On Saturday, 4/27, I decided to make the trip down to NG NYC to play some Type 1 for $250. I was partying in Greenwich, and didn't get a lot of sleep, but honestly, what better way to go than to be playtesting with Captain Morgan and friends. Well, except that I was the driver, and didn't get to party until we got home. Oh well, I got free midnight dining.
Well, I got to NG and the only people there were Ed Paltzik and Ray Lambert. After I sign up for the Tournament, I decide to register for the DCI. I hate myself, as my ---- rating is now destroyed, but hey, life happens. I introduce myself, recognizing Ed's purple tie, and mess around a bit. Fellow Connecticutian Keith shows up, and I lose horribly 0-2 to Ed's mono-U with my Enchantress. Well, me and Ed and a few guys talk as the other people slowly trickle in, and Ed, I must say, is a good guy. Well, I decide its time to register when the guy says "register" (cause that makes sense and whatnot) and the playing stops for a while. Matt D'Avanzo is correct in saying he is the fastest Keeper deck registering person in the world (Ed note: actually I am because I print out my deck reg sheets ahead of time--JP.) It took him like 30 seconds to do the whole thing out. Hell, it took me like 5 minutes just to figure out my sideboard.
Here's what I registered:
BLUE (18 + Fire/Ice):
4 Mana Drain
4 Force of Will
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Time Walk
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Mind Twist
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 The Abyss
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Gorilla Shaman
3 Powder Keg
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
4 Mishra's Factory
4 City of Brass
1 Undiscovered Paradise
4 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
4 Red Elemental Blast
2 Dwarven Miner
3 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Zuran Orb
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Scrying Glass
1 Ensnaring Bridge
Since I only played two arch-types and boarded the same way each time, I'll let you know what I did before hand:
Keeper: -1 Disk, -1 Keg, -1 Fire/Ice, -1 Abyss, -1 Vampiric, -1 Mystical
+3 REB, +2 Dwarven Miner, +1 Scrying Glass
Tubbies: -1 Abyss, -1 Misdirection, +1 Nev's Disk, +1 Ensnaring Bridge
Match 1 - Robb Williams (Keeper)
Game 1 - I win the roll. We both play control, until I've got the Mishra's swinging. He stabilizes with a Zuran Orb until a Masticore joins the party and after a few turns of swinging, he is out of land. I believe this match also involved an unprotected Morphling, which I pinged with Masticore (I think it was this matchup cause this was the only one I know I won with a Core), and that was the game. Win.
Game 2 - He plays first. He Balances down to 3 on the first turn, losing the land he had in play. I keep a Lotus, FoF, and Sea. I discard DT, Mishra, Mishra, Waste. If only I kept the Mishra I would have won. I draw all mana, he draws none, and I Keg away his Scrying Glass before he ever gets three mana. Unfortunatly, he's building up a stellar hand while I play mana. All it takes is a few mana for him to cast those first few spells and get on a roll, while I'm laying lands, none of which swing. He gets a Morph, but I topdeck one of mine. He breaks the stalemate by Wasting my Factory and Edicting away my Morph. I lose.
Game 3 - This game is the standard control game until the end. I get him to around 10 life, and swing with a Mishra's. By this time, he's got to have removal, and he does, Edicting my Mishra. I unload the Miner that I just topdecked, and its downhill from there. I blow up lands after (I think) Willing back my only red mana source, and I eventually force him into a position where he can draw all the cards he wants (FoF), but the 3 Cities and 1 Underground River aren't helping his life total much. He gets a Keg while at three, but a Miner and a Time Walk, plus a topdecked Mana Drain beat that. I win. I feel kind of bad when Ed tells me that Robb has a 1900 rating or so. Not that I'd give up a matchup, but I know some people care about ratings, and well, mine is shit. Either way, Robb was a cool guy, and played well, he just didn't win.
1-0, 2-1 Games
Match 2 - Matt (not anybody from BD) (Keeper)
Game 1 - He throws two Strips away on my multi-lands early, and I think he throws one at a Mishra. He tutors up a Monkey and blows my Sol Ring, so I am stuck with an Island and a Wasteland and swings for a long time. He realized after he should have gotten Morphling, and won, but at the time he was going mana denial and he had no way of knowing I didn't have Moxen. I finally stabilize with a Mishra (number two I believe), but I have 6 black cards in hand and a Fire/Ice and no black mana. I finally buy time to get the mana, and DT up an LoA. With so many Strips down, even with 5, he can't keep up and I end it after a while. Win.
