Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yukora & Friends

Blogger sucks. Why? Because when you copy & paste from another website or even a text editor, all line breaks are lost. So the decklists and paragraphs in the previous posts all came out like a giant block of text and I had to manually make it readable. In that sense, I lied about not editing. It is 3:30 am, I am tired, and even though this was the post that sparked my interest in archiving these "articles" here, I am going to leave it a giant block of text for now.


Oh my god, Iwamori, look at her butt. It's so big. It looks like one of those Kami guys' girlfriends. Who understands those Kami guys? They only talk to her because she looks like a total Prisoner, ok? I mean her butt, It's just so big. I can't believe it's so round. It's just out there. I mean, it's gross. Look, she's just so Black. ... Sir Beats-In-Face presents: I like big beats and I cannot lie ... or These Beats are Made for Walkin' (Standard Legal) This is a deck I put together after browsing my old deck files. I came across my SuiBlack deck from the glorious but short time that Black Hand was popular and winning. Staring back at me was Yukora, the Prisoner. She looked pretty pissed. "Why aren't you playing me?! A 5/5 body for 4 isn't good enough for you anymore?!" Well, actually it is. Come, follow me, and bring your friends along. // Lands 5 Swamp 5 Forest 4 Llanowar Wastes 4 Overgrown Tomb 1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse 1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers // Creatures 4 Sakura-Tribe Elder 3 Arashi, the Sky Asunder 3 Kokusho, the Evening Star 4 Yukora, the Prisoner 3 Iwamori of the Open Fist/Hunted Troll // Spells 4 Putrefy 4 Umezawa's Jitte 3 Last Gasp 3 Hideous Laughter 2 Night of Souls' Betrayal 2 Rampant Growth 2 Farseek 3 Sensei's Divining Top Five-Finger Discount was probably my most complicated deck to play. Rats, Dredgimation, and now Yukora & Friends (aka The Fantastic Four) are all very straightforward. One premise behind Yukora & Friends was to skirt most of the removal in the format. In my earlier games, my opponents were relying on Last Gasp, Hideous Laughter, Shock, Lightning Helix, and Char to deal with creatures. You have to two or three for 1 to kill my fatties. My opponents also relied heavily on weenie rushes. Once again, to kill my creatures you would need to double and triple block them. Another underlying premise of Yukora & Friends was having cards in hand. My previous standard deck, Dredgimation, ran your hand down to nothing pretty quick and lived off the top of your deck (well, top 3 cards, thanks to Top). My even earlier standard deck, RW Weenie, emptied its hand very quickly. With this, you only need to play one creature at a time. The rest of your cards can stay in hand. If I play Yukora on turn 3, you now have to deal with a 5/5 and do it quickly. Once you do, I can lay another 5/5 and repeat all game. I rarely put more than one creature on the field at a time. Now how do we play this: In your opening hand, you want to see at least 2 land, an accelerant, and a 4cc fattie. The "God Hand" (tm) is as follows: Overgrown Tomb Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers/Forest Shizo, Death's Storehouse/Swamp Sakura-Tribe Elder Iwamori of the Open Fist Umezawa's Jitte Last Gasp/Putrefy/Night of Souls' Betrayal Turn 1: Overgrown Tomb Turn 2: Okina, Sakura-Tribe Elder EOT: Sacrifice Elder for a Forest Turn 3: Shizo, Iwamori Turn 4: Jitte, equip, administer savage beats to opponent's face Turn 5: Liberally reapply prescription beatings at a higher dosage The deck has undergone a few weeks of testing (originally designed on my mother's birthday, December 10th) and right now this is the semi-optimal build. I am still tooling around with it and only recently added in the Tops and accelespells (in place of Golgari Signets to act as shuffle effects). It used to have a problem with reaching 5+ mana but now I usually sit around 6-7, allowing me to consider increasing the number of higher cost fatties (all of whom used to be 4-ofs). Night of Souls' Betrayal is a brick (da da da da) house. If my opponent is laying down Goblins, Elves, Bobs, or Birds in the first few turns, I will play NoSB on turn 3 without even thinking about a fattie. It wipes the board cleaner than a fourth grader in detention. I usually kill two or three creatures. I have killed five or six at once. I have even garnered a concession upon laying NoSB, as my opponent could not play any creature in his deck. "Night of Souls' Betrayal. Kills decks. Dead." Umezawa's Jitte is mandatory. I was playing with O-Naginata to ensure Yukora had trampling and it beat some serious face. But my opponents were winning anyway thanks to Jitte counters. Even with 4 Putrefy and creature removal, I still had a hell of a time dealing with Jittes. So I added four of my own and, as with any card so broken, it wins games. It, too, has earned a concession after playing out the "God Hand" (tm) detailed above. I am still not sold on whether I prefer Farseek or Rampant Growth. I have only tested them a few games now and either one does the job just fine. If I keep running into Blood Moon Goblins, though, I will go with the Rampant Growth because it can grab forests. Sensei's Divining Top is the latest addition. The deck had nothing to do turn 1 and it had little to do on later turns besides cast a removal spell or creature, so the Top came in. So far, it has worked well but not stunningly. Still, I think I would keep 2 maindeck at a minimum. Here is the sideboard, in all its glory: // Sideboard SB: 1 Kokusho, the Evening Star SB: 1 Hunted Troll SB: 1 Hideous Laughter SB: 2 Night of Souls' Betrayal SB: 2 Rampant Growth SB: 2 Farseek SB: 1 Sensei's Divining Top SB: 4 Iwamori of the Open Fist/Hunted Troll SB: 4 O-Naginata SB: 4 Gleancrawler SB: 4 Naturalize SB: 4 Plague Boiler SB: 4 Kodama of the North Tree SB: 4 Wood Elves SB: 4 Phyrexian Arena The top half is just making the 2 and 3 ofs in the deck a full playset. I see-saw back and forth between running Iwamori and Hunted Troll in the maindeck. Iwamori is the better beater but he wins games for your opponent if they are playing GhaziGlare or Greater Gifts. Hunted Troll is a safe bet if you have NoSB in play or Hideous Laughter in hand. As a bonus, he regenerates, so you typically only open him up to Last Gasp if you use NoSB. I usually maindeck Hunted Troll when I am looking for games and then decide whether to board in Iwamori after seeing my opponent's deck. Against UB Fish, Goblins, Heartbeat Combo, and other decks with few or no Legends, Iwamori comes in. Against others, I keep the Troll. O-Naginata is not seeing much play of late. I usually do not want to drop removal for it and I rarely need the speed it gives my clock. Gleancrawler and Kodama of the North Tree are the more expensive fatties I am considering. I can easily see throwing them in for Arashi against non-flyer decks. As with Dredgimation, I like to have 4 Gleancrawler alongside 4 Kokusho for some disgusting life swings. Naturalize is very close to being a maindeck card. I am sick and tired of Greater Good and Glare of Subdual and Faith's Fetters. Wood Elves and Phyrexian Arena are from earlier versions of the deck. The elves were cut because I want to play something for 4 on turn 3 and the Arena was replaced by the Tops. Plague Boiler has yet to see play but it is my reset button. Since I only have 1 creature out at a time, I do not lose much.

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