Wooo Doggy, I took first place in regionals? The same person who made a Noted Speaker Deck and a shipping fan fic deck? Ya’ll better step up that game. Not really. Everyone there had some good decks (Especially Johnny, who I will be talking about a lot because I fear his deck and what it will become). I guess this means I get to name my deck hu? Hmmm, It’s got my PFF Nightmare Moon in it (seriously, we are BFFs), and Maud soooo, Nightmare Maud? Sounds good. Onwards to the primer!
People are pretty set on the Maud White pairing, but I (and others on this team) do not believe it is the optimal Maud build. I must make known however, that I lost to a Maud White deck. It was due to a poor hand and shuffling though. I do not believe either of us saw a Carbo Loader or RTO. It was just strait bad luck. I also cannot diminish the Maud White deck because it is a decent deck. It did take 3rd in our Regionals.
Regarding my other match ups I ended up playing 5/6 games against people who hit top 8. In a field of about 19 people (maybe 17?) that is a pretty wide field. My final game with Johnny was wonderful. He was playing his DJ/Pink Pile combo and it is brutal. My deck was built with his in mind because I firmly believe that it is a degenerate and powerful deck that can win everything in the hands of an experienced player. And Johnny is a much better player than I. So needless to say, this being the final match up was a beautiful climax to regions for me. The game did not matter at all with regards to final prizes, but it mattered to me in terms of my honor.
I did after all build my deck to combat this specific threat. In the end I won, but never, in the game did I count Johnny out. All it takes is one good turn for that deck. The only reason I won is because I was able to advance the time clock on my side and slow his down. That deck is horribly resilient and when he redesigns it I think that my chances of victory will be even slimmer if I play against it again. It’s kind of like the water temple in Ocarina of Time.
Anyway, let’s talk about Nightmare Maud. The first and foremost of its strategy is epic TM farming. I say epic because not all the TMs in the deck are villains, Nightmare star is the first epic non villain and I think she is a very good card if used properly. The TMs aren’t just for farming though. They can provide a lot of defense as well. Nightmare Star is in there to stop things like Snips and Snails, or other exhaustible ponies from providing their power. Nightmare Moon (BFF!) provides a lot of disruption. Because Maud can function pretty well on her own when not in a mirror match, losing your hand to Nightmare moon isn’t so bad. If you couple your Nightmare Moon TM with a Nightmare Moon: Deep Darkness, you can card lock your opponent pretty hard (more on her later). In fact this was my attempt to salvage my game against the Maud/White deck. I played best I could but I never ended up drawing the resource I needed, and my opponent did. If used when you are ahead it can be the lock out you need to bring the game home.
Given that sometimes you want to keep your TMs around it is important to figure out how to protect them and to figure out which ones you want to beat up. Sometimes it is more advantageous to just defeat one and leave the other. To protect that other one we have 5 cards in our arsenal. First is Carbo Loader. She is pretty strait forward. You use her, and your opponent will rarely win a face off. Let’s ban her please? Probably won’t happen…. Your other ace in the hole is Apple Jack’s Epiphany. With it you can exhaust a friend involved in the face off. Helps out a little. This preservation of a TM is especially important in the DJ Pile match up because it allows you an out to Pile of Presents. If you have the option to start a faceoff in your TM phase you can use AJ’s Epiphany to get rid of Pile saving yourself for a least one turn. It also allows you to act against the DJ: Everypony shuffling in your mane phase since there is no benefit to popping them without Pile.
Friends: you don’t have a ton but they are all useful. The simple 2/2 blue earth ponies do double duty. They allow access to your blue events (only one of which you need 2 of them for), and they provide cannon fodder for Carbo Loading. Nightmare Moon: Deep darkness is my favorite asset though (and not just because she is my BFF). Playing her on turn one can prevent DJ from flipping. It is quite the moral breaker. She also prevents the card draw shenanigans even after DJ flips, and most importantly, if she is around when the DJ Pile wants to go off, they will get no points because you cannot draw more than 2 cards. So a DJ Pile deck running blue without removal is out of luck. Sure they might have a Dressed Up, but you have resource removal in Seabreeze’s flower and AJ’s Epiphany. Flim and Flam are in there to prevent the Dream Quest blow out turn I ended up having to cut the second one but I have not felt any adverse effects from the decision. It may be possible to eliminate entirely, but I like the security and it helps Maud flip. Finally we have Maud: Let’s Play Camouflage. She is your utility knife. She can disable those annoying cards that are gonna prevent you from doing what you want. Using her can take out an RTO, Carbo Loader, Ahuizotl friend, or anything else that is just bugging you to death. She can even neuter DJ: Everypony Shuffling if you end up getting rid of that Pile of Presents in the TM phase. We also have Carbo Loader but I am not talking about her because I hate her.
Moving on we have the blue in the deck. Not gonna lie, this deck is basically mono orange. The blue is in there to deal with mirror matches and control decks. Maud without Blue is going to have a bad time Vs control. You will never get to fight your TM because you will keep getting BWYB and Ursa Vanquished. Having things like, 10 seconds flat, Fears, and Gotta go fast lets you get to where the action is. I especially like Gotta Go Fast because it lets you speed your Full power Maud over to a frightened friend for 1 AP to help curb stomp your TMs. Everything but fears only requires one blue friend too so bonus value. People might want to include epic win, but honestly, this is not something the deck needs. It takes up too much space and Maud + Carbo loader rarely loses a faceoff. Additionally (theoretically) in a mirror match, you will be able to defeat TMs faster than your non blue Maud counter-part.
All of the resources are pretty strait forward. The Varmint barricade provides Maud fuel as well as free movement for farming. Seabreeze’s flower both flips Maud and can be immediately discarded for free if you need that extra power boost to get out Carbo Loader. I’m reasonably sure I will be cutting boulder out for another Seabreeze Flower and Pile. There is a one off clipped wings in there for both added protection from disruptive friends and for its flip value.
Finally Popping Corn: This is a card I am sad our team let slip through playtesting. We were just so worried about other cards we could not focus on everything at once. Either way it is here and it is an auto include in most orange decks. It is just too good. I like to bait people into confronting their problem, play it, then confronting their problem and forcing them to use AP inefficient. It can also trap RTOs at a problem allowing them to be frightened. It is super brutal and kind of blows out Dream Quest if used right. The worst part about this card is that you cannot play around it if your opponent has 1 AP banked. You have to play into the trap. Thus, it is a tool that Maud probably did not need added to her arsenal. But unfortunately (or fortunately) it is here and Maud can use it to devastating effect (or any orange deck for that matter).
Keep in mind though, skill has a lot to do with any deck you play. If you don’t play smart you won’t get where you want to go. The first few times I played this deck I lost kind of hard. Even a mediocre deck can win in the hands of a skilled player. This game is fortunate in that it has that skill curve where the decks don’t just play themselves. This is no longer the original Fluttershy/white auto play meta. You need to think critically and consider your actions in order to win.