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Bracket #20: Reassessing Thicket

Bracket #20: Reassessing Thicket

First things first: the metagame is pretty stagnant.  I’ll get to the tournament results from the past two weekends below (sorry, I got busy last week and didn’t get them published).  But by now you pretty much know the routine: Lots of Shapers; Grimgaunt Predator; Everflame Phoenix; Zimus, the Undying; and Unheroic Robots.  The one exception is that Decurion has had great success lately (winning last week’s Forgewatch Standard Constructed event, and finishing 8th in the Reddit event) with a mono-Alloyin deck built around Steelforged Avatar, Card Drawing, and Creature Buffs.  Good job, Decurion, in finding a creative way to defeat the standard Shaper-Spell deck we’ve come to know and dislike.

So instead of focusing on what the largely depressing state of the current metagame, I’m going to use today’s rant to discuss a card that I feel is highly under-appreciated, especially in any Limited Rarity format (e.g. Unheroic, Draft, etc.): Cadaverous Thicket.

Thicket appeared in zero decks in the last Unheroic tournament (on 9/13), and appeared in only two of the 256 decks in last Tuesday’s Reddit event.  Raidrinn, one of my fellow Forgewatch columnists, gave the card a zero–that is “Unplayable”–in his recent Uterra Core Set Review.  Clearly the community does not look highly upon Thicket.

But frankly, I think the community is wrong on this one.  (Sorry, Raidrinn.)  In particular, Thicket has two qualities that I value in any card:

  1. It’s a creature that my opponent doesn’t want to block.
  2. It’s a creature that is very difficult to kill.

Why do I value those two properties?  Because giving bonus attack to a creature is exceedingly easy in this game: Enrage, Ferocious Roar, Lifeshaper Savant, Battle Techtician, Alloyin General, Primordial Surge… you get the idea.  Give me an unblocked body on the board, and I can make it dangerous.

Which in turn forces my opponent to block it, or otherwise deal with it.  Thicket is vulnerable to Cull the Weak, but most people aren’t going to use a Cull on a Thicket when you first play it; and hopefully by the time they realize their mistake, you’ve buffed it to the point that it can no longer be culled.  Otherwise, Thicket is hard to remove.  It’s high Health makes it difficult to kill with direct damage or Dreadbolt.  And it’s poison allows it to trade with significantly more powerful cards.

For instance, let’s say that my opponent plays a Grimgaunt Predator across from my Cavernous Thicket.  Their first combat phase, Thicket takes 5, Predator takes 1 and gets Poison 1.  Their second combat, Predator takes 1 poison damage, gets hit for 1 again, and Thicket dies, growing the Predator 2/2, and the Predator gets a second stack of Poison.  By the time the Predator’s next turn comes around, it is 7/2 that is afflicted with Poison 2–effectively giving it a death sentence hanging over it’s head.

And that’s assuming that my opponent blocks initially.  More likely, my opponent ignored the Thicket when it first entered play, until I buffed it.  If the thicket is 3/9 (Roar) or 4/10 (Enrage), it is exceptionally annoying for my opponent to deal with–but in the proper deck, it can be dangerous to ignore.

I am not trying to argue that Thicket is an especially strong card; certainly it is no Flameshaper Savant, Grimgaunt Predator, or Zimus.  But in the right Uterra deck, especially in a limited rarity format, Cadaverous Thicket can put your opponent in awkward situations; situations that a good player can take advantage of to gain Card Advantage or to push through significant damage.

In any case, here are the Top 8 decks from the major events of the last two weeks:

Unheroic Tournament (9/13)

(Swiss Bracket, Top 8 Bracket, and Decks)

1) beatstick: Tempys/Uterra; Direct Damage (Volcanic Giant, Flameshaper, Disentegrate) and Buffed Deepbranch Prowlers

2) Klaven: Tempys/Nekrium; Creature Removal and Corpse Crawler

T3) ParkerMD: Tempys/Nekrium; Creature Removal and Direct Damage

T3) Zrandles: Alloyin/Tempys; Buffed Robots

T5) 8Duke8: Alloyin/Tempys; Alloyin General, Move Creatures, Nexus Pilot

T5) Crono373: Alloyin/Uterra; Buffed Robots

T5) IkoRn: Alloyin/Tempys; Buffed Robots

T5) VittorVinicus; Tempys/Nekrium: Creature Removal, Ashurian Mystic

Standard Constructed (9/14)

(Swiss Bracket, Top 16 Bracket, and Decks)

1) MingistheKing: T/N; Stalling for Zimus and Phoenix

2) Ximane: U/N; Protection and Feeding for Grimgaunt Devourer and Predator

T3) BannedTim: T/U; Spells

T3) Criostasi: T/N Spells with Predator

T5) Grautur; T/N Spells

T5) PEshO21; T/U; Spells with Phoenix and Echowisp

T5) Shabbit; T/N; Stalling for Zimus and Phoenix, with Predator

T5) Silvertail; T/N; Spells with Predator

 Bot Battle (9/20)

(Bracket and Decks; Because the AI isn’t necessarily using deck synergies, I’m just going to note the factions.)

