I just wanted to start by saying thank you to everyone who wrote me last week to offer suggestions and praise. That sort of thing builds up my ego – and isn’t that the real reason everyone writes?
I decided it was time for my group to loosen up. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has been pretty easygoing and happy go lucky, but the intensity in our games has been increasing as of late and I decided to break that. I had been saying for months that I would build a”Chicken” deck, and I finally completed it over the weekend. Naturally, I didn’t tell anyone that I would be playing my chicken deck; why wreck the surprise? My decklist exposes the silliness of the deck, as well as my limited card supply and poor deckbuilding skills. Just keep in mind that this is a”Chicken” deck.
- Many chickens (this is a chicken deck)
- Goblin Bookie (I want to reroll dice often with this deck)
- Spark Fiend (Lots of die rolling here)
- Clam-I-Am (Reroll any 3)
- Psychic Network (it does nothing for this deck, but having everyone hold cards on their forehead is a beautiful thing)
- Lifegain spells (how long was I going to survive with just chickens?)
- Volrath’s Laboratory (2/2 black chickens for 5 mana? Sounds like a winning idea to me!)
- Random bunch of tutors
- Enchantments to make my chickens bigger
- Artifacts that produce mana
- Almost every land I own that produces more than one color mana
Total = 60 cards
Give me a break; you didn’t think I would actually LIST the contents of this deck card by card, did you? I mean, why would I? Is someone actually going to copy this? Is someone actually going to try and make it better?
The purpose of this deck is to give me the opportunity to act like a fool. I normally act like a fool, but now, it is a required part of my deck. I picked every card I had that required me to roll dice. The idea is to get Chicken à la King into play. For those of you who don’t know the joy of Unglued, Chicken à la King reads:
Chicken à la King
Whenever a 6 is rolled on a six-sided die, put a +1/+1 counter on each chicken in play (You may roll dice only when a card instructs you to.)
Tap a Chicken you control: Roll a six-sided die.
During the Chicken Revolution, the king managed to keep his head while the others — well, just ran around.
Once he is in play, I tap every chicken I have just before the start of my turn in an attempt to roll a six for bigger chickens.
Winning is not a big priority with this deck. Winning is not even a consideration for this deck. I am simply hoping to say”Peck you for two,” or”Chicken beats,””Fried Chicken,””What’s the matter… You chicken?”, and other phrases not suitable for the younger readers. Admittedly, all very lame jokes – but they will be funny tonight, as it will be the appropriate setting. Well, wish me cluck!
Game one — The Big Chick Lick
Our group plays attack left, always. Tonight, there were five of us: Shane, Scott, Darren, Colin and myself. This was also the order of play for the first game. Funny how that just worked out that way.
The game started slowly, everyone simply dropping a land… Except me. I drop my Goblin Bookie and immediately get weird looks. I have played Unglued cards before, but never this one.
By the third round, Scott’s deck has become obvious: The Minotaur deck. I have seen Scott play this deck the last four times he has played, and it has never placed any higher than third in any game that has been played. Minotaurs and chickens… Someone is in for an easy win in this game.
On the third round, Scott drops a Giant Strength on my Goblin Bookie. Before that, I had hit the defenseless Shane twice with the Bookie and he took it. Images of the little Bookie breaking a pinky because he didn’t get paid floated through my head. With Giant Strength, I expect that Scott thought he was going to be a legbreaking Bookie. While Shane was willing to take one point, three was a little much and my Bookie was hit by Lightning. I’m sure the Bookie was calculating the odds of what that happening were.
