The Casual Report #8: Crazy Coke-Free, Combo-Free Multiplayer Madness!

Pre-game show: I give Dave a call, offering to give him a ride into town, since I am watching my own house for a few weeks this month* and am staying close to his place. I did this mostly just to find out if he is going, and because Dave is a good guy and…

Pre-game show:

I give Dave a call, offering to give him a ride into town, since I am watching my own house for a few weeks this month* and am staying close to his place. I did this mostly just to find out if he is going, and because Dave is a good guy and will probably offer me a ride next week. When you put $80.00 of gas in your truck every two weeks, carpooling every once in a while sounds like a good thing.

We make a quick stop at the corner store where Dave grabs some chips and Coke, while the cheapskate part of my brain says,”Don’t do it! You drink too much Coke already!” I listen to my brain and wait in my vehicle for Dave to select his delectable treats. I even turn down his offer of a free Coke.

I should have known how the night was going to go from that moment.

I never turn down free Coke. (Meaning the tasty carbonated caffeinated beverage. I have never been offered any other kind of coke, but I would turn it down, free or otherwise. You should do the same, kiddies! Drugs are bad, and Magic is my anti-drug. Thus ends the preachy portion of the article.)

We got to Shayne and Colin’s place to find Colin was not there and would not be playing tonight. Scott showed up next, then Darren only minutes later. Five would be it for tonight’s festivities.

Just a brief note… No one there knew what was happening with Jason, so I have no report on the pending pregnancy, boy, girl or continuing.***

Game one:

The die rolls showed that I would play first, followed by Shayne, Dave, Darren, and finally Scott. Darren makes the early Megrim play and I was worried right away. I was getting mana-screwed and didn’t need to have to pay life just to toss the extra card I had. Dave was kind enough to play Multani’s Decree, solving my Megrim problem before it became an issue.

Scott had decided to play a Squirrel deck and that would make the Megrim problem I thought I had, a minor issue. Darren would not be so easily dissuaded, and played Yawgmoth’s Will, with Dark Ritual, to bring the Megrim back into play. Ahh, squirrels I can’t stop and damage from a bloody Megrim. Isn’t multiplayer wonderful?

Darren’s problem was that everyone had seen his deck, and knew exactly what it could do, so anyone who could kill an enchantment targeted the Megrim. Once again, the Megrim was gone. However, I still had these pesky squirrels causing me problems, and Scott now had Mirari out, doubling every squirrel creation spell he played. My deck was only just starting to come out of the gates, but it appeared that it would all be too late.

Darren played what I hope would be a solution to the squirrels in a Thrashing Wumpus. The problem was that Darren was sitting to Scott’s right, so the squirrels wouldn’t be his problem for a very long time, so it looked like I wouldn’t be getting much help there. Instead, the topdeck gods were finally starting to smile on me, as a timely Wash Out saved me and forced Scott and Dave (more green) to start over from scratch.

Dave recovered quickly with an Artifact Mutation on Scott’s Mirari, but the real battle on the board seemed to revolve around Darren’s Megrim. Over seven turns, the Megrim was destroyed three different times, as Darren tried again and again to put it into play and keep it there.

Scott’s deck, I soon discovered, isn’t actually a Squirrel deck as much as a G/U deck that tries to abuse flashback. For two successive turns, Scott’s Arrogant Wurm attacked with Muscle Bursts added for good measure, then a Sylvan Might as well. In the end, with some careful plays (read: desperate chump blocking) I end up taking only two points of damage, leaving me at a precarious four points of damage, with a deck that has no way to gain life. Hmm, the likelihood me winning this game was fading very fast.

Dave started to put some real pressure on Darren with the Centaur Chieftain and a Rushwood Elemental that he had in play.

Faced with the pressure, Darren finally managed to get a Megrim on the board, his fourth Megrim to hit the board, and cast Unnerve. That was enough to kill me, and a second Unnerve was enough to kill Scott as well.

Shayne, whose sole plays of note up to this point had been to get rid of the previous Megrims, sent in his Mystic Zealots, with threshold, and they finished off Dave.

The Wumpus that Darren had cast much earlier was still in play, and Darren took the opportunity to cast a Spirit Link on it. This would bring Darren’s life totals out of the danger zone, but it would also turn the Wumpus into an even bigger target than he already was. Shayne managed to get rid of it and pounded endlessly on Darren with the Zealots to win.

Bruce’s Helpful Multiplayer Hints

So, fair readers, what were we reminded of by this multiplayer game (because by now, everyone must know the truth of the coming statements)?

  1. Change your decks regularly. Darren had to spend an awful lot of time fighting to keep his Megrim out, just because everyone in the group had seen his deck and knew exactly what was going to happen if it stayed in play. You absolutely must play new decks on a regular basis, just so everyone is surprised by your play. While Megrim is pretty much a big”Hit Me” sign, quite often, what is innocent-looking the first time or two becomes a warning sign every time your group sees it. Change up your decks and do it regularly.

