In spite of my newly-acquired MODO mini-addiction, I’ve still been working and tweaking different Standard decks as well. Both of my current decks are revisions of decks that did well at States and that I feel stand up to the current environment of Wake, Slide, U/G, W/G, and Sligh rather well. Oddly enough (well, not really, since they have many of the same tools) both decks are primarily Black in color. However, the Mono-Black deck plays strictly as a control deck, while the U/B deck is much more Aggro.
1 Undead Gladiator
3 Nantuko Husk
4 Shambling Swarm
4 Nantuko Shade
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator
4 Merfolk Looter
2 Silent Specter
2 Grinning Demon
4 Deep Analysis
4 Chainer’s Edict
2 Oversold Cemetary
4 Polluted Delta
3 Tainted Isle
1 Underground River
2 Crypt Creeper
2 Engineered Plague
I haven’t modified the deck much from what Hal White developed for VA States, so the credit for the design goes to him. I did take out a Tainted Isle (I would never run four Tainted with less than 12 Swamps, and nothing sucks more than getting Tainted screwed) for an Underground River in the mana base, and tossed in two Silent Specters for a Husk and a Demon, as I have recently been convinced of the power of that card.
The theory behind the deck is that you get to draw a lot of useful cards through Finkel and Looters while beating your opponent down with Medium-sized Black men. If they get blockers setup, you can either remove them with Smother and Edict, or force them into bad trades by playing games with Nantuko Husk and Shambling Swarm. Against control decks, if you can lay down an Oversold Cemetery and keep it active, it generally spells G-A-M-E O-V-E-R for your opponent, as they can’t keep up in the removal race.
The sideboard is setup for the standard problems right now, but you should definitely modify it to your local metagame. If you aren’t seeing a lot of Green or Sligh played in your area, feel free to take out the Hibernations and Plagues and put in Braids and Disrupting Scepters. The power of Megrim against decks that cycle cards cannot be denied, as I’ve seen it put plenty of Wake (stops Compulsion) and Slide decks into a shutdown mode where they have to think very seriously whether they want to use their tricks while waiting to draw enchantment kill.
The deck is fun to play and features a very different style than anything I’ve seen running around lately, so it should provide you with a nice Rogue element as well. Just try not to forget about having Grinning Demons on the board, as screwing up like that can be both embarrassing and expensive (not that I’ve done that… Of course not!).
Deck number 2 today is one that I have played a lot since States, and I feel that it is fully Tier 1 in the environment. However, it is also more difficult to play than I originally anticipated, as the environment and the deck have evolved a bit since OBC season.
Michael Jackson’s Old Nose
4 Nantuko Shade
1 Visara the Dreadful
4 Chainer’s Edict
2 Innocent Blood
4 Diabolic Tutor
3 Tainted Pact
2 Skeletal Scrying
1 Engineered Plague
1 Haunting Echoes
1 Riptide Replicator
3 Cabal Coffers
2 Engineered Plague
2 Disrupting Scepter
1 Innocent Blood
2 Silent Specter
2 Rancid Earth
The deck was played by Steve Jarvis to a first-place finish at Arizona States. I’ve tweaked the removal just a bit and added a Corrupt to the main in place of a Disrupting Scepter, but in general Steve’s design was solid as hell. The sideboard has obviously changed with the metagame since States, and I’ve added an additional Mutilate, three Megrims, and two Corrupts.
To start with, the deck is very difficult to lose with when facing any creature-based strategy. If U/G gets all of their counterspells at the right time, they can do you in – but otherwise, you can generally auto-pilot your way through to victory (particularly if you wish for Visara and she gets active). Tutoring for the one Corrupt in the main has saved my life a few times and also provides a nice finisher, particularly when Mirari is on the board.
The sideboard was tweaked primarily to handle Slide decks, as I found that by adding the Additional Corrupts I was able to give myself extra time to find win conditions against the deck while lowering their life into Shade range. With Megrims, Corrupts, and the ability to Tutor into Haunting Echoes, you should no longer lose to AstroGlide.