Game 2 - I forget what happens, but I think he gets an early Morphling or something. Not too eventful, but I do something I'll come to do more and more often, and that is, losing the second game. Bad habit, I know. Loss.
Game 3 - Again, massive Shaman beats on his part. I finally get through a Morphling, and him, having dealt around 20 Shaman damage throughout this entire match, swings into a tapped Morphling. I block and end his silly beatstick's life once and for all. After that, its a matter of tapping 2 and dealing 5. I win. I'm not sure how much of a regular Matt is at NG. Some people knew him, some didn't. He had a Weissman approach to the game, of land destruction, and I think he made the mistake too often of not saving Strips to either force stuff through or to deal with my 5 utility lands. Either way, it was a good match, although the second two games were fairly simple Morphling beats.
2-0, 4-2 Games
Match 3 - Guy Russo (mono-Brown Tubbies)
Game 1 - He starts out huge, dropping a Tolarian, 4 artifacts, including a Thran Dynamo and a Mana Vault, and finally a Karn. He does math wrong and burns for a couple because I Force the Karn and he has no way to sink the extra mana. This damage, along with a Mana Vault end up doing him in. After wasting the Tolarian, I Lotus-DT for a Shaman and use one floating to blow his Sapphire. I swing for a couple, and he takes some Mana Vault damage. He gets a Null Brooch and a Su-Chi, but my Shaman eats enough of his mana that he either burns to use the Null Brooch (using Dynamo or Lotus) or can't use it. I finally Mishra/Shaman block the Su-Chi and he burns for 4 more. I try to Will and he counters, but finally I get him to tap his mana to try and do something and drop a Disk on him. I believe he simply concedes a turn or so later at one life, or so. Win.
Game 2 - Guess what? This is game 2! I lose game 2! YAY! He gets a first turn Metalworker, while I stare at the Force in my hand. Blue cards are good, no? So the next turn he gets 14 mana, drops a Snake Basket for 8 and an Ankh. Still no blue card. I don't get the Keg, but I Specter's Wail him, and then he drops another Ankh and swings. I don't get the Keg again, and I die to 10 points of Snake and Assembly Worker damage. Loss.
Game 3 - I'm reading this time. I Lotus out a Disk first turn. Thats good news. He lays an Ancient Tomb and passes the turn. I Ancestral myself, and I think I had the Wasteland already, but regardless I nail his land. He drops nothing but a Sapphire the next turn, and I topdeck the Keg to nail it. Meanwhile, I have a Drain and a bunch of land in hand, plus the Disk. He discards for a few turns and I FoF. He concedes, as it is rather pointless for him. It was an interesting build, but it was far too "I win turn 1 or 2 or not at all" than it should have been. Perhaps a blend between the resilience of Stacker and still having the pure explosion would be best for the deck. Oh well, this was a match I was very unsure about, but I made it through. Win.
3-0, 6-4 Games.
Match 4 - Matt D'Avanzo (Keeper)
After Steve Sadin does some whiz-kid math, and Ray Lambert (Lambchop) checks it, Matt and I decide to draw. Matt is the only one who definitely knows I'm playing OSE and not just Keeper. At least nobody else said such, and Ed was talking about "Everybody playing Keeper, even though there are only 13 of us." Perhaps my Kegs and second pair of Mishra's were more than people expected, or perhaps they just played the game like anybody else. We play one game of OSE versus Keeper and I lose, but then we play for fun. We split 2-2 games of Enchantress versus Keeper. We discuss the matchup, and what I found from playing JP. Dan's gonna hate me, but I say its around 60-40 Keeper's favor. I hate to use numbers, but I can sum it up like this: Enchantress can out-break Keeper and win. Keeper can out-break Enchantress and win. Both decks can do crazy stuff, but when it all comes down to it, Mana Drain says no like none other. And thats why Keeper will win more often than not. The fact that combo exists is another strength for Keeper. 2-4 with Enchantress for the day. Not good, considering the mono-U deck was running Impulse for card drawing and I still lost! Oh well, as always, a work in progress.
3-0-1, 6-4 Games (technically 7-5 for points, but who cares)
Top 4 - Matt D'Avanzo (still Keeper)
Game 1 - I can't escape Matt, and I start my third "mirror" match of the day. Damn you inbred bastard sons! I believe we both Scroll for our Ancestrals. His is prettier. He resolves his and Misdirects mine. The game is over, but I play for the hell of it. I lose horribly. Why did I even waste my time? Loss.
