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Monday, November 23, 2009

Legacy comes to the Triangle

My recent Building my Legacy articles have brought about several out of market questions, focused on why I would suddenly be building a Legacy deck, when I have not even made the jump to Extended. I sometimes forget that this blog isn't just read by local, and that some of you have no idea what is going on in the background. Today's article is an attempt to fill in some of that background. It is primarily a composite of several threads from the SciFiGenre.com forums, regarding the emergence of Legacy in our local community. Most of this content is not my own, but is repeated here for educational purposes. Most of what has been ported over is from Jeff aka "Crispy" (fdiv_bug on SciFi) and Mike (darturus on SciFi).

Background

First, a brief overview of the format. Legacy is one of two Eternal formats, meaning cards that are printed never rotate out, unlike Standard and Extended. It's most often succinctly described as "Vintage without the Power 9" because those very expensive and extremely iconic cards are banned in Legacy, but there are a few other differences between the two: for the most part things that are Restricted in Vintage are Banned in Legacy, but that's not always the case. The card pool does span the entire game's history, and will continue to grow as new sets are released. This means that your investment in cards is highly likely to never be rendered worthless, and there are some staples of the format that will never lose value for as long as the game is played. This also means it tends to be a bit pricier than more recent formats, but it's not always a more expensive proposition and there are decks to play which are quite effective and inexpensive, especially when you consider what it cost to get into recent Standard decks with Mutavault, Bitterblossom, Reflecting Pool, Cryptic Command, Baneslayer Angel, etc.

The full deck construction rules -- including the Banned list, as there are no Restricted cards in Legacy -- are located on Wizards' site and Star City Games just put up an article that serves as an excellent introduction to the major deck archetypes. I also recommend browsing various Legacy forums. There's a lot more decks out there than the article talks about and I can pretty much guarantee that no matter your play style, there will be a deck that calls to you.

First, and in my opinion foremost, is the MTG Salvation Legacy board. In there you'll find sub-forums for Proven Competitive and Developing Competitive that contain nothing but discussion of the various archetypes, both tier 1 and tier 1.5-2, respectively.

The other one is The Source. It's exclusively for Legacy discussion, and is one of the hangouts of some of the big brains in the format. It's got Decks to Beat, Established Decks, and New and Developmental Decks for discussion of tier 1, tier 1.5, and tier 2 decks, respectively. The Source also has the Tournament Announcements and Results forum which is where I find a lot of the Legacy events I come across.

You can learn a lot about how to build and play some of the more effective decks from either or both of these places, and read over the evolution of the archetypes. It's always informative, and usually moderately entertaining as well.

Events
As a handful of us have been playing or introduced to the Legacy format, interest in it has been growing both at Sci-Fi and in the United States in general. I and a couple of others have discussed starting up some sort of regular Legacy event at the store, and I'd like to see if we can work toward that goal.

We've discussed offline the idea of getting regular tournaments going, and whether or not they should be sanctioned without proxies or unsanctioned with proxies, entry fees, prize payouts, and other sundry event-planning details. Here's my proposal: we do an unsanctioned event with unlimited proxies, no entry fee, and no prize payout every Wednesday next to the casual crowd. If eight or more people show up by, say, 7:30P or so, then we'll fire off a tournament with a handful of rounds of Swiss. If not enough people show up, then those of us who do can just test and fool around. Once we've drummed up some further interest in and support for the format, we can work on scheduling and prizing something bigger every so-often (e.g. Legacy practice on Wednesdays, Legacy tournaments on second Sundays). This is all assuming there's space in the store, as well.

Wednesday Night Unsanctioned Legacy Events

My primary goal for the Wednesday night shindig is to introduce people to the format to show how fun, engaging, and diverse it can be. Lowering barriers to entry will let them see whether or not they like it without having to make an investment -- and it is just that, an investment that requires some initial outlay but will not lose value so long as the game remains vibrant -- to get into it.

It'll also help folks determine what they want to play, giving them a goal for deck ownership if they choose. Like, I started with Eva Green, a black/green rock deck, because I liked the look of it and had a handful of the pieces, including Tarmogoyfs. I bought some of the cards that I didn't have, and borrowed several of the others that I could not afford to get, and had an absolute blast finishing in the top 16 at my first Legacy event. I am now exactly one card -- a single Marsh Flats -- away from owning every card in the deck, an accomplishment of which I'm rather proud.

