We didn’t get there in Kansas City.
I made a pretty egregious punt in round one in the middle of doing sweet things, which put the kibosh on my tournament. Remember to sacrifice your opponent's Birthing Pod to Phyrexia's Core when you Phantasmal Image their Zealous Conscripts kids!
After that I spent a few rounds doing some mulliganing and ultimately dropped at 3-3. I was pretty disappointed with the result, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that the result of one event means much in terms of a deck’s viability. I still believe that Counter Repost is a fine choice for a Standard deck, as most of its matchups are favorable… when you play them correctly.
For reference, this is the 75 that I sleeved up in KC:
You’ll notice that I cut the Spine of Ish Sah. It certainly generated a lot of value, but it never really did anything better than just having a Wurmcoil Engine. Recurring Vindicate is, in fact, strong, but it doesn’t gain a million life, generate tokens or actually kill your opponent.
Let’s talk about some matchups:
Provided that you don’t mulligan to five, the zombies matchup is very close to a bye. I’ve been indiscriminately casting Mental Misstep on their one drop if I have i,t considering that you lose the same amount of life on turn two whether they have another one drop zombie or not. I think that it’s fair enough to bet against them, seeing that if they don’t have it you buy a lot of time, and if they do, nothing really changes. It can be slightly awkward if their second turn play is Diregraf Ghoul plus rebuy Gravecrawler, but it’s not like we have any way of predicting this.
Watch out for these cards:
Messenger and Aristocrat are basically the only cards you really have to worry about, and Cavern can make them very difficult to handle. You’ll have to Vapor Snag Messenger more than you’ll probably like to, but this matchup is all about buying enough time to start gaining life with Trading Post and Wurmcoil Engine.
Wolf Run RUG
If you like grinds, you're in for a treat. Interestingly, the biggest problem cards in this matchup are all lands:
Cavern makes it so that you’ll have to use your Mana Leaks at any open window. Once they name Giant and play a Primeval Titan, your Leaks will be all but dead.
I’ve found that cloning and Snagging Titans is a winning strategy, but actually killing Inkmoth Nexus is a must. In the main your only out is Dismember, so game one can be rather awkward. This is the reason we have Ghost Quarters on the sideboard. You’re already planning on cloning their Titans anyway, so killing their Inkmoth is pretty much a sure thing in post-board games. Most lists can only afford to play one Inkmoth and one Wolf Run, so I find that Post is very favored in sideboarded games.
I think that this matchup is quite favorable, but it is very difficult to play. Knowing what to clone and when is of paramount importance. If you can buy enough time to get an active Post and a Wurmcoil, you should be able to win - just make sure to leave up Post or Core to play around Zealous Conscripts. Their best card is obviously Birthing Pod itself, so be sure to leave up Mana Leak in the early turns.
This is Post’s toughest matchup by a mile. How things play out are pretty heavily impacted by how good your opponent is, so your numbers will look better at an FNM than a PTQ. You have a fair number of outs to Delver of Secrets and Geist of Saint Traft, but Restoration Angel and Cavern of Souls can be real problems. Runechanter’s Pike can also give you fits.
This is the matchup that you’ll definitely need to practice for if you want to be able to beat it. There are just too many variables that affect your play, not the least of which being your perception of how your opponent will play.
This matchup is pretty tough to lose. Having Mental Misstep for Rancor is a tremendous boon. They can’t play Cavern, so you’ll often just be able to Leak Dungrove Elder. I’m almost positive that this deck can’t beat a Wurmcoil Engine, so this matchup is no sweat.
Esper and Other Such Control Decks
Aaaaaaaand, we’re back in grind city. I don’t think that I overstate things when I say that Wurmcoil Engine plus Trading Post is the most powerful endgame currently available in Standard, but Sun Titan + Phantasmal Image can give you a run for your money. Fortunately we have our own Images to call.
If you play smart with your Wurms, I think you’re very favored in control mirrors, though Mental Misstep can be somewhat embarrassing. Just make sure to leave up Buried Ruin and Trading Post to properly combat opposing Nihil Spellbombs.
A Few Notes on the Deck
One thing that was incredibly frustrating that became apparent in KC was this this deck absolutely does not punish your opponent’s mulligans, and it absolutely feels the impact of its own.
I think that 22 lands is probably a little too greedy. Trimming a Misstep for another Island (or Buried Ruin if you’re feeling saucy) makes sense to me.
I am very much enjoying the Trading Post engine, but I feel that I might be winning more games in spite of the blue shell rather than because of it. Ponder has been really good considering the low frequency of high impact cards in the deck, but Cavern of Souls has embarrassed a lot of my Mana Leaks.
This all in mind, I think that I’m going to take a second look at my red build. It is in need of a few tweaks, such as probably wanting more Phyrexian Metamorphs, but it's much better at just killing opponents and plays zero cards that are impacted by Cavern of Souls. I’ll post an updated list if this is the direction I decide to go.
While Kansas City did not go swimmingly, I am still pretty happy with Counter Repost. The deck generates a lot of interesting decision trees and does some very powerful things. If that’s what your into, then you should definitely give it a try.
Good luck, high five.