King of the Fatties: Return of the King

I tried to stay away.

How could I?


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jamie. I live in Vermont. I like comics, computers, and games of all types. And once, a long time ago, I was a professional Magic player.

Now I’m just a regular guy who likes to run with his dogs and enjoy life with his wife (mine happens to be the girl of my dreams and my former childhood babysitter for those of you catching up), but I am also an aspiring writer. I was very lucky because a couple of years ago, through writing about Magic on the Internet (including this site), I was given many opportunities to sharpen my skills. As I gained some popularity for what were then some unusual ideas about deck construction (which earned me the nickname”King of the Fatties”), and maybe because I was one of the first people to try telling my stories around the digital fire, I was lucky enough to have a book – a real, actual book, on real, actual, paper – published.

This of course just made me want to write more, and about four years ago, I set off to become a novelist. It’s a funny thing, but for even the most popular Magic writers, their genre is a little limiting. I have been lurking on LiveJournal a little bit, following the diaries of some of the guys I used to know, and I found that people like Ben Bleiweiss (won the first PTQ… with hated Necro) and Matt Vienneau (needs no introduction, at least to longtime readers) have come to the same conclusion. For me, it was time to stretch my legs. I had qualified for my last Pro Tour with my signature deck, won a Feature Match in Round One of that Pro Tour v. the great Alan Comer (but it was Alan who made Top 8), and figured I had done what I had come to do in Magic.

Preparation at the high PTQ and irregular pro levels is hard. There aren’t many rewards but the Love of the Game, but the demands on both time and money are huge. I found in Asheron’s Call a game with a similar fantasy bent, but one I could share with my wife (if you can believe it). The community where I live changed. Kids like the Myers Twinkies got older. Players like the Kibler Elf moved away (and, as I understand it, became very, very good). Stores closed. There wasn’t the same local support that there once was. Five years ago, it was easy for me to say goodbye… at least to say goodbye.

But then they had to go and do it.

You know what they did.

It’s getting so a guy can’t turn around before he sees a Fatty in the top decks at the Pro Tour. Dave Humpherys won a Grand Prix with a deck that looked just like my old Black deck (other than that it wasn’t just one color). It had huge, expensive flyers, tons of sweep, and Hymn to Tourach. Then Mike Turian made Top 8 of Worlds with My Deck! I couldn’t believe it. Then really weird things happened, like my old message board sparring partner edt winning a Grand Prix himself? Just a few weeks ago, the Pro Tour was won by a deck that looks – to me at least – just like my old PhoenixHaups Burn deck (except that they attached the Haups directly to the Phoenix!).

I tried to stay away.

How could I?

Even when it seems like they’ve re-made the entire game to suit your play style, it’s really hard to get back into Magic after being away for five years. I was just getting used to”the stack” when I left. I am glad that I came back right after they rotated Odyssey Block out, though, because I am having trouble understanding the”Madness” mechanic. It just seems so messy, rules-wise. Every time I try to play it (against it, actually), I get something wrong. I mean I understand Madness in general, but… Never mind. I will just have to work on it for the next year or so, because even though there is no Madness in Type II, I will probably have to deal with it in Extended (my favorite format… where Secret Force once ruled).

When I look at Type II today, I see a lot of complaining. About the new Cursed Scroll in the new Sligh decks. There are basically two kinds of Sligh deck, Red Sligh and artifact Sligh and they both use this new, cheaper, Cursed Scroll. The Red Sligh is actually a little bit like the combo Living Death decks from a few years ago. If you let them cast Living Death, they would be living and you would find death. The artifact Sligh deck is fast. But if you ever had to play against Fireblast, you would know that this deck isn’t as bad as some of the decks we had to play against in the days of the Brothers Grimm and Peaceful Village. At least you don’t have to play against”evil” Thawing Glaciers any more.

Regionals is coming up, so I don’t have very much time to shake off the Ring Rust. I decided to just run one of my old decks, which was good against the old Sligh, to see how things would go.

Last Saturday was weird. It was like living a memory, being conscious of deja vu. I’ve gotten used to sleeping in for the last half decade; getting up early to travel for a Magic tournament is something I haven’t done in so long.

