This Week in Sealed: Hour of Devastation Prereleases

Written by Jeff Zandi on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Limited

This Week in Sealed: Hour of Devastation Prereleases

Jeff Zandi

Jeff Zandi is a level 2 judge and an eight-time veteran of the Pro Tour. He has written continuously about Magic for over eighteen years. His team, the Texas Guildmages, have the longest running regular game in history, meeting at his home every Tuesday night since 1996.

Hour of Devastation has arrived and immediately peps up an already interesting limited environment. I got my first taste of Hour of Devastation this past weekend in two prerelease events. I went 3-0 in each of them, but I will always be the first to point out that prereleases are not highly competitive events. Players in prereleases represent all levels of the game and many are not that interested in high levels of competition. Still, all you can do is play the opponent in front of you each round, and I did my best to build and play the best I could.

The two decks that I played at my two prerelease tournaments were very different from each other and more or less represent the two distinct ways that sealed deck pools are going to go in this new sealed deck format. Spoiler alert, neither of my pools were impressive with respect to rares or bombs. Unless common and uncommon green combat tricks can be bombs. But I’ve said too much already…

July 8 – Midnight Prerelease

My first event of the weekend took place at Common Ground Games in Dallas, one of the area’s best stores. They have a lot of space for tournaments, probably the second most after the one-of-a-kind behemoth of a store, Madness Games and Comics in Plano. I chose this store because the owner is a great guy who really goes out of his way to make his Magic events special. He never skimps on prizes or on tournament personnel. The owner of Common Ground Games, Jamison Sacks, was so awesome as to let me and the rest of the Texas Guildmages take over his store on a Tuesday back in April to celebrate our twentieth anniversary as a team and our 1000th weekly team meeting. I wish we had cleaned up the place better and not left such a mess for Jamison and his team afterwards.

From reviewing the cards a few days before the prerelease, I decided that red was my favorite color, so I looked in that direction first. I have one rare in red, Earthshaker Khenra. It’s better for draft than sealed, a 2/1 haste creature that can mess up blocks on the turn it enters the battlefield. When it’s in your graveyard and you have 4RR lying around you can use its eternalize ability to put a 4/4 token copy of it on the battlefield. Sounds nice, but it’s not a card that makes you go into red. I also have the beefy 5/4 for 3RR, Manticore Eternal as well as two Firebrand Archers, two Thorned Molochs and Frontline Devastator. I don’t get any good red creatures from Amonkhet, this is the wrong kind of deck for Bloodlust Inciter. There are three removal spells including Puncturing Blow, Electrify and Struggle/Survive. Red can’t be this deck’s main color, maybe I can splash a couple of removal spells.

My second favorite color in HoD is green. When I laid out my green cards I immediately wanted to play almost every one of them. I didn’t get an Ambuscade among my green commons, but I did get two copies of Gift of Strength and the possibility of playing a 5/4 on turn two with Rhona’s Last Stand. Also, two high quality common five-drops in a pair of Bitterbow Sharpshooters. Harrier Naga doesn’t look like much, a 3/3 for 2G with no abilities, but it’s a solid card for limited decks. My other good green plays are from Amonkhet. Crocodile of the Crossing is big for a four-drop and has haste. Shefet Monitor can be a big finisher or a super-efficient cycling play that fixes your mana. Greater Sandwurm is a seven-drop that makes the cut almost every time. The only two green cards I don’t want to play in my main deck are Benefaction of Rhonas and Stinging Shot, and Shot could still figure into my sideboard plans.

The next color on my list is white. I’ve got four playable white Zombies including new guys Disposal Mummy and Mummy Paramount. These four Zombies would pair nicely with one of my gold cards, Unraveling Mummy. The deck would need more Zombies, however. It will depend on what black looks like. I have one solid removal spell, Sandblast. Gideon’s Defeat could be a star from the sideboard. In Amonkhet sealed, white was so popular that I might try to play a card like Gideon’s Defeat in the main deck, but it’s a big risk. I have Act of Heroism and two copies of Djeru’s Renunciation. I also have a pair of cards that would be good in a white/red deck: Honored Crop-Captain and the iffy Onward/Victory. The worst part about my white cards is that there aren’t very many of them, just ten white cards in all. None of these cards are reasons to splash, either, meaning white is only good for me if the black cards pan out. I’ll check those next.

