Back to Wonderland

Hello Everyone! This weekend was ARG states and I had been searching for a powerful and fun deck to play at the event.  For the past month now, my team has been working to develop a powerful Vlad list but unfortunately it has some issues that have not yet been worked out.  I decided to play something different at states and began looking for deck ideas.  The Friday night before the event, I finally had a revelation about what I wanted to play and began brewing up a list.  I spent the next day texting my teammates and tweaked the main and sideboard a bit until I was satisfied on the final list.

On Sunday, I was anxious and excited to play and to get a decent idea of some solid contending decks that would be in the new meta.  This time around, the Pennsylvania tournament was on the west end of the state, so my team decided to attend the New Jersey tournament as it was a 40 minute drive instead of 4 hour drive.   The turnout was pretty solid having a final count of 29 people registering for the event.  It was a decent size event and gave me 5 rounds to try my deck out and see how it played.  Here is the list I registered for the event:

Alice 01

Ruler: Alice in Wonderland/Alice, the Drifter in the World

4 Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail
4 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
3 Guinevere, the Jealous Queen
4 Rukh Egg
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon
3 Hera, Goddess of Jealousy
1 Little Dread, the Fake Red Moon
1 Arthur Pendragon, King of the Round Table
1 Blazer, the Eater of Dimensions
1 Sussanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
2 Excalibur, the God’s Sword
2 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper
1 Horn of Sacred Beasts
2 Rapid Groth
2 Ame-no-Habakiri
1 Flames of Outer World
4 Ruler’s Memoria
4 Magic Stone of Heat Ray
1 Magic Stone of Hearth’s Core
1 Little Red, the Pure Stone
Sideboard

1 Sylvia Gill Palarilias
1 Melgis, the Flame King
2 Dream of Juliet
1 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
1 Flame of Outer World
3 Robe of Fire Rat
2 Realm of the Pure Spirits
3 Barrier of Shadows
1 Deathscthe, the Life Reaper

 

The Deck

Alice in Wonderland

After seeing the list, I know what you are thinking, I am crazy for playing the original Alice and yes I am a little bit.  I have always liked her as she does so much when she flips and provides an amazing amount of utility.  With Ruler’s Memoria being a fairly easy stone to build around, it was not difficult to play many of the best cards in the game in one deck and be able to Judgement Alice for any color I wanted.

 

Perceval

To run ruler’s Memoria and ensure a consistent untap on turn one, the deck needs to run 8-10 regalia.  I chose to run 9 and I think this was a good number for the deck.  Percival makes finding more regalia easily and also works very well with Lancelot which is one of the best resonators in the game.

Rukh Egg

Another one of the most powerful resonators in the game.  This card allows you to tutor for any red resonators in your deck.  This finds Lancelot easily and I also included a small package of other utility resonators I played that could be searched up if needed.

Cheshire Cat

I took 4 of the best 1 drops in the game and put them all in the same deck.  Cheshire helps improve consistency of the deck and chump blocks almost everything in the format.

Guinevere

She provides more draw power for the deck and works very well with Rukh egg and Cheshire Cat.

Lancelot

He’s one of the best resonators in the game.  Left unchecked, he can very easily win the game and provides a very fast clock any point in the game.  His ability to pump himself and kill opponent’s resonators makes him even more of a threat and powerhouse.

Hera

I anticipated a lot of Reflect/Refrain and Change the Worlds so I felt this card was very good and slowing down those decks and giving us more draw power.  It also destroys Deathscythe which was very helpful as it was brought in against us several times.

Little Dread

I always liked little dread a felt she provides some useful utility.  I tried her as a one of and was sadly underwhelmed with how she performed.   She costs too much and she does not impact the board enough to truly be worth a slot in the deck.

Arthur Pendragon

This card was in theory a blowout against aggro.  Especially with Perceval, you can use this card to wipe your opponent’s field and then swing back with the giant resonator.  I only got to play the card once but I won the game when I did.

Blazer

This was a 1 of against control.  It gives you a large threat that continuously returns and drains your opponent of their removal spells.  The card was nice but I feel was a bit expensive to be played in the deck.