But I woke at five. I met dawn with a So Be in one hand, and a grip on three leashes in the other. Out the door. Across the lawn. Over the bridge. Through the woods. Back through the woods the other way. Back over the bridge. In the shower. Out of the shower. Plant one the Lovely Mare (still sleeping). Back out the door. Get more done before six than most people do all day.

Return of the King: Peaceful Village 2004

4 Ageless Entity

4 Naturalize

4 Oxidize

4 Ravenous Baloth (“Spike Feeder Sr.”)

4 Viridian Shaman (“Uktabi Sex Monkeys”)

4 Akroma’s Vengeance (“Disk You”)

2 Awe Strike (“awesome strike”)

4 Exalted Angel

2 Solar Tide

4 Staunch Defenders

4 Elfhame Palace

9 Forest

9 Plains

4 Windswept Heath


4 Deconstruct

4 Karma

4 Pulse of the Fields

3 Wipe Clean

26/62, just like always (Never manascrewed)

I played in a small (thirty-two player) tournament in Burlington. I had to borrow most of the cards from my friend Alan (“eeyoo”), because I don’t have very many since Mercadian Masques. I was very happy to see that they reprinted Disk (hehe), and even made a special Wrath of God for me. Solar Tide is great because it destroys all of the opponent’s weenie creatures and leaves all of my fatties.

Alan wanted me to play with Eternal Dragon. He said it was a fatty and a Tithe and that I would like it, but this card seemed too much like evil Thawing Glaciers for me. I know I should be playing those cards, but I just feel icky when I do. I like to win, but I also like to win my way.


Round 1: John, artifact Sligh

I was ready for this deck.

Game One his draw was super fast and mine was super slow. Luckily I had Oxidize and Naturalize to destroy his first two lands, leaving him with just a Disciple of the Vault and Arcbound Ravager. He hit me a few times but didn’t have a third land to play. He made a big show of his bad draw, laying two Naturalizes on the table, as though he had played a double mulligan. But I still didn’t have very many plays, I just kept playing lands.

John actually beat me up pretty badly until I played an Ageless Entity with six lands out. John attacked with his Arcbound Ravager, a 0/2 Ornithopter, and Disciple of the Vault. I blocked the Ravager and he seemed pleased. John said”all in” and made his Arcbound Ravager very big (making me take some damage – I mean lose some life – with his Disciple) by sacrificing both of his lands (after adding mana), a Skullclamp (the new Cursed Scroll I was talking about) Tooth of Chiss-Goria (after he used it on the Ornithopter of course). He finished by sacrificing the Ravager to Shrapnel Blast (Fireblast) to make the Ornithopter 9/10.

“Awesome Strike?” I asked, laying the card on the table.

John was visibly upset, as I gained nine life and added nine counters to my Ageless Entity. He had no mana in play and his only permanent was tapped. On my turn, I played my eighth land and two of the new jumbo sized Spike Feeders. I sacrificed them both for eight more life, pumped my Ageless Entity to 25/25, and attacked for the kill in one play.

I sideboarded out Akroma’s Vengeance and Solar Tide (why destroy my own fatties when I can just destroy yours) for Deconstruct and two Pulse of the Field. Alan later told me this was wrong. I didn’t realize that Akroma’s Vengeance also Disks lands! It is like a Haups (for them).

Game Two was very anticlimactic. I got the Oxidize, Naturalize, Deconstruct + Sex Monkey draw in my first three turns and John stopped playing lands on turn 3. He never even got a chance to use his Skullclamp before I started attacking him.


Round 2: Brian, R/W Prison

Brian was playing a deck like mine. He had Exalted Angels too. But instead of the Green creatures, he had a lot of cycling and these new enchantments I didn’t recognize. They seem very good, but only in a cycling deck. Of course he had evil Eternal Dragon.

