Multiplayer Is An Art, Part 25: Princes Of The Universe

My highlander deck has been highly entertaining. Do you know how I once saved all my creatures from a Savage Twister with X=6 with Glory? “How’s that special?” you ask. “That’s what she’s for. Just activate her. What a boring anecdote!”

Ah, but Glory wasn’t at all in my graveyard when the Twister was put on the stack. No siree! In response to the twister, I…

Activated Winding Canyons
Cast Glory
Sacrificed Glory to Infernal Tribute, netting me a card
Activated her ability to give all my men protection from green

Wait; let me drink a beer first…

Ah, Hoegaarden Grand Cru. You Americans don’t know what you’re missing. To all Europeans out there: Cheers!

Now, as some of you might remember, which is unlikely, I have a highlander deck, which I play almost exclusively. I go to the labyrinth every Saturday. And then, I play Magic. Once a week. Almost nothing can touch that.

I still like to play, and therefore I keep each Saturday afternoon as unoccupied as possible, giving me time to play. And guess what? I play against the same folks almost each week. And we play highlander almost exclusively.

Those decks almost never get boring if you agree that they have to be exactly a hundred and fifty cards. How big is the chance that you get the same combination of cards twice? Not quite so large as in a regular sixty-card concoction, is it? And when you even lay down the highlander rule on your basic lands, then even making a mana base that supports your deck is a challenge.

And there is the most important, yet unwritten rule: Your deck has to be bad. Yes, of course you can play with your Angels of Wrath, but in compensation you would have to play a Game Preserve. And of course it’s all right to play with Wrath of God, Balance, and Desolation Angel… But as a compensation, you have to play creatures like Deep Spawn, enchantments like Oath of Mages, and lands like Tarnished Citadel.

I have already dedicated two articles to these highlander decks – but now mine has evolved. It used to be a hundred and fifty different uncommon cards. But I had played it for so very long that the cards became too familiar. Drawing an opening hand with Illuminate, Stormscape Battlemage, Ghost Ship, Soltari Priest, and lands just remembered me of the time where I also had that, but also with a Soltari Monk, as well. When such a thing happens to in highlander, you’ve played it too much, and it becomes time to move on.

Oh, but the time described above was a good time, no doubt; I had the two 2/1 shadow guys out on turn 3, and they attacked each turn. It was a five-player game, and I attacked each player evenly, defending with my Ghost Ship and some Voices I drew. Of course, others bothered little with the occasional two damage I would deal to them… For some guy thought it a good move to play and flash back his Crush of Wurms. That neatly drew attention away from me. I could block one with Voice of Duty and one with Ghost Ship, and I had Stand / Deliver in my hand to bounce one. So I was safe.

And I was free to swing with my religious shadow guys, which I dubbed”The Wraak-team.” Wraak Team is a splendid Dutch parody on the A-Team. It means”vengeance-team,” but is pronounced much like A-Team. In the end, the Wurm guy was beaten by the others, Everybody has had some damage and pain, and I still had my defenses. That put me in a favorable position. My Wraak team soon won me the day. I killed somebody by paying the red kicker on Illuminate instead of the blue one. I’d never done that before.

But as I said, the mighty uncommons got boring. So I upgraded them. To rares. Sixty mana sources, and ninety different rares. Do you know how many cards I have? As soon as I accidentally have four of a card, I put them in my binder. Even though I would never play it. And as soon as I like the card, I make an effort to get four of them. Yet there are so many cards, and there is so few time for an aspiring chemist who also has to attend his laboratory duties and his job and his women…I can almost never use a card anymore, since I only get to play on Saturdays. And when I say”use a card,” I don’t mean play it once, play it twice, and then dump it back into the binder again.

You know, sometimes I long to go back to the days where I could go to The Labyrinth each and every day. Spending all my spare time there. Others could say that my life was somewhat one-dimensional at that point, but I liked it a lot. I sure did. I wish that I could play more…

You know, it’s Sunday now. I have to wait six days ’till I can play again. That’s almost tantalizing. And I almost never get to play with the new cards I have collected.

