From Right Field: All You Need is Blog, Part Dos

Okay folks, we have to be honest here. Romeo’s out of ideas. No really, there are only so many times you can write about Centaur Glade, Johnny Damon’s hair, the model for Eternal Witness, Lindsay Lohan, and playing Magic with your brother who lives in Iceland. Therefore, your job is to read Chris’s latest ramblings and then chime in with ideas for Chris’s next article. In the meantime, enjoy a variety of budget decklists Chris has been working with on Magic Online.

Monday, July 26th, 2004 (cont’d):

I gotta say I didn’t think Catwoman would tank in its first week like it did, getting blown away at the box office by The Bourne Supremacy. I mean, Matt Damon (cheesecake for the ladies) is hot and all, but he’s no Halle Berry. What is the world coming to when a spy thriller based on a novel beats a hot babe in skimpy leather based on a comic book? **sheesh**

Oh, yeah. My blog. It goes from top to bottom. Why is that? Because you read top to bottom. It gets very annoying to read a section at the bottom, scrolling down as you go, then having to scroll back up to get to the next section . . . scrolling down as you read that one, of course.

Yes, I know why it’s done. Newest at the top. People who read a blog as its entries are posted only need to look at the top. That’s very sweet, efficient even. I’m sending mine in a week at a time, though, so, there will be no updating. Thus, you will be reading from top to bottom. (Of course, you can read the words in any order you want. I venture to guess that most folks will indeed read from top to bottom, though.)

I started rolling around an idea for a mono-Black MD5 block deck. I started thinking about the Law of Unintended Consequences in Magic. Or, as Michael Flores got us to call it as it applies to the game of Magic, Splash Damage. Anyway, what if I could build a mono-colored deck (for consistency) that used no artifacts and no creatures that can be easily killed (e.g. Shrapnel Blast can’t do it alone)? Could that work? Of course, it had to be relatively cheap, too. These constraints led me to pick between Green and Black. I picked Black. Why? I don’t know. Because I was in a Spinal Tap mood, I guess. Smell the Glove and all. I don’t have a name for it yet because this may not be how the deck ends up looking.

24 Lands

20 Swamp

4 Blinkmoth Nexus/Stalking Stones

32 Other Spells

4 Shattered Dreams

4 Lose Hope

4 Wrench Mind

4 Night’s Whisper

4 Devour in Shadow

4 Barter in Blood

4 Consume Spirit

3 Death Cloud

1 Promise of Power

4 Creatures

4 Greater Harvester

I wanted to have a nice, smooth mana curve. And I always imagine these explanation thingies being done by a waiter at a posh restaurant:

“For our first turn tonight we have a choice of hand destruction in Shattered Dreams or creature destruction in Lose Hope. Lose Hope is delicious with Disciple of the Vault, by the way. For our second turn, we have more hand destruction or more creature destruction, being Wrench Mind and Devour in Shadow respectively. As an alternative, you can draw cards with Night’s Whisper. For later in the game, you can have Barter in Blood or Death Cloud.

“Notice that Greater Harvester can be killed by neither Shrapnel Blast nor Terror. It’s a nice complement to the rest of the deck, really.”

My idea was hammer their hand, hammer their creatures, draw cards, clear the board, Harvester or Consume Spirit for the win. Yeah, I know that’s not original. But it looks like tons of fun. So, I sent it on to Karl.

Karl: Whoa. Only four creatures? That scares me. Also, I don’t think I like the Harvester in a deck that has an”X” spell like Consume?

Me: Why not?

Karl: RTFC, Romeo.

Me: Hold on . . . . . . . Whoops.

On the flip side, if the board is empty, I don’t care about chucking a land a turn to the Harvester. He can end the game quickly.

Karl pointed out, however, that the hand destruction may not be that good against some of the decks. Shattered Dreams is good against Affinity but not Tooth and Nail and Crystal Witness. On the other hand (get it?), Wrench Mind isn’t so hot against Affinity, since they have so much to throw away, but great against the other two. Potentially, those could be dropped for more creature destruction like Echoing Decay and Solemn Speedbump, moving the hand destruction to the sideboard.

The thing I like about this block is no worry about Ivory Mask, Story Circle, and the other stuff that can prevent Consume Spirit from being used. Sure, it could still be countered, but that’s a one-shot. Ivory Mask and Story Circle is so annoying because it sits there taunting you.

