Monday, February 29, 2016

The Best Standard Ever

AKA the only time I built a good deck.

Theros Block/Khans Block standard. What a time to be alive. Commons getting banned in Legacy, the printing of our Rhino overlord ends the reign of Polukranos, and the nerds who love dragons finally get to play them competitively. Some people say it's the best standard that ever happened. Well, at least one does, because I say that.

Theros/Khans was good to me. I built a Red White heroic agro deck, and it was dope. The deck, aptly named Red White Pump and Dump, was so thoroughly balling. 

Do you know how good it feels to destroy an $850 deck with a $50 pile of commons and uncommons? Because I do, and it's fucking glorious.

Titan's Strength - the bane of Coursers and Caryatids around the world.

So how did Pump and Dump function? It's quite simple. You drop some creatures - a Swiftyspear, or a Favored Hoplite, and then you pump them. Once they are pumped, you dump on your opponent. And boy, what a rich, full, hearty dump it was. Turn four wins with some Swiftys or some such weren't uncommon. And it couldn't just win against an empty board, Races went well also, as Seeker of the Way is a fantastic card.

Renders other agro decks impotent. May cause your own erection to last longer than four hours, though.

It didn't just fight other agro/beatdown decks though. This bitch had game against control, as well. A suite of extremely inexpensive protection spells kept your tiny bitches on the field for far longer than they deserved. Watching someone cast a Crux of Fate, only to have it blanked by Ajani's Presence with Strive is just porn. Hero's Downfall costs three mana, but Gods Willing only costs one. And I get to scry. So dope.

"But wait Dan, you stupid piece of shit. Even with Titan's Strength, the Swiftspear still dies to Siege Rhino. Why just trade two for one? Do you have a mental handicap?"
Well, yes, I'm not very good. But you know what's better than just killing a Rhino? Killing the Rhino, having your creature live, and trampling through eight damage.

Wait, it's a what now? How much goes through?

The finisher to finish all finishers. I'm gonna get an alter of this card where the art is just a Viagra pill because it literally makes your dick hard when you cast it. Double strike is awesome - I think we can all agree there. Do you know what pairs well with double strike? Tromple. Definitely tromple. 

Every creature in this deck has Heroic or Prowess, and we're often casting two combat tricks before damage. A Gods Willing to ensure a creature lives, or a Coordinated Assault hitting a Phalanx Leader and Favored Hoplite, and then following up with a Battle Rage is enough to extract delicious tears from your opponent. Ferocious is almost always on, thanks to leftover Heroic counters or Prowess triggers, and it isn't uncommon to have this cause 7+ power Doublestrike Trample swinging in. I've won quite a few games because a control player thought they were safe blocking my 2/2 Phalanx Leader with their Silumgar.

Silumgar, the Drifting Dead.

It had late-game staying power as well. If they couldn't answer my guys, or I kept them alive with Ajani's Presence and Gods Willing, the heroic counters kept adding up. If a Phalanx Leader stuck, and I was able to hit him once or twice, I quickly became invincible.

Sadly, dark days soon arrived in Pump and Dump city. I was living the dream for a while - consistent good FNM finishes, several undefeated nights, quite a few packs won. But it couldn't last forever. A new challenger arrived.

Literally Hitler.

Foul-Tongue Invocation got around everything in my deck. Protection couldn't save me. I sometimes had tokens to pitch to it, but it wasn't my main strategy as Bile Blight was still very common. And they typically gained four life off of it. When I had one huge Favored Hoplite on board, I try to pump it, and I got this in response, the game was typically over. Foul-Tongue Bullshit single-handedly killed the Pump and Dump dream. The card was so powerful that the Esper Dragon decks were running four of them in the mainboard; I didn't even get the luxury of a favorable game one matchup. I got a few tools in Artful Maneuver and Center Soul, which could both trigger my cards twice, but it just wasn't enough. Esper Dragons became the most played deck, and I confined myself to draft.

