Insert Column Name Here – Less Potent Than Advertised

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!A deck stuffed to the gills (so to speak) with potent Merfolk and Faeries! What’s not to love! Well, the results aren’t to love if you get greedy and try to throw in too much! Watch what happens when a good deck tumbles! Film at 11!

Sorry I didn’t have my article up for yesterday, folks – the big news here is that I am attempting to sell my house.

If you’ve never prepared a house for sale, you’ve probably helped a friend move. And prepping a house is like moving, complete with tedious detail work and lugging furniture around, except that you can’t expect your friends to help.

No, you have to pack every last stray book and Magic card away, because people who are shopping for a home want to imagine themselves in that space… And you are trying to expunge as much of your personality from the home as you can without making it unbearably generic. So the interesting pictures come down from the wall to make the rooms look bigger. The spare CDs get packed up and stuffed in a closet. The walls and floors get scrubbed.

When you are selling your house, you keep it clean. There will be no dishes in the sink; Lord knows when a visitor will arrive. There will be no laundry in the bin. Your toilet will be scrubbed every day, until you can sell it.

It is painful. Especially when you accidentally yank the phone cord out of the wall when you’re moving a bed and don’t realize that’s the reason your Internet connection is down.

In any case, yes, I did play some MODO! With Lorwyn, even! I’ll tell you about it – assuming, of course, you’d like to buy a very nice house in Cleveland for $173,000. It’s been recently insulated, and the windows are all new….

Solid Playables: Austere Command, Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile, Changeling Hero, Kinsbaile Balloonist, Kithkin Healer, Neck Snap, Oblivion Ring, Summon the School

Well, that’s a nice way to start out your League. After all, even at six mana, Wrath of God effects are always nice in Sealed — particularly in the tribal-tastic environs of Lorwyn. Plus, this pool offers many ways to remove troublesome creatures; if they refuse to walk into your oh-so-blatant Neck Snap, remove ‘em with Oblivion Ring!

O-Ring, I should add, seems to be getting a little worse as people are preparing for it. It’s not bad, but it does mean that you can’t rely on it as heavily as you did at the prerelease. Also note that you can, as I did, O-Ring someone’s O-Ring to get your dude back, which was pretty darned funny.

Interestingly enough, Changeling Hero is too small to do what it should do. At 4/4, there were a lot of times I really wanted to go on the assault in order to gain some life back, but a single double-block would kill it. Not good. And since it doesn’t fly (and there are a lot of fliers in Lorwyn, including anything dragged along by a Balloonist), it can’t block as effectively as I’d like. It’s great if you’re in the position where you can go on the offense, but I’ve found it sitting on the sidelines all too often. It’s still good, as a few landed hits can win you a race, but not great.

Summon the School, on the other hand, is every bit as nice as people say it is. Particularly if, say, you get to combine it with Judge of Currents, which gets kind of funny. For you, that is. Your opponent probably won’t be laughing that much unless he has removal.

I’m wondering about Triclopean Sight as a “solid” playable. When he wins, he wins big, but it just seems like +1/+1 doesn’t do that much in this environment, since the guys you want to protect are invariably 1/1s that die to Tarfire regardless. Sure, it’s a snappy trick if you beef up your big guy, but the critter destruction here seems to be heavy on the “kill you regardless of size” — O-Ring, Neck Snap, Weed Strangle, et cetera.

Also, Springjack Knight? He’s on the bubble. There are those who will claim that his clashing helps your opponents more than it helps you, and I can’t say I disagree with that — but a Deathrendered Springjack ended a game or two for me. I think it depends on your build.

Solid Playables: Deeptread Merrow, Faerie Harbinger, Faerie Trickery, Inkfathom Divers, Pestermite, Silvergill Douser, Whirlpool Whelm

I underestimated Whirlpool Whelm, since the bouncing a creature never seemed to help much. Then I realized, after siding it in all the dang time, that bouncing guys in an environment where Heroes were always coming down and Incarnations were mucking up the field and one less Faerie meant that you could kill something through a Silvergill Douser, and yeah. I went for it.