If we did go with the Solemn Simulacrum, the nonbasic land would have to be Stalking Stones. Why? Because it’s a deck From Right Field. Twelve rares or less. Of course, the Stones and the Nexus each have their good points and bad points. The Nexus flies, but it takes mana to activate and only hits for one. The Stones is a 3/3, but takes six mana to activate. Once activated, it can be hit with anything that can hit artifacts. The Nexus can only be hit with instant-timed artifact destruction.

Of course, it probably stinks. Affinity surely owns it, what with all that speed.

And yet . . .

And yet . . .

They play DoV. You kill it with Lose Hope and shore up your next two draws.

They play Arcbound Ravager. You cast Devour in Shadow. Welding Jar is useless.

They play a Frogmite and an Enforcer. You cast Shattered Dreams and Wrench Mind.

They play Cranial Plating. You take some damage. Then, you cast Barter in Blood. Welding Jar is still useless.

Yes, I’ll have to test it. I need to get it out of my system. I hate this deckbuilding obsession. Why can’t I just copy a dadburn deck from the internet, play it, and win prizes?

There was no Magic playing tonight because it was my birthday. Luanne and I spent the night alone watching volume three of Futurama, which she had gotten me as a present. She has the same warped sense of humor that I do. So, of course, she loved it. When I mentioned that Greg the Bunny would be out on DVD on October 19th, she asked,”Who’s Greg the Bunny?”

It’s not often that you can plan activities for a random weekday almost three months in advance, but I already know what we’re doing on the evening of October 19th.”Blah!”

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004:

Today was all about that darn mono-Red MD5 deck again. It’s no longer about fifty-six lands and Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]. But there are some very efficient burn spells in this block. Plus, the curve looks great on them. Karl is suggesting a deck with Pulse, Magma Jet, Electrostatic Bolt, Flamebreak, Barbed Lightning, Pyrite Spellbomb, Shrapnel Blast, and Beacon of Destruction. It looks promising. If we can figure out how to baby proof our condo (so that young James can accompany his daddy), we’ll test it and the mono-Black deck on Thursday.

I did get to play not one, not two, but three MTGO games against my brother. In game one, he had his Black/White Zombie deck while I played Elves. I really thought that he’d kill me by recurring a Gempalm Polluter, but he was one turn short. With me at four and four Zombies on board, I swung with a Treetop Scout. He couldn’t block it, but he as at ten. Which would have been fine for him if I hadn’t cast three Predator’s Strikes on it to end the game.

We played a second game with different decks. I grabbed my Centaur Glade deck. He grabbed his mono-Black Zombie deck this time. Again, the life loss was killing me, but he couldn’t close the deal before a swarm of Centaur tokens overtook him.

For our third game, well, it was just silly. I played a deck with eight Walls and lotsa fliers. Except I hardly saw any fliers. He played a mono-Black Affinity deck. I won because he got mana hosed.

Jonathan: Why do I only get mana-hosed when I’m playing you with a deck that should crush you?

Me: Anti-brother mojo?

I left him with a promise that I would send him an MD5-legal, all-common Affinity deck (minus Fifth Dawn, which neither of us have anyway). He seemed kinda bummed that he had lost three in a row to me even if two of them were very close. So, I wanted to give him a deck that, given the cheapness restraints we both have, he could wail on me.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004:

I had started working on the Cheap, Cheap MD5 Affinity deck for my brother. Luckily, there are only a couple of rares even in the ones that win big on the Pro Tour scene. The lack of Glimmervoid will be as big as the loss of Arcbound Ravager because the ‘Void allows the Affinity player to cast the colored spells even if the correct artifact land isn’t on the board. In other words, Glimmervoid is really Vault of Whispers numbers five through eight, Seat of the Synod numbers five through eight, et al. Which means we have to find a replacement. I can only think of one that will really help: Chromatic Sphere.

