode, as it gets messed up with Return to Ravnica block. Usually white intro packs end in 1, blue end in 2, black end in 3, red end in 4, and green ends in 5. It isn’t the case with RTR block. For M13 and beyond, the color is denoted by the color of the cardboard packaging that goes around the deck itself, so basically the cardboard insert you pull out. For M10, M11, M12, the color is usually the color of the packaging itself. Usually the color of the foil is the color of the intro pack. For Innistrad block, the color is also on the packaging, and is also the top mana symbol, not the bottom one, provided you look at the top left of the packaging on the little flap with the hole on it. The same rule applies to Scars of Mirrodin. Despite Doom Inevitable having a artifact as a foil card, it would be blue because the top left has blue on top of black, much like how in Deadspread, Black is on top of Blue, therefore the deck is Black. Zendikar block would go by color of the foil. Shards of Alara block will go by shard, so bant is white, jund is red, etc. Alara reborn will go by what shard the foil card belongs to, so Dauntless Escort is Bant, Deathbringer Thoctar is Jund etc. Another way to tell what “color” the deck is is to look at the strategy sheet. With the exception of Return to Ravnica block and Mirrodin Besieged, “White” is listed first, then “Blue”, then “Black”, then “Red”, then “Green”.

    Here is the winter set black intro pack franchise

    Grixis Shambling Army
    Fangs of the Bloodchief
    Dormant
    Dark Sacrifice
    Dimir Dementia
    Death’s Beginning
    Grave Advantage
    Vicious Cycle

    All of these decks above have the little number near the barcode ending in 3, because it is black, with the exception of Dimir Dementia, which ends in 2, because the ordering is based on the full ordering of the 2 color pairs, it being Azorius, Orzhov, Dimir, Izzet, Rakdos, Golgari, Gruul, Boros, Selesnya, then Simic. As for Dormant, it is the “missing” intro pack from Mirrodin Besieged, and if you have read my long post on intro pack color patterns, that intro pack would have been BLACK green. This simulates how a sports franchise doesn’t have an arena ready, or there are some legal issues, and therefore goes dormant for one season. Because the “black” intro pack is missing, and the remaining ones are ordered white blue red then green, and black intro packs typically have the little number near barcode ending in 3, is a reason why the lineage of 4 theme decks per set, it being 1, 2, 3, then 4, lines up with theme decks with 5 per set so it goes like this, 1, 2, 4, 5, and 3 being added, rather than 1 2 3 4, and 5 being added.

    The intro pack franchises would go as follows:

    Winter set White intro pack
    Winter set Blue intro pack
    Winter set Black intro pack
    Winter set Red intro pack
    Winter set Green intro pack
    Spring set White intro pack
    Spring set Blue intro pack
    Spring set Black intro pack
    Spring set Red intro pack
    Spring set Green intro pack
    Summer set White intro pack
    Summer set Blue intro pack
    Summer set Black intro pack
    Summer set Red intro pack
    Summer set Green intro pack
    Fall set White intro pack
    Fall set Blue intro pack
    Fall set Black intro pack
    Fall set Red intro pack
    Fall set Green intro pack

    The franchise for event decks would go back to looking at that little number near the barcode. Clash Packs will be in the same franchise as the event deck. The deck on the left will be in the same franchise as all event decks whose little number near the barcode end in 1, and the left side deck will be in the same franchise as the event deck whose little number near the barcode ends in 2. Fate would be in the same franchise as Illusionary Might while Fury would be in the same franchise as Vampiric Onslaught. In the case when event decks went from 2 to 1 per set, I would say that would be franchise mergers, while when clash packs came out, the franchise split into 2.

    The event deck + clash pack franchises go as follows:

    Winter set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Winter set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Spring set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Spring set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Summer set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Summer set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Fall set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Fall set event deck whose number near barcode ends in 2

    With dragons maze, the franchises merge together, so there is only one event deck.

    With M15, 2 of the 4 event deck franchises split into 2 fracnchises, them being winter set clash pack deck on left, winter set clash pack deck on right, summer clash pack deck on the left, and summer clash pack deck on the right.

    For supplemental multiplayer sets, the rules are the same as theme decks and event decks. You look at the little number near the barcode. Commander 2011, being released in the middle of the year, belongs in this group, not with the group of other commander decks. The teams are as follows:

    Multiplayer supplement deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
    Multiplayer supplement deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
    Multiplayer supplement deck whose number near barcode ends in 3
    Multiplayer supplement deck whose number near barcode ends in 4

    Same rule that was applied with theme decks is applied here. For commander, the franchise lineage would be 1, 2, 3, 4 to 1, 2, 4, 5, and 3 is added. Counterpunch in this case is the extra franchise, while all 1 lines with 1, 2 lines up with 2, 3 lines up with 3, except in 2011, when it lines up with 4, and 4 lines up with 4, except in 2011 when it lines up with 5.

    All this does not matter because the theme deck, event deck, and intro pack era is over.

    So looking at the previous precon championships in the intro pack era, Dead Ahead, Eldrazi Arisen, Elspeth from Elspeth vs Tezzeret, and Hold the Line, this means that the Spring Set Red Intro Pack won back to back, followed by left side late year duel deck, and then finally Fall set Event Deck whose number near barcode ends in 2. If Life for Death from New Phyrexia won instead of Elspeth, it would have been a threepeat. If Fiery Dawn won instead of Hold the Line, as well as Life For Death from New Phyrexia, it would be 4 time champions, because they are all the Spring set Red intro pack.

    The planeswalker deck era makes it easier to have franchise back to back champions, as there are less decks to keep track of.

    Reply
  5. Icehawk
    Jul 19 2016

    Wow! I’m happy Kiora made it though. Go Duel Decks!

    Reply

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