The Marionette Master

Image (13)So yes, I’m still playing Magic. Almost, but not quite, weekly. I am, however, mostly losing. Par for the course, I suppose. That’s just the way it goes. Here’s hoping that I can at least make life difficult for the drones who play the incessant energy decks. It’s getting so that I literally can’t stand sitting across from an opponenent who plays Forest, Attune with Aether, Longtusk Cub, Bristling Hydra, and on & on. It’s annoying and predictable. Marionette Master is the latest way I’ve discovered to do just that and my latest deck is designed to play him and win.

Okay, it’s not really that easy… but almost. You see he has Fabricate 3. When he enters the battlefield, I always choose to give him the +1/+1 counters. This makes him a 4/6. Then I just need to get rid of five artifacts to make him lethal.

636407144541297839 There are several ways to make sure I have the disposable artifacts I need. One of those ways is Spell Swindle. Counter a spell and get treasures equal to the spell’s CMC. That’s two for a Longtusk Cub, four for a Bristling Hydra, six for a Veraska, and so on. At five mana to cast, it;s kind of a pricey counterspell, but it’s so worth it.

treasure-map-61820-mediumAnother way to get them is Treasure Map. I’ve only been able to get two of these so far, but I’m working toward four. Again, totally worth it.

126206_200wAnd yet another artifact source is Tezeret The Schemer. He makes Etherium Cells which are also sacrific-able for mana. All of these artifacts hit the graveyard before they poof away into nothingness, making them perfect for Marionette Master.

hostagetaker1This guy I just love. Four mana for a 2/3 creature is not great, but the added bonus of eliminating an opposing threat is great. And then being able to cast it yourself? Huzzah! I picked these up after a tip from my buddy Heather and I use them in pretty much every deck I build. They’re that good.

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Invocation of the Sunbird

download (11)Remember last week when I talked about the nifty new deck using Sunbird’s Invocation and I said don’t play it in real life Magic? Well, I did. And I lost four straight rounds… but I had a lot of fun. And I only faced two Temur Energy decks! As fat as I’m concerned, that’s a win in itself. Turns out Sunbird’s Invocation is a blast to play. Naturally the experience got me brewing a new deck in my mind. And, also natch, I’m going to write about that deck now.

Image (10)Incidentally, the other decks I faced were two Approach of the Second Sun decks which is slightly less annoying than Energy decks, but just barely. Sure, Approach does cost seven mana, but for those unfamiliar with this particular piece of cardboard, here’s what it does. It gains you seven life the first time you play it. If it resolves, (and why wouldn’t it?) it goes not to it’s owner’s graveyard like in normal Magic, but into his library seventh from the top.If the sick little monkey demon Hellspawn… erm, I mean the player… plays it again he wins the game. It’s just that silly. I’ve been thinking of running four Lost Legacy standard just to deal with it.. But, not yet. That’s a problem for another day. Remember… friends don’t let friends play Temur Energy. But on to the deck I’m building.

4 Primal Amulet

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This may be my new favorite card. If you’ve got it in play, it makes your instants and sorceries cost 1 less to play. That’s already pretty good, but if you play one, this thing gets a counter. When it has four counters, it transforms into…

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How fucking cool is that? The best thing about the transformed Primal Wellspring? It’s not what it is, but what it’s not, It’s not legendary. It is perfectly okay to play four of these bad boys! Use it to play Hour of Devastation and do it twice. Same for any other instant or sorcery spell. It’s total awesome sauce!

2 Dowsing Dagger

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Another transforming artifact. But what does this one become?

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Oh… it’s a Lotus Vale… basically. Also non-legendary, so it’s cool to use up to four of these… I’m settling for two.