To some of you people, Aboshan might be old again already. I have four of him, as he is one of the few Odyssey cards that I liked enough. Yet I still have to make a deck with him. I already traded for the four Cephalid Brokers and Cephalid Constables and Plagiarizes to complement him, but I still haven’t gotten around to building a deck which features that squishy team.

So when I decided to change my trusty highlander deck, I jumped on the chance to use all those cherished and dear achieved rares. I just flipped through my binder and pulled out one of each rare I thought I never really used before (or of which I thought it to be a shame that I was not using it anymore, as to keep this deck from becoming ye olde pile). I just stayed within my colors, White/Blue/Black, so that I didn’t have to change the mana base. Yes, I’m a lazy bum. Sosumi.

And then I cheated (Sosumi again) and added eight cards that are not rare at all, yet that I played at the prerelease and enjoyed playing there – commons and uncommons from Onslaught and Scourge and Legions. My reasoning was pretty much the same as for all the rares in the deck:”If I don’t play them now, I will never play them.”

So I added three guys with morph. For I love that ability, yet only three of my rares had it.

1. Willbender: The counter component of my uncommon deck was pretty heavy, with MVPs like Force of Will, and with the best counterspell ever, being Dismiss. My rare squad, however, had to cling on to Desertion, Spelljack, and Misdirection for dear life. Those are the only three counterspells in the deck, and Misdirection is wasted on Desolation Angel or on Cataclysm. That sucks. I feel so unprotected, naked, and vulnerable. So I added a creature with morph that should help protect me some more.

Now he still doesn’t help me against Verdant Force and Jokulhaups (I was going to type Obliterate instead of Jokulhaups; that would have been such a silly error!), yet he does make me feel a little more unprotected. And he gets recycled like mad with Erratic Portal and Tradewind Rider. Hell yeah. I love this little bugger, yet I have never activated its morph; it has always just lain there, making me feel al snug and warm. But I did have the knowledge that should something wicked my way come, I could Divert it. And that I could then do it again. With Erratic Portal.

2. Erratic Portal: This annoys tapped-out opponents. It forces them all to leave at least two mana open, or see one of their creatures get bounced. Yes, two mana, not one – for you can open the portal at the end of their turn, and then once again on yours. Good to stall those Akroma, Angel of Wraths yet another turn. Yet it’s even more important that he can save your own men at will.

Say, is that a Confiscate which is aimed at my Elder Dragon Legend there? Well, Chromium, get back. Get back, get back to where you once belonged. And I will play you again during my next post-combat main phase. Erraticism, and the spellchecker suggest eroticism, is so good a feature for your own men to have – as is, perhaps, eroticism. Wrath of God leaves your best creature alone. Even Reins of Power can get soothed. But there is yet another feature of the Portal, which is perhaps its best.

Got come into play abilities? I sure hope so for your case. This portal just replicates them over and over again. That’s kind of slow, but it is some good. Now, in an uncommon deck, the 187-tech latched onto creatures is at an all time high, but rares know how to do it, too. Dark Hatchling becomes an expensive way to kill each non-black creature. Expensive, yet unrelenting and steady. Triskelion becomes an expensive Arc Lightning with buyback. But it is one that can also block.

And should one of your Laquatus’ Champions die…Bring him back with Karmic Guide. All your dead bodies might be used to a peaceful eternity in a graveyard, but why would you allow them to rot and idle (well, idle, they do help fertilize the ground so that pretty flowers can grow, and stuff) when you can re-recruit them with a Karmischer Begleiter? Over and over again?

