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Thread: 16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

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    16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

    I made 16th/468 at Eternal Weekend North America with this list. As a general personal preference, and especially in a large event where people will play pet decks or weird decks just for fun, I like to have tools against as many decks as possible. And to be honest, I simply enjoy playing Karn. For this event the tools included:

    - LED: I first started playing Painter when 3c/4c control decks were being pushed up by Oko and then Prismatic Ending and against those decks this card was a huge liability. For several events I had it in the deck but never added mana with it so I eventually cut the card. But in 2022 there's been a resurgence of Red Prison, Reanimator, Elves, and of course now the initiative deck together with a downswing in control decks. I decided I needed to be able to lean into the fast combo aspect of Shortcake and that means playing LED.

    - Soul-Guide Lantern: This card might look as if it's in the maindeck for Reanimator, but it's actually primarily for Endurance and Emrakul. Without this card, to beat Emrakul you have to go for beatdown or resolve Karn for Tormod's Crypt, and Karn is one of the few high-impact cards this deck can't search for. Being able to snipe an Uro or mess with DRC is a nice plus, as is drawing a card.

    - Breya's Apprentice: Lantern isn't really a value engine with the goblins because it just becomes "1, sacrifice an artifact: Draw a card" and I think it's important to have some ability to hang in a long game against decks that can gain card advantage. One could do this with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Phyrexian Dragon Engine, Ichor Wellspring, and maybe some other cards I'm not thinking of right now. I went with Apprentice because it synergizes with more of the rest of the deck (Recruiter, Goblins, Karn, and ET) while still being useful on its own, primarily to turn exiling removal into destroying removal. The thopter token can steal the initiative even when you have Bridge in play.

    - Mox Opal: Mana can be tight and we have 6 lands that can't be relied upon to stay in play, so it can be crucial to have a permanent mana source to fetch with Urza's Saga.

    Plus the standard Bridge, Canonist, and deceptively unassuming Goblin Cratermaker. In the sideboard:

    - Blood Moon: This deck can struggle against dedicated control decks, which may have 4 StP, 4 Prismatic Ending, and 4 Endurance then bring in artifact hate postboard. I want a way to short-circuit these games before the opponent establishes control, and Blood Moon does that while also being an additional lock piece against many combo decks. I chose the enchantment instead of the Magus because it can be grabbed by an end-step ET whereas Magus must be recruited (costing more mana) and is more vulnerable to StP which the opponent could easily leave up. Being an enchantment also makes it reasonable against Delver. I do not bring in Blood Moon against Depths/Cloudpost decks where I would bring in Magus, and partly for that reason I also have...

    - Liquimetal Coating: I've found that this card is often better than Moon effects against Lands/Depths/Cloudpost once it hits the board because you aren't just giving the opponent time to dig for an answer, instead you are actively taking away resources. There are fringe synergies with goblins which Moon effects do not have (e.g. make Marit Lage an artifact and weld it out for Mox Diamond), but the main reason to play this card is to ensure that Karn is always an impactful draw in any matchup. Like Mycosynth Lattice, but cheaper. This is the card I get when I resolve Karn on a stable board but don't have a path to Painter to justify wishing for Grindstone. I show why I play this card here.

    - Twinshot Sniper: In my local events there are several Reanimator/Oops players so this slot is usually a Faerie Macabre, but I decided that Reanimator is winnable enough without it and it's likely that people will choose not to play Reanimator or Oops for an event with many rounds. Oops in particular is seldom played to begin with. I wanted an artifact creature so that Karn could find a blocker to protect himself, and Sniper does that while also being removal (for Collector Ouphe in particular) and having Welder synergies.

    To make room for these cards plus the Karns and Enlightened Tutors I play fewer fast mana pieces and fewer maindeck Bolts which does make this build worse against Delver. I decided not to care about that because to optimize the maindeck for Delver would produce a list that I wouldn't enjoy playing as much. I miraculously dodged Delver the entire weekend, an experience I highly recommend.

    One could play Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and I have before, but I chose not to register it here because of space limitations and because it just doesn't work well in this build. When is each part of Fable good?

