PTQ – Osaka: Is That A Smokestack In Your Pocket?

So of COURSE when Rizzo could take pictures of Jill Costigan, his camera stops working. Still, you get to hear about his mono-black deck, playtested right at the tourney!

It started with this:

//NAME: Accelerated Black

4x Vampiric Tutor

4x Duress

3x Cursed Scroll

4x Voltaic Key

4x Grim Monolith

2x Charcoal Diamond

1x Temporal Aperture

4x Worn Powerstone

4x Masticore

4x Smokestack

3x Braids, Cabal Minion

1x Karn, Silver Golem

1x Mishra’s Helix

1x Squee, Goblin Nabob

14x Swamp

4x City of Traitors

3x Ancient Tomb

Okay, actually, it started with Pox… But ignore that, ’cause that’s another article.

The basic premise was that a first-turn Smokestack or Masticore was pretty friggin’ good. Kevin Cron (the first”victim” of The Universal Net Deck and about as nutty a deckbuilder as you’d ever want to meet) sent me mail about a first-turn Stack or ‘Core, which intrigued me. Even though it used Goblin Welder, which is not a black card, I was thinking that it was fairly cool. What that mail did was to send my head a-spinnin’ – and since I was already on a Pox kick, Accelerated Black was born.

Additionally, a second-turn Braids didn’t seem too shabby either. In building and playing with about a million Pox designs, designed to bet Trix (or at least piss them off a lot), I began to realize that mana denial was some good. If you can’t get to four mana to play Illusions, you sure as hell can’t Donate it to me.

Additionally, I really wanted a deck that would not lose to three things:

1) The Contamination lock.

2) Wasteland, Ruination, Back to Basics or Price of Progress.

3) Perish.

The best way that I saw to eliminate or reduce the above problems was to play mono-black. While Reanimator only uses one Contamination maindeck, they can get the combo on turn three, and Pox (if played at all), would certainly at least think about including the combo in their deck as well. That didn’t sound like a fun way to lose at all.

I also realized that if people were going to try to beat Trix with Junk variants, then others would realize that nonbasic land hate would be very, very good. Price of Progress and Ruination are about as sickening as it gets on that front, although Wasteland in general tends to always happen to me at the worst possible moment. While Accelerated Black does play eight nonbasics, losing one or two to Wasteland isn’t such a big deal; once the artifact mana is in place, lands become irrelevant.

Price of Progress could still be painful, certainly more so in conjunction with Ancient Tomb, but the risks of getting a Price for four or six seemed worth the total freshness of dropping the first or second turn Stack.

I wanted to play FrigginGreen, but it seemed to lack the juice to punch through. A turn 3 Verdant Force or Multani suddenly seemed a lot less intimidating when I considered the possibility that it either would likely get a) Plowed, or b) blocked forever with Spectral Lynx or River Boa. Plus, since I anticipated that Reanimator would be everywhere (despite the ease of starting Phyrexian Furnace or Planar Void), Perish would be too tough to handle without siding in Thran Lens, which I didn’t want to do at all since the board was tight as a drum to begin with.

Pernicious Deed and Nev’s Disk would likely make more than a few token appearances, and losing all of my little men in one fell swoop sounded like bad times for said little men.

So mono-black it was: A mono-black that could put any opponent on a one-turn clock (for the most part) before they even played a land.

I took version one to Crossroads, mostly to see if it could beat anything but a goldfish, and played it to death against Trix, Raisin Bran, and mono-black beatdown, for that’s what the boyz had.

I discovered that a turn 1 Smokestack is virtually game against anything. In a deck that can spit out tons of permanents like this one, I often found it easy to get up to two Smokestack counters (if I needed to) before I had to sac anything that I even remotely cared about. However, the opponent usually had zero permanents by this time. While Pernicious Deed would indeed wreck the hell out of a deck that places importance on casting tons of 1 and 2cc stuff, it was often enough that the Deed could never go off – they didn’t have enough lands to Deed for four. This is assuming that I didn’t get the Stack or Braids going on turns one, two or three, which would usually result in a scoop, even if I didn’t yet have a win condition on the board.

