Thran Utopia #37: A cardboard Intihuatana

So last week was a bunch of teasers (a weird comparison and a weird deckname, for starters) and a bunch of cards. Today I want to share the process of how I melted this ratpack of cards together into one (actually, two) neat sixty card package(s). Let’s not waste words any longer and dive straight in!

Wait, I forgot something

First off, I left the lands unmentioned last time. I thought this was no problem, since the manabase would just be some lands without any exceptional cards. It turns out that while I was browsing through the Intihuatana Pile of Possibilities I noticed one playset that would qualify precisely as an exceptional card: Forbidden Orchard.

What does Forbidden Orchard do? Nothing as spectacular as enabling Oath of Druids, no. But it gives the opponent tokens who can later trigger Nacatl War-Pride! Without opposing creatures, War-Pride isn’t very effective. Luckily, Forbidden Orchard provides an uncounterable and generally untouchable way to do so, should Hunted Troll fail. That’s the great thing about Hunted Troll – it can help with War-Pride and it can be cheated out with Sundial.

Extra additions

After I finished last week’s article I also had some other additions. Not to the mana base, but to the cards. I don’t really blame myself for these – they’re both from Innistrad and where not in my initial database. I just forgot to check Innistrad for additions, but luckily they came to me naturally.

First up: Avacyn’s Pilgrim. While green mana is great and all, casting Llanowar Elves implies I already have green mana. Still not the triple green needed for War-Pride on turn six, but I need white mana earlier in the game thanks to Flickerwisp and the next card…

Fiend Hunter! How could I have missed this one? It’s the white Faceless Butcher and it works great with Sundial, although he’d have to die on your turn for it to be really effective. Still, you could use a blinking creature like Flickerwisp and Sundial the turn away when you’ve just blinked Fiend Hunter. Or, you can stick a Hunter under Mimic Vat and end the turn when you are about to exile your temporary token.

On to the decks

Since it’s been a while since I first premiered this deck (idea), I have gotten some games in with the deck. Some of the ideas I had after writing the first article are outdated and/or replaced. Still I want to give you my whole thought process, mistakes included. For this deck I again based my cuttings on playtest after starting the deck with a mix of 24 lands, 4 Sundials and a bunch of 1-, 2- and 3-ofs of the options I mentioned the last time. Rather than give my findings one by one, I will instead talk about the global conclusions and conclude with deck number one.

Intihuatana 1.0: all theory and no practice

The first version came about, as I said, after goldfishing with the deck and eliminating wrong cards. The biggest problem here wasn’t really the cards I took out, but the cards I put in. My process was too hasty and broke one of it’s own rules. I only take out cards after I’ve had the chance to play with them. I knew some cards wouldn’t be the best to have around but still I included them to see if they really sucked. (Most of them did. I guess all of them, really.) In other words: try before taking action. What I did was replace cards I tested (good) with cards that hadn’t come up yet in testing (bad).

The biggest offender here was Mimic Vat. It is a solid card and a solid addition to a Sundial deck, but only the right one. The way my deck was developing itself, Mimic Vat was not for it. Still I cut some cards to go up to three copies of Mimic Vat, basing my opinion entirely on could-be’s and relying wholly on creatures dying in combat and at the hands of my opponents. A bad situation to be in, and one that version 2 will correct. (And yes, I know Mulldrifter has synergy with Mimic Vat, but Mulldrifter + Sundial + Mimic Vat is dissynergy: Mimic Vat wants Mulldrifter to die when evoked, while Sundial wants to save Mulldrifter when evoked.)

Here is the first one:

Intihuana v1.0
Lands (24)
4 Forbidden Orchard
4 Forest
4 Island
4 Plains
4 Seaside Citadel
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures (26)
2 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Farhaven Elf
4 Flickerwisp
3 Hunted Troll
2 Llanowar Elves
4 Mistmeadow Witch
4 Mulldrifter
3 Nacatl War-Pride

Other spells (10)
3 Lightning Greaves
3 Mimic Vat
4 Sundial of the Infinite

But there were other problems. I played a game once where against Jeroen where I didn’t do anything. I just played some dudes, drew some cards, never saw a Sundial, and died. I needed a way to draw or tutor for Sundial, or at least become less reliable.

Problem #3: the deck makes too much tokens for the opponent, when only War-Pride takes advantage of them. Dying to your own tokens is never fun. I also don’t have enough creature defense in general.

