I’m old. A bona-fide geezer. Been playing since the Dark ages, before the Ice Age even. So, how old am I? Well, remember when Kennedy was killed (John, not Robert)? Yup, I was alive – and darned if I don’t have an alibi, but never you mind that.
Point is, I’ve got experience in this game.
My specialty? Once upon a time, I played a lot of what you new-timers call”Chaos Magic,” where a bunch of us would get together and sling spells and generally drink a lot of beer and kill each other. I still have fond memories of those days, and a lot of those old cards, too… And this article is dedicated to those of you who still have some of those old cards and are looking for ideas. If you don’t have any of these fine old gems, why, I bet the Ferrett can pull some out of his nest for you here on StarCity right cheap (especially if they were in his litterbox). I’m also something of a meddler in deck theory and build decent rogue decks for Constructed formats, so I’ll give you a deck to think on later.
I gotta stress, though, I’m old. Got parkinheimer’s addlin’ the brain. None of my ideas could ever be mistaken for rational thought. However…they (usually) work! Multiplayer is my true love, though, and that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
(Random thought – great event idea for the Special Olympics: Round up a bunch of Alzheimer’s patients and let ’em race. First one to find their way home, wins! Ever heard the phrase”jogging your memory”? Hey; it might work…)
The Never-Ending Story
4 Burning Wish
3 Golden Wish
3 Enlightened Tutor
1 Fortified Area
1 Island Sanctuary
3 Millstone (or Grindstone)
4 Wall of Earth
2 Wall of Stone
4 Wall of Swords
1 Pursuit of Knowledge
1 Feldon’s Cane
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Wrath of God
3 Howling Mine
1 Ring of Ma’ruf
1 Diamond Valley (or Animal Boneyard)
4 Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
1 Island of Wak-Wak (or Maze of Ith)
3 Mountain (preferably Arabian Nights)
3 Forbidding Watchtower
2 Kjeldoran Outpost
Sideboard (20 cards – but what’s a few more in multiplayer?):
1 Howling Mine
1 Wrath of God
1 Feldon’s Cane
1 Island Sanctuary
1 Pursuit of Knowledge
1 Zuran Orb
1 Gerrard’s Wisdom
1 Golden Wish
1 Mana Flare
1 Goblin Trenches
1 Jester’s Cap
1 Divine Intervention
70 cards? Too much, you say? Not here, my friends – a few more cards is always good in multiplayer magic, especially when you use Howling Mines – and even more so once you see the purpose of this deck…
Which is? Ah, but the first card in the sideboard should be the telling clue.
This deck is designed to do nothing but survive to cast Shahrazad. As. Often. As. Possible. (Pssstt… Not long ago I saw three copies for sale here at StarCity for about $20. However, if you can’t buy one here, you have my permission to proxy it – and in fact, it might be wise to do so. A very unappreciative opponent destroyed my first copy!) When you play Shahrazad, players play a Magic subgame, using their libraries as their decks. The subgame losers lose half their life, rounded up – but that’s a minor point. What you really want to do is get as many nested subgames going at one time as possible!
I don’t like my games to end. If I could play forever, I would. And – with this deck, you quite possibly could play forever! What you want to do is sit back, drop a Millstone and start milling libraries here and there, use walls and man-lands for defense, use a Wrath if things get hairy, and then get your Mirari with a Burning Wish in hand. If you have an Oblation, so much the better. Cast Mirari, then Burning Wish (and Mirari it) and grab Shahrazad and Golden Wish. Cast Golden Wish and Mirari it, get a Feldon’s Cane and Zuran Orb and cast them, then cast Shahrazad and in response sacrifice all your land to the Orb; then use the Cane and, if you have Oblation and mana to cast it, put the Mirari or another good card in play into your library before going on to the subgame. With Ring of Ma’ruf, things get really, really sick if you have a Golden Wish in hand, Mirari in play, and a Burning Wish already out of play. You can get anything you want, over and over again! Use Ring of Ma’ruf to get the Burning Wish, cast Golden Wish to get the Ring of Ma’ruf (and Mirari it to get something else if you have the mana, such as Mana Flare), cast Burning Wish and Mirari it, get a Burning Wish and a Golden Wish, and use the Ring to get anything. Repeat ad infinitum…
Of course, all this takes a lot of time and mana to pull off, which is why there’s a Mana Flare in the sideboard. Confused? I thought so! But… It works!
