AuthorJim Ferraiolo

Jim has managed to consistently pilot rogue decks of his own design to strong finishes at States and Regionals. In 2003, he qualified for Nationals with one such creation named "The Ralphie Treatment".

Regionals Decklist Dossier: The Good

Warning: the article you’re about to read contains lists. It contains a lot of lists. Lists of cards that go in things called “decks” to play a game called “Magic: The Gathering.” If you do not seek lists, then I advise you to look elsewhere.

Whispers of My Muse: Dissecting Standard

My aim is to give a broad overview of the current Standard format with an eye towards some of the general concepts that I believe to define the environment. I also want to talk about what decks are likely to be successful for Regionals in light of these same concepts. Why should you listen to me? I mean, who am I to say what’s what? Well, I’ve designed a successful metagame deck for almost every iteration of Standard that I’ve ever played in. If there’s anything that I know how to do, it’s how to come up with a plan of attack for the Standard environment.

The MODO Fiasco: Corporate Hubris and Magic Online

As everyone is well aware, Magic Online has been experiencing quite a bit of difficulty as of late. Well actually, not as of late – as of the last nine months, to be truthful. The server crashes sporadically, matches pause arbitrarily for extended periods, abusive cards with game-winning bugs somehow make it into the live server code, and two thirds of the game’s major functionality (Premier Events and Leagues) aren’t even available as of this writing. It has not been a happy time for Magic Online and its denizens. The one question on everyone’s mind is: Why?

Fluffy Little Death Clouds

People, I’ve got Death Cloud on my mind like Georgia. A lot of the decks I’ve been cooking up lately have been trained on finding the proper combination of Magical Cards that turn an otherwise symmetrical spell into a one-way trip down Broken Street. There are two particular builds that I’m working with right now — one mono-Black and one Black/Green.

DNA: Mind’s Desire for the Masses Part 2

In this installment, the Jimmest of Beans provides an updated build of everyone’s favorite Standard combo deck, gives sideboarding information for the current metagame, and answers the question on everbody’s mind:

Jim, how do you play this damned thing?

DNA: Mind’s Desire for the Masses

After months of tuning, I’ve created a Mind’s Desire deck that works consistently, doesn’t fold to artifact hate, holds its own against creatures, and authors some awe-inspiring synergy that’s left more than a few onlookers mesmerized. It’s also the most fun deck I’ve ever played and uses a bunch of cards that have been deemed useless, too slow, or unplayable for the format. Oh and lest I forget – it’s competitive with most of the top decks in Standard.

Shall I continue?

A Little Holiday TLC from the JMF

Last month, Will Rieffer provided us a Twelve-Land Charbelcher (TLC) build featuring Lightning Rift, Grid Monitor, Sulfuric Vortex, and the usual suspects. I had already been playing my version of TLC for about three weeks prior to his article, which didn’t have many of the cards present in his build. After some testing, I came to the conclusion that if you’re going to run TLC, you should be using every possible card to further the end of activating Goblin Charbelcher and killing your opponent. Cards like Grid Monitor, Hammer of Bogardan, and Shrapnel Blast, while all useful in their own right, do not further this end. Also, Will’s build didn’t have any redundancy built in to recover Goblin Charbelcher in case it was destroyed or countered, but this was less of a problem due to the random smattering of other damage sources in the deck.

I have won three local Standard tournaments with this build of TLC and have placed in the top 4 one other time. I originally just wanted to have fun playing the deck, but it ended up far more competitive than I anticipated.

All Things Affinity: The Definitive Build and Play Guide

No single deck’s”nuts draw” is more nuts, not even Goblins. You have the most flexible and adaptable mana base available, high powered creatures, card drawing, permission, direct damage, and blazing speed – all in the same deck. Whether you agree or disagree, I promise that after finishing this article, you will become a master of All Things Affinity.

The Seven Circles Of Losing

Fresh off his trip to Nationals, Jim discusses the seven reasons why you’re not winning Grand Prixs and Maher is. This is, perhaps, one of the finest”Get better at Magic” articles written in the past year; if you’re willing to take a good, brutal look at why you’re losing, you might want to start here.

The Ralphie Report: Mid-Atlantic Regionals Report, *2nd Place*

Don’t ever let it be said that you can’t go rogue and place highly in a major tournament. If you work hard, test diligently, and learn your deck’s strengths and weaknesses inside and out, you can succeed. It’s definitely easier to play a potent netdeck whose power is already well-documented, but I must say that nothing, I repeat, nothing matches the satisfaction from winning with something original that you’ve incubated for months.

Walk With Me, But Be Sure To Tie Your Shoelaces

I was at least respectable enough to play Magic Online for free for almost five months; take that for what it is, but I felt it was time to write a draft walkthrough. But I don’t know about you, my gentle readers, but I learn an awful lot more when I lose a draft than when I win one. So let me analyze my bad picks in exquisite detail so you can avoid my mistakes and possibly learn from them.

Return Of The Mack: Deep Analysis Of B/G Oversold Cemetery

In our local Sunday tournaments over the past five weeks, I’ve been on a bit of a tear, making it to the finals all five times to split the big money prize. One of the decks that I played during this successful stint was a B/G Oversold Cemetery deck that dropped an accelerated Braids, Cabal Minion to get a quick lock on the opponent. The deck also sported more synergy than any deck I had played in months, and I quickly became enamored with it. How could I make the deck better? How could I shore up its weaknesses? What were its bad matchups?

The Sickest Kids On The Block: A Reanimator Primer

By now, the cat is clearly out of the bag when it comes to the Standard B/R Reanimator deck. All right – that’s an understatement. The cat escaped the bag aeons ago and is currently shooting craps in the alley with a 40 oz. in hand. Reanimator has been making the rounds on Magic Online for a good month and a half, and the deck had a large number of disciples running it in the Masters Gateway tournament as well.

Jim And Ted’s Excellent Adventure

He won our New Orleans contest and we flew him down there… And by God, he’s going to tell you what happened! Wanna hear about his unprecendented 4-1-1 run? How about the Osyp-and-Antonio show on Bourbon Street? His drinking escapades? How about how Ted Knutson showed his… Hell, you’ll just have to read it.

Ralphie’s Revenge, Rainbow Slide, and Other Tidbits

B/W Astral Slide doesn’t have the luxury of Lightning Rifts to burn out the little ones like its R/W cousin. It needs to survive the initial creature rush a bit better, as decks like G/W and U/G still can provide a lethal amount of heat out of the gates a bit too regularly. Also, with mirror matches now figuring in heavily as part of the metagame, the Treatment also needs a more flexibility against the other kids on the Astral playground. So the green has to be there – but in what quantity?