"Grasshopper, when you can take the stone from my hand, you will know technology."
-Nate, Supreme Dictator of Technology, Tech.dec mailing list
And I thought I was walking, talking technology. Alas, I still have much to learn…
Hi, my name’s Fires, and everybody likes me!
Hi, my name’s Rebels, and I use white cards!
Hi, my name’s Skies, I hate you both, and I have Islands to prove it!
There you have it in a nutshell: Fires. Rebels. Skies. Blah. Oh, wait, there’s some kind of Dark Ponza trying again to rear its rear up in here as well. And Carl Jarrell’s Turbo-Chant, I guess. ‘Scuse me while I kiss dis guy. And what’s with this "nutshell" business?
(Yes, Carl gets the credit for creating Turbo-Chant, because I plan on bumping into him at Regionals and probably beating him up for using too many white cards in one deck, and I would feel more justified in beating up on his person if he was the sole creator.)
In preparing for Regionals last year, I did not prepare. Thus, I went a robust 0-3 before getting out of dodge. Later, I realized that I forgot to mark "drop" on my last match slip, and was rewarded with another match loss. There were 375 attendees last year, and I finished a stellar 367th. I guess I had good tiebreakers.
Can you say "1508 Standard?" I sure did after that wonderful day. Of course, I asked myself if I could say "1471 Standard" after The Universal Net Deck Episode, but that’s a story for another day. Oh, I already told that one, didn’t I?
With the CMU nerds going to Tokyo, there was no Tuesday at CMU with Morrie and the Gang. However, I didn’t find that out until I walked into The O, big bag o’ decks in hand, and found a bunch of non-Magic dudes sitting around discussing some kind of nerdy non-Magic stuff. Since no one bothered to tell me there would be no session, I will hereby release the Secret CMU IBC Tokyo Technology out of sheer spite.
Aaron Forsythe is going to play R/B Zombies n’at with a splash of green for Thunderscape Battlemage’s kicker, and Mike Turian will be playing U/W/B with Agendas, Ertai, and two maindeck Cremates.
There, that’ll teach them to keep me in the loop.
<insert explanation that PT: Tokyo will have been over for at least two, and more likely three, days by the time this article gets posted, because sometimes people don’t understand just how absolutely hilarious I am>
Last week was boring enough that I spent about 60 hours building, tweaking, rebuilding, re-tweaking, and finally scrapping a virtual cornucopia of decks. And I learned something: I could beat Fires if they conceded. Otherwise, it wasn’t even close.
To save (the few of you that are actually going to try to build your own deck) a little time, I figured I’d show you just how bad at life I really am. Not bad meaning "good," either.
First, I figured that some of my IBC decks might translate fairly well into Type 2 – and I was right; they translated very well, but they still sucked.
This was the basis of my sexy IBC deck that sucked the least:
4x Nightscape Familiar
4x Ravenous Rats
4x Bog Down
4x Blazing Specter
3x Pyre Zombie
3x Ghitu Fire
a couple x Void, Crypt Angel, Urza’s Rage, and Diabolic Intent for fun.
Um, please don’t think this deck has a chance in hell at Regionals, ’cause it doesn’t. It won’t beat Fires unless it gets super lucky, and if it can’t beat The F (with apologies to The Original F – Thine Ferrett), might as well give it up. So, give it up.
Well, R/B can’t do it, but maybe U/B can! I built about twenty versions of this wacky color combination, and almost beat The F. Once. Almost. Here’s a few ideas to not waste time on:
3x Power Sink
3x Foil/Memory Lapse/Some other counter, but not Thwart (duh)
3x Wash Out
2x Rushing River
2x Warped Devotion
blah, blah, blah…it ain’t working. Give it up.
I’ll be over in the loser’s bracket.
Or this kinda gem:
4x Rain of Tears
2x Rushing River
lotsa x Rishadan Port, Fact or Fiction, Yawgmoth’s Agenda, etc.