“Oh my, try after try after try, wasted card after wasted card after wasted card, you gathering and union of three opponents have finally managed to tap my blue mana out and to kill my Morphling. You even had the response to the activation of the Erratic Portal. Congratulations. Now I’ll just put it in the graveyard. He’ll be back in a jiffy, with this Karmic Guide here, though…”

Oh, and would you even try an guess how many cards an escapade like up here, where I get targeted, like, eight times, would give me when I have Rayne, Academy Chancellor in play? Well, somewhere around eight, I would guess. That’s a big lot of card advantage. And opponents notice that, too. So either they will refray from targeting you and what’s yours altogether, which is good, or they will net you some cards by trying to kill Rayne – which shouldn’t be a problem since she is only 1/1. You won’t miss her. So she costs you nothing, only mana for casting her, and an opponent wastes some removal.

Enter Erratic Portal: Rayne walks. Rayne gets targeted. Rayne draws you a card. Rayne passes through the portal. The best result of this is that during your next turn, Rayne walks again, you have an extra card, and your opponent has wasted one. The worst result is when Rayne gets targeted again in response to Portal activation. Well… This still nets you two cards and costs the opponent two cards off of his removal capacity. That’s still good, even while it’s a worst case scenario. Rayne is pretty cool.

And on provoking creature kill: Lay down the False Prophet with the shiny prerelease date stamped on it, and wait ’till somebody tries to clear the board. Then save him with the Portal. This will pull lots of creature kill out of opponent’s sleeves. Of course, they will see through you like they can see through thin paper (not all that well, but still a little). So make sure that you either have multiple ways of saving your Prophet, or that you actually wanted it to explode, but just wanted to bait out some removal. Removing all creatures from the game while having an opponent waste removal in the process? Thank the Erratic Portal. Oh, you can also just save one of your men, too. This spares them removal for the prophet, which they can now aim at the creature you just saved. So this makes virtually no difference. So just try and save the Prophet, for then you actually still have something should you achieve to-hand-returnation.

One last trick with Erratic Portal, apart from bouncing various morphs to confuse an opponent or to once again trigger its turn-face-up ability, is with Shaman en-Kor. Is there some massive combat damage dealt? Is that an Earthquake I’m perceiving? Starstorm? Just send all damage over to the Shaman en-Kor. On its own, it makes sure that only one creature dies when in fact all of them should die to damage… But with the Portal, he takes the damage unto himself, and then suddenly disappears. Not even a whiff of smoke remaining as a clue to where he’s gone. Now these exploding Bloodfire Colossi don’t even cost you any creatures at all – just some life. But with Angelic Chorus in play, that is soon compensated. Yay.

3. Will-O’-The-Wisp: Everybody knows this card… But how long has it been since you’ve actually seen one in play? For me, it has been a long, long time. The picture’s a classic. The flavor text is classical. And its abilities are classic; just block everything that hasn’t got trample or some weird unusual ability that would otherwise keep you from blocking it. I’ve had four for a long time, yet I never used them. Now I finally found a home for at least one of them. I have yet to draw one, but now I can at least say that I have a deck with Will-O’-The-Wisp.

4. Nomad Mythmaker: He looks like all of the Netherlands’ favorite politician. And he has this interesting ability, for which I decided he was worthy of collection. Thing was, how many rare enchant creatures does an average deck have? Not all that many. All my Treacheries are in another deck, and the only one that I could find somewhere around that was fit for this deck was Pariah.

Now, that’s not even such a bad move…Play Pariah on opposing creature, watch it die, and rejoice in the damage-free moments that you were allowed to enjoy. Then you can proceed to return your Pariah to creatures you control. This is still quite good, for I’d rather have one of my small dorks dying than that I die myself. An unlimited amount of Pariahs is not something that would make me cry. It’s not that it makes me dance wildly, filled with ecstasy and whatnot, but it’s still good. Now enter another rare that I included, which has almost no other use in this deck: Crown of the Ages.

