I love doing play-by-plays. They offer an opportunity to see into the decks folks create in my local environment and how games go. The issue is that
writing down things-especially what I’m thinking at the moment-can grind down the pace of games. This is why I normally only do them with shop regulars,
and with their consent. Everyone is happy to comply, and for the most part, has learned the rhythm of making sure I know what they’re playing. It sometimes
leads me to make suboptimal plays because I’m not thinking through the gamestate as deeply as I might otherwise, but that’s a small price to pay to be able
to bring you the enjoyment of watching it play out. For those of you who haven’t yet read one of these, I transcribe the play-by-play in a relatively
clipped fashion. I want to give you the relevant parts without slowing you down too much (so you English professors out there might recognize the lack of
verbs in many sentences). At a certain point, I may stop noting land drops (especially when turns get complicated), so if it seems like someone doesn’t
have enough mana to cast something, it’s because I simply didn’t record all the lands.
In my excitement to get to the shop and play the deck, I neglected to make the updates from Dragons of Tarkir-pretty silly since it was one of my
decks with the most changes. The deck in this play by play is the one I listed last week in Decks Without Comment, with these (un)changes:
I didn’t realize this until I drew the Bone Shredder in my opening hand. I suppose I could have borrowed cards from the shop and looked up the changes
online, but that would have delayed the start of the game too much. As it was, it took a long while anyway.
I sit with Anthony (Xira Arien), Chris (Vela the Night Clad), and TJ (The Mimeoplasm). The four of us had just played a game with other commanders, and all
of us switched up except for TJ-so we had more of an idea of what to expect from him. As we’re shuffling, it occurs to me that TJ once killed me with a
Sparkmage Apprentice. I was playing a much earlier version of this Merieke deck-it had to be four or five years ago-and had survived a lethal attack by
playing Angel’s Grace. He took the following turn, drew, chuckled, and dropped the Sparkmage Apprentice, which is now autographed and has the words “I Kill
L5’s” scrawled across it (I seem to recall local Level 3 Judge Ben McDole doing the scrawling, then TJ asked me to sign it after). I remind TJ of the game
and he chuckles again. Anthony wins the roll and we’re off.
Me: Hallowed Fountain tapped.
TJ: Breeding Pool tapped.
Anthony: Temple of Malady, scry and ships it to the bottom.
Me: Watery Grave tapped.
Chris: Bojuka Bog Anthony. He must be in desperate land straights since he knows TJ loves filling up graveyards. He also knows Anthony’s deck, which he has
played against numerous times, likes using graveyard tricks as well.
Me: Plains, Merieke.
Anthony: Xira attacks TJ (34). By this time, you can figure out who won last game. Anthony occasionally runs Hatred in his deck for commander damage kills
with a one-power flier, but this time, it’s just a sting for one. He does, however, make the buzzing sound. Solemn Simulacrum attacks Chris (38). Post
combat, he casts Rakdos, Lord of Riots. Onboard tricks being on board, I steal it with Merieke at end of turn.
Me: I miss a land drop here. I attack Chris (32), who is the only one I’m sure I can damage since the other two have mana up. I pay one to cast Ethersworn
Adjudicator. I have Aether Gale in hand and debate if it’s worth playing this early to simply give myself a little more tempo than everyone else. It’s not
like I’m going to be super-aggressive, so slowing them down a little makes sense. I cast it, targeting my Solemn, Xira Arien, Solemn Simulacrum, and
Pharika from Anthony, Chris’ Pawn of Ulamog, and TJ’s Undercity Informer. TJ sacrifices it, milling Chris for three, hitting Aether Snap (awesome card
choice), Mulldrifter, and Terramorphic Expanse. I recast Solemn Simulacrum for free and get Island.
Chris: Casts Do or Die (another saucy choice) targeting me. Pile one is Adjudicator, Rakdos, and Solemn. Pile two is Merieke and Devout Lightcaster.
Thinking I’ll get some mileage out of the Adjudicator in this game, I keep Pile one, knowing that I’ll lose Rakdos anyway. Chris has to discard; it’s
Anthony: Recasts Pharika and Xira.
Me: Temple of Silence, scry, keep Ojutai on top. Battle Garruk with Solemn. With no other good plays, I pay five to recast Merieke.
