Monday, June 30, 2008

Deck Evolution: Morningtide Warrior's Code

Last week we began what will continue to be a series of article centered around the concept of pre-con decks, and evolving them through out the block. For the basic concepts, and the beginning of the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Super block, please read last weeks post. Last week we took our $20 budget and attended the Lorwyn Prerelease event, and ended up with a very playable mono-green deck with a serious Elf centered play, and a splash-able black option. I really don't think we could have asked for a better group of cards from what we started with, since we have only six cards which were unplayable in our collection (93% playable). This week we will attend the Morningtide Prerelease, and see if we can improve our collection.

We will add the following Warrior's Code pre-con, the foil promo Door of Destinies from the event, and a random booster pack. The Deck and booster contents are listed below. We very lucky with this addition, because it ties in nicely with our existing elf theme, and practically gifts us a third playable color in the red warriors.

2 Ambassador Oak
Axegrinder Giant
Boldwyr Heavyweights
Boldwyr Intimidator
2 Bramblewood Paragon
3 Brighthearth Banneret
2 Changeling Berserker
2 Cloudcrown Oak
2 Elvish Warrior
2 Lunk Errant
2 Mudbutton Clanger
Unstoppable Ash
2 Winnower Patrol
Fistful of Force
Heal the Scars
Incremental Growth
2 Kindled Fury
3 Obsidian Battle-Axe
2 Recross the Paths
2 Release the Ants
Roar of the Crowd
14 Forest
10 Mountain
Morsel Theft 2BB
Merrow Witsniper U
Hostel Realm 2R
Moonglove Changeling 2B
Mosquito Guard W
Negate 1U
Everbark Shaman 4G
Lunk Errant 5R
Latchkey Faerie 3U
Dewdrop Spy 1UU
Fertilid 2G
Walker of the Grove 6GG
Obsidian Battle Axe 3
Oona's Blackguard 1B
Rhy's the Exiled 2G

So what to keep, and what to trade away. The MVP of this new card pool is far and away Obsidian Battleaxe. If the three copies in the pre-con left any question as to adopting the Warriors theme for our main deck, the fourth copy in the booster pack answered it with a definitive "yes". These four cards alone represent a significant return on our investment, and allow our trade pool to go towards expanding our deck options. The promo Door of Destinies, Boldwyr Heavyweights, Unstoppable Ash, Immaculate Magistrate, and Oona's Blackguard will be added to our trade pool giving a comfortable value of $13 to work with.

We really have enough playable cards to build one or possibly even two playable decks, so rather then quantity I will focus on adding utility to our collection. Our first issue is the addition of a second color to our deck. We have two solidly playable color in black and red. While we are planning on using the red, having the option to use or splash the black would be ideal. This points us to the Vivids of Lorwyn for color fixing options. Since we are going to be heavily green for the immediate future, a play set Vivid Grove for $3 makes a splash in either color an easy proposition. Next I turn to the core set for options, and I come away with a set of Overruns, and Incinerates for my remaining $10 of trade pool, bringing me back to zero.

We still have $5 in cash with which to buy standard singles. We need to address color fixing, and support our Elf, Warrior, Giant sub themes. Changelings also become an important sub-theme, since they are both elves to be boosted by our Perfects, and are giants to pump up our Elvish Handservants, and are Warriors to come in swinging with the Obsidian Battleaxe. By this time we have realized that board sweeping anti-creature tactics are tough on any tribal based deck. To protect our forces from this tactic, and give us options in the post sweep turn, I will pick up champion Changelings very heavily. They can come in on any creature, and fit all out tribal themes at the same time. I really like to use Civic Wayfinder as my champion target, because if they remove it, I get to fetch a second land when the Wayfinder comes out from under the Champion.

4 Civic Wayfinder- Elf Warrior color fixer, mana acceleration
2 Changeling Berserker
Changeling Titan
4 Firebelly Changeling
4 Warspike Changeling
4 Gametrail Changeling
4 Boggart Sprite-Chaser
4 Hurley Burly
4 Mudbutton Torchrunner
4 Shock

This leaves me with $1.90 in cash and two unplayable color in White and Blue. In looking at my unplayable cards, I conclude that White is the stronger option, and would combine more readily with my existing green base then blue would. My white is all creatures, and one is a changeling, blue has 2 non-creature, 2 Faeries, and a Merfolk.


