SCG Daily – The One-Mana Men

This week, instead of trying to break things wide open, which I am, quite frankly, unable to do all by myself, ever, I figured I’d go and piss many of you off, which I am, quite franklier, willing and able to do. Not that I intend to anger or rile or antagonize… it’s just that when you offer a list of the top ten of anything, you’re liable to need witness protection.

This week, instead of trying to break things wide open, which I am, quite frankly, unable to do all by myself, ever, I figured I’d go and piss many of you off, which I am, quite franklier, willing and able to do. Not that I intend to anger or rile or antagonize… it’s just that when you offer a list of the top ten of anything, you’re liable to need witness protection.

Thus, let’s get to it, ain’t nuthin’ left but to do it.

Today, we start with the one mana creatures, which are, of course, the worst cards in Magic when you first start playing, and just about the shizzou when you finally get tired of dying with that just-one-more-mana 7/7 in your hand.

Disagreement Mode: On.

Honorable Mention

Elvish Lyrist
There once was a time when every Green list started with four of these hotties. That time may be gone, but name another card that made Trix altar their manabase to add Firestorm. Plus, I never had sex with an elf, and I kinda want to. Blame Hugo Weaving, the sexiest elf ever, except for that chubby one that got punked by an orc.

Disciple of the Vault
He sucks in 99.999% of every deck ever built. The problem is that .001%.

Perhaps you remember seeing three of these hit play on turn 1. I don’t, and I doubt many players actually ever pulled that off, or would want to, but I bet you wanna try now. And then play Delraich for free! omg!

Putrid Imp
Isn’t it fun to play a 1/1 on turn 1 and, oh, just win the game without ever playing another spell? Just sayin’.

Nimble Mongoose
A 1/1 that can’t be targeted doesn’t sound that amazing, nor does a 3/3. And yet…

Quirion Ranger
From dodging Sinkholes and Armageddon, unfairly upkeeping Stasis and untapping Tradewind Riders, and even reusing those Birds and Elves, this lil’ missy packs too much skill into a 1/1 for G. I’m not ashamed to admit that those hairy legs do something for me. I think it’s the potential to get some on a mossy forest floor that really does it. Plus, pointy ears.

Kird Ape
If your opponent doesn’t think a 1/2 for one mana is good enough, use Taigas or Stomping Grounds. Then blast that guy’s teeth in!

Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Good thing they made this dawg a legend, or he’d pretty much go in every White Weenie deck in existence.

Mother of Runes
This is most likely the most sissy creature every printed. Use four in every White deck.

Ramosian Sergeant
Isn’t it fun to play a 1/1 on turn 1 and, oh, just win the game without ever playing another spell? Just sayin’, again.

Flying Men
A 1/1 flyer for one ain’t much, and what self-respecting Blue mage taps out on turn 1?! Heh, “self-respecting Blue mage.” Like they exist.

Goblin Welder
Saga Block had very good creatures that were (or are now) used in nearly creatureless decks. That’s probably called “irony.” Ask Winona for the 4-1-1, kthx.

Basking Rootwalla
This card makes declaring blockers more fun than a drunken teenage game of chicken with dad’s Oldsmobile. P.S. Oldsmobiles are no longer made, but if your dad has one, get nice and smash into your best friend’s Mustang, ‘cause that’s so kewl Brewster.

And now, the top ten one mana creatures ever. Kinda.

10. Mogg Fanatic
Quick test to tell if you’re good at Magic: if you drop a turn 1 Fanatic and don’t sac it to kill that Birds of Paradise, ask again.

9. Llanowar Elves
It beats and makes the Red mage sac his Mogg Fanatic if he’s a good player, and it bypasses that pesky “one land per turn” rule, which I guess is kinda good. Unfortunately, Green doesn’t really have creatures worth accelerating out. Except Golgari-Grave Troll.

8. Pouncing Jaguar
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone bitch about having to pay his echo, except the Blue mages who Treachery him and then actually read the freakin’ card. Tight. Play.

7. Xantid Swarm
What Green has needed since day one. Too bad your opponent simply untaps and deals with whatever you played. At least you get to pretend you’re in control for a turn.

6. Brass Man
He’s a man made of brass. Like Andy the Brass Man.

5. Savannah Lions
No drawback, no excuse, no problem, except for your opponent, who’ll just sac his Fanatic anyway in response to Crusade. Well, that’s what you deserve if you play White Weenie.

4. Grim Lavamancer
It’s a good thing that Red decks rarely toss cards into their ‘yard with reckless abandon. If they did, it seems like he’d always have fodder in which to, er, kill you to death. Too bad he can’t sac himself to kill an elf.

