Punishment: New Topics

I have, lately, been watching some of the internet conversations that have been going on – and came up with a few new ideas. The following topics, in my opinion, are of a highly urgent nature, and not surrounded with enough speculation.

Wazzup, homies?

It hasn’t been too long since I last chilled at ya. Usually, I try to keep some space in between my writings; the reason for that is to make me feel important. This time, however, the events in question do not permit me the luxury of standing still.

First of all, some good news to everyone who enjoys junior high references: I have managed to enlist myself as a writer for StarCity. I figured that it would be a good idea to write at a bit more regular basis, and started considering different forums. StarCity is the only one that has writers referring to my good friend Mos Def – so here I am. Not to mention that the Limited article here describing Future Sight as almost unplayable was an interesting read (Well, at least he didn’t just fall from the train – The Ferrett, who didn’t really write this but would have seriously considered it).

I am quite the irregular writer, so even a monthly column would be difficult to handle, but let’s see how this goes. I might also run into problems if Marvel sues me for editing and using their picture while not mentioning their trademark.

But enough about me. I have lately been watching some of the internet conversations that have been going on, and came up with a few new ideas. The following topics, in my opinion, are of a highly urgent nature, and not surrounded with enough speculation. The first one (these will be in no particular order) is the question of deck choice for the Extended qualifiers.

The Extended metagame is an interesting one, and filled with decks that do well in the matchups that they are not bad at. The choice of a deck is more important than ever before – as there are many good ones to pick from. Sadly, not every deck gets as much time in the limelight than it would deserve. I have chosen to look at the deck”The Rock and His Millions,” which I like to refer to as”The Rock,” or even more shortly,”Rock”.”Rock” is a Green/Black deck with lots of maximum redundancy and selective midgameness. Never before has non-targeted semi-hate been executed so well with overall waxness.

Before I start to evaluate my choices, a decklist is in order. This is what I have found to be the most effective way to build the deck, after extensive playtesting:

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Wall of Blossoms

4 Yavimaya Elder

2 Ravenous Baloth

2 Spiritmonger

1 Genesis

1 Faceless Butcher

4 Pernicious Deed

4 Duress

2 Cabal Therapy

3 Vampiric Tutor

2 Living Wish

1 Living Death

1 Terror

1 Buried Alive

18 other spells

4 Llanowar Wastes

3 Treetop Village

7 Swamp

1 Dust Bowl

9 Forest


1 Crypt Creeper

1 Thrull Surgeon

1 Buried Alive

1 Filth

2 Cabal Therapy

1 Naturalize

1 Dust Bowl

2 Bottle Gnomes

1 Stronghold Taskmaster

2 Coffin Purge

2 Smother

And now for some explanations. Duress is here in the full form of four copies, since the card is very versatile. Even though you cannot take a land or a creature, this spell has often proven itself useful. For example, a turn 1 Duress can often take their best card, and while it doesn’t prevent them drawing additional copies of the same card, it gives you time. The Pernicious Deeds, while also affecting your stuff, can provide a powerful board-sweeping effect. The Dust Bowl is here to combat non-basic lands, and the Birds of Paradises should be used as mana acceleration. The damage from Llanowar Wastes is small compared to how much they reduce the chance of manascrew. Use the forests with maximum intimidation value; heh.

I always liked the idea of casting Buried Alive to get some incarnations, but that was always too slow for Standard. In some matchups in Extended, it seemed just fine. Concerning my other choices…. Not even Mike Long himself can beat recurring Yavimaya Elders.

Which bring me to the next topic, shuffling. But before I move on to that, I will give you an Extended tip: There is a deck in the top 32 of Houston that is almost like an OBC deck. What is it? Don’t email me with answers; all will be revealed in the next column.

The importance of a good shuffling technique cannot be stressed with enough sternness. I have at times found myself taking a mulligan or even two. This is not good. What one needs to remember, is that three riffle shuffles is not always enough. It does not guarantee that your every third card is a land, even if you play twenty lands and forty spells – which so often is the case. Sufficient randomization in form of a good shuffle is needed to ensure successful flow of resources. Bad shuffling can lead to, for example, opening hands with four Shocks. This hand, much like Kai with an afro, is something that you don’t want to see. In order to prevent this terrible fate, I suggest using also some amount of pile shuffling.

But even though shuffling can be used to gain a good advantage, it alone is not always enough to ensure victory. What one needs to remember in order to get better results is that playtesting can be critical. Often one can simply take a deck and tune it a bit, and then go to a tournament. This is not optimal. By playtesting, a knowledge of not only the deck, but also its matchups, can be achieved. I believe that this is not spoken enough widely of. What many pros fail to mention is the amount of playtesting they did before an event. Far too often it seems as if they just picked up a deck, and entered the tournament with no practice. This is not true. As one learns to lose less, the chances of whining after the match become smaller.

Which reminds me of the next topic: Getting better. One thing is more important than anything else…One should not blame luck! After losing a game, it is oh so easy to blame a bad draw or opposing mise. However, this is not what one should think of. It is very critical to look at how the game could have been played better. This is what many people fail to do. In the long run, the luck will balance out. Having a bad draw does not mean that the game is over – or that you should play poorly.

I will illustrate this with an example. Let’s say that player A draws badly, and is therefore upset. Then he or she makes a mistake. This enables player B to win. Do you see what just happened? It is attitudes like this that can be bad. The same holds true for Limited formats.

And when it comes to the constructed format…what I have noticed lately, is that Sligh is playable in the new standard. Sligh is a monored deck. What few know about the deck is that Dave Price used it to go 6-0 in some portion of some Nationals during a year that I cannot remember now. Even though some of the old cards are not legal anymore, one thing is still true: A combination of fast guys and some burn can give any deck trouble.

So many topics – and yet I get paid regardless of article size! Here are some pressing issues that I think are not receiving enough attention:

  • Print runs will be very useful in Chicago

  • Kibler likes to party

  • Some strategy writers are not optimal technical players

  • The Japanese are weird

  • Column filled with unnecessary descriptions of a palace

  • English being the main language of Magic writing leads to some degree of USA-centrism

  • Some forum regulars are worse than the people they criticize

  • A boring Feature Match coverage was found

  • Some new Standard deck is kind of like an old Standard deck, but with different cards

  • Maybe you should have mulliganed that hand

  • Ah, the irony to draft and draw a good rare, but not sufficient mana to cast it

Before I end this thing, an open letter to Wizards is in order:

Dear Wizards of the Coast,

Could you come up with some kind of a new invite? I would like to play in Chicago pls tks.

Yours sincerely,

Tomi Walamies

That’s about it. See you guys the next time I write. Meanwhile, I suggest that you go and look here for an interesting effect.

Shout-outs can be given to [email protected]