Sunday 15 May 2016

The Rotisserie II

Based on the success of the first online rotisserie we did another shortly following. The rules were similar but we introduced a minimal five card sideboard. To give sufficient picks for this we upped that from 45 to 50. With sideboards the Wishes become balanced and so we unbanned them although in hindsight with only five card sideboards the Wishes were picked a little too highly. For 10 card boards the Wishes are nutty good in the right deck but as it was it made things more awkward than intended. The only other difference to the format was the addition of Shadows Over Innistrad, a fact that I perhaps took too much advantage of!

It was the same seven people as last time with the addition of Captain Chicken - an experienced magic veteran. He is one of the best players in the group but has two jobs, a kid and general real life things that the rest of us have fairly wisely avoided! As such his picks are a little less refined than some of the other players but I still expect him to come top half of the tables at least. In terms of success to time invested ratio I think I can already safely call Captain Chicken the winner of this one!

As an example of a rotisserie this is far less useful than the first one we did despite being the proper 8 a draft is best with. The inexperience (and stubbornness!) of one of the group lead to some things going down that shouldn't. Draft (non-team, non-head up draft to be clearer) is a very cooperative event in most capacities. You do not have the power to affect many other people on the table and as such you are almost always better off picking good things for you in your own little niche than you are taking away good things from other people or competing with them in their niche. In booster draft this mostly comes down to colours, you signal what colours you are not to the person on your left and they go something else so that you both do better. You and one other person out of 8 having great decks is far better for you than you and one other person having below average decks.

Cube rotisserie is a little different. You can easily have five people in the same colours and sharing them is no issue. It is also a little less relevant who is next to you. What is relevant is archetypal overlap and dual land overlap. You do not really want to be in the same colour and broad archetype as someone else. Blue can support two control or combo, green can support two ramp and red can support two aggro lists but otherwise you pretty much want to be on your own. You always want to be on your own with a main colour pairing too but sharing a splash with someone is acceptable.

With Recurring Nightmare and Birds of Paradise (not unreasonably) going before I got a look in on them I figured I needed to lock in blue so as to have good options on where to go with my first pick Demonic Tutor. When picking the Tutor I had envisioned going one of three directions, a Dimir mill deck, a mono black Necro deck or a Sultai Aluren deck. I wasn't happy about going mono black with another player taking away the juicy black stuff so soon. Aluren was still an option without the Birds but three colour decks with multiple key cards are very hard to pull off in this format. Either way, I decided to play it super safe and claim Dimir for myself by picking all the best dual lands for it.

With quite a lot of top rate cards I could run in the mill deck still on offer and it being safer I decided to go down that route, dirty though it may be. To my horror Copperline George took a 7th pick Glimpse the Unthinkable. This hurt my mill plan but far worse it made being straight Dimir untenable. Like a good player I changed course abandoning the mill route (I still took Ashiok but it is a great stand alone card and I was considering a Replenish list as an alternate direction and the exile aspect of Ashiok is very hard to beat for such decks so I was either going to play it myself or couldn't beat it, either way it was some revenge as well!) and seeking refuge in a third colour so as to distinguish me from the other Dimir player.

White was the obvious direction for me to expand to. This hurt Swanker a little and Sideshow Cob a little too but as they wound up both splashing their WB and UB respectively we all came off fine for mana bases. Copperline George is the player who has the weak mana base but this is to be expected when you jump in on someone else's colours and start a fight for things from behind.

Despite being good and going white I still made a fairly critical mistake. I was trying to stay open and was quite content picking up lands and very high powered cards that were still floating about. I was becoming reluctant to go Replenish because there were so many other graveyard based decks the sideboard hate would become unbeatable. I was also reluctant to go Esper control and this was my big mistake. My reasoning was that having none of Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, Force of Will or Cryptic Command would mean I would just get overwhelmed and overpowered too easily. I was scared of having to fight Sideshow Cob for control cards and lands which was unwarranted as he was clearing diverging from control and going some form of cheaty fat things deck. I felt like the format was too diverse, powerful and quick for a control deck to have a good shot at controlling it all.

All this conjecture might have been accurate however it was making a mountain out of a molehill. Esper control is a strong and known archetype, it has lots of options and is incredibly deep. I could have molded it to cope very well with the field and had acceptable matchups. Instead I made something that just isn't an archetype at all. It is a pile of very powerful cards that have quite a lot of counter-synergy with each other. I will post my decklist soon enough when I have finished wresting it into something that looks least awful. Suffice it to say it is some sort of tempo control deck packing a lovely package of Wraths, weenies, countermagic and equipment... On paper I have one of the worst decks, quite an impressive feat given I have a stupidly powerful pool of cards! It is at least highly interactive and full of options so I may get the chance to outplay people and offset some of my weak matchup percentages!