Susanowo

This card punished Gwiber very hard.  It is a large powerful beater that can put a great deal of pressure on the opponent.  With so many people playing Gwiber this card was very helpful.

The Regalia

To run Ruler’s Memoria and ensure I had a regalia turn 1 I felt 9 was a good number to play.  Laevateinn gave Alice swiftness which was very useful on allowing her to be aggressive when she flips.  It also provides a way to banish our Rukh Eggs and Cheshire Cats for value. Excalibur was another source of Imperishable and gave Alice another pump when necessary.  The target attack was also very useful in enabling Alice to kill several resonators.  Deathscythe slowed aggressive rulers, like Bahamut, down and also provided another pump for Alice.  Horn gave the deck a way to go into the long game without decking and also provided a pump for Alice.

Rapid Growth

This card combos very well with Lancelot and gives the deck another way to make the resonators larger.  It also provides a card to discard to Guinevere that still provides value

Ame

This card with Lancelot is an incredibly fast clock and can be very difficult for an opponent to recover from in left unchecked for a few turns.  It also can turn any of our other resonators into larger more powerful threats.  It also makes chump blocking very unfavorable which helps get more damage through.

Flames

This was somewhat a filler random card that ended up being very useful.  I killed annoying blockers like Adambrali and caught the opponent off-guard.  I’m not sure if it’s worth playing moving forward but it was useful in several games.

The Magic Stones

Ruler’s Memoria allows the deck to flip Alice for any color as well as play card in any color without stumbling with the mana base.  Little Red provides another way to pump Lancelot or any other resonator of the chosen color.  Heat Ray and Hearth’s Core gave the deck access to the colors it wanted early without dealing damage to ourselves.

The Sideboard

Sylvia

This was for against Alice World.  I provided a large aggressive ruler that could apply a decent clock and was able to dodge the chump blockers on the ground.  I found her to be too slow honestly and I liked just keeping Alice in to destroy any Robes that I saw.

Melgis

A similar idea to Sylvia as a more aggressive ruler. I never sided onto him and will most likely cut him moving forward

Dream of Juliet

This card was extremely useful and I sided it in most matchups.  I was able to destroy any problematic addiction like Barrier of Shadows or Robe of Fire Rat.  It also protected my Resonators from removal and at worst it was able to filter for another card.

Susan

This was for any deck that played Gwiber.  Having multiple chance to punish Gwiber players is very good and I sided him in most matches

Flames

Another piece of removal for annoying blockers like Adambrali that are difficult for our resonators to get passed.

Robe

For other aggressive decks.  I did not play against any other red aggressive decks but this card was played against me and was very good.  It is just as good against any other aggressive deck.

Realm

Helps protect against slower removal like Hastur or Susanowo.  It also protects resonators that aren’t attacking from removal spells.

Barrier

Mainly for the Val 2.0 matchup to slow them down significantly.  Could also be very good against Reflect as a way to slow down orbs and its Judgement.
Deathscythe

I ran a 3rd side for aggressive ruler matchups like Val 2.0  it slows them down and keep them from gaining imperishable which is useful

 

Tournament Report:

Game 1: Sylvia Control Win 2-0

The deck was very cool and was playing Green Black Red (I’m going to call this color combination Jund moving forward).  The deck has a good amount of removal but, my deck was too fast for it and beat it game 1.  Game 2 I resolved an early Realm of Pure Spirits and opponent had a difficult time slowing me down.  The game ended with me playing Arthur Pendragon and on my opponent’s recover phase tapping Arthur and sacrificing a Perceval to it to prevent all damage to it.  It wiped his field and I was able to swing in for the win on my turn.

Game 2: Jund Vlad Win 2-0

I was happy to see a Vlad player.  She is one of my favorite rulers and was excited to see his list.  Game 1 my opening hand was Laevateinn, 3 Lancelots, and a Cheshire cat.  My opponent was able to discard 2 of the Lancelot but I drew a Rukh Egg turn 3 and there were too many Lancelots for him to stop. Game 2 he resolved an early Robe of Fire Rat which slowed me down.   I was able to play 2 Heras and was able to apply pressure with them.  I Judgemented Alice shortly after that for green and destroyed the Robe and was able to overrun him afterward.