Game One was really slow, even though it opened up really fast. Brian played a morph creature on turn 3. I didn’t know what it was. I just played my own morph (an Exalted Angel of course). He played”Astral Slide” and attacked me. I didn’t block. This reminded me of how I won a PTQ with Secret Force because I understood combat and stack damage better than my opponent. If he had a cycling card, he could remove his morph from play with damage on the stack, and I would lose mine.

I played my fourth land and turned over my Exalted Angel. I attacked him for four and he took it. At the end of my turn, Brian cycled a land and removed his Morph from play. It came back an Exalted Angel. I called the judge to make sure that worked (and it did… you probably know that).

Brian hit me back. I thought this was going to get old, with each of us hitting the other for four and then gaining four, but then Brian removed his Angel again so that it was untapped for my turn (I told you I have to shake off the Ring Rust). I decided to go for it, maybe bluff a Giant Growth, and attack. Brian blocked. With damage on the stack, he cycled”Slice and Dice.” Wow. My Angel was killed and he saved his. I wanted him to maybe remove my Angel, get greedy on the life gain, and be open for Disk… he didn’t give it to me. Anyway, I played another Fatty and another, but Brian would just deal with them. It got to the position where he was returning evil Eternal Dragon every turn, and could handle at least one Fatty for free. I played a second Fatty and he would just play a second Astral Slide. Meanwhile, he was beating me up pretty badly with his Exalted Angel and gaining a lot of life. I thought about playing Akroma’s Vengeance for a lot of card advantage, but I didn’t think I would win even if I did, so I let Brian win the first game – he had over thirty life.

I sided out Oxidize and all but one Sex Monkey for Wipe Clean and Pulse of the Fields. Astral Slide is really bad for my deck, because it can remove all the counters from Ageless Entity for free.

Game Two wasn’t much better than Game One. I would play a Fatty and he would kill it. Eventually he beat me with evil Eternal Dragon. I knew it was just like Thawing Glaciers! At least in Game Two, I wasn’t holding Oxidize at the end.


Round 3: Shane, artifact Sligh

I should beat artifact Sligh, but in Game One, Shane got a very fast draw. All of a sudden he had 4/4s out on turn 2! I had one Oxidize, but it wasn’t enough.

In came Deconstructs for Solar Tides and two Staunchies. I love Staunchie, but 3/4 just isn’t big enough, if you can believe it.

Game Two was really hard fought. Shane had a fast draw again, but this time I had one Naturalize and one Oxidize to work with. On turn 4, I played Deconstruct on a land to slow him down, and used the excess mana to play Spikey Sr. Shane slumped in his chair. This time around, a 4/4 would be big enough to hold him off. I eventually drew Ageless Entity and Exalted Angel and took this one in the air.

Game Three should never happen. I got stuck on land! I have twenty-six! Shane has maybe eighteen!

Anyway, I was low on land, but I drew a fist full of Oxidizes and Naturalizes. Shane was quickly reduced to a Disciple and a Blinkmoth Nexus. That being said, I took a lot of damage while destroying his permanents. Luckily, it took Shane’s deck a long time to get going after having so many artifacts destroyed. I eventually drew a fourth land and flipped over my Morph. The next turn I drew another land and played Ageless Entity before attacking. All of a sudden I was up four life and had an 8/8. Then a 12/12.


Round 4: Bill, Red Sligh

Bill wanted to draw in but I wasn’t sure we would make it. Anyway, I made my deck to beat Red Sligh.

Game One, I had everything under control. I Oxidized Bill’s Skullclamp and played some creatures to block. I let him spend lots of cards to kill my two Ravenous Baloths (and gained life), and then showed him Solar Tide.

Then the worst happened. He played Patriarch’s Bidding (Living Death). I made sure to read the card and remembered to say”Beasts” to get back my two Ravenous Baloths. He killed them easily with his Siege-Gang Commander and Goblin Sharpshooter. I played Ageless Entity the next turn but he ran me over.

I tried to offer the draw back to Bill, but he didn’t want to any more (surprise surprise).

In came four Pulse of the Field for four Oxidize.

Bill said he had something for me that he thought I would like.

