Peace of Mind: Audible Differences In Playtesting

Is playtesting useful? Can you just audible your way to a final finish? Mike asks StarCity writers what they think.

Hey, there — remember me?

It seems as if it’s been forever since I sat down and penned an article, due to the unfortunate Star City hiatus, but it probably came at a good time. After Regionals, I needed time to recuperate from the intensive playtesting and deckbuilding Binary21 underwent, and didn’t have the energy or personal time to devote to Magic that I’m accustomed to. Magic can wear you out like a hyperactive four-year-old.

As I alluded to as well, there’s a dead period in Magic as 7th comes in and we prepare for Apocalypse to enter and change whatever metagame exists for two months. What’s out there right now? The same decks that were out there before May 1st. By the time everyone tunes the next set of archetypes, we’ll have a month to play them until Apocalypse changes everything.

I just love how the name "Apocalypse" seems to fit that statement so well.

Is it useless to metagame? No. Nor it is frivolous to brainstorm new decks. But for now, everyone’s gettin’ down with playtesting and trying to make 7E work for them.

The worst part about the downtime, selfishly speaking, is that my Regionals report was up for the grand total of about four hours, and when the site returned it wasn’t reposted. Alas! Lost to the winds of time, this article was.

Go here: http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Article=1415

No, really, I mean it. You’ll like it. It has adventure! It has drama! It discusses unity and sacrifice! Witness the 11th-hour decision to play a non-playtested deck! Bring your friends! Operators are standing by.

The deck, Leeloo, was a last-minute selection for Regionals that I don’t regret making. Those who follow football know that when the offense changes the play at the last minute, it’s called an "audible". That’s what I did–I saw the metagame, analyzed it, and found something that made me feel much more comfortable.

Leeloo is my newest sweetheart. No, I haven’t forgotten God — that’s the next article — and think there’s a way to make God work even without Cursed Totem being in the environment. For now, though, Leeloo has won my heart and that of a number of people who are helping to test and play it somewhere besides late-night Binary21 Apprentice sessions.

Rui Oliveira’s been testing it out in Portugal and having a blast with it — though it was much to my chagrin that he reported this back to me:

"I then played against a T2 Domain deck played by one of Portugal’s best players, Tiago Chan, that kept laughing every time the Dryad got bigger. But he wasn’t laughing AT the deck, he was laughing WITH the deck… He had a strange game where he had a Grif and I had two. 🙂 I got into an argument with someone that kept saying Leeloo was built by Kyle Rose… so Mike… sorry, but you are now Kyle Rose. I’m sorry, but the guy was MUCH more annoying than I can ever be…"

Now, let me get this straight, someone in another country is told by a person who is playing my deck, who has talked to me personally about it, that he’s wrong about the creator? Rui, my friend, point him towards my article. You know, that article that was up for four hours and read by probably twenty individuals.

No respect.

C’mon, synergistic development or not, the name "Leeloo" isn’t going to appear simultaneously.

I am Mason’s unsatisfied ego.

See, this is what happens when you don’t write articles about your deck each week until it resides in the subconscious of all of your readers. Familiarity breeds, um, familiarity.

Leeloo’s an excellent deck to try out and tune. I’ve been trying strange, wacky variants of it, particularly one involving Sterling Groves and Worships.


The reason I post Leeloo and PMS is to demonstrate and example of something: Playtesting is critical. Right?

Or isn’t it? PMS looks like it could use more playtesting. So — why do I bother posting it? Leeloo, however, has had early success with a minimum of playtesting.

What’s more important?

Awhile back, Rizzo shared a discussion the Star City list had on his article, "Bringing Out the Dead"; it wasn’t a Magic article per se, but something for those who want a little more cream in their coffee. If you want to flash back to it, it’s here:


He pulled things together rather brilliantly, and I’ve taken a page from his book in a short discussion on the value of playtesting. There’s no grand statement or resolution, but I thought readers would like to hear the various opinions — and possibly share their own in return. Without further ado, the Star City Roundtable strikes again:

MASON: Ferrett and I were talking after my submission about why I decided to go with a non-tested deck rather than one of the ones I’d been working on for weeks.