The complications in the deck arise in some games from either figuring out how to live long enough to setup your win conditions (like when you draw all your tutoring spells, but little removal), and in setting up the order of your win conditions. Sometimes you only have a finite window of time before your opponent draws an answer to the Shade that is on the board (or they already have one in hand), and you have to figure out how to win quickly while protecting your assets. This understanding can be gained relatively quickly through playtesting – but the deck is a little harder to play than I expected, so I figured I should warn anybody else that wants to pick it up.
Anyway, those are the two decks that I have been playing with lately. Both decks are high quality and provide a nice change of pace from the Wake and Slide world that we currently live in, as well as the tools to handle either of those decks. One deck is pure control, while the other one stands in the middle as an Aggro-Control deck that kills you with angry Black men. Plus, one deck is named Michael Jackson’s Old Nose, and how can you go wrong with that?
Obligatory Cheesecake Section
This one is awfully curvy (and spotted too) for an elf, but I’m definitely not complaining.
This one is for Nick Eisel and his mild *cough* (and suddenly somewhat understandable) obsession with all things Mandy.
Ironically appearing at the VH-1″Big in 2002″ Awards, Brittany Murphy decided to protest the plight of Kenyan refugees by showing the public exactly what they will look like if new supplies of food are not delivered.
So I was watching Country Music TV a few weeks back and I noticed that LeAnn Rimes went from”pudgy but cute” to”dayam!” status in the last year. A link to the s-s-smoking video can be found here http://www.leannrimes.com/home.html. Not that I’m advocating the music or anything, but as my college buddies have always said about Mariah Carey videos… just one more reason to watch the TV on mute.
Just to prove that country music has the hottest women around (again, not advocating the music here), I offer up this bevy of links:
For the ladies… A Justin Timberlake pic (trust me, guys):
Additional Jeri Ryan links found while researching other stuff:
Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but I just got The Big Lebowski for Christmas – and didn’t Tara Reid look hot in that movie? She had hips, and bazooms, and… Flesh in general. But in this photo there’s just so much… less of her. Why do these poor girls keep hitting the Callista Flockhart diet plan? Somebody tell them that curves make you look better!
For The Ferrett, because Alysson Hannigan really is a hottie (even when she’s not being Vampire Willow)
I can’t even make up anything funny about this. Kids, avert your eyes!
And just in case you’d forgotten that Jennifer Garner is the second hottest woman on network TV (a full list will be coming in my next article), I leave you this reminder.
The Guest Spot – featuring Mrs. Kanoot (also known as Alena Knutson)
A list of great date movies that aren’t just”chick flicks.” These are movies designed to impress your woman with your wit and sensitivity, helping you score brownie points or just plain score. And the best part of all is that you’ll like them, too.
Unconventional Romantic Comedies:
Yes, it’s animated (and not Japanese). See it anyway. You will laugh out loud, I promise. If you know anything about Disney, or Disney movies, it’ll be even better, as much of the dialogue consists of witty jabs aimed at Disney. However, you might want to see The Matrix first (or, excuse me, again), in order to fully appreciate the scene with”the merry men” in the forest. Great Mike Myers quotable quotes, such as,”I have to get my ass.”
(voices by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow)
So I Married An Axe Murderer
Another Mike Myers classic. It has quirky characters, a goofy plot, and hilarious dialogue with many quotable lines like”Heed! Pants! Now!” while still telling a romantic story that makes you want a happy ending. The experience is even better when watched with friends.
Grosse Point Blank
John Cusack and Minnie Driver (and Joan Cusack). This is one of those terrific little hidden gems full of black humor and satire that, for some reason, nobody knows about. He’s an assassin for hire, she’s a DJ, they were high-school sweethearts. While it should be neither funny nor romantic, it is both, and you just have to see it for yourself to get it. Oh yeah, and it proves John Cusack is still adorable even when he’s a mercenary killer. Just think how cute your bad habits will seem in comparison.
