Last weekend, I was able to take part in something I had yet to have the opportunity to experience in Kaijudo. With a Kaijudo Master Challenge held by my local on Saturday and one three hours away on Sunday, I was in the perfect position to have a full weekend of KMCs. In this article, I'll be taking a look at the decks I ran at the two events and some of the more interesting decisions I made with them. Then, we'll see how they paid off in the long run!
I did most of the testing in regards to my team's deck choice for the KMC in Norfolk, VA. There were several main top decks I had to take into consideration when preparing for the event; I expected LWD tempo, Dragon variants, Rush, and Haven control. The LWD tempo deck has been gaining a ton of popularity over the last few weeks, and for good reason. It's very versatile and has a great matchup to Haven control in addition to rush decks. I wanted to take the best concepts from that deck and apply cards that could give me an edge against other LWD tempo decks and dragons.
The week prior to the KMC, I put my ideas through locals and was able to go undefeated throughout the day. I had settled on using a discard package featuring the likes of [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spire Puppet[/ccProd] that was probably the most distinguishing factor separating the deck from the tempo variants. Against dragons, it allowed me to get a huge edge up if I came into it early in the game, reducing their hand size before they were able to develop their board. The main tempo cards remained in-tact, though I cut [ccProd]Cyber Scamp[/ccProd] out of fear of the mirror and dragons. Of the four decks I mentioned preparing for, I expected Haven to occupy the least amount of spots at the tournament, and with cards like [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd] and [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd], I was confident enough in the matchup. I convinced the three of my teammates who were going to be in attendance with me to also run the list. Here's the final build:
LWD Control[ccDeck]3 Keeper of Laws:3 Lyra, the Blazing Sun:2 Blinder Beetle Prime:2 Andromeda of the Citadel:1 Stormspark Blast:3 General Finbarr:1 King Alboran:2 Logos Scan:3 Bottle of Wishes:2 Screeching Scaradorable:3 Mesmerize:3 Bone Blades:3 Terror Pit:3 Aqua Strider:3 Tar Gusher:3 Spire Puppet:2 Squillace Scourge:2 Piercing Judgment[/ccDeck]
At 44 cards, it was a little bigger than I would have liked, but I felt that I couldn't really cut any of the Darkness or Light cards and I needed the Water mana too much. In retrospect, I probably just needed more testing with the deck than I was able to do.
There are definitely some choices in the deck that could be considered odd. The [ccProd]Blinder Beetle Prime[/ccProd] engine was there to combat the tempo mirror alongside the aforementioned discard. Tar Gusher was basically the Lost Patrol replacement; it could attack in conjunction with [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd] or [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd] (or both) to put control on the ropes, or slay opposing Lost Patrols and even give me the opportunity to tap other creatures. Of course, evolving into Blinder Beetle Prime was always a plus, and that card did wonders against tempo and dragons alike.[ccProd]King Alboran[/ccProd] is probably the choice I need to talk the most about, though, since no one really took it seriously before we ran it. I'm no expert on obscure Super Rares, and was only really thinking about the card after one of my teammates mentioned it jokingly while looking through their binder the night before the event. After reading it, I realized it was exactly what I wanted: another edge against Dragons. The 7000-power body gives it the ability to attack over [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] and Lyra, which are arguably the two most important mid-game cards for Dragons. As far as effects, people look at the bounce effect, which is admittedly subpar, and call the whole card subpar. I was into the other effect. Being able to look at the top card of my deck each turn and decide whether or not I wanted to draw it seemed insane in a matchup like Dragons when I needed to draw answers to their threats each turn. After convincing my teammates I wasn't trolling and winning some test games with the card, it went in all four of our decks. Even after Carl Miciotto and Gordon "Gorby" Hunt topped with it, people assumed we were just trolling; this is me saying that we were completely serious.
The small size of the event unfortunately forced us to play each other and resulted in myself and Spencer Swan not making the top eight, and Carl and Gorby lost heartbreaking matches that prevented them from qualifying. While I still feel that the deck was the right choice for the day, no one from our group was able to qualify. Spencer and I were the two going to Raleigh, NC the next day, so looking forward to the next day, we needed to figure out if we wanted to go the same route or not.
