The Geezer’s View: More Fun With Old Cards

My friend’s girlfriend had a little three-year-old son with a small Nerf basketball set in the living room. I wanted to play around with him and teach him how to dunk, but he wouldn’t let me touch the ball – all he would say is,”MY ball!” Undeterred, I set out to create a multiplayer deck that would grab everything. All the time. “MY creatures!” Also, a variant Oath deck for Extended.

You’re sitting there, near the back of the lecture hall – you know, the room with the cramped theatre seats and horribly small folding desks attached to the armrest (God forbid if you’re left-handed!). You are in class with an all-male audience (Magic just sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?), and you are tired. All-night gaming can take a toll…

And it doesn’t help that up where you are the incessant white-noise drone of the air circulators adds to the general malaise…but the lecturer does not help the situation with his monotone, whiny voice – a bespectacled, white-haired wizard wearing a ridiculous pointy cap. He goes on, and on, and ON…

“Now, notice that the Voidmage Prodigy is actually efficient with regards to power and casting cost – a rarity among wizards…” Nod.

She beckons to you, golden hair glistening, her full lips curving upwards in a beautiful, yet mischievous smile…

“The head of his class, he was able to counter any spell cast his way… Though his competition had a way of suspiciously disappearing, and his graduating class was the smallest in recent memory…” Nod.

She walks towards you – no, she saunters…no, not quite right…aahhh, she dances your way…

“…the ‘Kai’ Buddha is reputed to bestow good luck upon rubbing its prodigious belly…” Nod.

She reaches out a hand, towards your zipper!

“…his holy day is Sunday, as when all other gods rest he does his best work…” Nod.

She has her clothes off – and yours as well… She beckons towards the bed, grabbing you passionately, and you both begin to fall towards it…falling…falling…


Screaming in stark terror, you wake to find yourself falling forward and instinctively reach out with both arms to keep your head from plowing into the seat directly in front of you. Shaking off sleep you look up, feel drool dripping from your chin, and the eyes of a hundred people… staring… staring…

(TECH TIP: Random interjection, well worth the time you spend reading this article – and Ferrett, pay attention, because this is something that if you don’t already know, it can make you $$$! If you have any old cards that are trashed {remember, us old-timers played before sleeves existed!}, you can fix ’em with a simple $3 product: Simple Green, a common household cleaner. You just spray the stuff directly on the card, without diluting it, and wipe it down with a paper towel or Kimwipe. It works! I took a Mox Jet once that looked like someone tapped it a thousand times on a table made of cowpies and turned it around for a $30 profit. Stinking rich, I immediately replaced the cowpie table!)

Oh jeez…Why am I here? What am I doing?

Oh yeah…The geezer bit. I’m here to give some of my fellow oldsters ideas about using their old cards in multi-player decks – and to help the Ferrett sell some old cards in his inventory. (Now, if I get a bit of a kickback for my services, no one has to know, right? Hint hint…) How old am I, you ask? Older than dirt, that’s how old. Old enough to remember the”Sonny and Cher” show. Old enough to have actually laughed at”Laugh In.” Old enough to remember Maxwell Smart and Agent 86. Old enough to remember when Twiddle was considered a good card. Old enough to remember the first moon walk – and not the Michael Jackson variety either.

Speakin’ of M.J., here’s a deck idea that might just blow yer puny little minds….

(Brief interlude: My friend’s girlfriend had a little three-year-old son with a small Nerf basketball set in the living room. I wanted to play around with him and teach him how to dunk, but he wouldn’t let me touch the ball – all he would say is,”My ball!” Undeterred, I palmed my head and ran along the wall, dribbling my head on it on the way to the basket and then got on my knees, did a finger-roll on my chin, and slammed my head through his little hoop.

(His response?”My basket! Wwwaaaaaahhhh!!!” Only three, and he already understood the rules of ownership…selfish twerp. He’ll probably play for the Sixers.)


