Multiplayer Is An Art, Part 17: Don’t Read This While Working, At The Peril Of Angry Bosses

Okay, so you can make a Sacred Mesa work with Beasts thanks to an Artificial Evolution. You knew that, right? However, the infinite loop with Words of Wilding and Carnival of Souls, plus a Ravenous Baloth, is probably something you missed. And then there’s the fifteen-card infinite combo that really requires some work, but thankfully needs only two cards to set it off….

Check the baseline out…

No, you don’t have to.

And then it occurred to me that with Artificial Evolution and Sacred Mesa lots of fun stuff could be pulled off. Artificial Evolution changes all instances of a creature type on a card into instances of a creature type of your choice – so the Sacred Mesa can now churn out vampires and demand vampires as a sacrifice during your upkeep… But that would be hardly beneficial, barring achievement of satisfaction by Baron Sengir fetishists. We had much rather make rats with the Mesa. That way our Plague Rats would get way big and our Pestilence Rats would get big in the front.

Still, that’s hardly spectacular.

Has it never occurred as weird to any of you that the rat with the Pestilence ability is called Crypt Rats, while the rat with the Pestilence name is some weak rat mobster belonging in a crypt? It makes for a lot of confusion when you announce the rat from visions (the one that deals damage like a Pestilence):

“Look! Some Pestilence Mice.”

“What do you mean? Are you playing with that weak Ice Age muck?”

“No, I mean Crypt Mice.”

“Why don’t you just say so then? What do they do?”

“They have a Pestilence on their backs.”

“Ah. So they are Pestilence Mice then?”

“Like I said, yes.”

But back to the Sacred Mesa. Rats, even in great numbers and with flying, are still inferior to what I had in mind first. Wizards doesn’t only build our decks for us; they also choose our creature types. Beasts make for one good Mesa. Ravenous Baloth turns all your Mesa tokens into 1.3 cc Bottle Gnomes. And you’d better pack a Spellbook, Library of Leng, or Anvil of Bogardan to skip your discard step, for Wirewood Savage is going to turn your Sacred Mesa into one hell of a Jayemdae Tome. Wirewood Savage should resemble something like this:


creature – Elf

Whenever a beast comes into play, draw a card.


And if that holds any truth, your evolved Mesa now reads:



1W: Draw a card and choose one – gain four life and chump target attacking creature, just gain four life, put a 1/1 flying beast token into play that gives you four life when it dies or counter target Edict, albeit Diabolic or Chainerian.

(Note that Yawgmoth’s Edict is unaffected by this, and even proves a hindrance against this. But never mind; you’re still winning when you can keep this thing going. Remember to swing when you’re winning.)

I wish all reminder texts looked like that one. It would make the game even more fun than it already is. I also wish that I could keep to a more coherent line of reasoning, or that I would know now what I am going to write about in just a few seconds. That’s right; I just started to type without an idea in mind. Am I evil?

Evil’s all that I see; you ask me my name? D to the Rizzo, E to the Vizo, I to the Lizo.

All of the above seems like it could also work with a simple Conspiracy set to Beasts… But remember the upkeep cost of the Sacred Mesa? During your upkeep, you have to sacrifice a Pegasus or the Mesa will collapse. With a Conspiracy in play, no Pegasi will be found to feed the enchantment. Artificial Evolution fixes this neatly. But Unnatural Selection also tackles the problem perfectly. And with the Selection, you can also change some of your beasts into other things should the need arise. You could change five of your men into elves to put a 7/7 trampling elemental beast token into play with Voice of the Woods. That would also draw you a card.

Yay! I don’t like that particular elf. I do like the red and the blue one, though – just like with the Winds in Prophecy, where I also only liked the red and the blue one.

Bang, ten to the head. Swoosh, cap you for seven. Winds will blow you away. Bounce with it.

