The Iwamori Hangover

When Jamie Wakefield is on, he is one of the most evocative and funniest writers ever to grace the Magic community. Today he is most certainly on. Two new decklists, tons of fun anecdotes, and a short tale of the drunken monk. You cannot miss this article.

What I have been preparing to say is this, in wildness is the preservation of the world … Life consists of wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued by man, its presence refreshes him…. When I would re-create myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter as a sacred place, a Sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength, the marrow, of Nature. In short, all good things are wild and free.

– Henry D. Thoreau, Walking, 1851

With my 40th Birthday coming up, it appears I am not Wild and Free enough.

Because I don’t think the forests like me any more.

(Oddly enough, even though I turn 40 this summer, I have been carded three times in the last two weeks. )

It's like Dorian Gray, get it?

Funny Story. Well, funny if you’re old like me. I get a hundred and eighty dollars worth of groceries and in that pile of stuff is one bottle of wine. The woman at the register says “I’m sorry, do you have I.D. for this wine?”


And I pull out my picture license and she takes it. She looks at, thinks for a bit. Looks at me. Looks at the license and says –

“This is really not fair. Because you’re only three years younger than me and I never get carded.”

In another instance, I bought a bottle of wine on the way home from work one day and the woman looked at me suspiciously and said “You’re 21, right?”

“No, actually, I’m 39.”

Just imagine how young I would look if I was in shape.

It is Friday on a very long weekend. And my Boss has told me to take the day off. I tell her I am out of vacation days until contracts are renewed in June, and she says “Take it off anyway. You and Josh deserve a really long weekend.”

A demure, petite, blond southern girl with a heart of Gold is my boss.

Funny story again.

One beautiful day, we are driving out to Bridport to look at a troublesome server. And apparently, I did not have my dosage right on my Lexapro, because I am yammering on and on about nothing, and cannot stop. And I know I cannot stop, and I tell her so, and continue yammering on about my guild, the people in it, how you chat with people in Dark Age of Camelot, how combat works and explain how it’s really a chat room with pretty graphics. So, being a George R.R. Martin, Buffy, and all in all general fantasy fan and a good sport, she nods every now and then, and asks about the people in my guild and what we talk about. And I tell her how we have people from all over the world, and one’s a lawyer and lots of computer techs, and a few stay at home wives.

“And Dreaneka. She’s led a fascinating life. Left home at an early age. Unemployed for a while then found out she was good at Web Design and now works for the Discovery Channel and makes more money than God. And on the way to getting there, she was a Dominatrix at a Boston Club.

My petite blond southern boss says “Neat. What’s a Dominatrix?”

“It’s a woman who beats men up, in a sexual manner, for money.”

“Oh my.” And blushes a deep shade of crimson.

I laughed and laughed.

So, anyway, that’s my Boss. Some good. It is Friday and I am off for the day. I feel extremely confident in some Green pile I’ve been playing and have been tearing up the tournament testing room, and its been doing well in Thursday night Magic testing with Justin Olson, Paul Hobday, and Joshie Trash Talker.

So, low and behold, there is a Premier tournament in the morning I didn’t know about. And it starts in 45 minutes. I call up Joshie and say, “Get your ass over here. We’ll make you up a deck and on our day off we’ll drink beer, play Magic and shout obscenities at our computer screen opponents.”

“I don’t have a deck.”

“I told you, I’ll make you one. Move.”

Considering there is construction from Joshie’s apartment to my driveway, how he makes it here in ten minutes is bewildering. But don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

I’ve been trying to get him some White cards, trade the account he’s using some tickets, and find some good equipment. Josh tells me he is going to IM Dave and see if he can use his account and his Rat Deck. But none of my computers have IM or AIM so, he has to download it, and time is ticking away. We have some troubles because first, he tries to go through the web interface, and Google’s toolbar keeps blocking some important pop up, and even though we remove the toolbar, it’s still blocking it. Two computer techs, stymied on how to get IM to work. Some Bad.

Josh eventually gets it installed and Dave is not on. With ten minutes left before the tournament, we start frantically checking the trade bots for Skyhunter Skirmishers and Josh looks through the cards I’ve bought for tools to put in his White deck. We end up paying 2 tickets (bucks) for 4 Skirmishers.

