I went to another local City Champs tournament this week. Once again, the draw for me is a Constructed tournament with a range of players, rather than a drive to make it to City Champs to earn an invite to Nationals 2008 (rather a far way off at this point, with Worlds 2007 coming up in a week or so). Last time, I ran W/B Villainess control and found that it tended to lose to tempo-based builds and couldn’t kill a Village or Conclave to save its life. This time around, I tried a U/B Villainess build, almost as described here. I realized, after posting that list, that rather than going with Ancestral Vision, I wanted to use the much more synergistic Mulldrifter, as it can be brought back as needed with Beacon of Unrest. And hey, more ways to actually win.
I went 2-2. Fullish report in the extended.
Round 1: B/G Elves
Game one saw me getting off to a slow start and just basically being run over by elves. Game two was rather similar, despite the fact that I’d boarded in four Phyrexian Ironfoot and some additional removal. At the end of the day, the deck was able to kick out more threats than I could readily handle — and I misplayed an early Beacon of Unrest, resurrecting one of his Thornweild Archers only to have it Shriekmawed away by a Shriekmaw I’d seen with an early Thoughtseize. Ugh, and all that. No game wins, one match gone.
Round 2: U/G Faeries
In game one, he hit me for some early plinks with a lone Scryb Ranger…but then I launched out a Tombstalker. It ate the ranger, and then beat him up for a bit. I followed with a Profane Command to bring him within kill range, and then finished the game with a final Stalker hit. Going into game two, I sided out my Take Possessions and the Thoughtseizes, opting for Ironfoot and various removal. It was an unwelcome surprise, then, when he played Garruk. Shucks. I soldiered on, but was constantly on my heels trying to deal with more and more creatures. Interestingly, he sided in Eyes of the Wisent against me, figuring any U/B deck for having counterspells or other “on your turn” Instants, of which I only had one across all 75 cards. For game three, I sided all four Take Possessions in — and that worked out well, as I killed several of his critters with removal, played out a Liliana and started carving away at his hand, then Take Possession to steal Garruk. With Liliana at eight counters and Garruk on my side, he conceded a turn before the villainess did her big trick and brought back a giant army of previously dead critters on my side.
Round 3: R/G Big Mana
This build was a pretty normal Big Mana build, with Cloudthreshers, Hellkites, burn, and acceleration. In game one, I Thoughtseized twice, pulling out a small threat and then a big threat (the latter being Hostility). I played out Liliana and started pulling apart his hand, at which point he conceded (while still on 20 life, actually). In game two, he rolled out the damage and I couldn’t really keep up, a pattern that was sadly repeated in game three.
Round 4: U/B/G Haakon/Goyf/Dryad
This was a reasonably fast build with Haakon, Nameless Inversion, Tarmogoyf, and Quirion Dryad. In game one, an initial Thoughtseize usefully took out a Looter il-Kor, but after that I was able to do little other than watch the Haakon engine get set up, and get run over by Haakon and ever-growing Dryad. I killed Haakon off — twice. It didn’t help. The second game saw some initial harm come my way, largely from Shadowmage Infiltrator, before I dropped Phyrexian Ironfoot and Tombstalker, and then started swinging back the other way with the Stalker — eventually for the win. Game three was more protracted, seeing some initial Infiltrator beats coming my way, backed by Oona’s Prowler. Liliana came down and tutored up a Tendrils (before being offed by Prowler). The Tendrils knocked off Prowler and undid several turns of harm, putting me in a nice position for the rest of the game. Eventually, I played out a Tombstalker and Extirpated Nameless Inversion away, turning off the Haakon engine. With Tombstalker and an Ironfoot out, he wasn’t able to race, and I crashed in a few times before finishing things with Stalker and Profane Command.
Overall, I enjoyed the day. My current Villainess build is too slow, and I think suffers from being a middle-of-the-road attempt at both disruption and board control — it might do better to just concentrate on one aspect (likely board control) and side heavily into the other.
The title of this post refers to my experiment this time around with Take Possession. I did as I’d hoped, taking control of Garruk repeatedly.
The final Take Possession tally:
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Quirion Dryad
1 Oona’s Prowler
2 Haakon, Stromgald Scourge