Eight Matches with Blightning Beatdown – Part 2

A continuation of the previous post on Blightning Beatdown testing for the upcoming Star City $5,000 tournament in Philadelphia next month.

In case you didn’t read Eight Matches with Blightning Beatdown – Part 1, here is the deck list:

4 Bitterblossom

4 Blightning
4 Demigod of Revenge
4 Figure of Destiny

4 Flame Javelin
4 Hell’s Thunder
4 Incinerate
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Tarfire

4 Auntie’s Hovel
4 Ghitu Encampment
4 Graven Cairns
4 Sulfurous Springs
5 Mountain
2 Reflecting Pool
1 Swamp

4 Infest
3 Thoughtseize
4 Gutteral Response
4 Everlasting Torment

1. Elementals

Game One – Elementals is a deck that I tested early for the States format. Properly built, it can be hell on the Reflecting Pool Control suite, it has fast — sometimes uncounterable — Cloudthreshers for the Fae, and Reveillark for a legitimate Stage Three game plan. The reason I discarded it is that Elementals often got slow draws against The Red Deck that could not be corrected (Shock your Smokebraider, &c.); and the slow games without Mulldrifter just seemed like a lot of comes into play tapped lands and glacial Harbingers.

In this game he actually has some Fulminator Mages to slow me down and a Horde of Notions.

I start on Bitterblossom and triple Mogg Fanatics. I kill the Horde two-for-one and he follows up with a Reveillark.

I just attack all in to get damage in.

He borrows a play from my States Jund Mana Ramp deck and runs a Gift of the Gargantuan for a Mulldrifter and Fire-lit Thicket; but I have Flame Javelin to finish.

Game Two – I didn’t sideboard (maybe I should have taken out Demigod of Revenge?) … I opened on Ghitu Encampment and pointed my Mogg Fanatic at his mana guy.

He played another mana guy and I came in with another Mogg Fanatic and Hell’s Thunder, then repeated the previous Mogg Fanatic play.

Time for Blightning!

The bad news… He discarded Gift of the Gargantuan and Horde of Notions (a little scared of Makeshift Mannequin in this spot).

“Luckily” he followed up with a Harbinger for another Horde of Notions, then played Gift for that Horde (pretty nice)… but managed to miss his necessary land drop.

With five mana I sent Incinerate and Hell’s Thunder #2.

His fifth land came into play tapped!

… But he had the dreaded Mannequin. How anticlimactic. In for five.

I flashed a Thunder from down under, putting him to one. He can’t do 15 the following turn.


2. Faeries with White

Game One – He opens with Arcane Sanctum, then Secluded Glen into Bitterblossom.

I skipped an attack with my Mogg Fanatic to preserve the option of a two-for-one (learned that from Brett’s video); he tries for the Scion, but I burn it.

But his double Mistbind Clique is really much more clever (or at least effective than anything I had this game).

Game Two – I sided out two Tarfires for two Gutteral Responses. I wanted the threat of being able to mess with his Cryptic Command set to Fog… but didn’t really have anything worth taking damage sources out just to force through with extra mana. I came out quickly with Figure and Mogg Fanatic, and we are to Game Three just like that.

Game Three – I open on turn one Fanatic and turn two Blossom; however I stick on two with a hand full of awesome threes. He has a Loxodon Warhammer so my goal becomes to not let him use it on me.

Anyway, once I start to get a little mass he sees the writing on the wall and points a Cryptic Command at my squad… but that’s why I have Gutteral Response (even if I only sided two of them, see above).

It would have definitely been better to side out Incinerate instead of Tarfire. Tarfire is just better against his guys (no one has three toughness), plus Tarfire is cheaper and a Goblin for Auntie’s Hovel. Oh well, that’s why we test.


3. Reanimator

Game One – He opens Swamp.

I go first turn Figure.

He goes Island.

I’m in. No pumps. He runs Agony Warp. Ha ha, I didn’t pump. Awesome Blossom.

Now it gets weird… Cunning Lethemancer?

The joke’s on you: I discard Demigod of Revenge.

He evokes a Mulldrifter; I evoke the Chris Pikula rule and Tarfire the Lethemancer.

Then he Beacons up his Mully… I play my own five mana Black spell, being a Demigod of Revenge… for Demigod of Revenge.

He points Profane Command at one of my Demigods but passes the turn on three, convenient for my Blightning.

Game Two – I put in three copies of Thoughtseize, dropping a trio of Hell’s Thunders. In hindsight this is probably wrong as there is a particularly good synergy between his Lethemancers and my Thunders. But with a deck as unpredictable as his, I think Thoughtseize is right… just a question of what to pull; I think Flame Javelin?