With 46 seconds left, and no time to even build a sideboard, Josh finishes up his deck and enters the tourney. He dubs his deck “Two-Minute White.” A pretty standard White Weenie deck with Bonesplitters… and… well, Serra Angel and… Mask of Memory. Hey, I told him to use equipment that did damage, but he insisted on the Mask.

Round one starts and I am paired off against Tooth and Nail. Josh’s opponent is late to show up, and Josh watches my game.

I start off with an A DOT Mazing rush of turn 3 Wood Elves and turn 4 Troll Ascetics. Punching my opponent down to 19 life before he goes off.

Almost had him.

“What a Donkey.” Josh says.

Josh’s opponent is still missing.

I side in 4 Creeping Mold. I mulligan down to five looking for speed and don’t find any. My Sakura Tribe Elder savagely beats my opponent down to 17 before he goes off.

So close.

“What a Donkey” Josh says. “Your deck is good Jae. You just had bad draws. You saw no speed at all. Don’t worry.”

“My deck blows.”

“No it doesn’t. You got unlucky. No Blanchwood. No Slith. No speed at all.”

Josh’s opponent has apparently fallen asleep at his keyboard and times out.

“Victory for Two-Minute White!” we shout with glee and high five.

Round two I face off against a Red deck. Should be a bye for me with Molder Slugs, Iwamori and Blanchwood. No worries at all.

Forest! Scrapper! Go!

Mountain! Go!

Forest! Go!

End of your turn, bolt your Guy!

Mountain! Slith! Go!

Forest. Go!

Mountain, Sorceress, Go!

Forest… Go…

Sorceress! Slith serves again! Go!

Forest, Wood Elf…um… Forest… Go…

Sorceress! Go!

Forest…. Go….

Beacon! Pulse! Shock! Glacial Ray! Burn You! Burn You! Burn You!

Scrapper… Go…

Beacon! Pulse! Shock! Glacial ray! Burn You! Burn You! Burn You!


I look over on Josh’s screen and a Skyhunter Skirmisher, equipped with two Mask of Memory flies in and draws Joshie four cards.

I side in Nourish.

I see more Elves than the entire cast of Lord of the Rings.

I call Iwamori’s House.


“Where the hell are you? I could use a little help here!

“Ohhhhh… don’t shout…”

“I’m getting my ass beat and could use a little fat. King of the Fatties, remember?”

“Oh, sorry dude, did we have a tournament today? Molder and I went out drinking last night. That slug can hold his liquor. I can barely move. I’m not going to be in today.”


“Ohhhhh… don’t shout… see you tomorrow.”




“Iwamori’s hung over. He and Slug won’t be in today.”

“Should get some knights and paladins like me. These guys never call in sick.”

“Fly in! Draw 4 cards! Attack my Skirmishers! Attack!”


After the third round, I am 0-3 with my highly tuned hundreds of hours decks.

Joshie is 2-1 with Two-Minute White.

I continue to play and end up 3-3.

So does Josh and he ends up 2-4.

Now that’s not the way to start a four-day weekend.

Rodney is coming up soon. Seems like everyone is getting back into Magic. Half my Guild has made up MODO accounts to play. Rodney’s supposed to be here at 6:30 but shows up an hour late with his son Mick. Mick is now 14 and 6’1. I’m told he’s the tallest boy in the class, second tallest in the school other than Betty Spaghetti. Great name, that.

Rodney is working on a completely untuned Alan Webter deck that he was looking at last week and Alan let him borrow. It’s based off of Red/Blue Hondens, Indestructible mana generation, and Obliterate. Rodney asks if I have a Red deck for Mick, and I do. Mick is enthralled with WOW.

Rodney hollers to him at one point – “Hey Mick, you gonna play WOW all night or you going to come in here and play test?”

“I don’t have to play test! I’m playing Burn!”

Ba dum pum.

Rodney keeps the guts of Alan’s deck, but tunes it more to his style. It seems pretty slow, but he wants to play it anyway and I think it will do okay.

I’m going to the Tournament with “Some Pile with Forests in it.”

3 Elvish Pioneer

1 FOIL Elvish Pioneer, mailed to me from Chris Romeo. Good luck charm.

4 Chrome Mox donated to me by Justin “Tooth and Nail” Olson

4 Viridian Zealot

4 Slith Predator

4 Wood Elves

4 Elvish Champion

2 Iwamori of the Open Fist

3 Molder Slug

4 Beacon of Creation

4 Predator’s Strike

4 Blanchwood Armor

19 Forests

We have a nice crowd today. 18 people show up.

