Data from a Scrub: Day Two

I'm back again, this time playing the meta deck du jour, Midrange Shadowcraft.  Looking at the stats, this deck is so far ahead of the rest that it's only a matter of time before something in it gets nerfed.  But in the meantime, I can use it to climb really easy, riiiight?   Well.  Let's see.

Match 1:  Shadowcraft vs. Havencraft
Opening Hand: Shadow Reaper, Zombie Party, Death's Breath.
Mulligan: Soul Conversion, Zombie Party, Urd.
Went 2nd.  Draw: Orthrus, Bone Chimera.
Result: Lose.

Yeah, let's start things off with an L.  First match of the day is against Shadow's natural enemy. I've seen people say they're actually not hard to beat, even if they're teched out specifically to fight you, but I'm not sure how true that is.  We both had nothing opening turn, but after that they followed up with back to back Beastcall Arias and all I could manage to get on field in that time was a Spartoi Sergeant and a Skeleton Fighter.  By Turn 5 I was completely overwhelmed and unsure of how I was going to recover--the shadow count was low and the creatures in my hand were all things that needed to be played on curve/via combos like Cerberus and Orthrus.   Despite that, I managed to get keep field presence about long enough to benefit from an Eachtar play on 7, and even got my opponent's life points down to about 8 without them being able to do anything about it besides Themis my field.   With my shadows just barely high enough on Turn 8, I went for Death's Breath to stall them, but it also left my field with an evolved Eachtar, three 2/3 warded skeletons and my opponent only having a single evolved Curate on their side of things.   I was in a good enough position that a second Eachtar would've probably still clenched things for me.

But all my early game losses meant my life was down to 4 by Turn 10, so they just summoned Grimnir and that was all she wrote.  Now I can see what Havencraft players mean though--if I could've had the proper early and mid-game support I needed even their scheme wouldn't have worked all that well.  You can't board wipe your way through immortal skeletons I guess.

Match 2: Shadowcraft vs. Shadowcraft
Opening Hand: -
Mulligan: -
Went: 2nd
Result: Lose.

Ugh.  I tried to get a replay going but I kept getting an error.  Going forward I'll be replaying matches as soon as they happen so I don't run into a stupid problem like this again.  My apologies.  An approximation of the match could best be described as: his curve was good, mine was shite.  He got the Turn 1 Skull Beast, Turn 2 Spartoi, Turn 3 Prince Catacombs while I was fumbling around until T3.  So dude promptly handed me *that work*, and suddenly I was staring a 0-2 losing streak in the face after being on a winning streak the day before. 

Match 3: Shadowcraft vs. Forestcraft
Opening Hand: Prince Catacombs, Immortal Thane, Orthrus.
Mulligan: Prince Catacombs, Death's Breath, Zombie Party.
Went 1st. Draw: Shadow Reaper.
Result: Win.

This was one of those games where I opened mediocre and spent the rest of the match trying to gain a stable footing.  Without a strong first turn opening, the Forest player took advantage of the easy they generate from hand plus Blessed Fairy Dancer to make keeping creatures on board difficult.  I thought I was good when I had Spartoi Sergeant for 2 and Catacombs planned for 3, but BFD let them wipe my Sergeant out with a fairy and suddenly I was on the defensive.  I stablized by Turn 6 when I got their Fairy Dancer off the field, and forced them to use up all their evolves trying (and failing) to clear my board.

Back to back Prince Catacombs on Turns 5 and 6 helped me keep three 1/1s for an Eachtar play on curve.  I got rid of one of them in order to get enough zombies to wipe their field out (by this point my shadow count was stupid high) and got them down from 18 to 11.   Like every other Forest deck by Turn 7 he had something like 8 cards after drawing a ton for what I assume would've been an OTK on either Turn 8 through Roach or Turn 9 through Silver Bolt, so I really needed to finish things off quick...but fortunately on Turn 8 I drew Cerberus and they hadn't cleared my board.   So I had Coco, Mimi, Eachtar, a 1/1 and a 2/2 zombie...and a free evolve.   Yeeeah.  I want to say I felt bad about this win, but coming off of two back-to-back losses I was actually pretty okay with how things went down.

