Embracing The Chaos – Contest Winners!

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Tuesday, April 13th – The results of the Embracing… Everything contest are in! Read on to find out who took the prizes.

The results of the Embracing… Everything contest are in! Read on to find out who took the prizes.

I was happy to get nearly 40 submissions for the contest. Contrary to what someone in the forums predicted, Coalition Relic was not the most popular card from a single set, despite being included in 29% of the decks. That honor went to Yavimaya Elder (38%), although there were more instances of Demonic Tutor (45%) in total (thanks to Andreas Jepsen and Adam Shaw for the Excel data-extraction tips). Other top cards included such favorites as Genesis (35%), Sol Ring (30%), Regrowth (30%), Swords to Plowshares (30%), and City of Brass (27%).

To some extent, I wanted to try to get out of the model of things I normally play. It’s a good idea to move outside one’s comfort zone and play a style that doesn’t naturally suit your personality. Still, it’s a deck I want to play everyone now and again, so a classic control or combo deck doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Before getting to the winners, I’d like to take a minute out for some Honorable Mentions. First of all, thanks to everyone who sent me the submission in a spreadsheet; it made my job of putting them into a master sheet for comparison very easy.

One of the things that struck me was zero instances of Reliquary Tower. None. There were no other “why didn’t anyone include this?” cards that I immediately thought of, although I’m sure poring over the list might dig up some of that treasure.

Honorable Mentions

First, Tim George was the only person good enough to submit a poem to go with his deck

An EDH deck
Created for Cromat,
Fun for anyone’s playmat,
Playable across all time zones,
Interacts with the red zone,
Highlander among the blocks,
Its originality should bring some shocks

Shawn Iden for the classic Sleight-Knight theme. It really took me back to the ancient days. Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Paladin all in the same deck!

Jeff Wiles for saying “screw it” and building a Bant deck, with Cromat being the only Red and Black. There’s something to be said for sticking to your guns and having a laser-sharp focus.

David Palma for using both Adun Oakenshield and Merieke and a total of 26 Legendary Creatures, and for being the one of only two people (the other being Anthony Hurst) to slip in Phelddagrif!

Speaking of Anthony, he went all the way to the mattresses with every card choice being a creature. That’s dedication! His was another that was close to being a winner.

Sebastian Rauskolb for telling the story of the Weatherlight and the Coalition in the deck. Very creative theme. Even though Sebastian used Serrated Arrows, he used Karn, so I’m cool with that.

Vince Elliott for unapologetically going for the being the villain. There was something attractive about the idea of sitting behind Island Sanctuary and laughing maniacally. It was definitely a “Dr. No” deck. Plus, he had the courage to run Eater of Days. I have to say Eater of Days almost tipped the scales.

Shane Shaughnessy and Ramsey Nasir’s for the Lure/Deathtouch theme and getting to activate Cromat’s BW ability. Seemed a little obvious to me, but they were the only ones that really went for it.

I liked Zac Chute’s “Cromat Flying Friends” deck since it had a catchy title. It was somewhat interesting to me, given the theme, that he chose Pilgrim’s Eye instead of Archon of Redemption for his Worldwake card.

Cody Champlin for having the list with the most cards I had to go look up. Joven’s Tools? Shinen of Life’s Roar? Dauthi Trapper? Evolution Charm? Anyone? Beuller?

Josh Sankal for attempting to break the color pie, and more importantly for his use of Ovinomancer. Josh was also one of only three contestants who put Lurking Predators as the M10 card.

Niko Skartvedt for the Easter theme (Dingus Egg, Regrowth, Resurrection, Triassic Egg, Rites of Spring, et al). How topical!

Anthony Reitboeck for being the only person to put in Kresh—and a nicely Jund-y deck.

Aaron Diers “attacking with the General, let the rest of the deck play defense” idea that didn’t overuse Lure abilities. Naked Singularity seemed a little janky, though.

Deryck Dunn for squeezing in Illusionary Mask and Word of Command, not to mention Rocket Laucher! Additional props to Deryck for being only one of two folks who put Wild Ricochet in (Josh Sankal being the other).

Aaron (no last name) went with Goblin Snowman as his Ice Age card. Goblin Snowman!