My first opponent is Matt Wood. A.K.A. Nicest Guy in Magic.

We pretend we are good players by playing slowly and deliberately. Each move is carefully thought over and cards are fully tapped and each phase a reaction is checked for. We are very serious. We are good players. We know what we are doing. We know how to play this game.

The illusion lasts for me until turn 2 when Matt asks me “How many cards in hand?”


“And two permanents on the board make seven. You should probably draw your card for your turn.”

“True. Can’t win without cards.”

I make about six more mistakes in the first five minutes of the match and give up any pretense of being good at this game.

I get out a nice Beacon and start to beat him down. He gets out a nice Echoing Decay. I top deck another Beacon. He plays Eternal Witness and gets back his Echoing Decay. Kokusho flies in like a silent black plague and kills me.

Game two is pretty similar and I start the day off at 0-1.

I get a Mountain Dew from the machine in the store and head to the candy store down the street. I get my wife some gumdrops and gourmet Jelly Beans she likes.

Round 2 I am paired up with Mick playing a deck I designed called “Comes into play Tapped” that I’ll get into later. It has 16 burn spells, Raging Goblin, Slith Firewalker, Vulshok Sorceress, Lava Hounds, Oxida Golem and those samurai guys with haste and bushido.

Last week, Rodney was playing Michelle and plays a Mountain and a Raging Goblin. The Raging Goblin comes in sideways and Michelle says, “Why does your goblin come into play tapped?”

“Everything in this deck comes into play tapped.”

I beat Mick in two short ones, siding in Bottle Gnomes. He’s a little out of practice and I’m not. And I know every card in his deck. And I see fatties.

Round Three is Dwayne Trayah with Black/Green Death Cloud.

I pretend I’m a good player and tap things very slowly and deliberately as if I have some complex plan to execute. Like “Forest, Pioneer, Forest.” And “Forest, Blanchwood the Pioneer, swing for 4 on turn 2.” Intricate complex things like that involving timing and tons of skill. He can’t find an answer and the Pioneer goes all the way. Clearly, I am the best player ever.

Months ago Joshie said, “Playing against you Wakefield is like losing the first round of a PTQ and spending the rest of the day at the kids table.” I just love that quote.

Game two is less than stellar for me. Dwayne persecutes me on turn 3 for six cards.

As John Telford would say, “Holy Crap!”

I actually start to make a game of it, but then he Death Clouds and I lose a lot of hope. But I have one of Justin’s Chrome Moxes on the board and am able to make a recovery. Then he starts recovering a lot of stuff in his graveyard with Eternal Witness and I enter the scoop phase.

Game 3 is one of those games you envision when you make your deck. You see how things will work out, and why each card is in there, and everything just flows together like it’s supposed to, but rarely does.

I start off with arguably the best draw possible. 1) Forest, Pioneer, Forest. 2) Untap, Forest, Wood Elf, Forest. 3) Forest, Beacon for five, serve for two, coming in for seven next turn. Plastic Dinosaurs cover the field in front of me. Anxious once again for the taste of blood after so long a rest.

He plays an O-stone.

Oh no’s!

I’m holding a big fat Molder Slug and a Viridian Zealot. Carefully counting his mana, I see that he cannot detonate the Oh No Stone on his upkeep. Am I forgetting something? Is there a way he can get that thing to blow up before he has to sacrifice it? Will I be slapping my forehead soon and mocking my own pitiful play skill? Should I just play it safe and play the Zealot and sac it to destroy the O Stone?

I play the Molder Slug so I can serve with it next turn and cross my fingers.

He untaps and sacs the O Stone. Thinks for a bit and says “go.”

I untap and serve, then play a Zealot and Slith Predator.

He rips Echoing Decay and I sweep up my Dinosaurs and dump them into my box. “Blood!” they squeal. “No box! Blood!”

“Later,” I tell them.

I untap and serve again.

He has no answers and I am 2-1.

I go to Subway for a Southwest Steak and Cheese with Black Olives and Hot Peppers and extra Chipolte Sauce. I go to the candy store for a cup of coffee and a peanut butter ice cream sandwich. I’m sick of it by the time I get back to the shop and I give the last half of it to Joshie.

