"Long hair, don’t care."
To teenage girls, it’s a mantra.
My hair looks ridiculous? I don’t care. I’m going to also tweet about not caring. Everyone will know that it doesn’t bother me.
In my group of friends, it’s essentially #YOLO.
Keeping a one-lander on the play? Long hair, don’t care.
Making a block when your opponent is telegraphing the pump spell? Long hair, don’t care.
Casting a Cartel Aristocrat and following it up with a Champion of the Parish incorrectly?
Basically, it’s the admittance of a mistake along with the justification that you’re doing something incredibly foolish. Sometimes, though . . . sometimes it’s more fun that way.
At its core, Magic is about having a good time. While I have always used Magic as a means to quench my competitive thirst, it will never be lost unto me that if I ever stop enjoying myself that I should quit playing. I had a great talk with a friend this weekend about it because he was stuck in a quandary of if he should continue battling. His mantra, something he told me a long time ago and that I think I internalized far more than he realizes, was that the day he stopped having fun was the day that he would stop playing. Simple. Elegant. Self-explanatory. With all my heart, I hope he took our discussion the right way and that he won’t be stopping any time soon. It would be a loss to our entire community.
In the midst of our talk, I was writing my article for the week. I was going to do a breakdown of Block Constructed archetypes and inject Theros cards into them, trying to get you ready for the new Standard format. I think that can wait for one more week. At the very least, I’ll have more spoilers to play off of and can give you better decklists. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good piece, but the words I wrote last night won’t ever see the light of day because I started hitting backspace at the end of our chat.
Last week I wrote about why I’m excited for Theros, and your positivity was intoxicating. I love that you all can’t wait for this new set, and without a doubt neither can I. Despite being insanely diverse, this Standard format feels stale in a very narrow way—basically, I’m just tired of Innistrad. For two years, I’ve had a blast with it (and I know you have as well), but it’s time to say goodbye—for now, at least. Coming to stores near you in 2015: Return to Innistrad!
It’s not that I would complain about the offerings Innistrad has given us because frankly they have been exceptional and I can’t remember a time when Magic was more fun. What I want to do this week, however, is delve into some decks that are either insane, crazy, off-the-wall, or completely underplayed. Some of them you’ve heard of, played, or never gave a chance.
I want that to change this week or the next.
With what precious time you have left with this block, you should be making the most of it. Stop jamming Jund or G/R Aggro for a night and do something wacky because these are the times and moments when you can put aside the desire to crush your opponent and remember what it was like to battle with something goofy. Remember the mantra: long hair, don’t care.
The first offering I have for you is a deck that I made a while back called Never Stop Trolling. Here’s the list:
The idea behind this deck was simple, but the road to getting there turned out to not be so easy.
Step 1: Achieve a Tamiyo emblem.
This is done by doing your best to control the game state. Surprisingly, a lot of decks still have a lot of trouble answering the pesky planeswalker, and when you’re able to ultimate her, you can do some pretty insane things—among them are:
A) Always having removal spells!
B) Never-ending counters!
C) Drawing five with your Grisly Salvage or drawing four with your Forbidden Alchemy!
D) Attacking for a trillion!
Wait . . . what?
Yes! Attacking for a trillion! That leads us to step 2!
Step 2: With said emblem, have a Lotleth Troll in play and a creature in your hand. When you attack with the Troll, you can discard the creature. Then return it to your hand. Then discard the creature. Then return it to your hand. OVER. AND. OVER. AGAIN. Blasphemy? Madness?
THIS. IS. TROLLING!!!!
The idea of having a regenerating, trampling Infinite/Infinite seems too good to pass up, but the deck isn’t without merits. Aside from having a gimmick, you do a hell of a job at playing the control game, with tons of answers to creatures. Grisly Salvage fetching a Snapcaster Mage can help you find an immense amount of fuel and give you a plethora of options in the spells department, making this deck very versatile. You also play Thragtusk, but it’s mostly around to just buy you time. This is also an exceptional home for Deathrite Shaman because with all the graveyard antics you’ll be pulling you should always have plenty of things to feed to it, not to mention it can act as an accelerator and get you a faster Tamiyo or a flashback on your Forbidden Alchemy.
The sideboard gives you access to the cards you might need to ensure your combo happens. Duress can get rid of annoying things like Oblivion Ring or Detention Sphere—pretty much anything that would kill your Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. Abrupt Decay is your backup plan in case they resolve, and the rest of the board is just meant to keep you competitive against the people out there that would try to rain on your parade. I particularly like the Aetherling since against decks like U/W or U/W/R Flash playing it off of a Cavern of Souls can earn you free wins, which are always a good thing.
I hope you’ll decide that Trolling people at your FNM this week sounds like fun.
For those of you that want to go big or go home, I also have a deck for you!
Every single time I talk to one of my best friends, SCG Legacy Open Top 8 competitor Shawn French, he always says the same thing:
"I want to play Standard tonight, but I don’t want to build anything. I’m just going to play Omni-Aid."
I tell him that it’s an awful idea, and he sighs in between sips of tequila because he lives in Virginia.
This week, though, my tune has changed. I want him to play it this week. Have you guys even heard of this deck?