So try out the format. Proxy up a deck, and give it a whirl. We're not asking you to drop $1,000 bucks to come play with us. But give the format a whirl. I bet you'll enjoy it. My only request is that proxies be tasteful. I'm not saying you have to spend hours on them or anything like that, but here's a couple of ideas:

1. Find a random common with the same CC as the card you're proxying, and write the relevant bits on the card face.

2. Write the proxy on the back of a random common / basic land and sleeve it backwards.

3. Similar idea, but write/print on a piece of paper what the proxy is, then insert a basic land into a sleeve along with the paper.

4. I've found that if you go to Cardkingdom.com and copy the card images there onto a word document, you'll end up with 4 per page, slightly smaller than the actual card itself. Cut these out, and use them in sleeves (with basic lands / commons sleeved backwards, of course) and they work rather well for proxies.

5. World Championship decks. You've probably seen these before - they're top tier cards, but printed with alternate backings / gold borders. They can't be played in sanctioned tournaments, but make excellent proxies. Because they can't be used for sanctioned play, a lot of these type cards can be picked up for really cheap.

I don't recommend relying on memory. Write SOMEthing on the card so that you (and your opponent!) know what it is. Any information that could be relevant - Name, casting cost, Type/Subtypes, any relevant abilities, P/T.

Sunday Sanctioned Events

The Legacy Series at Sci-Fi Genre is getting under way, starting on Sunday, December 6th, 2009! There will be weekly, sanctioned Legacy events, with prize support being paid out in booster packs (see below for details).
  • Date and Time:
    Every Sunday, starting at 1:00 PM
    (Except when other Magic events, like pre-releases, conflict.)
  • Location:
    Sci-Fi Genre
    3215 Old Chapel Hill Rd
    Durham, NC 27707
    (919) 490-7900
    http://www.scifigenre.com/
  • Format:
    Legacy Constructed
    Sanctioned 16K
    Regular Rules Enforcement Level
    Number of Swiss rounds and possible cut depend on the number of entries.
  • Entry:
    $15, cash or credit card
  • Prizes:
    Booster packs from the store's inventory based on finishing position.
    The prize pool is made up of three packs per entry, and the pool is paid out to the top half of the finishers.
    Guidelines of payouts by position can be found on my site.
    These prizes may change over time -- though not without notice, if at all possible -- based upon player feedback and event history; the more people we can get playing regularly, the better the prizes will become!
Current deck construction rules for the format are available on Wizards' web site. Note that this is a sanctioned event, and thus no proxies are allowed. Card sleeves are highly recommended, and the store usually has a wide variety in stock.

If you have any questions or concerns, please bring them up in this thread, or on the store's forums. Alternatively, you could send me a private message here or on the store's forums, or email me. Also, we try to do unsanctioned (i.e. proxy-legal) Legacy testing at the store on Wednesday nights, helpful for tuning up your list before Sunday.

Thanks, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible!

DoMT:2010

So, I finally figured out how to share my deck list with everyone, without having to post the whole thing here.

Without further bluster and flash, I give you the Deck of Many Things: 2010. I think the spreadsheet speaks for itself, so just a couple of quick notes on the Quantity column; an X is used for cards recently added, and a Blank is used for a card recently removed. Please review my recent posting, regarding the reasons for these changes.

For those who may not know, this deck is built for the 5color format. It contains a minimum of 300 cards, with at least 25 of each color. I prefer to build the deck in the highlander style, so every card other then basic land is a unique one of copy for the deck. The highlander is simply something my local play group prefers, and is not a requirement of the 5color format.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Building My Legacy pt2

So I've decided to go with the following land base. I know it really is not optimal, but it is the best thing I can do with my budget at the moment.



Arid Mesa
Ghost Quarter x3
Grove of the Burnwillows x4
Horizon Canopy
Plateau
Reflecting Pool
Sacred Foundry
Savannah
Stomping
Ground
Temple Garden
Tiaga
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each.



