Nine Junk Rares

You don’t care about my tastes in music.
You don’t want to hear me quote lyrics from people funnier than me.
You sure as hell don’t care about my copy of BASEketball.
You came here to read about Magic.

If you want to be seen, stand up. If you want to be heard, speak up. If you want to be appreciated, shut up.
– Unknown

I was first given that advice from my father, who’s been doing public speaking for a good ten years longer than I’ve been alive. It’s something I’ve taken to heart, since the lesson is simple; very rarely, when you voice an opinion where people can hear it, are you going to hear people agreeing with you.

But I don’t want to be one of those creaky old guys who spends his time complaining about people who disagree with him, and especially not one of those guys who wants to fight a war that’s long-since been won or lost.

I’ve typed out this preamble four times. Each time, it’s been awful. Once, it turned into a different article. Once, it was plain garbage. And once, it became an aside down at the bottom.

You don’t care about my tastes in music.
You don’t want to hear me quote lyrics from people funnier than me.
You sure as hell don’t care about my copy of BASEketball.

You really don’t want to hear introspection regarding my last article, which, you know, was read and responded to, putting it a step above what most articles are doing.

You came here to read about Magic.

So, into it.

Ravnica is one of the deeper sets I’ve seen in a long time. When I set out to write this article — a series of decks modelled around “crap rares” from the set — I was stunned to find that a surprisingly large number of these rares had already been done. Grozoth in particular stunned me, having more than a few articles dedicated to it; Eye of the Storm was well-documented. Hell, Alan Comer was playing Eye of the Storm at Worlds.

I loved it, honestly. I mean, one of the problems of Mirrodin and Champions blocks is that both had a very tight focus. Each color had a single direction in which it wanted you to head, and the block environment fairly screamed “Play This!” Cards were either playable, or heinously overcosted.

It’s great.

This entire environment was surreal to me — I’ve only been playing since Scourge’s release day in Australia. Leafing through the Ravnica guide (in the fatpack — and damn did Wizards do a good job on the fatpack this time around), I noted down a bunch of rares that interested me for deckbuilding fun — and then, it was on to MODO (which stands for I Don’t Like Saying MTGO When I Mean Magic Online) to see exactly how much these cards were going to set me back.

I was stunned.

The exercise then shifted gear — no longer was it going to be an idle attempt to pick out and make some fun new decks. No, now, it’s about nine decks built around nine rares that you can get for one ticket, or less.

There are some problems, of course — but we’ll get to them in time.

Sub-Plot: Staple Rares And Cards For Your Colors
This is something I wanted to get to before I get into the decklists. Some of the decks are running some rares as four-ofs that aren’t complete budget stock. The best example is Glorious Anthem (which I think shows up in two different decklists), and to a lesser extent, Putrefy.

The thing is, these cards are staple cards for the colors that play them, and you can reliably pick them up for a good rate. You may be spending eight tickets on four cards, which buys a meal in the real world, but at the same time, you’re going to use those cards again and again.

This is the same argument used for Dual Lands, and it’s true. If you can afford them, the duals and painlands will go into every deck, and can usually be swapped one-for-one if you want to shift colors. These staple rares usually go for around two tickets, and do wonders for your decks if you like playing these strategies on a regular basis.

Phyrexian Arena. Only two tickets for one of the best Black card-drawers since Necropotence. There’s an alternative available (look below!), but Arena is still the best at what it does. Thanks to the good mana acceleration available, you can get it out on turn 2 and reap the rewards early.

In the uncommon slot, if you want to get four Putrefies, you’ll need to fork out two tickets for the lot — but that’s pretty fair since they’ll go in every Green-Black deck that can cast them. Similarly, Nezumi Graverobbers are usually going at the rate of 8/1 — so you might be able to score yourself some other solid uncommons as well.

Don’t, for the love of God, buy Ninth Edition Consume Spirits; they’re a common in Mirrodin, and there are bots that sell 32 commons for 1. Pick up your Ravenous Rats, Consume Spirits, Dark Banishings, Rend Spirits, Horobi’s Whispers, Stinkweed Imps, and cheap fear critters there. They’re the same card face, they’re black-bordered — there is no need to get the uncommon version.

