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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

A Little More Magic

So I’m still working on creating my own Magic cards. And here I’m going to present some of them.

Wetland

Every set tends to include multilands of some sort, but I don’t think they’ve ever made a multiland that combines three different lands, It’s a swamp, an island, and a forest!

Uncut Mox Gems

I’ve also decided to try “fixing” some old and broken cards. Make a mox that deals damage. That fixes it, right?

Blossom of the Lotus

Let’s fix the Black Lotus the same way.

Recall Your Ancestry

While we’re at it, let’s give Ancestral Recall the same treatment.

Armour of Decay

Of course I had to make some average run of the mill cards too.

Hellish Tutor

It’s a tutor. Tutors are always cool.

Deaths Victory

Black was always my favorite.

Decaying Sanity

But blue is a close second.

Reset Button

Every good set needs a reset button.

Basking Lizard

You know what? They’ve never brought back flanking. I think we should do that.

Unique Lesson

Beehemoth Gorilla

Forgotten Farmer

Death Note

Mausoleum Entryway

Ghost of Autumn Willow

 

Springfield is a Magical Place

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

So I’m still playing with making my own Magic cards and I thought, what could be a richer source for cards than the world of The Simpsons? Here we see Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the first Springfield card i made. He gives out Salmonella counters, but only to Bart, Homer, and Milhouse. No one else would eat from the Quick E Mart, after all.

Charles Montgomery Burns

Mr. Burns is also deserving of a card. Black seemed like the perfect color for him, but he’s frail and old, so he’s a 1/1. Still, he should probably have other abilities…

C. M. Burns

I know! Make him a planeswalker! Come on, how fun would it be to say “release the hounds” while rubbing your hands together?

Homer Simpson5

Krusty the Clown

Marge Simpson

 

Making More Magic

So I guess its been a week or so since I wrote about Magic here, To answer those burning questions that I’m sure you have, yes I’m playing, mostly online and yes I still suck at it. I’ve also decided to try my hand at making some cards again, just for the fun of it. While many of my recent attempts are really just new versions of old cards (Mox Gemstones, anyone?), a number of them are, I think, rather inventive. How about a series of Knights, one of each color?

Alabaster Warrior

Of course the White one has protection from Black… and vice versa.

Ebony Warrior

Notice they all have a similar casting cost too.

Emerald Warrior

They all have protection from an enemy color… except the blue one. He gets protection from two enemies. Just because.

Sapphire Warrior

Ruby Warrior

It’s just so much fun making these cards! I know they’ll never see print, but its still a lot of fun to make them. So… why not try to “fix” a card like Balance?

Tip the Scales

Okay… maybe it’s still pretty broken. It was still fun to make.

Slender Man

FNM… I Swear it’s a Thing

Okay, so… I did it. I went to a local Friday Night Magic event. I haven’t actually played Magic with another live person right in front of me in easily over ten years. I forgot just how much fun it could be! Of course I didn’t have a deck, but I picked up some cards for one and entered a booster draft and… I got my butt kicked pretty good. I had a blast doing it though.

I really don’t want to talk about the overall experience though. I’ve already promised myself that I’m not going to get smothered by Magic again. I won’t find myself at this place every week, sometimes twice a week like I did back in the day. What I want to talk about is the deck I’m working on. I call it The Life Engine and why will be pretty obvious pretty fast.

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3 x Pyramid of the Pantheon

You remember what I wrote about this little mana maker in the past, right? Look at that second, Black Lotus-ish ability. Now imagine tapping for those three mana several times in a single turn. Oh, it’s very possible.

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4 x Engulf the Shore

This deck, like so many of mine runs no creatures and a lot of islands. It usually means Hasta LaVista, baby to most of my opponent’s threats.

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4 x Commencement of Festivities

When I first started putting this deck together, I did it without any Forests and with only Pyramid of the Pantheon for the tiny bit of green mana I was running. That didn’t work at all. This deck needs Fog effects. So, here’s some.

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3 x Take Inventory

Card drawing is key. Sometimes picking up one (or two or three) extra card(s) makes all the difference in the world.

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4 x Haze of Pollen

Remember what I was saying about Fog effects? For added safety here’s four more. And in a pinch, it cycles!

