Monday, November 25, 2019

Surprising Climb

A few weeks ago I was lamenting how my efforts at climbing the ladder in Standard Constructed for November's season was not working:
Its amazing how quickly the meta shifts in Magic the Gathering. Just a little while ago I was celebrating getting to Platinum Standard Ranked with my mono black deck and now I'm getting beat around the face like no one's business, languishing in Gold 3 and 4.
 That was back on Nov 5 and I stuck with the deck for another week to give it time and see if it could bounce back (or if I could play it better more accurately) but while I climbed to the cusp of Gold 2 I could not bridge the gap.

I decided to try something else on Nov 13, switching from the mono-black deck centered around Ayara and Liliana to a Rakdos Sacrifice deck that leaned heavily into the Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven combo.

At first it did not seem to make a difference, falling all the way down to one loss from back in Silver. It seemed like I was facing nothing but control decks based around Doom Foretold and Fires of Invention! By the middle of the month I had written the season off as I had very few rare wildcards to draft with and was getting very frustrated so I decided just to ride it out and plan for December.

And then something strange started to happen. I started to win more. I don't know if the meta shifted so I saw fewer control decks, or if I relaxed after giving up so I played tighter, or my luck of the draw changed, or some combination of all three but I began climbing from the bottom of Gold IV and after a few days was hitting Gold 2 and 1.

"Maybe I will get back to Platinum this month," I thought, and sure enough, I did.
Highlight is Rakdos Sacrifice deck.
So my original goal of getting to Platinum 2 is back on the table!

About the deck: the base engine of Cat -> Oven is what this deck is built on. They are both one mana to cast and operate without further mana investment, pinging the opponent for 1 each turn and gaining me 1 life in return. And it operates at instant speed so if someone tries to kill the cat early, I can simply remove it myself and bring it back later.

Everything else in the deck is gravy. Mayhem Devil can deal a lot of extra damage if left unchecked, Cavalier of Night and Rankle can beat down as well as trim the herd on the other side of the board, Reaper of Night is value add with some draw cards, and my spells are around removal to make sure I don't die until they do.

Biggest threats to this deck besides bad luck on the draw are decks with tools to remove the Oven and control decks with lots of counter spells. A particularly bad matchup is against the Esper control deck making rounds that uses Doom Foretold to slowly clear the board and take apart my engine and then cripple me with Ethereal Absolution.

I'm going to ride this deck out to the end of the month and see if Plat 2 is reachable in 5 days. Next month, maybe back to mono black with Cat Oven and Ayara?

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