Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eternal Masters, Innistrad Art, New Standard Decks, and more!

Hello people, it's Dan! Just wanted to do a quick post to give you guys an update of what's going on with team Heavy Salami, and why we've been quiet.

So summer has officially started here in Michigan, and the temperature mostly skipped the 60's and 70's (20 C, for our Canadian friends) and gone right into the 80's (I assume that's something above 20 C). This has lead to me doing something that I really don't do often. I've been outside.

Oh god, what is that thing?
I mean, I've still been playing a stupid amount of Magic, I just do it on my porch now. But sudden outdoor activities for me, Gaige is out of town for work, and the two of us are travelling to a music festival this weekend, so we haven't had much time to put up content. But don't worry - we plan on coming back hard. Literally. I'm just going to give you a quick rundown of some of the things we have in the works. So get ready, cause this salami is about to get heavy.

Eternal Masters:

Coming up in another week or so we have the release of Eternal Masters. This is a set for rich kids that contains only reprints of cards used in the old formats, like Legacy and Vintage. The packs are expensive, the cards are expensive, and you'll probably open a 50 cent rare in every pack cause you have shit luck. Or maybe that's just me. Whatever; either way, I plan on drafting it, and Gaige and I are going to write up a review looking at some of the best cards in the set to be used casually. Namely in Wizard's Tower, but we'll also look at any dank EDH or casual tribal cards to keep an eye out for. As usual, we'll be sure to point out cool budget options, even though a lot of this set is the exact opposite of budget.

The perfect budget card for your tower.

SoI Art Review: 

Spoiler alert: Topplegeist will probably be at the top of Gaige's list. But there is a lot of good art in SoI, ranging from the brutal To the Slaughter (RIP Gossamer) to the mighty Gitrog frog. We're going to peek at some of our favorites, and possibly even have some wonderful alters that we've done to accompany them.

Budget Standard decks:

What, you thought we were done? You thought that Harness the Storm/Chaplain's Blessing/Felidar Sovereign lifegain combo was the jankiest we could do? You insult us. Gaige and I both have just a wealth of terrible decisions floating around in our substance-addled minds, and we would love to share them with you. Here's just a taste of what decks the two of us have been testing with surprisingly good results:

You haven't lived until you've killed an Avacyn with Molten Vortex.

Attach directly to opponent to make a 1/1 Salt token.

Salami in the Future:

In the future, you can just pop on your VR headset and load up whichever Dan or Gaige program you'd like, and have us do whatever you want. Anything. But until then, you just kind of read stuff we write. Well, we'd like to give you some more options. Gaige is actually a film major, so we're looking to exploit that and get some good footage of local tournaments, drafts, and deck testing up on here. Still a ways out, but you know, make a mental note that you'll be able to add those to your spank bank.


Sorry I don't have more for you now, folks. I'm busy figuring how much tax we owe the state of Montana. It's a lot. But after that, we look forward to getting some more nonsense out to you, and we love each and every one of you in a gross, primal sort of way.

Gaige: I'm sorry friends, I've been in Alabama all week for work and although the hotel I was staying had technically had internet, I could only open google chrome to confirm I did in fact have internet and that was about all it was good for. Sorry there was no Wizad's Tower post this week but that will return next Wednesday and we'll be talking about all the things Dan has mentioned above

Wanna talk about stuff? You can leave a comment, I guess. I'll allow it. In fact, I'll encourage it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Format Friday: Ain't no holla Back-Draft

Ideal 1st, 2nd, and 3rd picks
Whatup, my associate nerds. This is Dan, taking a break from seeing how much chocolate milk I can drink in one day to talk to you about something sweet as sugar we did on Wednesday night - Back-Draft. Gaige and I have always talked about giving it a whirl, but every time we went to buy packs for it, we ended up just doing a normal draft, sealed, or just got drunk at a pizza pub instead.  Drunk on pizza, that is. We recently bought two booster boxes though, and apparently that's how many packs it takes for us to start doing silly shit with them, so we ran it with two of our other friends.

The hell is Back-Draft? Sweet as sugar apparently, since I typed that earlier. A Back-Draft is like a normal draft, except instead of drafting out good cards to build your shitty deck, you purposefully draft bad cards to make a shitty deck. Your goal is to assemble the worst pile of 45 cards you can out of the packs that are passed to you.

Hot garbage.
Do you know how it feels to see a foil Eldrazi Displacer wheel around the table a few times? Pretty damn weird. Like getting ladled on the balls, it's strange, but legal. Our friend Alex yelled out "Oh god damnit!" as he got passed that Sigarda last pick. Terrible decks were drafted, pizza was ordered, and shenanigans occurred.