Game 3: Reflect Pumpkin Witch Combo Loss 1-2

I honestly was not expecting pumpkin witch at all.  The deck played just like Alice world so I expected that but what very surprised when he played pumpkin which and the chained Adambrali until I died.  Game 2 I sided into Sylvia and after a tense game with lots of hate from his side I was able to swing for 30 and kill him in one shot.  Game 3 he had 2 Robes of Fire Rat by turn 3 and there wasn’t much I could do before he combed out and killed me.

Game 4: Reflect Pumpkin Witch Combo Loss 1-2

Game 1 I didn’t not mulligan enough and flipped a Ruler’s Memoria turn 1 with no regalia and he played 3 Change the Worlds and then Law of Silenced me 2 turns in a row.  He then proceeded to combo off and kill me with pumpkin witch. Game 2 I had an aggressive start with Lancelot and, when he played a robe of Fire Rat, I Judgemented Alice and destroyed it.  Game 3 I did not get a Ruler’s Memoria until turn 4 and a Robe of Fire Rat kept my lance in check until he could combo off.

Game 5 Reflect World Loss 1-2

At this point, both of my other teammates that came to the event were 2-2.  I was unfortunately was paired against one of them this round and I knew one of us was not going to have a chance to top 8.  Game 1 he combed out quickly after turn 2 playing a Gwiber.  Game 2 I rushed with Lancelot and overran him before he could go off.  Game 3 was very tense and I had lethal on board.  He top decked an Alice World and won.

I place 16th out of 29 people which I was ecstatic about, especially with the deck I was playing.  I was genuinely surprised to see pumpkin witch and did not expect to see that at the event.  I was honestly floored with how useful Alice was all day.  With Laevateinn, she could kill Gwibers for 1 mana, she was able to remove any problematic addition on the field and can gain life to help race an opponent.  I did not expect her to perform as well as she did and was very happy that she did perform well.

Moving forward I do have some flaws with the deck.  Cthugha was a card I was hesitant to play but after playing the deck, I really want to play this card.  It provides an explosive aggressive start especially with Rukh Egg.  I originally wanted to fit Adambrali onto the deck but had trouble finding a place and was concerned he did not have swiftness.  After seeing pumpkin witch I think I can shift the deck around to fit him in the deck as well.  Rapid Growth did not do much and I found myself siding it out most games as well as Little Dread and Blazer.  These cards did not do enough and I will definitely be cutting them moving forward.

After the event I spent some time looking at other results and have some ideas for improving the deck.  I was so impressed with the deck and seriously feel it could do well.  The real issue I have is combo decks are tough to play against.  In any card game, combo decks are a tough and stressful deck to play against as they have the potential to win at any time.  I have played Magic for many years and have loved the modern format.  There are several combo decks (or there were before the banning) in the format and the most prevalent one was called splinter twin.  For those that are unfamiliar with magic, modern or the Splinter Twin deck, the deck played a control/tempo deck the tried slowing the opponent down and applied some pressure with a few creatures (resonators) until they either killed their opponent or they combed out which was creating an infinite amount of creatures with haste (swiftness).  The deck was powerful and I played it for many years myself until I began playing this game.  The combo decks in this game feel like they play a very similar way which is great and really fun.  It makes it stressful for an opponent who is not playing a combo deck as the real option to beat it is to run them over before they have the chance to combo off.

I feel this was the main reason I had a tough time beating my 3 combo opponents.  My deck was decently aggressive but not aggressive enough to really ensure a kill before they have enough time to win.  I am happy that I did play against these decks enough and I was able to see the issues with my deck.  I now have a much better idea of what the meta is going to look like before the new set releases.  I am definitely going to continue looking into this deck as it truly did perform above and beyond my expectations and I feel a simple tweak into a more aggressive deck will help it be able to beat the combo decks in the meta.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences and I really suggest trying the deck out yourself.  I was blown away by it and had a ton of fun playing the deck (it also turned so many heads during the event.  Nobody expected Alice at all!)  It impressed people enough that I was asked to do a deck profile for a YouTuber that was at the event.  Check out his channel, Deep Wood FOW, as well as my deck profile below.  Thank you all for reading and check out our podcast, On the Chase, on Friday where me, Lane, and Gerds talk about our experience at states!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtfJBUKlzIUujFUZQTwhiJQ

 

On the Chase Podcast Episode 2: Treesus

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to another episode of Team Twisted Fate’s on the Chase Podcast. This week we’ve got Gerds, Lane, RJ, and Sean with us to talk about some more spoilers and what we think of them thus far. Before anyone asks, we will be rotating our cast members in and out of podcasts depending on who goes to events, what schedules are like, etc… so the title card will change according to who we have! This podcast was recorded on 2/15/16.

