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Embracing The Chaos – Aggro-Phelddagrif

Wednesday, January 26 – Sheldon builds a Phelddagrif deck using nothing but foils that he sees in front of him. Prepare for the shiny! He also reviews his League’s point award system that gives players achievements for playing friendly.

First of all, thanks for all the well wishes on my knee surgery. The good news is that the damage wasn’t severe; doc fixed me up, and it looks
like I’ll be up and around in no time, certainly well enough to go gunslinging at the Orlando Regional Prerelease this coming Saturday.
I’ll be bringing EDH for sure, and if I can cook up a fun and interesting Standard deck between now and then, I will.

I wanted to build this from scratch (and I still went with the promise of pawing through the pile of available foils), but I confess that much of the
mana engine is from the now disassembled Intet deck. A number of the cards are from the Phelddagrif deck I took apart some months ago. There were some
I just wanted to play with and some that I really think are just great. There’s no real theme, but most of the three-drops and higher are
designed to get into the Red Zone. I wanted to find value at the mana cost, but I didn’t sit down at the computer and do any research; I just
went from what was in front of me. I’m sure in the long run there will be changes as I find even better values.

CREATURES (33)

Acidic Slime: Gotta have some enchantment and artifact removal. Lots of folks also forget he has deathtouch.

Avenger of Zendikar: Insane to not play this guy when a fair number of the sorceries involve getting extra lands into play. Strategically, if
there’s no other plan, I think the way to play this guy is to wait for the first board sweep and then drop him.

Baneslayer Angel: I don’t care that her dollar value has gone down. Protection from half of the Commanders is saucy, and lifelink never hurts.

Clone: One of the best mana-to-power ratios you’ll ever find. Cloning someone else’s fatties is a quality strategy that’s as old as
the format.

Coiling Oracle: One of the best two-drops ever. Value, value, value.

Cold-Eyed Selkie: He has islandwalk, and the fact that you draw cards equal to his power makes him more valuable than Shadowmage Infiltrator or
Thieving Magpie.

Deep-Sea Kraken: When I was looking at my mana curve, this guy counts as a three. If he gets cheated into play some other way, fine. Otherwise, he
costs three and will be coming very soon.

Emeria Angel: A few little landfall tricks seem reasonable. With her, I’m just wondering if I should find room for Eldrazi Monument.

Eternal Witness: So here’s the thing:  Charlize Theron gets my vote for best combination of world-class beauty and world-class skill.

Frost Titan: You might think Frost Titan doesn’t belong in something called aggro-anything, but I’ll disagree. Tapping down a blocker gets
you there faster.

Karn, Silver Golem: Definitely a nod to non-aggro; I just wanted to see if there were some shenanigans I could pull, like animating someone
else’s Mimic Vat in response to a Wrath.

Kitchen Finks: Three-drop, three power, four life. Win. Plus, I sold all of mine when they were hot, so I never actually got to play with them.

Knight of the Reliquary: Another power-to-mana ratio winner. Maybe with all the fetchlands and whatnot in the format, I should go with Terravore as
well.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence: A super value for the mana. This guy has shut down more MVP candidates than Mariano Rivera.

Murkfiend Liege: Wilt-Leaf might have gotten Standard play, but this is the guy in Commander.

Nantuko Vigilante: Clearly, everyone will guess that this is Willbender. And not playing Willbender makes it even funnier!

Noble Hierarch: Mostly there for the occasional early-turn ramp. The exalted isn’t terrible. Worst case, late game, he gets pitched to Survival
or Greater Good.

Oracle of Mul Daya: Get those lands into play! The Oracle is getting dangerously close to an auto-include in green.

Primeval Titan: The only reason I put him in was to complete the Titan suite. Okay, I can’t even say “he’s not that good” with
a straight face.

Qasali Pridemage: Exalted and Disenchant for a good price.

Rafiq of the Many: Obviously, this guy would be better as the Commander, but for one, he suffers from “been there, done that” syndrome, and
more importantly, this is Aggro-Phelddagrif.