It’s not gonna do much unless The F decides to draw nothing but bad cards, and since The F doesn’t have any bad cards, the math is straightforward. And not pretty.
Wanna see something funny? Hop back up to the top and check out my pic. I’m not wearing a shirt! Oh, and this deck is funny, too:
4x Memory Lapse
3x Arctic Merfolk
4x Rushing River
4x Rishadan Cutpurse
3x Rishadan Footpad
3x Rishadan Brigand
3x Tangle Wire
2x Power Sink
3x Parallax Tide
other bad stuff and some land too
It seemed so awesome when I first thought about it. Then I thought again, and Becky decked the halls with bad times. So save yourself the two minutes it would’ve taken you to figure out that this kind of deck sucks.
4x Skyshroud Ridgeback
4x Llanowar Elves
4x River Boa
4x Kavu Titan
4x Trained Armodon
4x Giant Growth
4x Explosive Growth
2x Creeping Mold
Cute, huh? How much does this deck misses Rancor, Wild Dogs, and Pouncing Jaguar? Well, just a little. Ready to move on? Neat. Let’s.
The following bad boy can almost beat The F. By that I mean that it can get The F to like eight or so. Sometimes.
4x Black Knight
4x Order of the Ebon Hand
4x Knight of Stromgald
4x Hypnotic Specter
4x Hymn To Tourach
4x Drain Life
3x Nevinyrral’s Disk
4x Dark Ritual
The good news is that it can beat The F with a fairly good draw and/or an early Necro; the bad news is that this deck isn’t legal in any format on the entire planet. Well, maybe it’s legal in 1.5, but who the hell even knows what that is?
It seems to me that messing with people’s mana base is just mean, but it might, kinda, sorta, once in a while, work. There are a few ways to go about being mean like that.
Go Red with Stone Rain, Pillage, Tectonic Break, and maybe Implode if you feel nutty. Or go Black with Blight, Rain of Tears, and Despoil. Or go Red/Black and mix both land killaz together and get down on your knees and beg for your mana to come out right. Keep begging, because it won’t.
Of course, you could always Go Green with Creeping Mold, and, um, er… There has to be another one, right? Oh, Fallow Earth. Okay, two. Well, you could try to Add Red with the above stuff, and as a "bonus" you can add Frenzied Tilling. But don’t.
Psychic Venom is awesome. Really. With Ports, it’s almost as good a combo as, um, Academy or Jar or Bargain – but give it up, because I actually built a bunch of Venom decks that (hold breath here) sucked (exhale). Even when Venom Goes Black with their land killaz stuff and Recoil, Undermine, <insert more U/B cards here>, it still offered The F a handshake and wished it good luck in the Top Eight.
On the plus side, you don’t have to deal with a Saproling Burst that is put into the graveyard (not in Type 2 anyway – heh, not in Extended either!) from your egregious use of discard spells. If there is a way to beat The F without really beating The F, discard might be it. Then again, if you have a deck chock full o’ discard, you’ll probably be lacking sufficient creature kill when you most need it, as Murphy’s Law is all up in Magic tournaments.
(I’m really starting to hate using the word "as" as some kind of conjunction. Really. Hating it. Much. Check it out:
Play this, AS it is good beats in Type 2.
Don’t play that, AS it is bad in Type 1.
Wow is that annoying, AS it is irritating and everyone does it.
New Year’s Resolution: stop using "as" for anything but a simile [or is it metaphor, AS I have forgotten which uses "like" and which uses "as," AS it’s been a long time since I’ve been in college, AS I am no longer of college age, AS I am as old as dirt].) (I don’t even know the difference, as I am an editor — The Ferrett, iggerint)
I’d list a few more crappy decks, but I think you get the picture. If you don’t, go back and look at some of those decklists again. Still, I cannot surrender my quest for a deck that will beat The F, even though I’ll probably ending up playing something that one of the CMU Doods comes up with. But, I haven’t given up on these cards…
Flash: Hi, I can play comes-into-play doods as an instant. Please, someone make a deck that uses this card that doesn’t suck as bad as all my Flash/Highway Robber/Ravenous Rats/Cavern Harpy/Arctic Merfolk decks. Please. Oh, and Flashing in a Primal Clay for 3U to block stuff is as fun as it sounds, even though it isn’t particularly impressive.