The Princess Bride
This is the standard for spoofs on romantic comedies, which are nonetheless, both romantic and funny. A true classic. After seeing it you will begin to notice people all around you quoting it at odd moments (“My name is Inigo Montoya…””I’m a witch, not your wife!”… Oh wait, that’s my version). Like Shrek, its humor lies in the fact that it’s a classic fairy tale gone awry. Its got giants, geniuses, evil princes, pirates, witches, wizards, swordfights, rodents of unusually large size, a six-fingered man and a princess named”Buttercup,”- but we learn that all this adventure is for naught without the ultimate power of”truue loove,” (not,”tooo blaaathe” and as opposed to”wuv, trueue wuv”).
– It’s French and she’s irresistibly adorable (Audrey Tautou) (and waaay friggin’ hot -Kanoot, on point again with the linkage). The whole movie is a wonderful fantasy world come to life. It is surrealistically vivid, smart, amusing and full of optimism and whimsy- the perfect remedy for a bad mood or boring date. Plus, she looks fabulous in red and has a devious mind.
6. Benny & Joon
Another undiscovered treat. Stars Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn and Julianne Moore. Depp is in his element as a sensitive and endearing odd-ball, who is yet amazingly sexy. He wants to be Buster Keaton and Masterson’s character is just off-balanced enough to fall for him and make it work. You’ll also gain a new appreciation for your food with dancing dinner rolls, concern for cannibalism among raisins, and the culinary possibilities of ironing boards (finally, something to use it for!).
Hottest Onscreen Chemistry:
7. Bull Durham
– Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner. As this is the best romantic comedy of all time (okay – the best movie of all time), it had to be included. Intelligent, funny, and sexy. Discusses the metaphysics of baseball, female power, religion, relationships, poetry (e.g. Lord Byron, William Blake), the power of voodoo (who do?) and whether Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy. And they have sex on the kitchen table. And there’s bondage. And a striptease. And men wearing women’s underwear (and bathrobes). And did I mention chemistry? (oh yeah, and uh, baseball.) Added bonus: it shows there are women out there who understand that sports should be afforded religious devotion.
8. Dirty Dancing
– Patrick Swayze when he was still hot. Jennifer Grey when she still had her real nose. The movie responsible for the sexual awakening of an entire generation of women (and gay men, according to Queer As Folk). Shows why”good girls” don’t dance… And, hence, why we never want to be one of them. Provides definitive proof that”real men” do dance (Um, Patrick Swayze is a real man? – The Ferrett), gives erotic significance to Chinese lanterns and makes us cheer at the line,”Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Oh yeah, and there’s also that wet T-shirt scene.
9. Out of Sight
– The best and least known of Steven Soderberg’s films. Showcases his trademark stylish, cinematic genius. Stars George Clooney in his most crinkly-eyed, suave, and sexiest role to date; and Jennifer Lopez pre-J.Lo, flygirl lobotomy, when she was still just a hot actress with a great attitude and a great as.. booty. He’s a bank robber, she’s a federal marshal. Lots of large guns, handcuffs, tight clothing and heated lust ensues. Dialogue is witty and understated, music score is pitch perfect. One of the best love scenes of all time. (And damn, does Clooney know how to wear a suit – he can leave a gun on my pillow anytime!)
10. The Thomas Crown Affair
– Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan. Gives us all hope that good sex is like good wine – that it just keeps getting better with age (apparently great sex is possible even on a marble staircase, if the actors are hot enough). A movie that delivers a plot rich with subtlety, nuance, intricacy, and explosive sexual energy. For the ladies, Pierce gives us a taste of how romance might be with a dashing, tall, dark, handsome and sophisticated millionaire. For men, highlights include: Rene Russo in a skin-tight, transparent evening gown; Rene Russo topless; Rene Russo having lots of nude sex (Yet another reason to believe that women can still be incredibly hot into their forties -Kanoot). Also reaffirms the erotic potential of red silk scarves, private island getaways, and ice cubes.
A Knight’s Tale
– Two words. Heath Ledger. yummm. For the guys (not that we really care after seeing Heath), the chick is pretty hot, too and it’s all about boys who love gaming in medieval times.
After showing that you, too, can watch”chick” flicks (and, hence, be sensitive and romantic), then it will be much easier to persuade your woman to see great”guy” flicks. Top 5 movies that you should persuade your lady that she must see.
