WB Vampires > GW Dinosaurs

GW Dinosaurs > UR Pirates

Carinne did her first best-of-three match playing her favorite deck (GW Dinos) versus the most inconsistent of the top tier decks (UR Pirates). I lucked into a fantastic draw in the first game and was able to get the only flyer in the deck onto the board with a Curious Obsession in the first few turns. Thereafter, I was drawing a card a turn, and then I got Vance's Blasting Cannons, which is basically like drawing an extra card per turn. Pretty soon I was discarding cards to stay under the card limit while hitting hard with Raid effects every turn. Carinne stayed in the game with Verdant Sun's Avatar, but my early lead was too much to come back from (though in the end it was quite close). The next two games resolved in Carinne's favor, though they were both pretty close as well. The second game finished something like 15 life to -7 or something, but I was still getting lots of attacks in and could have pulled off a win had a couple things gone my way. The final game was a solid back-and-forth match. Overall the dino deck is probably a little better, but these are close enough to have fun, competitive games more times than not.

UG Merfolk Round Robin (2-2)

VS. WB VAMPIRES My new deck got off to a great start, with a bunch of Merfolk in my opening hand, all of which cared about other Merfolk, and an enchantment that produced more Merfolk every time I cast a Merfolk spell. Meanwhile, Carinne got stuck on three mana and unfortunately had a bunch of 4-drops in hand. Before we knew it, I had eight creatures in play, two of which were unblockable, and I cruised to an uncontested victory. VS. WG DINOSAURS Things flipped on the Merfolk as soon as they went against a deck with some answers. Carinne managed to 2-for-1 me and disrupt my Merfolk synergies, which weren't as strong in this game as they were in the last. Pretty soon, I had an empty board and was drawing nothing, while she had a 7/7 land and a bunch of dinos swinging for lethal. In the end, she won 19 to -10 life! VS. UR PIRATES This was a pretty straightforward game focused on creature combat with some minor decisions about the order in which you time your plays. Both decks got a little bit of their tribal synergies going, but for the most part it was 2/2s attacking into other 2/2s. We were both down to under 5 life, and I chose to double-block one of two attackers, letting damage through from the other. After that, Carinne hit me with a Lightning Strike for the win! VS. WU ASCEND Merfolk officially graduated to the big leagues with a victory against the might WU Ascend deck. I got off to a quick start with Merfolk that had various abilities triggering as they entered the battlefield and Deeproot Waters pumping out more Merfolk. Carinne's board generally kept pace, but she held back in order to reach ten permanents and get the City's Blessing. Meanwhile, I started attacking with a 5/5 flyer, which put a pretty rapid clock on the game, and I also got Navigator's Ruin down, so I was able to mill Carinne for four cards every turn. A combat trick got my flyer to 7/7 and removed her Air Elemental, but she eventually bounced him just as I was on the verge of victory via damage. A few turns--and thus a few attacks--later, her deck ran dry, and I won for the first time ever through decking an opponent!

RW Aggro Round Robin (0-4)

Another deck built from the leftovers of Carinne's top tier decks, RW Aggro is an agglomeration of aggressive creatures and combat tricks in Red and White. There might be a slight lean toward Dinosaurs, but there are some Pirates in here too. Unfortunately, working with the dregs of the set, I was forced to include cards that simply don't fit with the overall strategy or that require synergies that don't exist in this deck. VS. WB VAMPIRES RW came out swinging--and I mean *swinging*--in this one, which is an unusual stance for the decks Carinne's been playing against. She defaulted to attacking instead of defending, which is probably the way to go most of the time, but in this case, she probably could have started holding back earlier. Bonded Horncrest was an absolute beating, and she was quickly down to just a few life before she realized that her Everdawn Champion could block it all day and live to tell the tale. As soon as she started playing defensively, the game shifted. She bought herself time to draw and play removal, gain a little life, and finally start attacking for yet another win for the Vampires. VS. RU PIRATES I could tell on the second turn was going to be a rough game. Things were already looking bad with the 0/3 1-drop that cared about Dinosaurs with none of them in my hand. Then I drew a card that cared about Pirates with no other Pirates around either. I kindly showed Carinne how to 2-for-1 me with her Lightning Strike, and that pretty much killed my early game. She subsequently played Captivating Crew, which I didn't even realize, so I just played Bonded Horncrest right into it and was getting smacked for 11 on the next turn. The game ended without her taking a single point of damage! VS. WG DINOSAURS Carinne was worried she should have mulliganed on this one, but I was the one who should have. I started with just two lands and didn't see another one until I'd been forced to discard two cards to stay under the hand limit. Meanwhile, Carinne had gotten both her favorite cards into play and was at 32 life. I finally got my third land out and got some removal in, but it was too late, and I lost just a few turns later, 33 to -3 life! VS. WU ASCEND RW finally got the start it needed with a Frenzied Raptor coming out on the second turn thanks to Kinjali's Caller on the first. I dropped two more creatures on the third turn. Despite the fast start, I wasn't able to do much. Carinne put a Waterknot on the Frenzied Raptor, and she was still at 15 life. I got a few more hits in and manage to pull off a couple combat tricks, but my deck ran out of steam pretty quickly. Meanwhile, she had built up her board and was attacking with a 6/5 and a 5/5 flyer. Needless to say, I promptly lost, 12 to -8 life!

UB "Treasure" Round Robin (1-3)

After posting mediocre results against the scrapheap decks I was playing, we demoted the UB "Treasure" deck to my (lower) tier of decks to play against Carinne's (upper) tier of decks. In the end, it looks like its initial pod was simply weak, as it went 0-4 (or 1-3, depending on how you look at it) against Carinne's suite of decks. VS. WB VAMPIRES I can see why this deck is tough to play, as it requires judgment calls about timing your removal, tutoring up cards, and when to use your Treasure. It might also just be weak. I felt like I was making some neat decisions, but Carinne completely steamrolled me with the Vampires deck, finishing with 24 life. Ouch! VS. RU PIRATES This was an extremely close game, with Carinne down to 1 life on her final turn before she got in a massive swing for 14 damage that won the game. Both sides of the battlefield filled up quickly, creating some complex situations. Unfortunately, the UB deck really wants a much slower game and is simply outclassed by these other decks. I wonder if I could have played this a little more defensively (as in the last game below), giving the deck more of a chance to develop its long-term advantage, if it even has one. VS. WG "DINOSAURS" (MERFOLK) This might be Carinne's favorite deck, as it's got Verdant Sun's Avatar and Waker of the Wilds, both of which she really likes. The latter got into play in this game alongside a host of other dinos and merfolk. I was stuck on three mana for most of the game with a hand ful of 4-drops, so this was pretty much a no-contest. VS. WU ASCEND A poor draw (even after a mulligan) put WU on its back foot, and I got the best start I've seen from the UB deck. Instead of attacking, I held back, building up the Deadeye Plunderers and hoping to draw Revel in Riches for a fun finish. Meanwhile, Carinne had just one creature out for most of the game, so I was able to get little bits of damage in on the edges. Carinne did a good job slowing me down by repeatedly bouncing Deadeye Plunderers, but I had no problem getting it back into play, stronger than before. Eventually, with Captain's Hook on it, it was an 11/9 with menace, which was nearly impossible to deal with. Nonetheless, I was at 4 life, and Carinne was able to untap her Elaborate Firecannon for an extra 2 damage. I could have played Dreamcaller Siren, untapping and blocking with Deadeye Plunderers, and then attacking for the win on my next turn. But for the sake of maintaining good spirits, I declined this option, surrendering to the as-of-yet undefeated WU Ascend deck.

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