Game 2 - We play the control game. Sorry that I refer to all the starts of all the games like this, but its all about people going for Ancestral and getting counters in hand. You build up your mana and you get towards the phase where you start slinging FoFs and Strokes EOT and then going for Wills and Morphlings. It can determine the game, but it's not all that interesting. So anyway, I build up my hand and drop a Scrying Glass. A Keg that I luckily didn't blow on Moxen gets up to 5 before I take too much damage from his Morphling. I have a Core and Morphling in hand, and eventually I believe the Core swings for 8 and the Morphling finishes. I don't think I ever missed with the Scrying Glass, even the first time, and I draw a bunch off it. I make a mistake and let my Core die to an unkicked D-Blow, but eventually I get a Morphling and a Miner, and while the Miner does only about 1 land worth of damage, the game was over because of Glass advantage. I finally decided to pick it up and not suck game 2. Unfortunatly, this is the only game. Win.
Game 3 - Again, its that control thing. Its REBs and Drains back and forth, yadda yadda. Fast forward to the interesting part. We fight a huge counter war over my Miner with me winning. We both have a large amount of land (I had around 8 or 9 mana, because I tapped all 4 Cities during this war, using a Drain, Force, and Counter or some mix there of (I hardcast the Force and it wasn't my only counter, I know that much). I have a Time Walk in hand, and Matt can't pull anything decent (I think he was topdecking at this point) while I am tapped out. I Walk, munch a land, use both my Wastes, and munch again. I draw a Force of Will, and it stays in hand while I munch a few more lands. I counter whatever Matt tries to do and topdeck a Shaman. I eat his entire board and with me at 4 life I start the double swinging. Matt is at 9, and that lets me munch 1 more land before taking the time to munch gets in the way of swinging. Matt gets a phone call, and at around 6 life, with me having eaten another land, and with no permanents in play, Matt concedes. Win.
4-0-1, 8-5 Games
Top 2 - Mikey P (Keeper)
Game 1 - Mikey and I decide to split 150-100 and 6 packs each. We'll play it out, since neither one of us care about ratings (I tried for the "you have a rating to lose and I don't" favorable split, but no such luck.) Mikey starts off slow with a Wasteland, Ruby hand. He doesn't do much beyond that and I take charge, Wasting a few things. The thing that happened to me against Robb happens again. I cast Skeletal Scrying for 3 at one point, but eventually, I have nothing to keep the pressure on with as a Mishra or two dies. He drops a Tundra and with a Waste and Keg against his Ruby and land, I go for the mana denial theme. I Waste first, which is a mistake, and the Teferi's Responses it. This loses me the game. I Keg the Ruby anyway, but the advantage has been swung. After this, he builds his mana undisturbed and I can't manage to stop his Ancestral or his Will. He topdecks savagely with the Force of Wills, and he simply forces through all the card drawing he needs to force through whatever else he needs. A Balance on my Morphling throws things off as well, as I lose Morph and good cards. As I said, it was over when I didn't get to kill all his land. Loss.
Game 2 - Again, I can't stop his Ancestral, no matter what I throw at it. I can't stop his Will either, no matter what I throw at it. I think he Misdirects my Ancestral, I don't know, but it doesn't matter. He again out-counters me, and no matter what I do, he casts Ancestral and it resolves each and every time. He beats me down as I draw a few lands to add to the collection, and I die with a bunch of white bordered islands on the board. Like I said before, that game 2 win against Matt was a fluke. Loss.
4-1-1, 8-7 Games
Well, as Ed Paltzik (who is very cool*) says NG is the "Trial by Fire" sort of place. Posting a 3-1 (6-5) record against Keeper, I think/hope I passed. Since only 13 people showed, the prize was only $150, but I walked away making money ($60.) Thanks to Mikey P's generousity (well, we both agreed on the split ahead of time, but still) I was able to chill in NY and play Magic and have partied the night before at a net profit!
*Ed is not to be confused with his online alias Legend. I mean, yeah, they're the same person, except not really. Legend sucks, Ed rules! Too bad he's too much of a wuss to play Consult!
About my deck:
The first thing to note is that I don't own Moxen. I would obviously play the 3 on color Moxen if I had them, but right now I'm just fortunate to own what I do have in the deck and my Pearl. Another mana note is that I am already in the proccess of procuring Volcanic Island #4 in place of an Island, because as irrelevant as damage might seem/want to be in the mirror, with a Miner out, it can come close if you are relying heavily on Cities.