Fourth and final round is Paul Hobday with Tooth. He apologizes about a hundred times for playing Tooth and I tell him he is a Donkey of the highest magnitude. He says he would draw with me but he drew with Justin in the first round and cannot. I tell him it’s fine, and it is. Even though he is still a Donkey.

If you’ve been reading for a bit, you know Paul is over at my house every Thursday. He has been playing Black/Green Death Cloud and it did great for him. Then he made changes and it didn’t do so great. Rather than change it back, he gave up on it and started working on Five Color Gifts and even put his Tooth deck back together. Oh yeah, and he is a Donkey.

Am I really upset that Paul is with Tooth? Of course not, but this is how we banter. For instance. Here is a snippet from Thursday night Magic between Justin and Paul. Justin has just got off the phone.

“Guys, we gotta wrap this up a little early, got a girl waiting for me at the apt.”

“What’s her name?”

“You don’t know her, she’s from Vergennes.”

“Vergennes huh? How many kids does she have?”

“Dude, none.”

“Can’t be from Vergennes then.”

Look, it’s not my fault, I’m just a reporter.

I mulligan to 5, but get a Chrome Mox

Side note, because I keep forgetting to include this little bit of advice, so, tough, it goes in now.

All of my decks are Jank. Right now they are Tier two or even three. Not tier one. I like them a lot, and I hope you do too. But play them at your own risk and tune them to a razor sharp edge. And I wanted to make the statement that – “The difference between a tier two deck, and a tier one deck is a thousand hours of testing.” But recent discoveries have made me amend that little statement to also say “A thousand hours of playtesting, and a couple hundred dollars in rares.” Because Chrome Mox goes for about 20 bucks apiece, and they add a few percentage points of goodness to my Green deck, and did so all day. And in a Red deck, they add even more percentages of goodness because now you can get first-turn Slith AND you smash people for 5 with Shrapnel Blast. This is quite a bit better than dinking them for two with Guerrilla Tactics.

So, I start off by mulliganing to five against Tooth, but I have a Forest and a Chrome Mox and a Zealot, and two Wood Elves in my hand, and I’m going second, so I’m going to start off pretty well. I pitch the Zealot to the Mox and I am off and running, top decking a Beacon and away I go. Punch punch punch and the dinosaurs cry for blood.

Like Mr. Bill, but more Dinosaur-ee.

Paul lays an O-Stone and five tiny voices say “Oh noooooo’s!”

The age of dinosaurs comes to an end. Everything goes away.

Then he gets it back with a Witness, plays a Tooth and I enter the scoop phase

Game 2 I side in 4 Creeping Mold and get an insane fast start similar to game one, except I don’t have to mulligan into it, and I’m holding two forests and a Pioneer, so I have four mana on turn 2 and Creep his Tower on turn 3. And of course the only other land he was holding was a Tower, so he mise well go off, am I right?

2-2 and out of the Top eight.

Top seeds are –

1) Justin Olson with Tooth.

2) Joshie Trash Talker with 5Cgifts

3) Paul Hobday with Tooth.

4) Alan with a mono-Black Greater Harvester deck of his own design that beat the only other Tooth in the last round. Jeremy Muir was playing Tooth and went 2-2, his losses coming to Justin’s Tooth, and Alan’s Black deck.

5) Murray with Raging Goblin Bonesplitters.

6) Matt with Green Black Death Cloud.

7) Don’t know, went drinking.

8) Don’t know, went drinking.

Apparently, two guys went to the bar before the Top 8 and never returned.

Joshie faces off against Murray and has his worst draws of the tournament. Murray has two Slith on the board turn 2 and Josh is holding 4 Tendo Ice Bridge. It was over fast.

In Game two, Murray got a Bonesplitter on a Raging Goblin and a hand full of Burn. Joshie got two Tendo Ice Bridge and a City of Brass.

Alan loses to Paul’s Tooth deck.

Justin’s Tooth beats Matt’s Green/Black Death Cloud.

Matt Cranial Extracts him and see’s that all the Tooth’s are gone. Justin has a creature transformative sideboard that I am honor bound to state is “very cool” There, I said it.

Rodney goes 0-4 and wins the Fellowship prize. And he deserves it. Rodney will play Honden’s Obliterate or Griffins, go 0-7 in a PTQ and smile and chat the whole time. An example to us all.

Rodney and I head home. Rodney pulls a North Tree from his packs and gives it to me.

Some good.

Let’s talk about what we’ve learned.