1. The Matrix
– The One has come to guide the way. (’nuff said.)
2. The Usual Suspects
– The movie (before American Beauty) that made it apparent that Kevin Spacey is amazing. Like a master magician, (Um, Ted’s wife, I’m saving you from terminal dumbness by not letting you give away the ending to the movie in your review – The Ferrett) . Also introduces Benicio del Toro as someone to watch.
– Guy Pierce, Carrie-Anne Moss (again) and Joe Pantoliano (also known as”Ralphie” to those of you who have played the Treatment or just like The Sopranos – Kanoot). Speaking of mind-bending, this action/drama/crime/thriller told backward will keep you in suspense until the very last second. And probably for a few minutes afterward, too. A truly original masterpiece on film.
– Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro (again), Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and a host of British actors. A darkly humorous crime caper done the British way. Guy Pierce (director) has become for England what Quentin Tarantino was for the US. There’s a huge diamond, a bunch of thieves from both sides of the Atlantic who want to make it theirs, and Brad Pitt as the magnetic, incomprehensible, anguished gypsy boxer out for revenge. (The only downside is the complete lack of hot chicks -Kanoot).
5. Fight Club
– Edward Norton, Brad Pitt (again), Helena Bonham Carter & Meatloaf (ever wonder how he signs his checks?). Ed Norton’s performance proves once again (along w/ those in American History X, The Score and Primal Fear) that he is a master chameleon on the level of Spacey. Here, he can’t sleep, hates his life and goes to support groups for diseases he doesn’t have. Brad Pitt is Tyler Durden, the man who is going to fix all his problems. Again, Pitt plays a sharply drawn, charismatic, gritty fighter – this time as one who wants to push”reality” over the edge. Helena Bonham Carter plays her usual role as darkly tragic and vulnerable. She is the woman they hate to love. (Warning to female viewers: the violence levels reach rather gruesome lows.)
Army of Darkness: When your woman consents to watch this Bruce Campbell, male cult classic with you, you’ll know it’s true love.
– Rounders was not included since, though now a classic for the male, card-playing set, it includes both Matt Damon and Ed Norton in attractive roles – so, no woman will mind watching (even for a 2nd or 3rd time).
Okay, so Oklahoma and Notre Dame did not finish the season undefeated, and Oklahoma got beat by Oklahoma State (again!!) while ND got crushed by USC, but that doesn’t mean that this season wasn’t a pretty good one for both teams. Here are my predictions for the bowls that matter:
The Fiesta Bowl: Miami is going to kick the bejeezus out of Ohio State. The Hurricanes are approaching a ridiculous winning streak for the modern college game, and I don’t see them losing one until Ken Dorsey is safely in the NFL. Best overall college team talent-wise in decades.
The Rose Bowl: Okay, it’s weird to see the Sooners playing in the”granddaddy of ’em all,” but I’m not complaining about it. I think OU beats up on Wazzu in this game, mostly because I’ve never seen the Stoops brothers fail to prepare their defense for a conference championship or bowl game. Having Tommy Harris and the rest of the defensive line healthy will also help them pressure the quarterback, something they utterly failed to do after ruining Kliff Klingsbury and Seneca Wallace’s Heisman hopes.
The Sugar Bowl: Um, let me get this straight… FSU goes 8-4 and still makes a BCS bowl, their backup QB gets kicked off the team for extra-curricular (read: illegal) activities, and then their starting quarterback is declared ineligible because he slept through a final! I think the Dawgs are going to have a lot of fun on defense.
The Orange Bowl: Iowa is a very good team, as I watched them a lot more than I expected to this year, and Brad Banks is excellent at QB. That said, Carson Palmer is the hottest freaking QB on earth right now (including Favre and Vick), so unless Iowa comes up with a great game plan to shut Carson down, the prophylactics are going to win. That said, I think this game is closer than a lot of people think it will be, and I’m going to go with a bit of an upset here and say Iowa wins it at the end through great defense and offensive execution.
