Insert Column Name Here – The God Of Rares Leaves Me Awash In Blue

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!Not one, not two, but three insane Blue rares, all in one little tidal pool. And lo, it is a crazy good deck piloted by a crazy (if not good) player. But how did it perform… And what terror lies underneath The Ferrett’s Christmas tree?

What I want for Christmas is sheer terror.

Every year, I send my Annual Greed List to all my friends and family. I’m pretty hard to buy for thanks to two reasons: First, I’m a nerd with pretty specific hobbies, and second, I have no self-control it.

Here’s me in the video store: IseeitIwannitIboughtit.

Time was, my relatives carefully scouted out what I might want, and discovered that the thing that would really float my boat was this obscure D&D module. They would purchase it for me, only to discover that I had bought it on December 21st. Then they would pound the crap out me.

So I make a very long list of the things I want, then I seal my credit card away. And the number one thing I want this year is…

*Dun dun DUN*

…a videocamera.

Why? Because I want to do YouTube videos. That seems like a hoot, and I think I’d enjoy performing, even as you poor schlubs would have to endure my whiny, feminine voice.

The problem, of course, is Evan Erwin.

I’ll be starting out on my videos, and I’ll barely know which way to point the camera. Evan, on the other hand, has had nearly two years’ worth of constant video editing, and now he’s got all of these cool, professional tricks that I wouldn’t have the faintest clue how to do. He has these fun introductions, and cool graphics, and puts people’s names under their images when they talk just like professional newscasts….

If I do it, I’ll be doofing my way to confidence in full view of everyone. Evan’s too damn good. I’ll look like his hick brother, hyoking and fumbling around like outtakes from the Blair Witch Project.

Which may explain why there aren’t that many other Magic video folks; he’s set the bar too high. You’ll look dumb next to that. (Or maybe it’s the twelve hours a week of time he puts into it.) I know I’m afraid to try.

Why aren’t you folks blitzing YouTube with Magic videos? Is it the time? The technology? The terror?

Me? It’s the lack of a Christmas gift. But we’ll see what Santa brings, now won’t we?

Let’s talk cards.

Solid Playables: Goldmeadow Harrier, Hillcomber Giant, Hoofprints of the Stag, Kinsbaile Balloonist, Oaken Brawler, Surge of Thoughtweft, Triclopean Sight, Veteran of the Depths

The whole “Solid Playables” ranking system is always a little tricky, since it puts an awesome card like Oblivion Ring (which I don’t have) in the same category as Oaken Brawler. Obviously, I’ll run the Brawler, since it’s reasonably costed for its price, but I want the O-Ring.

In this particular White, we have a lot of cards that I’ll run, but few that I want. I don’t crack open a card pool going, “Man, I sure hope I get Hillcomber Giant!” And in this case, we have a lot of “nice to haves” without a lot of must-haves.

Hoofprints of the Stag is a nice card in the slower Limited, since practically nobody runs maindeck enchantment removal. It’s often a dead draw late in the game, but cast on turn 2 it can lead to some fairly ugly turn 6s, and turn a stalemate into something very mean indeed.

Balloons sink over time as they deflate; that glorious, helium-filled sphere you brought home last week will be a rubbery, pruny mess today. Likewise, my assessment of Kinsbaile Balloonist has also sunk over time, as it seems a bit pricey for what it does and doesn’t get through often enough. It’s not bad, and I’m certainly happy to run it, but it alone no longer tugs me into White on its own.

The rest here are happy White cards, but don’t have a whole lot of coherence. We don’t have enough Kithkin to run a full Kithkit, and the combat tricks are fairly weak. It’s workable, but Lordy I hope for better than this.

Solid Playables: Amoeboid Changeling, Broken Ambitions, Fallowsage, Fathom Trawl, Guile, Inkfathom Divers, Mulldrifter, Pestermite, Sentinels of Glen Elendra, Wanderwine Prophets, Whirlpool Whelm

At the beginning of the season, you might be excused for not knowing this is good Blue. By now, you have no excuse, sirrah!

The Gods Of Rares decided to dump all of my little gold-iconed suckers into the Blue pile, and Lordy they’re good. I’ve cracked Guile in a pool with no counterspells and run it, since it’s still a nigh-unblockable 6/6, but I’m even happier to have it with a pair of solid counterspells.

I’m still not that big on Familiar’s Ruse, but I have backed down from my stance that I’ll never run it. The problem with the Ruse is that if you’re behind on creatures, sometimes it’s worse than a draw, since preventing your opponent’s next spell will KEEL YOU. But when you’re ahead, or in an early game, it’s a solid little countery number – and when you consider the number of 187 effects we have in Blue alone here (Mulldrifter, Pestermite, Inkfathom Divers), then it jumps out of your pool and tugs on your lapels.

Fathom Trawl is spendy at five mana, and sometimes tough to run. If you’re racing, the turn you lose in tempo by doing nothing but filling your hand with gas can sometimes put you behind. I’ve lost a couple of games where my only hope was to Fathom Trawl into something that was two mana, since I only had seven mana and was going to die right then. That said, it’s not like it’s a bad card – it’s only very good in Sealed, as opposed to universally awesome.

