From Right Field: How To Do The Slide

My friend Josh Sharp had been working on an idea for using Tainted Aether in an Astral Slide deck. Gosh, wouldn’t that just hose up someone if you could somehow **cough** **Astral Slide** **cough** find a way to make their creatures leave and reenter play a lot?

One of the things that I enjoy doing is browsing at the used bookstore. Yeah, ya didn’t figure I actually read, didja? You figured, at best, Romeo reads comic books and magazine featuring scantily-clad ladies with names like Amber and Cindee. Well,”HA!” on you. I read books in addition to that other stuff.

Used bookstores are cool places to be. For one thing, the books themselves are cheap. Who cares if someone else has already read them – what, did the words fall off the pages? Not usually. And because of the nature of the beast that is used book stores, you can often find stuff that you’d never find or even think to look for in a”real” book store. And let’s not forget the earthy, hippie chicks that tend to hang out at used bookstores because”it’s better to reuse.” Oh, baby, please, reuse me!


My favorite thing about used bookstores, though, is reading inscriptions. I’m not talking about the ones that the authors make that show up inside each book after the title page. You know the ones:”To my darling Andrea, you’ve made it all possible.” **yawn** No, I’m talking about the ones that show that a book was once a gift. My imagination runs away with me when I see these. I wonder what inspired the inscriptions and why such precious mementos are now forgotten and discarded. Like this one, inside the front cover or Roy Blount, Jr.’s What Men Don’t Tell Women:


Here’s the answers to all your questions. – Bill

If you don’t know his writing, Roy Blount, Jr., is a Southern comedic writer. When I say this, I don’t mean Southern comedy like Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall. I mean like Lewis Grizzard and, well, Roy Blount, Jr. – meaning that this book isn’t really a manual on male – female relationships. So, what’s the story here? Was Bill giving this to his Honey because he really thought that it could explain to her things that he couldn’t? Did she appreciate Blount’s humor, and Bill knew this? Or did Bill just get tired of his lady asking,”Why do men do that?” And why did the book end up here for $1.50 (hardcover, no less)? Did Bill finally get fed up with the questions and leave his honey? Maybe Bill’s dead, and his honey didn’t want anything around that reminded her of him. I wonder…

Another dedication that got to me was this one inside a National Geographic book on Ancient Egypt:

To the Best Husband in the World,

Thank you for the most wonderful week of my life,

Love, Always,


Whoa. Heavy, man. Incredibly romantic. I’d like to assume that Rebecca’s husband took her to Egypt for a week and they rode horses around the Great Pyramids and ate picnics at an honest-to-goodness oasis. But wouldn’t they have their own pictures of that? Probably, but not as nice as the ones that the National Geographic photogs take. Of course, maybe they didn’t have any pictures at all. (Here’s the fun part of looking at these inscriptions.) Maybe they were on their second honeymoon. One evening, Rebecca’s husband led her blindfolded down to the banks of the Nile for a moonlit dinner. Just as they were about to start the second course, crocodiles began attacking them. Rebecca’s husband couldn’t find anything with which to fend them off except for his camera and camera bag. The first croc lunged, and he shoved his camera, zoom lens and all, into the beast’s mouth. The thing crawled away in pain when the camera shattered in its mouth. He used his bag like a bolo to beat back the other two creatures. Rebecca’s savior!

Unfortunately, all of the film was lost in saving his lady. So she bought him this book to remind him of their trip. (Of course, I also wonder why she had to put her name in there, too. In case he has another wife?)

You can spend hours doing this. And, it’s a great way to strike up conversations with the cute women who hang around in used bookstores.

BADGER: Thought we might have a bit of a sit down.

CAPT. REYNOLD: I prefer a bit of a piss off.

(FIREFLY, 11/01/02)

I’m bringing up my love of inscriptions because I like to know where stuff comes from. I like history. In Magic, we very rarely know exactly when a deck made its debut. Even the most famous decks are only famous because someone made them famous. For example, Jay Schneider created Frog in a Blender. We know this because it never got played until his article appeared on Brainburst.

Or did it?

How do we know that someone hadn’t been playing that very deck at a kitchen table somewhere before Jay let it out of the bag? Of course, we don’t. Part of the credit for inventorship is letting the world know that what you came up with is out there. This is the entire reason for patents and copyrights. You get exclusive rights (for a time) in your work, but ya gotta let the world know about it. If someone else comes up with it independently and files first, you lose.

Which brings me to Astral Slide decks. I’ve read a bunch of articles in the last two weeks, since Champs, where people either imply or directly say,”I invented the red/white Astral Slide/Lightning Rift deck.” First of all, I’m pretty sure from tracing the deck’s appearances that it showed up on e-League first. So we should give credit to whoever created that version.

It’s not like the deck is hard to see, though. It uses two uncommon cards from the same set that have complementary abilities. In other words, there could easily be multiple independent inventors of this deck. While not as easy to see as the Opalescence/Replenish combo – both of which were also printed in the same set, but were in the same colors – it does suggest itself. However, the e-League folks made it famous first, so they should get the credit.

I started thinking about all of this because my friend Josh Sharp had been working on an idea for using Tainted AEther in an Astral Slide deck. In case you don’t remember this little-used black enchantment from 7th Edition (and Urza’s), it makes a player sac a creature or land whenever a creature comes into play under his or her control.

