Peace of Mind: Reconstructing God

So the exit of Cursed Totem killed Mike’s up-and-coming”God” deck. Now, hot off the heels of Leeloo and Indian Summer comes… Demi-God!

Imagine, if you will, my chagrin a few days ago when I read in Rizzo’s recent article that I have no chance at being broken.

Not only have I uttered the phrase”sucks to be you,” watched Survivor, and recited lyrics by Nelly, but I’ve also bitched about poor luck when playing Magic.

I started feeling better when he said that”for one to achieve complete and utter brokenness, one must ignore each aspect and ideal set forth in the Guide To Becoming Broken Beyond Repair.” Whew, excellent. But, hold on, wait a second — does that mean I have to ignore the fact that I have to ignore things? Isn’t that a paradox? Because if I ignore the fact I have to ignore things, then I should be NOT ignoring things, which means I should pay attention to the fact that I have to ignore them.

Am I reading too much into this? Probably.

I am Mason’s inability to grasp brokenness.

I think perhaps part of it is that as much as I enjoy Magic, it is very low on my list of priorities, and always shall be. It seems as if there has been a rash lately of personal difficulties among my acquaintances in the Magic community. Unfortunately, I’m not immune to them, and I’m currently going through one of the most difficult periods of my life. At times, I’ve considered taking a hiatus and removing myself from the world for awhile; however, I’ve not reached that point yet.

As I was writing this, there was something posted on another website that I wanted to link to: http://www.pojo.com/magic/index.html. When I read this, I was both stunned and impressed. Placing your heart on the line in front of thousands of individuals for the sake of another is admirable, and it related to my life in eerie fashion. I wanted to take the opportunity to wish Scotty G. the best of luck — and if things do not work out, then godspeed in his healing. I’ve always been able to keep Magic healthily in perspective, and could walk away from it in a moment without looking back, because there are more important things to put effort into. There are ideals and dichotomies that define who you want to be — and that should always be your number one priority.

Be broken in LIFE.

I’m not going to break into Baz Luhrman here. When it comes to Magic, I desire to be an excellent player, but not enough to put in countless hours of practicing. I have a sneaking suspicion that time and devotion to a craft, no matter what it is, factors heavily into said brokenness. Put that effort into your relationships, put that effort into your personal growth, and keep your life in perspective and commend those who are able to do so.

No matter what you’re putting those efforts into, there’s one thing you must have most of all that will enable you to break down walls, reach deeper than you thought you could reach, and achieve that which you previously thought impossible.


That’s what makes the struggle to achieve endurable.

I’m still working on grasping that brokenness myself — but trust me on this one.

One thing I DO grasp is deckbuilding.

So far the response to Indian Summer has been quite overwhelming. Thanks to everyone who has written in with their suggestions and variants on the deck, as it’s been most interesting, particularly when they confirm my own testing results — and, for the record, it’s been dominating in online IBC testing. Scott’s been taking it for a whirl almost daily through the miracle of mIRC, and I sometimes find myself simply giggling with glee.

Yes, I giggle.

I haven’t had the time available to test it as much as I’d like in Standard, but the results are certainly promising. Usually I build a potpourri of decks and wind up playing them all because they’re fun and interesting, and don’t give my decks the intimate workout they deserve. This time around, however, I’m limiting myself. Sure, I’ll play other decks, but not with the same passion and devotion; for once, I want to, and need to focus. I’ll be playing Leeloo, I’ll be playing Indian Summer, I’ll be playing Trigger-Happy Jack, and I’ll be playing Demi-God. Even then, I’m mostly going to dance with the girl who brung me (in the immortal words of Tim Green, whose NFL commentary I sat through way too frequently in the days of the six-win St. Louis Rams) and stick with the most effective and consistent one.

Yes, you read that right: Demi-God. With the exit of Cursed Totem from the environment, The Little Deck That Stopped Fires and Rebels has been retired to the”defunct decks” folder on my hard drive, so that I can look back at it upon occasion and mourn. Since 7th Edition and Apocalypse joined the fray, I’ve been trying to find the right combination of cards to maintain a frustrating and disruptive effect upon Our Favorite Hated Archetypes.

But, see, I’m stuck. I created two of them — and I can’t decide which one to go with. I’m looking for some help. What I’m going to do is list the vastly different Demi-God types, and see what everyone thinks.

Apocalypse has brought a lot of flux into C.E. Standard, because every archetype has suddenly been given a plethora of options for expanding into areas previously difficult to sojourn into.

Fires still is strong as ever, and it’s easy to surmise people will be splashing black in order to use Spiritmonger and Blastoderm and Shivan Wurm for a brief period of time; those two, plus Thunderscape Battlemage and splashed black sideboard removal a la Tsabo’s Decree, could take advantage of every cost-efficient fatty in the game. If you think it can’t do it, just try it. Trust me. Big creatures aren’t as devastating as a hasted Saproling Burst, but you only have a few months of that left. Fires is here to stay, folks. Did you see it dominate Nationals, by the way? 31% of the top 32 decks, 50% of the top 8. Oof.

