Posted - March 29, 2014

Gruul Adventures 4: Invading the Invaders

Gruul Wilding Aura Edition(G) vs. mono red Nissa the Red Witch(R) deck.

Following the events of Gruul Adventures 3: Return to Red Mountain, the Gruuls have pillaged a town within the territory of Nissa, the fabled Red Witch of the mountains.

The town lies in ruins, tumbled structures and scattered fires amidst the soot blackened structures marked the once thriving community. The populace have either been killed or have fled the depradations of the Gruuls, except for a few unlucky survivors kept by the savage horde for their sport.

And so the days pass and the Gruuls, as is their wont, settle down in their new property. They will stay so long as the town still yields something for them, then they will move on to conduct yet another raid. This is how nature works, say the Gruuls - the law of predator and prey.

Nissa agrees, only her law is more specific. Nissa is the predator, everyone else is prey - specially the Gruuls who have invaded her territory.

Seething from her defeat, Nissa aims to destroy these invaders. Although she resents asking for help, she forcefully enlists the aid of some of the mountain Vampires to attack the Gruuls while the savages are at their mad revelry.

The night is specially deep and the moon is shrouded by clouds when Nissa and her band of attackers near the despoiled town - now the hideous camp of these invading Gruuls.

As she nears the camp, she can hear them. Their noise is overwhelming but not nearly as overwhelming as their stench. Nissa wrinkles her nose as she moves under the shadows of a nearby rock ledge. They smell even worst than my mountain tribes, she thinks.

Gameplay: Wild Cantor(G) enters.

In the camp, the druid known as the Wild Cantor has drank too much, celebrated too roughly, and slept not at all. The Cantor is the nearest thing the Gruuls have to a priest. Feeling the need for some fresh air, she moves to the edge of the camp, past her wild guildmates. She breathes deeply as she stares at the starry sky, the shadowed cliffs and the dark eves of the nearby mountain forest. Almost at once, her mystic senses know that there is something wrong.

Gameplay: Wild Cantor(G) + Fists of Ironwood

Gameplay: 2 Saprolings(G) enter.

The Wild Cantor draws her power from the gods of the green wild. Her first instinct is to look for a base for her power. There. A nearby clump of stunted trees - glorified bushes really. But they will have to do.

She raises her arm palms out. If one were to look closely one would notice the rims of her pupils begin to glow a soft green. Soon her raised palm begins to give off the same green sheen. The glow casts a soft light on the surrounding grounds. It will be noticed by whatever it is that is out there but that could not be helped.

From the bushes, the green glow is echoed as the fronds, branches, and roots begin to reform, taking on vaguely humanoid shapes - Saprolings, tenacious plant creatures. Two of them. They move beside her with the silent strength of trees - living plant men guarding their mistress.

Gameplay: Wild Cantor(G) attacks. 1 damage.(G40-R39)

Gameplay: 2 Saprolings(G) attack. 2 damage.(G40-R37)

Gameplay: Wild Cantor(G) attacks. 1 damage.(G40-R36)

Gameplay: 2 Saprolings(G) attack. 2 damage.(G40-R34)

From the shadows, the cold, bloodless faces of Vampires appear, blood red lips, eyes emanating so much malice that the Cantor feels it hit her like a wave. And the fangs, those horrible, beautiful, fangs. As one, the two Saprolings move to confront the Vampires. The undead wrestle with the wood creatures but even the strength of vampires must fall before the relentless tougness of the wild wood.

The druid herself jumps into the fray, taking strange powders from her pouch, she throws it at one of the undead. The 'powder' proves to be seeds that grow into strangling vines at a touch.

As the initial Vampire attack falls back, the Wild Cantor knows that she must warn the others.

Gameplay: Battering Craghorn(R) enters.

Suddenly, somone or something rushes in and knocks the Wild Cantor and the Saprolings to the ground. The Cantor gets up and notices her right forearm bleeding.

The Battering Craghorn is a beast from the mountain heights. Big as an ox, the creature gives the impression of being both lithe yet massive. It snorts and prepares for another charge.

As the Craghorn is about to move, the Cantor throws her mystic dust at the ground before the animal. The seeds take root and vines entangle the Battering Craghorn. Taking advantage of her stalled foe, she retreats, commanding the Saprolings to follow her.

Forgetting all exhaustion, she runs at break kneck speed. Before long, she is within the village. Some of the Gruuls look askance at the wild woman running and seemingly being chased by Saprolings. Other Gruuls couldn't care less. The Cantor spots the one she is looking for - a Gruul Guildmage. Maybe it was the run, or the terror of her encounter, but by the time the Cantor reaches the Guildmage she knows without a doubt who is attacking them. "Nissa!", she bellows. Pointing at the darkness outside the village.

The Guildmage quickly gathers what Gruuls he can and they head out to the village border.

The Gruuls close in with Nissa and her group and a Saproling is the first to attack. Seeing the force before him the Guildmage gathers the mystics among his group and they fall back to undertake a ritual - the other Gruuls form a protective bulwark.

