With the dawn of the new year, we resumed the sixth annual EDH Battle Royale! Spells have been furiously cast, battlefields destroyed, many creatures and monsters clashed, and we have had several upset wins thus far.
We had three brackets with four decks each (giving us twelve playoff matches total), vying for a title shot at our reigning champ from last year. Currently, we know three of the four finalists.
Today, we will witness two massive matches: first, a playoff match between the two generals who fought to a tie in Block A, Wort, the Raidmother vs. Nekusar, the Mindrazer, and then, in our main event, we will see a huge showdown between the three winners of each Block and last year’s champ, Isperia the Inscrutable!
Who will emerge triumphant from the final bracket? Can Isperia be the first champion to ever successfully defend her EDH Battle Royale title?
It’s time for our final matches of The EDH Battle Royale VI!
Setting the stage:
• To read the introduction to The EDH Battle Royale VI, click here.
• To read about the first secret entrant this year, Brianna’s Xmas deck, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, click here.
• To read about the second secret entrant this year, Darby’s Xmas deck, The Locust God, click here.
The Play-in Division:
• To read about play-in division matchups 1-2, click here.
• To read about play-in division matchups 3-5, click here.
• To read about play-in division matchups 6-9, click here.
• To read about play-in division matchups 10-13, click here.
• To read about play-in division matchups 14 and 15, click here.
THE FINALS SPOT ON THE LINE:
Going into this big playoff game, we had a two-way tie in Block A, with two competitors struggling for dominance:
BLOCK A final standings:
Nekusar – 2 wins
Wort – 2 wins
Locust God – 0 wins
Tishana – 0 wins
On to the deathmatch!
Block A playoff match: Nekusar, the Mindrazer vs. Wort, the Raidmother
Everyone assumed going into this match that Wort was going to end up being too slow to compete with Nekusar and that Nekusar would dominate this head-to-head match, but Wort was definitely up to proving us all wrong.
Wort started this match with a turn three Nissa’s Pilgrimage, turn four activation of Myriad Landscape, and turn five Nissa’s Renewal, giving her a metric ton of mana to work with early on. She uses this to fuel a scary turn: Mana Flare, followed by her general, followed by an overloaded Mizzix’s Mastery, flashing back all of the ramp spells in her graveyard.
All of a sudden, Wort has a whopping 17 lands in play to Nekusar’s six, this is an impressive start by Wort!
Nekusar tries to make the best of things; with his general in play, Nekusar uses the Mana Flare to power out Wheel and Deal, Teferi’s Puzzle Box, and Windfall to deal some damage to Wort, but unfortunately, this does not kill the Gruul player. Wort untaps, has a Red Sun’s Zenith for 33 copied, and kills off Nekusar handily.
Wort, the Raidmother wins this playoff match and advances to the finals!
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE COMPETITORS IN THE MAIN EVENT!
Before we jump into the action, it’s time to take a quick look at each of our four fighters and how they got here!
Our first competitor in the finals this year is an old hand at Battle Royales and the winner of the Wort/Nekusar showdown, Wort, the Raidmother, one of the decks that I have had assembled for a long, long time.
Wort has been competing in these Battle Royale events since the very beginning, but has never done very well in them up until recently. In The EDH Battle Royale I, Wort was ejected by the tribal Elf deck, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, in the second round of the tourney, before she could really even impact the match she was in. In The EDH Battle Royale II, despite being a heavy favorite to win her bracket, Wort was upset by tribal Rats, as Marrow-Gnawer was able to use a Thrumming Stone to ripple into 28 copies of Relentless Rats, killing everyone out of nowhere and stealing this win. Wort’s bad luck continued in The EDH Battle Royale III, as she was once again defeated thanks to her own Mana Flare, which gave Maelstrom Wanderer enough mana to bash everyone to death early on.
Finally, in The EDH Battle Royale IV, Wort was able to break the streak and win a match, defeating Sedris, the Traitor King and Karametra, God of Harvests in a tight game. Unfortunately, this victory was short-lived, as Wort then lost to eventual finalist Saffi Eriksdotter in the next round.
Last year, in The EDH Battle Royale V, Wort continued her comeback, and finally got revenge on Marrow-Gnawer, defeating the pesky tribal deck in the first round. Wort ran right into a bad matchup in the second round, however, and lost to Darby’s control deck led by Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper.
To say that Wort has not had an easy time in these Battle Royale events is an understatement!
