I attended SCG Birmingham because I wasn’t supposed to work till later that night, deciding to play Naya Blitz because I love to turn things sideways. To be honest, I expected to scrub out within the first five rounds and then have to go to work. I’m a relatively new Magic player, starting in Dark Ascension and not attending my first FNM until after Avacyn Restored. Imagine my surprise when by Round 5, I hadn’t even lost a game!
For the most part I didn’t even see what my opponent was playing before they were down for the count. This deck is fast, and when I say fast I mean your opponent scoops on Turn 2 or 3 because they can’t beat your draw. And in my first competitive REL event, I won the Star City Games Birmingham Classic.
Standard Naya Blitz by Ariel Riddle
I played 36-creature Naya Blitz with no Giant Growths and only one Ghor-Clan Rampager. This worked out really well because my opponents were constantly forced to play around these cards, which the other Blitz decks in the tourney were using. That caused them to make some unfavorable blocks (or non-blocks), and the singleton Rampager was a nice finisher when I had it. The four Searing Spears usually get things out of the way, but it can also burn face for that last three damage.
I played three Thalia, Guardian of Thrabens, which is highly underrated, in the maindeck. It keeps your control opponents off of Supreme Verdict and your midrange opponents off of Farseek for an extra turn. It also can force an opponent to use a removal spell on Thalia — rather than one of your beaters — in the removal-heavy Jund decks. You side Thalia out for Boros Reckoners or Nearheath Pilgrims in the aggro matchups, but she is still not terrible in Game 1; the first striker can get through any two-toughness creature.
Everything else is pretty standard for a Blitz deck. You have tons of one-drops that get bigger when you drop more creatures. Burning-Tree Emissaries allow you to play free two-drops on Turn 2, or in some cases a Frontline Medic or hasty Flinthoof Boar on Turn 3. Mayor of Avabrucks pump all your humans and Lightning Maulers make your creatures hasty.
This deck really doesn’t care too much what your opponent plays. You just turn things sideways and win, though there are a few cards you want to look out for. The sideboarding plan for this deck pretty much follows this pattern:
Against Reanimator, the Fiend Hunters replace two Searing Spears; I also favor Gruul Charm in this matchup. Against Humanimator, just swap out Searing Spear for Boros Charm and beat them before they do anything. Fiend Hunter was probably the weakest card all day because Restoration Angel exists. In the Reanimator matchup I did play (featuring Craterhoof Behemoth), I swapped out two Searing Spears for Gruul Charms.
Sneep, Keep, or Ditch
These are some randomly generated hands and my thoughts:
This is a keep, and it’s pretty close to a sneep. If Experiment One had been Champion of the Parish, the hand would be perfect. Not considering your draws, you’ll Turn 1 Experiment One, Turn 2 Thalia, and Turn 3 Mayor of Avabruck. This will allow you to do eight damage by Turn 3. It also puts your opponent off Supreme Verdict for a turn or it can let you just smash through any little dudes they may have.
This is a ditch (mulligan). The hand does things, but not really until Turn 3 or 4, which is just too slow for the deck. You really need to have a one-drop in your hand to play this deck. If you don’t have a one-drop you better have something nuts like three Emissaries and a Mayor to play on Turn 2.
This hand is a sneep. You have a Turn 1 Champion of the Parish. You then play Turn 2 Burning-Tree Emissary into Lightning Mauler bonded to the Emissary. You are doing seven damage on Turn 2. After that, your Champion is just going to keep getting bigger with Thalia, Frontline Medic, and other humans you may draw. (If they don’t scoop before Turn 4 >.<). You may be thinking your topdecks are terrible with two Cavern of Souls in this hand, but they’re not. Out of your 36 creatures, 31 are humans; you are only running 4 spells. Topdecks don’t matter in this deck. It’s about getting the most damage possible through as quickly as possible and beating them before they have the mana for Supreme Verdict.
This deck is designed to prey on control and midrange decks, but it’s also fast enough to beat out other aggro decks. The only bad matchup I have found so far is removal-heavy Jund. At SCG Birmingham, I beat two Jund, one Boros, and one Naya deck — which went two Farseeks, then dead — in my first four rounds. I met my match in Round 5 and was crushed 2-0 against removal-heavy Jund before winning out and drawing into the Top 8.
In the Top 8, I was lucky enough to play a bunch of slow, durdly, control decks. I only lost one game in the entire Top 8 to an Esper deck that got off a Supreme Verdict. Other than that it was, “Oh, hey you’re playing Reanimator?” Nomnomnomnom.
One of the best games of the day was when I played against Craterhoof Reanimator in the Top 8. In Game 2, he played Centaur Healers, Thragtusks, and Restoration Angels bouncing Thragtusk, gaining more than 30 life during the course of the game. On my side of the table were a 4/4 and 3/3 Champion of the Parishes, two Frontline Medics and a Mayor of Avabruck (so in reality, give those champions another +1/+1). I attacked when he was above 30 life, taking him to 18 while I sit at 14. He currently has 13 damage on board and swings with Restoration Angel. All he has left to block is Thragtusk, Centaur Healer, and a few mana dorks. I draw for turn and look at my hand. Double check my math. Cast Gruul Charm. Creatures without flying cannot block this turn. My opponent looked confused for a moment and then realized that he was completely and utterly dead. Best Gruul Charm ever.
The deck was really fun to play because it fit my style of smashing face with creatures. Over the course of the entire day, I only lost five games. (Not bad considering this was my first competitive event!) With how well the deck performed, I really can’t think of anything I would change as it stands right now. Enjoy turning things sideways!!!
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