From Right Field: Bring the Steel!

The first time I played against a Suicide Black deck, I figured the guy was an idiot. Sure, Carnophage was a 2/2 for one mana. If he wanted to attack with it, though, he’d have to lose a life every turn. Being new to the game, I figured I was golden. I dropped my Shadow creature on my second turn and passed. He paid his life, dropped Unholy Strength on the Carnophage, and put me at sixteen. Then, he dropped his second Carnophage. Gulp. When the game ended, he was at two life, and I was dead.
In the past few years, Suicide Black has fallen out of favor. Luckily, we got a few creatures in Darksteel that scream to be used in Suicide Black decks.

{From Right Field is a column for Magic players on a budget, although even those with more money and expertise might – I said might – still find something useful here. As such, the decks written about in this column are, by necessity, rogue decks. They will contain, at most, eight rares. When they do contain rares, those cards will either be cheap rares or staples of which new players should be trying to collect a set of four, such as Wrath of God or the Onslaught fetchlands for the colors they play. The decks are also tested by the author, who isn’t very good at playing Magic. However, his playtest partners are. He will never claim that a deck has a 65% winning percentage against the entire field. He will also let you know when the deck is just plain lousy.}





“Leonin Shikari.”


Skullclamp. . .”







” . . . Pulse . . . .”



“Pristine Angel?”



That’s what the discussions of Darksteel sound like to me. Please, don’t misinterpret what I’m saying which, at this point, isn’t much, since there haven’t been but about three verbs so far. In fact, let me go on record as saying this:

I love Skullclamp!

When I first saw the ‘Clamp, I started to swoon as if I had seen Yamila Diaz, Sienna Miller, or Shakara Ledard for the first time. [Leonin Shakara… Meow! – Knut] What a powerful card for a guy who likes weenie decks. Plus, it’s an uncommon! I actually don’t have a large enough allotment of exclamation points for how much I like this card. The Federal Bureau of Punctuation is now limiting the use of exclamation points since they’re needed for stories about Iraq and Howard Dean. (“Eeeee yaaaah!”) As a Writer of Frivolous Things (my official FBP Writer’s Status), my allotment of exclamation points is now tragically small. Don’t cry for me, though. It’s not my favorite punctuation mark anyway.


Sorry, Ted. Where was I? Oh, yeah, Skullclamp. Skullclamp. Skullclamp. Skullclamp. Trying saying that ten times fast. I know that I can’t.

What I can say is”thank you” to Wizards R&D for how they’ve spread the love over the last few blocks. As someone who started playing Magic right after Urza’s Legacy had just been released and tournament Magic right after Urza’s Destiny, I didn’t have all of the Morphlings, Masticores, and Yawgmoth’s Bargains needed to be competitive because I couldn’t afford them. It’s nice to see powerful commons and uncommons like Wild Mongrel, Astral Slide, and Lightning Greaves get printed. Sure, you still see expensive rares like Call of the Herd, Chrome Mox, and Exalted Angel. You don’t have to have any of those to be competitive, though. The people with less money to spend on cards can at least be competitive in tournaments now. Speaking for an awful lot of people out there,”Thank you.”

While I adore Skullclamp, I just don’t feel that I can add anything meaningful to the discussions about it. If I had written my piece on the De-Scept-ive Elves this week instead of several weeks ago, I would have found a way to add the ‘Clamp.”How?” the thong-wearing throngs asked. I don’t know, but I would have found a slot for it. Even if I did know how I’d change that deck, though, all I would essentially be saying is,”Skullclamp good in weenie decks.” Well, big duh, there, Dale.

That means that I’m gonna let other writers delve into Skullclamp for Regionals decks. Me, I’m looking at my favorite new Black critters, Nim Abomination and Grimclaw Bats, and what could be the final pieces for a new slew of Suicide Black decks. I hope.

“Avert your eyes! I am . . . an abomination!”