The two cards I dislike most in this deck are Stroke of Genius and Skeletal Scrying. The Stroke slot -must- stay Blue for the 5 pitch spells already in the deck. These slots would also benefit most from staying card drawing. Given Skeletal Scrying's weakness against Aggro anyway, I might replace it with the Scrying Glass in the sideboard, which, when it works, is amazing. The Scrying is good early against Control, when you have spare life, but I'd think the 2 cost and the lack of need for a useless grave (ie, you don't want to remove the usual early casts of Lotus or Ancestral, but sometimes you need more cards or a threat -now-) might make the Glass better. Any suggestions?
The other question is the Vampiric Tutor. In my usual metagame I want to keep it so I can access the single Masticore and Abyss for the multitudes of aggro, but I'm not sure if its worth keeping in against Control. While it is a formidable threat at times, there are times where the card disadvantage is just enough that the card you get can't pull you back into the game. So far it's been worthwhile, but I'm always open to comments about it as I know many others have decided it hasn't been worth it. Then again, the theory card disadvantage is worthless when you're tutoring for Library, so who knows...
Thanks for reading, and thanks to all those who I played.
I'm not the only one who dislikes Scrying!?!
O, happy day!
So despise that card. Hoses my Will and make me play life for cards without being Necro. Two unforgivable sins.
I <3 Skeletal Scrying. It's just a fickle card, you need to set it up right. Maybe i'm just lucky, but I never have a bad time with it. All you need to do is remove counters and lands(that you don't plan on willing back) And if you don't run timetwister then removing counters isn't a problem at all.
Carl: And removing lands/moxen are another way to build virtual card advantage with twister ;)
What's not to like about Scrying? Against aggro it's even easy to cycle it or draw 2-3. It's also Eot bait that we need.
Beyond that, it fits my theory of control. The ideal deck should make use of every possible resource. Without Sylvan, Scrying, or something, you waste (FoW is a cost/drawback, doesn't count) a valuable resouce, life. And a life is a terrible thing to waste...
I agree though, stroke is not very good in this deck. Oh well, until something better comes along.
You may well be right. I just don't like the whole "feel" of the card, especially since it's so situational. A thin graveyard or an extremely low life total (1-3) courtesy of aggo beats/burn/pain/whatever render it pretty much moot. Zorb can mitigate that, but only if I have it on hand, and even then it's pretty much just adding land sacrifices on top of all the other additional costs built into the Scrying. A hefty price to pay just for being an instant. I also still don't like how it doesn't play nice with my Will and Twister, either.
I'm probably the only person anywhere who still prefers a Braingeyser in its place. It's not an EOT force (obviously), which sucks, but it's much more reliable. No fills, just mana = cards. And I can pitch it, unlike the Scrying.
I'm not saying the masses should follow me (because I'm a BAD PLAYER), but that's just what works for me and what doesn't. I'm willing to chalk it up to a personal preference and leave it at that. Besides, in any remotely controllish deck with 27-28 mana sources, I don't think the Geyser/Scrying difference is really vast enough to lose sleep over anyway. Both work.
"Besides, in any remotely controllish deck with 27-28 mana sources..."
And Drains, of course. Can't forget them.
Nice report! I´d like to see a decklist of that Tubbie deck!
Every single match I sided in another mox monkey and the miners... I think I saw a total of 1 basic land on saturday (see Eric's post above, match 2, game 1) in 4 matches.
I think it may be worthwhile to find a place for the miners maindeck. Perhaps by dropping the sylvan/regrowth. I'd also like to fit in 1 more shaman.
Anybody else playing/considering more mana denial in keeper?
Eric: Great report, Great games.
Partying in greenwich? GO BIG RED...
And people still consider any non-basic hosing strategy "hate" !?
Yes. For the same reason that none of those same people consider maindecking The Abyss "hate."
Double standard? What's a double standard?
Anybody else playing/considering more mana denial in keeper?
I do too. I won the Dreamer's tournament this weekend with Bloodmoon Keeper. Damn, Bloodmoon is awesome!
[Note: this is not meant to insult anyone or their playstyle. I'm just putting forth my own opinion and explain how I play this game]
There is certainly such a thing as 'hate'.
SBing in the control mirror becomes a thing of 'hate' when one person (ad I' not talking about transformational SB) alters their strategy to the point where they avoid playing the control mirror. This is my main complaint with Dwarven Miner. It's sole purpose is to allow the person that plays it to avoid playing a mirror match.
I used it at the $250 before last for the first time in years and felt like slapping myself after the match. I didn't SB them in the rest of the day even when the would have cleaned house.
In a control mirror you take out your dead/bad cards and SB in some good ones. When this goes past 3-4 cards and you see people siding in like 7-9 cards thats hate. Thy are SBing out perfectly fine spells for better spells. HATE spells. When it comes time to get into it, my friend Eric and I SB our three or four REBS and let the draws/skills determine the winner. Steven Sadin and I don't even SB against each other!
