Simon Says #60: Off the Beaten Path (THS 8-4)

I have a confession to make: I have been drafting a lot of black in Theros limited. Looking at my MTGO collection, it was clear that I needed to diversify my limited game. Join me as I step out of my comfort zone of control and dive into the low-curve aggro archetypes of Theros.

You can follow me on Twitter @simongoertzen,
or check out my Tumblr entitled Strategic Thoughts.

  1. Hi Simon,

    I really enjoyed watching this draft.
    At the end of game 2 round 2, you forgot to mention you could have made a golem and bestowed it with the lifelink alseid, making a 4/4 haste creature. Would that option have made you to continue the game?

  2. @Gilad: Thanks for the feedback, it’s good to see that people like my opening discussions. Due to time constraints and some technical difficulties I could not record an opening discussion this time. I’m happy with how the last opening discussions ended up (check them out if you haven’t), and didn’t want to include a shorter one just to fill the gap. Given how popular they are, opening discussions will definitely be back.

    @klaas: Making a 4/4 lifelinking Golem leaves me dead to my opponents board. I can only attack with the 4/4 or everything. In both cases, my opponent survives without losing a blocker and I go to 21. That loses to 12 unblockable damage on the next turn plus another 12 on the extra turn generated by Medomai.

  3. Amazing episode, interesting deck (made for some interesting decisions), well played. Second match especially was really intense. Not much else to say, keep up the good work Simon! Except for the lack of extra video (opening or recap), a perfect episode of SS in my opinion.

  4. It’s interesting to see you play outside of your comfort zone. I find you play aggro in a very methodical manner. If anyone needs proof about the complexity of playing aggressive decks (versus control decks), they can watch this. Aggressive decks are incredibly difficult to play because you have to guess your opponent’s answers to pose the right “questions” and it was quite evident that you had to think things through almost more than in the control decks you drafted.

    Thanks for the content!

  5. Loved the content as always, with or without the opening discussion (prefer with, but as MMogg comments accurately, this is an excellent showpiece for the complexity of aggro even without an intro about it).

    “@klaas: Making a 4/4 lifelinking Golem leaves me dead to my opponents board. I can only attack with the 4/4 or everything. In both cases, my opponent survives without losing a blocker and I go to 21. That loses to 12 unblockable damage on the next turn plus another 12 on the extra turn generated by Medomai.”

    Are you certain of this maths? Medomai can’t attack in the extra turn it generates, would that have put the damage below lethal in the scenario posed? Your opponent can of course still play a spell on the phalanx leader, but there is the possibility they didn’t have it?

  6. Hey Simon,

    First of all, i really enjoy the series and this one was no exception. It was quite thrilling to see the second match going so long and finally winning against a really strong deck.

    But there is one thing i think you got wrong. You should always get 4 +1/+1 counters, when you put two Ordeals on a creature. Since they both trigger and check the +1/+1 counter seperately, there should be only one Ordeal getting sacrificed, when you hit 3 +1/+1 counters with the second trigger (The first one sees only 2 +1/+1 counters). There should be almost always at least one +1/+1 counter more than 3 for each Ordeal beyond the first one.

    Liked the Aggrodeck a lot!

  7. This deck is stronger than those you normally make (in Theros), I think people are underestimating how focused you need to be drafting Theros. Was nice to watch.

  8. Wanted to add another voice that says that your opening discussions are really awesome, so I kinda miss it when your not doing them (but it isn’t the end of the word).

    Cutting the First Striker after not cutting the Cerberus because he is awesome with Dragon Mantle is imo just weird. With the Dragon Mantles/Ordeals/Tricks imo the 2/2 First Striker should be much better than the random 3/2 that gains 3 life (especially in this aggressive strategy the 3 life should rarely matter, while the bestow might come in handy sometimes)

  9. Christian you are not wrong about Band Elder being underwhelming but he does have an edge: three power. 2/2 first strike for three doesn’t beat for three or kill an x/3 on it’s own without further investment and risk. Also as Simon mentioned Spearpoint Oread is especially lame against 2/3.dek. The bestow for 6 makes Oread one of the weaker bestow cards, and that’s in a normal deck. It’s extra marginal in this deck.