Silvergill Douser is as nuts as they say. He dominates combat to the point where not one, but two of my Merfolk-on-Merfolk battles were settled by the removal of a Douser. (Both of them were me losing sadly, but still.)

I will say that Pestermite is good. He’s especially good when he can squeeze two activations out of Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile in the same turn, completely collapsing your opponent’s offense. Or, in another case, killing the Sygg, River Guide he’d just attacked with — oh, you can protect it once, but not twice. (Though arguably, he shouldn’t have been attacking with but a single activation free.)

Aethersnipe Elemental? I dunno. Haven’t seen him used well, but I could be misunderestimating him. Same with Merrow Commerce — it seems like a “win more” card, not an actual “win” card, and it’s hard enough getting four fragile merfolk to stick.

Is Fallowsage good? Well, he replaces himself after a single attack. I like that. But at four mana? Good if you can tap him with something else, but I’m not sure he’s an auto-include.

Solid Playables: Footbottom Feast, Thieving Sprite

Woof-da. A lot of the Black here is conditionally good — Spiderwig Boggart, Boggart Birth Rite, and even Boggart Loggers can be good in a Goblin deck. Heck, the Spiderwig can even be a finisher at times, granting Fear to something big.

But it seems that this is a Goblin deck in search of Goblins, and without something to tie them together we have, well… A bunch of Goblins. And no removal. Not good.

Solid Playables: Axegrinder Giant, Consuming Bonfire, Goatnapper, Heathcage Giant, Inner-Flame Acolyte, Lash Out, Tarfire, Tar Pitcher

So do we have Goblins? Kinda. Sadly, though we have the great combo of Tar Pitcher and Tarfire (and their hick cousin, Tarnation — a weakened Damnation), we’re stuck with Goblins that want other Goblins. You could go B/R here, but you’d be lacking big finishers outside of the mostly vanilla Giants, which worries me.

Lash Out, Tarfire, and Consuming Bonfire will turn up the heat, but I’m not convinced this is the build we want.

Solid Playables: Briarhorn, Changeling Titan, Fertile Ground, Lace with Moonglove, Leaf Gilder, Lignify, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Oakgnarl Warrior, Rootgrapple, Warren-Scourge Elf

That’s more like it!

Rootgrapple I consider to be an auto-play in any Sealed deck, since it takes out two critical cards: Planeswalkers, and Oblivion Ring. And it does so at instant speed, making things get kind of ugly in mid-combat.

I shouldn’t need to tell you that Briarhorn is good. Changeling Titan, on the other hand, I’m souring on; yes, I like huge men as much as the next guy, but the vanilla 7/7 seems to be continually watching dumbly as Balloonists fly overhead or shrinking from a Deathtouched Elf. He’s still good for what he is, of course, particularly, if you can abuse comes into play effects with him, but maybe I’m not finding the right decks.

If you haven’t caught on, however, Warren-Scourge Elf reads “Protection from Changelings” and thus should be in pretty much any deck that feels the need for defense.

This pool, on the other hand, is a little uneven. We don’t have enough Elves to go all Elftastic, and the Treefolks are at the high (Oakgnarl Warrior) and the low (Treefolk Harbinger) end without much else. There are some solid cards, but not much of a theme.

And The Rest
Solid Playables: Runed Stalactite, Sygg, River Guide

Am I the only one hoping to see the Runed Stalagmite in the next set, which gives +2/+2 but removes all creature types? Oh, probably.

Okay, Sygg River Guide and Runed Stalactite go together like beans and toast. (No, really, they do go together in England, and are quite delicious and heart-traumatizing.) For the low cost of “Not having your opponent kill it at instant speed while you equip it,” you can put anything you like under the aegis protection of Sygg. And Sygg is quite nice.

So What Did I Do?
I think I may have gotten a little greedy.