    - Chapter 1: For the token to be good it must reasonably be able to attack, preferably multiple times. I start less removal than other builds so this is often not the case.

    - Chapter 2: You have to have cards that you were willing to put in the deck, but do not necessarily want to cast ASAP if you draw them, and which you would be willing to discard. The category that best fits the bill is fast mana, which I play less of. Most of the time on this chapter I find that I don't actually want to discard anything; what I really want is to draw the lands needed to cast the cards I already have, or to draw a blast or combo piece.

    - Chapter 3: While I would love to copy Recruiters and Engineers with the reflection, it seems that the game is always over by the time I can activate it or I just don't have anything worth copying.

    I'll admit that I have had individual games where Fable has been strong in a way that only it could be (precisely two games, in fact), but most of the time I'm just annoyed that it isn't a Recruiter.

    Day 1:

    I stayed at an Airbnb with the scrawniest pillow I've ever slept on, so I wake up with huge stiffness in my neck and feeling way more tired than I should. On top of that I was paranoid about finding parking downtown so I left early for the convention center and wound up having about 30 minutes to float around the event hall, yawn, and stretch my neck muscles awaiting the sweet release of Round 1.

    Round 1: 1-2 vs. White Initiative
    Game 1: I am on the draw and infer the matchup from his T1 tapped Emeria MDFC. Unfortunately my hand is a bit slow: Mountain, Tomb, REB, Recruiter, Cratermaker, Petal, Bolt. I draw a Welder and play it off the Mountain, he has White Plume. I recruit Painter which gets sniped by Elite Spellbinder. Bolt and Cratermaker let me blunt the attack, but because I'm tapping Tomb every turn I'm at risk of losing to his follow-up Dungeoneer. Fortunately I draw a land to cast Painter from under the Spellbinder, then the Petal lets ET find Grindstone for an unprotected combo that works.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -1 Karn, -1 REB
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge
    The remaining Karn wish targets are not so good in the matchup; he's mostly in the deck now to kill Chalice which might be in the opponent's deck, and to fight Solitude & StP which are certainly in his deck. Natural Bridge gives you much more freedom to keep slower hands, so I think it's better to bring in the second from the sideboard.

    Game 2: Opponent has neither a T1 nor a T2 play off of Plains + Tomb, so I suspect something and end up walking a Recruiter into Mindcensor after T1 Welder. Fortunately the fourth card is an Engineer and I do have a Bolt, but I only have one red source so I have to consider the order of spells cast among Bolt, Engineer, and Abrade for the Null Rod he also has. I decide to take out the Null Rod since my lands are Saga, Tomb, Mountain and I might want Petal/LED/Opal to work if I draw them, and I may need Bolt for an Archon. I draw Foothills and, excitedly and like an idiot, fetch. Props to my opponent who was alert enough to stop me from looking through my whole library, but this time I do not get lucky with the top four cards. I now have to Bolt the Mindcensor before Saga goes off, after which Engineer finds Painter. Through all of this I've been using Tomb and getting hit by White Plume, so now that I finally have the opportunity to combo (into open white mana) I'm at 5 life. I decide to pass since next turn I can have two active goblins for counterplay against exiling removal. But because I'm not used to the dungeon room mattering I don't realize that I'm about to die to Trap, which I do.

    Game 3: I keep a slower hand without Bridge (a mistake) which relies on Recruiter to find Painter but does have Grindstone, Bolt, and Abrade, so I decide to keep. Unfortunately I don't find a blast to stop Swords on the Painter, and without Bridge I can't stop the beatdown in time to reassemble. Also, like an idiot, I decide not to Abrade an Archon of Emeria in response to it getting two counters because I was worried about Null Rod. Definitely not entirely awake at this point.

    I do think this matchup is favorable, since we are faster and can lock out combat with Bridge. It also seems like they don't have the Solitude/Swords all that often because they're largely obligated to keep hands with a strong aggro element no matter what the other cards are. But we do have to understand which hands are traps.