Hit me, Ferrett:

“Is playtesting a deck to death necessary, or can you pick up a deck and win? Why? Who does?”

My comments were that because I knew my other decks were suboptimal and had an expected/projected metagame, that I was able to see that my deck would be effective and that the playtesting for other decks had served the purpose. While I feel now Leeloo needs another critter, the fact that I didn’t conceive of the deck until ten days before Regionals has to come into play — knowing it was effective, should I have stuck with a different deck, or put my faith in Leeloo’s design, even sans testing?

After all, I had three losses; one was to a deck that we foolishly ignored in our playtesting gauntlet (stupid red burn), and in my other two losses, there were no misplays that would have been alleviated by playtesting, no”rolling over” by my deck except to the Fires”Just Win” draw, and it was often devastatingly effective. The deck ran wonderfully. The sideboard was adequate, and all of the cards but Teferi’s Response were useful and often won games.

So did I make the right choice to call an audible, confident that my other decks were suboptimal against one or two of Fires, CounterRebel and Haups? I chose the one that can beat all three, instead. Did the lack of testing make the deck worse than the one that was more of a known quantity? We’re curious as to other opinions and your ideas on whether playtesting to death is necessary.

MIKE GRANAAS: Playtesting to death? No. But, some playtesting? Definitely. With some experience a decent deck builder will get their alpha build of a deck right to 52-56 cards. If you could tell, without playtesting, which of the four to eight cards were not supposed to be there, you’d have it right to 60 cards. Playtesting is the only way to determine the right mix for those last few cards. Even if you have your deck right to 60 cards, you need to play it some just to learn how it plays.

JIM GRIMMETT: With ten days from design to implementation, I’m curious to know how you knew that it could beat all three. An AWFUL lot of playtesting goes into determining the first game win/loss ratio. I’d play ten to twenty games with real people to see how a deck does before I’d claim to know that, THEN move into sideboarding.

MASON: True. Of course, I also threw God together in twenty minutes and it was able to win immediately against a variety of decks as well. However, I admit it was also far from the best version of it and underwent severe evolution over time. I definitely think playtesting is valuable — after all, I’ll freely admit that I would have liked to have playtested Leeloo for a month. I didn’t have that option, and thus I went with my instincts instead of taking a suboptimal deck.

VASCO DA GAMA: While you may not notice any mistakes with a deck you haven’t thoroughly tested, that doesn’t mean you are playing it optimally. Smaller factors such as knowing when to mulligan, subtle card interactions and sideboarding choices can only be perfected with experience.

Not having those things down perfectly won’t always noticeably affect performance, but I would guarantee that there is a statistical difference.

SCOTT FORSTER: Know your deck. Know your opponent’s deck.

Do these two things and you start to win. If you run a rogue deck up against a netdeck (presuming some level of competitive equality between the two), the rogue should do better because he knows two of the above, while the netdecker only knows one. If you don’t test YOUR OWN deck enough, you give away the rogue advantage. If you take a netdeck that you haven’t tested, you’re asking to get your head handed to you because now the opponent should know his deck and your deck, while you’ll only know his (if it’s a netdeck) or neither (if it’s rogue). Most decks, contrary to popular opinion, do not”run themselves.” There are subtle conditioned responses and actions that are learned from constant play. Anyone can run a Fires deck with the”Just Win” draw. How you do on the two-land, one Bird, two Ghitu Fire, Fires, and Idol draw depends a lot on how much you’ve practiced with the deck, and a lot on what you’re facing.

JAY MOLDENHAUER-SALAZAR: I agree with Scott. I would go so far as to say the only reason to audible for a tournament would be if you show up with more than one deck you’re comfortable playing (all decks you have playtested well and understand) and see a huge crowd of people shuffling, for example, Islands. Even think about the metaphor: When quarterbacks call an audible, they don’t just make up a play — they just use a DIFFERENT play they know well based on the information in front of them RIGHT THEN.

