Love Story – Manila City Championships – 2nd Place

If you were within any audible distance from Jonathan de Joseph during the Manila City Championships, you’ll occasionally hear him telling his opponent something like this. “You know why Romeo’s in despair? Because he learned that Alhazred is Juliet’s dad!” “Romeo’s such a playboy, he’s got Juliet, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Carmilla… even Cheshire.” “200 damage to your field, and another 200, and another 200, 200, 200, 200.” What deck allows such crazy, made-up stories? Well…

Ruler: Ebony Prophet / Abdul Alhazred, the Harbinger of Despair

4 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
4 Romeo, the Despair
4 Juliet, the Hope
4 Cinderella, the Ashen Maiden
4 Rapunzel, the Long-Haired Princess
4 Carmilla, the Queen of Vampires
2 Hamelin’s Pied Piper

4 Realm of Pure Spirits
4 Dream of Juliet
4 Stoning to Death
2 Witch’s Dagger
4 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift
4 Magic Stone of Dark Depth
1 Magic Stone of Light Vapors
1 Grusbalesta, the Sealing Stone
Sideboard:
1 Sacred Princess of Guidance / Lumia, Creator of Hope
4 Return to Stories
4 Light of Lumia
2 Necronomicon
2 Witch’s Dagger
2 The Queen’s Butler

That’s the power of Love Story – a hybrid combo-control deck that aims to frustrate the opponent in both gameplay and lore. The deck mainly centers around the interaction of Romeo, Juliet, and Cinderella to establish field control, but JDJ takes it one step further by adding sideboard staple Realm of Pure Spirits into the main deck instead.

This proved to be beneficial for the deck because it doesn’t want or need to attack early – the killing can be handled by Rapunzel, or Hamelin’s Pied Piper later on. It also protects the fragile Cinderella from the likes of Rapid Decay and Thunder, both of which are prevalent in our local metagame. The Long Haired-Princess on the other hand, can hop in and out of it to protect herself from harm – as long as someone (usually Romeo or Cheshire) is willing to rest him/herself to recover her.

The setup itself doesn’t need a specific Ruler to work with, so JDJ opted to use what he thinks is the most powerful one in the set – Abdul Alhazred. This gave the deck more controlling power, and is able to answer threats that it normally should be unprepared for. From the sideboard comes Lumia which is there not only to go grind out control matches with her ability and Necronomicon, but also to fight off Darkness decks with Light of Lumia. JDJ later admits that the single Magic Stone of Light Vapors should have been Almerius, but he entirely forgot about it.

The rest of the deck is built to complement Love Story’s central strategy. Cheshire not only filters the deck, but also acts as ammunition for Cinderella if the Romeo-Juliet combo’s not online yet, Stoning to Death and Carmilla destroy single, huge threats, while Rapunzel, or Hamelin’s Pied Piper eventually seals the deal once you’re in control. Witch’s Dagger becomes your source of card draw later in the game in addition to being another form of removal. From the sideboard comes Return to Stories to fight off Grimm and Crimson Girl aggro, while the Queen’s Butler combines well with Realm of Pure Spirits to ensure that direct damage can’t kill either Alhazred or Lumia.

Finally, one of the best things that this deck has to offer is that it’s probably the best shell for maximizing Dream of Juliet. Being able to destroy an Addition and draw a card and save a resonator goes a long way in protecting the combo.

During its run, Love Story finished the Swiss rounds as the only 5-0 deck in the room, with JDJ breezing through both Quarterfinals and Semifinals match before losing in the finals. As a final note, JDJ recommends switching Hamelin’s Pied Piper with Swordsman of the Full Moon, not for any particular reason, but just because she’s a girl, and Romeo’s such a playboy. With that in mind, look forward to Etna being an auto-include when the next set arrives. 😛

So if you’re looking to play something thematic yet powerful, look no further than Love Story! Romeo and the girls will keep you entertained (and winning) for quite some time. Until then! 🙂

Images used from this post are from the awesome http://www.fowdb.altervista.org/

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