Honestly I think he was either waiting for an OTK on Turn 9 or he just couldn't draw the cards he needed--with all the 1/1s he seemed to have in hand a Turn 7 Ancient Elf would've actually board him another turn.  

Match 4: Shadowcraft vs. Bloodcraft
Opening Hand: -
Mulligan: -
Went: -
Result: Lose.

This is one of those matches that didn't replay, sadly.  I won't go into heavy detail, let's just say I remember Vania and lots of bats and Vampiric Fortress...and I was still trying to just set up my turn.  I feel like Aggro Blood is easily one of the best aggro decks in SV and that's on a good day, so when your curve is fucked it's pretty much a wrap.  Basically, I spent the entire game trying to gain equal footing but by the time I had anything like a decent field presence on board my life was below 10 and my having a field at all didn't mean much when they had one too.  Quick match, and now I'm down 1-3.  Yaaay.  I DID tell you I was a scrub, though. 

Match 5: Shadowcraft vs. Swordcraft.
Opening Hand: Eachtar, Death's Breath, Little Soulsquasher
Mulligan: Lurching Corpse, Immortal Thane, Little Soulsquasher.
Went 1st. Draw: Spartoi Sergeant
Result: Win

My opponent took advantage of my slow start (I couldn't get a creature to stay on board til a T3 Lurching Corpse) to inflict as much early game damage as he could, so by the time we hit Turn 5 and I could evolve I was already down to 13 life via an evolved Maid Leader and Ta-G.  They kept the pressure up pretty hard for what I assume was a Control Sword deck--he had Roland and Avant Blader--so they actually got me as low as 9 damage, while I had zero shadows.  I admit I was nervous at this point--I'd lost 3 matches already so if I lost this one my WR was going to be garbage no matter what.

And while I had a decent field of skeletons thanks to Bone Chimera plays, all I could do on Turn 7 was summon Immortal Thane.  But even though Roland is normally an MVP when I play Sword, it wasn't the BEST move when my field had a Lurching Corpse on it.  They burned all their points and failed to do anything to clear my board.  So even though they had 15 life when I started my turn, I just took advantage of having double ghoul on field to deal a bunch of damage and get them down to 1 by the time I ended my turn.  At THAT point, there really wasn't anything that could save them, so they took themselves out: Whole-Souled Swing on a random Ghoul to give themselves the one damage I needed to win.

Match 6: Shadowcraft vs. Shadowcraft
Opening Hand: -
Mulligan: -
Went: -  Draw: -
Result: Lose.

Another game I can't get to replay.  It might seem like I'm purposefully keeping out the games where I lost, but...nah, I don't care that much about Ws, and it feels bad not having a fully complete recap.  An approximation of this match is basically that they outplayed me.  They felt like a truly experienced Shadowcraft player while I'm basically just bandwagoning.

Match 7: Shadowcraft vs. Dragoncraft.
Opening Hand:  Spartoi Sergant, Urd, Shadow Reaper.
Mulligan: N/A. 
Went: 1st. Draw: Death's Breath.
Result: Win

I was actually pretty excited to go up against a Dragoncraft player--meta versus meta!  But then I realized they were B3, which meant there wasn't much chance they were running Wallet Dragon unless they spent all of the money.  Sidenote: I tried building Dragon at first because I always liked the deck...but then I saw it needed like half a deck of legendaries and just started dusting my good shit to build Shadow.

In any case, none of it matters because the guy conceded before anything could happen besides drawing my first card.  Maybe he'd faced a ton of Shadow guys and was tired of them, maybe he had to go--either way I didn't even get to play a card before he left.  A win is a win on the ladder so I'm 3-4 now, but that doesn't matter much in the long run so let's add on another match and see what happens.

