Multiplayer Is An Art, Part 10: Infernal Genesis

Many, MANY ideas on how to abuse Infernal Genesis in a multiplayer game, from one of the most evil minds to set his synapses to the casual environment. Draco first!

—-Original Message Follows—-

“your articles are pretty good man, and your decks simply rule, that’s why I ask you if you could make something around Infernal Genesis, and something to abuse it, like Castle and Aether Flash or something, would you mind making an article with it? thanks in advance.”

Reading some mail like that about three weeks after my last article really makes me think that some people see me as a good writer/deckbuilder. It also encourages me to write more articles, since being asked something politely usually makes one do the thing asked. Questions like these also act as inspiration. When I don’t know what to write about, I just ‘honor’ a question like this with an article – and vide! A deck is born. I would even like to go as far as to encourage everybody to send me questions like these, for I really like to philosophize about cards and possible interactions with them by other cards. I will always answer your questions by mail. And when I find a question especially special, I might even write something about it.

Now I could do something with Infernal Genesis myself – but that card is too obvious when it comes to breaking it. When I would build a deck with it, half of the friends I play with would be able to guess half of the tricks I would include. (This could also be because I have become predictable, but let’s not think about that.) I can, however, think of a myriad of things to do with the Genesis. So I am going to spew forth a lot of funny, nasty and impressive treats with the Genesis. Mix and match my ideas as you like to build your own deck with them… Or just read it and try to have a good time while you do.

First, add Haunted Crossroads. This is done, of course, to put your Draco on top of your library every turn. When we’re playing Genesis, we need a way to be sure we benefit more from it than any random opponent, and Draco is pretty beneficial when it’s turned over to produce tokens. When playing this deck, you want to be living with a Draco on the top of your library. And that fact makes me think of something else….

While you’re at it, add Psychic Battle to the deck so you are the one deciding what everything that targets will target. Yes, it will really do that for you – just look the card up. This not only makes you insanely powerful (and a large target), but it also protects your combo if you decide to play with a recurring enchantment… One like Launch or Despondency or Rancor (Rancor being a good combination with Draco). That is because those enchantments can take a hit from a Disenchant and than return to play, decreasing the chances of your opponents trying to destroy all other enchantments than yours on the board so that you are forced to destroy one of your own when choosing a target with Psychic Battle for possible additional disenchants.

Now read that sentence again to try and understand it; it’s terribly long.

Now that we rule the realm of targeting while we’re gaining sixteen tokens per turn, we must make our tokens better – or we must eliminate the tokens created by our opponents. We wouldn’t want to be only as good as our opponents are, huh? We’d like to be better at the very least, but really we’re hoping to achieve total superiority while the game lasts. Suit yourself; I’ll give you an example of how to achieve both token advantages.

.Making your own tokens better: Add Phyrexian Plaguelord (If you want to stay U/B) so that your beasts kill beasts upon death. Or add Lashknife Barrier or Glorious Anthem. Or add Spidersilk Armor. Coat of Arms is lame because it works for your opponents, too… But then again, it should work better for you, because you have more tokens. Personally I love Martyr’s Cause. That’s because it doubles as an insurance against burn-happy opponents and prevents lethal damage to creatures. Grave Pact works wonders. Goblin Bombardment deserves its status as a totally intimidating enchantment pretty well. If you could pull off a Death Pit Offering before any creatures of great significance hit play, that would rock! It’s only a little more difficult. Note that all these ways, except the last one, are better than the one suggested in the mail above (no offense), because his way uses two cards whilst mine use only one.

Now we will take a look at ways to eliminate opposing tokens. We want a recurring way to do this, and this gets complicated when you want to only use a single card for it (combos supported by combos suck). Simoon is only a single shot. Barbed Foliage doesn’t directly eliminate them, but keeps them away from you (while still letting them block your tokens). It does, however, get the”Stijn’s choice” award for allowing opponents to keep on attacking each other. Subterranean Spirit is a reset button, but not what we are looking for. It would be very very good when our own tokens were larger, protected or disposable thanks to something like Infernal Tribute.