    Round 2: 2-0 vs. Mono-Black Helm
    Game 1: I am on the play and keep a Welder/Saga/Engineer hand, which immediately looks dumb in the face of his T0 Leyline of the Void. I play a Mountain and hold up a Bolt in case he decides to go for a fast Opposition Agent or something, but instead it's Dark Ritual into Rotting Regisaur. I take a hit from it, but the upkeep discard eventually leaves him with no cards in hand while I'm able to take another Regisaur hit and deploy Painter, then let Saga find Grindstone for the win.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -2 REB
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Needle
    A guy at my LGS plays a similar deck with Dauthi Voidwalker, Maralen of the Mornsong, Liliana, and Wasteland. Regisaur makes me think this deck is built somewhat differently, but it's unclear in what way and to what extent. But I really don't want to get Helmed or Agented, so countermeasures come in. REB goes out because it can become bad against discard or removal on Painter, and there isn't much interaction that we need a counterspell for (Sudden Edict having split second anyway). I'm willing to gamble that there are no graveyard shenanigans that I'll want Lantern for.

    Game 2: He has a T1 Needle for Grindstone, which is good for him since my sequence was going to be T1 Saga+Grindstone, T2 Tomb+Painter with Karn as backup if he has an answer. I decide to keep the same T1 and just go for constructs until I find an answer for Needle, which could just be a white source so that Karn can get Portable Hole. Karn gets Thoughtseized before any of that, but beatdown from a Construct and two Painters gets there.

    Round 3: 2-1 vs. Doomsday
    Game 1: I am on the draw and keep Karn, Tomb, Fetch, Pyro, ET, Saga, something. Opponent has T1 Dark Ritual into Doomsday, and by examining his exiled cards I deduce he is setting up an LED pile. I play the fetch to hold up Pyroblast or ET, he draws and just plays out LED and a Petal before passing back. I decide to ET for Petal for the first time ever so that I can cast Karn, which amazingly resolves (I counted only 3 Force of Will in exile). I kill his LED, then after another blank turn from my opponent I fetch Grindstone and mill him for the win.

    -2 Bolt, -1 Lantern, -1 Bridge, -1 Cratermaker, -1 Apprentice
    +1 REB, +1 Canonist, +2 Surgical, +1 Grindstone, +1 Moon
    It's too rare for Bolt to actually win the game that I'd rather have Surgical to shuffle their pile or peek at their hand or remove Force of Will to resolve some key spell.

    Game 2: I mulligan to six keeping Painter, blast, Petal, Tomb, Mountain, Fetch, mostly because I don't want to risk mulliganing into a hand with no lands and this at least counters Doomsday on T2 or later. Naturally he has it T1, but has to pass the turn. I examine the exiled cards and see that his only blue mana sources are the Underground Sea in play and a Cavern of Souls that he surely brought in, but there is a Force of Will and a Daze unaccounted for. I draw SSG, and since my hand is basically all mana and I know the blast won't be able to counter Oracle because of Cavern, I decide to play Tomb + Painter + Petal and immediately blast the Underground Sea. He does have the Force of Will and everything else so I lose.

    I saw Brazen Borrower, Hurkyl's Recall, Echoing Truth, and 2 Opposition Agent in the exiled cards so:
    -1 Surgical, -1 Recruiter
    +2 Bolt
    Otherwise, depending on my draw, I may be unable to assemble the combo at all due to Agent and also have to worry somewhat about dying to combat damage.

    Game 3: I mulligan 7- and 6-card hands that are too slow then see Mountain, 2 Petal, 2 Blast, Moon, Canonist. I decide to go all-in on T1 Blood Moon and bottom Canonist and a blast. The idea is that assuming Moon resolves, he probably won't have Force of Will so Blast should stop the Oracle since Cavern will be neutralized. The Moon does resolve, but opponent has Petal + Dark Ritual for the third consecutive T1 Doomsday. I see all four Forces in exile, plus the basic Island and both Dazes, so blast is probably good. I draw a land, tank as if I'm contemplating improbable outs just to mess with my opponent, then play the fetch and pass. Opponent has LED, Deep Analysis, and an Edge of Autumn to draw into Oracle, but as I knew from the exile pile no countermagic to stop blast on Oracle with an empty library.

