Embracing The Chaos – Kenny’s Deck Gets There

The StarCityGames.com Open Series returns to Atlanta!
Tuesday, April 20th – Like me, I’m sure you were wondering how well Kenny’s deck (last week’s contest winner) would do when faced with other EDH decks that didn’t have similar restrictions. I’m pleased to report that it did moderately well. Let’s dive right into the action!

Like me, I’m sure you were wondering how well Kenny’s deck (last week’s contest winner) would do when faced with other EDH decks that didn’t have similar restrictions. I’m pleased to report that it did moderately well.

Let’s dive right into the action!


I’m seated with Ryan (Baru), Aaron (Sharuum), Nate (also Cromat), and Kyle (Karona). I have to apologize to Kyle right now because I noted in last week’s article that only two people included Wild Ricochet in their deck, but Kyle also did. So good day, sir. This game will end up representing the craziness that EDH can cause but also one of the downsides – sometimes things are so chaotic that turns take forever.

Ryan: Forest
Nate: Vivid Grove
Me: Forest
Aaron: Reflecting Pool, Tormod’s Crypt. I wonder why he’s playing it so early, subjecting it to getting blown up by an early Disk or something, but the whys become apparent later.
Kyle: Shivan Reef

Ryan: Forest
Nate: Exotic Orchard, Highland Berserker.
Me: Land, Umezawa’s Jitte. Unlike the Crypt, that thing has to come online ASAP.
Aaron: Fetid Heath
Kyle: Island, Helm of Awakening.

Ryan: Land, Timbermaw Larva. Fine choice in an all-Forest deck.
Nate: Kodama’s Reach and Demonic Tutor. Thanks Kyle.
Me: Glen Elendra Archmage. At EOT, Aaron Flashes in Stonecloaker, removes Nate’s Tutor, and bounces the Stonecloaker.
Aaron: Mystic Gate, Esperzoa. So that’s why. Bounce the 0-cost artifact every turn.
Kyle: Bounceland, Signet

Ryan: Forest, Baru, attack Nate, who blocks with Berserker.
Nate: Lurking Predators
Me: Forest, Equip, attack Nate (38).
Aaron: Bounces Crypt, recasts is, and Nate Lurks into Nimana Sell-Sword. Aaron casts Trinket Mage (Nate Lurks into Turntimber Ranger), getting Basilisk Collar. He mentions he has now 6 or 7 things to fetch with the Trinket Mage instead of just one. He casts it for nothing (thanks again, Kyle). Nate ships Harrow to the bottom. Aaron Equips Esperzoa, attacking Nate (34), Aaron (44).
Kyle: Crumbling Necropolis, Endless Whispers. I swear, Kyle, I am going to one day hurt you. It’s not about the wacky plays—it’s all the extra writing!

Ryan: Mwonvuli Acid Moss on Nate’s Exotic Orchard, and Rights of Flourishing. Nate ships stuff to the bottom. Ryan attacks Kyle (34) and Nate (who chumps).
Nate: Drops two Forests. Casts Murasa Pyromancer, targeting the Larva, getting him an “oops!” since Baru, or more correctly, Nate’s double Forest drop, has made the Larva +2/+2. Smarting, Nate takes it out on Ryan for 9 (31).
Me: I only have one land to drop—Volrath’s Stronghold. I cast Shriekmaw, targeting the Ranger. That guy can get out of hand fast. One thing I’ll say about Nate: he’s not vindictive when you blow up one of his things that can get insane. He’ll retribute if you target him for no good reason, but Shriekmawing the Ranger was met with “Fair.” EOT, Aaron gets the Ranger.
Aaron: Bounces Crypt, recasts it, Nate ships an Island. Diabolic Tutor sends down Maelstrom Nexus.
Kyle: Gate to AEther, Nate gets a creature—Bloodbraid Elf!