I drew Thunder anyway.

This game I stuck a pair of Bitterblawesomes. He played Blackman style and kept Warping my jones to only take one from my Thunder and eat a token.

He kept Warping tokens whereas I stuck Blightning the flash on Thunder until he was at 11 and I was gripping circa ten.


4. Jund Mana Ramp (possibly Jund Quillspike Combo)

Game One – I shipped Swamp (only land) with double Blossom into Hell’s Thunder and five land… make that six land after my draw step.

He opened on a Jund tri-land.

I went Fantastic.

He played a Devoted Druid and the juices started flowing.

I don’t think he can combo me if I have a Fanatic in play.

I just killed his Druid based on my hand.

He followed up with Garruk and a second Druid. I hit him with Thunder and pointed a second Fanatic at his second Druid.

He went Chameleon.

I went Demigod.

I did the math and realized I had to kill Garruk or the Chameleon would go intensely large + trample. Unfortunately my Demigod was not comely to the Elves and Eyeblight’s Ending got him.

Game Two – Paris to five.

Off curve; third turn Bitterblossom… against his Finks. I start to accumulate tokens and get a Figure.

He Jund Charms and I’m afraid he is going to kill my tokens and Figure and reset his Finks… but he just eats these two Hell’s Thunders that were hanging out in my graveyard. Then he evokes a Cloudthresher to actually kill my tokens. But Figure makes it in for four!

It’s a race!

… Until he plays a pair of Finks and sends Eyeblight’s Ending at my Figure.

I rip all lands of course.


5. Tokens

He opens on a Fire-lit Thicket.

I answer with Sulfurous Springs into a turn two Bitterblossom. Ouch ouch.

His first move is Nantuko Husk.

I want nothing to do with that and Tarfire it, following with Figure of Destiny.

A follow up Blightning reveals to Soul’s Fires (have I mentioned how good Blightning is?). I have 13 more points in my hand when he concedes.

Game Two – I remove four Mogg Fanatics for four Infests; mulligan a one lander.

I get a quick Figure of Destiny; his first move is again on turn three… a Sprouting Thrinax. I just draw lands and he eventually kills me with Sarkan Vol.

Game Three – Mulligan again; turn two Bitterblossom.

I spend a bunch of turns Incinerating Marsh Flitters; mana is pretty tight this game. He has four Goblins from his Marsh Flitters and I have some Bitterblossom tokens. Eventually I draw lands and play a ton of Blightnings and Demigods.


He plays Birds of Paradise (always trouble).

I play Figure of Destiny turn one over Tarfire.

Luckily he has no explosive turn two and I Tarfire his Birds and get in for two.

Blightning reveals Wrath of God and Garruk Wildspeaker.

He Oblivion Rings my Figure of Destiny; I deal four anyway with Hell’s Thunder, then play another Figure. He plays a Liege of some sort, which I burn out, prompting the concession.

Game Two I remove four Flame Javelins for four Everlasting Torments.

He opens on Murmuring Bosk, plays the 0/4 Harbinger and goes and gets another Mosk. My Figure bounces off of it until he deigns to play a Shriekmaw.

Hell’s Thunder in.

He goes 4/4 of his own – Chameleon Colossus.

This looks like it might be an interesting game except I have three Hell’s Thunders and a plenty of overload damage to race.


7. Jund Mannequin

Game One – He opens on Birds of Paradise. I open on Figure of Destiny, which earns an Incinerate. Okay; slow game this one. Blightning and Blightning snag six life, Violent Ultimatum, Firespout, Chameleon Colossus, and Makeshift Mannequin.

He tries to slow the old man down with some Fulminator Mages but I have enough lands this game. He switches gears and drops a diffeent Chameleon. Meanwhile I send three Flame Javelins at the face and finish with a Tarfire for the perfect 20.

Game Two – He mulligans into a weak hand and quickly concedes to Mogg Fanatic and some burn spells.


At 6-1, given the imaginary eight rounds of my imaginary tournament, I am in ID land. Top 8? Heh.

I decide to play one more because I don’t have any footage (look for this video to come up later in the week).

8. G/W Little Kid

Game One – You probably know I made a deck with all G/W cards and Wilt-Leaf Liege for Block that won one PTQ (that I know about). I actually started thinking about this strategy again for Standard just because Wilt-Leaf Liege is so good against Blightning and Cruel Ultimatum. So basically, alongside Kitchen Finks and better guys than are in my colors — let alone my deck — this is the nightmare match.

