EE5 wasn’t a great event for me. I hit a rough string of matches in the early rounds of the event (Mono Blue Omniscience, Lands, Lands, Infect), and I opted to drop from the event at 3-3 rather than try to 3-0 the remaining rounds to min cash. We had about a five hour drive home, and 3/5 of the people in our car were dead for prize support while the remaining two were at X-3.
It was, however, a great weekend for my playground. My roommate top 8’d the Vintage event and one of the other Roanoke locals got second in the Legacy event. I’d also like to call attention to Louis Fata (AntiquatedNotion on MtGS), a good friend of mine who top 8’d the Legacy event with D&T. Louis and I meet up at just about every major event on the east coast, and I highly respect him as a pilot. Let’s compare his list to my own version:
EE5 D&T Phil Gallagher 10/17/16
4 Rishadan Port
3 Mother of Runes
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Stoneforge Mystic
3 Recruiter of the Guard
2 Sanctum Prelate
3 Phyrexian Revoker
3 Serra Avenger
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 AEther Vial
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
2 Path to Exile
1 Containment Priest
2 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Sword of War and Peace
2 Council’s Judgment
3 Rest in Peace
1 Banisher Priest
1 Pithing Needle
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
EE5 D&T Louis Fata 10/17/16
You can read his tournament report here. Of note, he admits that he just isn’t sure of the correct build of D&T at the current time, which has been a very hot topic in the forums lately.
The D&T community lately has been split in half in regards to deckbuilding, and THC is the most problematic card. There are three primary opinions on the card: 1. It is garbage and doesn’t belong in the deck. 2. It is extremely synergistic with the rest of the shell and should be a three-of. 3. The card is fine, but the deck needs room for Sanctum Prelate and Recruiter of the Guard, making it a reasonable two-of.
I’m currently off THC, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad. I’m relatively neutral on the card. THC has an extremely high ceiling and low floor as a card. When your opponent is stumbling, THC often wins the game on the spot by offering several timewalks. Against a Delver deck, curving Thalia into THC is basically insurmountable. In a couple of specific matchups (e.g. Elves, Eldrazi), the card is noticeably better than our other options. When you are on the draw against an average deck, THC does feel a little slow and its impact is often minimal (though its body and legendary status are still nothing to sneeze at). I tried to stay on the fence for a long time by playing one as a tutor target, but it just isn’t great when coming down on turn 4 off a vial or turn four after tutoring on turn three. If you play THC, commit to it and play 2-3 to maximize its impact. I’m also wary of some of the builds I’ve been seeing that skip on staples like Revoker or Stonforge to try to fit in multiple THC in addition to the new goodies.
I really want to have a good number of Recruiters for the utter madness of Flickerwisp chains, which have been winning me tons of games. It almost doesn’t matter what matchup it is; your opponents can just very quickly drown in 3/1 elementals provided you just aren’t dead by turn 4. Many users on The Source and on MtGS have been advocating two, but I’m really liking the full three; the deck plays out very smoothly after turn three. I also literally have no idea why people are trimming down to three Flickerwisp; that card has always been insane, and now we gave it a bunch of candy and set it loose on the world. I also want to have two Prelates in the 75, as in the matchups where it matters, a second Prelate is often a literal zero-outer situation.
I have moved away from bullets in the main. Banisher Priest got bumped to the sideboard after I realized that I was usually just getting Flickerwisp or Prelate off Recruiter anyway. I still 100% want Banisher Priest in the 75 though, and I prefer it to Mangara of Corondor for tempo reasons. Serra Avenger also needs to be in the deck. I really wanted to cut it to maximize the human/Cavern of Souls synergy and reduce the WW requirements of the deck, but I’ve just been pleasantly surprised by it at just about every turn. I went back up to two copies, and then ticked up again to a third copy.
The newer versions of D&T are playing a bit of a slower game than previous iterations of the deck. Prelate promotes a more prison-based playstyle, and Recruiter offers selection at the cost of speed. Even though many of the decks are still running the same number of three drops as before, there is a very big difference between Crusader/Brimaz (aggressive finishers) and Prelate/Recruiter. I do sometimes worry that the deck in its current iteration might be a touch too slow, and I’ve been thinking about what can be done to alleviate that problem.
Obviously, playing another 1 or 2 drop creature would be ideal, but the pickings are slim. Judge’s Familiar and Weathered Wayfarer are about the only reasonable one drop creatures. Ethersworn Canonist and Spirit of the Labyrinth are reasonable two drops, but neither feels great. That brings us to non-creature spells. I wonder if it might be correct to play one more removal spell in the main. When I was talking to Iatee (a prominent D&T player on The Source) at EE5, he remarked that he was trying a version of the deck with four Path to Exile in the sideboard; he ended up boarding in all four very frequently (7 of his 9 matches). That does make me wonder if a Path or maybe another removal spell like Blessed Alliance or Sunlance might be acceptable in the main. Blessed Alliance would be a removal spells you could play while also having a Sanctum Prelate on one, whereas Sunlance would be good against mana dorks like Deathrite Shaman.
Alternatively, other cards which help enable our long game might be just fine. Land Tax, for example, could keep us hitting the vital land drops our deck needs to function. Knight of the White Orchid could offer a similar effect, but its power level would swing drastically on the play vs the draw. I don’t particularly think either of those options is good, but that’s the sort of thinking I want to be open to in the coming weeks.