My perspective is that Keeper will only consistently lose to other decks (sans mono-U) in the field when it is overmetagamed and/or has not devoted enough of it's SB space to aggro, etc. This puts me at a disadvantage vs. other control decks that load up control hate, but A) I feel that if I play well and don't draw like ass I will still win B) my expectation or hope is that the Stompy, Sligh, and Suicide decks will eat those people alive in the early rounds.
Now a bad analogy worthy of Rakso: I look at the Keeper Mirror match as a sacred duel between two Samurai. No how would you feel if, after facing off, one of the Samurai pulled out an Uzi and mowed down the other?
Also packing hate inevitably means you are not prepared for a general field. Devoting so many slots to one deck means there is some archetype(s) that you just need to pray you don't run into. Since the point of Keeper is being ready for everything, I refuse to play that way.
I have a perfectly good U/r Ophidian deck that is an absolute bating against all forms of control and combo. I might as well just play THAT if I'm going to tune my Keeper deck to the point where it beats other control decks and starts losing to decks X, Y, and Z.
On a sidenote, I think Milton's Bloodmoon is acceptable. Playing Bloodmoon is classy and brings everyone back in time to the earliest days of the game. Furthermore, in order to make use of the card he had to modify his entire deck to do so. It isn't just like he's playing mono-U or Sligh and just tossed 4 B2B or POP in.
Has anyone thought about throwing a lone Haunting Echoes into OSE?
Mid- to late-game, it is an absolute house. It can take all copies of everything from Mana Drain to Morphling to Lightning Bolt to Mishra's Factory.
I haven't tested it as much as I'd like to, but I absolutely love it as of right now.
> Has anyone thought about throwing a
> lone Haunting Echoes into OSE?
Yes, but it is a 5cc sorcery. If my goal is to strip you of your graveyard, I can do it with a 0cc Tormods Crypt. If I am hoping to get a concession by catching your Mana Drains & FoWs in the graveyard, well, maybe it will happen, maybe it wont. So many of my important cards are one-ofs (thinking control v. control here; Echoes is probably too slow vs. T1 aggro. Its surprisingly effective v. aggro in T2, so do some testing to be sure, but my gut feeling is that it is too slow) that I can continue to play on.
Basically, if you resolve a 5cc sorcery, you could have resolved a 5cc Morphling. Morphling wins in 4, Echoes is a bit more nebulous.
Nice report. It was very detailed and worth the read.
You might want to try Braingeyser before you use Skeletal Scrying. Skeletal Scrying is an addition to Braingeyser not instead of. Skeletal Scrying is doubly conditional where Braingeyser is not. Skeletal Scrying requires you to have cards in your discard pile as well as pay life in order for you to draw cards. It being an instant is nice but otherwise it is inferior to Braingeyser. I was trying it in the 3rd FoF slot where I tried Jayamdae Tome and Srying Glass as well.
You also do not have a Zuran Orb main deck. I would expect one since you play Skeletal Scrying. Also losing to some little kids bad burn deck is not fun which is why you need maindeck Zuran Orb.
You should play a 4th Volcanic Island unless you intend on playing a Bloodmoon Strategy. 1 extra Island doesn't really help that much against Back to Basics.
Actually ask Azhrei for advice XD.
I do like Scrying Glass. It just was not too useful against agressive decks that either empty their hand or cast instants in response to you Scrying.
Many guys are major jerks online because you can't just walk over and kick them in the nuts. Legend / Ed is an example of that.
Neutral Ground is such a horrible metagame. If you played anywhere else main deck Dwarven Miners would be suicide.
Sylvan Library is better against more decks and Regrowth is just great recursion. Cutting them for Miners would be just silly.
I play 2 Dwarven Winners (Miners) sideboard and they have won their share of games alone. I also play Sacred Ground sideboard against other Miners recently have moved to Teferi's Response testing.
I agree that 7-9 cards is when it starts getting ridiculous that someone is so called HATING you but mana denial has always been a good idea. 'The Deck' sideboarded 2 Bloodmoon back when it has enough non basics to support it and most of the decks were multi color. If Blood moon resolved it reduced most decks to a pile of bolts and mana artifacts. It was even more of a win then Dwarven Winner. That being said the use of it is hardly hate. Dwarven Winner just happense to be good against Survival decks and Sliver decks and is not just a anti 5 color control card.
