Embracing The Chaos – Embracing… Everything

Visit the StarCityGames.com booth at Grand Prix Houston!
Tuesday, March 30th – We have another week until the Armada Games EDH League v.4 starts up so there won’t be an event report, but as promised, this week, we have a contest. I’m offering $50 in StarCityGames.com credit to the winner and $25 to the runner-up, but I’ll warn you right now, you’ll have to do a little work for it.

We have another week until the Armada Games EDH League v.4 starts up so there won’t be an event report, but as promised, this week, we have a contest. I’m offering $50 in StarCityGames.com credit to the winner and $25 to the runner-up, but I’ll warn you right now, you’ll have to do a little work for it.

Before we head there, I’ll tell you that I had a great time at the StarCityGames.com Open Series this past weekend in Orlando. I drove up early Saturday morning and did some “regular judging” for a while. I was driving the 350Z, but unfortunately, I was behind a state cop most of the way, and I couldn’t really open it up. I drove at the speed limit for about 60 of the 80 miles between here and there. For the event, Head Judge Ingrid Lind-Jahn (of the Wisconsin Jahns) asked me to be “end of round” guy. It was my job to coordinate the table coverage for the judges at the end of the round. At roughly the 10 minute point, I would get a report from the scorekeeper (the ever-lovely Jared Sylva) with the table numbers with matches still playing. I would then assign judges to go cover those matches. When they came back with a result, I would assign them to a new table. This way would ensure that each match would be covered, and we’d turn over the rounds as quickly as we possibly could. The ten-round tournament was going to run really late anyway; we didn’t want it to run later than it had to.

Rashad and Ray, the irrepressible broadcast duo, pulled me into the GGs Live broadcast for a while. It was fun to chat about the game and answer questions from the folks on line. One of the questions was “how does it feel to have created a format.” The answer is “simply awesome.” I regularly experience the joy of people appreciating EDH. I really can’t go anywhere without someone asking me about or telling me great stories from the format. There was also the beginning of the trash-talking with Rashad about our upcoming EDH Match at PT: San Juan (with BDM and Scott Larabee). More on that exciting PT: San Juan development in an upcoming episode.

It so happened that one of the matches we were covering happened to feature one Charles Gindy, Florida’s favorite son. I tell you all here what I told everyone on the broadcast: I don’t hate Gindy. In fact, I rather like him. He’s without a doubt one of the good guys in Magic. I believe in Rome he had a momentary lapse of judgment, and that was that. It’s done and over with, and I’ll be happy to welcome him back to the Pro Tour. I actually believe that my job as a Head Judge would be easier if there were more Gindys in the Magic-playing world, not fewer. I’d like for that to put the whole thing to rest.

Side story from a casual game this week: Kyle of the Embracing the Chaos Karona deck had out Door to Nothingness. And Grip of Chaos. Of course, he felt compelled to activate the Door. What you might imagine happening happened. God bless that Kyle for his ability to provide me with stuff to write about.

This idea struck me out of the blue last week, and I started thinking about it, but I figured the fertile minds of the EDH-playing constituency (Is you is, or is you ain’t, my constituency?) would probably do a better job than I would.

Back to the project: I’d like to have an EDH deck that is true singleton in that it has only one card (excepting basic lands) from each regular expansion and core set (Portal 3 Kingdoms, Starter, Summer Magic, etc. don’t count). By my reckoning, that’s 62 sets. That leaves room for 38 basic lands.

I’d like this to be a living deck, meaning when a new expansion comes out, we take out a basic land and add a card from the new set. That might mean re-jiggering the deck a little. For example, after Rise of the Eldrazi comes out, we might remove a basic land, insert Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, and then take the Blazing Archon out of the Ravnica slot and insert Temple Garden to keep the manabase right.

Once we have the 100 cards, then I’d like the deck to sort of be the property of the EDH-playing public, perhaps run (and reported on) by a number of people in the community. It will be the first deck I lend out when someone wants to borrow one. Eventually, I’d like all the cards to be pimpy somehow. All foil is the obvious choice, but it’s been done. Modified art is the other thing that springs to mind. It’s certainly the latest rage, and there is some amazing work being done out there. If you have any other ideas, let me know.

What I don’t want the deck to be is “best card from each set” since that doesn’t really have any coherence. The other thing I’d like to avoid is it being a combo deck, although I understand that Magic is about how cards combine with each other. I’m fine with good card combinations; the deck being narrowly focused to get out Hive Mind/Pact of the Titan just doesn’t work for me. I’m still a fan of the beatdown, so I’m going to require that it be at least 25 creatures. Bonus points for 30. Let’s get into the Red Zone!

I’d rather not have cards the that I always seem to end up using (as much as I love Living Death, I’d like to expand my horizons a bit), and I’d like to stay away from things that have been done to death (Tooth and Nail for Kiki-Jiki and Pestermite). Some level of originality will win this thing.

One of the ways folks build EDH decks is to pick a theme and then find a General that fits. The other way is obviously to pick a General first. Since we’re going to leave the theme open to the deck-builder, within a few constraints, it seems like picking a General first makes the most sense.

Since we’re really trying to capture the essence of Magic, five colors are a must. I’d thought about making life easier and choosing something like Wort, the Raidmother, so you could build a Goblin deck, but that seemed too simple. Slivers have been done to death, as has Child of Alara. I’ve seen too many Scion of the Ur-Dragon decks for it to be considered original, although that has quite some draw, Dragons being just cool. That leaves Progenitus, Cromat, Horde of Notions, and Reaper King. Atogatog is too narrow, and Karona is just kind of dumb. Perhaps I have an anti-Karona bias because it’s the General in the ‘create as much chaos as possible’ deck in the Armada League. I think you can break Reaper King relatively easily, so I’d rather toss that. Checking the thread on the official forums listing the most popular Generals I see there are scads of Horde of Notions decks, so we can also toss that. We’re down to Progenitus and Cromat.

Protection from everything is pretty attractive, but Cromat’s multiple abilities seem to suggest multiple ideas, and the flexible/tool box approach to decks is truly one of my favorites, so Cromat wins. Of course, that means Cromat becomes our one card from Apocalypse.

After that, everything is pretty much up to you. Bonus points awarded to a coherent theme, extra bonus points for one that not everyone and his brother has thought of. Here’s the list of sets:

4th Edition
5th Edition
6th Edition
7th Edition
8th Edition
9th Edition
10th Edition
Arabian Nights
The Dark
Fallen Empires
Ice Age
Urza’s Saga
Urza’s Legacy
Urza’s Destiny
Mercadian Masques
Fifth Dawn
Champions of Kamigawa
Betrayers of Kamigawa
Saviors of Kamigawa
Ravnica: City of Guilds
Time Spiral
Planar Chaos
Future Sight
Shards of Alara
Alara Reborn

There will be challenges. Finding useful cards from the Homelands and Fallen Empires expansions will be difficult. Super-bonus points if your Homelands card isn’t Serrated Arrows.

When you’ve come up with your list, email it to me at sheldonDOTmeneryATgmailDOTcom. I’ll decide on winners and announce them in two weeks on April 13th.

The gang at Armada Games promised new and exciting awards for EDH League v.4, so next week, I’ll bring you the report on how we Embraced the Chaos. Look for Darigaaz and his swarm of Beasts to make an appearance, and to smash some serious face.