“I would not barter my soul for any of the filth that they called power. So they took it from me and condemned me to solitude”

Crovax can be a real poet at times.

But when you have decided to use the Psychic Battle trick, Pandemonium is the nuts. For remember: We are the ones deciding what’s targeted by targeting effects! This might spell doom for opponents. Shooting for at least sixteen damage each turn (divided any way you choose among any number of target creatures and/or players, just like a huge Arc Lightning) with chances of improvement. That improvement can be made by adding Saber Ants enchanted with Bravado, or by adding an Angelic Protector enchanted with Druid’s Call. Any one of these two combinations grants you an infinite amount of tokens. But if you’re wise, you won’t let yourself get lured towards these sorts of tricks: They’re far too cumbersome to include in any deck that isn’t totally centered around them.

The tokens are abused well enough right now. I’m going to try and think of some other fun stuff to pull off with the Genesis or with the Psychic Battle.

Note that the Psychic Battle lets all players reveal the top cards of their libraries. This makes a Booby Trap very easy to place. Ten damage for six mana isn’t all that great, especially considering the delay you get with the Trap, but it’s at least very funny. It’s also easy to bring back to your hand with Hannah, Ship’s Navigator, or with Argivian Find or Treasure Hunter. When you’re looking for a kill condition in a Psychically Battling deck, Booby Trap might be your card of choice.

When was that other time I wanted to know the top card of my library? Ah, yes, when an opponent was having the time of his life with Vexing Arcanix. He kept on laughing maniacally while he forced people to mill themselves, losing two life in the process. But he also had Rootwater Mystic in his deck, so that he could reward people he liked by allowing them to reveal the top card of their library. That way the Arcanix let them draw a card. He thought he had it all. Fortunately, Rootwater Mystics can only chump block Minions of Leshrac that many times, so the opponent quickly perished due to lack of defense. We ourselves won’t let ourselves die to that: We try to build great decks that can easily withstand the most common situations – like opponents attacking you. But there is a thing we can learn from this certain opponent: Vexing Arcanix (and Petra Sphinx, for that matter) become good card drawers when you know the top cards of certain libraries. Sylvan Library can also be combined with these drawers. It becomes especially good with the Genesis and an Arcanix combined: During your draw step, draw three cards and put two drawn cards back on the top of your pile of cards. Then draw the second one with the Sphinx or Arcanix. The third one, being the third card mentioned (not the second or the fourth) will get milled away during your next upkeep. This way, you draw two cards per turn and you are able to decide what card to mill with the Genesis.

Damn, if I keep on playing that much Minesweeper in between writing useful sentences, I’ll never get this article done. And don’t laugh; Minesweeper can be quite a challenge when your PC is entirely bereft of other games (It’s just new (Which doesn’t mean it’s high-tech, my dad got a new PC at work so he gave this one to me (Not that I’m not thankful or anything; the thing still works))).

The Mongers from Mercadian Masques were always kind of funny – but with the Psychic Battle under your control, they suddenly become very good since you will then be the only one able to use them effectively. Note that all effects that cause an opponent to target something become a lot better with that blue enchantment out. An opponent may think Cuombajj Witches is balanced… But if it was, the scales are certainly crooked for you’re the one targeting both of the points of damage. Now both of the Witches are under your command! They should instantly become 2/6 (for both of the witches) instead of 1/3 (for only one witch). But hey, there are a lot of things wrong with realism in Magic.

Imagine Ali Baba fighting a regiment of Icatian Infantry, killing the last opposing soldier with his own last blow. They both die when they fight. And that’s the same man that can’t crack an egg for his breakfast: Rukh Egg has a toughness of three. Luckily, Ali doesn’t die fighting the egg… Except when the Egg has been the target of a Giant Growth spell. Large eggs are lethal even to War Mammoths, as it appears. How on earth would the Egg be able to kill the Mammoth? Roll over it? And think of what happens when an Egg gets very angry, when it gets filled with rancor, and gets a Lance attached to it somewhere. It can suddenly kill Ball Lightnings, destroy Giant Cockroaches, stop Eron the Relentless, and halt a band of marauding Balduvian Barbarians in their tracks.

