Insert Column Name Here – Enduring Until Renewal

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!It helps to actually draw the bombs once you open them. Alas, I had no such luck this week. But hey, it’s the summer doldrums, that’s to be expected, right?

This is the bottom of the season. It’s summer, and everyone wants to be out enjoying their summer days… And worse, we’re in the trough between blocks, so everyone’s like “Hey, I know Time Spiral, gimme something new.”

I tried to give you something new. People said, “Hey, who cares about the Power Nine or the Most Annoying Card In Time Spiral Limited?” And the answer is, “About twice as many people who read Time Spiral Limited articles.”

It’s true; everyone’s bored. Aside from the brief excitement of Nationals, August is the cruelest month. But I have nothing particularly exciting to write about, so let’s talk some more — yawn — Time Spiral Sealed.

Solid Playables: Augur il-Vec, Cavalry Master, Fortify, Icatian Crier, Jedit’s Dragoons, Whitemane Lion

Is Opal Guardian any good? I don’t actually know. Kind of White-intensive, and the two or three times I’ve seen it it’s been nice, but generally not backbreaking. Have no clue.

Fortify just doesn’t seem to have the oomph that it once did; I don’t know why, but it just seems like the Time Spiral days of amassing huge armies in Sealed are gone. It’ll usually get through for some damage, and it’s obviously good if you have some kinda token generators, but otherwise it seems like I’m constantly casting it to save (or destroy) one or two guys, not swooping in for the kill.

Marshalling Cry? That’s it. You and I are over. I used to think you were cool, but these days I’m just cycling you. Oh, I suppose you can be good when surrounded by the right cards, but solid playables have to be good anywhere.

If only you were an instant. Oh, only.

Solid Playables: Erratic Mutation, Fledgling Mawcor, Looter il-Kor, Think Twice, Tolarian Sentinel.

That whole “Reality Acid/Tolarian Sentinel” combo is so five months ago, man. Besides, in as many games as I’ve played, I’ve never gotten it to work for me, so I’m assuming it’s one of those cursed combos — the combos that everyone else seems to draw, but not me.

“Oh, sometimes it just seems that everyone’s having Tolarian Sentinel/Reality Acid combos except for me.”

– Clyde Bruckman

That said, we have some nice Blue here, but not a whole lot of depth… And not terribly splashable, either. In return for splashing, we get something we really want on turn 2 (Looter), a spell that draws us other cards (Think Twice), and a pair of removal spells (Mawcor and Mutation). The last two are candidates, but I’d be hard-pressed to put these into service.

Solid Playables: Damnation, Gorgon Recluse, Haunting Hymn, Melancholy, Midnight Charm, Shimian Specter, Skulking Knight, Tendrils of Agony

Skulking Knight? In Sealed, yeah…. Kinda. He’s sliding off the list, but if he doesn’t get cacked by some creature-targetable spell, he’s getting in for three to six damage because nobody ever wants to lose a creature to a guy who will die very very soon. That said, I’m not wild about him.

Psychotic Episode, on the other hand, may belong on the list. Some people swear by it, like an old jar of mayonnaise. Others think of it, well, like an old jar of mayonnaise. Me? I’ve had it do majorly bad things against me, but never consistently enough to run it main deck all the time. It can be good.

Haunting Hymn is a bomb in Sealed. Really. Sealed is slower, you may have heard, so get over your drafting little self.

Shimian Specter generally seems to bring out the best in people — as in, “If they have a removal spell in their hand, you will see it once you cast this.” So I kind of look at it like a flagbearer, only it’s not a mandatory effect. I’ve gotten through with it, I think, twice in recorded history.

Oh yeah — Damnation? Ch-ching.

Solid Playables: Coal Stoker, Empty the Warrens, Fomori Nomad, Ghostfire, Needlepeak Spider, Norrin the Wary, Sparkspitter, Stingscourger, Subterranean Shambler, Suq’ata Lancer, Torchling.

Well. Aside from my lovely little preview card, there’s a lot of quantity cards, but nothing I’m terribly excited about. Empty the Warrens has gone off lately thanks to the dearth of Suspend-ness (even though we have Coal Stoker to help out), and Stingscourger is always nice for tempo — but this is Sealed. We can’t guarantee the tempo in the way that we do Sealed.

I like Ghostfire, but can’t help but noting that we don’t have any other removal in Red. Once it hits the table, it’s staying there — and my decks never function unless I can do something tricksy in mid-combat.

Sparkspitter? It never seems to be as good as I want it to be. The 1/3 butt is nice, but a 3/1 on the attack rarely makes the big difference. It winds up being a deterrent — yeah, I could do this, so don’t you forget! But it’s still good enough to go into a deck.

