Unbelievably, a deck without Baneslayer Angel.
Slightly less unbelievably, a deck not by YT at all.
Ben Goodman (aka @RidiculousHat) pinch hits with quite a hit of a deck, actually… Starring (you guessed it) Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle!
Ben Tweeted a greeting along the lines of…
Have you played with [V]alakut yet? Killing people with lands is awesome.
I actually really like the G/R Valakut decks for Extended [albeit packing Sakura-Tribe Elder, probably my favorite creature ever] (what is it with these Extended strategies largely playable in Standard? You know, like yesterday’s?) … So I tried out Ben’s deck for a few matches.
I won them all relatively easily.
They weren’t super duper easy as with Naya Lightsaber, but keep in mind I had never played his deck before. As he has been saying on Twitter, this Valakut attempt is very solid:
Ridiculous Red *
4 Expedition Map
4 Khalni Heart Expedition
4 Rampant Growth
4 Goblin Ruinblaster
3 Lavaball Trap
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
3 Sylvan Bounty
4 Volcanic Submersion
I only had the chance to play in three matches with the deck so far… Here are my experiences:
You know this deck… It is a combo deck featuring Hedron Crab, Crypt of Agadeem, and Extractor Demon. Their goal is to put a bunch of creatures into the graveyard, either with Hedron Crab or using Cycling + Unearth for eventual value.
The annoying part of the deck comes from their Rotting Rats (with double discard value), the big kill from Extractor Demon. There are a million Unearths in the deck, but Extractor Demon is a big one that can come out with a big swing for a single-turn kill from down low (presuming their graveyard is jazzed enough). Also Extractor Demon can serve as an alternate win condition, decking the opponent thanks to all their guys disappearing from the battlefield at the end of an Unearth turn.
Luckily, my match didn’t really go to those ends.
Game One I just tempo’d him out. Lightning Bolt for Hedron Crab, then some attacking with Bloodbraid Elf and Goblin Ruinblaster. The Goblin was particularly helpful, chomping a Crypt before it got out of hand.
I lost the second game to a series of Corpse Connoisseurs setting one another up (while I was mana shy).
The third game ended in dramatic fashion; I kept being forced to discard, and he attacked me relentlessly with Cycling creatures from the graveyard. However I had three copies of ye olde Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in play, and two Khlani Heart Expeditions on the map. I finally hit a land drop which allowed me to put counters on the Expeditions, play the Harrow I had been sandbagging to get the next two counters on each, and explode for roughly one trillion damage. Hi-yah!
I almost conceded Game One on turn three. I kept a one lander with Expedition Map and some Rampant Growths. I stalled on one but eventually hit the second land to go digging… Which put me in the path of Archive Trap + Twincast. Unbelievably, he hit nine of my Mountains. I didn’t really know how I could win… But I just played my cards, and one of them was Siege-Gang Commander. That Goblin circumvented his Wall of Denial, and I won a long one.
The second was another bunch of Valakuts on the board; he had to Counterspell every Harrow, everything. Which he didn’t.
Nissa Revane “Gruul”
This was an insane game! He had first turn Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. So everyone who came out came out with +1/+1 (no fun). He battered me but somehow I drew just enough lands (having kept I think a two lander) to chump with Siege-Gang Commander and set up Lavaball Trap! RAH!
The first trap took out Mountain, Rootbound Crag, and three 1/1s with +1/+1 counters on top.
The second one got his remaining Forests and a Llanowar Elves.
(He only had four).
I might have been stuck on one life, but I had plenty of time to win; I didn’t need it because he conceded to unopposed Bloodbraid Elf the next turn.
Finally, I got a tempo game with just some Pyroclasm action. It was a combination of tempo from Bloodbraid Elf and assorted beatdown, followed by Valakut control.
All in all, a fine trio of matches, and a nice introduction to this “Ridiculous” Red Deck 🙂
A card breakdown…
Usually I got Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle with this pap; once I got Forest to set up Bloodbraid Elf. You really need to play this card in this kind of deck to reinforce the number of Valakuts.
This is a really odd card in this deck. Half the time you are flipping over Rampant Growth. Sometimes you flip over Lightning Bolt like some kind of a miser; other times you flip Bolt and it didn’t do very much. This is like Blastoderm in Angry No-Hermit from back 2000 days (was Napster era really almost 10 years ago?). Just like Blastoderm in that deck, I wouldn’t consider cutting this strange, seemingly misplaced, four drop.
Khalni Heart Expedition
These cards are somewhat modular in this deck. You can play them early but you will often not explode them until you have Valakut online; they are a Ball Lightning each, remember, beyond being regular old mana acceleration.
This one you will not usually want to wait on; sets up turn three Bloodbraid Elf and all that.
This was a surprisingly valuable main deck card, despite the fact that I sideboarded it out against the deck with Oran-Rief (for Pyroclasm). Nice tempo; nice action on Crypt of Agadeem. I’m sure it would be fine against beloved Black Baneslayer and so on 🙂 (Or is it “:(“?)
I was pretty shocked when this saved me. The deck has a queer semi-Ponza vibe with the Ruinblasters and this main, and the somewhat transformational sideboard.
Not really strategic in this deck; I can see siding it out.
Another one that was somewhat hard to contextualize before I actually played… But I guess you need a way to win.
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
I played 12 of the 15 cards in Ben’s sideboard fairly happily (no Sylvan Bounties… at least not yet). Due to its cost I probably would have overlooked Volcanic Submersion, but it was useful against the Dredge deck.
Before I sign off for the night, a couple of notes…
- In case you haven’t seen it yet, two Two TWO copies of Black Baneslayer made the Top 8 of the recent Star City Games $5,000 in Nashville; if you know them, give Chase Lamm and Derek Mong a punch in the arm (or the affectionate bum pat or whatever of your choice).
- I recently read one of my favorite articles of all time as a multi-part ‘cast over at Top 8 Magic. Give a listen to “How to Win a PTQ” (inspired by Adam Levitt). (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5)
- Apparently I had a glitch on the site so that no new people could register to make blog comments. Sorry about that one kids! It should be fixed now. So comment away. Please!
Currently Reading: The Book of Lies
* My name, not Ben’s 🙂