Weapons Of Mass Distraction: MBC – Rest in Peace

EDISON, BIRTHPLACE OF ELECTRICITY I was reading report from this tournament here on Star City, and he said that he challenged anyone to get nine hours of sleep before a tournament, and then to see what the results are. I got close to nine hours of sleep – and after comparing our results, I think…


I was reading Toby Wachter report from this tournament here on Star City, and he said that he challenged anyone to get nine hours of sleep before a tournament, and then to see what the results are. I got close to nine hours of sleep – and after comparing our results, I think I should have slept less.

This is the deck I played in Edison:

4x Blastoderm
4x Chimeric Idol
3x Highway Robber
3x Saproling Burst
2x Vine Trellis
2x Spitting Spider
2x Desert Twister
1x Woodripper
1x Jolrael, Empress of Beasts

4x Thrashing Wumpus
4x Vendetta
4x Snuff Out
2x Massacre
1x Cateran Slaver

4x Land Grant
11x Forest
9x Swamp

Some discussion about card choices:

LAND GRANT: Why am I playing Land Grant over Vine Trellis? This has arguably been the hardest, most tested decision in this deck. Vine Trellis is great mana acceleration, but only when you can play it turn two and get out a Blastoderm on turn three. And that only happens when you have two land in your opening hand, one of them a Forest. And Vine Trellis then has a big target on it, saying "Snuff me Out!" or "Bounce me!" Meanwhile, if you play a Forest and ACC Land Grant on turn one, you’re solidifying your mana base AND thinning your deck, increasing your chances of drawing a business card. (Usually I scoff at this ‘thinning’ being anything noticeable, but with MBC games being so protracted, you’re bound to cast at least two Land Grants.) It’s better against B/G because it can’t be removed. It’s better against Waters because you can ACC cast it without affecting what lands you have untapped, and then play the land and be one step forward towards casting the Blastoderm in your hand. It’s better against Mageta because it doesn’t get killed. It can’t be Parallax Waved. And with most decks relying on fliers to do their damage, the fact that a Forest can’t block is negligible. The only instance I really see where Vine Trellis is better than Land Grant is against Rebels; that’s a big part of why I moved two Massacres to the maindeck. Course, I later decided to also include two Vine Trellis.

HIGHWAY ROBBER: There were two cards I was expecting to see a bunch of: Cowardice and Parallax Wave. These two cards caused me to switch out my Silt Crawlers for Highway Robbers. The Robbers are also immune to Black removal, and are less likely to be bounced by Blue if they can’t counter them the next turn. Silt Crawlers, in my opinion, are only good on two occasions: when you only have three land, and when you have a Chimeric Idol on the table that you plan to use anyway.

SPITTING SPIDER: I really want Squallmonger here, but instead I have two Spiders and four Wumpi. Thrashing Wumpus is more efficient if you have the Black mana, and can deal with ground creatures; the Spiders can block almost every flying creature that sees play in this format, and can kill 95% of them without using his activated ability. 3/5 is no slouch either.

DESERT TWISTER: I wanted to make sure I had a way not only to deal with Black creatures, but I also wanted spot removal in the maindeck for problem enchantments and artifacts. Desert Twister fits that bill nicely. It’s also got some nice surprise factor. There will be global enchantment removal in the sideboard for sure, but this gives me an edge in game one.

JOLRAEL: I’m playing with one Jolrael, mainly because I’m playing with Land Grant. Skyshroud Claim would be better with Jolrael, but I like the cheaper casting cost of Land Grant and the fact that I can play it without paying for it. Therefore, only one Jolrael in the deck.

MASSACRE: Massacre maindeck? Everyone who plays B/G nowadays has relegated the Massacres to the sideboard. But with the increased play of mono-White Rebels and W/U Rebel control, and the trouble B/G has with dealing with Blue Skies, I felt that maindecking a pair of Massacres (with the other two in the sideboard) was worthwhile. It has a nice surprise value there. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as Massacring, then casting a Thrashing Wumpus and hitting Mageta for 1. =)

CATERAN SLAVER: With B/G running rampant, I am maindecking one Slaver, with a second in the board. I chose to maindeck the Slaver over the Lumbering Satyrs because I ended up not liking giving my opponents free shots at me. I figure that since I’m going to be hitting myself enough with the Snuffs, Vendettas, and Wumpi, giving my opponent a clear path is probably dangerous. Because Massacre helps me against W/G, and since the better removal in general gives me the edge on R/G, my main concern then becomes the mirror match. The Slaver not only helps there, but also against mono-Black control and B/U Nether-Go (in the first game). I just have to remember to side him out against anything that might play Bribery.

