Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Multiplayer Diplomatic Neutrality

Submitted by
Jed Humphries (jedijed2187 on,

Most people who play multiplayer know politics is an important part of the multiplayer experience. Over the past few months, I have been using what I like to call Multiplayer Diplomatic Neutrality, which is a type of play style where just sit back let everybody kill each other. Occasionally I will disrupt the game with some board clearing spell and gain some life along the way. The key is not to overplay and get squashed (which I guess is key to most Magic games anyway). I have really only been playing since Timespiral, many of the cards I will mention will be from there forward. Let me know if there are older cards could fit into Multiplayer Diplomatic Neutrality.I have also developed a point system for those who violate “Diplomatic Neutrality” against you (and bombs to play against them). More on that Later.

When building a deck around Multiplayer Diplomatic Neutrality”, you need to keep a few things in mind:
gaining life is good (the more subtle, the better)

don’t hurt me cards are good

a limited number of directed cards (most cards/abilities should be blanket effects)

X-factor cards (cards with X in the casting cost)

Life Gain –
Soul/Essence Warden are hands-down the best continuous life giving card (Who doesn’t play creatures in a multiplayer deck?). They have always been my favorites to play in multiplayer (especially on turn one). The 10th Edition cycle of artifacts giving you a life when a whatever colored spell is player (Dragon’s Tooth, Kraken’s Eye, Wurm’s Tooth, Demon’s Horn and Angel’s Feather) are good to include. I like these 7 cards because you gain 1 here and there and hopefully, if you only have a two or three of them out, it doesn’t put too big a target on you. Contasted by playing some cards, like Boon Reflection, will immediately put a target on you. I still include it because there is much potential there for great life gain if someone doesn’t have an answer. Urborg Syphon-mage is a good card for life gain and a blanket effect of hurting, but it could have the side effect of getting everyone else mad at you, so use cautiously. Heroes Remembered is an auto include (20 life from 1 card. Who could resist in a life gain deck?) The Fracturing Gust, Enchanted Evening combo has the dual effect of board clearing and gaining life, so I include them.

“Don’t Hurt Me” Cards –
I think it was JK who was the first I heard call them this. “Don’t Hurt Me” Cards are all the various cards preventing all damage or combat damage in a given turn. These cards are great if you happen to become the target of other player’s hate and need to buy a turn or two. The main ones are Fog, Dawn Charm, Holy Day, Chameleon Blur, and Darkness. Another favorite of mine is Hissing Miasma because it makes players think twice before attacking me, since the player attacking me will lose 1 life per creature attacking me.

Blanket Effects and Disruption –
These cards are played when someone gets out of control or you just feel like pressing the restart button. The are few different type of board clearers – creature destruction (.Wrath of God, Damnation Firesprout and Incendiary Command), artifact and enchantment destruction (Fracturing Gust and Austere Command), and land destruction ( Armageddon and Boom//Bust), Magus of the Disk is a creature worth classifying as a blank effect since it destroys all creatures, artifact and enchantments.

X-Factors –
These cards are usually a combination of the previous groups, but mainly follow the form of gain X life or lose X life or deal X damage. Molten Disaster is the ultimate win condition for this deck. You should be able to achieve this fairly easily by gain lots of life, and then play molten disaster for the max life of any other player FTW (with extra red for split second). Consume Spirit is a nice swing card if you have Urborg, Tomb of Yawgonath. Other nice X factor cards include Fireball, Blaze, Oracle of Nectars, and Dawnglow Infusion.

Bomb Creatures –
These are the creatures used to attack players who have received points. These are self-explanatory: Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Bogardon Hellkite, Colossus of Sardia, Chameleon Colossus, etc.

Under the Radar –
I prefer playing this deck under the radar meaning, don’t be the strongest, and don’t be the weakest. Strive for mediocrity! I am by no means saying that I think everyone should play a deck like this just like this. I am just merely looking at a different way to play the game in a fun, casual environment.

The Points System –
I started this back when we were playing the casual league as a humorous way of “politically deterring” people from attacking or targeting me. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, but I’ve always enjoyed it. A player gains a point when they hurt me in one way or another (kill creatures or discard cards or whatever I deem as bad for me). Players who have points lose a point when I deal damage to them by one way or another (or I do something to them to merits losing a point).

I hope this article has encouraged people out there to experiment with different play styles in casual, because is always fun to try new things.

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