Kithkin Healer
Goldmeadow Dodger
Avian Changeling
Mosquito Guard


Acquitect's Will
Merrow Wetsniper
Latchkey Faerie
Dewdrop Spy

With this is mind I will apply my final $1.90 to White, and see if I can bring it up to at least a marginal color. The review of the White Uncommons doesn't reveal anything of lasting impact for my collection, but the commons creates the following list. This brings White clearly into a playable color either as a splash for green, using the Vivid Groves, and Civic Wayfinders as color fixing, or can serve as a second deck option with a white Kithkin Soldier base, and splashing red for spot removal to support your troops. Either way I would pick up a complement of Plains from the land box.

4 Cenn's Heir
4 Coordinated Barrage
4 Kinsbaile Ballonist
4 Stoneybrook Schoolmaster
3 Avian Changeling
3 Goldmeadow Dodger
3 Mosquito Guard
3 Pacifism

These additions bring our card collection to 206 cards, not including basic lands, which will easily support 2-4 decks in a variety of configurations across four colors. Even more importantly we have only 5 unplayable blue cards, making our collection nearly 98% playable. With so many deck options, you could play a variety with mixed success. I think your strongest deck option would include the Battleaxes, and Perfects, and a focused pool of elves with the Handservant. This can be complemented with a mix of changelings to support the themes. Red gives you access to Hurley Burly, Incinerate, and Shock to keep the road clear for your ground pounding army. Overrun is a clear finisher for any horde deck. I would be willing to bet that there are player out there, maybe even in our play group, who have invested far more than this, and have far less playable card collection then this. Even I am surprised at just how much we have accomplished with a total of $40.00. Next week we will take our $20 and attend the Shadowmoor Prerelease in an effort to have fun, and further improve our collection.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Digital Fix - Dime Bag Magic for Someone Who Beat the Addiction

Submitted by-Nick (, nick on SciFi, dog_fish on MtGO)

Allow me to introduce myself. None of you know me, and probably only one or two of you have ever met me. My name is Nick, I'm one of the few Legend of the Five Rings players atScifi Genre in Durham. I play board games, D&D, GURPS, Videogames, and I’m embarrassed to say it but I’ve even been known to LARP once in a while. There is a little known secret that I’m going to share with you all: I played magic as a wee-one from Beta through Fourth edition, stuck around for Ice Age and the last booster pack I ever purchased was from Alliances.

Until now.

Yes, I’m going to start magic again.

The one question that I'm sure you could all answer is: Why did I quit playing Magic in the first place?

  1. Time

  2. Money

  3. Nobody to play with

Time: Between all of my other hobbies, school, sports, jobs, wife, house, and who knows what else? There wasn’t time for Magic.

Money: Playing Magic is super expensive especially if you don’t want to lose every game.

People: Friends move away, and without item #1 (or #2 ;) it is hard to find more.

Time passes.

Fifth Edition comes out and I’m starting High School.

The Urza Cycle begins and I’m just exploring my first forays into Warhammer 40k

Seventh Edition comes out and I’m getting ready to go to college.

Odyssey cycle debuts shortly after 9/11 and I’m busy having a grand old time in my first year of college.

Ninth Edition heralds college graduation.

Dissention arrives a month before I move to North Carolina.

Shadowmoor is released. I start reading the Magic forums on the Scifi Genre website out of boredom, and I start reading this blog out of curiosity. I read the article about rare-drafting online … ONLINE ??? What is this business???Hmm, you can play magic online? It is free? Ok , I think I’ll try downloading it. Shoot, there is a $10 account activation. Oh well its only $10 and what is this? I get $10 worth of cards, fine.

Ah the slippery slope. I’m sure many of you know it well.

So lets see how Magic Online gets me around the classic three problems.

Time & People

I can login anytime I have 20 minutes and play a game. No need to drive to a gaming store or set aside a weeknight for an organized league. It seems like there are oh 2000 people logged on at any given time, so I can play anytime anywhere I have my laptop and aninternet connection.