On the Chase Titlecard SLGR

Intro/Outro song credit:

“RetroFuture Clean” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

On the Chase Podcast Episode 1

Greetings ladies and gentlemen. Team Twisted Fate has started our very own podcast. In our pilot episode we discuss the evolution of the game’s meta since we joined in with The Millennia of Ages set and we talk about some of the spoilers revealed for the upcoming set The Moonlit Savior. If you guys have any suggestions about what we should talk about in future episodes, leave a comment and tell us what you want to hear!

(Please bear in mind that we are working on improving our equipment in order to provide a better listening experience and it will improve as time goes on!)

Hope you enjoy the first episode of On the Chase!

~ Lane

On the Chase TitleCard Fullhouse

 

Crimson Girl Blast

Hello everyone! I’m here this week with another brew. I was requested a few weeks ago to brew a Crimson Girl list and I was excited to do so.  I have always likes Crimson Girl and felt she had a lot of potential.  I really wanted to use the new Pricia in the deck because her with Crimson girl J-activated means 4x boost which is crazy.  I initially wanted to abuse banzai attack with small resonators for an explosive kill. Here was my first Crimson girl draft:

Crimson Girl in the Sky/Little Red, the True Fairy Tale

Crimson Girl

4 Familiar of Holy Wind
4 Elvish Priest
3 Ziz, the Bird that Envelops the Sky
3 Fruit of Yggdrasil
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon
3 Pricia, Beast Queen in Hiding
1 Snow White, Valkyrie of passion
3 Magic Matchstick
4 Thunder
3 Refarth, the Castle in Heaven
4 Ame-No-Habakiri
2 Beastly Attack
2 Banzai Attack

 

4 Magic Stone of Moon Shade
4 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves
1 Little Red, the Pure Stone
1 Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone

 

As I tested the deck there were several problems I ran into.  The first issue was the mana base.  The deck was evenly split between green and red.  The cards were also very greedy each requiring 2 red or green will to cast, which made it very difficult to cast cards on curve.  The second issue was the deck was fairly slow and had very little interaction.  The deck had a lot of trouble dealing with larger resonators and was very weak to removal.  I next tried running a mostly red deck with green for crimson girl and Pricia, but the deck still struggled as it had almost no interaction and was easily stopped.

After testing these different iterations, I decided to try a different take on the deck.  By playing Pricia and Ziz the deck was already going in a slower direction, so I decided to build the deck slower with a greater amount of interaction.  One card I have always wanted to brew with is Elizabeth.  She has a great amount of combo potential and the combination of her and crimson girl is really exciting.  I decided to put a small vampire package into the deck to support Elizabeth and the interaction in the deck.  Here is the next list I tried:

Crimson Girl in the Sky/Little Red, the True Fairy Tale

4 Elvish Priest
4 Ratatoskr, the Spirit Beast of Yggdrasil
3 Ziz, the Bird that Envelops the Sky
3 Lora, the Blood Seeker
3 Elizabeth, Shadow Princess of Blood
3 Fiethsing, the magus of Holy Wind
3 Pricia, Beast Queen in Hiding
2 Carmilla, the Queen of Vampires
4 Scorn of Dark Alice
3 Stoning to Death
3 Refarth, the castle in Heaven
2 Spiral of Despair
3 The Beast Queen’s Counter Attack

 

2 Magic Stone of Darkness
1 Magic Stone of Wind
1 Magic Stone of Moon Shade
4 Magic Stone of Black Silence
1 Little Red, the Pure Stone
1 Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone

 

The Resonators

Elvish Priest

These provide mana acceleration to play our resonators faster.  These allow us to play our three cost resonators on turn two, which helps the deck win faster.

