Part of me wishes I had better news for you.
I wanted to be able to start this week’s foray into the realm of words with a screamed-out "I’M ON THE TOUR!," and I really can’t. I mean, would I lie to you?
Of course, but I wouldn’t lie if I knew I’d be found out, which I certainly would in this case.
I can’t even claim that someone on the illustrious Team Comf has jumped aboard that particular Holy Grail.
And if there was any Justice, I’d be doing just that.
But, boy, do I have a story. It’s in chronological order, so any errors of continuity and causation are definitely the fault of the baroque embellishments of my faulty perception. Curlicues and all.
Before I jump into it, a bit of slang deconstruction. Mize, short form of "Mize well", condensation of "Might as well". Even better than this is the new Comfy slang "It is just as well," as in "Blake has just been Unmasked and Duressed, now having no cards in hand. The top card of his library is Demonic Consultation. It is just as well."
And now, our chilling epic:
It began, like many noble tragedies, on a dark and windswept night. The warmth of the Math Comfy Lounge, combined with the unfathomble distance separating my house and myself, kept me on campus, morose and apathetic. Time passes even for the immobile, and soon some members of my team poured in out of the Canadian cold.
Conversation leads to revelation, the first Toronto qualifier is coming, fast, in ten days. Do we have decks? No.
But, says James, Blake has come up with a good combo deck: Illusions of Grandeur/Donate/Necropotence. He can say no more, only just having heard of it, and I dismiss it.
Blake Manders. Blake "Cave Sense" Manders. I won’t hide the truth. Whenever I say his name, I have to prevent myself from cursing in the middle of it. It’s not that I don’t like the guy. I don’t even know why it is. Try it yourself: pick your favorite profanity, and use it as his middle name.
I dismiss Blake’s combo deck because Blake always builds combo decks, and they always look bad. God-Awful. I don’t care if they’re good or not, they look abysmal.
Blah blah blah, he’s actually a good player. There, I said it. That’s all I’ll credit him with. Oh, and he’s hung like a horse and has memorized the Kama Sutra. That’s hearsay, but he expressly asked me to put that in my column. He’s single, ladies!
So anyways, Blake "Parenthetical Profanity" Manders, whose opinions I respect, has this extended combo deck. The next time I see him, I grill him.
OMC – I understand you have a bad Illusions/Donate deck.
Blake – It’s good. Necro makes you win. Turn 4.
OMC – How regularly can you get Necro?
Blake – All my lands produce black mana.
OMC – How do you not lose?
Blake – Sixteen counterspells.
OMC – (makes intrigued face, strokes invisible beard)
The next day, I see James, and he’s been playing the deck. He tells me that it is THE deck. Who am I to argue? We proxy up two copies, and two ten-in-one decks, and begin the rigours of playtesting. What results, the friday before we jaunt from Waterloo to Toronto for the weekend, is this:
Dance Dance Donate Illusions
(Dance Dance for short, or DDDI if you like acronyms)
Designed By Blake Manders
With support from Team Comf
4 Illusions of Grandeur
4 Demonic Consultation
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Leak
4 Force Spike
4 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
4 Underground River
4 City of Brass
2 Gemstone Mine
Green land is for sideboard support. It also makes the deck truer to Dance Dance Revolution from whence its name is derived.
Aye, aye, aye,
I’m your little butterfly,
Green, Black and Blue,
Making colours in the sky.
How many members of Team Comf play Dance Dance Revolution? Eight.
I’ll be posting an in-depth analysis next Wednesday, including why our deck is about twice as good as the ones that placed in the top 16 of Grand Prix Seattle.
This is the last version we tried, and it’s also the best, I think. One version really did have 16 counters, but 12 + 3 Duress works even better.
We played this deck solidly for an entire week. Chris McGuire, another member of our team I’ve avoided mentioning until now, helped a lot by playing our nemesis deck, Hatred.
Guire – What’s your life at?
RandomOpponent – It’s …
Guire – IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU LIFE TOTAL IS! HATE HATE HATE!
Jeepers. Testing against Hatred is not pleasant.
OMC – I paris Dance Dance to 6.
Guire – I paris Hatred to 6.
Jer – I wonder who will win this mulligan race: McGuire, whose deck has the consistency of milk, or Josh, whose deck has the consistency of Olive Loaf?
Suffice it to say that it’s not pretty, in general. I *have* raced turn one Negator. All you need is turn one Necro.
We’re ebullient. We have, for the third time, discovered "The Best Deck". Wednesday, we realise we have a total of zero Illusions of Grandeur, and must frantically scour Waterloo for necessary cards. We end up short. We can build *one* copy of the deck.
Tom Gannon comes to me, and I ask him when he will join us in Toronto. He says he will not come to the tournament unless he will play the deck.
OMC – I promise, I *promise* you that you will have a copy of the deck to play.
TomGannon – Then I will come today, because you are an honest man, Josh Bennett, and you will keep your word.
OMC – Um, yes.
But all is well, Toronto yields enough cards to build two, count ’em, two copies of the deck above, plus surplus so Blake Manders, designer of the deck, can play an inferior version with a weak sideboard and far fewer multilands.
Does Blake make top-8 with a strictly inferior version of the deck? Yes, yes he does.
The day of the tournament, I decide I’m not in full enough control of my faculties to play the deck. It’s the most unforgiving combo deck I’ve ever seen. It is not an understatement to say that taking one too many or one too few cards with Necropotence will mean you cannot win, while taking the right amount will mean you cannot lose.
Sky is playing his bad deck that he posted last week. Adam is playing Forbidian. I am sitting out to do Real Analysis homework. Piloting the Dance Dance machine are Tom Gannon, Jer and Blake.
Here’s a funny story about Blake Manders. His first round opponent is Wayne Mittlestead. He is with Hatred. Blake is about to win, and decides to Brainstorm for reasons not known to mortal man. Blake has two cards in his library.
Wayne Mittlestead, being one of the nicest human beings in history, concedes the game before it resolves.
YOU ARE THE MAN, WAYNE MITTLESTEAD.
May nothing but happiness come through your door.
It turns out, Blake could have Force of Willed his own Brainstorm and still won, but still! Blake said he needed to Brainstorm because he was worried about being hated out. He was not, apparently, worried about losing the game due to being unable to draw a card.
In round 2, McGuire is playing an Oath deck. His first turn was Swamp, Duress taking Counterspell. Turn 2, with no other lands, he plays Carnophage. Turn 3, he Unmasks his opponent, and I walk over. His opponent has Ivory Mask, Enlightened Tutor, Gaea’s Blessing, Impulse, Land x 3. Chris takes Ivory Mask.
OMC – (thinking to himself) Geez Chris, I think you should take the Tutor, because …
Guire – Ritual, Ritual, Hatred. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I TAKE!
And yet, despite all this comedy, this must end like all noble tragedies.
Tom Gannon : 3-3 Drop
Play Errors : 1
Jer : 4-3
Play Errors : 1
Blake Manders : Top 8
Play Errors : Discounting Brainstorm? Zero.
No, there’s no Justice.
Tune in next week for an in-depth analysis of DDDI. You’ll learn something!
If it helps, you can consider "writing to the OMC" as "the interactive home-version" of this column