Tag Archives: Orzhov

Dragon’s Maze Mini-League Adventure

Teysa1[1]

The recent trip to Texas was centred around visiting a friend, so Mr. Troo and I took a Dragon’s Maze booster box with us and spent a fortnight engaged in an impromptu mini-league. Here’s how it worked:

  • Each player took one third of the booster box.
  • For the first three rounds we opened six of our boosters and built a 40-card deck.
  • Each subsequent three rounds, we opened one additional booster.

This went pretty well for me from the very start, as I was able to riff off these guys:

DGM Battering Krasis DGM Trostani's Summoner

Opening three Battering Krasis and two Trostani’s Summoner within my first six boosters was a boon, but I didn’t have enough Green and White to go full Selesnya, so I splashed Black and included a few Orzhov staples such as a couple of Tithe Drinkers.

This was working reasonably well for me, but wasn’t especially reliable. My saving grace in the early stages was that both Shannon and Mr. Troo had pulled even less cohesive colours than I had, and were struggling to pull together remotely reliable decks.

As the league progressed and more boosters were opened, I lucked out and pulled even more Orzhov cards while my opponents were pulling more assorted random gibberish. Ultimately my deck looked like this:

3x Tithe Drinker
Sin Collector
Maw of the Obzedat
3x Rakdos Drake
Blood Baron of Vizkopa
Pontiff of Blight
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts
Bane Alley Blackguard
Boros Mastiff
2x Crypt Incursion
2x Far/Away
Alive/Well
Profit/Loss
2x Debt to the Deathless
2x Riot Control
Godless Shrine

Pretty soon my star players had shifted to these guys:

DGM Pontiff of Blight DGM Teysa

I was able to extort myself alive long enough to pull one or the other, after which extorting my opponents to death or becoming relatively unassailable shifted control of the board in my favour. My two main problems were when Mr. Troo pulled two Mirko Vosks, and Shannon pulled a Master of Cruelties. Mr. Troo was pretty capable of grinding me to death if he played a Mirko successfully, so the sight of that Dimir critter usually put the game on a short, sharp countdown. It was the appearance of Mirko that made me include the Rakdos Drakes in the end, avoiding unleashing them so that I had flying blockers that could buy me an extra turn each.

All in all I pulled some amazing cards to build a robust Orzhov deck around, as I already have some bloody good Orzhov cards sitting about, so I’ll tinker with a deck list and test that puppy out!

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It’s taxes time! Orzhov deckbrew

I’m pretty sure that Extort should be good. It looks good, like all good water-wings. And like all good water-wings, they won’t save you forever, so you better make sure you have a plan for getting out of the water when things are starting to get desperate.

I’m a heartless bastard at times, so I decided to focus on this particular pairing:

AVR Exquisite Blood GTC Vizkopa Guildmage

With that in mind, it’s time to make a decklist!

Main:

4 Exquisite Blood
4 Vizkopa Guildmage
4 Blind Obedience
4 Crypt Ghast
2 Treasury Thrull
2 Alms Beast
4 Syndic of Tithes
4 Gift of Orzhova
4 Orzhov Charm
4 Sign in Blood
10 Swamp
10 Plains
4 Orzhov Guildgate

Sideboard:

4 One Thousand Lashes
3 Immortal Servitude
4 High Priest of Penance
4 Oblivion Ring

The Goal:

It’s deceptively simple: Survive long enough to get Exquisite Blood and Vizkopa Guildmage in play together. Drop your 1WB into the Guildmage’s second ability, then trigger a lifegain.

The lifegain options are essentially:

  • Extort any spell
  • Sign in Blood on your opponent
  • Attack with lifelink

If your opponent sideboards, then it’s possible they have some emergency Enchantment-destruction lurking around, in which case it’s time to go full-on Extort. Side in the High Priests to give them serious pause for thought about attacking. Get O-Rings and One Thousand Lashes in. Throw out your big beasts and the Gift of Orzhova. Give them so many Enchantments to waste Naturalizes on that sooner or later they run out, all while you Extort to death.

