Let’s start things off with a bottom line: If you want to read about a female Magic player steamrolling the competition and having fun doing it, read Laura Mills‘ latest Brainburst article. You’ll be glad you did – it might harken you back to a feeling that is sometimes hard to reproduce when you’re low… The feeling of pure fun, or exhilaration, of unadulterated, unequivocated joy.
The article is a sight to behold. You can tell from the way she writes that she had a blast. Her words seem to radiate vigor and enjoyment. Even her author portrait seems to be smiling more than normal.
Laura told me once that pre-releases were her favorite tournaments. For me, personally, any tournament that I do well at is a”favorite tournament.” When you combine those two things, when you fuse your favorite venue with a big-time record, you get Magic, baby.
GPT Cleveland (the last-chance, the night before the GP itself) and GP Detroit are my two favorite tournament experiences of all time. They had everything – big time venue, big time stakes, and I did well. I was as happy as a two-peckered goat in Missouri. You couldn’t have peeled the smile off my face with a jackhammer. You can probably tell from my tournament reports that I considered the aforementioned events to be something special.
Laura’s report had me (and also, by extension of ICQ, the Ferrett) in absolute stitches. My reasons were twofold – first of all, it was hilarious to read line after line of Laura absolutely crushing the hapless competition. And when I say crushing, I mean crushing. I mean,”this is ridiculous, I could play a Constructed deck and not win” crushing. That sort of crushing is fun to read about, especially when it’s someone you happen to like in the driver’s seat. When I saw the asskicking that was occurring, I could almost put myself in Laura’s place, and I was happy for her. I know what it’s like to get a rush when you’re winning, to have a blast of an afternoon – and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer columnist, even if she is my evil arch-nemesis.
Second, she seemed to be having so much fun that she was at least partially oblivious to just how utterly ridiculous her deck was. After all, it was her first time playing Onslaught Sealed, and it’s tough to gauge the relative power of a deck in an unplayed format. She does say,”Yep, my deck is good” a couple of times, but I’m of the opinion that she still doesn’t realize just how ridiculous it is. That isn’t a commentary on her card analysis skills: I just think she was having so much fun smashing face that perhaps she couldn’t see the forest for the trees. The deck was truly something special.
That being said, her deck was the most insane deck I have ever read about or seen personally. That made it all the funnier. I thought”Evil” Matt Fox’s deck was amazing at the Detroit pre-release… But it was nothing compared to Laura’s. Let me guide you through her article and point out some of the highlights.
First, you might notice that she doesn’t include her decklist. I’ve been able to piece together the following, just from reading the match-by-match coverage:
Laura Mills‘ Sealed Deck (known cards)
2x Wirewood Savage
Wave of Indifference
8-9x unknown cards (six of which were Beasts)
I can only assume she had some combination of Treespring Lorians, common red 3/1 First Strike Beats, and the like. She says she had”two burn spells,” so in addition to the Shock she also had either Pinpoint Avalanche or Solar Blast. I’m assuming 18 land.
“Dragon Roost or not, this format is not won by a single card alone. My other cards also consisted of 2 Wirewood Savages, 10 Beasts, and Riptide Replicator. There were a few elves for mana acceleration and two”Breakthrough” cards: Wave of Indifference and Taunting Elf. I only had two burn spells, but the deck on the whole was pretty amazing.”
Prettyamazing? This deck is insane. In-sane! Notice how Laura doesn’t even bother mentioning her Ravenous Baloth, a creature that can give her double-digits of life in an instant, or generate four life a turn along with her Replicator. She just says”10 Beasts.”
I guess she wanted to be modest.
Two Wirewood Savages. Riptide Replicator. Dragon Roost. Ravenous Baloth. Ten Beasts in total. Wave and Taunting Elf to break stalemates (like the Roost and Replicator won’t do that anyhow – but hey, more is better, right?). Her deck is not just good, not just great – her deck is totally degenerate. It is almost unbeatable.
I am going to yell to the heavens, right now.
Big, whooping howls.
Massive, chest expanding lungfuls of air.
A SPITTING #%^ING GOURNA!
WHY, LORD!?!? WHY!?
MY BIGGEST CREATURE IN A PLAYABLE COLOR WAS A 3/2! I might as well have just taken a jog through a cold wind and tried to run each opponent through with my nipple!
“A splash of constructed had made it to the world of limited.”
Yeah, I couldn’t have said it better myself. By the way, remember “Dragon Roost or not, this format is not won by a single card alone”? Listen to her hapless opponents getting tooled:
An excerpt from Round 1, Game 1:
“I draw that land, create a Dragon and attack the next turn to put him at 11. He attacks me down to three. End of his turn, I create another Dragon and attack with everything so a Wirewood Savage and the two Dragons will get through. If he has Sunfire Balm, Smother, Swat, Feeding Frenzy, Chain of Silence or Renewed Faith, I lose. Fortunately he doesn’t.”