Ratatoskr

This card was used mainly to protect Pricia from removal like Carmilla or Susano.  It also enabled our green resonators to be cast on our opponent’s turn which also helps them dodge removal.

Ziz

Probably the best of all the resonators that have the evolve mechanic.  Turning into an 800/800 flyer is very good and he gets larger when Crimson Girl is J-activated

Pricia

This was the main reason the deck was built.  She evolves our Ziz when she enters the field which is very good and she naturally givers herself a double power boos whenever she is pumped.  She goes into overdrive when Crimson Girl flips getting a 4x boost with any pump spell.

Fiethsing

These gave us some protection against aggressive resonators.  Preventing damage from a resonator for a turn is helpful in buying time until we can assemble a large enough force to overwhelm our opponent.  She also provides mana acceleration allowing us to cast multiple spells in one turn.

Lora, Elizabeth, Carmilla

This was a small vampire package I put in the deck and it really over preformed.  Elizabeth was actually a much better win condition than Pricia and was able to quickly become giant one we J-Activated.  Carmilla gave the deck removal and a decent sized body to keep us alive against more aggressive decks.  Lora provided a way to find whatever vampire we need at the time.

Scorn, Spiral

The discard package of the deck, most decks I build with darkness in it have a discard package in them.  This is because discard is so powerful in this game.  It allows us to get rid of problem cards before they are problems and greatly limits the options our opponent has to play with.

Stoning

This card is always great.  At instant speed it allows you to kill any resonator.  This card is great and I would have liked to play another copy in the deck

Refarth

This allows us to J-Activate for free and gives a small boost to our team.  In a pinch, this gives any of our resonators an extra boost.

Beast Queen’s Counter Attack

This card surprised me in how powerful useful it was in this deck.  I acted as removal some of the time and was the main way Elizabeth killing chains were started.  I liked having this card in the deck and it has shown that it deserves a place in the deck.

Elisabeth,_Shadow_Princess_of_Blood

This new iteration of the deck was a ton of fun to play and was surprisingly explosive.   I had several games where I killed my opponent in one turn using Elizabeth.  The interaction between Elizabeth and Little Red was amazing and extremely powerful. Being able to recover her and attack again with an added pump every time an opponent’s resonator dies is powerful ability. Compounding with the extra pump that Crimson Girl provides give the deck the capability to one turn kill opponents out of nowhere.

The biggest issue I had with the deck was it was a little slow. Unfortunately in this meta, the deck is just a little too slow to really be viable at a larger tournament but could be a fun option to play at your local store.  Moving forward I would probably cut some of the green and focus more on the vampires and disruption with the deck. I hope you enjoyed reading and keep your eye out for my next article here on Of Dice and Pens.

 

What I Would Have Played at AGP Richmond

download

Hello everyone! This past weekend was definitely a crazy one.  APG Richmond was scheduled and I was excited to play.  Unfortunately, winter storm Jonas had other plans and hit the East Coast hard.  The event was ultimately rescheduled a few days before the weekend.  When I heard the announcement, I was disappointed that I was not able to play but also relieved since I was concerned about traveling to Virginia with the storm about to hit.  Ultimately I feel this was a good call as Richmond received about a foot of snow and here in Pennsylvania we got almost 2 feet of snow.  Though I was not able to play this past weekend, I wanted to share the deck I was going to play at the event.

In preparation for the event, my team decided that we wanted to develop a non-reflect deck that was able to contend in the meta (this was before the errata was announced).  We deemed that Vlad was the most likely choice for a deck that could defeat the many incarnations of Reflect that were around.  Playing black and red gave us access to the best and cheapest removal. However, I also wanted to play Hera in order to destroy Change the World and provide card advantage.  We built the first drafts of a Blue, Black, Red (I will be calling this color combination Grixis moving forward) Vlad.  In our early tests the deck matched up fairly well against several variants of Reflect.  Grixis was a great color choice and we were impressed with how it was preforming.  There was one significant issue we ran into which was the deck lost to Split Heaven and Earth.  We then decided we needed to change the colors around or accept losing to split.  We ultimately decided to simply add green for Keen sense in the board to give us some protection from Split.  We also decided to play 12 stones to give us a small advantage against other Vlad lists.  Here is the last draft of the list I was going to play at Richmond:

 

vlad

Vlad Tepes

4 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
4 Hera, Goddess of Jealousy
2 Dark Faria, Shadow Princess of Ebony
2 Zero, the Magus of Null
2 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
4 Scorn of Dark Alice
4 Thunder
2 Rapid decay
3 Spiral of Despair
4 Stoning to Death
4 Flame of the Outer World
3 Foresee
1 Awakening at the End
1 Marybell, the Steel Doll

 

4 Magic Stone of Dark Depth
4 Magic stone of Scorched Bales
4 Magic Stone of Black Silence

 

Sideboard

1 Ebony Prophet/Abdul Alhazred, the Harbinger of Despair
3 Barrier of Shadow
2 Dark Pulse
2 Mephistopheles, the Abyssal Tyrant
2 Marybell, the Steel Doll
3 Keen Sense
2 Unseen Pressure

 

The Resonators

Cheshire Cat
This card is great.  For only one will, it draws you cards which helps improve the consistency of the deck, and it chump blocks very well, which buys time against aggressive decks.

 

Hera
At Richmond, I expected to see a lot of regalia, especially Change the world.  When trying to beat Reflect, the most powerful card they play is Change the World. Hera destroys Change and draws a card which is exactly the kind of effect we want in the deck.

 

Dark Faria
I like the role Faria plays in the deck.  She provides extra removal and some life gain against aggressive decks and is also a decent clock against slower decks.

 

Zero
This was a card I chose because it gives a small board wipe against many of the small resonators that are being played in the reflect list.  It also has quick cast which helps to keep our deck reactive and flexible.

 

Susano
This is our big finisher and is really great in the deck.  It also punishes people for playing Gwiber which is one of the larger threats in the current meta.  Even when casting this card for its full cost, it is worth the investment and I really like having this card in the deck.

 

The Non Resonators

Scorn of Dark Alice, Spiral of Despair
Discard is one of my favorite forms of disruption and it is very powerful.  It reduces the options the opponent has to play and slows their game plan down significantly.  Reflect’s filter ability becomes significantly less effective when the opponent has very few cards in their hand which is one reason why I chose to play a significant amount of discard in the deck.

 

Thunder, Rapid Decay
These are the 1 will removal spells.  They both destroy most resonators that are being played in the meta and provide different options to our removal suite.

 

Stoning to Death, Flames of the Outer World
These are the 2 will removal spells.  Stoning is great because it kills everything whenever we need and Flames can’t be stopped or responded to.  These along with the 1 will removal spells provide a versatile removal suite that give the deck the ability to kill almost any resonator.

 

Forsee
This card helps keep our hand full in the long game.  As the game drags on, we are trying to 1 for 1 our opponents; trading our removal and discard spells for their resonators or cards in their hand.  Eventually we will use all the cards in our hand and will be top decking which is something a control deck does not want to do.  This card provides us a way to fill our hand back up to give us more options in the long games

 

Awakening at the End
I was surprised how much I liked having this card in the deck.  It helps when the opponent plays multiple resonators all at once and our removal can’t keep up with the number of resonators they are playing.  This card kills most resonators being played and anything this doesn’t kill can be cleaned up with the rest of our removal.

 

Marybell
Change the World is a very oppressive card and I wanted to have more than 4 ways to remove it in the main deck.  Marybell can also act as another resonator against other control decks or if the game runs long.

 

The deck was powerful and I was very excited to play this deck.  Vlad has been my Favorite ruler since she was printed and I enjoy every opportunity I get to use her.  I am looking forward to playing at Richmond in March and I’m also very excited to begin brewing with the errata in effect.  Hopefully the Meta will be more open and other rulers can become more viable.  I hope you enjoyed reading and keep an eye out for my next article. I have some exciting brews I’ve been working on that I’m really excited to share. While I don’t want to give too much away, it has something to do with Crimson Girl and Pricia, Beast Queen in Hiding.