The Kitchen Table #239 – A New Scavenger Hunt

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Thursday, June 26th – I love alternate formats. I also love deckbuilding challenges. Last week, you saw me build decks with more and more random cards added to the mix, and it was tough. Those sorts of challenges inspire me. Today I will be providing for you a new Scavenger Hunt.

Merry Thursday to you all! I hope you have enjoyed your week thus far. Welcome back to the column that cleans up the messes that the tournament articles leave behind. I am your janitor, making sure that you have some casual time on the clock each week here on StarCityGames.com.

I love alternate formats. I also love deckbuilding challenges. Last week, you saw me build decks with more and more random cards added to the mix, and it was tough. Those sorts of challenges inspire me.

Today I will be providing for you a new Scavenger Hunt. What’s that, you ask?

Here’s my article from 2004.

Yes, it’s from four years ago. That doesn’t matter in Casual World. In Tournament World, you might not find much value in an article four years old describing the Standard metagame at a tournament. In Casual World, most articles are timeless, and only a few change as more cards are printed that may modify a premise.

If you don’t want to read the article, that’s fine. Allow me to briefly introduce the premise of the Scavenger Hunt Format. Someone (in this case me) creates a list of sixty cards, and each entry on the list has a certain criteria. The player’s responsibility is to find cards that fit the list, and then build the deck with those cards. If you can get a card multiple times through various categories, then you can play it that number of times.

Some lists may have certain rules attached to them. You could have a Standard Scavenger Hunt list, for example. For my list, all Vintage rules are in place. Therefore, you cannot chose cards that are silver bordered, banned, or more than one copy of a card if it is restricted, and no more than four of a card (normally).

Next up, I’ll provide the list. Then you can build decks with it, and play this weekend, next weekend, or whenever. Some people need to see some actual decks in progress in order to spark their own deckbuilding skills. For those folks, later in the article I will be showing some different way you can build off the Scavenger Hunt list.

Any questions before we begin? I hope not, because here we go

Abe’s Scavenger Hunt, June 2008

1. A creature that gives creatures of a certain creature type +1/+1.
2. An instant that costs exactly and only three mana. (Split cards might cost three, but they also cost something else unless both halves cost three.)
3. A creature that lost its printed creature type to Oracle.
4. A card with the name of a Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or Norse mythological character in the title.
5. A card originally printed in Antiquities that is not an artifact.
6. A common enchantment.
7. Any card drawn by Kaja and/or Phil Foglio.
8. Any card with Time in the title but not drawn by Amy Weber.
9. Any Tribal card.
10. A card that would remove a Planeswalker from play.
11. A creature with protection from something other than a color.
12. A card with Urza printed anywhere on the card.
13. A card with Mishra printed anywhere on the card.
14. A sorcery that costs 2BB, 2UU, 2WW, 2GG, or 2RR.
15. A creature with three times as much power or toughness as the other (3/1, 1/3, 2/6, etc).

16. A card that allows you to shuffle your library but does not have Tutor in the title.

17. A creature with provoke or transmute.
18. Any non-creature non-equipment artifact printed with an even casting cost.

19. A piece of equipment that costs at least four mana to play.
20. A spell that has a play cost in addition to mana.
21. A creature with trample, an equal power to toughness, and at least six power (6/6 trampler, 7/7 trampler, 12/12 trampler, etc).
22. A vanilla creature.
23. A legendary spirit.
24. A creature with no power.
25. A card that searches your library for a land as part or all of its effect.
26. A card that can deal direct damage to a player.

27. A card that causes you to lose life.
28. A card from Shadowmoor.
29. A card which comes into play as a non-creature, but can become a creature later.
30. A permanent that forces your opponent to discard a card.
31. A card that can cause you to gain life.
32. A creature with defender.
33. Any card with all five vowels in the title of the card.
34. A card with a black expansion symbol (or white, in the case of some old symbols like Ice Age).
35. A card with at least two artists with different last names.
36. A multicolor card.
37. A snow covered land.
38. A card with the word “sacrifice” somewhere on the card.
39. A card that comes into play with two counters.
40. A land that can tap for three colors of mana (not four or five, just three).
41. A land that can tap for two colors of mana (not more, just two).
42. A land that can tap for more than one mana.
43. A land with an ability other than mana.
44. — 60. Basic Lands.

As you can see, the deck requires you to play 22 lands. After that, if you want your deck to have additional land, you will have to find slots for them. For example, you could play a basic land at slot #34, since they usually have a Black expansion symbol on them.

You are also required to play with nine creatures, although I suspect you might want to play with more.

The goal of the format is to find a good deck that has synergies with this list. If you want to investigate the list yourself, and try to find a deck without any help, stop reading here. I’ll even go ahead and end the article for you. Thanks for reading!

Until later!

Abe Sargent

If you enjoy reading some ideas I have after reviewing the list, keep reading. Hopefully these ideas will spark your own deckbuilding skills.

Sometimes, it is helpful to start with an idea, and then see if you can back that idea onto the Scavenger Hunt. For example, suppose that you wanted to play Rift-Slide. Where could you find room for them?

Astral Slide can be played nowhere.

Lightning Rift can be played at #26.

Well, that’s not enough to play. Sorry. How about Rec/Sur?

Recurring Nightmare can be played at #38.

Survival of the Fittest can be played at #16, #33.

Add in a smattering of tutors that you can slide into the deck, and you might have a deck here.

What about other combos?


Shield Sphere at #18, 24 and 32.

Enduring Renewal at #34.

Goblin Bombardment at #26.

That’s a risk since two cannot be played easily.


Pandemonium at #26, 33.

Saproling Burst cannot be played.