As for the Ravager, well, there isn’t a darn thing that comes close to replacing it. All I can think to do is to add another quick artifact creature. Luckily, there’s the Arcbound Stinger. As a flier, that puppy loves to collect +1/+1 counters. This is what I sent him:

19 Lands

4 Seat of the Synod

4 Vault of Whispers

4 Great Furnace

4 Darksteel Citadel

1 Island

1 Swamp

1 Mountain

24 Creatures

4 Disciple of the Vault

4 Arcbound Worker

4 Arcbound Stinger

4 Frogmite

4 Myr Enforcer

4 Somber Hoverguard

17 Other Spells

4 Thoughtcast

4 Chromatic Sphere

4 Pyrite Spellbomb

4 Welding Jar

1 Echoing Decay

The Pyrite Spellbomb slot kept changing from Echoing Decay to Echoing Truth to Aether Spellbomb to the Pyrite Spellbomb. That slot was the tough one. Obviously, or I wouldn’t have wobbled on it like Pamela Anderson in high heels. I told him it just depended on the types of decks he usually faced. If he was seeing a lot of Affinity decks, the Pyrite Spellbomb is the way to go since it kills Disciple of the Vault or Ornithopters that hit before any Arcbound tricks start. If it was other, non-artifact decks, Echoing Decay and Terror would be excellent.

I sent this on to my brother with the message that I expected to see him unleash it upon me tonight. Obviously, it wouldn’t be too fair to play him using a Red and Green deck loaded with artifact hate. So, I figured I’d start off with my White Weenie Equipment deck.

The rest of the day was spent fantasizing about what television shows I want to see on DVD. Between getting Futurama, Volume 3 from my thoughtful and beautiful wife for my birthday and fining out that Greg the Bunny is coming out in October, I was inspired to revisit my list of T.V. shows that need to be on DVD. Since my brother and I started our lists, Northern Exposure and Wiseguy have started coming out, while The Critic‘s complete run has also been released. What about Pinky & The Brain? I want The Equalizer, too. The one that really taunts me is Lovejoy, which I got to see a decade or so ago on A&E.

If you’ve never seen Lovejoy, you’ve been deprived. Lovejoy (“just Lovejoy”) was an antiques and art dealer and appraiser with an extraordinary eye for judging pieces and an extraordinary knack for getting into trouble, often of the”wrong place / wrong time” and”mistaken identity” variety. Lovejoy himself was played by the incomparable Ian McShane, who is now on HBO’s Deadwood. McShane can be both a comedian and serious actor. He’s such a chameleon that he even played Columbian drug kingpin Esteban Montoya in a Miami Vice episode called”Knock, Knock, Who’s There?”

The reason that Lovejoy taunts me is that they’ve started releasing the DVDs in Europe, but, of course, they’re incompatible with the U.S. formatting.”So close. So close, and yet so far.”

I got home and had dinner and watched some T.V. with the wife. We caught an episode of That 70’s Show that we had missed this season (watching Smallville; yes, guilty as charged). [Ditto, but the writing was better this season, even if those bastards are still pulling every emotional heartstring that they can. – Knut, grumpy about season finales] It was the one where Eric doesn’t show up for the wedding rehearsal. Dude, you’re a skinny, geek. She’s a hot redhead. Get her to say”I do” before she realizes how much better she can do. Heck, that’s what I did with Luanne.

After she went to bed, I got online and, as usual, loaded up MTGO. My brother was not available. I played a couple of games with my old Centaur Glade deck (wrecked a March of the Machines deck, lowered the boom on an Affinity deck, struggled to beat a Goblin deck).

Then, I started thinking about the Cheap, Cheap MD5 Affinity deck I had sent on to my brother. Was it any good? I didn’t see why it would stink, given that Ravager decks are mostly commons already (except for a couple of really important differences as pointed out before). So, I went to the Serious Decks room of the Casual Play wing.

A lot of folks will probably scratch their heads at that.”Why take an all-common deck to the Serious room?” For me, the answer to that was simple. It’s an Affinity deck. Even without the Ravagers, Cranial Platings, Shrapnel Blasts, and Glimmervoids, it just didn’t feel right to play it in the Casual room.

So, I put myself out there like Farrah Fawcett in Logan’s Run. My first opponent was (“Surprise!”) another Affinity deck. Pyrite Spellbomb turned out to be an excellent choice. He went first in game one and dropped a Disciple of the Vault. I got to drop a Pyrite Spellbomb. Disciple Supremacy won that one for me.

In game two, he got two DoVs out. I was toast. Game three came down to card drawing and the fact that I had brought in Echoing Decay for the Spellbomb. I got more card-drawing and killed all four of his Hoverguards with only two Decays.

Now, truth be told, while I sent the decklist above to my brother, I messed up when I (hastily) made mine. I actually had Aether Spellbombs in the Welding Jar slot. They essentially did the same thing for me (i.e. saved my critters). Which means that I’m not sure if they made a huge difference. Either way, I corrected the deck for match number two.

