Once again, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and instead of simply opening the Event Deck for Journey Into Nyx, I went to an FNM and tried it out. Last time I went 4-0. Let’s see how I did this time.
Travis Woo had rules I try to keep in mind while building decks on a budget:
#1 – No Downgrades
#2 – No Omissions
#3 – No Excuses!
“No Downgrades” means we play the cards we want to play, because they are the best for we want the deck to do. We won’t use Guildgates just because Shocklands are out of our budget. Either we use the Shocklands, or find a way to not need them at all.
“No Omissions” means we play the cards we need and if the deck needs a card that’s not within our budget, we will find another deck. [scryfall]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/scryfall] is very expensive, so if we are playing white, we’ll either stay away from being control or midrange, or bite the bullet and get the Elspeths.
“No Excuses!” means that if we lose games, we didn’t lose because we did this on a budget. We lost because we didn’t play correctly or didn’t our build was wrong. We never blame the budget.
Does the Event Deck follow these rules? Somewhat, but not really. Should they? Hell, yes.
Sure, that would generally mean one thing: As they are severely limited by the rarity constrictions in how they build their manabases. Right now, as most competitive decks will have at least a couple of [scryfall]Mutavault[/scryfall]s, they are just not able to make an actually competitive deck. Last they hit on something by being only one color. They didn’t have the [scryfall]Mutavault[/scryfall]s, which would have definitely made the deck stronger, but otherwise they managed to follow Woo’s rules pretty well (despite certain missteps in how the deck was built).
In this case, since they have a two-colored deck and they can’t use any dual lands besides [scryfall]Izzet Guildgate[/scryfall]s, they are not doing the right thing.
Here’s the list named inexplicably Wrath of the Mortals. I guess there’s an explanation somewhere, but I didn’t bother to find it.
1 Battlefield Thaumaturge
1 Chandra’s Phoenix
1 Ogre Battledriver
1 Oracle of Bones
4 Spellheart Chimera
3 Young Pyromancer
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Fated Conflagration
2 Flames of the Firebrand
1 Harness by Force
4 Lightning Strike
3 Magma Jet
1 Mizzium Mortars
2 Searing Blood
1 Steam Augury
2 Turn // Burn
4 Izzet Guildgate
2 Elixir of Immortality
3 Essence Scatter
2 Flames of the Firebrand
3 Izzet Staticaster
I didn’t do well…
Match 1 – vs. UW Heroic
Pretty new player. Had a good basic idea, but the deck lacked in execution. Instead of being the very consistent killing machine it needed to be, it seemed more like a pretty good draft deck with a couple of awkward choices, such as [scryfall]Wavecrash Triton[/scryfall] and [scryfall]Triton Treasure Hunter[/scryfall]. Good cards in draft, but too slow for Standard.
I went 2-0, because I was able to kill his creatures before he was able to grow them.
1 – 0
Match 2 – vs. Monoblack Devotion
No chance here. In the first game, [scryfall]Underworld Connections[/scryfall] provided the card advantage my opponent needed, in the second game, he was able to get out [scryfall]Desecration Demon[/scryfall]s out in the beginning. This deck has no plan against these pretty ubiquitous card. I pretty much had no chance.
1 – 1
Match 3 – vs. Esper Midrange
Ok, its a pretty controllish deck, but its a bit more midrangy than usual, with several wincons in the main deck. First game I drew plenty of cards I could only target creatures with and despite the deck being a bit more midrangy, that doesn’t help, because I [scryfall]Searing Blood[/scryfall] or [scryfall]Mizzium Mortars[/scryfall] does nothing against [scryfall]Aetherling[/scryfall] or [scryfall]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/scryfall]. Sideboarding didn’t really help. Second game wasn’t much better, because all the burn does nothing here. Sure it does damage, but the rest of the deck is too weak against the defenses and the deck has no way to compete on cards. Sure I managed to counter one [scryfall]Sphinx’s Revelation[/scryfall], but that wasn’t enough.
1 – 2
Match 4 – vs. Jund Monsters
Here the problems with the deck were again very apparent. [scryfall]Magma Jet[/scryfall]s and [scryfall]Lightning Strike[/scryfall]s don’t do much against [scryfall]Stormbreath Dragon[/scryfall] or [scryfall]Polukranos, World Eater[/scryfall]. Sure I can make plenty of blockers with a [scryfall]Young Pyromancer[/scryfall], but the deck can get rid of such pesky little wizards easily. In fact, the big, ol’ hydra can wrestle a bunch of these folks down in one fell swoop. Sure I can burn my opponent, but the [scryfall]Courser of Kruphix[/scryfall] will negate most of that over time.
1 – 3
All in All
I think WotC messed up big time. The deck felt like it was designed to a very specific metagame, that does not exist. In a world where you can get a 5/5 for four mana, relying on burn as removal is pretty bad. You can only slow down your oppoent, not really destroy their plan.
Actually, the record of 1-3 is fine. WotC shouldn’t be in the business of making off-the-shelf-decks that are strong enough to take FNMs, but they should be good enough to have some sort of a plan against the most popular decks. This deck has nothing. It will just run into a wall against most of the decks in the format, whereas the previous deck had at least some angle to work with against pretty much anything.
I don’t think this deck can even be fixed. The premise, or the basic plan of the deck is bad.
One plus: Unlike the black deck, this deck doesn’t have clear dead cards in the deck. The cards that it does have just don’t work that well together. Each could very well work in other decks.
What this deck basically does is enforce the notion that the game is about how much money you are willing to spend on your deck and us experienced players know its not all about that (some, but not all). You can build decks that can take on the field withough spending that much money. This felt like planning to get some groceries, ending up buying tickets for a flight to Romania, and then wondering why I’m hungry. Just totally faulty approach to the problem.
One more note: This might have been logistically difficult, but I would have liked some 1/1 Red Elemental creature tokens with the deck, like they did with the Modern Event Deck, which includes Myr, Soldier and Spirit tokens, as well as an emblem for Elspeth.