That proved to be a big problem, since I didn’t really have enough experience playing against opponents with no permanents, and me being the only one Stack or Braids is sucking stuff from. It sounds like a non-issue, but the feel of just how long to keep Braids or Stack in play is probably a very important ability to acquire – how low do you go before you let it go, yo?

I’m a rapper.

Raisin Bran, however, can and will go off with only one permanent: Aluren. I had Alex down to no lands, no dudes, and one friggin’ Aluren, and he was able to drop all his dudes in hand and attack me to death next turn. While they need one blue mana to Stroke you to death, the friggin’ creatures can often pound you into oblivion, almost as an afterthought. And they can also go infinite without lands. A 16 billion/16 billion Harpy, Feeder or Man O’ War is a fattie indeed.

Trix simply lost to an early Smokestack. Even with all their card drawing, they can’t do anything if they can’t Force a turn 1 or 2 Stack. Braids can also send them to scoop if they can’t use the one-turn window to find Fire/Ice to off her.

Mono-black beatdown, as unlikely as it may be to actually see play, was able to Duress and Diabolic Edict to make it a very annoying matchup, and one that was mostly all about the opening hands.

Thus, in a slightly-better-than-goldfishing testing debut, the tweaks and ideas of how to tweak began.

I first thought about getting the turn 2 Braids more often against Trix. To do so with any regularity, I needed to play Charcoal Diamond on turn one. However, two Diamonds was not getting me to that point. Jumping up to four would help me to do so, while simultaneously giving me a mana boost on turn two for the times that acceleration was not immediately drawn.

Oh, and bend over and actually buy a fourth Braids too. And while I’m at it, might as well put the fourth Ancient Tomb in as well.

I also found that I was never going for Temporal Aperture, and was often quite annoyed when I drew it, even if I could send it for a spin or two. The cards that can pop up as a result are often not anything to write home about; none have the impact that a Covetous Dragon or Wildfire did in Kai’s Worlds deck from a few years back… So ditching that bad boy for another Diamond was painless.

While I found the Scrolls to be useful much of the time, I often also wanted to not draw them as much. Ditching a Scroll for another Diamond would give me the best chance for a turn 2 Braids, and, as a bonus, would make it that much easier to sac lands to Braids or Stack. Still, Scroll often enough was a great win condition unto itself. Two seems about right though, since once board control is established, it stays established for good, barring a Fastbond or something.

Those few tweaks resulted in this:

4x Vampiric Tutor

4x Duress

2x Cursed Scroll

4x Voltaic Key

4x Grim Monolith

4x Charcoal Diamond

4x Worn Powerstone

4x Masticore

4x Smokestack

4x Braids, Cabal Minion

1x Karn, Silver Golem

1x Mishra’s Helix

13x Swamp

4x City of Traitors

4x Ancient Tomb

I goldfished this version a little and was more than a little unhappy with it. Let’s just go back to the beginning and run with it.

I was fully prepared to test this bad boy out for another couple weeks (next PTQ is on the 15th) before it saw any tourney play, since the wifey was flying down to NYC for the weekend to catch The Lion King on Broadway, but you know how airlines can be. They canceled the flight, thus Johnny Providence gets to be Johnny Providence and register a nutty-ass deck that’s had about one day of actual playtesting. That’s the same story last year with FrigginGreen, and that resulted in a Top Eight. Foreshadowing? I sure hope so.

Now I need to build a sideboard. And I suck at sideboards.

How to hate Trix: Forsaken Wastes. But isn’t it likely that they’ll side out the combo and just go with the manual beatdown? Probably.

How to hate green: Perish, Perish, and one more for feeling.

How to hate Sligh: Hmm. Not many ways to gain life in artifact form, although Rejuvenation Chamber (as played in The Universal Net Deck) was some decent; might as well plop a Crumbling Sanctuary up in there and hope for the best. Assuming, of course, that they can keep any permanents in play anyway.

How to hate Walamies and other assorted Oath builds: I have no idea. Maybe Ebony Charm. Or Planar Void. Or just hope that they mess up, which of course, they will.