Origins helped, as I got Abbot of Keral Keep, which was amazing. I replaced Anax and Cymede (which was always just a lightning rod) and Satyr Hoplite with 2x Abbot, and 2x Kytheon, Hero of Akros. Another cool thing was that Kytheon unlocked a god hand for me that could give me a turn three win.

Puberty is triggered by fighting.

  1. Battlefield Forge for land, play Kytheon.
  2. Mountain, play two Swiftspears, swing to flip Kiddie Giddie.
  3. Mountain, Animate Gideon, swing with the crew, Titan's Str + Battle Rage. Go to sideboard for game two, motherfucker.
I sleeved the deck, preparing to Dump once more. It did fairly well, but the sky was still full of dragons. It was a complete crapshoot if I'd do well or not, wholly dependent on the meta that day at the LGS. Either way, that time was short lived. Rotation arrived, and my babies had to move on. Without Coordinated Assault, Favored Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, and Akroan Crusader, the deck just lost too much. Besides, not much it could really do against the 5color goodshit everyone plays now. She's preserved on my shelf, never to be taken apart, and only to be played when I've lost too many games in a row and I feel like winning on turn 4.

- Dan


Normally when I play a deck I'll go down to 6 or so life before I start to get worried about losing. When playing against this deck if you have 15 or less life and let more than one creature through, you've lost.

So how do you feel about Pump and Dump? Any cards you would have taken out? Cards to put in? Think I'm terrible still? You're probably right, but still we'd like to hear from you! Drop a comment, or use the form to the right to spew words at us.

Two Heads, One Heart

These cards are good.

Hello fellow cheeto dust crusted nerds. Gaige and I had a good weekend full of Two-Headed Giant and cheap light beer.

The real winner this weekend.

Two-Headed Giant? The fuck is that, Dan? Well, random reader, you better step out of that ignorance bunker because I'm about to drop some knowledge bombs. Two-Headed Giant (Commonly abbreviated 2HG) is the best format anyone has ever thought of for Magic. You play with a partner in a team of two against another pair. Your team has a shared life total (starting at 30), and you take your turns on the same time. You'll both untap at the same time, draw, play cards during your first main phase, go to combat together, second main, take eachother out to dinner, then lay your head next to theirs on the pillow at night. However, you still have separate decks, hands, graveyards, mana pools, battle fields, etc. The rest is played out like a fairly normal game of magic, with a few exceptions.

The biggest one is that though the two of you are a team, you are considered separate players. If a card says "Target player" or "Target opponent," then you have to choose a single player to target for it. For example, if you wanted to Lightning Bolt your opponent, you'd pick a single head, and they as a team would take three damage. But if you used Nettle Drone's tapped ability, each opponent takes one damage, meaning that their team takes two damage.

Pretty fuckin' good.

This particular 2HG event was a Sealed event, which is typical for stores running 2HG. Each team gets 8-12 packs to open (this tournament was 8), and then you build two decks using your combined sealed pool.

So Saturday at noon, our favorite local store ran its first 2HG event, which Gaige and on I jumped on like an Italian plumber on turtles. We tossed the Hamms in the trunk, and away we went. As we waited for the tournament to start, Gaige promptly bought two expeditions because he has an addiction. We sat at our seats, started poppin' our packs open, and then I immediately opened one of the expeditions Gaige just bought.

Haha, suck it Gaige.

So my experience was going pretty well. We ripped open the packs as if they were bags of skittles we forgot we had in our pockets, and I opened a Crush of Tentacles and a Fall of the Titans. Two of the best 2HG cards. I was giddy, and started slapping together a terrible Blue/Red surge deck before Gaige could even finish opening all of his packs. Which, unfortunately, didn't have any more expeditions. However, he did get an Eldrazi Displacer, which we decided to toss in the B/W deck he built, and a Jori En which was just destined to slot into my surge deck. We randomly threw shitty commons in a pile until we created these two monstrosities.