Infernal Contract: If it is at all possible, I will use at least two copies of this card in whatever deck I play at Regionals. It really is that good. Really. Seriously. I mean it. Damn you! Well, I really like it, and that’s worth something. Plus I have four of these in Zvi’s Invitational deck that I "won" for $325, and I wanna get some friggin’ use out of them!
Rhystic Syphon: Um, let’s never use this card, ever, even though it screams "Use me, you bastards!" Here’s how I used it – and this is as close as a Rogue Combo deck that I could come up with on such short notice and with a sore throat that Chloraseptic didn’t help –
4x Dark Ritual
4x Stone Rain
4x Rain of Tears
3x Rhystic Syphon
3x Ghitu Fire
4x Urza’s Rage
3x Infernal Contract
4x Vampiric Tutor
2x Forbidden Crypt
<insert obligatory "this deck is not optimal" crap>
<delete above insertion because everyone knows these decks are not friggin’ optimal, thus don’t need to be told>
(Hey, Malicious Advice/Rhystic Syphon might be cool. Or not, but it might be worth a try. Or not.)
Psst… It beat The F three out of six games, then it realized it was done being fluky and lost the next twelve. Which leads me to…
Forbidden Crypt: Still not sure if you lose the game when a dude Cremates the card you try to bring back, but I bet you probably do. Still, this guy has moments where Yawgmoth’s Agenda just stares in awe, like bringing back and recasting Infernal Contract with a graveyard full o’ Fires, Rages, and Syphons. Think about that before you dismiss paying half your life rounded up. Twice.
Nightmare: Yeah, yeah, I know all about Repulse, Terminate, Armageddon, etc., but this dude really wants to be played somewhere. If I ever get the balls to play a mono-black deck at Regionals, this dude is going in. You’ve been warned. Now stop laughing. Please.
Strands of Night: Are you telling me that for two life and the sac of a Swamp, I can put <insert massive fat dude here> into play from my graveyard?
Make this card work, you bastard.
The Guy Who Wants Someone To Make This Card Work
Agonizing Memories: Why the hell isn’t anyone even considering using this card? Why the hell isn’t anyone even considering using this card? Why the hell isn’t anyone even considering using this card? Here’s a tip: Consider using this card.
Temporal Distortion: Are you telling me that no one… Okay, this card is bad. Perhaps I was reaching a bit. (A bit?)
Sibilant Spirit: Now, I wasn’t around when this bad boy was Type 2 legal the last time, but can it really be that big of a deal to serve for five and let your opponent draw a card? Really, it is that big of a deal? Okay, go back to using your Air Elementals then. But this guy does have six toughness – not that that would be worth anything. And how the hell would a blue deck protect this guy and nullify the effects of the card drawing that he gives up? Gee, lemme think…
Final Fortune: No, no one plays it, even after my last impassioned plea for Fortune Usage. Yes, someone should. Is your deck so tight that it can’t squeeze one of these in? Oh, it is? Fine, but you’re missing a cool card, even if it can just kill you for no reason.
Manabarbs: No one can think of a good deck to put this in? Gee, how about a land destruction deck? So what if I said that my version(s) of land killaz sucks? I’m sure someone can use these to good effect… But they won’t, probably because they don’t own any black bordered ones.