    Round 4: 2-0 vs. Elves
    Game 1: I have T1 Welder, then T2 Tomb + Grindstone + Engineer->Painter for the turn 3 win. He played a Bayou and Zenith for Arbor so I assume it's Elves, but he did not have Boseiju or an Endurance.

    -3 Karn, -1 Recruiter, -1 REB, -1 Lantern, -1 Apprentice
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Bridge, +1 Canonist, +1 Needle, +1 Grindstone
    REB and Recruiter are awkward because they can be stuck in your hand or put cards into your hand when you really want to be empty-handed with Bridge in play. However, it is important to find Painter or Cratermaker and to counter Zenith, Grist, Natural Order, Glimpse, or Ouphe so I like to leave in some copies of those cards. The fourth Grindstone comes in because we need to assemble the combo quickly. On the play I would consider Blood Moon, on the draw I don't like it as much.

    Game 2: I keep a Bolt, Cratermaker, Welder, Grindstone, Tomb, Fetch, Mountain. This hand is questionable because we have no way to find Bridge or a combo piece except to Grindstone ourself and weld it in, which is slow, deals us damage through Tomb, and is susceptible to Endurance. It's also unlikely that two spot removal pieces are going to defuse an Elves draw. But it has all the mana we'll likely need, removal can buy time, and Welder gives some resiliency against Boseiju/Force of Vigor which I anticipate he will have. I really don't like mulliganing hands that have mana and castable spells in this deck because it's easy to draw hands with unworkable mana, so I decide to keep. I excitedly Bolt his T1 Arbor, but he seems to have kept more than a 1-land hand since he has Fetch -> Bayou and Zenith -> Arbor. I topdeck Painter so I run out both combo pieces threatening to win on my next turn. After his next turn he has Cradle, Bayou, Arbor, Heritage Druid, and Allosaurus Shepherd, and he did not use the Bayou or Cradle on his turn despite having the Druid. This play just screams Endurance or maybe Boseiju, so I combo in his upkeep to make him use Cradle outside his main phase. This does get the Endurance, but he has a second Cradle and a Glimpse which turns out relatively weak. Shepherd doesn't kill me because only two elves are not summoning sick, so I combo again on my turn and he has no answer.

    Round 5: 2-0 vs. 8-Cast
    Game 1: I keep Recruiter, Welder, Bolt, Saga, 2 Tomb, Mountain and run out T1 Welder. Opponent reads it, then plays Emry milling over a Chalice. On my turn I swap his Mox Opal for the Chalice on zero and recruit Painter. He spins his tires for a bit, I dig with Breya's Apprentice + Welder for a bit, but a Saga for me finds Grindstone for the win.

    -2 Bolt, -1 Canonist, -1 Enlightened Tutor
    +1 REB, +1 Needle, +1 Abrade, +1 Portable Hole
    Bolt is only really useful against Emry which blasts also stop, but blasts also stop his Forces and Kappas so Bolts go out. Portable Hole answers Chalice and Constructs and is an Engineerable answer to Chalice, so it comes in. Lantern could come out but I like having the ability to stop their Emry engine.

    Game 2: I mulligan a hand that is vulnerable to Chalice but also has too low a payoff if he doesn't have it, then keep a six of Opal, Furnace, Welder, Lantern, Saga, Karn. Karn is the payoff since we only need to draw one more mana source to cast it. He has T1 Emry instead of a Chalice, so I play out the artifacts and the Welder thanks to metalcraft. However I need to keep the Lantern in play for metalcraft so that I can make constructs and eventually cast Karn, so I have to let him make Sai tokens by recasting a bauble for a while. Eventually I get a construct from Saga that lets me use the Lantern, but now he's drawn several cards and I've drawn a Pyroblast so I really want to find a fifth mana source to protect Karn against Force. This turns out to be wise, as he does have Force of Negation. Karn resolves and shuts off a Tormod's Crypt, an Unlicensed Hearse, a Seat of the Synod, and a pile of 0-drops. This buys me enough time to draw Painter, while a wished-for Twinshot Sniper kills enough of the thopters to keep Karn on board. Goblin Welder lets me combo through his Dismember.