Spells (45):

2 The Hive

2 Serpent Generator

2 Snake Basket

4 Ashnod’s Transmogrant

4 Power Artifact

4 Magus of the Unseen

2 Skull of Orm

1 Steal Artifact

1 Cultural Exchange

2 Control Magic

1 Dance of Many

2 Sage of Lat-Nam

1 Tablet of Epityr

2 Drafna’s Restoration

4 Voidmage Prodigy

2 Celestial Sword

4 Imagecrafter

1 Hurkyl’s Recall

1 Recall

1 Copy Artifact

2 “Alexi’s Cloak

Land (27):

4 Urza’s Power Plant

4 “Urza’s Tower

4 Urza’s Mine

1 Tolarian Academy

14 Island

Yes, I hear you – it is 72 cards. In multiplayer, having extra cards usually doesn’t hurt – though I do agree it is somewhat land-light and the potential for serious mana-and color-screw (i.e. not finding islands early) exists. Diluting the Urza lands also makes it hard to complete the set as well. If that bothers you then I would recommend taking out the Steal Artifact, Cultural Exchange, Alexi’s Cloaks, Recall(s), Tablet, Dance of Many, two other cards of your choice and two islands. In my experience, however, in large multi-player groups (eight or more) you usually have plenty of time to set up and do your thing without worrying too much.

How it plays: You are going to take some early damage. Count on it, but don’t worry. As soon as you can, drop a Hive or Serpent Generator with Power Artifact on it and make blockers as needed. Then, start assembling the machinery: Drop a Magus and a Transmogrant, a Skull of Orm (with Power Artifact, if possible) and Celestial Sword. Complete the Urza’s set as soon as possible. Use early Voidmages for disruption, but later, keep one out and get an active Imagecrafter going.

You have to do all this while staying under the radar; that can be hard if your group is small or overly aggressive. Get a Sage of Lat-Nam down, then a Snakebasket in hand. You don’t need all these pieces at the same time… But you will maximize your fun if you have them! Once you reach the midgame, you can stabilize by taking attacking creatures with the Transmogrant/Magus combo. You can get the biggest baddies with Control Magic and the most dangerous artifacts with Steal Artifact. With an Imagecrafter and Voidmage out, a stolen creature can be sacrificed to counter any spell by changing its creature type to”Wizard!” This can be done instantly with the Magus via Transmogrant. Utilize the Skull to get back Control Magic to use on another sacrificial victim!

When this deck is running smoothly, you can make tokens with The Hive, Serpent Generator, or Snakebasket, and turn them into Wizards (via Imagecrafter) to sacrifice to Voidmage to counter spells (uncounterable!), or sacrifice them to Sage of Lat-Nam to draw cards (preferably after blocking). Give the Hive tokens +3/+3 with the Celestial Sword and give your opponent a nasty sting! Better yet, steal his creature with the Magus/Transmogrant, use the Sword on it and send it at him – then, after damage is done, sacrifice it to draw a card! And don’t forget to gain a life with the Tablet! Snake Basket can be obscene with a bunch of artifact tokens in play, a set of Urza lands, and a Tolarian Academy. Forty-plus creatures is quite possible! When you get in a pinch, you can sacrifice the Magus to Voidmage for an uncounterable counterspell. Use the Alexi’s Cloaks to save the Voidmages or Magus. Use the Drafna’s Restorations to re-stock your Transmogrants or other lost artifacts. The Skull of Orm is really devastating when used with Power Artifact, and can take whole opposing armies via Control Magic if given enough time. The Dance of Many becomes re-useable Voidmage fodder with a Skull out. So many possibilities – and every one of them annoying as hell!

(CARD SPOTLIGHT: Jalum Tome. Umm, just a second while I undo this cap here…got it…*sniff*…aaahhh…

(Ready. Now, why don’t I see people using this card more often? Isn’t it just potentially insane with madness I mean – what’s that I hear? Who’s talking in my brain? There’s no one here –

(What’s that about Merfolk Looter? A cheap creature with the same ability and a free activation cost? All right – I can see the Tome would not be the choice in blue/green madness decks, but – and let me get the cap back on the Elmer’s here – well, how about Sligh?

(Yes; I can see that it costs you a turn to cast it and most of the following turns to activate it, and the loss of tempo is bad for Sligh…

(Okay, then – it doesn’t merit a main-deck slot, but… Just a minute… EXHALE… how about a slot in the sideboard, against control? Card advantage in the mid-game, no? When your hand is almost empty and you can turn every extra land into another spell – isn’t that just gravy? Say, with, oh, I don’t know, SATA – uh, er, Fiery Temper or Violent Eruption?

(Well, think about it while I inhale…)

(It is gravy – but you don’t want gravy. When you get the all-gravy draw, you tend to lose. Hence, most decks are made up of pure meat and vegetables – The Ferrett)

Ah, so many rares, so many old cards… Surely I can recommend a deck that is more easily available to the masses? Hmmm… Well, can I suggest a decent Extended deck with newer cards, but fewer rares? That’s Anthony Alongi domain, pals. Sorry, but I’m an elitist pig.

(Stay tuned, though, as some of my future articles will include decks with fewer rares and easily available older cards.)