The first time I played against a Suicide Black deck, I figured the guy was an idiot. Sure, Carnophage was a 2/2 for one mana. If he wanted to attack with it, though, he’d have to lose a life every turn. Being new to the game, I figured I was golden. I dropped my Shadow creature on my second turn and passed. He paid his life, dropped Unholy Strength on the Carnophage, and put me at sixteen. Then, he dropped his second Carnophage. Gulp. When the game ended, he was at two life, and I was dead.

In the past few years, Suicide Black has fallen out of favor. That happened simply because there weren’t enough cheap Black creatures that could beat up the other guys. A 3/3 Wretched Anurid on the second turn is fine and dandy. Unfortunately, your opponent can drop a third-turn 4/4 Ravenous Baloth. Ugh.

Luckily, we got a few creatures in Darksteel that scream to be used in Suicide Black decks. Get it?”Scream?””Suicide Black?” Anywho, for those of us who only want to spend sixty bucks on the entire deck and not just on two or three Chrome Moxes, those cards are:

• Grimclaw Bats – It flies. You can trade life for damage. Yes, this is for Suicide Black.

• Nim Abomination – A 3/4 for three mana. Of course, you lose three life if it’s untapped at the end of your turn. Well, then, I guess you’re gonna wanna attack with that sucker, then, huh, Clem?

• Juggernaut – I never played with this the first time around because, well, I wasn’t playing back then. It says on the card,”Juggernaut attacks each turn if able.” Yeah, um, it’s a 5/3 for four mana. Of course, it’s attacking”each turn if able.” Think of that more as reminder text than rules text.

I already knew the Anurid would go in here. For the final creature, I toyed with Grinning Demon and Dross Harvester. I finally went with the Harvester for two reasons. First, (it?) he can gain back some of the life we’ll be losing. Second, it (he?) only costs three mana.

Now, of course, all I had to do was add Consume Spirit, right?


Suicide Black is classically a weenie deck. We need to run as little mana as possible. That made Consume Spirit a sub-optimal choice. To get two points of damage and two life from Consume Spirit, you’d have to spend four mana. I’d rather cast a Grimclaw Bats and Wretched Anurid on the same turn.

Instead, we used Vicious Hunger. For BB, you get the same effect as if you’d spent four mana on Consume Spirit. Vicious Hunger was a stroke of genius from Karl Allen. As he pointed out, it essentially does the same thing as Smother.

“What one-, two-, or three-mana creatures does Smother get that Vicious Hunger doesn’t?”

“Elvish Warrior. Wretched Anurid. Nim Abomination, . . . .”

“Other than those! You’re the only person who’s going to play those, you sub-1600-rated scrub. Vicious Hunger gets Silver Knight and Withered Wretch and Goblin Warchief and Weathered Wayfarer and about four hundred others. You know what else it gets?”

“I’m afraid to venture a guess ’cause I don’t wanna get yelled at again . . . .”

“It also kills Frogmites. Smother doesn’t kill Frogmites.”

“But Smother’s an instant.”

“So, what? Suicide Black has always used the Sligh model. You won’t be leaving mana open to Smother something at the end of their turn. You’ll be casting under-costed creatures and tapping out to do it. You’d be casting Smother on your turn anyway. Why not gain two life from it?”

How could I argue? Karl had that wild, Captain Morgan’s-spiced-rum look in his eyes and a shovel that he was waving menacingly. Obviously, I couldn’t argue.

And, that, children, was how our removal became Vicious Hunger and Dark Banishing, rather than Smother and Dark Banishing.

Too Much Information Section

I’m not one to give the first, second, and third versions of decks. To me, that is such an incredible tease. It’s as painful as sitting in the backseat of dad’s 1978 Cordoba with Shelly Tarantino after the Spring dance. (Ah, those were the days.) It seems like something totally awesome is going to happen. Then, it doesn’t. Don’t you just abhor seeing a deck list and then reading on to find that”this version just didn’t work. So, we changed to this one. <decklist> But that wasn’t quite right, either”? As my man Charlie Brown might say,”Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!” (Again, I have to be careful with those exclamation points.)