4 Champion of Wits

download (5) How cool is this guy? Of course you do have to discard two cards when he draws you two… and 2/1 is not that impressive…

136732_200w Draw four, discard two is a much better deal…of course it does cost 7 to eternalize him… guess that’s what the Lost Vale is for…

4 Glorybringer

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Hey, Mike… aren’t you using this guy a bit much these days? Why yes, yes I am… He’s big, he’s hasty… and he is amazing. I ran into two people last week also playing Glorybringers. I had to politely explain to them why they couldn’t kill my Glorybringer by exerting their’s. I think he’s the only dragon active in standard right now anyway……

3 Sunbird’s Invocation

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This card is just too awesome not to use. I’m sure that sooner or later someone will figure out how to break it. Then everyone will want it and it will cost $50.00. Today it’s still a .50 cent rare.

2 Saheeli Rai

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Saheeli  iss cool. Even when she is just scrying one and popping your opponent in the dome, she’s awesome. Being a planeswalker, she’s an instant target… but that’s okay. That’s the best thing about using her. Usually she’ll take the early damage that would have been intended for me. Some people will just totally ignore her in this way too. One damage each turn is nothing to worry about, after all. Then she’s making copies of Glorybringers and fetching Primal Amulets and Dowsing Daggers from my library.

2 Jace, Cunning Castaway

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Jace is another one who is an instant target usually and its okay. Of course he’s beter when I’ve got creatures, but I’ll still usually only +1 him, almost never make an illusion token. I will make the Jace copy tokens though. Once I do that I’ll make illusions.

2 Liliana, Death’s Majesty

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Lilli is also not usually around long… just long enough to pull a Glorybringer from the graveyard, but that’s fine. That’s what she’s there to do.

2 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

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Oh I love this guy so much! Once, he stole my opponent’s Gideon’s Intervention which I played, naming Gideon’s Intervention. Good times.

3 Bontu’s Last Reckoning

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Bristling Hydra and the Scarab God are still very real threats. This makes them go bye bye. Oh, and Carnage Tyrant is a bit of a dickhead too.

2 Hour of Devastation

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Another way to clear the board.

3 Cut//Ribbons

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Cut kills most opposing creatures. And Ribbons is awesome late game, especially if Primal Wellspring can double it up for me.

3 Sword Point Diplomacy

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Early on this is awesome because most people will pay the nine life to deny me almost anything. Later, they’ll want to, but can’t. So it becomes a draw three cards spell for three mana.

I’m still tinkering with this deck, but for all intents and purposes, this i what I’ll be riunning this Friday night. We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

The Unplayable Magic Deck

I did it! I created a Magic deck that is nigh unplayable in real life Magic. At least I think it is, who knows? I say it is unplayable because the average cost of the cards in it is seven mana. It relies heavily on mana from Pyramid of the Pantheon, so it can be thwarted by a couple of Abrades pretty easily, but it is a lot of fun to play. Here’s the list, if you’re interested.

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4 Pyramid of the Pantheon

This deck uses lots of mana once it gets going. That mana has got to come from somewhere. I’ve written before what a stunningly good mana generator the pyramid is. It puts in its work here.

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3 Bontu’s Last Reckoning

Every now and then you’ve got to clear the board, and this takes care of almost everything. Why only three? I had to make room for the planeswalkers.

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2 Jace, Cunning Castaway

Card drawing is a must in this deck and Jace’s card drawing ability is helpful. He’s also a great target for opposing Nevers and such. It doesn’t matter too much if he gets taken out. And he’s incredibly useful in multiples.

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3 River’s Rebuke

I love this card! A one=sided return everything to hand is always useful. Why only three? See the entry on Bontu’s :Last Reckoning.

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3 Sunbird’s Invocation

The real workhorse of this deck. Cast a Fleet Swallower and you get any other card in the next seven for free. It even puts up another Invocation if you find one.

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3 Fleet Swallower

Sure, the picture is in Itallian or something. That’s all I found on Google images. It says “when Fleet Swallower attacks,target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded up, into his or her graveyard. Bomb!

Boneyard+Parley+XLN

3 Boneyard Parley

So you attacked with the Fleet Swallower, now what? Why not steal a bunch of your opponent’s creatures? Sure he seperates them into piles, but you choose which you want in the first place. Play with that opposing Scarab God all you want to!

