I’m drowning in information. I’m drowning in new deck design, articles to read, new cards to look over, a huge box of old cards to sort
through and pull out the ones legal in Standard.
I’m drowning in writing. What should I do next? Finally transcribe my voice notes from our South America trip into text and write another travel
book? Plunge headfirst into Magic and get back into the swing of things after a month away? Finish Marilyn’s Story which I’ve
already put hundreds of hours into, and it still needs a hundred more? Update my blog more? Work on my fantasy novel? Try and make a book out of
“The Brothers Very Grimm?”
I’m also literally drowning. In a pool. I can’t catch a full breath of air. I keep choking on water, and I’m starting to panic.
Am I going to have to give this up? Having loved snorkeling so much in the Galapagos, Wendy and I have come to The Canary Isle, Lanzarote, so I can
become a certified diver. Wendy, of course, is already an advanced certified diver, allowed to go to a depth of 40 meters (100-120 feet, I think,
is her limit.) I’m going for my open water, which allows 18 meters. I’ve done the long-ass course online; we’ve booked this trip,
and now I’m not going to be able to do it?
“Jamie, what’s wrong?” Rachelle, my 21-year-old, petite, blond instructor with boobs the size of my head asks me.
“I can’t get a full breath of air.”
Drowning, literally or figuratively, is not fun.
While I love Magic, my return has not been as I envisioned it. I don’t mind the losing so much since I’ve always lost a lot before I get it
right, but being priced out of the game just sucks. I’m sorry, I hate mythics. And, I admit, I had forgotten the immense investment in both time
and money the game takes to be good.
I continue to work on “Unfair.”
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Primeval Titan
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 3 Steel Hellkite
- 3 Platinum Emperion
- 3 Precursor Golem
I’m not sure where to go with the sideboard, but so far it’s been working well enough that I haven’t lost my last six games.
I’ll be honest; they were in the practice room. (Looking back on the games, I see that some of them were matches, and I didn’t lose a
match, but I did lose a game.)
My first game, I played against Valakut and thanks to my first-turn Elf, second-turn Cultivate, I was able to play a third-turn Precursor Golem. He
tapped out to play an Oracle of Mul Daya and chose not to block any of my Golems. I cast Vines of the Vastwood for 21 on turn 4.
In the second, I had the start of a god draw. Llanowar into Cultivate into Explore x2 into Cultivate. He plays Pyromancer Ascension, which I answer
with Primeval Titan. Can’t lose with a draw like that.
6:53 PM scoobysnack1120: that’s sick.. 11 mana at turn 4!
Except now he has two Ascensions on the board, and a burn spell kills my Titan, then another kills my Hellkite. I tried to save it with Vines, but he
had a Lightning Bolt for it as well. So, now we’re topdecking. I draw a Cultivate and now have 20 land on the board. He draws dead, and I draw an
All Is Dust; he casts Mana Leak, and a watcher comments, “He can pay for Mana Leak six times.” He responds with, “I know, but
it’s the principal of the thing.” [sic]
So I get rid of his enchantments, and now I’m in good shape. Summoning Trap gives me a Titan, and that’s game on turn 10.
He’s a nice opponent who responds with “Well, if I had known you were going to play THAT guy…”
I really like this deck.
Summoning Trap is my favorite instant ever. It’s not just amazing for being able to put Emrakul or Platinum Emperion into play; it’s a
maindeck sideboard card against the hated enemy known as “Blue, fondler of scrolls.”
Emrakul off Summoning Trap turn 4
Next up is U/B/G Jace, Avenger of Zendikar, Oracle of Mul Daya. I get a slow start, finally casting Cultivate on turn 3 but have a handful of fat. He
gets out an Avenger; I get out a Primeval Titan then attack with it. He blocks with some Plants, and I use Vines to trample over his stupid Plants.
Then he plays some land tricks, and stupid Plants bash my head in. Whoops.
This is the deck I’ve wanted to make ever since I saw All Is Dust. Well, actually, I already made that deck, but I’ve found that the
Eldrazi are a lot more luck dependent than reliable. Sure, Summoning Trap is amazing, but sometimes you don’t actually hit Emrakul; you draw him.
This version of colorless creatures and All Is Dust works much better.Â
After a month away from Magic, thanks to the holidays, life, a dive vacation, and writing projects, it feels good to win some games at Magic. I
don’t feel so drowned anymore.