I’m going to share my experiences with Magic Online minimizing my expenses while building a reasonably competitive deck. Now I know this deck is not tournament worthy, but it is good enough to play in the casual lounge. I’ve played about 60 games with this deck so far and I’ve won two thirds of them if not more.

I found out about these little gems called theme decks. Supposedly these are decks pre-built to be reasonably useful and playable right out of the box. Doing some research, I know that Shadowmoor just got released so maybe I should find a deck in there. From what I remember red is the most straightforward, but the Overkill deck red/green sounded kind of boring so I went with the Army of Entropy deck. It sounded easy to play, but with enough complexity to make it interesting.

What’s this? A theme deck costs $12.99, but I only have $9.99 from my initial magic buy in! You know what… I’m going to use what I learned from that rare-drafting blog post and look at the online trading bots. Oh what is this? I get to pick 64 commons/uncommons for 1 ticket? A ticket is a dollar? That’s less than 2 cents a card.

Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Shadowmoor C/U cards since the online release was just a little while ago. What the heck, lets go with the Boggart Feast theme deck from Lorwyn instead.

So yes, I cheaped out I bought the theme deck (minus the rares) from a collection of automated trading bots and I got playsets of every single card for 2 tickets.

Now I have 4 of each card instead of a smattering of 2s and 3s. Time to cut out the cards that aren’t so good.

Boggart Loggers: Goodbye! I don’t want to pay 3 mana for a 2/1 especially if the special ability won’t be any good against non-green decks. Even against green decks its not so great.

Exiled Boggart: Meh… I don’t like losing cards unless it’s a good reason. I can do better for 2 mana.

Lowland Oaf: NOT A GOBLIN. I thought Facevaulter + Lowland oaf combo could create a flying 11/11 to win the game, but I’d like something better for 4.

Mudbutton Torchrunner: Gone!

Goatnapper: NoTHX

Fire Belly Changeling: Yeah I guess its ok for a two drop but I could get a squeaking pie sneak which was 2/2 and had fear for the same cost.

Adder Staff Boggard: Seeya later… I don’t like a card to be meh half the time and downright useless the other half.

Did you just notice what I noticed? I just tossed out almost all the red cards in the deck. You know what? This makes things a lot easier. I’ve got 7 tickets left… lets make the best Mono-Blackboggart deck that I can. I have lovingly and un-originally named my deck “MonoBog.”

I went to The Gatherer and told it to search for anything standard format that had the word “Goblin” in it. I found some interesting things that I quickly added to my deck for 2-5 pennies each.

Festering Goblin: This is the perfect card to sacrifice to a Facevaulter/Fodder Launcher and pick off a useful 1 toughness creature.

Frogtosser Banneret: Here is a two-drop I can feel good about playing. Cost reduction and haste gimmie gimmie gimmie.

Combine these with some of the other core cards of the deck:

Marsh Flitter


Goblin Birth Rite

Spiderwig Boggart

You can get a sense of where I’m going here. Swarm my opponent and FodderLaunch / Facevault+Spiderwig / Flitter my way to victory.

Four tickets down, five are left.

Next, I look at the rares that were supposed to be in the theme deck:

Boggart Mob – Excellent, 5/5 that makes even more gobbos to sacrifice considering I have some fear and hopefully more guys than my opponent can block.

Mad Auntie – Critical to any gobbo swarm deck.

Knucklebone Witch – One black mana for a guy that will end up being like 5/5 or 6/6 VERY quickly, I’ll take three!

Oh yes, and in my research I came across Rite of Consumption. I had dreams of pumping my Facevaulter to 7/7 or 9/9 using the Spiderwig to give him fear and then Rite of Consume him to hopefully win the game.

I had to break down and go to the 2 cards per 1 ticket Superbot and there we go… $10 for the following deck. I win about two-thirds of my games and they are all pretty fun (except once when I gotthoughtsiezed twice on the second turn and was like wtf casual room?)