My second match was against another Affinity deck. In this one, I lost game three to double Shrapnel Blast. It struck me then that I had not seen a single Shrapnel Blast in the previous match. Thus, the day ended.

Thursday, July 29th, 2004:

Today, I did something I rarely do. I read USA Today. It was on the table. I had a break. I like color pictures and graphs about meaningless stuff (“Eighteen per cent of men get their hair cut at least once every two weeks.”). I found out that Lindsay Lohan is eighteen now. Now, I can feel better about lusting after her. Okay, maybe it’s not really”lust.” I mean, I don’t daydream or fantasize about her. I find her attractive, but not nearly as attractive as Ted Knutson. Hmmm . . . I should be clearer there because someone could read that to mean that I find her attractive but not nearly as attractive as I find Ted, who, while being a fine example of male pulchritude, is no Lindsay Lohan. What I meant was that Ted definitely thinks more highly of her beauty than I do. However, I’m not going to deny that she’s a hottie.

Then, I was checking out tonight’s television watching on TVGuide.com when I came across this quote about the new Jeff Foxworthy skit show, Blue Collar TV.”Based on the premiere episode, the series is off to a rough start. But I’m a big fan of mulligans, so let’s hope there’s some improvement along the way.” He’s a”big fan of mulligans,” huh? Hey! Me, too! I’m seeing Magic-related stuff everywhere lately.

For example, a couple of days ago, I was passing by a co-worker’s desk. He has a manila folder labeled”U/W Control.” I figured it was a decklist. So, I stopped by to make a new Magic buddy. I asked him how long he’d been playing Magic.


“Magic? The Gathering? That’s a list for a Blue/White Control deck, right?”

“No, that means ‘Underwriter Control.’ It’s Q.C. for the underwriters.”

My bad.

Another night of virtual Magic for me. I decided to try out the Affinity deck in the serious room again. Again, I faced down another Affinity deck. Why don’t they just have an Affinity room on MTGO? Anyway, I also won this match. Again, though I saw Arcbound Ravagers, I saw no Shrapnel Blasts in any of the three games. Somber Hoverguard and Arcbound Stinger won this one. Flying is some good. I just wonder how this deck would do against a”real” Ravager deck with Shrapnel Blasts and all.

Actually, I don’t wonder. I’m pretty sure it would roll over and die.

Friday, July 30th, 2004:

When I got to work today, my inbox was fuller than I’d seen it in a while. The reason? Aaron Forsythe column on the power of Affinity. Almost all of the e-mails were people asking, in essence,”Do you feel vindicated about your stance on the banning of Skullclamp? It seems like he’s saying that they may not have banned the right card.” I don’t read it that way, though. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing in there saying that Aaron or Wizards (i.e. The DCI) thinks that banning Skullclamp was wrong.

What it looks like they’re realizing is two things. First, Disciple of the Vault and Arcbound Ravager have a nasty, nasty synergy. Second, free in Magic is A Bad Thing. Magic is, above all, a game of resource management. Free spells bypass that constraint. It’s something that I thought they had learned from Urza’s block, but I guess not.

Speaking of block, guess what I forgot to do last night or this morning. Whoops. That’s right, chillen. I forgot to build any sort of deck for tonight’s MD5 block tourney. Even though I had Cheap, Cheap Affinity, Mulligan to Pulse, and that mono-Black madness all written up, I neglected to actually build anything. Since I had to go to the tourney right after work or risk not playing at all (I get released, I mean, get off of work at 6:00 PM), I couldn’t stop at home to build anything. I was going to have to beg for a deck to play.

Is there anything more pathetic than a Magic geek having to ask”Anyone have a deck I can borrow?” Possibly. Like a geek asking a platinum-selling singer if he can kiss her.

Did I ever tell you that I kissed Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles? When I was in college at Tulane, I was part of what they called at the time The Tech Crew. (I don’t know if it’s changed in the last fifteen or twenty years. But since Ben also went there, I though I’d say it that way just in case.) We provided sound and lights for shows that came to campus and didn’t have their own crews. It was a way for us to learn that part of the business as well as meeting folks. (Some day, I’ll tell you all about all the stars I got to rub elbows with.)