The sideboard:

3x Reverent Silence
1x Woodripper
2x Massacre
2x Desert Twister
3x Forced March
1x Cateran Slaver
3x Thrive

Reverent Silence is for Rising Waters (why do I keep wanting to call it High Tide?) and Cowardice, and probably against Control U/W which will lay down Story Circle and Cho-Manno’s Blessing. Woodripper could come in against anything with artifacts, the most notable two being Chimeric Idol and Tangle Wire. Two more Massacre for Rebels and Mercenaries. The Forced Marches are also there for weenie decks. One more Cateran Slaver against Black. The Thrives are my sideboard tech against Cowardice, as it’s practically one-mana-for-one-creature removal with the Cowardice out. It’s worked okay in testing – not great, but it’s better than trying to rely on Reverent Silence to clear it off the board.

I ended up taking really bad notes at the tournament, and I didn’t feel so bad when I dropped at 2-3. My first match was against Rising Waters, and not the aggressive kind – more the traditional control kind. He won the first game, and then I took games two and three. My second opponent was playing Black/White control, and I knew I had him second game when he neglected his turn-one land drop to discard his Nether Spirit. Nether Spirit is good, but not against a handful of bombs.

Round three and I’m 2-0, and feeling confident. Round three I match up against another B/G and we split the first two. In the third game, my opening hand has a Cateran Slaver but only one land, and I have to mulligan it away. I end up losing that third game. I don’t feel bad now, as my opponent then went on to end up in the Top 8. I do wonder, though, if I had won that game, if I would have made Top 8 in his place.

Rounds four and five I played against Blue Skies. This has to be the most annoying deck in this format. Especially those Troublesome Spirits, which really live up to their name. I wanted to use Forced Marches in the sideboarded games but never got up the mana to kill his heavy stuff. Maybe I should have used Skyshroud Claim. 😉 But what I’m REALLY wondering about is this evil pattern I seem to be falling into. At States, I was 3-1 before losing to two Wildfire decks in a row because I couldn’t draw a regenerator. This tournament, I’m 2-1 before losing to two Blue Skies decks because I can ‘t draw removal or a Spider. It’s a curse. =)

I dropped out and drafted, and got paired up in my first draft against Joel Priest. Joel is a nice guy, very knowledgeable, which was helpful because half the stupid cards were foreign. I am SO not versed enough in this block to tell stuff by the picture. I drafted Black/Green with a spiffy foreign Skyshroud Behemoth, but lost to Joel, who had drafted Red/White and picked up a couple of Troubled Healers. My second draft I went Blue/Black with a first pick foreign Nether Spirit, second pick foreign Haunted Crossroads. That’s what I call a combo. 😉 I lost though because I ended up with Nether Spirit in my graveyard, but had to pitch another creature to cast something (can’t remember now) and couldn’t recurse the little bugger. I picked up a pair of Chilling Apparitions in those drafts as well. I think, next time, I’ll just stick to drafting, which I absolutely love.

So another qualifier season is over. I’ll keep my old MBC decks around because I know it’s all going to move into Type II come October, but until then … no more Constructed tournaments!


Invasion totally has me jazzed. I keep checking back at the Sideboard for their daily revelations. How cool are those new dual lands? I think Wizards has finally hit on the proper drawback to make dual lands reasonable. How fast do you think Wizards will yank the duals out of Extended once the new taplands become legal on October 1st?

And I love gold cards. I rambled enough about those the last time, but I was going over the research I did on gold cards, and those Elder Dragon Legends looked pretty cool to me. I got into Magic once they had been out for around three years, so I don’t own any, but I’m looking forward to getting the new Dragons that are coming in Invasion.

Send me a box. At least. I loved Masques but didn’t buy a lot of it. I don’t see that being my problem with Invasion.


During the PTQ season for LA, I’ll be doing a mock Sealed deck listing each week, along with what I’d play and why. Hopefully this will help those of you who are prepping for this season. Feel free to email me with what you’d play over what I chose, because heaven knows I am not a conventional Limited player.