For Black rare creatures that are surprisingly cheap and do their jobs well, you can usually pick up the Infernal Kirin cheaply. He’s not a bad man by any stretch of the imagination. Hunted Horror and Necroplasm both go for something under a ticket apiece, and I’ve come to love them for it. For those who like ‘em fatter than that, there’s Seizan, Perverter of Truth; He Who Hungers; Patron of Nezumi; and Kyoki, Sanity’s Eclipse, who all sell for half a ticket each.

Sengir Vampire also falls into the “good” slot, for a single ticket.

Blue doesn’t have a lot of staple rares that are going too highly right now; Jushi Apprentice sells for one or two tickets at a time, depending on who you ask. If Blue Combo is your preferred flavour, you can get Eye of the Storm for only one ticket apiece.

You can lay your hands, if you need a win condition for your primarily common-and-uncommon deck, on Uyo, Silent Prophet, or Cerulean Sphinx for half of a ticket each. Big fat fliers aren’t that hard to come by in Blue, though, but these present good clocks and have relevant abilities besides.

In the common slot, Blue has Seventh Edition Counterspells, which will, unfortunately, run you one to two tickets apiece. That’s always a little painful to witness, but if you play Extended and like playing Blue, they are about as staple as you can get.

The two staples of White depend on whether you like it Aggro, or Control. Unfortunately, while Aggro White players can get their Glorious Anthems for two or three tickets apiece (usually, four for ten tickets is a fair trade), Wrath of God is going to set you back ten tickets each. Instead, there are the obligatory block variants — both Hour of Reckoning and Final Judgement are cheap enough to go for two or three tickets.

If you want a resilient win condition, Hikari, Twilight Guardian is in the cheap rares bin, as is Patron of the Kitsune. Day of Destiny’s in there too, and there are a surprising number of cheap rares legends available to use it.

The easiest Green staple to get your hands on, that isn’t a 6-ticket rare (*cough* Birds of Paradise *cough*), is Llanowar Elves. Then Sakura-Tribe Elder, and his brotherly spells Kodama’s Reach and Wood Elves, round out your “traditional” Green complement.

The 32/1 bots are your plan there — they’re cheap and common, you should have no problem finding them.

Once you get to uncommons, Green is trickier to pick for — the best option available right now is Watchwolf, who typically sells for the same rate as Putrefy and Helix — which puts him at half a ticket on his own. Blanchwood Armour, Viridian Shaman, Carven Caryatid, Hana Kami, Genju Green, and the Selesnya Guildmage all waver in their costs; you can sometimes get a good seller who’ll let you have 16/1, or casually trade your way into that kind of bargain, but more often than not, people will try and gouge you. I paid one ticket for my four Caryatid… but that was Ravnica release week.

Green’s rares are either too expensive or too cheap; but if you want the best fatty in Standard, the Kodama of the North Tree will cost you two tickets (maybe 2.5). It’s hard to say no, as he’s beyond comparison for other Green five-drops.

The thing is, when I think “Red”, I don’t think of many rares. Though there are some good ones available… Kumano only goes for one or two tickets, and Bloodfire Colossus is only half a ticket if you want multiplayer gorilla tactics. The Patron and Hidetsugu, who aren’t awful, are also in the cheap bin.

For staple uncommons and commons, thankfully, Red hasn’t done anything broken enough to earn much attention — except for Lightning Helix. Helix will cost you as much as Putrefy, but that’s a sacrifice you can make when you realise they’ll go in every Red-White deck you play, be it Control, Aggro, or Combo.

I’m kidding, really. What do I know about Combo?

Red is easy to build on the cheap — a lot of its solid commons and uncommons are on the cheap bots, and, if you’re like me and prefer giving your money to friends and other people than bots, you might even get some bargains.

Note that if you’re new and picking up a bulk lot of commons from a bot (32/1 or 64/1), some cards like Shock and Volcanic Hammer are basically always good.

So, there’s some basic advice. With this in mind, there are some cards I’m going to put in these decks that may be conventionally expensive, but will be reused and replayed. Seriously — some of these decks are amazingly cheap to make, so you shouldn’t have problems with that amidships.