Riftsweeper: Stuff that you really, really like on occasion gets exiled. Being a bear doesn’t hurt. There might be better two-drops, but this one
is part of the small toolbox that even aggro decks need to have.

Sakura-Tribe Elder: Ramptasm, and Sun Titan’s bestest buddy.

Serra Ascendant: Sometimes, there’s just the LOLZ of the turn 1 Ascendant. I promise that most of the time that he comes out early, he gets
spread around. Those of you who will get focused on already know who you are.

Solemn Simulacrum: It just seems wrong to have a deck without him.

Steel Hellkite: He’s a beatstick and can really wreck someone who is getting out of control. Favorite tactic might be “Activate for zero,
kill all your tokens.”

Sun Titan: Small stuff will get blown up sometimes. It’s nice to be able to bring it back. I was mostly thinking of Elder here, but Pridemage and
fetchlands are pretty spicy as well.

Sunblast Angel: There will be the occasion that I get completely blown out when I rip this guy off of Lurking Predators. When it does, I’ll report on
its epic nature. Until then, it’s completely worth the risk to have some control. It came down to him, Vengeful Archon, or Angelic Arbiter. Each
has its value, but I want to see how good this one actually is.

Trygon Predator: Been playing him since he came out and have rarely been disappointed.

Venser, Shaper Savant: Another nod to a little control in the aggressive deck, Venser is just…good. I don’t really have too many recursion
hijinks with him, but he’s still worth the slot.

Woodfall Primus: Can’t play green without him. I’ll say it now: Academy Ruins.

Wurmcoil Engine: A nice, shiny one was sitting there on the table, so I put him in. It made me think a bit about the Penumbra guys, but it just seemed
wrong to possibly have black creatures on my otherwise Bant field.

Yavimaya Elder: Elder and Eternal Witness are locked in an eternal struggle for best three-drop ever. I vote this guy.

PLANESWALKERS (2)

Elspeth, Knight-Errant: In addition to foils, I chose from my small collection of awesome mods done for me by other people. This is one of them. And
it’s good.

Venser, the Sojourner:  Unblockable is the ultimate in aggro. Plus, when Aaron Fortino kills and then reanimates my Primeval Titan, I can get more
lands. Having this guy go ultimate is quite something, but hopefully I’ve done my damage by that time.

ARTIFACTS (5)

Darksteel Ingot: I’ve said before that artifact mana is problematic because it gets blown up. Not so with the Ingot.

Mimic Vat: The best single-card strategy available, Mimic Vat is all kinds of crazy good, yet I’d never consider it broken and worthy of
banning consideration.

Sensei’s Divining Top: I know how to Top without wasting everyone’s time, so there it is.

Sol Ring: Helping out the aggro.

Sword of Light and Shadow: It’s inevitable that your dudes end up in the graveyard. SoLS is pretty close to LOLZ when they do.

ENCHANTMENTS (8)

Awakening Zone: Part of the Intet mana ramp engine. I’m a huge fan of, once I cast something, getting something for nothing.

Finest Hour: This is Bant’s aggro card. I’m looking at aggro in the sense that I’ll be attacking with a really strong guy, not
necessarily giant swarms of guys. Living the dream moment with Finest Hour will include Rafiq and Phelddagrif.

Greater Good: There’s a reason it’s called Greater. The bad news is I don’t really have too much graveyard recursion or stuff to do
with cards that get pitched. Maybe I need an Eldrazi of some kind, just in case.

Lurking Predators: Okay, so call me predictable.

Marshal’s Anthem: Again, guys end up in your yard, and it’s nice to be able to bring them back. It was a choice between this and Defense of
the Heart, but this one’s foily.

Mirari’s Wake: Hello, gorgeous. I’ll really never get angry at anyone for blowing this up, since I know it fuels the crazy.

Night Soil: The only real graveyard hate in the deck (although I guess you can count Mimic Vat). I feel a little naked without Scrabbling Claws and
Tormod’s Crypt.

Survival of the Fittest: Again, no real tomfoolery planned here, just value and flexibility.

