Tonight, Wendy is leading a goal achievement meeting. What that means is that Wendy has six girls do mental exercises that focus their mind on how to
get where they want in life.
For instance, this week was, “Write down your final goal. Now, instead of working from where you are now to that final goal, work backwards. If you
want to own your own business, what would be the last step to happen right before that became reality? What are the steps that would have to happen to
get to that point? Work your way all the way back to where you are now. Now, what are you going to do tomorrow?”
It has been very effective. In fact, it is changing our lives.
Since this is Spain, they meet at a bar, go over last week’s homework, sip wine, and eat tapas. It’s supposed to be a ninety-minute meeting but she
usually calls me four hours later and says, “I’m walking home and found this nice bar. Do you want to come out and meet me for a toasta of steak and
I’ve been expecting this call. I expect it every Wednesday. “I’m dressed and ready to go. Where are you?”
Before that call happens, I’m going to play Magic. When she leaves for her meeting, I head to Evolution for a Standard tournament. I know everyone is
all about Extended right now â€” and I would be, too, except Extended has become “Most of the cards Jamie doesn’t own since he didn’t play for the last
three years.” So for those of you still interested in Standard, this article’s for you.
I’m still running mana ramp green with Eldrazi Temples, Emrakul, and All is dust.
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- 4 Joraga Treespeaker
- 3 Primeval Titan
- 3 Wurmcoil Engine
- 3 Steel Hellkite
Today, I’m hoping to avoid two decks â€” Vampires and Plated Geopedes, a.k.a. “I’m only playing twenty-two lands, but somehow I drop a fetch land every
turn and swing for five!”
We have a small turnout at the shop (Legacy in Spain gets fifty, Standard gets eight) but enough for a tournament.
My first round opponent is playing B/R Vampires. (The list has to be from some recent tournament, because I played an identical thing online the next
morning.) He’s a big guy, twenty-something, speaks some English; he’s very nice and has a full beard.
In the first game he gets me down to two before I stabilize with a couple of Wurmcoil Engines, get back up to fourteen, and cast Emrakul.
In the second game I have to mulligan down to six cards, and have Emrakul on the draw. He kills anything I put on the board and I fail to draw
non-creature accelerants. The third game is close â€” and right when I’m about to regain control, I die to a pumped man land.
I sideboarded wrong. I realized this later.
Since the deck comes out of the gate so fast, I should have removed my eight elves and sided in Baloths. Or removed my Summoning Traps and Emrakuls and
sided in Baloths. And another All is Dust. Most of my creatures are a lot bigger than his, and the life gain and size of the Baloths would have stopped
him from swinging every turn.
His friend (who has a bye this round) speaks English well and we chat a bit, him in English, me in Spanish. I really need to open up more to the people
here and get some better stories to tell. Like Flores, I think our best writing came from the stories we told about King Consult Tran or Alan Webter
or Joshie Trash Talker. As was pointed out in the Mark Rosewater interview,
those stories are easy to come by when you’re young â€” and much harder to do when you get married, have a kid, your friend has a kid or three, you move
to another country, your local Magic shop closes its doors, etc.
(No, I don’t have a kid â€” I was referring to Flores, and soon, Joshie. That’s right; Joshie Trash Talker is having a baby. I suggested he call it
Emrakul, Wendy suggested Jace.)
Pairings are shouted, not posted â€” so I have no one’s names to write down, sorry. My name is shouted, and I’m playing bye guy. I wreck that guy in zero
seconds and take a look around. What is everyone playing today? Plated Geopede, another Vampire deck but this one is mono-black, another R/B Vampires,
Valakut, and a couple U/B Control decks. Let me be paired up with U/B Control next round, please.
As I mentioned last week, my deck is almost an auto-win against U/B Control. I don’t recall ever losing even a game to it. I’m granted a gift in the
third round and paired up against a nice guy who plays very tight. He plays Jace a couple of times, draws a bunch of extra cards, kills Jace, plays
another, draws some more cards; I’m on the other side of the table feeling at peace. I am Buddha. I know my place in the universe and I know what
happens soon. He counters some stuff, I draw some land, he counters my Primeval Titan so I Summoning Trap, he counters that too, I Summoning Trap
again, Emrakul, extend the hand.