Too often I think people change in the last minute because of fear or because they have played one deck so much that the deck’s weaknesses are glaring. That’s like dumping a girlfriend for someone you hardly know. You don’t think the new person has flaws?

SHAWN JACKSON: *Raises Hand* That’s why I audibled. And I shouldn’t have.

JMS: From a qualifying-for-Nationals standpoint, I don’t like the decision by Mike, Will, and Carl to change their decks last minute (except possibly Will, who went to a deck with which he was very familiar and who had not tested one deck explicitly). From a have-fun standpoint, who knows. And who knows if they all would have gone 0-3 with their original chosen decks? I never could get that damned crystal ball to work correctly.

WILL RIEFFER: My story is I think perhaps a little different so I’ll point out the dissimilarities. God was the shiznits till Planeshift. I had zero doubts of this. As Jazzy Jay points out, I was highly familiar with the deck. I’d played it extensively and had beaten the snot out of people with it.

JMS: There are lots of examples of people who audible their deck and win a

tournament, find glory, etc. Tournaments are full of all sorts of

random factors, the most obvious of which are computerized opponent

selection and shuffled cars. But as a general rule, I think it is the

people who show up with a tuned and tested deck that do well.

There is one mediating factor: The more”constricted” an environment

is, the more possible it is to audible a deck the night before. In an

environment with 60% Academy decks, it’s pretty easy to jump to a deck

that inherently does well vs. Academy (i.e. Fish). Regionals 2001,

however, was by no means a constricted environment. Fires was there

in force, but a lot of people played only one Fires deck or none at all.

Rebels, Counter-Rebels, Skies, Junk, Haups, U/W, etc. were also there

in force. In a looser environment like this, I think it is really

important to take something tuned and tested.

MARCHANT: Testing a specific deck isn’t necessary. If you know your other decks were sub-optimal, I see no problem with calling an audible. Testing got you to that realization, so all isn’t wasted.

GRIMMETT: Playtesting is essential if you want to do well. There are occasions where you can pick up a deck and win with it, but generally the deck is either one that’s well-known, you’ve played against a lot, or the field is full of bad decks and bad players.

RIEFFER: We tested. We tested. We all friggin’ tested. The results came down that at the last minute Haups was the killer deck…yet at the end I got whacked by Fires like six games in a row — not good. After that, I had other options. T1000 was the same sort of deck as Haups. It would beat some decks flat, but Fires was still a problem. Other decks I had were like U/B Tide that split with Fires as well. Fires was killing me.

So I’m thinking,”What deck beats Fires?” and the only answer I had was

“God”. As it stands, I still only remember losing one match with”God” to Fires — Wurms be damned. I really hadn’t decided on a deck. I always was scouring the meta with different decks and had a couple a fallback options including”God," T1000, and even Fires.

JACKSON: I played three [Fires] in five rounds. LTFAD (lost to Fires and dropped) should be as common as EOTFOFYL. Now, if I had played my original deck, Dark God, I would have done a hundred times better just because of the play experience I had with it versus my experience with Haups.

CLINT MARCHANT: You definitely have to understand the environment, but I don’t think testing specific decks is entirely necessary. I went to five constructed PTQs last year and made Top 8 twice (MBC, and Extended), with decks I never got the chance to play with until the tournament, one of which was a rogue deck that I built straight from theory with zero testing (MBC – Scandalmonger deck).

If you understand the format, then you basically have 90% of the knowledge you need to construct or select a deck and testing isn’t necessary. I had a pretty good understanding of MBC, and built a deck that exploited the other decks in the tournament, except for one. Someone else did the same thing as I did, but took a different approach. Joel Priest and Snuff-o-Derm killed me in the quarters.

JON CHABOT: Good point. Rogue decks tend to have a problem with other rogues. I had an anti-control build, designed to smash U/W, Nether-Go and Rebs, so I time out the first match and hope to carry the day in the draw bracket.