This year, Wort was re-energized and ready to do better than ever before, and it showed. Once Wort won her way through the prelims into Block A, she convincingly smashed her way through Block A, taking names and kicking ass. Nekusar did give her a run for her money, tying with her with two wins each, but Wort won the final playoff game to set up this finals today.
BLOCK A final standings:
Wort – 3 wins
Nekusar – 2 wins
Locust God – 0 wins
Tishana – 0 wins
Finally, this year, Wort was able to give the dominant performance that everyone knew she was capable of, and has earned her spot in the finals today.
Wort leads a R/G mana-ramping big spells deck, built around Wort, the Raidmother‘s “your spells have conspire” ability. This is the deck that I’d both won a Commander’s Arsenal with, and one that I’ve won a huge 19-player free-for-all match with, so I know that it can be very powerful. The deck is built around mana-ramping spells like Cultivate, which power up lategame giant X spells that Wort can copy for you, doubling their effect. All of the threats in the deck are either big X spells like Comet Storm, or token-producing spells like Howl of the Night Pack, that become twice as potent when copied by Wort.
This year, Wort has gone much deeper into the tournament than ever before, and is looking to finally win the championship title that has eluded her for years. Can Wort win this match today, and finally be the champ of the EDH Battle Royale event?
Our second competitor this year is one of the ‘experience generals’ from Commander 2015 (and one of two decks built by Brianna in the finals), Darby’s dangerous Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas.
Last year, Kalemne made her surprise debut in The EDH Battle Royale V, as Brianna had built the deck as a Christmas present for Darby, completely unbeknownst to him. Kalemne put up a strong showing in her debut, smashing Narset, Enlightened Master to paste with general damage, but eventually losing the match to damage from Vial Smasher the Fierce.
This year, Kalemne has fared far better. In the play-in division, despite having her general constantly killed off by foes Chorus of the Conclave and Kruphix, God of Horizons, Kalemne is able to weather the storm and kills Chorus with giant flying monsters after Chorus kills off Kruphix.
In Block B, Kalemne was considered a bit of an underdog, up against the likes of my Keranos, God of Storms, Darby’s Intet, the Dreamer, and Brianna’s Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons; in the end, Kalemne shocked everyone in this bracket, smashing foes with impunity and dominating this bracket with general kills.
BLOCK B final standings:
Kalemne – 2 wins
Keranos – 1 win
Intet – 0 wins
Hapatra – 0 wins
Darby’s Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas is a deck built around Kalemne’s experience counters, letting you play the Giant Warrior early on, and just cast giant monster after giant monster, growing Kalemne herself into a lethal threat. With double strike, Kalemne often kills players in only one or two hits with general damage, and is always considered a lethal threat. However, the deck has proven it can win without Kalemne in play, as each of the large monsters it plays are big threats on their own.
Kalemne has smashed her way through each foe that has been placed in front of her this year, and is hungry and ready for the title. Can Darby’s Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas continue her streak of dominant wins and smash her three foes here in the finals?
Our third competitor in the finals this year is Brianna’s Zada, Hedron Grinder.
Last year, Zada made a very impressive run to the finals of The EDH Battle Royale V after Brianna and I rebuilt the deck and breathed new life into it.
First, she had to face one of Darby’s decks, the now-defunct Lord of Tresserhorn, and one of Brianna’s other decks, Anya, Merciless Angel, and was able to combo off very quickly against her much slower opponents. In the quarterfinals, Zada faced a tough match against my Orzhov deck, captained by Ravos, Soultender//Tymna the Weaver and Homura, Human Ascendant; despite everyone thinking Homura was favored to win this match, Zada dropped the deadly red God, Purphoros, God of the Forge, followed it up with scads of token creatures, and just burned both opponents to death. Zada’s toughest test came in the semifinals where she faced the tribal Allies led by General Tazri, and Bruna, Light of Alabaster; despite Bruna gaining a ton of life from a Sovereigns of Lost Alara with lifelink, Zada won this match in impressive fashion, thanks once again to a metric ton of Purphoros damage.
It was in the finals, however, where Zada came up short, as Isperia the Inscrutable was able to suit up a flying creature with a Sword of Fire and Ice and stave off death long enough to win in the air. Zada was very bitter about this defeat, as she was nearly certain she had victory within her grasp, only to have it snatched away.
This year, Zada has put in strong performance after strong performance, knocking out foes like no other. In the play-in qualifying round, she faced Brianna’s Padeem, Consul of Innovation and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, and despite nearly derailing her entire tournament with Warp World, Zada still managed to swarm both foes to death. Then, to win Block C, Zada was able to pull off two wins in matchups against Bruna, Light of Alabaster, Darby’s Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper, and Brianna’s Karlov of the Ghost Council in several extremely close fights, ending that bracket with 2 wins (over Bruna and Noyan Dar, with 1 win each).