Now it's time to reality check the other contents of the decks. First off, I can't field Goys, they are simply not in the budget this year, and probably not next year either, I'm just going to have to do with out them. Secondly, I don't own Sylvan Library, but I don have Sesei's Divining top, so I'm going to give that a try. Next, I only own one Jitte, but I am planning on getting a second next year, but in the interim, I'm going to have to try something else. SInce I have put a land destruction suite in my manabase, I am going to up my Knight of the Reliquary to 3 total. This should yield the following list.


Kird Ape 4
Qasali Pridemage 4
Wild Nacatl 4
Kavu Predator 4
Knight of the Reliquary 3

Sensei's Devining Top 2
Lightning Bolt 4
Swords to Plowshares 3
Lightning Helix 2
Punishing Fire 4
Umezawa's Jitte 1


This list, along with the slot I moved to land, gives me three open slots to deal with. I've been giving a lot of thought to Invigorate, and really want to make a space for it, but trading 3 creatures for 3 instants seems pore for a Zoo Deck. Instead, I'm going to reach for some fairly new Legacy Tech designed for the mirror match, and put in Kitchen Finks. These guys are so tech. Creature, life gain, semi-removal, and card advantage all rolled into one. Since I still want to run Invigorate, I'm only going to put in 3. This brings my 3 drop creature count dangerously high to 6. Lastly, I'm going to pull the Lightning Helix's, and one Punidhing Fire to replace them with 3 Invigorates. This yields the following completed deck.

Kavu Predator 4
Kird Ape 4
Kitchen Finks 3
Knight of the Reliquary 3
Qasali Pridemage 4
Wild Nacatl 4

Invigorate 3
Lightning Bolt 4
Sensei's Divining Top 2
Swords to Plowshares 3
Punishing Fire 3
Umezawa's Jitte 1

Arid Mesa
Horizon Canopy
Ghost Quarter x3
Grove of the Burnwillows x4
Plateau
Reflecting Pool
Sacred Foundry
Savannah
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Tiaga
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each.
I think this gives me a good deck to field for the time being, and allows me room to grow into a better deck, as my budget allows.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5-Color: Annual DoMT check up

About once a year I like to take a good hard look at my pet deck, see how it's developing, document the deck contents, and set goals for moving forward. In order to save space, I'm not going to post the whole deck here. If you would like the complete list, just email me for DoMT_2010, and I will send the file to you.
Barren Moor
Brainstorm
Coastal Tower
Cruel Edict
Elfhame Palace
Forest x2
Galepowder Mage
Guardian of the Guildpact
Hammerheim
Highway Robber
Island
Isochron Scepter
Merchant Scroll
Momentary Blink
Plains x2
Recollect
Salt Marsh
Secluded Steppe
Sylvan Scrying
Tolaria West
Urborg
Watchwolf
Worldheart Phoenix

The list above is the cards that were removed from DoMT over the course of the last three months. Of these, there is really only one I will continue to consider, Brainstorm, which could easily find it’s way back in. The rest are pretty clear upgrades of lands, or overly flashy effects. Isochron Scepter for example, was a great card, but had few valid targets with in DoMT, and generally drew to much hate to be effective. The next list shows the cards that went in to replace the ones removed above.

All Sun's Dawn
Angel of Despair
Arc-Slogger
Blatant Thievery
Captain of the Watch
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacombs
Expedition Map
Garruk Wildspeaker
Glacial Fortress
Guided Passage
Henge of Ramos
Khalni Gem
Magma Phoenix
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Polymorph
Revilark
Rite of Replication
Rootbound Crag
Scalding Tarn
School of the Unseen
Soldevi Excavations
Sun Quan, Lord of Wu
Sunpetal Grove
Verdant Catacombs

I think you see now what I mean by pure upgrades. M10 dual lands, and fetchlands for outdated utility lands, and obsolete stuff like Coastal Tower, are just a step in the right direction for this deck. How did Arc-Slogger ever get removed in the first place? Several things from this list are on the fence, and could easily be moved out at a later date. I’ll just have to see what they do for
me.

Captain of the Watch- is card advantage enough o overcome the complete lack of synergy?
Guided Passage- are the worst cards in my deck enough of an advantage to keep this slot?
Henge of Ramos- color fixing that will be removed at some point.
Khalni Gem- reset lands for the win, or just bad color fixing?
Magma Phoenix- Graveyard recursion meets board clearing?
Polymorph- live the dream to Oath in a fattie?
School of the Unseen- utility or crap?
Soldevi Excavations- utility or crap?