All in all, it was really difficult to pick winners. There were lots of cool decks and lots of cool card choices. Here’s what I decided.

Super Honorable Mention to Blair Simpson. Blair went the extra mile and made the first letter of each card rotate through the letters in “Cromat.” Here’s his whole list:

Orcish Artillery
Mana Vault
Animate Dead
Creeping Mold
Rampant Growth
Oracle’s Attendants
Terramorphic Expanse
City Of Brass
Rocket Launcher
Osai Vultures
Maze Of Ith
Ohran Viper
Mana Prism
Anvil Of Bogardan
Oath Of Lieges
Cho Manno, Revolutionary
Rising Waters
Meteor Storm
Allied Strategies
Time Stretch
Chainer’s Edict
Ray Of Revelation
Merchant Of Secrets
Aven Liberator
Chimeric Egg
Rude Awakening
Orochi Hatchery
Mistblade Shinobi
Arashi, The Sky Asunder
Culling Sun
Ophidian Eye
Magus Of The Tabernacle
Akroma’s Memorial
Chameleon Colossus
Reflecting Pool
Oona’s Grace
Mindlock Orb
Armillary Sphere
Ricochet Trap

Osai Vultures is such a beating! Again, way to take the EDH philosophy to an extreme degree. Very, very clever.

Runner Up (and $25 in SCG credit) goes to Dave (of no listed last name)

Dave took a similar idea to Blair to a different level. I’ll let him explain it himself:

I first decided that I wanted to use the name of our general as the source of our cards. So that means that the deck itself is made from cards that ONLY start with the letters: C, R, O, M, A, & T. Also since there are 63 sets that we are choosing from that means that CRO all have 11 cards in the deck, and MAT at the moment have 10. We would end this (at 100 cards) with CROM having 17 cards and AT having 16.

BUT I didn’t just stop there, no. You see I looked at Cromat and decided that I would only put creatures in this deck that somehow connected to our general. Basically every creature that will be in this deck could be a “mini Cromat” having at least one of his five abilities. I counted his five abilities as such:

Instant combat death. The creature has something to do with killing creatures instantly, whether they are blocked or blocking. I.E. Deathtouch

Flying. Either the creature has flying or can gain/give flying.

Regeneration. Either the creature can regenerate itself or other creatures.

Power/Toughness bonus. The creature can somehow improve its own stats or the stats of others. This does NOT have to always be a +1/+1 buff.

Return to your ____. This card has some way of returning to your hand/library.

While Blair’s restriction of the rotation of the letters was surely more difficult, Dave’s added ‘mini-Cromat’ idea took it over the top. I think it’s also a more playable deck, so if I built it, it’d do better in play. Here’s his list:

Animate Dead
Rocket Launcher
Thicket Basilisk
Maze of Ith
Order of the Ebon Hand
Crimson Manticore
Order of the White Shield
An-Zerrin Ruins
Rock Basilisk
Ashes to Ashes
Cone of Flame
Mirri’s Guile
Mox Diamond
Oath of Lieges
Crop Rotation
Moss Diamond
Rishadan Brigand
Rhystic Study
Allied Strategies
Rites of Spring
Chainer’s Edict
Mirari’s Wake
Oversold Cemetery
Toxin Sliver
Twisted Abomination
Oblivion Stone
Reap and Sow
Tangle Asp
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Ronin Warclub
Oboro Breezecaller
Rampant Growth
Cerulean Sphinx
Trygon Predator
Ohran Viper
Chromatic Star
Coalition Relic
Troll Ascetic
Oblivion Ring
Chameleon Colossus
Twinblade Slasher
Tidehollow Strix
Aven Mimeomancer
Acidic Slime
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Archon of Redemption

Winner (and $50 in SCG credit): Kenny Thierer

Kenny captured the essence of playing a deck with enough creatures to spend a good deal of time in the Red Zone, plus have enough tools to deal with other things that are going on in the game. I realized while I was looking over his list, I really like creatures that have enters-the-battlefield abilities, and this one really got there on that account. Let’s go over it card by card:

Alpha – Demonic Tutor: Classic card to get you out of trouble. In this deck, I see it more as something you use to fetch whatever is going to improve your position now—sometimes land, sometimes dudes, sometimes a reset button, especially since you can use the following card.

