Pulled out Damia this week; I was convinced that it was better than the last few runs have suggested, and it was on a par – or thereabouts – with the decks I was playing against. It did much better this time, but there are still cards that need to come out when I have the time to make the changes (HA!)
(for once I was the only one playing one of my decks!)
I get off to a fast start with Forest, Mana Vault which draws some groans from the table, and fair enough. Axelrod lays down a Withered Wretch turn 2, and Geth a Zombie Infestation. My turn two is Cultivate, play a Swamp, Nezumi Graverobber, and Mayael plays Druid of the Anima. Turn 3 doesn’t actually bring a lot (I leave the Mana Crypt tapped) – I attempt to Regrowth the Cultivate but the Wretch very sensibly removes it, and then gets rid of Geth’s graveyard (after a zombie token from the Infestation). I let the first trigger resolve, then take his last card with my Graverobber, letting it flip. Of course, it’s not going to steal anything while that Wretch is in play….
Nothing of real note happened on turn 4, except Mayael tried to play Realm Razer, before we told them that it costs 6 and put it back in your hand, please…. Axelrod assures us that he can handle it, and keeps mana open to do so if it ever hits (pro tip: Float mana in response to the ability, let the ability resolve, THEN kill it. If you kill it with the ability on the stack, well you just Armageddoned…)
In the meantime Geth has been stuck on 2-3 land, so we’ve been leaving him alone. I’ve been beating on Mayael and Axelrod with the Graverobber and a 3/3 Wickerbough Elder. Mayel lays down a Rage Reflection but has no creatures out, so that hangs around for a bit, but eventually I pop it with the Wickerbough to increase it’s power.
On turn 6, I cast Damia, with 3 cards remaining in my hand. It survives the turn, and I draw into Thought Gorger. “Why not?” I ask myself, and drop Teferi’s Puzzle Box and the Gorger, discarding my hand and getting 5 +1/+1 counters on it. Somehow Damia lives AGAIN and I draw seven. I send Damia at Mayael (who by this stage has Mayael and the the Druid, but nothing else, Wickerbough Elder at Axelrod (no creatures, or maybe still the Wretch), and the 7/7 trampling Gorger at Geth, who only has a Sanguine Guard (and cards in hand to make Zombies with) to block with. The Guard blocks the Gorger and Regenerates, then Axelrod Comet Storms for 5 on the Gorger and the Wickerbough Elder (what actually happened is much more complicated and involved damage, taking back damage, re-blocks, pump spells, damage resolving, going back to first strike damage step…. it was pretty much a mess of “Oh, actually go back to <x> and I’ll do this…. It was messy. I don’t often take back anything I do – if I screw it up, I screw it up. But this is social, right?). Meanwhile Mayael pumps Mayeal with something random, giving it +2/+2 which is enough to kill off Damia, while Damia’s Deathtouch kills of Mayael. My next note is
Dreamscape, STE, WElves – Yay Mana
Which is something I do need to change about this deck – too much mana ramp and not enough to do with it. All that is negated by an Earthquake from Axelrod which clears the board of everything except that damn Sanguine Guard of Geths. I replay Damia, and drop another card I’ve been waiting to play – Moonring Mirror. Damia lives again, and I draw 5 cards, putting 5 cards under the Mirror. Next turn, I put the Mirror’s ability on the stack, then Damia’s – Damia’s resolves, drawing my hand up to 7, which puts more cards under the Mirror, then the Mirror exiles my “new” hand and I get 12 cards from under it. Worth the wait, although there are hoops I have to jump through, to be sure. Things like that get my Johnny sense tingling 🙂
At about this time Axelrod drops a Caged Sun (naming black) and a Magus of the Coffers. Due to various flukes and politicing, Axelrod and Mayael are both on 14, and Geth and I are both on 17, so he can’t blow everyone out of the game with another Earthquake equivalent, but that much mana is scary. Thankfully Damia + the Mirror has given me plenty of options, and I’m able to Stomphowler the Caged Sun before he gets too ridiculous, although he has access to 20 mana thanks to the Magus. I get a Darksteel Plate onto Damia, and then Genesis Wave for 15. After the dust clears (I wave into Oracle of Mul Daya and Null Profusion, along with 6 or so lands – it’s a good turn) my board looks like this:
(excuse the poor quality – bad camera phone + bad lighting). Highlights include:
I am now down to 13 life. Remember that 20 mana Axelrod has? He plays a land, and declares “I can draw the game here” – he has Crypt Rats in play and everyone would die. We convince him this is a LAME way to finish the game, so he thinks for a second, and does this instead: Red Sun’s Zenith me for 13 (exactsies! And before I can get a post-Wave turn) and then Crypt Rats for 7, wiping the board and leaving himself and Mayael on 1, and Geth on 3 (ish). Geth recovers faster than the others, and takes down the rest of the table. (Axelrod could have won, if he had activate the Rats for 6 instead, leaving him on 2, but I forget how it would have made a difference. Something about surviving Geth’s Leechridden Swamp and then burning him out, or something…)
MVP: Damia. No question this time, she did her job beautifully. Non-General MVP: I’m gonna give this one to Teferi’s Puzzle Box. More than once I heard “I could have dealt with that with my LAST hand”
LVP: Too many mana dorks. It’s been said before, but I need to replace them with business spells. At least Llanowar Elves, Dreamscape Artist, Elves of Deep Shadow and Birds of Paradise need to go. They just don’t do enough, even in the early game. Dishonourable mention to Living End, which was going to make me sacrifice my Indestructible Damia and return said Mana Dorks to play (of course I just should have not suspended the damn thing in the first place, so that one’s on me)
“You’re playing WHAT?!” Award: To Geth, for getting the beats on with…. SEVERED LEGION. Good work, dude 😀