6th Round, I hit a King Red player with the same idea. I had done ZERO testing against King Red and he ran me down. Metagaming sucks.

Best option in my honest opinion? Take a deck that is solid against a broad field. Forget metagaming —even when it works, it will come down to pairing

and dumb luck. If you want to control your own fate at the tourney,

take a deck that’s solid all around and trust your instincts.

The Solution is a good example. Terrific deck if everyone is running

Red, but the first time he hits a G/W deck…

ROWLAND: If you know the environment well enough and have a good idea of what our deck should do, then you don’t really need to test it much.

RIEFFER: My problem was playing the meta with the deck I finally did choose. My sideboard was a lot more oriented to stopping Nether Spirit and the maindeck was skewed with a meta game spell – Aura Fracture – which kills Fires, but isn’t very flexible when you hit the rogue decks. I will say it helped with Junk as well.

Then I hit three Skies decks and a Nether Tide. Had these been Rebels I think I was set, but they weren’t and I had dropped the old anti-Skies sideboard.

Lessons learned? Take the flexibility where you can. In such a big tourney there’s just too many rogue/wildcard decks. Find the”new sligh” deck, being cheap, generally mono colored, and fairly simple to run, and make SURE you are able to beat it.

GRIMMETT: How are you going to determine "what your deck should do" if you don’t playtest? You going to let your friends test for you and then hope they remember to tell you what to do in every situation? One of the most difficult things to determine with a new deck design is when to give up on it.

MASON: There are certain cards whose interactions you don’t need to playtest after a certain point. I’d like to think that I’ve abused Glittering Lynx as much as anyone, for example, and that it’s going to be difficult to teach me anything new about the card.

I do agree that the "little things" are often what you pick up upon the most [with playtesting]. Yet —doesn’t instinct play a role in deckbuilding? Take Leeloo, and the Opt/AK/Chant concept. I looked at them and said, "This will boost the Dryad faster than anything else." I had played with Dryads, but not in concert with cheap instants, and it worked even better than I expected. Personally, I knew what the deck "should do" because I BUILT it to do a certain thing.

BENNIE SMITH: While this is an extremely dangerous thing to do (in terms of wanting to do well at said tournament), you can do so if you’re comfortable with the”style” of deck you pick up.

MASON: I agree. For example, Scott’s our resident sligh expert, and I feel he could put together a competitive deck the night before and do something with it, testing or no. I even remember him winning an online Portal tournament just by looking at red spells.

SMITH: You’ve played something very much like it quite a bit before, so you’re not going to have as big a learning curve as you would picking up a deck cold. For instance, for States 1999 I threw together a green deck five days leading up to the tournament. I didn’t have any time to playtest and basically built it on theory with the help of some guys on .strategy newsgroup. I went on to burn up the tournament and win. While this might have very well been the exception to the rule, I felt I did well because I was very familiar with the style of deck and the cards in it — I had played with many of its synergies in other decks and paid attention to what worked well during the actual tournament (e.g. it was the first time I actually played Plow Under and was quite impressed with it, needless to say). I hadn’t actually playtested the deck, but I was very familiar with the cards in it.

MASON: Definitely. And my experience with Jay’s Whippo deck certainly helped tremendously in my knowing not only the synergies, but most of all of the potential synergies that we never developed.

SMITH: If you are positive that the deck you had playtested religiously was

just not going to cut the mustard, if you were CERTAIN there was no way you could Q with it, then I think you made the right call to audible at the last moment. I had a pet deck a few months back that I invested A LOT of time playtesting, my R/G Tahngarth deck. It generally did well in playtesting and I had logged a lot of hours and a lot of tweaks to it. However, it just was not going to consistently beat Fires, which was my gold standard. If I had kept playing the deck until the week before Regionals, and tweaked it to razor sharp perfection, but still did not feel confident in the Fires matchup (AND was certain I’d have to face multiple Fires opponents) should I have simply stayed the course and played the Tahngarth deck despite my instincts? I think not.

