Another weekend, another tournament. Long lines, convention center carpet, the ugly way water bottles look when you see one past airport security. Wait.. I didn’t have to fly anywhere last weekend to play in a tournament, I didn’t have to wait in any lines or deal with luggage and planes. That’s right, that’s because last weekend I played in the first Scion’s League Swiss event and was able to Top 8 with a spicy brew. Before I get into the list and report, consider the following.
First, I want you to evaluate how this card changes how you play Eternal
This essentially means every removal spell draws you virtual two cards every time you use one when you have a Maiden in play. With the implicit 2 for 1 of getting a cudgel stapled onto your removal, Maiden allows you to close games quickly by attaching Cudgels much like so and going for the face
You might be asking “but Peter we already knew this. Maiden is great! Everyone loves Maiden Midrange decks. What possibly more could you teach us about this card?”
Well, what if I told you there was a way to make Maiden actually draw you cards instead of just cudgels? And that this card advantage engine was also completely functional without any other cards, is cheap, evasive and best of all, Primal?
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
3 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
1 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
1 Backlash (Set1 #200)
2 Harbinger’s Bite (Set1 #370)
1 Lightning Storm (Set1 #206)
3 Treachery (Set1 #394)
4 Whispering Wind (Set1 #202)
1 Plague (Set1 #274)
4 Push Onward (Set1 #213)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
4 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
1 Feeding Time (Set1 #381)
1 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
4 Statuary Maiden (Set1 #387)
4 Autofurnace (Set1 #391)
1 Staff of Stories (Set1 #234)
3 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
6 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
3 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
2 Amethyst Monument (Set1 #426)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
2 Dark Return (Set1 #250)
2 Ruin (Set1 #15)
1 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
2 Backlash (Set1 #200)
3 Lightning Storm (Set1 #206)
4 Champion of Chaos (Set1 #402)
1 Black Iron Manacles (Set1 #388)
This is the deck I played in the swiss last weekend and I have to say it’s probably my favorite deck I’ve ever played in Eternal. Those of you who are paying attention have already figured out or even seen what this little nasty engine does already, but I’ll gladly introduce the beating heart of the deck.
Just like Statuary Maiden changes how we understand the relationship between our removal and our card advantage, Whispering Wind changes how you approach everything from your turn sequencing to your curve and rewards you every step along the way.
Whispering Wind is simply the best looting effect in Eternal. Its costs are incidental and yet its payoff is immensely more powerful than any other looter in the game. By always guaranteeing a card of a higher power cost Whispering Wind is closer to a Phyrexian Portal than to a Merfolk Looter. Unlike with other looters, if you loot away a land you will always improve the card quality of your hand as you are able to turn lands into gas in the late game. It’s at this point we must pay close attention to how Whispering Wind works. She allows us to turn any card into a card that costs more than it. Through careful manipulation of cards across power types Whisper Wind transforms from a cute looter into a reusable demonic tutor that tears through your deck finding any answer or threat you need. Taking it another step, you are able to combine her with cards that produce extra cards you don’t mind discarding in order to draw cards. One of the most punishing ways to do this is by pairing Whispering Wind with Statuary Maiden. Every time you kill a unit with both in play, you get another cudgel to discard to the wind. By chaining cudgel discards you are able to fetch up a continuous stream of removal and disruption until your opponent is buried by your card advantage.
A few days before the tournament I had an aha moment when thinking about ways to utilize Whispering Wind. I had evaluated this card before in the past but only in the context of Vara-centric reanimator strategies and trying to make the interaction with Privilege of Rank good enough but I wanted to revisit her among many other cards we might have left in the dust too early. I was thinking about cards that produced other cards as a way to be decent with Whispering Wind and in most cases cards that either make additional cards are too fragile (voice of the speaker) or you just want the extra card anyways (Clockroach). There were very few generated cards in Eternal that touched your hand that you actively didn’t want or were happy to discard, and that’s when it hit me. You could discard cudgels from a Maiden to Whispering Wind to convert them into real cards. I hadn’t even fully begun to understand the implications of playing a Whispering Wind / Statuary Maiden deck, but I set out to brewing. I predicted an Elysian and Felnscar heavy metagame, so I wanted to play Shadow/Primal/X strategy that would be able to keep up with them and simply kill everything they played while still having access to Lightning Storm.
Luckily, my prediction was pretty spot on as this was the metagame breakdown for the tournament.