Weenies and assorted 2/1 regenerators: Massacre seems good.

And the tech for Reanimator:




You may play Necromancy any time you could play an instant. If you do, sacrifice it at end of turn.

When Necromancy comes into play, put target creature card from a graveyard into play under your control and Necromancy becomes an enchant creature enchanting that creature.

When Necromancy leaves play, destroy enchanted creature. It can’t be regenerated.

Planar Void is likely much more painful for them (and Oath and Trix a little too), but Necromancy could be very, very cute. Still, I’m torn: do I go for the expected hate or the unexpected”cute” tech?

If this deck can operate on all cylinders, there is no need for a sideboard – what do you side against a guy who has no permanents? However, the deck is not even a little cylindrical, so whatever.

I go with this and say”Sup!”

//NAME: Accelerated Black

4x Vampiric Tutor

4x Duress

3x Cursed Scroll

4x Voltaic Key

4x Grim Monolith

2x Charcoal Diamond

4x Worn Powerstone

4x Masticore

4x Smokestack

4x Braids, Cabal Minion

1x Karn, Silver Golem

1x Mishra’s Helix

1x Squee, Goblin Nabob

13x Swamp

4x City of Traitors

4x Ancient Tomb

The sideboard online:

2x Crumbling Sanctuary

3x Perish

2x Massacre

3x Planar Void

2x Forsaken Wastes

3x Necromancy

Maybe the surprise factor will steal me a game or two.

Since the wifey’s travel plans fell through, I was able to attend Friday Night Magic; too bad no one told me that it was Type 2. Since I was Johnny No Type 2 Decks In His Bag, I was tempted to bust through the Foily Five and see if I could build a Type 2 deck that had a chance to not go oh-fer whatever. Um, didn’t happen, so Jay Bone lent me his Liberty deck on the condition that if I win I would give him the foil Impulse. Having already won one last week, it sounded good to me.

You can figure out the decklist for yourself, but it did contain Legionnaire, Pikula, some 2/2 Pro: red guys, Lightning Angel, Skizzik, Ghitu Fire, Rage,

Trenches, Bolt, and the big-ass technology of Jilt. With Flametongue in the board, life was swell. Although, they were sided in every game just because they rool and girlz drool.

Long story short: the deck was nutz, getting me into Top Four undefeated. And for fun, I was able to beat Jay Bone in round four. He asked about a draw. Heh. I was able to squirm out of that one by mentioning that whoever lost was still likely in the Top Four. See, it pays to have your excuses ready.

Only guy I lost to: Won the whole enchilada.

Afterwards, we drafted (sanctioned too – 16K, for hell’s sake). I was seated to Brendan’s left (da owner, so ya gots to be nice and pass bombs and cooperate and all), and as I happily opened Braids, I felt the sweet sorrow of passing serious blue and green bombs. Yeah, he won the draft, while I went 2-1 with the crappiest B/W deck you ever saw.

Q: What do States and a three-round, eight-man draft at Crossroads have in common?

A: They’re both 16K.

Only guy I lost to: Won the whole enchilada.

Hey, when you’re as awful as me, it doesn’t take much for a brother to say”job well done.”

A 6-2 day at FNM kind of sparked my juices, but the fact that I didn’t get home until two a.m. (and needed to be back at the store at 5:30 for a rendezvous) sucked said juices right out my eyes.

Who bothers to try to sleep for three hours? Bruce doesn’t. And neither did I.

At 5:30, I met at up with a bunch of nerds for the drive down; apparently, it was Crossroads Goes To Providence Weekend.

CoryA, CoryK, and Joe drove down with me, while DJ (he’s not a real DJ) brought forth Alex, JBone and Charlie, who didn’t intend to play – he just came for the atmosphere (or to trade a bunch and stare at Jill a lot, just like everyone else does).

We only got lost twice, which is hella good considering that I printed out directions from MapBlast and MapQuest.

CoryA was with Trix (with one maindeck Kaervek’s Torch), CoryK had Sligh, Joe was with Wildfire, DJ (he’s not a real DJ) had Junk, Alex fell in love with Raisin Bran, thus decided to play it after an entire five games of testing, and JBone was with Trix, but a little more”conventional” than CoryA’s.

