The propeller on his beanie cap twirling in the wind, Biff pushes his overlarge, taped horn-rimmed glasses into place on his similarly overlarge nose and tries to make out the return address on the package he found on his doorstep. Seeing the words”Wizards of the Coast,” Biff smiles and screams through his yellowed buckteeth –
“The new cards are here! The new cards are here! WOW!” –
and hastily adjusts his ankle-high trousers before heading through his door. After the crash, he picks up the remains of his glasses, opens the door and heads into his room, ignoring his elderly mother and father and his newly-mussed shock of gray hair.
Meanwhile: Fresh from the Fence, Julio counts his money while waiting in the dark, rodent-infested alley for his contact. Glancing around warily and seeing no one, he loosens his guard and starts to relax.”Man I’m gonna have a fun time tonight,” he thinks to himself.”The last stuff, it was just da bomb!” A noise down the alley startles him; pulling his gun, he looks carefully and sees his contact.”Hey Rogelio, you got the stuff, man?” Rogelio answers:”You bet, man! You got the money, you won’t be disappointed, man!” They close, money and a baggie exchange hands, and Julio walks on to his apartment; fantasizing, anticipating…
Tripping over mounds of laundry, piles of cards and junk-food wrappers, Biff finally makes it to his desk and makes room for the package. With drool flowing from the corners of his mouth, he quickly tears open the wrapping to reveal six shrink-wrapped boxes of the newest Magic expansion – Onslaught. Pulling out his box cutters, he sets to work opening the boxes and laying the packs out on the table, nearly overcome with anticipation…
Across town, Julio stumbles up his dilapidated staircase and shoulders his rusty door open, then closes it and blocks it with a chair. Fumbling for a match in the darkness, he lights a candle and shambles through the layer of refuse carpeting the floor to the lice-infested mattress he salvaged from the freeway and sets the baggie on his cinderblock table. Pooling a little wax on the block, he sets the candle in it, pulls off his belt and grabs his trusty spoon and needle.”My little Maria!” He fondles the needle:”Oh how I missed you. I bet you need a little blood tonight, eh, my tiny vampire? Just a little taste…” He sits down and opens the baggie, putting a little in the spoon.”A little bit more tonight, I think…just a bit more…we, we’re gonna celebrate tonight, Maria!” Strapping the belt tightly around his left arm, he begins to melt the substance in the spoon in the candle flame, while drool flows down the corners of his mouth…
(Man, almost sounds like I’ve had experience, doesn’t it?!)
Back at Biffs’ place, blood begins to flow unnoticed from many cuts on his left hand, mingling with card wrappers as he wields the box cutters and looks immediately at the rare in each pack. Stacking the cards on the table, he mutters:”No Ebonblade Reaper? Maybe in the next pack…” As he continues his hands begin to shake; a facial tic develops; his legs start to quiver; his eyes begin to glaze; and a look of rapturous fervor overtakes him…
…Finished, Julio undoes the belt and puts”Maria” away. Smiling vacantly, he lays back on the bed, eyes glazing while a look of absolute rapture envelops his face.”Oh, man – this is the STUFF! Maria, you and I, we’re having fun, eh?” Soon, he begins to shake; his legs thrash violently; then he rolls over and heaves his guts all over the floor…”Oh Maria, maybe tomorrow we do a little less, no? Maybe…maybe I’ll quit…”
…Staring in disbelief at the mass of cards on the table, Biff slowly shakes his head, sucking blood from his thumb.”No Ebonblade Reaper? Six whole boxes! All I got are these stupid Ravenous Baloths and Rotlung Reanimators and these useless Voidmage Prodigies, Blistering Firecats, and Grinning Demons! And all these stupid lands that hurt you! Stop staring at me!” He grabs a foil demon and tears it in half, then begins to cry, swearing the whole time that he will never buy another card…
The moral of this story? Oh, to heck with you if you thought I was comparing Magic card collecting with the”evil” of addictive drugs. Magic addiction is healthy! No, it’s that sometimes you don’t realize just how good the stuff you have really is!
(And do you really think that you’ll never buy another card? HEH. That’s all I’ll say. I’ll even say it to Rizzo.)
Why, I’ll bet there’s a bunch of you out there who’ve got shoeboxes of Thallids and Freyalise’s Winds and Trade Caravans (and if you don’t, just ask the Ferrett!) and don’t realize just how great a deck you can make with them! Check out this next masterpiece and see if you agree:
Creatures and Spells (44):
2 Thallid Devourer
2 Elvish Farmer
1 Fungal Bloom
3 Freyalise’s Winds
1 Aura Mutation
2 Spectral Bears
2 Trade Caravan
3 Sterling Grove
1 Night Soil
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Saproling Burst
3 Soul Warden
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Infinite Hourglass
1 Academy Rector
3 Living Wish
4 Golden Wish
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Parallel Evolution
Sideboard (Thirty – it’s multiplayer! Use your whole darn trade binder!!):
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Holistic Wisdom
1 Moonlit Wake
1 Angelic Chorus
1 Test of Endurance
1 Epic Struggle
1 Ivory Mask
1 Coat of Arms
3 Seal of Cleansing
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Fungal Bloom
1 Freyalise’s Winds
1 Infinite Hourglass
1 Parallax Wave
1 Sterling Grove
1 Spore Flower
1 Thallid Devourer
1 Elvish Farmer
1 Academy Rector
1 Amrou Kithkin
1 Fountain Watch
1 Silklash Spider
1 Dust Bowl
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Serra’s Sanctum
I know, I know – 70 cards is a lot – but the deck as I’m currently running it has a hundred, and it works great! You can always take out the potential”problem” cards: Congregate, Soul Warden, and Replenish and a few lands (my group restricts Congregate and Replenish and is leaning towards doing the same with Soul Warden).