Luckily he had a slow opening, which was my only saving grace. One too many lands came into play tapped so he couldn’t overrun me with superior forces. I stuck a Blightning that was pretty ironic. A turn or two later and I would have been eating 4/4.

Anyway he got out a ton of 4/x and 5/x creatures (with Liege boosts) but I had a late Bitterblossom to get in for a tiny amount of damage… eventually burned him to death.

Game Two – I side out Blightnings (obviously) for Everlasting Torments.

I luck out that his third land is a Mosswort Bridge, meaning my Figure of Destiny is 4/4 before he has a Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers in play. This is just what I need to get in -one too many times-. Then it’s all Hell’s Thunder and burn to the face. No sweat, thanks to his stumble.


All in all, I was very pleased with this deck.

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#1 enzoreal on 11.25.08 at 6:05 am

I love this version splash black because I can win my matches against the bad match (ww).
But this version is much more slowly than a monored and I had a little more difficult to win the faerie deck.

#2 enzoreal on 11.25.08 at 6:07 am

Hey Flores, after this 8 matchs you would like to change something in deck?

#3 janVN on 11.25.08 at 11:13 am

Mike, thanks for anwsering my remark in the previous section of this twoparter. Nice blog and I’m looking forward for the video on the Blighning Beatdown testing session.

Re: Everlasting Torment
While I surely respect your opinion, I’d like to clarify my view a little further. Like you said, Everlasting torment is at its best adressing Finks, Runed Halo and Burrenton-Forge Tender.
I’d like to go a little more in depth on these trump cards (not that I’m suggesting you don’t know this Mike, but just for the sake of completeness:

Most deck only run 2 of those (Finks + Halo in ‘Lark and in some 5 color controls and Forge Tender + Finks the new RW Cruiser deck and sometimes in Kithkin Builds).

The most important one of these trumps is imho: Burrenton Forge-Tender (esp. with Ranger of Eos searching up 2 Tender brothers). So versus Kitkin you always bring in the playset Infests to deal with their team inc. the Forge-Tender. While it’s nice to have an extra card for solving their Stage Two trumps or adressing a double forge-tender search with Ranger of Eos, I think it’s painful to side out 8 cards for bringing in 4 Infest and 4 Everlasting Torment since it lessens the damage potential of the deck.

Against decks running Runed Halo, most of the time they have to name an early Figure if they can’t deal with it or if they can reach the lategame: Flame Javelin or more likely Demigod of Revenge. Most of the time it takes a while for them to win through Demigod(s) on defense, giving you more time to draw to a winning Everlasting Torment. In the games I tested vs Lark (which sideboarded 4 Runed Halos and 3 Story Circles), Unwilling Recuit to remove their blocker and hit them for a lot, was also = game.

I’ll admit Kitchen Finks or other lifegain (Rhox War Monk) is a problem which is better adressed by 4 Everlasting Torment then my 2. I like Stigma Lasher in regular RDW to adress this better.

So to cut a long story short (sorry for the rant): I dislike 4 Everlasting Torment because of drawing 2 and having to side out cards that actually kill my opponent. (In testing for nationals, our list also had only 2 Torments). I know it’s hardly an argument but also look at Matt Hansens’ winning states decklist (regular RDW though).

#4 KZipple on 11.25.08 at 12:21 pm

I think I see why Everlasting Torment is better in this deck specifically than Magma Spray. Since we’re more oriented towards a real phase 3 strategy, stopping them from interrupting it [Runed Halo on Demigod, Story Circle, etc.] is more important than efficiently stopping the short term but ultimately phase 2 threat of Kitchen Finks.
At least that makes sense in my head. Also, I’m totally on board with Infest now. I got thoroughly manhandled by Kithkin without it by a skilled opponent. Caldera Hellion is way better, but again, the goal in that matchup is to make it to phase 3. Infest is a lot better at that.

#5 Gifts Ungiven on 11.25.08 at 12:22 pm

Because it’s bugging me — Cunning Lethemancer. Like the mythical underworld river. No ‘c’. (Although I think you were thinking of Goblin Flectomancer and munged the two together).

I love the Pikula rule. I play enough quirky cards in constructed formats that I think more people should probably be taking heed of that rule and killing anything I play that they subsequently have to pause to read.

One question:

He plays Birds of Paradise (always trouble).

I play Figure of Destiny turn one over Tarfire.

Luckily he has no explosive turn two and I Tarfire his Birds and get in for two.