So what's the goal here? Win, you stupid bitch. No, I'm just kidding, you're beautiful. But really, the deck wants to play shit on the cheap to get through some damage, and then control until I can murder them with a Crush of Tentacles 8/8 octopus, or Fall of the Titans them for 10+ damage. Going into the games, I predicted Crush and Fall were going to be my most useful cards, obviously, and that Anticipate, and Slip Through Space were going to be the least useful, and first to get swapped out.

Not a good picture, but better than Dan's.

The idea for this weird combination of colors was to have removal in black and fat butts in both black and white. Unfortunately flying was lacking (all i ever wanted were the flying fat butts vampires) and I pulled garbage in my packs. I knew I was gonna be the weak head. I was just hoping I could displace my way through these three games. SPOILERS: I could not.
-This horrible mess of English brought to you by Gaige

So we were feeling pretty happy with my deck, though a little on edge with Gaige's. It was a split between ramping into giant stuff and the ally control deck. It turned out to work OK, but in hindsight, I think we would have had him run Black/Green instead of White/Black, as we had some very solid green cards, such as Baloth Null, 2x Scion Summoners, Tarjuru Pathwarden, Birthing Hulk, and a couple Stalking Drones. Alas, Eldrazi Displacer's absolutely stupid ability convinced us to run white.

So team Social Justice Wizards sleeved up their decks, and we were ready to get shit on.

Match One:

Our first game was against two cool bros who affectionately named their team White Trash. One head was running Blue/Red surge, and the other was rocking Black/White allies. Basically a mirror match. Except they were better. They had the ballingest combo I had seen in a bit, a Vampire Envoy and a Serene Steward.

This kills the Social Justice Wizard.

Just attacking with the vampire let them activate Serene Steward, and a x/5 or greater is not easy to kill.

From turn four on, they were bashing us with an increasingly large vampire, and gaining life off of it. Blue/Red guy used counterspells and a few support spells to protect the combo pieces, and we were just never able to deal with it. Sadly, as I feared, I only ever got four mana out. I was nervous about running 16 to begin with, but I am a dumb, so I did anyways, and we lost this game because of it. Oh well, lesson learned. I actually cast Anticipate once in this game, only to totally whiff and not hit a land, and then not draw one the next two turns either. I took it out the sleeve, ripped it in half, and tossed in another island instead. Not really, I love Anticipate, so I saved her. But fuck that card in this deck, more land was necessary. I also pitched Slip for a Containment Membrane we had, as that alone would have shut down Vampire Envoy and bought us many more turns.

We licked our wounds by eating McDick's Chicken Nuggets and drinking Hamms in the backseat of Gaige's car.

Match Two:

Game two was against a couple, with the dude running Blue/White prowess, and the lady running Black/Red... stuff. It was removal and good cards, essentially. Our game went well, with me dropping Jori En early on, and getting a few cards out of the deal. Gaige quickly ramped up to a bunch of mana and got out a fat butt Dread Defiler, and we were sitting pretty. We had managed to use Eldrazi Displacer to remove several counters from Support as well, so we were quite pretty indeed.

Then I topdecked Crush of Tentacles. "ARE YOU READY, BROTHER?" I exclaimed, as I turned towards Gaige. "YES BROTHER I BELIEVE THE TIME IS NIGH," he responded, as he Oblivion Striked some goober on their board. I paid the surge cost for Crush, bounced everything, and had an 8/8 octopode. It was good. 

A few more unexciting turns went by with everyone slowly rebuilding their board as they chumped my octopus over and over. Then the time came. They were at 15 health left, and I had 9 mana and a Fall of the Titans that had been sitting in my hand all game. Gaige cast a Kalastria Healer and some allies to give us some life buffer just in case Blue head had a counter, and then I shot them in the face for 16 damage. 

