That Deck Sucks!

Posted in Event Coverage

By Brian Kowal

Qualify and it does not end there. Especially when you qualify the first week of the season. Somehow without even writing an article about it, the blue-black-green deck I used to qualify was all over the net. I went on the Meridian Magic web page a few weeks ago and found my name in the headline. "IBC: The Secret Words are Tempo and Kowal" It was true, there were at least four different articles on the internet about my deck. What I qualified with was discussed and debated on IRC quite a bit and the steady stream of people bothering me for the decklist was non-stop. I blamed this mostly on it being a new format and the fact that people did not know what was good with the new set in. The worst part was that I did not even create the deck. I modified it off of what Dan Strelnik one of the Milwaukee players was doing well with at Friday night magic at the time. Strelnik continues to not get credit for the design, so I would just like to take the time to say that it's his crummy deck, not mine.

This is what I played:

Time went by and it seemed like I was being blamed for every poor result in a qualifier. People weren't complaining about losing to my deck though. They were complaining about losing with it. It seemed my victory was a fluke. The deck only put up two top 8s that I heard about. Though it did qualify somebody in Texas. I heard all about how the deck could not beat Solution, Red-green beats, Go-mar, and blue-black-red control. Apparently I had constructed a deck that could not beat anything.

The reality is that the metagame I built the deck for was different from the one that showed up when the tuned decks arrived. I built the deck to be strong in the control mirror and to punish green based beatdown and Domain. Domain all but disappeared in the early weeks of the season and soon the two most popular decks were The Solution and red-green. The tuned red-green deck with heavy burn was a bad matchup for the deck and The Solution once it knew what to name was a problem too.

The idea of the deck is to be aggressive against the control decks and controlling against the beatdown decks. It is a lot like the Con-Troll deck that I built for Urza's Block Constucted. Often a turn two Zombie supported by strong control cards can go all the way against control. Should they try to remove it, a Snake can come down and add to the beatdown. Against the beatdown decks, the Zombies work as walls that need to be removed vs. green beats.

Fast forward to GP Denver and Brett Shears has miraculously made top eight with a variant of bkowal.dec.

Instant (15)
4 Undermine 4 Repulse 3 Exclude 4 Fact or Fiction
Enchantment (3)
3 Pernicious Deed
Other (2)
2 Spite/Malice
60 Cards

He took out the Prohibits which seemed insane to me previously, but he managed to fit in three Plague Spitter which is a card I was trying to move to the main. Spitter really does the same thing that the Prohibits did, which is to handle early beatdown creatures. This allowed him to go down on Deeds since the Spitters give the deck added board control. The Spitters also give the deck more consistent beats against control. Shears also added Spite/Malice which probably helped him be stronger against The Solution and other decks with Spectral Lynx.

The field actually shaped up fairly well for this deck on day two. Despite the fact that he was the only one to make second day with a version of the deck. Domain made a return against the beatdown decks. Additionally red-green fared among the poorest of the decks day one and few made it to second day. The beatdown decks that did make it were blue-green-red which is a little slower and more susceptible to the Zombie than straight red-green and Solution, which the deck is stronger against due to the main deck Spitters and Spite/Malice. The only weak matchup for him on day two was black-blue-red which accounted for his only two losses in the Swiss.

Unfortunately, Shears seems bound to run into one of the three black-blue-red decks in the top eight, but perhaps he can overcome this historic bad match up and give bkowal.dec a GP victory.

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