Elfvalley Cup XIII
After what seemed as a long break, the Elfvalley Cup was back in September. Regular dutch rules was played this time, and a total of 13 players signed up. There were two rookies this time as well, so the number of different players who's attended these cups, are starting to approach 40, pretty nice. It's been a while since I've played a Deadguy Ale version, I also finished my Scrubland playset this summer, so I thought it was about time to try the Black&White deck again. Here's the 75 I registered:
No Dark Rituals this time, trying my luck with Sinkholes instead, and a couple of Nightmares has come in since I've had very good experience with them in other decks. The deck seems pretty strong on paper, but I fear the fast, aggressive decks where I have to draw Swords to Plowshares and Black Knights early to stop the beats. On to the matches.
Match 1 vs Ole (UR aggro)
Well, I really get to test my deck against an aggressive one right away, because Ole's deck is very tempo-based. With fast creatures like Goblin Balloon Brigade and Ironclaw Orcs, and cheap removal like Lightning Bolt and Unsummon, I could be in serious trouble if I don't draw the right cards early. He also has a number of x-spells which can finish me off lategame if my lifetotal isn't high enough. Game 1 was a very good example of that. After going turn 1 Goblin and turn 2 Orc, my lone Black Knight met a Bolt, and he was able to chip away pretty fast at my lifetotal. I drew a bit to many lands here, and when I played a Nightmare, he had Unsummon for it. One more attack and he finished me off with a Fireball.
Game 2 was a bit closer. I sided in 2 CoP:Red, should maybe have been 3, 2 Terror and 3 Paralyze. I took out 4 Sinkholes, 1 Nightmare and 2 Disenchants. I managed to stop his early beats pretty good this time with two Black Knights, and a Paralyze on his Uthden Troll. The Goblin kept chipping away at my lifetotal though, but I managed to equal the board with Balance. After drawing a Drain Life I hoped I could connect with it, but he had draw a Fork to stop my lifegain. We both draw a bunch of lands while the Troll and the Knight kept staring at eachother, and then I finally drew another Drain Life. I was one mana short of killing him, but decided to go ahead and Drain him down to 1 because he could kill me with a topdecked x-spell, or maybe draw a Counterspell for it. I also might not draw more swamps for some turns, so I felt it was the correct play at the time. He drew a second Goblin, while my top card was a Swamp, sigh. The Goblin did some damage while I couldn't draw much, and he finished me off a few turns later with a huge Fireball.
Match 2 vs Tor (Monoblack)
The next match was against Tor and his sweet Monoblack deck, one of my favorite archetypes in both AB4k and swedish old-school. I got to start, and my deck fired on all cylinders here. Turn 2 Sinkhole followed by turn 3 and 4 Hypnotic Specter and turn 5 Sengir Vampire was to much for him to handle, and I took the game pretty easily.
For game 2 I decided to take out the Sinkholes since I was on the draw, and I also sent the Mind Twist to the board to be a bit gentlemanlike. 3 Paralyze and 2 Disk's came in. I had a great start now as well, with 2 Black Knights coming down quickly. He took some early damage from them but got the Nettling Imp/Icy Manipulator combo out after I played a Sengir. Thankfully I drew a Swords for the Imp, and only lost the Sengir. I stalled on 4 land for a while, and he fired off a huge Pestilence, taking care of my Knights. Thankfully I drew into a Hypnotic, Black Knight and a Nightmare, and managed to force some damage through the Icy and a Drudge Skeleton before he could find enough swamps and a Drain Life.
Match 3 vs Bjørnar (BG Big Guys)
My last match in the group stages was against Bjørnar, who played a sweet Black and Green deck this time. Sadly for him I had the same start as against Tor, turn 2 Sinkhole followed by turn 3&4 Hypnotic, game over. He did manage to Animate Dead a Force of Nature and attack with it the same turn thanks to Instill Energy though, but without mana to pay the upkeep cost, he did after my counter-attack.
For game 2 the Sinkholes and Mind Twist came out again, Terrors and Disk in this time. I had a decent start with a couple of early Black Knights, and he seemed to have a slow start, he played a Disk when he got the fourth land though, but I connected with an Orb-flip to stop his reset-button. He got stuck on 4 lands and had to play a Regrowth to get the Disk back, but that gave me a couple of extra attacks in. He never recovered in time, and were unlucky to stop on 4 lands. He had 3 Sengirs and a couple of Drain Lifes in hand, which could have made the game far more interesting.
To sum up, the deck was absolutely brilliant when I drew the right mix of disruption and creatures early. If not, I had big problems against fast starts and burn as expected. It's definately a strong deck, and the Sinkhole plan seemes better than the Dark Ritual plan. If I were to change anything, I would take out the Nightmare's which were pretty underwhelming sadly. The fourth Sengir could come in instead, or maybe two Serra Angels or two Animate Dead. Icy and Royal could also be an option of course, but seems a bit to slow against many decks, and really bad against all the Sedge Trolls we see in AB4k. Deadguy if definately a strong deck in the format, tier 2 maybe, but it might be too streamlined for many players' liking. I like it though, and will play it again in the Cup at a later time.
Congrats to the winner, Albert, who wins back to back AB4k tournaments(won the Dwarven Warriors Cup as well).
Until next time, cheers!