I did a show for The Bangles (with The Hoodoo Gurus opening; awesome show, to use a word from that era). Afterwards, we met the band. They wanted to thank us for doing such a great job for free. They asked us if there was anything that they could do for us. I asked for a pair of Debbie Peterson’s drum sticks. (I’m a drummer by trade, but I also write songs and play other instruments. I’d never play anything on stage except for the drums, though.) I also asked if I could kiss”Miss Hoffs” on the cheek. She must get that a lot. Anyway, she said yes. And she kissed my cheek back. I haven’t washed that cheek in almost eighteen years.

However, I had forgotten more than my cards. I had forgotten money and my dinner and my counters and paper and pen. I had to stop home, no way around it. Funny thing was, once I did, I had no desire to get back in the car and go back out to play Magic. I just wanted to sit down and have dinner with my honey. Maybe Friday night, after forty hours of work, isn’t the best day to play Magic.

I wish someone around here would start a store that held Magic tourneys (a) on Saturday that (b) started at 11:00 AM. The local store that holds Saturday tourneys now starts at 1:00 PM. Usually later. With six rounds plus a top eight, if you do well (Shaddup!), you won’t be leaving until after 8:00 PM. That kinda blows your whole day.

I know that’s not a big deal for most of the teenagers who play. However, it is for us adults. We like to do things on Saturday night, things that the kids shouldn’t be doing. We’ve spoken to the guy who runs the store, but the adults were outvoted. It seems that the kids, who really have no place else to go, don’t mind staying until the mall closes. I understand the owner playing to the kids. There’s more of them. Maybe they spend more money than us adults, too. Still, if there’s someone out there who wants to make money on tournaments in Knoxville, you could really draw the adult crowd by starting the things on Saturday at 11:00 AM. Promptly at 11:00 AM, that is.

Saturday, July 31st, 2004:

Saturday was full of shopping. Grocery shopping. Discount clothes shopping. Speakers-for-my-car shopping. (The speakers ended up not fitting because the door wasn’t deep enough. I’m sure I could spend way too much money to have someone put some sort of conversion kit on it. It’s a 1989 Integra. Spending any more money in it would be like adding track lighting to an outhouse. What’s the point?)

That evening, I fired up the ol’ MTGO again. There was my brother, itchin’ to play. But first, I had to look at pictures of his fiancé.

Yep, the sailor’s getting’ married, ladies. Sorry. That was the big news that I couldn’t tell anyone last week. See, a couple of his friends still didn’t know. Now they do. Enough of the mushy stuff, though.

My brother’s latest cheap creation was a Black-Artifact deck that ran Dross Golem, Nim Lasher, Nim Shrieker, and some other stuff that benefited form having artifacts around. I was playing a cheap White Skies-Equipment deck that looked like this:

22 Lands

4 Ancient Den

2 Secluded Steppe

2 Flooded Strand (accidentally won off of an online auction when I didn’t see”MTGO” at the end of the listing)

14 Plains

26 Creatures

4 Leonin Elder

4 Suntail Hawk

4 Master Decoy

1 Leonin Skyhunter (that’s all I’ve got)

1 Whipcorder (ditto)

4 Diving Griffin

4 Gustcloak Harrier

4 Skyhunter Patrol

12 Other Spells

4 Arrest

4 Bonesplitter

4 Mask of Memory

As I learned a few months ago, before Darksteel and Skullclamp, Mask of Memory is huge on something with evasion.

We loaded up the game, and started the trash talking. He got Disciple of the Vault. I got Leonin Elder. He got Cranial Plating. I got Suntail Hawk, Bonesplitter, and extra life. He got a third turn Dross Golem. Oh, fudge. Except I didn’t say”fudge.”

My brother then proceeded to get his brains beat in as his Dross Golem just sat there while I threw out fliers.


Game two was the same. Now, one thing you need to know about my brother is that he doesn’t like help on anything in his life unless he asks for it. It really frustrates him when you offer him unsolicited advice. He likes”Eureka!” moments. He likes to discover things on his own. I just couldn’t help myself, though, in the middle of the third game.

Me: Why haven’t you been attacking with the Golem?

Him: Because you’ll just block him and kill him.

Me: With what?

Him: That stupid bird with the Axe of Death.

Me: I can’t.

Him: Why not?


Him: ………………….

Him: Do you know how many games I’ve lost because I didn’t know that guy had Fear?

Me: At least two.

Him: You’re a butfor!

Me: What’s a”butfor.”

Him: For pooping, silly!

