After a couple of weeks of buying boxes, packs, sorting cards, researching about the comprehensive rules, looking at deck references, and playing against my friend (our official record stands 0-6 in her favor), I felt ready to step into the weekly tournaments. I would have joined last week’s, but it didn’t push through due to poor attendance; the reality of the situation is that FoW’s weekly tournaments are hit-or-miss affairs at the moment, and everybody has to make an effort to travel through a traffic-filled Saturday for it to happen.
And thankfully, this week it did! I met with four other brave souls at Neutral Grounds Glorietta 2. Unfortunately, Shane (a new player just like me) didn’t have a deck yet – he just dropped by to complete a trade, but promised to join next time. Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had with four players and Mike, the store manager, generously added another pack to our prize pool. So after scrimmaging around with my Common/Uncommon Budget Red deck (more about that deck in a future article) and getting good results, we went on to the main event of the afternoon.
You can find out more about the deck I used HERE.
We played 3 rounds of Round Robin, allowing us to play against each other at least once; here’s what happened:
Game 1 vs Mc Nhel (Grimm Control)
A mirror match from the get-go! Fighting against another Grimm deck can be a long, grinding match, and I personally think that it’s better to have answers rather than threats in such a matchup. It doesn’t help that Mc Nhel’s deck has Carmillia in it rather than Stoning to Death, but at least she won’t be recruiting the Resonator she kills.
Game one ended in my favor despite Mc Nhel casting a turn 3 Tell a Fairy Tale into Pied Piper of Hamelin. I had an Aesop on my second turn, so my own turn 3 Piper managed to lock down his, and I was able to protect them with Xeex and Feethsing, and pipe my way to victory.
Out of the sideboard comes additional removal in the form of Return to Stories, and protection in Dream of Juliet. There weren’t any huge vampire threats outside of Carmillia, so I opted to keep my Elvish Exorcists and just rely on TAT Grimm.
Our second game went just like the first one, except that Mc Nhel being unable to find threats of his own despite delaying me with Law of Silence. I was able to set up again with Aesop, Piper, and a few other Fairy Tales for the win.
Result: 1-0 in games, 2-0 in matches.
Game 2 vs Mark (Crimson Girl aggro)
If there is a deck to beat (given my limited understanding and experience of the game) in CMF Block format, this is it. TAT brings out a deck that’s cheap, fast, and grows out of control really quick. Mark makes this even more threatening by splashing Darkness for Stoning to Death.
In our first game, Mark established an early lead with a couple of Cowardly Lions followed by Oz, with one reaching four counters before I was able to lock it down with Piper. An attack from my Piper eventually locked the second Lion as well, but an awakened Dorothy from Mark refueled his had with more threats. Thankfully, they’re smaller compared to Piper, but sitting at a perilous 1200 life against a board that can do roughly twice that value in damage forced me to Stone even mid-sized threats like Brainless Scarecrow. A second piper locked Dorothy, but the first one almost got killed by running into a Refarth-powerd Oz. Thankfully, Xeex’s +200/+200 was there to save the day and kept the Lions in check. From there I was able to lock everything down and take away a very close game.
From the sideboard, in goes 3 Return to Stories, and 2 Dream of Juliet. I feel more comfortable now with the matchup, as having additional forms of cheap removal means that I can typically match his Resonators before she can protect them with her own Xeexs. Even if one does get through, that still reduces the damage I take by a lot, and every little bit counts in this matchup.
Our second game ended quickly due to a good call by Mark on me illegally casting Aesop while having two Black/Green stones (Hint: Aesop isn’t a Fairy Tale Resonator). Since he noticed it at a point where the game state might be considered irreparable, I just opted to take the loss. It was frustrating, but it’s better to make mistakes and learn from then now rather than later.
Game three showed a slow start from Mark with no turn 1 Lions in sight. Aesop on turn 2 paved way to turn 3 Piper. The Prince’s Tutor got Stoned the next turn, but I was able to cast a second one with Dream of Juliet for backup. Finally, a Lion showed up on his side of the board, followed by Crucifix. Mark attached Silver Slippers to it, which prompted me to destroy the Crucifix with Dream of Juliet to allow my Piper to lock his Lion on my next attack. I kept his board Resonator-free for a couple more turns just to be on the safe side, and continuously attacked for the win.
Mark later told me that he kept a hand of answers and counters rather than an aggressive one, which worked in my favor.
Result: 2-0 in games, 3-1 in matches.
Game 3 versus Nicholai (Alhazred Necronomicon)
Nicholai has the most interesting deck that day which works like this:
1) Put cards into the graveyard naturally or via Card Soldier “Club”.
2) Cast Necronomicon and enjoy your “hand” of 30+ cards in the late game.
The decks design means that he can spend removal spells excessively, knowing that he can recycle them later. A sub-theme of the deck features the Queen of Hearts and the other Card Soldiers as threats and board control. Alhazred himself is very difficult to deal with, since it shuts down key resonator abilities. Those things, combined with the recursion provided by Necronomicon make the deck a late-game nightmare.
Game 1 was a tough grind, as my threats kept being answered by removal, but little by little I was putting in damage. Feethsing was a beast in this matchup since most of Nicholai’s removal spells are Normal Spells, and because of it I was able to keep a number of Resonators alive and deal exactly 40 damage before he can use his Necronomicon extensively.
Sideboard time! In goes 3 Return to Stories, 2 Dream of Juliet, and 1 Elvish Archer. Out goes 3 Law of Silence, 2 Pumpkin Witch, and 1 Hunter in the Woods. In hindsight, I think I was being too scared of Necronomicon to include the additional Elvish Archer.
Game 2 saw him drawing badly with lots of early removal but no board presence while my hand was Elvish Archer, a couple of Tinker Bells, Deadman Prince, and a few other Resonators to put pressure with. While none of them managed to put in big numbers, it paved way for the bigger guys in my deck as Nicholai was running out of removal spells. Without a Necronomicon and Resonators on his side of the board, I managed to deal lethal after a couple of turns.
Final Result: 3-0 in games, 5-1 in matches.
So that’s all on my first tournament. Although I’ve won all of my games, I think it’s just a small sample size of how Grim control might stack up versus other decks. There are tons of other decks out there that have yet to be seen, some of which might be even out of reach of Grimm’s ability to adapt.
Hopefully we get more players next week. There are lots of prizes, and we make sure that everybody goes home with Rares or SRs by draft-picking the prizes, so everyone’s a winner. Keep spreading the word and keep playing!