Choir Practice
Let’s start with one of the poorer results. Chorus of the Conclave is a simple card that I figured would do well to turn my common ailment — mana-flood — into an advantage. I figured I’d put it in a deck with some cheap, efficient tramplers, some good weenies, the obligatory suite of mana acceleration, and chain out enormous dudes.

Conclave’s Commoners
10 Forest
10 Plains
2 Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree
2 Selesnya Sanctuary
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Humble Budoka
4 Orochi Sustainer
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Watchwolf
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Wood Elves
4 Siege Wurm
3 Chorus of the Conclave
1 Time of Need

Cost: The uncommons should cost you more than the rares, for that matter — Chorus is going for three-for-one easily, and the Watchwolves will set you back twice that. Five tickets for the deck is a reasonable estimate.

With visions of a turn 4 Conclave jumping around in my head, what did I learn? Well, I learned that Green has precisely zero tramplers with a power equal to their mana cost in Standard right now. Even the cuteness that you can get between Siege Wurm and Chorus isn’t worth it.

I also learned that seven mana isn’t just “one more than six,” it’s statistically about three turns later than six. Even with a deck like this, which is carrying almost every single creature-based accelerant in Magic, the deck can’t support playing a seven-mana creature consistently.

And when she shows up, what does she do? Well, makes your creatures bigger. Which is neat and all… but your creatures are still creatures, and still die to Black removal. The testing of this deck didn’t go well. It’s cute, and you can win a little with it, but really, the Chorus is just winning more.

The Chorus might have more application when they can play around in Extended, with better mana acceleration, like the elves of Onslaught. Defiant Elf coming into play with fourteen +1/+1 counters seems a little more playable to me.

Time In A Bottle
The next junk rare on the list is our new Grafted Skullcap. It’s not any kind of surprise here that Aggro decks want this card and Control decks don’t. The threat of losing your hand (in Control) is too terrifying to run the risk, and Combo decks don’t really need something that gives its returns over turns.

Someone suggested using Imaginary Pet. Fantastic — but I was trying to keep the rare count down, and Pet brings with it some more baggage. Instead, I opted for an old standby, and I’m reasonably happy with the results.

Bottled Cloister
12 Forest
12 Plains
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Fists of Ironwood
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Watchwolf
3 Moldervine Cloak
4 Wood Elves
4 Bottled Cloister
3 Scatter the Seeds
4 Siege Wurm
4 Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi

Cost: You can get almost everything in this deck, barring for the Cloister, Cloaks, and Wolves, for one ticket. The Cloisters add on two more tickets, with two for the Watchwolves. The Cloaks are practically a throw-in by this point. So I’m going to call this one at a total value of five tickets.

Even cheaper than the last time, after a fashion — if you have the uncommons or commons already, this deck is damn-near free. It’s also barely adequate as a draft deck, though; the Guardians and Siege Wurm are your best bet for cheap, fat beaters. Moss Kami can replace either, but that’s about it for your land-based beatsticks.

This deck was reasonably fun to play, but the problem is, it loses to cards. It can goldfish a nice win or two, and it can even beat down on an opponent based on the strength of its threats, but really, you don’t have the staying power to make the deck really hum.

I’ll probably revisit the concept once we get the Gruul; burn is generally a superior finisher to Big Trampling Men.

I’m As Surprised As You Are
This one stunned me — for a start, it stunned me that it worked at all, and it stunned me further just how much fun it was to play. The next card on the list was Blood Funnel, which was only on the list because a friend had played a Biorhythm-based Blood Funnel deck to a few wins in the casual room, convincing me that the card was not total junk.

Blood Funnel presents a tension point. You want enough creatures out to play your non-creature spells, you want your non-creature spells to actually be something that resembles a bargain, and you don’t want to be left with uncastable junk when you don’t have Funnel or a creature on the table.

I ummed and aaah’d over a few different configurations — including trying to cram it into a Green-White build that almost ignored non-creature spells — but that never worked. Simply put, I found myself playing a deck that had Blood Funnel in it, and I just hoped I never got my hands on the Funnel. I’m not too sure why; I think it’s because the best token-generating spells in Standard want you to have other creatures — Fists of Ironwood and Scatter the Seeds.

Except then, doing a search for “token”, I lucked upon a little memory from Kamigawa Block, the ever-awesome Sosuke’s Summons.