Me: I don’t do anything. I hold mana for the Mortify in my hand. I start to realize how useless Bone Shredder might be in this game with three opponents
heavily committed to black creatures. My plan is to steal Consuming Aberration with Merieke.
Chris: Casts Aethersnipe, bouncing Aberration, and ruining my plan.
TJ: Casts Massacre Wurm. Anthony responds by sacrificing Solemn to put Tymaret, the Murder King, back in his hand from the graveyard (it was one of the
things milled away by TJ). With the enters-the-battlefield trigger on the stack, I steal Massacre Wurm with Merieke so that at least I don’t lost life,
with the added bonus that it will go away when Merieke leaves play. Chris is then the only one to lose life (30).
Chris: Pawn of Ulamog and Merciless Executioner. He sacrifices Executioner, Anthony sacrifices Grenzo. Anthony confessed to having many Grenzo tricks up
his sleeve. Chris attacks him with Aethersnipe (36).
Anthony: Swamp, pay five to cast Xira.
Me: My hand is getting a little short, but I topdeck Decree of Pain. It’s not for much, but I think at this point that I could use the boost instead of
getting super greedy. Chris sacrifices one of his tokens, so I only draw three. One of them is Island, so I drop it.
Chris: Sacrifices two Spawn tokens, casts Fathom Trawl. I make a note to have a discussion comparing this card (especially being a sorcery) to Jace’s
Ingenuity, but we don’t. I suppose the value is that everything you draw is gas. The three cards he gets are Empty the Pits, Carrion, and Wash Out. I’m not
sure what he was hoping to get since he has to discard. He pitches Carrion and Empty the Pits.
TJ: Recasts Consuming Aberration. Casts The Mimeoplasm, making it a copy of Grenzo and getting counters from Rakdos. Everybody mills, which includes eveln
cards from Anthony, eight from Chris, and two from me.
Anthony: Does lots of counting, then no action.
Me: Future Sight. Jushi Apprentice off the top, revealing Chronomantic Escape, another card which will become significant in the game. I don’t have enough
to cast it, so I drop Plains just to have enough mana to cast Sudden Spoiling in an emergency situation.
Chris: Ixidron. In the middle of the turn, Kyle, one of the other Armada regulars, walks up with a freshly-opened Fate Reforged pack in his hand,
and hands me a foil Yasova Dragonclaw. Certainly this earns him a “get out of getting killed” card to be used at a later date. We finish turning our
creatures face down and Chris passes. I remind TJ that his commander (which has 6 +1/+1 counters on it) is still his commander.
Anthony: Kaervek the Merciless. TJ responds by casting Fact or Fiction. He has Chris split the cards, which end up with Wurmcoil Engine, Plasm Capture, and
Butcher of Malakir in one pile and Dissolve and Realmwright in the other. He doesn’t have mana to cast Plasm Capture, but he can cast Dissolve, so he takes
the second pile and counters Kaervek. He scrys and keeps it on top.
Chris: No action.
TJ: Casts Realmwright, naming Swamp. Attacks Chris with Archfiend of Depravity, Anthony with his face down creatures. Chris casts Psychic Spiral, milling
TJ for 25. Anthony uses Pharika to eat his own Solemn and Urabrask, making two deathtouch snakes; he blocks with them. In his second main phase, TJ recasts
The Mimeoplasm, copying Diluvian Primordial (which had gotten milled) and eating Kaervek for counters. All that Anthony has is Empty the Pits, so he casts
that for 0. He casts Chris’ Psychic Spiral, milling him for 36. Finally, he casts my Decree of Pain, drawing five. He hasn’t dropped a land yet (he asks,
and I can see that he hasn’t), so it’s Bojuka Bog targeting Chris. Ouch.
Me: Upkeep, take a suspend counter off Chronomantic Escape. Liliana of the Dark Realms. TJ counters it with Plasm Capture. Illusionists’ Bracers off the
top, as well as Vault of the Archangel. Reveal Maze of Ith. Again with nothing else worthwhile, I spend seven and cast Merieke.
Chris: Caged Sun, naming black.
Me: Upkeep, take a suspend counter off Chronomantic Escape. Draw the Maze. Bone Shredder targeting Kumano, since if it stays around, I can’t recast
Merieke. Anthony naturally shoots it with Kumano. I cast Venser, Shaper Savant off the top; TJ Dissolves it. Play Maze of Ith.