The black cards are alright, but not because they match up well with the white ones. There is removal with Lethal Sting and Rags/Riches. That’s not a lot of removal, you can do a lot better in this format with black commons and uncommons. I have a decent five-drop lifelink creature in Scrounger of Souls along with Amonkhet’s proven four-drop Grim Strider. I also have Cartouche of Ambition, Wasteland Scorpion and Wander in Death. A few solid cards but not enough to be truly exciting.

It’s finally time to look at blue, the tallest stack of cards in my pool with seventeen cards. I have rares in blue, but only one that I like a lot in limited, Pull from Tomorrow. My other blue rares are a pair of Swarm Intelligence enchantments (one is my prerelease stamped foil) and Nimble Obstructionist. I like Obstructionist but I don’t think it plays like a rare in this format. I’m thrilled to have it for constructed use later on, but tonight it’s not that exciting. There simply are no reasons to play blue. I have two copies of Unsummon and an Unquenchable Thirst, a Floodwaters and Decision Paralysis. I have a couple of new guys, Sinuous Striker and Proven Combatant. I have a gold card I wouldn’t mind playing, River Hoopoe.

I have four artifacts in my pool, Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs, Sunset Pyramid, Manalith and Honed Khopesh. It took a while but I finally fell sort-of in love with Khopesh. I play one copy in most decks with fourteen or more creatures, particularly in aggressive decks.

I have six non-basic lands and, of course, they are all Deserts. I have Cradle of the Accursed from Amonkhet, a card that I have even played in non-black two-color decks simply to add a creature. From Hour of Devastation I have Survivors’ Encampment, Dunes of the Dead and three copies of Desert of the Mindful. This means that if I really want to use any “Deserts matter” strategies I have to play blue to access these three cycle Deserts. I quickly decide that isn’t going to work out.

Yikes. This pool is not an excellent one.

Green is my strongest color by far. I consider pairing with red but don’t like the creatures enough though I want the three red removal spells. I briefly consider playing green/blue. In short order, I’ve made my decision, it’s got to be green/black. Splash or no splash? I don’t know how good Rags/Riches will be in Hour of Devastation sealed. With Amonkhet, Rags was much better in draft decks than in sealed decks. My only other direct removal card in black is Lethal Sting. This is a very good removal spell despite the fact that it requires you to have a creature in play to put a -1/-1 counter on. What could I splash from red? Puncturing Blow costs 2RR, so it’s out. Struggle/Survive and Electrify are good options. For just a pair of removal spells that each require only one red mana, I am perfectly content with as few as three red mana sources. Survivors’ Encampment is decent enough for this job. You have to tap an untapped creature when you tap Encampment to get a red mana (or any other color you might want) but if you are playing an instant on your opponent’s turn (like the two red spells I’m splashing) it’s not much of a problem. I would probably need to also play two Mountains to make this plan work. Then I decide to play just one Mountain along with Manalith. I can easily defend the plan of Mountain, Survivors’ Encampment, Manalith as far as putting the three necessary red mana sources into my deck. What I can’t really defend is the fact that I cut my seventeenth land for the Manalith. It didn’t hurt me in this tournament (okay, maybe it hurt me in one game) but in general, you can’t cut a land for a mana-producer that costs three mana. You can usually cut the seventeenth land for a mana rock that costs two or less because with sixteen land you are very likely to get keepable opening hands with at least two lands in them. Keeping a hand with two lands and Manalith is a bit of a trap. Here’s what I built and played:

7 Forest
7 Swamp
Mountain
Survivors’ Encampment
Sunset Pyramid – so good in sealed, might be less impressive in draft
Wretched Camel – you need a certain number of two-drops, make sure you have Deserts
Doomed Disenter – a good defensive investment on turn two
2 Gift of Strength – +3/+3 and reach until end of turn, very good but not exciting
Rhona’s Stalwart – just an average exert Bear
Rhona’s Last Stand – this is a powerful enough effect that I’m not worried about the untap
Lethal Sting – putting a -1/-1 counter on your own dude is less bad in black than other colors
Cartouche of Ambition – this is Amonkhet’s best black common, even with less Trials around
Devotee of Strength – an uncommon win condition in the late game
Harrier Naga – a consistently hardworking creature
Wasteland Scorpion – would be a must-play even without cycling
Wander in Death – my deck is short of good creatures, I need this card to refill my hand
Manalith – possibly good enough in this format for acceleration, definitely for color fixing
Struggle/Survive – excellent instant removal spell starting around turn four
Grim Strider – almost a bomb once your hand is nearly empty
Electrify – takes out so many targets
Crocodile of the Crossing – hasty and big
Rags/Riches – worse in this format that I guessed, still valuable
2 Bitterbow Sharpshooters – an excellent common, better than a lot of other five-drops
Scrounger of Souls – lifelink is a killer in this format, four-toughness is strong
Shefet Monitor – a no-brainer for a deck splashing a third color
Greater Sandwurm – harder to play in a sixteen-land deck, important just the same