I also will be placing an order very shortly for Bayou, Savannah, Plateau, Wooded Foothills, Windswept Heath, Wasteland, and Ghost Quarter. These are mostly to go in my newly created Legacy deck, but were on my shopping list for DoMT for some time. Most will pull double duty in both decks. This will give me 8/10ths of the Original Duals, and 7/10ths of the Fetchlands. This is such a huge upgrade over the manabase I had when I first started playing 5-color, when painlands were about the best thing I had. I should not be too hard to find space for these 7 fantastic lands. I really can not stress enough how important it is to spend money on your manabase when you are trying to build a collection, even a budget collection. These lands that sacrifice for utility, like fetch, and land destruction, just increase the value of My Life from the Loam, and Crucible of Worlds. These cards just get better and better in my deck, and the fact that others hate on them, just proves the point.

I was really surprised to see that my deck changed by roughly 10% in only three months. There has been a lot of discussion with in our play group recently about stagnant decks. I’m glad to find that my deck is changing more then I had realized. My goal for the next year, in addition to incorporating new Standard technology as it is released, is to get my last 2 dual lands, and my last 3 fetch lands. That will be another huge purchase, but should finish my one of manabase, and allow me to start growing my collection in other directions. DoMT is far and away my most played deck, and I just don’t see that changing any time soon. Standard remains pretty unexciting, so I’m really not sure were to go from there? Legacy and Extended (in that order) look to be the most interesting options for me, but I have plenty of time to set my course.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grim Tidings #17: The Need for Selective Land Destruction in H5C

(Contributed by John Kozlowski)

Can your Deck easily respond to these six cards?



If not, you might have a serious problem.

Roadblocks
Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken it upon myself to build a second Highlander 5-Color deck to add variety to my group’s gaming experience. I think I’ve succeeded in a small part with an influx of new cards and interactions. Aside this project though, I’ve tried to pay attention to the cards that most frequently seem to clog up the tempo of our multi-player efforts, and come to this conclusion: Lands are hard to deal with.

In the overall hierarchy of permanents and how easy it is to remove them from play, I generally assign an order from easiest to hardest of permanents to deal with, based on the number and versatility of regular spells I play with in everyday games.

Artifact Creatures (Easiest)
Creatures
Planeswalkers
Artifacts
Enchantments
Lands (Hardest)

I base this hierarchy on the fact that people generally play more dedicated creature removal in their decks (Swords to Plowshares), as opposed to dedicated artifact/enchantment removal (Disenchant), as opposed to dedicated land destruction (Stone Rain). In fact, I don’t know when the last time I’ve seen Stone Rain in anyone’s main deck. It seems people generally just don’t want to run it in casual circles.

That’s fine, really. I don’t want to be on the wrong end of 4x Stone Rains, 4x Sinkholes, 4x Ice Storm, 4x Wasteland either. Most people agree it’s not very fun to not be unable to cast any of your spells when you’re just trying to kick back for a night of Magic with friends. This philosophy though has resulted in an unfortunate side effect though when problem lands, like the six mentioned above dominate a game with recursive card advantage and/or establish an impenetrable defense.

The Solution
It’s pretty simple where I’m heading with this. Unless you really enjoy spending hours upon hours in long drawn out stalemates, where people are as likely to concede due to time constraints rather than dying to lethal damage, I'm urging you to play more selective land destruction.

There are a lot of options out there to serve this role.

Land-based LD
Strip Mine: This is the best of the best., and there’s a reason it’s restricted. It can target any land, including basics. Since it’s a land itself, it has no casting cost, and can be used on turn 1. It is the ultimate for selective destruction and mana denial.

Wasteland, Ghost Quarter, and Dustbowl are the other land-based LD alternatives. I run all of them in First Reminder, as they are nearly as good as Strip Mine for the use I normally want to get out of them. Ghost Quarter is probably the friendliest of the four, as it replaces your opponent’s land with a basic to keep them from being mana screwed.

I strongly recommend that these four cards are essential for each and every 5C deck.