Ryan: Reveals a Forest, attacks Nate with 10/10 Larva (16). Chord of Calling for 5, which I decide to not counter, since I have only 1 blue up. I assume that he’s getting Seedborn Muse, which is good for him, but not devastating for the board. I’d rather counter something nastier. He does indeed get the Muse.
Nate: Enigma Sphinx into Dual Nature. How’s that? Aether Vial.
Me: Reveal Mountain. Attack Kyle (32) to get more Jitte counters. At EOT, Aaron again Flashes in Stonecloaker. Nate reveals Pernicious Deed. He thinks on it a while before deciding to send it to the bottom. Stonecloaker and copy remove a creature and the Chord of Calling, bouncing itself and the Trinket Mage.
Aaron: Reveals Swamp to Gate and bounces the Crypt. Return to Dust on Endless Whispers and Lurking Predators. That’s value right there. Casts the Crypt and Trinket Mage, getting Sensei’s Divining Top and Skullclamp (with the copy).
Kyle: Gate brings in Sphinx. Casts Chain Reaction, which should be big enough to wipe the board. Aaron responds with Stonecloaker again, bouncing itself and the copy bouncing Trinket Mage. Kyle casts Arbiter of Knollridge, putting us all at 44 life.

Ryan: Reveals Scapeshift. Mana Reflection. Sakura-Tribe Elder. Brooding Saurian
Nate: Gates in a Plains, puts a counter on the Vial. Sphinx into Rampant Growth
Me: Reveal Plains, draw two lands, drop them both. Cast Night Soil. So much for Nate’s Ally recursion.
Aaron: With Gate on the stack, he Tops. Gets Aetherium Sculptor. Casts Darksteel Ingot for free. Trinket Mage for the zillionth time. Gets Expedition Map and Sol Ring, dropping them both. Tolarian Academy (a beautiful altered art one, done by his girlfriend Kristy—who is awesome at the altered art). Aaron now has enough mana to cast every Eldrazi in the world. Fortunately, there are none in his deck yet.

Kyle: If it wasn’t dumb enough already, here’s where it gets totally stupid. Gates in Grip of Chaos. Enigma Sphinx Cascades into Bituminous Blast, which eventually targets the Brooding Saurian token. Gets a Signet and casts Lifeline. Really, Kyle? And you wonder why Bit Blast takes 15 minutes to resolve. First, there’s the discussion of methodology of randomization, then the math lesson (“no, you can’t do 2d10, you have to do 1d20”).

Ryan: Gates in Forest. Casts Heartwood Storyteller (x2). Citanul Woodreaders, Kicked. Nature’s Spiral, and we all draw 2. I then remove Seedborn Muse and the Elder. Casts Nacatl War Pride.
Nate: Gate on the stack, casts Harrow. I don’t counter it, since I’m not a jerk. Gates in Clone. Copies Archmage and Storyteller. Casts Tuk-tuk Scrapper. Aaron responds with Draining Whelk, which seems like a good amount of self-preservation. I would have liked to have a counter for the Whelk. Casts Sol Ring. Bit Blasts (which ends up targeting his own Sphinx token, but after responses—remember Grip of Chaos is a triggered ability). Aaron Stonecloaks Draining Whelk and attempts to remove Archmage, but I put it on top with Volrath’s Stronghold. Aaron tries to untap Academy with Minamo, but Minamo ends up untapping itself. At EOT, I remove the Scrapper and Pyromancer.
Me: Gate in the Archmage (hrm… combo with Stronghold). I drop Island of Wak-Wak and Forest. I Dust to Dust on Grip of Chaos and Tormod’s Crypt, which Aaron surprisingly doesn’t sacrifice (Grip of Chaos only retargets stuff with a single target, which is how I could get away with that). I cast Survival of the Fittest, and Nate counters it with Archmage. Fair. He puts the Persist trigger on the stack, and I Night Soil away all his dudes. Cast Acidic Slime, destroying Academy and Helm of Awakening. Nothing against Aaron, but those two cards seemed like they were supercharging his stuff. I discard, one of which is Garza Zol. This becomes relevant.
Aaron: Gate on the stack, and Tops. Gates in Crucible of Worlds. Plays Academy and Reliquary Tower. Leonine Squire gets Expedition Map. Dimir Doppelganger (ooh, tasty Garza Zol). Jens. Demonic Tutor, which I counter with my Archmage token. He responds by Topping, but there’s no help. Casts Tezzeret and Sanctum Gargoyle. Ryan responds with Krosan Grip on Dual Nature. Says he was holding it for a Top (and the point!), but Dual Nature was just too silly. He Clamps the Abunas, Doppelgangs Garza Zol, and Equips it with the Collar. He casts Shriekmaw, targeting Talus Paladin. Nate Aether Vials in Jwari Shapeshifter, copying the Paladin. Aaron attacks Ryan (39), Aaron to (49).
Kyle: Gates in Blue Braids. Does it never end? Reliquary Tower. Fracturing Gust, for which Aaron has no answer. I sac the Jitte counters (52). Kyle goes to (94). I decline to draw from the Storyteller. Anvil of Bogardan. Oh, for the love of Pete!
Time elapsed on turn 8: One hour, fifteen minutes.