GRIMMETT: I’ve taken new decks, decks I’ve played a little with, and decks I’ve tested with for over a month and I’ve always done better with decks that I have played with more and I see from the top teams and players that they seem to value playtesting, so I’m hoping that I’m on the right lines.

Assuming you can do well if you "know the environment" and take a deck you’ve chatted to someone about seems a bit arrogant to me at the very worst, totally misplaced confidence at the least.

SMITH: I think Mike made a gutsy call, but a necessary one. It may have

qualified you if things had gone your way. The important thing is

for you to be confident with the deck you play, and whether that’s

from logging weeks of playtesting or hours of theorizing, confidence

breeds good play.

MASON: Confidence is important — and confidence based on knowing your strengths as a player and the style of deck is also key, and I don’t think it’s arrogant or overblown to know what you’re comfortable with. I could not, say, have picked up a Fires deck at the last minute and run it. I CAN run it effectively, but it’s not MY type of deck, and I would have suffered with it at the eleventh hour. Knowing/feeling this, my confidence would have been much lower, and thus placed me into a confidence hole of sorts.

ROWLAND: I would also hope that no one would build a crap deck; most people in this type of case would build a deck suited for the metagame.

MASON: I’m not sure that playtesting is critical except for tuning, however — because most of us can build an effective deck on short notice. Dominant? Archetypal? Probably not. But good enough to win against the top decks? Definitely.

ROWLAND: The only two Top 8s I have ever made in PTQ’s have been from decks that were less than a week old and tuned to the metagame.  Go figure; whenever I actually”test” I get smashed.  I also seem to do fairly well when I decide on the deck I am going to play that morning.


GRIMMETT: That’s just it. Most people can’t build decks”good enough to win against the top decks” in a short time. They start with some cards they like playing with and start playing against their friends until they realise that X or Y is horrible and take them out for more Z that seemed to work well against little Jonny that other day last week.

As you get better at deckbuilding, you start to see what’s an overcosted or useless card in certain situations and there are certain shortcuts you can use. Want three mana on turn two? Play seven 1cc green mana creatures and twenty-two land. Want to make 5 land drops of your first 6 or 7, play 25-27 land main deck. These are things you learn over time, but playtesting is still just as valuable you start testing when to mulligan and build rules for doing so (Good Spells needed white mana, two land, and a searcher if I was going to go with my first hand).

Playtesting IS critical the worse the player you are. I consider it critical for me and everyone in my team and there are a lot of people worse than us. As you get to be a better player and deckbuilding it may become less critical as a deckbuilding tool, but more important to work out the subtleties of playing a deck at the highest level.

MASON: Very true. I think that the better people become as players, the less difficult it is to build, and playtesting takes on more of a "tech/tuning" role.

GRIMMETT: Most of the people who read this list are competent players and I count myself as just that: Competent. If we could all build decks that were that good, a lot more of the Pros would be playing our creations — and last time I checked they weren’t.

MASON: Excellent point. Of course, the pros don’t listen to good stuff even when it beats them upside the head. [Yes, I still chuckle about Blurred Mongoose being panned.]

GRIMMETT: Anyhow, not sure where that rant came from, I just think that maybe we’re not as good as sometimes we make out to each other – me included.

MARCHANT: I agree that just about everyone thinks they are better than they really are. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m so happy to admit I am terrible. It’s liberating. Anyone good who has ever watched me draft knows how bad I really am.

ROWLAND: My decks hate me …  Last Extended PTQ I built a kick ass W/B weenie deck.  It killed the metagame, but I tested it a month.  I went 1-3.  My teammate who played a card-for-card version went 4-1 before he brainfarted against Sligh….Who tutors for a Cursed Scroll with a Mox Monkey on the board and you have a COP: Red maindeck??????

