Hope Eternal—I Beat Tajic

This is a prerelease story. I signed up for Golgari going into it. This was half preference and half strategy: While I do love my Golgari colors, they also had a strong set of guild packs and were partnered with any but my least favorite of the Gatecrash guilds (Boros). Still, when I received my package I saw that I had gotten lucky and my secret allied pack was Orzhov, my secondary guild choice. This put me solidly in Rock (or is it Junk?), a color combination close to my heart.

When I cracked my packs I found my luck continued. My Golgari pack netted me a Jarad, and my Orzhov pack was even better, with a copy of Merciless Eviction. My Dragon’s Maze packs were similarly strong, and I ended up with a Blood Baron, two Tithe Drinkers, and a Putrefy, amongst other solid playables.

My final deck was mostly Orzhov with some splashed green cards, and about five gates and a Godless Shrine for fixing.

Side note: there was a point at which I was super annoyed that the Shrine wasn’t a gate. I was running Hold the Gates, because that card has only gotten better, and my Blood Baron ran into a 2/2 that got pumped by Martial Glory. If my Shrine had been a gate, my 4/4 would have had six points of toughness and survived the combat trick; as it was, it died an unexciting 4/5, trading for a common I knew my opponent only had one of.

Anyway, you should get a sense of what my deck looked like from the simple fact that I was running Hold the Gates. I was fairly hard defensive, with cards like Maze Abomination pulling their weight.

Round one I played against a USA build anchored by Boros and Azorius. She had Supreme Verdict and Assemble the Legion as her guild rares, but it was the 2/2 indestructible Tajic that proved to be a more terrifying threat. I took game one after stabilizing from a couple of hits with a Madcap Skilled Wojek Halberdiers. Blood Baron pulled its weight in the stability project, and I ended the game back up near 20 life.

Game two seemed promising until Assemble hit the table. I kept drawing through my deck in search of my Eviction, but the clock she had me on was simply too fast. I needed maybe three more turns, and by the time I drew the wrath effect I wasn’t certain if I would be able to pop it for enchantments without immediately dying to the mustered legionnaires.

Game three was tight, even if I was technically favored after my opponent mulled to five. Luckily for me, Assemble the Legion never made an encore appearance, although I had to deal with the significantly more terrifying Tajic plus Madcap Skills. Still, my play was tight and I managed to beat through that without ever being able to remove him from the field of play. Dutiful Thrull helped Blood Baron hold her attacks back, and I managed to hold her off until I snatched up lethal with a Hired Torturer. It seems like it’s a good card!

Round two saw me paired against a five-color special. He had some issues getting his colors online, although he made great use of the cluestones. He had a bunch of team Maze commons, particularly multiple Abominations, and they proved tough to swing through. Still, my deck played out like it had more than six extort creatures (which it didn’t), and I ended my games at a fairly high life total.

So, I was running quite hot at 2-0 going into the third round. Having secured packs, I could chill out a bit. Turns out that was a good thing, because I did not have a good round of Magic. I lost the die roll and then found myself facing down the early aggression of Boros. He managed to whittle me down to ten, but then I managed to stabilize behind Hold the Gates, a Pet, and a Screecher. I pecked him down slowly, since he was weak in the skies, but it was the double extort that really sealed the deal.

Game two was less acceptable. I mulliganed to four, keeping a hand of only lands (although it left me with all my colors). It was frustrating! None of the other hands were better contenders, since they all contained one land, which was either the wrong color or woefully unable to cast the six-drops in my hand. That four was still better than any two I could have expected, but I played to my outs and could have gotten there if the Eviction notice showed up in time. It did not.

Game three was his turn to mulligan down, and after he kept a six with only one land (and after I had told him about my mulligans, too), I ended up sealing the deal when he was heavily resource-constrained. Tithe Drinker is a really aggressive two-drop when you need that, and between that and Kingpin’s Pet, by the time he was able to block my onslaught I just extorted him to death.

That let me split in the finals, and I ended up with a very solid 3-0-1 record, better than I have done in a while at a prerelease. Blood Baron seems like a solid first pick in draft, but I don’t know if I buy into the Standard hype. Maybe if he had first strike or a less nerfed anti-EDH clause, but as it was he never ended up better than a 4/4 with lifelink and dual protection. I mean, that’s not nothing, of course! But for something that trades with Thragtusk, it might not be enough.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Hope Eternal—I Beat Tajic”
  1. Jon Jerome says:

    Blood Baron showed up to make life hard for me. My opponent proceeded to toss 3 +1/+1 counters on it. 7 life every turn was a little much for me to deal with. I was playing GBW also and I simply couldn’t interact with the thing until I popped a Trostani’s Summoner but by then I just got Deathcult Rogue’d to death -_-

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