The last problem of this deck is that the mana base is too slow. I have eight lands that enter the battlefield tapped and four Orchards, whose use greatly depends on your defense. Often, tapping an Orchard is more painful than tapping a City of Brass. That needs to be remedied.

Intihuatana 2.0: a little more practice

Although Jeroen and I played only one game, the information I got there was invaluable. It only takes one game to encounter dead cards in hand, and this was no difference. I started working on ways to remedy my five problems.

Problem #1: Mimic Vat
The best solution for my deck was to just cut Mimic Vat. It’s one of those spotlight-hoarders that needs to be the center of your deck. Sadly, the sun is the centre of the friggin’ galaxy, so Sundial of the Infinite is more important here. But seriously, y’all know that even without this ridiculous argument, it’s a Sundial-deck and not a Vat-deck.

Problem #2: Sundial of the Dependent
(Problem #4: Too little defense)
I tried to remedy the dependancy on Sundial a bit by adding Wall of Omens, which is also a nice little solution to problem #4!

Problem #3: Too much tokens
The deck makes too much tokens, so naturally we have to take some of those out. Specifically, one Troll and one Orchard.

Problem #5: A slow manabase
The deck did way too much fixing. We don’t need all that! This realization let me to ease up on fixing and therefore speeding it up with a few more basics.

This let me to this version:

Intihuana v2.0
Lands (24)
4 Forbidden Orchard
6 Forest
2 Island
6 Plains
4 Seaside Citadel
3 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures (26)
3 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Farhaven Elf
2 Fiend Hunter
4 Flickerwisp
1 Llanowar Elves
4 Mistmeadow Witch
4 Mulldrifter
3 Nacatl War-Pride
4 Wall of Omens

Other spells (10)
3 Lightning Greaves
4 Sundial of the Infinite

Again, the deck had problems. There were a lot of flyers the second time I played Jeroen, and those Walls of Omens don’t block those. Also, having zero toughness is not scaring those tokens of mine into attacking. The two Fiend Hunters were okay, but not spectacular. Flickerwisp was the star of the show and looked to take over the game combined with Mistmeadow Witch, but Jeroen put and end to those shenanigans – and me – by killing me from 12 with a Comet Storm and double Lightning Bolt. The deck showed potential but needed a little push to get there.

That’s when I started thinking of the next version, which is untested but adjusted to all my problems.

Intihuatana 3.0: the breakthrough?

I’ll just show you the deck first and then start talking about the changes I’ve made.

Intihuana v3.0
Lands (24)
3 Forbidden Orchard
4 Forest
6 Island
4 Plains
4 Seaside Citadel
3 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures (26)
3 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Borderland Ranger
2 Farhaven Elf
2 Fiend Hunter
4 Flickerwisp
1 Fog Bank
1 Llanowar Elves
4 Mistmeadow Witch
3 Mulldrifter
3 Nacatl War-Pride
3 Sea Gate Oracle

Other spells (10)
2 Lightning Greaves
4 Muddle the Mixture
4 Sundial of the Infinite

You’ll see some changes. The Fiend Hunters are back out. After that game against Jeroen I immediately thought of Muddle the Mixture, a card he has in his Bird deck. It would be a perfect card to find a lot of key pieces (a Wall, Sundial, Witch, Greaves) and meanwhile provide some late-game protection against Comet Storm-like shenanigans.

I reviewed the cards that Muddle can fetch and it became clear I could only cut one of those down: Lightning Greaves. My initial plan was to keep in the Walls of Omens, but I thought Sea Gate Oracle would be a better fit. It can block and kill tokens and digs a little deeper. I had a Fog Bank to tutor up so there was no further need for a two-drop defender.

Speaking of blocking tokens, I wanted to try Borderland Ranger. Maybe I don’t need the acceleration of Farhaven Elf, so a bigger body would be more needed than the Rampant Growth.

And this is the current state of affairs, hoping this deck will be able to do Sundial of the Infinite justice. Join me next week when I will be talking about any or more of five decks: some old, some new, and some refurbished. As a matter of fact, I’m currently thinking of making yet another adjustment to Intihuatana, one that would even kill the idea that sparked the deck. But for that you’ll have to wait some time, because Thran Utopia will be out for a few weeks. See you in a while!

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Articles, Thran Utopia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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