After this silliness, let me prevent you from doing something silly: Even when you’re never the one being targeted, Oath of Mages is still bad. Say no to it. Play Volcanic Winds instead. It might not kill the opponent very slowly, but it does deal lots of damage when your multitudinous minion tokens are in play. An opposing token contributes one damage that you can assign, so it most likely dies. Your own tokens suddenly take out creatures controlled by your opponent, or deal at least twenty damage to your own Mogg Maniac (don’t try that; it’s very superfluous and cumbersome all in one). And on the subject of dealing lots of damage, we must not overlook Kyren Negotiations. It is rather dull, however, to kill players that way. Mob Justice is a little bit cooler (yeah, you died, but it was the will of my people), but still kind of lame. I’m dismissing any effects that take out opponents on their own. I like to play not to win. Not that I don’t like winning – I just like to win in other, crazier-but-fairer, ways.

Yes – I just gained a whole second on my best time for Minesweeper at advanced level! Not that I don’t dare play the expert level, it’s just that the advanced one didn’t even have a single record set, so I just had to set one.

The swarm of tokens can be put to good use in numerous ways. They can join the Opposition, locking out opponents. They can form lots of Aura Shards, shattering unwanted enchantments and blasting annoying machines. Whey you rightfully think your tokens are disposable, they can generate large quantities of mana with a Phyrexian Altar. When you don’t think you can miss your tokens for strategic reasons, or just have a large sentimental attachment to them, you can use Citanul Hiërophants to set them to work, making mana. But the Olifants (I always call them Olifants when I cast them – which is Dutch for Elephants. Not that they are – or even resemble – elephants… But come on, how many words do you know that end on -phant? And is Olifant the most funny of them? I already thought so) won’t let your mana-making tokens empower a Legacy Weapon, while those Weapons tend to be amusing when used at least five times per turn. When you deploy yourself in a way that is symbiotic with your tokens, you might achieve Symbiotic Deployment, which is good for your hand. Your tokens can perform Diversionary Tactics, or Shove a Match, and then Brawl your opponents to death.

I now gained a whopping thirteen seconds! Try doing it in less than 67 seconds now!

Dealing damage is all well and good, but gaining life makes for longer and thus potentially funnier games. Soul Warden should significantly lengthen your life span as long as she lives; it’s a shame she’s only such a fragile little girl. Luckily, Hell’s Caretaker is very nice to little Girls, as long as he gets the creatures to replace them with in the graveyard – but that’s not life gaining, so I’m not going to elaborate on him here. Moonlit Wake is a nice choice when you were planning on losing your own tokens anyway, or when you have found a way to waste opponent-controlled tokens. Angelic Chorus gives you enough life when you have chosen to play with Spidersilk Armor or Castle.

And now to show that I really mean it when I say that the cause justifies the means: Congregate makes you immortal like a demi-god. But as a flip side to this medal, it might get you killed in real life.

But now something cool strikes me:

Step One: Play Congregate for six hundred or something on target opponent, totally gaining his trust and stuff like that.

Step Two: Abuse the semi-immortal opponent like mad and eliminate all other players with his help.

Step Three: Cast Blessed Wind on your opponent, setting his life total to twenty! (Read the card; it really works! So instead of a huge life gainer, it can also be a huge damage dealer.)

Step Four: Kill last remaining opponent, who is now at only twenty life.That sounds like a solid plan, and is at least very entertaining. I fear, though, that it can only be pulled off once… Since as soon as your tech becomes public information it will no longer be effective, since nobody will trust you anymore. Not even when you Congregate them. It is very funny to have a way to kill someone who’s at an infinitely high life total (I know infinity doesn’t exist in Magic. I just mean ‘somebody who is at 2×104365 life.’)

My best time on beginner level is now thirteen seconds. Has anybody done it faster? I would be seriously impressed.