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3 x Drag Under

You don’t need a spell like Engulf the Shore when you’re just facing one annoying little bugger. This one will do the same thing for one creature (and for one less mana) and give you a card too. Nice!

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2 x Aetherflux Reservior

The vital, game winning card. Sure, getting to 50 life seems like an impossible task, but it’s not at all once this deck gets going, trust me.

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3 x Luxa River Shrine

We’re trying to get over 50 life, remember? This little gem helps out a lot when you can tap it multiple times per turn.

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3 x Nissa’s Renewal

Another old favorite. Drop three lands and gain seven life all at once. Yes please.

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2 x Reverse Engineer

I said card drawing is important, right? In actuality I’m still tweaking this deck. One of the changes I’m considering is upping the number of these to three or even four. We’ll see. Right now there’s only room for two.

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3 x Commit/Memory

Counter magic is dirty and blue cheesey, but this baby combines a counterspell with a removal spell and a Timetwister. Not too shabby…

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3 x Hedron Archive

Tapping an artifact for two mana is nice… tapping it repeatedly for two mana is insane. Get ready to do some crazy tapping… also if you really need to, you can sac it for a couple of cards.

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2 x Paradox Engine

This is the real engine that makes this engine run. Why are there only two of them? Look at it. It’s legendary. You can never have more than one in play at the same time. And even if you could, what would be the point? You can’t untap your pyramids, River Shrines, and Hedron Archives more than once for each spell you play. That would be crazy.

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8 x Forest

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16 x Island

You may notice that there are no multilands in this deck. I need all the Islands I can have for Engulf the Shore, that’s why. I don’t even like having to run forests. That’s one of the things that might change. I’ll keep you updated.

Making a Little (More) Magic

Here he goes again, writing about that god dammed game! Well, yes. If you don’t like it you don’t have to read. The truth is, Magic has taken over my life again recently. I still suck at it, but that’s okay since it is still fun. Magic Duels (which I talked extensively about last time) wasn’t quite doing it for me anymore, so I broke down and reloaded Magic Online to my computer and made an amazing discovery: Vintage Cube is the best format to play! A format where you can draft a bomb like Primeval Titan right along with Black Lotus or Timetwister? Yes, please.

2017-06-28 It’s AWESOME!Have you ever wanted to play an opening hand like Black Lotus, Mox Jet, Sol Ring, Channel, Mind Twist? Well, it’s not guaranteed, but in this format it is possible. Granted, the cards they’re using here are “phantom” cards (meaning that after the draft they are not added to your collection), but maybe you didn’t hear me, Black Fucking Lotus is in the collection. So are all the Moxes, Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister, all the Power Nine, along with other vastly overpowered cards from Magic;s history. Of course, I played, excited to get to cast Timetwister in a real game, only to die horribly the next turn by a multi-storm Tendrils of Agony. That’s okay though. I got to play Timetwister. I got to Dark Ritual into a Hypnotic Specter on turn one. I also plunked down Braids, Cabal Minion when my opponent had nothing but land in play. Good times.

2017-06-29 (3)Is it really that awesome? Yes, yes it is. Of course, the real beauty is in seeing your opponents come up with strategies that you never thought of. I just played a guy who had the grooviest combo going with Survival of the Fittest (a green enchantment that lets you discard a creature to search for another) and Recurring Nightmare (a black spell that plays creatures from your graveyard). After way too many turns of him recurring his dudes again and again, I gave up. But, it was a learning experience.

So now I’m all about Magic again. I’ve even vowed to teach the game to Lisa, something I’ve been promising to do for a long time, Well this week I bought two copies of the Amonkhet Deck Builder’s Toolkit with the express intention of doing just that. Yup, Real physical cards are once again in my possession,

download (27)Maybe now I’ll go play Friday Night Magic?

Fuzzy LumpkinEven Fuzzy is getting into Magic, Sure, if you know the game at all you’re probably saying that Scry? Investigate? Aren’t those primarily Blue abilities? Of course they are, but they’re also the perfect abilities for a Jedi Detective like Fuzzy, And he’s green. Deal with it.