    Round 6: 0-2 vs. 8-Cast
    Game 1: I am on the draw and keep a 6 with Welder, Painter, Blast, Bolt, Mountain, Grindstone, hoping to draw the necessary mana (easier said than done). He has a T1 Chalice on 1 though, and by the time I draw mana I don't have enough counterplay against a 8/8 Cannoneer.

    -2 Bolt, -1 Canonist, -1 Enlightened Tutor
    +1 REB, +1 Needle, +1 Abrade, +1 Portable Hole

    Game 2: I resolve T1 Welder having Petal, LED, Painter, Grindstone, blast left over. I draw Recruiter and decide to go for the combo using Petal to cast the Painter, but the combo is foiled by Hurkyl's Recall. Opponent had a T1 Grafdigger's Cage cast with a Saga that is about to grab an artifact, probably Needle, so I don't really want to use the Welder since Welder could get Needled meaning I can't get back the combo piece that I put in the graveyard. So I let the Recall happen and hope to draw mana (still easier said than done). He does get Needle for Welder, and though I draw Ensnaring Bridge for Kappa by the time I get mana he has also found a Haywire Mite for the Bridge that got revealed to Urza's Bauble, so I lose to Kappa again.

    Round 7: 2-0 vs. Pair o' Dice Storm
    Game 1: I drop T1 Welder on the play to his Sea + Brainstorm. I play Saga and Grindstone then, thinking he is on Doomsday or some kind of Storm deck, immediately blast his second Brainstorm since I'm not sure I'll get any other targets for the blast. He has a third Brainstorm of course, then plays a Bayou, but cannot stop me from deploying Karn off of an Ancient Tomb. The Bayou has me kind of confused, since the flurry of cantrips and no nonland permanents makes it look like storm combo but Bayou is kind of unusual, so I think maybe it's some kind of BUG control deck and decide to get Liquimetal Coating. I don't have white mana at this point to get Canonist anyway. Opponent shuffles off Ponder and passes, I get Mox Opal from the Urza's Saga and start killing his lands. He has a Boseiju for the Coating, which gives me the Plateau I wanted, and I weld out the Grindstone for the Coating to freeze one of his two remaining lands on upkeep. I eventually kill all his lands and win with construct beatdown.

    -1 Lantern, -1 Bridge
    +1 Canonist, +1 Blood Moon
    At this point I'm mostly but not completely sure that this is some kind of combo deck, so I'm leaving in Bolts in case it's actually a deck with Collector Ouphe.

    Game 2: He has a T1 Thoughtseize off basic Swamp, taking Enlightened Tutor. I play Welder since the rest of my hand is Bolt, Engineer, Karn, and lands and I want to be able to draw an artifact so that I can Engineer for Canonist and immediately weld it in. On his turn he plays Wishclaw Talisman finally removing all doubt about the nature of the matchup and making the Bolt in my hand seem really silly. I do not draw the artifact, but Engineer for Canonist anyway since he will give me the artifact I need if he activates the Talisman. He has an LED and activates Talisman to get Ad Nauseam, in response to which I weld Talisman for Canonist. He Ad Nauseams down to 6 life (losing 5 life to Pair o' Dice Lost) but can't cast any relevant spells thanks to Canonist, so I untap, attack with Canonist and Engineer, then Bolt him for lethal.

    Round 8: 2-1 vs. Red Prison
    Game 1: On the play I keep City, Saga, Lantern, Petal, Karn, ET, Pyroblast. This hand allows many useful lines despite the mana all being temporary: it can make large constructs, ET for Bridge or Painter, cast Karn on T2, stop Reanimator, or stop Echo of Eons. I play Petal and Lantern off Saga. Opponent plays tapped Shatterskull, so I use Petal to ET for Painter and hope that he doesn't have a moon effect to stop Saga from winning the game. He does, and though it together with the Painter on blue turns on my blast, that isn't enough to stop all the threats.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -1 REB, -1 Karn, -1 Recruiter
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Sniper, +1 Bridge
    On the play I would rather have ET than Recruiter since it enables faster hands. On the draw ET is worse because of Blood Moon. Some number of Karns stay in to deal with Chalice or Hearse but they are otherwise not strong as the best artifacts are being moved to the maindeck.

