You Lika The Juice? – GPM & EDH

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This column will be comprised of two parts. First, I’ll be recounting my FNM run with my latest Galepowder Mage deck, sharing some thoughts on where to go from here; and second, I’ll going over my new Elder Dragon Highlander deck for the big EDH game up at Richmond Comix this Sunday.

This column will be comprised of two parts. First, I’ll be recounting my FNM run with my latest Galepowder Mage deck, sharing some thoughts on where to go from here; and second, I’ll going over my new Elder Dragon Highlander deck for the big EDH game up at Richmond Comix this Sunday. I realize the two sections may not both appeal to everyone so I figured I’d give you a heads-up here as to what’s to come.

Flying, Bomb-dropping Hobbits

Before I get started, I had a thought I wanted to drop on you – isn’t Scryb Ranger an absolute beating in the current metagame? It helps wiggle out of a Pickles lock and blocks Brine Elemental all day long, it blocks a lot of the creatures in the Faerie deck, and it nukes any creatures reanimated with Makeshift Mannequin by trying to untap the fragile thing. Of course, ideally you’d need some Forests to return to your hand, something that I haven’t been able to make use of in my current four-color excursions, but I definitely need to come back around to the Green real soon.

I got an email from one of the guys I mentioned last week:

Hey Bennie

It is an honor to be mentioned in one of your articles. I too am a huge fan of Momentary Blink, and when I saw Galepowder Mage… let’s just say I needed a new pair of pants! I was looking at your suggested deck Galepowder Riders, and believe it or not I tried reinventing Blink Riders using Galepowder Mage. But my question is did you consider Boom / Bust? A large percentage of your deck is White, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t hurt to run Boom / Bust with Flagstones of Trokair. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Stone Rain to play with, but with Boom / Bust and Terramorphic Expanse we have, at some level, a Stone Rain equivalent. Not to mention in my playtesting the Bust has won me many games.

Cory Furrow

That certainly seems like a vicious idea, though since I don’t own a single Flagstones I’ll have to leave it up to Cory to explore down that path. Not to mention I personally dislike land destruction strategies nearly as much as I dislike counterspells.

[Cue the ominous foreshadowing music]

Okay, okay – on with the decklist already. While my column didn’t go up until the Friday of the tournament, I actually turned in my column Monday, so in the intervening days there was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. Yes, I spend far too much time thinking about Magic… why do you ask? I think I finally came up with a pretty damn strong main deck, so here’s the weapon I brought to the street fight up at Richmond Comix:

I’m not sure what I was smoking when I threw this sideboard together on the way to the tournament. I thought siding in the Pickles combo would be powerful in certain matchups… forgetting of course that I’m already dominating those matches anyway. I think I want some Cloudthreshers in this deck since Sower of Temptation was such a royal pain in the neck for me (more foreshadowing… am I good at building tension or what?), especially when my opponent would steal GPM and start making use of its ability.

Here’s a recap of the tournament… it was pretty small at about 10 people. Three rounds of Swiss and cut to a Top 4.

Round 1 versus Joey with Mannequin Riders
Joey leads off with a Radha, and I imagine that’s bad news no matter what he’s playing, so I evoke Shriekmaw. He plays another Radha, and I slump until I rip another Shriekmaw off the top. He starts dropping Avalanche Riders, letting them go and then bringing them back with Makeshift Mannequin. Thankfully my deck gives me a higher number of lands than I should have, I get to Blink a Mulldrifter, refuel my hand, and I run him over with card advantage. Game 2 he gets a picture perfect LD draw while my deck draws land as normal and, with no Mulldrifter in sight, I can’t get anything going. Game 3 he sees zero LD before it doesn’t matter, and just for fun I go buck wild with eight Shriekmaws (a la Shapeshifter) and lots of Blink/Saffi action.