I’d really like someone (but not me) to try a super stupid Slighish kind of thing like this:
4x Seal of Fire
4x Flailing Soldier
4x Raging Goblin
4x Flame Rift
4x Veteran Brawlers
3x Ghitu Fire
4x Urza’s Rage
3x Citadel of Pain
How stupid is that? Real stupid. But Citadel of Pain and Manabarbs just seem so, um, friggin’ insane in the same deck. It seems to me that by the time you are ready to drop Citadel or Manabarbs, your opponent has taken a few from the weenies or Brawlers, and might’ve even shared a lovely Flame Rift For Four with you. How does giving your taken-a-nice-chunk-of-lovin’-from-the-oven opponent a fun little choice when Citadel or Manabarbs hits the table sound? And it doesn’t even matter which one hits; the decision is still going to affect their gray cells, and their life total too. Unless they have a Chimeric Idol in play, then you are screwed. Hard. Oh well.
Vile Consumption: I’m not sure, but this card screams "Oh, you paid the life for your dudes? Um, Rushing River with kicker, chief, but feel free to cast those guys again if you’d like." Maybe it screams to crush Fires with Warped Devotion and Wash Out, but it certainly screams louder than the normal voices in mi gordo cabeza.
(I actually listed "Flay" right here, but realized that even I couldn’t find a way to justify using that bad boy.)
Sunweb: It’s a 5/6 flyer for 3W. So, it’s a wall; it does block the living snot out of um, doods that have five power. With all the Draw-Go type decks rumored to be out there, wouldn’t one of them be able to use a wall that doesn’t only block Blastoderm, but kills him too? You could put an Animate Wall on him and serve like Bjorn Borg, but I highly recommend that you don’t. You could slap a Hero’s Resolve on him though. Then run. Fast.
Light of Day/Shifting Sky: I’m sure I’m not the only guy to think of this, um, "combo," but if the environment is full o’ The F, might this be a possibility? Tons of counters, Disenchants, and general annoying blue and white stuff might make bad times for someone. Well, couldn’t it? Kismet might also be stupid enough to make Saproling Burst plain ol’ powerful instead of insanely powerful as well.
The Depletion Lands: Well, why the heck not? Oh – ‘ cause they suck.
Storm Cauldron: Wow. How retarded is this in Type 2 right now? Very. Friggin.’ Retarded. I have yet to see this in any decklists – in fact, I can’t remember ANY decklists within the last year that used this bad boy. Seems like a given with Warped Devotion and some kind of reverse-lock with Manabarbs. Whoa, Manabarbs… You can play an extra land, but if you dare tap any, ping yourself and, as an added bonus, put it back in your hand. Ankh of What, huh, Mr. Rieffer?
Dragon Mask: Wow. How retarded is this in Type 2 right now? Probably more retarded than Storm Cauldron, and it might be because if you searched long and hard you just might be able to find a few guys worth bouncing back to your hand.
Yes, I do intend to bounce my Flametongue Kavu every turn, or at
least until you just friggin’ concede.
The Guy Who Is Killing Your Team
Dual Nature: Use it just so you can have your own personal judge following you around all day.
Scoria Cat: My favorite dude from MBC is an on-demand 6/6, and six is the magic number when it comes to toughness, right?
Okay, there’s a few cards up there that might spur something in someone somewhere; someone who may see what cannot be seen and build a deck that beats The F. Because I can’t, and I’d really hate to think that no one else can either, for I am all about sticking it to the man (or The F in this case).
Nevertheless, I intend to improve on my terrible performance that is
still eating away at my Constructed ratings. Heck, maybe I’ll even last
more than three rounds.
"Go and do likewise, gents."
-Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
Come to think of it, nothing can beat The F, and if you can’t beat ’em, keep trying until you can, or until Wizards bans something. Just don’t join ’em.
John Friggin’ Rizzo
Jeez, only eight pages today? I must be slipping, AS I usually write at least twelve pages. Well, there’s always next week, or the week after, AS I will be going to Grand Prix: Detroit, AS I like to play Magic, and I’ll take a lot of pictures and put them in the report, AS that takes up much space, which will help me to easily reach at least fifteen pages, AS is sort of an unwritten rule of length I impose upon myself, AS I like to make it hard on myself, AS I had a tough childhood, AS many of you did.
<goes to "print preview" to check number of pages>
Dude, this has just become nine pages. I rule.