You Wake Players Are Scum

Pompous, arrogant, subhuman scum. Every single one of you. You think you are smarter, faster, and more desirable to the opposite sex than other players, simply because you choose to play Wake… And I think it’s time someone cut you egotistic scum down to size.

Pompous, arrogant, subhuman scum. Every single one of you.*

Here’s why…

Recently, I was talking via email to a friend of mine, Pieter Loubser (South Africa’s very own Finkel). He was spinning tales of a tiny Standard tourney he cut up with U/G Madness. After winning the tourney 5-0, losing one duel all day, he had this to say:

“Man, I can’t believe you played U/G at your Nationals. It’s so dull.”

And then the revealing statement:

“I prefer decks that use a little more of the old grey matter.”

I’ll let that sink in.

Now I’ll repeat it:

“I prefer decks that use a little more of the old grey matter.”

With these words, Pieter relegated himself to the class of Scum. It seems a shame to lose a friend over this, but he left me no choice.

I played U/G at English Nationals, finishing 5-1 in Constructed.

Pieter played Wake at South African Nationals, also finishing 5-1 in Constructed.

So what can we make of Pieter’s words? For the benefit of our friend the goldfish, I’ll type them again:

“I prefer decks that use a little more of the old grey matter.”

(I actually retyped that – no cut-and-paste for me! That’s how strongly I feel about his betrayal.)

Reason Why You Wake Players Are Scum #1:

You think that Wake-style control decks are somehow superior to aggressive decks.

My main problem with Pieter’s statement is this: It infers that decks such as U/G Madness need no brains to pilot. It infers that any punch-drunk yin-yang with opposable thumbs can borrow the deck off a friend and win with it.**

Aggressive decks get a bad press. This is primarily because, through their tight construction, they lend themselves to moronic”God draws,” which play on autopilot.

I will be the first to admit that anyone who can tell an arse from an elbow can do the following:

Turn 1: Careful Study, ditch two Basking Rootwallas.

Turn 2: Wild Mongrel, in.

Turn 3: Arrogant Wurm, ditch Roar of the Wurm, ditch Wonder, in.

Turn 4: Flashback Roar of the Wurm, in, win.

However, if the game goes a little longer, or the God draw just ain’t there, you have difficult decisions to make. Misplay things at crucial times, any you’ll lose games.

U/G has a highly consistent aggressive start that can simply win games, but that does not replace skill, or compensate for sloppy play. Yes, sometimes you may go unpunished if you make a mistake – but that’s true with a lot of decks. If the mistake is big enough, you will suffer.

It’s tough to play U/G optimally – hell, it’s tough to play any deck optimally. Just because a deck is capable of going nuts early on doesn’t mean that it’s easy to play. To be successful, any aggressive deck (be it U/G, Sligh, Fires, or whatever) needs a skilled player and thought behind each move.

Reason Why You Wake Players Are Scum #2:

You think you are smarter, faster and more desirable to the opposite sex than other players, simply because you choose to play Wake.

“But everyone plays U/G! It’s such an easy deck to play – five-year-olds turn up and play it at a tournament! If it needed brains and skill to play, those people wouldn’t bother.”


You’re wrong.

The reason so many casual players show up to tourneys with U/G is that it’s a cheap deck to make. Rares? Unnecessary, if you’re not bothered about making an optimal build. And even the scrubbiest of scrubs can stretch to afford one or two of the golden nuggets every now and then.

Another reason that casual’ players choose U/G is that it’s fun. I mean, come on! Attacking with 6/6 flying Wurms? What’s not to like?

And yes, I acknowledge that with the right hand, the deck is friendly to novice players.

Ralph Wiggum could go medieval on you with the blessed hand of Jesus spanking you two out of three. It may sting when you smile, shake, and sign, but I’ll bet when you check the standings at the end of the tournament, young Ralph will have posted a 2-4 or a 3-3. Even Ralph can get lucky in some games, but it won’t last all day.

And if he 6-0’s the tournament, wins the lot, so what? Let him have this one. After all, it’s Ralph…

Ralph! Ralph! Ralph!

“But it was a metagame choice! It’s the deck that owns creature decks! That’s why I choose it!”


You chose to play it because you’ve heard it’s a difficult deck to play well (and yes, it is).

You chose to play it because you think you’re clever (and no, you’re not).

You chose to play it because you think that people will be impressed (and no, they won’t be).

You chose to play it because Kai says it’s a powerful deck (and yes, it is).

You chose to play it because you secretly want to BE Kai (and yes, he’s laughing at you).

You chose to play it because if you play it well, you can convince yourself that you’re a good player, and this will make your friends and family love you (and I hope it works, I really do).

Playing Wake is like smoking behind the bike-sheds at school; just because the big boys are doing it, it doesn’t mean you should do it too.

