Mixed kNuts: Calm Like a Bong*, **, ***

A first in Magic-writing history! The Knutster discusses marijuana, Magic’s connection with the evil drug, and whether R&D were smoking it when they printed Quiet Speculation. Are you a pothead? Could be.

So I was thinking back over my Regionals experience in preparation to write up a round-up of the post-Regionals Standard environment, and one thing stood out in my head: The smell of pot. Is it just me, or are Magic players turning into a big bunch of beanheads? Bean meaning the Green Bean, or the herb of life, or some shivan reefer, pot, hash, THC, Mary Jane… You’ve heard em all before.

I mean, there I was, sitting down to fill out my deck registration at 9:30 in the morning, and somebody walks by me with the sweet, cloying scent of marijuana emanating from their clothing. At 9:30 in the morning! Now I’m not one to diss on another man’s recreational drug habits, but that seems like getting an early start to me.

Throughout the rest of the day the smell kept popping back up, sending me into flashbacks of random concerts I’ve attended – like the Pearl Jam concert at Soldier Field in 1995, where my date and I were literally surrounded by bud smokers. At the end of the concert I not only had a contact high, but my contacts were clouded over as well. Of course, I’m sure that was nothing compared to the two previous evenings when the Grateful Dead were playing. Apparently the stadium police confiscated forty-four bags of ‘shrooms alone, and seagulls flying over the stadium started dropping from the sky because, ya know, like they just didn’t feel like flying anymore, dude.

Perhaps I’m wrong; perhaps my nose just happens to be overly sensitive to things that smell like pot. Perhaps there really aren’t that many Magic players that enjoy the Green Bean, but I just happen to run across a bunch of them in my travels. Then again, perhaps getting your weed on is considered”tech” by the best Magic players, and I have simply been going about my tournament preparations wrong.

It’s probably a good thing that Magic hasn’t applied for Olympic status yet, or else we’d all end up having to take drug tests and run the risk of being kicked out for our”dietary supplements” (your mother said you should eat your vegetables, not smoke them).

When you think about it, a lot of Magic players fit into the weed-smoker demographic:

1) A lot of Magic players are college students. A lot of college students experiment with pot.

2) A lot of Magic players like music. A lot of musicians smoke.

3) Magic players like to wear black. Black-wearing people are 30% more likely to smoke cannabis than people who refuse to wear black.**

4) Magic events are televised on ESPN2, which immediately makes us”alternative.” Pro Skateboarders… ESPN2. Pro Snowboarders… ESPN2. Pro Magic Players? ESPN2! Alternative is practically a direct translation of”probably smokes pot.” It’s a little-known social fact that as soon as you are featured on ESPN2, you become part of the counter-culture. Timothy Leary, meet Kai Budde.

Lately a few internet writers have been reviewing their Regionals results and have begun article series that examine how you (and they) can improve at Magic. Now, a few players I’ve talked to swear that they play Magic better when they are zooted. I myself have a hard time coming to grips with this method of improvement (and this is in no way a recommendation to try it), but it seems to work for some people.

Thinking about this, I can kind of understand where they are coming from, at least with Constructed formats. Perhaps when the THC hits their blood, it allows them to get”into the zone” and makes maintaining their focus on the game a simple thing (since you can often only pay attention to one thing at a time). In a Constructed environment, you know exactly what is in your deck and you usually can tell what will be in your opponent’s deck as well, so there’s a limited amount of thought involved. Perhaps their impression is wrong though… Maybe they don’t play any better, maybe they just feel better.

Draft on the other hand is a completely different story. In each booster draft, there are approximately forty-two choices to be made and each of those choices average about seven alternatives apiece. When faced with the sheer volume of options, there is a high likelihood that the zooted nugget could become overwhelmed (or at least mine would). So how do you choose at that point? My best guess is that you break down and either:

a) Pick the pretty card (Foil = Ooo, shiny!)

b) pick the card that is not moving, speaking or smiling at you, or

c) pick the card that scares you least (or maybe that’s reserved for Magic on LSD).

I’m usually one that writes articles based on evidence, but I must admit that I am comparatively low on experimental data for this one. Honest. No stash around here, ociffer, just a lot of cooking herbs.

Do you think if Rage Against the Machine smoked out a little more, they would have been called Raiding the Vending Machine instead? Something to think about.

Is it just me, or does that specific use of the phrase”smoke out” lend a slightly different perspective to the Great American Smoke Out?

So yeah, Magic players, ESPN2, Timothy Leary, wacky weed. Where do I go from here?