How to win: Millstones and Howling Mines, baby. Deck ’em, over and over again in every subgame, until they either concede or actually lose all their life through Shahrazad. The sick part of this deck is that people who lose subgames will have to stick around to resume the main game (or earlier subgames!) – if you actually ever get back to it! When working properly this deck can produce several simultaneous subgames, which really makes a mess of the gaming table!
Some notes on card choices – the walls and man-lands are for defense only, obviously. The Fortified Area is actually pretty cool in this deck if you have a couple walls in play. You can block nearly anything and survive! Anarchists are there solely to get Shahrazad if it somehow gets countered, discarded, or milled. A Feldon’s Cane can save the day if that happens, too. The Island Sanctuary will keep you from milling yourself with the Howling Mines, and is great in combination with the Pursuit of Knowledge. Replenish can restore all your goodies in one go, and the Gerrard’s Wisdom is the plan against fast decks. If your tablemates are especially vicious (especially if they’ve seen this deck before!) you may want to pack some Swords to Plowshares and Reverse Damages in the main deck, maybe replacing the tutors and a few other cards. I’m pretty sure that the various sub-games are considered”out of the game” when playing yet another subgame for purposes of getting cards via Burning Wish and Golden Wish. The way the card reads I think you shuffle all cards used at the conclusion of any subgame into the previous subgame’s library. All very confusing, but that’s part of the fun! My guess is, though, after casting Shahrazad a few times (and especially if you get to Fork it!) people will just concede to you. Impatient jerks.
Now for you tykes who don’t have all these old cards but like the Extended format, here’s my remake of a deck I really liked last year: Super Gro. It’s not as effective as the original, but it has game and wins its share of matches:
4 Quirion Dryad
3 Meddling Mage
2 Waterfront Bouncer
2 Mystic Enforcer
2 Weathered Wayfarer
3 Yavimaya Coast
2 Windswept Heath
4 Flooded Stand
1 City of Brass (or Grand Coliseum)
4 Seal of Cleansing
2 Seal of Removal
1 Meddling Mage
1 Gilded Drake
Though not as fast or powerful as the original deck (especially without Winter Orb), this deck can still generate huge Dryads quickly and reach threshold easily for the Werebears and Enforcers. Armageddon is big in the deck, and quite possibly merits another main-deck slot. (A third copy is in the sideboard.) The maindeck Bouncers are necessary to take care of fast fat and help in resetting Meddling Mages (and reaching threshold, incidentally). The Weathered Wayfarers are incredible for thinning out the deck, getting Foil and Bouncer food, and setting up Brainstorms or hoarding before an Armageddon. The search lands are also quite good for reaching early threshold and in concert with Brainstorm.
You’ll notice the deck is a bit land-light, but it is pretty reliable – even without the Wayfarers showing up. In fact, I often get manaflooded! Still, I wouldn’t go much lower than twenty lands, and definitely no fewer than six islands (to feed Daze, Foil, and Gush). The original deck used Land Grant to search out dual forestlands, but there is no need to use them here as they don’t grow the Dryad, can only search out two regular forests, and reveal your hand needlessly.
A word of caution: Don’t even try to use Static Orb – it blows in this deck. If you want, however, you can try Rising Waters (Winter Orb blue replacement); but be warned – the four casting cost creates a different dynamic because it doesn’t affect the early game like Winter Orb did in SuperGro. If you can get it down, though, it does make the deck more effective in some matchups. It even grows the Dryad! A sideboard choice, maybe?