SORCERIES (8)

Austere Command: Speaking of flexibility, there are times when you just have to blow up stuff.

Bribery: What’s more aggro than spending five mana for someone else’s giant creature?

Cultivate: This and the next five cards are all just to get more lands out more quickly. They obviously also serve the purpose of thinning the deck and
getting to more business cards.

Growth Spasm: Makes me feel even more like I need Eldrazi Monument.

Hunting Wilds: I can’t imagine a situation where I’d kick this and attack with my Forests, although it might be possible. If I have more
than four, I guess it would be worth it to get some addition mana. What could go wrong?

Rampant Growth: One day, I’ll get a 7th Edition foil version of this and still not play it because I hate the art.

Recross the Paths: The only downside to this is, um, nothing.

Skyshroud Claim: I still think it’s the best of the bunch.

INSTANTS (5)

Chord of Calling: It came down to this or Genesis Wave. I think I can generate a fair amount of mana to make some nice GenWaves, but I’d rather
have the surprise factor (and convoking after an Avenger of Zendikar is full of sauce—maybe I should play Chant of Vitu-Ghazi!). For a card
that’s been out such a short time, I’m already tired enough of seeing Genesis Wave that it makes me not want to play it.

Congregation at Dawn: How good is this with a Lurking Predators trigger on the stack and a few more players still to cast stuff before your turn?

Desertion: One of the two counterspells (notice that I didn’t even go with Mystic Snake), and it’s all about getting something giant. The
other consideration was Overwhelming Intellect since my card draw is a little weak.

Krosan Grip: There’s a point in the League for blowing up a Sensei’s Divining Top. That’s all I needed.

Mana Drain: There’s not much to explain about the Drain.

LAND (38)

I assume there’s nothing I need to say about any of the lands. I might dig up a Minamo to replace an Island. Since I’m trying to be
aggressive, I wanted to go with as few enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands as possible. Previous builds of Phelddagrif sometimes suffered from waiting
the turn, so I wanted the aggressive deck to not have to wait.

Adarkar Wastes

Azorius Chancery

Bant Panorama

Breeding Pool

Brushland

Celestial Colonnade

Forest 4

Gaea’s Cradle

Glacial Fortress

Hallowed Fountain

Island 5

Maze of Ith

Misty Rainforest

Mystifying Maze

Plains 5

Reliquary Tower

Savannah

Sejiri Steppe

Selesnya Sanctuary

Simic Growth Chamber

Temple Garden

Temple of the False God

Tropical Island

Tundra

Wasteland

Windswept Heath

Yavimaya Coast

Given that there’s not much recursion or use of the graveyard, I feel like I want to work an Ulamog into the deck to be able to get back my stuff
(especially pitching it to Greater Good), but I’m not quite sure what to get rid of (Wurmcoil Engine is probably what I’d choose at the
moment), and I didn’t have a foily one in the pile.

A week or so ago, I promised to list the points awards for League 8, so here we go. While some time back, I suggested a few new awards, the list is
maintained by Armada owners Aaron and Michael Fortino. I don’t have any current editorial control.


-4 Points

But We Just Started — Eliminating a player prior to their fifth turn.


-2 Points

Chasm — Be the instigator of wrecking one or more players’ mana bases. This includes spells like Choke, Armageddon, Bust, etc. (This penalty is
in the spirit of the rule and not the letter of the rule; effects that would reset the board for all or most of the players at the table will be
awarded this penalty. This can be awarded to the same player more than once per pod. Use of an annihilator trigger to wreck your own mana base does not give the controller of annihilator this award.)

Only There For Its Color — Finish the game without playing your Commander. If a player did not have the ability to cast their Commander during
the game, they do not receive this award.


-1 Point

Greedy McGreederson — Take three or more turns in a row. This can be awarded more than once.

Stupidity Minor — Arguing with another player over a card and being wrong about the card.


Variable Points

Flush — +1 point for each color in the creatures — Control five non-token creatures of exactly the same color (five green
creatures, or green and red creatures, but not three green and two green and red). This will be awarded only when the stack is empty. This may only be
awarded to an individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded to multiple players.


