You Lika the Juice? Tin Roof Rust

Friday, April 22 – Bennie Smith did not in fact run his G/W Vengevine build at Nationals Qualifiers! Find out what he did run and how he did.

Man, the dog days of summer can’t get here fast enough! The way things are looking, I’ll be back in my house sometime early summer, and once I get a
few things fixed up, I’ll be in the hunt for a roommate—Step 2 in my plan to reclaim my life in 2011. With a roommate on board to help with rent, I’ll
have to work my part-time job less, opening up more free time for the finer things in life. Things like more time with the kids, more time with family
and friends…

Things like playing and practicing Magic, something I desperately need! Being good at Magic requires the lubrication of playing, and when you go too
long without, you get a massive build-up of rust.

Apparently, it was agony for some of my friends watching my matches finish this weekend at Regionals, with my making an avalanche of mistakes even
while I was winning. A big reason was the deck I ended up playing, which had a lot going on and was not the G/W Monument deck I thought I was
going to play when I wrote this column last week.

Late last week I was trying to think about what the Regionals metagame would be in the wake of GP Dallas. Stoneforge Mystic and Equipment are something
that a lot of people are playing, and it seemed to me that people would adjust their decks and sideboards to better be able to answer the Equipment. So
I started worrying about artifact-hate splash damage incidentally nuking my Eldrazi Monuments. On the flip side, Glissa, the Traitor just happens to be
freaking awesome at getting back artifacts from the graveyard. So I started thinking about running my own Stoneforge Mystic/Equipment package alongside
Glissa to “next level” my opponents’ artifact hate, more or less a rad mashup of the two decks I wrote about last week. Here’s what I ended up playing:

One of the neat ideas from my Glissa deck last week was running deathtouch creatures alongside Mortarpod to just about kill any creature on the board
that wasn’t equipped with a Sword of Feast and Famine. Stoneforge Mystic lets us do the same thing by adding Basilisk Collar to the Equipment package.

Originally, I was running -4 Squadron Hawks, +1 Glissa, and +3 Pilgrim’s Eye. I liked the Eyes because they flew, fixed mana, blocked Sworded Hawks,
and came back from the graveyard with Glissa triggers. On the drive up to Washington, my companions strongly urged me to add in Squadron Hawks, and I
have to admit it was hard to argue against that. I mean, they’re friggin’ Squadron Hawks! They treated me very well on the day, giving me a free
Vengevine pitch on turn 2 one game, and two Vengevine pitches on turn 2 in another game.

The downside was that it really made my artifact count pretty light, and Glissa ended up being much less of a rock star than I had anticipated.
Apparently, I was too far “next level” because no one destroyed my Equipment all day long, and unless I got Perilous Myr in the mix, Glissa was just
medium-decent. In retrospect, I totally should have rocked the G/W Monument, but I do like Glissa’s Junk if the metagame shifts the right way.

Here’s a quick recap of my day. The drive up to McLean Virginia was a miserable mess, as I was driving in a steady downpour, and half the trip was
through Northern Virginia’s perpetual road construction. Plus, apparently half of Northern Virginia likes to get up on rainy Saturday mornings and hit
the highway. Despite all that, we made pretty good progress and, after getting turned around a couple times, finally found the venue in a comfortably
large hotel conference room with plenty of time to register. Kudos to Dream Wizards for the space! We ended up with 181 players and eight rounds of
Swiss, with the final Top 8 qualifying for Regionals. I had hopes that—between the smaller, store-level National Qs and the horrible weather—the
turnout might have been a bit smaller, but onward to battle!

Round 1 versus Zach, Caw-Go with Black

I get the sweet “turn 2 Hawks, pitch my Vengevine” start but then promptly stall at three lands until somewhere around turn 7 or 8. Fortunately for me,
my opponent doesn’t get an aggro draw, and while having three lands isn’t optimal, I do have a ton of two-drops that slowly populate the board. Once I
get that fourth land and play two creatures to get Vengevine online, things go well, despite my making tons of mistakes—like getting our life totals
confused, thinking he was at nine when I was at nine, and swinging through the air with a Bonehoard-equipped Hawk to deal ten points of damage when I
could’ve also swung with another Hawk. He was actually at eleven. D’oh!

The second game, I have two Vengevines and a Squadron Hawk in my opening grip and curve into four lands for some serious beatdown.

Win 2-0

Round 2 versus Steven, RUG

No Vengevines this time, but I do start out with Squadron Hawks, whittling his life away a point at a time. I draw my Collar but no Stoneforge Mystic
for Mortarpod, so I can’t kill his Lotus Cobra before he powers out Inferno Titan.

Like a champ, I draw my Mystic, fetch up the Mortarpod, equip the Germ with Collar, and pitch it at the Titan. This buys me enough time to drop a Titan
of my own and put the game away. The second game, I have a Mortarpod in my hand to nuke his Cobra; he stalls on land a bit, and I  aid him with Acidic
Slime, buying enough time to finish him off.

Win 2-0

At this point, I’m feeling pretty good—faced off against the two Titan decks stuffed with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and didn’t drop a game!