The Outback Bowl: Rex Grossman beats Michigan in a close one, provided that Florida’s defense steps up and plays well. Florida will be back, folks, but they won’t be as good as when Spurrier was coaching them. Michigan on the other hand, seems to be in a bit of a downward spiral.
Cotton Bowl: Texas destroys LSU. ‘Nuff said. The only time that Texas has had trouble this season is against a high-powered aerial attack or when the team across the line of scrimmage has”Sooners” on their jerseys. LSU has neither of these.
Gator Bowl: I’d like to pick ND on this one, but I don’t know how they will respond to getting blown out in their last game by Carson and the rest of the prophylactics (Trojans). However, if there’s one thing that Ty Willingham has proven this year, it’s that he can coach, and therefore I think ND wins this in it’s usual low-scoring style, but NC State is fully capable of running up the score if they get hot.
The Kitchen Sink
Peter Gammons had this to say this week when talking about”No-Mah,””Garciaparra may be the first Boston tries to get signed, because now that he has altered his workout style to less bulk and more Mia Hamm…” All I have to say about that is where can I get on this workout plan, and does it matter if I’m married?
What the hell did I do before I could make mix CDs of .mp3s and watch stuff on Tivo? Oh yeah, I made mix tapes and recorded stuff on a VCR – but life wasn’t nearly as pleasant.
Is it just me, or do other TiVo owners now become angry when you have to watch a program with actual commercials? I find myself delaying watching the start of a live program for fifteen minutes just so I can fast-forward through the first fifteen minutes of commercials.
Since you asked, my ideal job would either be owning a profitable game store, or being The Sports Guy. If you have a position out there open for either of these, do not hesitate to contact me.
It blows my mind too, but Nicole Eggert (Oh my god…) is the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question in the Millenium Edition. Some things cannot be explained.
Speaking of Nicole Eggert, she was the be-all and end-all of hot chicks from the time I was in Jr. High and started watching Charles in Charge until mid-way through college. Fifteen years after Scott Baio’s career has ended and she’s still one of the hottest women on the planet.
You know you’re starting to get old when buying a house becomes a realistic alternative to renting.
Random item I ran across while searching for the above Nicole Eggert link.
Take just a moment and compare the results from Episodes 1 and 2 of George Lucas’s Star Wars series and the first two films of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series – and tell me who has more talent. (Currently – The Ferrett, who loves the new LotR stuff, but Star Wars still knocks it in the eye)
I had an excellent Christmas, but what I really wanted more than anything else was a winning PowerBall or MegaMillions ticket. Was that so much to ask?
I’m refraining from putting a political rant in here about the 2002 Congressional elections mostly because I think I missed my window. However, I will put one up on my LiveJournal in the near future just to work out my frustration.
I eat at Long John Silver’s once every six months, whether I need a heart attack or not.
“Hi, my name is Trent Lott, and I’d just like to say that I support affirmative action, minority contractors for government jobs, and if J.C. Watts would run for president, I’d support him too. My favorite actor is Denzel Washington, and my favorite actress is Halle Berry. I’d also like to state that after appearing on BET, I’m starting to think that seceding from the Union was not the best choice that the South could have made, and that slavery might not have been such a good idea either. I may have lost my post as Majority Leader of the Senate, but the great state of Mississippi is 36% African-American, and you can bet your kiester that minority issues will be tops on my political agenda until the next election rolls around. I’m Trent Lott, and I’m black and proud! Thank you.”
Currently featured at The Wang Center for the Performing Arts is (of course) The Nutcracker, but from Dec 3rd-15th was”Stones in His Pockets” (those aren’t stones, ma’am), and on December 16th was”Monster presents White Christmas.” Is it just me, or do these sound like shows that Paul Reubens might attend in full trench coat attire? How natural that they should be appearing at The Wang…
Speaking of Arts, I was in Manhattan over Thankgiving (didn’t get to visit Neutral Ground due to time constraints) and visited The Guggenheim Museum, where I was shocked to learn that no one calls it”The Googs.” Unforgivable! Anyway, while walking through the Googs, I came across a portrait of a black man looking rather spiffy in a polyester suit by Robert Mapplethorpe. Just as I was about to turn away, I noticed that his schlong was hanging out (and the man apparently has some large equines in his ancestry, whereas I don’t think I have even ponies in my own). It was a strange and intriguing picture, which pretty much describes my feeling about the entire Googs trip (make the trek up the Green line and check it out if you find yourself on the island). I tried to find a link to the picture, but couldn’t find”Black Man in Polyester Suit with Schlong” anywhere on the web, so you’ll have to content yourself with this page instead.
