Insert Column Name Here – The Curving Learn

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!I lost this week due to a grievous misunderstanding of my mana curve. And I have no one to blame but myself for that. It was a good deck; I was the one who let it down. What could I have done better?

I lost this week due to a grievous misunderstanding of mana. And I have no one to blame but myself for that. It was a good deck; I was the one who let it down.

But let’s look at the cards.

Solid Playables: Cloudgoat Ranger, Galepowder Mage, Goldmeadow Harrier, Judge of Currents, Kinsbaile Balloonist, Kithkin Greatheart, Mirror Entity, Oaken Brawler, Oblivion Ring, Pollen Lullaby, Summon the School, Wellgabber Apothecary

Looking at this, this is clearly crazy. We have the insta-combo of “Cloudgoat Ranger + Galepowder Mage,” which is my third-favorite Galepowder combo (the first being obviously Mulldrifter+Galepowder, and the second being Shriekmaw). We have Summon the School and Judge of Currents, two great cards that go great together.

And we have Mirror Entity, which is (at least according to the Wizards Draft Club) the first pick in the whole set. And, you know, Oblivion Ring. So it’s hard to imagine not playing White.

In fact, we have so many good cards that even normal playables might get dropped. Kithkin Greatheart is generally okay thanks to his place in the curve and the Changelings, but do we need him? What about Pollen Lullaby? Hard to say.

Solid Playables: Aethersnipe, Drowner of Secrets, Inkfathom Divers, Merrow Reejerey, Sentinels of Glen Elendra, Pestermite, Whirlpool Whelm, Wings of Velis Vel

Okay, so we’ve got three darned fine Merfolk, all in theme; the Merrow Reejerey turns our School-Summoned fishies into 2/2s (if he survives himself), and Infathom Divers sets us up the bomb. Plus, Drowner of Secrets is a nice alternative win.

Merfolk it will most likely be.

Zephyr Net is one of those spells I side in a lot against ugliness like the Incarnations and other bigwigs. In this case, I suspect I’d be siding it in a lot, since this deck has some strong alterna-win conditions; Drowner is quite nice.

Spellstutter Sprite just seems to have gotten worse and worse for me as the season’s gone by. I remember when the spoilers said it was a Power Sink, which it turned out not to be, and has been infinitely worse ever since. Can one shed a tear for a card that never was?

Solid Playables: Boggart Loggers, Dreamspoiler Witches, Eyeblight’s Ending, Hornet Harasser, Thieving Sprite

I did not have much love for the Harasser when Lorwyn first arrived, but now I see him for what he is: a very ugly attacker. He’s a little mana-clunky, but I’ve lost a couple of games to being attacked with The 2/2 I Dare Not Block. That doesn’t make him great, but he has risen a bit in my estimation.

Likewise, Boggart Loggers reads, “Sacrifice them to kill a Changeling” – which, since the little buggers are everywhere, is handy indeed. The Forestwalk also often comes in incidentally handy as well.

That said, this is fairly weak; one removal spell, and a bunch of cards with no theme. The Merfolk are rock-solid, this is just stuff. I’ll pass.

Solid Playables: Blades of Velis Vel, Caterwauling Boggart, Giant Harbinger, Hurly-Burly, Lash Out, Stinkdrinker Daredevil, Tarfire, Tar Pitcher

Dang it, all the implements to play Giants, and no actual Giants. What fun is that? I want to break loose with Sunrise Sovereign, and yet I have nada to look at. Boo.

We have some mighty nice removal here (a bit of mass removal for 1/1s is particularly nice in this Elfy format), but no real coherent theme. I’ll always run Lash Out and Tarfire, but a couple of more Goblins could have tipped this in the “playable” direction. As it is, it’s temptingly splashable, but I can’t.

I should add that Caterwauling Boggart just seems stronger to me in the odd game of Two-Headed Giant I’ve played. The ability to smash past someone’s defenses makes it harder on everyone.

Solid Playables: Battlewand Oak, Cloudcrown Oak, Elvish Branchbender, Fertile Ground, Fistful of Force, Gilt-Leaf Seer, Guardian of Cloverdell, Oakgnarl Warrior, Primal Command

I look at this pool and think, “Wow, that’s darned close to a good Treefolk deck.” But alas, two of them are seven mana, and I don’t have enough Changelings to fill the gap (as much as I love Battlewand Oak), so even with the Fertile Ground I’ll probably pass. I could do it if I didn’t have such awesome Merfolk…


…And The Rest
Solid Playables: Sygg, River Guide


…but I do, so I’m going to skip it.