A quick who’s who revealed a ton of local and bigger-than-that celebrities:

Sean McKeown, Paul Jordan, Jon Sonne, Eric Ziegler, Becky Just Becky, Extende-Jill, and the entire cast and crew of Team Academy.

I overheard someone refer to Matty Evans as”that guy in the golfer’s hat.” Heh, did someone say”Matty Too Hatty?”

Number of decks that registered Braids on their decklist: one

Round 1: Jay Chadbourne, a.k.a. JBone

Heh, at least he drove down in the other car. By the way, he’s played about six games with Trix in his entire life, but he is painfully aware that a turn 1 Smokestack is awful for him.

In the first game, JBone goes off on turn four, with me only being able to Duress something that he eventually drew anyway. Key play: He Forced my turn one Monolith (leaving me with a Key and Stack in hand, along with Vamp and Swamp), with only a City of Traitors in play to give me the lovin.’

The second game saw my turn two Stack get Forced, turn three Braids get Forced, and Jbone cast Illusions on turn five with only one card in hand. It turned out that it was land, but since I wasn’t putting much pressure on him, he figured he could upkeep the Illusions and even let it go if he had to.

Of course, I draw Forsaken Wastes the turn after he plays Illusions. Three turns later, he peeled Donate and schooled a brother.

0-1 Not entirely unexpected

All the Crossroads guys won except for CoryK.

Round 2: Devyn March, Junk

Game one sees Devyn Plow a turn 3 Braids and Seal a turn 3 Stack. After that, his little guys tore the ass out of me, but game two was all about one sexy turn:

I have Masticore, two Monoliths, two Keys, and one card in hand. Devyn drops Pernicious Deed and casts Duress, which takes my Duress. Then he Deeds for two. Um, ow.

0-2 But not feeling bad

Alex is now the only 2-0 guy. Heh.

Round 3: James White, Walk In Time (U/G/W/B)

On the third turn in game one, I drop two Smokestacks. Heh; I get to win, right? James untaps and casts Spontaneous Generation for five. Heh; I get to lose. He later drops Finkel, Mirari, Generates for five, forks it with Mirari, and watches me wonder what the hell happened.

Game two is all about my turn 2 Braids. Actually, it’s all about James not even bothering to lay land, since I started to run out of stuff to sac to Braids – where’s a friggin’ Key, Monolith, or even friggin’ lad for that matter? When I finally sac Braids, James drops land after land after guy after guy and drills me in the grille.

0-3 Okay, starting to feel a little bad now

I’m watching CoryA play the Trix mirror, when Sean McKeown observes that the Trix mirror is fascinating – if you enjoy watching paint dry, fade, crack, chip off, and then paint the damned thing again.

Guy 1:”Donate the Illusions?”

Guy 1:”Sure.”

Guy 1:”During my upkeep, I’ll pay the four and cast my own Illusions, then Donate your Illusions back to you.”

Guy 2:”Sure.”

Guy 2:”During my upkeep, I’ll pay the six and cast another Illusions, then Donate my original Illusions back to you… Again.”

Guy 1:”Sure.”

Guy 2:”Can either of us actually win this game?”

Guy 1:” Probably not, but it’s so boring for the spectators – let’s keep it up until time is called.”

Guy 2:”Sure.”

Alex loses to Mouth’s ridiculous ten minute Trix-turn of rampant card drawing, and everyone else is either 1-2 or worse. We suck.

Round 4: Mike Mai, Reanimator

I’m all about the turn 2 Stack in game one, while Mike realizes that his only chance is to get Nether Spirit in the graveyard. Eventually, I drop Braids and Masticore, and ride those bad boys home.

Game two is fun – turn 3 Verdant Force.

In the third game, a turn 2 Braids is bad times for Mike. He gets a Spirit into the ‘yard and is able to drop land for a while… But Masticore shows up, shoots Nether a whole bunch, and the good guys win.