Bloody Summons
23 Forest
1 Swamp
4 Orochi Leafcaller
4 Sakura-Tribe Scout
3 Blood Funnel
3 Orochi Ranger
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Rend Flesh
3 Stinkweed Imp
3 Moldervine cloak
4 Orochi Eggwatcher
4 Sosuke’s Summons

Cost: Summons and Eggwatcher, in playsets, will be one ticket. Blood Funnel will cost you one ticket for three, and that leaves Cloak and the commons out in the cold again. You can usually score them for one ticket, which puts the cost of this entire deck at three tickets.

I’ve noticed that these first few decks are really cheap — and lack in the power that comes with that. That’s not intentional.

This deck is an absolute blast to play; not nearly as good as a later abuse of Sosuke’s Summons, but this is still a hoot. Casting Rend Flesh for one Black mana, throwing away a guy who’s probably got his damage on the stack or vice versa, is just golden. Stinkweed Imp provides air defense, and, more importantly, puts Sosuke’s Summons into the graveyard.

Shidako was responsible for a lot of my wins with this deck; Orochi Egghwatcher tended to flip fairly regularly, after only putting out one token of her own, and would usually win me the game on the spot. While the thematics of sacrificing all those children she raised is a touch creepy, it doesn’t change the fact that she reads “G: Add +2/+2 to your overall damage” in a deck like this.

Of course, the deck loses to mass removal, and hard. Not common in casual, and this deck is almost even Tribal-legal.

There are some changes I’d make to the deck if I could. I’d run more snakes, and I’d run one of the lords — not Seshiro, who’s too expensive, so probably Sosuke himself. Second, I’d like some card draw in this deck, something it’s seriously lacking. Plus, the Rends could easily turn into Bioryhthms and have the same board-wrecking effect they’re supposed to have.

We’re Getting Awfully Goth With The Deck Names, Aren’t We?
Aaron Forsythe said that “Bloodletter Quill is a lot better than people think”. Well, that’s probably true; Quill is in the bargain bin, and it took me consummately little effort to get a playset for cheap.

Quill is a simple enough card, looking at it. For one mana less, you get a Jayemdae Tome that wants to be played in Blue-Black. It strikes me as a bad deal, honestly; Blue-Black have far better card drawing options (Jushi Apprentice, Dark Confidant, and Phyrexian Arena, for example), and Quill can’t attack or block in a pinch.

However, historically speaking, there are decks that don’t mind having some damage dealt to them by their own permanents. The best example is Suicide Black. Now, there’s nowhere near the concentration of good Black cards to make Suicide Black viable — but the Quill wants to gas up a deck for cheap, and do so by powering up other threats. It felt to be a natural fit in the Wisdom mechanic of Saviors — since there weren’t many Wisdom cards that were very good outside of Blue and Black.

Signed In Blood
12 Swamp
12 Island
2 Ivory Crane Netsuke
4 Bloodletter Quill
4 Secretkeeper
4 Deathmask Nezumi
4 Nezumi Graverobber
4 Dimir Guildmage
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Consult the Necrosages
4 Cruel Edict
2 Ribbons of Night

Cost: Ribbons, Edict, Guildmage, and Robber are all in the “good uncommon” pile. You should be able to get all fourteen cards for about two or three tickets, and the Quill is a two-for-one target easily. That leaves the Netsuke and Secretkeeper — who are not very good at all. Theoretically, this deck is somewhere in the district of six tickets, maybe seven.

I’m not sure if the Netsuke is any good; I’ve never drawn it, in all of the playtest games I played. I did get to test Secretkeeper and Deathmask Nezumi, who are both absolute tanks. Secretkeeper, with the assistance of the Quill, would routinely spring into the skies on turn five and serve for four. The disruption elements in Consult, Rats and Guildmage keep the board relatively clean until you lay one of your Wisdom dudes, and force them into dealing with them.

Ribbons of Night is something I’m not sure about. It could probably afford to be a cheaper kind of removal, but the cantrip effect is so strong that I can’t really ignore it, since, for the cost, it kills most every threatening creature in the format. Secretkeeper himself seems to be the superior creature — fear is less relevant in the casual room online, since the room is a sea of Black.