This has a lot of beef, and very few combat tricks. Still, it’s not bad stuff — just lacking in subtlety. And there’s a lot of overall quality across the board — just nothing that spikes up. It’s almost certainly playable, but I’m not excitamated.

Solid Playables: Citanul Woodreaders, Essence Warden, Herd Gnarr, Kavu Primarch, Llanowar Empath, Might of Old Krosa, Molder, Penumbra Spider

Timmy just had a big-gasm with the sight of Krosan Cloudscraper, but me? I see a morph I’ll never un-morph. (Though Phthisis would be really funny.)

Aside from that, we have pretty much what we did in Red — some nice creatures, but only one spell castable at instant speed in combat. (Oh, all right, Molder, but I generally don’t maindeck Molder.) And that makes me nervous, even if I can draw more cards with Green (Woodreaders, Empath) than I can with Red.

I dunno. Plus, Herd Gnarr isn’t so spiffy when there aren’t Thallids and instant-speed critters to go with it.

And the Rest
Solid Playables: Chromatic Star, Clockwork Hydra, Foriysian Totem, Sword of the Meek

Okay. Good artifacts, at least, though Sword of the Meek seems a little out of place here; hey, I wanted Thallids and I got nothin’! That said, Clockwork Hydra’s always good, and the Totem can beat down quite nicely in a pinch; I love things with Trample.

There’s a case to try to split the colors into the most powerful cards here… But what would that be? Black’s a definite, since we have removal and decent guys and Damnation. But what goes with Black?

If we go with White, we get some nice guys and a combat trick or two (Whitemane Lion and Fortify), but no real evasion. Plus, Black has a few dorks, so we need Big Finishers aside from the Hydra.

Red has, well, Torchling. And Needlepeak Spider and Fomori Nomad, both of which will do in a pinch as “I beats down.” It also has the ability to gain us some tempo with Stingscourger, though we can’t do much about it on the way back down. Not so good.

Green gives us more big guys, but we have to commit more. I love Penumbra Spider, but aside from that we have Kavu Primarch and the Might and that’s about it.

I could go B/R/w, but what’s the W? Fortify and Whitemane Lion? Hardly seems worth the mana. Likewise, B/R/g might be nice to get me Molder as a sideboard option, but not a whole lot there.

B/G gets me… Well, big dopey guys without a real way of breaking through. We do have Damnation, so that’s a possibility, and certainly Penumbra Spider and Citanul Woodreaders go well with our plans of “Getting our opponents to overcommit so that we can blast their face with Damnation.” But if we don’t draw the Damnation, we could be in trouble… And the lack of removal is ugly. B/G/r’s a possibility, but that r is for Ghostfire and not much else.

Or I could just run straight B/R. I have the cards, and it’d be nice not to have to worry about mana. Here it is!

How’d I do?

2-3. Which can be summed up very simply:

Number of Games (Out of Thirteen) In Which I Drew Damnation:


Number of Games (Out of Thirteen) In Which I Drew Torchling:

Number of Games (Out of Thirteen) In Which I Drew Both Torchling And Damnation:
One. The same game. Go figure.

Number Of Games Where I Got To Turn 20 At Least Twice And Never Saw Damnation Or Torchling:
That would be five.

Not that I am bitter. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m frickin’ bitter as all Hell. If you’re going to warp your Sealed deck around a pair of bomb rares, the least the damn things can do is show up.

Know how bad it is? I didn’t see Tendrils of Corruption until late in the fourth match. All my good cards were hiding on me while my deck gave me Suq’Ata Lancers galore!


Even the first of the two “won” matches didn’t count; the guy mulliganed to two and quit the first game before it started. (I know the feeling, pal, but ya gotta keep up your spirits.) The second one involved him land-stalling on three land while I slowly devoured his essence.

The other three? Ugly. One I wasn’t even in; the guy had Vorosh, Tarox Bladewing, and Jaya Ballard — which I, happily, Damned. Then he whipped out Gemhide, Reflex, and Muscle Sliver and killed me in two turns after that. I don’t deny people the power of their rares, but it does mean that occasionally I just sit around and watch my face assume new and interesting shapes as it’s pummeled.

The other was the kind you hate — a guy who’s Sprout Swarming, and all you can hope to do is draw your Haunting Hymn before he goes Infinite, and you don’t. Boo.

That said, I don’t like this deck a whole lot. Every deck has a feel to me, and this deck feels fragile; I don’t have the ability to bait people into overcommitting the way I’d like. It may well be that a B/G or even a B/U build is better for maximizing the power of Damnation… But jeez, I wanted Torchling!

How can I play with you if you never show up, Torchy?

The Weekly Plug Bug
This week’s Home on the Strange deals with Tanner’s upcoming party… And past parties have led to disaster. Can Tom and Karla prepare themselves for a drunken, unhappy Tanner trying to win Izzy’s affection?

Signing off,
The Ferrett
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