Blown Away

I am blown away by the improvements to Green since I have been gone. For you youngsters out there, Green was the color of sharing. Anything it got that might have been good was made horrible by the fact that it shared the benefit with your opponent. These days Green positively rocks.

Hello! Today is totally random rants and stories day!

I am blown away by the improvements to Green since I have been gone.

For you youngsters out there, Green was the color of sharing. Anything it got that might have been good was made horrible by the fact that it shared the benefit with your opponent.

Back in the day, the bad old days, the bad old sucky days of Green, we had cards like Saproling Cluster. This is the type of dreck we Green mages had to make decks with while Blue got “Force of Will” and “Morphling.”

“But Wakefield, Saproling Cluster was from Fallen Empires. Force of Will was from Alliances and Morphling was…”

Don’t Quibble With Me You Young Buck, I’m Ranting Here! Don’t Ruin A Good Rant With Silly Little Things Like Facts!”

For you youngsters, you don’t remember the time when Green was so piss poor that when Wizards held a conference at Origins to answer questions, they were laughed at when they said “Green was meant to be a support color” and that’s why it was so weak. I just looked it up on Google and am reminded that no one really hammered them on that, but when asked why Green as so weak, they blathered for thirty minutes and concluded with “Green is a support color.”

And here I thought kraklin was just fried chicken innards.

Saproling Cluster was one example. Kraklin was another. Mark Rosewater said that at GX Kraklin was too powerful! Wow, did I laugh at that. I bring all this up again because I will never forget it. In the days of Green being Wizards’s whipping boy, for five mana, you could make a Kraklin into a Dirkwood Boar. I can see where that would be scary powerful.

But not these days. Now you have Beacon of Creation. And One Dozen Eyes. And Viridian Zealot. And Sac Elder. Troll Ascetic. Iwamori. Kodama of the North and South Tree. Things like that.

You really don’t know how good we Green mages have it right now. If this was the old days, Eternal Witness would cost 5, be a 1/1 and your opponent would be able to get a card out of his graveyard as well. Troll Ascetic would have “If Troll Ascetic attacks, target opponent may put three 1/1 flying tokens into play.” Beacon of Creation would be G3 casting cost and count all lands not just Forests and Blue mages would be raping us with it and laughing derisively at us every time they cast it.

Thankfully, those days are gone. For now.

So, have I told you I’m playing MODO now?

Oh, I laugh a lot when I play MODO.

There’s this lobby where you look for games. And I have my Elf deck all together with a sideboard and everything. I’m in the tournament practice room looking for games.

Specifically, I’m looking for people who say “std, serious decks only plz.”

It’s the “plz” part I love the best.

I immediately challenge them and on the third turn throw down an Elvish Champion. And laugh. Oh do I laugh. Especially when I win.

Especially when they’re playing some finely tuned net deck that has forests in it. I play down a Champion and deal some sneaky style forestwalking Blanchwood lovin!! And they love it! They Love It!

“… I said a serious game…”



If I have a sideboard and this is the best deck I have and I plan on playing it in Regionals, isn’t that a serious game? It is to me.

This very morning I had a guy say “std, serious game plz” and I challenged him.

The game went something like this.

Forest, Elvish Pioneer, Forest.

Forest, Wood Elf, Forest, Elvish Scrapper.

Forest, Blanchwood Armor.

Next turn I played an Elvish Champion and my game ended. I was back at the dueling room, the game completely gone from my screen.

And oh I laughed.

I chuckled for a good ten minutes.

It’s not all giggles and laughter though. Also this very morning I played a guy who asked for a “serious game plz” and I mulliganed to 5, sat on 2 land, and he got out two Chrome Mox on the opening draw and proceeded to Stone Rain my land with a Zo-Zu, The Punisher in play.

His draw was some good. Mine was less than stellar.

I challenged him again and he said “no, sry”

Grrrrrrr. I wanna make you say you love it!

He probably didn’t want to play the guy playing Pioneers and Lyrists in his deck again and was looking for a “serious game plz.”

Or maybe he just doesn’t like Green?

All in all, my experiences have been great on MODO. There’s really nothing that can compare as a tool for re-learning the game and the environment. I’ve been exposed to rogue decks and net decks. Friendly, talkative players and guys who never say a word. I’ve traded with people who just kept offering me Green cards (And they didn’t know who I was) even when I said the trade was fine (This is how I discovered One Dozen Eyes) and another guy who traded with me like I was his prison b*tch. It wasn’t pretty. And I assure you, I didn’t love it.

So, I go into the trade room and broadcast “Casually trading Extended cards for Type Two Green cards” and a guy offers to trade.

He says he’s trying to finish his… I don’t know; some set my given to me/ borrowed account has a lot of. (I’ve been told to do whatever I want with the cards. I even checked twice to make sure he didn’t mind if I traded, he didn’t. Thank you John Telford.) He pulls out 32 cards and asks if we can trade again when we’re done so he can get more cards. I say “sure” and continue looking through his stuff. I find 4 Elvish Champion, one uncommon, and nine commons I want. He has about a dozen uncommons, 2 rares, and the rest common. I tell him “I’m sorry, that’s all I can find, but I’m fine trading like this if you are.”

