If you read this column frequently – and everyone involved hopes that you do – you know that I like to build and play my own decks. Sometimes the deck is a serious venture that I truly believe can win a tournament here and there… If a more talented deckbuilder or player gets their hands on it. Other decks are purely fun, like the one this piece is about. It’s annoying to play against. If you accidentally win with it, expect your opponent to be very mad.
Why? Because today we’ll be attacking with walls.
“But, wait,” you scream.”Walls can’t attack!” You know this because (a) you know the rules, and (b) there’s reminder text on walls that says,”Walls can’t attack.”
They can if you play with Rolling Stones, though.
In case you’re not up on your obscure, 7th Edition white rares, Rolling Stones is an enchantment that costs 1W and allows walls to attack as though they were not walls. And, while this is a rare, you can currently get them on StarCity for a mere $1.00 each – even if you want to get the original Stronghold version.
Of course, you have to have some good walls with which to attack, or the whole reason for the deck is lost. Luckily, we have some really nice walls right now…. Assuming they can attack.
First, though, let’s set the wayback machine to two weeks ago last Tuesday. I was inspired to look more closely at walls when I got not one but two Wall of Mulchs (one foil) in a draft. All I could think was,”Man, I can’t wait until 8th Edition comes out and Vine Trellis is legal in Standard again.” Yes, next Fall, I will be building a mono-green deck with eight walls in it… But that’s ten months into the future.
Right now or, rather, back a couple of weeks ago I kept looking for good walls to complement Wall of Mulch. If you’re going to use a wall that allows you to sac a wall to draw a card, you want more than just four walls in the deck – am I right, ladies? Interestingly, green has no other walls that are legal in Standard right now, so I knew I’d have to add another color. Since Rolling Stones is white, it made white the obvious choice.
The question then became: should I go with a third color? After noticing that blue has some decent walls (Glacial Wall, Wall of Air, Wall of Wonder) and that red has a wall that has Firebreathing (Wall of Fire), I thought about it for a short while… But I realized that three colors would require too much mana fixing and too many rare painlands.
Besides, white has the best walls. For example, there’s Sunweb. This puppy is a 5/6 flier for only 3W. StarCity charges a whopping $1.50 for the 7th Edition version and an outrageous $1.00 for the 6th Edition or Mirage Versions. (Go for the original, Mirage version. Originals always look better when you’re playing in a tournament.) The drawback with Sunweb is that it can’t block creatures with power of 2 or less. Too bad.
Another flying white wall is Wall of Swords. It’s a 3/5 flier for 3W with no blocking drawbacks. Onslaught gives us Crude Rampart, another 3W wall. This one is a 4/5 with Morph. So we can attack with it come heck or high water.
Of course, other than Wall of Mulch, we’re looking at a bunch of four-casting-cost walls. So, we need to look at some smaller stuff. The lowest casting cost wall is actually an enchantment. Testament of Faith only takes W to get it into play and can become as big as the mana you can afford to spend. White also has a nice 2-cc flying wall in Angelic Wall. Finally, Wall of Spears is a 2/3 first striking wall that’s also an artifact.
Of course, that would give us seven walls. Twenty-eight creatures that”can’t attack” are just too much – and as much as I’d like the Crude Rampart for its Morph ability, it just feels like that one needs to go. Our other 4-cc walls can fly. I like that much better.
So, now we need some support spells. We need 24 lands: That leaves us twelve support spells. Four of those are Rolling Stones. But what to do with those other eight slots? We need some removal. My favorite non-rare removal spell is Reprisal; Wrath of God would also be nice. If you got ’em, smoke ’em. Testament of Faith survives Wrath. I’d also like a growth spell for when my walls do get to attack. While Giant Growth seems obvious, the trample and Flashback on Sylvan Might are making it my growth spell of choice in the last few months.
Which brings us to the decklist. When Walls Attack is obviously a name for a sweeps month special on Fox. So, I think I’ll call this:
Patently Obvious Ratings Plow
[MANA NOTE: If you have Windswept Heaths and/or Sungrass Prairies, use them. But don’t go out and buy them just for this deck. No need to spend more money on the lands than the spells now, is there?]
Is this fragile or what? A couple of well-placed Disenchants or Counterspells and your walls can’t attack. But, you know what? You can clog things up very well with those walls. Therefore, one of three things will happen with this deck:
- YOU WILL GET ROLLED. Expect this one early and often. This deck is the Houston Texans of Magic. Fun to watch. Fun to root for. Good-lookin’, young stud at the helm. Ultimately, doomed to finish under .500.
- YOU WILL STALL OUT GAMES. This will happen if your Rolling Stones get blown up or never hit the board. Many times, you’ll be able to simply clog things up. Short of direct damage, your opponent won’t be able to kill you. If they draw more cards than you do, you’ll win; or
- YOU WILL WIN. If you do, people will be proud of you. Women will clamor to be near you. Men will want to be like you. Hey, even the Texans have won a couple.
I know. I know. That wasn’t very long. And not very funny. It’s been a long, bad week for me so far. Money issues again. If anyone has any extra money, please, send it to Mr. The Ferrett, and he’ll get it to me. In order to make this a little longer, I now bring you some issues affecting the Magic community.
Magic: The Shuffling
A lot has been made recently about shuffling and randomizing your deck. Many people have asked me for help on this because I’m very good at shuffling. In fact, I’m so good that I’m often asked to be a sort of designated shuffler at tournaments. Yes, I’m so good that I can even do tricks. You want two Counterspells, three lands, and a Nightscape Familiar in your opening hand? Done. (I fully believe that the whole issue of sleeves on cards started not to keep us from knowing which older or newer cards were coming up next in our decks, but to keep people like me from being able to shuffle my unsleeved deck into a stacked one.) [Obviously, however, I don’t use this ability – or I’d win a whole heck of a lot more than I actually do.]