1-3 Braids is technology, even in a deck this bad

I walked by a match in progress and noticed that one guy had about forty permanents in play. Yes, he was playing Enchantress. He had four of the old-school white Atog, four Rancor, multiple Sylvan Library, three Enchantresses, multiple Sterling Grove and Wild Growth and four Exploration in play, cast an Ancestral Mask, drew three cards and found two more Masks, cast them and served for like ten thousand.

His opponent had Avatar of Woe, Crosis, and Multani in play.

Q: When’s the last time you saw a guy with those three fatties in play lose?

A: Never. Not even in Alongi’s wildest kitchen-table-inspired dreams.

Okay, it’s now happened once.

Alex wins again, Joe, CoryK, and DJ (he’s not a real DJ) are all 2-2, with everyone else sucking.

Round 5: Christopher Chin, Junk

I get a turn 2 Braids in game one, but Chris gets the turn 2 Mongrel, turn 3 Rancor. That’s very bad for me.

I side in Perish and Massacre, and hope for the best, which is about all I can do with this deck.

I open Perish, and drop a turn 2 Stack. However, Johnny Rancored Mongrel boy ain’t tryin’ to hear dat. Eventually, I’m able to clear his board when he dumps his hand to cast dudes and I Perish. However, in a deck with a bunch of two-drops he recovered like a champ, even taking out Masticore with a Rancored Boa. Man, Ancient Tomb hurts like a bitch. I took ten from that bad boy this game.

1-4 Masticore sucks. Ancient Tomb, however, rulez.

During the Feature Match, Mouth was”playing” against a Tinker deck – I say”playing” because Johnny Tinker guy had four Metalwokers, two Keys, Winter Orb and Mishra’s Helix on the table.

Then he Stroked himself for like twenty. With four active Workers.

And I played Accelerated Black. Silly me.

Alex and DJ (not a real DJ) both win, and everyone else loses, draws or drops.

Round 6: Joe Nash, U/R Control

Joe sheds a tear when I drop a turn 1 Stack going first. He shed a tear not for his situation, but because he’s a Tinker player from way back, and really seemed to miss having stupid fast mana. On turn 2 I drop Masticore, and finish him with a few Scrolls. Still, I ended up at nine from Tomb and Monolith burn, which Joe informs me doesn’t have to happen: During the game, he actually shows me how to avoid mana burn by using the Monolith as it’s own sink, which is something I was not aware of, not being a big-time Accelerated player and all. And I though Key was the better mana sink.

Game two is all about two Force of Wills, two Counterspells, and me running out of gas with an empty hand from having Stack, Braids, Stack, Core countered. He finished me with Morphling and a little direct love to my dome.

In the third game, I get the turn 1 Stack going first, but have to get a move-on to finish in time, since we have about five minutes left. Never mind, since Joe Annuls the Stack. I do, however, get the turn two ‘Core. When he gets up to five mana, he casts Bribery and takes Karn, which can block the heck out of ‘Core and live to tell the tale… At least until I get up to eight mana, which doesn’t happen until the extra turns have expired.

In one of the games, I get a Stack going, and have to sac one of the following: Monolith, Key, Stack. Joe looks at me and says”let it go.”

He has no permanents in play, and I wonder if he’s just trying to get back into the game. However, he did say,”You always want to keep a Key on the table.” I thought and thought, and then sacced the Key. I drew… Masticore.

Maybe he was right.


Alex (5-1) and DJ (not a real DJ) (4-2) win again, and I believe everyone else dropped. Wussies.

Round 7: Peter Swire, Fish

Peter drops Lord of Atlantis on turn 2 and 3, Forces Stack, Braids and Counterspells a second Braids, but his hand is empty when I drop two Scrolls and proceed to shoot his entire team quick fast in a hurry… And then shoot him twice each turn when he becomes the only valid target.

Game two is all about Peter having four dudes on the table by turn 3. I take four and then four again, but ‘Core shows up again, with Monolith, Key, and Powerstone to help. Then the game is all about me shooting things to death, which is fun. I think Masticore is pretty good, but I’ll do some more testing and get back to you.

2-4-1 Heh.