Ryan: Brains in Sporesower Thallid. Utopia Mycon. Beastmaster Ascension. Makes the deal to not kill me if I don’t counter what’s next. I say “sure,” knowing that there are worse things that could happen. He Entwines Rude Awakening. Kyle casts Wild Ricochet, getting himself a copy. Ryan says that he’s moving to attack. Kyle makes the deal that he won’t kill me if I don’t counter. I once again shrug my assent. He casts Master Warcraft. Yowza! Ryan smartly responds by tapping all his land for mana (so they can’t attack him). Ryan’s guys are unable to kill him, so Kyle decides to send them at Aaron instead. There’s some blocking, and Aaron goes to 40.
Nate: Braids in Kiki-jiki. I groan. Casts Agadeem Occultist and Oran-Rief Survivalist. Attacks Ryan with a 5/6 and a 6/7 Lifelink guy. Ryan chumps, Nate to (55).
Me: Braids in Karmic Guide, getting Woodfall Primus out of the yard. Blow up Academy, attack Tezzeret with the team. It looks like this is all getting out of control, so I Wrath. Nate responds by activating Kiki-Jiki, copying the Occultist, which has Haste. He gets Shriekmaw, targeting the Archmage (meaning it will Persist back in and then get killed by Wrath). He then casts Ghostway to save his own dudes. Primus destroys Minamo when it comes back. I then cast Seedborn Muse and Crystal Shard (one of my favorite choices of Kenny’s). At EOT, stuff comes back, which includes the Shriekmaw, since Nate controlled it when it went away. I blow up Kiki-Jiki. He copies Occultist and gets Jens.
Aaron: Open the Vaults. Replays Academy. Bastidge! Jace, and we all draw. Nate casts Chord of Calling, getting Hagra Diabolist and drains Ryan. Aaron goes into the tank for quite a while, during which time is called. There is a discussion of how extra turns work. We agree that everyone ends up with the same number of turns, the discussion is whether it will go to Kyle and then end or go to Kyle and then everyone has another turn after that, ending with Kyle. Aaron says that it’s supposed to be the latter. Ryan points out that’s not how it was ruled last time. Discussion continues, and Aaron, who runs the league, says that the former way was how it’s intended to run, it’s how we’ve run the league every time up until now, and that [someone who I swear isn’t Aaron’s brother] donkeyed it up last time and shorted everyone out of a turn. Aaron then Profane Commands Ryan for 19, ending his turn tapped out and with nothing more to do. He perhaps even goes for a smoke while the rest plays out.
Kyle: Hunted Troll off of Gate, given Ryan (you know, the guy who’s sure to be playing Overrun) 8 Faeries. Dimir Signet and Exhume. I Night Soil away all creatures except my own. Kyle gets Eternal Witness, getting back Wild Ricochet and Master Warcraft (remember, Dual Nature is back). Kathari Remnant cascades into Trickbind.
Elapsed time for turn 9: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Ryan: Gates in Forest. Casts Avenger of Zendikar. Casts Coat of Arms. Casts Abundance. Casts Veilstone Amulet. Casts Gaea’s Anthem. Casts Kamahl, then with the Dual Nature trigger on the stack, Overruns. Kamahl then goes away. He kills Aaron and Nate.
Me: Gate in Disk. I do nothing since I know it’s going to untap on Kyle’s turn.
Kyle: Gate in Arcane Sanctum. Hull Breach on the Disk, which I counter with the Archmage. Sakashima, copying Eternal Witness, getting back Bit Blast. He’s obviously trying to just get some points here, since his turn is the last one. He Bit Blasts Seedborn Muse into Heartbeat of Spring. Sphinx cascades into Aura Mutation. He runs out of gas.

The table ends with Ryan and Kyle at 12 points, Aaron at 10, me with 4 and Nate with 3. It was an exhausting game. While I get a bit of a kick out of some of the situations Kyle’s deck creates, I’m also pleased we’ll be at different tables for game 2.


