Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Phyrexia Pre-Release Report

Alright, the time for theory and speculation is now over - I have played with New Phyrexia cards. I attended two pre-release events - one Sealed and one Draft. Folks, lemme tell you it was a blast! New Phyrexia definitely makes the Scars block Limited format a lot more fun.

So first up, here are the deck lists I played.

Sealed Deck - Green/Black Infect - 3 Wins, 1 Loss

1 Necropede
1 Porcelain Legionnaire
1 Alloy Myr
1 Trespassing  Souleater
2 Cystbearer
1 Contagious Nim
1 Blind Zealot
1 Whispering Specter
1 Corpse Cur
1 Mortis Dogs
1 Skinrender
1 Entomber Exarch
1 Pestilent Souleater
1 Phyrexian Swarmlord

1 Gremlin Mine
1 Glissa's Scorn
1 Leeching Bite
1 Contagion Clasp
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Beast Within
1 Grafted Exoskeleton
1 Instill Infection
1 Slice In Twain
1 Caress of Phyrexia

9 Swamp
8 Forest

The Swarmlord was the closest thing I got to a "bomb" rare, and it was not exactly terrible but neither did it ever really swing a game. Mostly it just helped me win by forcing my opponents to scramble to answer it ASAP. Which did tangibly help me to win a game or two, but I never got much more out of it than that.

Still, the deck did perform really well, and I had tons of fun playing it. In retrospect I probably didn't need the Grafted Exoskeleton (I dreamed of Equipping it to a Mortis Dogs, but alas that never came up in a game). I at least should have sided it out in the games against the one opponent that beat me.

I also found Beast Within to suck balls most of the time, and unless I new my opponent was playing that 5/4 "Phyrbrid" Green guy or a bomb mythic like a Praetor, Karn or Molten-tail Masticore, I would side it out. But the times I killed a bomb mythic or just a 5/4 that my opponent just paid 4 life to cast, I was very happy with it.

Caress of Phyrexia was the true bomb of the deck, and it outright won me at least 4 games.

Draft Deck - White/Black Lifeloss and Infect - 2 Wins, 1 Loss

1 Plague Myr
1 Gold Myr
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Blistergrub
2 Necrogen Scudder
1 Ichor Rats
1 Core Prowler
2 Mortis Dogs
1 Shriekraptor
1 Scourge Servant
1 Toxic Nim
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (First pick!)

1 Virulent Wound
1 Phyresis
2 Revoke Existence
1 Contagion Clasp
1 Morbid Plunder
1 Trigon of Corruption
1 Caress of Phyrexia (Again!)
1 Ichor Explosion

10 Swamp
8 Plains

This was a VERY strong deck, with a few true bombs. Elesh Norn, Ichor Explosion and Caress of Phyrexia were all slam dunks, and the Morbid Plunder was deceptively good.

My one loss was to a deck I very easily could have beaten if I hadn't drawn 13 land and only 6 spells that game. The guy's deck wasn't bad and he wasn't a scrub. But on paper, my deck was just clearly better overall. I got mana screwed hard game 1 and mana flooded badly game 3. Game 2, where I drew an even mix of lands and spells I had little trouble winning.

So, the luck of the draw cost me two packs, oh well. Even though he opened two Praetors in his packs, I got better stuff (to me at least) in my 4 prize packs. Caged Sun, Birthing Pod and Life's Finale were all happier pulls than the Jin-Gitaxias my opponent opened. So I can't begrudge him one bit, though he did also get an Urabrask which I wasn't able to trade off him.

At any rate, even despite my shit draws in the third match up, it was a fun deck to play and I am firmly cemented as a fan of the set now. I was pretty hyped up before, but I was also very nervous about Phyrexian Mana leading to un-fun surprises (I never like surprises). But the only surprise was how fun it actually was to splash for colors without messing with my mana base! Playing that one copy of Porcelain Legionnaire in my G/B sealed deck was absolutely a good call, and dropping him on turn two or three saved my ass a number of times.

Other highlight include: Trading for a Primeval Titan, getting 5 or 6 new cards for my Oros deck (among them: Sword of Feast and Famine, and Sword of War and Peace) and winning the Archenemy deck "Doomsday Machine" as a random door prize! It included the EDH staples Duplicant and Lightning Greaves as well as Sundering Titan, Memnarch and Magister Sphinx. Woot! Not a bad prize at all. Thanks Sean!

So now, I'm off to tinker with my decks. Lots of new toys to play with!

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