Because of all of the talk on the net recently about shuffling and randomizing and the facts that I can shuffle like nobody’s business and that I have an electrical engineering degree, I have been asked to weigh in on this issue. To me, it’s a very simple confluence of physics, algebra, and phrenology that is expressed in this simple and elegant equation:
N = [(C * R) / T] / (S/KB)
Where N is the number of times you need to shuffle, C is the number of cards in your deck, R is your rating, T is the time left (in seconds) before the round ends, S is the variable Sleaze Factor (how badly, on a scale from 0 to 10, you want to win by stalling), and KB is Kai Budde current rating for the format in which you’re playing.
From this, we can see that the best way to shuffle is to take roughly half of your deck in your left hand and the rest in your right. Make sure they’re comfortable. Now, throw the cards across the room. Then, pick them up. They will be fully randomized. Stephen Hawking said so.
Magic: The Joking
Speaking of Kai Budde, he was recently playing against famed mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes in the finals at Grand Prix: Saskatchewan, but things didn’t get too far. They rolled to see who went first, and Descartes won the roll. Since the format was draft, Budde thought that Descartes might actually want to draw first. So, Kai asked Rene,”Do you want to play first?” Descartes contemplated this for a few seconds before answering,”I think not.” Then, **poof** Descartes was gone.
Magic: The Wanting
For those or you who are art lovers, I have amended my list of hottest Magic babes. Akroma is now on the post-Mirage list. Check out this shot from Pacifism:
“Oh, whatever shall I do with all these big, strong men attacking my troops? Oh, look, they’re all just staring at me. I guess I win again. **tee hee**”
Magic: The Listing
In case anyone was planning on getting me anything for Christmas, my list follows in no particular order. As I stated above, send them to Mr. The Ferrett. He’ll make sure I get them:
- Four of each of the Onslaught fetch lands
- The new David Baerwald CD, Here Comes the New Folk Underground
- The complete first season of Babylon 5 on DVD
- Four Exalted Angels
- A 27″ or larger TV with separate video-in jacks so that I can hook up my PlayStation II as a DVD player
- World peace
- Four Grinning Demons
- The name and phone number of the woman who modeled for Shelter – or, alternately, Christopher Moeller’s phone number so that I can ask him
Magic: The Bonding
There seems to be a great, big backlash against James Bond this time around, and I don’t really know why. But before I get any deeper into this, I think you need to know my biases. I love the James Bond franchise. I even thought Timothy Dalton was a good Bond. (It wasn’t his fault that the producers decided that his tenure would be when Bond would begin to get more”real” and fight drug lords and such. Let the FBI fight drug lords! Bond is supposed to fight megalomaniacal billionaires bent on world domination. In other words, Dalton was good; the scripts stunk.) My family is full of Bond nuts. For the past couple of decades, the new Bond film has been released around my Mother’s birthday. So we take a big family outing to see the premiere.
For Die Another Day, there seems to be more venom pointed at Bond than ever.”It’s formulaic.””Pierce Brosnan sucks as Bond.””Die Another Day is awful.” Going backwards: I disagree; I disagree vehemently; and I agree, but that’s part of the charm.
Sure, Bond is formulaic: That’s what you want from Bond. You have an opening prologue that involves some great chase and an explosion or two. This prologue may or may not end up having something to do with the rest of the movie. Then, Bond gets called into M’s office for his assignment. Before heading out on said assignment, Bond has to stop by and see Q for his new gadgets. Bond then heads to some exotic clime where he meets up with various informants, at least one of whom is always a babe, and bad guys. Bond gets into trouble. He gets out of trouble. There is a chase of some sort. Bond gets out of a trap, usually with the help of one of Q’s gadgets, and saves the world. The bad guy loses. Bond ends up with the babe.
I love that formula. Don’t change it. Please.
So telling me that it’s formulaic isn’t going to get me to stop seeing them. Change that formula and you change the charm of Bond. (See the Dalton digression above.)
But to say that Brosnan isn’t a good Bond is simply silly. Pierce Brosnan is almost as good as Sean Connery was. He’s not Bond Lite, like Roger Moore. He has that great impishness, and he’s very comfortable in the role. What I like best about Brosnan as Bond is that he has an edge. Bond’s lack of fear for his own well-being (a death wish, maybe?) is palpable with Brosnan. If the next Bond movie is as good as the last four, I’ll be ready to declare Brosnan to be The Best Bond Ever.
Speaking of which, Die Another Day is the best Bond film since Goldeneye. It has what may be the best chase scene in any Bond film with cars sliding around on a frozen lake. (I rank it up there with the tank chase in Goldeneye.) And it has Bond’s first ever sword fight. The story is tight and easy to follow. There are no weak,”Save me, James!” women in this one. And the bad guys are the kind that you want Bond to face: charismatic; brilliant; and out of their friggin’ minds.
If you just don’t like James Bond, that’s fine. But I have a feeling that, if you just don’t like James Bond, you didn’t see the movie. People often echo another person’s criticism of a book, movie, CD, or TV. show without having ever experienced it. In the business, we called that bullcrit.”I heard that the new Harrison Ford film was really good.””That Uncle Tupelo compilation stinks… According to Spin.” That’s bullcrit.
If you like James Bond, go see Die Another Day. You won’t be disappointed.
Oh, yeah – by the way, Halle Berry is hot.
Okay, that should be long enough to qualify as a full column – even if half of it is shameless shilling for Christmas gifts. But giving is better than receiving, right? Remember, I may want four Grinning Demons, but they don’t all have to come from you. You could send just one, and someone else could send another. Soon, I’d have four.
As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Please, hang around for my closing act, The Rolling Stones.