Dead Presidents: Heeeey Yoooou Guuuuuys!

I talked to Carl a bit after I had made my decision on the winners in order to find out what modifications he made to the deck over the last few weeks. He told me he hadn’t changed the maindeck (there was too much synergy in the build he originally submitted), but he did provide a sideboard that represents a virtual transformational sideboard against other control decks like Tog, MBC and Slide.

Time to get this article started right…

You know, like get it started quickly.


“But the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.”

Does it get any better than that? Count on Chunk to set the scene, yaknowhatimean?

Anyway, this is the wrap-up article for the Dead Presidents contest where I go about announcing the winners, giving the reasons why those decks won, and quoting lines from Goonies. Well, that last one isn’t really standard, but for the purposes of this article you should consider it foreshadowing.

As always, it took me longer to finish this contest than I would have liked, but at least I get to finish it. Poor Ben Bleiweiss made the mistake of relying on the decklists from PT: Venice being posted in order to complete his contest, and at this moment it looks like he might never get to figure out how badly he got trounced by his readers. Again. (Hi, Ben!). Anyway, enough with the preamble, on to the awards!

“This is ridiculous. It’s crazy. I feel like I’m babysitting, except I’m not getting paid.”

Man, I feel just like that every time I take a road trip with Andy Gibb and Sam Fog. Those two could travel with devout nuns and get them into trouble. Those of you thinking about nun sex should just stop right now. That’s some messed up stuff there, and no good can come of it. But I digress…

Speaking of nun sex – um, I mean fellow Virginians, the winner of my second place prize (a cool twenty bills) is none other than Richmond native Star Wars Kid (a.k.a. Chris T. McDaniel, whose mom happens to be a news anchor for the local NBC station, and is kind of MILFy, a statement which I’m sure Chris really appreciates me making in a public forum). Anyway, his Holistic Pie deck was chosen for the originality prize, since it represents a unique blend of playability (Wake decks are pretty good against an aggressive field) and mad scientist elements. In case you have forgotten what the deck looks like, here’s a flashback:

3x Holistic Wisdom

3x Mirari’s Wake

2x Mirari

4x Counterspell

4x Circular Logic

4x Cunning Wish

4x Inspiration (more on this later)

3x Moment’s Peace

2x Chastise

4x Wrath of God

1x Opportunity

9x Island

4x Adarkar Wastes

3x Brushland

4x Forests

3x Plains

3x Krosan Verge

Sideboard (a.k.a., where the win condition hides)

2x Circle of Protection: Green

1x Alter Reality (allows you to board in Circle of Protection: Green against Corruptor-like decks, then wish for this guy, you usually aren’t on too fast a clock.)

1x Opportunity

1x Renewed Faith

1x Naturalize

1x Ray of Revelation

1x Krosan Reclamation (if you lose all your vital enchantments or permanents)

1x Memory Lapse

1x Divert

1x Envelop

1x Early Harvest (When you have time to wish for this you generally win)

1x Boomerang

1x Moment’s Peace

1x Reprisal (a quick and easy way to dispatch Roar of the Wurm tokens, or Goblin Piledriver if he gets too many friends)

Congratulations, Chris. However, if any of the prize money should find itself being used to pay for wrestling cards or packs, I will know about it (mostly because Bennie Smith will tell me about it). If Bennie tells me about it, it’s entirely possible that you and I will have a grudge match in a darkened parking lot near the next Magic tournament we share – and if that happens, I’ll be packing chairs. Lots of them. And teammates to help me use em!

Nah; I’m just kidding, dawg. Spend the money how you want and flaunt it at Bennie. That’ll be more fun anyway.

Moving On…

Choosing the first place deck was actually rather difficult, but in the end it ended up as a two-deck race between Dumbo Sligh and Goonies!

Dumbo Sligh is a solid, aggressive deck capable of punishing slow draws as much as its mono-Red brethren while getting a little more play in the mid-game through the addition of Elephant Guide and Call of the Herd. Overall the deck turned out to be pretty solid to play, but in a drawn-out game, it runs into the same issues that Sligh falls prey to – namely, that the current environment is just awful for a deck of this sort. Then again, I didn’t note the current metagame as being one of the criteria for judging, and it wasn’t…

Dumbo Sligh was beaten out because the deck that won is just as playable and it was completely creative. And that was one of the criteria.

“Sloth Love Chunk!”

I could have chosen”Bay bee RUTH!” for this quote, but it just doesn’t capture what the movie was about. I mean to me, Goonies is really a story about a boy and his monster. Or maybe it was about hunting treasure. Or was it about a bunch of kids kicking the crap out of Joey Pants and Robert Davi; it’s from 19-friggin-85, man, you can’t expect me to remember movies that came out eighteen years ago. That’s like trying to get Gibb to remember what he did last week – it could happen, but the odds are pretty long on the actual occurrence taking place.