Match 8: Shadowcraft vs. Dragoncraft
Opening Hand: Bone Chimera, Lurching Corpse, Little Soulsquasher
Mulligan: Bone Chimera, Lurching Corpse, Zombie Party.
Went 1st. Draw: Immortal Thane.
Result: Won.

So I got out of a match with one Dragoncraft player only to end up facing another.  I was still excited-I wanted to see if I could get an honest win over a Dragon player, and we were both A0 so we were evenly matched enough...but dude was DEFINITELY not running Wallet Dragon.  Fire Lizard hit the field and I knew despite my weak hand I'd probably take the W.  We went back and forth barely touching each other's life until about Turn 6, when on my turn I played Death's Breath and got the wards, while his Turn 6 (where he'd ramped up to 8 points) was just Dragon Emissary and Call of Cocytus.  I'm gonna sound cocky when I say this, but it was clear dude was shook since my Turn 7 was coming up and he hadn't dealt any damage or gotten any major cards on the field, AND he only had two cards in hand. He was right to be concerned though--Eachtar on curve led to me taking him from 19 life to 9 thanks to the two zombies I had left. 

By Turn 8 it just felt like I was picking on the guy-he played Dance of Death on his turn and dealt his first damage of the game to me, but I still had two warded zombies (one evolved) and the one Eachtar generated.  ...Then I drew Cerberus.   Someone who commented on yesterday's post asked me to put my thoughts in on what I wish I'd done differently and things like that, but honestly there wasn't anything to DO here.  This was a guy who probably genuinely wanted to play Dragon...but could only build the kind of Dragon deck you see in C Rank.  I hope he went on a winning streak after this, because I felt uncomfortable.  Well, sort of.  I'm 4-4 now so still only breaking even.

Match 9: Shadowcraft vs. Forestcraft
Opening Hand: Death's Breath, Little Soulsquasher, Zombie Party
Mulligan: Lurching Corpse, Shadow Reaper, Zombie Party
Went 2nd.  Draw: Cerberus, Eachtar.
Result: Won.

I'm at a 2 win streak here so this is where I get nervous and worry about fucking it all up, generally.  My opponent played perfectly too, taking advantage of my weak mid-game to inflict a ton of damage over the first 3 turns.  Elf Children and Crystalia Lilies reduce my life to 16 before I can do anything, and while my Turn 4 is decent enough with a Skull Beast and a Shadow Reaper...his Turn 5 involves putting a 6/7 Ancient Elf on board while I'm at 13 life.  So rather than risk losing the game, I have to burn the Cerberus I draw *and* a boosted Shadow Reaper just to keep myself from dying...and he STILL has an evolved Fairy (AND another evolve point) on board. 

His Turn 6 consists of Fairy Whisperer, Liza, and two 1/1s so with me at 10 life I'm given no choice but to play Death's Breath even though I've only got like...8 shadows.  I figured if I could stall until 7 I could get Eachtar on field and start punching face...but his Turn 7 involved an Enhanced Entangling Vines and just overwhelming my wards with pure numbers so by the end he's got a field of 1/1s still and I'm looking at nothing.  I REALLY should lose, but Mimi pops his evolved Fairy and bumps me back up to seven shadows for a Death's Breath.  ...And it's at this exact point that I realize what people have been saying about Shadowcraft is right.  This guy did nothing wrong--he inflicted a ton of damage to me over the course of the game while I could barely keep a field, much less generate damage, but he (logically) starts to run out of resources while I...start to have the opposite problem.  Immortal Thane on 7 generates a pair of wights that eat away at their health.  On 8 I get a Lurching Corpse and a Prince Catacombs on the field and pick away at theirs until all they have left by Turn 10 is Beetle Warrior and Ancient Elf.  It's cute....but my Turn 10 is taking advantage of Wight to keep whittling away at their health through a neverending board of skeletons...and then playing Thane when they're down to 4 and all I have left to attack is my 2/1 Wight.  I should NOT have won this match.  He took me from 20 to 7 with me only dealing one damage the entire game...and then after that I got him from 19 to 0 without him getting a single other hit in.  Gross.

