Embracing The Chaos – Merieke To The Finish

Wednesday, March 2 – Sheldon Menery switches it up from his usual and brings back Merieke Ri Berit as his Commander. The decklist is inside, as well as play-by-play of his League games.

It’s Week 8 of Armada Games’ EDH League 8, and since I was getting as tired of Kresh as everyone else, I first thought about taking
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund but then decided that I’d just go way out of the zone and play Merieke Ri Berit. I made about ten changes from the last
time that I picked up the deck—sometime right after Zendikar came out. Here’s the list (Deathbringer Liege, by the way, is the only
non-foil; I can’t seem to come up with one for love or money):


Angel of Despair

Bane of the Living

Blinding Angel

Bone Shredder

Cemetery Puca

Chromeshell Crab

Consecrated Sphinx

Deathbringer Liege

Dimir Doppelganger

Divinity of Pride

Enigma Sphinx

Ethersworn Adjudicator

Exalted Angel

Galepowder Mage

Ghastlord of Fugue

Jushi Apprentice

Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet

Loxodon Gatekeeper

Magister Sphinx

Massacre Wurm

Solemn Simulacrum


Sun Titan

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Uyo, Silent Prophet

Venser, Shaper Savant

Weathered Wayfarer

Windborn Muse


Aura of Silence

Copy Enchantment

Debtors’ Knell

Volition Reins


Aether Spellbomb

Azorius Signet

Chromatic Star

Feldon’s Cane

Lotus Bloom

Magewright’s Stone

Mimic Vat

Obelisk of Esper

Orzhov Signet

Sol Ring

Sword of Fire and Ice

Tainted Sigil


Thousand-Year Elixir



Chronomantic Escape

Decree of Pain

Demonic Tutor

Gruesome Encore


Planar Cleansing


Wrath of God





Peel from Reality

Sudden Spoiling

Time Stop


Liliana Vess

Venser, the Sojourner

LANDS (36)

Arcane Sanctum

Calciform Pools

Caves of Koilos

Coastal Tower

Drowned Catacombs

Forbidden Orchard

Glacial Fortress

Godless Shrine

Hallowed Fountain

Island 7

Maze of Ith

Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

Plains 5

Reliquary Tower

Salt Marsh

Swamp 7

Tainted Field

Temple of the False God


Tower of the Magistrate

At the very last minute (well, at the last minute before I left the house), I decided to swap out Stifle for Sudden Spoiling. It seems like it’s
just a bigger blowout and great defense against all the heavy creature strategies. There are certainly cards that could have made it into the deck but
didn’t—but that’s how we run the 100-card format. There will always be more good cards than you have slots for.

I’m less of fan of the artifact acceleration than I am of green’s ability to put lands into play, but I figure I can just Bribery someone
else’s Primeval Titan, right? Commandeer is another card that I’ve remained skeptical about since I’ve played it, but I wanted to
give it another shot. And I really want a chance to once again murder someone with Phthisis. I know folks aren’t a fan of Loxodon Gatekeeper-type
stuff in general, but I have to say that there’s a good deal of Genesis Wave at the shop, and it seems like reasonable protection.

I check the standings when I roll into the shop. I’m somehow in first place (I really have no idea how; it’s not like I’ve run up the
score in any of my games—I guess showing up is its own reward), but David (of Niv-Mizzet and Omnath) is right behind me (by six), and he’s
demonstrated the ability to roll up decent scores, so I figure it’s a coin toss.


I’m seated with Beth (Wort, Boggart Auntie), Nate (Momir Vig, Simic Visionary) and Jon Sweet (Arcum Dagsson). Jon has pointed out that he’s
40 points behind in the League and is going to make it up on this week alone. He’s playing a deck that’s demonstrated its dickishness
(Mycosynth Lattice/March of the Machines), so I wonder how he’s going to pile up points when he keeps getting the Chasm penalty, but we’ll

I keep Forbidden Orchard, Demonic Tutor, Coastal Tower, Obelisk of Esper, Cemetery Puca, Sol Ring, and Tower of the Magistrate. Seems as quick a start
as this deck can provide.


Jon: Island

Beth: Mountain

Me: I draw Massacre Wurm, so I’m happy to play Forbidden Orchard, give Nate a token, drop Sol Ring.

