Monday, May 23, 2016

MTG: Soggy Brains

It was probably inevitable that I'd eventually decide to play some Standard-format Magic: The Gathering. I haven't done so in years, but most of the recent booster drafts and Commander-format games that I've played have been fun, so Standard is the logical next step.
The main reason I haven't played much Standard is that I don't have the cards, and don't want to spend the money required to get them. So when I decided to build a Standard deck, my primary requirement was that it use cards I already had, or could get easily. The deck also had to have some kind of coherent theme, because it's just more fun that way.

From the booster drafts, I already had two Brain in a Jar and two Engulf the Shore. That's a good start toward this budget mono-blue deck. After the last booster draft that I won (or technically, tied for first), I used the store credit reward to buy most of the cards that I didn't have already. I was able to trade for the remaining rares, which included four Part the Waterveil, pretty easily.
So the cost wasn't an issue, and the deck certainly has a theme. There's lots of water, with all the blue spells - particularly Engulf the Shore, which keeps you alive by sending the opponent's creatures back to their hand. You have the Brain in the Jar, which is obviously a soggy brain. It's a pretty key part of the deck, letting you cast spells for free and at instant speed. (Plus, who doesn't like saying "I put a counter on my brain" every turn?) The deck wins by casting Rise from the Tides to create a whole bunch of (waterlogged) zombies. Usually this is followed by Part the Waterveil to take an extra turn, allowing the zombies to proceed to eat your opponent's brain. "Soggy Brains" all around.

My deck list is only slightly different from the one in the link. I use Compelling Deterrence instead of Disperse - same cost, same effect, but cooler zombie theme. Also I have Broken Concentration instead of Void Shatter simply because I had the former available but not the latter. I put a couple of those Broken Concentrations into the main deck instead of two Grip of the Roil, under the assumption that I was likely to need an occasional counterspell more than additional creature delay.
I took the Soggy Brains to Friday Night Magic over in Lowell recently. A fairly small turnout of just seven players, perfect for playing a budget theme deck. My first opponent had a blue/white Spirits deck, which really didn't have much of a chance against all the ways I had to bounce stuff back to his hand. He did get me down to 2 life in the second game, but it wasn't enough. I was able to cast Rise from the Tides for 10+ zombies in each game, followed by Part the Waterveil to take another turn and send them all after his brain.

The second round was much more of a challenge. My opponent was playing black/white, with a good amount of control and life gain. We only played two games due to time constraints, each winning one. In the first game, my deck was moving along, putting counters on a Brain in a Jar, until he got an Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim to get rid of it. I was still able to delay for several more turns, and finally had enough land to cast Rise from the Tides for 11 zombies plus a Part the Waterveil. I had to cast two more Part the Waterveil to do enough damage to overcome all the life he'd gained, plus the Archangel Avacyn he was using to block one zombie on each attack. The second game went his way after he drew a bunch of early hand destruction, causing me to discard a bunch of useful cards. Never was able to get going after that.
My third opponent was another black/white deck, but this one had much more control. Lots of hand and creature destruction, with planeswalkers and various useful creatures to do damage. He won the first game, with the big blow being an early Ob Nixilis Reignited that I wasn't able to answer. Hard to play a blue deck when you're losing life for every card draw! I won the second, in large part due to my sideboarding in a whole lot of counterspells. I never drew a Brain in a Jar, but with all the counters I was able to stall until I had enough mana to cast both Rise from the Tides and Part the Waterveil on the same turn. Mage-Ring Network helped a lot with that as well. The third game I won almost by default when he kept a two-land opening hand, and didn't draw a third land for several turns. That gave me an insurmountable lead in mana production that led to a whole lot of zombies a few turns later.

So all told, I played a total of seven games, winning five. I don't expect Soggy Brains will be giving any Pro Tour players nightmares, but it sure was fun to play in a casual Friday Night Magic setting.

No comments:

Post a Comment