You may think it makes you look sexy and cool, but it doesn’t.

It costs a fortune, makes your breath stink, and it will eventually kill you.***

Reason Why You Wake Players Are Scum #3:

You are not content with simply winning. You demand humiliation, adoration and blood sacrifice.

I love playing U/G, but I must confess to being sick to death of playing against it. I, for one, will rejoice when the bloody turn 2 Mongrel becomes a distant memory. So let’s switch our attention to the most primal of aggressive deck- Goblins. After all, Sligh is naught but U/G without the clever stuff.

Let us compare the mindset of a Goblin player to that of a Wake player:

Goblin Player: Here is the way I’m going to win. I’m going to make men, and swing, and maybe burn you. I’m going to do this as quickly as I possibly can. Can you deal with this?

Opponent: Hmm… No

Goblin Player: Then I win! All Hail the Mighty Goblins, for they are Wise and Good!


Goblin Player: Here is the way I’m going to win. I’m going to make men, and swing, and maybe burn you. I’m going to do this as quickly as I possibly can. Can you deal with this?

Opponent: Hmm… Yes.

Goblin Player: Then you win! Well done! We have bonded in a manly fashion.

Goblin players are unafraid to win by turn 4. They don’t mind losing massive amounts of life in doing so. They are happy to cheese their opponent and topdeck the burn the turn before they die. Conversely, they are also unafraid to lose – sometimes those little red men just don’t wanna party.****

Goblin players are also kind to their parents, loyal and stout-hearted allies, and well-endowed in many important areas.

Goblin Player:”Here is my game! Let me see your game! Wow, it’s a good game! Can it deal with this? Zang! Boom! Well played, friend.”

Now, let us slip into the mind of a Wake player:

Wake Player: (under their breath, as their opponent shuffles up) Look at him, with his charm, spotless complexion and relaxed way with the ladies. He thinks he’s so special. I must humiliate him in the most total way possible. He will be nothing but a dribbling vegetable when I have pummelled him with my mighty skills! My limbs may be frail, my hair greasy, and my eyes may brim with the bilious sheen of pure evil – but I am twice the man he is! I shall steal his washing, seduce his girlfriend, and tapdance on his overgrown, untended grave!

Opponent: (finishes shuffling. Smiles) So; ready to play?
Wake Player: (smiles maniacally) Play…? You think this is… A game?

You’re playing Wake against an unprepared opponent. The first game, you counter or Wrath of God all his threats, and then go wild with the Wishes and win. After such a beating, a beginner may be downhearted, because she’ll not get a chance to do much other than sit and watch you play.

So for the next game, you let them cast a few monsters, you let them begin to feel good about themselves. You let then hit you, get you low-ish on life.

In short, you patronize them.

Then you create two thousand elephants and CRUSH THEM under your oppressive iron-heeled jackboot.

You break their spirits and laugh at their pain.

And that’s not nice.

If we aggressive players manage, against overwhelming odds, to skillfully maneuver our decks it winning positions, to combine tight play with skillful and precise thinking (and a little luck), and pull off a match win against you…

It doesn’t mean a thing.

Because if you’d have drawn that Wrath, you’d have won.

Because if we didn’t topdeck the Shock, you’d have won.

Because if you hadn’t seen, like, sixteen land and four spells, you’d have won.

Even if you mean-minded, malodorous malcontents actually admit that we beat you fair and square, that it was a good clean fight and everyone had fun and played well, you’re still the superior Magic player, you’re still the Puff-Daddy-Pimp-Supreme, a beacon of hope towards which all scrub-ships should sail…


Because you’re special.

You choose to play Wake.

Playing Wake is so superior to playing beatdown.

You Wake players want to do much more than”win.”

You want to WIN.

In fact, You want to WIN (Note the change in boldness to emphasize the drama. Good, eh?)

You are not interested in”winning.” You want your opponent to know there is nothing they can do to halt your relentless ascendancy to greatness. You want them to watch your play and become slightly confused. You want them to think you are wise and clever. You want them to feel outplayed, outgunned, and outclassed. You want them humbled, on their knees and crying. You want them to be impressed by your anal chicanery. You want them to take their beating like a brown mongrel dog, and you want them to love you for it.

You want them battered, broken and bruised.

And begging for more.

And that, my friends, is why you are scum.

Craig Stevenson

[email protected]

Scouseboy on MTGO

Cheers to Pieter Loubser, whose innocent email comment induced this enjoyable, monstrous, light-hearted rant. Man, I loved writing this one….

* – Even you, Quentin.

** – A warning to players intending to lend their precious decks to punch-drunk yin-yangs: make sure your deck is sleeved. They have a tendency to drool on the cards.

*** – If not in body, then in spirit.

**** – Josh Bennett described playing red beatdown as”Ramming-Speed Magic.” A fabulous image.