3. Jackal Pup
They don’t make ‘em like this any more, for good reason: playing with cards that damage you is terrible! Juzam and then Necropotence proved that.

2. Goblin Lackey
If Wizards made nothing but crappy goblins, this guy would still be good. Since they went and made, and will likely continue to make, good goblins, sigh, shrug, guess I better find an answer before I say “go,” or my opponent gets to say “gg.”

1. Birds of Paradise
From day one to perhaps day forever, this lil’ birdie will go to the market. And everyone will buy him. This isn’t a “you should consider getting a playset” card, it’s a “sell your semen (ask Pete for the semen buylist!) to get a set.” For once you have, you can not only officially call yourself a playa, but write on them like I do just to show the world how kewl you are because you have a set of Birds.

And there you have it: the Top Ten One-Mana Creatures ever printed. Pretty much. Feel free to debate in the forums, but please do not, under any circumstances, discuss.

Tomorrow: the Top Ten Two-Mana Creatures. Ever. Pretty much.

John Friggin’ Rizzo

Bonus, extra words!

Dave Williams played my deck at the Invitational to a 2-1 record because he is good at poker Magic. Some of you may have expected the Teysa.dec that I bragged about in a previous article, but funny story: I sent the article into Craig, awaiting Wizards’ okay to go ahead and publish, but this okay was not immediately forthcoming, mostly because Wizards is bad at everything and hates when we try to build our own decks since it’s their job to build our decks for us, and if they feel froggy, make everyone quit Magic.

The Tesya deck/article sat around in cyber-England for about ten days, a period in which I decided it wasn’t cool enough, or different enough, or befitting the Invitationalists who were, coincidentally, invited. Thus, I went native. The explanation piece I sent to Zvi, who may or may not have scoffed and balked and guffawed at my logic:

Hola Zvi,

RE: Teysa deck you may or may not have read about depending on when it was posted.

Ignore, pls/thx.

Some guys may not try to abuse the living snot out of their avatars. Considering that the Fallen Angel avatar allows a drain one for each guy that bins, I decided to not be one of those guys and make sure my men do just that, preferably on demand.

In order to get as much bang for the buck as possible, I determined that fellows who had a reason to bin themselves were sexy by default. Sakura-Tribe Elder was a natural: fetching a land and improving draws while draining for one feels like at least a two-for-one; as was Bile Urchin, who sacs to suck ten percent of life from the bad guy and drains for spite.

Following closely on their heels were both Blood Pet and Wild Cantor, who not only sac for a drain, but “replace” themselves with mana, allowing a weird cantrip kind of effect that is offensive to the phrase “draw a card.”

If those “mana guys” made the cut, then the granddaddy of free mana (no, not Priest of Gix), Overeager Apprentice, needed to represent. Not only is he Dark Ritual on a stick without wasting four slots on cards that cannot attack and are not optimal draws after turn 3, but his discard “drawback” allows an additional creature to hit the bin, which if not gravy, is at least a side of cranberry sauce. Plus, Bennie Smith likes that guy.

Rounding out the creature set with Birds of Paradise, who, combined with the quick mana guys/drainers, allows this deck to abuse mana like Tolarian Academy was never banned. Kinda.

The next question was what to do with all those dead guys? The answer was two-fold.

First, with Fecundity on board, every sac not only drains one but also draws a card. When a mana creature is sacced, it gets ugly in a hurry. They not only replace themselves mana-wise, but the fresh card, which is often another mana guy, tends to feed itself into a loop of free card drawing at absolutely zero cost to you, but at a decidedly unsexy loss of life for the opponent.

Second, once these guys bin themselves, how can this further the agenda of actually winning the game? Enter Tombstone Stairwell.

Guys die in furtherance of adding mana, drawing a card, or at least draining on the way out, and when they’re dead and buried, tally up a boatload of hasty zombies. The fact that the tokens die at the end of any turn is a tremendous boon to the strategy of the deck, allowing the clock to speed up before anyone has time to ask about Memorex, let alone remember that “guy on the couch” commercial from when MTV actually played videos.

An additional piece of serendipity is that the tokens show up during each player’s upkeep, meaning that the benefits are immediate; you don’t need to wait to untap – scores of free blockers jump into play during the opponent’s turn, and a delicious end-of-turn drain for a bunch adds insult to insult. It’s almost like the Lurking Informant “kill you during your upkeep,” but in reverse with a time delay. Sorta.