In the first round I played against rewind on Maiden Midrange, this matchup really is all about whoever can start “going off” with a maiden or if he can Champion of Cunning me out of the game. Luckily in game 1 I was able to put together an Autofurnace after he had run out of removal and killed him with it readily. Game 2 I kept a very greedy hand with the deck (2 power, no primal, no two drops, buuut there was a reason to keep it I’m sure) and I quickly died after not drawing a third. Never never keep a two power hand with this deck, you just can’t do it reasonably. Game 3 played out exactly how I wanted it too, I was able to kill all of his units with my removal, sabotage away some of his removal and then establish an Autofurnace. I got extremely lucky as well in that I was able to snag a Backlash with my Push Onward so it only cost 1 power. Having backlash backup for only 1 power is such a great feeling, really everyone should try it some time. That being noted, Backlash is a ridiculous card as is Sabotage/Treachery. I think the BO1 ladder makes people feel like they can’t play as much proactive disruption as they actually should be and peoples decks suffer for it. Proactive and reactive disruption is such a powerful combination and Backlash is such a powerful card.
Round two pitted me against the deck I feared most playing the entire tournament, Cameless Control. This version of the Felnscar lacks the explosiveness and threat density of the Champion of Cunning centric builds and almost all of our deck is blank against them. It feels pretty hard to win without a lot of Sabotage, Ruin, Backlash and Shackles. I didn’t have any of those things at our disposal in any of our games, so I died pretty readily in both.
At this point I was 1-1 and feeling a little bit nervous. Normally at this point at a PPTQ I’d step outside for some fresh air ,and even though I was home I thought why not repeat the ritual. Turned out it really helped me refocus and get ready for the next round. It was early in the morning and the weather was perfect. All tournament halls should have zen/recharge rooms for players, it’d be so great! Someday maybe, but at least playing from home can allow you something close.
Really, everyone should have this between rounds. Just lovely.
Round three I got paired against another Maiden S/F/x deck who was also playing some Haunting Scream components like Gorgon Fanatic and Direwood Beastcaller. This game was pretty lackluster and basically a blur. I essentially stripped their hand of relevant cards and they were threat light. I was able to deploy Champions while holding up Backlash and Torch the entire game which is all you need to do to beat these sorts of decks since so many of their cards are devoted to the combo and pretty air unless they have threats. This also just highlights the strength of the information gained from cards like Sabotage/Treachery. I know exactly what kind of cards I need to find and can discard cards to Whispering Wind appropriately.
Finally in Round four I played against yet another Felnscar Midrange deck. I felt pretty good being rewarded for my read on the metagame, and was ready to battle after enjoying a home cooked lunch and a nap between the last two rounds. Pretty early on I realized this was going to be all about drawing as much removal as possible. Game 1 I drew more cantrips then him and then had more removal and won the game with a swole Whispering Wind. In Game two My opponent and I both boarded into more units and disruption, I was able to establish the engine + backlash while stuck on four power and took over the game by forcing them to tap out for threats, then killing them and never not having backlash up when they had power available. It was a pretty clean game and another example of how powerful Backlash is combined with a threat or the free card filtering off Whispering Wind.
Round Five was brutal, I mean really just absolutely savage and way too much of a grind. So naturally I avoided all of that by IDing and locking Top 8 First, I qualified for a end of month invitational by top eighting an event, which will hopefully let me qualify for an end of year event by running it back at the end of the month. Then I turned off my computer, kissed my fiance and had some dinner in my backyard.
Man card games from home rock.
Luckily the Top 8 was going to be played the next day, so I had some time to practice my matchup against the Combrei Fire deck that looked like one of the many Sauropod Wrangler decks I’d tried to build in the past. After dinner I was able to play some games with Lumi and found the matchup to be fairly 50/50, possibly 60/40 in games where I can get the engine going. I went to bed that night feeling ready for the event and confident in the fact I’d have a fair fight tomorrow.
I woke up and had an aha moment about the curve. We could play a one of Hatchery Raider that you can tutor by discarding a five/four when your hand is full of cudgels and we just want to win the game. I promptly do so on ladder by killing some poor Feln player with five serpents and the leftover 4/4. Dang, wish I thought of that when I registered the decklist.
Unfortunately the morning of decided I would not in fact, be having a fair fight. In my first game I simply just couldn’t draw enough gas to keep up with his units, and then died to an Icaria. I was quickly stomped in a second, and didn’t even stand a chance to see any of my sideboard cards.
That quickly knocked me out of the top 8 and ended my run. The best part of losing in the top eight on Sunday like that, is at least there is no sad plane flight home. Without even thinking about the fact I just lost I was already on ladder brewing away with this wonderful engine I was so blind to not see since day one. Just how can we break Whispering Wind?
If you’re interested in playing in the Scion’s League or any of Eternal’s other community run tournament circuits, please join us on the Discord here at: https://discord.gg/nVZTyab and learn more in the #tournament-announcements channel
You can watch VODs of the entire tournament I wrote this report on here: https://www.twitch.tv/bab4m/v/82116506
Decklists can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lx0P3W5QJOthBKYr6_T71T6KRCS8BcHL1gq5RRBYK6Q/edit?pref=2&pli=1