2014-15 Precon Championships: Round 3 and the Leaderboard
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and they’re not wrong- we’re already one division down with just three to go! This past weekend saw some exciting precon head-to-head action. We’ve got a Divisional Champion, and move on to the Tinsman Division!
First, Kiora put down the Red Sample Deck that was the buzz of the Nagle Division, going to the full three games. Kiora punted the first game, but came storming back in a nailbiter to put Red to bed. westbrook57 called it as if he’d been standing at the table watching: “They look like polar opposites in terms of consistency, but Red has a ton of reliable early pressure. On the other hand, once Kiora gets ramped up it’s no contest. I’d have to go with Kiora, even though it doesn’t seem statistically likely for her to win.”
As it turned out, most of our predictors tabbed Kiora to advance, and they were right. As it turned out, though, far fewer folks took the point for backing the Dragons of Tarkir Intro Pack, Cruel Plots, which had its work cut out for it against Fate & Fury, the Magic 2015 Clash Pack.
Noted Jeskai Angel, “I think CP has better synergy (good density of sac outlets and benefits for sacrificing) and better spot removal. F&F has some incredible haymakers (e.g. Hydra Broodmaster), and it has some game-changing mass removal (Curse, Aetherspouts) but I’m still going to bet on Cruel Plots to get the job done. #SlumgarMillionaire”
Cruel Plots was able to keep its exploit chains going just enough capitalize on Fate & Fury’s stumbling mana woes, and dropped its opponent in two straight through tight play and a bit of luck. That set up a Kiora versus Cruel Plots conference final, which was almost an anticlimax after so many superb matches.
With only two predictors correctly calling Kiora as the divisional winner, the game was hers for the taking to prove the world wrong. Cruel Plots just couldn’t keep up, as Kiora played backbreakers like the Inkwell Leviathan and Simic Sky Swallower that Cruel Plots had few answers for.
Overall, special recognition goes to Icehawk, who managed to rack up all three points! Not only that, but it vaults him to clear pole position as well. For the rest of the predictors, there is still plenty to play for, and plenty of time ahead!
But hey, that’s in the past- let’s get to the future!
First of all, a big thanks to everyone for indulging me in the delay. I’ve learned a valuable lesson already, which is that it’s better to do any qualifying rounds well in advance, rather than try to jam in that many more games in a week.
As a result, the competitive matches this week will go up on this Sunday. That means you officially have until Saturday at 11:59PM to submit your predictions, and as usual any predictions entered prior to the results post going up will be honored.
Now, let’s take a look at the matches you have to predict!
Game One: Cunning Plan (Fate Reforged Intro Pack) versus Power and Profit (Fate Reforged Clash Pack)
Both decks had to win a qualifier to get here, and both came through in spectacular fashion. Cunning Plan, a Red/Blue spell-heavy deck packing Sage-Eye Avengers and Dragon-Style Twins, beat the comparable and capable Jeskai Monks from Khans of Tarkir. Although the closely-matched series went to three games, ultimately the removal and evasion of the Fate Reforged deck carried the day.
Power and Profit, the combined deck from the Fate Reforged Clash Pack, was the powered-up hybrid of both individual decks. Comparable in power to an Event Deck, it ran into a snare against the well-prepared M15 Intro Pack, Hit the Ground Running. Hit was able to leverage bounce against Power and Profit’s expensive creatures, and had artifact/enchantment removal well at hand for the enchantment creatures and Whip of Erebos. All the same, the power and efficiency of the Clash Pack combined deck was just too much to bear, and Power and Profit ground out its opponent in two straight.
Game Two: Red Player’s Guide (M15) versus Mardu Raiders (Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack)
The Red Player’s Guide Deck saw out the Red/Blue artifact-themed Flames of the Dragon, an Intro Pack from Magic 2015, and the Goblin Rabblemaster was the deck’s MVP. Since the Player’s Guide Decks aren’t readily available online, here is its decklist. FUN FACT: due to an oversight/typo in the Magic 2015 Player’s Guide, the Red Deck only lists 58 cards. I messaged Wizards of the Coast about this, but never heard back.
Mardu Raiders, meanwhile, is a Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack deck, and was one of the lucky ones who received a qualifying-round bye. Armed with Ankle Shanker and Cackling Doom, it has yet to be tested this season.
