The Weekly Guild Build: How Children Drop Your DCI Rating

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StarCityGames.com!It’s a mixture of topics this week as The Ferrett opens a deck, opines upon his daughter, apologizes for the two wretched articles that got published last week, and discusses what the 8-0 decks from Grand Prix: Toulouse mean when you go to build your deck!

When my daughter Amy comes to town, my entire life vanishes. Lunches with friends go by the wayside, the movies I see get constricted to the ones I can convince her to see, and the wild drinking parties get shoved under the rug.

She is fourteen, you see, and she is a tyrant.

Then again, she has a right to be, and she is only in town for three weeks a year, and she rules with as gentle a hand as you can. See, for the rest of the year, my daughter lives with her other set of parents in Massachusetts. We go to visit her as often as we can, and we talk on the phone, and we send letters, but it’s not the same as having her here… And she misses us fiercely. Sometimes audibly. Thus, to try to ease the pain of separation, when she comes to town our lives revolve around her so that she knows she is loved, and can store that with her for the remaining fifty-someodd weeks.

This usually backfires, of course. She is loved, thoroughly, and then she goes back to her other home thinking that Gee, life would be like that all the time if I lived there! And then we have to explain it’s a special treat, and, well…

…okay. Most of you aren’t parents. But you do have parents, and hopefully they care about you, and 99% of the time you don’t know about the sacrifices they quietly make for you.

In this case, the event laid upon the altar of Parental Responsibility was Magic Limited Champs.

I was almost — almost — able to weasel my way out of it. Amy was arriving on Friday evening, and she never wants to do anything but snuggle with Mommy on the first day. I could escape while she was ensconced in a swirl of Mother’s Love, and play some dang Magic!

What’s that, honey? Her flight’s coming in on Saturday?


I was set, really. I was ready to gol-durned go. And then, well, my daughter came. So you’ll have to forgive me. In the end, I guess I’ll always be a member of Team AWWAJALOOM, and no amount of playing can change that.

Dang. But at least I can read coverage elsewhere.

Power Vs. Consistency, Take II
So when the results from Grand Prix: Toronto came in, I was a little weirded out by the Day One Undefeated decks, which went to four colors. The rule in Rav/Rav/Guildpact appeared to have been “Stay in three colors unless you absolutely have to go to four,” and even if you did have to splash you tried to do it off a Signet or a bounceland.

But the first two undefeated decks were both four-color monstrosities, with single Basic lands thrown in! What was going on?

But hey. Sean McKeown noted the phenomenon, but me? I wasn’t sold. I was gonna wait for the next Grand Prix. And…

…It’s still up in the air.

Shuhei Nakamura deck is a full four colors, but Julien Soum’s deck is an old-style three-color, and Olivier Ruel deck is mostly U/B/G, but tosses in a Galvanic Arc off of a Gruul Signet, a Verdant Eidolon, and a Birds of Paradise. He didn’t even run a Mountain or a bounceland; now that’s ballsy.

So I guess the rule is now, “Throw in your most powerful cards, and try to massage your mana base to work it out.” Which is a good rule for today’s set of cards.

This Week’s Guild Build
Here are the cards I opened this week that were not at Champs:

Okay, two cards leap out at me and throttle me about the neck and shoulders, crying “Play me! Play me!”: Savage Twister and Glare of Subdual. Which kind of makes me hope my Green is decent enough to squeeze it in. But is it? Let’s check it out.

Solid playables: Absolver Thrull, Auratouched Mage, Conclave Equenaut, Freewind Equenaut, Leave No Trace, Nightguard Patrol

Not bad. Not great, mind you, but good enough that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed playing it. Auratouched Mage would normally make me do my little dance, since she’s my girlfriend, but unfortunately she’s only good with killer enchantments, and we’re kind of low on them in this card pool. Let’s see.

Solid playables: Compulsive Research, Flight of Fancy, Infiltrator’s Magemark, Surveilling Sprite

There are two really strong cards here (Compulsive Research and Flight of Fancy), followed by a couple of okay ones. The problem with this Blue is that it doesn’t really provide what I look for in Blue: combat tricks and fliers. I love Blue, but aside from Frazzle and Muddle the Mixture, I’m pretty much at anyone’s mercy once they aim something at my critters or my face… And if the Frazzle and Muddle aren’t there when I need them, I’m stuck with whatever hits the board. This does not make me a happy weasel.

Solid playables: Cleansing Beam, Flash Conscription, Seal of Fire, Ordruun Commando

Decent Red, and especially nice when you consider we’ll be combining the nastiness of Seal of Fire and Cleansing Beam with Savage Twister, making this a fiery moat of death for any creature that crosses your path. Still, it has Red’s usual problem in that aside from the Excruciator, it has no excellent critters.

I should also note that at Mr. McKeown’s insistence, I tried the Mindmoil I opened in last week’s deck to see whether it was any good. Unfortunately, I only saw it once in three games, and then only when I was at eight life facing three creatures with nothing much in my hand. Right then, it sucked. So I can’t say whether it’s any good still, but Sean thinks it is. So you might wanna try it.

