The Beginnings Of An FNM Hero

Mark Nestico returns to talk about his latest Magic project: one you may get involved in! Check out what Mark has been up to Magically and how you can journey with him on his next big adventure!

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated…

…by me.

I greatly exaggerated my demise.

Sorry about that.

On my quest to obtain the elusive and precious prize of “adulthood” I managed to go back to school, searched for new employment, joined a gym, stopped
eating Chipotle four times a week, adopted a new cat, and quit playing Magic.

That last part really sucked.

I started gardening, but constantly being around flowers made me think of green mana. When I found out that the soft drink Surge was coming back I, without
thinking, told my wife that they were “reprinting” one of my favorite sodas from my childhood. A guest at my restaurant tried to interrupt another who was
speaking to me, so I told her to wait because the gentleman “held priority.”

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

What nobody tells you about adulthood is that when you achieve it, you have free time galore. The repetition of a routine meant that I took naps a lot.
“Sleep is just pain leaving the body.” I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes.

The allure of Magic was temporarily quelled by Hearthstone, which is roughly eleventy-billion times better to play online but really lacks the charm of
having a person get pissed off at you for top-decking them out of the game. I can’t audibly hear my opponent throw a fit when I draw that Unleash the
Hounds to go with the Starving Buzzard I have in my hand, so as much fun as it is to get Legendary– which mind you is hella fun–what I yearned for most
was the interaction.

My wife could tell something was wrong when she caught me looking longingly at the deckboxes I had stuffed away in my closet. I was spending a lot of time
in there and like any good woman she’d slide me Fruit Rollups under the door while sighing outloud as she told her mother “there’s something wrong with
Mark.” There was. He missed being a magician.


This desire to sling spells only intensified because GP Orlando is coming to town. I was constantly hounded on social media and via text by people who,
while lauding my efforts to step up get my business together, also couldn’t wait to see me crack like a piece of cheap plaster and start playing again.

Are you going to Grand Prix Orlando?” They hissed at me from all sides.


But Mark…all your friends are going…” One of them immediately morphs into a snake.

I’m not going.

Have you looked at the sssssssspoiler?” My faith immediately tested.

I have not. I don’t plan on

It’sss a very mid-rangey ssssset, Mark. You love midrange.” I feel like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.

I mean…I guess I’ll take a look….

Gooble-Gobble, Gooble-Gobble, one of us, one of us!”

So I started looking at the spoiler. Immediately I was drawn into the world of Khans, with its many tribes, three-color spells that look incredible, and



They’re reprinting those?

If you’ve ever wondered what a bald 28-year-old man looks like when he finds out that Polluted Delta is coming back, look no further than this.

My reaction was pretty simple at its core: this is pretty freaking awesome. It wasn’t hard to sell me on the finer points of Khans after that because I
spent the next few days hungrily awaiting spoilers and catching up on what I had missed the last three and a half months. This is the list I compiled:

-Find out why everyone on your Facebook keeps posting “#rabblerabble” at least once a week.

-Todd Anderson’s facial hair makes him look like a Southern Fried Wolverine.

-CVM finally gets to shave his beard. Ginger Santa Claus is dead.

-You missed Jund Planeswalkers. Congratulations on quitting when the only shard you ever win with becomes great again.

-WOTC still hasn’t figured out coverage. Our lead over Clash of the Clans is dwindling.

-Make sure to track down Tom Ross and release an EMP when you’re next to him. His circuits will fry and everyone will finally see that he’s a robot.

There’s actually more to this collection of things to do, but I’m guessing that you’re not interested in my love life or what I’m supposed to get at the
grocery store tomorrow.

Of course, spying from afar can only generate so much satisfaction, and as it is with so many things, eventually they escalate.

My saving grace for months was that both local card shops closed down leaving me no place to play Magic. This meant that without a place to battle, it was
easier succumbing to the simplicity of non-activity. Of course some of my friends decided to get together and open a new store, and thus 2 Drop Game Store
of Ft. Myers was born. I tried to stay away when they opened. I really did. That lasted roughly a week before my curiosity expanded into actively wanting
to be there, and my first visit saw me entering an M15 draft. I read the card Triplicate Spirits, drafted it, and promptly went 3-0.

Much like Aerosmith I was back in the saddle again, and that old familiar tug turned into a pull and, well…here we are!

Now this is the part of the show where things get interesting.

I have no collection anymore.