Game Three: Green Player’s Guide (M15) versus Sultai Schemers (Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack)
The Sultai deck turned in one of the season’s bigger upsets, upending the Cunning deck from Duel Decks: Speed vs Cunning. The Sultai were able to simply outlast Cunning in the first game, while the Duel Deck sputtered on land the second, falling in two. Luck? Skill? A little bit of both? There’s still plenty of tests ahead for the schemers.
The Green Player’s Guide deck, however, also took an early bye, and so is something of an X-factor going into the first round of competition.
Game Four: White Player’s Guide (M15) versus Black Sample Deck (M15)
The inclusion of some of these non-purchasable products may have caused some dismay amongst the predictors, but here we have two of them going head to head! The White Player’s Guide deck rallied behind Soul of Theros to trounce the Blue Sample Deck in the qualifying rounds. Meanwhile, the Back Sample Deck vaulted past the White Sample Deck on the strength of aerial threats like Nightmare and Sengir Vampire.
Those curious about the contents of the Magic 2015 Sample Deck can check that out here.
So there you have it! Four games to predict for the league this week, and the results will post on Sunday. If you’re new to the competition this week, simply post a comment on which deck you think will win each round, and you’ll be in the running for a prize package of an Eldritch Moon prerelease pack and more than a dozen boosters! Best of luck!
Here’s the recap. As always, ignore the “Game ##”, that’s just what the software assigned it.
Cunning Plan because intro pack
Mardu Raiders because intro pack
Sultai Schemers because intro pack
Black Sample Deck, because deck exists.
In the Planeswalker deck era, you should really consider having each deck play each other once maybe twice and have the top 16 decks making the playoffs. During the season, the people would predict the 6 decks that would miss the playoffs, because there are 16 that make the playoffs and 6 that won’t make the playoffs, which equals 22, and 8 planeswalker decks, 4 duel deck decks, 5 commander decks, and 5 sample decks make 22 decks. The season should be done in the background, and one article would talk about it to allow the predictors to predict the 6 decks that would miss the playoffs.
Wins get 2 points, losses get no points. In case of a tie in the standings, the tie is broken based on who beat who during the season.
G1 – Power and Profit
G2 – Mardu Raiders
G3 – Green
G4 – Black
I hate to point this out, but I should only have 3 points, as I was flat wrong on all three matches last round.
G1 – Power & Profit, unless Cunning Plan is being piloted by Baldrick.
G2 – Red M15 Guide. IIRC from playing it, Mardu Raiders is brittle.
G3 – Green M15 Guide. Again from memory, Sultai Schemers is sluggish, even lazy.
G4 – White M15 Guide. Because that Black Sample deck sounds like something I’d enjoy playing.
Got it, and I salute your integrity!
G1: I think this is the hardest-to-predict matchup of the day and I could easily see it going either way. The Jeskai wield nice arsenal of evasive creatures, tricksy Prowess dudes, and a surprisingly deep supply of burn / removal spells. Unfortunately (since I love the Jeskai Clan), I think the Sultai are a just little bit better. They’ve got strong “destroy” removal spells, big creatures that will resist burning, M. Siege’s Dragons mode to greatly hinder burning, value-giving Whip of Erebos that the RU can’t remove, Wayfinder / Commune / Font to ensure the mana flows free, etc. I won’t mind be wrong about this one, but I think Power and Profit defeats the intro pack here. #Step1PowerStep2Profit
G2: Red Player’s Guide looks like a commendably solid collection of cheap aggro creatures and burn spells. My heart wants anything from Khans of Tarkir to beat non-Khans (because Khans block is my favorite block ever), but Mardu Raiders has a lot to overcome. It’s got an excess of mana sources leading to flooding; many of those sources ETB tapped, miring it’s aggro plan; it’s a tri-color deck, which risks being unable to play cards; and it’s single best card, the fabulous Crackling Doom, isn’t that great against an aggro deck swarming with small dudes. I anticipate that Red Player’s Guide takes down the Horde. #RedDeckWins
G3: 27 mana sources for cards with built in cost reductions (Delve), two copies of Taigam’s Scheming, and a dud foil rare? It’s like WOTC had it in for the Sultai Schemers. How in the world did this beat the Cunning duel deck?!?! I’m not very inspired by Green Player’s Guide, but I’m willing to bet it’s all-around solid enough to knock out this funky Sultai build. #GoGreen
G4: White Player’s Guide has got this. It’s a solid low-curve token aggro deck with decent removal to back it up. Sample Black has a potential trump card Festergloom, but it all takes is one Paragon of New Dawns to keep Festergloom from making sample decks great again. Black has some decent cards, but a lot of them are slow and/or don’t match up well against token aggro. White has the better early game, and if the games go long, White should eventually drop Devouring Light and Mass Calcify to seal the deal on any Black shenanigans. #WhiteOut
Oh, wait, Commune isn’t the card I was thinking it was, which means it doesn’t help with mana issues. Ehh, whatever I still wish Cunning Plan would win and still predict Power and Profit will win.