    Game 2: I play a T1 Welder and Bolt some of his creatures. I have a Painter blocking goblin tokens and Twinshot Sniper took out a Rabblemaster, but I'm taking damage still. Topdecked Grindstone saves the day.

    -1 ET
    +1 Recruiter

    Game 3: I mulligan to Bolt, Painter, Blast, ET, Tomb, Fetch but he has T1 Chalice on 1. I use Tomb to play Painter since I may be able to block a goblin token with it, but after Sniper kills a Legion Warboss he just has a bunch of lock pieces. I end up casting a Petal and an Opal through Trinisphere while we pass back and forth for a while, then Fury kills the Painter. Recruiter finds Engineer for Grindstone and chumps Fury, and Engineer reassembles the combo before Fury can kill me. Opponent deploys pro-level bluffing prowess in response to the combo with his one card in hand - a Chrome Mox.

    At 6-2 I decide to play the last two rounds of Swiss on Sunday. There aren't any side events during that time that I would want to play anyway, and looking at the numbers I figure that if I 2-0 (easy!) I could actually make the prize cutoff which would be a first for me at an event of this size. I admire some Power 9 on display then return to the Airbnb by way of Target, where I exchange $6.48 for a well-stuffed pillow.

    Day 2:

    The pillow was worth every penny.

    Round 9: 2-0 vs. Red Prison
    Game 1: On the play I keep Saga, City, Painter, LED, Furnace, blast, and something else. I play Saga so that I can either make constructs with City or set up to combo on T3. Opponent plays a tapped Shatterskull and Chalice on 0, probably thinking I'm on 8-Cast but shutting out LED is pretty good here. I play City and Painter and hope that he doesn't have a moon effect. He does not, and a Fable does not find Fury so I untap and win.

    -1 Canonist, -1 Lantern, -1 REB, -1 Karn, -1 ET
    +2 Bolt, +1 Abrade, +1 Sniper, +1 Bridge

    Game 2: After a mulligan I keep Mountain, Bolt, Welder, Painter, Engineer, Bridge and hope to draw the necessary lands. He leads with Unlicensed Hearse. I gamble that he does not have a Rabblemaster and play Welder instead of holding up Bolt, since I would rather get Welder down in advance of a Chalice and it gives me an out to the Hearse if he ever discards a Chrome Mox or Lotus Petal. He has a Fable, I draw an Ancient Tomb and play Bridge since I can't be sure of ever casting it if he has a Moon, since I would drop to 2 mana and maybe not draw lands. It also means I can play Painter next turn and hold up blast as long as I want, rather than be forced to take down that protection to deploy Bridge (which would expose me to Fiery Confluence). But it does leave me trying to get my hand empty with only one red source and three red cards in hand, so I actually kind of want him to play a Blood Moon. Next turn I play out the Painter holding up blast plus another Tomb, and I have to allow Rabblemaster because a Fury would be worse, taking out the Painter and the Welder. On his turn he then has Reflection of Kiki-Jiki, the Fable token, Rabblemaster, and a Goblin token. I have to block something since otherwise I can't use both Ancient Tombs to activate the Grindstone I don't have yet, so I block the Fable token which would leave me at 1 after double Tomb activation. Post-combat he goes for Shatterskull Smashing on Painter and Welder so I have to (finally) use the blast on it. He (finally) plays a Blood Moon, so I can now use an Ancient Tomb to Bolt the Rabblemaster going to 1 card in hand (Engineer) at 5 life. I draw Great Furnace, play it, and play the Engineer binning Grindstone. There is still the Hearse in play, but if he uses it proactively I can use Welder to swap Furnace for Grindstone and win on my turn. If he waits, I can use Welder on my turn and respond to the Hearse with Engineer. He seems to realize what's up but makes me go through the motions on my turn, and the combo wins.