The worst thing about this deck is the curve. No better than most two-drops are in this format, you still need one or two more than I have. It’s fairly important to have a two-drop, it’s incredibly important to have a creature to play on turn three. This deck’s curve hurt me bad in a game where I ended up in a position with four lands in play, two each Swamps and Forests, with seven cards in my hand and no ability to play any of them. I was caught with three five-drop creatures, both Gift of Strength cards, Lethal Sting and one of my red cards. I drew my second red card and was forced to discard at end of turn with no creature in play. I did not win that game.

The best thing about this deck is its late game strength. That’s what they all say, right? That’s the excuse of every deck that gets crushed because it’s too slow. This one isn’t too slow, it just has that wonky problem with its curve that can cause a problem against more aggressive decks. In long games I had two gigantic green monsters I could play along with three very relevant five-drops and Devotee of Strength. It turned out to be very important to have Wander in Death to bring back two creatures late. This effect is better in sealed than in draft. In booster draft, the decks are more different from each other. In sealed deck, your opponent is going to have a more predictable number of removal effects. Wander in Death was very valuable to this deck.

I can’t say enough good things about Sunset Pyramid. It’s easy to play on turn two if you don’t have a creature. It’s better than a creature on turn two if you don’t happen to have a third land in your hand. There was a game where I played Pyramid on turn two, after mulliganing to a five card hand, and then used Pyramid on turn three to draw an extra card and what do you know, it was my third land. Pyramid costs two to play and two to activate. After you use up your brick counters you can still activate the Pyramid to scry. Every sealed deck can make good use of one of these.

Among the cards in my pool that could have gone in the deck but didn’t, my only regret is Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs. I got stuck on that one word, ‘Wall.’ I didn’t think my deck could afford to include a creature that couldn’t attack. If I had paid more attention to my curve problem it would have been obvious that I needed this card. Also, it deals one damage to your opponent each turn. This defensive card takes who knows how much heat off of your back while dealing at least four or five damage to your opponent before it is destroyed one way or another. I left out Cradle of the Accursed, even though I like this card, because my mana base was strained enough by my red splash. I think the right move for a lot of Hour of Devastation sealed decks will be to play two colors with a bunch of Deserts as your ‘third color splash.’ I don’t think you should play Razaketh’s Rite, a tutor spell, unless you have a game-wrecking bomb. Without Weakness is a fine combat trick but nothing special. Grisly Survivor could possibly have been useful just to fill out my curve. I definitely wasn’t interested in the cycling common Moaning Wall.

July 9 – Sunday Prerelease

For Sunday prereleases, I have gotten used to visiting my good friend Erin Giddings in whatever retail establishment he is currently operating. It used to be Area 51 in Grapevine, now it’s Miniature Exchange in Grand Prairie. Along with being a good Magic retailer and longtime friend, Erin is also my partner on the annual Hunter Burton Memorial Magic Open. We’re already hard at work on the fifth annual Hunter Burton Memorial headed your way in March next year. We’re confident it will be bigger and better than ever before. Today, however, there are close to twenty of us at Miniature Exchange ready for another chance to figure out this sealed deck format.

From the moment I start opening my packs, I’m immediately more excited about this card pool than I was at the midnight prerelease.

I have fourteen red cards, a pretty good quantity to choose from. The highlights are immediately apparent, I have a Sand Strangler and a pair of Open Fire. Open Fire is probably red’s best common for sealed. Sand Strangler is probably red’s best uncommon for sealed. I don’t have a great number of Deserts with which to turn on Sand Strangler’s enter-the-battlefield ability but I have enough, a Grasping Dunes and three copies of Desert of the Fervent. There are four two-drop creatures along with Thresher Lizard, Warfire Javelineer, Hyena Pack and two copies of Granitic Titan. This isn’t a bad start. Other than the two Open Fire cards, the only other red spells are Chandra’s Defeat, a sideboard card, and Blur of Blades, a card I’m not sure is main deck worthy.