The reason I brought all of that up is that initially four Vicious Hunger and four Dark Banishings were the only eight removal spells in the deck. Unfortunately, only the Grimclaw Bats has any evasion. That made removal more important. During the first round of testing, what usually happened was that my opponent could stabilize at four or five life and then let the Anurid and Harvester kill me. (See? I do test my decks. I just don’t get sixty or seventy games with each version against all five or six of the tier one/two decks. That would require me to give up my life.) I ended up dropping the sixth creature slot, which was Rotlung Reanimator, for Terror.

It was a great trade. Rotlung didn’t quite fit the mold of the Suicide Black deck. He’s not under-costed. He just has a sweet ability. Sadly, that ability is not used very well in a deck in which he’s the only Cleric.

On the flip side, Terror is very nice removal. The creatures it can’t hit (i.e. Myr Enforcer) can be taken care of by Dark Banishing. Given all of the artifact creatures out there right now, I’d never play Terror over Dark Banishing. Together, though, they make a great team.

Even though I was left with a couple of slots for support spells, the mana was the next thing to look at. I started with twenty-two. Surprisingly, that ended up being too much. I would have thought that it would be fine given that we have a four-mana creature. It wasn’t. So, I dropped it down to twenty. That was too little. Having a razor-sharp mind for numbers, I wondered if twenty-one would be just right. It was.

Speed Kills

Those of you who actually read pieces and don’t just skim them, will notice that I was testing the deck with a couple of slots that hadn’t been decided upon. (See the first sentence in the previous paragraph.) The longer I play this game, the more great tips I get from better players. One tip I recently got concerned building new decks. My benefactor suggested that, when you weren’t sure what you wanted the last slot or two to be, leave it/them open. Come up with a few cards that you might want in there. Play the deck some. When that slot comes up, make it what you need it to be at the time. Then, keep track of what you keep putting in there. That will probably be what you want. (This is an even better idea for sideboarding.)

One card that I kept coming back to was Lightning Greaves. With a Greaves on board, Nim Abomination never hurts you. It’s attacking from the get go. Similarly, Dross Harvester won’t just suck four life from you at the end of your turn. It gets to hit first. If your opponent chooses to block the Harvester with even one creature and the Harvester kills it, you’ll only be down a net of two life at the end of your turn.

Oh, yeah, and, by the way, that”can’t be the target of spells or abilities” thing that the Greaves does is nice, too.

The last piece of the puzzle was life gain. I kept coming back to needing life in some match-ups, especially ones in which the opponent could crank out a goodly amount of creatures. I tried to put Consume Spirit back in, since that seems to be what you have to do with Black decks today. Still, it wasn’t right. I almost never got over four mana. That’s not good enough for Consume Spirit. Someone mentioned Essence Drain, but that’s just foolish. Essence Drain costs five to get three life from three damage. Even when the deck did get to five mana, that simply meant that I could have cast Consume Spirit for the same three life. Yet, if I had left Consume Spirit in the deck, I would have had the option for possibly more later on.

After a lot of convincing, I tried Loxodon Warhammer. I’d wanted to work this into a deck ever since I first saw it. It’s just that the conventional wisdom (you know, what They say) is that it’s too expensive for a weenie deck. It is, if you keep thinking that you have to cast Equipment and attach it the same turn. If you’re willing to be a bit patient, this thing pays off in spades. While patience is not something Suicide Black has ever been famous for (see Hatred), it’s needed for this card to do its work. Think about this: Dross Harvester with a Warhammer on it. What’s your opponent going to do with a 7/4 trampling, life-gaining beatstick coming at them? If they put four 1/1 dorks or two 2/2 dorks in front of it, they die, the Harvester dies, you get trample damage through, and you gain (um, carry the one, plus six), well, a bunch of life. Of course, they could just let it get through and lose seven while you gain a net of three. Yeah, that’s a good deal . . . for you! (Oh, crud, another exclamation point. Gotta watch those.)