Hey, that’s that card that thrives in Control Magic-filled decks! Yes, it sure is. But it also thrives when you’ve got an unlimited supply of Pariahs. Do you find damage no longer redirected to an opposing creature? Then bring back your Pariah with the Mythmaker, and switch it to a creature from the other side with the Crown. Safe, simple, and effective. Damage’s got nothing on you when you have this tech out. Now only to protect your Mythmaker…

5. Alexi’s Cloak: …And this is done with Alexi’s Cloak, one of the eight non-rares I allowed myself to play. And do you know why I included it? Because I felt it was rather silly to have both Nomad Mythmaker and Crown of the Ages while Pariah was my only enchant creature. So I included this one. It’s quite useful. This is a rare deck. How many fat creatures do you think are in it? Yes, myriads of them. About a frooglepooplemillion. And do you know how often an opponent will try to erase such a fatty from the board? If it were his to decide, then that would be exactly as many times. So this is where Alexi’s Cloak comes in.

It’s just an enchant creature that says that enchanted creature cannot be the target of spells or effects, be they wanted or uncalled for. That’s not bad… Especially more so because you can play the Cloak as an instant, basically making it a Counterspell for spells or effects targeted at your precious large guy. A Confound that lasts forever? Rejoice!

Blizzard Elemental is now warded against any more Exiles or Chastises, and he will never have Second Thoughts again. Yet he will continue to smash face at the opposing side, all the while untapping again to defend like there was nothing to it. And now there’s nothing the opponent can do about it anymore, since Alexi’s Cloak is about him like a frantic lover would be about the thing she loves.

And with Crown of the Ages, all your men are somewhat protected. Will they try and tap your defending Will-O’? Then just move the Cloak to it, and still be able to block that Krosan Cloudscraper. Yes, that’s worth it. Thirteen damage is more than I’d ever care to take. I’ve once even won because I did the following desperate move:

I controlled the Mythmaker, Phyrexian Plaguelord, and Morphling. The Plaguelord had Alexi huggin’ him. Due to some Armageddon tech from the opponent, who was only at four life, I couldn’t go at his throat with the Superman, because I only had a Tundra, a Wasteland, and a Karakas as mana sources. Defending player controlled Wall of Blossoms, Flametongue Kavu, Seal of Doom, and Maro, which was 4/4. I still had plenty of life, but his board position was better, as you could imagine. The Morphling needed only to live and and become 4/2 for me to win this game. Yet should I tap my island, then I wouldn’t be able to protect him anymore and he would die. The Plaguelord was all safe and sound in his Cloak, but he would get blocked by either the Maro or the Kavu, effectively shutting down his offensive capabilities, too. The Mythmaker was no assaulting threat at all, since even the Wall of Disturbingly Exact Petals could block it all day long and not even think twice about it. And then it occurred to me that I should just win then and there.

“Tap Tundra for Blue mana. Fly with the More-fling, make it 4/2 with the wasteland. You die.”

“No, I waste it with Seal of Doom.”

“In response, I kill your Maro with my Phyrexian Plaguelord. He hits the graveyard along with his precious Cloak. Pim the Mythmaker will now bring back said Cloak, shielding my More-Fling. The Seal fizzles…”


“Play again?”

“Yes, please!”

Oh, how these decks are good to play. How often do you see situations like the above? Not all that often, do you? If you do, I sincerely envy you. This game is truly at its best when you can agree with your friends to play moderately bad decks. Yes, it’s true. This game is best when you either play bad decks on purpose, or when you ultimately go for the throat with your type I go(o)dness. Replenish for Lich and Overgrown Estate on turn 3, with Fastbond already in play? Yes, please! Play Vampiric Tutor for Dregs of Sorrow so that you can win? Yes, Please!

To wrap up the part about the Cloak: It is my favorite part of Rayne’s wardrobe. Seeing her flounce around in that Cloak always makes me happy. They cannot kill her, and should they target any of what’s you or yours, you get an Inspiration. I once built an entire deck with four Rayne’s, four Robes of Mirrors and some other muck. I love that puny 1/1 gall. And I love the Cloak. I was already a fan of Mystic Veil, so this improvement actually made me happy when I first saw it at the prerelease of Prophecy.