MARCHANT: Anyway, as far as pros playing our decks…They play in a much more controlled environment than we do. A lot of people make the mistake of playing the Pro’s deck in the PTQ environment. Some decks die in the jungle. The Pro Tour doesn’t have a jungle (in theory), and most of the field at the PTQ IS the jungle. In any case, they play in a different world. They know this and don’t play our decks, because it’s a different environment. They may be bad decks, too, but that is really secondary.

MASON: My only disagreement with that statement is that sure, we may not develop the next king of the metagame that everyone plays against, but I and others can certainly build competitive decks at a level that many individuals cannot. We’re B+.

I’m usually pretty good at predicting how my decks do against archetypes, though just as often I run myself into a brick wall, like "I know this beats X and Y, but Z kills me. I can’t beat it."

One thing which helped was that, as mentioned in my article, this deck used cards that I was familiar with from IBC testing and Jay’s Whippo deck. I had a very concrete idea of what I was doing, and the strengths and weaknesses of various cards (though these were added to, like Jay teaching me how Dominate was bad times for Dryad.) Thus, familiarity with the cards and previously discovered interactions assisted in my analysis that it could win. Also, I enjoy playing the role of netdeck in playtesting, and having examined/played multiple CounterRebels, Fires, and Haups builds, I knew the strengths of my opposition and what I was likely to run up against. I believe that familiarity with the environment means you can "Just Build."

I think it’s relatively easy to design a deck to beat one or two major archetypes. I’ve always worked that way, and always had success at doing so, and don’t think that I’m unique in any way for that. The minds on this list are just as talented, but may simply have different methodologies. I knew instantly that Leeloo was competitive against all three, and wasn’t disappointed in the least — perhaps my deckbuilding skill just lies in that arena, which is "Give me five top decks and I’ll find something that beats four of ‘em." Conversely, I’m not a huge "thinking outside the box" kind of person and could never create something like a TurboChant or a NetherHaups.

Building a deck that’s strong against a handful of netdecks is simple. Sideboarding, however, is an art form I have yet to master.

Discussion ends here.

(Wow, it worked! Imagine if you had that sort of power over conversation in everyday life.)

Did I make the right choice with Leeloo? I’m thinking so.

The current decklist for Leeloo is below. Hope you read the article (of course, if not, by now you’re certainly wondering what the ruckus is about. Not that there’s really a ruckus. Whatever.)

//NAME: Leeloo

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Questing Phelddagrif

4 Rootwater Thief

4 Fleetfoot Panther

4 Orim’s Chant

4 Opt

4 Disenchant

4 Meddling Mage

4 Armadillo Cloak

4 City of Brass

4 Treva’s Ruins

2 Elfhame Palace

1 Brushland

2 Adarkar Wastes

3 Forest

2 Plains

6 Island

SB: 4 Last Breath

SB: 3 Liberate

SB: 4 Teferi’s Response

SB: 4 Worship

The deck changes very little in the transition into 7th; after all, I didn’t lose any cards, instead only gaining a few. I stuck with my initial thought and dropped Accumulated Knowledge for the Fleetfoot Panther.

Fleetfoot is a repeatable Dryad pumper, but also serves as important protection from removal. Since the Dryad typically gains counters in a hurry, bouncing her back is usually an option worth taking — likewise with a Grif. Fleetfoot should have that tattooed on the card front:

"When Fleetfoot Panther comes into play, save your primary threat from extinction."

Oh yeah — it’s very nice. I’ve always been enamored of creatures I can cast at instant speed. I’m still surprised Fleetfoot hasn’t been used as a way to recur Blastoderms, as we’ve tested the Panther quite a bit and found it to be very underrated.

Leeloo is very strong against control and midgame decks; Rootwater Thief’s presence alone is enough to thwart most Nether Spirit strategies, and removing Lin Sivvi is always a little bit of goodness. Meddling Mage is something that could be changed, but as he typically resolves and names Flametongue Kavu or Wrath of God, both of which are obviously common and dangerous threats in the environment, I like his presence too much for now to get rid of him.