Nate: Nate attacks Jon with the token then drops Forest.


Jon: Island, Lightning Greaves

Beth: Mountain, Rakdos Signet

Me: Coastal Tower, Obelisk of Esper, giving Nate another token.

Nate: Spreads some token love around and casts Sylvan Library


Jon: Scalding Tarn and cracks it (37), Compulsive Research.

Beth: Swamp

Me: Tower of the Magistrate, Chromeshell Crab face down, give Jon a token, cast Cemetery Puca.

Nate: Uses Library, gets Mana Vault, uses it to cast Momir Vig, attacks Beth with token.


Jon: Arcum, and Greaves it up. I had thought about not using the Magistrate to cast Puca to keep him off that, but figure if he’s just going to
combo out early, whatever.

Beth: Swamp, Boggart Shenanigans

Me: Since I have neither a Swamp nor an Island, Drowned Catacomb comes in tapped. I cast Weathered Wayfarer, which will never get me any lands.

Nate: Vault to (39), Farhaven Elf, attack Beth (35). My Spirit tokens are ruling the board!


Jon: Myr Retriever.

Beth: Turn to Slag on Momir Vig.

Me: Give Beth a token, cast Blinding Angel.

Nate: Untaps Mana Vault, attacks Jon with team, who blocks the Elf with the Myr and searches up Mycosynth Lattice with Arcum, getting Keening Stone out
of his yard (36).


Jon: Myr Enforcer

Beth: Smash on Mycosynth Lattice, which Jon Rewinds.

Me: Battle Jon with Angel (34). Cast Liliana Vess. Jon responds by sacrificing the token (since it’s now an artifact due to Lattice), gets Sol
Ring, and Spelljacks Liliana.

Nate: Consecrated Sphinx


Jon: Upkeep casts Cryptic Command, bouncing Nate’s Sphinx and drawing a card. Here, the order listed on the card is important. The card draw is
last, so Nate gets no extra draws. Casts Liliana, activates targeting Nate, casts Steel Wall.

Beth: Makes the play that Embraces the Chaos and sends this game down the road to insanity: Confusion in the Ranks. Everything that comes into play
will now get swapped for something else. At EOT (end of turn), I give Nate a token, which he swaps for Lightning Greaves.

Me: Wayfarer is still no good since everyone has four lands. Swamp, tap my Sol Ring to Demonic Tutor. I don’t really have much in the deck
that’s going to be a real blowout for Jon except Planar Cleansing, but that’s a blowout for all of us, and I don’t want to be that
guy. I get Decree of Pain to be able to shut down Arcum for a turn or two, since the sacrifice is on resolution.

Nate: Untaps Vault. At the end of turn, he targets his token; I tap five, including the Orchard, to cycle Decree of Pain, giving Nate the token, which
he swaps for Liliana.


Jon: Argivian Restoration. Casts Myr Retriever, trades for Liliana, Tutors, casts Courier’s Capsule, which he trades for my Angel.

Beth: Incendiary Command, targeting me (36) and killing the Orchard. Beth has demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of what’s going on
in this game.

Me: Use Sol Ring to draw from the Capsule, cast Merieke, which trades for Liliana. Tutor up Aura of Silence. At least I can sacrifice it in response to
the trigger to wipe out the Lattice.

Nate: Cloud of Faeries trades for Merieke. Consecrated Sphinx trades for Liliana, Greaves up Merieke (since he still controls Jon’s), takes back
the Sphinx.


Jon: Decides to take what’s been a crazy and interesting game and turn it into the kind of game that will chase people off the format in a
heartbeat by casting Ponder and March of the Machines, which he had Tutored for with Liliana. All the lands go away, and Jon gets the Chasm penalty.
Attacks Nate with my Angel and me with Lattice and Enforcer (26).

Beth: Does nothing.

Me: I still have two Sol Rings and the Obelisk, so I can cast the Aura of Silence. I’m so irritated with the direction he’s taken that I
actually consider dropping the land in my hand to give Jon a further -2, but it seems stupid to just be vindictive. I take out the March of the
Machines; Jon says the Lattice is a better choice (because it stops the Confusion in the Ranks craziness), but I tell him that it’s the only
chance the rest of us have of getting back in the game, since if it’s still in play, he can just beat us all down with the artifacts. I’m
pretty sure this game is already over but want to give Nate a chance to get us back into it (I don’t have much faith that Beth has any real
answers—but if she does, it would be taking out the artifact, not the enchantment).