Back in the pool, Rachelle swims over to me. She loosens some straps on my vest, and suddenly I can breathe again. I fill my lungs with air for a
few minutes and then descend. The next few hours are cake. Did you know that you use air faster the deeper you dive? With two hundred bars of air,
I am able to breathe underwater for over two hours at a depth of six feet. At a depth of 50 feet, that amount of air lasts less than an hour. Since
we’re in a pool, Rachelle is able to take me and the other students through the entire enclosed water course in one day. Which is great but
also hard. Even with a wetsuit, being in the water for two and a half hours, 90% of it without surfacing, is bone-chillingly cold. My lips are
turning blue when she tells me “Now all you have to do is swim ten laps of the pool, then float for ten minutes.”
I beat up some more people, including a mono-black infect deck because All Is Dust is amazing. I win far more than I lose, but then I play against what
I consider “My deck” aka Mana Ramp. It’s a thought I know isn’t true; the deck was built by Wizards for us to discover, and
I’m not the only one to have designed it, but I still think of mana ramp as my deck for some reason.
He hardcasts Emrakul on the fourth turn. At least, that’s what my computer says. Let’s take it step by step.
1.Â Â Â Â Forest, Joraga.
5.Â Â Â Â Extend the hand.
In the next game, he uses Eye of Ugin to search for Emrakul and hardcasts him on turn 6. Emrakul on turn four and turn SIX!
I think I was wrong about Emrakul…
I’m going back to that deck.
I make up my version of it that I call Field of Green.
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- 4 Joraga Treespeaker
- 1 Fauna Shaman
- 4 Primeval Titan
- 3 Wurmcoil Engine
It started out a little bit differently but has been tweaked to this. There are some decks that fold to All Is Dust and some against which it’s
useless, so only three of those, and I added the fourth to the side. After a few games, I realized that red burn can still smash my face in, so the
sideboard is packed full of hate for those guys, and still I can’t beat them.
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that you don’t want to draw Emrakul and how wrong I was.
Emrakul is like a petite blonde with breasts the size of my head.
I get out of the pool, and we walk a hundred yards back to the dive shop. I am exhausted, barefoot, and carrying what feels like eighty pounds of
equipment on my back.Â But, I have passed the first part of my test. The next part will be in the open ocean. Very exciting. Rachelle strips
off her wet suit to reveal a bikini underneath and washes her hair in the outside shower. She looks at me and winks. “This is why we have so
many male customers,” she tells me.
I’m going to think about baseball for a little while. And I hate baseball.
(While all of the story I have told you about diving is true, I need to mention that Rachelle was intelligent, kind, patient, professional, and a
wonderful teacher, dive master, and guide for the dives Wendy and I went on together after I finished my course.)
So what caused me to revise my opinion on Emrakul? The tournament queues are filled with U/B Control. It’s really easy to beat them with this
deck. They counter stuff; you sneak in a Summoning Trap if they counter a creature spell, or you just wait until you have fifteen mana on the board and
hardcast Emrakul. And then you win.
Emrakul on turn 5 against Red
As I continue to play the deck, I’m not sure which will be better. I’m torn between Wurmcoil Engine, Hellkite, or a Leatherback Baloth.
Each has their uses against different decks. Baloth is better against anything fast when you need a blocker. Hellkite is better at giving you a way to
block fliers and destroy any of your opponent’s permanents that are annoying you, a flexibility of which I have always been enamored. Wurmcoil is
better against anyone running elimination and at giving you back life against Red. But I sometimes find myself facing an aggressive deck, and if I
don’t get the right combination of accelerants, an early blocker would be nice. Thoughts?
Tomorrow, I once again head into the breach, playing a Standard tournament at Evolution.
Wish me luck.
(A couple final notes – Secret Force: Quest for the Pro Tour II is now available
. Sorry for the delay in articles. My user name in the screen shots has been blacked out because I don’t like to play people who know who I am.
My decks are janky and experimental, and I just feel embarrassed playing them against someone who thought I might be good at this game. I also have
little time to talk while online. I just want to get on and play, and I’m even short with my friends IRL when they try to talk with me on MTGO.)
Â Good luck and have fun.
King of the Fatties