The samurai analogy is exceedingly bad in this day and age. The world is becoming exceedingly more competitive and the magic world is no exception. Honor really has no place in this. If given the choice I would be the one who takes out the Uzi because thats better then being the one dead full of bullet holes is it not?
I really miss the days of sitting in the anime club playing this massively multiplayer game where everyone's deck was larger the 70 cards and the game lasted for hours when playing Control meant playing with Rubina Soulsinger and Control Magics XD.
Bloodmoon is nice but requires you to play basic lands.
Haunting Echos is very good in type 2 but in type 1 against control it really isn't that good you really only have 4 of Mana Drain and Force of Will besides the dual lands.
Haunting Echoes is actually easier to resolve then Morphling because it can not be Red Blasted but Haunting Echoes does nothing about the board position.
I find it inanely fun to cast Haunting Echoes against people and go through their deck and remove stuff Kkekekekekke. XD.
It goes in most of my type 2 sideboards because of that.
Well, I suppose I might as well post this stuff here, seeing as it has turned into a(nother) Keeper discussion. Since the basic question seems to be "what should I put in place of the 3 lost FoFs?", i'll just list the possible candidates:
Treasure Trove (strictly superior to Tome IMO)
Concentrate (this is probably superior as well, if not strictly -- you get 3 cards for 4 mana in 1 turn, instead of 3 cards for 16 mana in 4 turns. Plus, it is, like Trove, pitchable to FoW).
Now, I am going to draw a lot of flames/etc. by saying that there's 2 cards that get used a lot in keeper that I hate: Zuran Orb and Gorilla Shaman. Shaman just seems to be so incredibly out of place -- wtf is a 1/1 in a control deck? And, like Matt said, Keeper is supposed to have answers to everything... but do Moxen count as threats? (Now that I've actually read the card and realized it doesn't kill Factories, I hate it even more). As for ZOrb, it seems to be a "lose less" thing, which is as bad as "win more". Either you take (possibly lethal) damage, or you completely destroy your already pretty unstable mana base... and lose either way. In addition, look at the following:
- Keeper destroys aggro
- Keeper has a pretty bad mana base
- Mono-U does not
- Keeper plays ZOrb
- Mono-U does not
It seems pretty illogical... Plus, ZOrb is the most horrid piece of card-disadvantage I have ever seen (sure, you can Balance, which makes it OK, but what's the chance of consistently getting the 2 1-ofs?), play a card that does nothing, and then just randomly sacrifice your mana base for no real gain. Sure, occasionally it can gain you those few points of life it takes to survive until you can gain control... but does this scenario come up that often?
But I digress -- Keeper needs some form of lifegain (or anything so you won't just randomly lose to SRB), and as much as I've searched, I can't seem to find anything better. So sadly, it may well be a necessary evil (like FoW)... especially if you have heavy SRB in your area :P.
The moxen themselves are not the threats, but they enable your opponent to hurl more threats at you faster. To gain control you need resources (cards and mana predominately), and the same is true for your opponent. Besides, the monkey kills lots of other annoying stuff as well...cursed scrolls, null rods, zorbs, racks etc. Even if I could make a 40-card keeper the monkey would still be in there...
A lot of times zorb is what enables you to survive those crucial first 10 turns before your aggro opponent has ran out of steam. Like you said, in a real tournament you will always run into sligh/srb decks that dread the orb. I consider it life-insurance, much like FoW. That being said, it often gets sideboarded out in favor of more focused cards. But the orb has saved my ass to many times not to be maindecked.
It seems pretty illogical... Plus, ZOrb is the most horrid piece of card-disadvantage I have ever seen
>>>(sure, you can Balance, which makes it OK, but what's the chance of consistently getting the 2 1-ofs?)
In a deck that is half tutors, library manipulation, and draw the answer is: just about as many games as you'd like it to come up.
>>>Sure, occasionally it can gain you those few points of life it takes to survive until you can gain control... but does this scenario come up that often?
Er...like every single game against mono-red? Seriously, the point is once your mana base is firmly established you turn your extra lands into life. Put it to you this way: if there was a card that was a 0cc artifact that said: "sac 2 lands, counter a spell"--would you play it? Well that's what Zuran Orb IS against sligh. Now add to that the ablity to do funny things with balance, sylvan, and all those cliffhanger games where you need a few more lifepoints to let abyss finish munching their horde....that's why it's maindecked.
Shaman is just incredibly versatile. He kills Cursed Scroll, The Rack, Null Rods, Worbs, Scroll Racks, etc. etc. etc. Against Sligh, if you time him correctly, he's almost always a 3-for-1. Against a deck like Keeper or Combo he usually wreaks havoc with their mana base.
