It is exciting to play Standard again now that the big green menaces have been banned. So, I took this as an opportunity to try a new brew I call Niv-Mirror. I am still high on Fires of Invention but it is considered one of the best decks in Standard now and I usually do not go full try hard mode in the run of the mill FNMs at my LSG. Without further ado lets get to the list I ran this past week.
What this deck is trying to do is survive the early game by filtering cards and making 1/1 fliers with Improbable Alliance. If it can do that then it looks to close out the game with our big flying threats in Niv-Mizzet, Parun and Crackling Drake. I feel like the card that makes this deck possible is Improbable Alliance it is great in the control matchup by providing repeatable board presence and is good against aggro matchups by creating constant chump blockers. I know the spiciest card in the deck is The Magic Mirror. I do not think it is a great card, but I wanted to experiment with this possibly powerful card now that I do not have to worry about it turning into a 3/3 elk. The dream would be playing the mirror out a turn before we play Niv-Mizzet to draw cards and machine gun down our opponent’s board. Did we live that dream? Let’s get to the matches, shall we?
Round 1-Boros Knights?
This was one of the games that makes me feel bad about playing a semi-competitive deck at these run of the mill FNMs. My opponent played about 3 knight spells in two games being stuck on land both games. I could tell my opponent was not the most experienced player and I am not sure that either of us had much fun in this round. I only saw them play Plains and Mountains, but they did look through their deck and I saw some Islands, so I am not sure what their overall strategy was. I take the round 2-0 in bittersweet fashion.
Round 2-Dimir Control
I had played this same opponent a few weeks past and they have a very interesting take on a Dimir control deck. It looks to mill your deck to turn on their Drown in the Loch and Vantress Gargoyle. I felt this deck could get a good draw and remove my few threats through either mill or kill spells so I knew Improbable Alliance would have to carry me. It did just that in game one, but I was hit with Jeremy’s favorite card, Unmoored Ego, in game two naming Improbable Alliance. Luckily my drakes and Royal Scions were able to stay on the board and take game two. I scrape by with a 2-0 victory.
Round 3-Rakdos Sacrifice
I assumed aggro would be one of my worst matchups with this deck, so I was glad to face a version of the new sacrifice decks after the midpoint of the tournament. It did not look like my opponent was on the popular Witch’s Oven Cauldron Familiar version of the deck but that does not mean it was not strong.
They got out to a fast start with Knight of the Ebon Legion and Dreadhorde Butcher but I was able to stay alive with Improbable Alliance. I stay alive for way longer than I should have and managed to turn the corner playing out Niv-Mizzet. Just when I thought I had stabilized they played God-Eternal Bontu sacrificing their Butchers and dealing lethal damage. Game two I had to mulligan twice, only seeing 2 lands total in the three hands. I put up
a valiant effort but eventually do not have the gas to keep up and lose. I get ran over for an 0-2 record in round three. Side note, am I the only one who sings the Creed song My Sacrifice when facing these decks? Really? Well now you will too. You’re Welcome.
Round 4-Rakdos Knights
Somehow tie breakers work where I am facing the only undefeated person at the tournament. The funny thing is we talked in between rounds how they should offer their opponent a draw because that would lock up first place for them. Unfortunately, there were way too many 3-1 records so I could not do that. Game one lasted about two minutes. Just when I thought I could chump Rotting Regisaur all night it somehow is able to swing an Embercleave and blow me out of the water. Game two goes my way because my opponent was never able to go over the top of my chump blockers while I was able to seal the game with Crackling Drake. Game three is a long draw out affair with my opponent needing to top deck an Embercleave to win the game. Luckily for me they never do, and I take the victory. I surprisingly take the match 2-1.
I end up taking second place again at FNM. For my spoils I get a stamped The Great Henge, Cindervines, and Kenrith’s Transformation, WOTC still trying to turn our cards into elks. The burning question on everyone’s mind must be did I live the dream? Did I have Niv-Mizzit and Magic Mirror on the field the same time? The answer is no. In fact, I never drew The Magic Mirror and I side boarded it out in every single match up. I do not think the card is powerful enough to compete with the cards we have currently. The fact that it does nothing when it comes into play and takes a few turns before it gets value makes me think it will probably never be good enough, but somebody will probably prove me wrong. I have been toying around with a one of copy of Cavalier of Gales and has seemed to be decent in the times I have tested it. If you have any suggestions for the deck, please let me know in the comments and to next time keep your Friday Nights spicy.
I want to end this article on a funny story. My girlfriend is a social worker who works with people wanting to foster children. On a visit she had this past week she mentioned that I play Magic to a female client of hers. The client responded, “Magic the Gathering?” My girlfriend said yes. The client then asks if grownups are allowed to play that game? My girlfriend responds yes. Her client then gets extremely happy that they can play Magic the Gathering again. So, remember this story the next time you get super salty over something in the game. You are just playing a children’s card game.