From Right Field: Quick Hits — The (Mostly) RBC Edition, Volume 1

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Sometimes, I just have a bunch or random thoughts floating around in my head. It’s part of the problem with being borderline AADD. I can’t really expand any of them into an entire article. So, I’ve collected them, hoping that together they can make up a column. We’ll see…

{From Right Field is a column for Magic players on a budget or players who don’t want to play netdecks. The decks are designed to let the budget-conscious player be competitive in local, Saturday tournaments. They are not decks that will qualify a player for The Pro Tour. As such, the decks written about in this column are, almost by necessity, rogue decks. They contain, at most, eight to twelve 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 Dark Confidant, Sacred Foundry, or Birds of Paradise. The decks are also tested by the author, who isn’t very good at playing Magic. He will never claim that a deck has an 85% winning percentage against the entire field. He will also let you know when the decks are just plain lousy. Readers should never consider these decks "set in stone" or "done." If you think you can change some cards to make them better, well, you probably can, and the author encourages you to do so.}

Sometimes, I just have a bunch or random thoughts floating around in my head. It’s part of the problem with being borderline AADD. I can’t really expand any of them into an entire article. So, I’ve collected them, hoping that together they can make up a column. We’ll see.

* Is it ironic or just moronic that the Guildpact rare of which I own the most copies is Leyline of Singularity? I blame Luanne. (More on that later.)

* Why hasn’t anyone broken Eye of the Storm yet? Whenever I face that thing online, it wrecks me unless I have Enchantment destruction in hand when it hits. I fully expect to see someone use this to win a big tournament, followed closely by everybody in your local store playing it the next weekend and saying things like “I’ve been playing this for months.” I expect that it will be a deck with – yes, really – Stitch in Time that does it.

* I’m ambivalent about Coldsnap. I know that I’m on record as saying that I don’t want it to be Standard legal (I honestly don’t care about the other formats), but that’s for purely selfish, economic reasons. The little kid in me, the one who still wakes up at 4am on Christmas morning even though I’ll be forty next week, can’t wait to see what new toys I get to play with. Truly, Magic is cardboard crack, and Hasbro is my pusher.

* Speaking of Coldsnap, even though the story is set on a world engulfed in perpetual Winter, I’ll bet there will be many cards featuring art with scantily-clad women. Kinda like all of the lingerie babes on Mirrodin. Personally, if I lived in a forest where all of the leaves and low-lying tree limbs were made of metal, I’d wear a whole lot more than Glissa and Eternal Witness wore. Of course, I have a low threshold for pain.

* I’m still confused about something, and not one single person has been able to straighten me out on this. Why does anyone care if, during a Magic Online casual game, the opponent stops playing or concedes? Both actions seem to draw an equal amount of ire. “Joe Blow just conceded to me three turns into the game!” In this case, aren’t you really just bragging that someone conceded to you that quickly? Is it possible that someone who informs all of the MTGO community of such a fact might be (gasp!) an *sshole to whom conceding would be a better alternative than finishing out a game? Or maybe the game was already a foregone conclusion with no need to continue? I mean, in real life, if I have no way to win, I concede. Gives me time to empty my bladder before the next game.

* The other “problem” is when someone simply stops playing. People don’t seem to grasp the concept that they can concede and move on. Sure, technically, when you concede, you lose the game. Guess what? It’s the Casual Decks room. No one cares if you won or lost. It affects nothing but your ego. However, we do care that you’re whining about BreastLover44DD leaving you hanging in the middle of turn. Just quit the game, and move on to another one.

* Speaking of Magic: The Gathering Online, I realized this weekend that I have a much better Ravnica Block collection online than in real life. For example, I have one Azorius Herald, an uncommon, in actual, tangible, paper form. I have a full set of four online. I guess my transformation is complete. I’m an online junkie now, and I know it. I wish it wasn’t true, but there’s simply no place around here to get a reliable, weekly tournament going. Or, rather, there’s no place that understands the adult need to have Saturday evening to be with loved ones and friends who don’t play Magic. *sigh* I miss the “olden days” of 2000 when I knew I could find a draft on Thursday night and a tournament on Saturday at Noon, leaving me enough time, even if I made the finals, to have a good time on Saturday night.

