To start, a big”thank you” to Koen for the stats on US Nationals constructed matchups, and also to RuneH for getting people to do the dirty work involved in typing up the Euros decklists (oh yeah – and to John Stephens and Mary Van Tyne for doing the US Nats decklists). I’ve been told that my bitching didn’t have anything to do with either of those, but I appreciate the information nonetheless.
Aside from that, I’m going to check into a few interesting decks that appeared at Euros, discuss the usual randomness of the outside world, and link to some Kelly Brook cheesecake. Huzzah!
I have Magic writer’s block at the moment, so we’ll kick off with the silly stuff and then get to the meaningless strategic drivel later. Scroll down if you must.
The Kitchen Sink
Since I can’t seem to write anything worthwhile, and since I finally made the big time with my last article and was mentioned by Team Academy (gosh, I’m still dumbstruck by that… or maybe I’m just dumb), I’ll start off by blatantly ripping them off and share some quotes I’ve collected over the last few weeks.
Knut: when did I become a Black mage, btw?
Jimmy Bean: around the time you started liking hip hop
<Kibler> i’m in on most secrets
<Kibler> like that of nimh
<Kibler> or perhaps the garden
<dirkb (Dirk Baberowski)-> btw quick update :
<dirkb-> i am now wearing pants.
<NicoH (Nicolai Herzog)> never ever stir fry something while naked
(I’ve done that – The Ferrett)
<Booch> Who wouldn’t want a pair of ‘tap this ass’ boxers?
<Kibler> my ass will not be tapped.
Insight into the workings of The Phoenix Foundation:
<dirkb_> we dont usually discuss magic heh
<dirkb_> we just play decks
<dirkb_> and then kai says tog is the best deck
There is no one quite like Will Brinkman, and I think that’s probably a good thing.
<UberRndm> what is that in metric?
<Brinkman> i’m not into that new math, you commie conspiracy bastard
Note to the TA folks: For future reference, my people prefer to be called”Wegroes” or”People Lacking Color and Rhythm.” In times of need,”cracker” or”whitie” will also suffice – but looking at Stokinger’s picture, I’m guessing he already knows this…
Have you seen the Jay-Z video with Beyonce walking, dancing, and shaking her bounteous booty? Oh my God!
I know two million guys out there will disagree with me, but this is the first time Cameron Diaz has looked really good since The Mask.
Am I the only one who sees those strings from halter tops hanging down a girl’s back and feels and almost overwhelming urge to untie them?
Oy; Return of the Living Dead.
My wife actually said this when we went with Jimmy Bean and his lovely wife to see Fountains of Wayne perform:
“So; would you describe the metagame inside the 9:30 Club (a music club in Washington DC adjacent to the all Black campus of Howard university) as entirely Mono-White, and the metagame outside the club as Mono-Black?”
All right; I’ve been unemployed for two months now, and aside from the not having any monay, it’s not that bad. However, most of the things I want to say about it have already been said in cartoon form at www.oddtodd.com, so go there and enjoy.
I am Odd Ted.
When I was first unemployed, I think I went a little bit crazy, because I started watching like four hours of Dawson’s Creek a day on TBS, and I know that there can be no rational explanation for that. Yeah, Katie Holmes is hot, but not hot enough to make the show any good – especially when she’s not showing any skin like in her movies.
Note to Hollywood: More Katie Holmes topless scenes, please.
These days life is a little more normal. I’m hooked on Around the Horn and PTI, and waste hours and days talking to people I’ve never met on IRC. I’ve been talking to cool foreign people lately, though, like some guy who claims to be Dirk Baberowski, another guy who claims to be Tomi Walamies, and a bunch of guys who claim to be Canadian.
Well, the Canadians aren’t cool, but the other guys seem to be.