Well, I’ve long since finished my beer. Time for another one. Let’s see what Lady Providentia has put in the refrigerator…

Ah, Morte Subite. How can any beer that’s called”instant death” not taste good? It’s a kriek, which means that it has cherry extracts in it, giving it a soft and fruity taste. Most men would call this a woman’s beer, but you can tell by the way I use my walk that I’m a lady’s man, no time to talk. I just like it, and I ain’t gonna let upstart adolescents dictate to me which beer I should prefer over what other. Then you might just as well try to understand the New York Times’ effect on men.

6. Dragon Scales and Dragon Wings: These two enchantments are all that jazz and more. Cycle the Wings and draw a card. You have nothing better to do on your second turn, do you? And for the Scales: Play them on an early morph and slap around a bit with it like it was a large trout. And then, should the bearer die, let it rest in the graveyard, too. Now you’ve got dragon enchantments in your graveyard! Which is cool, being the reason why I used that exclamation mark back there. I bet you can see this coming:

Turn 2, cycle your Wings.

Turn 3, play a random Morph, or a Paladin En-Vec, or whatever.

Turn 4, play a Drake-Skull Cameo.

Turn 5, play Ihsan’s Shade. Return the Wings to play, enchanting said Shade. How good is a 5/5 flyer with protection from white on your fifth turn? You don’t get that here very often. Neither do we get Zephids here very often. I have none, so they’re not in this deck. But back to the topic of the dragon enchantments:

The Scales are perhaps even better. Slapping people around with a 3/4 non-tapping morph is quite good at the start of the game, when nobody can yet block 3/4s. And it doesn’t tap, so you can still block everything that anybody might throw your way. Then, somewhere down the road of this game, there comes a time when the enchanted creature dies. This happens. It is just the natural order of events. Do not try and stop this.

BLAM! Wrath of God! Nothing left on the board!

Then play your random six-mana creature, or play an even more expensive one. Rejoice in the presence of your scales. I chose to play Dromar, the Banisher

A 7/8 flying Dragon Legend that doesn’t need to tap to attack, and that keeps the entire board clear of red and green creatures, and with a mana investment that even keeps the other three colors at bay, too? Oh, I love it. Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother, he keeps you staying alive. Hear opponents breaking and everybody’s shaking but you’re staying alive. Dromar with Scales; that was such a good position. If you have spots left in a deck, and you play with at least a few expensive men, include some dragon enchantments. They are so definitely worth it. It’s a shame I only have these two. I would love to have the black one, too, for it fits the colors of this deck. And its ability is almost always useful. The flying is native to some creatures, but a power boost is always welcome, and few creatures have native fear in this deck… At least not when they’re six mana or more to cast.

7. Prerelease Cards: Fungal Shambler. You all have this card in Sanskrit because it was the prerelease card for Apocalypse. But you’ve never used it.”Ah, it’s just another piece of fat. I have plenty of those, so why should I use this specific one?” That’s what some of you might think. I thought it, at least. I thought:”Oh well, another fat creature as prerelease card. Well, at least this one looks pretty.”

And then I looked for cards to put in this deck, and I stumbled upon my collection of prerelease cards. I put in the Hollow Specter, the Soul Collector, the Glory, the False Prophet, the Fungal Shambler, and the Laquatus’s Champion. And it turns out that they’re a blast to play. Do you know how hard a 6/4 trampler hits when it has flying due to some Dragon Wings? And you also get to draw a card when it hits, which is good. Oh, I thought it to be just another fatty. And it still is, but it turned out that all fatties with abilities are worth playing at least once. And these sort of decks are the perfect opportunity to play said creatures. Always had a play set of Verdeloths, but never build a deck with them? Put it in your highlander junk. Splendid.

And Hollow Specter… This is put down on turn 3, and then it hits on turn 4. On turn 5 it hits, too. And when in multiplayer, you might perhaps not unmorph it and just play a five-drop. But in a regular one-on-one duel, you most certainly unmorph it. The opponent sloughs two cards. Two. That’s just like Bog Down. And if they have nothing to defend with, and when you would make a list of things against which it is easy to defend oneself, then an attacking 4/4 flier would not be on top of that list, they have to discard two cards again, which most probably clears their hand. So sweet. And it is a very pretty picture. In general, I dislike the newer art, but this one certainly’s a good and mystic-looking card. Daren Bader almost always satisfies the eye.

