This one starts as a bit of a love story; I am truly falling in love with Living Wish. I know that it’s a rare. But it’s another one of those rares that you just have to get. If you’re a newer player and like green, make sure to get four Living Wishes. The toolbox effect out of the sideboard can be huge.
Ah, toolboxes. Here’s where the second part of the love story comes in. It’s so sweet that it can send you into insulin shock. You have been warned.
My Mom is dating a guy she knew in college – in fact, they had actually dated while they were in college in the early 1960’s. But, they went their own separate ways. Then, three and a half years ago, about two weeks before my sister’s wedding, my Mom got a letter from the Ohio State Alumni Association. It turns out he was trying to get in touch with her. Due to privacy laws, they wouldn’t give out her address, but they did forward the information to her so that she could do with it what she wished.
Soon, they were talking long distance on the phone like teenagers.”You hang up.””No, you hang up.””How about we hang up at the same time?””Okay.””Oh, you didn’t hang up!””Neither did you!” So, Mom invited him down as her date to the wedding. A few months later, he got a job here and moved down to be with her.
My Mom’s beau is a real Mr. Fix-It. And when I say that I don’t mean that he puts duct tape on stuff. This guy produces crop studies for The University of Tennessee. But he’s not just a number cruncher. He has a real passion for farm work and all that goes along with it. Until he moved down to Knoxville, he did this all in Minnesota. The guy has fought forest fires with nothing but an axe and a pickup truck. He’s landscaped my Mom’s yard so that it’s gone from eyesore to the cover of Home Beautiful. His idea of a relaxing evening after a day of analyzing statistics on genetically-modified wheat is to dig holes, plant stuff, and fix plumbing. His two favorite Christmas presents this year were a John Deere calendar and a grinder for sharpening mower blades, axes, and the like. My brother got him a pitchfork – and the first thing he did with it was run outside and, um, pitch something with it. Yes, it reminded me of Ralphie with his official Red Rider BB gun with the compass in the stock. He just had to use it right away.
Now I’ve already mentioned Living Wish and toolboxes, so we know this deck’s gonna be green. And just to put a cherry on this sundae, the guy’s name is Woody. Yep; Woody. Is that too poetic or what? Clearly, then, I have to call this deck:
1 Ravenous Baloth
1 Riftstone Portal
1 Spellbane Centaur
1 Elvish Lyrist
1 Centaur Chieftain
1 Nullmage Advocate
1 Silklash Spider
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Centaur Chieftain
TOTAL NUMBER OF RARES (including Sideboard) – 6
Normally, I don’t include a sideboard with my decks. That’s simply because sideboards have to be tailored to your local scene. For example, if you don’t see Braids or land destruction decks in your area, my suggestion to put Sacred Ground in the sideboard of your white deck would be silly, right?
However, the whole point of a deck like this is to be all things against all decks. In my case, there are a lot of Goblins and R/G Anger decks around here right now. So, my maindeck is designed to handle those. The Wellwishers help you buy time by keeping your life total up. However, if you get into serious trouble, you can always Wish for the Ravenous Baloth. Then your Beast tokens serve the dual purpose of being 4/4 blockers or attackers and four points of life.
But there’s also eight other spells in there that are vastly underrated: Giant Growth and Sylvan Might. No one seems to expect those anymore. Combat has been reduced to simply looking at the creatures and if Wild Mongrel is involved, asking how many cards they have in hand. Giant Growth and Sylvan Might, especially when used defensively, mess this all up. They think that their Arrogant Wurm is safe attacking since all you have is one card in hand and a Basking Rootwalla. But, you can easily use three mana and that Giant Growth to make that Rootwalla a 6/6.
The sideboard has lots of nice tricks in it. For example, you can get the Riftstone Portal, pitch it to your Mongrel, and have white mana to activate the Nantuko Monastery. Facing flying Wurms? Go get Silklash Spider. And, while you can’t Wish for it, make sure to bring Tranquility in for game two against Astral Slide decks. They hate having all of their enchantments blown up.
Of course, if you have the dough, you’ll want to go for more rares. Forget using the fragile Wellwisher to gain life. Go straight with Ravenous Baloths in the maindeck, possibly leaving one in the sideboard to Wish for. (Many people suggest a lot of three-ofs in the maindeck with the fourth in the sideboard. This gives you six opportunities to get the card you need: Three in the maindeck plus three Wishes to go get the fourth.) Also, Genesis is good. Nay, it’s great! You can’t afford to draw another land this turn? Bring back a Wild Mongrel, just in case.
So let’s say you just got your tax refund check and want to spend a lot of money on a nearly mono-green beatdown deck with Living Wishes. Here’s my suggestion:
TOTAL NUMBER OF RARES (including Sideboard) – 24
Like I said, this is the more expensive version… But it gives you more (and better) options. The Birds of Paradise give you the white mana to run Glory and activate the Nantuko Monastery. Sure, you could just wish for a Riftstone Portal and pitch it to a Mongrel (as you’d have to do with the less expensive version) – however, that should be a last-ditch option in this version. Use it only if all of your Birds have been killed, and you can’t seem to draw a Brushland. Ideally, the Wishes should be used to get the creature that will help the most.
And then there’s Bearscape. Like Compost, you can’t Wish for it… And like Compost, black decks (especially mono-black decks) hate it coming out of the sideboard. This is also why you will like it so much.
There are two keys to using Living Wish. First, make sure that your sideboard is flexible enough to deal with the biggest problems you’re likely to encounter without making it too weak for other games two and three. Second, don’t just cast Living Wish because you can; make sure it’s timely. You may be worried that the red deck burning you away is going to win. So you go get a Ravenous Baloth as soon as you can. Gaining life can’t be bad, right? It’ll keep you in the game. Then, a couple of turns later, you check your board position and realize that, unless your opponent can cast Blaze on their turn, you’d win if you had just waited a turn and Wished for Centaur Chieftain. Instead of winning with a rush of +1/+1 tramplers, you’re just able to stay in the game and gain some life. Which gives your opponent the time they need to draw all of that burn. Darn it!
Another Living Wish Reminder:
Remember two important rules concerning Living Wish (or any Wish, for that matter). First, you can’t just flip through your sideboard whenever you like to see if there’s something you might want to Wish for – that’s illegal – so you’d better have something in mind as you cast Wish. But remember that Wish doesn’t target, and your opponent may be playing with countermagic. You do not say,”I’m Wishing for a Silklash Spider.” You simply say,”I’m casting Living Wish.”
You choose the card during resolution of the spell. If they’re afraid of what you might get, they have to counter the Living Wish before they know what you’re getting. Often, the blue player will simply wait to counter the card you’re getting with the Wish. Of course, if you get Genesis or Glory, you don’t care if it gets countered. In fact, you’re probably not planning on casting it, right?
So, as you can see, my advice for this week is:
Go make yourself a Woody.
As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Keep on Truckin’!
P.S. I just got an e-mail from someone who claims to be Christopher Moeller, the artist who did Shelter. Here’s what he said (paraphrased):
The woman on Shelter is model from Paris that he knew back in the late 1970’s. He hasn’t seen her in going on 25 years. He sometimes uses old photos of her as models for his art.
Well, I guess I can start obsessing on someone else now. Nicole Kidman’s single again, and I stand about the same chance with her as I do with a French model. So why not?