  2. Hiding in the weeds works. Anthony Alongi can say all he wants about putting out the big stick and daring anyone to do something about it, but that is a surefire way to burn out your deck, being forced to defend it. That is exactly what happened in this game to Darren. Shayne, on the other hand, did very little right up until the end, then hammered through for the victory. He had the cards he needed and was able to protect them until they could get the job done. Another quiet victory.

Game two:

I’d tell you the turn order, but it didn’t matter. I’d tell you what deck type everyone was playing, but it didn’t matter. Suffice it to say that by around turn five, Dave was able to produce forty-six mana. While most of you could probably tell me many ways that Dave could kill four opponents in one turn with forty-six mana, Dave chose to go an alternate route, using The Ultimate Nightmare of Wizards of the Coast Customer Service.**** Ahh, casual play. Ahh, Unglued. My Chicken deck never did that.

Game three:

Game three was yet another rocket-like game – but this time, it was brutally fast creatures and suicidal play on my part that moved this game along.

This would be the debut of my Soldier deck, with the three borrowed Coats of Arms. In all honesty, this should be a Goblin deck, but I saw Goblin Trenches and decided that I was just going to have to go with soldiers. The soldiers get an assist from Trumpet Blast, Morale and other cards of that ilk.

Shayne started with an early Gangrenous Zombies, and he even had the Snow-covered lands to do the two points of damage to all creatures instead of just one.***** This would be a real problem for my early Goblin Soldier tokens, but luckily Shayne sacked it before I really had anything getting started.

Soon enough things got ugly for Dave, the first player on my left. My soldiers (okay, goblin soldiers – but you people are really wrecking the flavour of the deck here) attacked, then were Trumpet Blasted to put Dave out of the game.

I could see the writing on the wall for my deck, so I chose to cast a Coat of Arms. I managed to get ten points of damage on to Darren, the next target, before he killed the only blocker I had kept back to stop Scott. On Shayne’s turn in that round, he cast two Copy Artifacts, copying the Coat of Arms. Scott attacked me with the only soldier he had in play, which was now a 19/19 behemoth that I had no blockers for.


Scott manages to kill Darren, in spite of the now-puny soldier, and even works Shayne over for the victory.

Game four:

The turn order went: Bruce first (again), followed by Darren, Shane, Scott, and Dave

So I provide you all with”Helpful Multiplayer Hints,” then ignore my own hint and try the Soldier deck again. I’m sorry, folks, but it is a new deck for me and I enjoy playing it.

Besides, they were hints, not laws.

The most memorable play of the night

Shayne plays a Skyshroud Trooper. Someone asked why he would play that, since it really doesn’t give you the mana when you need it. Shayne’s reply was,”I play that so Tim’s can’t kill it!”

Darren was happy enough to play the Razorfin Hunter on his next turn. Shayne points at the Razorfin Hunter and smugly announces,”There! That’s why!”

Darren sat through all of this and decided it would just be too funny, stating,”That’s why I play Terminate!” and toasted the Skyshroud Trooper. It was just hysterical!

Hmm, I just read that again and it really isn’t funny at all, huh?


Why are so many funny moments part of the”guess you had to be there” variety? Maybe we can just all forget about this and just move on.

Back to game four

Shayne was undaunted by the Terminate and cast Uktabi Wildcats, then enchanted it with Aspect of Wolf. That really does seem to be his favorite enchantment lately. Actually, Whip Silk and Rancor are. Maybe Aluren.

I didn’t want to be left out of all the fun, so I cast a Coat of Arms, with three Goblin Soldier tokens in play. There was a brief argument that was never resolved, so I’ll just put it out to all of you. How big are my token creatures right now, assuming there were no other goblins or soldiers in play? Do they each get +2/+2 or +4/+4 because there are other goblins and soldiers in play? I figured it would be pretty cheesy to insist that each token provided +2/+2 to each other token, so when I calculated the damage I used the +1/+1. You can all tell me what you think.

Darren’s flyers were hitting Shayne throughout the game, and Shayne could find nothing to stop them, which is a good way to get killed. When Darren managed to continue the onslaught and took out Scott too. Dave cast Light of Day before Darren’s beating machine could get started on him, and effectively shut him down.

I was only too happy to smash Darren with four Goblin tokens, then cast Trumpet Blast, Morale and Warrior’s Honor to put Darren right out of the game. Of course, I did make myself into very easy pickings for Dave, but when I saw that opportunity, I just had to take it. Wheee!

Game five:

It was beginning to get late and my notes are crap. Sorry. Rather than my smooth, flowing game description, try this out:

Darren played an early Rhystic Study. This is a great card in multiplayer. We have always played it as an irritant, hoping that people will tap lands to prevent you from drawing cards. Almost no one in our group is willing to do that, so the Rhystic Study players have to take care not to deck themselves. This card is truly card advantage. Try it with your group!

“If you are having trouble finding a copy, log on right here at StarCity games, where, with a supply of over 1,000,000 Magic card singles, we have every card you’re looking for! That’s StarCity games!” (Okay Ferrett, when do I get my cut? Pete? Come on!)