"Uh, yup, we're dead," he said. Woohoo, we did it. Sadly the other matches had already finished, so we didn't have time for a business meeting out in the car (drinking Hamms). I swapped out an island for a mountain, as I was a bit light on Red sources, and we went to our third match.

Match Three:

Our third and final round was against two kids I had seen at the store before, so I knew they were fairly good. what I didn't know was how good.

They got the play, and on turn two, they had a 2/2 and a 3/2. Not super great. We dropped our second lands and did nothing, and then they dropped a Vile Aggregate and some other three drop, and hit us for 5. Ow. We dropped some shitty cards, they dropped a Forerunner of Slaughter, supported their guys, and hit us for like 12. Ow. Then we did jack shit, then they stole our only creature and killed us. It was fast and dirty, and I felt used.

So we lost, boohoo. We're shitty, we know. BUT THE DAY WASN'T OVER. The first and last teams we played against were hanging out, so we busted out the Wizard's Tower. Our first 6 player game went on for two hours, and it was hilarious, and awesome. 

We may have lost the tournament, but it felt a lot like winning because I was buzzed, got an expedition, and ate some Chicken Nugger. All in all a good day, and we're hoping they run more 2HG events so we can go and lose more.

- Dan

Think we played some stupid-ass card that we shouldn't have? Do you agree that Ancient Crab was actually the best card in my deck? Did you like reading my attempt at making shit jokes? Either way, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or send us a message using the form to the right to call us douchebags.


Looks like you ended up in the wrong part of the woods.

I bet you nerds didn't know that today is shitty deck Sunday so it's time to branch out and get real casual. This is my shitty treefolk tribal deck with it's beautiful name "WAKE UP TREEPLE"

This deck is just a 60 card kitchen table deck and consists of about half cards I had laying around in my trunk, and half cards I purchased. For those of you too poor to play magic, this exact decklist runs for about $130 dollars but you can fit it to your budget by swapping in some cheaper trees and lands.

If you have a few lands and a Treefolk Harbinger you're in really good shape already. You now have a one drop that will be annoying for at least for a few turns and you can use him to stick it to your opponent and get another land or a treefolk you next turn depending on what seems like a good idea at the time.

Hopefully you've got an early game Cultivate or Rampant Growth to give you a few extra lands, and if not I hope you were smart enough to use the Treefolk Harbinger to get a Bosk Banneret to play all your treeple for cheaple.

From there start using things like Heartwood Storyteller and Sapling of Colfenor to start drawing through your deck and gain life so you can get a super foresty board presence.

Another way to get things quick is either Leaf-Crowned Elder and/or Lurking Predators. This is a creature heavy deck so more times than not you'll hit a creature and just start flooding the board with trees.

Your end game is combinations of Doran, the Siege Tower, Dauntless Dourbark, and/or Timber Protector and using them to make your opponent feel your splintery sting.

As far as land goes mine is all over the place because other than Murmuring Bosk I just used what I had laying around. You can get away with just basics if you're on a budget but having Murmuring Bosk's is super nice because they are forests, so fetches and Treefolk Harbinger both can grab you this three color land.

The Mage-Ring Networks are in here for if you get land screwed but also in here for two cards: Sylvan Offering and Verdeloth the Ancient (Side Note: I thought Verdeloth was in my decklist for this but turns out he is not. I just bought him on Amazon as I am typing this so in about two days time I will be pulling something out for him.) Pump the Mage-Ring Networks every turn so you can pay your two X spells with all the mana in the world and get and a bunch of buds.

Honestly this deck is really simple to play. Just play a lot of big guys and start swinging in. If things look bad use a Planar Outburst. If you're too dumb to figure out how to play this deck correctly then just leaf.



After reading all the tree puns I decided I'm not gonna post on here because I don't want to be associated with Gaige's shitty puns

Like this deck idea? Hate this deck idea? Think you can build a better version? Think I'm a tree hugging hippy with too many tree puns? Let us know with some hate mail. Or don't. I probably don't care what you have to say anyways.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Format Friday: Mulligan Draft

50% of a Modern Pro-Tour deck.