Match 10: Shadowcraft vs. Havencraft.
Opening Hand: Lurching Corpse, Spartoi Sergeant, Cerberus
Mulligan: Lurching Corpse, Spartoi Sergeant, Urd.
Went 2nd.  Draw: Lurching Corpse, Death's Breath.
Result: Won.

The early game here was really slow--Skull Beast hasn't shown up on Turn 1 a single game so as usual I don't have a turn one play, but neither did my opponent.  In fact my opponent had nothing until he finally got Elana on T3.  I tried to get aggressive with my opponent but really there wasn't a point--he had tons of heals so even when I'd get him below 10 he'd find a way to bring himself back up to 15+.   So eventually I just settled into playing my game, loading the field up with Bone Chimeras and Prince Catacombs so my shadow count could grow as much as possible.

He tried to stymie this a bit with a couple Blackened Scriptures and a Priest of the Cudgel evolve, but ultimately he couldn't stop me from running my creatures into his stuff.  Around Turn 8 I got a Shadow Reaper on board to benefit from destroying my creatures so much.  This turned out to be a good thing, as on Turn 10 he healed himself up to about 16, then the following turn got Aegis on the board.   This was the first time I've seen Aegis in twenty games....and it immediately displayed why experienced players don't care about the card.  He popped up with no evolve, and already my Reaper had more attack than it had life, and then I topdecked Eachtar.  With that Shadow Reaper, and two wards from the Death's Breath left over, he went from 16 to 0 in a single turn.

Elana Havencraft was the very first deck I faced and felt was genuinely unfair.  As I became less trash, I realized how fair it actually was if you know what you're doing...but I'm never sad to see Elana Haven take an L. 

Match 11: Shadowcraft vs. Havencraft
Opening Hand: Death's Breath, Little Soulsquasher x 2
Mulligan: Soul Conversion, Death's Breath, Eachtar
Went 1st. Draw: Skull Beast.  (Whew!)
Result: Win.

An extra match to make up for the mulligan.  (If I'd known I'd lose so many replays I would've had more....)   A B3 Haven player, he had plenty of Blackened Scriptures mid-game...but by then I'd gone Skull Beast and Prince Catacombs.  The only real tough spot was on his evolve turn he got Priest out, banished one of skeletons and swung over the other and left me with an empty field while he had a 4/4 creature.  It forced me to trade with an evolve Spartoi just to get it off the board.  Turn 6 I sucked it up and went for Death's Breath, but he had a pair of Blackened Scriptures and an evolve for Mainyu to wipe my field again.  After that though, he kinda ran outta steam and he didn't really have a worthwhile follow-up turn....his Turn 6 was just Candelabra of Prayers, which is a neat card but he really needed field presence.

He had a decent Turn 7 with Divine Birdsong and Sister Initiate, but that just gave the Shadow Beast I had on field a boost.  I'd summoned him a couple turns ago, and between Soul Conversion plays and my opponent's attacks he'd gotten up rather high...though he Dance of Death'd that and summoned a Luxwing Reno to run over a Skull Beast I'd summoned alongside Eachtar.  The end of the match came down to my having a boosted Eachtar, a new Shadow Beast, and Skeleton Fighter all on field at once.  I got them down to 5 and they decided to scoop when I passed turn to them.  It seemed like he didn't have much in the way of deadly cards, and that's what kept him from getting the job done--you need more than just some banish cards to pull off the win.  Eventually it looks like Shadow will just overtake whatever advantage you think you have.

So I finished the day off 7-4 with a 5 win streak.  Not great, but not awful because I haven't really figured out this deck the same way I have Swordcraft.   Hopefully when I return to it on Day 4 I'm a lot better.  In the meantime, as far as diversity goes today it was 2 Shadow, 2 Forest, 2 Dragon, 1 Blood,1 Sword, and 3 Haven. 

My WR yesterday was 80% with a 4 win streak, while today it's roughly 63% with a 5 win streak at the end. 


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