This is an example of what can happen when you don’t watch the political game. Scott was hoping for a friend in me by making my creature a little bigger. He was also hoping that I would really lay a beating on Shane. If he had considered what Shane’s reaction would be, he most certainly wouldn’t have made the Bookie any bigger. Shane considered the Bookie a minor nuisance… And he was right. This is a Chicken deck we are talking about here, and everyone around the board knew it. Shane would continue to take one point of damage, and everyone would laugh about”Bookie Beats.” Once he became a 3/3, he was a threat and was dealt with accordingly… And all Scott did was guarantee the demise of the Bookie. A better political play would be to give the Giant Strength to Darren, and let him barge around the board with his big creatures, made even nastier by the Giant Strength. The best move, however, would have been to do nothing with the Giant Strength. He was playing a Minotaur deck and needed all the help he could get!
By round five, I had Worldly Tutored for Chicken à la King and he was in play. Unfortunately, he wasn’t getting any help. Thankfully, Colin was plenty busy dealing with Darren’s deck, a red-green monstrosity that I wasn’t sure about yet.
Round eight came and things became clear. Shane was playing an Elf/Winter Orb deck. Tie everyone’s land up, while he put a shwack of elves on the table, using mana from the Elves already in play. Coat of Arms would hit soon after and everything would wrap up quickly. If that didn’t quite do it, Hurricanes would have to finish. At this point, only the Winter Orb was out, which probably saved me from a quick death. Darren was playing some modified Fires deck that never saw Fires. This deck was still keeping Colin and his shadow/rat deck busy.
Darren managed to rid the game of Winter Orb and things began to move. Shane played the Llanowar Elite with the kicker and went nuts on poor Scott. Two Tahngarths and several other minotaurs later, Scott did eventually get rid of the thing. It also left his life low enough to be vulnerable to a Hurricane from Shane, which put him out of his misery.
The four of us remaining could see the writing on the wall. I had no way to stop shadow, so Colin was attacking me with them. In spite of my pleas to stop doing Darren’s work for him, he just kept coming, and soon a Heroes’ Reunion was required to keep me alive. I was not long for this game. Colin was being whittled down by Darren’s creatures, while Shane simply sat and waited.
Shane saw his opportunity the next turn and attacked, bringing Darren to nine life. With Shane at twelve life, a nine-point Hurricane was all that was needed to kill us all. I like to think my Chicken deck carried me to a second place finish, although there is a possibility that my placement at the table had something to do with that.
My finish in the first game demonstrated just how important sitting placement is for my group’s games. I will start each game by telling you who is sitting where around the table. With attack left, the person that you are attacking and the person attacking you are extremely important. Each player’s deck style dictates what is a good seat to start from. This game showed once again how important the seating arrangement can be.
Colin started off with a Rogue Elephant and immediately things looked ugly for Scott, sitting to his left. Invariably, Colin likes the creatures. His decks will start out like gangbusters, then run up against something it just can’t deal with. In this game, Scott was probably the best guy I could have had between me and Colin.
Scott is notorious for playing decks with very few creatures. He prefers to burn or drain or even attack your land. He will invariably do this to the opponent on his right. Quite often this backfires on him, as he makes the player on his right easy pickings for the next guy. By then, Scott’s deck has no way to handle the coming creature horde. I was hoping Scott would be true to form, and he almost was.
I was playing my Dromar deck. I will describe this deck in more detail in another article, but the purpose of the deck is to make Dromar one color, and bounce the opponents’ creatures back to their hands. If he gets out and can do damage, I can usually manage to bounce almost every single creature on the board back into their owners’ hand. Keeping him in play can be rough, as I own only one Dromar. Many times I am stuck with a three-color weenie deck that plays cute change color tricks to do two points of damage, or prevent damage. The deck is fun to play, but doesn’t have the best winning percentage.
I initially thought that Shane was playing a blue deck that would steal creatures, but I later discovered that it could also bounce creatures back into your hand with Hibernation and Sway of Illusion. This guaranteed problems for my deck. I was confident that I could work around this, as Shane knows that my decks are generally sub-par, and he will often overlook me when he decides what to do next.
Darren was playing a Specter deck. I didn’t see a single Blazing Specter, but Hypnotic, Abyssal and Doomsday all made appearances. I knew Shane would take every opportunity to steal the Specters, as they would probably be the most valuable creatures on the board, and Shane loves to turn a person’s deck against them, particularly when it is Darren.