Rebels can splash every color now. Bring in red for Goblin Legionnaires, Squee’s Embrace, and Orim’s Thunder. Bring in black for Vindicates, Death Grasp, and Verdict. They already splash blue and green in various incarnations.

Red/blue creatureless? It’s there. Blue/green decks with Mystic Snake recursion? It’s there. You’ll see more bouncing snakes than you want to, backed up by fat, and some people are going to be sick of”end of turn: Prophetic Bolt you.” ::Impulsing to pull another Bolt::”Upkeep, Bolt you. Die.” A chain reaction of burn, backed up by counterspells. I get all tingly just thinking about it.

Yes, I giggle AND get tingly. Deal.

Three-color builds are viable — and because of the wealth of options out there, you have to wonder, which color sets are most powerful? I consider them to be very balanced. I’m not going to analyze them, as that’s been plenty of times recently. However, I AM tired of people not knowing what to call the color combinations. So, in my continued efforts to lend vocabulary to the Magic community, I offer thus:

Allied. Opposite. Arc. Wedge.

There. Nice and simple.

  • Allied: Any two colors next to each other on the wheel; e.g. Blue-White.

  • Opposite: Any two colors opposite each other on the wheel; e.g. Blue-Red.

  • Arc: One opposite pairing, two allied pairings; e.g. Blue-White-Green

  • Wedge: One allied pairing, two opposite pairings; e.g. Blue-White-Red.

If pet peeves were people, I’d be China.

I love opposing colors, and have tried to build decks utilizing them on a regular basis. The decks I’ve shared in my articles reflect this; you’ve seen red-white, you’ve seen red-blue, you’ve seen the Leeloo arc. Right now, I’m falling in love with the wedge; the gold spells in Apocalypse are, pound for pound, more powerful than their compatriots, and the wedge seems to offer the most consistency for me in Draft and Sealed.

When it came time to thumb through the Apocalypse spoiler, therefore, you can imagine my glee and disappointment when I looked at the red-white combinations.

Goblin Trenches I wasn’t too impressed with, though it at least has potential. Same with Powerstone Minefield, which causes me to think that if I’m going to be killing creatures on turn 4 with two points of damage, they’ve already been pounding me with weenies for the first three and it’s too little, too late.

But… Goblin Legionnaire? Squee’s Embrace? Orim’s Thunder?


God, I love Orim. She is seriously all that and a glass of milk. She prays, she chants, she touches, and she cures — and now finally she’s said farewell to the pacifism and she’s PISSED.


Orim’s Thunder I’ve latched onto as a pet card already. It’s rare, I feel, to find an efficiently costed instant-speed response that can eliminate two different classes of permanents. Orim freakin’ brings it. Sure, I wish it targeted players as well, but you can’t have everything. Well, you can, but unfortunately I’ve decided to stop living in the land of make-believe where I live in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane.

Don’t go there.

Squee’s Embrace is just good. I rarely get excited about creature enchantments. Some of them seem nice, but there’s an inherent form of disadvantage there. Armadillo Cloak is the only other one I’ve really been eager to use in a deck; it’s the combined effects that make these enchantments powerful.

For two mana you have Giant Strength, combined with Raise Dead. That’s good. It’s particularly good if you do something like, say, second-turn Veteran Brawlers, third-turn Squee’s Embrace, attack.

That’s a fast 6/6 beatstick ya got there, pardner. ::winkandgun::

However, what I like the most is the fact that it works so well with Goblin Legionnaire. Attack, sac, bring him back, insert token fourth rhyme here. Rumor has it that recursive damage is some good. Let Squee hang onto a one-drop and you’re sending a second-turn 3/3 at people.

And, if that one-drop happens to be shining so brightly that it’s very difficult to see, much less kill… You got it. On that note, let’s present Demi-God deck number one.


4x Goblin Legionnaire

4x Veteran Brawlers

4x Squee’s Embrace

4x Static Orb

4x Wrath of God

4x Glittering Lynx

4x Glittering Lion

4x Voice of All

4x Orim’s Thunder

4x Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

10x Plains

10x Mountain

Hello, instant synergy.dec, how are you?

This deck is straightforward and doesn’t need much explanation, though as you all know by now that fact certainly doesn’t stop me from waxing verbose. All of your creatures are cheap except for Voice of All, which is the lone card I feel has potentially negative interactions in this deck, considering how often you’re going to declare”red” — which, of course, makes Squee think better about grabbing on to her halberd. Which, mind you, she’s holding backwards anyway.

