Tagged: magic the gathering - mtg -
There's a lot of people on the internet better qualified to write about MtG theory. in fact almost anyone who can turn a goblin sideways it probably better suited then me, but I just wanted to quickly put something up about the concepts of control and agro decks.
In both the M14 games day event, and the Theros pre-release event, I did quite well, with decks that shouldn't have done well. The M14 event was a 30 cards pre-con with nothing in the additional booster. At Theros PR I got the card pool from hell, opting for the white seeded cardpool and getting nothing in white. I've thought a lot about how I won the majority of games against people with better cards, and better decks.
It would be nice to pat myself on the back and say "Skills", but that's not it. My play style is just to makes life awkward for my opponent, especially when assigning attacks and blocks, and the occasional bluff. I rate card advantage more highly than most people, more highly than I should, I'll hold onto a removal spell as long as I can If I think there is a small chance of a two-for-one change up. However its not the play style I wanted to talk about, its deck concept.
Games are won and lost on deck concept. In most games of Magic, one person is the control deck, the other is the Agro deck. Its a simple equation: can the Agro player squeeze out 20 points of damage before the control player stabilises to board. Thats the game in a nutshell.
However Players mis-align themselves. Then they Loose.
One guy at the event had built a fairly decent 'red deck wins' type deck, and was getting good results. Heavy on removal and instant speed pumps it could beat most things down. Meanwhile I was playing Mono-blue, the guy sees my first two land drops are islands and makes the read, you are the control guy I am the Agro, he puts the pedal to the floor. He either saves the removal for my non-existent bomb, or drew none, and burns some pump spells for very nasty early damage. The problem was, I was the beats, he was the control. Seacoast Drake into Trained Condor into Nephalia Seakite for the win. So I had no control spells in that deck, hardly any removal, just creatures on a curve.
Game 2. He knows he has to win, he thinks its just a flat out damage race, so he burns me faster, even using some burn spells to hit me direct in a desperate attempt to hit 20 damage before I do. He Lost. I was on 1 life.
But seeing his hand he could have won.
If he had correctly read the game, he would have seen that he was now playing a mono-red control deck and I was playing a mono-blue agro deck. Think about that for a second. He wants to drag that game long. If my endgame finishing bomb is something as terrible as Mesenger Drake, all he has to do is trade off creatures 1 for 1 on the ground, and burn any flying dude thats doing more than 2 damage a turn and then I loose to Dragon Egg, Dragon Hatchling , Marauding Maulhorn, Battle Sliver. Basically anything with P/T greater than three and a vague notion of quality locks me out of the game, you just have to play defensively, trading cards 1-for-1 until you have enough mana to drop a big dude mid / late game. If the other guy is curving out early its a good assumption that he'll have less than you to do in the late game.
To summarise, because I feel this has turned into a bit of a rant:
Just because its a Red deck doesn't mean you are necessarily the agro in the match up. The same goes for Boros deck wins, there is such a thing as mid-range Boros control. It beats the other Boros deck 8 times in 10.
Conversely Just because its a Blue deck doesn't mean you are a control deck.
Dont be afraid to double block. yes it feels horrible being on the wrong side of a two-for-one, but if you knock out their win condition and build some kind of threat in the lull, its worth thinking about.
Control is a thing you do, in the game. I'm not talking the cards you draft, or the decks you build, its how you think about attacks and blocks. What is in that deck you built, what have you seen of the other guys cards. Are you dragging it long for that 6-drop, or have you got to end it quick because there is NO 6-drop in there. its about throwing that Coral Merfolk into the zone to see if he trades or not.