Going into day two of the KMC weekend in Raleigh, NC, I expected a resurgence of dragons. Not only had they taken second place in Norfolk, but tempo had won the event and many players realize that [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] can pose serious problems for that deck, especially when paired with Jump Jets. I also had a feeling that dragons were just a generally popular pick in NC. With all that in mind, we wanted a deck that could give us an incredibly good matchup against dragon variants of all kinds, as well as not auto-lose to tempo strategies. For this event, we took some of the advice of Vu Nguyen and created an updated version of "Haven Turbo." Here's the list we came up with, after deciding to run it about fifty minutes before round one and having a speed discussion on strategy and theory:
LWDN Haven Turbo[ccDeck]3 Eternal Haven:3 Andromeda of the Citadel:3 Rain-Cloud Kraken:2 Stormspark Blast:3 Bottle of Wishes:2 Crystal Memory:1 King Neptas:3 Mesmerize:3 Terror Pit:2 Bone Blades:2 Toxic Fog:3 Sprout:3 Reap and Sow:2 Wildstrider Ramnoth:2 Root Trap:2 Tendril Grasp:3 Spire Puppet:2 Squillace Scourge:2 Fullmetal Lemon:2 Kivu, Ingenious Shaman[/ccDeck]
This deck has many similarities to the one I used way back at the ARG KMC. The main difference, which is actually pretty crucial, is the addition of the discard package that was used in the LWD control deck from the day before. This gives the deck alternate lines of play against dragons besides just hoping for ramp spells. There were times when I'd go second against dragons purely because I'd have Toxic Fog and Mesmerize in my opener, and barring a [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd] into [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd] progression I knew I had the game basically won; allowing them to go first would give them less of a chance of reaching those cards as well as making my [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] even more painfnul. [ccProd]Toxic Fog[/ccProd] being able to kill Nix before dragons can benefit from it was the reason we ran it, and part of why we were ok with only two [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd].
Other notable things we didn't run that many people consider standard are [ccProd]Piercing Judgment[/ccProd], [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd]. Our argument against Laws was pretty simple; being worried about tempo and dragons, we wanted cards that were good specifically against those matchups. Control players usually wind up throwing copies of Laws into mana against those decks. We did decide to run one copy of [ccProd]King Neptas[/ccProd] for its Hexproof-like effect, which was a suggestion by Vu. That effect can be quite useful in the tempo matchup and Neptas attacks over a lot more than Laws does.[ccProd]Piercing Judgment[/ccProd] and Lyra were a little harder to not run, but I never really missed them. Piercing would have been good in my shields a few times, but I didn't want to commit to playing creatures against dragons to get the full benefit of the card. I was also able to maintain a very low amount of multi-civs in the deck. Lyra was decided against because it's usually used in the mid-game to help stave off decks like dragons, but this deck seemed to already have an incredible matchup against them in the first place. A lot of it also comes down to space; if I could have run both of those cards in multiples while somehow keeping the deck at 48, I would have, but I just didn't feel comfortable raising the card count for them. Seeing blockers at the right time against rush and seeing discard at the right time against other decks was too important.
While some of the things we chose not to run are a little interesting, most of the inclusions are self-explanatory outside of Neptas. [ccProd]Rain-Cloud Kraken[/ccProd] might seem unusual, but we wanted a reliable turn two blocker more than we wanted [ccProd]Aqua Strider[/ccProd]'s 4000 power, and with only ten total Water cards, Strider wasn't going to give us that reliability. Every time I opened with [ccProd]Rain-Cloud Kraken[/ccProd], I had the ability to play it on turn two. Only having to worry about unlocking one civilization was very valuable in my match against mono-Fire rush.
In the end, these decisions paid off. Spencer and I both made the top four, where I scooped to Ricky Gross and Spencer went on to take first place, getting his invite and flight to Texas in the process. The matchups basically went as expected, with tempo being a bit of a struggle. Megabugs proved to be very difficult because of the sheer amount of turn two plays that can start beating at shields, and they were my one loss before I scooped in top four. The amount of aggression on his side coupled with some of the slower hands I drew all day led to my demise. LWD tempo can be troublesome if they get ideal progressions usually involving [ccProd]Cyber Scamp[/ccProd], but the matchup is a little better. Dragons were fairly easy to handle all day long, so we were glad we made the call.
Overall, it was a great weekend. It would have been nice to see my teammates take it all the way on Saturday after getting so close, but such a good Sunday showing made up for it in my book. I got to run some interesting card choices and shake things up a little. Hopefully you all enjoyed hearing about the crazy double KMC weekend and found this article helpful in one way or another. If you enjoyed it, feel free to leave a comment down below and don't forget to Play Hard or Go Home!