This week’s pack:


Non-Basic Land: Sandstone Needle

Artifacts: Crenellated Wall

Black: Alley Grifters, Bog Smugglers, Bog Witch, Cateran Kidnappers, Cateran Persuader, Conspiracy, Deepwood Ghoul, Rampart Crawler, Rouse, Specter’s Wail

Blue: Blockade Runner, Cowardice, Dehydration, Gush, Port Inspector, Rishadan Airship, Rishadan Cutpurse

Green: Boa Constrictor, Deadly Insect, Desert Twister, Giant Caterpillar, Lure, Venomous Breath, Vine Trellis

Red: Blaster Mage, Cave Sense, Cavern Crawler, Gerrard’s Irregulars, Hammer Mage, Kyren Sniper, Lunge, Magistrate’s Veto, Stone Rain, Thunderclap, Tremor

White: Charm Peddler, Disenchant, Inviolability, Moonlit Wake, Muzzle, Revered Elder, Spiritual Focus, Story Circle


Black: Mind Swords, Plague Witch, Rathi Fiend, Seal of Doom

Blue: Rootwater Commando, Trickster Mage, Wandering Eye

Green: Coiling Woodworm, Reverent Silence, Skyshroud Behemoth, Skyshroud Claim, Skyshroud Sentinel

White: Defiant Falcon, Netter en-Dal, Noble Stand


Artifacts: Keldon Battlewagon

Black: Fen Stalker

Blue: Rhystic Deluge, Rhystic Scrying, Withdraw

Green: Jolrael’s Favor, Marsh Boa

Red: Citadel of Pain, Devastate, Fault Riders, Rhystic Lightning, Ridgeline Racer

White: Entangler, Rhystic Shield, Trenching Steed

FIRST LOOK: Red looks pretty fair, with a good amount of removal that is playable (Lunge, Thunderclap, Tremor, Rhystic Lightning) and some fair creatures (Irregulars, Sniper, Riders and Racer). The Citadel of Pain could even be used, although I think in general that it’s effectiveness is limited in Sealed, where EVERYONE’s game plan is to tap out every turn. Devastate and Stone Rain could also be used if Red is your primary color. Magistrate’s Veto and the Mages make fair sideboard stuff – I don’t think I’d play either of the Mages maindeck unless I was really struggling for creatures.
So it looks like, to start out with, I’ve selected Red as one of my colors.
The next question is, what to pair it with?

Green has a few good creatures with real beef, but nothing amazing that would make me play it instantly. The Desert Twister is another removal, which is nice, and we’ve got some nice mana acceleration in Vine Trellis and Skyshroud Claim. Because of the Claim, I’d even venture to say you could play with the Behemoth. Reverent Silence gives you another way to destroy enchantments from the sideboard. Lure is a nice trick card that you could use to push your last damage through.

Blue has evasion creatures, which is always good in Limited. Plus it gives us access to Cowardice, which is a must-play in my book. We have Trickster Mage we can use to use Cowardice’s ability, plus the Sniper, but it somewhat takes away from the direct-damage spells we’ve chosen. Also, the additional creatures we gain from Blue aren’t enough to round out our deck.

White is … eh. Besides the Story Circle, nothing really jumps out at me. It’s definitely the dog color.

So that brings us to Black. Black gives us a large amount of creatures, including a huge number of Mercenaries, to fill out the light creature count we have from Red. We also get two more removal spells in Seal of Doom and Plague Witch. We have two 3cc searchers and one 1cc searcher. And here’s the next trick that jumps out at me: Conspiracy. Of the four red creatures we named earlier, three of them are 3cc. The Plague Witch and the Deepwood Ghoul are too. That means by using the Conspiracy to turn all our creatures into Mercenaries, we’ll effectively be able to search for about 90% of them. And how about Bog Witch? Effectively it turns our searchers into Survival of the Fittest engines.

OK so that decides it on colors. Crenellated Wall is a no-brainer. I’m going to also use the Sandstone Needle because of Ridgeline Racer and the chance I might be able to get in an early recruit. I think ultimately we can get by without enchantment removal, but if we need it, we can throw in three Plains and a Disenchant or three Forests and Reverent Silence. The dual-colored removal of Black/Red will hopefully get us around any pro-color nonsense.

Here’s the deck as I’d play it:

Crenellated Wall

Alley Grifters
Bog Smugglers
Bog Witch
Cateran Kidnappers
Cateran Persuader
Deepwood Ghoul
Rampart Crawler
Plague Witch
Seal of Doom
Fen Stalker

Cavern Crawler
Gerrard’s Irregulars
Kyren Sniper
Citadel of Pain
Fault Riders
Rhystic Lightning
Ridgeline Racer

Sandstone Needle

9x Swamp
8x Mountain

What would you play?

You could also make the argument that the Keldon Battlewagon should be played, and I think I agree – maybe removing the Citadel of Pain, since I think that its effectiveness will be iffy at best.


Another Masques Block Limited session, and a look at some upcoming Type II stuff. More stuff will be fleshed out about Invasion, and hopefully I’ll have at least one deck idea for you!

Until then!

Dave Meeson
[email protected]