Creature-based LD
Let’s face facts: If you are playing a 300-card highlander deck, those four LD cards won’t be enough to take care of your problems. The six lands mentioned cards at the beginning of this article are so good, people usually go out of their way to tutor for them and get them into play as soon as possible. If you’re really hoping a lucky top-deck will get you out of this mess, you will be sorely disappointed.

I think the next best avenue to do selective LD comes in the form of creatures, Creatures with come-into-play LD abilities offer you card advantage, in the form of the creature itself. I’ve always felt one of the best creature for this effect was Avalanche Riders. It immediately fufills it’s primary purpose by destroying that pesky land. Admittedly, the Echo cost is a nuisance, but at least the Riders have Haste to attack immediately if desired.

Goblin Ruinblaster is the next best creature in this category. It’s similar to Avalanche Riders, but since the LD is tied to paying a Kicker cost, you cannot recur the effect with other cards like Recurring Nightmare or Reveillark. Its still pretty good though.

Beyond these, there is a plethora of other red creatures that destroy a land when they enter the battlefield. These are a great choices, because red is traditionally the worst/hardest color to find quality cards in 5C decks. Consider Faultgrinder, Ravenous Baboons, Goblin Settler, Ravaging Horde, and Orge Arsonist just to name a few.

Red isn’t the only color that can destroy a land either. Acidic Slime is a prime choice to fulfill the LD role. Both Angel of Despair and Archon of Justice possess the ability to remove troublesome lands from the battlefield in a pinch. Do not overlook these solutions.

Activated Ability LD
Dwarven Blast Miner has recently surfaced on my “watch list” as a potential repeatable LD outlet. Its naturally cheap, has some flexibility with Morph, and can repeatedly destroy a non-basic land for R2. Similarly, Dwarven Miner does the same thing, without the Morph.

Fulminator Mage has an attractive hybrid mana cost, yet sacrifices itself for the LD effect. I don’t rank it highly, but it gets the job done.

Legacy Weapon is another LD alternative, despite its expensive casting and activation cost. It is extremely versatile though because it can remove any permanent, so don’t rule it out as a solid option.

Spell-based LD
The problem with spell based land destruction is that it is pretty narrow. Most of them are sorceries, and only say one thing: Destroy target land. Here is a list of unique ones that contribute to some unique aspect of card advantage or versatility:

Sinkhole (Cheapest Casting at only BB)
Sowing Salt (Exile)

Wrecking Ball (Land or Creature)
Pillage (Land or Artifact)
Creeping Mold (Land, Art. or Enchantment)
Vindicate (Any Permanent)

Read and Sow (Land Tutor)
Implode (Cantrip)
Molten Rain (Additional 2 Damage)
Earth Rift (Flashback
Lay Waste (Cycling)
Flowstone Flood (Buyback)
Incendiary Command (Flexibility)


Global Land Destruction
Hey, don’t be a dick about it. Unless you’re playing in a duel, don’t be an ass and nuke the entire board. Cards like Armageddon, Catastrophe, and Ruination aren’t necessarily the best LD choices for group games in terms of having fun. Be nice.




Crucible of Worlds & Life from the Loam


I would be remiss in a focused land destruction article if I didn’t mention two of the most maligned land recursion spells ever printed. Probably due to the fact that people generally run so few maindeck LD spells to begin with, having to deal with the same land twice becomes even more difficult. If you see either of these two cards, you might want to find a solution to them first before wasting your precious (limited) LD on a Maze of Ith just to see it come right back. Crucible and LftL cause a lot of headaches.

Recommendations
So how many LD spells are too many, and how many are just right for a 300 card deck?

Honestly, I don’t know. It depends on your metagame, and your deck’s ability to draw extra cards or tutor.

In First Reminder I am running ten LD solutions: Strip Mine, Wasteland, Dustbowl, Ghost Quarter, Acidic Slime, Avalanche Riders, Angel of Despair, Archon of Justice, Vindicate and Catastrophe. I only run six in Second Reminder. I think that’s probably too few.

I’ve observed in average multiplayer game of H5C, I typically draw about 40-45 cards of my deck. With only 10 LD solutions in a 300 card deck, I am likely to only see one of those solutions per game. Of course tutors improve these odds, but when the need for a LD solution is multiplied by the number of opponents you face in a multiplayer game, the density of LD solutions is that much more critical so that you can respond in a timely fashion.

