A warm Sunday in Adelaide saw a tremendous 24 players turn up to a 7 point highlander event hosted by Phil at Dragon Lair’s St. Mary’s!
This was a 5 round swiss event with a top-8 cut with several first timer’s from the previous couple events returning, and a good number of fresh faces as well! We had 24 players, and had a few absent regulars turned up we could’ve had even larger numbers which is amazing! Between the two Dragons Lairs and now TableTop Warfare also showing interest in the format, Adelaide can hopefully start getting events every 3 weeks or so, and that’s very exciting!
Unfortunately I was a bit tired from a long evening at work to actually go around during the first couple of rounds and record the archetypes people were playing.
But at a glance it seemed like Taigas and Stomping Grounds were everywhere alongside white for powerful cards such as the fireball-from-hell, Forth Eorlingas. Naya and RG stompy decks showed up alongside 4c Omnath variants to be the largest portion of the day’s meta.
Red stood above the rest to be the most showcased single colour. Apart from the aforementioned RG-based value/stompy decks Mono red aggro/stompy, Blue Moon, etc showed up. Ragavan Nimble Pilferer, despite being pushed up to 2 points still appeared in several decklists across various archetypes from midrange to aggro to Blue Moon and I did see him steal several precious trinkets such as a Mana Vault and even a Black Lotus through the day, a Nimble Pilferer indeed!
Other than the red-based decks we saw a couple of BWx Humans/Legends decks, and one-ofs being: Mono U Artifacts, Grixis Thoracle, 5c DT Storm, and “Cyclone Wheelie bin”
The deck I chose to bring was UW Miracles/Balance, better known to some locally in Adelaide as ‘Bourbon & Coke’, is an 8-point Blue and white deck that uses miracles and balance to play the control role and quickly end games with decisive threats. Veteran Adelaide player, Drew Carter, has built and religiously worked on the deck over the years, his primer for the deck though a little old still nails the principles the deck is built on, I highly recommend giving it a read if you’re looking to pick up this deck (https://7ph.com.au/deck-primers/deck-primer-uw-miracles-bourbon-and-coke-in-7-point-highlander/).
My version has some variances from Drew’s, such as the inclusion of cards such as Counterbalance, Terminus and some more 1 for 1 interaction such as On Thin Ice, Solitude and Prismatic Ending. This was my first time piloting this deck in a sanctioned event and these are my findings:
-Solid stack interaction: with 1 mana and free counterspells, with only mana drain being the 2 mana counterspell
-Prison elements: Maindeck GY hate and back to basics can give you free wins against certain archetypes
-Ability to stabilise and turn the corner quickly: by clearing the board and/or interacting efficiently with what the opponent is trying to do on the stack then slamming a fast game-ending threat (Entreat the Angels, Triumph of Saint Katherine and Monastery Mentor)
-Resilient Manabase: playing 8 basics means main-deck moons and back to basics are poor versus you.
-Leveraging Balance: a card that demands strict deck building constraints but is an extremely rewarding card to cast.
-Putting itself behind: the deck tends to put itself behind on purpose to eek out every ounce of value from a resolved balance, which means some cards can be a bit underwhelming if you don’t draw Balance, such as the baubles in top deck mode or scrabbling claws or Unlicensed Hearse vs non-gy reliant decks.
– Initiative: If your opponent can slip an initiative creature into play that mechanic can single handedly win them the game, unless you’re able to answer their board and then play and hit them with your limited threats, but that lets your opponent have 3 or so turns with the dungeon ticking down which may already mean it’s too late. The same can be said for the Monarch mechanic but it’s not as devastating.
-Non-creature threats: Planeswalkers, Palantir of Orthanc, Urza’s Saga and similar cards can be serious headaches. To compensate I tried splashing red for Prismatic Ending and Engineered Explosives for 3 to deal with the Teferis, Grists and Lilianas of the world. But say if a planeswalker resolves without you having the right answer for it, it will most likely run away with the game, because your deck does not play to the board enough to be able to reasonably threaten it.
Although tough to play, the deck is incredibly rewarding and can create some really fun back and forth games.
Standout cards in my opinion were: Counterbalance and Triumph of Saint Katherine. Triumph carried me through the swiss rounds helping me stabilise vs and beat the more aggressive red decks. Counterbalance did work vs the 5c storm deck and vs the 4c Omnath matchup in the top 4, alongside sensei’s diving top, countered nearly 8-9 spells between 2 games.
Matchups in Swiss were:
2-1 vs RB Eclipse
1-2 vs UR Blue Moon
2-0 vs 5c Storm (DT over Breach)
1-2 vs Mono U Artifacts
2-1 vs RG Midrange/Moons
2-1 vs Naya splash black Godo Midrange
2-0 vs 4c Omnath
Split top 2 vs Mono U Artifacts
|Player’s Deck List Link
|3rd – 4th
|3rd – 4th
|5th – 8th
|Mono U Artifacts
|5th – 8th
|5th – 8th
|5th – 8th
|8pt Bourbon & Coke
|8pt Mono R Burn
The top 8 moved around a bit as Martin and Klarke (3rd & 8th), two of the original top 8-ers had to drop which allowed room for myself and Alex Mcdonald to sneak in, (unfortunately Martin and Klarke weren’t able to stick around for a picture). So I suppose the ‘Top 10’ was a cool mix of archetypes: 3x Midrange, 2x Aggro, 1x Artifacts, 2x Combo, 1x Control, 1x Tempo.
Its very fascinating to see how much Adelaide’s meta has evolved and become more balanced, midrange still is the most popular to jam games of 7pt in Adelaide but it seems like people are experimenting with more combo and aggro more.
We weren’t able to crown a winner at the end as Michael and I decided to split, but I did lose to him in the swiss so history may have repeated itself…or I may have been able to get my revenge!
December has another 7ph event coming up at TableTop Warfare and stores are planning to hold a few Cancon practice events, so there’s lots to look forward to in Adelaide!