Nate: Drops Pendelhaven, floats the mana, swaps it for the Sphinx, Greaves it, casts Sol Ring, swapping for Beth’s Signet, then casts
Hurkyl’s Recall targeting Jon. He think it’s a blowout but doesn’t realize that he’s actually made things worse by giving Jon
the opportunity to recast his own stuff and trade it for ours.


Jon starts doing stuff, and I realize that I have no desire to write any of it down. We spend most of the next half hour just watching him play. No one
is having any fun, including Jon, who looks really uncomfortable about what he’s doing. I stop writing; Nate wanders away from the table and says
“let me know if I can ever actually do anything,” and Jon in three or four turns takes out all of us, winning the table by a small margin.
It’s painful to watch, and I promise to let everyone know Jon’s new name is Jon Funwrecker. He has the sense to look at least a little
sheepish, but I know that next time around, he’s going to do the exact same thing. He’s That Guy. While I support his right to be That Guy,
I also support my right to call him on it. The biggest point is that no one enjoyed themselves, not even him. Why on earth would you go into a fun,
casual environment just to be a griefer?


Between rounds, David tells me that he picked up eight points in his first game to my five, so he’s closed the gap to three. David is a very
strong player and knows how to point farm, and knowing that Merieke isn’t really put together to put up scores, I figure it’s a foregone
conclusion that he’s going to pass me. I find out after the fact that David, knowing what Jon was playing, switched decks to some anti-Arcum
tech. While I support Jon getting orc-piled for his many sins, and switching decks between rounds is perfectly legal, it felt sketchy while still
seeming somewhat justified. I guess it’s how anti-capital punishment people must feel when a family member is murdered and then they get to watch
the killer get the chair. Anyway, Jon Sweet is a fun wrecker and deserves what he gets.

I’m seated with Aaron (who I assume is playing Teneb, the Harvester but actually brings out Numot, the Devastator), Cliff (Jenara, Asura of War),
and Wayne (Jaya Ballard, Task Mage).


Wayne: Mountain

Cliff: Graypelt Refuge (41)

Me: Tundra

Aaron: Island


Wayne:  Mountain

Cliff: Forest

Me: Island, Jushi Apprentice

Aaron: Island


Wayne: Mountain, Wall of Fire. Wall of Fire!

Cliff: Island, Darksteel Plate

Me:  Suspend Chronomantic Escape. It’s a card that’s been in this deck forever and has saved my bacon more than once.

Aaron: Plains


Wayne: Mountain

Cliff: Jenara and a bounceland

Me: Island, Terrarion. I’m a little light on black mana, so that will help a great deal.

Aaron: Thada Adel


Wayne:  Torch Slinger, kicked, killing Thada Adel. Jushi Apprentice would have also been a reasonable choice. Wayne says he doesn’t want
Aaron stealing Cliff’s good artifacts, which is fair. Either way, Wayne gets First Blood.

Cliff: Equips Jenara, casts Mimic Vat. Doesn’t attack.

Me: Use Terrarion to make black, cast Divinity of Pride.

Aaron: Clones my Divinity. I notice that he misses a land drop.


Wayne: Mountain, Koth’s Courier. Forestwalk seems pretty good in the format (since, apologies to blue, green is the best color), especially if he
can make it bigger.

Cliff: Replay Graypelt Refuge (42). Whispersilk Cloak, equips Jenara. Still doesn’t attack. I know Cliff wants to be a good guy here, but
throwing a few Jenara points around the table will probably keep people honest.

Me: Escape goes off, so I’m free for a turn. Temple of the False God, Sword of Fire and Ice, equip to Divinity, attack Cliff (32), me to (50). I
ping Wayne with the trigger (38).

Aaron: Attacks Wayne (30), Aaron to (48). Still no fifth land.


Wayne: Casts Jaya then blows up Jushi Apprentice with Searing Blaze, me to (47). Attacks Cliff with forestwalk guy (30).

