Thursday, July 14, 2011

Planechase: Zombies will murder you

Ok, so that's not the name of the deck. I think it's Zombie Empire but I can't really be bothered to check right now. I bought it awhile ago but since my playing partner has been MIA, it has languished as I prepare to break it up for an EDH deck. I wanted to play it at least once though so I jumped at the chance to use it today. I basically played it as is, though I dropped in Lashwrithe because I wanted to use that badly.

First game wasn't very stellar. It did show me some of the limitations of the deck and also of my bad shuffling. I landed some good creatures but the deck I was playing against (Dragons from Knights vs. Dragons) had just too much removal or damage and I got burned from the board and then to death. I will place a little blame on letting my opponent just draw lands from the bottom of his deck and not shuffle afterward because it was casual. Never again. For all I know he could have been top decking all the good stuff he was playing. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe he would have drawn better stuff if he had shuffled. Still, I lost and I didn't really have any answers or good critters in hand to do any damage.

The second game went a little better. I pulled my seven and forgot to cut my deck so I shuffled again and let it get cut and then drew. I had a better hand than the one I did originally, with 3 swamps, an Ascendant Evincar, a Dark Ritual, Lashwrithe and something else being the draw. The first two turns I played swamps and a weak zombie I pulled. Turn 3 I played a swamp and Dark Ritual for the Evincar, giving my zombie a buff and destroying 3 of my opponent's creatures. Turn 4 I land another swamp and play Lashwrithe and then pay 4 life (2 Phyrexian Mana) to equip it. Then I swing with the Evincar. On my opponents turn he plays two 1/1s that immediately get sent to the grave, one of them dealing me some damage as the result of an ability. Turn 5 I play another swamp and a Profane Command that I had pulled a previous draw and choose to do him three damage and put three -1/-1 counters on his wall, killing it. Then I swing for the win.

A draw like that is pretty baller though lucky, considering I only had one Evincar and Lashwrithe in there. That's they way the deck is built though, with few duplicates of cards as it is mainly a toolbox type of build. I like the deck. It has the potential in the long game to get some big beats onto the board with its lords and features some recursion to bring back a threat. It's a little light in the weenie department and I could have benefited from some quicker guys to get in some hits early on. Something like a Drudge Skeleton or a Re-Assembling Skeleton would be perfect, as I could chump and recur and with the ability of the Death Baron, buff them and make them even more deadly blockers. I think it could use a better mana curve, too. Yes, there are some means to get the big guys out fast as I did the second game, but I wouldn't rely on them unless I upped the Dark Ritual or Cabal Coffers count, the latter of which I didn't see at all.

Of course, some of this might be to blame on Planechase, as the deck is clearly meant to take advantage of the different planes that come with the deck. Perhaps next time I can use them.

Offhand, I can think of a couple of additions. One or more lords. Another Warchief and Death Baron or two would be perfect, especially with the low cost of the DBs and their ability to buff skeletons as well, of which the two I mentioned would be perfect. More removal would be nice, or some more recursion. Maybe both. I had some clever stuff, but I would have killed for a Doom Blade that first game. It's too good not to have in. Coat of Arms could be interesting, though it could work against you depending on your opponent's deck. Vampire Nighthawks I think would be great. They're still undead so kind of thematic, get buffed by the Evincar and provide some flying bodies that will deter dragons and other annoying creatures from striking at you. When equipped with Lashwrithe, they're absolutely stellar. By turn 4 or earlier, you could be hitting them for 8 life and gaining that much, which helps offset Phyrexian mana usage and the Phyrexian Arena.

Overall, I like it. I might hold off breaking it up for the EDH deck (I'm missing the general anyway) and give it another shot once I meddle with it a bit.

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