Round 3 versus David, U/B Control/Infect

Game 1 is a long slog, with my eventually getting him down to three life before he poisons me out the long way with Contagion Clasp proliferation.

Game 2: I’ve got Phyrexian Revoker in hand and drop a Lotus Cobra to bait the Clasp; he drops it to kill the Cobra. I drop the Revoker to turn off the
Clasp, but of course he has a second Clasp. I play Glissa, and he plays Phyrexian Crusader and holds back until he plays Sword of Feast and Famine and
equips it. Ouch! That’s four points of poison, and I feel like I’m in big trouble. I rip a Perilous Myr and play it alongside Squadron Hawks. David
makes a big oops, worrying about the Myr: he activates his Inkmoth Nexus, equipping it with the Sword, and swings. I chump with the Hawks to prevent
him from reequipping his Crusader. On my turn, I rip a Mortarpod, play it, equip the Myr, and sac it to kill off the Crusader, and the Glissa trigger
gets back the Revoker to turn off his Clasps next turn. He draws dead cards for a couple turns, and I manage to put the game away with Glissa beatdown.

The first game went so long that we don’t have much time to play, but I draw a decent Vengevine start and manage to beat him down to eleven before we
run out of time.

Draw 1-1-1

Round 4 versus James, Mono Red Goblins

James gets the Goblin nut draw on the play, with Goblin Guide into Warcaller into Chieftain, and me with no Perilous Myr to be seen. Any hopeful chump
blockers are burned away.

In the second game, he gets a similar draw, but I manage to draw two Perilous Myrs and bait his Bolt with Fauna Shaman before dropping Glissa to recur
the Myrs and stall his offense. He still gets me down to three life before I rip Mystic, tutor up Basilisk Collar, and work my life back up to a
slightly more comfortable seven before finishing him off.

The last game I mull away a slow hand and keep a passable six but with no Perilous Myr. He starts yet again with Goblin Guide, and while it’s not the
absolute nut draw from game one, it’s fast enough. I’m on defense the whole time, and he just burns me out.

Lose 1-2

The terrible irony of it all was that my last-round opponent was paired against Caw-Go and lost, and with his maindeck pro-red Crusaders, he likely
would have fared well against my Goblin opponent. On the other hand, I felt comfortable with his Caw-Go matchup. Since we’d drawn in the previous
round, that seemed like pretty cruel bad luck.

Round 5 versus Mark, RUG

The first game is a blowout, with his Cobra accelerating out Inferno Titans on turns 4 and 5. Not much I can do about that. The second game is a slog.
I have Mortarpod for his turn 2 Cobra, and he stalls out on land and colors while I whittle him down with Hawks and Mystics. Jace gives him a little
life, and a Titan eventually hits that I’m able to kill off with Mortarpod plus Basilisk Collar. Unfortunately, that’s my last creature, and I proceed
to draw nothing but land and Equipment and none of my infinite creatures until he drops Avenger of Zendikar, and I’m quickly toast. I had him at five
life, and any creature over the course of several turns could have been Voltroned up to finish him. A pretty discouraging finish, and I drop.

Lose 0-2

It was fun watching some of my friends do well, making a run at Top 8 glory or a booster pack haul. Michael Rooks finished tenth with his Furnace
Celebration deck, new and improved with three Mortarpods main! His deck is capable of some sick stuff.

In one game, his opponent had countered Furnace Celebration and cast Day of Judgment, Gideon, then eventually Day of Judgment again before dropping Sun
Titan and equipping it with Sword of Feast and Famine. Rooks had Awakening Zone and Mortarpod; he ripped Mark of Mutiny, took the Sun Titan, swung into
Gideon to kill the planeswalker, got back Furnace Celebration from the Titan trigger, then equipped the Titan to Mortarpod and sacrificed it to deal a
point to his opponent. He then finished his opponent off over the course of the next two turns with Awakening Zone, Furnace Celebration, and Mortarpod.

In another game he played against U/G Genesis Wave, he played Mark of Mutiny on his opponent’s Primeval Titan and attacked, tutoring up two fetchlands,
which he used with Furnace Celebration to finish his opponent off the next turn.

Joey Page got thirteenth place with a more controlling version of U/W Caw-Blade and continued his hot-streak after winning a StarCityGames.com
Invitational Qualifier. Josh Adams with his Goblin deck played it out for packs but finished just outside of Top 32.

On the way home (again through epic rain, traffic, and road construction), Josh started talking about Steak ‘n Shake, a fast food place of legend among
some of my Magic friends. There’s one in Fredericksburg that we drive past on the way home, so he convinced us to stop in. We turned off at the wrong
exit, drove around a while, got back on the highway in the rain and into traffic, and got off at the next exit. In the dark and soggy night, Steak ‘n
Shake shone like a beacon, surrounded by a heavenly glow, offering respite to weary and hungry travelers. We were literally overwhelmed by the insane
choices available, each sounding as delicious as the next, but I eventually settled on the Royale Burger (a steak burger with bacon and a fried egg), a
guacamole hotdog, and a caramel Turtle shake to top things off. The place was packed, so we took it to go and sat in the van consuming food fit for
angels. The only sound was chewing, and the sighs borne from ecstatic taste buds.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize that I was sitting there with my engine idling and the defrost on, something my ancient Dodge Caravan’s engine
isn’t particularly fond of, so once we got back on the highway, my temperature gauge went buck wild. We pulled off to find that the coolant chamber was
completely empty. Luckily, I had coolant on hand and filled up the reservoir, let it sit a bit, and then got back on the road.