Another thing about the deck is that I could use Polluted Deltas and still only be at eight rares. (By the way, last time I checked, the Dross Harvester was available from StarCity for only a buck each.) So, I now present:

None More Black (Post-Darksteel Suicide Black Lite)

21 Lands

10 Swamp

4 Vault of Whispers

3 Barren Moor

4 Polluted Delta

20 Creatures

4 Wretched Anurid

4 Grimclaw Bats

4 Dross Harvester

4 Nim Abomination

4 Juggernaut

19 Other Spells

3 Loxodon Warhammer

4 Lightning Greaves

4 Dark Banishing

4 Vicious Hunger

4 Terror

15 Sideboard

4 Smother

4 Wrench Mind

4 Withered Wretch

3 Wail of the Nim

I vacillated on the second two-mana slot between Grimclaw Bats and Withered Wretch. From testing, it appears that Grimclaw Bats (“with the flying and the pumping and the ohMIgosh“) would be the typical choice. However, around here, there seems to be an inordinate percentage of decks that want to use their graveyard (or yours), especially Clerics. If that’s the case in your area, too, put the Bats in the sideboard for the Wretches. If not, leave the Wretches in the sideboard.

Okay, then, looks like we’re at the part where we look at the match-ups. As usual, you start with the Big Three: Goblins; Affinity; and X/W Control.

Goblins – The Other Red Meat

Any discussion of how well a deck works has to start with Goblins. Some folks have said that Goblins isn’t a”tier one” deck anymore. To that I say,”Poppycock.” [For Chris’s next trick, he will also say”Whoopsydaisies.” – Knut, holding back] I don’t know where”tier one” ends and”tier one point five” or”tier two” begins. All I know is that any deck that can be built and run by nine-year-olds and that can win on turn 3 has to be considered a formidable foe.

Pre-Sideboard: This was just under two-thirds in favor of Goblins. Surprise. Goblins is good. Goblins can crank out a ton of little blockers. Wretched Anurid on board when Siege-Gang Commander hits is just bad news. Then, they use the little guys to chump block the big, Black beaters. This is followed by Goblin sacrifices that often deal two damage to your face. Not pretty.

However, when you win, it’s overwhelming. If a Dross Harvester hits, the wails of all of those dying and sacrificed Goblins is like music to your ears. Each scream of agony says,”Gain two life. Gain two life.”

Post-Sideboard: If they’re smart, they’re bringing in Sulfuric Vortex, knowing that you need to gain life to win the game. So, you have to bring in Wrench Mind. A third or fourth-turn Vortex will probably end your game right thar, right thar. You must resist the urge to switch out Terror or Vicious Hunger for Smother. Smother does not get Clickslither or Siege-Gang Commander. Terror does. Vicious Hunger gains you life. Believe it or not, it’s Dark Banishing that goes for the Wrench Minds. Remember, getting two Goblins with Wrench Mind is some kind of card advantage compared to using two cards to kill two of them. Plus, once in play, Goblins do all sorts of silly things like die to make other Goblins bigger or to deal damage to you. So, there’s a quality advantage, too. All in all, I’d say your supercilious fallacious card advantage number is somewhere along the lines of 18.97 when Wrench Mind hits two Goblins or a Goblin and Sulfuric Vortex. Of course, I could be simply making that number up. In fact, 78.2% of all numbers are just made up on the spot.

Second, the Wretched Anurids come out for Withered Wretches. The Anurid can quite likely kill you. The Wretch at least soaks up a Goblin or some damage. And, if it happens to be a Goblin Bidding version, well, bully for you, Nigel.

However, if you don’t think they’re bringing in Sulfuric Vortex, forget the Wrench Minds, and just swap the Anurids for Withered Wretches.