When I thought I was done playing I figured that my need for cards was nonexistent, so I parted with just about everything that I have.

Except my Euro and APAC lands. Those stay with Daddy.

I don’t plan on playing Standard until Khans of Tarkir comes out, but with that being said, I have very little idea what cards are optimal or what decks
are going to be good. I’m sure many of you have the same hindrance, but unlike me, I’m guessing some of those reading have cards. That gives you a distinct

In this scenario I like to turn to the audience. In the past you kind readers have offered decklists, advice, strategies, and all of that is going to come
in to play here.

We’re dusting off an old favorite, kiddies.

FNM Hero was a pretty cool concept in 2012, and it seemed that a lot of people are interested in the idea of starting from the bottom until you can
generate a collection that allows you to play any deck that you want.

I’m intentionally going to work off of a very limited budget. I want to remember what it feels like to be a new player with extremely limited resources.

Also I feel a lot like this dog:

The format has changed a lot, and I wasn’t really paying much attention before things got all wonky.

My last few weeks in Magic were spent trying to figure out if I was going to get out of Magic, and as a side-effect I don’t think I should be making my own

I’ll be turning to you all for exactly what I should be doing, trading for, buying, and most importantly– what I should be playing.

I think the most important aspect of this is going to be treating me like you’d treat a friend who is just getting involved in the game. I probably
wouldn’t be throwing out decks that are going to cost five hundred dollars to build because a new player wouldn’t be able to do that right off the bat more
than likely, so budget-friendly decks that give a player at FNM a chance to succeed is going to be important.

I urge you to place your best Khans-Standard legal deck and give us all good reasons why this should be the one I go forward with in my adventures. You’ll
even get the credit for it! You’ll be internet famous like that one guy who sang Chocolate Rain!

So get cracking, kiddies!

I need direction!

I need help!





Bonus Section! Khans of Tarkir: Impact Buys

When you’re trying to make a collection out of almost nothing, it’s important to be selective about the cards you pay for. One of my strengths has always
been identifying cards that are cheap now but will almost certainly jump in price.

Since I’m trying to be legit about this whole FNM Hero thing I can’t really dive into what cards I think are the best buys, so I’m passing the savings on
to you!

#3 Butcher of the Horde

At $5.99 this card seems too cheap not to buy. Butcher feels like a mythic effect on a rare, which in my eyes means it’s going to see some serious play.
BBD showcased the power of this card in a VS Video against Todd Anderson recently, but this was
only the start. When a creature looks this good in a completely unpolished shell you have to take notice. There is a deck for Butcher of the Horde, and
it’s going to be the centerpiece of it. I think this card could easily see a $10-15 price tag.

#2 Anafenza, the Foremost

Speaking of mythic effects, Anafenza is the kind of mythic I like getting involved in. Abzan is going to be extremely good in the early months of Khans
Standard strictly off the back of Siege Rhino. Red decks should be very proactive and strong choices in the first few weeks, and the Rhino can invalidate
their strategy almost single-handedly. Everyone knows Siege Rhino is great, however, but what you have to remember is that deck is going to need
role-players. Anafenza is a huge body and a great effect for only three mana, and in conjunction with some painlands and Elvish Mystic could be dropped as
early as turn 2. $7.99 seems low to me, especially because of the multiple formats (with better mana) that this card could be played in due to the second
ability on it.

#1 Ashcloud Phoenix :


This card is two dollars and ninety-nine cents.

As a mythic this is where some serious gains can be made. It’s a 4/1 flier for four, which is already some impressive power in a color that is going to be
extremely aggressive. This topping the curve isn’t out of the question for red decks, especially with the added value of it coming back after dying as a
morph. If you ever reach six mana even more can be gained with the free shock from flipping it. I feel like this card is actually very underrated, and at
just three dollars a single copy will almost certainly outweigh the cost of a playset down the line.

There are a plethora of other cards I’m interested in purchasing, but these all feel like the most intriguing buys. Any cards you’re speculating on? Let me

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, but I look forward to seeing what decks people churn out for me. I’ll be picking up the cards for the winning list
and testing/tuning it for when Khans drops, and you’ll all get to take the ride with me.

Speaking of rides, it feels good to be writing this. Being away from Magic for over three months felt like forever.

I can’t wait to read your “oh that didn’t last long” comments. I’m sure my trolls are elated that I’m back. I missed them too.

Let’s get back to work, kiddies.

I’m back.