It’s great to see that our Medyo Major Tournament series is seeing an increase in attendance. This week, 10 people showed up for the chance to win the new Pandora Playmat (and get first pick from the prize pool). Keep it up guys! 🙂
Unfortunately, the prediction of a Bahamut-infested field didn’t come to fruition, but instead, we saw seven different Rulers get represented this week. Expecting tougher competition this time around, I thought it would be a good time to try the Grimm brew I was keeping from everyone else:
Grimm, the Fairy Tale Prince
4 Tell A Fairy Tale
2 Dream of Juliet
4 Hunter in Black Forest
4 Tinker Bell, the Spirit
1 Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant
2 Gherta, the Tear of Passion
2 Glinda, the Fairy
2 Aesop, the Prince’s Tutor
1 Grimm, the Avenger of Fairy Tales
4 Kai, the Frozen Heart
3 Oz, the Great Magician
1 Rapunzel, the Long-Haired Princess
2 Hamelin’s Pied Piper
2 Little Dread, the Fake Red Moon
2 Gilles de Rais, the Golden Dragon
4 Magic Stone of Heat Rat
6 Magic Stone of Flame
4 Return to Stories
3 Grimm, the Avenger of Fairy Tales
2 Dream of Juliet
2 Rapid Decay
2 Realm of Pure Spirits
1 The Emperor in New Clothes
1 Gilles de Rais, the Golden Dragon
Again, I have to insert a Split the Earth rant here: that card forced me into this two-color barebones build. In hindsight though, splashing Wind wouldn’t hurt. That aside, this is the build that I’ve felt comfortable fighting a Bahamut deck with.
I love and hate one thing about the Grimm deck: it’s a deck that takes effort to win with and, since I’m playing with a large amount of tools, matchup knowledge matters more a lot more. True, there are times when turn 2 Aesop into turn 3 Tell a Fairy Tale into Hamelin’s Pied Piper meant game, but 1) it doesn’t happen as often as you’d expect, and 2) as players and decks get better, those shenanigans aren’t as dominant as they once were.
The framework of this deck hailed back from the winner of the Japan’s Winter Open Tournament, which opened the doors to the advantages of a Light/Water/Fire Grimm over the traditional Light/Wind/X build. In a nutshell, the deck is faster, more proactive, and has better ways to close the game. From there, I turned it to the list which got me to the Top 4 of the Manila City Championships, made an edited version of it which I haven’t written about, and then into the version you saw above.
Grimm gained a number of notable tools from MPR – The Little Prince, “I”, the Pilot, Etna, Kai, the Frozen Heart, and Gherta, the Tear of Passion. Of these, Kai stood out the most. A 12/12 (from hereon, I’ll be omitting the extra “00”s unless really necessary) Resonator for only 3 Wills is too good. However, he has that drawback of having three counters before being able to attack or block… which is really irrelevant when you’re Grimm and have at least a Gherta in the deck.
Gherta turns Kai’s drawback into an advantage by turning herself into a pseudo-removal spell when you use all three counters on her different abilities in one go. Having Swiftness, Target Attack, and Flying enables her to often assassinate smaller resonators without too much trouble, while having a 6/6 body puts her outside of Thunder’s range. She’s the better part of the combo if you’re looking for utility, and the fact that she releases a 12/12 monster is just icing on the cake.
Beyond the lovely couple mentioned above, I found little use for the others. I certainly won’t play “I” without a sacrificial outlet for The Little Prince, mainly because Prince’s healing is nearly useless – there are a good number of ways to get killed from beyond 1000 life, and no Fire deck worth its burn will leave a Grimm below that amount of health.
Etna, on the other hand, is a jewel in the rough which I haven’t realized until I fought the Light/Water Grimm in the last round. I theorized her being too slow, and that Piper is still better, but she has her own fringe role to fulfill in Grimm’s toolbox. Like Little Dread, she puts the opposing field into chaos by resting opposing resonators and making them vulnerable to attack. Unlike Piper who slowly works his way into dominating the opposing field, Etna does this in one go. Them being not able to recover is just icing on the cake – the utility of being able to break defensive strategies here is priceless. Etna herself is quite resilient – being outside of Thunder and Rapid decay range, and forces the enemy to discard whenever she damages them. She’ll definitely be a great addition to the deck moving forward.
Having 10 players this time around, the tournament lasted for four rounds. Here’s a summary of my matches:
Round 1 vs Kaguya 2.0 Control by Jabriel
Wererabbits… not! Jabriel’s Kaguya is one of the unique brews coming into the tournament. It’s chock-full of removal and disruption, and relies on surviving long enough to J-Activate Kaguya for lots of Apollospheres and doing a couple of swings for lethal.
Game 1 was a grind, where I made a big error of casting a Cheshire Cat early on, and was heavily punished by Sign to the Future, which took out my relevant attackers two at a time. Still, I was able to get some damage through, and prevented him from healing a lot by destroying the Alladin’s Lamp he was using to summon White Spirits. Still, I was losing steam late into the game with him being able to lock the rest of my board with Etna. With only Little Dread functioning on the field, I top-decked a Gilles de Rais. He has four stones open though. Fearing removal, I attacked Little Dread into his Etna, drawing out an Awakened Apollobreak from Jabriel’s hand. I then played Gilles de Rais to swing for lethal.
Game 2 went smoother. Jabriel didn’t draw any Signs, and was only able to remove some of my Resonators, but couldn’t get rid of Kai and Piper with Awakening at the End in his hand. I managed to win a few turns later after he didn’t draw any other removal spells.