Anyway, now that the beast had been unleashed, he started swinging with a 7/2, 8/2, 10/2 Dross Golem that I couldn’t block. It was ugly for the next couple of games. He still wasn’t happy with his deck, though. The Nim guys are so fragile. A 13/1 flier still dies quite easily to a Suntail Hawk. He tried using Slagwurm Armor to make their butts bigger, but that didn’t really do it. I could still tap them down, Arrest them, and chump block them while flying over. I suggested Whispersilk Cloak.

That did it. Now, he had stuff that got very big, very fast and that I couldn’t tap down, Arrest, or block.

I asked him not to play it against me ever again. That tickled him. He made no promises.

Sunday, August 1st, 2004:

Another great, lazy Sunday full of rain. We sat around and did nothing, including a first for Luanne: watching a Johnny Depp (you’re welcome, again, ladies) movie that she didn’t like. It was The Ninth Gate on SciFi. So, who was that woman, Ms. Greeneyes? Why did she care about Corso? And that ending. Did he make it to the Ninth Gate? Why would he want to? Most of all, why should we care? The best part had to be when Balkan (Frank Langella) set himself on fire. Superb.

As usual, Luanne went off to bed while I fired up Magic Online. Many folks have asked me why I don’t hit the hay with her. We work slightly different hours. She has one of those great four-day work weeks where she works ten hours a day. The only problem is that she has to be up by about 4:30 AM. So, she’s in bed by 9:00 PM. Me, I work nine-to-six. So, I get to bed by about 11:00 PM. That means I have two hours (give or take) to watch Comedy Central, ESPN, and The Discovery Channel, and play MTGO. Interestingly, I can watch T.V. and play MTGO at the same time.

I went into the Casual Decks room wanting to play my White Skies deck again against my brother. He was not online. Bummer. No one was interested in Standard games, either. I noticed a lone player advertising Mirrodin Block. What I’ve noticed about that particular type of game in the Casual Decks room is that it means one of two things. Either s/he has a finely tuned Ravager Deck that belongs in the Serious Decks room, or s/he is very upset about all of the losses suffered at the hand of Ravager decks that this one is loaded up against artifacts. I was wondering which one this was.

I popped on with my Cheap, Cheap Affinity deck. Turn one 1 good for me as I got a Vault of Whispers and a Disciple of the Vault. Those two make such cute pair. He started with the artifact destruction right away. Oxidize, Shatter, Deconstruct, and Viridian Shaman all made appearances along with the Eternal Witness and Molder Slug. He had me from turn 2, but I thought I’d let him have his fun.

I went back to advertising a Standard game, but, for some reason, after the Affinity game, I had decided that I didn’t want to play White Skies again. I wanted to work on the Phyrexian Plaguelord deck. (That’s the one in which most of the missing pieces came from Kirby. Thanks, Kirby.) The deck, right now, looks like this:

24 Lands

1 Bloodstained Mire (like the Flooded Strands, accidentally won in an auction)

1 Mountain

3 Barren Moor

19 Swamp

22 Creatures

3 Carrion Feeder

4 Festering Goblins

3 Grimclaw Bats

4 Nekrataal (all from Kirby)

4 Abyssal Specter (from Kirby)

1 Silent Specter (from Kirby)

1 Visara, the Dreadful (from Kirby)

2 Phyrexian Plaguelord (from Kirby)

14 Other Spells

3 Reaping the Graves

4 Dark Banishing

2 Nuisance Engine (from Kirby)

4 Consume Spirit

1 Smother (that’s all I’ve got)

I love this deck. It wins games it has no right to win. Case in point. I was playing against a Myr Matrix deck. I know that doesn’t make the Pro Tour playas quake in their boots, but a deck that can crank out a stream of 2/2’s or 3/3’s is scary, especially when your deck has no way to deal with the Matrix. (Of course, the Matrix is Indestructible, so very few decks have a way of dealing with it.)

Thanks to my one-drop creatures and the Abyssal Specters, I was able to get some nice early beats. He dropped form twenty to eight very quickly.

Over the years, I’ve come to love the Abyssal Specter. Typically, paying four mana for a flier gets you a 2/2 with some weak ability. This guy’s a 2/3, and that ability is huge. Since most decks don’t run fliers, this guy will almost always rip a card or two from your opponent’s hand. Talk about card advantage.