BLOCK C final standings:
Zada – 2 wins
Bruna – 1 win
Noyan Dar – 1 win
Karlov – 0 wins
Brianna’s Zada, Hedron Grinder was our final winner, eventually outlasting Noyan Dar and Karlov to win the last Block and advance.
With this being Zada’s second finals appearance in two years, she is out for that title and no one’s going to stop her!
Zada is a token swarm deck, which can use Zada, Hedron Grinder‘s ability to copy your single-target spells to all of your tokens to great effect. This leads to combo turns where single-target spells like Panic end up drawing 5-10 cards, or combat tricks like Brute Force ends up turning into Overrun as it pumps your team. The deck is by far the quickest of the four in the finals, and the most deadly, and the other players both know this and know they cannot let their guard down against the red player.
Can Brianna’s Zada, Hedron Grinder combo off, gain redemption for last year, and win this match and the title?
Our final competitor is one that was also built by Brianna for me, the “flying tribal” deck, Isperia the Inscrutable.
Isperia’s road to the finals last year was both rougher and less rough than the other players; she had tougher opponents and matches, but up until the quarterfinals, no one was taking her seriously, allowing Isperia to win matches that she had no business winning. In the prelims, Isperia faced the R/W control deck Tajic, Blade of the Legion and tribal Elves, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, and prevailed thanks to the power of Avacyn, Angel of Hope, who protected her team from Tajic’s Wraths long enough to kill him and Ezuri. In the quarterfinals, Isperia had another tough match, as she faced tribal Soldiers led by Darien, King of Kjeldor, and Mayael the Anima. Mayael and her horde of fatties looked like a big favorite here, but Isperia shut her down hard with a massive Aetherspouts during an alpha strike, ending this match decisively in Isperia’s favor. Then, in the semifinals, Isperia faced Darby’s lone remaining deck, the U/W control general Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper, and Brianna’s Karametra, God of Harvests. Isperia took advantage of the infighting amongst her foes, waiting until Noyan Dar had tapped out to counter one of Karametra’s spells to land the problematic Avacyn once more, and winning on the back of indestructible flying creatures. In the finals, both Zada and Marchesa looked like much more credible threats, but Isperia was able to suit up a flying creature with a Sword of Fire and Ice and apply enough beatdowns to win.
Truly, Isperia’s run last year was the very definition of a Cinderella story, as she went from nothing to our defending champion.
This year, as defending champ, I made the decision to give Isperia the bye right to the finals, where she will defend her championship in a fatal-fourway match.
Isperia is a strange and hilarious deck where every creature has flying, letting Isperia herself Tutor for whatever creature you need in any given situation. Many of these flying creatures just so happen to be very strong Magic creatures, from her MVP, Avacyn, Angel of Hope, to Gilded Drake, to Mulldrifter, and everything in between. Isperia has been underestimated thus far, but that ends now, in the finals, as each opponent understands just how deadly her horde of fliers can be if the game goes long enough.
Can the underdog joke deck Isperia the Inscrutable pull off the biggest upset win ever here again, and win this match to defend her crown?
It’s time to find out!
THE MAIN EVENT:
Isperia starts off this match quickly, taking a look at Kalemne’s hand with Sorcerous Sight to see what she’s facing. Meanwhile, Zada has a turn two Krenko’s Command, beginning the match with her usual token swarm offensive. Kalemne and Wort start off slowly, with Kalemne having only a Loxodon Warhammer on turn three and her general on turn four, while Wort contents herself to mana-ramp with Blighted Woodland on turn five.
Things start to come to a head here, as Kalemne drops the dangerous Stonehewer Giant into play and begins attacking Zada with his general for 8 general damage. Knowing that her window of opportunity to deal with Kalemne is short (thanks to the Warhammer granting Kalemne trample, and Stonehewer being able to find any Equipment at will to beef up the deadly double strike general), Zada drops her own general into play followed by a Goblin Scouts to make a ton of dudes, and starts attacking the Boros player in retaliation.
Isperia can only laugh softly to herself at the infighting among her foes, and casts her general, who is a 4/7 thanks to Favorable Winds.
On her turn, Kalemne opts not to use Stonehewer, instead casting Mikaeus, the Lunarch with X = 4, and attacks Wort, not wanting to give her too much time to set up.