Land Destruction could give it some trouble — Teferi’s Response is in the sideboard for that reason.  The mana base is much more consistent than it looks at first glance. The worst matchup is actually Stupid Red Burn. With so many low-toughness critters on my side of the board, SRB can laughingly kill them all and it slows down the Dryad tremendously as you need to be able to keep her alive instantly. Burn kills everyone and then drops a Skizzik to win. I’m half tempted to make the Liberates into Crimson Acolytes, but figured Liberating my creatures and thus saving them is more efficient than trying to keep them alive with oodles of white mana.

Misdirection is another option, and the deck has enough blue to make it feasible. Finally, I still keep looking at Treva’s Charm and thinking that I can handle the color requirements, but there’s this little voice that keeps nagging me when I put it in there. I’m determined to find a way to use the Charms, especially Treva’s, Dromar’s, and Darigaaz’s.

I mean, just check ‘em out. For sheer versatility, how can you beat them? Ask any white/black/blue control players and Dromar’s is the bomb–I remember playing with it when I went 6-1 at the Planeshift prerelease and having it repeatedly stun people. The lifegain part DOES get used, and the -2/-2 is enough to kill whatever anti-control creature your opponents are using. Meddling Mage? Go. Rootwater Thief? Get out of here. Nether-Go variants should be using it. Sean McKeown Probe-Go has the right idea, and I believe that deck is superior because of it.

And, Darigaaz’s Charm is SO money.

Look, I’m a Giant Growth! Look, I’m a Lightning Bolt! Look, I’m Raise Dead!

Ok, so I’m an expensive one of all of them, but those have to be three of the most powerful aggressive effects combined in a spell in some time.

Suddenly, I’m channeling Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar here, for it’s time to share another fun deck to play.


3 Terminate

3 Tsabo’s Web

1 Stone Rain

4 Despoil

4 Pillage

3 Scorching Lava

3 Darigaaz’s Charm

4 Seal of Fire

3 Thunderscape Battlemage

4 Scoria Cat

4 Quirion Dryad

6 Swamp

4 Mountain

2 Forest

2 Karplusan Forest

2 Urborg Volcano

3 City of Brass

1 Shivan Oasis

4 Darigaaz’s Caldera

SB: 4 Snuff Out

SB: 3 Urza’s Rage

SB: 4 Pyroclasm

SB: 4 Tranquility

Oh, you just KNOW I have my Dryad fetish. Except this time, she’s not happy and chipper and walking alongside her cute Hippo companion. She’s in a bad mood, and she is NOT going to let you give her trouble.

Dryad loves the Charm, whether you’re using it to pump her or clear things out of her path. You want removal? We gotcher removal right here, pal. Kill everything in your way — yes, even enchantments. Dig the green mana, the Tranquilities in the sideboard, and the kicked Thunderscape. The only thing I’m undecided on is the Tsabo’s-Web-for-Stone-Rains decision I made a couple of weeks ago.

This deck is in the early stages, but it’s a hoot.

(No one REALLY says "a hoot", do they? I’ve lived in Illinois too long.) (I do, and often add "And a holler" just for funzies – The Ferrett)

And I can’t wait until I can find a way to work the newest bomb, Apocalypse’s Spiritmonger, into the deck. Scoria Cat, you had your fifteen minutes with me, buddy — but it’s about over.

Have you looked at the Apocalypse spoiler on e-league? By now, most people have at least glanced at it, and the source has been reliable enough in the past that I’m willing to take the spoiler as close to accurate. Instant combo: Sterling Grove and Necra Sanctuary. Check it out, build a deck around it, and you have a self-protecting combo that hasn’t existed in a long, long time.

Apocalypse looks fairly awesome. It’s not the high-end spells that I’m falling in love with, however; it’s the cheap ones, like Gerrard’s Verdict.

No more on that until everything’s confirmed. I promise.

(Pernicious Deed! Pernicious Deed!)

::slapping hands:: Stop it. I mean it.

I’m going to control the urge to start posting decks based around cards that may or may not exist and wrap this up. Until then, keep playtesting. Unless you don’t need to.

-m / 00010101