Cliff: Lurking Predators, and still stays home with his unblockable, untargetable Commander. I really think Cliff’s better play here is to make
people a little more afraid of what he might do.

Me: I’d kind of like to spread the love over to Aaron, but I hate to kick a brother when he’s down. I tell him I’ll attack Cliff, and
he can attack Wayne. He jokes it’s like we’re playing Two-Headed Giant again. Cliff to (20), me to (58), and the two to Wayne’s head
again (28). Cast Merieke, and Cliff whiffs on his Lurk—which is going to be a theme in this game. I don’t think he’s playing enough
dudes to make the Predators worthwhile. I cast Tainted Sigil (hoping it’s around when Wayne eventually Infernos with Jaya), which also brings a
whiff, and put the Sword on Merieke to keep her out of danger from Jaya.

Aaron: Copy Enchantment on Lurking Predators—again Cliff misses; I think I’ll report only if he ever actually gets a dude. Attacks Wayne
(20), Aaron to (56).


Wayne: Spire Barrage on Aaron’s Divinity of Pride, killing it, and Cliff actually gets a Thrummingbird. Attacks Cliff (18) and Aaron with
Torchslinger and Jaya (54).

Cliff: Day of Judgment, which means Jenara is now the only creature. Attacks Wayne (16).

Me: Gruesome Encore on Thada Adel, attack Cliff (18), and get his Rings of Brighthearth. He’s no longer playing Mindslaver. If he were, I would
have seriously considered getting it just to show him how I’d play his board.

Aaron: Telemin Performance on Cliff, who goes through fifteen cards before getting Ambassador Laquatus.


Wayne: Bolts the Ambassador. Skitter of Lizards for two. Cliff gets Hanna, Ship’s Navigator off Predators. Aaron has still whiffed with his but
has revealed Bribery, which he keeps on top, announcing his attention to get Cliff’s Primeval Titan. Attacks Aaron (49).

Cliff: Empress Galina. Cool choice.

Me: Escape goes off again. Pay five to cast Merieke. Take a pain to cast Liliana. Make Cliff discard, then copy it with Rings.

Aaron: Bribery Cliff for Prime Time.


Wayne: Eternity Vessel.

Cliff: Ajani Goldmane, and steals Merieke with Empress Galina.

Me: Maze of Ith. Activate Liliana and Rings it up to eight. Cast Debtor’s Knell. Cliff gets Sphinx of Magosi; Aaron ships Spelljack.

Aaron: Primeval Titan attacks Liliana, and I think about taking it, but I gamble and use the Maze, knowing that Wayne will knock off fewer counters
when he attacks. Aaron then casts Austere Command for artifacts and enchantments, which really hurts.


Wayne: Evolving Wilds—which is the card he used to score Block Party in the last game, not cracking it until he had a Zendikar and Worldwake
card. Jaya attacks me (not Liliana), and I go to (54). I scratch my head a little but don’t bring it up, since I don’t want to alert Cliff.
Casts Mimic Vat.

Cliff: Gets back his own Mimic Vat with Hanna, gains two with Ajani (20).

Me: Fire off Liliana, get lots of dudes, one of which is Clone, which copies Primeval Titan. I get Minamo (for Merieke shenanigans) and Tower of the
Magistrate (to keep Darksteel Plate off of Jenara). I cast Loxodon Gatekeeper and make sure Aaron knows it’s specifically for his giant Genesis
Wave (but obv not in this deck).

Aaron: Mnemonic Wall gets back Austere Command.


Wayne: Teetering Peaks, attacks Aaron (49). At EOT, Galina steals back Laquatus.

Cliff: Attacks Aaron (43).

Me: Escape wants to go off, but Aaron casts Time Stop, which is full of frowns—since had I thought about stacking triggers right, I might have
baited him into letting me steal something with Dominus and then not have had to give it back. Anyway, I obviously do nothing.

Aaron: Austere Command on all dudes. Prime Time goes under Cliff’s Mimic Vat.


Wayne: Jaya

Cliff: Experiment Kraj. Make a Titan token, Ajani all his dudes, attack Aaron (36). He gets Emeria, the Sky Ruin with Primeval Titan, then realizes
many of his Plains got milled away.

Me: Merieke for the third time. My hand is pretty empty. I have Massacre Wurm and Phthisis, which I intend to use to kill someone with in a big,
splashy fashion. I’m hoping to use it on a giant, indestructible Jenara for more style points.