“Be at peace my son; all is as it should be.”
He slides a whole bunch of cards into his sideboard and I do not. I just shuffle. The second game goes much the same as the first with the addition of
“Memoricide your Traps.” (Trampas.)
You should have picked Emrakul.
I don’t know what his win condition is, but he doesn’t achieve it before I get to fifteen Eldrazi mana and cast Emrakul. He draws, thinks, scoops.
For some reason everyone’s packing up cards and people are leaving. What? Only three rounds? Oh well; thanks to my massive smashing of bye guy and U/B
Control, I get a pack of Scars of Mirrodin for my troubles and head home to play Magic Online until Wendy calls.
I smash a lot of face â€” but one thing annoying me is that I have four Llanowar Elves, four Joraga Treespeakers, four Explores, four Cultivates, and
three Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. What card do you think I see the most of in my opening draw?
Computers have always had a problem with randomization â€” a fact I discovered in the eighties in my college computer class. Yes, I am that old. I don’t
usually subscribe to the theory that Magic Online has a bad shuffler, but it is statistically impossible for me to be seeing so few of my sixteen mana
acceleration cards and yet, seeing an Emrakul 93% of my opening draws. I’ll happily post twenty screenshots of Emrakul in my opening hand if you like.
It happens so often I start screaming and swearing at the computer. “How the blankety blank blank is it possible I have drawn one of my three
Emrakuls on my opening draw in every single one of the past eight games? Oh my f******* God? Did I just draw my second Emrakul on draw number
two… How is that even possible?”
I need to go buy the opposite of a lottery ticket right now.
I challenge the Magic Online programmers to look into this, because I am not kidding. Bad draws happen in real life and in Magic Online â€” and when
people complain about the shuffler, I just shrug and dismiss them. I’ve been mana-screwed in real life as often as in Magic Online.
Drawing Emrakul in my opening hand so often has to be a bug.
Wendy calls, as expected, and I head out into the cold. The bar is full to bursting watching a soccer game. Wendy introduces me to all her new male
friends. (It’s amazing how many men want to become friends with Wendy when she goes into a bar alone.) We all shake hands, Wendy orders us some tapas,
and I chat with the African guy whose store had to close down six months ago. While my Spanish is improving, I know it still needs work. Complimenting
my visits to the Magic shops should be some Spanish lessons, so I decide to sign up for two classes a week with my teacher Montse. The bar is loud and
cramped, and the food is only mediocre, so we head out after a couple of beers.
The next day I head down to Eureka Madrid (the best Spanish school in Madrid) to see Montse. Since the last time I saw her I’ve gotten married,
published two books, and become a certified scuba diver. Since the last time she saw me, she’s had a baby, and had a brother die of cancer two weeks
ago. He went into the hospital for stomach pain, and two months later he was dead. We have a lot to talk about.
I spend the next morning playing more Magic.
My testing shows me that I’m often sitting on four and five mana with nothing to cast. I decide to switch out the Steel Hellkites and one Primeval
Titan for three Wolfbriar Elementals. This smoothes the mana curve out, while giving me an early blocker or an instant army late in the game. So far
he’s been the right choice. I can cast him as a 4/4 blocker, and if I get a good draw I can create an army that provides way too much for “sacrifice a
creature” black decks â€” and late in the game, he’s just insane. Like, Emrakul insane. Also, I don’t think here is a better card to cast after an All is
The next night Wendy has another girl’s night out where they go someplace and have their toes eaten by fish. Seriously. They all dunk their feet into a
tank and small fish nibble away all the dead skin off. It’s supposed to be like a pedicure, massage, and skin treatment all in one.
I stay home and play Magic and smash face.
I play a U/W Control player who trash-talks me about having Wolfbriar Elemental in “Eldrazi Green.” I let him know it’s for black or red aggressive
decks and he tells me “sure, whatever.” Then I cast Emrakul and he concedes. Eldrazi Green, my ass.
