Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trying the Enchantress in Ancient

I wrote this article somewhere during the summer, but I never got around to writing the last paragraph. Now that the weather is not nice enough to go outside, I´ve finished it so here goes:

I've always been a fan of the Enchantress. Right up to this day, It's been one of my pet decks, along with a mostly black landdestruction deck that I've been playing since 1994. So when we started to play Ancient, I wanted to play an Enchantress deck as well. But I've never been able to make it work sort of effectively of with a moderate win rate. It mostly loses, but I never lost the love for it. 

When I was browsing some idea's I ran into the fastbond/mirror deck some people play in 93/94 and I decided to give this a try in Ancient. Unfortunately for this deck, we use the banned and restricted list just like then, so I can't play four fastbonds in Ancient. We could of course change the list, but we want to make the gameplay feel like then, with the good and the bad on the banned and restricted list just like it was back then, so we´re keeping it mostly the same and have not changed it since 2011. 

Considering the Enchantress deck does not seem to be that good in 93/94 I should have seen it coming it would be even worse in Ancient, but I decided to try it anyway. 

I tried compensating for that loss with the use of enlightened tutors but that did not work out so well. I tried mostly against Peter's Ernham/Geddon deck which has been quite succesfull in Ancient. 

The picture above is one of the rare occasions during playing when there are actually two or more enchantresses in play. The opposing deck does run 4 swords to plowshares maindeck, and there are not that many targets in the enchantress deck I built.. 

Here it does seem to work, but that was just one in many games. I ended up winning this one because somehow the deck managed to keep the enchantresses in play while not being killed by the onslaught on the other side. The winning was different than planned though. 

I held out for some turns with the dark heart of the wood to prevent myself from dying. That seemed to be a recurring theme during the many games we played. I usually ended up with no land and no creatures and no life. Not in this game though. But in the end, it wasn't the intended channel fireball that did Peter in, it was just a plain old fireball with lots of mana. He had disenchanted my dark heart of the wood by then, so a channel wouldn't have been much good anyway. Decks with 4 swords to plowshares and 3 disenchants are not that uncommon in Ancient, so if I decided to play it, the situation would likely repeat over and over again. 

In the end, I won a few games and I still feel I really like the deck. I like playing the enchantresses just as much as I did 20 years ago. Though I never tried this build way back when, the experience was much the same as in 1994-1996. It is really cute when it does work and do it´s tricks, but it just does not work consistently without plenty of cheap enchantments. I tried different variations and numbers, but the tutors (no matter how many or how few) cannot compensate for that. I also tried playing it against a mono red deck and there it also lost most of the games, even with COP red. The COP did not protect the enchantresses from dying, and they died a lot against the many bolts and chain lightnings. 

One of the builds I tried playing during the days of trying to make it work. In the end, I decided not to take one of the builds to a tournament because I don´t mind losing, as long as I have a feeling I´m not being completely and utterly slaughtered during the games. Playtesting left me with a quite bad 10% win rate, and about half of the 90% I did lose, I never had the feeling I even stood a chance. I´ll give it a go in a 93/94 somewhere. I´ll probably still lose a lot, but not as much as with this deck :)