Blue-White and Mono-White Control – A Pain in Your Dross

Pre-Sideboard: The good news is that once a Dross Harvester hits play, Soldier tokens can’t block it. The bad news is that Wrath of God and Akroma’s Vengeance kill it deader than Ben Affleck’s career. You’ll also find that they can end your game with Decree of Justice, and they don’t even have to attack. All you need is a Wretched Anurid in play. Cycle a Decree for ten or twelve tokens. You lose ten or twelve life. Game over.

This matchup was much closer to 50/50 than Goblins, however, mostly because this deck can kill any big guys that hit play. The problem is those dadburn Soldier tokens.

Post-Sideboard: There are three keys to winning after you sideboard. First, you need to rip cards from their hands. So, you bring in Wrench Mind for the Vicious Hungers. U/W Control isn’t running anything against which the Hunger’s very good, anyway. Sure, you could throw it at their head, but if that’s gonna win you the game, you could probably just swing for the win. (Famous last words, huh?)

Query: Why no Cabal Interrogator? Because you also need discard against Goblins to hit Sulfuric Vortex, and the Interrogator dies a horrible, fiery death against Goblins. The stench is horrendous. Really. Just disgusting.

The second key to winning Game 2 (and 3, if it comes to that) is that you can not let the Dragon keep coming back. Drop the Withered Wretch into the main deck and lose the Anurid, which, not coincidentally, keeps you from losing life from the Decree tokens.

How to Play the Withered Wretch Properly: It’s time for more Magic game-play techniques, kiddies. Gather ’round. Comfy? Good. Now, is Withered Wretch a second-turn play? No! (That’s it.”I’m spent.”) Do not play the Wretch until you can take something with it. If they cycle a Dragon at the end of your second or third turn, play the Wretch the next turn, and then take the Dragon. Play it too early, and they will Wrath it away before cycling the Dragon. (The same goes for playing against Cabal Archon/Rotlung Reanimator/Oversold Cemetery/Unholy Grotto decks. Play the Wretch too early, and it will just be Smothered before it can do anything.)

The third key to victory is that you need to be able to kill Soldier tokens. Luckily, Wizards gave us cheapasstic playas a card called Wail of the Nim. (Go ahead. Look it up. I’ll still be here.) That comes in for three Lightning Greaves. Yes, without the Graves, your deck is now a bit slower. However, you need those Wails to kill the Soldiers. Plus, it’s not like you need to worry about them targeting your creatures. All of their removal is mass removal.

Affinity – No Brood for You

This match-up actually favors Suicide Black in the dozen or so games I played. You have to play it properly, though, and that was the tough thing to learn.

For example, you wanna play Dark Banishing on that Myr Enforcer so badly, don’t you? Don’t do it. I’m tellin’ ya. Just don’t do it. You need to save as much of the creature destruction as you can for Broodstar. Vicious Hunger is for Frogmite. Your big creatures are for stopping the Enforcer. You need to have your Terrors and Dark Banishings for the Broodstar. If they’re running more than four Mana Leaks (i.e. The Good Version), you will probably need two creature destruction spells for each Broodstar. You play Terror, they counter it, you play Dark Banishing. The bad times happen when you don’t have the mana to do that while they have Lightning Greaves out. Once they get Greaves on a Broodstar, the Grimclaw Bats become your best line of defense. Still, it’s a pretty good one. They leave themselves very open while getting no damage through if they swing with the ‘Star.

Post-Sideboard: Smother hits nothing in the Affinity deck, while Withered Wretch doesn’t add anything to the mix, either. The question then becomes are you facing the more controlling version or the beatdown version. If it’s the controlling version, the four Wrench Minds come in for the Warhammers and a Lightning Greaves. If it’s the beatdown version, the Wail of the Nim comes in for the Warhammers.

You see, it turns out that gaining life isn’t all that important in this matchup. You have to protect your creatures, though. If Grimclaw Bats is your defense against a 7/7 Broodstar, you can’t have it being bounced, can you? (In other words, always remember to get the Greaves onto the proper creature during your second main phase.)