Anyway, early on you want to make creatures using the Thallids, Devourers, and Farmers and use the tokens as early blockers (and Swords to clean up fliers) while you set up. Let the counters build up on the storage lands. Your main goal is to get out an Infinite Hourglass and then drop a Freyalise’s Winds to slow people down while you build your mana and creature base. Try to get a Sterling Grove in place to protect your Winds; or, if you don’t have one, use it to get one. Once people realize what kind of sickness you are building towards, you may become the target of a ton of hate (some people will hate you simply for the Freyalise’s Winds alone!); hence, getting a Soul Warden into play could be the difference between winning and losing. With one out, though, you could realistically gain three or four life per turn just from your own creature generators!
(A word of caution: Playing this deck will require the use of very large numbers of counters, both for your creatures and for all tapped permanents. People will hate it, unless you provide something like peanut M&M’s. Or quarters. People really like quarters.)
Everything else in the deck is just gravy and either enhances the theme or helps you get the pieces you need. The Fungal Bloom can make a ton of critters in a hurry if you have Mirari’s Wake or Gaea’s Cradle in play. The Trade Caravans can untap lands with wind counters on them (…but only during another player’s turn! And only basic lands! Be sure to use both versions, and casually point out that one is a continuation of the other – and the other – and…etc.!). The drawbacks to Spectral Bears, Veldt, Elfhame Palace and the other tap lands are neutralized by the Winds. Aura Mutation, Nightsoil, and Saproling Burst give you more Saprolings to play with, and they can be sacrificed to pump Thallid Devourers or to give you life! Parallel Evolution is almost gross overkill when you get it off, and Biorhythm doesn’t really hurt you – but could knock other players out of the game!
The real fun of playing this deck is seeing the look on your opponent’s faces when they realize just how many creatures you have – and how devastating the Infinite Hourglass could be if left unchecked! You will find people spending any available mana getting counters off that thing… And with Winds out, they won’t be able to do anything else. Meanwhile, your army just gets bigger and bigger…
The sideboard consists of answers to problems for your wishes and a few other neat cards that fit into the saproling theme. Test of Endurance and Epic Struggle are kind of cheesy, but are there if you really need an ego boost. Ivory Mask is to ward off cheeseheads; Angelic Chorus is Soul Warden on steroids; Fountain Watch is a creature-based Sterling Grove; Moonlit Wake works really well in concert with Elvish Farmer for life gain; Lure and Coat of Arms are disgustingly effective ways of ending the game; Spore Flower is great against aggressive decks; and Holistic Wisdom can get you back anything you lost earlier. Silklash Spider might be needed to reign in fliers; Amrou Kithkin kicks butt with Infinite Hourglass in play (and is almost as embarrassing to lose to as Jackalope Herd!); Sporogenesis doesn’t do much, but fits the Saproling theme; Parallax Wave, Dust Bowl, and Seal of Cleansing are there to remove problems.
(In case you’re wondering, in the 100-card version of the deck that I’m playing I have upped the Thallid Devourers, Farmers, Spectral Bears, Trade Caravans, and Infinite Hourglasses to three; included four Enlightened Tutors; thrown in a 4th Living Wish; put in a Spore Flower and another Fungal Bloom, Aura Mutation, and Seal of Cleansing; and inserted the Sporogenesis and Academy Rector. I added enough basic land to take it to 100 cards. With the extra search cards, it plays like a smaller deck! People laugh when I whip that monster out, and don’t take me seriously until I get my combo going…)
You’ll notice by now that I tend to run a lot of one-ofs in my multiplayer decks. I find that this makes the deck much more enjoyable for repeated playing, and it keeps people off-guard and sometimes throws off the scent if they’ve seen your combo before. I like putting in cards that fit the general theme, or that just seem like they’d be fun to try.
(…CARD SPOTLIGHT – Recoil: …just a minute while I adjust this plastic bag…no, I can still inhale…that’s it…Okay, wait now until I can see the light…aaahhh.
(Why haven’t I seen this card in Blue/Black Reanimator deck sideboards? Is it considered too costly, or do they not run enough blue to reliably cast it? It sure seems that with Duress backup you could get rid of that annoying Planar Void nonsense. And how about Gilded Drake?”Why, thank you. I think that I’ll just take back my creature now, though – and, oops! Why, lookie that… Darn, he’s back in the graveyard, ready to Exhume…Oh, and take 3.” It’s also great in the Mirror Match and against Angry Hermit. Am I missing something here, or do I need a thicker bag?)
Enough ramblings for one day! Hope you enjoy my deck, and have seen that some of those so-called”worthless” rares can sometimes add up to one nice surprise for your opponents!