24x Swamp


3x Boggart Mob

3x Facevaulter

4x Festering Goblin

2x Frogtosser Banneret

3x Knucklebone Witch

2x Mad Auntie

4x Marsh Flitter

3x Spiderwig Boggart

2x Squeaking Pie Sneak


4x Boggart Birth Rite

4x Fodder Launch

2x Rite of Consumption

Thursday, June 26, 2008

At the End of the Day: PTQ GrandPrix Indy June 2008

Submitted by Jeff Darran (phfantom on Scifi Genre,

Shoebox recently called me hardcore, something about playing 4 major tournaments in 3 weekends. Regionals on June 7th, PTQ in Burlington on June 14th, Grand Prix Indy on June 21st, and PTQ in Indy on June 22nd. Maybe its hardcore. Maybe its good planning and a love to play the game.

My last article I posted my decklist for Kithkinweave. From that decklist to this week I made some changes. To view the original decklist click here. There were only 3 cards changed out from the original. I took out the Militia’s Pride, as most of the time, the card just sat there in my hand, being revealed for Goldmeadow Stalwarts. I also dropped a Goldmeadow Harrier count from 4 to 3. I added in 3 Ballynock Cohorts, because they are a fairly strong creature and it’s a turn 3 drop if I don’t have a Spectral Procession in hand or if my mana is 2 Plains and a Mutavault and I can’t cast the Spectral Procession. When you figure there is a Wizened Cenn on the board already too, the Cohort hits the board at 4/4 and hopefully when he swings next turn, he has the potential to be a 5/5 (thanks liege or 2nd Cenn). So without further ado, here is my round by round report from PTQ-Berlin that took place in Indianapolis on June 22nd.


Round one was faeries. I don’t know why but so far I have owned this match up, and today is no different. I got a bit worried in the first game, as he swung with a Mistbind Clique repeatedly and managed to get me down to 2 life. He was still at 8, but with a Cloudgoat Ranger, Goldmeadow Harrier, and 6 1/1 Kithkin tokens I swung in. Even tho he had 2 blockers, I threw a Surge of Thoughtweft for the win.

Game 2 was a little easier for me. Admittedly he was very mana screwed. I had a Cloudgoat Ranger, 6 Kithkin tokens, and a Wizened Cenn (sick) on the board, and swung. He said 15, and started to write down 5 when I said before damage, and tapped to throw my Surge of Thoughtweft again. WIN

MVP is the Surge!

ROUND TWO enter 1-0

Round two is a deck I have played against before, but obviously by someone who wasn’t sure of how to pilot it. Matt, my opponent, was very good with his 5 color elemental deck. I got abused after getting him down to 8. He wiped my board with a Firespout, after he evoked a Shriekmaw on my liege. He swung for 14 to put me at 2, and that was pretty much the game.

Game 2 I came storming back. Turn 1 Heights, Turn 2 Stalwart, Turn 3 Cohort, swing for 2, turn 4, swing 5, turn 5 swing 5 and he scooped.

Game 3 was the big fun game. I got him down to 14, and then we entered a stall. For seven turns it was draw, go, draw go. He could block me, I could block him, all creatures die. So neither of us did anything. Then time is called. Its called as he says go. JUDGE! It is determined that since time was called as he said go, that it was his end step, so my turn is turn 1. The judge sits there and watches us. On turn 3, I have a plan. I got him down to 8 on my first turn. I forget exactly what happened, but I know I Mirrorweaved, he Nameless Inversion'ed, and it was all during attack stage, and in response to the inversion, I played Surge of Thoughtweft. There were 2 judges watching us. We broke the judges. Seriously. We broke the judges. It took 5 of them to sort out the layers. In the end, Matt only wound up taking 2 damage and that was game. DRAW

ROUND THREE enter 1-0-1

Round three was Quick n Toast. I got him down to 5 in game 1, and down to 6 in game two. Both games saw me die at the hands of a Cloudthresher. Stupid Cloudthresher.