Aaron: Evokes Reveillark, gets back Mnemonic Wall and Clone, copies Jenara, Wall gets Telemin Performance.


Wayne: Nothing

Cliff: Cast Jenara, equip it, make Primeval token, uses Ajani, and attacks Aaron, who blocks with the Wall (34). EOT, I Magistrate’s Tower

Me: I cast Massacre Wurm, and with the trigger on the stack, Wayne uses Jaya’s Inferno. Cliff pumps the Kraj in response, which will make it big
enough to survive, but I respond by first stealing it with Merieke, letting that resolve, and then untapping Merieke with Minamo to kill the Kraj. When
the dust settles, I’m at (48), Aaron (28), Cliff (16), and Wayne (12).

Aaron: Telemin Performance Cliff, Fork it targeting me. My top card is Angel of Despair, with which he blows up Mimic Vat. He gets Pentavus from Cliff.


Wayne: Dragonmaster Outcast

Cliff: Jenara, Myr Battlesphere, gain two from Ajani (18).

Me: Merieke, fourth time’s the charm.

Aaron: Morph and Dominates Jenara so that he can attack Cliff with the Angel (13).


Wayne: Gets a dragon but does nothing else.

Cliff: Volition Reins to try to get back Jenara. Aaron’s morph is obviously Willbender, so Cliff gets to control his own Battlesphere instead.
Casts Djinn of Wishes, which makes me salivate with thoughts of Merieke theft, but Wayne Pyroblasts it. This irritates Cliff a little, so he puts
Eldrazi Conscription on the Battlesphere and attacks Wayne, first poking him for four (8) with the tokens. Without the ping, Wayne can survive by
gang-blocking, but those extra four doom him—unless I play the Peel from Reality in my hand. I can bounce the Battlesphere and my Merieke, but
that sets me back another turn. I look at the mana and see both Aaron and Cliff are now tapped out, so I decide the better course of action is letting
Wayne die, then killing Cliff since that Battlesphere is now 14/17.

Me: I do indeed kill Cliff. Aaron and I battle for a few turns with nothing much happening. At some point, I’ve gotten back the Angel of Despair,
battled Aaron with it a few times, and I’ve cast Venser, the Sojourner. At the end of my turn, he casts Mystical Tutor for Rite of Replication.

TURN 20-something

Aaron: Rite, kicked, targeting Angel of Despair. In response, I take control of my own Angel with Merieke, let that resolve, then untap Merieke to kill
the Angel, countering the Rite, which clearly would have blown me out.

We continue on a few turns, but with a Merieke online and him out of cards, he’s living off the top and can’t cast Numot. I have nothing,
but I can battle with Merieke. I do and then Venser it out, to which Aaron responds with a completely awesome Gather Specimens. Once I fire off
Venser’s ultimate, there’s really not much he can do. The only source of mana I want to keep him off of is red because I know there’s
Insurrection in his deck. Otherwise, I don’t want to completely run him out of lands—in addition to not wanting to Chasm him, I want to see
if he can come up with crazy stuff.

There’s a cool play when I once again send Merieke into the Red Zone, and he activates Celestial Colonnade. Before he can block, however, I untap
Merieke and steal it. I beat him down with it a few turns, during which he hangs onto some cards, then casts Numot and Keiga, the Tide Star on the same
turn. I Venser to kill him with the Colonnade, and we’re done.

We ran past time, but no one cared, since it was a game in which we had some fun. We had drawn a crowd; people were hooting and hollering when cool
stuff happened, and the mood was generally quite positive—which is the kind of environment we want to create (not like the mood we had for Game

As predicted, David has an explosive game, piling up 23 points, so he passes me for first place in the League. Finishing second nets me back just a
little more than eight weeks’ entry fees, which is more than enough. I want to use some of the credit to play the Worldwake Jace lottery, but
they’re out of WWK, so I bust a Zendikar pack instead, getting a foil Goblin Bushwhacker and Armament Master, which I promptly trade back to them
for a bottle of water.

We’re off the next two weeks before starting League v.9. Michael is once again asking for new points ideas, so if you have any, ship them to me.
Maybe yours will see print!