Graverobbers are in there because they work well with the discard elements in the deck. If you want to go more aggressive, they can easily become Nezumi Cutthroats, and that reduces the cost of the deck a little.

While testing this deck, I found that the Quill was, without a doubt, amazing. Honestly, better than Arena in this deck. The fact it only cost two mana to pick up a card, and that it happened when I wanted, was a huge factor for me, and the effect of the card was such that I always want to use it. Drawing cards is always good, but when doing so affects the board in meaningful ways (doubling the power you have on the table, for example), it’s a tasty allure.

Ultimately, I think Quill will fit better in Izzet or Rakdos — colors that can support burn. The same applies to the Cloister, of course; drawing extra cards is nice when those cards are more damage, but burn makes every card more damage. See Mike Flores and the Philosophy Of Fire, one of the best articles I’ve ever read, for more on the subject.

The Wrong Metagame Call
I don’t know if anyone else is paying that much attention, but the casual room is a sea of Black cards right now. Those Black cards include Nezumi Graverobber and other king-hitters, which makes this next deck an unplayable mess. It’s a shame, because the concept is fun, and simple to get rolling.

Blood Brothers
13 Swamp
9 Forest
2 Golgari Rot Farm
3 Bloodbond March
2 Cruel Edict
4 Dimir House Guard
4 Golgari Rotwurm
3 Moldervine Cloak
4 Nekrataal
4 Putrefy
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Shambling Shell
4 Stinkweed Imp

Cost: Commons again go easily 32/1. The Cloak, Nekrataal, Putrefy and Edicts together make up about three-or-so tickets, and the rares add another two (give or take). Total value, six tickets.

In theory, your three dredge cards will fuel you into a big, fat graveyard. I think this deck would also like Golgari Thugs instead of Shambling Shells, now that I review it again. How did I miss that last time? Oh well.


I’ve never wanted Morgue Theft more; this deck is one that really enjoys dredging up bigger and bigger men. Without the good rare dredge creatures (Golgari Grave-Troll), it’s just speeding up how quickly you can mill it. Plus, Nekrataal might as well be a vanilla 2/1, Keening Banshee doesn’t kill enough stuff, and, ultimately, Shambling Shell is underwhelming.

At least here.

Moving on!

What The Hell Is Cloudstone, Anyway?
Cloudstone Curio is one of those cards that a friend of mine was babbling about when the spoiler was still on its way through the aether, and Abe Sargeant first really got my attention by misreading it — thinking the Curio could bounce any permanent in play. It seems that Ravnica spoilers were rife with mistakes (I remember other writers making similar mistakes, but I’m fairly sure Abe is a good sport, so he’s the only one I mention by name).

I love this deck — and mad thanks to Grimshaw for lending me Curios to test it with. I’ll probably be buying them for real soon.

Anyone else remember Stupid Green.dec? The thing with that deck was that any removal that could be played during your upkeep would generally make your life a little miserable. You could be handily two-for-one’d, and your permanent that drove the engine was a creature, which was itself quite fragile.

So here we present…

Curious George
21 Forest
2 Vitu-Ghazi the City Tree
1 Plains
4 Carven Caryatid
4 Cloudstone Curio
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Matsu-Tribe Decoy
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Sakura-Tribe Scout
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Sosuke’s Summons
4 Wood Elves

If you don’t see the interactions within the deck, it’s fairly simple; the Curio lets you replay your comes-into-play creatures. Against the eseteemed Mr Doug Beyer (omg! Namedrop!), I had one turn where a single Caryatid (which drew me into and played the Curio) proceeded to be replayed three times, thanks to land-bouncing, card-drawing and Wood-Elven shenanigans.

The deck can amass a serious army — one Summons and a snake will produce a horde very quickly. The flipside, is, of course, that the deck is mana-hungry. Thanks to Wood Elves and Scouts, you can inflate your mana reasonably quickly. A play that generated more mana than it should at least once was to play an Elder, get back a Summons, play the Summons, sacrifice the Elder, bounce a land, play the land, tap it for mana, bounce another land, and put it into play with a Scout — which was then bounced by the Summons, allowing me to get it back.