When I move on to my stack of fifteen green cards, I find a lot of stuff I like. There are a pair of one-drop Frilled Sandwalla. I wasn’t sure they would be good enough but I wanted to try them out. I have two copies of green’s best common, Ambuscade, and I have green’s best uncommon for sealed deck, Overcome. Even without any powerful rares, green looks like a great base for the deck. I have one green card that can help fix mana, Oashra Cultivator.

I have sixteen white cards including my rare prerelease foil, Adorned Pouncer. The cards I care the most about in white are Fan Bearer, Sandblast, Solitary Camel and a green and white split card, Appeal/Authority.

There are only twelve black cards in my pool. There are some good ones, but no rares or bombs. Cartouche of Ambition is still a good reason to play black. For removal I have two copies of Torment of Venom and, when there’s a black target, I have Liliana’s Defeat. The creatures aren’t much to write home about, Festering Mummy, Miasmic Mummy, Blighted Bat and Horror of the Broken Lands from Amonkhet to go with the brand-new Merciless Eternal, Grisly Survivor, Moaning Wall (just no) and Carrion Screecher. I don’t think the Cartouche and the twin Torment of Venoms (which require double black) are good enough reasons to venture into black.

Among my fifteen blue cards there is another Nimble Obstructionist, as at the midnight prerelease. There are also three copies of Seer of the Last Tomorrow. If this card milled my opponent without me needing to discard a card each time it might be interesting. I honestly believe there is a good mill deck to be had in draft based around the uncommon Desert that lets you sacrifice any Desert to mill your opponent for four cards at a time. These Seers are not the key to a clever alternate win condition, however. I have blue’s best common in Hour of Devastation, Aerial Guide. There is an Unsummon, a Cartouche of Knowledge and an Unquenchable Thirst. At the deeper end of the pool I have a Shimmerscale Drake and Lay Claim. There is a Cancel and a Tragic Lesson. I honestly believe the blue is better in Hour of Devastation than it was in Amonkhet but I still don’t trust it most of the time for sealed.

The only gold card in my pool is Appeal/Authority. This is a very good card, almost as good as Overcome and actually better in a couple of situations. Besides Grasping Dunes, my Desert choices are limited to one blue common cycling land and three red ones. There are four artifacts including two that I probably should play, Dagger of the Worthy and Manalith. There is also a Honed Khopesh, which I generally like, and Crook of Condemnation, which I think is a sideboard card. There is an Oracle’s Vault, a card that is very powerful but also slow to develop.

The green was the one color certain to be in the deck. I wavered between white and red for the second color but finally decided white was a little better with Glory-Bound Initiate and Fan Bearer and Adorned Pouncer with Sandblast and two Solitary Camels. How can I both turn on my Desert-desiring Camels and pay for a small red splash? By playing all three copies of Desert of the Fervent, the red common cycling Desert. These Deserts also ‘turn on’ two copies of Sidewinder Naga and my Sand Strangler. Here’s the deck and some reasoning for the various cards:

 

7 Forest
6 Plains
3 Desert of the Fervent
Grasping Dunes – maybe this should have been a Mountain instead, or Manalith
Fan Bearer – I used to think this was too slow because it needs two mana to tap something
2 Frilled Sandwalla – angry and fast, the threat of pumping can make them unblockable
Appeal/Authority – sure, instant speed would make this a bomb, but it’s pretty good as-is
Glory-Bound Initiate – an aggro MVP on turn two
Trueheart Duelist
Resilient Khenra – easy to play, just pick a dude that’s about to attack and pump him
Adorned Pouncer – has a very reasonable eternalize cost that you don’t mind paying
Ornery Kudu – good size for the price
Spidery Grasp – defense against flyers and a great combat trick with disguise
Sandblast – white’s best common removal spell
Harrier Naga – very solid common 3/3 for 2G
2 Open Fire – you play a three-drop, they play a three-drop, then you untap and kill theirs
2 Sidewinder Naga – with a little help from removal spells, these cheap guys can hit hard
2 Ambuscade  – green’s common MVP for the set
2 Solitary Camel  – white’s best common creature
Oracle’s Vault – lets this aggressive deck reload when it runs out of cards
Sand Strangler – we used to call these “187 creatures” because they commit murder
Overcome – the win condition in most of the games where you draw it

