While you’re reading this, I’ll just be getting back from Pro Tour Philadelphia, which means it was written before I left for the event (because of deadline times). Next week I’ll have tales of the wild and wacky times had while spell-slinging (and beyond) in the City of Brotherly Love.
Since I’m writing this before taking off for the event, I thought I’d make some predictions (which Steve or Lauren will verify that I made before the end of August):
- Â A player from Florida will make the Top 8. When people think of Magic hotbeds, there are obvious choices (like anywhere LSV lives), but there are big guns in the Sunshine State, like David Sharfman and (maybe someday) future Hall-of-Famer Ben Stark.
- A Hall-of-Famer other than Brian Kibler will make Top 16. That’s not to say that Kibler won’t, but it’s just an easier bet including him, since he’s playing as well as he ever has. I mean a good old-fashioned legacy HoFer like Rob Dougherty or Ben Rubin.
- During coverage, Brian David-Marshall will make more than one baseball allusion. BDM is a huge baseball fan, despite his seemingly self-defeating attachment to the Mets. Long-shot bet on a mention of Earl Weaver’s tomatoes.
- (As I tweeted when I thought of it) Osyp Lebedowicz will say something that you think is hilarious but will make you hate yourself for finding it amusing.
- I will get cheesesteak sauce on my shirt at lunch and no one will point it out to me until some guy gets angry at me for Flinging Lord of Extinction at his head and yells at me for not only being terrible at Magic but a slob as well.
Ever since playing The Mimeoplasm deck at the Commander Launch Party, I’ve wanted to build a deck around him. I’ve seen a few others, and they’re all basically the same deck, so I wanted to do something radically different, something outside-the-boxâ€”but in the end, turns out the only way to do something different with him is build with the colors and ignore the ability. I suppose you could build a reasonably good control deck with him, then just selectively use the ability on stuff you’ve killed.
I thought about creature themes like “Mimeoplasm and his Vampires” or “… and his Beasts” or some such, but nothing really resonated. As with many decks I’ve put together recently, the tech was mostly “sketch out an idea, then flip through the box full of foils and see what’s there.”
The first caveat is, as with all new builds, there are sometimes less-than-optimal cards (mostly in the mana base) because I only have so many copies of them. The Mimeoplasm is my 15th deck, many of which are fairly well tilted towards both Black and Green. I want to play cards that both good and different. You’ll notice a lack of Tutors (although there are few, like Fauna Shaman). This is quite intentional. I’m not going to suggest everyone goes Tutorless, but it seems to me like way more fun than reducing a deck to the exact same elements every game. Especially with Green and Black, you can make sure that there are 10 cards that you play without fail in each and every game. For competitive Magic, this is desirable. For EDH, I find it less so.
SIDEBAR: Altered Cards
Before heading to Gen Con, I commissioned some altered cards from an artist named Gus Schade, who goes by Yawg07 on the forums. Gus hand-delivered them to me at the show to many oohs and ahs. In general, I want to completely pimp out my decks, and if a card isn’t available in foil, then the only choice is to have it altered. I’m having some done by Armada’s Kristy Dunn for PT Philly (I’ve featured some of hers here before), which I’ll show you once I get back.
One other reason I’ll have an alter done is that the foil version of the card is significantly disproportionate in price to the regular version, like with this Glen Elendra Archmage.
The others I had done are all cards that don’t come in foil. The first is my response to all the mono-and heavy Green decks that are flooding the format. I happened to have a French version, so I used that:
Semi-regular Armada League player Jeff (of the mono-Red Akroma deck) reminded me of the goodness of Fault Line (damage to players and creatures as an instant!), so I had one of those done, but keep going back and forth on what deck to put it in. It currently resides in Intet.
Rhystic Study is a card whose foil price is an obscene factor of the regular one, so after trading for one for one deck, I wanted an alter for another.
Finally, my favorite card in the Lord of Tresserhorn Deck (over/under on the number of goodies this deck will get from Innistrad is ten) is Tombstone Stairwell. Gus said that it was the first he’s ever done.
Back to business, the basic idea is the basic idea behind every Mimeoplasm deck: mill stuff from everyone then use the bombs for Mimeoplasm. I’d prefer to not use my own stuff, so I didn’t really build with the thought that my guys would be optimal targets.
I would like to do a little recursion with Genesis and Oversold Cemetery, although I’ll note that I have to be careful in stacking the triggers if both of them are in play and there are exactly four creatures in the graveyard. Oversold Cemetery checks both when it would go on the stack and on resolution. That means if I stack it first and then Genesis second, if Genesis brings a creature back to my hand, Oversold Cemetery won’t do anything on resolution because there are now on three cards in the graveyard.
The Mill Suite: Altar of Dementia, Mesmeric Orb, Extractor Demon, Hedron Crab, Jace’s Archivist, Riddlekeeper, Shared Trauma, Archive Trap, the Jaces, and the big hitter, Traumatize, are all there to get cards into opponent’s graveyards. Shared Trauma is the only one of the Join Forces cards that I think is reasonably good to play (along with perhaps Mana-Charged Dragon). Alliance of Arms might be cool if you know you’re playing Massacre Wurm, but giving your opponents lands (unless you’re then just going to cast Acidic Soil) and cards (without Underworld Dreams) is pretty dangerous. Puppeteer Clique, Necrotic Ooze, Sewer Nemesis, Ink-Eyes, and Vulturous Zombie are intended to specifically take advantage of opponents milling or having milled things.