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3 Overflowing Insight

Remember I said card drawing is important? This is particularly good at it, but ridiculously expensive at 4UUU. Glad we got those pyramids helping us out.

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4 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

It’s true, I use this guy a lot these days. He’s just that damn good!Most of my friends seem to think that his +2 ability is the only one worth using, but I often like his +1 ability. Exile two cards from your opponent’s hand is pretty good. Also his -4 is damn good too. Seven damage in a single click (online) is pretty awesome.

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4 Never//Return

Kill that Scarab God! Then exile it! Unless you wanna get it with Boneyard Parley, of course.Image (9)

4 Commit//Memory

What’s more fun than zapping something of your opponent’s into his libraryat instant speed? Shuffling your graveyard back into your library and drawing seven new cards, that’s what! Do’em both with this little gem!

So that’s the deck. Again, I don’t suggest playing this in real life, but it’s a ton of fun online.

 

 

Stop it Already!

download (7)I’ve got to get something off my chest that’s been bugging me for a while. STOP IT WITH THE FUCKING ENERGY DECKS ALREADY! This past Friday I went to my local game store, all excited to try out my newest build (a quaint Grixis deck thgat features four Glorybringers, Nicol Bolas, God Pharaoh, Liliana, Death’s Majesty, and Jace, Cunning Castaway), only to play against three energy decks in my four rounds of play. It’s gotten so I know my opponents’ plays before they make them. “Aether Hub first turn? That gives you one energy. I bet you’re going to use it for green mana, then play Attune with Aether and get two more energy and a forest. Next turn Longtusk Cub. Gonna make him bigger? of course you are.”FUCK! Did you know there are more than those thirty six cards available in the game?

download (3)It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the Temur Energy deck itself, it’s just annoying when that’s all you see. My final onent was playing Merfolk on Friday and I said, “that’s refreshing.” Of course, I beat him pretty handily. Maybe that’s why everyone and their brother plays the energy deck. It is tough to beat. Board-clearing spells do a good job. Bontu’s Last Reckoning is coming out of my sideboard and running main deck next week for that reason.I think I sided it in in every match last time.

Image (8)I’m still gonna run my Grixis build, just change it up a bit to better handle the meta. One of the additions I’ve made is Sword-Point Diplomacy, a three mana card drawing powerhouse. For three mana, you get to see your next three cards. The catch is that your opponent can pay three life each to exile those cards. Boo hoo. I still think that’s a pretty good deal.One time I played it and revealed Bolas, Ther Locust God, and Glorybringer. I had the mana to play any of them next turn. My opponent paid the nine life to deny me those cards…and was dead within turns.

download (9)Another card I’m adding in is Entrancing Melody, an Ixalan rare I just discovered. Oh… Scarab God? Pretty! Yoink! Maybe the rest of the world is happy playing that fucking energy deck. I’m not, and I won’t be. It’s like the days of the Psychatog all over again, I guess. I’m gonna battle it to the best of my ability.

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Bound for Glory (bringers)

Glorybringer+AKHIf you pay attention to my posts at all, you know that for… months I think, I’ve been talking almost exclusively about Magic and my never ending quest to build the perfect deck. I’ve talked about the cards I like and the ones I want to use (Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh).I’ve also talked quite a bit about the ones I don’t like (Glorybringer). Well, it turns out that I merely hate playing against Glorybringer. Playing with them, it turns out, is actually pretty sweet. I broke down and bought some on Magic Online and I’ve fallen in love with the little bugger. Okay, at 4/4 he’s a fairly big bugger, but you know what I mean.

511YyEKT0pL._SL500_AC_SS350_What I’ve been looking to do is build a creature-centric Grixis control deck. I googled that term to see what kind of inspiration I could find on the webs… and I found about forty “different” Grixis control decks. They were all running about a bajillion instants and four Torrential Gearhulks. The instants were all things like Disallow too. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Countermagic, like the Glorybringer, is much more fun to play than play against. I do have a bit of a reputation for getting annoyed at players who just counter everything then flash in the Gearhulk though. And I’ve told more than mone person that there is a special section of Hell reserved for people who play too much countermagic. The real reason I don’t want to play that deck though is that it will be too expensive to build. $232.26 is what one trusted site had to say. That’s just too fuckin’ steep.