Some shenanigans my opponents didn’t seem to notice; you can use the Decoy as a sneaky way of forcing damage past larger blockers — both the City Tree and the Guildmage can make a creature at instant speed, so the Decoy can lure someone into his grip, then sneak back into your hand for more fun later. The Elder can get a land into your hand so you can replay it for more mana this turn. Caryatids are just plain huge and worthy of attention.

Note that the deck lacks removal, and fliers are always going to be a problem. I have no real advice for those situations, but “win quickly”. If you’re seriously afeared of fliers, there are a few White fliers who can do the job as blockers, or you could possibly run Selesnya Sagittars. Of course, Matsu-Tribe Sniper is great, but a lot of snakes in this deck suffer from summoning sickness a lot of the time.

No, No, Smell This Glove
I’m a big fan of Mr. Romeo’s work. I really am. While I don’t agree that now is the time to play a Mono-Black Control deck that focuses on clearing the board, molesting hands, and winning the game with huge spells, I can’t deny the budget lure of the deck. I mean, in the casual room, it turns off almost all your opponent’s creature removal; it has huge, Timmy-esque win conditions, and best of all, it has game versus any creature deck.

Note: versus Mill, you are boned. You can pray for an early Genju backed by discard and their draws being bad. But ultimately, you can’t fight a mill deck effectively as they’ll eat your library while you hold useless creature kill. In a world with sideboards, the most effective response would be to board in some efficient fatties like Yukora, Razorjaw Oni, and their ilk, in exchange for the creature kill that you don’t need.

Bartered In Blood
24 Swamp
4 Genju of the Fens
3 Journeyer’s Kite
4 Cruel Edict
4 Last Gasp
4 Distress
2 Honden of Night’s Reach
4 Hideous Laughter
3 Moonlight Bargain
4 Consume Spirit
4 Swallowing Plague

Cost: Three tickets for the rares, if you don’t gouge. The eighteen uncommons are easily purchased for one or two tickets, so we’ll say two to be sure. That gives us a total of six tickets, including the commons (Consume Spirit is common, damnit!).

Moonlight Bargain is our spotlight rare of choice. Weighing in at roughly 1/6th the value of Phyrexian Arena, the Bargain has proven to be surprisingly solid. Digging deep is an amazing thing to do in a Control deck, and even if it’s just to find one creature kill card, the Bargain does good things in this deck.

Ideally, the deck would run more instant-speed creature removal; being able to leave mana open to, at the end of your opponent’s turn, molest their creature base, or, if they don’t do anything that scares you, Bargain, would be a great play. As it is, though, Standard is lacking for good pinpoint instant-speed creature removal that isn’t Putrefy — which is, I suspect, completely deliberate. Of course, the presence of Putrefy indicates that, if you see Swamps and Forests together, you shouldn’t animate your Genju without a damn good reason — like your opponent having an empty hand.

Never take a one-land hand with this deck; ideally, you want two mana and the third will stem from there. Journeyer’s Kite is a great engine to fill up your hand and increase your board, and you’ll want to squeeze as much card advantage out of your Hideous Laughters as you can. Don’t forget that you can splice it onto Swallowing Plague for a not-really cost efficient way of wiping the board, while taking out a troublesome fattie (BBBB4X is not exactly a bargain, even if this deck has proven able to pull it off on more than one occasion).

A Boy And His Blob
Break out the jellybeans!

11 Swamp
9 Forest
4 Golgari Rot Farm
4 Civic Wayfinder
4 Last Gasp
4 Necroplasm
4 Nekrataal
4 Putrefy
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Serpent Skin
4 Shambling Shell
4 Stinkweed Imp

Cost: Three for the four Necroplasms. Two for the four Putrefies. A bunch of uncommons and commons that might squeak up to two tickets. Seven tickets for the whole thing, at an outside guess.

So what’s the deck do? Necroplasm isn’t really mass removal as much as he is a reason to stay out of certain points on the mana curve, and a continually growing beatstick. No, he doesn’t trample, but he does dredge, and he grows every turn. I’m kinda surprised, honestly, that he’s not a Green creature, sans the Destroy-At-End-Of-Turn-Clause.

