Posts Tagged ‘Maze’s End’

An end to ‘Maze’s End’

Maze's End


This past weekend, Battleground Games & Hobbies held a Grand Prix Trial for Montreal. The format for the event was Standard and we had 38 participants for the event. I have to say that it was a pretty good turnout considering there were a few other events that day throughout the state.


Enough of the logistics, I’m sure you’re itching to know what I played at the event. Well, if you couldn’t tell by the title, I played the “Maze’s End” deck. Considering the current meta, I thought it would be a solid choice. I had also played the deck the night before at the store’s FNM event and finished with a record of 3 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie. Needless to say, I felt good going into Saturday’s tournament.


Here is the deck list I registered at the trial:



4 Druid’s Deliverance

4 Defend the Hearth

4 Riot Control

4 Fog

4 Detention Sphere

4 Supreme Verdict

1 Urban Evolution

3 Quicken

3 Divination

2 Kiora, the Crashing Wave

2 Azorius Guildgate

2 Boros Guildgate

2 Dimir Guildgate

2 Golgari Guildgate

2 Gruul Guildgate

2 Izzet Guildgate

2 Orzhov Guildgate

2 Rakdos Guildgate

2 Selesnya Guildgate

2 Simic Guildgate

1 Breeding Pool

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Temple Garden

4 Maze’s End



Abrupt Decay

2 Gainsay

1 Negate

3 Turn//Burn

4 Crackling Perimeter

4 Saruli Gatekeepers


I went into the tournament thinking that I’d see more control match-ups than anything else. Game one against most control decks is almost an auto win for “Maze’s End.” With 16 cards dedicated to preventing combat damage, aggro decks should have been no problem for me as well. However, I did not end up with the most desired results. I finished the day early with a record of 1 win and 3 losses.


So what went wrong? I definitely did not get the match-ups I wanted. All of my losses came against decks I knew “Maze’s End” would have the most trouble against.


Match 1 – Boros Aggro


My first match was against the worst deck I could have faced that day: Boros Aggro. It’s one of my worst matches because it just lays so much pressure. It only needs to do enough initial damage, and, once your life total is low enough, can burn you the rest of the way.


Game one was as close as I could have hoped for. My opponent led off with a “Soldier of the Pantheon,” and from that point on, I knew I was in trouble. He followed it up with a “Precinct Captain” and poured on the beats. I got to nine gates before running out of “Fog” effects and getting smashed by a lot of tiny people.


Game two did not go any better for me. Here is how my sideboarding went:



+3 Saruli Gatekeepers

+3 Turn//Burn


-3 Quicken

-1 Urban Evolution

-2 Divination


If it wasn’t a fog or removal spell, I didn’t want it in the deck. I brought in the “Saruli Gatekeepers” to help extend my life in the event he got to another fast start. I also brought in the “Turn//Burn” to help, possibly, deal with the smaller creatures as well. Of course, considering my luck, I didn’t see much of anything to help me. I did manage to get out two “Saruli Gatekeepers,” but that was not enough. My opponent stuck a “Brimaz, King of Oreskos” and then proceeded to demonstrate why that card is a powerhouse in Standard. I should mention that I failed to find a board wipe and he eventually cast  “Boros Charm” on me for the win.




Match 2 – Grixis Control


My second match of the day was against an interesting Grixis Control deck. At least that’s what I think it was.


In game one, my opponent seemed to get land flooded, or, at the very least, that’s what it looked like. I had no problem playing guildgate after guildgate. He, unfortunately, kept playing scry land after scry land. It’s too bad my deck wins with just lands and his does not.


For the second game, I brought in all of my “Crackling Perimeters.” They would not be of any help this game though as he proceeded to destroy my hand. Any deck with black is just bad news for me, I learned throughout the day. After a first turn “Thoughtseize” it was all downhill from there. He cast not one, but two “Rakdos’s Return” on me. It was not fun and my hands were so empty afterwards. I did not win that game.