Static Orb is a cute card — and it works well with people trying to turn off the Cats. It’s no Cursed Totem, by any means, but it’s often just as disruptive. With consistent land drops, you should be able to untap and drop 2-3cc threats each turn — and hey, if push comes to shove, just Thunder your own Orb and blow something out of the way of your creatures. Decks that utilize mana acceleration still have a slight advantage, yes, but if they want to tap out to drop something on you they’re not going to be able to punch past your defense. I’ll gladly trade Embraced Brawlers and a Lynx for a Shivan Wurm. Oh, actually, hold on a second… I’ll gladly let the Lynx absorb a point harmlessly, and then recast the Brawlers next turn. Guess that means you won’t be attacking. Cool.

The deck is, just as God was, quite annoying to play against. The Embrace makes it much more aggressive than the prior God, because it makes the Cats into fearsome creatures. The Lion, sans Totem, isn’t so remarkable — a 4/4 Lion with Orb out is something that people must respect. Feel free to pay seven to Flametongue that to death, Mr. Fires Guy. What? Ignore the Lion, Flametongue my Legionnaire? Sure, I’ll trade. Looking to search out some Rebels? Please, be my guest.

Rogue metagame decks are fun.

Because it has a much more aggressive approach than God did, it performs much better against both beatdown decks and land destruction/burn strategies. Mono-Red hates this deck. Blue Skies doesn’t REALLY want to race you. As far as the new archetypes? We’ll have to see.

There are other cards I considered in here as well; at the same time I was developing this, my erstwhile teammate Jay was developing a deck called White Noise, which used the Static Orb/non-tapping creatures strategy. Steadfast Guard was a possibility for this deck, as was Diving Griffin — and they may find their way back in if I decide Voice of All isn’t the nuts and bolts it wants to be. I’d love to find a suitable red creature to put in here to eliminate Wash Out potential, as everything’s white excluding the Brawlers and Orb. I mean, EVERYTHING.

I haven’t developed a sideboard yet, as there’s really not much you CAN sideboard except for Scorching Lava to take care of those pesky”I don’t need to tap, I’m just going to sit here until you’re Wrathed away” Nether Spirits. I have played this deck, and know it’s annoying and successful. But is it better than the one below? I don’t know. I suspect that it is, but this one deserves its chance to stretch its arms towards the sun.

 //NAME: Demi-God

4x Seal of Cleansing

4x Wrath of God

4x Chimeric Idol

4x Earthquake

4x Wildfire

4x Scoria Cat

4x Glittering Lion

4x Glittering Lynx

4x Voice of All

6x Mountain

3x Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

7x Plains

4x Remote Farm

4x Sandstone Needle

What the heck?

Yeah, that’s what I’ve said, too. This one is more in tune with the original God concept: Large-scale removal and destruction coupled with the normal array of hard-to-kill creatures. The synergy between Wildfire and all of the Cats, Scoria included, is evident — but the drawback is, of course, that the majority of fat in C.E. Standard is five toughness or better.

I’ve considered a large number of spells here. Pyroclasm was one that I have always been enamored of, as it’s a wonderful way to maintain early aggression and engage in severe kitty beatdown. My dear girl Orim offered up some Chants for me, but I don’t feel it’s the right sort of deck to take advantage of it unless it’s from the sideboard to protect the rain of fire. Just as in the original, having creatures that are for the most part not going to be damaged or killed is crucial. Unlike Demi-Squee, which has recursion and is definitely much more aggressive a deck, the excellent Legionnaire was unable to find his way in here because of the Wildfire.

I love Wildfire, by the way, and prior to the development of Indian Summer had been attempting to prove to the world that Nether-Obliterate isn’t a dead archetype. Is Wildfire inferior to Jokulhaups? Certainly. Is it typically just as devastating to an opponent? Most definitely.

Back to Demi-God. The aforementioned Five Toughness Dilemma really only works as a drawback when you’re attempting to make Wildfire your primary win condition. It’s not — it’s a disruption device. This isn’t your mama’s Wildfire deck from the heyday of Urza’s Saga, when you could throw out artifact accelerants and Covetous Dragons, laughing as anything in their path was reduced to cinders. Wildfire’s role is a supplement now, and the design of Demi-God mitigates its drawbacks. The mana to cast Wildfire is just as easily turned into a five-point earthquake; it’s also just as easily turned into a Wrath of God. The depletion lands, which also see use in my Nether-Obliterate build, provide the necessary acceleration and, with judicious usage, can provide a great early-game swing for your wild-scale removal spells.

There you have it.

God exists.

They can take my Cursed Totems and Enlightened Tutors from me, but they can’t quell the red/white fighting spirit. I got my spine, I got my Orange Crush.

There’s no brokenness here; there’s no cards that scream out at you”abuse me, I’m way too powerful.” But the God Deck is a warrior, and it doesn’t quit, and when everything seems stacked against it, it arises from the ashes and says,”I’m still here, let’s see what you can throw at me now.” It may have looked like it was over — but I just needed to take a deep breath and step away from it for awhile — and have faith.

That’s broken.

-m / 00010101