Naya Kill Team at the ChannelFireball Spring Series 5K

AjaniVengeant.jpegKnightoftheReliquary.jpegCunningSparkmage.jpeg
Congratulations to Phil Yam for winning the CFB Spring Series 5K this weekend. You can read the full coverage by clicking here – it includes a good deck tech by Phil about the Mythic build he piloted to victory.
I clocked in at 3-2 on the day before dropping, but since I won’t be talking about my tournament experience in this week’s In Development, I’m including a tournament report and deck list here.
Click through to the extended entry for both.


Naya Kill Team

21 Creatures:
Noble Hierarch
Stoneforge Mystic
Nest Invader
Cunning Sparkmage
Knight of the Reliquary
Bloodbraid Elf
14 Spells:
Path to Exile
Basilisk Collar
Oblivion Ring
Behemoth Sledge
Naya Charm
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Ajani Vengeant
25 Land:
Arid Mesa
Forest
Jungle Shrine
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Plains
Raging Ravine
Sejiri Steppe
Stirring Wildwood
Sunpetal Grove
15 Sideboard:
Relic of Progenitus
Kor Firewalker
Luminarch Ascension
Mage Slayer
Naya Charm
Day of Judgment
Emeria Angel

So, some notes on the list, before we discuss the rounds.
First, you may notice how misleading it can be to call this “Naya,” in that it doesn’t look like the current default Naya list. I like Flores’ name for that list, “Dumptruck Naya,” since it’s basically a pile of good creatures and some Sparkmages. I noticed that Tom Ross has a good discussion about card choices in Naya decks, including why he didn’t go for Vengevines. My reasoning is similar, although my final card choices differed.
Basically, the four-mana spot is clogged, and Vengevine didn’t make the cut.
Here’s a quick rundown on some of my quirkier choices:
Nest Invader – I had Birds of Paradise in there, but got sick of drawing them off the top, and their general ineffectiveness. Invader does what I really want (gets me to four mana) and gives me a bear that can wield some equipment and go to town. Also, it trades with opposing Bloodbraids.
Ajani Vengeant – I skewed the deck to be good against Jund, and Ajani is a lovely threat against Jund. That said, I think I overskewed. More below.
Now, about that sideboard. I tried something that I don’t typically do this time around and showed up at the event with various sideboard options, tried to survey the room, and then decide on the final configuration. I saw lots of Jund, a fair amount of RDW, Next-Level Bant, and various takes on U/W control, so that set most of the cards (the Firewalkers, Ascension, Days, and Angels). The Mage Slayer was something I wanted to try out as a way to (1) kill people faster and (2) kill them while also killing their planeswalkers. The final choice was between having a real sideboard for Turboland or for Unearth Vengevine, and I chose to board against the latter, as I didn’t see a ton of either around, but though I had more of a naked chance against Turboland.
Turns out this was not the right choice.
With that in mind, on to the rounds.
Round 1 versus Luis, playing Turboland
So what’s worse than playing against the matchup you’re hoping to dodge?
Right. Playing against LSV running that deck. Oof.
In game one I kept a hand that was probably too slow anyway, but the game became completely noninteractive once he stuck Jace and an Oracle of Mul-Daya, after which my notes simply say this:
Time Warp
Time Warp
Going into game two, I sideboarded like so:
+1 Naya Charm
+1 Mage Slayer
+2 Day of Judgment
+2 Emeria Angel
-3 Path to Exile
-1 Basilisk Collar
-1 Behemoth Sledge
-1 Ajani Vengeant
In game two, an early Sparkmage kept a Lotus Cobra off the board. I added a Knight and an Emeria Angel only to see a surprise All is Dust wipe everything away. Luis then built up a board of Lotus Cobra and Avenger of Zendikar (plus plants) but couldn’t Time Warp into another turn, which gave me the opportunity to Day everything away.
Luis – “We’re both running wraths our opponent didn’t expect.”
Unfortunately, Luis was able to Mind Spring for a billion (that is, seven) cards and had a backup Avenger and I didn’t hit my second Day or an Angel with some fetches in time to pull it out.
0-1
Round 2 versus Jordan, playing Turboland
You can see how my metagame guess didn’t hit the mark now.
In game one, I was on the play, so when Jordan cast a turn two Lotus Cobra, my turn three Sparkmage quickly did it in. As it happened, Jordan had kept a relatively non-explosive hand, so he didn’t actually have a third land to drop anyway, and I was able to cast Knight and then Elspeth, drawing the concession.
At this point, I’d seen two lands and a Lotus Cobra, so I did the coin flip in my head and put Jordan on Mythic, leading me to sideboard completely incorrectly:
+1 Naya Charm
-1 Behemoth Sledge
Note that I don’t bring in the Days against Mythic, as it’s typically more profitable for me to keep my dudes on the board to allow continuing Sparkmage fire-team support.