Unfortunately, we went maybe a hundred yards, and the temperature gauge went buck wild again, which had me wondering if there was a massive coolant
leak. When I checked though, the coolant reservoir was still full.

As we pondered the mystery, I wondered aloud whether the radiator was maybe not getting the coolant from the reservoir, and Josh suddenly remembered
that if you run out of coolant in the radiator and the reservoir, you can’t just fill up the reservoir; you have to fill up the radiator too. Once the
engine cooled, I checked the radiator. It was empty, and so I poured the remaining coolant in the radiator, crossed fingers, and got back on the
highway, making it back to Richmond without further incident. Whew!

Commander Myr

One thing I was hoping to do if I scrubbed out of Regionals was to play some Commander, and while Dream Wizards did run some Commander pods, by the
time I was ready to play in them, they had stopped. Sad face! I had hoped to play a few more games with my Brion Stoutarm Myr deck before I shared it
with you, but what the heck—I’ve teased it a few times already, so I’ll give you the scoop.

The deck came out of a couple ideas I wanted to work into a Commander deck:

1.     Aggravated Assault + Sword of Feast and Famine: with enough lands out, this combo could generate infinite attacks, which seemed like fun!
Aggravated Assault also nicely untaps all your creatures, so any creatures you have that tap to produce mana can benefit as well.

2.     Myr Propagator + Mana Echoes (+ haste and a couple other Myrs): Myr Propagator is so bad the notion of making infinite copies of it appeals to

Of course, to pull off that second combo, I’d need to have lots of Myr, which got me heavily working the Myr themes from both Mirrodin blocks. Myr
Galvanizer was enough like Aggravated Assault that I quickly realized I could easily toss that combo in here too. I knew I wanted red, and with the
cards I wanted, Enlightened Tutor was a natural fit, so it seemed I’d at least want red and white. White also brings some pinpoint removal (Path,
Swords), Tempered Steel, Leonin Abuna, and Sun Titan.

Here are the Myr cards I eventually settled on: Runed Stalactite, Plague Myr, Myr Sire, Coretapper, Genesis Chamber, Iron Myr, Gold Myr, Perilous Myr,
Ichorclaw Myr, Myrsmith, Myr Galvanizer, Myr Propagator, Scarecrone, Shimmer Myr, Myr Welder, Mirror Entity, Urza’s Incubator, Palladium Myr, Myr
Reservoir, Darksteel Myr, Door of Destinies, Myr Turbine, Myr Matrix, and Myr Battlesphere.

I particularly liked the fun things Mirror Entity and Runed Stalactite could do with Scarecrone and some of my other creatures in the deck (Kiki-Jiki
the Myr? Oh, the humanity!).

Eye of Ugin seemed like a nice way to tutor up Myr given enough mana. Nim Deathmantle and Mana Echoes seemed like too much fun to pass up. Given the
tap/untap nature of the deck (between Aggravated Assault and Galvanize), I thought Furystoke Giant might be fun as well. To round out the deck, I
recruited many usual suspects for fast mana and utility.

I tried to make sure the power level was high without having to branch into other colors, which would allow access to a few more mana Myr but might
bring color screw into the equation. Luckily, I think I got a pretty good mix of cards here, and while I don’t think it’s totally degenerate, I think
it turned out pretty strong. Of the R/W legends available, I think Brion Stoutarm fits perfectly considering how large my Myr could get and the
recursion available for the sacrificed Myr… and heck, Brion can become a Myr himself!

If you have any questions about some of my other card choices or suggestions for the deck, I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up in the forums, Twitter,
or email.

Random Amusements

  • “Infect me with your lovin’ / fill me with your poison.” Katy Perry is clearly New Phyrexian — @moxymtg

  • “Looking for Commander events near you? Search www.wizards.com/locator for Magic multiplayer events.” — @dlaugel

  • “look at your planeswalker, then at Koth, then back at your planeswalker, now back at Koth…” — my response to @moxymtg and Sunie_FDC talking about Koth looking like the Old Spice Man

  • Tally Heilke is making a plushy Scaled Wurm, check it out!

  • “The names of characters in Inception are: Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur, Mal, Saito. Note the first letters. Mind = Inceptionally blown.” — @ FreddyAmazin (my mind is blown too)

I hope y’all have a great Easter weekend, filled with quality family time, and that the Easter Bunny brings you goodies!

Take care,

starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com

Make sure to follow my Twitter feed (@blairwitchgreen). I check it often so feel free to send me
feedback, ideas, and random thoughts on Magic and life.

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

My current Commander decks
(and links to decklists):

Previous Commander decks currently on hiatus: