Gauntlet of Power in Extended

With everyone’s focus pulled toward Standard, Patrick “The Innovator” Chapin takes us through a humorous look at a new Extended creation… one that harnesses the strength of the Gauntlet of Power! Extended is currently powered by the Time Spiral goodies we have on offer, but does this mana-producing artifact cut the proverbial mustard? The author offers insight and laughs in equal measure, and rounds out with another impressive edition of (Tune) Drafting With Patrick.

So, this article is in the Premium section, where each and every sentence better be a f***ing golden nugget or everyone but good man Talen Lee will end their subscriptions, right after posting a comment in the forums such as “I expect more from the author of Information Cascades and Sideboards: Fifteen is Better Than Zero, especially when I’m paying for it.

Then, while they are all figuring out how best to spend the six and a half cents they are saving, someone who doesn’t have Premium will post a reply along the lines of “Since you and this article suck, why isn’t it free so that the people who could use it (me / other people who don’t contribute to your paycheck) have access to it?” Which is followed by eight people quoting for truth[ery].

Not only is this particular masterpiece Premium, but I’m told it has to relate to the ol’ Magical Cards, or at least reference them enough so that the majority of the “paying” audience doesn’t realize that I am just distracting them long enough to fleece them for six and a half cents of heard earned cash, while selling them the dream of fame and fortune on the Pro Tour.

(Except for you! You have more talent than I have seen in a while. Work hard, have fun, and read my articles every week. You will be a Pro in no time.)

Oh, I’ve got some “tech” for you. Ancestral Vision is the most underrated, overrated card in Time Spiral. Many thought it was good. As a result, when pros like Jeroen Remie spoke on how overrated it was, it became trendy to hate Suspend.

Well, Jeroen is right. It was overrated, but as he will tell you, it is not unplayable. It is intrinsically weaker than Whispers, Think Twice, Compulsive Research, and Careful Consideration, however… and that is a lot of better card drawing.

Why would you ever play Ancestral, then? You would because it does something different than those other cards. If you are sitting around tapping out every turn, it converts time into mana. You were going to draw cards with whatever card is in this slot. The key is that with Ancestral, you never have to spend the mana.

These days, in Standard, most deck can’t afford to spend time in such a way. However, there are decks that can. The U/R/W Burn Deck I presented before States is just such an example. It spends its mana every turn doing stuff. It is in “topdeck mode” less than most decks. It wants mana efficient card drawing.

Michael J. Flores played it and liked it, but replaced Ancestral with Think Twice for three reasons:

1. Think Twice is better.
2. He may be buying into anti-Suspend hype.
3. 100% of [his] field played U/G or U/W.

Well, I can’t help the inbred playtesting. He is right about Think Twice; however, it is wrong to cut all the Ancestrals. I would cut:

2 Disintegrate, 1 Psionic Blast, 1 Ancestral Vision, 1 Shivan Reef, 1 Adarkar Wastes


4 Think Twice, and 2 Island

Of course, I quit testing Standard weeks ago, when I would no longer have a chance to get information out before States (remember, I have to write weeks ahead of time).

So anyhow, obviously I’m an idiot because Ancestral is just bad. Always. Don’t ever consider or try it. Ever. Under any circumstances. You want to be cool, right? Better rip on the easy target, then. Besides, you are paying the big bucks. I’m an American, and here in America, people who pay the big bucks are right. It is sort of synonymous with being right.

Anyway, I want to apologize to all the people who will now have to work at McDonalds for the rest of their lives because they had to drop out of school, after losing 25 IQ points, from reading my best deck list, which I should have withheld like every other Pro in the freaking world.

Oh, by the way, have you ever seen Prison Break? You know how complicated it was for these guys to break out? That is what it is like for me, every week, trying to get articles published.

If you ever wonder why I don’t talk about the same decks as everyone else, most of the time… well, honestly, would you rather I do? My perspective would be at least three weeks old. Why not check out Flores instead? I’ll chime in when appropriate, but if I discuss something other than the “decks to beat” then my work is not hopelessly outdated.

For instance, I’d love to make some witty remark about the most popular decks from States and how I won’t talk about them. Of course I can’t, seeing as I don’t even know how States turned out. Hopefully women won every event men didn’t.

What’s that Craig?

Quit feeling sorry for myself, lose the negative attitude, and share some technology? And not Suspend.

First of all, I’m a positive mother-loving dude. Mine is the best.