1) Wolfgang: N/T

2) tab110: N/U

3) Aferes: N/T

4) fkeagle: N/U

T5) CrimsonMirage: N/U

T5) Iciciles: N/T

T5) SanitysEclipse: N/T

T5) Yiannisph: A/U

Standard Constructed (9/21)

(Swiss Bracket, Top 16, and Decks)

1) Decurion: Mono-Alloyin; Avatar, Buffs, Card Draw

2) Tonda: N/T; Shapers, Spells, and Predator

T3) Silvertail: N/T; Shapers, Spells, and Predator

T3) TinyGrimes: N/T; Shapers, Spells, and Predator

T5)  Azilith: T/U; Shapers, Spells, and Predator

T5) Bludex: N/T; Shapers, Spells, and Predator

T5) Stautmeister: N/T; Stalling for Scorchmane Dragon, Phoenix and Zimus

T5) Thematik: A/T; Buffing, Creature Removal, and Scorchmane

MetaGaming Standard Constructed (9/22)

(Bracket; Decklists Unavailable)

1) Snook

2) Bludex

T3) MrBao

T3) Neverlastinger

T5) Hans

T5) HeroesKage

T5) Llauron

T5) SonataWolf

Reddit Standard Constructed (9/24)

(Bracket and Decklists)

1) BTenant: N/T; Shapers, Spells, Predator

2) Zrandles: A/N; Card Draw, Creature Removal, Zimus

3) Whytefyre: N/U; Shapers, Predator, Creature Removal

4) Rotbeard: N/T; Shapers, Spells, Predator

T5) Aje8: N/T; Shapers, Spells, Predator, Zimus

T5) Ryan983: N/T; Shapers, Spells, Predator

T7) Decurion: Mono-Alloyin; Avatar, Buffs, Card Draw

T7) PTKTempo: N/T; Shapers, Spells, Predator, Zimus

Upcoming events include another Constructed Tournament on Sunday and a Common-Only Tournament on Friday.  Also, I should note that we have announced the first set of details about the Standard Constructed Invitational Tournament, which will begin on the weekend of Nov. 9.  If you want to reserve a spot, I strongly urge you to start playing in the weekly Constructed events.  (A Limited Rarity Tournament will be held in December, for those who have done well in the Unheroic, Bot Battle, and other alternate format tournaments.)

About mnmike2002

mnmike2002 (aka Mike Edwards) is a writer and blogger. When he's not writing, he's probably either reading (history books or fantasy novels) or playing video games (mostly RPGs). He's published one book so far: Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System that Shouldn't Work at all Works So Well, co-authored with Danny Oppenheimer. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Sarah.

4 comments

  1. I would like to point out that my ratings only pertain to Standard Constructed and do not reflect at all to actual power levels for Limited Rarity formats.

  2. Looks like Shaper are still doing well. It is very nice thought too see the decks that aren’t shapers do well. Like Zrandles leveling deck and Decursions mono allying, I hope to see more decks like this. 🙂

  3. So, I take it your attempt at shaking up the metagame last time didn’t go so well. 😉

  4. Rather than justifying its inclusion anywhere, I feel as though the examples given in the article only make it painfully clear just how poor a card Cadaverous Thicket is. The card has no abilities that do anything aside from combat, but where any reasonable combat creature either trades with Grimgaunt Predator (Anything with 5+ attack or at least 3 attack and 6 life – and 3/6 and 5/1 are not exactly powerhouse stats, and are found on plenty of creatures that are not played primarily for their stats) or kills it AND lives to do some other stuff (any creature that’s at least 5/6, which is less common but hardly unheard of for a creature whose sole purpose is killing other creatures.) Cadaverous Thicket is even worse than that; it leaves behind a 7/2 mobility 1 creature that can smack you in the face for 7, take out ANOTHER one of your creatures on its way out, or serve as sacrifice fodder for another card. That’s awful. A 7/2 mobility 1 creature with a death sentence on its head is still more threatening than a creature that’s just plain ol’ dead, which is what any remotely good combat creature would get you, even in limited rarity formats. Cadaverous Thicket starts to look okay – but not great – when you pile buffs on it, but that’s true of ANY creature, and most nothing-but-combat creatures don’t have the property that they can be completely ignored if you’re not stacking buffs on on them. Even if Cadaverous Thicket with Enrage on it ends up as a two-for-two (not guaranteed), that’s hardly the way to get ahead.

    It’s possible that Thicket deserves more consideration than “no consideration at all under any circumstance”, but I feel like it’s a strange deck

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