Chris: Swamp, Wash Out. Is patient enough to wait for someone to counter it before naming blue, which gets back his Caged Sun. He casts Oona, Queen of the
Fae, and then activates it for one targeting TJ. It’s Forest.
TJ: Sever the Bloodline targeting Oona. Casts Confiscate again, taking Maze of Ith. TJ, forgetting once again that Anthony can make tokens, attacks with
Ink-Eyes. Anthony makes a Snake, eating Kumano, and blocks. TJ has enough mana to regenerate Ink-Eyes. He then recasts Mistvein Borderpost and drops Swamp.
Me: Escape goes off and I’m protected for a turn. Recast Future Sight. Obelisk of Esper and Bojuka Bog off the top, the latter targeting Anthony. No
Mikaeus tomfoolery. Magewright Stone, opening myself to get completely blown out by Anthony’s Wave of Vitroil (which I think he’s playing, but he later
tells me that’s a different deck).
TJ: Playing from off the top, he draws Sensei’s Divining Top. Seems like a pretty good card in that situation. Attacks Anthony with Ink-Eyes (32).
Chris: Pawn of Ulamog. Targets me with the discard; I pitch Glacial Fortress. Casts Falkenrath Noble. He targets me again with the trigger. I only have
Time Stop and Sudden Spoiling left in my hand, so I cast Time Stop. I suppose I could have just pitched it, but with Chris having still more mana due to
Caged Sun, it seems like the right call to keep him in check a little (and he might still make me discard again). TJ responds by topping.
TJ: Life’s Finale, targeting Chris. Chris responds with Sudden Spoiling, targeting TJ. Seems like a waste to just keep him from regenerating Ink-Eyes.
Three triggers from Falkenrath Noble target me. After Vela also triggers, life totals stand at (34) for me, (29) for Anthnony, (32) for TJ, and (35) for
Chris. TJ dumps Deadeye Navigator, Hoverguard Sweepers, and Solemn Simulacrum into Chris’ graveyard. He can’t cast The Mimeoplasm because he doesn’t have
enough mana. At end of turn, Pharika eats Deadeye Navigator and Ink-Eyes.
Me: Upkeep, take a suspend counter of Chronomantic Escape. Plains off the top. Sun Titan, which I had drawn. I make a deal with Anthony that I’m going to
eat Dire Undercurrents with Devout Lightcaster. TJ and Chris tell him not to believe me, but Anthony (rightly) says that I never go back on a deal. He lets
it through. Lightcaster comes back, eats Dire Undercurrents. Cast Staff of Domination and Nightveil Specter.
TJ: Swamp, Phyrexian Metamorph with Phyrexian mana (plus two extra for Aura of Silence). Copies Caged Sun, also naming black. Casts Sheoldred, Whispering
One, then Garruk, Primal Hunter. He uses its -3 to draw 7. At end of turn, Anthony eats Archfiend of Depravity and Realmwright with Pharika.
Me: Chronomantic Escape goes off. Draw Orzhov Signet. Island and Wall of Reverence off the top. Everyone (except TJ) cheers when I reveal Phthisis. Target
Sheoldred with it. When TJ moves to pick it up, Anthony says “wait!” He then targets it twice with Nylea, making it 11/11. The few spectators who have
gathered get a kick out of it all. TJ goes to (8). This seems like the right time to sacrifice Tainted Sigil, so I go to (56). I pay nine to cast Merieke
(all these nice support artifacts are out; I need to get her running). At EOT, I gain one from the Wall (57).
TJ: Casts Villainous Wealth for eighteen. There is some discussion of targeting me, but I tell him that I have mostly spells in the deck. Chris suggests
Anthony is a better target. TJ finally agrees. He gets Olivia Voldaren; Arashi, the Sky Asunder; Ghoulcaller Gisa; Ghor-Clan Rampager; Wrecking Ogre;
Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury; Fumiko the Lowblood; Elixir of Immortality; Radha, Heir to Keld; Burnished Hart; Sakura-Tribe Elder. The rest are lands.
Because of the additional cost imposed by Aura of Silence, TJ can only cast Elixir of Immortality and not Burnished Hart.
Anthony: Draws and goes immediately to combat. Sapling triggers, revealing Akroma, Angel of Fury. TJ blocks with his Snake, but still takes damage (7)
because Nylea gives Anthony’s creatures trample. Casts Asceticism. At end of turn, I draw two cards with Staff of Domination. One of them is Kozilek,
Butcher of Truth. This board is getting complicated.