Anyway, I got the guy down to eight, but he stabilized by getting out the Matrix with plenty of land. I had to keep my guys back to block. He kept making a Myr and then two every turn. Nekrataals were able to kill an attacker a turn each, but I was quickly losing life two or four at a time. The Specter had to stay back to block a 2/2 Myr each turn. Finally, when I was at eight and staring down a horde of Myr tokens, I attacked with a Specter (Abyssal variety), bringing him to six. Then, the Silent Specter came down. If he had had some way to remove the Silent Specter, I was a goner. He didn’t. With no way to deal enough damage to kill me and no way to stop the fliers, he knew that I’d kill him when I swung next time and conceded.

Next up was – what else? – a Ravager deck. You know what Disciple of the Vault hates? Festering Goblin. Arcbound Workers hate him, too, especially when there are no creatures on board to give his counter to.

He won the die roll and dropped a Vault of Whispers, Disciple, and Welding Jar. I dropped a Swamp and a Carrion Feeder.

Do you know how many people haven’t actually read the Carrion Feeder? I don’t think this guy had because, on his turn, he didn’t swing with the Disciple. Goody for me. He did, however, drop a Seat of the Synod, a Ravager, and a Frogmite. Uh-oh. Good thing I had a Festering Goblin. He came down on turn 2. My opponent decided to swing on his turn using his artifact gang. I blocked only the Worker, taking some damage from the Ravager and the Frogmite. With damage on the stack, I sacrificed the Festering Goblin to the Feeder, killing the Disciple before it could suck any life off of me. Of course, he wasn’t that bad of a player. He sac’d his Worker to add counters to the Ravager in response. So, I lost one more life (from the Disciple), but that was it.

On my turn, I drew, laid a Swamp, and passed.

He must have smelled blood in the water. He swung with his Ravager and Frogmite. Before damage was on the stack, he sac’d a couple of lands and the Welding Jar as well as a freshly cast Frogmite to make the Ravager very big. I played Dark Banishing on the Ravager. Okay, so this wasn’t great for me. The counters just moved to the Frogmite. I was indeed in a bad way. But, he had severely hurt his board position. He was down to a land and a Frogmite. A couple more, and I was about a Shrapnel Blast away from dead.

On my turn, I leisurely swung for two with my 2/2 Carrion Feeder. Then, I cast a Nekrataal. I know what he was thinking.”Nekrataal can’t kill Frogmite.” Nope. But it can block and make the Carrion Feeder bigger. Which is just what happened.

On my fifth turn, I swung with my 3/3 Feeder. Then, I dropped a Nuisance Engine with enough mana left over to make itty bitty blockers . . . and then +1/+1 counters for my Feeder.

On his turn, he played a land and . . . nothing. I could tell he was thinking about attacking or not.”Attack into a 0/1 Pest token or stay back to block the Feeder? Either way, his tokens are going to make the Feeder bigger.” He stayed back. I made a Pest.

On my turn, Grimclaw Bats. Doesn’t seem very imposing. When you’re at eight life or so, it’s not, at least when your opponent has a possible Shrapnel Blast. But it does fly. I began making tokens and pinging him with the Bats while he tried to draw into an answer. He finally got a Thoughtcast that must have gotten him the two Myr Enforcers that he played. That would have been fine for him except that I drew a Consume Spirit. The swing in life points was huge. While it only dealt four damage to him, it got me back up to double digits. Unless he drew an answer to the Bats, they’d be able to finish him off the next turn.

He did. Shrapnel Blast on a Grimclaw Bats. As he said/typed,”That seems like such a waste.” It wasn’t, and it was. He couldn’t even swing with the beef because I’d just block with tokens and then make my Feeder bigger. So, what did I draw? Another Bats. I dropped it. He made the little green sad-faced guy. He drew. He conceded.

Next up, I faced a true Pro Tour-caliber Goblin deck complete with turn 2 Goblin Warchief, turn 3 Goblin Sharpshooter, and turn 4 Siege-Gang Commander. Now, I could regale you with tales of my valiant efforts to fight off the horde, pull the game out, and squeak by a win. But, then, I’d be lying. I was squashed like a bug on the windshield of life.

That’s how my week ended. What an inglorious way to end the week.

Now that I think about it, though, my week actually ended right after that as I snuggled up next to Luanne and went to sleep. Not a bad way to end the week after all.

Chris Romeo


P.S. I think that this is going to be the end of my blog experiment. While many people seemed to like it, they’re quite long and not very focused. Hopefully, starting next week, we’ll be back to the short, snotty, funny ones again.