Alex ID’d (and hoped) and made Top Eight as the sixth seed. DJ (not a real DJ) won again to end up 5-2, and Jill, after losing in the first round, ended up as the eighth seed. See? Persistence is neato.

Since we were all sticking around to watch Alex in the Top Eight, I figured I’d be Johnny Productive and report, for it can be a nice little history lesson for Alex’s first Top Eight.

Quarterfinals: Alex Cunningham (Raisin Bran) vs. Joe Lowenhaupt (Junk)

Rob drops a Boa on turn two and Alex answers with Wall or Roots. Rob untap and serves (Alex-19), drops land and is done. Alex drops land and passes, while Rob serves again (Alex-17), drops a fetch land and Phyrexian Furnace. Alex end of turn Impulses and Vamps (Alex-15) and Rob removes Vamp with the Furnace. Alex draws Aluren, drops a land, casts it and starts to go off with Raven Familiar and Cavern Harpy. He quickly finds Man O’ War and Spike Feeder, demonstrates the combo three times with a judge watching and Rob scoops.

In game two, Rob starts off with a first-turn Duress, which shows two Alurens, Impulse, Raven, Man O’ War and two lands. He takes the Impulse and both players drop land next turn, with Rob Tithing on the end of Alex’s turn.

Rob Vindicates Alex’s Tropical Island on turn three, Alex drops another, and Rob plays Call of the Herd. Alex casts Man O’ War on the token, so Rob Flashes it next turn, which meets another Man O’ War, which lets the beatdown commence (Rob-18). Rob Duresses the second Aluren and plays Pernicious Deed. Alex serves with the Men (Rob-14), casts Cavern Harpy and pays an extra life to get both Men back in his hand (Alex-19).

Rob does nothing on his turn, while Alex brings the Harpy beats (Rob-12). Again, Rob does nothing and Alex serves (Rob-10). Yet again, Rob does nothing, so Alex brings the beats again – Rob tries to Swords the Harpy, but Alex pays one life (Alex-18) to save it and ends his turn. Yet again, for Christ sakes, Rob does nothing, while Alex Vamps (Alex-16) for a Forest. He drops it and is done. Rob tries to Vindicate the Forest, but Alex Forces (Alex-15). Alex drops a Bayou, drops Aluren, and starts to go off: Familiar, Harpy, Man O’ War bouncing Raven… Raven, Feeder… Rob tries to Swords a Raven in the middle of the combo, but Alex simply responds by bringing back the Harpy and casting it to save the Raven. But… Rob tries again to Swords the Raven in response, but again Alex saves it and continues to go off. Rob scoops after Alex announces that all his dudes are 16 billion/16 billion and he now has 16 billion life and will find the Stoke of Genius.

Alex 2-0

Jill also won her match, besting a guy with White Weenie/U. Cool play: Dude cast Armageddon (floating one mana) leaving Jill with one land and a Boa, with dude having Mother of Runes, a fat Dodecapod, and Longbow Archer. He then drops a land and casts Tariff. Heh. Yes, I said Tariff – look it up. Still, Jill’s the man and came with the sickness.

Semifinals: Alex vs. Josh Smith (Walamies Good Stuff)

This game ends when Alex misses his third land drop and Josh Brainstorms end of turn. Josh also drops a Disk next turn and has a full grip, while Alex has the entire combo in his hand (except for Man O’ War) but only one Force of Will. Eventually, Alex drops Wall of Roots and then City of Solitude, both of which Josh allows since he just blows the Disk.

Alex finally finds his third land and drops another City of Solitude, which meets an Absorb. Alex gets Aluren into play, and gets his dudes up to 16 billion/16 billion, but doesn’t have an untapped blue to find the Stroke. Josh untaps and Wraths. Continue with Josh casting about a billion card advantage spells, and you’ll get the idea that Josh won, although it took about an hour.

In the second game, Josh counters an early Aluren, keeps his hand full with Fact or Fictions and starts Blessing recursion (Blessing and two counters). Alex has no chance, since he only has four Force of Will and one Arcane Denial, and when his fourth Aluren gets countered, he scoops.