As for some “tech” I got your tech. Here is a Gauntlet of Power deck for Extended. It is not great [sound of thousands of readers ending subscriptions and, in the case of the Aten brothers, their lives], but it is not bad and it is a new idea.

Yes Feldman, I realize new ideas are potentially career-ending, but this is what I got this week. Thanks for the heads up, though. By the way, thank you for helping to explain stuff in the forums.

Caution! I am about to list an unorthodox deck. It is hardly tuned and has obvious flaws, but it is a legitimate offering for your consideration:

The plan is to double-cast Firecat Blitz with Gauntlet of Power or Wake in play. While Gauntlets don’t power up Shock lands or the Decree (usually), they are certainly fine as Wakes 5-8.

You have light board control to stall, intending to combo them out turn five.

Typical Game:
Turn 1 – Bloodstained Mire to Sacred Foundry
Turn 2 – Snow-covered Mountain and Selesnya Signet
Turn 3 – Snow-covered Mountain and Wrath of God
Turn 4 – Snow-covered Mountain and Wake
Turn 5 – Wooded Foothills to Mountain, Blitz for 6, Flashback for 5, attack for 22.

As you can see, there is much redundancy, making turn 5 goldfish the norm, usually with a Loxodon or Wrath to buy time. The problem is, of course, disruption. Not only does FloresHappyGlove.dec have little disruption outside of anti-creature measures, it features almost no way to fight disruption. Counter target spell is particularly troublesome.

I tested versus the Top 4 Extended decks from MTGO from 1991.

Up first was Aggro Loam. I’ll spare you the details. Gauntlet won 3-2. Thoughts of Ruin is devastating unless FloresHappyGlove.dec Wishes for Life from the Loam proactively. If Aggro Loam Wishes for Hull Breach, they can be annoying. The Glove, though, is much faster.

Sideboarding is probably painful, but fortunately I didn’t test it, so no worries!

Anti-artifact / anti-enchantment cards are rough, plus FloresHappyGlove.dec’s current sideboard is only marginally better than two seven off.

Then I played five games versus MGA. Actually I played something like eleven, but I can only count five since I only played five of the others. The score was 9-2, so we’ll call it 4-1.

Basically, they try to kill turn 5. You kill turn 5. If you go first, you can’t lose. If they go first, you need to play a Wrath or Heirarch to “not lose.”

Chalice for two can be randomly annoying, so play in anticipation of it if possible. Still, it doesn’t stop the combo.

Again, sideboarding hurts, so I suggest sticking your head in the sand (let’s keep it real. You’re not actually even going to try this deck, which is a shame. If you do try it, you’ll probably be intrigued game 1, though you will need to develop a better sideboard plan.)

Up next, UrzaTron. U/R was slightly more popular than U/W, so I used it. FloresHappyGlove.dec lost 1-4. The only game it won was due to manascrew. Remand and Memory Lapse are better than Time Walk. Mindslaver is “not bad” versus Firecat Blitz.

Finally I played five versus Affinity, winning 3-2 with FloresHappyGlove.dec. Burning Wish for Shattering Spree is as good as you think it is. Affinity has no disruption, so this matchup should be better than 60% if you ask me (which you shouldn’t, seeing as I posted lists with Ancestral Vision last month).

Versus combo, you race. Versus aggro, you race (while controlling the board). Versus permission… Actually, I’d better spare that “tech” for next week (gotta keep ’em coming back for more).

Oh, and see if you can get opponents with Red, Green, or White mana to not sideboard. Well, that, or come up with a sideboard plan.

There, now I have fulfilled my quota for the week. I can move on to more pressing matters.

Like my hair.

As you can see from my Featured Writer Photo, I used to have short, reasonably clean cut hair. I am also clean-shaven in that photo. All in all, I have looked worse, though I do have Plague Sliver sized black circles under my eyes.

What can I say? If you want to be cool, sometimes sleep is not an option.

But this is not about my eyes (which are chameleon and match whatever I wear, for all my stalkers out there). It is about my hair.

See, I haven’t had a haircut in years. None of the “barbers” I know can cut Caucasian hair, aside from shaving it all off. As a result, I have hair longer than your girlfriend. Also, I typically keep a rugged five o’clock shadow look going, when I shave at all. You gotta protect your rep.

So, my dilemma is what to do when I go home. The obvious plan is to get it cut right and bring sexy back. However, there is a part of me that is temped to keep it long for a minute.

After all, I will probably never have hair this long again in my life. One time, when edt and Mark Herberholz came to visit me, everyone though for sure that edt was my father and Heezy my barn, I mean brother. There is something deeply appealing about people thinking I possess 50% of edt’s genes.

So, to go GQ day 1, or to wait? That is the question. Please, will both of the readers, who haven’t ended their subscriptions yet, help me?

Now that I have managed to add 278 words to my count discussing my hair, I better give you some more “tech” to make up for it (and for ever having the audacity to suggest a deck with no Akromas or Call of the Herd).

Yawgmoth’s Will + Black Lotus + Pull from Eternity?

Of course, Yawgmoth’s Will + Black Lotus + Squire is typically game.

How about Leveller + Pull from Eternity + Anger (yes, casual)?

How about Anger + Avatar of Discord + Compulsive Research + Bogardan Hellkite + Dragon Tyrant + Zombify + Dread Return?

What about Scion of the Ur-Dragon + Dragon Tyrant in Prismatic?

I’ve got a better idea; I’ll do a draft walkthrough.

Drafting With Patrick 2

As Flores has recently informed me that every good constructed deck I ever made was the result of being friends with him, Lauer, Brian Schneider, Comer, Herberholz, and basically every legendary deckbuilder from America, I will stick to the one format that I know (not Mental Magic). No, not Dallas Standard. Everyone knows Dave Price was the first person to win big with Sligh. Nor Vintage (it is well known that Pros suck at Vintage).


As I have already explained, I can’t crack packs. In an effort to shore some of my ultra-cool culture with the readers, I will do a walk through of another tunes draft.

Pick 1 – I first pick “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash. To be fair, I thought it was that Willenium track by Will Smith when I first heard it, but that is why it pays to take your time.

I was feeding Herberholz and knew he would jump for the Kris Kross track in the pack.

Pick 2 – There was little in it. Eagle-Eye Cherry isn’t bad, but I really wanted to force techno. Still, “Save Tonight” is good for filling your curve (or feeling her curves under other circumstances).

I knew the Jessica Simpson track would move Heezy into pop. It is his strategy of choice, though I question his pick orders.

Pick 3 – I suspect Finkel (to my right) is cutting electronica. I take Paul Johnson’s “Get, Get Down,” but it is next to “Days Got By,” Dirty Vegas, on the CD. I may not get to play it.

Pick 4 – I get lucky and slide “Stomp to my Beat” by J5-16 into my pile. Very underrated. Bonus points if you can figure out what he’s saying!

Pick 5 – I realize I’m gonna have to pick up another color, so I take “Blue” by Eiffel 65.

Pick 6 – Well, hopefully some of the 90s tracks I passed earlier will table. Heading in that direction, I scoop up Real McCoy’s “Another Night.”

Pick 7 – Tech N9ne’s “Ima Tell.” Obviously these people have never tried him.

Pick 8 – “Rendez Vu” by Basement Jaxx. Awesome. Period.

Pick 9 – I am delighted to find “Miss You” by Everything but the Girl, still in the pack.

Pick 10 – I hate draft Ini Kamozee’s “hot Stepper.” Herberholz + Hot Stepper + a fifth of vodka is an ugly sight.

Pick 11 – Kevin Lyttle’s “Turn Me On.” It’s a stretch, but I like this one.

Pick 12 – Panjabi MC w/ Jay-Z, “Beware of the Boys.” Wow. I missed this one on the spoiler, but it is solid.

Pick 13 – My list is a little slow, so I take “Speed Racer” by DJ Keoki.

Pick 14 – Surprisingly, I get a late “The Music Sounds Better With You” by StarDust.

Pick 15 – Taco “Putting on the Ritz,” unplayable.

I should have picked Luther Vandross’s “Dance with my Father” when I had the chance, and my list has little focus, but I’ve certainly got enough playables.

Round 1, I play Herberholz. He hasn’t done any testing and prepared for this draft by getting trashed four nights in a row (winning $7,500 in poker at the same time). The Top 40s he heard at the bar pretty much dictated his draft strategy. Seriously, how are Jo Jo and Paris Hilton supposed to keep up with 132 bpm? Back to back Justin Timberlake tracks won him a game, but the other two were no problem.

Round 2, I won a nail-biter versus Finkel. His 22 techno / 18 land list had the mana bass up too high.