The Deck
I made a mistake here. And I paid for it, in mulligans. My mistake was twofold:

First, I thought that seventeen land was a reasonable top-end, and eighteen land is what you went to if you had no other option. But I’ve still got my head in older sets, and eighteen land is perfectly acceptable if you have a high curve.

The other thing is that I miscalculated the curve.

Technically, yes, Mirror Entity is a three-drop. Technically, yes, Sygg, Siver Guide is a two-drop. But by blindly placing them in the spot where I could just raw-dog them in the face of any removal my opponent cared to run, I acted as though seventeen land would be perfectly enough. When in truth, Sygg was at a minimum a four-drop, and Mirror Entity a high-end finisher.

That bumped my curve way up. And what happened was that I frequently was struggling to play with five mana when I really needed six to fire properly, and misbuilt the whole thing as a result.

(Also, there’s something to be said for my habit of auto-going first. That’s a debatable call.)

Also, partially it was bad luck, but whatcha gonna do? I can’t control that. I can control my own deck, and should have. Here’s what I ran, with one land too few:

7 Island
3 Mountain
7 Plains
1 Aquitect’s Will
1 Cloudgoat Ranger
1 Deeptread Merrow
1 Drowner of Secrets
1 Galepowder Mage
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
1 Inkfathom Divers
1 Judge of Currents
1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Lash Out
1 Merrow Reejerey
1 Mirror Entity
1 Moonglove Extract
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Pestermite
1 Sentinels of Glen Elendra
1 Summon the School
1 Sygg, River Guide
1 Tarfire
1 Wellgabber Apothecary
1 Whirlpool Whelm
1 Wings of Velis Vel
1 AEthersnipe

The Aquitect’s Will stands out as the lousiest trick; it’s necessary in Constructed, but in Limited it’s a side-in. But I’m sure y’all will tell me in the forums what I should have done, ‘cause the forums always know.

The first match was ugly: He got fourth-turn Galepowder Mage, fifth-turn Shriekmaw, and I drew no removal of note. I thought, “Gosh, hopefully that won’t happen again,” and in fact he got precisely that on the very next game. I had the Harrier out to stop him for a bit, but eventually he pinged it away and then ate my entire team.

The second match? Also bad. Third-turn Stinkdrinker, fourth-turn Giant Harbinger, fifth-turn Sunrise Sovereign. I bounced something once or twice, but I died. And that exact sequence happened again in the third game. Blech.

The third match was a long, drawn-out fight. There was one game where it was my opponent’s selection of ludicrous Green power cards (Lys Alana Huntmaster, Cloudscraper, Immaculate Magistrate) to my many small, White and Blue power cards. There was a ground stall; I had the Summon/Reejerey/Currents engine going, but he also had a lot to attack me with, and I wasn’t making any headway. I felt as though I wasn’t going to win in a war of attrition.

I was also on the phone with tech support, making playing actual games difficult – so I punted. I declared an all-out attack, losing my Reejerey and currents but bringing him down to two.

He attacked back, and I took it, knowing I had three cards in my deck that would finish him. I drew Wings of Velis Vel and won. GG, fella.

Losing the third game was a bit anticlimactic, but whatcha gonna do?

The fourth game was a bit different. I had just started it up when my wife walked in.

“Are you in the middle of something?” she asked, chewing her lip coquettishly.

“Yeah,” I said. “I just started this game of Magic.”

She swayed her hips. “’Cause, you know, I was hoping maybe you could be in the middle of something.”

I conceded immediately. (Though personally, I think I won that one.)

Forty minutes later, I returned to the final game and won.

But what happened a lot was that I struggled; this is a mana-hungry deck, between the Sygg and the Summons and the Entity, and I frequently stalled on four land or had to mulligan a two-lander. Some decks can thrive on five, but this is not one of them. Eighteen land was a must. And I blew it.

I have no one to blame but myself.

(I went 3-1 in future games. Bleah.)

The Weekly Plug Bug
Well, this will be the last one for some time, so rejoice! Home on the Strange is ending! So tune in to see the final bits of “Wedding,” and the end of the strip itself!

Hoo hah!

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