Nothing there.

And so on… I think the best way to roll in with a deck that can easily find space for the extra card you will get that might not fit the theme. For example, an aggro deck can find places for equipment and a legendary spirit, whereas a combo deck might have problems.

Let’s take a look at some Johnny ideas with which you could roll. Here are some themes you might want to explore.

Artifact Lovin’

Trash for Treasure at #20

Goblin Welder at #38

Reshape at #16

Transmute Artifact at #5, #16


Living Death at #38

Victimize at #20

Corpse Dance at #2

Life/Death at #36

Resurrection, Dread Return at #14

Tortured Existence at #6, #34

Strands of Night, Phyrexian Reclamation at #27

Elf Love

Elvish Champion, Imperious Perfect at #1

Wellwisher at #31, #34

Timberwatch Elves at #34

Eyeblight’s Ending at #2, #9

Skyshroud Poacher, Elvish Harbinger at #16

Kaysa at #3


Char at #2

Seal of Fire at #6

Tarfire at #9

Urza’s Rage at #2, #12

Eternal Flame at #14

Firestorm at #20

#26 can have any burn spell you want

Burn Trail at #28

Lighting Helix at #31, #36

Chain Lightning (plus many others) at #34

Goblin Grenade at #38

Anyway, these give you some ideas for decks. Look over the categories carefully and see if you can’t find space for your decks.

Let me build you an actual sample deck.

Blue-White Merfolk Aggro

1. Lord of Atlantis. I could have played Reejerey here, but why play the three mana lord when you can pay the two mana one?
2. Exclude. I like a little control to back up my aggro.
3. Waterfront Bouncer. It was a spellshaper and is now a merfolk.
4. Sol Ring. I’ll give this one to you in the article. Sol was the Norse god of the sun. I could also have run a Pegasus or Sphinx, etc.
5. Mishra’s Factory. This is a solid enough card for my deck.
6. Empyrial Armor. I like the beatings.
7. Manta Riders. This one was very tough, since I also really wanted Swords to Plowshares here. In the end, I know that I need beaters for my deck to function, so you take them where you can get them.
8. Time Warp. Take another turn with the beaters, not bad. I also liked Time Ebb to bounce a blocker back to the top of the library.
9. Crib Swap. I decided to go with removal here. Merrow Commerce was my other option, but I didn’t like it in this deck. I could also have tossed in countermagic with Faerie Trickery.
10. Oblation. It shuffles the Planeswalkers back in too.
11. Shoreline Raider. Yes, that’s right, fear my protection from kavu.
12. Confound. Don’t mess with my creatures. Another option was Opposition.
13. Ankh of Mishra. For the mana hungry decks. I also liked another Mishra’s Factory.
14. Concentrate. I wanted some card drawing.
15. Sygg, River Cutthroat. There were three solid choices here. Drowner of Secrets, Sygg, and Ambassador Laquatus. I went with the two-drop that can draw you some cards, but going Drowner would not be a bad call either.
16. Seahunter. It’s not a merfolk, but I’m sure you know why I am running it. I could also have tossed in Merrow Harbinger, but I prefer the Seahunter.
17. Deftblade Elite. It’s no merfolk, but it’s the best we can do with the category.
18. Ankh of Mishra. Let’s continue the theme.
19. Sword of Kaldra. I was also looking at Tatsumasa to give this deck some power post-Wrath of God, but I decided to go with sheer power.
20. Familiar’s Ruse. Also Turbulent Dreams was enticing, but I wanted some more counters.
21. Akroma, Angel of Wrath. It’s better than Deep Spawn or Jokulmorder.
22. Coral Merfolk. Any chance I get to play a beater, I take.
23. Hokori, Dust Drinker. I went with the Winter Orb on a stick, but there were a ton of good options here like Kataki and Keiga and Kira and Yosei.
24. Reef Shaman. Yep, he’s a merfolk, and he can tap to give an opponent an Island. The other option was Seasinger.
25. Solemn Simulacrum. I still want creatures where I can get them.
26. Rootwater Hunter. I’ll take a Tim.
27. Deep Analysis. I want more card drawing.
28. Inkfathom Infiltrator. The deck needs beaters. There were a ton of cards that fit my deck, but these were the ones I went for.
29. Mutavault. If that’s too expensive for you, then roll with Ivory Soldier.
30. Riptide Pilferer. Remember, add creatures where you can.
31. Judge of Currents. See above.
32. Fog Bank. Just a cheap wall.
33. Tidal Courier. I was very happy to slide this merfolk enabler into the deck.
34. Streambed Aquitects. There were so many good choices. I went with the aggro deck enabler but I could have gone with another cheap beater, Silvergill Douser, Judge of Currents, Stonybrook Banneret, Stonybrook Angler, or Coral Trickster. This was tough.
35. Paperfin Rascal. At least I was able to score a merfolk in this category.
36. Sygg, River Guide. There were a lot of spells I was looking at, but he can protect my creatures, so I felt I had to drop him in.
37. Snow Covered Island
38. Grimoire Thief. When in doubt, play more beaters.
39. Leech Bonder. Yep, it’s a merfolk.
40. Dromar’s Cavern.
41. Coastal Tower.
42. Azorius Chancery.
43. Windbrisk Heights.
44. — 53. 10 Islands.
54. — 60. 7 Plains.

We have 24 lands, a bunch of beaters, some support for the beaters, and a decent enough deck. I hope that this gives you an idea of how to build a Scavenger Hunt deck.

Now that you have seen not only some ideas but an actual deck, I hope that you will avail yourselves of the opportunity to build decks and then challenge each other. Good luck!

Until later!

Abe Sargent