Oh, and 2/2 defenders changing into 4/4s just before damage would go on the stack tend to surprise opponents…. Especially if they thought that you just had a Willbender or Whipcorder out, instead of this terrific card. Oh, how I got converted to liking new cards once again! Not that I will start buying packs of them again, but now I will at least trade for them. Or get some good singles here.

Do you know how I once saved all my creatures from a Savage Twister with X=6? Not with a counterspell of any kind. But with Glory.

“How’s that special? That’s what she’s for. Just activate her. What a boring anecdote.”

Ah, but Glory wasn’t at all in my graveyard when the Twister was put on the stack. No siree. In response to the twister, I…

Activated Winding Canyons

Cast Glory

Sacrificed Glory to Infernal Tribute, netting me a card

Activated her ability to give all my men protection from green

Now, that is worthy of an anecdote, isn’t it? I was holding on to T’hilla on purpose, because I wanted to catch somebody off-guard with it with my Winding Canyons. It saved all my men, while all others on the board perished. Exquisite. I am still waiting for the day where I can Tradewind Rider an unmorphed Willbender back to my hand, activate my Canyons, play it face-down and then unmorph it. Costs some mana, as did the Glory trick, but then you have something to be proud of. Winding Canyons is great. You attacking me? Hah! How about you attacking this Minion of Tevesh Szat instead? Huh? Hell yeah.

In an all-rare highlander deck, every card is tech, and almost everything has synergy with anything else. Just play all those rares with those weird abilities. There’s always at least one situation in which the ability will become virtually priceless. Love this.

The last prerelease card to be discussed here is another one that’s given me some good times. Soul Collector. I’ve always been a fan of Krovikan Vampire, and I’ve always tried to build decks which (ab)used him – with Firewhip and Death Pits of Rath, for example. And now this babe enters the fray. Just as expensive as Krovikan Vampire, yet with higher toughness, flying, and an improved ability. You no longer have to wait until the end of the turn to put the creature into play on your side, and you get it permanently, even when your beautiful collector dies prematurely (yes, vampires are already dead, you nitpicker).

So I played it in this deck. Against some kid with a block constructed Blue/Green deck with elves and Riptide Manglers. It was the first time that I played this deck. I got to start.

Turn 2, Charcoal Diamond (Kid:”Let me read that.”)

Turn 3, Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author] (Kid:”Let me read that,”) Morph.

Turn 4, unmorph Soul Collector (Kid:”I know that one.”)

Turn 5, Arena…. (Kid:”Let me read that….Hmmm….please explain it.”)

So I explained to him that I could now first attack with my Collector, his walking elves and Manglers could then not block because they didn’t fly, and then I could activate this Arena, making my Collector fight some random elf or Mangler of his choice. His choice would then die, because my collector has the tightest yet strongest butt around, and also beats harder. My Collector would collect his choice’s soul, and that soul would get put into play on my side, untapped and all. So basically, I attack each turn, and then steal one of his men. Say go. Watch him cast a new man, draw, attack and steal, say go. Ad infinitum.

Or at least Ad Chromeshell Crabium. He stole my Collector. The bastard.

Long live Nightscape Master’s blue ability, though… I won that one. And I fell in platonic love with Soul Collector and Arena (again). I also had the Arena in play when I controlled that Dragon Scaled Dromar…That just makes him so much more akin to Avatar of Woe, who is also in this deck in his Korean incarnation.

8. Time Bomb: Should you know what this card does without clicking on it or otherwise looking it up, then I salute you. Do you not also love this uncontrollable mildly useable overcosted monstrosity? I have four of them, yet I never, ever used them. So I saw my chances clear when I built this deck. And up until now, I have played it only once. I had it in my opening hand and cast it on turn 3 with the help of a Sky Diamond.

