Ask Ken, 04/14/2004

How on earth does one get rid of a Darksteel Colossus?

Wow, you keep comin’ back for more, don’t you? I’m your host, Ken Krouner. I took some heat yesterday for my jab at Rob and Darwin. I assure you it was all in good fun, but there is a good explanation why it was in there. I’m petty! I know you’d like me to sit here and run down all my faults, but this column is only supposed to be one page long, so with that in mind, I am gonna answer a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Dave Headley. Dave writes:

This is the first time I have sent an email asking a question because I can usually find an answer somewhere in the forums, however I have been unable to this time. I plan on taking Cemetery to Regionals however I have been having problems against a certain deck – Tooth and Nail – how on earth does one get rid of a Darksteel Colossus? I know there is Altar’s Light, but surely there is something else that would avoid having to add in plains to the deck. Well if you have any suggestions or anything of the sort email me back or make an interesting article about it on StarCity, since I am sure other people playing BG are having similar problems.


Well Dave, I have noticed two problems right off the bat. First of all, you are playing B/G Cemetery! Second of all, you are approaching the problem incorrectly. The entire point of Darksteel Colossus being in that deck is that you can’t deal with him. The only real way of dealing with a card like that is to stop it from ever hitting play. Since you aren’t going to be able to add counterspells any easier than you could add White, I think discard is your best option, with land destruction coming in second. While Green and Black are the second-best colors at destroying land, they don’t really compare to Red. Cards like Chittering Rats, Ravenous Rats, Chain of Smog, Unburden, and/or Pulse of the Dross may be your best hope at preventing this guy from being in your hair.

Keep in mind I have not tested this matchup or even this deck. I am imparting knowledge here based only on theory, but I can tell you this much. If this method doesn’t work, and you expect to see a significant amount of Tooth and Nail decks, I recommend a different choice for Regionals.

The source for Constructed theory,


Remember kids, no matter how versatile you think your rogue deck is, it will always have problem cards and problem decks. For instance, Black/Green Cemetery will have problems with decks like Affinity, Goblins, Tooth and Nail, Mono-White control, and Slide. So be careful when bringing them to a tournament like Regionals, as you might just face one of those decks. Join us tomorrow when a special guest columnist will answer one of your burning questions! G’night Everybody!

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We’re always hard at work here at Ask Ken to bring you the answers to the tough questions like,”Is it true that after asking multiple times for an apology, you never heard from Rob or Darwin after actually writing it?” Yes this is true, but no one actually sent that in, so I think it is time for a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Jason Choi. Jason writes:

I have a question. Last pack in a MMD draft I’m playing Black and Green. I open my Darksteel pack to find an Essence Drain, Echoing Courage, and Pristine Angel. Should I take the Pristine Angel in the goal to”hate draft” or take something else? (keep in mind I’m not rare drafting)


Well Jason, thanks for the e-mail. If you are familiar with my body of work, it is likely that you know how much I hate hate-drafting and why. As a little refresher course, you add less value to your chances in a draft by hate-drafting than taking a card for you deck and sometimes for your sideboard.

That being said, there is an exception to this rule of no hate-drafting. Of course, when this rule comes into play, it is technically no longer hate-drafting. Every so often, a card comes around that is so powerful that taking it isn’t technically hate-drafting, since you will be playing the card. I believe Pristine Angel to be one of those cards. Essence Drain is awesome and Echoing Courage is good, but neither will outright win you the game the way the Angel will.

It is somewhat hard to actually judge without seeing the cards you had drafted so far, but my gut tells me you should not only draft the Angel, but also play it.

The source for advanced draft strategy,


Thanks for tuning in again. Join us tomorrow when I tackle a specific problem for a specific deck, who says I can’t get into detail? G’night everybody!

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It’s a brand new week here at Ask Ken, and we sure are glad you decided to join us again. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. As much as we like to change things up here, one thing that remains constant is answering a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Michael Jacob. Michael writes:

Type Two looks pretty bland to me. It seems to me that all the best decks at the moment are from a single block and maybe a foursome of cards.

Goblins – Onslaught block with skullclamp

Affinity – Mirrodin block with naturalize (optional)

Astral Slide – Onslaught block + wrath/(matrix optional)

Tooth and Nail – Mirrodin Block + Akroma (urzas are optional)

Is this block vs block metagame because of the overall weakness of 8th and legions to constructed play, or is it because both block’s mechanics require over half your deck devoted to them to get any appreciable affect? (Affinity needs a lot of artifacts, goblins need twenty others to be playable, rift/slide needs 20+ cyclers, clamp needs a ton of cheap creatures). Is it both?

Is there a new deck out there that takes the best card from all the available sets and meshes them together?

Thanks for the letter Michael and thanks for having two first names, you are part of a rare breed that can change their name at a moment’s notice with a mere comma.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The blocks created such powerful synergy with their mechanics that it is difficult to build an effective deck without devoting all your resources to making the deck work. In formats where abilities are this powerful, synergies will always be more powerful than a deck of all the most powerful cards in the set.

This holds true for Limited too. That is why a devoted Cleric deck (Onslaught Block) or Affinity deck (Mirrodin Block) could easily handle a deck full of bomb rares.

The source for defining formats,


Thanks for hangin’ with me for another day. Join us tomorrow when I delve into an interesting pick in Darksteel. G’night Everybody!

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