Swept 2-0, LOSE

ROUND FOUR enter 1-1-1

Round four pitted me against faeries again. Yay! I love the faeries! Except I get beat to hell by them in game 1 as I keep a 2 land hand, lost both of my creatures to nameless inversion, and never drew another land. This makes it difficult to play the 3 drops and 5 drop in my hand. Game 2 saw me rebound and roast him in five turns. Game 3 when I swung for the win I was at 33. I had a Wizened Cenn and 2 Knight of Meadowgrain in play. WIN

ROUND FIVE enter 2-1-1

Game one was over before it really got started, I had an opening hand with creatures and he just couldn’t recover. Game 2 he said he was land screwed but he didn’t miss a drop so I'm not sure what he meant. I swung for 72 on turn 5 or 6. I determined this was Ten Commandments. Or at least a variant of it. WIN

ROUND SIX enter 3-1-1
Round six introduced me to an EVIL black green deck that was designed SPECIFICALLY to destroy Kithkin and Faeries. He said it was basically a Rock deck, modified for block, with Fire-Lit Thickets splashed in for Firespout, It did its job well. Game 2 he got his key combo out, Grim Poppett and Blowfly Infestation. I didn’t side in Wispmare, because I didn’t see any enchantments in game one. Never drew the Oblivion Rings I boarded in. when he finished with me, there was still 35 minutes left in the round. LOSE

ROUND SEVEN enter 3-2-1

Round seven I went up against a black green elves deck. I destroyed it in game one, but made several play mistakes in game 2, and wound up punting that game. Game 3 I couldn’t draw anything but land after he wiped my board with Scarblade Elite and Shriekmaw, and Nameless Inversion. LOSE

ROUND EIGHT enter 3-3-1

Round eight introduced me to some weird sort of red green ramp deck, with Deus of Calamity. He had 2 of them out in game one. I boarded in my Oblivion Rings to take care of the Deus and that did the trick and I took game 2. Game 3 his deck hosed him, as he mulliganed down to 5 and kept a hand with 2 Mutavaults. It didn’t take long to seal his fate. WIN

ROUND NINE enter 4-3-1

Essentially in PTQs this is round 17. This is my first actual mirror match. His deck hates him tho, and I beat him, although I manage to forget that I can Mirrorweave my opponents Thistledown Liege, although at the time, I’m not sure I actually had creature advantage. WIN

Final Result, I finished 5-3-1 in 42nd place out of 347 people. WOW! And it was a GREAT TIME

Till next time!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Casual Concepts: June 25, 2008

It has been brought to my attention that I have not talked much lately about he state of casual at SciFi in some time, so please allow me to point out some things which have really developed recently. If you have not been out for Wednesday Night Casual in a while, things have really changed. Over the past few months our numbers have grown from the occasional 3-5 to over 12 consistently. Even Zac, one of our original founding fathers, has been making recent appearances. It is not unusual to see games of 6+ round table going, and the trading is as strong as ever, but i can't help but sense we need some sort of trading post. I would love to here any thoughts you guys have on organizing our trade potential.

Not only do we have more players, but there really is a lot going on. The Anti/Stamped/Pooh League has started to dwindle, but it never fails. I still see people playing it every Wednesday night. There is already a lot of discussion of resetting the card pool when Shards of Alara hits this fall, and rules revisions to address some of the issues raised with in the league. I know I had a lot of fun with league, and I think our basic idea worked well. A few fine tweaks should allow it more staying power with the majority of the players. If you have any thoughts, be sure to get them out there for consideration.

I have to thank JohnnieK for really spear-heading the EDH efforts, and keeping us organized. We now have more registered generals then ever before, but here are still a tun available. A quick search reveals that there are approximately 400 legends printed, and many done so recently. These are easy to find, and have high synergy with the Standard card pool. There is plenty of room for everyone, so start putting together a deck. Maybe we can get JohnnieK to write an article to discuss the finer points of Highlander, and suggest some inexpensive cards to add impact to your collections. That's right JK I'm calling you out! While on the topic of EDH I would also like to recognize Ben and Mike who have become the poster children for the EDH movement. They came in last week so ready to play, that they brought an extra EDH deck in case somebody wanted to play, and didn't have a deck. Great heart guys, thanks. I really wonder how long it will be before EDH needs it's own night, rather then being just another part of casual night?