I was overvaluing Changeling Titan, who is good in fast decks but not necessarily awesome in slower Merfolk decks. And I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of having two Heroes in the same deck, which is something I’ve discussed before but never mused upon.

So I went U/W/g, perhaps a little heavy on the g:

2 Forest

6 Island
7 Plains
1 Austere Command
1 Briarhorn
1 Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
1 Changeling Hero
1 Changeling Titan
1 Deeptread Merrow
1 Faerie Harbinger
1 Faerie Trickery
1 Fallowsage
1 Inkfathom Divers
1 Judge of Currents
1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Kithkin Healer
1 Lignify
1 Neck Snap
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Pestermite
1 Rootgrapple
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Silvergill Douser
1 Summon the School
1 Sygg, River Guide
1 Triclopean Sight

1 Vivid Grove

The mana is tricky here, and it was often my downfall — this is a deck that wants a lot of specific mana early, and I tripped more than once and died. Plus, the two Heroes in a fourteen-creature deck often left them stranded in my hand, since I either didn’t have the creatures or didn’t want to remove them (Sygg, I always want you there).

Plus, as mentioned, the removal of Whirlpool Whelm really hurt. There were any number of times I wanted to get rid of something for a turn, and couldn’t, and ouch.

How’d I do?

The first match was an absolute slaughter, and I felt good about it. I actually got off the “Recycle Summon the School with Judge of Currents out” trick, skyrocketing to thirty-plus life and winning handily.

The second match was one of those heartbreak affairs where you feel good (but not really) about losing. It was three games, and each of us were at less than five life in both of them; it could have gone either way. But I’m pretty sure I made a majorly wrong decision in Game 2 in deciding what to go for when I Faerie Harbingered for Changeling Hero — normally a decent play, but I was stuck at five land and couldn’t protect it, and my opponent was bounce-happy besides. I recast the Hero on and off for a few turns, struggling for land, but I died in very hard-fought games.

The third match? Mana screw. Both games. “It happens,” we say, and then punch a wall.

The fourth match, I won, but it was the kind of win you feel kind of bad about, since it was like pimp-slapping a hamster. His rating was a straight 1600, but I estimate that in real life he was hovering around 1450, since he kept trying to put Enchantments on my Merfolk with Sygg out, and seemed continually surprised when it didn’t work.

The fifth and sixth matches were crushing. I was feeling pretty good about attacking a Liliana Vess out of existence for the ultimate win in Game 1, but then Garruk Wildspeaker came out to play in Game 2, and then both of them showed up in Game 3. Oh, I fought, but it was downhill from there against his incredible pull. And the sixth match was kind of close both times until he pulled out Mirror Entity and I could not draw my O-Ring to save my life.

The seventh match was against a 1900-rated player whose name I did not get — but boy, was he a poor sport. He had an insane deck, with not one but three Merrow Harbingers, a lot of Faeries and Merfolk, and Mistbind Clique. I’d baited his Faerie Trickery out of his hand with some other spell to land my Austere Command in the final game, forcing us both into a topdeck war where we were both at two life…. Except that I laid both Judge of Currents and Silvergill Douser, then ramped into Summon the School. He got out his Clique and began to attack with it and a couple of other guys, but I managed to keep my life totals bobbing at a single point of life each turn for three turns. Then, finally, I attacked for the win, a Briarhorn in my hand to seal the deal in case he had something in mind….

And gosh, wouldn’t you know it? Disconnect.

So 3-4 in the League. Not good. Certainly not what I’d hoped for with the deck. But part of that’s my play, part of that’s the luck of the game. Lorwyn seems to reward good deckbuilding more than any other Sealed build I’ve seen thus far, and I’m entire happy with the format.

The Weekly Plug Bug
This week on nerdcore romance soap opera Home on the Strange: Izzy and Tanner are getting married! And Tom is the best man! The only problem? Tom doesn’t know that he’s the best man yet, and Tanner now has to tell him. This could be troublesome.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
[email protected]StarCityGames.com
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