Result: 1-0 in Matches / 2-0 in Games
Round 2 vs Liberator Control by Jo-lo
I was fearing that Jo-lo brought a Vampire deck. Taking out Water from my initial build made Grimm unable to use Christie from the sideboard since I can’t cast my important Resonators without Water Will when using her. This in effect made my already bad matchup against Vampires even worse. Thankfully he was testing a different deck – a brew which he lovingly made for his girlfriend.
In our first game, I already had an idea of how to approach the match. While they ramp, Wind resonators are generally weaker than Grimm’s, which makes early aggression a great strategy against them. Thankfully my hand lent me what I needed in Tinker Bell and Hunter. From there it’s just a matter of pressing the advantage before Liberator’s superior resources kicks in and holds me at bay with removal and countermagic, which I baited carefully while keeping up the pressure. He did manage to 1001 Stories my Tink, but the rest of the deck was resilient to it (having only 1 or 2 copies of most Fairy Tales), and kept the attacks until he relented.
The second game was much like the first, both in strategy and flow. It turned out that Jo-lo’s deck was half-control, half-elf in build which relies on Feena and Pumpkin Witch to do an alpha strike once they established field presence. However, in that mix comes the glaring weakness of the deck: in order to fit the Elves in, some control options are reduced, and vice versa. This resulted in a deck that can have awkward situations of having complete control, but not being able to finish quickly (or the finishers being picked off), or establishing a field presence but not being able to back them up.
There’s a lot of potential in here though, and I look forward to fighting the deck in its optimal configuration. Props to Jo-lo for being able to take 4th place despite this setbacks, which is a testament to his play skill and dedication to the game.
Result: 2-0 in Matches / 4-0 in Games
Round 3 vs Liberator Yamata Combo by Freddie
Fighting against this deck is a race against time. After watching it blow out the sole Vampire deck in the tournament on its 4th turn, I knew that going late into the game isn’t going to be an option. The way Freddie’s deck works is simple – dump Yamata and Refarth into the graveyard, reanimate with Genesis Creation. Protect with Realm of Pure Spirits if possible. Profit.
With that in mind, I went in aggressively in game 1 with Tinker Bells and Hunters. I always assumed that the combo will go off on the 4th turn, so I searched and played Glinda to buy me a crucial turn and hold off the combo until turn 6. As it turned out, Freddie had a bad draw and wasn’t able to get the pieces throughout the match.
Game 2 was a closer match, wherein I once again piled the damage in a desperate race against the combo. Freddie’s pieces are slowly coming into the graveyard, and with turn 6 approaching, I knew I couldn’t stall it anymore with Glinda. And sure enough, with Freddie at 1600 health, the combo blew off – Yamata and Refarth entered the field. He Banished Refarth to pump Yamata on its first attack, but I was prepared with Dream of Juliet – blinking the Dragon out to minimize its damage. Next turn, I was able to steal the Eight Disasters with Little Dread and attack for lethal.
Result: 3-0 in Matches / 6-0 in Games
Round 4 vs Light/Water Grimm by Eugene
Here’s a matchup I was positive about, not because I have a good matchup, but because I’ve experienced the mirror match numerous times and have an idea of how to navigate it. In a nutshell it goes like this: the mirror is a game of field advantage. In game 1 removal is minimal, so you have to try your best to kill their guys while keeping your own alive. Then you have to get the right balance when it comes to applying pressure – you have to know when to control the field, be on the defensive, or go for face. Finally, you have to reserve your haymakers until necessary while drawing out theirs and controlling them. Game 2 is a lot easier with Return to Stories from the sideboard, but the plan mostly stays the same.
Eugene was playing the same Kai-Gherta deck that I was fielding, but his colors allowed him two advantages, the Pied Piper combo, and the new Alice (which is a f*cking headache to deal with, if you ask me). These would have been enough to end the game in Eugene’s favor, but he had little experience in the Grimm mirror and played defensively instead of being proactive (in the mirror, if you’re going first, it’s your job to apply pressure). This gave me time to turn the tables around and pile in damage before closing the game with two Thunders.
Game 2 followed the same pattern. Eugene had a dominant board position, but chose to play defensively. This allowed me to catch up with a couple of Pied Pipers and take the offensive stance. Despite having blockers, Eugene chose to gamble on taking all the damage from my attacks in the off-chance that I don’t have enough damage to finish him off. He can then counterattack for lethal. However, I have enough resources to Tell a Fairy Tale Oz and search for a second Thunder, which is enough to close the game, and the tournament,
Result: 4-0 in Matches / 8-0 in Games
So that’s it for my report. Despite a clean sweep in the tournament, I knew that some of the wins came in by luck. There are certainly games where I made major blunders yet managed to pull through. But for everything else, I think that I was able to show the power of a Grimm deck played correctly.
Is this the perfect Grimm deck? Far, very far from it. The metagame has evolved into an interesting (yet restrictive) direction with MPR, and decks have to adjust accordingly to these changes. Moving forward, I’ve heard that one of the Top 8 of Japan’s Spring Open which happened last weekend
featured a pure-Fire Grimm which forgoes Tell a Fairy Tale for pure value in Blazer (It was actually Light/Fire and still has Tell). While the decklists aren’t out yet, it’s a very interesting take on Grimm in MPR, and rest assured that I’ll be trying out too in the future.