@Mako: Skeletal Scring is better in OSE than Geyser. The instant speed and cheaper casting cost are very important.
Secondly, Dwarven Miner isn't Dwarven Winner--he's Dwarven Wiener because only wieners use him.
Perhaps my analogy was practically Rakso-esque in it's awfulness, but I don't think honor is an outdated concept.
Sorry, Matt. This needed to be said.
You Are Wrong Because:
For your convenience, I have circled the brain malfunction(s) that most closely resemble(s) the one(s) you recently made on the topic of (fill in topic): (not running dwarven miner in Keeper)
1. AMAZINGLY BAD ANALOGY
Example: Playing the Keeper mirror is like being in the Matrix and dueling with Zorro in your underwear.
I personally would never run miners, because I personally will never play the Keeper mirror until I go away to college (and maybe not even there), but if I played at NG (or if my name was Brian Weissman), I would certainly run them.
Dwarves in the rutabegas!
He made a good analogy-- I just like being the guy with the uzi in case the person on the other side of the table isn't someone I want to fight fairly. :P
I take it all back. I just visited the fiction mill, and I don't want to agree with Legend. he must be wrong, ergo, miners are stupid.
Dwarves in the rutabegas!
Matt, why would you want to handicap yourself like that? You admit the Miner would've cleaned house but you refuse to run him? That doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't you play the cards that most help you to win?
About honor, why exactly is not playing cards that help you win 'honorable'? It kind of sounds like a death wish to me.
Consider though that the other Keeper players in NG are mostly Matt's teammates.
Think Kai Budde v. Patrick Mello sideboarding in the finals.
Miners are a ninja ploy. If I have to fight a samurai I think I'd prefer to try that backstab.
Is Miners considered to be a little too silver to be a silver bullet in a deck of silver bullets?
Isn't LD considered to be a method of control?
Having a sideboard prepared for Keeper seems reasonable given the venue.
(Glad that BD is still oen for business)
Look, Miners are good against one deck you see in the real world--that's Keeper.
1. Almost anything I'd SB against mono-U or combo will also be good against Keeper, but the reverse is not true. Thus, it follows to strengthen your SB 15% against everything, rather than 25% against Keeper and 0% against the rest of the highly powered field.
2. I do not want to devote a ton of EXTRA SB space (beyond the mandatory REBs) to a deck that I can beat anyways through playing well when I will have to face Suicide, Sligh, etc. decks that are highly metagamed against me. I'd prefer to have some extra SB cards to ensure I win the aggro matchups.
3. In the Keeper mirror you only have so many slots to side out before you have no deck left. I often only SB in three cards. Four is doable, five is pushing it. Beyond that I outright refuse.
The only time, IMO Miners payoff in terms of strategy is when you're determined to play Keeper against a field that contains a good amount of markedly better Keeper players that you stand a snowball's chance in hell of beating in a straight mirror match.
Matt, I think you are arguing a very good point. But I have to disagree, most respectfully, of course.
First, I think the major problem with most Keeper decks is that they are too tight. They are almost impossible to sideboard effectively. Metagaming with one or two slots in your Keeper for your typical match-up in your environment is smart. Playing a Dwarven Miner in your main deck, for example, gives you a significant advantage against Keeper (assuming that is the dominant deck in your environment) and it is sideboarded out very easily aginst mono-colored decks. It adds a main-deck hate element that can be sided out for other silver bullets. Making your deck as optimal and efficient as possible is to ignore that your sideboard is part of your deck. If your deck is optimal there are no cards you can take out. As such, it's better to have a deck that isn't optimally suited to face every T1 deck. Such a thing is impossible. Instead it is best to play a deck that is optimally suited to your environment. And that means packing some hate, because in some environments the Dwarven Miner is just a better use of the 60th slot than is that 10th counterspell. After all, back in the day Weisman used 2 Red Blasts maindeck. Is that maindeck hate? What about a maindeck COP Red? Hate or smart play?
Second, the Keeper v. Keeper match is very rarely about play skill. It's about your draw. I know, sometimes there are great Keeper v. Keeper games. Games that live on throughout history. The time I balanced three times and my opponent balanced twice and he won because I ran out of cards and... But, most Keeper games come down to who gets the best draw with those first seven cards. For example, I sideboard out 7 cards against Keeper, taking out 2 Fire/Ice, 1 Abyss, 1 Edict, 1 Counterspell, 1 Zuran Orb and 1 other card (Balance, the other Edict or, sometimes, MindTwist) for 4 Red Blasts, 2 Bloodmoon and 1 Secpter. I understand that most people disagree with my use of both the Secpter and the Bloodmoon on this mill, but the fact is, in my opening hand I usually draw one of these seven cards, giving me a huge advantage.