He says “Can u take out 2 rares plz.”

Um, what?

I look over the stack I have. The only rares I have are the Elvish Champions. Not exactly a chase card. And I have 4 rares to his stack of 32 mixed rares, uncommons and commons.

“I can, but can you explain your reasoning? I don’t understand why you want me to remove cards.”

He thinks for a bit, doesn’t explain, and types “take out 1 rare and I’ll do the trade.”


I stare at my screen. I stare at my dog. I stare at my wife.

None of them hold the answer.

Maybe older cards aren’t worth much. Maybe Champions are worth more than I realize. Maybe this guy is just a good trader and I suck at this. Maybe 1 Rare = 12 Uncommons. What do I know?

I know I need those 3 Champions is what I know.

I make the trade and brush it off.


Joshie says stuff that I find so funny my jaw aches when I’m done laughing. Like this week when Joshie is having lunch with me in my office.

“Hey, you know what a good card is? Shrapnel Blast.”

“Shrapnel blast is bad dude.”

“I was killed by it three times on MODO last night.”

“Dude, no.”

“It’s going in my Red deck.”

“With what creatures? Red doesn’t run artifacts.”

“Aether Vial. Oxidda Golem.”

Josh puts his head on my desk. Puts his hands over his head.


“Oxidda Golem? That card is bad.”

“How is a 3/2 creature for 3 with haste bad?”


“You can’t just say it’s bad. You have to explain why.”

“Red doesn’t run enough creatures to use Aether Vial.”

“Mine will. Look, White Weenie uses it to play out a horde of guys; my red deck will play a horde of guys. And then it will Shrapnel Blast the Golem, or the Mox or the Aether Vial.”

“Whatever dude. Have fun signing autographs at the 0-4 table.”


I have some precious advice for those of you who wish to be loved. Long to be needed and sought after. For those of you who would like friends to never forget you, and call you frequently. Here it is. The secret to being loved.

Become a Computer Tech.

Yesterday, I had a teacher holler to me as I’m halfway into the bathroom, and then follow me into the bathroom to ask me questions about his home computer. “I know you’re going into the bathroom, but I’ve just got a quick question for you.”

I’ve had people stop me on my way to my office with a hot lunch or McDonalds in my hand, and ask me computer questions for ten minutes while my food gets cold and the fat congeals on it.

I had a guy from high school that I barely knew of, never spoke to, and never hung out with, call me, 20 years after we had graduated, and wanted me to see why his computer was running slow. “Who is this again?”

It’s Mike! God!”

“Mike who?”

He told me his last name and I still had no idea who he was.

I’ve been stopped in the supermarket. Called at home during Christmas break by teachers whose email wasn’t working for the last three minutes and wanted to know why. I’ve had people come up to me in restaurants while having a romantic dinner with my wife with “just a quick question.”

The best thing about being a computer tech is social gatherings. If you would rather be in a dark room working on a friend/associates/family member’s computer than sipping punch and making small talk, then being a Tech is the job for you! Apply now!


Molder Slug is funny. I played one today and my opponent said “lol. Do people even play that card?” And conceded the match to me right then.

I feel like Neo’s much dumber younger brother. I sit in front of a computer screen and play Magic games and get exposed to new ideas, decks and cards. One after another for hours on end. And I can feel my brain forming new pathways as I assimilate all the knowledge my games bestow upon me. I tweak my deck based on what I’ve learned. Go back and play ten more games. Get smashed eight of those games and get ready for bed. Lie in bed thinking about why things aren’t working right. What rules have changed? What overall greater strategies have emerged? What cards are defining the metagame right now and how to slip past that metagame and make a deck that ignores that or plays to its weaknesses. Get up in the morning. Play five games before work. Jump in the shower and process why I lost. How I can make up a new deck to combat the weaknesses of the old.

When I left Magic, such things that occurred to me were – “Cursed Scroll is very strong. I must come up with a way to destroy it that won’t weaken me when my opponent has no artifacts.” Or “Creatures are very popular right now. But if I play lots of creature elimination spells, that will leave me light on creatures. How can I have both at once?”

Yes, that is actually how simple I am.

The answer to those questions were of course Uktabi Orangutan and Nekrataal and Carrionette.

Today’s questions are much different.

“People are running lots of Artifacts. I will run creatures that destroy artifacts.”

“Top goes back on top of my library in response to the Shaman coming into play.”


“Sundering Titan destroys a Forest.”

“I’ll kill your Titan.”

“You lose another Forest. Play Eternal Witness. Cast Titan again, destroys another Forest.”


“Play a Jitte; attach it to a flying creature that doesn’t have summoning sickness. Attack you. Remove a counter to kill your Elvish Scrapper. Remove another to kill your Viridian Zealot.”