This deck came together beautifully and it played like a dream. I was more than pleasantly surprised with Frilled Sandwalla and Appeal/Authority was a blowout every time I played it. It was unusual for me to not have a Desert in play for my Solitary Camels and Sidewinder Nagas. Oracle’s Vault was good in a game where I quickly played out my hand. It was a bad card in a game where I was squeezed early and needed another creature. Against a powerful red/black deck that was full of removal and splashing blue for Nicol Bolas, God Pharaoh, I sided in Djeru’s Resolve and Saving Grace to protect my creatures. They each made for satisfying combat tricks as well.

I’m not sure Manalith would have fit my deck’s curve but it would have made red mana less awkward. It was bad enough that there were only three red mana sources in the deck, it was a lot worse that each of them enters the battlefield tapped. Grasping Dunes’ ability was never important. I believe I would have been better off with a Mountain or even a Plains in its place. That being said, I generally believe you want to get all the Deserts into your deck that you can if you have cards that care about Deserts. I’m glad I had a Haze of Pollen in the sideboard in case I had lost a game one to an opponent with their own Overcome. I had some good white creatures that I didn’t play, but they were expensive relative to my deck’s curve. Sand Strangler, at four mana, was my most expensive creature. I doubt my deck would have wanted Dutiful Servants, Aven of Enduring Hope or Angel of the God-Pharaoh. I can understand the idea that the six-drop Angel, thanks to it having cycling, might be better in the deck than Oracle’s Vault.

Two Different Styles of Decks

The Sunday card pool pleasantly surprised me with the ability to play a very lean and mean deck with thirteen cheap creatures and a Sand Strangler supported by so many combat tricks and removal spells. This was nothing like the slow and steady deck from Friday night. Friday night’s deck only had one chance, it had to survive long enough to play five-casting-cost creatures with big butts to stabilize the board.

I didn’t have bomb rares in either of my decks, although you can argue that Overcome is a fairly abusive uncommon. I’m happy to say that you can win without big bombs in this format if you make the most of your cards. If you don’t have bombs, you have to go low and fast and try to end games before your opponent has time to play his bombs.

In my prerelease preview article a week ago I made red my top color for sealed in Hour of Devastation. I now believe that is wrong. I think the top color is green followed in order by red, white, black and blue. I fully recognize that I may not be fully appreciating what the blue cards are trying to do. I assure you that I will go after a blue millstone deck in a booster draft soon. However, in sealed deck, I believe blue remains the least consistent and least useful color.

Late Sunday evening I pitted my two prerelease decks from the weekend against each other. I expected the fast deck from Sunday to win all the games. I was surprised to see the slower, thicker midnight deck perform almost as well as the speedier deck. The Sunday deck only barely nudged out the midnight deck, four games to three. Just for fun, I have included the play-by-play of a best-of-three-games match I played pitting these two decks against each other, the Midnight deck with green and black against the Sunday deck featuring green and white. I hope you will be able to see how these two decks represent the tug-of-war in this format between aggressive decks and slower decks with bigger creatures.

Thanks for reading.

GAME ONE

T1 Midnight keeps Forest, Survivors’ Encampment, Wasteland Scorpion, Scrounger of Souls, Wretched Camel, Devotee of Strength, Gift of Strength. Plays Forest.

T1 Sunday keeps two Plains, two Desert of the Fervent, Forest, Adorned Pouncer and Frilled Sandwalla. Draws Sidewinder Naga, plays Forest, plays Frilled Sandwalla.

T2 Midnight draws and plays Forest.

T2 Sunday draws Spidery Grasp, plays Plains, attacks with Sandwalla (19-20), plays Adorned Pouncer.

T3 Midnight draws Bitterbow Sharpshooters, plays Survivors’ Encampment, plays Devotee of Strength.

T3 Sunday draws Frilled Sandwalla, plays Plains, attacks with Sandwalla and Pouncer (16-20), plays Sidewinder Naga.

T4 Midnight draws and plays Swamp, plays Wasteland Scorpion.

T4 Sunday draws and plays Appeal targeting Adorned Pouncer, plays Authority from the graveyard tapping Devotee of Strength and Wasteland Scorpion, plays Desert of the Fervent tapped, attacks with Frilled Sandwalla and Adorned Pouncer and Sidewinder Naga (3-20).