What was the thought here behind choosing not to burn the Bird? When couch his lack of an explosive turn two in terms of luck on your part, that makes it sound as if you think you made the strictly worse play of the two options and got lucky. If so, why did you make the poor play? Or are you just spinning it up to tell a better story? 🙂

#6 admin on 11.25.08 at 1:10 pm

Dear beloved readership,

I am off to Ohio in a few hours but I am first going to respond to my, um, beloved readership’s responses to yesterday’s blog post.

@ enzoreal
I don’t know how much slower it is than straight Red. I think Blightning is just more strategic… A lot of the difference is if you want to play a grinder with Bitterblossom or stick Blightning to pull him on his heels… But I think you can get similarly quick wins behind Figure, Thunder, Demigod, and Flame Javelin.

Yes, Blightning Beatdown is far better against Kithkin due to the Black sideboard cards. I think the Fae matchup is still quite favorable. Your Blossom is generally more awesome in-matchup than theirs.

@ enzoreal again
I don’t know what I would change at this point.

@ janVN
As you know the video is coming later this week, to be released on the old YouTube.

I approach it like this: Magma Spray is mostly good against Kitchen Finks. It in fact is mostly good against Kitchen Finks in early Stage Two. Everlasting Torment can take the wind out of their sideboard cards at any stage. This is pretty important for protecting Stage Three inevitability. Moreover you have these decks like B/W that are siding both Burrenton Forge-Tender and Runed Halo in an attempt to overtake the Red Deck, and Everlasting Torment stops them all.

I like cards like Unwilling Recruit, but you usually have to have the initiative to take full advantage. I prefer cards that work more generally unless I have a strategic decision to go otherwise. Also you are never going to beat a Rhox War Monk with Magma Spray but a lowly Mogg Fanatic can go 3/4 of the way with a Torment engaged.

End of the day, I also dislike drawing multiple Torments generally, but I feel like you really need to draw one to win some of these battles sideboarded and want to err on the side where I am more likely to draw my first one.

@ KZipple
What he said.

@ Gifts Ungiven
You are a grammar nazi. But that’s okay. I like grammar nazis. Fixed.

As for the Birds of Paradise play, it’s a gamble. Either he has something or he doesn’t. In this case he didn’t and I got in. If he had something, it all depends on what it is. If it’s just a Civic Wayfinder my play is still fine. If it’s a Kitchen Finks I have to think about something else. I simply made the most mana efficient play. Remember I have minimal information at this point. Lots of decks aren’t even playing Kitchen Finks any more. Of course if it were Rhox War Monk I would have had an uphill battle to fight… whether it was turn two or turn three.


#7 vpreacher on 11.26.08 at 6:39 am

I’ve seen a number of Kithkin decks running Glorious Anthem. Do you think Caldera Hellion as a one or two of in the board could be useful?

#8 kenseiden on 11.27.08 at 7:54 am

@ vpreacher

I think caldera hellion is a great card and deserves some playtest indeed, and thats a perfect situation where u take PROFIT from your ‘to-be-dead-guys’ anyway, since you are trying infest (wich is harder to cast than usual).

great comment, great idea too.

#9 Top 8 Magic » More On Greedy Grixis on 11.27.08 at 10:23 am

[…] was intending to play eight matches per the process I decided on for Eight Matches with Blightning Beatdown, which would have in fact given me the opportunity to call it something cool like “The Top 8 […]

#10 Five With Flores » Not Available at Any Price! on 12.04.08 at 7:32 pm

[…] is kind of horrible because I am going to do a video on my Star City Blightning Beatdown tonight. I kind of have to. I did the footage more than a week ago, intending to do the video while […]

#11 Five With Flores » Star City Blightning Beatdown on 12.04.08 at 11:21 pm

[…] of you who have read Eight Matches With Blightning Beatdown – Part 2 know how this one […]

#12 Five With Flores » B/W Tokens on 12.15.08 at 12:43 am

[…] spell in the deck, a quartet of Bitterblossoms. This is the kind of deck — along with Blightning Beatdown — where I can really appreciate Bitterblossom. It’s obviously a strong card… I […]

#13 Five With Flores » yeah Yeah YEAH… Lightning Bolt on 06.24.09 at 10:30 pm

[…] the book to play Shock. I personally made room for Tarfire in Extended (and played a full set in my Blightning Beatdown deck). Did no one remember how good Rift Bolt was? Do you think that people just liked paying three […]

#14 Five With Flores » More and More Kabira Crossroads on 12.14.09 at 10:33 pm

[…] remove Spreading Seas. I think that success is probably best ensured by staying out of the way of Blightning as best you can (go […]

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