The one thing I like about Magic is the fact that you can play it on so many different level. I always use the kitchen table example to explain it to the uninitiated: "While Magic has its serious competitors, you can also sit around the table with five friends, playing one and the same game and drinking a beer while at it. That?s something you don?t see quite as often with chess."
Most people like the fact that they don?t have to be perfect from the start. In today?s story, we have an example where things go far from perfect.
I?ll Have These Rules Shaken And Stirred! By Dan May
Last Friday, in a six-player team format (two players to a team) we decided to twist things by giving our teammate a deck to play… So you had six people playing decks they’d never played before, trying to give hints to their teammate across the table how to manage the deck.
Jason had a G/W Remembrance, with Abundance to draw cards and Gaea’s Blessing to keep him from milling out. Three Living Deaths later, Jason is near the end of his deck. He?s naming ‘Land’ and using the Abundance, in an attempt to trigger the one Blessing left in the deck. (The deck’s owner insisted this was the wrong play -“Just keep the recursion going by playing the Blessing!” he said. Alcohol was involved. The rest of us assured Jason he was doing the right thing.)
Six cards from the end of his library, the Gaea’s Blessing goes into the graveyard. It triggers, but Abundance has to finish resolving, and Jason has drawn no land, and he’s slowly milling himself to death. Half the table is smiling wickedly, because if he doesn’t get a land, that’s it – he cannot draw another card, loses the game, and the Blessing never triggers.
So it goes ? Rancor, Remembrance, Sex Monkey, Quirion Dryad, Soul Warden… Plains.
Nobody could believe how lucky that was. Not even Jason, who sheepishly drew the Plains and folded his graveyard into his library. But his team still couldn’t pull off the win.
I love it when players are lucky, and get what they want even though there is only a small chance of it happening… But these players were probably too drunk to read and remember the rules to play such complicated decks. For starters, let?s take a look at Abundance:
Urza?s Saga Rare
Instead of drawing a card, you may choose land or nonland and reveal cards from your library until you reveal a card of the chosen kind. Put that card into your hand and put all other revealed cards on the bottom of your library in any order.
Illus. Rebecca Guay
Why are they putting the cards in the graveyard? The card says "bottom of the library," and as far is I know there is no card that triggers off that. So making a small card interpretation error can happen ? especially after drinking a little too much.
Let’s assume for a moment that Abundance had the following rules text:
Instead of drawing a card, you may choose land or nonland and reveal cards from your library until you reveal a card of the chosen kind. Put that card into your hand and all other revealed cards into your graveyard.
This is what you get when you shake (and stir) Oath of Druid and Abundance long enough. This how Dan and friends thought the card actually worked… Let’s see what happens.
His drawstep draw goes on the stack; he decides to replace it with the Abundance effect, naming Land. For excitement’s sake, let’s assume (I hope you?re still with me) that he has no lands left in his dwindling library. Remember how Dan wrote that half the table was getting excited because the player was going to deck himself with the Blessing trigger already on the stack? They were wrong. What will actually happen is that when there are no lands left you just finish resolving the effect and it fails to do anything; you get no cards and then the Blessing trigger resolves, turning his shuffled graveyard into his library.
Of course, I emailed this to Dan and here is his response:
See: the alcohol led us to play the Abundance incorrectly – we weren’t paying attention. The Remembrance/Living Death had led to all the creatures in Jason’s deck being pulled into his hand and then either into play or his library. Now do that three times and you’ll see why Jason was running low in his library, and in danger of decking himself. We only switched decks once (thankfully-I was playing some very weird Thieves’ Auction deck) So I see your point. I guess the story can’t be used, except as a warning, maybe.
Ah, well. We all had a laugh. Sorry.
So let this be a warning to all of you ? and let me use the very appropriate team name of a couple of my friends:
RTFC! (Read The F#[email protected] Card)
I have no idea! I have no stories in storage and I can?t remember any good ones either. Hopefully some of you will send ([email protected]) me some good stuff and we?ll be able to keep going.