Tooth and Claw turns your tokens into real threats – and when you decide to swarm your opponents with your tokens, blocked ones are easily turned into more threatening new ones with this enchantment. It’s also very brutal in combination with a possible Pandemonium. It makes two single tokens deal 1 + 1 + 3 = 5 damage. Three of them deal 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 3 = 9 damage. A quick mathematical investigation shows us that with Tooth and Claw in play, X tokens now deal 4X – 3 damage. That’s four damage for each token beyond the first, plus the one dealt by the first token. Tooth ‘n’ Claw also makes chumping with your minions a lot more economical. It’s also a good way to kill your own Academy Rectors, for you would be a fool not to include at least four of those in a deck that wants three enchantments in play.

“You deify nature, yet cringe at what is natural”

Tooth and Claw even has a cool flavor text!

You know what? A guy I never heard of but who is apparently from the same university as where I study asked me by mail whether he could interview me for some kind of magazine. They wanted to do an article on Magic. Heh – I’m famous! And when I was in the train the other day, some one came up to me because she had heard me talking about Magic to a friend of mine. She asked:”Excuse me, are you a Magic champion?” We were near Groesbeek (where Tom van de Logt lives) so I replied:”No, but I do know Tom.” She didn’t get it, of course, but she did ask me to come and do some demos on Magic at some fantasy festival she was organizing. Heh – I’m famous. Some days later, I was in the train again and it accidentally it ran over a van at a railroad crossing. (At least, I hope it was accidental. Fortunately, they soon announced that the van was empty and broken and that the driver had left it looking for some sort of mechanic. But why did he leave it on the tracks? I had a three-hour delay and he lost his van altogether.) But anyway, after the personnel asked us to please get seated in the back wagon of the train so that they could disconnect the damaged one at the front, some girl comes sitting in front of me. She stares at me and says:”I know you. Don’t you work at the Labyrinth?” The Labyrinth is my store (well, it’s not mine, but you know what I mean. And I do work there occasionally. I even worked for them at a large gaming convention here in Holland. That was the most fun weekend in times), so clearly she must play Magic. After some chatting (It turned out she also liked Type One the best (as I do; I only never write about it because I don’t feel qualified), also listened to the same music as I do, also played Warhammer and also studies the same science – but, too bad for me, already had a boyfriend) we pulled out our Type One decks we both incidentally had with us and played until I reached my destination in Tilburg. So I get recognized in public, get mailed to do an interview, and get asked to participate in organizing large events. Am I famous or what? A writer at the Casual Players Alliance even called me a good Magic player. I wonder whether I’m in the War of the Writers this time.

And still it’s funny that a Jellyfish like a Man ‘o’ War can kill a mounted Battlemage wielding a Spear. Or that a Polar Kraken can be frightened to death by a Terror. Or that a Kird Ape gets his bonus from a Savannah. Are there any trees there that he can climb in?

I’ve drifted pretty far away from the subject now… And my useful inspiration is fleeting. I say”useful” because I can still think of things to do with the Genesis, but they won’t be very good. Let’s call it a day and enjoy the presents the good Saint Nicolas has brought us.*

Emperial Regards,

Stijn van Dongen


* – Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas) is the protector saint of children and visits Holland once each year, from 20 November to 5 December. He then travels through the land, riding over the roofs of houses on his white horse. He gives presents and candy to people who have been good; he gives the candy by climbing through the chimney and then putting it in the shoes the kids put there. On five December, when he goes back to Madrid, where he lives, he leaves a huge pile of packages at each house where children live. This is called Packages-evening. Sinterklaas wears a red miter and red robes and has a long white beard. A vast party of black men (Black Pete’s, or Zwarte Pieten) is there to help him out by delivering the presents and collecting the drawings the children made for the good holy man. He travels from Spain to the Netherlands with a steamboat and carries around the traditional candy (little balls of spiced cake) in a large bag. It is the same bag he carries bad kids back to Spain in. So for how long does Santa Claus exist? Sinterklaas must be way older. Americans just copied Santa from us – as they did with the Declaration of Independence, which we wrote one to the Spanish ages ago. But all that doesn’t matter. Just be good to each other on the fifth of December and maybe you’ll find a gift in your shoe the next morning.