The point here is that Goonies is an amazing kid’s movie that every child (young and old alike*) should see at least once. I mean, just look at the cast of this beast. You have the aforementioned Joey Pants and Robert Davi (two men who never play good guys), and then you have the kids.

First off is Sean Astin, who would have been known as”Rudy” to most folks before that little movie named Lord of the Rings was released. Now and forevermore he shall be known as Samwise Gamgee – but in Goonies, he’s the leader of the gang.

Next you have Chunk, infamous performer of the truffle shuffle. If you have fat friends and have never seen this movie, you must rent it and force them to conduct the dance of flab upon the movie’s completion. And take pictures. And then send them to Ferrett so he can post ’em up here on the site. Seriously, if you get good pictures of some fat slob (translation: Magic Player, and I mean that in the nicest sense of the word. Half my friends are fat slobs!) doing the truffle shuffle, I will personally include them in a future article, no matter how much they make the peep *shudder* in the night. These are the sorts of little things that make life truly worthwhile.

Okay, after Chunk you have the immortal Data, who also played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (“No time for love, Dr. Jones!”) and along with Ernie Reyes Jr. represents the quintessential Asian teen actor from the 80s. And did I mention that he worked as a Quality Insurance investigator at my place of former employment? Oh yes! Very cool guy, but I honestly liked him better as a kid.

Then you have the movie’s heart (no, Sean Astin isn’t it) in Sloth, the hideously deformed giant who ends up befriending Chunk and saving the day. Did you know the guy who played Sloth (John Matuszak) appeared in the unholy triumvirate of Goonies, Ice Pirates, and One Crazy Summer? I didn’t even know that until I did the research for this article, and I’m pretty up on my awful 80’s movies trivia. Along with the one kid I have yet to mention, he has to be considered one of the most interesting background actors of the 80s.

Oh wait – Corey Feldman wasn’t a background player in the 80s. He was a star! And he’s still freaking hilarious, as evidenced by his stint this season on the WB reality TV show with such other notables as MC Hammer (Please don’t hurt ’em!) and Emmanuel Lewis. Truth be told, outside of his scintillating performance in Blown Away (no, not the Jeff Bridges one; the young Nicole Eggert naked one) where he uttered the all-time classic line of”Don’t leave now baby, I’m popping a chubby!” Goonies may represent Corey’s best performance. Good times, good times…

So what’s the point? Well, it’s like Real Genius… If you attend a tech school or happen to be a Chemistry/Engineering/Physics/Math/Computer Science major and have not seen this movie, your life is less complete than it should be. It’s Val Kilmer’s best performance, it’s filled with hilarious lines and funny characters. And even though it came out in 1985 (gasp, the same year), you might just see some of the same damned folks in your dorms that appeared in the movie. With Goonies, if you are/have been a kid and never saw the movie, then you missed out on a major part of your childhood and should correct this mistake post-haste. Think I’m a little over-zealous on this point?

Don’t even get me started on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – as if I thought more than fifty percent of you hadn’t seen that movie, my faith in the ability of the sun to rise every morning would abruptly end. Jesus, what do kids watch these days?

“This quarter was my wish, and it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back. I’m taking them all back.”

Actually, I’m not taking anything from you – I’ll actually give you more info than we started with. I talked to Carl a bit after I had made my decision on the winners in order to find out what modifications he made to the deck over the last few weeks. He told me he hadn’t changed the maindeck (there was too much synergy in the build he originally submitted), but he did provide a sideboard that represents a virtual transformational sideboard against other control decks like Tog, MBC and Slide. Here’s the deck in its entirety:

4 Grim Lavamancer

4 Zombie Infestation

4 Fiery Temper

4 Violent Eruption

4 Smother

4 Duress

4 Graveborn Muse

4 Goblin Goon

4 Sickening Dreams

11 Swamp

5 Mountain

4 Sulfurous Springs

4 Bloodstained Mire


4 Mesmeric Fiend

4 Braids, Cabal Minion

3 Cabal Therapy

2 Ichorid

2 Haunting Echoes

So that’s it. Would I play this deck for Regionals? No, I don’t think it’s a particularly good choice at this time. It is, however, a great rogue deck to play at your local FNMs, particularly if they are creature-heavy environments. Good luck to all of you if you decide to run it and keep me apprised of how you do.

Chris and Carl: Please send me your mailing information so I can send out your prizes (expect checks in the next month) and thanks to everyone else (all 126 of you) for competing.

Oh yeah – and rent Goonies or you will burninate in hell.


Ted Knutson

The Holy Kanoot

[email protected]

“Age brings wisdom….or age shows up alone. You never know.”

* – Lines used strictly to induce projectile vomiting. I hate trite hooks like that one, but sometimes you have to use them and make fun of yourself for doing so. Insert your own curse of my writing here and we’ll be straight.