* The exception to this is the dual/Shock lands. My real life collection of Ravnica Block rare lands is much better than my online one, but there are two good reasons for that. First, as a good budget player should do, I’ve been saving money from my allowance to buy them. (Yes, kids, sorry to tell you, but you’ll probably have an allowance even after you get married. It may be even more important to have an allowance as an adult than when you’re living at home and have no other financial responsibilities.) Second, Luanne is a goddess when it comes to pulling great rares. In seventeen Dissension packs she’s opened, she’s pulled three Blood Crypts for me. (She’s also pulled a Simic Sky Swallower.) This is Reason #1028 why I love her.

It doesn’t work when she tries, though. She’s also pulled five of the seven Leyline of Singularities than I own.

* Does anyone other than me actually play – in tournaments – any of the decks that I talk about in this column? Even if they’re greatly modified, I don’t care. I just want to know. Has anyone, for instance, tried the Halcyon Glaze deck? Just curious.

* I wonder why Wizards won’t create and sanction some budget formats. They’ve created a whole tournament scene online for the Momir avatar (called Momir BASIC). Those tournaments cost actual tickets to play in, too. In other words, pure profit for Hasbro. Why not bring some other folks out of the woodwork with some new, budget formats? For years, I’ve been pimping a format (for which I can’t find a decently cute name) in which the deck construction would mirror, on the rare and uncommon level, the booster packs. For example, one out of every fifteen cards in a booster pack is a rare. So, in a sixty-card deck with a fifteen-card sideboard, you could run up to five rares. Uncommons are three out of fifteen cards in a pack. You could have fifteen uncommons in your deck with sideboard. Obviously, if you wanted to use fewer uncommons or rares, you could fill those spaces with as many commons as you need. In other words, commons are unlimited.

Also, in the case of reprinted cards, instead of using the lowest possible rarity, a card would be rated on whatever its most recent rarity is. For example, next Summer, Hurricane will be back in 10th Edition. Presumably, it will be a rare again as it was in 7th Edition. Hurricane, however, has been printed as an uncommon. If you were to play this format after 10th Edition came out, Hurricane would be a rare. Remember, if the purpose is to bring in new folks, you want to look at what they can get their hands on right now, not a card’s rarity from four years before they started playing the game.

Imagine how many more people would feel comfortable coming out and joining the tournament scene if they didn’t have to worry about losing every round because the other guy simply had more high-powered rares.

* I do know the terms “pauper” and “peasant.” I also know that they mean different things to different people. That’s why I don’t want my new format to use either of them. It needs a new name so that people don’t bring preconceived notions to the table (so to speak). “My friend taught me Peasant Magic. He uses this many rares and uncommons.” The name needs to be new to the Magic scene so that it has its own meaning. It needs a name like Miser. Miser Standard or Miser Extended. That would be cool.

* I’m still sick of the way people equate “best” with “most” in Magic decks or, to be honest, almost any aspect of life. In his 2006 Regionals wrap-up, Mike Flores wrote: "Far and away the best deck of Regionals 2006 was Ghost Husk, sporting the most number of Top 8 appearances and about twice the number of invitations as the next best deck, Gruul Beats." I don’t want anyone to think that I’m picking on poor Mike Flores. He’s both prolific and revered. The biggest targets are easiest to hit, after all, and so a lot of people take potshots at him. That’s not what I’m doing. I rarely disagree with him (because if I did, I’d look like a bigger fool than I already do), and I devour everything he writes in a feeble attempt to get better at this game. Also, I don’t want The Krewe of Flores to come “have a talk wit’ you,” if you know what I mean. I’m using this quote only because it’s the most concise expression of the idea that most folks have about what constitutes the “best” deck. (What a shock. Mike Flores writing the most concise expression of something regarding Magic. Go figure.)

In my opinion, best-and-most and better-and-more do not necessarily equate. One deck is not better than another simply because more people use the former to make Top 8 than use the latter. If more equated to better, then Andy Gibb was better than Jimi Hendrix because Gibb had more Billboard Top 40 hits than Hendrix did. (Gibb also had more number one hits than Hendrix, but that’s just overkill, innit?)

* The question should not be raw numbers but percentages. What percentage of players played a certain deck? Did the number of players making the Top 8 with that deck appear inordinate compared to the number playing it? Let’s say one person in a field of 128 played a certain deck, and that one person made the Top 8. That may be a great deck.

On the flip side, if half of the field played a certain deck but only two made the Top 8, even if it was the only deck with more than one copy in the Top 8, that’s not a very good showing. If a deck comprised half of the field, an average performance for that deck would be four of the Top 8 slots. Two would be well below average for it.