Me: Upkeep, take a suspend counter of Chronomantic Escape. Cast Mimic Vat and Rhystic Study off the top. Equip Merieke with Illusionist’s Bracers. Steal
Ghoulcaller Gisa and Fumiko with Merieke (mostly because I don’t want to have to attack with her). Activate Magewright Stone, targeting Merieke. Anthony
casts Sudden Spoiling targeting me so that Merieke won’t trigger when she untaps. I say I’m pretty sure that’s not the way it works, since the destroy is
part of the ability which steals the creature, not text on Merieke. He said that he had looked it up recently, and I have an old copy of Merieke, so I
can’t trust the wording. I repeat that I’m sure the two creatures definitely should be destroyed there. The table votes that the creatures should stay.
There’s no sense in devolving and wasting time over it, so I shrug and say sure. Fortunately, it had only a small impact on the game. He doesn’t pay for
Rhystic Study, so I draw Teferi, Temporal Archmage.
At end of turn, we showcase a different rules interaction, which doesn’t often come up. I have eight cards, so during cleanup, I have to discard. I choose
to discard Kozilek. This creates a trigger. Anthony then eats Kozilek with Pharika. Chris takes the opportunity to cast Empty the Pits for eight. I draw
from Rhystic Study. After all that resolves, we start a new cleanup step. Since I once again have eight cards, I have to discard again. This time, it’s
Chris: Day of the Dragons, extorted. I draw off of Rhystic Study (this late in the game, no one cares about paying anymore). I then respond by stealing
Crypt Ghast and Olivia Voldaren. Day of the Dragons resolves and we all lose nine from Vela. This kills TJ, drops Anthony to (19), and me to (47). Chris
casts Disciple of Bolas, eating a Dragon and drawing six. He ends up at (36). He casts Plague Spitter then discards.
TJ: I say you he dead.
Me: Suspend goes off. I draw Swiftfoot Boots. Cast Teferi, extorted. Activate Teferi, get Keiga, the Tide Star, extorted. Anthony (17), Chris (21), me
(50). Arcane Lighthouse. Attack Anthony with Olivia and Ghoulcaller (11).
Chris: Plague Spitter triggers. I untap Ghoulcaller with Magewright Stone. I sacrifice Olivia to get three Zombies. The trigger resolves, making life
totals Anthony (10), Chris (20), me (49). I make noise about being funny and putting Merieke in the Mimic Vat and Chris tips his hand about getting rid of
her permanently. We have a small discussion about commanders, but I put Crypt Ghast in the Vat, which was my original intention anyway. Chris plays
Homeward Path. He then casts Aether Gale, paying for Rhystic Study, targeting Teferi, Mimic Vat, Keiga, Crawlspace, and Staff of Domination. The
significant part of the play is getting rid of Crawlspace, so he can attack me with everything (eight Dragons, Plague Spitter, Disciple of Bolas, and a
Snake token), which he does, but not before casting Grey Merchant of Asphodel, setting Anthony to (6) and me to (44). Once he attacks, I cast Sudden
Spoiling on Chris, then activate my Vault of the Archangel to give all my creatures lifelink and deathtouch. I block Plague Spitter and two of the Dragons
with my three Zombies. At the end, I’m at (48).
Anthony: Strength of the Fallen, doesn’t pay. Sapling gets +5/+5. Casts Whip of Erebos. Akroma gets +5/+5. Attacks me with both, triggers Sapling. Reveals
Army of the Damned. I Maze of Ith the Angel, take the Sapling (41), Anthony to (13).
Chris: High Market. Knowledge Exploitation, targeting me. I draw Riot Control. He casts my Phthisis, on Keiga, putting me to (31). I put Keiga in Mimic Vat
and steal Sapling. Chris attacks Anthony with his horde of Dragons and kills him. We realize at this point that we missed the Plague Spitter dies trigger.