With no further ado, here is my take on a popular Extended deck of the moment using Oath of Druids:

Think About THIS

Spells (36):

2 Cognivore

4 Counterspell

3 Mana Leak

1 Forbid

1 Foil

2 Moment’s Peace

2 Krosan Reclamation

1 Ray of Revelation

1 Capsize

1 Mystical Tutor

4 Accumulated Knowledge

2 Cunning Wish

3 Fact or Fiction

1 Roar of the Wurm

4 Brainstorm

4 Oath of Druids

Land (24):

4 Yavimaya Coast

4 Treetop Village

4 Forest

12 Island


2 Powder Keg

1 Capsize

1 Hibernation

1 Mana Leak

1 Beast Attack

1 Intuition

2 Roar of the Wurm

1 Fact or Fiction

2 Gainsay

2 Naturalize

1 Sylvan Might

I’m not gonna pretend that this deck is anywhere near as good as the”Dark Oath” versions out there that utilize Pernicious Deed; it isn’t. It is, however, doing quite well against the Sligh/Suicide Black garbage that runs rampant where I am. It can function with only two or three mana, somewhat lessening the effects of land destruction – and being only two colors it is less susceptible to manascrew as well. An added bonus is the presence of only four pain lands, meaning less self-flagellation (which might upset some of you masochists) and that much more damage a fast opponent must do to you to take you down.

This deck stops fast beatdown decks by stalling with Moment’s Peace and Roar of the Wurm until you can Oath or Cunning Wish/Fact or Fiction for an answer. After sideboarding, the Roars and Beast Attack can be obtained with the Intuition (which is more useful than Quiet Speculation, as it is an instant and can be used to get Accumulated Knowledges and Oaths as well) or simply by Oathing and then flashing it back as needed. Beast Attack is a nasty surprise against other decks packing Treetop Villages, and can be used to provide a body to sacrifice to Diabolic Edicts when facing black (note that you can activate a Treetop Village for this purpose as well if you have no counters and available mana). The Moment’s Peaces allow you to attack in relative comfort with Cognivore, knowing that your opponent can’t retaliate easily. Sylvan Might is for when you absolutely, positively have to get through a flying blocker if you don’t have Capsize handy (or mana to cast it), or need to end the game in one swing through said flyer (if, say, you’re out of Peaces or cards in your library). The maindecked Ray of Revelation is for nasty enchantments, and Powder Kegs are good out of the ‘board against the weenie hordes.

The matchups for this deck are pretty much the same as you’ve seen with other Oath versions elsewhere, though this version is susceptible to fast combo decks like Angry Hermit or Reanimator due to the lack of Force Spikes and bounce. Basically, this is the version I would choose to play if I were facing a field of red burn or black suicide decks. I’ve been toying with Time Warps and Dwell on the Past along with the Reclamations to take (nearly) infinite turns – but unless you are playing multiplayer with this deck, it is unnecessary as the Moment’s Peaces already function as Time Walks, giving you an extra turn (at least) to attack with a 20+/20+ flyer.

One card I have used that is pretty good when I auditioned it is a single Holistic Wisdom, as it doubles nearly every card in your graveyard. I find it usually winds up in the ‘yard, though, so I haven’t tried it further. Even just two copies actually seem to dilute the deck and lessen the strength of Cognivore noticeably, as it is hard not to use it when you have it. It may be worthwhile to try it, however, if you have better willpower than I.

Oh – by the way, if you do want to use this deck in multiplayer, try Battlefield Scrounger, or even Gurzigost. Cycle Brainstorm and a Time Warp or two to take infinite turns! Another note – you’ll notice I’m using Cunning Wish, but not Living Wish. That’s because I feel my mana base is stable so I don’t need any lands in the ‘board (though Treetop Village and Dust Bowl beckon), and I’d rather have critters I can raise out of the ‘yard than cast out of my hand, since the graveyard is the larger resource (and also since discard is so rampant).

If I did add creatures to my Sideboard, though, I’d add Ravenous Baloth or Spike Feeder to further stem the tide against speed decks, and maybe a Genesis to return spent Cognivores. I think 6/6 worms do a better job overall, however…

Another idea I’ve tried is adding a couple Riftstone Portals in place of Forests, as they make all your lands produce pain-free white and green mana when in your graveyard. I’m still playing with this version and some white flashback spells (e.g. Ancestral Tribute); it works okay in multiplayer.

Comments and criticisms to the Ferrett; props to me at [email protected] – and no, I don’t own a dog, so don’t ask. It’ll cost ya.