Regionals will be amazing. Or it will be completely boring.

Depending on how brave people are.

In the tournament practice room, all manner of decks are being developed. I’ve faced off against a Blue Urzatron deck. Red Ensnaring Bridge with no creatures. All manner and colors of revised Affinity decks. Blue/Black rats using the Aether Vial + Crystal Shard = make you discard during your draw phase lock. Turbo Recursive Plow Under. Recursive Mind Slaver so you never control another turn. Multiple people trying out Cloudposts/X. Tons of multi-color aggro decks with 4 Jittes and 4 Swords.

In the last week, I have seen more Sakura-Tribe Elders than there are stars in the sky.

I’ve been the victim of so many reach arounds I’m starting to think I’m Cartman’s Mom.

Ba dum pum….

In the actual MODO tournaments that cost 6 bucks to enter, there are no such innovations. Its 50% Tooth and Nail, 20% MUC, 20% Arc-Slogger Red and 10% everything else.

Regionals can be amazing or it can be incredibly boring depending on how brave people are.

I’d like to tell you that if you can’t beat Tooth, don’t even bother to go, but really, nothing beats Tooth. At least, not consistently. Tooth is just too fast and too reliable to be beaten greater than 50% of the time by anything. I’ve seen it totally smash an opponent that cast Cranial Extraction for all its Tooth and Nails on turn 3. I’ve seen it win after 2 Sowing Salts resolved. I’ve seen it win with nothing but Forests on the board. It is the deck from Hell, and yes, the sky is falling.

There really can be no denying that the most popular decks in the field will be Tooth and Nail, MUC, and something Red. [I deny! – Knut]

The hard part about all this as I tried to explain last week is, making your deck better against one of them, usually makes you weaker against the other two.

For instance: Red really doesn’t like Fatties. Add a couple Iwamori, a couple Kodama, a few Molder Slugs to your deck, and Red is… well… not so scary any more.

Now your MUC opponent giggles in glee every time he Briberies you or plays a Shackles. Drooling like a fat man at a buffet at all you have served up in front of him. And now you die to White Weenie with a hand full of fatties in your hand.

Fatty fat fat.

Security Guard: All right son, I’m going to need those two hams back.

Chris Griffin: I… I don’t have any hams.

Security Guard: Lift up your shirt son.

Chris Griffin: I need an adult! I need an adult!

Security Guard: You’re not a shoplifter, you’re just a fat kid. Sorry about that fatty, fat, fatty. Hey Tom, he’s just a fat kid. Aren’t ya fatty? He’s a big ol’ fat kid. Here’s some chocolate, fatso.

Chris Griffin: Thanks!

– Family Guy.

And, you’re just getting started to cast the fatties and Tooth goes off on you and kills all your guys, all your land and takes over your next turn. Wheeee!

So you go back and you revise your deck and you add in more speed. “I’ll show you!” you shout to no one in particular while your wife gives you nervous glances. More ways to destroy artifacts. More ways to punch through the damage you need to kill Tooth. Yeah! That’s the ticket!

And every Red deck you play has Sorceress and Arc-Slogger in the main and Pyroclasm in the side. To say nothing of Hideous Laughter or Barter in Blood. Or just plain bigger creatures than you have. But I’ve told you all this before, and I’ll probably tell you again with different wording before Regionals finally rolls around.

You know how I mentioned the Forests don’t like me any more?

I entered another online tournament, five rounds of Swiss with my Green deck and went 0-4 drop. And I honestly believe that it was purely based on matchups and card drawing. Facing Red decks I pulled elves and mana acceleration and nothing to do with it. Played two Tooth decks in four rounds. It’s funny playing Tooth in the 0-3 bracket. Its like “WTF are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be filming a direct to internet flixxx with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton? I never expected to see you… here… in the dump. With me. Want a beer? Alllll right….”

Giggity giggity giggity!

The only thing wrong with that little skit is I’m usually the one getting pumped by Tooth, not the other way around….

So, following Murray’s lead, I started looking at my Red deck and adding some Bonesplitters. And really, this is a deck I made in about Two-Minutes, so Joshie wanted to call it “Two-Minute Red” in honor of his White deck. But, I like the name “Comes into play tapped” better.

I take this into a MODO tourney and go 3-0 and then draw the last two rounds to make Top 8. I even beat a guy who had COP: Red on the third turn. And I smashed Tooth. Gotta beat Tooth.