T5 Midnight draws and plays Swamp, plays Scrounger of Souls.

T5 Sunday draws and plays Forest, attacks with Adorned Pouncer blocked by Scrounger (6-20), activates Pouncer’s eternalize ability and exiles Adorned Pouncer from the graveyard putting a 4/4 black token copy of Adorned Pouncer onto the battlefield.

T6 Midnight draws and plays Swamp, plays Bitterbow Sharpshooters.

T6 Sunday draws Ornery Kudu, cycles Desert of the Fervent drawing Overcome, plays Ornery Kudu putting a -1/-1 counter on Sidewinder Naga.

T7 Midnight draws and plays Crocodile of the Crossing putting a -1/-1 counter on Wasteland Scorpion.

T7 Sunday draws Open Fire, plays Overcome, attacks with Frilled Sandwalla and Adorned Pouncer token and Ornery Kudu and Sidewinder Naga, Bitterbow Sharpshooters and Crocodile of the Crossing and Bitterbow Sharpshooters block Pouncer, Scorpion blocks Ornery Kudu, Devotee of Strength blocks Sidewinder, Midnight chooses to have his Pouncer token deal damage first to Scrounger followed by Sharpshooters and finally Crocodile, Sunday plays Gift of Strength targeting Scrounger of Souls (2-20).

T8 Midnight draws Rags/Riches, attacks with Crocodile (2-15), plays Rags.

T8 Sunday draws Forest, plays Open Fire targeting Midnight (-1 -15).

SUNDAY DECK WINS GAME ONE ON TURN 8, LEADS MATCH 1-0

 

GAME TWO

T1 Midnight keeps two Forest, Swamp, Struggle/Survive, Wasteland Scorpion, Bitterbow Sharpshooters, Greater Sandwurm. Plays Forest.

T1 Sunday keeps two Forest, Plains, Spidery Grasp, Sandblast, Open Fire, Resilient Khenra. Draws and plays Desert of the Fervent.

T2 Midnight draws and plays Swamp.

T2 Sunday draws and plays Forest, plays Resilient Khenra targeting itself.

T3 Midnight draws Doomed Dissenter, plays Forest, plays Wasteland Scorpion.

T3 Sunday draws and plays Plains, plays Open Fire targeting Scorpion, attacks with Khenra (18-20).

T4 Midnight draws Forest, plays Swamp, plays Doomed Dissenter.

T4 Sunday draws and plays Fan Bearer, plays Plains, attacks with Resilient Khenra blocked by Dissenter, Dissenter triggers when it dies creating a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

T5 Midnight draws Gift of Strength, plays Forest, attacks with Zombie token (18-18), plays Bitterbow Sharpshooters.

T5 Sunday draws Open Fire, plays Forest, attacks with Khenra (16-18).

T6 Midnight draws and plays Forest, declares attack, Sunday activates Fan Bearer tapping Sharpshooters, attacks with Zombie token, Midnight plays Open Fire targeting Zombie token.

T6 Sunday draws Sand Strangler, attacks with Khenra (14-18).

T7 Midnight draws and plays Mountain, declares attack, Sunday activates Bearer tapping Sharpshooters.

T7 Sunday draws and plays Forest, attacks with Khenra (12-18), at end of turn Midnight plays Struggle targeting Fan Bearer.

T8 Midnight draws Shefet Monitor, attacks with Sharpshooters, Sunday plays Sandblast targeting Sharpshooters, Midnight responds playing Gift of Strength targeting Sharpshooters (12-11).

T8 Sunday draws and plays Solitary Camel.

T9 Midnight draws Sunset Pyramid, attacks with Sharpshooters blocked by Khenra and Camel, Sunday chooses to deal damage first to Camel, Sunday plays Spidery Grasp targeting Solitary Camel (12-16), Midnight plays Greater Sandwurm.

T9 Sunday draws Ambuscade, plays Sand Strangler targeting Greater Sandwurm, plays Ambuscade targeting Solitary Camel and Greater Sandwurm (12-20), attacks with Camel and Khenra (6-20).

T10 Midnight draws and plays Survivors’ Encampment, plays Shefet Monitor, plays Sunset Pyramid putting three brick counters on it as it enters the battlefield.

T10 Sunday draws Forest, attacks with Resilient Khenra blocked by Monitor.