Wail of the Nim is the MVP in the second and third games in this match-up. Regenerating all of your creatures is a sweet trick. Let’s say that it’s looking grim(claw) for you. They swing with the Broodstar and a Myr Enforcer. All you have is the Bats and a Nim Abomination. So, you block both the attackers. Then, you regenerate your gang. Next turn, you swing for the win, thanks to the Wail and the Bats’ ability. Yummy.

Red-Green Land Destruction – Just Not Fair

I’ll be honest. This deck rolled over to the R/G LD deck. After six games, I just quit to see if I could win with the sideboard. Nothing I tried worked. I have no idea how to beat this other than bringing in the Wrench Minds for the Warhammers and a Juggernaut, since you’ll most likely never see enough mana to play and Equip the ‘Hammers. Since, you’ll probably never see enough mana to play Juggs, either, you also might want to drop the other three Juggernauts for three Withered Wretches. None of that worked for me, though, as I proceeded to lose over half of the post-sideboard games, too. My next suggestion, then, is that you concede, and go get lunch. Stop by the bathroom, too.

White Weenie – Lurking in the Shadows

If you’re preparing for Regionals, you’d better be ready for White Weenie. It may not be on the radar right now but with both [author name="Nate Heiss"]Nate Heiss[/author] and me touting these, you can bet that many people will be playing them. Of course, this is like saying that the Aaron brothers, Tommie and Hank, have the most home runs by brothers in major league history with 768. Tommie hit thirteen while Hank hit 755. If a thousand people play White Weenie at Regionals, 998 will play because people like Nate wrote a piece, and two will play because I wrote one. One of those two will be me.

Essentially, there are going to be two versions of this as far as I’ve seen. One version will run small, efficient creatures with first strike (like White and Silver Knight) and/or flying (like Leonin Skyhunter) and Equipment like Bonesplitter and Skullclamp. The other will run Auriok Steelshaper, Leonin Shikari, and Knights and Soldiers. There is a difference in the builds, but they’re subtle. The former relies on simply laying creatures, some of which fly, and beating. The second plays only ground creatures and does some suh-weet tricks by moving Equipment around during combat.

The first one is a ton of trouble for this deck, because it often runs White Knight main deck. Yeah, mono-Black hates that. It also runs fliers. Grimclaw Bats can stop those, but it’s usually a simple one-for-one trade. A Leonin Skyhunter wearing a Bonesplitter is a 4/2 flier. To save a Bats, you’d need to pay four mana and four life. Won’t happen.

The second version turns out not to be much better. While you can block up stuff on the ground, they draw cards like mad.

So, here’s how you win: Dross Harvester wearing a Warhammer.”Gee, I thought that ‘protection from White’ thing on the Harvester was useless.” Hardly.

Post-Sideboard: This is another matchup in which the Anurid comes out. The White Weenie decks throws out too many critters for that guy to be useful. However, you won’t be bringing in the Withered Wretch. You’ll be bringing in Smother. You want to kill and crush any creature they drop, especially Leonin Skyhunter and the Shikari. Again, the key to winning here is the Dross Harvester. He can’t be Arrested, Pacified, or blocked by Whitey. Even better, every time one of those little weenies dies screaming, you gain two life.

The race is still between the Dross Harvester and the White Knight. As far as I’ve seen, whichever one is able to attack first wins the game for its controller. This is not to say that it’s the first one to hit the table. In several games, the White Knight hit first, but had to play defense for fear of a hasty Nim Abomination. So, it’s not the first one that hits but the first one that can start swinging recklessly.

A Rules Note on the Warhammer and White Knight So That You Don’t Get Hosed or Get Called for Cheating (A Pubic Service Announcement) – Your Nim Abomination is wearing a Loxodon Warhammer. In other words, it’s a 6/4, trampling, lifegaining beast (lower-case”b” there) of a thing. Your opponent blocks with a White Knight. Remember, the damage to the White Knight is prevented. So, you don’t gain life from that. You’d only gain four life. Just stay on your toes.