The red guy that lets you tap five guys deals ten damage to all targets. Is that funky or what? He is a goblin – Goblin Fire Marshal – so he wants to tap goblins. Remember that Mogg Maniac is a goblin, and remember that with Pack Hunt, you can look for three other Maniacs, giving you a total of five goblins, with the Marshall included. That’s four dead opponents and ten damage to yourself. But that can be fixed with that stupid white wind or white cleric that gives ten life. Or it can be fixed with the Ravenous Baloth Sacred Mesa Artificial Evolution Wirewood Savage trick described above.

Would any non-Magic player ever take you serious again when you utter that last sentence where he could hear it? Better not take the risk. Avoid it.

The blue tap-five guy is a Supreme Inquisitor. Tap five untapped wizards you control and all five wizards suddenly Extract your opponent. I like that kind of stuff. I even built a deck once, with four Mana Flares and four Temporal Apertures, that let me cast the red and blue Wind as many times as possible. It also contained four Time Spirals and four Phyrexian Furnaces to make the Denying Winds hurt even more. And it held four Infernos and four Mogg Maniacs to make the Searing Winds even more lethal.

I do declare there were times that I was so low on life that I played Congregate in a deck. And it was in that deck.

Only once, mind you.

It was with that deck that I still hadn’t played a thing on turn 4. The guy next to me plays a Void, naming five, killing a Serra Angel some guy had out, and looking at my hand. He saw the four cards I was holding.

“Dang; I should have named nine…”

Mwoo hah hah. Who expects an opponent to have thirty damage and a blue wind in his hand? An opponent played Mana Flare. I top decked Mana Flare. And there was much rejoicing and even very much more damage. I think I really wanted a Mirari back then; too bad it didn’t exist yet. I only had a single Fork. And I have no, zero, and nil copies of Urza’s Rage.

But I was talking about Conspiracy with Wirewood Savage and Ravenous Baloth. There is a cycle of enchantments in Onslaught – at least I suppose there is, the spoiler’s not official yet – that lets you skip draws to do something wild. The red one Stormbinds your draw, the white one turns it into a Soothing Balm, the blue one bounces with it, and the black one can’t be good for I can’t remember it; I guess it forces some discards or something like that. The green one turns cards into bears. It reads something like this:

Words of Wilding,

casting cost (1G?),


1: the next time you would draw a card this turn, put a 2/2 green bear token into play instead.

Some philosophical gibberish about instinct being better than fear or something like that.

Now let me put it to you this way: During my draw step, I am on the verge of drawing a card. Just in time I decide to activate the Wilding Words. I get a 2/2 beast (due to Conspiracy) instead of my card… But the Wirewood man lets me draw a card anyhow. I use the Words again. I get a new beasty and get to draw a new card, which I can turn into a beast again. I will show you now why that results in ten beasts when you’ve got ten mana available:

#include <iostream>

#include <string>

#include <cstdlib>

using namespace std;

int getMana ();


int mana;

cout <<“How many mana do we start with?”<<endl;

cin >> mana;

return mana;


void main ();


int beasts;

int mana;

beasts = 0;

for ( mana = getMana() ; mana > 0 ; mana = mana – 1 )


cout <<“We now spend one mana to get a beast, resulting in”<<mana<<”

mana left in our mana pool.”<<endl;

beasts = beasts + 1;

cout <<“On the bright side of this, we get a beast. We now have”<<beasts<<” beasts.”<<endl;


cout <<“You see, we now have”<<mana<<” mana left, with”<<beasts<<” beasts under our command.”;


//Copy and paste the above into your C++ program and run the thing.

You see? This card combo gives you a 2/2 for one mana as often as you’d like. There is one card that can singlehandedly take this combo and seal the nick between the end and the start, creating a beautiful loop, like ligase would seal a plasmid… And that card is Carnival of Souls. Much maligned, never loved.

I own four, of course.

This card would eliminate the mana = mana – 1 part of our program and would replace it with life = life – 1 (after we’ve initialized life, of course). But I would also add a new function to the program, that would say something about beasts = beasts – 1; life = life + 4. And that function would be called ‘int ravenousBaloth();’ It would trigger every time four life were lost to the Carnival. Infinite beasts, infinite life – and, with two Savages, infinite cards.