- 4 Forbidden Alchemy
- 2 Unburial Rites
- 4 Faithless Looting
- 3 Omniscience
- 4 Izzet Charm
- 3 Chromatic Lantern
- 4 Supreme Verdict
- 4 Obzedat's Aid
This is the ultimate "go big or go home" kind of deck. There are two simple objectives you need to follow in order to maximize your fun with this concoction.
The first is dump all of your expensive cards into the graveyard. This is accomplished by casting one of your twelve draw/discard spells. You’ll want to make sure that Omniscience takes precedence over all other potential targets. The second is to return something uber-powerful to the battlefield, but just in case you don’t have the Obzedat’s Aid to return it to play, you’re packing Unburial Rites to reanimate something like a Griselbrand or another fatty.
It’s that simple! Make a giant boom-boom and kill your opponent with it!
In order for this all to be done effectively, you need to make sure your hand is good, usually with one or two enablers, a few of the right colors, and a lot of finger crossing. Supreme Verdict appears as a four-of because, as you can probably tell, this deck has a tiny bit of trouble with aggressive strategies, so anything that can buy you more time to get a game-winning threat into play is going to be fine by me.
Your board is dedicated to keeping your hand and your spells safe, especially in the case of Witchbane Orb, which offers Duress and Rakdos’s Return protection. Negate is going to be key in stopping cards like Rest in Peace or Ground Seal, which basically kill you dead.
I never said getting an Omniscience into play was going to be easy. I just said it was going to be fun, but oh what fun it is. You really should try it. Turn 5 Omniscience into play my entire hand is the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.
This one was for you, French!
Moving right along in the vein of having a good time, there’s one more deck that I’d love to talk about, and it’s a personal favorite that yes, I have built on Magic Online.
If you have the cards for this, I suggest you give it a chance and the sendoff that it deserves because when you’re playing with this deck—you’re playing with power.
- 4 Dissipate
- 4 Diabolic Tutor
- 4 Rewind
- 4 Traumatize
- 4 Inspiration
- 4 Battle of Wits
- 4 Think Twice
- 4 Oblivion Ring
- 4 Negate
- 4 Planar Cleansing
- 3 Silence
- 4 Divine Reckoning
- 4 Sever the Bloodline
- 4 Increasing Ambition
- 4 Temporal Mastery
- 4 Terminus
- 4 Devastation Tide
- 4 Vanishment
- 4 Diabolic Revelation
- 1 Omniscience
- 4 Azorius Charm
- 4 Supreme Verdict
- 4 Cyclonic Rift
- 4 Detention Sphere
- 4 Sphinx's Revelation
- 4 Psychic Spiral
- 4 Azorius Keyrune
- 4 Dimir Keyrune
- 4 Orzhov Keyrune
- 4 Aetherize
- 4 Render Silent
- 4 Far
Take a moment.
Soak it up.
I came across this gem a little while ago and immediately felt compelled to play it, making only tiny changes to accommodate more Sphinx’s Revelations. All credit, though, goes to a gentleman named Cooknathan online, who without this Esper Battle of Wits deck would not be possible.
What I can tell you is that after building it online I was completely hooked. The games are hard—that I won’t deny. It can be tedious, but if there ever was a version of this deck that you wanted to be competitive with, this is it.
Playing like a freaking humongous Esper deck is your Plan A. You have a lot cards that are good in a multitude of matchups, ranging from a hilarious amount of removal and Wrath of God effects against all of the aggressive decks to a huge amount of anti-control cards. Maindeck Negates? Yes, please!
The biggest concern I have with this deck is sometimes drawing the wrong half of it in the matchup I’m playing against, like hitting all my removal against U/W Control or my counters against R/G Aggro, but when you draw the right cards at the right time—boy howdy it sure feels hopeless for them.
Plan B, though—that’s where things get sexy.
Sometimes you cast a turn 5 Battle of Wits and win the game the following turn. Is that good?
You’ll need sleeves. That’s for damn sure. I’d also be sure to alert your local judge that they’re going to spend a portion of their evening helping you shuffle because it can take a while. You should probably grab a few Snickers.
If you decide that this is the route you want to go, I strongly recommend sitting down across from your opponent, staring them right in the eye, and saying, "Yeah. Yeah, we’re doing this." Make sure they understand what is about to take place and never let them escape your steely gaze.
. . .
. . .
. . .
I want you to do me a favor. A BIG favor.
If you play one of these decks this week, please let me know in the comments section and give your testimonial as to if you had fun. If you decide to play something else that’s wacky, let everyone know. Share a list! Hell, feel free to tell us all about when you did play something wild and crazy so we can all take part in that awesome feeling together.
I want Magic to be fun for you and all of us, so in the closing weeks of Innistrad don’t be afraid to do something you’ve always wanted to do because you may never get a chance to do it again.
In the next few weeks, things are going to get a little more serious because with Theros upon us I and the rest of the SCG team want you to be on the cutting edge of tournament success, so I’ll be trying to give you the best and most potent decks to start testing with. Get ready because things are going to get bumpy.
For now, though, take a breather. Relax. Have fun. Remember: long hair, don’t care.
Catch ya on the flip-