Black Decks – The Ones You Love to Hate and Hate to Love

Pre-Sideboard: Sadly, in Game 1, you’re holding eight dead cards in the Dark Banishings and Terrors. That doesn’t mean that you can’t win the first game. In fact, None More Black was just over 50% against Zombies. Clerics rolled it, though, if Dross Harvester didn’t hit. When it does, those darn Cabal Archon tricks and Rotlung stunts are wonderful. You’re gaining two life every time you turn around. Of course, you’re losing it back to the Archon. At least, you’re not losing any, though.

Post-Sideboard: Here’s where it gets good. You know that Dark Banishing and Terror are worthless against another Black deck. So, you bring in Smother. If they’re playing a deck that messes with their graveyard (and what Black deck isn’t now?), you bring in Withered Wretch. If they’re playing a more controlling version, the other four are Wrench Mind instead of the Wretch.

If you bring in the Wretch, you might also try a few games with dropping three Anurids for the Wail of the Nim. You can do some great tricks if you can regenerate your guys.

Oblivion Stone vs. Wail of the Nim – A lot of Black decks run Oblivion Stone. If you think they’re bringing that in, find room for the Wails. While all of their critters will go bye-bye (except for ones with fate counters on them), yours won’t. The O-Stone just says”destroy.” It doesn’t say they”can’t be regenerated.”

A Minor Rant on Magic Keywords – I wish they’d bring back the word”bury.” I loved that term. It was so much more evocative than”Destroy target creature. It can’t be regenerated.””Bury” said it all. Put it in the ground. Cover it with dirt. Absent a miracle, it’s gone forever. One word. Emerson and Thoreau would be so happy. [Ditto. – Knut, snappy with the comments today]

Elves – The Forgotten Tribe

Pre-Sideboard: Since I had my Elf deck out, I went ahead and tested this matchup. As usual, against any deck that can crank out a bunch of tokens, this is a very hard match for Suicide Black to win, thanks to the Wretched Anurid. Of the games I played pre-sideboard, Suicide Black lost two-thirds of the time. (As you probably surmised from that, we played six games with Elves winning four.)

Post-Sideboard: As seemed to happen a lot against the weenie rush decks, Wretched Anurid went bye-bye for the Withered Wretch. That was the easy part. Finding room for the Smothers is the tough part. The only thing we can even afford to lose is the Lightning Greaves. We can’t lose any more creatures. The Warhammer gets damage around the Insect tokens.

A Note on Playing Against Elves – Maybe you won’t face them. If you do, kill the Wirewood Symbiote first. If you don’t, all of your removal becomes moot. Yes, you really want the Wellwisher to go away. If you don’t kill the Symbiote, the Wellwisher will just be saved and come back to haunt you. Kill the Symbiote first. Remember the chestnut,”see Birds of Paradise, kill Birds of Paradise”? It’s still true. So is”see a Wirewood Symbiote, kill a Wirewood Symbiote.”

Using Chrome Mox – I played a version of this with Chrome Moxes in the place of three Swamps and a Polluted Delta. (Not real Chrome Moxes, though. Proxies of Chrome Moxes. Sharpies are wonderful things. They turn Shaleskin Bruisers into Chrome Moxes for fractions of a penny.) Using the Moxes is so fast it’s simply ugly. You can get a first-turn Lightning Greaves and follow that with a second-turn Dross Harvester or Nim Abomination that can swing that turn. Yeah, that’s good eatin’. It’s just a suggestion, though.

One Last Paragraph, This Regarding Barren Moor – It seems ungainly to have in this deck a land that comes into play tapped. However, if you’ll notice, this deck has no first-turn plays. Having a land come into play tapped isn’t such a big deal. Plus, sometimes, you’ll get to draw a card by cycling it.

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. If you have any suggestions on cheap Regionals decks or ones you’d like to see my take on, post something on the forums or send me an e-mail. Now, finish your homework and take a bath.

Chris Romeo

[email protected]