Disallow+AER

Why Grixis, though? Because black, blur, and red have long been my favorite color combination. Black is by far my favorite color in the game. Mark Rosewater says it’s important not to think of black as the “evil” color, but I’d be lying if I tried to say I didn’t have a dark side. In the world of Star Wars, my light saber would be red. And blue is the color of mind magic. In the game illusion creatures are always blue. So are the best faeries. Blue was the color of Magical Hack and all the best card drawing spells. The red just gives that extra little punch.

AmmitEternalThe deck I’m working on is very similar to the one I wrote about the other day. I’m still using multiple Nicol Bolas and Lilianna, Death’s Majesty. This one uses more creatures though, starting with Ammit Eternal. He’s 5/5 for three mana! Why wouldn’t I want to use him?  He works great with Plague Belcher too (he’s a great target for the Belcher’s   -1/-1 counters). I’m not using those though.

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I’m using Champion of Wits too. I just like drawing cards. And, of course, I’m using Glorybringer. He’s fierce at 4/4 with haste. And his exert ability can kill most opposing creatures before they can ever block.

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

en_cINU9LtjbRSo, you guessed it. I’m gonna talk about Magic again. Hey, it’s what I do. First of all I am very excited because on Magic Online, standard has rotated. This means that all the annoying cards I hate (most of them anyway) are no longer legal for standard play. I still run into those annoying Glorybringers from time to time and people really seem to love their cat decks… but mostly it’s smooth sailing. Also this weekend is the Ixalan pre-release tournament. I’m hoping to pull a Jace… or that new Lotus Vale. We’ll see.

So what did I want to talk about today? Oh yeah, my latest deck! It’s a doozie and I think it has real potential. I’ve been fooling around with the mix for a bit and think I’ve found one I really like. I’ve tried it both with and without creatures and I think I like it without. Big surprise, I know.

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Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh comes first because why wouldn’t he? I’ve pretty much built the deck around him because I think Grixis is fun. We’ve got four copies because you can never have too many God-Pharaohs. He is a bit expensive (both in life and in the game) at about $18 each,  but he’s so worth it. Also, 4URB is nothing to sneeze at, but he’s very castable here. Well, I’m running 3 and put the fourth in the sideboard.

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Next we have Liliana, Death’s Majesty and we’re running four of her too. She makes zombies, so I guess I do actually have some creatures after all. She also kills pretty much everything else. Huzzah!

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Did I mention that Ixalan offers a reprinted Duress? It does and we’re using four of this old time favorite. Let me see what you got. I don’t like that Disallow, discard it. Oh, you’re going to disallow my Duress? Okay, no problem. Next comes Nicol Bolas… bet you wish you held that counterspell.

Image (1)Cut/Ribbons is a great spell. In a recent game I played, my opponent thought he was being cute when he tired of my Nicol Bolas and killed it, then played Gideon’s Intervention and named Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. So I took lot of his life away with Ribbons. He cast Leave and picked up the Intervention and cast it again targeting Ribbons so I couldn’t do that again. I cast another Bolas and won the game with his -4 ability. I’m using 3  Cut/Ribbons and stuck one in the sideboard.

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Never/Return is a great card to have too, so I’m running four. It’s best when I have the mana to Never the Locust God, then Return it from the graveyard before my opponent gets it back.

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Abrade is a great way to handle Gift of the God-Pharaoh or the occasional creature that Never and Cut may have missed. I’m using four.

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Another old favorite. It’s amazing to me how many people let this through without a thought until it’s too late.They are frequent Abrade or Demolish targets, though, so I’m running four.CruelReality

Cruel Reality is great. It’s an answer to Kefnet and Hazoret and opposing planeswalkers… but it is slow and pricey at seven mana. Two maindeck and two sideboard for me.