I try not to think about naked snow wrestling, though, because I have this fear that my private parts would shrink up in the cold and never return to their already sub-optimal size. Hmph; moving on…
I work out times a week, and apply to jobs, like… whenever. I sleep from 3 a.m. to 11 a.m., and then nap from four to six each afternoon. I justify this by thinking that I need beauty sleep to be beautiful for when somebody finally does return a phone call and wants to interview me, because only pretty people get good jobs. Then I remember that I work in the tech industry, where nobody is pretty except the people in the Marketing department, and 90% of your bosses are men. Being pretty still matters, but like, only to my wife and the two hundred-pound woman that checked me out (um, figuratively, not literally) in the grocery store last week..
Since being pretty no longer matters, I’ve stopped shaving until it gets too itchy to not shave anymore or until my wife complains.
I also talk to my cats a lot, because they are good company that can sympathize with being unemployed. They sleep a little less than me though, and I can’t understand where they find the energy to like, sit in the window all day and look at stuff.
I never, ever look at our bank account balance unless I do so in a fit of panic to make sure I didn’t bounce any checks this week. Looking at your account balance while being unemployed is pretty much the most depressing thing you can ever do. So I don’t do it.
I read the StarCityGames forums and try not to burn my eyes out with hot pokers (though the forums are getting better). Ironically I read fewer articles these days, though, because I’m not bored and trapped at my desk at work, but instead have other stuff that I could be doing, like playing computer games, or reading books, or doing laundry. Like, I never play computer games during working hours though, because I feel guilty about it and always feel like I should be job hunting or studying to get certified in some new computer field instead.
While I’m not playing and not studying, I think about doing any number of actually useful things and decide they are too much work. These things would invariably be much more exciting if I had a job and had no time in which to do them, because I would think”If only I had the time, I’d design the decklist database and get a buddy of mine to write the Perl scripts to scrub them into useful formats. Then I’d run all sorts of cool queries against it and officially be the shizznit.” Since I have plenty of time now to do exactly those things, I hang out on IRC and AIM instead and talk with my friends. Or, now that Scourge has been released, I MODO. These are possibly the two least productive things to do in the entire world outside of looking at pr0n, which I, you know, never do.
Thankfully for me, I still have the energy to write Magic articles. Except when I don’t, or when I have writer’s block and can’t write anything useful for two weeks. Then I just sit at my computer and read stuff that isn’t about Magic, while thinking that I really should be writing an article right now.
So yeah, what I’m trying to say is that being unemployed is really a lot of fun.
Anyone who says White will suck clearly hasn’t seen the Mirrodin preview from Nats. Gumby trumps all.
It takes a special photographer to capture the exact same trampy look on the face of three different trampy women.
Which one of these is not like the other… which one of these is not the same?
My schwanz says”Yes!”, but my brain remains unconvinced. How do you reconcile that?
Okay, time to revisit the whole Christina Aguilera timeline for a second…
Here’s what she looked like when she first started.
Here’s what she looked like when she debuted album 2.
And this is the nicest picture I’ve seen for what she looks like today (special thanks to Brian McDermott for sending me one that was much worse).
What the hell happened?!?
At this point, I think the ideal new TV show would be a cross between Pardon The Interruption and Entertainment Tonight with Max Kellerman as the host. It would presumably feature Max and some attractive female discussing random news items about celebrities and posting more red carpet and bikini clips than you could shake a stick at. Who wouldn’t want to see this?
The Obligatory Cheesecake Section
I promised in my last article that I’d link to a bunch of pictures of Kelly Brook, the ridiculously tasty dish from the U.K. who has recently been imported to the US on television programs like Smallville. I showed Jim some of these pictures last week, and they made his head spin, but you’ll have to judge for yourself exactly how hot Kelly happens to be (some of these may be a little too risque for work).
It’s not really a dress so much as it’s a sash.
This close to not being linkable
Everything you need for a great picnic
This photo was on a billboard viewed by NASA from space. Is there any wonder why?
No, there are no photos that show what the front looks like…
I… um… car wash.
The only thing on her chest that could possibly be understated
Saying she has curves is a complete injustice to their roundness.
Last one, just in case you haven’t already lost interest…
So US Nationals Standard was a complete waste of time for the rest of us, because the results from that tournament immediately became less useful with the introduction of Scourge the day after Nats ended. I would bitch more about this, but Wizards preempted me with their”Sets will become legal sooner” policy – those bastards! (And I mean that in the nicest way possible).
