Insert Column Name Here – Another Saturday Night And I Ain’t Got Nobody

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!Two men, one Saturday night, four Sealed deck pools to choose from. Watch as The Ferrett explores Lorwyn Sealed in an attempt to find the good cards so you don’t have to… And to find the bad cards before you run into them!

Ah, Saturday evenings. You can spend them drinking, or you can spend them seeing shows…

…or you can spend them with no plans whatsoever.

I had nothing to do on Saturday. One of the benefits of having a wife is that you normally automatically have a companion on the weekends. But darnit, my wife decided that she wanted to go spend it at something I didn’t want to do.

Handy relationship tip: Good wives are independent. A recent study showed that husbands of feminists tended to have happier marriages and better sex lives, and it’s true; strangely enough, you have better conversations and more gratitude if you can actually talk about interesting things, and “interesting things” aren’t interesting if you were there when it happened.

(Okay, there’s always a certain amount of fun gossip to be had on the way back from a party, where you go, “Ooo, can you believe she did that?” but there’s only so much of that one can take.)

So my wife ventured out to have a good time, then would return to tell me all about it. She even took the car with her, so I had nothing to do that evening.

I was looking forward to a glum evening spent working. There’s something lonely about Saturday nights; even if they’re no different from any other night, really (and I spend a lot of nights working late), our culture has demanded that SATURDAY NIGHT IS THE NIGHT YOU PARTY OR YOU ARE A LOSER.

So a quiet evening at home is laced with the faint tang of “loserhood.” Grand.

But then my friend Josh called up!

“Hey, Ferrett,” he said. “Why don’t we play Magic tonight?”


And lo, I was playing double-Sealed on a Saturday! We bought eight packs, four decks, and started The Big Build so that we could both get a better feel for the format.

This was experimenting. We figured we might as well get the bad builds out of the way so we’d know what did work by the time everything started up.

Unfortunately, the cards that I got in my first pool were lost to a frenzied housecleaning from my wife (stacks of cards tend to get shuffled together when she goes on a “visitors are a-comin’!” prowl), but as you can see, the pool I got must have been insanely strong to produce this:

Deck #1

1 Boggart Harbinger
1 Boggart Logger
1 Boggart Mob
1 Dread
1 Eyeblight’s Ending
2 Hornet Harasser
1 Liliana Vess
1 Makeshift Mannequin
1 Nath’s Buffoon
1 Thieving Sprite
1 Warren Pilferers

1 Changeling Hero
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
2 Knight of Meadowgrain
1 Neck Snap
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Springjack Knight
1 Triclopean Sight

1 Deathrender
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Wanderer’s Twig

7 Plains
8 Swamp
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Vivid Marsh

The Snow-Covered Swamp is me, pawing through my box of “basic lands” and deciding what the hell, I’ll put it in. As it turned out, there were thankfully no effects that punished me for running Snow lands in Lorwyn, or I would have taken my medicine like a man.

That said, this deck is crazy nuts. I’m not sure how many Champions you want to have in a deck, but two here was surprisingly difficult at times; yeah, they’re powerful, but getting two in your hand is a mulligan. I like them, but there’s a maximum you want to have, even if Changeling Hero and Boggart Mob are pretty darned good.

But Deathrendering into a Dread is some awesome, as is using Makeshift Mannequin – which is an instant-speed reanimation spell – to chain Warren Pilferers at EOT to fetch back Boggart Harbinger to get Boggart Mob.

(…even if in that case, it was completely the wrong play. Discussing the whole “Danger of Cool Things,” I got caught up in recursing and fetching and living, forgetting that my opponent was at one life, had no fliers, and the ground was clogged by a Wren’s Run Packmaster. I should have just Mannequined the Thieving Sprite and swung for the win, but I be stupid.)

(Also, there was the time he hit me with a Mournwhelk and I discarded the Dread, hoping to surprise him with a reanimator from hell. There was in fact a grievous surprise, but it was all me, baby. Man, I can’t remember the “No Reanimate” clause on that damn thing, even if Wizards specifically warned me about it in my preview article. Fortunately, the Boggart Harbinger in my graveyard was also a fine choice to refuel, since it chained into Changeling Hero.)

But aside from my own terrible play (hey, that’s why we practice, amiright?), this deck was mighty hard to beat. Unlike Ravnica, where lifegain was prevalent and burn was cheap, five or ten extra points in Lorwyn feels infinitely harder to get past. And this deck has a lot of creature-based ways of gaining life – between Changeling Hero, the two Knights, and the help in the form of Runed Stalactite and Deathrender, you could often pick up five to ten points easy.

Plus, your late game is good. Dread is obviously solid if you can survive an all-out attack (which, you know, extra life), and the abundance of removal in the form of Neck Snap, Eyeblight’s Ending, and Oblivion Ring are awesome.

Then there’s Liliana. Quite nice, she was.

Triclopean Sight is a great combat trick that can lure an unsuspecting opponent into a horrible trade. I had a lot of fun attacking with Boggart Mob, watching Josh go, “Oh, coast is clear” and then Triclopeaning my Mob back into a 6/6 blocker. That was entertaining, if not necessarily for Josh.

Also to the also, Thieving Sprite is just fine with one faerie in the deck. Yanking your opponent’s last card out of his hand is Some Good.

This deck won most of the games that I didn’t blow thanks to stupid plays like the ones I mentioned. When you have a deck that’s better than you are, that’s a good sign. Why, oh why, didn’t I open this at a PTQ?