I’m going to add in a few more LD solution in the coming weeks, to see if it helps me break through the defensive stalemates or abusive recursion I’ve suffered through recently. Hopefully this article will inspire others to recognize the importance of maindeck LD in their own H5C, and collectively, we can improve the gaming experience together.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grim Tidings #16: Second Reminder for H5C

(Contributed by John Kozlowski)

As promised last week, I played my Second 5C decklist a little more, and I’ve decided its quite playable and fun. I’ll cut to the chase and just publish the entire thing and just comment on a few highlights. Sorry if it just appears as a long rambling list, but hopefully this might give you some ideas for your own H5C (or EDH) deck if you are looking for midrange inspiration for variety or enjoyment. (I sorted it first by color and then by creature/spells. Multicolor spells are mixed in where they are accounted for.)

Second Reminder, 11/5/09

31 WHITE

1 Angus Mackenzie
1 Augury Adept
1 Avenger en-Dal
1 Battlegrace Angel
1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
1 Irridiescent Angel
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
1 Mageta the Lion
1 Magus of the Disk
1 Pristine Angel
1 Questing Pheldagrif
1 Rafiq of the Many
1 Reya Dawnbringer
1 Rubinia Soulsinger
1 Valor
1 Wall of Denial
1 Wall of Reverence

1 Aura of Silence
1 Condemn
1 Decree of Justice
1 Dismantling Blow
1 Kirtar's Wrath
1 Martial Coup
1 Planar Cleansing
1 Resounding Silence
1 Rout
1 Supply/Demand
1 Treva's Charm
1 Wargate
1 Winds of Rath
1 Wing Shards

43 BLUE
1 Arcanis, the Omnipotent
1 Bringer of the Blue Dawn
1 Cephalid Looter
1 Frontline Sage
1 Gomazoa
1 Jushi Apprentice
1 Keiga the Tide Star
1 Reckless Scholar
1 Sakashima the Imposter
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Sphinx Ambassador
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Thieving Magpie
1 Thought Courier
1 Tidespout Tyrant
1 Time Elemental
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Vesuvan Doppleganger
1 Vodalian Illusionist

1 Ancestral Visions
1 Capsize
1 Compulsion
1 Concentrate
1 Cryptic Command
1 Deep Analysis
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Future Sight
1 Gifts Ungiven
1 Impulse
1 Intuition
1 Jace Berelan
1 Psionic Blast
1 Reins of Power
1 Time Spiral
1 Windfall

1 Bribery
1 Confiscate
1 Control Magic
1 Dominate
1 Mind Control
1 Persuasion
1 Treachery

27 BLACK
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Coffin Queen
1 Filth
1 Fleshbag Maurader
1 Guiltfeeder
1 Necrotic Sliver
1 Royal Assassin
1 Sen Triplets
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Vhati il-Dal
1 Visara the Dreadful
1 Withered Wretch

4 Grim Reminder
1 Barter in Blood
1 Cruel Tutor
1 Diabolic Servitude
1 Dimir Machinations
1 Esper Charm
1 Mask of Riddles
1 Perplex
1 Seal of Doom
1 Slaughter
1 Sorin Markhov
1 Unscythe, Killer of Kings

26 RED
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Broodmate Dragon
1 Goblin Ruinmaster
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Kumano, Master Yamabushi
1 Lightning Angel
1 Progentitus
1 Seige Gang Commander
1 Soltari Guerrillas
1 Vithian Renegades

1 Browbeat
1 Bituminous Blast
1 Cerebral Vortex
1 Chandra Nalaar
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Demonfire
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Gamble
1 Incinerate
1 Naya Charm
1 Punishing Fire
1 Sarkan Vol
1 Slave of Bolas
1 Starstorm
1 Trace of Abundance
1 Wheel of Fate
34 GREEN
1 Bloom Tender
1 Brawn
1 Cold Eyed Selkie
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Lhurgoyf
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Mirri, Cat Warrior
1 Momir Vig, Sinmic Visionary
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Overbeing of Myth
1 Quirion Dryad
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 River Boa
1 Simic Sky Swallower
1 Sylvok Explorer
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thornling
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Trygon Predator
1 Ukatabi Oragutan
1 Werebear