Unlike Wizard's Tower Wednesday, different casual formats will not be a weekly posted topic and not even necessarily on Fridays. Alliterations just do it for me so today will be Format Friday.

The inspiration of the Mulligan Draft originates from the players who will pull an expedition land and a Planeswalker and then drop from the draft so they can keep both.

In a mulligan draft you use four booster packs rather than three. When you open any one of the three packs, and before you draft any cards, you are allowed to set the opened pack aside, open the fourth booster, and pick from that new pack instead. You then just pocket the booster you are not drafting.

This allows for a couple scenarios:

  1. You open pack 1 (or any pack really) and you just get the dopest cards. You get a rare you wanted and a foil mythic rare that you also wanted. Now rather than being a bag of dicks and ruining the draft for everyone as you yell "I DROP" and storm out of the kitchen to awkwardly hit on Steve's sister, you can simply put that pack to the side, open your mulligan booster, and use that for drafting.
  2. Pack 1 has come and went. Your palms start to sweat as you open pack two (or three, who cares) because you know the rare in that is going to be perfect for your deck. Except that it's not. It was one of the oath enchantments. Your spirit is crushed until you remember, you don't have to use this pack for draft. Angle (Dan: Gaige typo'd "Angel" here, but I like it so we're keeping it from here on out) creatures sing out in exultation as you grab your mulligan pack and you now have a chance at rare redemption.
  3. Pack 1 was good for you all over. You got colors you needed and a decent rare. Pack 2 made you splash into a third color but you still feel pretty confident you're the best drafter here. When the time comes you open pack three and you get one of the best rares in a 4th color when you're REAL deep in the first three. Now when you mulligan, not only do you get to keep that rare that is perfect for your tribal fish deck, but you now have a stronger draft deck so you can go 1-3 rather than 0-4.
  4. You make it through three packs and didn't even need to open that fourth pack. Good for you. You are not only better than everyone else but luckier in pulls probably. Now as your reward for not needing a handicap like I do, you just have a booster to open. 

Overall it's a nice twist on drafting that doesn't change the overall dynamic of the draft, so if you're looking for something a little different but aren't quite ready to draft cards based on which ones you can throw into a hat from 10 ft away, then this is a nice "just the tip" format.


Dan typing words:

Mulligan draft is pretty neat. I mean, it doesn't help me any, because every pack will just have a Prism Array as the rare (even Oath packs), so it doesn't do a lot for me. But that feeling after opening three packs and then noticing you have another pack to open is great. And then that feeling when it's a fourth Prism Array is exactly like that feeling every woman has when she sees you get naked with her for the first time.

Like the idea of Mulligan Draft? Have suggestions? Tried it with your friends and it was bullshit, and you want to call us douchebags? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment or send us a message via the form on the right.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wizards Tower Wednesday: An Introduction

If building jank decks out of whatever you have lying around isn't casual enough for you, let me hit you with some magic realness. Today we introduce Wizard's Tower Wednesday!

Wizards tower is my favorite casual format and great for 4+ players. You can play with two or three, but four or more is the most fun.

Wizards Tower is a single deck consisting of 250 cards with no lands in it, and only one copy of each card. All players share the single deck and share a single graveyard. Once per turn you can play any card from hand face down as a land card. This land can tap for any color (and with the addition of the new colorless symbol it could be tapped for colorless specific mana, although we haven't implemented any Oath cards into our tower.)

Wizards Tower can give play to a lot of un-playable rares and mythics that you have just sitting around, but it also makes some mediocre cards broke as fuck.

In general anything with deck manipulation such as scrying is great, because rather than setting up cards for you, you set them up for the people next to you.

Today we're going to talk about two cards. One that's great for wizards tower, and one that is too good for wizards tower.