Don't know how to do a Back-Draft? Well, I'm about to drop some knowledge bombs on your ignorance bunker. Here's the general rundown:
  1. Choose your packs. Three packs per drafter. We did OGW and SoI because we had them laying around, though feel free to use any and all sets. Bonus points for Homelands.
  2. Sit down in whatever order you're drafting. You may prepare snacks first.
  3. Open the first pack. Pick the worst draft card from that pack, and then pass it to the left.
  4. Repeat for each pack passed to you. Once all the cards are gone, open the next pack and repeat the process passing to the right, and then the third goes back to the left.
  5. Roll a die/flip a coin/draw names from a hat/cry out to your respective god to randomly pick one of the other drafters. Hand your pile of 45 terrible cards to them.
  6. Someone will hand you their pile of cards. This is now your draft pool. I'm so sorry. Build the best deck you can out of the terrible cards.
  7. Figure out matchups somehow, and let the nonsense unfurl.
Pretty simple, right? Since there is no synergy and everyone is desperately just trying to find their fourth mana before they die to a one drop, the games are fairly random. My cousin Max wrecked me on turn four with cheap dudes and Triskaideckawhatever. Gaige and Alex's game one went for 40 minutes as they bumped 2/4's into eachother. Sheer madness, man.

The most powerful game-closing creature in the set.
The scoring works thusly my gentle folk:
  • You get one point for winning a game that you're playing. Don't draw, because I didn't think of a rule for that situation. We'll say you get half a point, fuck it.
  • You get one point for the draft pool you drafted losing a game. E.g. if I passed my pool to Gaige, and he loses a game, then I get a point for it.
  • Tally these for each match. For example, if I'm playing with Gaige's deck and I lose my match in three games, I get one point, my opponent gets two, Gaige gets two, and whoever handed my opponent his draft pool gets one.
Simple. Well, you'd think that. A surprising amount of strategy went into drafting for us. Gaige went for the "pile of shitty creatures with no supporting spells" draft strategy, while I tried "oops I forgot to draft creatures." Our friends did "counterspells/card advantage with no win condition" and "auras and stuff without targets." Overall, they were great. By great I mean literally the exact opposite of great.

As a testament to how spectacular I am at Magic, I proved that I can't even draft poorly correctly. The pool I drafted was piloted to victory. Olivia's Bloodsworn OP. The pool passed to me had a Sigarda, but all she did has hit the board and immediately die one game. It was rough. Like a young lad who just saw a homeless man eat a cat, I was broken.

Live and learn - I now know to never give someone Untamed Hunger, cause apparently that card will fuck you up. And what happens with all of these awesome common menace auras after the games? Up to you guys. If each player pays for their own packs, you could do a rare redraft, where you pull out all the mythics, rares, uncommons and foils, then starting with the player with the highest points total, pick one at a time until they're gone. Since Gaige and I supplied all the packs this time, we just had all the Oath cards gave back to me, and all the Shadows to Gaige. You could also just try to steal all your friends' cards when they aren't looking. The options are endless.

The main thing is to make sure you don't just keep the cards you draft, as this kills the spirit of the draft. I definitely would have snatched the Declaration in Stone, Sigarda, or Eldrazi Displacer just for value. Having some way to redistribute the cards once done playing will make the draft a lot more fun for everyone. 


Anyways, that's the format. If you're tired of going gung-ho in it to win it style drafting, give Back-Draft a shot. You'll finally get to play that Chaplain's Blessing dream, and you could force someone to play Harness the Storm!

This card is not good.
Have any thoughts about Back-Draft? Any other janky formats rattling around in your head? What is your favorite pizza? Whatever you're thinking, we're morbidly curious, so send us a message or poop a comment down below!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hilarious Eye Catching Title: Wizard's Tower Wednesday

How it feels to play Wizard's Tower
As you can tell from the title, we're off to a good start with this article. Lots of effort and creativity. And an original title to boot. Gaige here to bring you another edition of Wizard's Tower Wednesday. Check out last weeks article where I tell you that Planeswalkers are a bad idea in the tower. Not sure what Wizard's Tower is? Check out our introductory article so you can get up to speed on this sick (in a good way) casual format. It's great for killing time at your LGS or picnics in the park on a beautiful sunny day or for your weekly visit to see your cousin in prison. I also hear it's a good way to pick up women. "Hey baby, want to play with my Wizard's Tower?" Then she slaps you because she thought you meant your peen.

So normally I try to keep a theme with each Wizard's Tower article, but this week doesn't really have one. I also normally try and do two or so cards that are good and two or so cards that are bad. This week the theme is "One card from each color from fairly recent sets that fit pretty well in Wizard's Tower." As you can see it's a pretty loose theme and there's no room for bad cards. Maybe that's next week....