It turns out, however, that Kalemne not attacking Zada has not stopped her from being irritated at the earlier general damage that she took from him; Zada casts Reckless Charge on her general (which copies the spell to her entire team) and attacks Kalemne here with everything. She surprises him mid-combat with a Crimson Wisps on her team to draw 6 cards, and an Otherworldly Outburst after he has blocked three token creatures, letting her replace them with 3/2 Eldrazi tokens. Zada caps off this turn by casting Empty the Warrens, getting 8 Goblins as well. What a turn by Zada!
After witnessing this, Wort just wants some blockers, and casts Revel of the Fallen God. Isperia agrees with playing defensively, and after attacking Zada with her general, casts Planar Cleansing to wipe the board clean.
Looking to rebuild after the devastating Zada attack, Kalemne can only cast her general and pass the turn. Zada is out of creatures and doesn’t have enough mana to cast her general, and must pass here with only a Kher Keep as her only option. This gives Wort the chance to get her own general into play, and Isperia takes a chance by not putting out a chump blocker, and casts Recurring Insight instead to draw a ton of extra cards.
On her turn, Kalemne debates long and hard over who to attack. She and Zada have just been relentlessly kicking each other’s asses, and she knows that if she leaves Wort or Isperia alive, either one could run away with this game. After some thought, she casts Godo, Bandit Warlord, who fetches up a copy of Rogue’s Gloves, and attacks Zada, trying to get one opponent out of the running. Predictably, Zada makes a Kobolds of Kher Keep token and chump-blocks.
Zada draws a land here and is able to once again cast her general. Without token creatures, her general is quite lonely and unoffensive. Wort takes the opportunity to ramp some more with a conspired Harrow, and Isperia, fearing the worst, sets Kalemne back a turn by bouncing her general with a Mist Raven. Sighing, Kalemne can only replay her general on her turn.
Needing to draw something good, Zada draws a very live card on her turn:
It’s RTR superstar Goblin Rally, which enables a huge turn for her. She first gets to cast Accelerate on her general, copying it to her tokens and drawing five extra cards, then a lethal Blazing Shoal with X = 6 copied to her team, and attacks Kalemne to death in one vicious attack!
The other players sit in stunned silence, amazed by Kalemne’s sudden death. What a turn by Zada!
Wanting to put up some defenses, Wort quickly summons a Regal Force, drawing some new cards, and casts Nissa’s Pilgrimage to mana-ramp some more. Isperia passes on her turn with seven mana open, after merely suspending a Riftwing Cloudskate.
Sensing that she can end this game, Zada moves in for the kill, casting another flurry of pump spells for her team and Twinflame to make a ton of extra guys. When she moves to attack the other players for lethal, Isperia shows her the combat trick that she’s been holding:
That’s right, a devastating Angel of the Dire Hour, who exiles Zada’s entire attack force, wrecking her entire strategy! What a blow to her gameplan, and all of her momentum has been derailed thanks to the reigning champ!
Unfortunately for her, Zada doesn’t get another chance to try again, as Wort casts a Mirari and a Red Sun’s Zenith with X = 12 copied and conspired, killing Zada outright with massive amounts of damage.
Isperia immediately goes on the offensive over the next few turns, casting multiple flying creatures and attacking aggressively, hoping that Wort never draws the right card to kill her with. Wort is forced to use Taste of Paradise defensively, to gain enough life to stay alive. At one point, she is able to look at Wort’s hand with Alhammarret, High Arbiter and sees two X-spells, Firecat Blitz and Fanning the Flames; Wort is just shy of having enough mana to cast either.
Then it happens: Wort draws a mana-doubling effect, Dictate of Karametra! Instantly, Wort’s gameplan goes from “survive and burn Isperia to death slowly over a few turns” to “just kill her outright”, and Wort is able to cast the Fanning the Flames to deal 50 damage, killing off Isperia from nearly a full life total. And just like that, this year’s tourney is over!
The winner of The EDH Battle Royale VI and new champion is Wort, the Raidmother! What a run this year by the Gruul mana-ramp deck!
After two months of furious spellslinging, Wort, the Raidmother has finally taken her rightful place as our EDH Battle Royale VI champion! It was a long and hotly-contested fight, but in the end, Wort proved that the power of humongous X-spells cannot be denied!
So that’s it for yet another year! Wort as champ gives us a worthy champion (finally, after our last two champs were basically joke decks — Rasputin Dreamweaver and Isperia) and we’ll have to see next year if she can successfully defend that title! Thanks for reading!