Roost Rape Count: 1 for 1. 100%.
Oh, and here’s Game 2:
“Game 2 isn’t fair. Dragon Roost turn 5, he’d dead a few turns later.”
Roost Rape Count: 2 for 2. 100%.
The Roost is still batting a thousand. Keep in mind that throughout this match, she has Replicator/Ravenous Baloth/Wirewood Savage, a massive card drawing and life gaining engine that can win games, easily, by itself, just sitting on the sidelines.
She doesn’t even need it.
If you thought it was bad being Laura’s opponent during Round 1, try Round 2 on for size: Game 1 she wins by tramping the unlucky shmoe with Wave of Indifference, but Game 2 is the real gem:
“Game 2, Onslaught has the ability to save you from most mana problems, except mana flood. Baloth comes into play again and attacks with Primoc several times for the game.”
I was laughing hard when I read this, because I was imagining the guy sitting there, impotent, while he gets beat down by what is probably the best 3CC flyer and 4CC creature in the format. The poor guy is playing a G/W deck that is nowhere as good as Laura’s; he’s the grand-marshal of Wellwisherfest 2002 with Clerics and other jabronies aplenty as security.
The sap is sitting there with a sour expression on his face, and you just know he’s all like:
FIDDLE-DEE-DEE! Somehow my 5CC 3/3’s and crappy 3CC 1/2’s can’t stand up to the Laura’s hyper-efficient, constructed quality 2/3 flyer and ridiculous 4/4. Also, I’m land-flooded!
FIDDLE-DEE-DEE again!Wow, this is great! Hold on, I just drew a 6CC 2/4! What’s that you’re playing? Oh, DRAGON ROOST, HUH?
As they say in Sarnia, what an utter and complete asshammering.
Perhaps you don’t understand me.
Down the road, when great asshammerings are talked about, in hushed tones, over stout mahogany tables littered with historical documents detailing the asshammerings of old, in dark rooms, when beatings are gauged by scholars of the craft, when venerable breath pushes the word”asshammering” past aged lips, lips surrounded by ancient, albino beards that adorn cracked, weathered faces, faces with sunken eyes that have born witness to the most storied asshammerings in Magic history…
….This is the asshammering that will outshine them all, the asshammering to end all asshammerings, the asshammering by which all other prior and subsequent asshammerings will be judged.
Shadowy rest stops.
Declare, if thou hast understanding.
On to Round 3, where Laura actually (gasp!) loses a game. Must have been manascrew, or she maybe decked herself by accident with double Wirewood Savage and Riptide Replicator. Sometimes when you’re drawing three cards a turn to your opponent’s one, you can get carried away.
I especially love game 3:
“I recover with some fat, but decide to leave them back as blockers until I can fully stabilize since I have Dragon Roost in hand. Fortunately, I get the Baloth/Riptide Replicator combo working first to stave off the damage from 2 Severed Legions. When I feel comfortable, I start making Dragons to finish the job.”
Here, Laura is describing her limited deck stabilizing.
She’s gaining four life a turn, chump blocking first if she wants, probably drawing extra cards as well from Wirewood Savage… Andwhen she feels comfortable, mind you, she’s going to start cranking out 5/5 fliers for the win.
This is her Sealed deck.
And by the way, do you see a non-rare mentioned anywhere on her side of the board? Who needs one?
I won’t continue with the match by match analysis (you get the idea, I’m sure), but I wanted to bring this monster of a Sealed Deck to your attention. Laura’s worst enemy, really, is an opposing Wirewood Savage. You think Daru Healer is going to stop the Dragons? The only way this deck could have been better would be if her other two rares had been Silvos, Rogue Elemental and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa.
Laura’s deck is the deck I want to open at every Onslaught Sealed event until the end of time. And I want to play it with Laura’s enthusiasm, to a record resembling Laura’s. I can guarantee you that I’ll come back here and write a happy, perhaps partially oblivious report, much like Laura. I’ll see you on Monday.
Readers, I hope you open a Laura deck, wherever you are.
Yeah, it’s not about bombs, LM. Tell that to the guys trying to stand up to your third-turn (or even second-turn) Primoc, 3rd/4th turn Ravenous Baloth with the Disciple of Grace they had to maindeck to get 23 playables. Or to the guys trying to find a way to Wave-kill you when you have 24 life in Beasts on the table.
Not about bombs?
For an evil arch-nemesis, though, I could do a lot worse. If nothing else, she sure knows how to open a good deck.