(Note to Wizards: Why is there no single page on your site showing you what tournaments are coming up in the season for the next three months? Just have a static page that lists what season we’re in, what the formats are, and what tournaments we’re qualifying in. This whole “You have to know that Kuala Lumpur is the next Pro Tour” thing gets tedious, folks. Is it too much to go, “Hey, I’m in Cleveland, show me all the upcoming tournaments that give me a Q”?)

All right. The next card pool was compromised slightly when an old friend called me up to tell me that her boyfriend had left her, thus leaving poor Josh to hang in mid-turn whilst I played counselor. I quietly indicated that instead of being bored, he should build a new deck and I would do the same.

My next deck was built while talking to my friend. Hence, my full attention was not on the deck. (And it probably wasn’t on my friend; I’m not a nice person, really, but I was doing my best to be helpful.)

In any case, here’s my pool – and I’ll show you the first version I built afterwards, which looked strong but didn’t function well.

Okay, what stood out to me here was the abundance of Merfolk – so I went with a Merfolky build that was something like this:

1 Benthicore
1 Broken Ambitions
1 Familiar’s Ruse
1 Fathom Trawl
1 Merrow Reejerey
1 Mulldrifter
1 Paperfin Rascal
1 Spellstutter Sprite
1 Stonybrook Angler
2 Streambed Architects
1 Whirlpool Whelm

1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Lairwatch Giant
2 Plover Knights
1 Pollen Lullaby
1 Veteran of the Depths
1 Wellgabber Apothecary

1 Dolmen Gate

2 Runed Stalactite

1 Windbrisk Heights

Plains and Stuff

I say “something” like this because Josh, unfortunately, cracked the Mother of All Decks. He got Goblins. He ran every Goblin he got, and there were a bunch of them – Mad Auntie, Spiderwig Boggart, two Squeaking Pie Sneaks, Tarfire, Fodder Launch, and a bunch of crap that said “Goblin” on it. Seriously, he ran Boggart Shenanigans, which killed me on at least two occasions, since his curve effectively topped out at four and he just threw out big Goblins until I died. And when he didn’t have Goblins, he had Goblins in the form of two Nameless Inversions.

As Josh noted, it was a classic battle of U/W control versus aggro Goblins, a classic matchup that’s often bad for U/W Control. And it is, especially when the U/W Control doesn’t have Wrath of God. I lost four straight games, and none of them were close.

The one thing that kept killing me? Wow, Fodder Cannon is colossally annoying. Axing one of my guys is bad enough, but the five to the face ended many a game. It was painful.

Thanks to the tremendous speed of his deck, I didn’t actually get a feel for a lot of the cards. Familiar’s Ruse may be an awesome card in late-game Limited, but when I was inevitably struggling to survive against his surfeit of removal and facing two Mad Auntie-powered Goblins, it was never good. Likewise, Benthicore and Wellgabber Apothecary seem like they’d be okay cards in Limited, but when the game’s all but over by the time you hit six mana, it’s a little hard to verify. And the Merfolk strategy of slow choking of resources? Fuhgeddaboutit.

I didn’t even get a chance to see how Ajani Goldmane fared, since I never drew him at all. Which was, to say the least, a little disappointing.

I don’t know whether I built the deck wrong, or Josh’s juggernaut of a Goblins deck was just too much. In any case, I decided to switch to the other idea I had – B/G Elves – dismantling my earlier deck before I had a chance to write it down.

1 Boggart Birth Rite
1 Boggart Loggers
1 Dreamspoiler Witches
1 Fodder Launch
1 Moonglove Winnower
1 Nameless Inversion
1 Nath’s Buffoon
1 Nettlevine Blight
1 Weed Strangle

1 Briarhorn
1 Ghostly Changeling
2 Gilt-Leaf Seer
1 Mournwhelk
1 Leaf Gilder
1 Nath’s Elite
1 Rootgrapple
1 Woodland Changeling

1 Wren’s Run Vanquisher

2 Runed Stalactite

This version did a little better; it won, I believe, two games out of five. But still, Josh’s “Bum rush the show” deck was incredibly potent (and one of those games was due to him stumbling on mana). Does it count if you put up a better fight and still lose?

Interestingly enough, these games tended to revolve around who got to their Fodder Cannon first. Since we both had it (and I had enough Changelings and/or Runed Stalactites to activate it), it often came down to whoever drew their Cannon first and got it off. Needless to say, Josh had the advantage in that department.

The other thing that often decided games against the Goblin deck’s speed was Wren’s Run Vanquisher. A second-turn 3/3 deathtouch elf, not surprisingly, puts some serious hurt on a rush strategy – and pretty much anyone in general. This is one of those cards that looked good, and turned out to be just as good as it looked. Plus, you know, with Changeling, it wasn’t hard to pay the cost.

Eventually, Josh and I decided to go with the ultimate fight: his crazy Goblin deck against my crazy Goblin deck. And in that, I pounded him. His deck revolved around an incredibly quick assault and overwhelming me before I could set up – an effective tactic with the Merrow, but not so much when I could gain four to six life, throw out a Deathrender to dissuade any critter-killing shenanigans, and then tutor for big guys. I won several games straight, to the point where Josh declared it the winner and went home.

The Weekly Plug Bug
In my webcomic Home on the Strange, Karla’s started up her own church. Now Tom has to deal with it. Go and see.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
[email protected]StarCityGames.com
The Here Edits This Site Here Guy