Living Tsunami, Hedron Crab, and Jwar Isle Refuge provide a mini-combo after there are enough lands in play, but there’s probably a point where someone else’s graveyard is better for them than it is for me, so I’ll have to take care of it with Bojuka Bog, and the Tsunami provides some repetition.
I’m hoping to get some mileage out of the Masticores, but I might not have enough of my own reanimation to make it worthwhile.
If you’re playing this wedge, Bound / Determined is a must. Responding to a counterspell with Determined is just a blowout.
- 1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Genesis
- 1 Tornado Elemental
- 1 Razormane Masticore
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 1 Penumbra Wurm
- 1 Yavimaya Elder
- 1 Masticore
- 1 Grave-Shell Scarab
- 1 Vulturous Zombie
- 1 Riftsweeper
- 1 Nath of the Gilt-Leaf
- 1 Puppeteer Clique
- 1 Spearbreaker Behemoth
- 1 Extractor Demon
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 1 Xathrid Demon
- 1 Hedron Crab
- 1 Living Tsunami
- 1 Fauna Shaman
- 1 Primeval Titan
- 1 Necrotic Ooze
- 1 Sangromancer
- 1 Phyrexian Ingester
- 1 Sewer Nemesis
- 1 Riddlekeeper
- 1 Jace's Archivist
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 1 Reanimate
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Regrowth
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Traumatize
- 1 Oversold Cemetery
- 1 Decree of Pain
- 1 Promise of Power
- 1 Scrabbling Claws
- 1 Mesmeric Orb
- 1 Evacuation
- 1 Dragon Fangs
- 1 Altar of Dementia
- 1 Greater Good
- 1 Skyshroud Claim
- 1 Pernicious Deed
- 1 Fact or Fiction
- 1 Far Wanderings
- 1 Twincast
- 1 Voidslime
- 1 Damnation
- 1 Cryptic Command
- 1 Garruk Wildspeaker
- 1 Jace Beleren
- 1 Rite of Consumption
- 1 Lurking Predators
- 1 Archive Trap
- 1 Khalni Heart Expedition
- 1 Crystal Ball
- 1 Shared Trauma
- 1 Visions of Beyond
Cards That Got Consideration
Big Game Hunter: With Fauna Shaman and the two Masticores, he’s worth considering because of his Madness ability. The only other Madness cards that have strong possibilities are Call to the Netherworld and Grave Scrabbler, although I’m not sure they do quite enough (maybe Muck Drubb?). I play BGH in enough decks already that I was pretty lukewarm on the idea of including it again.
Body Double: Seems like a natural fit. Given that it’s a relatively popular card, I’m surprised that the price of the foil isn’t a little higher (although I notice it’s currently out of stock). Will probably go in once I acquire another foil one.
Crucible of Worlds: Instead of the Living Tsunami idea to recur Bojuka Bog if needed, I thought that Crucible and Dust Bowl might be a fine combo. It would help keeping the evil lands (Academy Ruins, Cabal Coffers, Gaea’s Cradle) in check while still helping my Hedron Crab Landfall.
Hermit Druid: Becoming the poster boy for early combo decks, I used Hermit Druid back in my first-ever Living Death decks to both fill up the yard and smooth out land draws, which was especially important when there weren’t so many great land choices. Certainly going well with a Dredge theme, I’d be more likely to play Hermit Druid if I were going to play more out of my own yard.
Life from the Loam: I certainly gave due consideration to a dredge theme, but I think it’s something you can’t do halfwayâ€”it’s a commitment, and it would radically change the deck’s approach. Dredge is probably way better for Karador, Ghost Chieftain.
Living Death: Yes, it’s my favorite card, but I don’t think it’s all that great in this deck. It’s definitely a card that you really have to set yourself up for to be seriously effective.
Lord of Extinction: I apparently have no normal ones and only one foil, which is in the Kresh deck. Another that will likely get swapped in upon acquisition.
Ray of Erasure: Fits the theme, replaces itself. Might consider it with Isochron Scepter, a card that I stopped playing a long time ago because of the irrational fear it causes. Sure, it’s dangerous with something like Swords to Plowshares or even Fire / Ice on it, but I’ve found that people get itchy around it no matter what. Like once you’ve Imprinted Ray of Erasure you have some shenanigans planned where you get another card Imprinted on it or something.
Restock: Some of my goodies are going to end up in the yard. Most of them I can get back with Oversold Cemetery and Genesis, but the Regrowth (hey, wait…Isochron Scepter) might need a little companionship.
Rite of Replication: Singlehandedly responsible for some pretty wild plays, like seeing someone almost deck himself after Twincasting his own Rite targeting Primeval Titan or getting multiple Avengers of Zendikar, Rite of Replication is starting to be one of those really good cards that I’m bored with seeingâ€”although it would be pretty cool in an upcoming set to see a Multikicker version of it.
I’m sure you probably have ideas on cards that I’ve overlooked. Feel free to ship them along.
Next week, I’ll have the who, what, where, when, why, and how of Embracing the Chaos during Magic Weekend Philadelphiaâ€”interesting plays, cool players, and I’m sure a deck idea or two as well.