Strictly Short: AlmondCat Pre-Release Midnight

  1. Good morning friends and family.  Here I am, exhausted and undercaffeinated after a late night of AlmondCat prerelease. Here’s to hoping you all are off to some events this weekend, and my brief notes will be useful for you. Let’s cover the humble brags first, because who doesn’t love it when our hero slays the evil mages at his LGS?

My Deck

I ended up building a pretty sweet Green Blue Fliers/Stompy deck.  I was mainly focused on the double blue Cartouches that I opened, and learned some synergies as I went along. The low curve stuff didn’t perform as expected.  The Slither Blade‘s seemed like they would be good, but it wasn’t until the later part of Round 2 when I finally drew them.  They were mostly underwhelming but did get a bit of early damage in, before eating removal. This cleared the way for some great 2 drops. Bitterblade warriors were just Bears with upside and always did their job. I found Labyrinth Guardian to be very useful, with a great filterability and also leaving a good size body to save time for my bigger threats. Exemplar of Strength is a beast and when paired up with Cartouche of Knowledge, I was living in Value Town.

As the mana curve got larger my value just exploded with this deck.  Manglehorn and Vizier of Tumbling Sands were just straight bodies, and their abilities had little effect on the game. Prowling Serpopard was just a beastly 4/3 that at one point had 2 Cartouches attached to him. Pouncing Cheetah proved to be super great in my matchups.  Sometimes it was merely a 3 mana removal spell and in other times if my opponent didn’t have a fully developed board, I would flash the cat in on their End Step, and get in for 3 more damage on Turn 4. Crocodile of the Crossing is a Bomb in this limited format. From the 5 drop slot, Glyph Keeper did a heck of a job removing the drawback from the Crocodile and the Exemplar of Strength. This synergy was not immediately obvious to me until I actually had two of the cards in hand.  This proved to be absolutely backbreaking for my opponent. I cast the Sphinx on turn 5, with life totals at or around 20.  On turn 6, I cast the Crocodile, targeting the Sphinx and the ability was countered. I then swung for 10. The rest of the fliers were just icing on the cake.

The spell suite was pretty powerful, with the 2 Cartouches being pretty much the game-changers for me. I used Commit as a way to get me to my later threats, or to remove an attacker my opponent has pumped on an empty board, or attached an Enchantment to. Synchronized Strike is a killer combat trick and can turn an equal board state into a lopsided board state very quickly. Decision Paralysis was a great way to disrupt an opponents attack plan, and the Sheltered Thicket was just added value due to having 1 of my colors, and allowing me to Cycle when I needed to draw an extra card.

Last minute tips

  • If you are looking for trade value on sites like Pucatrade, make yourself a brief list of the most promoted cards, and trade for them between rounds.  People are paying a premium right now for the ability to play their Standard Decks immediately when the cards are legal. This will allow you to get pretty slick deals on sends.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things.  I was very wary of my deck when I built it.  I just knew I had value in these two colors, and wanted to try and see if they could work.  And they did.  I lost one game all night, and that was when my opponent landed a Liliana.
  • The cycle lands are good in limited, and it’s okay to play off color cycle lands just for straight value.
  • Creature Synergies seems good. Especially Zombie decks. There was one Zombie deck floating at the event that I was happy I didn’t face.  The Lords make this deck idea very viable.
  • Interested in reading a prerelease primer by a seasoned pro? Try:
  • https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/the-amonkhet-prerelease-primer/

I will be attending at least 3 or 4 more events this weekend, and hope to keep you all posted on progress, and attempt to assist those of you playing tomorrow.

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Good luck, and have fun out there.

-Strictly

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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com

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