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FNM Exploration: Week 4 - Testing the Waters...


over 2 years ago

This is a casual blog following my adventures in playing FNM.

Hello again Community! My name is Kabalyero and this is a blog chronicling my continuing adventures in FNM.


     My M13 Game Day blog can be read here - http://www.mtgdeckbuilder.net/Blogs/ViewBlog/1464



FNM: Week 4 ~ 8/10/12 @ Fantasy Shop Games & Comics in St. Charles, MO


    After an interesting experience playing at the M13 Game Day event, I was ready to get some more gaming on. Due to money issues, I was unable to go back to Animagination for their "WNM" Standard, so I decided to just do FNM at the Fantasy Shop this week. Last week I actually won a free night pass to play Standard there, so I didn't even have to pay this week. With that in mind, I decided I would try something new, for me anyway.

     Looking over what cards I had, I decided to try out a U/W Spirit Delver Deck

     I constructed another build of this that was loosely inspired by Noah's U/W/B Spirit Delver deck from M13, but it was later changed into this. I reviewed it with my friends Nathaniel and Zack, at the shop, and they had suggested a few of the changes and gave me the two Dungeoun Geists and a swamp. We gave it a test run against another U/W Delver deck, but it didn't go well, lol. In debate over what I should play, I decided to just go with this one this since I wanted to play something new and need to preparing for my other deck to get rotated out of Standard soon.

Match 1: U/W Spirit Delver vs
U/R Delver

Round 1:
U/R Delver

Round 2:
U/R Delver

Round 3: 
Not Played

U/R Delver

~Noteworthy cards that opponent used~

Delver of Secrets

Arc Trail

Pillar of Flame


Vapor Snag

Talrand, Sky Summoner


Mana Leak

    One of the biggest fears I had after the test run was the idea of going against another Delver deck or one that uses heavy red... Yeah... (Thanks for the foreshadowing comment last week Ryuden, lol). First time seeing a U/R Delver deck in play here at the shop. Kinda knew this would come up eventually, both red and blue have a lot of power right now in standard. From what I saw with this match, it works rather well! I'm honestly a little worried what the Meta will look like once Izzet cards from RtR come out.

     Round 1 had us doing nearly nothing for several turns in what I call "Land-Fall-Go Leap Frog" lol. A few ponders here and there. Eventually around turn 8 or 9, he laid out a Talrand and casted another spell to get a drake. I responded with a Phyrexian Metamorph to kill both because of the legendary rule, but he would cast out an instant spell to get another drake before it was killed off. We ended up doing that three more times! I mana leaked the second one and metamorphed the last one. By the time he was done, he had nearly 6-7 drakes out and had used spells like Pillar of Flame and Vapor Snag to throw back my spirits and Delvers. This lead to him having a better field and swinging for the victory. Round 2 wasn't quite as slow as the last one. I started pumping out spirits, Captains, and Delver, but he came right back with Arc Trails, Vapor Snags, and Mana Leaks to push me back again. He kept me pinned with 2 Snapcasters to get back his spells and a got out a transformed Delver. With his Delver and 2 Snapcasters (who knew they could be decent attackers?! lol) kept swinging at me for the eventual win. 

     Immediately following this match, I could not help but feel that if I had played my Mono White Fateful Hour deck against him, I could have rocked it. I started to question if I had made the right move in choosing this deck. But eh, I know that I need to start getting used to something else and it is a free night. I ended up shaking off that feeling and just rolled with it, regardless of how the rest of the night turned out.

Match 2:
U/W Spirit Delver vs B/R Vampires


Round 1: B/R Vampires

Round 2: B/R Vampires

Round 3: Not Played

B/R Vampires

~Noteworthy cards that opponent used~

Stromkirk Captain

Bloodline Keeper

Blood Artist

Pillar of Flame

Brimstone Volley

Vampire Nighthawk

Stromkirk Noble


Vampire Interloper


     Second match and I was going against my first ever female opponent. Her name is Danielle and I met her and her boyfriend a week or so go on another FNM night. She was pretty cool and laid back, so I knew that, regardless of how this would turn out, this would be a fun match.

     First round had us both racing for the win. I was able to get out a Delver early and transformed it while she got out a Stromkirk Noble that kept getting pumped. We kept each other at bay, killed or countering anything else that hit the field. However, she eventually took the victory over me since her Noble kept pumping itself with each hit. Round 2 started with us again seeing who could put out and keep creatures faster. I was able to get a couple of spirits, a Fog Bank, and a Stalker, but as soon as she laid out, not one, but two Vampire Nighthawks, I knew that was game. Sure enough, she slowly wore down my army of spirits and cemented it with a Stromkirk Captain.

     During the match, her boyfriend came over to check her progress, assuming he had already finished his match. I found out that this deck was a new build for her too. Doing exactly like I was, trying out a new deck for the rotation. They both went on to tell me how much she enjoys playing Vampires before current standard and was trying to come up with a competitive build that she would enjoy. I honestly thought it did well, though she did mention going up against a Miracle deck that annihilated her in the first match. I meant to ask her later on how she did, but completely forgot to. Very curious to know how it did against everyone else there.