However, in the most-is-best world, if it was the only deck with two copies in the Top 8, it would be the best. That’s just not right.

* The biggest problem with this most-equals-best mindset is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here’s what happens… Some folks do really well with a deck. People hear about it. More people play it rather than coming up with their own decks. It wins more than any other deck, so it must be the best. People talk about it being the best. People start believing that it’s the best deck because it’s won more than any other deck. People don’t try to make anything else because the best deck has been found. If the ultimate has been discovered, no need to explore any more, is there? The loser in all of this? Creativity.

* Now that all of the Guilds of Ravnica are released and I’ve had a chance to play a bit with each, I think I’ve decided that Dredge is the best mechanic but Transmute is my favorite. Dredge is so simply abused, especially with the creatures (and a few other spells) that they gave us. However, I like being able to Tutor for anything I want. I’ve never owned a Vampiric Tutor. Diabolic Tutor is pretty good. Transmute, though, gives you so many tools that it’s silly. Heck, Derrick Sheets made the Top 8 of Tennessee State Champs in 2005 with a Battle of Wits deck that used Dimir House Guard as a way to get Diabolic Tutor (which could get the BoW) and Brainspoil to get Battle of Wits. If Transmute means that Battle of Wits is a championship-caliber deck, then Transmute is awesome.

* Speaking of the Ravnica Block Guilds, I tip my hat to the Wizards R&D folks for the Guildmages. I have a few of the Mirage GMs, and, of course, I played with the Invasion Block Apprentices. The Ravnica Block Guildmages, though, take the cake for elegance and efficiency. Every time I look at one, I think it’s the best one. The Azorius GM, for example, can stop all sorts of silliness. Sacrificing a creature to Greater Good? Well, it’s sacrificed, but you’re not drawing cards. Using Sunforger’s ability? Sadly, it will be unattached (since that’s part of the cost of the activated ability), but you get no soup. Wanna use it again? You’ll have to re-attach it. Not enough mana this turn? So sorry. As my Magic 8 Ball says, “Try again later.”

Of course, Simic Guildmage is nuts, especially with Doubling Season out. That’s right. With Doubling Season, you move one +1/+1 counter off a creature, but you get two on the other. Why, it’s *tee hee* Magic. Then, there’s the Aura-moving ability. Just move that Faith’s Fetters from your Scaled Wurm onto your Vigean Hydropon, and get back to beating for seven.

I probably don’t need to express my love for the Rakdos Guildmage since I modified my Goblin-Blood Moon deck in order to use just one of its abilities and then ran that deck at Regionals. I don’t need to, but I will. Again, even if all you’re looking at is the Red ability, the Rakdos Guildmage allows a Red mage to do something that he’s never really been able to do in a Mono-Red Weenie deck: hold onto cards. If you have enough mana to use that Red ability, do it. Hold the cards in your hand unless you really need them. Heck, you’re making a 2/1 (or 3/2 or 4/3, depending on how many Goblin Kings you have in play) Goblin with Haste for four mana. He might even be unblockable. Unless that card in your hand ends the game, hold it. Red holding cards. Who woulda thunk it? (Please, don’t mention Cursed Scroll. I’m not talking about silly, broken artifacts. I’m talking about Red.)

* Is Cloudstone Curio good with Graft? I dunno. That’s why I’m asking. I’m Curio-us. *giggle*

* I’ve been looking at the Bronze Bombshell – not just ‘cause she’s a bombshell, either – and wondering if you could do anything good with her. What if you teamed her up with Spawnbroker? I’ll cast the ‘Broker. When it hits, I’ll take your Grizzly Bears, and you take my Bombshell. You take seven damage, and lose a creature. In the meantime, I’ve beat beating with an efficient four-power creature that cost four mana. Pipe dream? Probably. Will it stop me from trying? Of course not.

* When Gift of Estates was reprinted in 9th Edition, I was stoked. That card just screamed to be used in a White Weenie deck. I could run it in a deck that only needed three or four lands to hum along. My opponent would surely have more than that. I could really thin the deck out. If Rampant Growth is good because it gets one land, Gift of Estates should be better. So, why isn’t it being used? Is it because it’s White? What about the fact that it can be used to get Sacred Foundry, Temple Garden, and Godless Shrine all at the same time? Still too White?