My next match is against an amazing U/G deck based around Genesis Wave. I don’t believe he had anything but creatures in the deck except for Genesis
Wave. It had Lotus Cobra, Halimar Depths, Jace, Primeval Titan, Frost Titan, and fetch lands. In the first game I kept drawing Wolfbriar Elementals and
little else. On the seventh turn he cast Genesis wave for ten, putting seven cards into play! I got rid of them all (except for the land) with
All is Dust â€” but then he did it again for more…
In the second I got a good draw to his crappy one and on turn 5 I cast Summoning Trap into Emrakul.
This is what the deck is all about.
While Emrakul is almost an auto-win against control, against any other deck you need to get the great draws to cast him, or the Summoning Trap has to
hit him. In other situations, he’s just a dead card…. Especially when you keep drawing him in your opening hand.
This is proven by the third game. My opening draw has two Emrakuls. I mulligan to six, keep, and then my first two draws are Emrakuls. I have
essentially mulliganed down to four thanks to these cards. And thus, I am smashed. Emrakul — Destroyer of hands!
But it does make me want to make up a Genesis Wave deck. And I do.
Genesis Wave.dek is interesting. I mean, look at this picture…
Using Elvish Archdruid to trigger Ezuri’s ability, I’m swinging for sixteen next turn, with enough mana left over to regenerate my entire gang.
I’m just saying.
But it doesn’t have the reach/flexibility of any deck containing All is Dust. I just lost to a green deck playing Eldrazi Monument. That deck is a joke
to Field of Green, which has tons of ways to smash that deck in the face, like a drunk hitting you with a heavy mug of beer. I decide that, as fun as
it is, it’s not going to be viable. Later, I’m walking down the street and thinking — okay, you can’t run All is Dust. What can you run that would take
care of problem cards like Eldrazi Monument? How about Brittle Effigy? Huh, only creatures…. Damn.
The deck is both amazing and incredibly sucky. Just like MMA, styles make fights. I completely smash some decks and get completely smashed by others.
The lack of All is Dust bothers me. Against B/R, it’s awesome. Against most other green decks? Awesome. Against U/W? Horrible. They have nice sideboard
cards for everything I have, while I have nothing for you. If you think about it, “Counter target creature spell” or “Counter a green spell” or “Kill a
non-black creature” are pretty much all sideboard cards against green. I’ve played black, trust me, I know. Side in eight creature elimination spells
and boom! “Whatchu gonna do now, homie? That’s right; sign your loser slip and go write another column about going 1-3 drop. Biatch.”
Still, I get into the same situation playing Field of Green. When I lose with Field of Green, I think, “My Genesis Wave deck would have smashed that
guy…” â€” and when I play my Genesis Wave deck, I’m thinking “Where are my All is Dust and Summoning Traps?”
Ergo, I continue to work on solutions for both.
Improvements to Magic Online:
1. Why is there no button for “tap all my mana”? (Because only you play Mono-Green, Wakefield.)
2. Why is there no button for “swing with everything”?
3. Why is there no button for “my opponent is stalling, please dish out some prison type justice to him”?
4. Why is there no “My opponent is clearly playing another game of Magic or playing Poker at the same time as playing me, so he should be banned
forever for wasting my time”?
5. How about a filter for “Show me all the cards I own for X format without showing me cards legal in other formats.” How would this be useful? Show me
how many Legacy specific cards I own, please? Seven… Huh. How many cards do I own that are Extended cards, but not playable in Standard? Four. Great.
So, if I want to play Extended or Legacy, I need to shell out a lot of dough.
Random Deck Idea:
I love the Eldrazi lands, including Eye of Ugin. Notice that the Eye allows you to only search for colorless creatures, i.e. Wurmcoil Engine. But he
reduces the cost of all Eldrazi Spells. Spells like Eldrazi Conscription. What if I were to modify Field of Green so that it looked more like this:
I like the idea of casting a skittering invasion, an All is Dust, and then Eldrazi Conscription. Or even Conscription on a Wurmcoil Engine. While I
enjoy Slice in Twain, Acidic Slimes are in the side because with three Tectonic Edges and four Acidic Slimes, I’m much more prepared to handle Valakut,
which can be troublesome.
Good luck and have fun â€” suggestions always welcome â€”
Jamie C. Wakefield