Solid playables: Bramble Elemental, Carven Caryatid, Civic Wayfinder, Elves of Deep Shadow, Greater Mossdog, Moldervine Cloak, Utopia Sprawl

Not bad at all. I’ve played with the Utopia Sprawl for a bit, and I like it more all the time; it’s a nice accelerant, and it can fix a lot of mana problems. The “Enchant Forest” is a bit of an issue at times, but usually you find something to plop it onto sooner or later.

Moldervine Cloak plus Bramble Elemental, obviously, is nice. Chump-blockable, but nice. And the Caryatid is on the edge of solidly playable, but I like drawing a card and giving defense. It won’t kill anyone, but it usually either deters a critter or forces a combat trick out — I’m cool with it.

Solid playables: Brainspoil, Clinging Darkness, Disembowel, Stinkweed Imp

This is much like Blue in that it has a few nice tricks, but they kick Blue’s butt because Blue’s tricks counter a spell if you have the mana open, whereas Black’s spells destroy stuff. I like destroying stuff.

I am, however, a little disappointed that the one time I open a Glare of Subdual, I don’t get the Dimir House Guard to transmute for it. My opponents? They always have the damn Guard-into-Subdual.

Solid playables: Drooling Groodion, Gaze of the Gorgon, Glare of Subdual, Izzet Guildmage, Minister of Impediments, Moroii, Savage Twister, Simic Guildmage

Okay, guys. Would it be too much to ask for a Selesnya Evangel to go with my Glare? Or maybe a Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree? I’m a little low on token-producers, and that would make my deck sing.

Sorry, Ulasht, I tried to play you, I really did. I took you for a spin around the block to see whether you were any good, but you were a lousy topdeck, and when you hit the board you were usually a measly 2/2 that could do two points of damage. Meh. I’m sure you might be good somewhere, but you don’t even have the self-esteem to count yourself when you come into play. I mean, buck up, mister! You count for something!

The Deck
Okay, so far my deck looks like this:

Savage Twister
Glare of Subdual
Green cards

I gotta narrow it down. If I’m going to squeeze all of that in, I need to go base green for the mana-fixing, which leads me to put in the good Green cards. But what then? There are a couple of options:

I tried this a couple of times (I told you I tried Ulasht), and it just didn’t come together. It could pull off wins, naturally — it’s got some good cards — but in the end, the inability to “kill target critter” meant it often lost when my opponent got a fatty out and I didn’t draw Glare or Twister.

Tried this, too. It was not bad, but it was really low on critters, which had the dual problem of making my Glare less useful and my Savage Twisters more painful to me. Plus, remember when I said that the Blue tricks couldn’t get anything off the board once it hit?


I didn’t play this, but my suspicion is that since the Red critters are comparatively weak, it would be merely okay. Suddenly, you’re lacking the critical evasion that the White provides, leaving you with Ordruun Commando and Sell-Sword Brute. The additional burn, I think, wouldn’t be worth it.

This is what I settled on, and after I screwed around for a while with straight G/R/W and lost a bit, I went 4-1 with it in a bunch of games, losing to mana screw. I should also note that I drew the Glare of Subdual in precisely one of those games — not matches, games — and still managed to do well, so I’m gonna call this one a decent one. Though I miss the ability to plop a Flight of Fancy down onto a Drooling Groodion or a Bramble Elemental or to yank it out with the Auratouched Mage. (Still, getting a 6/6 Auratouched Mage isn’t a bad consolation prize.)

Here’s my final deck:

1 Absolver Thrull
1 Auratouched Mage
1 Brainspoil
1 Bramble Elemental
1 Carven Caryatid
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Clinging Darkness
1 Conclave Equenaut
1 Disembowel
1 Drooling Groodion
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
4 Forest
1 Glare of Subdual
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Greater Mossdog
1 Gruul Nodorog
1 Gruul Turf
1 Moldervine Cloak
1 Mountain
1 Nightguard Patrol
1 Ostiary Thrull
5 Plains
1 Savage Twister
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Stinkweed Imp
3 Swamp
1 Wild Cantor
1 Beacon Hawk
1 Freewind Equenaut
1 Minister of Impediments
1 Utopia Sprawl

The Horridness Of Last Week
Unfortunately, as the Editor-in-Chief, there are days I can only apologize for the poor work that others have done. For example, on Friday, Ben Bleiweiss shared his poetry with you. He also made it seem like he was baring his soul to you. But unfortunately, Ben forgot to mention that he was ripping me off, as you can easily see from my own poetry-related writing.

Come on, dude. Get your own idea.

Also, I have to take offense at Ted Knutson article defending the choice of Paladin en-Vec in 10th Edition. There’s nothing about the article that’s unseemly… Except for Ted Knutson blatant shilling at the end of his article for his new Soccer blog, Football kNuts. I personally am disgusted when I read a good article by a decent writer, only to run into some wretched plug for some stupid side project they have. Who the hell cares about someone’s side project?

Incidentally, if you haven’t been reading my Web comic Home on the Strange, this is a good week to jump in. The new storyline, entitled “Animal Control,” is starting, and it deals with what happens when two people who are just sort of sleeping together try to define their relationship.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
The Here Edits This Here Site Here Guy