* Karl Allen was thinking about this one, and I want to embarrass him. How about Summer Bloom with the Karoo lands from Ravnica Block. On turn 3, for example, tap two basic lands to play Summer Bloom. (Yes, it’s currently Standard legal.) Put a Karoo land into play – say Golgari Rot Farm – as your regular, rules-allowed land for the turn. Bring back one of the tapped basic lands. Play the basic land. (That’s extra land number one for the turn.) Drop a second Karoo land into play, say Gruul Turf. (That’s your second extra land for the turn). Bring back the other tapped basic that you used for your Summer Bloom. Replay that basic land. (That’s your third extra land.) You still have you original two basic lands untapped plus two Karoo lands. I think that Vinelasher Kudzu might like this.

* Speaking of the Ravnica Block “Karoo” lands, isn’t Tendo Ice Bridge pretty great with those?

* I fear that Ravnica Block Constructed will simply be a race to the first Glare of Subdual or a race between the Glare and Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree on one side of the board and Burning-Tree Shaman on the other. Even though my columns and decks don’t always reflect it (since I’m more focused on exploring and creativity than winning The Next Big Tournament), I really do know what the powerful cards are and (mostly) how they work. Glare and the BTS are going to be two powerhouses in RBC. You have to be able to deal with them right away. I would even go so far as to say that, if your deck’s colors support it, you should have main deck Enchantment removal. Not only is there Glare, but you’ll also certainly face Faith’s Fetters. Debtors’ Knell, Dovescape, and maybe even some Leylines will show up, too. Be ready.

* Black and White may be the best “hand grenade” (as in rock-paper-scissors-hand grenade) combination in the Block. Between Mortify, Faith’s Fetters (which does actually stop Glare of Subdual from working), and other creature and Enchantment kill, B/W is set to throw a monkey wrench into the works for both Glare and Burning-Tree Shaman.

Please, don’t ask where Dark Confidant is. He’s curled up in the fetal position in a dark Corner of Orzhova, the Church of Deals, muttering something about “Debtors’ Knell and Skeletal Vampire on consecutive turns.” As for the name, ask Talen Lee.

* The Orzhov Guild has another card that should be making a big splash right now but hasn’t yet. I expect to see it come up big during Block season. It’s such a great card that it will certainly be in the sideboard of decks like this one and may even migrate to the maindeck, especially if Weenie and Suicide Black (driven by Dark Confidant) decks become the rage, kinda like they did last Summer. That card is Culling Sun, and, if you like B/W but don’t have four copies yet, get them now.

* You may be wondering why this is the first time that I’ve suggested four copies of Debtors’ Knell in a deck. Normally, I’ve been saying all you want to run is three because the casting cost is so high that you don’t want one in your opening hand or the first four or five draws. While that’s all still true, this deck does have a bit of Dredge with the Stinkweed Imp. The first time that I Dredged two Knells at the same time, I decided that there needed to be four Debtor’s Knells in here. (That’s why there’s only three Belfry Spirits.)

* Some people ask me about more expensive versions of deck I throw out on this here site here. Certain additions are obvious. “Hey, Romeo. In that R/G deck you wrote about, if I have Karplusan Forests and Stomping Grounds, should I use them?” Should you use, in a Red and Green deck, lands that can produce either Red or Green mana? Of course not! Why would you even suggest such a thing?!

Obviously, a multi-colored deck can utilize any of the right dual lands that you can get your hands on. I just don’t suggest them much because of the monetary cost, although I am starting to use the Ravnica duals more since they’re been out long enough for the budget players to have started picking up the ones they like (Guildpact duals will show up soon).

Other cards, in many cases, are tougher calls though. Think about Ghost Council of Orzhova in the B/W deck above there. We all know how powerful that card is, especially when you give it tokens to gobble up. (Whenever I think about sacrificing a token to the Ghost Council, I think of Jabba the Hutt eating those lizard things while watching the pod race in Star Wars: Episode One – Return of the Cash Machine.) Anyway, it seems like an easy inclusion. In fact, it may be. However, for every Bat token that you sac to the Ghost Council, that’s one that can’t be sacced to the Skeletal Vampire. Is the trade worth it? It could be. You’d have to test it first. That’s the thing. Even with these budget decks, you should test your changes. Except in easy cases (like adding dual lands to two-colored decks), it’s pretty hard to simply throw in a card. You need to know what’s coming out and how it affects the deck.