The Cantor is among the mystics gathered by the Guildmage, she looks at her fellows. Half of them are drunk.

"Listen to me", begins the Guildmage. "The last time, we defeated the Red Witch by conjuring a Bramble Elemental. Let us do so again."

Conjuring an Elemental, thinks the Cantor. This group can barely hold on to their mead.

The ritual is a familiar one among the Gruul magicians. Soon enough, root cleaves to bark, leaf to stem, and the Bramble Elemental rises before them. It marches out to meet the foe.

Gameplay: Wild Cantor(G) sacrificed for 1 mana.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) enters.

Gameplay: 1 Saproling(G) attacks. 1 damage.(G40-R33)

Nissa sees the Bramble Elemental and remembers the bitter defeat she suffered through this creature. She also remembers what she conjured before to confront this beast. Time for a rematch, she thinks. Nissa is of such power that what it takes for a group of Gruul mages to do she can do on her own. Fire springs from her hand and rises ever upward before taking shape until the Scourge walks once more!

Gameplay: Scourge of Geier Reach(R) enters.

Gameplay: Battering Craghorn(R) attacks. 3 damage. Blocked by Saproling. Saproling dies.

With the Gruuls distracted by the flaming Scourge, the Battering Craghorn takes the opportunity to attack. As the Craghorn charges, a Saproling blocks his path. The other Gruuls scatter as the Saproling is shattered into splinters by the Craghorn's charge.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) + Fencer's Magemark. Creates 2 Saprolings.

The Guildmage looks at both Elemental combatants and casts a spell called Fencer's Magemark on the Bramble Elemental. The Elemental is immersed in crimson energy and grows larger.

Gameplay: 2 Saprolings(G) enter.

The Wild Cantor calls upon the favor of the Forest gods once more and two more Saprolings emerge from the rough gorse of the stony plain.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) attacks. 5 damage.(G40-R28)

Gameplay: 1 Saproling(G) attacks. 1 damage.(G40-R27)

The Bramble Elemental charges the Scourge and strikes it with its wood-born claw. The Scourge reels amidst shouts from both sides. The Bramble Elemental's paw is on fire from striking the Scourge but the forest creature stamps the flames out on the sandstone ground.

One of the Saprolings attacks and wounds the Craghorn.

Gameplay: Scorch the Fields(R) is cast. Destroy 1 land + 1 damage to human creatures.

Nissa steps forth and casts Scorch the Fields. For a fiery moment, a dragon-shaped flame hovers over the Red Witch then it explodes into a wall of force hitting the Gruuls and wounding them.

Gameplay: Scourge of Geier Reach(R) attacks. 3 damage. Blocked by Druid's Deliverance(G) spell. Druid's Deliverance has Populate which adds 1 Saproling(G).

After Nissa's attack, the Gruuls are scattered over the desert floor. They regroup as best they can only to see Nissa's allies, the Battering Craghorn and the Scourge, begin another attack. A cluster of druids begin a chant and a shimmering shield surrounds the Gruuls through which both the Craghorn and the Scourge cannot enter.

The Wild Cantor has a gash on her face. She raises her arm yet again, and, with a prayer, calls forth another Saproling.

Gameplay: Saproling(G) enters.

The Gruul Guildmage looks at the flaming beast and the Red Witch, her vampire allies and the Craghorn and he shouts a roar of defiance - a roar echoed by his fellows.

One among them, a Viashino Berserker with a huge blade, steps forth to attack.

Gameplay: Burning-Tree Bloodscale(G) enters.

But before the Viashino can attack, the massive Bramble Elemental lashes out at the Craghorn, sending it sprawling.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) attacks. 5 damage.(G40-R22)

Gameplay: 2 Saprolings(G) attack. 2 damage.(G40-R20)

The two Saprolings surprise Nissa with their attack. the Red Witch screams her defiance even as she retreats with a wound.

Nissa bumps into someone behind her.

"Having trouble mistress?", a cold voice whispers in her ear.

It is Aethiel, a warlord of the Vampires.

Nissa glares at him. "I did not bring you here to watch. I command you to strike!".

The Vampire does not bother to answer. He merely looks at her and then begins to move towards the Gruuls.

Gameplay: Markov Warlord(R) enters. Prevents up to two blockers from blocking.

Gameplay: Markov Warlord(R) attacks. 4 damage(G36-R20)

The Gruuls see the lordly vampire approach. Not running, just nonchalantly walking as if he had all the time in the world. Two Saprolings rush to attack him. Fast as the Saprolings are, they somehow are never able to touch him. He moves aside almost gracefully and moves towards the Gruul Guildmage which he strikes across the stomach. With a shriek, the Guildmage collapses holding his stomach, blood seeping through his fingers. A Gruul druid catches his fall and tries desperately to help the Guildmage. In the meantime, the Vampire seems to have disappeared into thin air.

"Brilliant", says Nissa, as the Vampire lord appears beside her.

"I can only do that once," he says, adding "Mistress" at Nissa's warning look. "The rest is up to you".