At Table 2, I draw Jeff, with Kresh, Mike with Reaper King, Nate, and Patrick with Stonebrow. Tory, who won his table has sat down across from me while they were doing the pairings, and I call ‘shotgun’ on the table. Tory calls ‘supershotgun,’ which all educated people know doesn’t exist, so he has to move when they call the names. Nate has decided to shift seats, going from my right to my left. I don’t know. Patrick wins the roll with a 20.

I keep a hand of Plains, Island, Forest, Kor Haven, Yavimaya Elder, Squee, and Woodfall Primus. A second Forest and I’m in bidness.

Patrick: Treetop Village
Me: Forest
Nate: Plains
Jeff: Swamp
Mike: Ancient Den

Patrick: Great Furnace
Me: Plains
Nate: Plains, Kazandu Blademaster.
Jeff: Swamp
Mike: Land, Etherium Sculptor

Patrick: Forest. Battles Nate with the Village (37).
Me: Swamp
Nate: Island, Stonework Puma. Attacks back Patrick (37).
Jeff: Land, Beseech the Queen.
Mike: Land, Signet.

Patrick: Land, Gruul War Plow.
Me: Island, Demonic Tutor for 2nd Forest.
Nate: Attack Mike (37).
Jeff: Phyrexian Arena
Mike: Another artifact land, Fabricate for Mycosynth Lattice. I Spock an eyebrow at him, and he says “No March of the Machines.”

Patrick: Thornling
Me: Forest, Yavimaya Elder.
Nate: Attack Jeff (36).
Jeff: Arena to (35). Royal Assassin. Old school!
Mike: Mycosynth Lattice. It actually provides some possibilities.

Patrick: Gate to Aether. Alrighty then.
Me: Gate in Sword of Light and Shadow. Kor Haven. Eternal Witness back Demonic Tutor, cast it to get Survival of the Fittest. I figure that’ll go with the Squee.
Nate: Nothing from the Gate. Return to Dust on Arena and Lattice.
Jeff: Gate-whiff. Sapling of Colfenor.
Mike: Nothing from the Gate. Reaper King, bounceland. Pili-Pala, which waxes Blademaster. Relic Ward on Reaper King.

Patrick: Gates in Keeper of Progenitus. Feldon’s Cane, then Wilderness Elemental, who is already pretty big. Paleoloth.
Me: My big reveal is Sunscape Battlemage for big frowns. Mountain, Survival, pitch Squee to get Stomphowler and take out the Gate. Equip Stomphowler.
Nate: Rite of Replication with Kicker targeting Stomphowler. Blows up Survival, Plow, Sword, Relic Ward, and Sculptor.
Jeff: Attacks Patrick with Sapling (revealing Hull Breach). Anarchist regrows Beseech the Queen.
Mike: Mountain, Wingrattle Scarecrow. Blows up the Puma.

Patrick: Refuge (38). Spearbreaker. Attacks Nate (26). It’s going to get meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy on Patrick’s side quickly, and that Spearbreaker means they’ll be tough to deal with.
Me: Regrow Squee. Keeper of Progenitus is providing plenty of mana, so I can cast Woodfall Primus, blowing up Treetop Village.
Nate: Pernicious Deed
Jeff: Beseeches the Queen for land.
Mike: Unscythe, Killer of Kings. Scuttlemutt blows up Keeper. Attacks Nate with Wingrattle and Pili-Pala (does that mean something, or is it just a silly name?) (23). Jeff kills Wingrattle with Royal Assassin; it Persists back, and he blows up the Deed. Since Nate has tokens, he doesn’t activate it in response.

Patrick: Land, Stonebrow. Attacks Mike with 13/5 Wilderness Elemental. Mike chumps with Reaper King, but still takes some Trample (30) after Patrick makes the Elemental Indestructible.
Me: Land, and nothing else to do but hardcast Squee.
Nate: Kiki-Jiki.
Jeff: Harrow, Lurking Predators.
Mike: Naya Charm targeting Fabricate. Preds ships a Forest. Mycosynth Golem, Predators shipping a Swamp.