* Having said that, I’m gonna backpedal like Willie Mays chasing down a fly ball in the depths of The Polo Grounds. Or, for you young whippersnappers, like Steve Smith grabbing one of Jake Delhomme’s errant passes. I tried it, and, if you have Ghost Councils, I would put them in this deck in the place of the Absolver Thrulls, a Stinkweed Imp, and a Last Gasp. The synergy among the Ghost Council, Skeletal Vampire, and Debtors’ Knell is too great to ignore. Just in case you don’t see it or don’t feel like working for it, you can sacrifice the Vampire to the Ghost Council then bring back the Vampire during your next upkeep using the Knell. This, in turn, gives you more tokens. Both the Vampire and the Ghost Council love extra tokens.

* Yes, as a matter of fact, from now on, every one of my Black and/or White decks will have Debtors’ Knell, thank you very much.

* It seems that the world finally agrees with me on something. I’ve been saying that U/R Wildfire/Magnivore – in whatever version you want to run it – is one of the two toughest decks to beat (along with Heartbeat Combo decks). Now, it seems that everyone agrees. Funny thing is, going back to the whole most-equals-best thing, this consensus only seems to have formed after lotsa Regionals and Pro Tour results. I don’t think that was necessary. All you had to do is look at the fact that this deck can deny lands starting on turn 2 via eye of Nowhere and Boomerang, and do so every turn until Wildfire on turn 6 (or 5 with a Signet). Then the deck gets really scary.

* Interestingly, simply because significantly fewer people played it at Regionals, Heartbeat is no longer a good deck. You see, it didn’t win as much at Regionals as many expected, so it’s no good anymore. I don’t get it. Nothing has come along that beats it any more consistently than anything did before Regionals. But here’s that self-fulfilling prophecy in reverse (i.e., if more equals better, then fewer equals worse). The deck was huge before U.S. Regionals but posted a much lower win count at Regionals than was expected of it. Conclusion: it’s not very good anymore. If it’s not very good anymore, fewer people will play it. If fewer people play it, it will win fewer tournaments. Fewer equals worse. Therefore, Heartbeat is worse.

We need to relearn Cause and Effect. A correlation between two things does not equate to cause and effect. For example, I did an experiment in college in which I gave fifty lab rats oxygen while fifty did not get any oxygen. None of the no-oxygen rats died of cancer. Three of the rats that got oxygen died of cancer. If correlation necessarily meant cause and effect, then that experiment would point to oxygen as a cause of cancer. Of course, that’s not what it meant. What it meant was that rats die very quickly without oxygen.

* Heartbeat is no worse than it was before Regionals. Nothing has come along that wasn’t there before to dominate it. Here’s what really happened to Heartbeat. It’s a long, slow, nerve-wracking deck to play. It is exactly the kind of deck that you do not want to play at a tournament that will be nine or ten or twelve rounds in a single day. Over two days, maybe. In one sitting, no. The smarter players didn’t play it even though it was still a fantastic deck. That meant that there were fewer people playing it than many pundits expected (unless you were predicting, as I did, a drop in numbers simply due to the weariness factor). Even if it won at the same percentage rate that it had before, the raw numbers were going to go down because a smaller percentage of the people played it.

That wasn’t all, though. The players who did play it didn’t do as well with it as one might expect from Heartbeat’s past performances. It’s just not a good deck to play for the number of hours that Regionals lasts. Having had a chance to watch a lot of Heartbeat matches finish at Regionals (my Goblin deck almost always finished before any Heartbeat deck), I noticed that exactly what I expected would happen was indeed happening. About half of the players just didn’t seem comfortable with the deck. They probably just picked up “the best deck I could find” without actually testing it, a common problem. Many players presume that anyone can simply pick up a great deck and play it. If not, it wouldn’t be a great deck, right? The other half seemed mind-numb after a while. They started well, but they were mentally tired from playing the deck after a while (and maybe physically tired from not following my rules). A small percentage seemed both comfortable with the deck and didn’t appear tired. Those, of course, were the ones who did well.

* The deck still put up an impressive number of wins and Top 8s. Looking purely at raw numbers – as appealing to me as anything else raw, such as chicken or professional wrestling – it was the seventh-most-successful deck at U.S. Regionals. That’s great; it’s just not the rate at which it had been winning. Since the raw numbers went down, Heartbeat Combo decks must have gotten worse. The sky is falling.

I don’t like that equation because it doesn’t have to do with whether the deck is any good or whether another has come along that consistently beats it. It can (and, in this case, I’m convinced it does) simply mean that fewer people are playing it. That’s all. People who are just looking to play a tried-and-true deck (I don’t want to call them Net Deckers, though many would) look at the numbers. In this case, they see that Heartbeat was down at Regionals while Ghost X, Gruul Beats, and U/R Magnivore were up, and they choose one of the others over Heartbeat. So, Heartbeat gets played less. That means it will win less. If it’s winning less, it must be getting worse.