“Sowing Salt.”

…. Damn…


Some notes on the deck – Well, it might be better if you put in Chrome Mox and Shrapnel Blast, but that would only leave you with 16 Mountains for the Golem and since I don’t have the cards to test it, I can’t say if that would better or worse or work at all. I do know this version has been very kind to me.

10:05 Secret Force joined the game.

10:05 ThrusH chooses to play first.

10:05 ThrusH keeps this hand.

10:05 Secret Force mulligans down to 6 cards.

10:05 Secret Force keeps this hand.

10:05 ThrusH plays Forest

10:05 Turn 1: Secret Force.

10:05 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:05 Turn 2: ThrusH.

10:05 ThrusH plays Forest.

10:05 ThrusH plays Sakura-Tribe Elder.

10:05 Turn 2: Secret Force.

10:05 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:05 ThrusH plays activated ability from Sakura-Tribe Elder.

10:05 Turn 3: ThrusH.

10:05 ThrusH plays Forest.

10:05 ThrusH plays Circle of Protection: Red.

10:05 Turn 3: Secret Force.

10:05 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:05 Secret Force plays Oxidda Golem.

10:05 Turn 4: ThrusH.

10:05 ThrusH plays Beacon of Creation.

10:05 Creating 3 tokens.

10:05 Turn 4: Secret Force.

10:05 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:05 Secret Force plays Vulshok Sorcerer.

10:06 Turn 5: ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays Forest.

10:06 ThrusH plays Eternal Witness.

10:06 ThrusH plays triggered ability from Eternal Witness targeting Sakura-Tribe Elder.

10:06 Sakura-Tribe Elder is returned to ThrusH’s hand from the graveyard.

10:06 ThrusH plays Sakura-Tribe Elder.

10:06 Secret Force plays activated ability from Vulshok Sorcerer: targeting Eternal Witness.

10:06 Turn 5: Secret Force.

10:06 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:06 Secret Force plays Lightning Blast: targeting ThrusH.

10:06 Secret Force plays Shock: targeting ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays activated ability from Sakura-Tribe Elder.

10:06 Turn 6: ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays Plains.

10:06 ThrusH plays Sword of Fire and Ice.

10:06 Secret Force plays activated ability from Vulshok Sorcerer: targeting Insect: token.

10:06 Turn 6: Secret Force.

10:06 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:06 Secret Force plays activated ability from Vulshok Sorcerer: targeting Insect token.

10:06 Secret Force plays Glacial Ray: targeting Insect token.

10:06 Turn 7: ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays Forest.

10:06 Turn 7: Secret Force.

10:06 Secret Force plays Mountain.

10:06 Secret Force plays Frostling.

10:06 Turn 8: ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays Forest.

10:06 Secret Force plays activated ability from Vulshok Sorcerer: targeting ThrusH.

10:06 ThrusH plays activated ability from Circle of Protection: Red.

10:06 ThrusH chooses Vulshok Sorcerer: as a damage source.

10:06 1 damage caused by Vulshok Sorcerer to ThrusH is prevented.

10:06 Turn 8: Secret Force.

10:06 Secret Force plays Oxidda Golem.

10:06 ThrusH has conceded from the game.

Personally, I think its pretty good when your Red deck completely ignores COP:Red, Sword of Fire and Ice, Eternal Witness, and two Sakura-Tribe Elders to serve for the win on turn 8.

I’ve lost the log, but against one Tooth Player, I unloaded all my burn on him until turn 5, and on turn 5 I tapped all my land to play 2 Oxidda Golems, a Slith Predator and a Raging Goblin, and serve up eight for the win.

Tooth Player – “That’s just stupid.”

Which just leads me to believe more and more the Forests don’t like me. What else am I supposed to conclude when I play Tooth and it makes me mulligan down to four and keep a hand with two lands and two Molder Slug? Or I play Burn and Molder Slug and Iwamori call in sick for the day?

Playing the Red deck opened up all new pathways in my brain. Especially the differences between Blanchwood Armor and Equipment.

This led to all sorts of observations comparing Red to Green and how to improve Champion and if it will work at all, and lastly, how does Beacon Green win so much?

  • Sowing Salt + Molten Rain > Creeping Mold. Tooth is huge. Destroying there lands and allowing you a couple more turns to turn them into ash is a hell of a lot better than a fourth-turn land destruction spell that removes one land and doesn’t do damage.