Then, on turn 7, when it had four counters on it, I had four creatures in play, one of which was Shaman en-Kor. Good times. Set them up the bomb and redirect all damage dealt to your own creatures to your Shaman. Then redirect it to your most worthless creature, and presto! Only one casualty on your side of the glass. And all other creatures died. And all players took four damage. And all that for only one card, five mana, and a delay of five turns.

This card is so bad that it becomes a blast to play again. Do you know its art? Then please click the card. It looks so very strange. It isn’t ugly, but it’s not what you would expect on a magic card, either. And it’s certainly not what you would expect on a Time Bomb.

9. Winnow: Ah, Winnow. You know, I’ve always wanted to play this card, too. And then I put it in this deck. What good is Winnow in a Highlander deck that is mostly to get played against other highlander decks? Not much, but hey. It has cycling. And should you be able to use it, then it becomes an instant Vindicate for one mana less, and with a cantrip. Don’t tell me that’s not good. Even destroying just a silly Sol Ring with it is card advantageous. And there was much rejoicing.

So I drew this for the first and, up until now, last time during a five-player all 150-card highlander game of delicious multiplayering. It was in my opening hand. And I thought:”I ain’t gonna cycle it, for with five players, two of them are bound to both draw their Urza’s Blueprints, or whatever…” And, even better, the same card was not only drawn by two players, but all five participants, so me myself’s included, drew their single copy of one specific card….Desertion. Well, that’s an interrupt. So I can’t Winnow that. Yet we did see some weird stuff.

Werner:”Hey, Piet, you Desertioned my Tradewind – you remember? So now I’m gonna desertion your Icy Manipulator, since the Tradewind’s dead again, anyhow.”

Bjorn:”In response to your Desertion, Werner, I Desert it, too. That Icy’s mine!”

Five turns later…

Stijn:”Desertion your Cromat, Bjorn.”

Bart:”Desertion that Desertion. I owed you one, Bjorn, so there you go.”

All except Bjorn:”Ass-kisser…”

Those were five Desertions in a single game of Highlander. Have you ever seen the likes of it? But I still won, because I managed to draw into this beautiful piece of tech:

10. Preacher: I drew Preacher. And Krovikan Horror. TH47’S GUHS B0YS OMG WTF!!1!!!11! LOL!!1! I held onto the Preacher because the board was pretty crowded already. I didn’t need the extra control that this would give me. Horror would come back from the dead, so that could be freely played. And thus I just waited it out, now wanting to over-extend. And my caution paid off. There was this Wrath of God, again, and I could happily respond to that by resurrecting the Horror at the end of an opponent’s turn, and then, during my own turn, with Krovikan Horror and Preacher. Soft locks galore. I once again swear: each card has at least minor interaction with each other card, and when you throw together a 150-card highlander deck, tech is bound to surface on the soup that is your playing style. Get a friend to build such a deck, too, and go too!

With good beers, it is best to just eat whole-wheat bread with a slice of old cheese on it. This ’empties’ your mouth of other tastes, while leaving virtually none of it’s own behind. Now you are ready to once again experience the full taste of your beer again. Then once again the brown bread and the yellow/orange cheese. On and on.

11. Cold Storage: A rather slow and reactive card, that only becomes good when you have it in play for a long time. Over the time, you can put all your creatures in it when they would have died. And in the end, they all come back. But your opponent can see you having the Storage, so they will try to play around it. It still costs three mana just to activate it, so it will also require an investment from your side. You have to continually keep mana open.

But then, it comboes deliciously with your own Nevinyrral’s Disk. Just store all your men in the fridge, then open the fridge, and in response, while your creatures are somewhere out there, in Limbo, pop the disk. That’s Plague Wind with built in Tranquility and Shatterstorm. Good enough for me. And you can also store stolen creatures in it with Preacher. When you’ve got nothing else, this is still a trick.