Great: Zur's Weirding

Now, seeing how I am an expert at magic, I can see no format other than maybe casual EDH where this card would see play. In Wizards Tower this card is better than that time the hot girl at Taco Bell accidentally touched your hand when she handed you your burrito. This card brings you together as a council of really mediocre judges in determining who gets power and who gets picked on and never wants to play Wizards Tower again (Hah, jk, they always come back for more - Dan). All you have to do is watch your opponents' faces for that glimpse of panic when a card is revealed to know if they are going to veto it. It throws an element of chaos into the game which some people hate, but is great for that good old fashioned kitchen table bullshit.

Broke as fuck: Spellheart Chimera

A couple pump spells, some counter spells, card draw, and some mill later and this card is all of the sudden the strongest thing in the deck. Hopefully you're not a dum dum and have included some hard removal into your tower, but with 250 cards in deck the odds of someone getting removal exactly when you need it are about the same as you getting Taco Bell girl's number. If this card is pulled and left alone it can make for a short and one sided game, and with this being a casual format, it's all about fun. This card does not provide that.


Dan's Thoughts:

Gaige wrote this, but I can't just let him have all the fun, so I wanted to talk about a card I love in the tower.

Also one of the best words.

Pretty shitty counterspell, right? Nah man, fuckin' way wrong. Rearrange the top four is gravy in Wizard's Tower. So it's you and three friends playing. You counter their Zur's Weirding, look at the top four and see three crap cards, and one huge bomb. You get to choose which crap card each of them gets in hand, and then leave the bomb fourth from the top. Your next turn, you get exactly what you wanted. Dope.

Want help picking out cards for a tower? What to see what our monstrosity looks like? Send us a message and let us know!

Who is writing this bullshit?

Dan - Builds decks with more triggers than a Tumblr post

Hello, it is me, Dan. I am a twenty something dork who plays games and drinks too much. I often do that while playing Magic, so I feel like it's important to mention it and get it out of the way right now. My favorite hamburger toppings include Cheese, and Crispy Onion Straws. Red Robin has the best ones, but Applebees' aren't bad either.

I started playing Magic: The Gathering when I was about 8. I stopped when I was about 9, because my cousin was a dick and kept playing for ante and taking all my good cards, because I was an 8 year old and was shit. I started playing again last year, and have gotten pretty into it.

Why am I qualified to co-run a Magic blog? Well, mainly because blogs are free and I'm able to type. As for Competitive Magic experience, I don't mean to brag, but I've won two or three FNMs. I had a good deck during Theros, and once that rotated, I went back to being shitty. Other games I play include League of Legends (I hate it but I can't stop), World of Tanks, and any game with space in it.

I went to college once at Grand Valley State University, got a degree, and promptly tucked it away to never use it again as I pursued careers that were not in my field. Right now I'm an Alcoholic Accountant, and it's ok I guess.

I hope you guys enjoy the blag, and feel free to let me know if there's anything you'd like for us to talk about. I don't guarantee we'll do it, but hey, who knows.

Gaige - Just a green mage living in a blue mage's world

I started playing Magic in 5th grade when this asshole Colin decided at the end of the school year that Magic was cooler than Pokémon. I went and bought a pre-built deck, but before I could learn how to play, the school year ended and I moved to a different school. I happened to find a group of degenerates at my new school who all played Magic, and then I officially learned how to play.

Am I qualified to talk about competitive Magic? Let me answer that with my typical FNM record: 3-2. Am I qualified to talk about casual magic? Definitely not, but I love the game and want to spread that love to all of the five or so people that accidentally end up here.

Strengths: Opening good cards in boosters, building sub-par decks with flavor, talking louder than my opponent, using cards incorrectly, going to time on game 2, drinking in the parking lot in between rounds.

Weaknesses: Drawing lands, remembering triggers, tapping lands correctly, Siege Rhinos, knives.