+1 Point

123’s — Play the third spell whose converted mana cost is the third number in a row. Player A plays Mogg Fanatic (CMC 1) then Vexing
Shusher (CMC 2) then Player B resolves Volcanic Fallout (CMC 3) Player B would be awarded this. If Player C then casts Chameleon Colossus Player C
would get an extra point for following this pattern, and each successive spell resolving in an increasing fashion would be awarded one point. [This
award can be achieved over multiple player turns.]

Attention — Deal six or more damage to yourself in one turn. (A player cannot get both Attention and Intention in the same turn.)

BAFFROOM! — Activate Level Up on a creature enough times to make it its strongest version (aka its third line of levels).

Blackjack — Control two creatures whose total power is exactly 21.

Block! — Give another player a creature you own.

Block Party — Have a permanent in play or spell present on the stack from each set of any block. The blocks are Ice Age, Invasion, Kamigawa,
Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Masques, Mirage, Mirrodin, Odyssey, Onslaught, Ravnica, Shards of Alara, Tempest, Time Spiral, Urza, Zendikar. (Basic lands from
those sets do not count.)

Chumpzilla — Control ten or more token creatures.

Clash of the Titans — Control 5+ legendary creatures

Collusion FTW — Give another player an extra turn.

Copycat — First player to copy a spell or permanent of an opponent.

Danger Zone — Eliminate an opponent while your life is less than five.

Die Already — Survive after being attacked for lethal damage three different times.

Double Take — First player to control two functionally identical non-token creatures with different names. Creatures must have the same power,
toughness, converted mana cost, and all abilities (such as Grizzly Bears and Balduvian Bears) but not necessarily color (such as Prodigal Sorcerer and
Prodigal Pyromancer). This will be awarded only when the stack is empty. (Copies and Clones don’t count).

Edge of Disaster – First player to have fewer than ten cards in his or her library.

First Blood — First player to destroy another player’s creature. This can be done through lethal damage, destroy effects, or exile effects.

Flow of Ideas — Control three or more permanents with chainable names. Example: Sword of Fire and Ice -> Ice Cage -> Cage of Hands. An
additional point is awarded for each additional card that makes the chain.

Fourth Time’s the Charm — Resolve your General four times in a single game from the Command Zone.

Full Grip — Draw twenty or more cards in one turn. (A player may not get Kung Fu Grip and Full Grip in the same turn.)

Generalissimo — Eliminate a player with General damage. Can be awarded more than once.

Good Samaritan — Intentionally cause an opponent to gain 10+ life in one shot (getting your Beacon of Immortality redirected doesn’t count
for you but for the person who redirected it).

Generosity — Make another player draw three or more cards in one turn. (Having Howling Mine and Font of Mythos in play does not give this award.)

Hey, That’s Mine! — Gain control of a permanent you own from another player.

Hot Potato – Redirect any portion of noncombat damage directed at you to another opponent.

I Got This — Eliminate an opponent during another opponent’s turn.

I Suck — Be eliminated from the game or have it end when you have zero points. This checks after “It was a valiant effort” but after
“I’m Out.”

I Think You Dropped This — Gain control of a permanent an opponent controls without a switch.

I’m Out — Be the first player eliminated from the table.

I’m Probably Next — Have the lowest life total, which must be lower than ten, when the first player is killed.

Indiana Jones — Control five or more nonland, noncreature artifacts.

Iron Man — Equip a creature with four or more equipments.

It Was a Valiant Attempt — If the game finishes with the same number of players that it started with, each player is awarded one point.

It’s Waffer Thin — Eliminate an opponent with a 1/1 creature.

Just Enough — Deal exactly lethal non-General damage to a player who is at seven or more life.

Let’s Do That Again — Save an opponent from taking lethal damage. (This can be through prevention or redirection of damage, whether it be
direct or from creatures, or through the use of life gaining spells or abilities. This award can only be earned once per opponent saved; multiple saves
of the same opponent by the same person don’t count.)