Of course you don't have to build a special deck to have fun, there are always folks ready to throw down with just any old thing. Casual night is also the perfect place to test your proxied up new deck concepts. It's always good to see if something works, before you rush out and buy stuff, no matter what Justin says about it. Speaking of any old thing, I wanted to tell you all about a new casual night concept, JohnnieK has been teaching me. It's is usually called 5C of five color. The basic idea is to build a a 250 plus card deck, that contains at least 20 cards of each color. Maybe we can get JohhnieK to explain the rules to us? (yep that twice in one article JK!)Mine is a highlander version so every card is different (although I am still working on replacing some of the basic lands). The deck is awesome, if I may say so myself, and I really enjoy playing it. If you have been around a casual table with me in the last couple of weeks, you may have already seen it in action, if not come out and check it out. You never know what you might get, and with over 150 different spell cards, you could get anything. I plan to write about my Deck of Many Things next week, but I'll see you tonight if you want the sneak peek.

So to make use of an old joke, you can see for yourself tonight, or you can read about it some time! Hope to see everybody tonight. As always thank you to SciFi Genre, and their crew for giving us a place to indulge our game state!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

At the End of the Day: How Two Opponents Gifted Me 18 Packs

-Jeff Darran (phantom on SciFi Genre, and

Today I will tell a story of the Magic powers-that-be simply giving me games despite myself.

Let me start by saying that I was playing a deck that JohnnyK built from Justin's brain.... or something like that. I wasn't 100% familiar with the deck I just knew I was iritated at my own deck. This story is taken from a side event at the NC Regionals in Concord North Carolina. I started the day in the main event, but had an unspectacular 2-3-0 record and opted to drop.

round 1 vs dragonstorm game one, I stomp face game 2 I get face stomped game 3, snatching from the jaws of epic fail. Opponent is at 1 life. I had gotten him down to 3. No cards in hand. I pass turn, he draws his 2 cards, taking his 2 damage from the spiteful visions I had on the board. I believe I started the turn at 15 or 17. Something like that and I had previously earwig squaded, removing 3 of the 4 hellkites in the deck. So I passed turn, he goes to 1, and attempts to go off. He does go off, getting me down to 2. He thought he had me but he didn't have enough mana left to cast the last grapeshot in his hand. (in retrospect, if he had skipped the shard volley, he had a high enough spell count to kill me off that grapeshot). So he finishes his turn, looks at me (with 4 goblins on the board) and says, "good game" and scoops up his cards. Remember, I'm at 2 life with spiteful visions on the board. My only way of winning the game is for my top card to be a tarfire, so I can kill him between the draw trigger and the draw. Fortunately for me, he scooped. After his brother (who was standing behind him) got done fussing him out for not letting me play my turn, I lie and tell the kid that the next card was a tarfire and I would have had him anyways. It was truthfully a graven cairns. He scooped tho, so I won.

Round 2 ELVES

It was even more epic fail on both parts. First of all I had to wait almost another HOUR for my game to start, cause someone said there was no time limit on these matches. Brilliant. So anyways game 1 I stomp face. Game 2, I get stomped by a colossus. I had wort on the board and kept recurring a tarfire, but didn't know that I could tarfire the colossus in response to wort's trigger going on the stack. i.e. wort’s ability triggers, tarfire the colossus, tarfire in yard, return tarfire to hand, roast colossus. Oops, my bad (really oops, cause I can’t do that anyways lol, since the tarfire isn’t in the yard when the trigger goes on the stack). So we go to game 3. Back and forth, building armies, I can't punch thru, and he isn't attacking me. he gets colossus on the board. I have a goblin king on the board. a judge is sitting there next to us, to encourage a lack of slow play on opponents part. but aside from that, he isn't paying attention to what we are doing, just that we aren't stalling. Opponent may have attacked with the colossus, I may have blocked with the king and regenerated him. actually that did happen. I failed to realize, as did my opponent, that goblin king gives ALL goblins mountainwalk and +1/+1. thus begins the stalemate. opponent doesn't turn colossus sideways and beat face. I bring a murderous redcap into play, (2 mad aunties and a king on the board, so he hits at 5/5) and I deal 5 damage to the face. Actually I dealt 2 damage to the face. JohnnyK or Justin or Phil tells the judge we have performed a game state error. judge says we are to fix it as we are still in same phase. JohnnyK and Justin are secretly hoping I change my target of the redcap from opponents face to goblin king, but I don't cause neither me or opponent has realized that the colossus has mountainwalk. This goes back and forth for a while, I finally get auntie Wort on the board, so I have fear attack and can regen my tarfire. I swing with auntie next turn, opponent at 7, me at 9. during his turn everyone around us (about 10 people) are encouraging him to attack and get it over with. In a previous turn, he had cast a Yavimaya Dryad, giving me a forest, so he could forestwalk his guys. I knew he had Elvish Champions in his deck (thanks earwig) so I knew I could be in trouble. he played something and then moved to combat phase. He declares attackers as colossus (not enough mana to pump it) a Mutavault, and the Dryad. I declare the king as a blocker on the colossus, the redcap on the mutavault, and the dryad I can't block as I have a forest. judge says hold up, goblin king can't block the colossus he has mountainwalk. oh crud. I'm in trouble now. I’m being attacked by a 5/5 mountainwalk colossus, a 3/3 mountainwalk mutavault, and a 2/1 forestwalk dryad. I can't block any of it. 10 damage. 9 life. I am made of fail. I start to pile up my land, and as I’m thinking F*&# to myself, I remember I have a tarfire in my hand, cause I was gonna save it and kill the colossus next turn with Wort's ability (not realizing that I couldn't because of the way Wort’s ability worked – tho I didn’t know this then). I tap a red mana and say "before blockers are declared, I tarfire the dryad." I take 8 damage, left at one life, I have 10 creatures on the board, and opponent has 5 that are untapped and no cards in hand. I have won! I have just snatched victory from the jaws of epic fail and defeat.