In the finals, I squared off with Flores’s wife, Katherine. She doesn’t draft very often, but she has lost very few games lifetime versus Magic players. She had a better-drafted list and played flawlessly. I really had no answer to so many tracks with guitars (not guitar samples).

So yeah, 2-1, yay. We weren’t even playing for the songs. This format is almost as pointless as triple Coldsnap, if there is nothing on the line.

misterorange: pchapin, why would you cheapen one of the better articles you’ve ever written by putting together this poor imitation of TunesDraft and passing it off as Premium, like some cheap Hollywood sequel?

pchapin: I watched your show (well, the text part anyway) at www.misterorange.com, so shhh. Watch mine. Besides, if Flores can get away with talking music, I want to, too.

misterorange: Taco – “Putting on the Ritz”?

pchapin: Keep in mind, I’ve been around edt half of my life.

Ask The Pros

Since Jeroen is too busy writing his own column, I will have to field a few questions this week (which works out, as they are addressed to me).

Q: So, does your U/R/W burn deck just fold to Ivory Mask pretty much? – Authority 11

A: Heezy tells me attacking with Solifuges is a good time. Besides, who in the world plays Ivory Mask?

Q: Does Orcish Librarian do something different than what I think it does? – Natedawg

A: Well, that depends on what you think it does. While I concede that my description of his radical-ness was misleading, he is radical, nonetheless.

Q: RE: Vore – Have you tested Crypt’s impact to the deck? – Dar482number2

A: I do not buy into The Fear. Besides, Darwin much? If people actually pack Crypts, replace one Vore with a Shivan Dragon or something. It may not be a viable strategy, but Crypt is not the problem.

Q: RE: Grape Nuts – How is it that everyone went around calling that deck Fruity Pebbles when this wonderful breakfast cereal name makes so much more sense? – pattonjon

A: There are currently too many offensive deck names in circulation to call it Turbo Abortion.

Q: Your U/R/W burn deck looks suspiciously like the deck list I posted in the discussion thread on your last article. Lose some Electrolyzes and Wraths for Chars, you don’t need four Wraths main deck.

A: I realize this is not a question per se, but it’s close enough. This is the first article I’ve written since seeing your post. Remember, I am several weeks behind you time-wise. For instance, I am writing this in October.

As far as the U/R/W deck goes, Char is the last thing you want. Actually, more Lightning Helixes would be preferable. I don’t even play four Psionic Blasts any more. Damaging yourself is not happy.

My build’s only summons are four Giant Solifuges, so Wrath is amazing. Wrath is one of the best cards in the format. I would play at least six.

Electrolyze and Wrath help you play a controlling strategy and gain card advantage. With no early pressure, Char is just bad removal and bad for racing anyone except combo. Psionic Blast is only in because it is Blue.

By the way, I don’t have the address, but I got a chance to read your “Terms, Metrics, and Mana v 2.0” on building manabases, and it is well done. I suggest players seeking help with this skill set check out the link in Morgan_Coke’s forum signature.

Okay, I would like to take this time to clarify a quite attributed to Jeff Cunningham. It is my understanding that Jeff doesn’t actually believe that all 21 of the people he allegedly named are dumb. They are merely the 21 who disagreed with him on the subject of 61+ cards, as opposed to the 3.5 that agreed with him.

In addition, if there is still anyone who would like to insult me for attempting to help explain this fundamental element of Magic theory, take a moment to consider this:

If you are thinking of an exception to the 60 card rule, go back and read “61 Cards: Magic Russian Roulette.” There is a list of exceptions there, as Jeff rightly points out, that are the reasons why you might play more than 60. I’d bet dollars to donuts, the exceptions you are thinking of are covered (which means we’re both right).

Also, to clarify, Jeff has never insulted me. He actually argued the 61+ idea rationally, though I still want my bucket of KFC.

Okay, I am going to sign off for now.

One last dilemma. My name is Patrick Chapin and my other head for the 2HG Pro Tour is an alcoholic, but I haven’t had a drink in 1317 days. Of course, this is sort of by necessity.

So, the question is this. Let’s suppose you’re out of the game for a few years. Your barn (let’s just call him Mark Herberholz) goes on a rampage, becoming one of the best players on earth. He comes to be wildly regarded as a better player and deck builder than you ever were. When you two team up for the 2HG Pro Tour, can he claim hull status, or is he your barn for life? By the way, side with me on this, and I’ll probably buy you a drink in San Diego next summer!

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”