baneslayer? yeah, it’s still good

NOTE: Since this post is getting a lot of hits for some reason (people searching for “Baneslayer Angel”), I thought I’d write a disclaimer that this tournament report is for the Shards of Alara-Zendikar-M11 short standard season. Yes, it says so in the first 10 words of the article, but meh, I can do whatever I want to my blog.

Just got back from the M11 Game Day, and yeah, control + Baneslayer is still pretty good. I 4-0’d in the Mediocre Masters of Madison out of 16 people (which equals first place, for those unfamiliar with Swiss pairings) and won a groovy Game Day certificate as well as a full-art alternate Mitotic Slime.

It was pretty awesome to first-place a tournament, although I only played 1 “tier 1” deck, first round vs. Turboland, then I played 2 homebrews and an old tier 1 deck now occupying the tier 2 realm (Nissa Monument).

I played my Haterator deck which, if you’ve read my other Magic posts, should be familiar to you. Here’s the updated list for M11:

Main Deck

3 Inquisition of Kozilek, 1 Duress

2 Path to Exile, 1 Condemn

4 Wall of Omen, 3 Tidehollow Sculler

4 Blightning, 3 Oblivion Ring

4 Thought Hemorrhage

2 Elspeth, Knight Errant, 3 Day of Judgment

2 Malakir Bloodwitch, 3 Baneslayer Angel

6 Plains, 5 Swamp, 4 Mountain

4 Arid Mesa, 4 Marsh Flats, 1 Terramorphic Expanse, 1 Evolving Wilds

Sideboard

3 Kor Firewalker

2 Terminate

3 Luminarch Ascension

2 Slave of Bolas

1 Condemn

4 Goblin Ruinblaster

~

I wasn’t sure how to board against Valakut, hence the awkward 4-of Ruinblasters, but thankfully I didn’t have to play it. Turboland was pretty scary for a while since both games he had multiple Eldrazi Temples on board and I’d seen all of his various Eldrazi friends already. However, he was never really able to go off, and Baneslayer just got there eventually. It helped that he was never really able to interact with my cards too well, so resolving a big threat went a long way.

Round 2 was against a white weenie lifegain concoction. Soul Wardens, Soul Collectors, Lone Missionaries, and then gross stuff like Serra Ascendant, Baneslayer, Sun Titan, and Ajani’s Pridemates. First game he kept a 1-lander with 2 Soul Wardens and 4 2-drops. Luckily, I got a first turn Inquisition to get rid of his Pridemate. He got lucky and top-decked a bunch of land, but not quite enough to lay the Baneslayer I saw he had when I Inquisitioned again turn 2. So, I laid my own Baneslayer turn 5, he missed 2 land drops, and I Hemorrhaged for his Baneslayer. Even if he hit his 5th land, I had the Condemn in my hand to deal with it. Game 2 was more of the same, except I got 2 Baneslayers, and he got flooded instead of land-screwed.

Round 3 I played against Nissa Monument. He got off to a rocket start of Joraga Treespeaker into Elvish Visionary on a 2-land hand, and got at 3 more land + a Llanowar out, putting me in a scary position for a turn 5 Wolfbriar for a lot. Thankfully, instead of laying it, he opted to play a Nissa Revane and use Oran-Rief on his guys, then play an Archdruid and Pelakka Wurm, which I responded by O-ringing the Nissa and Wrathing the board, followed up by a top-deck Blightning, hitting his Wolfbriar and some other grossness, putting him into top-deck mode with only 5 land + Oran-Rief. I landed a Bloodwitch, Baneslayer, and Elspeth, which sealed me the game. Game 2, I hit a Plummet with a turn 1 Inquisition, and he also didn’t get such an explosive start. He got a few guys down, I got a Wall and was able to Blightning off his Monument. I Wrathed after he was topdecking, then laid Elspeth and Bloodwitch, which ended the game after a couple turns.

Last round was against one of my favorite local players, who threw together a deck the night before, and he was 3-0, so it seemed to work. He went Khalni Heart Expedition into Garruk and Wrathed the board to kill my Sculler. I got a turn 5 Baneslayer, but he responded to my attack by using Summoning Trap to hit Squadron Hawk, which was cool. He was then able to pitch 2 more Hawks to my next-turn Blightning, and proceeded to lay Terastodon, killing my only Mountain and a Swamp, leaving me with only 4 mana, 1 black. Thankfully, I had the O-ring in my hand and was able to swing for 11 and trade with the elephant he gave himself, and that was pretty much game. Game 2, he had a really slow start, and I grabbed a Knight of the Reliquary with my Sculler on turn 2. He was pretty much forced to Wrath to get it back, after which he laid it again. I played O-ring, he O-ringed my O-ring, and I finally just Terminated it. I was stuck on 1 white for a while, but I can at least Hemorrhage his Terastodons away. I finally draw an Arid Mesa to lay my Elspeth, which he O-ringed. Bait successful! Next turn, laid the Baneslayer. He has to Wrath. I shrug it off and lay a Bloodwitch when his hand is pretty much empty, which is good enough to pull off the win.

Just to make my life that much better, the top 8 decide to split instead of playing another 3 rounds, which leaves me as the only 4-0, so I get the fancy-shmancy certificate, and then I open a couple of my prize packs and pull a Primeval Titan, completing my playset! Sweet deal.

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