Josh 2-0

Alex got a box of Japanese Invasion and a fistful of Odyssey packs. Some guy wanted to buy the box for like sixty bucks, but I advocated keeping it as a”trophy.” Also, sixty sounds about forty bucks too little, considering that it probably lists for $150 or so.”Sure, go ahead and open the box, but when you see all those cool Japanese cards in your decks, you’ll always remember Paris (and your first T8),” offered I, as my argument.

Dude went up to eighty bucks after he saw me trying to convince Alex to keep the box. I offered eighty-five. He withdrew his offer… Until I walked away. With Johnny Sentimental Boy out of the picture, Alex crumbled. Alas.

Jill won again, so it’s her and Josh in the finals, both of whom want to go to Osaka. Let the bidding begin. A crowd was gathered around when they sat down, and all I could overhear was”Seven-hundred and fifty dollars,” a few seconds of silence and then”I’ll play.”

Jill wins. Heh; a girl won. And she gave me her decklist at the last PTQ. I’m igg’nernt, ain’t I?

Wrap up:

1 – Jill, a girl

3 – Alex

9 – Mouth, in the first runner’s up position

10 – Eric Ziegler

12 – Matty Too Hatty Evans

16 – DJ (not a real DJ)

18 – Jon Sonne

33 – Shante McKeown

36 – Paul Jordan

The rest of the Crossroad guys wound up somewhere equally crappy like I did, which was somewhere in the mid to high forties.

I can’t resist… but I must… got to stop myself… but… can’t… bad times if you do… please resist the urge… but can’t fight the opportunity to make such a friggin’ cool joke… resist… don’t do it… could be bad for you… why start a war… but funny stuff on so many levels… resist… don’t… please…

Screw it.

Name players that I finished above:

53 Andrew Stokinger


Alas, this tourney was pretty much a real-life playtesting session, which yielded much solid information… The most important of which is: A first-turn Stack is some friggin’ good, but it isn’t always good enough. Ditto for a turn 2 Braids. Also, Ancient Tomb did about sixty damage to me in sixteen games. Perhaps it’s worth it, but perhaps not. Braids in a deck with self-saccing permanents (CIty of Traitors) is probably not good synergy.

Masticore is good times – but for as often as he wins a game, he just as often goes farming. If you are going to accelerate a color, blue is the best way to do it, with red being pretty damned good too. Black, however, is still the sexiest accelerated deck, even it really has nothing to accelerate except for more friggin’ artifacts.

Still, I haven’t given up hope. Yet.

The drive home was fraught with bad times. Who leaves at 9:00 and gets home at 2:30? You’d know the answer if you’ve read my last few reports: me. I led while DJ (not a real DJ) followed until I got lost, then it was his turn to be the blind leading the blind. After driving for about two hours, we looked to the right at something that resembled a giant field. As we all stared, we quickly discovered that it was the friggin’ ocean. Heh. I guess when three guys in the car are going”If you were a hot dog, and you were starving to death, would ya’ eat yourself? I know I would” for a solid hour, you sort of miss the smaller things in life – like a friggin’ ocean.

Hey! If you were a map and you were lost, would ya’ look at yourself? I hope that ya’ would.

I can’t say that I expected my deck to work any better than it did, since it is quite in the pupa stage, but I did come to the conclusion that the gauntlet needs to be in full effect. Of the ten to twelve guys that play regularly at Crossroads, there were less than three Net Decks build for testing purposes… And two of those were Trix. Everyone in the car seemed receptive to the idea, and with up to a dozen guys contributing, it appears that we’ll be getting down to brass tacks, which is such an old-school expression that I’ve only ever heard it said in black and white movies.

See, a year at CMU allows some good stuff to creep into my dizome, not the least of which is”build a friggin’ gauntlet!” We’ll see if I can take the lessons from the Squee deck to the next PTQ at TJ’s Collectibles on the 15th.

2-4-1. I guess that’s not too bad for such a ridiculous (and mostly untested) deck, right?

Hey! If you were Braids and you were your only permanent, would ya’ sac yourself?

I know I would.

John Friggin’ Rizzo