You ever play against someone and not draw any of your sideboarded cards? That's becuase you are only putting in three or four cards! Your sideboard is an extention of your deck. It is a tool for making your deck more focused against certian decks. Your sideboard shouldn't allow you to be more flexible, it should allow you to become more focused.
I don't know if any of that made sense but a maindeck Miner is awesome, IMO. It's a risk, but a calculated risk. A mininal risk.
>>>First, I think the major problem with most Keeper decks is that they are too tight. They are almost impossible to sideboard effectively.
Conversely, I think the too many people force 6-8 SB cards in every matchup. I think the SB should be something to augment your maindeck, not plug huge gaping holes. When I SB too much the deck just runs poorly overall.
Secondly, if I felt like making myself weaker against the random field, aggro or whatever, and relying on my SB to win those matchups, in an effect to make my deck stronger against other control decks, I might as well play mono-U. The reason to play Keeper seems to be flexibility, so I try to emphasize it.
Losing game one most of the time is just a poor way to win matches. I think my Keeper goes 50% or better against any aggro deck in the field game one, with the probable exception of a good Stompy (which is not far under 50%). Aggro's usual plan is to win game one and then steal one of the other two. Since we are playing the most inconsistent non-combo deck on the planet getting a landfucked draw, a landflooded draw, a colorscrewed draw, or just some wierd never-saw-a tutor-all-game draw or something in one of those two games is a fairly probable reality.
>>>Metagaming with one or two slots in your Keeper for your typical match-up in your environment is smart
Well, Gorilla Shaman sure isn't there for Suicide Black.
>>>Playing a Dwarven Miner in your main deck, for example, gives you a significant advantage against Keeper
I disagree. Dwarven Miner is good because he comes in when your opponent sides out all their creature elimination (or foreces them to keep in bad cards while you have none). Keeping him alive game aone against Edict, Fire/Ice, Plow, and Abyss in addition to having counters to stop their good spells isn't easy unless you're already winning. I'm not saying a Dwarven Miner maindeck won't win some games--however it isn't going to be anywhere close to as good as it is coming out of the SB unless you play like 3-4 of them (i.e. Legend's Purple deck).
>>>After all, back in the day Weissman used 2 Red Blasts maindeck. Is that maindeck hate? What about a maindeck COP Red? Hate or smart play?
Weissman did so because better counters did not exist (and the deck actually was more white than blue so UUR was often easier to accomplish, having two counters ready to cast that turn, than UUUU). Also because there was less of a cardpool blue for power was in nearly every deck and Serendibs ran rampant. So REB nearly always had something to do. Nowadays we have a huge surplus of playable and borderline counters and only 8-10 slots to fill (not to mention we use all blue-producing duals).
COP: Red maindeck is a bit hateful, but Zorb is already maindeck. It doesn't require much stretching to upgrade your zorb (which is essentially there against burn) to a COP making you almost sligh-proof, but losing all the little extra things that zorb does. Since Sligh already packs 4 Shaman and POP they have no right to complain.
>>>I sideboard out 7 cards against Keeper, I sideboard out 7 cards against Keeper, taking out 2 Fire/Ice, 1 Abyss, 1 Edict, 1 Counterspell, 1 Zuran Orb and 1 other card (Balance, the other Edict or, sometimes, MindTwist) for 4 Red Blasts, 2 Bloodmoon and 1 Secpter.
Okay, and you realize that you're siding out cards that are _perfectly good_ in the mirror (Balance, one Edict, Mindtwist, Counterspell?) because you just have no more room. The only times I've ever had to do that were against the broken decks to beat of the era (Trix and FoF-era BBS...luckily no one at NG played Academy the whole time it was legal). Although Keeper may be the deck to beat, it isn't something that requires us to hate to death (like the way I needed to play maindeck Annuls for Trix).
Conversely you often complain about losing to Zoo and other aggro machinations. Imagine if a couple more SB slots were devoted to aggro hosers (or even just plain old removal) and your maindeck didn't have that insane manabase designed to combo with bloodmoon that is slowing down your response time. Note that I am not criticizing your deck/play at all--just offering the couterpoint and the balancing advantages that go with it.
Keeper's strength is basic card advantage. After sideboarding, the cards you sided in will usually win you the game or help you enourmously, so they are prime targets for Tutors. And you can always get what you need in Keeper.
You ever play against someone and not draw any of your sideboarded cards?