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GPTing with Angels, Knights and a lot of Soldiers

February 21, 2010

Yesterday I was out and playing in a GPT for Brussels in Stockholm. Not having done a huge amount of testing for Standard recently I was kind of blank in knowing what I wanted to play. I dismissed Jund pretty easy but not because it’s a bad deck. On the contrary, Jund is still very much alive and kicking. But it is the deck that has a target on it’s forehead and it’s not really my style of deck. Vampire is also fine, it’s just very atrocious to play the mirror and against Jund. Both matchups is from my experience pretty draw dependent and it’s hard to outplay your opponent. So far the blue decks hasn’t impressive me much, and since I lack a playset of Jace, the Wallet Sculptor it was pretty easy to dissmiss that deck option.

I did however fall in love in the synergy between Knight of the Relinquary and Emeria Angel. That “engine” ,if you will, is so good. With Worldwake out Knight of the Relinquary seemed even better when you can fetch out manlands and Sejiri Steppes. So I started out with Jonathan Sukenik’s deck from the TCG 5$k from Philadelphia and then updated it with Worldwake. Since my testing period was pretty limited it wasn’t much cards that changed. This was the 75 I took to the GPT:

Camelot.dec

// Lands
    4 [M10] Sunpetal Grove
    4 [ALA] Seaside Citadel
    4 [ZEN] Misty Rainforest
    2 [ZEN] Marsh Flats
    1 [WWK] Celestial Colonnade
    4 [ZEN] Plains (4)
    1 [ZEN] Island (2)
    3 [ZEN] Forest (3)
    1 [WWK] Sejiri Steppe

// Creatures
    4 [CFX] Noble Hierarch
    4 [ALA] Steward of Valeron
    4 [CFX] Knight of the Reliquary
    4 [ZEN] Emeria Angel
    4 [ALA] Rhox War Monk

// Spells
    4 [ZEN] Conqueror’s Pledge
    3 [M10] Honor of the Pure
    4 [CFX] Path to Exile
    2 [ZEN] Brave the Elements
    1 [ALA] Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2 [M10] Ajani Goldmane  

// Sideboard
SB: 4 [WWK] Kor Firewalker
SB: 4 [M10] Great Sable Stag
SB: 2 [ALA] Bant Charm
SB: 2 [M10] Negate
SB: 2 [CFX] Martial Coup
SB: 1 [M10] Sleep

The list is pretty straight forward. The only real eyebrow raiser might be the zero copies of Baneslayer Angel in the deck. The reason for this is that I found out that Conqueror’s Pledge was just straight better than Big Banes in this deck. You want a couple of Honor of the Pure and what nod anyways (since it makes your key cards Emeria Angel and with a fetchland KotR out of Lightning Bolt range, which is very key) making 6 2/2 was just better for me than casting a 6/6 Baneslayer Angel. Against more traditional red decks Baneslayer was better but otherwise I rather have Conqueror’s Pledge. This also a part of tackling the field. People is much more prepared to deal with a Baneslayer Angel compared to a horde of Soldier tokens.

I also want to give a shout out for Brave the Elements. This card is not super fancy but it’s ridiculous flexible. It’s a counterspell versus removal (sometimes versus double removal in form of Bituminous Blast cascading into another removal spell), makes your team survive Earthquakes and also serves as a falter in a stale board position. Very useful a lot of times.

The tournament was 5 rounds, which meant you needed 3-1-1 or 3-2 with good breakers to make it. I lost round 1 versus Pyromancer Ascension Grixis (basically Grixis control with the Ascension into multiple Cruel Ultimatums and Time Warps as finisher) after some mana hickup on my side, then I beat 3 Jund decks, all 2-1. The first one wasn’t so close, the game I lost I kept a sketchy 5 card hand on the draw. The first and third game where I had land and spells I came out pretty fast and managed to get KotR active for several turns. You don’t lose many games after you have used KotR a couple of times.

 The next two matches was really tight and could honestly gone either way. Both matches ended with top-decking wars that I managed to pull out. But then again that is also a cute little feature this deck has. When the games goes long, you often have used KotR a couple of times which means that your deck will normally have a higher density of threats. Anyways, after that I could ID the last round and then I was paired versus Vampires in the Top8.

The match was beating for me. Game 1 he had the goods with double Gatekeeper, double Nocturnus and a turn 5 Mind Sludge for 5. Then game 2 I handicapped myself to a 4 card hand, that was the nuts but in the end it was still a 4 card hand. I managed to stall the game to a point where I needed to top deck a land to play Martial Coup for 5 but didn’t get there.

So, would I play this deck again in a tournament tomorrow? I can say that I wouldn’t play the same 75 for sure, but I have been even more impressed with Knight of the Relinquary and Emeria Angel after that tournament. There a part of the deck that needs an overhaul. First I have been questioning the blue part of the deck. The blue cards are good and all, but are they really worth the stress on the manabase? The manabase is not the best and you definitely lose a couple of games because of your manabase.

Then I would want another land in the deck. I felt during the day that 24 was a little too little. You could easily add another manland without risking flooding out. And further on, you probably want to increase the count of the manlands anyways. It’s easy to miss that they are actually decent dual-lands, not only manlands. So some number of Seaside Citadel and Sunpetal Grove could get the axe for some number of them. You don’t want to cut basics, since you need them for Sunpetal Grove and KotR. The 7 basics I have right now is already a bit greedy. Finally the sideboard need an overhaul. Can’t really say exactly how, except there should be some number of Mind Control/Vapor Snare in there. Time will tell I guess. Standard as a format and probably this deck is something I will return to since National Qualifier season and Standard PTQ season is not far now.

The Top8 of Pro Tour San Diego should be on in a couple of hours and it will be exciting to see what the Pro Tour will do for the Standard meta game, aswell if LSV can pull of the dream record. Otherwise it seems like it’s back to Extended for me, with PTQs coming about that is in need for testing. Cheers!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 09:18

    Great work! I wish to commend you for the good work on this site. I’m hoping you continue coming up with advantageous posts as great as this one.

  2. April 22, 2010 10:13

    Very nice work on this website. Loving it haha.

    Subbed! 😛

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