T11 Midnight draws Swamp, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter drawing and playing Devotee of Strength.

T11 Sunday draws and plays Frilled Sandwalla, plays Resilient Khenra’s eternalize ability exiling it from the graveyard putting a black Zombie 4/4 token copy of Resilient Khenra onto the battlefield targeting Solitary Camel, attacks with Camel blocked by Monitor (6-27).

T12 Midnight draws Lethal Sting, plays Swamp, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter drawing Swamp, plays Lethal Sting putting a -1/-1 counter on Devotee of Strength and targeting and destroying the Resilient Khenra token.

T12 Sunday draws Plains, attacks with Sand Strangler and Frilled Sandwalla, Devotee blocks Strangler, Sunday pumps Sandwalla (3-27).

T13 Midnight draws and plays Scrounger of Souls, plays Swamp, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter and drawing Crocodile of the Crossing.

T13 Sunday draws and plays Plains.

T14 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Harrier Naga on top of his library, draws and plays Harrier Naga, attacks with Scrounger (6-24), plays Crocodile of the Crossing putting a -1/-1 counter on Harrier Naga.

T14 Sunday draws and plays Glory-Bound Initiate.

T15 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Forest on the bottom of his library, draws Forest.

T15 Sunday draws and cycles Desert of the Fervent drawing Plains, plays Forest.

T16 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Rhona’s Stalwart on top of his library, draws and plays Stalwart.

T16 Sunday draws and cycles Desert of the Fervent drawing and playing Trueheart Duelist.

T17 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Wretched Camel on top of his library, draws and plays Camel.

T17 Sunday draws and plays Frilled Sandwalla.

T18 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Grim Strider on top of his library, draws and plays Strider, attacks with Crocodile blocked by both Sandwallas, Sunday activates each Sandwalla one time.

T18 Sunday draws and plays Harrier Naga.

T19 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Wander in Death on top of his library, draws Wander in Death, attacks with Scrounger of Souls blocked by Harrier Naga and Frilled Sandwalla, Sunday activates Sandwalla, Midnight deals damage first to Harrier Naga (9-24), plays Forest, plays Wander in Death returning Devotee of Strength and Scrounger of Souls to his hand from the graveyard, plays Scrounger of Souls.

T19 Sunday draws Ambuscade.

T20 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Swamp on the bottom of his library, draws and plays Bitterbow Sharpshooters, plays Devotee of Strength, at end of turn Sunday plays Ambuscade targeting Sand Strangler and Devotee of Strength.

T20 Sunday draws and plays Sidewinder Naga.

T21 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Electrify on top of his library, draws Electrify, attacks with Scrounger of Souls and Bitterbow Sharpshooters, Scrounger blocked by Sidewinder Naga and Trueheart Duelist,  Midnight plays Electrify targeting Naga (12-20).

T21 Sunday draws Forest, activates Trueheart Duelist’s embalm ability exiling it from the graveyard putting a black Zombie token version of Trueheart Duelist onto the battlefield.

T22 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Forest on the bottom of his library, draws Swamp, attacks with Scrounger and Sharpshooters, Strangler and Sandwalla block Scrounger, Midnight chooses to deal damage to Strangler first, Sunday pumps Sandwalla (15-16).

T22 Sunday draws and plays Oracle’s Vault, activates Vault’s first ability putting a brick counter on it exiling Solitary Camel from the top of his library, plays Solitary Camel from exile, plays Plains.

T23 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Swamp on the bottom of his library, plays Cartouche of Ambition enchanting Grim Strider putting a -1/-1 counter on Frilled Sandwall, Sunday responds pumping Sandwalla, Midnight plays Swamp.

T23 Sunday draws Forest, activates Vault putting a second brick counter on it exiling Grasping Dunes from the top of his library, plays Grasping Dunes.

T24 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Gift of Strength on top of his library, attacks with Sharpshooters and Grim Strider, Camel and Initiate and Duelist token block Grim Strider, Midnight plays Gift of Strength targeting Strider (25-12).

T24 Sunday draws and plays Adorned Pouncer, activates Vault putting a third brick counter on it exiling Overcome from the top of his library, plays Forest.

T25 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Rhona’s Last Stand on top of his library, draws and plays Rhona’s Last Stand creating a green 5/4 Snake creature token, attacks with Grim Strider and Sharpshooters, Pouncer blocks Strider (32-8).