Match 3:
U/W Spirit Delver vs U/B Zombies

Round 1: U/W Spirit Delver

Round 2: U/W Spirit Delver

Round 3: Not Played

U/W Spirit Delver

~Noteworthy cards that opponent used~

Tragic Slip

Diregraf Captain


Doom Blade


Vapor Snag

Rooftop Storm

Mana Leak


Grimgrin, Corpse Born

Adaptive Automaton

    Third match of the night. I didn't know what to expect, but irconically enough, I did hear of someone running a U/B Zombies deck between my previous match and this one. I was pleasantly surprised that was what I was going up against next! I forget the dude's name off hand, but he was pretty cool. I had heard that this was his first time playing FNM standard, he was more of a Legacy player. He was borrowing the deck off of a friend for the night. We discussed a bit about our other decks and a standard deck he was planning on building for Standard soon. 

     Round 1 he laid down an Adaptive Automaton calling zombies. Seeing what land he had out, I figured what his deck was from there. I played a few spirits and a Captain that he Vapor Snagged back to my hand. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't pulling the creatures he needed to start fighting back, but I kept letting him take the swings with his AA to keep my spirits alive. Eventually, I pulled and played my Elspeth and started to heal myself back up from the damage I took. He of course started swinging at her. I had her make some soldiers on my turn and then did her healing again to bring me back to 20. Soon after that, I just kept swinging at him for the win. Round 2 started off in the same way, but he was able to slow me down with Duress and Doom Blades. Eventually I was able to get a Delver, Fog Bank, some spirits, and a Stalker out onto the field, while he had a Skinrender, AA, and Diregraf Captain. He doom bladed my Delver before it transformed and it got into a pound fest to see who could take out who first. Admittedly, we both worked each other down to 1, but I ended up with the last swing, giving me the game and the match. 

     After the match was over, we talked more about the deck he was building- A sort of Merfolk Mill Deck. Sounds promising from what he showed me and what he proposed. He then asked if I had any merfolk creatures or low cost blue spells. I ended up giving him an extra Jace's Erasure I had and gave him the idea of using Jace's Phantasms if he focuses more on the heavy mill aspect. He thanked me for the help and suggestions and ran off to the counter to look at some binders, lol. I look forward to seeing what he ends up with next week.

Match 4:
U/W Spirit Delver vs G/W Pod

Round 1: G/W Pod

Round 2: G/W Pod

Round 3: Not Played

G/W Pod

Noteworthy cards that opponent used~

Elesh Norn

Garruk, Primal Hunter

Wolfir Silverheart

Inkmoth Nexus

Birthing Pod

Ajani, Caller of the Pride

Birds of Paradise

Green Sun Zenith

Sun Titan

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben


Restoration Angel

Blade Splicer

Oblivion Ring


Champion of Lambholt

     Match 4 had me a bit nervous at first. Leading into this match, our fourth set of matches were being held up by one last match, one of which would be my next opponent. I didn't see much of what happened there, but the dude was pretty upset, which I found out was rightfully so. When I asked what had happened, he mentioned some random kid sat next to him during that match and began to duck tape two cans of soda together (VERY RANDOM). This kid's "master piece" then spilled soda all over the dude's cards and playmat! I don't know what happened to the kid, but I'm assuming he got ejected for that. The other unfortunate part of the match was that, he almost won it, but it ended up being a tie before he could have swung for lethal the very next turn. I sympathized with the guy after hearing that. Noone should have to deal with some random kid messing with their stuff. It immediately made me wonder where that kid's parents were at the time. 

     First round had me drop a Delver first turn and him an Avacyn Pilgrim. He soon dropped a Birds of Paradise and a Blade Splicer. I copied the Blade Splicer with my Metamorph and started to defend against his wave of attacks. He then dropped a Champion of Lambholt and a Restoration Angel to bounce back his Blade Splicer. That was enough to get around anything I was able to put out. He then sealed the deal with a Wolfir Silverheart on the Champion! I could do nothing, but applaud the man for the slaughter he brought out in a few turns. Round 2 had me playing some spirts, but then he third turn dropped Ajani, Caller of the Pride. I seriously sat there in disbelief, lol. He was able to hold back my attacks to pump up an Inkmoth Nexus he played on turn two, to about three counters. He then enchanted it with Rancor and swung at me for 5 poison counters! By then I couldn't defend against it, I had nothing out. Next turn pumped the Inkmoth again and swung for another 6 PCs to finish me off. 

     After the match, I talked to him about his deck and told him about this blog, to which, he happily shared the inner workings and strategies about it. Looking over it all and the variety of hurt it brings to the field, I am actually surprised he had lost his first match! The man was, what I felt to be anyway, a genius brewer. So many well played cards that strangely have a very nice synergy about them. He went on to mention that he really doesn't play Standard that much and focuses more on Modern and Legacy. He also mentioned some of his tournament experiences, specifically a Grand Melee he took part in at Gen Con a few years back. Thinking about it now, this was the first time I had seen this guy there, so I don't know if he was a regular from the area or not, but I would love to sit down and talk some more about deck builds and competitive play with him again some time. We both wished each other luck on our final matches of the night after that and went on our ways.