“Play a Darksteel Colossus.”

“…. Damnit….*sob*…”

Say You Love It!”

“I don’t love it and you’re mean!”

Solutions to problems are not really solutions, but delaying tactics. Destroy an Urza’s Tower and they just go get another one on the next turn and proceed uninterrupted. Play out a horde of weenies to beat Blue and they’ll play out a Meloku. Destroy an Aether Vial and they’ll play out a Sword of Fire and Ice and you’ll wish you still had that artifact destruction. Put a ton of artifact destruction in your deck, and now your deck sucks. Destroy a land and 90% of the decks I’ve played have a way to draw more in a heartbeat. From Wood Elves to Baubles to Top to Sac Elder to Kodama’s Reach to Reap and Sow to… It’s endless.

It’s a fascinating problem. One my brain is working on non-stop and each day I return to the play arena to see what possible solutions work and which don’t. It’s like watching an endless stream of Matrix code looking for weaknesses you know have to be there. I’m hoping to find them by Regionals.

A week or two ago I said I would explain why the French Regionals MGA decks were not really aggro decks at all.

This is a Mono-Green aggro deck.

12 Forest

4 Land Grant

4 Elvish Spirit Guide

4 Rogue Elephant

4 Quirion Ranger

4 Scryb Sprites

4 Pouncing Jaguar

4 River Boa

4 Ghazban Ogre

4 Tel-Jilad Zealot

4 Rancor

4 Giant Growth

4 Bounty of the Hunt

Who's the Beatdown?  Ghazban is the beatdown.

Ghazban Ogre is Beatdown.

Sakura-Tribe Elder, Birds of Paradise and Eternal Witness are not Beatdown or even Aggro. They are Green control.

Forest go.

Forest, play a 1/1, sac him to go get another Forest, is not beatdown.

Forest, Ghazban, Go.

Forest, Rancor, Rancor, pitch a card for Bounty, attack for nine on turn 2 is BEATDOWN.


And lastly, I thought I was going to talk about this a lot more, but decided I couldn’t do a column on it, so it goes in here with all the other randomness of this week’s column.

Win Big. Lose Big a.k.a. Making Your Opponent Scream “I LOVE IT”

The other day, frustrated with my many losses to highly-tuned decks, I made up a win big, lose big deck. It had four copies each of Emperor Crocodiles, Iwamori, and Hunted Wumpus in it. For flavor, it also had 4 copies of “Might of Oaks.”

This is a win big, lose big kind of deck.

Regionals will be coming up soon, and for some people, they will not have a deck, and they will either get one off the net, borrow one from a friend, or the most common answer, just play red. Because Red always has a shot. Because Red is the original “Win Big, Lose Big deck.” Hell, Joshie is toying with an all Red burn deck. Just start off on turn 1 and start burning your opponent and just keep burning him to death while he thaws land out of his deck and tries to cast Darksteel Colossus before you turn him into a smoking charred corpse.

Nothing but Burn spells is a perfect Win Big, Lose Big Kind of deck. Because you could go down to Regionals and get 100% totally stomped all day long and have people call you a scrub, or make it to Top 8 and have everyone call you a metagaming genius.

That deck skeleton I posted above is the same thing. Put in a bunch of weenies, some Aether Vial with four counters on it, and see how long your opponent can last with you sending in an endless stream of Mighty Iwamori, Wumpus and Crocodiles. Hunted Wumpus is the very epitome of a Win Big, Lose Big card. In the last five times I have played Hunted Wumpus, my opponent has looked at his hand, played nothing and said “okay then.”

If that happens all day at Regionals, guess what? You’re going to Nationals! And you’re a tech genius! Hunted Wumpas starts showing up in every deck!

Or you could play five Tooth and Nail decks in a row and each one of them puts Darksteel Colossus into play and your friend’s tell you “I told you so Scrubby McScruberson! Gawd! What were you thinking?”

The best thing about a Hunted Wumpus deck is the fact that is extremely fun. With an all burn deck and a Hunted Wumpus deck, your play testing against certain decks never looks like this.

Mono Blue: 6-4

Tooth and Nail: 6-4

Mono Green: 5-5

White Weenie: 5-5

Mono Black: 5-5

Mono Red: 4-6

No, a Win Big, Lose Big deck looks more like this.

Mono Blue: 0-10

Tooth and Nail: 0-10

Mono Green: 5-5

White Weenie: 10-0

Mono Black: 10-0

Mono Red: 10-0

So go to Regionals with that and pray you don’t face MUC or Tooth.

The point being, there are other colors and themes to play besides Burn when you don’t know what to play. Collect up some Win Big cards and hope for good pairings. Or you could just be a bad player like me and always play cards like that and have them take you to the pro tour on the days you get really lucky.

You know what they say –

Better Lucky than Good.

Until next time –

Jamie C. Wakefield

King of the Fatties