Game two saw Jordan’s deck play out more as advertised, and I eventually lost to being overwhelmed by plant tokens on the back of a Time-Warp-enabled double attack, despite having a Collared Knigth on defense.
Now that I knew the score, I re-sideboarded for the matchup I was actually playing in, and we moved to game three. Game three saw some me hit Hierarch into Bloodbraid for some early aggression. I was able to really shove Jordan’s life total down into the ground, such that he was at 4 life when he finally clogged the ground with an Avenger for a bunch of plants. However, he had not been able to keep a Cobra or Oracle around (I killed a Cobra and O-Ringed an Oracle) to allow explosive turns, so he couldn’t follow up with a Time Warp to force me into an assault-dampening chump block or three.
However, I’d been sandbagging an Elspeth (two, actually) for just this situation, so I simply dropped Elspeth on my turn and Jordan scooped up his cards.
1-1
Round 3 versus Jeff Huang, playing RDW splashing black for removal
Jeff knew what I was playing, since he’d chatted with Luis earlier (not that I think this scouting was really a key to him winning this one).
In game one, I took some early Goblin Guide hits before Ajani came down and Helixed the Guide away. Jeff then followed up with Hell’s Thunder, Bolt, Searing Blaze, and some other violence to put me out of the game.
Sideboarding:
+3 Kor Firewalker
+1 Naya Charm
-2 Oblivion Ring
-2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
I was hopeful when I got an opening hand featuring Firewalker and even drew a second one, but Jeff had the Doom Blades to de-Firewalker me, as well as triple Searing Blaze to burn out my other potential blockers and dock half my life. From there, it was just more Hell’s Thunder and friends to put me out of the running.
1-2
At this point, I was definitely out of contention, but decided to stay in to get a feel for my deck, see if I’d made the wrong choices generally, and to, above all, have fun.
Round 4 versus David, playing Jund
Hey, Jund! I was expecting a lot of Jund.
In game one, I was on the play and my deck progressed correctly, giving me Nest Invader into Ajani Vengeant. Ajani kept David sufficiently off-tempo to let me keep smacking through with that Invader and a follow-up Bloodbraid Elf, giving me the win.
Sideboarding:
None. Neat.
Game two went Blightning, Bloodbraid, Bloodbraid, done.
In game three I hit an early Collar and starting marching my life total upward while David attempted to kill all my guys out from under it. I got to use Naya Charm to bring back a just-Pulsed Elspeth, which was nice, and forced David to burn more resources trying to get her off the board so I wouldn’t just fly Collared dudes to victory. Once a Sparkmage hit, David was in a terrible position, and was not able to recover in time.
2-2
Round 5 versus Kevin, playing Jund
Kevin’s first play was a Thrinax, which I O-Ringed out of the way. I then followed up with a Stoneforge Mystic and then Elspeth and Ajani. The combined threat load was too much for Kevin to solve, and that was that in short order.
Again, no sideboarding.
Game two saw a Bloodbraid and one of those spectacular, if not unexpected, Bit Blast into Bloodbraid into something else plays, which meant that Kevin was able to overwhelm me pretty quickly.
In the final game, an early Sparkmage dinged Kevin for a while until I hit a Behemoth Sledge on a Nest Invader and starting really coming in. David finally hit a Bloodbraid and a Broodmate, potentially stalling the board, although probably losing to attrition and lifegain via the Sledge in the next two or three turns. However, he lost a little sooner as he miscalculated the damage I could do on crackback and went all-in, swinging with Broodmate plus mate and the Bloodbraid. That exchange went sort of like this:
Me (surveying board) – You’re all tapped out?
Kevin – Yes.
Me (doing another quick count, checking my life total, surveying the board again) – No cards in hand?
Kevin – Doh!
His attack took me to 1 life, and my crackback with a Sledge-equipped Stirring Wildwood did the requisite 6 damage to kill him, thanks to the Noble Hierarch he’d missed when he decided to rush me.
3-2
As I was out of the running and had other things I could do on the day (read: errands), I dropped at this point. It was nice to know my deck worked reasonably as advertised against Jund. I would have enjoyed hitting some UW or NLB pairings, and in retrospect, I think I should have just gone with sideboarding against Turboland rather than Unearth.
It was a fun event, even with the A/C not working on a hot day. I’m happy with the deck overall, but think that if I’m going to play things like this, they need some modifications that I’ll be addressing in this week’s In Development.