Don’t believe the hype.

* Speaking of believing the hype, man, did I blow it on the Man Match (GoodMAN versus FeldMAN) in the SGC Writers’ MTGO Battle Royale, Round II. I looked at Feldman’s Congregation at Dawn, Meloku the Clouded Mirror, and Glare of Subdual, and just gave him the win. I didn’t consider how potent Goodman’s Mana Leaks would be. Or maybe I overrate Glare . . . .

* I have no idea if there will be a volume two of this. It depends on whether I get a bunch of random thoughts in my head again. I called it volume one, just in case.

* I’m extremely happy that Hurricane is coming back in Tenth Edition. (Ditto for Incinerate, Lord of the Pit, and the five basic lands.) Red mages didn’t need even more mass damage effects. There’s already Pyroclasm, possibly the most efficient mass removal spell ever. Heck, Coldsnap brings Martyr of Ashes. Granted, you have to have a fistful of Red cards for it to really act like Earthquake was capable of acting, but that’s not the point. The point is that I like Hurricane. I voted for Hurricane. I’m happy it’s back.

* On the flip side, I say “yuck” to Troll Ascetic coming back. Ravenous Baloth would have been a lot more elegant and a lot less annoying. Oh, well. Here’s to two years of “How do I deal with that guy?!?” Again.

* I didn’t really care who won between Auriok Champion and Paladin en-Vec. I guess I’m more of a PeV fan since it was one of the first powerful White cards that I owned and used, but the Champion is awfully good herself. I would have been fine either way. The advantage for me with the Paladin winning is that I don’t have to dig through my cards for the Champions. The Paladin’s already in my Core Set box. How’s that for lazy?

* You know what I just realized? Given the Shock lands from Ravnica Block, the Ice Age and Apocalypse pain lands reprinted in Ninth Edition, the stays-tapped lands from Champions of Kamigawa, the new uncommon comes-into-play-tapped lands from Coldsnap, and the common Karoo-Guild lands from Ravnica Block, you can now make a Standard-legal, two-color deck that uses almost nothing but lands that produce both colors of mana. Look at this mana base for a Red-Black deck:

4 Blood Crypt
4 Sulfurous Springs
4 Rakdos Carnarium
4 Lantern-Lit Graveyard
4 Tresserhorn Sinks

Throw in some Pillar of the Paruns if you’re running a bunch of multi-colored cards (and why wouldn’t you be?) to get over the twenty-land count, and you’ll never have to worry about having the wrong color of mana… at least until Kamigawa Block rotates out and takes the Lantern-Lit Graveyard with it. But that still gives you two months. Please, disregard the facts that eight of your lands come into play tapped, only four allow you to pay life to override that, and four stay tapped if you tap them for colored mana.

* I won’t be unleashing any Boros- or Selesnya-based RBC decks this Summer. There are only about six more weeks of Ravnica Block Constructed season, and I’ve already spent two weeks on White-based decks. The other colors need love, too. Besides, G/W essentially points to Glare of Subdual decks. You’re not going to do much better than those decks either for efficiency or price. Sure, the Loxodon Hierarch is fairly pricey, but you can win without that card in the deck. Ditto for Birds of Paradise. Make sure that you have Watchwolf, the Guildmage, Faith’s Fetters, the City-Tree, Glare (duh), and probably Selesnya Evangel, and you have a Glare deck.

While there hasn’t really been a Boros or R/W deck making headlines, we all know the kinds of cards that go into one. If you go the Weenie route, you’ve got fliers and ground stallers. If you want more control, there’s Firemane Angel and Searing Meditation. No matter which way you go, you’ll be using Lightning Helix and Faith’s Fetters. Won’t you?

So, this is goodbye to White RBC decks. Starting next week, other colors get highlighted.

* One final word to tie Coldsnap and Ravnica Block together. Several people, among them Craig, have asked – probably tongue-in-cheek – why I haven’t broken Hatching Plans yet. The answer is that I’ve been waiting for Perilous Research. Obviously, the choice permanent to sacrifice when the PR goes off would be Hatching Plans, wouldn’t it?

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Please, send me Coldsnap cards.

Chris Romeo
(That’s right; I finally have a high-speed internet connection. I can now lose at Magic Online much faster than I used to.)