This game was filled with misplay and a general lack of game state. Please not to be suspending me from DCI for not realizing that a goblin king gives my opponents colossus mountainwalk. I would like to thank my opponent for not turning his creatures sideways, cause turning creatures sideways is how one tends to win. Unless you are turning mountains sideways and burning face. Hope you enjoyed the story of how I stole 18 packs from the jaws of epic fail. PEACE

Monday, June 23, 2008

Deck Evolution: Lorwyn Elvish Predation

Over the last couple of weeks I have spoken with several people who are interested in re/entering the game, but wish to do so in a limited fashion, with minimal outlay of cash. The question always ends up, on what is the best way fro them to get the most fun out of meager resources. For the purposes of this article, I am going to work with a $20 budget, and ignore sales tax. I really consider this a bear
minimum of entry, and feel confident that almost anyone can accommodate this amount. More often then not, I recommend they buy a pre-con, because at about $12 it fits almost any budget, has known fixed contents, and is designed for entry level players. The remaining $8 could be spent on 2 boosters, or a variety of singles. Then I got to thinking, could a player do better, and frankly I think they can. If you take this same budget, and participate in the open-dueling at the prerelease event, you would get a random pre-con, a booster pack, a foil promo card, and still have $5 left for other purchases.

Over the next few weeks I am going to apply this method to the Lorwyn block to demonstrate just how much of a collection a beginner could compile even with these limited resources. In addition to the concept laid out above, I will restrict card selection to the current block, and most recent core set. Cards rares, and chase cards can be "cashed out" to a trade pool to acquire other rares or chase cards. Chase cards will be defined as un/commons which trade at above average values. Regular un/commons will be purchased from our remaining cash pool at the standard rates of the store. Regular un/commons which we have will not be traded, and either must be used, or held for future use.

We will begin this quest with the randomly determined Elvish Predation deck containing the following, in addition to the foil promo of Wren's Run Packmaster, and the randomly generated booster pack.
3Scarred Vinebreeder1 ManaBlack Mana
1Lys Alana Scarblade2 ManaBlack Mana
3Moonglove Winnower3 ManaBlack Mana
1Hunter of Eyeblights3 ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana
2Elvish EulogistGreen Mana
2Leaf Gilder1 ManaGreen Mana
1Wren's Run Vanquisher1 ManaGreen Mana
2Elvish Harbinger2 ManaGreen Mana
3Gilt-Leaf Seer2 ManaGreen Mana
2Imperious Perfect2 ManaGreen Mana
2Jagged-Scar Archers1 ManaGreen ManaGreen Mana
1Immaculate Magistrate3 ManaGreen Mana
2Lys Alana Huntmaster2 ManaGreen ManaGreen Mana
2Nath's Elite4 ManaGreen Mana
1Nath of the Gilt-Leaf3 ManaBlack ManaGreen Mana
1Prowess of the Fair1 ManaBlack Mana
2Eyeblight's Ending2 ManaBlack Mana
1Lammastide Weave1 ManaGreen Mana
2Gilt-Leaf Ambush2 ManaGreen Mana
2Elvish Promenade3 ManaGreen Mana
1Wanderer's Twig1 Mana