Once you do untap and pay the cumulative upkeep, which in playtesting heh and snicker has never reached more than 2bb nor needed to, the fun ensues:

Your 2/2 tokens (most likely at least four of them, usually upwards of six or seven or even more) smash face, probably not running into a lot of opposition since it’s unlikely the opponent can take much advantage of Stairwell, but even if they can’t break though for any damage (um, okay), they still drain for a large amount at the end of your turn.

Add Fecundity to the mix, which will draw you a ton of cards and “force you” to discard additional creatures due to being above the “seven cards in hand” rule, and the opponent should simply concede rather than get beat by a deck that contains so many imitation beatsticks.

Skullclamp draws an obscene amount of cards if Need Be, although the Be ordinarily does not Need, and it also lets you keep seemingly iffy hands to draw into the good stuff, which in this deck is a fistful of even more bad creatures.

Likewise, Diabolic Intent not only gets you the exact card you need, but drains for one as an additional bonus. Dimir House Guard is an extra tutor for Stairwell, which, in case I haven’t been clear, is the absolute game-winning bomb please restrict it immediately in all Limited formats, thx.

Since we’re not allowed to use a sideboard unless we have Wishes in the main, I threw in a single-at-the-last-minute Death Wish and tweaked the board for as many generic and situational bullets as I could imagine, but didn’t really think too hard because time was of the essence. While this makes the deck 61 cards, I felt eliminating any of the other cards would be detrimental, thus: add one card. If you draw it, fine. If not, whatever. Wakefield and his 62 grins at how I stick it to the man.

I didn’t want the deck to be completely helpless against what my fellow deckbuilders hath wrought, and while I don’t expect Wish (half your life lol!) to be an important component, it’s there, with two Intents to fetch it if the situation becomes dire. I guess.

Thus, the deck:

It looks bad. No, worse.

So bad that there isn’t a first pick to be seen anywhere.
So bad that Chris Romeo would demand I add more rares.
So bad that you just picked your ass up from the floor after laughing it off lmao.

The usual game plays out with a turn 1 “mana guy,” which, when it leads to a turn 2 Fecundity, gets the game on in a hurry. From there, it’s nearly academic. Drop a land, sac guys and draw cards. It won’t take long to get Intent, House Guard or gee, even Stairwell.

When the ‘Well hits, even on turn 3, it’s usually a one-turn clock, with half of that being the opponents’ turn rofl.

Even without what appears to be a “win more” card in Fecundity, Stairwell often wins the game single-handedly. Putting men in the ‘yard is simply a matter of casting them. They know what to do once they hit play.

Odd plays, such as saccing Elder main phase or ‘Clamping him, are the norm, as are tapping the Birds to feed itself to the ‘Clamp, and saccing Cantor to play a Cantor you sac to play Blood Pet which in turn you sac to play another Blood Pet that begets Apprentice, which may or may not immediately get activated.

I’m satisfied with the deck’s ability to weather early creature rushes: tons of early men, most of which will keep counters off Jitte gives me a sense of security that may or may not end up being false. Nevertheless, any deck that wastes turn 4 playing and equipping Jitte is probably going to lose.

However, if someone builds a ridiculous combo deck (probably based on Dark Ritual and/or Lion’s Eye Diamond), or simply repackages Affinity, I’m concerned this deck won’t have enough gas in the tank. Still, it does go *about* 50/50 with Friggorid, which fills me with happy thoughts considering that sumbitch done broke so many rules.

I shudder to think how crazy this deck could be in a multi-player vanguard environment.

frigginrizzo: <–thinks.


The Nut Low may not be what the Invitees are looking for in an overpowered deck, but it does possess subtle elements of power, and attempts to make full use of the chosen avatar, which, I imagine is what you guys were looking for. If not, hold up The Invitational so I can start over.

In theory (even if I’m not completely sold), combo, heavy discard, and decks with lots of permission or graveyard removal (sure, right, okay) may give it major fits. Of course, this remains to be seen, especially considering The Nut Low can and has set up the kill on turn 3, although turns 4 or 5 are more likely. If it takes longer than that, consider yourself not very good at Magic.

Based on nothing more than my eternal optimism, I don’t see how this deck can lose to (non-flying) weenie rushes, anything that shuts down the attack phase, Burning-Tree Shaman pings, or guys that foolishly waste valuable card slots on creature removal, be it of the spot or global variety.

Then again, you do have some sick chefs brewing bizarre recipes, so if this deck sucks, please consider the source. But if it rules, send my greedy ass sad, lonely and frightened children lots of free booster boxes.

It’s been both a blast and an honor contributing to this shindig, so, without further ado (or actually, a couple months of ado)… let the bidding begin.

The End.