1 All Sun's Dawn
1 Defense of the Heart
1 Eureka
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Hurricane
1 Lurking Predators
1 Natural Order
1 Primal Command
1 Recollect
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Wild Pair

29 ARTIFACT
1 Darksteel Colossus
1 Masticore
1 Memnarch
1 Pentavus
1 Platinum Angel

5 Shards of Alara Obelisks
1 Armillary Sphere
1 Citanul Flute
1 Expedition Map
1 Forcefield
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Gorgon Flail
1 Heartseeker
1 Legacy Weapon
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mana Vault
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Nova Pentacle
1 Proteus Staff
1 Quietus Spike
1 Scroll Rack
1 Scythe of the Wretched
1 Spectral Searchlight
1 Sword of Kaldra
1 Veldelkan Orrery

110 LAND
10 Original Dual Lands
10 Ravnica Shock Lands
10 Shadowmoor Hybrid Lands
10 Onsl./Zendikar Fetch Lands
5 Odyssey Dual Lands
5 Planeshift Lairs
5 Zendikar Refuge Lands
5 Time Spiral Storage Lands

1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Forbidden Orchard
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Nimbus Maze
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Springjack Pasture
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Tolaria West
1 Treetop Village

1 Ghost Quarter
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Prahv, Spires of Order
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Strip Mine
1 Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
1 Wasteland
1 Winding Canyons

9 Island
9 Forest
8 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Mountain

Boring Statistical Data
I hate posting big long (boring) highlander decklists, but if you’ve scrolled down this far, I’ll do a quick summarization of why I chose what I did. The deck is your basic Good-stuff deck, choosing from a restrictive cardpool that is not already included in my First Reminder deck. I kept the obligatory 4x Grim Reminders for theme, and a core manabase of 40 dual lands, from the original. Other than that, (and 30 basic lands) the other 226 cards are entirely unique to this build.

This deck is heavily Blue based, moderate Green and White, and nearly minimizes Red & Black. The deck runs on (my) typical 110 land manabase, with and additional 10 artifacts and 5 green accelerants (42%).

The creature ratio stands at 87 creatures, with 16 creature equivalents (54% of spells). A creature equivalent is counted in any situation when a non-creature card generates a token or creature immediately upon resolution. I count any card such as Mind Control, Treetop Village, Kirtar’s Wrath, or Garruk as a creature equivalent, due to the fact that the card can generate a creature with minimal additional investment.

Second Reminder Themes
Being a mostly Blue Deck, one might expect a shload of counterspells and control elements. I play H5C mostly in multiplayer though, so selective countering ability normally isn’t effective when you are facing down 4+ other players. Instead, I tap into Blue’s innate card drawing nature, and get a powerful suite of spells that allow this deck to churn out blockers and/or permanent answers. Remember, the best of the best is already included in my First Reminder, so the overall effectiveness of the card pool is diluted.

I can’t stress the importance of drawing cards enough. When forced into this situation, the best alternative is normally just to draw more cards. One them is bound to help you out.) I was surprised to find as many cards as I did like Cold Eyed Selkie, Shadowmage Infiltrator, Augury Adept, Jushi Apprentice, Arcanis the Omnipotent, and Scroll Rack to specifically help out in this department.

I’m also running an entire suite of Control Magic effects. I think it’s fitting irony that a deck without the best selection of creatures just steals them. I’m running a total of seven stealing spells, including Confiscate, Bribery, and the most surprising, Dominate.

I tried to get as many creatures as possible into the list. When I was given the opportunity to choose between a sorcery or creature that did a similar effect (Indrik Stomphowler vs. Krosan Grip), I normally chose the creature, even if it cost just a little bit more. Knowing that I was already at a disadvantage with the card pool, having something with legs, even a measly 1/1, would help me out in the long term better.

Downside
There is one problem I’ve observed so far with the deck list – the card pool is not necessarily as “prime” as it should be, so getting a match with a Grim Reminder is significantly weaker compared to other Tier-1 H5C’s. I’m not overly worried about this, as there are still 296 other cards to make the game enjoyable for me, even if I don’t get to Remind anyone.