This time I played a slow game. Uktabi Monkey came down and didn’t destroy anything, but blocked Goblin Warchief. Ravenous Baloth slowed him down. Then came Ageless Entity and another Ageless Entity. Bill then started sacrificing Goblins and I thought he was setting up Patriarch’s Bidding with Goblin Warchief… but instead he cast Rorix Bladewing. Awesome Strike gave my Ageless Entities six counters each. All of a sudden I had twenty-four damage in play. Bill still felt fairly confident with several chump blockers out, and flashed me a Patriarch’s Bidding and a grin.

That’s all right. I showed him Solar Tide.

Now Bill wanted to draw again. I thought about it. He would be going first. He seemed to have a pretty good deck. He said”If this makes your decision any easier,” and showed me Sulfuric Vortex. Wow, that’s pretty good against my life gain cards. But I still had Naturalize and Akroma’s Vengeance for that. Anyway, I was used to having to pay five life to fight Forsaken Wastes.

Game Three Bill seemed pretty pleased with himself. Turn 1 Skullclamp. Turn 2 he played a Goblin Sledder and drew two cards immediately. On my turn I thought about playing my Naturalize on the Skullclamp, but if he was going to sit there killing his own guys, I decided to let him do it (for now). Turn 3 he played his sideboard card, and I was glad I held the Naturalize. I played a 2/2. He played a 2/2 and attacked me. I flipped mine over and attacked him. He played another 2/2 that brought some 1/1s with it and attacked me for seven. I played a 4/4 and attacked him for four, and had an 8/8 back. He attacked again, and I blocked the Siege-Gang Commander. He used all his mana to kill the Exalted Angel, which pretty much telegraphed a Patriarch’s Bidding (but with no Goblin Sharpshooter I wasn’t all that worried). I played Pulse of the Field on my turn and attacked him for twelve, which killed him, in case you weren’t counting.

Top 8

Brian again (R/W Prison again)

I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Brian really spanked me in the Swiss, and my deck wasn’t really very well prepared for his deck, before or after sideboard.

Game One was a repeat of our Swiss match. I didn’t do anything but stare at artifact destruction the first few turns. I finally started playing Fatties and Brian would kill them.

To the sideboard: Sex monkeys and Oxidizes switched up for Pulse of the Fields and Wipe Cleans.

Game Two started off very depressing as well. I had Pulse of the Fields in my hand but I didn’t want to show it. In fact, I don’t think it’s very good against Brian’s deck at all. But he’s Red, so it seemed better than Oxidize.

My hand was very reactive. I had a lot of defense, but only an Ageless Entity for offense. Brian laid out Astral Slide and two Lightning Rifts, so it seemed like a good position to tap six mana for Akroma’s Vengeance. He sort of cursed himself and got back an Eternal Dragon he had shot me with.

I played Ageless Entity. Brian played a seventh land, a Temple of the False God. He went to play Wrath of God, but thought better of it. Instead, he tapped eight mana for Akroma, Angel of Wrath.

“How do you like that one, ‘King of the Fatties’?” He pushed his Warrior Angel into the middle of the table.

I liked it just fine.

“She seems good. I didn’t realize that eight mana was viable with all the Sligh and no Natural Order.”

“Sligh? Oh, you mean Goblins. Yeah, she’s only good in the sideboard. But she’s good against slow decks like yours.”

“Yeah,” I replied. This will probably be game. I attacked with the Ageless Entity, sort of pushing into the Red zone. Brian blocked. I showed him Pulse of the Fields (which I bought back, of course).

“Oh no.”

“I told you it was probably going to be game.”

Brian spent his next turn killing my Ageless Entity and playing a Lightning Rift.

I played another Ageless Entity.

“Shoot you.”

“Down to fourteen.”

(On my turn)

“Take twelve.”


He had the Wrath. He had the tools. He had a bigger creature. But Magic is pretty much the same as it always was…

“I played like a jackass.”

“Maybe,” I said.”Would it have been better to take eight the previous turn, knowing I had the Pulse of the Fields? You couldn’t really kill me, and you would have just had to kill your own Warrior Angel.”

“I should have just played the Wrath before playing the Angel, but I got greedy with my mana. I underestimated your deck.”