Here is what we all took:

The PhyrexianMeOld Fava BeensCopperline GeorgeCaptian ChickenSideshow CobDaction DanSwanker
1Lightning BoltDemonic TutorMana VaultJace, Vryn's ProdigyRecurring NightmareForce of WillBirds of ParadiseSwords to Plowshares
2WastelandUnderground SeaGrim MonolithDig Through TimeVampiric TutorCryptic CommandRofellos, Llanowar EmissaryStoneforge Mystic
3Umezawa's JitteWatery GraveTinkerSnapcaster MageGrisselbrandPath to ExileKitchen FinksSwiftspear
4Burning WishArcane DenialYawgmoths WillShelldock IsleCraterhoof BehemothCunning WishWooded FoothillsYoung Pyromancer
5BadlandsBrainstormWurmcoil EngineRemandEntombJace the Mind SculptorNoble HierarchArid Mesa
6Goblin GuideCounterspellUpheavalPreordainReanimateTundraNykthos, Shrine to NyxPlateau
7SkullclampDamnationVolcanic IslandGlimpse the UnthinkableLlanowar ElfShow and TellTaigaMarsh Flats
8Chrome MoxBaleful StrixThopter FoundryArchive TrapWall of RootsEmrakul, the Aeons TornElvish MysticSacred Foundry
9Wheel of FortuneAshiok Nightmare WeaverSword of the MeekDrowned CatacombsElves of Deep ShadowMisty RainforestDragonlord AtarkaMonastery Mentor
10Urborg, Tomb of YawgmothHallowed FountainKrark-Clan IronworksPolluted DeltaSylvan CaryatidFlooded StrandNatural OrderLingering Souls
11MutavaultScrublandTime SieveThoughtsiezeThragtuskTropical IslandCourser of KruphixGodless Shrine
12Bloodstained MireVerdant CatacombsTalisman of DominanceOverburdenGarruk, Primal HunterPonderPrimeval TitanWindswept Heath
13Blood CryptScalding TarnGoblin WelderVapor SnagGarruk WildspeakerSavannahWoodfall PrimusKytheon
14Purphoros, God of the ForgeMox DiamondMyr RetrieverSensei's Divining TopSheoldred, Whispering OneBreeding PoolFyndhorn ElvesWindbrisk Heights
15Goblin SharpshooterElixir of ImmortalityMox OpalSunken HollowAnimate DeadScroll RackArbor ElfHangarback Walker
16Living DeathBalanceChromatic StarCreeping Tar PitExhumeGlacial FortressNissa, Voice of ZendikarIntangible Virtue
17Patriarch's BiddingTreasure CruiseChromatic SphereDarkslick ShoresSurvival of the FittestFrantic SearchStomping GroundSignal Pest
18Goblin WarchiefUnderground RiverTezzeret the SeekerVisions of BeyondBone ShredderOath of DruidsScavenging OozeGoblin Bushwhacker
19Goblin ChieftainInquisition of KozilekDaretti, Scrap SavantMemory LapseShriekmawMuddle the MixtureKird ApeRaise the Alarm
20DuressThing in the IceSeat of the SynodToxic DelugeBayouWrath of GodOath of NissaReckless Bushwhacker
21Goblin KingSunken RuinsVault of WhispersThought ScourGaea's CradleCyclonic RiftBow of NyleaGoblin Rabblemaster
22Graven CairnsMind TwistGreat FurnaceFact or FictionOvergrown TombEnlightened TutorEternal WitnessSpectral Procession
23Goblin PiledriverDeathrite ShamanAncient DenJace, Memory AdeptLlanowar WastesLat-Nams LegacySylvan LibraryGather the Townsfolk
24Skirk ProspectorTrue Name NemesisDarksteel CitadelScrivenerTwighlight MireMystic GateXenagos, God of RevelsGoblin Bombardment
25Goblin LackeyCelestial ColonnadeTree of TalesBreaking/EnteringWoodland CemetaryIona, Shield of EmeriaLiving WishGideon, Ally of Zendikar
26Mogg War MarshalSeachrome CoastGrindstoneKeening StoneTemple of MaladyForbidden OrchardGreen Sun's ZenithDragon Fodder
27Siege-Gang CommanderChoked EstuaryPainter's ServantMesmeric OrbLiliana of the VeilUlamog, the Infinite GyreJoraga Tree SpeakerKrenko's Command
28StingscourgerPowder KegCity of TraitorsCurse of the Bloody TomeDeranged HermitCareful StudyLotus CobraPrecinct Captain
29MeltdownDelver of SecretsAncient TombGitaxian ProbeOvergrown BattlementOptKessig Wolf RunSpear of Heliod
30Sulfurous SpringsSpell PierceDisenchantRelic of ProgenitusBraids, Cabal MinionDeep AnalysisFreyalise, Llanowar's FurySecure the Wastes
31Krenko, Mob BossVindicateGlimmervoidHedron CrabObstinate BalothHurkyl's RecallCinder GladeRugged Prairie
32Goblin SledderFire / IceTalisman of IndulgenceInduce ParanoiaTerastodonDay of JudgementAcidic SlimeClifftop Retreat
33Mogg RaiderDeclaration in StoneTrinket MageMind FuneralBuried AliveHibernation Xenagos, the RevelerMidnight Haunting
34Warren InstigatorLooter il-KorFaithless LootingSphinx's TutelageGrave TitanMoments PeaceOracle of Mul DayaEidolon of Countless Battles
35SparksmithGilded DrakeSpellskiteTwincastAvenger of ZendikarWing ShardsDen ProtectorNull Rod
36Goblin RecruiterShambling VentTanglewireRavenous TrapPernicious DeedMemory's JourneyWorldspine WurmArc Trail
37Magus of the MoonAnguished UmakingTime SpiralHymn to TourachStormtide LeviathanTangleLifeforceContainment Priest
38Goblin MatronLeyline of SanctityAbeyanceTraumatizeExploreAdarkar WastesPyroblastWestvale Abbey
39Blackcleave CliffsSword of Fire and IceVoltaic KeyJace's PhantasmBirthing PodYayimaya CoastHarmoniszeJotun Grunt
40Mogg FanaticSinkholeMana ConfluenceTainted IslePhyrexian MetamorphHinterland HarbourYavimaya ElderAssemble the Legion
41Foreboding RuinsCabal TherapyCity of BrassDimir CutpurseAwakening ZonePulse of the FieldsVexing ShusherRites of Initiation
42Goblin RingleaderLiliana, Heretical HealerAcademy RuinsShred MemoryOphiomancerBant CharmGutteral ResponseDoomed Traveler
43Auntie's HovelTemple of DeceitTerrarionDevastation TideReclaimation SageAzorius CharmHornet QueenNomad Outpost
44Red Elemental BlastAsylum VisitorPact of NegationDrown in SorrowChokeLumbering FallsDevil's PlayBoros Charm
45Rakdos CharmChillThirst for KnowledgeChromatic LanternMaelstrom PulseStony SilenceCreeper HulkNeedle Spires
46WarmthEngineered PlagueLotus PetalCranial ExtractionDoombladeFlooded GroveRootbound CragElspeth. Knight Errant
47BoilHeir of FalkenrathEngineered ExplosivesDimir KeyruneUltimate PriceDetention SphereAvoid FateMentor of the Meek
48Goblin ArsonistReflector MageNegateConsuming AberrationTerrorTemple GardenKozilek, Butcher of TruthRevoke Existence
49Fiery ConfluenceVivid CreekEnsnaring BridgeDimir SignetUlamog, the Ceaseless HungerStirring WildwoodNissa, Vastwood SeerIsolated Chapel
50Kolghan's CommandSupreme VerdictThoughtcastMassacrePack RatElesh Norn, Grand CenobiteDryad ArborVirulent