In case you missed it, Jimmy Bean is headed to New Orleans for the Grand Prix, and I’m tagging along. I don’t think I’ll be playing in the event, but I’ll hopefully be doing some match coverage, and come back with a boatload of stories and maybe even some pics of your favorite Magic celebrities in compromising positions.
If you get the cards, the best draft archetype in my opinion is U/R.
I’m still trying to figure out the over/under on the whole Ben Affleck/J.Lo relationship. Back when it first started, I was talking with Shane Stoots, and he thought that it was the completion of the filming of Jersey Girl (or was that Gigli?). I thought it was more like one month before the actual wedding, but now that we’ve found out that Matt Damon isn’t too keen on the idea of an Affleck-Lopez marriage, all bets are off. If your friends don’t like your girlfriend and she doesn’t like them either, it is definitely a bad sign.
Ja Rule has been officially inducted into the Celine Dion Hall of Fame for artists that are not allowed to be played on the radio ever again. It doesn’t matter if he’s singing his own songs, guesting with Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti, Enrique Iglesias, Julio Iglesias, the Cat in the Hat, whatever. No more Ja Rule.
I’m a huge college football fan, but how stoopid is it that a single regular season loss can doom a team’s chance for a National Championship? The lack of a playoff system is one of the things that makes watching college football so hard, because along with rooting for your favorite team to win, 90% of the time you end up rooting for a whole bunch of other teams to lose as well. What a crock.
It would be like taking NCAA Basketball and decreeing that only the top 2 teams in the rankings at the end of the season get to play for the National Championship while every other team is relegated to the NIT. How freaking ridiculous would that be?
By instituting an eight- or sixteen-team playoff system (along with maximum eleven-game seasons plus conference championship games,) while allowing all other teams over .500 to play in bowls, we could put this whole issue to bed. Fans from all teams would feel like even two losses still kept them in the Championship picture, while we would still get a definitive National Champion. I mean, can you imagine what December would be like if you got to watch four weeks of college playoffs on Saturdays and the end of the NFL season on Sundays? I find myself becoming giddy (and strangely school-girlish) at the very thought.
Let’s just be clear here… Demi Moore’s current body is a technological marvel, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just be aware that should she die at some point in the future, she may need to be buried at the Yucca Mountain facility with the rest of Hollywood.
Raise your hand if you thought Yao Ming would be this good, this quickly? Yeah, me neither. Also raise your hand if you are secretly (or not-so-secretly) cheering at the wheels coming off the Laker train. Oh, you better believe that I am. I mean, sure, I like Phil Jackson, but watching Kobe, Shaq, and Rick Fox lose 60 percent of their games is an awful lot of fun.
Now raise your haaaand if you’re Sure.
Okay, go back here, search for”bubbly”, and read my bit. Then go here and search for”bubbly.” TMQ stole my bit! Not that I haven’t been ganking some of his links to chicks all season, but TMQ! My Bit! You see what I’m saying here, right?
Anyway, now go here (and click cheerleaders, then calendar preview, then Jennifer) and feel sympathy for me, since she was so verboten as my high school friend’s little sister. Then check out the rest of the ladies and write me a thank you note. (Just to clear things up… Jenny is considerably smarter than most of the population, so she basically implodes the previous law that women cannot be smart, hot, and cheerleaders.)
One last piece of advice before I leave you… if you are drinking champagne during your New Year’s campaign, it is highly recommended that you avoid mixing anything else in with it, particularly hard liquor. This is a public service announcement brought to you by people-who-have-thrown-up-too-many-times-before-on-New-Year’s-Eve.
Until next time, keep the wang up.
–The Holy Knut