Greetings, readers and bored people with eyes! I’ve got an interesting turn from standard super series at GP Providence. I was playing a midrange Jeskai deck based around Soulfire Grand Master and Ojutai’s Command that included the awesome “combo” of Dragonlord Ojutai and Stratus Dancer. I’ll post the exact decklist at the end of this article. I had survived 6 of the 7 rounds in the event while only picking up a single match loss to Esper dragons and I was crushed. So at 5-1 I get paired against green red devotion playing for a slot in top 8. We split the first two games, he steals a win by hitting back to back copies of Dragonlord Atarka the turn before I would win the race. Then a Mantis Rider deals 15 itself and a Soulfire Grand Master looped a Lightning Strike to finish the second game. In game 3 I kept a hand of lands, two Soulfire Grand Masters, and an Ojutai’s Command. This is a very slow hand but still a fine keep since I knew he had boarded in Anger of the Gods and Plummets and made his deck much slower. On the draw I’m more likely to assume a controlling role, at least in the early game, and had boarded out Goblin Rabblemasters accordingly. In hindsight, that was likely a mistake.
Rabblemaster can force my opponent to overextend and gum up the ground only to be blown out by one of my sideboard copies of Anger of the Gods. I was worried about having too many cards that are bad on defense or don’t attack from enough angles. Regardless, the game began with us both playing lands and passing for a few turns. My first play was a turn two Soulfire Grand Master off of a Mystic Monastery and an Island. He played a Haven of the Spirit Dragon and a Hornet Nest off of a Temple of Abandon, Forest, Haven of the Spirit Dragon. I untapped and because I saw Anger of the Gods and Crater’s Claws in the previous games, I decided to attack with my Grand Master. He chumped with the Horest’s Nest and made two insect tokens. I played a second Grand Master and a land and I passed. My opponent played a Deathmist Raptor and another forest and left his tokens back. I drew, played a fourth land (untapped) and passed with Ojutai’s Command up. My opponent played a Forest and a Whisperwood Elemental. I countered it and drew a card, a land. He passed, I drew another land, making my hand, Ojutai, 3 lands, and a disdainful stroke and this is where everything started to go wrong. I had feared Claws/Anger/Roast earlier I had left those two bees in play and they made my Ojutai slightly anemic. The Ojutai still represents a threat but I’m forced to answer the insect tokens first. On my fifth turn I decided to attack with both Grand Masters offering him an amazing trade so that he would lose the bees and then Ojutai could race his follow up Whisperwood or Polukranos. The Disdainful Stroke and my card off Ojutai could hopefully beat the Atarka that I felt like he had in hand. Atarka is one of the most powerful cards in devotion and one of the only payoffs that makes his weird, slow hand a keep. If I leave the Soulfires in play he will notice that next turn I can start buying back stroke with 6 mana. So he will cast his best 6 mana or less threat on his turn 6 because he can’t let me untap on turn 6 with a stroke under little pressure. This convinced me that tapping out was correct and also convinced me to attack so tapping out for the dragon could pay dividends quickly.
So, to review, I have three real options on my turn:
— Attack with my Grandmasters, trade for the insect Tokens, play Ojutai.
— Play Ojutai, don’t attack, try to loop my stroke and wait to draw burn for the Insect Tokens.
— Don’t attack and pass the turn after playing a land, keeping up stroke. This play leads to possibly playing Ojutai on 7 mana, leaving up stroke.
— The last option(s) involves only attacking with one Grand Master then either casting the Ojutai or passing.
What would you guys do? Here’s some information that might help your decision.
– There’s two copies of Anger of the Gods in my deck, they would let me kill the tokens and attack with Ojutai, gaining a ton of life from Soulfire.
– I took out my Rabblemasters and Outbursts so the bees are unlikely to ever trade for other tokens unless I draw Elspeth.
-There’s at least three Stokes and 2/3 lightning strikes left in the deck and 3 Valorous Stances. The burn can kill the tokens and the Stances can answer other resolved threats or protect Ojutai from Plummet, which he likely has in his deck.
So, let me know what you would do in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. As a parting gift I’ll leave you with the way the game ended, be warned, it’s not for those of you with weak stomachs.
I traded my grand masters for a bee each and tapped out for Ojutai. He played a Forest and tapped out for Arbor Colossus!!! I drew a land and took 9 from Colossus and Raptor. He added an Elvish Mystic. I drew a Stoke and had to trade it and the Ojutai for the Colossus and fell to 6 from the Raptor and Mystic. I fell to two on the next hit and drew another Stoke that killed the Raptor and the elf hit me to one. I drew a land and was defeated by a 1/1 for one that’s main purpose is to tap for mana, so sad! That’s all I’ve got for this one, hope to hear your opinions and I’ll be back soon with modern Scapeshift ramblings or more standard Jeskai.
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