Look at Me — Be the last player remaining in a pod.

Lucky 13 — Have a single creature deal exactly thirteen points of combat damage to a player in one hit.

Mine. Mine! MINE! — Control 1+ permanent owned by each other player that started the game.

Send it back — Eliminate a player with a spell or permanent they own.

SOLVED! — Destroy or exile a Maze of Ith, Mystifying Maze, or Prahv, Spires of Order.

Start with the Top — Destroy or exile a Sensei’s Divining Top you don’t control.

Straight — Control at least one creature of five consecutive power (for example, Mogg Fanatic, Jackal Pup, Mogg Flunkies, Ravenous Baloth, Shivan
Dragon). This will be awarded only when the stack is empty. This may only be awarded to an individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded
to multiple players.

Suicide Bomber — Eliminate all remaining players at the same time (yes this includes you).

They are GIANT! — Control creatures with 10+ +1/+1 counters on them.

Tribal Dance — Control seven or more non-token creatures of the same creature type.

What Goes Around — Take control of a permanent that an opponent took control of from another opponent.

Where’s Timmy — Put an opponent at one life.


+2 Points

Cramped Quarters — Control at least forty different non-token permanents at the same time.

Here we come again! — Have 2+ extra combat steps in a single turn.

I Brought Friends — Control 3+ planeswalkers at the same time.

Intention — Deal twelve or more damage to yourself in one turn. (A player cannot get both Attention and Intention in the same turn.)

Salsa Dancer — Cast the fifth spell on a single stack; cannot be awarded in the same stack as Flamenco Dancer. Copies of spells do not count.

Three’s Not a Crowd — Resolve three different nonland permanents of three different types on the same turn. This may only be awarded to an
individual player once per pod, although it may be awarded to multiple players. (Nonland permanent types are artifact, creature, enchantment, and
planeswalker. Resolving a spell that is any combination of permanent types will count as one or the other, not both. Example — Enigma Sphinx is
an artifact creature; you must choose whether it will count for your artifact or your creature for this award.)

You’re Outta Here — Kill a player or be directly responsible for a player’s elimination. There is the obvious — controlling the
source of the damage (whether it’s direct or creatures). This also includes, although is not limited to alternate methods, such as controlling
the Howling Mine that makes the player deck himself, or redirecting lethal damage to someone. (Player A plays Fireball, Player B Swerves the Fireball
to Player C.) This can be awarded more than once to the same player.


+3 Points

ABC’s — Resolve the third spell that starts with a third consecutive letter, one additional point to a player who continues the chain. For
example Player A plays Storm Herd, Player B casts Terminate then Unsummon. Player B gets 3 points. Player C then plays Venser and gets 1 Point. Player
B then plays Withered Wretch and gets 1 point. Player D casts Wrath of God, therefore breaking the chain.

Get There — Cast your general when total cost is twenty or more.


+4 Points

The Cheese Stands Alone — Win the game with two or more opponents still in the game.


End of Game Points

+2 Points – By Each Their Own — If every player eliminated from the game is eliminated by a different State-Based Action, each player on the
table receives this accomplishment. The ways to lose are: Drawing from an empty library, General damage, life at zero or less, ten poison counters.

+1 Point – The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Fall — The person with the highest life total when he/she died (for combat death, look at the
life total before combat damage was applied) wins a point.

+1 Point – He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins — The person who had the most artifacts in play when he/she died wins a point.

+1 Point – Your Friends Can’t Help You Now — The person who had the most creatures in play when he/she died wins a point.

+1 Point – Huge Tracts of Land — The person who had the most lands in play when he/she died wins a point.

 

The End of Game Points idea came from the fertile mind of League Regular, L1 Judge, and member of my Monday night RPG group Keith Bogart. It takes a
little extra bookkeeping, but Michael put a clever little section on the score sheet, so it’s moderately easy. I might suggest changing
‘most’ to ‘fewest’ in the end of game awards, but we’ll see how it works out.

The knee kept me from showing for Week 3 of League 8, so we’ll have to see how well this one can Embrace the Chaos next week.