How about venturing into the realm of tech? I’ve been perusing the Judgment Spoiler, and I have to admit that I think the set is wild. I haven’t felt that a set has broken the power levels of decks too much since Urza’s Block (which I didn’t particularly enjoy), but Judgment may break things again. As a matter of fact, I will go a bit further and say that Judgment will provide oodles of brokenness, conveniently wrapped in a delightful chocolate candy shell.

Continuing my theme of the day, I present to you:

Calm Like a Bong, or alternately What_were_they_smoking.dec

4 Basking Rootwalla

3 Wild Mongrel

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Arrogant Wurm

3 Wonder

2 Cephalid Constable

4 Quiet Speculation

4 Roar of the Wurm

4 Deep Analysis

3 Call of the Herd

2 Narcissism

4 Yavimaya Coast

10 Island

9 Forest

Looking at this deck definitely gives me the impression that some of the folks at Wizards get the urge to herbal. Why, you ask?

  1. Most of them happen to be”alternative” types, just like you and me.
  2. They live in Seattle. Denizens of Seattle are well known for creating a delicate balance of body chemistry between Starbucks and everyone’s favorite smokeable vegetable.
  3. One card:

Quiet Speculation



Search Target player’s Library for up to three cards with flashback and put them into that player’s graveyard. Then that player shuffles his or her Library.

So let me get this straight… I get to tutor for three copies of a 6/6 token creature, three copies of a card that lets me draw two cards (at 1U and a three-life cost), or three copies of a slightly overcosted elephant token generator? Sure, sign me up! You say it gets better… You say that this only costs 1U to cast? And there are no horrible side effects, like Olestra!?! This seems too good to be true.

Ohhhh, it’s a sorcery – now I understand.

Check that; I still don’t understand.

This card seems ridiculous.

So with that in mind, I just threw together the best of the U/G flashback cards, Quiet Speculation, and some discard generators to power the madness engine. Then I added the Green madness bombs. Then I went completely insane and added Wonder so that all my Wurms could wish for wings and receive them too. I hear 6/6 flyers are good, even if they are lowly token creatures. Last but not least, I added Narcissism as an additional madness engine and tacked on Cephalid Constable to fiddle with as my opponent’s Rome is burning (where was this guy when I was in love with the Hoodwink deck?).

Yes, this deck is completely, utterly, and unabashedly untested… But it looks hella-cool, doesn’t it? Flying Wurms, card drawing, under-costed madness creatures, and a creature that (when pumped) can return your opponent’s entire board to their hand? Sounds good to me, chief.

All right, now that I’ve got you all excited, let me cool you down a bit. The decklist doesn’t have any counterspells. It also doesn’t have any bounce. This could change, but it will require a lot of playtesting to figure out what is wrong with the deck and make corrections (and even then it may have performance anxiety and simply not show up to win). The first place to start changing things might be to drop three Calls and a Deep Speculation for whatever strikes your fancy. You also might think about dropping a land and adding some more cheap card drawing. Whatever the case, this is just a concept deck and the purpose is to shake you out of your purple haze and get you excited about breaking Judgment.

Yes, Zvi and Brian Kibler will break Judgment for themselves, and they will eventually tell you about what they have found – but isn’t it more fun to search for these things yourself? Be creative! Be the first person at your local store to whip out the Ice/Radiate Combo and draw twenty cards. No matter how competitive you are, Magic simply doesn’t get any better than having people watch you match and say”Dude, I’ve never seen that before. That’s completely disgusting!”

Well, it doesn’t get any better provided they are talking about your deck. If there’s something else disgusting going on, they probably didn’t want to see it and I definitely don’t want to know about it.

Best line of last week:

“Running this deck is like being a fluffer for Stalin – the opening grip better be good.” – Geordie Tait.

So dem’s da nuts for this week. Magic players, ESPN2, Timothy Leary, wacky weed, Judgment. Seems like a good place to end things (what, me, pun?).

TK Out.

Ted Knutson

[email protected]

* – For those of you who are not Rage Against the Machine fans (though I can’t imagine that some of you wouldn’t care for them) the title is a takeoff of their song Calm Like a Bomb.

** – Not all things said in this article have been fact checked for proof before being stated. Opinions expressed herein are stated for humorous effect and are not meant as an indictment of the Magic-playing public.

*** – This article may or may not be more readable and more amusing while in a state of altered consciousness.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are most definitely not those of the publisher and owner of this website, nor are they the view of the website’s editor. In fact, they aren’t even the view of the author… They are simply the view of the author’s keyboard. Please send all comments, complaints, rants, and (gulp) lawsuits to the e-mail address above and they will be responded to in good time by Mr. Keyboard. Responses of said individual may be unpredictable… Just look at what it has come up with so far.

(On the other hand, if you want proof that someone’s smoking something, now his keyboard types for him – The Ferrett)

^^^ – TK trying to shirk all responsibility for having written this article.

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