(Note: Chris submitted this before Spencer Bogan’s article, and he is frantic for you all to know that – The Ferrett)

Gosh, wouldn’t that just hose up someone if you could somehow **cough** **Astral Slide** **cough** find a way to make their creatures leave and reenter play a lot?

I want to let the world know about it so that Josh gets the credit. (All I did was change the mana and three cards.) He says he doesn’t care about any credit. And I believe him; he’s a pretty humble guy. But I still think it’s only fair. Someday soon, someone will be winning with this deck, and I want Josh to get the royalties.

What’s that? Excuse me just a second. I’ll be right back . . . .

Well, I’ve just been informed by Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, The DCI, and all of their attorneys that you don’t get royalties for creating a deck. Decklists are considered public domain. Apparently, all you get when someone wins a tournament with a deck that you created is a Warm, Fuzzy Feeling. Yeah, thanks. Too bad you can’t pay any bills with warm, fuzzy feelings. Oh, well. We play this game for the fun and glory, not the loot, right? Right?

Back to the deck. Be warned: this deck has several rares in it. Two of them, Wrath of God and Aladdin’s Ring, are what I consider staple rares. If you don’t have ’em, go get ’em. Two others, Akroma’s Vengeance and Undead Gladiator, are from Onslaught. Of the two, I have only found the Gladiator to be expensive. You know what, though? He’s worth it. The ability to continually recycle him is just a game winner. And, of course, Tainted Aether, which should also be cheap… Until this deck blows up like The Hindenburg, that is.

So I now present to you:

Tainted Slide (by Josh Sharp with minor suggestions from Chris Romeo)


4 Barren Moor

8 Swamp

4 Secluded Steppe

8 Plains


4 Undead Gladiator


4 Wrath of God

2 Akroma’s Vengeance

4 Renewed Faith

4 Swat

4 Chainer’s Edict

1 Caustic Tar

1 Aladdin’s Ring

2 Fade from Memory

2 Cleansing Meditation

4 Astral Slide

4 Tainted AEther

[NAMING NOTE: I really, really wanted to call this”Hershey Avenue” since that would be a very tainted slide indeed. But I don’t think Josh would be too keen on such a disgusting reference. So, I’m just calling it Tainted Slide. Feel free, however, to write”Hershey Avenue” on your decklist when you play this at your next tourney.]

BADGER: You think you’re better ‘an other people.

CAPT. REYNOLDS: Just the ones I’m better than.

(FIREFLY, 11/01/02)

Tainted Slide plays much like the red/white version with Lightning Rift, except for one big difference: The Tainted AEther makes it impossible to play with Teroh’s Faithful as a way to jack up your life totals. With Tainted AEther out, you can’t be Sliding your own critters in and out of play all willy-nilly. (Yeah, I used”willy-nilly” in a Magic article. Wanna make something of it? I didn’t think so.) This makes it harder to play than other versions because you can’t be cavalier about your life. Luckily, there is a lot of creature control.

The most controversial card is Cleansing Meditation. This is in here to wipe away opposing enchantments while keeping yours. You usually have threshold very quickly, so Cleansing Meditation should never destroy your own enchantments… But as expected, many folks have called it a dead card. I disagree. With so many decks packing enchantments right now, this is a way to make sure that you’re not just conceding game one. And if they don’t have enchantments, well, it can be pitched to bring back Undead Gladiator, thankyouverymuch.

This deck’s worst match-up by far has been Goblin decks. Other creature decks can swarm Tainted Slide and drop your life total pretty low, but Tainted Slide recovers quickly. It Wraths away the creature horde and then starts gaining enough life to survive until the lock gets set. Goblins, however, are different breed (as usual). They pack burn, too, something that Elves don’t do. So, by the time that Tainted AEther becomes an issue, the Goblin player just holds back the critters and chucks burn at your face. This is easily taken care of by switching out Teroh’s Faithful for the Tainted AEthers in game two.

I don’t normally suggest sideboards, because so much is dependent on the local metagame… But you should probably have Teroh’s Faithful, as discussed above, and Disenchant, just in case you see any nasty artifacts, since Cleansing Meditation can’t take care of those. Speaking of enchantments, don’t forget Circle of Protection: Red and Circle of Protection: Black as well as Sacred Ground if Braids or land destruction is showing up in your area.

I would also pack Morningtide in the sideboard, both as anti-Haunting Echoes tech and to keep pesky Psychatogs from being too troublesome. In fact, some people might even suggest that you drop the two Fade from Memory, since the deck has plenty of cycling cards even without that one, and put in two maindeck Morningtides. It just depends on what you’re comfortable with. Be careful, though, about the interaction between Morningtide and Undead Gladiator.

As for black sideboard cards, you probably want to try Haunting Echoes. You’re going to be getting a lot of stuff into your opponent’s graveyard. Why not wreck them while you’re at it? Or, you could go another route, one preferred by my pal Charles, and use Guiltfeeder. He gets around Circle of Protection: Black in a huge way. And, while we’re on black, you can’t forget Rancid Earth.

Finally, with so many decks gaining life lately (e.g., Astral Slide with Renewed Faith and Exalted Angel, mono-black control with Corrupt, yo’ momma with me), False Cure could be nasty out of the ‘board. If they Corrupt you for seven, they end up losing seven instead of gaining seven. Ouch.

Okay, so I just suggested 41 cards for your sideboard. Obviously, you’ll need to figure out exactly what you need for the decks that you regularly see and cut it down to fifteen. Have fun!

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Hey, does anyone have change for a ten?

Chris Romeo

[email protected]