    Round 10: 2-1 vs. 8-Cast
    Game 1: On the play I keep fetch, 2 Tomb, Welder, Apprentice, Karn, and not knowing the matchup decide not to set up for T2 Karn and instead play Welder, T2 Apprentice, then T3 Karn. Opponent has T1 Sai which will make Karn hard to defend, and the Apprentice's thopter is going to get swarmed by Sai thopters. I try anyway but Karn gets forced (I am now at 11), so I try to claw back into the game with Apprentice exiling cards thanks now to 2 Welders and a Soul-Guide Lantern. I have to fend off a Thought Monitor, 3-5 thopters, and some 12/12 constructs backed by Shadowspear. I weld out some constructs, Cratermaker shows up to kill Shadowspear, and with some Welder tricks I end up at 1 life with an Engineer exiled to the Apprentice and a mana base of 2 Tomb, Mountain, Plateau, inactive Mox Opal. If I draw a 0-mana card I can Engineer for Bridge and weld it in, but I draw Canonist instead so I lose. There are now 16 minutes left in the round.

    -2 Bolt, -1 Canonist, -1 ET
    +1 REB, +1 Abrade, +1 Needle, +1 Portable Hole

    Game 2: I keep Plateau, City, 2 Tomb, Petal, 2 Karn. A timely REB lets me force Karn through a Force of Negation, turning off a Bauble and an Opal. Opponent has one Island now for mana, so I grab Coating. He concedes after he fails to draw a land and I kill his Island.

    Game 3: I mulligan and keep 2 Saga, Opal, Karn, Painter, ET. He leads with Island, Mox, Bauble but nothing else so there has to be some kind of interaction, but I have no real choice other than to play Saga + Opal, then Saga + Painter which he Dismembers on his turn. The first saga finds Grindstone and with the floating mana I cast another which earns a Force of Negation. This deprives me of metalcraft for Opal that turn, but I drew a fetch which enables end step ET for Painter, so with the second Saga I float mana and get LED, now having enough to cast Painter and crack LED to activate Grindstone for the win.

    I wander around the event hall for a bit to decompress, then sign up for a 3-round side event where I beat ANT and yet another 8-Cast player before IDing in round 3 to get to the airport (thank you Karsten).

    I like the list and would play it again as is. I think the 2 ETs give you a great deal of strategic and tactical flexibility, especially if you understand the matchup at hand and are disciplined with your mulligans.

    As always I'm happy to answer any questions.

  2. #2

    Re: 16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

    Super awesome report thanks for the write up!

    Agree with your assessment that we should be favored vs the initiative deck. Sure it has answers, but it canít sculpt/dig to it. Itís kinda awkward having to keep in some number of bolts for mindcensors, when most of their problem threats are unboltse though. I run a torpor orb on the side to potentially lock the initiative out of the game for a while, but Iím not sure we can/should try to even go for that.

    A question about twinshot though; is it really that good? It allowed you to shock something under a trinisphere, but having played it a bit, Iím still not really sold on it.

    I like your reasoning on having 2 et; and youíre probably right. Not too sure about having 0 magus though; could maybe be worth experimenting with having 1 of each.

    Also, any opinions about the phyrexian dragon engine?

    Anyways, good work!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Legacy decks: mono U painter, strawberry shortcake, imperial painter, solidarity, burn
    EDH decks: zedruu voltron, rakdos the defiler, persistent petitioners, blind seer

  3. #3
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    Re: 16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

    Quote Originally Posted by schweinefettmann View Post
    Super awesome report thanks for the write up!

    Agree with your assessment that we should be favored vs the initiative deck. Sure it has answers, but it canít sculpt/dig to it. Itís kinda awkward having to keep in some number of bolts for mindcensors, when most of their problem threats are unboltse though. I run a torpor orb on the side to potentially lock the initiative out of the game for a while, but Iím not sure we can/should try to even go for that.
    The threats can become unboltable, but everything except Dungeoneer and large Walking Ballistas starts out boltable. It is important to keep your life total high in case you have to reassemble the combo after a Swords/Solitude, so I don't mind bolting an Elite Spellbinder if it's convenient to do so. I haven't played the card in a while, but I'm not sure I would go with the Orb. I've won a lot of games against the deck by Engineering for Bridge or a combo piece, and if you're on the draw they may just take the initiative on T1 and then Orb loses a lot of value. It might still buy enough time to be worth it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by schweinefettmann View Post
    A question about twinshot though; is it really that good? It allowed you to shock something under a trinisphere, but having played it a bit, Iím still not really sold on it.
    This was my first time registering it in months, and I wasn't especially impressed with it the first time. I was confident that my usual sideboard Faerie Macabre could go and I wanted to replace it with some kind of removal. I chose the Sniper because of the artifact synergies. If this had been a Pyrokinesis or Fury, I would have to hope to draw that one-of in the matchups where it comes in which isn't very likely. As Sniper I have some ability to tutor or wish for it. I was pleasantly surprised by how useful the Sniper was against Red Prison which was not seeing much play when I first tested the card. I think this should be regarded as a flex slot.