G1 Cunning Plan. Let’s go Team Fliers and Removal!
I don’t have faith in these KTK decks’ manabases.
G4 White (4 triplicate spirits by itself should slaughter an average Limited deck. Add in the 3 paragons and Black’s Festergloom isn’t even an answer)
G1: It hurts me to say this because I’m as Jeskai as they come, but I think Power & Profit will take the win. I don’t think it will be a blowout because the number of combat tricks that Cunning Plan has can really wreck a number of plans, but P&P actually benefits from filling its graveyard and has so much card filtering that I think over time its draws will be better and will be able to search for the answers. But I think it’s in for a fight, especially if CP can control the early game.
G2: Red deck wins. A mono colored deck with plenty of internal consistency verses a three color aggressive–the latter is just hard to make work well. I think Mardu can put up a fight thanks to its removal options, but I like red deck’s focus better. Mardu will at least be glad that its red creatures can block those Krenko’s Enforcers though, because I’ve lost several limited games to them during M15’s days.
G3: I’m a bit torn on this one. The green decklist might be a bit of a ramp list with the mystics and the havens, but it does feature a number of rather plain creatures and doesn’t really have the go-wide with tokens to fuel convoke synergy on its convoke creatures. What’s more, it’s really short on removal with only Titanic Growths working as combat tricks. Sultai on the other hand isn’t anywhere as consistent as green with singletons everywhere, but it does have a lot of removal and card draw in addition to its graveyard and delve shenanigans. And I think the removal might be what turns the tide on the ramping, but unspectacular fatties of the green decklist and let Sultai Schemers eek out a win.
G4: This is another tough one for me. Unlike GPG, WPG’s list has multiple ways to take advantage of its many tokens, whether getting more tokens from Triplicate Spirits or going wide with Sanctified Charge. The anthem effect provided by the paragon does potentially promise making big of those tokens and that could be enough, especially with the potential advantage granted by Spirit Bonds. It even has removal and one huge board wipe. However, like the Red Welcome Deck, the Black Welcome deck has a small list, which means a much higher likelihood of drawing its one of its bombs on schedule, which also happen to be huge fliers, as well as its removal, which is particularly good against white. In the end, although I’m not a fan of the Soulmenders or the Skirmishers in WPG, I think the fact that it has more of a specific go-wide strategy and the potential for huge blowouts, might give it the edge over the “good black cards” short deck.
1.) Cunning Plan.
2.) Mardu Raiders.
3.) Sultai Schemers.
4.) White. Tokens man.
I won’t lie. 2 & 3 are coz they have names and the others don’t. I’m a sucker for decks with cool names and not having one hurts a lot.
G4: White sample deck.
G3: Green deck. I’ve played the Sultai Schemer deck, and unless you get lucky it’s a shit deck.
G2: Red player’s guide deck. It just seems way too efficient and consistent.
G1: Cunning Plan. I can’t resist rooting for the underdog.
Noticed the link to the M15 Black sample deck isn’t there (at least for me), so I found the Arcana with the Sample Deck decklists
Still mulling my picks.
G1 – Cunning Plan
G2 – Red Deck
G3 – Sultai Schemers
G4 – White Deck
Game One- Power and Profit
Game Two- Red Deck
Game Three- Green Deck
Game Four- White
Red Players Guide
Green Players Guide
White Players Guide