  • Creatures that come into play tapped and attacking are a much greater threat than Sakura-Tribe Elder.

  • 20 lands with no land fetch and nothing costing over three mana is a lot more consistent than land fetch creatures and fatties. Because while sometimes everything works out just the way it’s supposed too, sometimes you thin ten lands out of your deck and still draw more. Sometimes your opening hand consists of Iwamori and three Molder Slugs and that sure as hell doesn’t beat Tooth.

  • Vulshok Sorcerer means you don’t fear White’s fliers at all any more.

  • Killing everything they have on their side and attacking every turn means you don’t fear Jittes or Swords so much either. If they don’t have any creatures, they sure as hell can’t put a Jitte on them!

  • Blanchwood Armor is a huge win-big lose-big card. Sometimes, it alone will win you game. Sometimes, it gives your opponent some massive card advantage. Bonesplitter is there over and over and over to attack to anything alive.

  • Between rounds in a tourney, I replay the matches that have finished for that round. I watched a White Weenie vs. a Black/Green deck last night. The White Weenie player reduced the Black/Green player to 1, both games. And lost. “BOLT YOU!” seems pretty good after seeing that.

So I call up Alan and we start talking about my Red deck and he tells me about how Murray used to explore the viability of Spark Elemental and Grafted Wargear and Viashino Sandstalkers. Explaining that since Wargear attaches for free, you can make your Sandstalker into a 6/4 every turn. Or how every Spark Elemental now has three damage added onto it for free. And don’t forget they trample. If you have a couple Bonesplitters and a Grafted Wargear on the board, and you draw a Spark Elemental, you’re coming in for 10 trample. And the equipment just sits there. Waiting to be used again. With creatures that all have Haste and a few equipment on the board, how can your opponent even dare to attack you? A Sorceress can be attached and swing for a ton the turn she comes into play.

It boggles this Green mages mind.

My thoughts turned to Beacon Green. How come it’s statistically proven to be so good and I can’t win with Green enough to make me happy? I started examining why Beacon Green won so much and noticed a theme that went right along with all that I was learning.

3 Sword Of Fire And Ice

2 Umezawa’s Jitte

And another Sword in the side.


Most likely, a good portion of its success comes from 4 Plow Under and 4 Cranial in the side. (Something I have never tried since it seems so good and that’s just not me.)

But what if its victories are coming from Beacon of Creation and Meloku + Equipment?

Do you really care that you’re guys are only 1/1 if you can attach Jitte or Sword to them?

Is it the endless supply of weenies to attach utterly broken equipment to them the real power behind the deck?

It’s probably a little of both, but needless to say, it gave me the idea for a new deck called “Grafted Elves.”

4 Elvish Pioneer

4 Elvish Scrapper

4 Viridian Zealot

4 Elvish Champion

4 Troll Ascetics

2 Iwamori of the Open Fist

4 Bone Splitter

4 Grafted Wargear

4 Predator’s Strike

4 Beacon of Creation

22 Forest

I honestly have not playtested it enough to say if it’s any good or not, but it shows promise. It only took one game against White Weenie to show why I needed to put Predator’s Strike back in. Don’t attach Wargear on a Troll if he’s the thing winning you the game. I thought Wargear said “Destroy” when it becomes unattached, but it doesn’t. It says “sacrifice,” which you cannot regenerate from. If you have Wargear on the board, and attach it to something and that something gets bolted or boomeranged, just move it right onto something else. Its attach cost is zero. This is some good with a ton of weenies you don’t care about.

In playtesting, it’s been fun getting a few pieces of equipment on the board and then top decking a useless Pioneer and immediately making it an 8/3 or something silly like that. “Hey look, everything I play is a Fattie!”

Fattie fat fat!

Playing against Black or Red, it’s just not as much of a hit as when they bolt or Terror the guy wearing your game winning Blanchwood Armor. You just really don’t care that much with this deck.

Of course, following up on that theory is the next deck I’ll be working on, which uses Soulshift and Zuberas to make it so you care even less if something dies as it always returns something else and you can just keep attaching equipment to useless guys and making them into monstrosities. This is turning out to be a b*tch to make work and requires a lot more testing and some cards from Saviors, which MODO doesn’t have yet.


Jamie C. Wakefield

King O the Fatties

Fattie Fat Fat!