    Quote Originally Posted by schweinefettmann View Post
    I like your reasoning on having 2 et; and youíre probably right. Not too sure about having 0 magus though; could maybe be worth experimenting with having 1 of each.
    I think this is a metagame call. I would be interested in one or more Magi if I were repeatedly playing against Lands/Depths/Cloudpost, possibly in addition to the enchantment. But I'm comfortable with those matchups with the list as is. I've never felt like I needed a Magus.

    Quote Originally Posted by schweinefettmann View Post
    Also, any opinions about the phyrexian dragon engine?
    I played it for the first time today and it didn't come up. Apprentice does many small but useful things and PDE does one big thing, and only when it comes out of the graveyard. I'm skeptical that it's a good choice without ways to discard it, since most of the time Engineer is not entombing a value piece. But I'll keep trying it and see.
    a.k.a. Eddy Viscosity

  4. #4

    Re: 16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

    I disagree with the Initiative MU being favorable. They have a better clock with stronger, more game-impacting creatures, Chalice to lock down CMC/1 pieces and assorted artifact and hand disruption that can turn a hand leaning more heavily on Painter or Karn into a concoction of dead or delayed plays.

  5. #5
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    Re: 16th at Eternal Weekend North America with Strawberry Shortcake

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Keller View Post
    I disagree with the Initiative MU being favorable. They have a better clock with stronger, more game-impacting creatures, Chalice to lock down CMC/1 pieces and assorted artifact and hand disruption that can turn a hand leaning more heavily on Painter or Karn into a concoction of dead or delayed plays.
    Perhaps the deck has evolved or its players have figured out how to approach the Painter matchup, and I haven't played any games since EW to know. However current metagame data shows Painter with a 61.7% win rate against white Initiative over 47 matches. This figure is probably based mostly on the mono-red Painter builds and I would expect Shortcake to be even better than that due to Bridge, ET, and Karn, all of which were strong in my games against the deck (anecdotally, EW coverage showed an Initiative deck rolling over a mono-red Painter deck). On the other hand, data from EW itself shows Painter winning 9 matches and losing 12 against "White Stompy" (cell BB 42).

    Their clock is better and their creatures are more impactful if the game is about combat damage, but your goal should always be to make that not the case by comboing out first or putting Ensnaring Bridge in play. Most hands should be able to do one of those things by your third or fourth turn. Ones that can't should be mulliganed. I would also say that a hand which relies on Karn to assemble the combo will most likely be too slow and should also be mulliganed. Karn's purpose in this matchup is to let you reassemble the combo for a second attempt after a Swords/Solitude, and maybe to kill a Chalice. Karn in hand is a bonus, not a reason to keep.

    Chalice makes games difficult, but because they can't really stop Saga or Goblin Engineer apart from lucky Aven Mindcensors you can play through it. For comparison, 8-Cast and Red Prison also maindeck Chalices and can produce a quick clock with disruption, yet those matchups are also decidedly favorable.

    Their hand disruption is annoying, but I usually find that I can either kill the creature, pay the tax for the one time it's really necessary to do so (i.e. to cast Painter or cast/activate Grindstone), or adjust the game plan to go around the obstacle (like going for Bridge first if they name Grindstone with Anointed Peacekeeper). Archon of Emeria is usually more annoying because it matters on every turn.
    a.k.a. Eddy Viscosity

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