A Short History of July

It’s sort of strategy, sort of not; discussions on bathroom breaks and game losses, and Cooked Goose – the new”fun” IBC blue-beater.

I had been bummed some. Our resident team beatdown king, Scott Forster, couldn’t play in the Team Sealed event held around here on July 14th. This was because he was going to the MLB Showdown Nationals at the expense of one Wizards of the Coast. The timeframe for this, however, hung around his wife’s birthday, and the makeup for this was going to see him bow out from our team for the local Team Sealed qualifier. Mike Mason and I scrambled around a bit, and finally lucked into a fine short-term solution in Larry Waymon who filled in admirably, Larry knowing a thing or two about Limited as one of the St Louis area’s highest rated players in those formats. It was a pleasure playing on a team with Larry, and we gelled pretty well on short notice. Not that that meant much to our record.

Oh yeah. I guess that little MLB Showdown jaunt was worth it for Ol’ Scott, as he won the whole darn thing, him being the only guy without Pedro Martino and the only guy averaging over ten runs a game of offense. Remember, it’s like this: The hot Pedro was Del-God-O and not Martinez. We’ll take that as a happenin’ feather for the Ol’ Binary 21 cap. Congrats again, my man.

Back to Team Sealed schtuff…

We registered some cards that were okay and got some back that were a little better. Mike spotted Darigaaz and started working on a deck in those colors: R/G/B. I got to look at the U/W, which just built a deck with almost no work. Larry did get the work of piecing together something from the rest of the cardboard and did admirably, cobbling a R/B/u deck together.

We all went 2-2 and as well 2-2 as a team…at which point we dropped and I moved into the GPQ… But I’m not ready for that story yet.

The”problem” that we had was that is was either stomp or be stomped, based mostly on card quality. My U/W deck had no rares and only three uncommons, two of which I believe were Silver Drakes. It was still an okay deck that won on tempo around turn 8-10. As an example, my first-round opponent got both Sabertooth Nishoba and Aether Mutation in games one and three, which he won. I just couldn’t compete with that quality. I also lost to another U/W/g deck that had the Cloaks. So be it.

The No Break PTQ

I was looking to play in the GPQ for New Orleans, and after our drop I barely had the time to get in. Carl Jarrell had been hammering us since right after Apocalypse came out that his aggro control U/W/B deck (which we wound up just calling CarlJ.dec) was good. Gee, if it wasn’t almost card-for-card the winning deck at PTQ Denver! It’s really not hard to spot the good cards.

It may, however, be harder to acquire them…*

As I was rushing to fill out the decklist, I still had about six to eight proxies in the deck. Stuff like a couple of Vindicates and Spectral Lynxes. I asked Mike to help me fix up the deck, while I registered at a frantic pace. Proxied Vindicates became Repulse, and Caves of Koilos became Islands and so forth. Mike also loaned me a couple Meddling Mages and a Lynx, I believe. It was a decent rehash that I went on to have trouble piloting in more ways than one…

Round one I played versus a very standard-looking build of the U/G tempo deck. I’ve found this to be the hardest matchup so far for a”NoMar”-type build. I open with two lands and a Lair. Needing white mana from the Lair, I drop it on turn two for a Lynx and suddenly get a sick feeling that I’ve done a real botch job by making the Lair my only land, and yes, here it comes… my opponent plays Temporal Spring on the Lair. Needless to say that game didn’t go well. I win game two by early threats and counters, Undermine being especially effective.

Game three. Of twenty-four lands, I have nine Islands. Of my first six lands in this match, all are Islands. Outcome predictable.