The most significant thing about the Necroplasm is that you can effectively tutor for him (Shell and Imp can dump him in your bin); he will routinely leap onto the table early on in the game. You even have options for keeping him in play; you can either use Serpent Skin to regenerate him, or, you can use Shambling Shell to add a counter to him before he goes critical on himself.

Yet More On White Skies
Finally, we get to the deck that had the most success, including a 10-0-1 streak in the casual room. It’s not a great surprise — the decks in the casual room tend towards Good Stuff and Bad Aggro, so Good Aggro often has a field day. Also, by dint of having a good clock, the deck can romp over slower decks, like mill decks and Control decks. That’s even ignoring that mill tend to suck.

Lammasu Season!
23 Plains
4 Lantern Kami
4 Reciprocate
4 Suntail Hawk
2 Kami of Ancient Law
4 Otherworldly Journey
4 Samurai of the Pale Curtain
4 Skynight Legionairre
3 Glorious Anthem
4 Hunted Lammasu

Cost: The Glorious Anthems are pricey; they’re going to be nine tickets. Another ticket snags you the various uncommons — the Reciprocates, Bathes, Journeys, and Samurai of the Pale Curtains. But unbelievably, the four Hunted Lammasu are going to set you back two. Which means the whole deck is twelve tickets.

Sixteen fliers, six groundpounders, and eight ways to get rid of the Lammasu’s token. It’s hard to say how to play this deck — because it’s incredibly, incredibly easy to do so. You make dudes on turn 1, you make dudes on turn 2, and on turn 3 you make an Anthem and keep swinging.

I still don’t know how the Lammasu is going so cheaply, though; it’s a bigger flier than you can normally manage to get in White, and it’s a four-turn clock, no matter what your opponent does to get cute. It’s slightly vulnerable to burn when you block the horror token, but it hardly matters when it’s beating down in combat — since it will usually go over your opponent’s creatures rather than in the face of them.

Cheap Thrills
So there’s our show. We’ve seen a whole bunch of decks ranging from awful to pretty damn solid, and none worth more than twelve tickets, and I’ve managed to go without insulting anyone. How’s that for a raging success, right?

An Aside: Going Infinite For The Awful
“Steve, you get ten dollars worth of product as part of joining Magic Online. If you want to, you can turn that into anything. Pernicious Deeds, Vindicates, Dual Lands, whatever you want. The only x-factor there is time.”

As I try and make clear to people in /casual and /auction, there are two things on the block when you trade cards. We’re all inclined to notice the money we spend — the opening of the wallet, the retrieval of the credit card, and the few dollars missing at the end of the week — but there’s another factor at work.

Let me make this clear; you can be a king on Magic online. Yes, you. You just need to be shrewd, attentive, and above all else you have to be patient. Let’s take a very simple example.

Rares, once they go out of print — even if they’re crappy rares — appreciate in value. Menacing Ogres, Tephraderms, Skirk Fire Marshals — they’re worth about half a ticket now. That’s a total increase in value of about .17 of a ticket; not a lot, but something. Commons and uncommons do it too — Thought Eater is no longer in the 16/1 pile of uncommons, instead having to show its toothy grin in the 8/1s. That’s, technically, a doubling in its value.

So you could, theoretically, spend your money from joining MODO on one chase card… then wait a few years for it to go out of print, then appreciate in value. Hoping that it does — this is where being shrewd kicks in. You have to be able to recognise a card that will get played in Extended, something that will actually have some teeth to it even once Wizards fade out the current format.

You didn’t click this link looking for trade advice, I know. Especially when I’m positing incredibly pointless advice — waiting four to five years for an investment? I want to play Magic, and I want to play it now. And there, you can see, Time being spent. You invest almost no money in my earlier suggestion, but you give up four years.

You have a simple choice. Time or money. And sometimes, honestly, you’re better off paying the money and to hell with the time. If you trade with me, and you need a card, right now, and I have it on offer, I’m likely going to try and edge a little extra out of the deal for me. Why? Because I’m giving you convenience. If you sell me four of a card on the spot, so I don’t have to go picking through people’s collections for one-ofs? That’s also convenience. That’s saving me time.

So think about why people offer what they offer. And try to assume less that the person on the other end is trying to screw you. There are a lot of nice people on MODO, despite bad press.

Talen Lee