I got to play some Magic: The Gathering with one of my co-workers for the first time in a while. He had forgotten to bring his cards, so I lent him some of my decks and the match-ups were: Red-Green Stompy vs. Aggro-Infect, Vampires vs. Red Deck Wins and Baneslayer-Lifelink vs. Pyromancer's Ascension.
The Baneslayer-Lifelink vs. Pyromancer's Ascension turned out to be the most interesting. I was piloting the Ascension deck and in the first game it played oddly aggro. I dropped a pair of Kiln Fiends, cleared the board with a Staggershock and then attacked for massive damage. This worked out just fine, but it's not really the kind of play you would expect from a deck with four creatures in it.
The second game was where things really started to heat up. Other that getting a Pyromancer Ascension down early, my opponent really dominated the early game. I tried to thin the field with some burn spells, but it got to the point where I didn't really have anything other than the Ascention and some land while my opponent had a pair of Vampire Nighthawks stairing at my throat: Not looking good.
I used Foresee to dig for a Staggershock to match the one in my hand. I bet on triggering the the Ascension, cast the Staggershock, and passed the turn. My dropped a Baneslayer Angel and swung. Ouch. I rebounded the Staggershock, cast the other one, pumped the Ascention and passed the turn. My oponent swung again. More ouch. I rebounded the Staggershock, and put that second counter on the Ascention. I was at five life, with no creatures. My opponent had thirty-something life, a Baneslayer and a pair of Nighthawks. Still not looking good, but I did have a fully charged Ascension. I cast Preordain betting that in four cards and two draws I could pull an Island to replace the one I tapped. I pulled a Lightning Bolt and an Island. I bolted the Nighthawks and killed the Baneslayer with a kicked Burst Lightning. I passed the turn, and it came back to me: I wasn't dead yet! The turns that followed played out as some combination of Call to Mind, Kiln Fiend and Lighting Bolt.
Moral of the story: Spells are better when you get to cast them twice. I clawed my way back from a pretty big deficit and it was terrifyingly fun to cast the same Lightning Bolt over, and over again. The darkhorse MVPs were Kiln Fiend and Staggershock. In the first game, Staggershock kept the board clear and stimulated my Kiln Fiends and in the second, it was key to triggering the Ascension; however, in both games, the Kiln Fiends proved instrumental in actually chipping away at my opponent's life total while my burn spells kept the board clear.
Here's the decklist (because this kind of post is screaming for one):
The more wealthy of our readers, will notice that Scalding Tarn is a drop-in replacement for the Evolving Wilds. Other than that, it's not too shabby for a deck with a grand total of eight rares. The Chandras Ablaze kind of felt like they were dead cards, but it will take more than two games to determine whether they need to be subbed out for something else.