Immediately after this match, I’m feeling the need to relieve my bladder. I go immediately to the restroom, where there is one guy in line in front of me. I don’t screw around or anything and take my turn when it comes up. I go directly back to the match area to find out from my opponent that I’ve gotten a game loss. He suggests that I talk to the judge. I go over. He’s talking to someone else, so I wait a minute or so. We begin talking about the game loss, with me explaining that I had done no more than go to the restroom. He’s not sympathetic, saying that they had called my name several times throughout the store. The restroom, however, is in the back and they did not come back there. I didn’t hear them. I then ask how long it had been since the round ended and the judge looks at the clock and replies,”Eight minutes.” Eight minutes… And some chunk of that had been spent waiting for this discussion to happen and for me to get around to asking how long it had been! I wasn’t completely fried over this situation but I was a little miffed. I asked if there wasn’t any standard allotment of time between rounds, thinking specifically about the need for bodily functions to be appeased; there are none. It’s quite allowable to speed through the period between rounds at whatever pace the judge or tournament organizer would like.

You know I understand that it was a long day for them and that they wanted to speed things along. I just don’t find it a good feeling to lose a game because I have to go take a whiz between rounds. This also happened to another guy in the round following.

The word is”Feh.”

I return to my match, down 0-1 thanks to my bladder. The matchup is against Domain, and I find out in a rather lengthy game one that CarlJ, a.k.a.”NoMar,” has the tools to beat the multi colored deck. Notably, Stormscape Apprentice skirts Collective Restraint rather well with a few Undermines thrown in.

Game Three looks a lot like game two. He’d Obliterated in two and I’d recovered, but this time it got a tad more difficult. He had Elfhame Sanctuary on board when the Oblit resolved rather early in the game, and he then proceeded to a quick Pheldagriff, which started beating. I got to an Island and made a Stormscape Apprentice and then found a plains – and with that, I begin holding the Griff up…

About this time, a friendly acquaintance comes and sits down at the match. He starts asking about the game loss and so forth and I’m talking a bit. My opponents draws and looks at his cards and then I see a tapped Griff. I look at my life at”5″ and start to take the damage. He taps a forest and pumps the Griff… Game over. I throw my cards on the table, angry at myself…

I wasn’t paying attention…

Now I tried to let my opponent know that I wasn’t upset with him. Again, Justin M Pearson, I’m sorry about that. It wasn’t you. I know you can sympathize, considering you got the game loss next round just for having to visit the loo…It was just the sour icing on the bitter cake of a day that I had…

I somnambulated through a third match loss and hitched a ride over to the Harrah’s casino, where I was to meet my fabulous wife, only to find her in the room in bed fighting some sort of bug, putting her under the weather. What a lousy day. For lousiness, though, it can be topped…

How about finding out your own immune system had decided to pick on your pancreas with excellent results of destruction. That’s right folks, that’s the rarer form of Diabetes that the Doc has informed me was the cause of a frequent need to relieve myself among other things and now has strapped the insulin monkey on my back.

Diet soda is all about the”feh”…

As is, I’m supposed to be getting some real exercise. Bending cards every few minutes ain’t gonna cut it. I don’t wanna drop this habit for another one but I just might have to. Or I might be relegated to more”net decking” than I’d like. Not sure at this point what’s gonna happen…

I have still built a few decks for fun and non-profit.

My standard deck of choice right now is Magpile. Yeah, I know… But for some reason I’m good at it. It’s not”Chevy” as Adrian Sullivan pointed out the characteristics marking that deck were Repulse and Glacial Wall. I run neither. Here’s a look…


4 Counterspell

4 Force Spike

4 Memory Lapse

3 Thwart

3 Foil

4 Thieving Magpie

3 Temporal Adept

2 Mahamoti Djinn

4 Opt

4 Accumulated Knowledge

2 Gush

3 Misdirection

20 Island


4 Rootwater Thief

4 Gainsay

4 Wash Out

3 Hibernation

If you play any mono-blue decks, then this is pretty straightforward, of course. Magpie is just the best drawing engine in the game right now other than getting both a black enchantment and a white enchantment going at the same time. I just keep the Magpies safe at all costs – thus the three maindecked Misdirections. I felt that worthwhile with the likes of Rage, Terminate, and Vindicate, plus stuff like Gerrard’s Verdict on the scene. Mike and Scott rather dislike this one, I think, and only Mike’s nasty Nether Obliterate deck seems to give it the beating. The difference between this and”Chevy” would be more early countering ability that Force Spike provides over that ‘Derm-stopping properties of Glacial Wall. Sullivan was down to two maindecked Walls by Nationals. Personally, I may try and wedge in another Thwart for after the early four-land Pie drop…

But it’s IBC season, right?

