Today, I’m going to talk about a subject that some might find a little…Uncomfortable, to say the least. I’ll try to do it as considerately (and euphemistically!) as possible, but if you find yourself turned off by the ensuing discussion then by all means, jump straight to the decklist and go from there – that’s the most important part of this piece, after all. I also need to inform the esteemed Ferret that my heretofore-imminent diatribe, though at best only tangentially related to the concomitant deck masterpiece, provides what I feel to be a very effective setting for introducing what many would otherwise consider to be an outright pile of noxious garbage composed of fibrous rectal effluent.
Any of us who are man enough to face facts will admit that at one time or another they were faced with what is (in my estimable opinion) a basic fact of life that, when it occurs, becomes an all-encompassing emergency. Few things in life grab your attention so forcefully; causing such a narrow-minded attention to detail that one must take care of matters immediately, if not sooner – if you actually have a choice in the matter, which unfortunately is not always the case. I shall illustrate by example, and in so doing will attend to the details as tastefully as possible.
I live exactly twenty minutes from where I work, and I have my morning routine orchestrated down to the second. I have to be at work at 8:00 a.m. sharp. My alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m., at which time I have exactly forty minutes to shower, shave, and put in my contacts; dress, take my vitamins and take care of bodily functions. Occasionally I need to spend a few extra minutes doing other things (or I miss the alarm!), so I forget to perform one of the above rituals – though never my shower (take note, gamers!) or dressing. I then go on my way. Usually, things progress quite smoothly from there, but skipping one particularly important detail occasionally hits me a few minutes into my driving experience and I become reminded in a most undeniable fashion. It begins with a slight discomfort, followed by an insistent tainted breeze and a sudden urgent demand – no, more than that – an order that I do something now. This usually happens while I’m doing eighty in the passing lane of Interstate 5. Before I know it, I am assuming a position previously associated as a primary indication of affliction with a disease known as tetanus and am parallel to my seat, bearing a rictus grin and rigid as a board, pressing on the gas so hard that any police in the area would surely pull me over…
But I could care less at this point. I take the first exit and head for the nearest gas station, pulling in without being particularly cognizant of such minor things as parking lines, parking brakes, turning off the engine or closing the door – and part II of my journey begins, something I call the Bataan death march.
The true struggle begins with the Bataan death march. The first stage includes extricating yourself from your car, which can be quite the ordeal when your sphincter is a hair’s width from birthing the Mother of All Bombs. Once you are out, some kind of primal instinctive drive takes over and you find yourself inescapably calculating the shortest possible route between yourself and the restroom. You begin to move, usually in short but rapid measured strides – too fast and all could be lost, as too many degrees of separation could prove your undoing – but with such total concentration that nothing can come between you and your goal. Anyone coming between you and that door is met with the stiffest of grunts and absolutely no eye contact, yet you are understood on the deepest level and none dare to stand in your way. You place all of your concentration upon just reaching that door and hold on for all you are worth until you get there – and God forbid there is a stairway between you and your goal. (Or that you have to go inside and ask for a key!)
You plan ahead at what point to start unbuttoning and unzipping and what hand to close the door with and don’t even worry about covering the seat for once (or even check to make sure there’s some T.P.); in fact, you aren’t even cognizant of the cleanliness of the facilities – you are just glad to be there!
Once you reach your goal and release the source of your tensions, there is absolutely nothing else in the world that feels better or so liberating – nothing! You have conquered! Congratulations!
Getting back to Magic: I have a deck like that – the ultimate Johnny deck! Get it? John? HAHAHAHA…haha…uh…(*ahem*)
It’s About Time
4 Mystic Snake
4 Tradewind Rider
4 Seedborn Muse
2 Reveka, Wizard Savant
2 Ertai, Wizard Adept
4 Force of Will
3 Mishra’s Helix
4 Tangle Wire
4 Tropical Island
4 Yavimaya Coast
Wait – don’t flush just yet! Just because it’s a combo deck that needs six to eight cards in play at the same time in order to function optimally doesn’t mean it’s a pile! Of course, any deck that features Chronatog as the optimal two-drop is going to have some difficulties setting up. Once you play that card, you have entered the freeway and there is no exit for miles! Whispers of”he’s playing Stasis – kill him!” will travel the table, and no one will believe you aren’t no matter how much you say otherwise. From here on out, you are a marked man and every move you make will be closely monitored. You may as well be cursed with Montezuma’s Revenge, because getting from Chronatog to Seedborn Muse to Mishra’s Helix will require more sphincter control than you have ever managed in your life!
The ultimate goal of this deck is to lock the table down by removing every permanent in play via Tradewind Riders, tying up their mana with Tangle Wire or Mishra’s Helix, or countering every spell they cast – all possible due to Seedborn Muse. It can kill by decking, since you can forgo drawing cards forever with Chronatog in play; by untapping and pinging with Reveka every turn; or by pumping up Avizoas or Chronatogs and attacking when you have cleared all their creatures out of the way. The deck does all of this while giving away perhaps the most crucial resource of all: Your turns! I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of trying to win with both hands tied behind my back. In fact, I am typing this article with my nose right now! I’m just that kinda guy!
The key, as I hinted above, resides in the Seedborn Muse and her ability to allow you to untap all your permanents every turn. Who needs turns when you can do that? You start by laying down a Chronatog or Avizoa if you have one, and then slow the table down by playing Tangle Wire. You can keep from taking fade counters off the Wire by skipping turns or upkeeps by pumping the creatures (here the Avizoa is best, since you only skip your upkeep and get to draw and play land). Cast Meditate to draw cards as soon as you can. Play Tradewind Riders, followed by Seedborn Muse and protect the combo with Force of Will or Mystic Snake. You can return a permanent on each of your opponent’s turns with the Riders, or pop a Snake or Tangle Wire back into your hand to recast when needed.
Things really get sick if you can play Ertai and Reveka – that’s a Counterspell and two damage each turn! You can then really pile it on by casting Mishra’s Helix and tying up every opponent’s mana each turn, and with a Tradewind Rider or two in play you can ensure no one ever has more lands out than you! If they don’t concede at this point, you will eventually deck them by simply not drawing cards with a Chronatog in play – unless you are merciful and attack with your pumped-up Avizoas and Chronatogs!
Getting to this point is a real challenge though, kinda like trying to ride a Brahma bull for five seconds – or holding in Dave’s double-hot black bean chili for more than twenty-four hours! If/when you get there, congratulations! Squeeze the Charmin for me!