Unfortunately, with Worlds being used as the introduction platform for 8th Edition tournament play, the only meaningful tournament using Scourge is the European Championships… And that event would take place at the very beginning of Scourge’s legality. Frustration abounds.
Anyway, with only a week between San Diego and Euros, it seemed pretty dumb to dwell on the old, boring tech from the Americans, and much more interesting to see what crazy creations those Europeans had come up with. As usual, they failed to disappoint.
For those wanting a peek at all ze decklists, go here. Otherwise I’m just going to talk about what we learned from US Nats and Worlds and briefly discuss four decks that I found to be very intriguing. But first…
5 Things I Learned From US Nationals And Euros:
1) Psychatog is finally dead in Standard. It will be up to 8th Edition to revive him; otherwise, we can kiss Dr. Teeth goodbye until Extended season. And there was much rejoicing…
2) Mind’s Desire is still note quite ready for Prime Time. Olivier Ruel went 6-1 with it, but Kai went 2-5. However, their versions were radically different, and as of right now I haven’t completed the overall numbers for the decks.
3) To me, Gab Nassif’s deck is really just the Ralphie Treatment updated with Scourge and subtracting Astral Slide. It is not this amazing new creation that we’ve never seen before as some website has claimed. That said, it’s still very cool and the decklist shows a lot of attention to detail.
4) Every time you think we’ve narrowed the metagame down, it just gets bigger and broader. US Nats gave us the R/G and Zombies show (though Gabe Walls looked by far to be the most tech deck in the Top 8… maindeck Armageddon is diesel), but Euros gave us seven different deck archetypes in their Top 8. Complete insanity.
5) Brian Kibler may have said it best when he said”Wagener is not only the US National Magic champ, but also the live action Grand Theft Auto champ.” If you don’t know what this is referring to, feel free to ask around.
(For the record, rumor is that Wagener stole a car, and may not be able to go to Worlds thanks to being on, well, parole – The Ferrett, who hates in-jokes that the rest of the Tour knows, but cannot confirm or deny the truth of it)
On to the decks…
Olivier Ruel – Turbo Trade Secrets
4 Wild Growth
4 Trade Secrets
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Mind’s Desire
4 Careful Study
2 Temporal Fissure
2 Cunning Wish
2 Nostalgic Dreams
4 Early Harvest
3 Chain of Vapor
4 Rampant Growth
1 Far Wanderings
1 Flash of Insight
4 Future Sight
2 Mana Short
1 Moment’s Peace
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Brain Freeze
I was chatting with Dirk Baberowski (oy, with all the name dropping this suddenly feels like an Oscar Tan column – my apologies) before Euros and asked him if Kai had broken Mind’s Desire well enough to run it in London. Dirk wouldn’t really commit to telling me whether Kai was going to play desire.dec or not, but his answer on whether they’d done it was”kinda.” Tragically, Kai went 2-5 with his Future Sight version of the deck, but the French seemed to have a bit more success with their rendition, headed by Olivier Ruel 6-1 performance and 20th place finish.
According to Kai, this was one of the better Mind’s Desire decks to appear in London, and while the mana engine is somewhat similar (Rampant Growth, Early Harvest), the rest of the deck differs greatly from the German creation. Just looking at the decklist, you can tell that it’s insane, but the question is: Is it insanely good? A 6-1 record is pretty solid, but after talking to some people who played the deck, they feel that winning with it may be a bit too contingent upon having good matchups and solid draws to make it truly tier 1.
That said, it uses Trade Secrets and Temporal Fissure, both in the maindeck, which is absolutely wild. It’s entirely possible that the deck is just a retuned version of Tight Sight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Trade Secrets and Nostalgic Dreams start flying out of trade binders like it ain’t no thang. The loss of Early Harvest will greatly effect the ability of this deck to go off at Worlds, but enough pros seem excited by the possibilities that Desire offers that I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody broke it for the new Standard format as well.