Summary
So there you go: Another 300 card ideas to enhance your casual-competitive gaming nights. Hopefully you’ll find this list somewhat useful is brainstorming ideas for new cards in your exiting decks, not only for 5-Color, but for EDH as well. It presents a great deal of variety for you to “change it up” every once in a while, but maintain the effectiveness of your deck.

Monday, November 2, 2009

October in Review: Building my Legacy

A couple of quick record keeping issues. First off, I'm proud to announce that our little community effort here, continues to push forward, with just under 1000 unique hits per month, for the 3rd month running. While Grimjack continues his perspective on 5-color as a format, and Zendikar joins the card pool, I took a slightly different roads with a couple of comedic entries this month. All of of these efforts well received. Repack continues to be well received as a format, with many new and returning folks being drawn to this wildly unique alternative. The repack card pool continues to grow, and we are on the verge of bringing the repack process entirely under local control.

Our communities EDH obsession seems to have been abated for the moment, with a new interest in the Legacy format. I contribute this shift to 3 primary factors. First, Jedi Jed's preparations for Gencon, have run their course. Secondly, Blake's relocation to ECU, and the local Judge community's social obligations, has really left the EDH movement without a champion. Last, and certainly not least, the efforts of Jeff "Crispy" Abbott, has refocused many players attention to the Legacy format, providing a much needed alternative to the still stagnant Standard deck options.

I to have been effected by this shift in focus this month. My EDH deck, as a subset of my Deck of Many Things, stays fairly well tuned, with new cards entering the mix as soon as their merit is identified. Repack has become a pretty stable format, well received, and word of mouth appears to be taking the message to the streets. Standard is different post rotation, but every bit as stagnant. These facts have combined to allow me a broad scope of time to endeavour in Magic in new ways. In short Legacy gave me something to do.

And do I did. I went with a Zoo deck, because it is relatively cheap to build, with many of the key cards being commons. This deck also transitions well, through Extended and Standard, making my card investments pull triple duty in many cases. Lastly the combined efforts of so many minds pulled together a nice synergy for the list, building on the Punishing Fire, Grove of the Burnwillows combo which is recently popular. We opted to add Kavu Predator, and Swords to Plowshares, to build on the concept.

After only a week of playing Legacy test decks, and about 4 days of prep, I found myself trekking to Blacksburg VA, to enter my fist DCI sanctioned Legacy event. Special thanks to all those who assisted in this effort, without who's insights, help, and often cards, I never could have entered this event with any hope of doing well. Ultimately, I was able to field this list. I think it has some nice synergy that can be developed.

Kird Ape 4
Qasali Pridemage 4
Tarmogoyf 4
Wild Nacatl 4
Kavu Predator 4
Knight of the Reliquiry 2

Sylvan Library 2
Lightning Bolt 4
Swords to Plowshares 4
Lightning Helix 2
Punishing Fire 4
Umezawa's Jitte 2

Plateau 2
Savannah 2
Taiga 2
Windswept Heath 2
Wooded Foothills 2
Arid Mesa 4
Grove of the Burnwillows 4
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each

True, I scrubbed out at 0-4, but I had a tun of fun doing it. Crispy is often heard to say that "A bad day of Legacy is more fun then a good day of Standard", While I can't say it was better, it was every bit as good, and something I plan to continue. My next challenge will be to cook this list down to something that I can field on a regular basis, with out having to beg, barrow, and steal the parts.

My biggest hit will be in the land base, since I simply can't field this stellar construct that Lewis developed. In looking at my shopping list, I find several things that I planned on getting, that will help considerably. For about $80 I can pick up a Plateau, Savannah, Windswept Heath, and Wooded Foothills. Grove had not been on my list, but I think it is worth investing in at this point, adding another $20. I think the Rav shocklands make a decent substitution to the original duals, and since I already have a one of set, it's a cheap fix. This gives me the following mana base.

Arid Mesa
Grove of the Burnwillows x4
Plateau
Sacred Foundry
Savannah
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Tiaga
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each.

With less fetches in the build, I think I need to go up a land to 22 from the original build, which gives me a total of 6 empty slots. I'm really undecided as to what to do with those six slots, but look forward to exploring the options over the next week. Maybe I'll get lucky, and pick up 3 more Arid Mesas in trade this month?