In game three, I did not make any changes and kept running with the three “Crackling Perimeters” in the deck. This was a solid game for me as I dropped a turn three perimeter. I don’t think he saw this coming. As I continued to drop more and more gates, each one was proving to be more painful. I was activating the perimeter for three damage at the end of his turn, then for four damage, and then for lethal.




Match 3 – Mono Black Control


I knew going into my third match of the day, that I was not going to have an easy time again. I was playing Carlos Fontes, and, in fact, had played him the night before with the same deck. Both he and I knew what to expect in this match, and that made it more favorable for him.


Game one, Carlos barely flinched when he played a turn two “Pack Rat.” That card is hard to deal with in general since it just makes copies of itself. So I knew I had to find a “Detention Sphere” or a “Supreme Verdict” fast and before he could find a way to get it out of my hand. Unfortunately this was not the case. I can only prevent the combat damage for so long before being overwhelmed by rats.


For game two, I brought in “Turn//Burn” to deal with rats and numerous copies of “Mutavault.” “Saruli Gatekeepers” were also coming in to give me extra life and serve as a wall against the rats.


Carlos was much prepared for me this time as he cast “Duress” on turn one, “Pack Rat” turn two, and then continued to eat my hand the following turns while I tried to deal with the never ending supply of rats on his side.




Match 4 – Golgari Midrange


Don’t let the name I gave this deck fool you. I couldn’t think of anything else to call it. You know how control, during the first game, can’t really deal with “Maze’s End” at all? Well I found a deck that “Maze’s End” can’t deal with for any game.


The funny thing about fog effects is that they only prevent damage during combat. Something they don’t prevent is the loss of life. Let me introduce to you “Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord.” Considering I got my face smashed by this deck, it looked like a really fun deck to try at an FNM. One of Jarad’s abilities is to sacrifice a creature and, in return, each opponent loses life equal to the sacrificed creature’s power. One of the creatures my opponent played (for sacrificial offering to Jarad) was “Nemesis of Mortals.” In limited, this creature is really scary, but it hasn’t made much of an impact in Standard. However when it gets thrown at your face for a loss of five life, it makes an impact. It makes an even larger impact on my face when it becomes monstrous and then thrown. To add insult to injury, my opponent also played “Deathrite Shaman.” So every time I fogged, he would just eat the spell and cause me to lose two life.




Time to drop and learn from your mistakes


This is not how I envisioned my tournament to go, but that’s “Magic” for you. I thought it was a good call, and I was wrong. So what did I learn? To be honest, the FNM prior to this event was the first time I had played the deck. That would make this tournament the second time. Up to now I had only seen the deck perform at Grand Prix Vancouver and read the creator’s primer and tournament report. Still, I went into the tournament thinking that I could play the deck better than him (this is when you would hear the “incorrect” buzzer sound effect).


I definitely need more experience with this deck. One of the hardest parts of playing “Magic” in general is learning how to mulligan. I had read in the primer that the original owner was completely comfortable taking mulligans as low as five cards. I’m fairly certain I was content with almost every hand I had as long as I had land and fog effects.


As far as changes go to the deck, I don’t think I would make any just yet. Some people have suggested playing “Courser of Kruphix.” I completely understand why this guy would be wanted in the deck. It’s a 2/4 for three mana, which means it can block most of the early threats in Standard. It allows you to play lands from the top of your deck allowing you to dig a little deeper. The fact that it allows you to gain life from the lands you play is an added bonus. The question, though, is where do I fit him in the deck? I guess if I had to cut somewhere, I would start with “Quicken” and the one “Urban Evolution.” That would allow me to get four copies into the deck.


Finally, I thought about scrapping the deck all together. It’s a neat idea, but I wonder sometimes if it can really run with the best. Hence the title of this post. However, I may have been slightly swayed to keep working on it (at least for FNMs) for the time being after seeing the latest article from Jacob Van Lunen titled “Catching up with Standard.”In the article he highlight several winning decks from the online metagame. Can you guess what one of them was? “Maze’s End.”


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!


BG_ShopOnline_Banner (1)


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Card Games, Featured Author, Featured Post, Magic: The Gathering, Popular Posts | 1 Comment »