Well, They Might As Well Be Zombies

This week’s been one of those where forces around you put aside their differences and concentrate on sabotaging your fun. The worst part is that it has happened insidiously. Everyone around me is rediscovering an interest in Magic. Still more terrifying is how smart they all are. I ask Adam for a prediction of the…

This week’s been one of those where forces around you put aside their differences and concentrate on sabotaging your fun. The worst part is that it has happened insidiously. Everyone around me is rediscovering an interest in Magic. Still more terrifying is how smart they all are.

I ask Adam for a prediction of the upcoming metagame, and he not only has it at his fingertips, but it makes a good lot of sense and helps me make deck decisions.

I ask Jer for advice on deck choice and he might as well have been Mall Security, telling me that I’ve spent quite enough time in front of Victoria’s Secret, and that I’d best make my purchases and get out. Which sounds worse than it actually was, but my deck choices are traditionally more fantasy-based than anything, so you can see the ready parallels.

Even Blake, for whom zaniness is the everyday, made a relevant and well thought out suggestion for my latest Type 2 deck. He followed it up by telling me that all it would be missing was a third colour for Probe, probably to prevent my checking if he was in fact Jer wearing a Blake mask. Or Nick wearing a Jer mask AND a Blake mask.

Why is everyone being so reasonable? It’s creepy and dull, and I don’t know which is worse.

Fortunately, I can always count on those outside my immediate circle of friends for some catalytic idiocy. By last count, however, I am still only one man, and so a number of crimes are going to have to go unpunished today. I’m not even going to address them privately. This is in hopes that the perpetrators will aim for loftier crimes, and then I can give them the chair.

Um, so to speak. Hey, it’s not like you know who you are.

Wednesday marked the official passing of the torch of my arch-nemesis. Up until then, it had been firmly in the posession of one whose interpretation of reality that I derided enough to name him The Anti-Truth. Unfortunately, he’s no longer a part of my daily routine, so I have few opportunities to thwart his dreams. As a result, I have named an unsurprising successor.

I’ll get you, Blake "Not ‘really’ like when I usually say ‘really,’ but really ‘really’" Manders, so long as I control a somewhat animated corpse!

Blake has already scored first blood by giving me the pox.

One of the things that has baffled me of late is that the only time I hear of Story Circle is in sideboard discussions, or arcane U/W builds that wield Enlightened Tutor. Frankly, this sells the card a little short.

You don’t have to dig very far before you discover that this card defeats strategies relying on COLOURED DAMAGE. In order of decreasing prevalence, the things you find in most Magic decks are:

1. Lands

2. Coloured Spells

3. Coloured Damage

What would you say is a conservative estimate of the percentage of decks this sends crying home to mommy? Ninety? Ninety-Five? Some would say that if your sideboard is effective against nineteen decks in twenty, then you may have misconstructed your deck.

You can take as a corollary that Story Circle answers Blastoderm, although I think the fearmongering over him has reached saturation. I swear there will be other cards present at your next tournament. No-Prize to anyone proving me wrong!

Try scaring Sky with talk of Blastoderm and you’re liable to get an answer along the lines of "Fifteen damage? Suck it up, ya big baby!", and maybe a powerbomb, his favourite rhetorical device.

Let’s beat this one into the ground instead of into our collective


This card, Teferi’s Moat, is no good.

It costs FIVE of your magical moneys.


Story Circle costs THREE of your magical moneys, a savings of two that you might want to spend on Counterspell. Maybe.

Story Circle deals with COLOURED DAMAGE, which in all likelihood includes all those non-flyers you were worried about earlier.

Adam insists that I stop here and mention some alleged flaws of the Circle. It’s mana-intensive, so not only are your stymied by Rising Waters and the like, you’re also forcing yourself to play more white mana sources, disrupting your ability to counter effectively. To which I say, hogwash!


The Blue/White Deck (Time Out Mix)

4x Counterspell

4x Absorb

4x Foil

4x Wrath of God

4x Story Circle

4x Accumulated Knowledge

4x Fact or Fiction

3x Dismantling Blow

3x Millstone

4x Marble Diamond

4x Coastal Tower

7x Plains

11x Island

This is the deck that’s pretty much everywhere, and I’ve already said my piece about Story Circle. The Diamonds may change to a mix of Sky and Marble, depending on how my testing turns out. So far, it seems like all that white mana is pure gold.

The only concerns this deck has (aside from a potentially disastrous matchup against Fish) are prudential ones, first voiced by Lost Columnist Sky Winslow Roy (Come back, Sky! We miss ya! – The Ferrett) in a rare moment of lucidity. The problem, he says, is that U/W Control decks have a historical problem of their kill card. Millstone is a fine option, not being a creature and so negating an entire class of your opponent’s cards.

It faces a real problem in actual tournaments of being slow. So slow that you might lose game one, then find yourself unable to finish game two in the time allowed. Sky insisted that there had to be a better kill card, and after two hours thinking inside the box he tore it to shreds faster than Joe Flaherty’s career.

It’s a flying beatdown machine immune to black targeted removal. I’m not man enough to speak its name. Because of this, I’m sticking with the stone.

The second practical issue is the acquisition of the four Absorbs. Right now I’m in a holding pattern at zero, and unlikely to pick up the balance. I hate lacking the correct tools. I doubt I’d be able to get them even if I had the shekels to shell out; Invasion’s a pretty new set.

I haven’t done enough work to be sure of a sideboard, but I’m pretty sure it’ll feature Misdirection. I’ve been playing against straight red and red/green creature beatdown, and against both I’m able to stabilise at low life with Story Circle and a mittful of counters, but my success still rests on lucky mills or all four Absorbs. On the plus side, Misdirections may come in in the mirror, so it’s not too narrow. Another option was Ivory Mask.

I’m not sure where else my board will go. The Nether/Go matchup seems to be in my favour, so I might not need cards against it. Fish may be so bad for me that I won’t bother boarding, instead relying on the oft-maligned Hoping Defence.

True, the Hoping Defence didn’t get me a ride to Provincials this weekend, so instead of going out and busting people about the face and neck with the awesome power of my milling stones, I’ve spent the weekend listening to Blake go on and on. At the time of this writing, he shows no indication of stopping.

Josh Bennett


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Blake Manders is a man who knows things: things about other things.