Patrick: Kalonian Behemoth. The beatdown plan is getting beatier.
Me: Strip Mine. Primus bashes into Patrick. Behemoth blocks, as intended, killing the Primus, which Persists back and blows up Lurking Predators.
Nate: Makes a Stomphowler token, targeting Feldon’s Cane. Patrick uses the Cane. Casts Warp World. This is generally the point where Nate puts into play scads of Allies and bad stuff happens to the rest of us. Jeff responds by killing Kiki-Jiki to keep Nate off at least one more permanent. I have 16 permanents, which isn’t terrible. I float the 10 mana I have open. I get a decent board back, and Nate nearly completely whiffs on the Allies. Among my cards is Hazezon Tamar and 10 lands, Yavimaya Elder, Squee, Night Soil, and Land Tax.
After Warp World resolves, there are triggers. Nate’s Eternal Witness targets Warp World, and his Tuktuk Scrapper targets Mike’s Master Transmuter (28) and Patrick’s Lightning Greaves (39). Unfortunately for Nate, Jeff has Bojuka Bog come into play, and it targets his yard, keeping him away from regrowing the Warp World. Jeff’s Lignify attaches to Patrick’s Dragon Broodmother, which annoys Patrick greatly.
Nate then casts Ondu Cleric, blowing up Mike’s Behemoth Sledge. At EOT, Jeff makes a Rakka Mar token and blows up Patrick’s Vicious Shadows with Wickerbough Elder.
Jeff: Phyrexian Splicer. I know it steals abilities, but I still have to read it. It’s limited to Flying, First Strike, Trample, or Shadow.
Mike: Attacks Nate with Scrapbasket (bet you never heard that before). Nate shrugs and blocks with Enlisted Wurm. Mike makes Scrapbasket all colors, then gives it Wither with Fang Skulkin.

Patrick: Elvish Piper in Spellbreaker, attacking Jeff. Splicer steals Flying from Akroma, and Jeff makes another token. He blocks Akroma with both. Patrick pumps Akroma twice, killing guys, Jeff ending at 2 life. I shrug and thank Patrick for the ability to kill Jeff.
Me: On my upkeep, I get 10 dudes from the Hazezon trigger. I kill Jeff, drop a Plains, and record a point for Chumpzilla (along with my Jeff kill).
Nate: Attacks Mike with Eternal Witness (23) and Patrick with the rest. He blocks the 5/5 with Broodmother and the Wurm with a 1/1. When Nate casts Living Death, I remove all of everyone else’s creatures with Night Soil.
Mike: Azorius Chancery

Patrick: Land. EOT, I sacrifice Yavimaya Elder to draw a card, and activate Winding Canyons so that I can Flash in Karmic Guide, getting back Hazezon Tamar.
Me: I get 11 guys on my upkeep. Cast Phyrexian Arena. Hazezon attacks Mike (21), setting up the kill if I can keep all my guys and cast the Marshal’s Anthem in my hand.
Nate: Bloodbraid Elf into Bojuka Brigand. Attacks Mike, who chump blocks.
Mike: Watchwing Scarecrow.

Patrick: Nothing. Aaron has joined us and peeks at the top few cards of Patrick’s deck, grimacing.
Me: Regrow Squee. Arena to (39). Archmage, Journeyer’s Kite, and Marshal’s Anthem, getting the point for Three’s A Crowd. I only have two white sources, and it seems like the Anthem is better served doubling the power of my army than hanging onto it. I swing into Mike; all he has is a blocker for one guy, so he’s done.
Nate: Spitting Image targeting… whatever. I counter it with the Archmage. Attacks Patrick (28). EOT, I remove the rest of Nate’s dudes, netting 2 tokens.

Patrick: Nothing
Me: Arena to (38), swing into Patrick with exactly 28. Thanks Nate!
Nate: Cromat. Highland Berserker. Attacks me with Brigand (35). At EOT, activate Winding Canyons to Flash in Gilded Drake, exchanging it for Cromat, and Woodfall Primus, blowing up Nate’s Vivid Marsh.

Me: Arena to (34). Bash into Nate with everyone except Hazezon and the Archmage, but the caution was unwarranted, since he had nothing in hand. Killsies!

Kenny’s deck sweeps the table, thanks to a good deal of luck (good for me, bad for Nate), but a sweep is a sweep. All in all, the deck performed well enough. I’m a little worried about the mana; I had to Tutor for a second Forest in Game 2, but after that, I was off to the races. Being five colors, I’m sure there will be times that I’m missing what I need and have no way to get it, but that’s generally the reason I’m not a huge fan of the 5C decks in the first place.

There was enough Chaos Embraced in the first game to last me a month. Next time, I’m going back to a good old-fashioned Kresh deck (or maybe the Zombies—tell me if you have a preference), and bringing the beats. See you then!