Gameplay: Battering Craghorn(R) attacks. 3 damage.(G33-R20)

Gameplay: Burning-Tree Bloodscale(G) + Beastmaster's Magemark. +1 to Bramble Elemental.

The Battering Craghorn smashes into the Burning-Tree Bloodscale who flies off and crashes into the ground, getting up wounded. The Viashino feels a hand on his shoulder. Thinking it is the Vampire, the Bloodscale raises his sword to strike.

I want my MTG!

"Hold! It's me," says a Gruul mage. "I have something to help you," she says. The Viashino nods. The mage casts the Beastmaster's Magemark and the Burning-Tree Bloodscale feels mystic strength running through him.

On the ground, the Gruul Guildmage is being tended by a druid. The Guildmage raises his arm to cast a spell.

"No!", says the druid. "Spare your strength".

The Guildmage looks at his wound derisively. "To a Gruul, this is a scratch", he says. The spell is cast at the Bramble Elemental. The creature grows.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) attacks. 7 damage. Blocked by Scourge of Geier Reach. Scourge of Geier Reach dies.

The gigantic Bramble Elemental smashes into the Scourge and tramples it to the ground.

Gameplay: Cleaver Riot(R) is cast. Red creatures have double strike.

Nissa screams in anger and casts the Cleaver Riot spell. Her allies feel the fury of fire go through them bringing on a fearless rage.

Gameplay: Markov Warlord(R) attacks. Blocked by 4 Saprolings. Double strike kills 2 Saprolings.

A Vampire attacks and is confronted by four Saprolings. The Vampire smashes two of the creatures to splinters, the other two he sends flying.

Gameplay: Battering Craghorn(R) attacks. 3 damage with double strike.(G27-B20)

Gameplay: Indentured Oaf(G) is called but won't fight Red creatures.

The Battering Craghorn, strengthened by Nissa's fiery spells, crashes into the Gruuls, wounding many. Among those scattered on the ground but quickly getting up again, is the Indentured Oaf, an Ogre. For a moment the other Gruuls think the Ogre is going to attack the Craghorn but the massive Gruul runs away instead.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) attacks. 6 damage.(G27-R14)

While the Gruul band is being scattered the Bramble Elemental is spreading chaos among Nissa's folk.

Gameplay: Act of Treason(R) is cast. Red gains control of Bramble Elementtal(G).

Nissa stands in front of the Bramble Elemental and casts Act of Treason. The Bramble Elemental becomes covered in eldritch fire.

"No!", screams the Gruul Guildmage.

The Bramble Elemental, now in Nissa's control, attacks the Gruuls, killing one of the Saprolings.

A Gruul mage breaks the spell, restoring the Elemental to its natural allegiance.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(R) attacks Gruuls. Saproling(G) blocks and dies.

Gameplay: Markov Warlord(R) attacks. Saproling blocks and dies.

Once again, a Vampire attacks and shatters a Saproling.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) + Beastmaster's Magemark. +1 to all Enchanted creatures.

Nissa smiles and feels that victory is near. Then she sees a group of Gruul druids, clasping hands with each other and chanting together. Green energy surges from them into every Gruul creature. The Beastmaster's Magemark has been cast. The Bramble Elemental, in particular, grows to truly mythic proportions. Nissa sees it rise high enough to blot out the moon.

Gameplay: Burning-Tree Bloodscale(G) attacks. Forces Battering Craghorn(R) to block. Battering Craghorn takes 1 damage and dies. Trample 3 damage remaining.(G27-R11)

The Burning-Tree Bloodscale confronts the Craghorn and kills it with a sword slash.

Gameplay: Bramble Elemental(G) attacks. 7 damage.(G17-R4)

As her attack unravels, Nissa screams even more.

Gameplay: Wild Guess(R) is cast. Draw 2 cards.

Gameplay: Wrack with Madness(R) is cast. Bramble Elemental(G) damages itself with its own power and dies.

The Bramble Elemental crashes into the Vampires and scatters them. Large though it may be, the Red Witch is not to be trifled with. Nissa casts Wrack with Madness and the enormous Bramble Elemental is consumed by its own magical energy.

Gameplay: Weapon Surge(R) is cast. +1 and First Strike to Markov Warlord(R).

Gameplay: Markov Warlord(R) attacks. 5 damage.(G12-R4)

Gameplay: Burning-Tree Bloodscale(G) attacks. 4 damage.(G12-R0)

One more spell from Nissa to match the Gruul druids, crimson energy is generated by the spell called Weapon Surge and smites Aethiel, the Vampire Warlord, filing him with renewed strength. He attacks the Gruuls who retreat before his unholy might. At the last, it is the equally strengthened Burning-Tree Bloodscale who confronts him. They charge at each other, but at the last moment, the Viashino warrior feints and throws his sword at Nissa!

With a horrible shriek the Red Witch collapses as the sword goes through her stomach. She bursts into flame and is gone.

With Nissa gone, her forcefully conscripted allies retreat as well. The Gruuls howl their victory.

I want my MTG!