Chris: Chris offers me Infernal Offering. I consider making a Keiga token to sacrifice, but realize that he has Homeward Path. I take the offering, just to
draw the cards. He puts back Plague Spitter, I sacrifice and reanimate Wayfarer (which you can do since the return isn’t targeted). We both draw two. His
draw is Reliquary Tower and Mind’s Desire, which he casts with a storm count of one since I don’t have anything else to cast. He gets Army of the Damned
for thirteen 2/2s (which makes Riot Control even better) and Carrion, which he chooses to not play. At end of turn, I cast Venser, Shaper Savant off the
top to bounce Day of the Dragons, then cast Riot Control. When looking over to count his creatures, I realize his library is getting low. He counts and
he’s down to eighteen cards. I count my available mana next turn at 24 and show him Blue Sun’s Zenith. He shakes my hand. He got two kills, I got one and
last man standing, so we declare it GGs.
Although it took slightly longer with me writing down everything (and I go back after we’re done and make sure they understand the way Merieke works), it
was the kind of game we love to play: long, swingy, epic, with crazy multi-player control interactions (via TJ casting Villainous Wealth, then me stealing
those creatures and him dying) and a nice rules tidbit or two (like the additional cleanup step).
This week’s Deck Without Comment is Glissa, Glissa.
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Triskelion
- 1 Bottle Gnomes
- 1 Arcbound Ravager
- 1 Duplicant
- 1 Arcbound Reclaimer
- 1 Arcbound Fiend
- 1 Arcbound Crusher
- 1 Arcbound Bruiser
- 1 Pentavus
- 1 Grave-Shell Scarab
- 1 Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
- 1 Scarecrone
- 1 Butcher of Malakir
- 1 Pilgrim's Eye
- 1 Steel Overseer
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Sylvok Replica
- 1 Perilous Myr
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Catacomb Sifter
- 1 Filigree Familiar
- 1 Foundry Inspector
- 1 Scrap Trawler
- 1 Treasure Keeper
- 1 Nevinyrral's Disk
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Kodama's Reach
- 1 Ashnod's Altar
- 1 Sword of Light and Shadow
- 1 Oblivion Stone
- 1 Wayfarer's Bauble
- 1 Ark of Blight
- 1 Aeolipile
- 1 Pit Trap
- 1 Helm of Possession
- 1 Voltaic Key
- 1 Attrition
- 1 Tormod's Crypt
- 1 Plague Boiler
- 1 Executioner's Capsule
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 All Is Dust
- 1 Elixir of Immortality
- 1 Cultivate
- 1 Horizon Spellbomb
- 1 Nihil Spellbomb
- 1 Spine of Ish Sah
- 1 Ichor Wellspring
- 1 Trading Post
- 1 Dictate of Erebos
- 1 Profane Memento
- 1 Ugin's Nexus
- 1 Unstable Obelisk
- 1 Scroll of the Masters
- 1 Alchemist's Vial
- 1 Shadows of the Past
- 1 Aetherworks Marvel
- 1 Implement of Malice
- 1 Servo Schematic
Check out our awesome Deck List Database for the last versions of all my decks:
ADUN’S TOOLBOX; ANIMAR’S SWARM; AURELIA GOES TO WAR; CHILDREN of a LESSER GOD; DEMONS OF KAALIA; EREBOS and the HALLS OF THE DEAD; GLISSA, GLISSA; HELIOD, GOD OF ENCHANTMENTS; DREAMING OF INTET; FORGE OF PURPHOROS; KARN, BEATDOWN GOLEM; HALLOWEEN WITH KARADOR; KARRTHUS, WHO RAINS FIRE FROM THE SKY; KRESH INTO THE RED ZONE; LAVINIA BLINKS; LAZAV, SHAPESHIFTING MASTERMIND; ZOMBIES OF TRESSERHORN; MELEK’S MOLTEN MIND GRIND; MERIEKE’S ESPER CONTROL; THE MILL-MEOPLASM; MIMEOPLASM DO-OVER; NATH of the VALUE LEAF; NYLEA OF THE WOODLAND REALM; OBZEDAT, GHOST KILLER; PURPLE HIPPOS and MARO SORCERERS; ZEGANA and a DICE BAG; RITH’S TOKENS; YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF; RURIC THAR AND HIS BEASTLY FIGHT CLUB; THASSA, GOD OF MERFOLK; THE ALTAR of THRAXIMUNDAR; TROSTANI and HER ANGELS; THE THREAT OF YASOVA; RUHAN DO-OVER; KARADOR DO-OVER; KARRTHUS DO-OVER
If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987 and is just now getting started with a new
saga called “The Lost Cities of Nevinor”), ask for an invitation to the Facebook group ” Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”