“I’m used to it.”

“I even had the Wrath.”

“Yeah,” I said.”But it’s the last Fatty that kills you.”

Game Three I drew a lot of one-for-one cards… Naturalize and Wipe Clean. Brian’s deck didn’t have much card advantage without the enchantments going, but he would probably beat me in long games with his Eternal Dragon and Akroma.

But he didn’t draw them. He had a lot of creature kill, but just the enchantments to fight me. I played my fatties one at a time. Here’s a 4/4. That’s right, Wrath it. Here’s another 4/4. You remember how big he can get. Here’s an Angel. Still no Dragon? Little by little, bit by bit, I bled Brian’s hand. He killed every one of my creatures but wasn’t happy with his draw. I guess if he doesn’t draw the Dragon, his mana doesn’t come out properly.

Finally, I had the Ageless Entity again.

“Let’s try this again.”

“Let’s not.”

“How about twelve again?”

“Good luck in the next round.”

It’s still the last Fatty that kills you.

My opponent messed up to lose the second game and got a poor draw in the third after trouncing me in the Swiss. I’ll take it! But you know what, he didn’t deserve to win. He had Fatties in his deck, but didn’t trust them. He led with these unreliable enchantments instead of Fatties, beautiful Fatties, the Only True Road to Victory.

Top 4

Andy: Wakefield Red

Andy had played only against artifact Sligh, and hadn’t lost a game yet. His deck was all burn Burn Burn, and had the PhoenixHaups Dragon main deck (four). Except against me, his dragon would only Haups his side.

I really like this matchup. Usually my deck doesn’t do much but lay lands in the first few turns, but against Andy’s deck, he is the one doing nothing, and I am the one with all the fast plays. I destroyed his permanents on turn 2, 3, and 4 (a land, a Talisman and an expensive Cursed Totem/Null Rod that doesn’t do anything against me… but I wanted to develop my board), leaving me with an Uktabi Sex Monkey to his nothing.

Andy didn’t like my big Spike Feeder, so I just stopped playing creatures. Eventually he got to six mana and killed my board. I played an Ageless Entity. He came back with Rorix Bladewing and attacked me.

“Will you believe this isn’t the first time I’ve done this today?” I showed him Awesome Strike and he conceded with me at thirty life and a 10/10 in play.

“I have so many cards that are so poor against your deck.”

“I can’t say the same.”

Meanwhile the opposite bracket was artifact Sligh v. Pile of Bitches. Okay it wasn’t Pile of Bitches, but it was a White control deck. I really wanted to play v. the artifact Sligh, because I didn’t think I had much chance against the other deck… it seemed a lot like the R/W deck, except it had a super Grinning Totem card that took over your entire turn, not just one card. My deck is very slow, and this kind of card really punishes you for playing with big threats.

Anyway, Game Two was even worse for Andy. It was like I was Wakefield Red instead of him with all the mana I destroyed. I took out one Awe Strike and all the Wrath cards for Deconstruct and Pulse of the Fields. I don’t know what Andy could have done other than beat me if I were manascrewed, but with twenty-six lands, I am never manascrewed. He had a lot of burn, but I had the big Spike Feeders, Staunchies, Angels, and my own Pulses. Plus he had to use two cards (almost) for every fatty. I would love to play this matchup every round.

Luckily the winner of the round was artifact Sligh deck. I’d beaten that deck twice already (cue foreshadowing).

Top 2

Eli: artifact Sligh

This match was dumb. He won the flip and got a fast draw. He had Welding Jar to save his creatures from my removal and pretty much just ran me over.

Game Two, I got a slow draw and lost just as quickly.

I was going to get annoyed, but then I decided to have a little perspective. In my first tournament back after five long years of not playing, knowing very few of the specific cards in the format, I made Top 2! That’s great! I got half a box and twenty-five dollars in store credit. I learned that is enough for one Arcbound Ravager (can you believe it?) If this were Regionals, I would have made Top 2 and won a trip to Nationals with a deck I made myself.

Not a bad day at all.


Jamie Wakefield

Bard of My Team