The Semidaily Blister: How To Make Ancestral Recall Fair

I’d assume Ancestral Recall would be fair if it could only get certain cards, and if it was a sorcery, and cost one more, but you wouldn’t have to discard from having too many cards in your hand because you had neatly stashed those extra cards in the yard o’ graves. Oh yes, I would. At least until the drugs wore off.

I’d assume Ancestral Recall would be fair if it could only get certain cards, and if it was a sorcery, and cost one more, but you wouldn’t have to discard from having too many cards in your hand because you had neatly stashed those extra cards in the yard o’ graves. Oh yes, I would.

At least until the drugs wore off anyway.

Actually, Quiet Speculation is limited by the small subset of cards it can get – so if a deck were to use and basically abuse it, it would need to play along a very specific game plan. Fortunately, that game plan is dependable, like adult diapers.

When facing a control deck, Quiet Speculation pulls forth the card-drawing spells to keep your hand in tip-top shape and/or condition. But due to their high life pricetag in the flashback cost, this makes for less-than-optimal plays versus burn-based green/red decks, so they’ll have to settle for multiple 6/6s instead. This is, perhaps, not actually fair… But more on how green/red deals with this at a later date.

A deck that would use Quiet Speculation could take on many guises: The first and easiest mod would be to sticky-tape some Queue Specs onto the Deep Dog deck that Gary Wise tried to out – and team Godzilla tried to play – at the US Nationals. Instinctively, you may want to just swap out the Careful Mulligans… But it turns out that these trash commons are quiet good in a Dog as Deep as this. Instead, extraction should occur somewhere near the two Aquamoebas, a Deep Analysis, and a Land.

(Remember, Aquamoeba should not be pronounced; "Ack-wa-mee-bah", but "Ah-kwarm-ah-bah.”)

(That pronunciation lesson was bought to you by Martin Stevenson of always-cuddle-the-big-teddy-bear.com.)

Yes that’s right – a land. Watch…

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Arrogant Wurm

4 Roar of the Wurm

4 Circular Logic

4 Counterspell

4 Careful Study

4 Quiet Speculation

3 Deep Analysis

4 Yavimaya Coast

1 City of Brass

1 Centaur Garden

6 Forest

8 Island

This still has the two "pain every time you tap them" lands of the first Deep Dog, but one is now a City of Brass. This gives it the same number of colored sources and painlands while running one less land in total. If you want to retain the two Centaur Gardens, use this instead.

4 Yavimaya Coast

1 Treva’s Ruins

2 Centaur Garden

5 Forest

8 Island

Which is the same, but with a lair.

(Which I guess means it’s different…)

Deep Dog il-traditionale runs twenty-two land per 60 cards in any given Magic library, making it a 22-to-60 ratio, or 11/30. In other words, 36.6% land. The percentages are obviously lower with only 21 land. 21/60 or 7/20 or 35% exactly. However, if you cast one Quiet Speculation, you change the ratios considerably. Of course, you wouldn’t in your right mind keep anything less than a two-land hand with this deck…

(If you are Martin Stevenson, then yes I realize you would. But everyone knows you’re ker-RAZY in the coconut.)

(And if they didn’t, they do now.)

…You have enough to actually Speculate Quietly, and shrink the deck to fifty-seven cards. So, 21/57 or 7/19 or 36.8%. Which is a touch higher the 22/60 ratio. Check how bad that would be if you still had 22 of those suckers. 22/57 or, erm… 22/57 because it doesn’t simplify, or 38.8%!

Just so you know, your good old regular, run-of-the-mill 24 land deck looks like this: 24/60 or 2/5 or 40%. Then again, they don’t usually pack Merfolk Looters and Deep Analysis’s. Or should that be Analysees?

Heh; while I have the calculator out, why not punch a number or two on Jamie Wakefield? He liked 26/62 card decks, we all assume it was for a good reason, and not because of some cute symmetry found in the face value of the numbers.

(Jab, jab. Calculate, calculate…)

26/62 or 13/31 or 41.9%. Which reminds me of just how much he loved dropping fatties…

(Maybe he should lay off the red meat and eat some bread with plenty of fibre…)

…And how much he would have loathed the evil Psychatog empire.

Hmmm. Psychatog, 25/30 or 5/12 or 41.6%.

Moving right along, I’d be lying if I claimed that I was about to revolutionize the metagame by pointing out that the overpowered part of a Psychatog deck might not actually involve black mana; no, I read it somewhere in one of Zvi Mowshowitz ramblings. And you know, he might just be right. Then again, he may also drag the idea out over several articles and bore us all to tears with it – who knows! Anyway, what might a "Psychatog" deck look like if you took out that toothiest of monsters?

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Roar of the Wurm

4 Counterspell

4 Memory Lapse

3 Circular Logic

4 Deep Analysis

4 Quiet Speculation

1 Flash of Insight

3 Repulse

2 Upheaval

4 Yavimaya Coast

12 Island

7 Forest

Heh; another land count.


23/60 or 38.3%, and also 23/57 or 40.4%.

(A spot of Swedish rounding in there.)

Why not 24 or 25 like any other self-respecting control deck? Show ’em the score, calculator.

(Pronounced "Kal-queue-lay-tor", for rhyming purposes.)

24/57 or 8/19 or 42.1%, which is pushing it somewhat, and 25/57 or a whopping 43.9%! Can you spell "land flood"? Here’s a hint, copy and paste this line and you’re in like Flynn. And while we’re here, why not squeeze one more deck list in, eh?

("Eh?" is because if you remember, I’m supposed to be emulating the delightfully small at five-foot-two, Canadian Geordie Tait.)

(I may or may not have made up that height, but it makes me smile to think that he could be pocket-size.)

(Not that I… want to keep him… in my, erm… pocket…)

This time, splashing for the "Sapphire Medallion" found in the demure body of a Sunscape Familiar, as used by Brian Kibler, Adrian Sullivan, and Giles Reid. That’s right, I said Giles Reid.

(He wears a hat, you know?)

And why not max out on Wishes while we’re here?…

4 Sunscape Familiar

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Roar of the Wurm

4 Living Wish

4 Cunning Wish

4 Circular Logic

4 Quiet Speculation

3 Deep Analysis

1 Flash of Insight

1 Upheaval

4 Yavimaya Coast

2 Brushland

2 City of Brass

3 Coastal Tower

3 Elfhame Palace

6 Island

3 Forest


1 Genesis

1 Divert

1 Ray of Revelation

1 Nantuko Tracer

1 Spellbane Centaur

1 Sunscape Apprentice

1 Mana Short

1 City of Brass

1 Wall of Swords

1 Heroes’ Reunion

1 Moment’s Peace

1 Krosan Reclamation

1 Seedtime

1 Repulse

1 Phantom Nishoba

…Because it may or may not be an awful deck.

The verdict: Judgment brings us Quiet Speculation, and with it a mass of creature-based decks – which are traditionally quite a good match up for black control. Most builds show little room for creatures that appear during the opponent’s end step, so I see little in the way of problems for black control. Basically, black control was well-equipped to deal with blue/green decks before Judgment, and they aren’t trying anything new that won’t cause the swamps any trouble.

Next up – what’s red, and green, and beats? That’s right: An angry Christmas tree. But also red/green beats. Until then, look after that guy down the road from you. You know who I mean. That guy, with the thing, and he can’t do that stuff, look after him.