  10. @raisins: I think it would be certainly correct to board it out against the 2/3 deck. But the questions is if it would be better in the main deck. And with such a high amount on pump (especially permanent pump in form of enchantments), I think the First Strike has much more value than the 1 power. (As I said I didn’t really valued the Bestow that highly either, but I still think that the Bestow is much better than gaining 3 life in such an aggressive deck). With that argument (sucking against 2/3) I think the correct choice would be to bench the Cerberus (because he doesn’t even have Bestow and costs double red)

  11. Amusingly, if your opponent had had the Griptide instead of a scoop in R1G3, you would have had lethal. In response to the Griptide, you target the Hoplite with Titan’s Strength, making a hasty 1/1, and then the Leader’s ability resolves, pumping your team. When the dust settles, you’ve got a 5/3 crusader, a 2/2 token, a 3/4 raider, and a 3/3 rider, which is exactly 13 power.

  12. Not sure why you brought in spark jolt in the final game, you saw only a harpy, which he may well even have taken out if he wants to rid his deck of a creature that blocks poorly and lends itself more to racing.

  13. Simon, I am going to be a bit critical here but I hope you and your followers don’t take it too personally.

    I just want to say that I personally have a hard time watching your drafts. You spend so much time discussing what feels like every possible option in each situation, including the terrible options, that I honestly can’t tell if you are just trying to be informative of the possible plays or if you are very, very indecisive.

    For me it just leads to a feeling of aggravation waiting for you to decide what to do. I couldn’t get past the first game of round two, and I am not typically an impatient person when watching videos of this sort. It could be that you are not a native English speaker, or at least I assume you aren’t, but you seem to have a hard time being concise. It may be something to work on in the future.

    Thanks for your time and the effort you put into these videos. I wish you continued success.

  14. @El Camino: I believe Simon’s are the wrong videos to watch if you just want a few words of discussion before every decision. One reason why I prefer Simon’s videos over pretty much anyone else’s is exactly the amount of detail he goes into when discussing most choices.

  15. @El Camino: I like the videos Simon’s produces, just because he make such a wide analysis of the situations at hand. In my opinion Simon provides the best “educational” drafting content that is out there [ok, maybe my sample size isn't that big - but I haven't watch a single draft video where I had the feeling I could learn more about the game compared to what Simon provides]. That is one of the reasons I really like the more theoretically themed intro videos.

    On the language thing I’m probably not the best person to judge; I really like Simon’s videos he does with his brother for a German Magic site, too ;) [btw, are there plans for the next Görtzen & Görtzen - the last episode was quite some time ago? I would really love to see you draft Theros (or really anything *g*)]

  16. @El Camino: I think you underestimate how difficult it is to comment while drafting/playing let alone in another language. What you may be asking for is not conciseness, but less analysis. Yet, that is what makes Simon Says distinct from other draft video producers. That said, I understand your frustration because that is how I feel about PVDDR, but I don’t feel that with Simon, perhaps because it is analysis more than indecision.

    @Christian: On Twitter I asked Simon a while back about G&G and he said he and his brother are apart at the moment so G&G is on hiatus. =(

  17. no draft theory discussion or even a draft recap :(( those are the best magic content on the internet.

  18. “Guess you got lucky”

    Yeah, super unlucky deliberately playing around things to set up a situation where you could actually win.
    It’s like he thinks you topdecked the ordeal on THAT turn.

  19. I don’t think Simon is indecisive – he is just outlining all the possibilities before making a decision – again, as others pointed out before, because he is trying to teach us something with his videos.

    In R2G2 I think it was winnable at the end – maybe my math is wrong – attacking with just the Akroan crusader with a possible pump to 4 power (or was it 5 power – forget the number of mountains you had just then). Even though the guy was at 6, he only had the 4/4 Medomai or the 2/4 Legionnaire to block with. I don’t think the guy would have risked going to 2 and becoming vulnerable to burn since you had 2+ cards in hand at the time. I think he would have blocked with one of the creatures. At that point I don’t think his all in attack with Medomai and the other creatures (and them again) would be lethal. I would have at least tried that route. If he didn’t block with anything, then concede.
    Great content as always!

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