But it’s best when you combine it with these other two gems that I stumbled upon by chance…

I had the storage out, and Thrashing Wumpus in play. I stored all my tiny puppets, and Thrashed with the Wumpus for two each turn. And then I drew into this enchantment from Tempest, that I also have four of but that I never got around to using… Death Pits of Rath.

I bet that most of you can see it coming from here. End of turn, store as many of my creatures as possible into the refrigerator that is Cold Storage. Wait a bit. End of next turn, condemn the rest of your guys to a cryogenic holiday. All should get frozen. All but one: The Wumpus.

This serves a double purpose: The first and least important is that it serves as a safety button. Should somebody lash out at you because you’re going down on the creature front, just wump for five and all should get killed, negating your creature disadvantage. But the prime reason is, of course, that we’re going to need the Wumpus as soon as we cast the Death Pits of Rath.

Cast it, activate Wumpus, put it in the Storage in response, and let the Wump resolve. Each creature dies. Each one. Only protection from black fighters, or”I get no damage” rebels are saved, but they’re not all that common. Even Zephid dies, and ways to kill him are amongst the things that we don’t get here very often. Regeneration is out of the question. And then the refrigerator doors open up wide, and your legions come pouring forth.

“Open wide the gates of hell, and come forth from the abyss.”

“Crack the refrigerator and come into play.”

Heh. What an analogy. But I just described how to kill all opposing creatures, which is good. And with the Angelic Chorus that I had in play, the reentry of my creatures became an especially warming sensation, as my life total rocketed towards the fifty-ish. And I still had my Wumpus and Death Pits ready. Should I need it. I still had this Doomsday Device at the ready. And I had Infernal Tribute, so even a Treachery or Threaten targeted at my Wumpus couldn’t get it to turn against me and my army.

These are the experiences of only two days of playing this deck. That’s only seven hours or so of actually playing it. And yet look at all the experiences I’ve already had with it! I can’t wait to play it again next week. All of the above situations are at least a little bit interesting, and I guess that most of them are kind of rare. And they are worth reading about. At least I think it is, and you wouldn’t be reading this, either, should you disagree. Unless it is the case that you want to write a rebuttal article, and you decided to follow the flavor text of Jester’s Cap and wanted to know your foe.

One more embarrassing situation, and then I’ll sign off…

The board was once again clear of creatures, and then one player plays Bribery on another player. This is a three-player game, and I am the one who’s left out of the bribery-stuff, thank God.

The briber bribes an Avatar of Woe (he should have targeted me, for then he would have gotten a Korean one) which gets Control Magic’ed by it’s owner. He then rules the board with it, since none of us have a way to clear the Avatar. We have to do something.

So then I draw Mishra’s Factory, and my opponent who is also trying to kill the Woe draws Flametongue Kavu. Neither of those can kill a Woe, but I have an Arena in play, and the Woe-man has only his Avatar. So Then the Flametongue guy flames the Avatar… At end of turn, however, he doesn’t tap the Avatar to kill the Kavu. This is bad, because now he could kill my Mishra before it could enter the Arena… Which was our cooperative plan to kill the Woe. Luckily, I had a Choking Tethers to cycle (one of the four commons in the deck) and tapped his Woe. He did not respond, so when that had resolved, I activated Mishra’s Factory and then activated Arena, targeting the controller of the Avatar. Our plan had finally come together…

And what happened? How did he save his Avatar? Instant creature to take its place in the Arena? No, nothing like that. We were beaten by…

Healing Salve.

Good thing that the cooperating opponent drew into Havoc Demon, once again clearing the board. Oh, the things that come to pass…

Do you know what’s silly? When you try to protect one of your spells with a Desertion, and then the opponent counters your spell with Mystic Snake… Then you’d rather have had just a Mana Drain instead of a Desertion, wouldn’t you?

Take your chances with 150-card highlander. You know you want to.

Here we are, born to be kings, we’re the princes of the universe,

Here we belong, fighting for survival in the moments of our darkest hour.

I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings.

I have no rivals, no man can be my equal.

We were born to be princes of the universe.

Emperial regards,

Stijn van Dongen,


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