Beta — Regrowth: Pretty simple stuff.

Unlimited – Swords to Plowshares: There are so many dudes these days that don’t die to damage. Swords helps immensely. I’m not always a fan of the fact that it’s only one dude, but you can definitely stop creature recursion shenanigans. Swordsing someone’s Eternal Witness will probably keep you out of more trouble than exiling a fattie.

Revised – Nevrinyrral’s Disk: Remember that this doesn’t take out Planeswalkers.

4th Edition – Land Tax: Great for smoothing out your land base and thinning the deck, especially with the large number of basics.

5th Edition – Dust to Dust: Some folks might complain that you need two targets for this, but that’s almost never a problem in the format. Exiling, as with Swords, means you don’t have to worry about Sharuum bringing them back.

6th Edition – Vampiric Tutor: I like that Kenny didn’t go overboard with the Tutors. This, Demonic, and Enlightened seems fine.

7th Edition – Wrath of God: Sometimes their dudes are better than yours.

8th Edition – Phyrexian Arena: I love this card, since it draws cards without you actually having to do anything.

9th Edition – Loxodon Warhammer: Nearly everyone I polled said that they think Behemoth Sledge is a better card since it pumps the butt, but hey, Sledge isn’t in 9th Edition.

10th Edition – Reya Dawnbringer: I’ve tried and tried and tried, and will try again, but I’ve never seen Reya stay alive long enough to do her thing. Let’s hope that changes.

M10 – Acidic Slime: One of my favorite M10 cards, definitely fits the toolbox theme.

Arabian Nights – Island of Wak-Wak: How can you resist Island of Wak-Wak? I’m all for cards that have you make amusing sounds.

Antiquities – Strip Mine: A card I’d prefer to not have to play, but with Academy, Academy Ruins, and friends, you have to protect yourself.

Legends – Hazezon Tamar: This is the alternate General for my Rith deck, so bonus points. Now if there was a way to turn everyone else’s dudes into Sand Warriors. Matt Olsen also submitted this as the Legends card.

The Dark – Ashes to Ashes: Kenny’s really gotten onto something with the Exiling. The five damage—not even life loss!—is a small price to pay.

Fallen Empires – Night Soil: It can only hit a single graveyard per activation, but it’s long been a part of my lead-up-to-Living Death strategy. Recursion is such a powerful tool in the format that stopping it is similarly powerful.

Homelands – Primal Order: Go ahead. Play all the non-basics you want. I predict this card deals lots of damage, and if it doesn’t, it eats enchantment removal that would otherwise go toward stuff that you want to keep around even more.

Ice Age – Hymn of Rebirth: Yep, that’s from any graveyard.

Alliances – Thawing Glaciers: One of my least favorite cards, but only since people play it so slowly. If they Thaw early and don’t waste time at the EOT of the guy to their right, then it’s not bad. And it’s a really good card.

Coldsnap – Garza Zol, Plague Queen: Was the General in what became my Thraximundar deck. More card draw.

Mirage – Enlightened Tutor: There are sufficiently good targets in the deck.

VisionsNekrataal: The original 187 guy. Don’t forget he has First Strike.

WeatherlightWinding Canyons: Seems a little janky, but if you can manage to surprise folks with dudes, then that’s cool shoes. Remember you only have to activate it once and you can Flash in multiple guys.

Tempest – Tradewind Rider: A little more defensive than I like, but can keep icky things off the board or can save stuff you really need saved.

Stronghold – Volrath’s Stronghold: Reusing your creatures is sauce.

Exodus – Survival of the Fittest: The only downside to Survival is the amount of thinking you have to do and all the crazy choices you have.

Urza’s Saga – Gilded Drake: Gimme that Eldrazi!

Urza’s Legacy – Karmic Guide: Pro Black means you want to keep her around. Reveillark means you want to let her go.

Urza’s Destiny – Yavimaya Elder: Best Green three-drop ever. Hands down.

Mercadian Masques – Squee, Goblin Nabob: Look at me, I combo with Survival!

Nemesis – Kor Haven: I got your General damage right here. Note that it’s targeted (just like Maze of Ith), so it doesn’t work on Uril and other shroudy guys.