Match 4: U/W Spirit Delver vs Mono White Humans

Round 1: U/W Spirit Delver

Round 2: Not Played

Round 3: Not Played

U/W Spirit Delver

Noteworthy cards that opponent used~

Honor of the Pure

Spare from Evil

Nearheath Pilgrim

Loyal Cathar

Elite Vanguard

Fiend Hunter

Elite Inquisitor


Trepanation Blade

Champion of the Parish

Silver-Inlaid Dagger

Gather the Townsfolk

     Last match of the night. After hearing about my buddy, AJ, having two freebie wins from no call, no shows that left early, I was kinda expecting a by as well considering nearly a third of the crowd was gone by then. However, my oppenent did show up shortly after I sat down, so we went right into our match. Little did I know that this would be our longest match as well lol.

Our first, and what ended up being our only round, started off with both of us building armies, but neither really having a great advantage over the other. I had first put out a Delver, a Fog Bank, and Talrand to make a few drakes. He laid put out an Honor of the Pure used a Fiend Hunter to exile Talrand, and Pacifism to keep Delver in check. Then he got out a Champion of the Parish, a Loyal Cathar, and soulbonded the Cathar to a Nearheath Pilgrim, which he started to swing for 6 and gain 6, with me sacking blockers. I eventually got out some spirits, a Drogskul Captain, and a Dungeon Geist to keep his Champion tapped. Once I started building a bigger field, he held back and brought out an Elite Vanguard, and an Elite Inquisitor with a Silver-Inlaid Dagger equipped. I then brought out an Invisible Stalker with a Trepanation Blade equipped and started to eat away at his life gain while starting to hill his deck. He retaliated with a Trepanation Blade of his own and equipped it to his Loyal Cathar, who was still getting blocked, but forcing me now to mill. We went on like this for a few turns until he played a Spare from Evil and tried to swing in. Most of it hit, but it wasn't enough to kill me. He eventually tried swinging in again without another Spare from Evil, but I chose my blocks and had enough left over drakes and spirits to kill his Fiend Hunter to get my Talrand back, the Nearhearth Pilgrim, the Elite Vanguard, and The Loyal Cathar, but I did lose my Dungeon Geist to free his Champion. With Talrand back under my control again, I flashed back two Lingering Souls and a Think Twice to build my field with Drakes and Spirits. He tried to play another Spare from Evil, but I Mana Leaked it while I wore him down with my Stalker w/ Trep Blade. Once he was low enough, I eventually swung in with all of my flyers for the win.

     During the match and just as it was about to end, a bunch of the guy's friends were hanging around us, asking if we were done and what round we were on. I'm sure he was eager to leave with them (And honestly can't blame him, I was eager to go back to my girlfriend so we could go out to a late night dinner lol). Anyway, with that said and the round won to my favor, he forfeited the rest of the match to my victory, mostly so he could leave, lol. I accepted and reported in. I knew he was in a bit of a rush, but I would have loved to have seen another round between our decks. I also love the fact he was playing a Mono White Humans deck, had been considering making one myself for awhile now.

FNM: Week 4 Results

Match Wins:
2 (+1 forfeit)

Match Losses: 3

Match Drawes: 0

Round Victories: 6 (+3 unplayed)

Round Defeats: 9 (+3 unplayed)

Round Stallmates: 0

Most impressive deck(s) of the event: G/W Pod

Spoils of the event: None

Total Career Match Wins: 8 (+2 forfeit)

Total Career Match Losses: 15

Total Career Match Drawes: 1

Total Career Round Victories: 29 (+10 unplayed)

Total Career Round Defeats:
35 (+7 unplayed)

Total Career Round Stallmates: 1 (Time Expired)

Total Career Event Tournaments: 1

Best Event Tournament Finish: 9th place out of 16 (M13 Game Day Event 8/4/12 @ Animagination - Des Peres, MO)

Closing thoughts for the week...


     So I ended up like I normally do- 2 wins, 3 losses. I really doubted that this deck would even get there the way the first match went down, but I have to say, it wasn't bad during that third and last match. I still don't know if this is the route I really want to go when rotation hits. Granted, I know Azorius will be in the first set of the RtR block, but eh. I have a lot of thinking to do. I have thought about retooling that R/W Humans deck I had and trying to get the trades I need for it, like Champion of the Parish, Restoration Angels, another Odric,, Bonfires, etc... But that will depend if I can find anyone that would be willing to trade those out right now... Might need to do a little exploring around St. Louis again to other MTG event locations.

     Also, I have considered compiling a list of cards that I own currently that are in Standard and creating a deck challenge to see if you, my readers and the community of this site, could help me construct something nasty that I may not even realize. Please let me know what you guys think of that idea and I'll get cracking on that right away.

     In any case, thank you all once again for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you all enjoyed it. As always, any thoughts, comments, and suggestions are appreciated! I will see you all next week.

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