1-0 (2-1)

Round 2 versus Bilal with U/W Pickles
Bilal is playing more of a tempo-oriented U/W deck with Venser, Riftwing, and Momentary Blink, which of course turns this match into a convoluted match of bluff, counter-bluff, and lots of play errors. I manage to get multiple draws off Mulldrifters, hit his Ancestral Vision and Aeon Chronicler with Riftsweeper, and overcome the tempo attack with card advantage. Game 2 he wrecks me with multiple Sower of Temptation, stealing my Galepowder Mage, I kill Sower with Shriekmaw, and he drops another one and starts using my GPM on his Riftwing. I boarded in Stonecloakers but I never drew the bastards when I needed ‘em. We ended up running out of time and wasn’t able to finish the last game, so we end in a draw.

1-0-1 (1-1-1)

Round 3 versus Tommy with U/W Merfolk
Tommy works at Richmond Comix so it was nice he had a chance to come around the counter and sling some cards. Unfortunately for him, Turbo Blink is devastating to just about any creature deck, though he gave me some worries with Merfolk Thaumaturgist, that chewed through my Birds of Paradise and Walls of Roots before I ripped Shriekmaw and went medieval on the poor fishies. We chat after the game and both of us agree that Merfolk need some oomph next set to really be competitive.

2-0-1 (2-0)

I make Top 4 — WHOO HOO!

Semi-finals versus John with U/B Faeries
I have to say this match was maddening, though I suppose it was a mixed-blessing that John swept me. This was the sort of game where your opponent has one card left in hand, two Rune Snags already cast in the graveyard, so you cast the one spell you have left to turn the game around in time and OF COURSE the one card in his hand is a third Rune Snag. Sad to say my disposition sank to the level of making disparaging faerie comments, but John was big enough to let me vent without taking it personal while he kicked my teeth in.

2-1-1 (0-2)

Yet again, I walk away being totally impressed with the high power-level of the deck and some of the really ridiculously broken plays its capable of. The Galepowder Mages are awesome, and are a great threat card that demands attention. The deck positively owns other creature decks (except Faeries) so I need to figure out how to shore up that matchup. I’m hoping Cloudthreshers will help things out, and I’m still pondering other options. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas?

Before leaving the subject of GPM… last week I highlighted some other decks I thought would be nice with Galepowder Mages in them, including Conley Woods‘ ultra-cool Top 4 deck from Colorado Champs running Merieke Ri Berit and Thousand-year Elixir. Well, I managed to find three more Meriekes in a dollar rare box to complete my playset, and I’ve got 4 Elixirs, so I’m ready to pull the deck together so long as I can find some River of Tears to borrow. Anyone out there with some insight into this deck? Paging Mr. Wood?

Elder Dragon Highlander this Sunday!

I’ve covered the rules for EDH here before; here’s where you go to get the most recent updates – the Official Rules page, and the forums (the only changes since last time is that Beacon of Immortality and Shahrazad have been removed from the banned list). Basically, you pick a Legend for a general, and his mana costs dictate the colors you can have in your deck. Including the general, you have to have exactly 100 cards, and you’re playing Highlander, which means only a single copy of any card outside of basic land. There’s some special rules regarding your general, but you can click on the link if you want to learn more about it.

My big take away from last time when I played Rith, the Awakener was that I didn’t want a general who had to attack to use his cool ability. I ended up with two cool ideas that I put together and kicked around, but this is the one I’ve settled on for this weekend, listed below and then I’ll explain the rationale afterwards.

My deck (General: Experiment Kraj)