Well I’ve got nothing groundbreaking in particular for that format, although a mad scientist and a guitar-wielding madman are cooking something interesting up in the lab. I fooled with trying to get Obliterate to work in conjunction with Pernicious Deed, but didn’t get favorable results. So let’s build something for fun!

Cooked Goose

4 Blurred Mongoose

4 Tangle

4 Urza’s Rage

4 Scorching Lava

4 Ghitu Fire

4 Fire / Ice

3 Breath of Darigaaz

2 Void

4 Terminate

4 Lay of the Land

2 Harrow

3 Llanowar Wastes

2 Swamp

8 Mountain

8 Forest

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, some guys I know figured out that Blurred Mongoose was a good card. This was because a lot of IBC decks wanted to aim a lot of spells at creatures to either kill them outright without the possibility of regenerating; or to bounce them back to your hand, possibly forcing you to discard; or they’d like to keep said creatures from entering play sometime then either gaining life, making you lose life, or allowing them to draw another card, etc. Well, as I say, we found out the”Goose” laughs at all that. We told folks with pro points and all that this guy was good, and the response was akin to the pathos that”feh” describes… That was, till some guys from the great northwest beat folks over the head with red and green guys in Tokyo, the”Goose” being a staple of said deck.

The above deck was just and extension of the card advantage idea that the”Goose” supplies taken to an almost absurd extreme. The idea was formulated as a response mostly to the wave of U/G decks, which being both good and one of the cheaper builds, should be seen in good numbers this season.

The deck is again looking for a skewed sort of”card advantage,” where the land search is used as a thinning mechanism to offset an opposing deck’s card drawing by trying to ensure that mid-game draws are”bizness” cards and not, more or less, dead lands. What the deck does is eliminates opposing creatures, swings the”Goose,” and hopes to burn the other guy out.

As it is, of course, this deck is also going to struggle against one of the other popular decks, namely those new breeds of neo-“Solution” style decks, a.k.a.”No Mar” – and again, as we affectionately know it”CarlJ.dec”. Galina’s Knight isn’t liked by this deck, although it seems to handle Spectral Lynx well enough. The problem is sided-in Acolytes that any white-wielding mage in their right mind is gonna foist on you. I’ve tried to rectify that some with this build…

Cooked Goose 2.1

4 Blurred Mongoose

3 Tangle

4 Urza’s Rage

4 Scorching Lava

3 Fire / Ice

4 Ghitu Fire

2 Breath of Darigaaz

3 Terminate

3 Spite/Malice

2 Tsabo’s Decree

4 Lay of the Land

3 Harrow

3 Swamp

8 Mountain

2 Llanowar Wastes

7 Forest


4 Canopy Surge

4 Yavimaya Barbarian

4 Hull Breach

2 Backlash

1 Void

Here I’m trying to use some instant black removal in both Malice and Tsabo’s Decree to try and stop the pairs of Acolytes from ruining the game plan.

As far as the sideboard goes, Canopy Surge is a response to Gaea’s Skyfolk and Voice of All. Barbarians are more problems for the blue-oriented deck. Hull Breach is pretty self evident, and was personally necessary for a new enchantment that seems to gain its controller a lot of life in the little team metagame. I thought Backlash would be fun to play on Spiritmonger. Void for when the Pikula is shouting”Tsabo’s Decree!”

Disclaimer: This is not a qualifying deck. It’s for fun. It may, however, rock in your heavily blue-oriented metagame that should be common enough.

From my pancreas to yours, BDM.

FoWill Rieffer


Home of the first-ever MLB Showdown national champion.

* – Add”on short notice.” Star City is, of course, a good place to look at in regards to acquiring cards.