Notes on matchups:
Reanimator Decks (Benzo, Hermit)
Daze is huge the first game and can slow them down enough to allow you to drop a Bouncer if they play into it or around it. Once you do, it’s game over for them if you can protect it. Brainstorm is also big, as it allows you to safely secret away a couple cards against their discard. For sideboarding, bring in the extra Meddling Mage, Reprisal, Seals of Removal, and Gilded Drake. Pull the Wayfarers and Armageddons, and maybe a Daze or two if they saw them the first game since the threat of them is plenty. You own this matchup!
They can out-counter you, and you need your creatures too much not to cast them, so this isn’t the best match-up. However, you do have Meddling Mage (naming”Oath,” maybe?) and maybe enough counters to get out a ‘bear and force a ‘Geddon through; Treetop Village hates that. For sideboarding bring in the Gainsays, Meddling Mage, Seals of Cleansing and Gilded Drake. Take out the Wayfarers, Misdirection, Bouncers, and the Dazes (as they can afford to play around them anyway). The third Armageddon should come in, too – maybe for a were or Dryad. In fact, it might not be bad to have the Bouncers stay in… I’m still testing this matchup, but it’s about 50-50 even after boarding. Pernicious Deed does quite a number on your stuff if they drop it. Speaking of which…
Another tough one. They can flat-out rape your hand with discard, kill your stuff with ‘deed, beat you with Treetops and Mongers and generally give you a hard time. You need to stop deed cold. Mongers you can handle with reprisal, but deed has to die. If you must, drop an early threat and force them to use the darn thing. Set Meddling Mage to”Deed.” Use Wayfarers and Bouncers as Edict fodder. Keep it going, try to get to your Enforcers – then Armageddon. (And don’t forget the”Armageddon/Gush” trick, to save you some lands and draw cards.) If you can do that, you’re home free – as long as they don’t draw any Elders. For sideboarding, bring in your Reprisal, Meddling Mage, Armageddon and Seals of Cleansing. If they use a lot of Spiritmongers, Gilded Drake is an option as well. Take out Dazes, Misdirection, and Wayfarers. After this, the match-up isn’t bad for you. Save counters for Deed and nasty stuff and you should have half a chance. At best, I’ve only gone 50-50 against this deck.
This often comes down to this: Do you have ‘Dryad and gro-food or not? Can you reach threshold before you’ve taken a lot of damage? Can you cast Armageddon with a big dude out they have to deal with? If you can get a Dryad up to 4/4 or 5/5 against Sligh, you’re in business and should have little problem. Enforcers shut down black single-handed. After sideboarding you should have in your extra Misdirections (to redirect direct damage and discard spells), Meddling Mage, and your Seals of Removal. Armageddon can be bad form against these kinds of decks if they get out a swarm, so it might behoove you to take them out. Dazes will slow them enough to matter, so they should stay in. Take out the Wayfarers. Overall, you have a slight edge in this matchup – but you will almost certainly lose one game.
A horrible matchup. Your butt says,”Kick Me!” Shake his hand, write 0-2 on the slip and pack it in. Too many counters, too much bounce, too much card drawing. Nothing to do here but take it like a man, even after boarding. Expect to lose, badly. Your only chance is to get down an early Dryad and keep her alive, or force through an Armageddon. Good luck.
Overall it’s an iffy choice for extended, but it is a fun deck to play and can hold its own in the right environment. I am leaning towards taking out the Wayfarers right now – but when they are active, they are really amazing. If I did pull them, I’d probably move the third Armageddon into the deck and maybe either the Meddling Mage or Reprisal; but a third Bouncer would be pretty nice too.
There ya have it, the old man’s ide-ers, twisted as they may be. If’n da Ferret can handle me use o’ horrible gramma, look for me articles in the future. I got’s lotsa ide-ers, lots ‘n lots…
Comments and criticisms to: [email protected]. Flames okay, but please direct fumes elsewhere…