1 Experiment Kraj
1 Magus of the Candelabra
1 Crop Rotation
1 Soothsaying
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Ponder
1 Whispers of the Muse
1 Clockspinning
1 Pongify
1 Berserk
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Twincast
1 Simic Guildmage
1 Scroll Rack
1 Sylvan Library
1 Fog Bank
1 Aquastrand Spider
1 Power Conduit
1 Sheltering Ancient
1 Matsu-Tribe Sniper
1 Eternal Witness
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Coalition Relic
1 Thousand-Year Elixir
1 Plaxcaster Frogling
1 Spike Feeder
1 Hunting Moa
1 Dragon Blood
1 Marker Beetles
1 Jagged-Scar Archers
1 Nullmage Advocate
1 Pulse of the Grid
1 Voidslime
1 Cytoshape
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Mindless Automaton
1 Cytoplast Root-Kin
1 Cytoplast Manipulator
1 Spike Weaver
1 Fungal Behemoth
1 Elvish Piper
1 Archivist
1 Clone
1 Citanul Hierophants
1 Mystic Snake
1 Omnibian
1 Spike Tiller
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Morphling
1 Quicksilver Elemental
1 Pirate Ship
1 Body Double
1 Aeon Chronicler
1 Battlefield Scrounger
1 Jodah’s Avenger
1 Vigor
1 Time Stop
1 Triskelavus
1 Palinchron
1 Take Possession
1 Commandeer
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Maze of Ith
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Treetop Village
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Vivid Grove
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Vivid Creek
1 Tolaria West
1 Faerie Conclave
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Tropical Island
1 Breeding Pool
1 Yavimaya Coast
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vesuva
1 Deserted Temple
1 Temple of the False God
1 Mishra’s Factory
1 Urza’s Factory
1 Academy Ruins
1 Desert
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
1 Blinkmoth Well
5 Forest
6 Island

The idea is to make Experiment Kraj into a ridiculous amalgam of the best activated abilities around the board by handing out +1/+1 counters like candy. I started with the graft gang and tossing in Spikes, Fungal Behemoth, Sheltering Ancient (whoo-hoo!), Forgotten Ancient, and of course Dragon Blood. I’m particularly hoping I get Spike Tiller out there to animate some nifty lands with cool activated abilities I can glom onto too. Hmm… would Gaea’s Cradle tapping for a sh**-load of mana be an activated ability?

I also wanted to include some good activated abilities of my own in case my opponents don’t cooperate by providing creatures with a bunch of activated abilities. Top of the list, of course, is Morphling, followed closely by Jodah’s Avenger and Quicksilver Elemental. I’m picturing a +1/+1 counter on Morphling and Elvish Piper, with my Experiment Kraj dropping multiple creatures into play for a Green mana and a Blue to untap him each time. Or maybe drawing a bunch of cards borrowing Archivist’s ability. Omnibian is going to be fun times, I’m positive of that. I realize that Cytoplast Manipulator is particularly evil (especially if I get Seedborn Muse on the board), but hey, this isn’t Tiddly Winks.

Speaking of Seedborn Muse, it combines quite nicely with Coalition Relic, right? Just make sure you’ve got a mana sink!

A tip to those of you who enjoy big multiplayer games – I can’t recommend Citanul Hierophants enough; it’s a great way to really kick your mana into high gear, especially since you’re not necessarily going to be attacking with all of your creatures every turn.

Okay, so now that you know my evil plans… got any ideas to make it more evil? This decklist isn’t set in stone until I walk through the door at Richmond Comix on Sunday. In fact, I might even do a switcheroo to my Savra deck just to keep you guessing!

(Waggles eyebrows a la John Belushi.)

Oh, and a word to the surprising number of people who came up to me after last time I wrote about EDH looking to get in a game – I promise I will *always* have an EDH deck with me to take you on. RAHR!

Post Script

You know, Tribal Wars seems like a really cool and nifty idea. Couldn’t there have been just a leetle something extra kicked in to support it? I mean, I guess they just want to keep the Spikes away, but still. At any rate, I’m hoping to do some damage on behalf of the Elf tribe in December with my sweet Magus of the Abyss Elf deck. In case you’re interested, here’s what it looks like:

4 Llanowar Elves
1 Boreal Druid
4 Prowess of the Fair
4 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
3 Thornweald Archer
4 Imperious Perfect
3 Eyeblight’s Ending
4 Magus of the Abyss
4 Masked Admirers
4 Nath of the Gilt-Leaf
2 Cloudthresher
1 Pendelhaven
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Treetop Village
7 Forest
3 Swamp
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Gilt-Leaf Palace

Oh, and speaking of tribal… what tribe is considered Insect, Rat, Spider, and Squirrel?


‘Til next week!


starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com