T25 Sunday draws Appeal/Authority, activates Vault’s second ability exiling Sidewinder Naga from the top of his library, plays Sidewinder Naga from exile, activates Adorned Pouncer’s eternalize ability exiling it from his graveyard putting a 4/4 black Zombie token version of Adorned Pouncer onto the battlefield.

T26 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying and putting Rags/Riches on top of his library, draws Rags/Riches, attacks with Grim Strider blocked by Pouncer token (39-8).

T26 Sunday draws Plains (has one card left in library), CONCEDES.

MIDNIGHT DECK WINS GAME TWO ON TURN 26, TIES MATCH 1-1

 

GAME THREE

T1 Sunday keeps Forest, Desert of the Fervent, Appeal/Authority, Resilient Khenra, Glory-Bound Initiate, Ornery Kudu and Solitary Camel. Plays Desert of the Fervent tapped.

T1 Midnight keeps two Swamps, Forest, Bitterbow Sharpshooters, Rags/Riches, Lethal Sting and Rhona’s Stalwart. Draws Harrier Naga, plays Swamp.

T2 Sunday draws and plays Forest, plays Resilient Khenra.

T2 Midnight draws Mountain, plays Forest, plays Rhona’s Stalwart.
T3 Sunday draws and plays Forest, attacks with Khenra (18-20), plays Ornery Kudu putting a -1/-1 counter on Khenra.

T3 Midnight draws Forest, plays Mountain, plays Harrier Naga.

T4 Sunday draws and plays Forest.

T4 Midnight draws and plays Forest, plays Lethal Sting putting a -1/-1 counter on Rhona’s Stalwart targeting and destroying Ornery Kudu, attacks with Harrier Naga blocked by Khenra.

T5 Sunday draws Open Fire, plays Forest.

T5 Midnight draws Forest, plays Swamp, attacks with Naga and Stalwart, Sunday plays Open Fire targeting Harrier Naga (18-19), plays Bitterbow Sharpshooters.

T6 Sunday draws and plays Forest, activates the eternalize ability of Resilient Khenra exiling it from the graveyard putting a black Zombie 4/4 token version of Resilient Khenra onto the battlefield.

T6 Midnight draws and plays Forest, attacks with Sharpshooters blocked by Resilient Khenra token.

T7 Sunday draws and plays Sidewinder Naga.

T7 Midnight draws Struggle.

T8 Sunday draws and plays Plains, attacks with Naga (14-19), plays Solitary Camel.

T8 Midnight draws and plays Forest, plays Rags.

T9 Sunday draws Trueheart Duelist, plays Glory-Bound Initiate.

T9 Midnight draws and plays Sunset Pyramid putting three brick counters on it as it enters the battlefield, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter drawing Scrounger of Souls, plays Forest, plays Scrounger of Souls.

T10 Sunday draws Plains, plays Trueheart Duelist.

T10 Midnight draws Wander in Death, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter drawing and playing Swamp, attacks with Scrounger of Souls (17-16), plays Swamp, plays Wander in Death returning Bitterbow Sharpshooters and Harrier Naga from the graveyard to his hand, plays Bitterbow Sharpshooters.

T11 Sunday draws and cycles Desert of the Fervent drawing Plains, plays Appeal targeting Glory-Bound Initiate, plays Authority from the graveyard tapping Bitterbow Sharpshooters, attacks with Glory-Bound Initiate exerting it and attacking with Trueheart Duelist (9-22).

T11 Midnight draws and plays Forest, activates Pyramid removing a brick counter drawing Greater Sandwurm, attacks with Scrounger and Sharpshooters, Initiate and Duelist block Scrounger (12-18), plays Greater Sandwurm.

T12 Sunday draws Ambuscade, activates the embalm ability of Trueheart Duelist exiling it from the graveyard putting a black Zombie token version of Trueheart Duelist onto the battlefield.

T12 Midnight activates Pyramid scrying putting Shefet Monitor on top of his library, draws Monitor, attacks with Sandwurm and Sharpshooters, Duelist token blocks Sharpshooters, Sunday plays Ambuscade targeting Duelist token and Sharpshooters (12-11), plays Shefet Monitor.

T13 Sunday draws Forest, CONCEDES.

MIDNIGHT DECK WINS GAME THREE ON TURN 13, WINS MATCH 2-1

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