Anybody think Forgotten Ancient would be a ridiculous card to sideboard against this deck? Mein Gott!
Wolfgang Eder – Topdeck Goblins
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Shadowblood Ridge
4 Sulfurous Springs
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Goblin Grappler
4 Goblin Warchief
2 Goblin Goon
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Taskmaster
3 Goblin Sledder
4 Gempalm Incinerator
3 Skirk Marauder
1 Raging Goblin
4 Patriarch’s Bidding
4 Sulfuric Vortex
2 Goblin Sharpshooter
When I asked some of the players at Euros about interesting decks they saw, Wolfgang’s was at the top of everyone’s list (achieving a 5-2 record in the Standard portion of the event). If you subtract the landbase, this deck is 99% OnBC compatible – and while it looks like it would have real problems against any deck running Noxious Ghoul, it could have some potential against the rest of the field.
Regardless, in Standard the deck is a very different take on what had previously turned into a rather stale Goblins deck. It still loses to Engineered Plague, but casting Bidding with a Siege-Gang (why only one, I wonder?), a Warchief, and a Piledriver in the graveyard means that your opponent has to have a blockers, instant-speed removal, or both or they simply die. Good times.
Nassif’s Top 8 deck is a work of art in that it looks to be a perfect metagame deck. The concepts of it are identical to what Jim did with B/W Slide in that you build the deck to easily handle most creature-based decks (with eight mass removal spells and four Chainer’s Edict) while giving yourself access to Black’s disruption effects. Throw in some win conditions that are either difficult to deal with (Decree of Justice) or recursive (Eternal Dragon and Undead Gladiator) and you have a very solid deck. This deck only loses Duress in the maindeck for Worlds… But the sideboard will take a real hit, so it will be interesting to see if it sees play five weeks from now in the city of jelly donuts.
Last but not least we have another Top 8 deck – Borut Todorovic’s R/W/G Slide. Borut’s deck looks to be a slightly updated version of Gabe Walls’ US Nationals deck, except the maindeck Epicenters have been removed, while Gilded Light (for Brain Freeze and Corrupt, perhaps?) and Eternal Dragon have been added.
Both decks seem to find the right combination of massive creature removal, threats, and problems for control decks to deal with, and they also pack a versatile and powerful sideboard that can cause additional problems for most decks in the field. If I had to pick a deck to go play at a large tournament before 8th rotates in, I’d probably pick some variation of this deck, as it seems to have the fewest weak links against both aggro and control decks while packing a lot of power to deal with random matchups as well.
Before, I go I feel the need to dispell a few rumors:
1) I did not spill the”bean” on the whole Northern Lights #5 deal to Wizards personnel. In fact, they told me about it at Pittsburgh, so I knew the meaning behind the name was common knowledge before I printed it.
2) I’m not sleeping with Mary Van Tyne. But I know who is.
3) Jimmy Bean does the best Hulk Hogan impression you’ve never seen.
4) Lando’s not a system, he’s a man. Lando Calrissian. He’s a card player, gambler, scoundrel. You’d like him.
5) Any professional athlete who hops on a motorcycle and then gets injured deserves to have their contract voided. Your body is your meal ticket, and hopping on a donor cycle while still under contract shows that you are too stupid to recognize this fact. Your team should feel free to kick you to the curb and wait and see what you look like post-rehab.
6) David Brain is the only person I know who’s ever totaled a Volvo. For that he deserves a big round of applause.
7) I’ve been almost as bad as Ferrett about returning e-mail lately, but that will change. Feel free to smack me around if it doesn’t.
8) I’m an idiot. Knowing this ahead of time should simplify and improve our relationship.
If you’re bored, don’t forget to check the deck names of Farid Meraghni, Tomi Walamies, Mark Wraith, Guiliano Moretto, and Tom van de Logt, and Tom van Ravenstijn (as Tybuc would say,”I have last name envy”) from the Euros list, as they are at least mildly amusing.
No more T2 talk until Worlds… Next time we’ll see what sort of Block Party Wizards has really given us.
The Holy Kanoot