Wanderwine Prophets? Well, if you slap a Protective Bubble on them – as we have here – and are willing to sacrifice a few merfolk, you can win the game right there. At six mana, it’s a lot, and we have fewer Merfolk (and Changelings) than I’d like to run it, but the possibility of an auto-win looms large.

Solid Playables: Boggart Loggers, Footbottom Feast, Marsh Flitter, Mournwhelk, Peppersmoke, Thieving Sprite, Thorntooth Witch, Warren Pilferers, Weed Strangle

When you have as many “comes into play” effects as we already do in Blue, you want Warren Pilferers and Footbottom Feast. Badly. Combine that with a Thieving Sprite, a Mournwhelk, and a Marsh Flitter, and boy howdy we’re starting to see the outlines of a fine recycle deck that wins via attrition.

That said, in another pool, this might be not be the greatest choice; we don’t really have enough Faeries to consistently get the card off of Peppersmoke (though we’ll still take the removal and hardly any Treefolk to abuse Thorntooth Witch). It’s conditionally awesome, but lacking a strong Goblin theme, in most decks this would be merely okay.

Solid Playables: Adder-Staff Boggart, Axegrinder Giant, Caterwauling Boggart, Flamekin Spitfire, Glarewielder, Mudbutton Torchrunner, Soulbright Flamekin, Stinkdrinker Daredevil

Boggart Shenanigans shows up at Worlds, and next thing I know everybody’s stuffing it in their decks. It’s kind of like you can always tell when Nick Eisel gotten behind a card, since the week after everyone is trying it out. As it is, I’ve already lost to Boggart Shenanigans in many decks, so I can tell you that it’s perfectly suitable if you have enough Goblins.

Speaking of Eisel, somebody dropped the dime on Torchrunner, since I never used to see it in Leagues, and now it’s all over the place as the delightful blocker/unblockable 1/1 attacker that it is. Nobody wants to see it hit the graveyard (except for you, natch), and finally folks have discovered its usefulness.

I should like Hurly-Burly, since it’s mass removal. And I do side it in against Blue decks, where it can decimate a bunch of 1/1 fliers. But it never seems like it’s useful on the ground, except after a combat that I’m already winning. And so I reluctantly leave it off. You can yell at me.

The pool here lacks coherence, though; we have good cards, but nothing that works well with in lockstep, and in this world of Lorwyn you need strong synergy to survive. It’s not bad, but we’ve already seen better.

Solid Playables: Battlewand Oak, Fertile Ground, Guardian of Cloverdell, Incremental Growth, Oakgnarl Warrior, Treefolk Harbinger, Woodland Changeling, Wren’s Run Vanquisher

Not quite enough of anywhere here. We have some decent Treefolk, but the mana curve sags somewhere between “one mana” and “seven mana,” and I never like to have a deck that revolves getting to two seven-mana cards. We have the awesome Wren’s Run Vanquisher, but not enough Elves to guarantee it. We have some mana-fixing in a color we can’t run main.

On the whole, the Green’s pretty craptacular. Which is a perfectly cromulent word.

And The Rest
Solid Playables: Dolmen Gate, Springleaf Drum, Vivid Grove

Okay, we know about Spinerock Knoll. But are the rest of the hideaway lands good? I don’t know about the White one, which seems fairly weak, and difficult to do outside of Kithkin.

However, Springleaf Drum is awesome in a deck that’s trying to get to six mana, since it can boost you up a turn or a land early. And it’s especially nice when you can do it with Fallowsage.

The Deck
I’m pretty happy with the deck I built here, with one exception:

9 Island
8 Swamp
1 Amoeboid Changeling
1 Broken Ambitions
1 Fallowsage
1 Familiar’s Ruse
1 Fathom Trawl
1 Footbottom Feast
1 Guile
1 Inkfathom Divers
1 Marsh Flitter
1 Moonglove Extract
1 Mournwhelk
1 Mulldrifter
1 Peppersmoke
1 Pestermite
1 Protective Bubble
1 Sentinels of Glen Elendra
1 Springleaf Drum
1 Thieving Sprite
1 Tideshaper Mystic
1 Wanderwine Prophets
1 Warren Pilferers
1 Weed Strangle
1 Whirlpool Whelm

The one card I think I’m seriously off on is the Tideshaper Mystic; I put it in because I was worried about not having enough targets for the Wanderwine Prophets. But in general, Boggart Loggers are much better for being able to take out Changelings, and I wound up siding them in all the dang time.

That was good, since there really wasn’t much else I could side in; all my good Blue and Black was already in the deck. Enchantments? Fugeddaboudit.

What we have here is a deck that is nigh-unstoppable, assuming it can get to the late game. It can strip a hand easily with the discard effects, and it can refill – a lot – with Fallowsage and Mulldrifter. The trick is to get to that late game, which means that playing this deck often involves burning up a lot of early removal so you won’t get swamped, and playing to set the opponent up for a devastating Mournwhelk. Double-Mournwhelk is quite nasty against most decks, really.

The deck went, a handy 11-4 in games – which should have been 12-3, since like a doofus I accidentally clicked “Concede Match” instead of “Concede Game” after a mana-shorted Game One where I nearly won. I felt confident about my odds in that deck, but I blew the select menu. How dopey.

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