That’s the logic, anyway. Now I need to test this puppy out!

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Epic Orzhov battle at Gatecrash pre-release

Know that feeling when you crack open your boosters in a Sealed event and get really awesome cards?

No, me either. But I got my Treasury Thrull, and had to make do.

GTC Treasury Thrull

Isn’t he lovely? 6cmc for a 4/4. Better hope I can last until turn 6 against Gruul or Boros decks, eh?

Out of my guild pack, I got absolutely nil cards of any serious use in the format: a single Orzhov Guildgate; one Boros Guildgate; no guildmages; one Boros Charm.

Boros Charm? Wasn’t that one of the cards I would guarantee to splash red for? You’re damn right it is, and I did. Because not only did I get a Boros Charm, I got a foil Assemble the Legion, and two Court Street Denizens.

GTC Assemble the Legion GTC Court Street Denizen

Suddenly what I was fielding wasn’t an Orzhov deck. It was Boros with a black splash to try and maintain my life total long enough for these two to begin working together. I didn’t get anywhere near enough cards with Extort on them for that to be a viable tactic (four, for those who are curious: four cards out of six boosters with Extort on them). I didn’t get enough critters with Battalion to rely on that either.

Did I mention that other than the two guildgates and a Prophetic Prism (everyone got one of those in their guild booster), I got no mana-fixing whatsoever? Mmm. This was going really well!

Round 1:

My first round was against a pure Dimir deck. My life totals were all over the place, as was to be expected, but his? Nope. For the most part I just wasn’t able to form a cohesive threat. I won the first game, but lost the next two. My opponent was a great guy, and we had a lot of fun chatting about the cards we’d pulled.

Round 2:

The Round from Hell. The app matched me up against the only other Orzhov player in the tournament, and he had also splashed red. He had also pulled remarkably awful cards. In fact we had a lot of sympathy for each other. At times our decks and plays were identical. The first game was over quickly as I struggled to form any kind of defence whatsoever. But the second?

The second was the most epic battle I have ever played in. We laughed. We cried. My opponent begged me to kill him so that we could have lunch. I suggested if he were that hungry he could concede, but neither of us were taking that option.

Rounds were 45 minutes each. We’d spent 10 on our first game. The second used the remainder of our round, then spilled over into our 15-minute comfort break. Our Judge gave us those 15 minutes to keep going if we wanted, and with grim determination we forged ahead.

Life Totals

This is what an hour of Orzhov on Orzhov violence looks like. Save yourselves: don’t participate in this kind of nonsense.

The round ended in a draw.

Round 3:

Round the Third brought me up against another pure Dimir deck. This was all over fairly quickly – she beat me hands down in the first game, but I won the next two. Finally, an outright win!

Round 4:

My fourth round was against the deck which went on to win the tournament: Boros with Gruul splashed. Again my opponent was absolutely lovely to play against, but even though I squeaked him down to 4 life in the first game, he came in and demolished my fairly comfortable-looking 12 in a single attack. In the second game, I didn’t even chip the paintwork.

Overall:

I had an awesome time. The people were friendly, the atmosphere was fun, and there wasn’t a sore loser to be found. I came 5th out of 16 players, which was fairly poor, but entirely my own fault: I made a couple of sloppy plays in Round 1 and again in Round 4. There were times I should have taken a Mulligan and didn’t, and there were times when I got muddled over my mana and found myself unable to cast the planned second spell of my turn because I’d tapped the wrong colour combinations. I refused to ask for take-backs, because I think unless you endure the consequences of your actions you just don’t learn from them so well.

Mr. Troo came second, and his prize was 8 booster packs. Naturally when we got home and opened them we found:

  • Two Lazav, Dimir Mastermind – one foil, one non
  • Deathpact Angel
  • Vizkopa Guildmage
  • Immortal Servitude

We also seem to have accumulated a playset of Consuming Aberrations, so I think that building a Dimir deck is highly likely in my very near future…

DRWTFENVNJAZ

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