Lowland Oaf3
Woodland Changeling1
Aquitect's Will
Herbal Poultice0
Kithkin Healer2
Goldmeadow Dodger
Avian Changeling2
Scarred Vinebreeder1
Nath's Buffoon1
Fodder Launch3
Prowess of the Fair1
Jace Beleren1

I would immediately pull the Wander's Twig for the Wrens Run Packmaster promo card, since I believe it brings more to our deck then it's $5.00 could bring in trade. My next thought with this deck is to go mono-green, but this will force most of our removal, and discard out of our deck. When testing the deck, the only black card I am really going to miss is the Eyeblights Ending as removal. Since this is effectively only 2 pieces of removal, I think we can make the change. We can add 2 Prowess of the Fair, Shriekmaw, And Nath of the Gilt Leaf to our trade pool for a total value of $4.50. With a total of only 2 blue cards in our collection, I have to say Jace's $5.00 value is worth way more as trade, bringing our total pool to a respectable $9.50, and our cash pool remains at $5.00. Basic land is free so grab up another 9 Forrest to replace your Swamps. By the way, as you are going through the land box, try and find one picture you like, and get them all to match. This is a nice trick I learned recently, and a habit I am trying to build. It makes it harder for your opponent to know how much land you are running, if they all match. It will not make much of a difference with this deck, but habits have to start somewhere.

Now we have 12 slots to fill in our deck, and I will start by looking at the core set un/commons for anything that will help us level up, since our only unused green card is Woodland Changeling. It's a good card, but really doesn't bring anything to the deck. The very first card to come to mind is Llanowar Elves, and is practically a must have for this deck. No matter how many times they print it, this card always trades for a premium, so the play set of 4 is going to take $3.00 out of our trade pool, but is worth every penny. There are a number of other cards to consider, but none that add huge value to our developing deck. Next thing to consider is the under used uncommons in the deck. There are three cards in this deck that I would really like to have more of. We could use two Imperious Perfects at $3 each, 2 Jagged-Scar Archers at $1 each, and three Wren's Run Vanquishers at $1.50 each. Obviously we don't have enough in our trade pool to support all our wants, so we are going to have to pick a choose. After some testing with different proxied combinations, I have decided that the best mix is one Perfect, two Archers, and one Vanquisher. Not only does this fill 4 more slots in our deck, but uses all of our trade pool.

We still have 4 slots to fill in our deck, and since we have no more to trade with, we will need to look at the un/commons for purchase. I have selected the following cards for a grand total of $5.00.

4 Elvish Branchbender brings power to the deck with big hitters
4 Elvish Handservant a one drop elf
1 Gilt-leaf Ambush blocking, with possible removal, plus makes two tokens for one card.
4 Moonglove Extract removal for mono-green
4 Runed Stalactite it's a tribal block, this may be useful, and is playable in any color, or tribe
3 Woodland Changelings naked elf
3 Changeling Titan really big elf
2 Elvish Promonade more elves then the north pole
3 Incremental Growth steroids for elves.

This gives us a total of 84 cards, not including basic lands. Of these 59 are highly playable, and 19 are marginal, leaving only 6 cards that are unplayable in our collection. This collection yields the following deck. You will find that this has a high power level for the investment, and will fair well in a casual game. Not a bad showing for $20. Tune in next week, when we take our $20 to Morningtide prerelease, and see what we can come away with.

23 Forest
4 Moonglove Extract
3 Imperious Perfects
4 Jagged-Scar Archers
2 Wren's Run Vanquisher
3 Elvish Branchbender
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Lys Alana Huntmaster
1 Wren's Run Packmaster
2 Nath's Elite
2 Elvish Harbingers
2 Gilt Leaf Ambush
1 Immaculate Magistrate
2 Elvish Promenade
3 Gilt-Leaf Seer
2 Leaf Gilder