Swanker and The Phyrexian swapped placed but kept on hogging those wheel spots. Lighting Bolt was again the first pick and again I cannot argue with it, seems pretty darn good! I predict that one of them will take down the event but not because they got the wheel. I rate their chances as they have proactive consistent decks and are experienced players. On paper Old Fava Beens has the best deck by a country mile but it is hard to build and stupidly hard to play. While doing some practice runs with it and the pilot we found his upkeep steps to generally be more complicated than my turns. He was making more mistakes than he was performing actions! If Finkle were to be the pilot then I would predict that to be the winning list but as it stands I am happy with calling it for the red mages. 

The pick of the draft goes to Rites of Initiation which will make its cube debut in this event. For a card that I haven't ever used it is stupidly powerful and dangerous. It lets Swanker pull off turn three kills! It may be on the niche side but it is the perfect fit for his deck being one of the most powerful cards in it acting like Overrun or Craterhoof Behemoth. You have to respect that he could have it because it is game over if he does and if you do respect it you end up making the most awful plays, using removal spells on tokens, trading them for your actual good cards etc. Overburden was also an excellent pick and was winning the competition up to that point. 

It might be a long time till I have the results for this as it is hard to find a time 8 people are all free together but I will have decklists in the not too distant future. For now here is what I should have roughly drafted and built instead of what I did:

22 Spells

Inquisition of Kozilek
Spell Pierce
Thraben Inspector

Elixir of Immortality

Baleful Strix
Thing in the Ice
Demonic Tutor

Arcane Denial 
Declaration in Stone

Anguished Unmaking
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Supreme Verdict
Jace, Architect of Thought

Mystic Confluence

Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Merciless Eviction

Sphinx's Revelation

18 Lands

Mostly what I had but including a Temple of the False God and a bit more white mana.  

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