And there was much rejoicing! Yay.

And do you see what I see? This whole combo can be pulled off by playing two cards! They are Hermit Druid and Replenish. I will once again demonstrate it to you, but this time in more clear language.

Turn one: Play Hickory Woodlot.

Turn two: Play Hermit Druid and another Woodlot, or some other land.

Turn three: Play Gemstone Mine and Replenish. Activate Hermit Druid in Response.

The Druid will put your entire library into your graveyard. Amongst those cards are, of course, the Words of Wilding, the Conspiracy. the Carnival of Souls, the Ravenous Baloth, and the Wirewood Savage. The enchantments are put into play by the Replenish. The creatures are retrieved by replenishing some Animate Deads, who in turn retrieve the creatures. The creatures come into play after the Carnival, so that one gets triggered immediately. The Wirewood Guy also triggers himself, ’cause he is a beast because the Conspiracy has an older timestamp. That gives you mana and a draw on the stack. And all enhancements needed to go infinite. On turn 3, with potential Force of Will back up.

Add a Concordant Crossroads or Fervor to the mix and swing for the win. On turn 3, with Force of Will back up. Oscar is right, I can play type I!

I’m sorry, I won’t pick on Tan. I don’t have very much time to read anymore, so I can’t read everything anymore. But his articles are, besides the magic art critiques of Michael LaRue, the only things I always read.

I have already proved that with the above Replenish – Druid combo, Carnival of Souls can be turned into a deadly weapon. Now I will prove the some thing for Sorrow’s Path.

Replenish puts back into play:

Treacherous Link

Urza’s Legacy uncommon


Enchant creature

Redirect to its controller all damage dealt to enchanted creature.

I suppose that the rest is known.

The Necromancy animates a Scrivener. The Scrivener rescinds a Blood of the Martyr.

Blood of the Martyr

The Dark uncommon



Until end of turn, whenever damage is dealt to one of your creatures, you may redirect that damage to yourself.

With the Fastbond and the Agenda, we can play some lands from our graveyard. At least four, one of which must be Sorrow’s Path. The Pariah and the Treacherous Link are laid on the same creature controlled by an opponent. The Celestial Dawn lets us tap the three non-Sorrow’s Path lands for WWW. Now is the time to sacrifice the Yawgmoth’s Agenda – which is a creature due to the Opalescence – to the Martyr’s Cause. Then we use the WWW to cast Blood of the Martyr.

Now we sacrifice Celestial Dawn to the Cause. This turns our Path from a Plain to a Sorrowful Path. It is a creature and it has haste. Attack with it. It now becomes tapped so it deals two damage to you and to each creature you control. Redirect the damage to your creatures to yourself (courtesy of Blood of the Martyr) and all that damage will now be redirected to the opposing creature who is the Pariah. Due to the Treacherous Link, your opponent will feel what it feels like to have lots of Sorrow.

That’s a fourteen-card combo, but you have to have only two cards to make it all work. And it can be done on turn 3, with a Force of Will and another blue card in hand for protection.

I once built this deck and found room for four Forces of Will, four Worldly Tutors, four Mystical Tutors, and four Frantic Searches. And four Replenishes and four Hermit Druid. And some Attunements. The Attunements and the Frantic Searches were there to drop enchantments into the graveyard that were a necessity to the successful completion of this combo. Lands were a mixture of Cities of Brass, Hickory Woodlots, Ancient Tombs, Havenwood Battlegrounds and Tinder Farms. No basic lands, of course, or the Druid will fail in it’s library-dumping.

Have you noticed how this article doesn’t relate to multiplayer, like its title implies? Neither does it have any strategic value, or does it invoke a sparkling debate. You can’t win anything by reading this.

I feel like I have bothered you all enough now.

Emperial Regards,

Stijn van Dongen,


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