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Another favorite of mine. A Three-mana Wrath of God? Sure, It does have the drawback that your lands don’t untap next turn, but what if you’re paying with mana from Pyramid of the Pantheon? That untaps just fine… I’ve got two main and two sideboard.

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I’ve talked before about how important drawing cards is. Important enough to stick two of these in the deck and two in the sideboard.

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Ah yes. My other main kill card. Am I obsessed with this spell? I don’t think so, but I do love it almost as much as I love Duress. I’ve got three main and one sideboard.

DragonskullSummitIxalan also reprints the classic M10 dual lands, so I’m running four Dragonskull Summit, and four Drowned Catacombs.

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Fetid+Pools+AKH

Image (6)Also four Fetid Pools and four Canyon Slough. Notice that they are, respectively, and Island/Swamp and a Swamp/Mountain. So if one is in play, the Catacombs and Summit don’t enter the battlefield tapped.

Four Swamps and four Islands finish the deck off with 24 lands.

 

 

 

 

Me and My Inner Timmy

So I’ve decided that I am forever a Timmy when it comes to Magic: The Gathering.

Hmm, that’s kind of random and vague if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Perhaps I should explain.

Some years ago Mark Rosewater (the head of Magic R & D) wrote an article in which he broke Magic players down into three distinct groups of people. He named them Johnny, Timmy, and Spike.

ImageJohnny is the player who most of us are when we’re new to the game, the guy who is very impressed with the 11/11 Polar Kraken. He doesn’t notice or care that the mana cost for this beast is a whopping eleven mana, three of them blue. He just wants to cast it and smack you with it.

Image (1)Image (2)Timmy is the guy who loves the intricacies of the game. He likes combinations like what happens with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet when he has Anointed Procession in play. Timmy likes to see what happens when X and Y meet up. He doesn’t just want to beat you, he wants to do it with Nicol Bolas taking your best creature and hitting you with it.

Glorybringer+AKHtireless_trackerSpike is the asshole pro type player who plays Glorybringer and Tireless Tracker together in the same deck because why not win by turn five? Of these player types, I am eternally a Timmy.

download (5)I’ve been playing Magic pretty regularly for several weeks now. I know I said I wasn’t going to get pulled back in where I was going every week, but I pretty much did. I was playing a deck that I thought was pretty cool, a mono black concoction built around Torment of Hailfire, but it got beaten mercilessly by all the Spikes who play at the store I go to. That’s okay though, I am eagerly awaiting rotation. All those really annoying cards won’t be legal anymore (well Glorybringer isn’t going anywhere, nor is Bristling Hydra) and a new group of Pirates and Dinosaurs will be joining the battle. In the meantime, I’m exercising my Timmy-ness on Magic Online and having a blast with it.

NicolBolasGodPharaohaLiliana_Deaths_Majesty_ENI’ve been running a deck with Nicol Bolas, God Pharoah (if there’s a more Timmy-centric card, I can’t think of it) and Lilliana, Death’s Majesty. It’s a ton of fun when they both get going. It also uses Ammit Eternal, Gifted Aetherborn, and the aforementioned Kalitas just to keep things enjoyable.

AmmitEternalgifted_aetherbornOh, and the most important pieces of the puzzle, Decoction Module and Fabrication Module. One makes me gain an energy counter when I play a creature. One makes a creature gain a +1/+1 counter when I gain energy. It’s a totally Timmy effect.

636087529696673324Image (3) When the machine comes together, it’s sweet. Especially if Kalitas can sac a few Lillianna zombies along the way. Hopefully that’s what I’ll be playing in a few weeks. I’ve just got to find the cards. The modules are uncommon and should be easy. So is Gifted Aetherborn and I’ve been trying to get him for weeks now. My store is always out of them. Maybe I can order them from Amazon. That’s probably how I’ll have to get Lillianna and Nicol Bolas. Wish me luck!