The game itself played out because of the way everyone was positioned. I couldn’t hit Shane for more than two points, since he would just bounce my creatures to my hand. Shane and Darren battled back and forth for control of the Specters in play. I watched Shane’s Gilded Drake fly over to Darren for a Specter. I watched Darren’s Doomsday Specter get Mana Drained.
At one point, Shane played Hibernation, targeting all the creatures on the board. Scott responded by using the Crypt Rats’ ability, providing a more permanent solution to the creature problem.
At this point, I made my first stupid move of the game. On my turn, I held eight cards in hand. I opted to play Dromar’s Attendant rather than toss a creature. I didn’t need to play the Attendant, but thought it would be better than losing a card. My hand included Dromar and two counterspells. I was not expecting to use my counterspells to stop another spell, I was expecting to use them to keep Dromar in play… So I tapped out to cast the Attendant. Shane later decided that he needed a handful of cards, and casts Windfall to get it. I watch Dromar move from my hand to the graveyard, and my chance of winning fades away. This was to be only the first bad move of this game.
Darren seemed to control the tempo, but it was an illusion. Scott saw his opportunity and hit Shane with a Drain Life that put him out of the game, and returned Scott to safe ground with his life total. Darren did manage to put a little pressure on Colin. This lightened Colin’s assault on Scott, but not before Scott was down to six life, while everyone else was in the high teens. The Drain Life was the turning point of this game.
Scott then played Evincar’s Justice with the buyback, clearing out some room. Darren managed to put Colin out, then came after Scott. At this point, I Lobotomized Scott, revealing two Soul Burns and the Evincar’s Justice. Mistake number two came here: I chose the Evincar’s Justice. Buyback damage just seemed too nasty to leave it alone. I suspect I would have died anyway, especially without the two counterspells and Dromar, but why would I leave him with the Soul Burn he needed to kill me? The next two turns saw first Darren, then myself get Soul Burned. A final Syphon Soul put me out.
Obviously, trickery and stealth didn’t exactly play a big part in this game. My moaning and whining about losing Dromar did keep me in the game until the end, but only because Scott knew that I offered no threat. Perhaps I need to pack a few more surprises in my decks to take advantage of situations such as these.
This was a quick game. I took careful notes of the entire game, but I only need to tell you one thing for you to figure it all out. Necro, and no one could draw Disenchant. Darren didn’t actually get it into play until turn 5, and was stymied for a few turns by my Absolute Grace. He finally drew a Drain Life and killed me off, releasing his black creatures to go crazy.
Every turn he would drop a swamp, attack, cast a creature, cast some type of lifegain, then get five cards from Necro. Shane briefly threatened this by casting (and using) Chaos Orb. Darren stacks his land on top of each other. Shane tried to hit the thirteen swamps he had, but instead finished off a couple of creatures. That might have been enough to stop Necro.
I would like to say that it was a dirty combo deck, but he was using Necro simply to draw more individual cards. He used it to find land and direct damage. It was simply a beautiful thing.
This game would see combo rear its ugly head. I would say it was ugly, but if I had been playing it, I would have thought it was beautiful.
Darren started slowly, but managed an early Syphon Soul to get up to thirty life. There were some small attacks around the board, but nothing serious. By turn 6, Darren managed to get two Megrims into play. A single Wheel of Fortune forced everyone to take at least sixteen points of damage, putting everyone but Shane out of the game very quickly. Shane managed to get rid of one Megrim, and even did ten points of damage to Darren with creature beats… But in the end, more discard ended the game.
Your writer once again goes down without a win. Hmm… Perhaps this column is bad luck? I think it may have more to do with poor play choices and crazy Chicken decks. Tonight was even more fun than the last night. It is nights like these I really look forward to. Next week I hope to include a general Magic-related biography on one of the regular players in our group. As you get to know each person’s style, the play choices will become more and more evident.