ProphecyRhystic Study: Drawing cards for 0 is full of win. It’s annoying to everyone else, but at least it’s not like Grand Arbiter, where they’re forced to pay extra mana. They can just choose to let you have the card.

Invasion – Aura Shards: With loads of artifacts in the environment and loads of your own dudes coming into play, seems like a natural.

Planeshift – Sunscape Battlemage: When the Battlemages were in Standard, the Green one was my favorite, but for EDH, this is the clear winner.

ApocalypseCromat: What needs to be said about Cromat has already been said.

Odyssey — Auramancer: People are going to blow up your enchantments. Now you can get them back.

TormentFar Wanderings: Wondering why everyone isn’t playing this card, and suspecting that “it’s not an Instant” is the answer.

Judgment — Genesis: When you’re playing dudes, this is Der Mann.

Onslaught – Explosive Vegetation: Some of the best mana ramp out there.

Legions – Seedborn Muse: This guy equals extra turns. I agree with Bennie Smith that it can be terribly annoying when other people are playing it.

Scourge – Decree of Justice: I can’t remember the last time I saw someone actually make Angels with it. Getting the card and the dudes just seems better.

Mirrodin – Crystal Shard: Love this choice. Love it. Bounce your EtB dudes, or dare someone to tap out.

Darksteel – Sword of Light and Shadow: Life gain. Regrowth. Blocks Uril all day.

Fifth DawnEternal Witness: Obvious choice for this slot, I was surprised (pleasantly) that less than 20% of the submissions had it.

Champions of Kamigawa – Journeyer’s Kite: Repeatable land searching/deck thinning makes this a great card to get early.

Betrayers of Kamigawa – Umezawa’s Jitte: Everyone loves Jitte. I really like Bruce Lance’s choice of Yomiji, Who Bars the Way, in this slot. It feels like Ink-Eyes or Throat Slitter might be a better option here, but Jitte is a hard card to argue with.

Saviors of Kamigawa – Arashi, the Sky Asunder: Nearly uncounterable Windstorm? Sign me up.

Ravnica: City of Guilds – Cloudstone Curio: Oh, the chaos you can cause with this. At the worst, it might simply be bouncing the creature that’s in your way.

Guildpact – Angel of Despair: Tough choice between this and Debtors’ Knell. Props to Zac Chute for putting Storm Herd in this slot.

Dissension – Indrik Stomphowler: This guy has been one of my favorites ever since he came out.

Time SpiralDraining Whelk: Sometimes you just need a counterspell. If your counterspell is also a creature, then even better.

Planar ChaosStonecloaker: I’ve said before that it was Scott Larabee that showed me the power of Stonecloaker, and I’ve been a believer ever since. It makes crazy good sense in this deck, for more than one reason.

Future SightAven Mindcensor: This guy is just LOLZ.

Lorwyn — Shriekmaw: Don’t forget the Fear!

MorningtideReveillark: Okay, it’s crazy combo card. It’s not abusive in this deck, but getting back Karmic Guide and Glen Elendra Archmage seems just fine.

Shadowmoor – Woodfall Primus: Again, no big combos, but this guy is beef and destruction personified. Love him.

Eventide – Glen Elendra Archmage: See Draining Whelk. With Persist.

Shards of Alara – Empyrial Archangel: I like Bant colors, and I like not taking damage.

ConfluxNicol Bolas, Planeswalker: I promise to never use the ultimate ability of this on someone unless a) they’ve cast Identity Crisis or Myojin of the Black or b) their name is Ben McDole.

Alara Reborn – Enigma Sphinx: Cascade may be my favorite mechanic ever, and this guy Cascades into nearly everything in the deck. Free cards make it Christmas every day.

Zendikar – World Queller: Liked it when I first saw it. Love it against the Uril decks who run very few creatures. Not bad for getting some of your own dudes in the yard if you need, and obviously for getting rid of permanent types that you don’t have.

Worldwake – Marshall’s Anthem: How dumb is this late game, Kicked 3 or 4 times?

Additional bonus points to Kenny (and a few others) who took the time to do the math on the basic lands.

13 Forests
10 Plains
6 Swamps
5 Islands
3 Mountains

Kenny’s deck is really the kind I’d like to play without being too similar to what I already have. I’m going to sleeve it up for the League and we’ll see next week how well it Embraces the Chaos!