Darren played Rising Waters (“Just one more card available here at StarCity games!”) and slowed the game down, then Washed Out black and white. He decided this would be a good time for Polar Kraken (“Just one more card, etc., etc. Hey! StarCity games!!”) to start beating down around the board.

Dave uses his one available Plains to cast Swords to Plowshares (“Cards, StarCity, cheap, buy here!”).

Darren ended up having to get to work so he proceeded to Wash Out blue, leaving himself wide open, and dying the next turn.

I played my Specter deck and kicked but, getting the win in this game. Soul Burn (“StarCity! Buy your sh!t here!”) and Specter beats were just nasty enough. You would think I would take better notes when I win.

“This game was brought to you by StarCity games.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled article.

Game five (I know this is game six, but my notes have two Game fives – so this is Game five, dagnabbit!++):

The final game of the night was a four-player affair. For some reason, my decks seem to perform best with four players, and I tend to win more often later in the evening, so I was right up for this game.

This proved to be yet another quick game. Scott likes to use the casual multiplayer atmosphere to build decks that he just wouldn’t use in tournaments, so he opted for a five-color dragon deck. The first dragon to hit the board was Crosis. Dave just couldn’t draw anything to save himself and four turns later, it was all over for Dave.

I find that three-player games usually turn into a case of who will overextend themselves to put a player out of the game. The overextended player is then easy pickings for the remaining player who has sat quietly by and watched everything happen. That didn’t quite happen this time.

Scott was pushing on Shayne with Rith and a Vampiric Dragon, while Shayne had everyone’s land tied down with a Winter Orb. Shayne just wasn’t able to keep enough chump blockers in play, even with all the mana elves he had, so he eventually crumbled.

Even with all this time to build up a defence, I could do little. I was able to block Rith with a flying Vodalian Zombie, and I had enough mana to Capsize the Vampiric Dragon each turn, but once Cromat hit the board, it was over. I just could not keep up with the fat he had in play.

Post-game show:

Six games of multiplayer Magic in one night. I managed to win a game and had an absolutely great time. This is the reason people play multiplayer Magic around the kitchen table (or the table in the spare room), this is the reason Rizzo whips out the Foily Five; it is just plain fun. Who would have thought I could have fun playing Magic without Coke! I spent an evening with a fun group of guys and everybody had a great time. I can’t wait for next week!

Bruce Richard

[email protected]

* – For those of you considering buying a house with the someone you think you love before you are married… don’t. It leads to screwy situations like this one. For those of you considering buying a house after you are married… Don’t. If market doesn’t screw you over, your spouse will. For those of you considering marriage… Don’t. Forget the market, she will mess with your life and turn you into something you don’t want to be.**

** – Please ignore my bitter rant. Not every woman is a bitter shrew and not every guy has fecal matter for brains, it just seems that way sometimes.

*** – For those of you who didn’t read last week’s Casual Report, Jason was playing and his wife was due the next day.

**** – For those of you who don’t recognize either old or lame cards, see the list below. Happy to help.

***** – I would complain here, asking who still plays with snow-covered lands, but I am the biggest culprit (a.k.a. freak) with our group. Hey, I started playing just before Ice Age and I bought a lot of Starter+ decks then.

+ – Yes you young whippersnappers, tournament packs were called Starter decks then. We didn’t get pre-made decks when I first started out. You had to build them yourselves, by candlelight – if you were lucky enough to have candles! Somehow, there should be something about walking uphill both ways in there, but I am just learning”Geezerspeak.”

++ Hey, you see that? I’m getting this”Geezerspeak” down.

List of cards mentioned in this article that you probably won’t recognize because they are either old or lame or both.

The Ultimate Nightmare of Wizards of the Coast Customer Service

XYZRR, Sorcery,

Unglued Uncommon

The Ultimate Nightmare of Wizards of the Coast Customer Service deals X damage to each of Y target creatures and Z target players.

Mon.-Fri. 9:00 A.M.-8:00 P.M. Pacific

(206) 624-0933

Illus. Melissa A. Benson

Gangrenous Zombies

1BB, Summon Zombies 2/2, Ice Age Common

T: Sacrifice Gangrenous Zombies to have it deal 1 damage to each creature and player. If you control any snow-covered swamps, Gangrenous Zombies instead deals 2 damage to each creature and player.

Illus. Brian Snoddy

Skyshroud Troopers

3G, Summon Elves 3/3, Stronghold Common

T: Add G to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.

“We were not made for war. Like flowstone, Volrath shaped us to it.” –Eladamri, Lord of Leaves

Illus. DiTerlizzi

Uktabi Wildcats

4G, Summon Wildcats */*, Mirage Rare

Uktabi Wildcats has power and toughness each equal to the number of forests you control.

G, Sacrifice a forest: Regenerate

Illus. John Matson

Aspect of Wolf

1G, Enchant Creature, Alpha/Beta/Unlimited Edition Rare

Target creature’s power and toughness are increased by half the number of forests you have in play, rounding down for power and up for toughness.

Illus. Jeff A. Menges

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