First things first, if you hadn't heard, I made the 2014 Magic Online Community Cup! Check it out! I'm super excited and I want to thank everyone who nominated me. It means a ton and I can't wait to represent you guys in Seattle in a couple months.
All this week I've been spending time in Providence, Rhode Island with Melissa, Vidianto Wijaya, Joel Larsson, Raphael Levy, Jeremy Dezani, Samuele Estratti, Brad Nelson and several others as they test for next weekend's Pro Tour M15. The experience has been a blast and it's a unique feeling to be surrounded by that many talented magicians, all staying in Melissa's parent's house. By the time you're reading this we'll be making our way to Portland, but this past weekend I ended up playing in Grand Prix Boston/Worcester. The format was Modern and, as Splinter Twin was the list I previously battled with at the PTQ, I felt like I was comfortable enough with the deck to try it again; after all, it's a powerful strategy. I started out 4-0 (just as I did at the PTQ), then 4-1, then 5-1, then 5-2, then, alas, 5-3. And like that, I was dead.
To be fair, I didn't actually test any decks for the event, and I didn't see if there was anything I liked better. I just played the deck I was most comfortable with that had a relatively high power level. Unfortunately the deck does have a few holes that could use filling. Funny thing is that Sam Estratti and Timothee Simonot, two of our teammates, went undefeated on day one. Sam was playing Monoblue Tron and his reasoning for playing the deck? "I know it isn't very good, but I want to play something fun." Ha!
Either way, as you can imagine, we're definitely not showing off Splinter Twin today. I've had a deck saved for a long time in my Modern folder on Magic Online, and today I'd like to give it a spin. Take a look.
Now as usual, I haven't played a game with the deck before the following videos, but at first glance I'm thinking two things. 1) That's a few too many swords. I love swords and I even put one in the sideboard of Splinter Twin this past weekend, but five is a lot. 2) I really want to fit Mystic Snake into the deck. Now I'm not sure if we can or not, but that's probably one of my favorite cards ever. Apparently I just love four mana Counterspells that have additional value, like Cryptic Command.
UG Faeries vs. 4C Aristocrats
UG Faeries vs. Monoblue Tron
UG Faeries vs. 4C Aristocrats, Match 2
UG Faeries vs. UG Infect
That 4C Aristocrats could probably use some tuning - specifically on the mana base - but it was kind of interesting. Falkenrath Aristocrat is quite the card. While I'm not thrilled with a losing record, I still really like the deck. I know I definitely threw at least one game away. I usually take responsibility for this, but this time I have to blame the lagginess I was feeling from the client. It wasn't backbreaking by any means, but timing out on Magic Online is a very real thing and when the client sluggishly responds to your commands, it can make you somewhat subconsciously anxious. At least it does for me anyway. This was causing me to play more quickly and carelessly than I usually would.
I'm not sure I can really pinpoint what we need to work on here, as different things went wrong in different matchups. Some games we didn't draw enough lands. Some games we didn't draw enough faeries. Some games we didn't draw swords.
As I mentioned in the videos, the ideal start is a turn one mana creature into a turn two sword of some sort. It doesn't really matter which one, but obviously some will be better than others in certain situations. We're then able to equip our mana creature with the sword and start attacking as early as turn three. The advantages this provides are huge, and not just because the equipped creature is acquiring protection from two colors.
Outside of that though, my biggest concern is the sheer number of 1/1 creatures in the deck, or even one toughness creatures. Unlike a traditional Faeries deck, we don't have that many ways to increase the amount a Spellstutter Sprite can counter for, so typically in the early game it's simply going to be a 1/1 flier with flash. This was one of the main reasons I felt as though I was losing games: we simply couldn't mount a threatening enough board presence fast enough. Couple this with the fact that the deck doesn't have any genuine removal, and we're actually in somewhat poor shape against any kind of legitimate threat that we're unable to counter. One thing I might suggest is to cut the "faerie" package, and make a few changes. Perhaps add black for Abrupt Decay, take out the Mistbind Clique for Mystic Snake (which is great at holding a sword), or replace the Spellstutter Sprites with the more versatile Snapcaster Mage. I'm not sure if these changes would make much of a difference, but I might have just convinced myself to try them out. I'll let you know how it goes if I do find myself pursuing it. Maybe even the simple addition of a Dismember or two, just to take care of specific problems, might be enough.
Either way, I really liked the idea of the deck, and more specifically, most of the cards it contained. I mean, Scryb Ranger? Venser, Shaper Savant? Welcome back to Time Spiral block!
Well, that's about all I have for you guys this week. Make sure to check back on Thursday as I go over the first Standard deck with M15, and it's looking like it might be Tomoharu Saito's Monoblue Aggro list with Ensoul Artifact and Illusory Angel. Thanks for reading and I'll catch ya then!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV