Pattern Recognition #317 - Slow Grow 6: THE END

Features Opinion Pattern Recognition

berryjon

28 March 2024

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Hello Everyone! My name is berryjon, and I welcome you all to Pattern Recognition, TappedOut.Net's longest running article series. Also the only one. I am a well deserved Old Fogey having started the game back in 1996. My experience in both Magic and Gaming is quite extensive, and I use this series to try and bring some of that to you. I dabble in deck construction, mechanics design, Magic's story and characters, as well as more abstract concepts. Or whatever happens to catch my fancy that week. Please, feel free to talk about each week's subject in the comments section at the bottom of the page, from corrections to suggested improvements or your own anecdotes. I won't bite. :) Now, on with the show!


WEEK 5

Ah, Week 5. I'm in the top half of the tournament, but not exactly anywhere near winning special prizes. Time to just have some fun then!

Except that things have changed. In response to some actions taken by the players, the points value for certain actions have changed. Here, let me show you...

Week 5 Points

This was basically response to the top players running away with things. +15 points for taking down the person in 1st, and +10 for 2nd through 4th. No, you can't claim a bounty if you have one on yourself. This experiment... didn't work, as we'll see next week.

IN: Saheeli, Filigree Master, Thought Monitor, Filigree Attendant, Master of Etherium, Master Transmuter
OUT: Endless Atlas, Scrabbling Claws, Geode Golem, Scuttling Doom Engine, Ancient Stone Idol

Putting in more Artifact Synergies, and taking out gimmick and narrow utility cards. Endless Atlas is better served in a mono-colour deck, Scrabbling Claws is anti-graveyard, of which I haven't seen anything worth anti-yarding, and the rest are all gimmicks. They're done.

ROUND 13 - FIGHT!

Mirko, Obsessive Theorist is first, Anowon, the Ruin Thief is second, Pantlaza, Sun-Favored is third, and I'm fourth.

On turn 1, the Ruin Thief goes Island, Mana Crypt, Sensei's Diving Top, Nightveil Sprite. Pass.

Me and Pants declare truce because we're playing (more) Fair Magic.

Ruin Thief quickly gets Bolas's Citadel, and burns himself down to 1 trying to draw a wincon. He doesn't but he's confident he can survive the turn. I prove him wrong when I cast Saheeli, Filigree Master, make two Thopters, and kill him.

Lesson Taught: Don't get cheeky, and assume that your opponents will cooperate with your plans.

Sadly, the Mirko deck doesn't care, and reanimates Toxrill, the Corrosive and Syr Konrad, the Grim. Against my board of Thopters and Servos. That's game. I take second on life totals.

ROUND 14 - FIGHT!

Morska is first, I'm Second, Pants is back and in third, and Kaust in fourth.

I get first blood with Saheeli, Sun's Brilliance on the Pants player, the only open hit. But don't worry, they get me back! You see, they have Hunting Velociraptor on Turn 3 (after I hit them) and then on turn 4, they Prowl out Etali, Primal Conqueror  Flip.

I flip over my card.

I very loudly go "Oh SHIT!" and then promptly apologize to everyone because that's bad. And I remind the Pants player that if they kill me with my own Blightsteel, then I take it with me out of the game. They're OK with that.

Then I look at my hand. And I look again. And then again. Because I have answers.

I have Saheeli. I have Echo Storm (and others....), and my Commander is in play.

I decide... you know what's better than a Single Blightsteel?

The turn rolls to me, and I cast Echo Storm! I make Two Blightsteels! BWAHAHAHAHAA!

No one has any real responses, but the Morksa player says they are very glad that they have Farewell in their deck.

On their turn, Pants swings at Kaust, and Kaust blocks to take 5 Poison and generate a lot of tokesn in the process. An insect that makes 1/1s equal to the amount of damage it receives. Morska holds back, and on my turn, I uptick Saheeli to reduce the cost of my next spell by thanks to my Artifacts, and I cast and kick Rite of Replication onto the Blightsteel controlled by Pants, because I'm sensing removal is still in play. And if I want something to be removed, it will be a Blightsteel not controlled by me!

Morksa tries to cast In Too Deep on the Blightsteel, but doesn't realize that Split Second does not grant Flash. It's a bad cast, and I'm now up to 7 BLIGHTSTEELS

Everyone starts to panic at this point, and Kaust throws down a Galadriel's Dismissal on me, hoping that Pants will take me down with my own Blightsteel.

They don't see that I still have three mana open thanks to Saheeli's cost reduction, and that the original Blightsteel is still in play.

Guess what?

I still have a Blightsteel

Everyone sits back and braces because while Pants could trade Blightsteel to Blightsteel, they want to see this go down.

My turn rolls around.

I phase my creatures back in.

I activate Saheeli, Sun's Brilliance to make another Blightsteel. For those of you at home, that's 2 from Echo Storm, 5 from Rite, 1 Sculpting Steel, 1 Brilliance.

Oh, did I mention that Saheeli, the Gifted was at 7?

Yeah.

I win.

Morska starts flipping their library. Farewell is two cards down.

Out of respect for the sheer insanity I just put down, everyone throws their Commander in the way, so I get the points for Commander Kills as well, then they reset to before that and play it out for second (after Morska shuffles and Pants gives up his (my) Blightsteel.

Best Game of the Tournament, right there.

ROUND 15 - FIGHT!

I go first! Woo-Hoo! Marneus Calgar is second. And Marneus Calgar Number 2 is Third, with Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher last.

I get first blood on Calgar 1 with a Loyal Apprentice, and Carmen tries to control the board with a Turn 4 Cataclysm.

I keep Highland Lake, Saheeli, the Gifted, Loyal Apprentice and token:Servo, which really doesn't hurt me at all as I play an Island, then get a second servo from the Apprentice before upticking Saheeli to cast Hedron Archive on turn 5. So yeah, that Cataclysm did nothing to me, but it pretty much took Calgar 2 out of the game.

Then Carmen casts Toxic Deluge for all their life, killing themselves, and taking the bonus points for that. Calgar 1 puts out a Mana Crypt, and well, it does nothing. Over the remaining 6 turns of the game, he avoids damage each time, even when it would kill him for the last 4 turns.

But it's down to me and Calgar 1 with 2 sitting pretty and watching things happen.

I resolve a Myr Battlesphere and attack. I can't get though Calgar 1's blockers, but he's at three life. I don't have to. I tap three Myr to the Battlesphere's ability, and he responds with Sisters of Silence. FRAK! I slam down an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, and he empties his hand to cast Force of Negation, pitching Belisarius Cawl to it.

I fail to kill him, and he kills me on the crack-back, so I take third.

Outside of the second game, and the last play-counter-play-counter, this week was not that interesting. I'm solidly out of major prizing, so I'm pretty much coasting at this point. We'll see how it goes.


WEEK 6

Let's get this out of the way.

Week 6 Points

Please note that Getting points for the opponent casting 4 or more spells (designed to stop the Bolas's Citadel and Sensei's Divining Top) and the 'Opponent Takes an Extra Turn' (designed to punish the Tivit, Seller of Secrets combo with Time Sieve) were for each instance.

Things at other tables would get out of hand.

IN: Feldon of the Third Path, Mizzium Transreliquat, Terisian Mindbreaker
OUT: Vedalken Humiliator Steel Hellkite Mirrorworks

Putting in two better copiers, and removing one that isn't. The Hellkite just doesn't do anything for me, so it gets replaced by the Mindbreaker to rip someone's deck apart. The Humiliator is fun, but if I'm swinging, it's with something that doesn't need his effect. it's good, just not for me.

I could have used my two last switches to touch up the mana base, but honestly? It's worked for me from start to finish. Switching out the Foundry for the Fair was reasonable, and everything has has been perfect for me.

ROUND 16 - FIGHT!

I go first, Shorakai is second, a Calgar is third, and Morska is fourth. I have Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice in my opening hand, and he gets me first Blood. 2 mana and Haste? Yes please!

Shorakai throws down an Austere Command, but makes a mistake and can't crew their Vehicles to kill Saheeli. Their loss, not mine! I drop a Blightsteel and the Transrelquiat. I take out Shorokai, and then roll a natural 20 on my Bluff Check to Morska's Natural 1 on the Sense Motive.

He wants me to kill Calgar with my Blights and he says he can make one unblockable if I commit. I tell Calgar that yes, I'm his friend, and tell Morska that if he wants me to swing, he needs to commit to the unblockable first.

He casts Shadow Rift on the Blightsteel.

I attack Morska. With the unblockable Blightsteel. Because I never promised I would attack just Calgar.

What follows is... not my greatest hour, or theirs. I relent on the attack and do nothing, but Morska holds a grudge. Morska focus-fires on me, and takes me down, leaving me in third.

ROUND 17 - CASUAL!

ROUND 18 - CASUAL!

No notes here or for the last rounds. We were just being casual as our range of results were assured, and the last round was pick-your-opponent except for the top 8.

Let me tell you, my deck, and Planechase where the second Plane is Antarctic Research Base? Well, the only reason people didn't get off of that as fast as humanly possible was because I had Blinkmoth Urn in play, and they thought they could use the free mana to their advantage. But not as good as I can!

I end up in 15th overall with 107 points, and the winner had 158 points. I got a few packs of Murders - I would have gotten LotR for my dad, but they were out. Oh well.


So... about those points. By week 4, it was pretty obvious who was going to win, so the Judge tried to set bounties on the top players without realizing why they were winning. Namely, they were all running Infinite Combos of some sort. Tivit was winning with infinite turns, and making his Commander unblockable, meaning that they were also getting Commander Kills on everyone.

Simply put, the game was won from the start on the points. Yes, I can understand letting loose some restrictions, but in the words of Mark Rosewater, Restricitons Breed Creativity. Week Five was over-correction. Week 6? Well, players discovered that they could farm infinite points.

At the last round, the second table had three players running Infinite (4+ Spells a Turn, and Turns). The fourth player was my brother, who was running what started out as a Zedruu the Greathearted but modified to be Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker and Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar. The latter was at my suggestion as I was planning on building that deck in the future. He was unhappy with this as it meant that he couldn't actually play the deck he wanted.

Anyway, one of the cards in his deck was Jotun Grunt, and because of that card, he could cycle back his opponent's decks. Which means they could cast spells on their turn to drive up everyone's points, take an extra turn and no one would ever run out of cards.

By the time time was called on the last round, they had amassed over 100 points. Each.

The Judge needed to make a hard decision, and there were no good options.

I think part of the problem was that in making things to open, he made things too easy to exploit. And yes, I also think he was being too reactive in mixing things up. That he let what his players do dictate how he acted.

I am no, however, going to just sit here and complain about things. I have been doing these reports for five years now, and I enjoy the Tournament style. So I'm going to sit on things, think them over and make some notes, including reading over previous years. I have some preliminary ideas, and in a couple months, I think I'll draft a proposal for a scoring system for next year's Slow Grow.

I'll run it by you guys first, just for some feedback. I hope. You get pretty quiet some months.


My deck.

I loved it.

Yes, I despise New Phyrexia and Infect, but Blightsteel Colossus was a good choice, and every time it hit the table, it did good work. I never did get to put in Wurmcoil Engine, but if I had to build this deck from the ground up rather than work with the precon, I think I would.

Saheeli, the Gifted is a great Commander, and she synergizes well with whatever way to take her. Big Artifacts? Go Wide? use her second ability to cast cheaper spells? There's no real way that is wrong to take her. She just does good work, even if you never fire off her final ability.

But when she does? Well, she's from that school of thought were a Planeswalker's ultimate should BE ultimate, and end the game straight out.

Honestly, I don't regret this deck choice, and I don't regret the decisions I made. I had a plan, I stuck to it, and it rewarded me with decent results when I wasn't getting stomped. I still have a small stack of cards I wanted to put into the deck, but as I mentioned earlier, at this point, improving the deck would involve a total rebuild. Bosh was fun, but he didn't really settle into the deck like I hoped. Oh well, learning experience.

Definitely some more/better removal, and the Land base could use a rebuild. Forge of Heroes just doesn't do anything!

Well, here is the deck at the end of everything. Feedback is always appreciated.


Slow Grow 24 - Saheeli the Gifted

Commander / EDH berryjon

29 VIEWS | IN 1 FOLDER


As for next year, what will I choose? I'm not sure yet. I'm thinking either the Deserts precon from Outlaws - sight unseen, the Kardur, Doomscourge Starter Commander Precon, or something different based on what comes out over the coming year. There's going to be a lot of options.

Or I'll get on my knees and beg my dad to let me take his Doctor Who deck out for a spin. Probably The Third Doctor and Romana II, and make all the tokens.

I don't know yet. I'll have to think about it, and make sure my proposed points set doesn't reward me for playing that deck.

Thank you all for reading. I'll see you next week with something else. What? I'm not sure yet.

Until then, please consider donating to my Pattern Recognition Patreon. Yeah, I have a job (now), but more income is always better, and I can use it to buy cards! I still have plans to do a audio Pattern Recognition at some point, or perhaps a Twitch stream. And you can bribe your way to the front of the line to have your questions, comments and observations answered!

This article is a follow-up to Pattern Recognition #316 - Suspend The next article in this series is Pattern Recognition #318 - Bragging to Victory

berryjon says... #1

Sorry everyone, nothing for this week (28 Mar). Lack of energy and focus, sadly.

March 27, 2024 8:19 p.m.

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