How can I shoot down dragons with this fake blue blob?
For as long as this card has been in standard I keep trying to force it to work. I've tried in both limited and standard. Sometimes it does stuff but most of the time it's just a 5 mana card that never really seems to fit anywhere. Like all other cards I want to be good in standard but aren't, it's perfect for Wizard's Tower. It causes things to get weird. You get control (even if only temporary) of everything that hits the battlefield from now on (or at least until the next boardwipe). I can't even begin to imagine what this is like with multiple people all playing creatures all over the place. At the start of your turn you will end up with a creature that you did not play, but who knows what that's going to be.

"Is that a sword in your hilt or are you just happy to see me" - Death, Who Flirts at Alesha
Now this card can die to just about anything and isn't as silly as some other cards we've talked about, but it might do something for you. If you've built any sort of reasonable Wizard's Tower you have some lower cost creatures with lower powers like Elvish Visionary (which is another great Wizard's Tower card but not really worth getting a whole article about). Like Alesha you can smile at Death (or your friend, Calvin, who looks like death) and bring back things in that early to mid game. Depending on what else is on board, she may go unnoticed to removal just long enough for you to bring back all the spooky things that people have been trying to get rid of.

It's the same idea as putting a cup over a spider you found in your mom's basement.
This card is functional early game, playable midgame, but "Tom Cruise on Oprah" out of control late game. With the ability to never miss a land drop and assuming you do in fact play a land every turn, in that late game you can be exiling 5 or 6 things. Like Tom Cruise, you decide who lives and who dies, who has things and who doesn't, and who makes it in to the inner circle of Lizard People. On the other hand if you did in fact build a good Wizard's Tower you have some sort of "non-land permanent" removal and when someone finally gets rid of this, 5 or 6 things all just come back to the board angry and focusing on you.

Make like a tree and grow proud and strong only to be turned into a piece of Ikea furniture.
"Hello yes am giant tree man. Am here with gift. Choose card and be happy young one." Treebeard here is showing his love for you by gifting you a card when he enters the battlefield. On top of that he's a decent sized creature so that the two of you can take down Orgrimmar together. When the Sith finally banish him to the shadow realm, you can give him a goodbye kiss and trade more of his love for another card that you may need. You can also always just let him hit the graveyard and try and get him back using some other means. Maybe you're just a dirty hippie and want to spread the tree love around to others.

I don't know about you, but I feel like manifesting 2/2's
Just like casual encounters on Craigslist, this is right on the edge of a bad idea. "Craigslist casual encounters are always a bad idea." Don't you lie to to me and act like you're better than that when we both know you've stayed up until 3 am trying to find love on there. Sometimes you'll pull this early and it will do nothing for you all game but sometimes you'll be 5 hours deep in to a game with a graveyard bigger than the deck. When you can get any double digit number of creatures onto the board even for the "high" cost of 7 you can probably win. If someone was smart they'll have a counter spell or boardwipe but even then, the best protection is only 99% effective.

Dan's shitty thoughts: 

The more mythics in your Tower, the better. Mythics (especially janky non-competitive ones) end up creating some of the craziest interactions. You get crap like The Great Aurora that reset the game and do some ridiculous things. Also, you get to look like a baller as you casually use mythics in your casual pile of cards you don't care about. Fuck it, make 'em shiny, too. You're the richest wizard up in this bitch, and you're potion mixin' er'ry day.

Been following Wizard's Tower? Finally have one you want to share? Want to talk about Tom Cruise and his downhill spiral into becoming a joke? Leave us a comment!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Blind Eternities: A Planechase Variant

Gaige here. With the yesterdays announcement of Planechase Anthology by Wizards, this November it will be possible to get your hands on the much sought after Planar cards used in order to play Planechase. If you can't wait until November for the cards, use this site in the meantime to help control your hype. Once you've taken care of your planar bone cone let's talk about a lesser known Planechase variant: The Blind Eternities.

Not sure what Planechase is? Check out Dan's cute article on it. Edit by Dan: It's super cute. And explains how to play it and stuff.

If you're one of those lucky few who has a set of planar cards, great. If you are not, grab some construction paper and some crayons and draw up some planes. Once you've got your planes together, clear off a table and let's start.

Unlike normal Planechase where you just flip cards over on a planar deck, in Blind Eternities you traverse a grid getting to somewhat choose what plane you are on.

Start off with a grid of 5 planes all face down like the picture above. See that little white icon that is either a little person or maybe a lowercase "i"? That's you. You start in the center of the above grid. Use some sort of token to denote what plane you are currently on. The next step is for each player to grab your decks. Yes I said decks, don't get too excited. So everyone grab your deck shuffle it up, spill cards on to the table so everyone knows what you're playing, shuffle again, and get your starting hand. Once you've got all that set, flip over the five plane cards.

There you go, you are now on a plane. Hooray. Now you play Magic and add whatever effect the plane would add. "This doesn't seem very different" Well it is I promise. Start playing Magic. When you get sick of this plane roll the planar die. If you get the planar chaos symbol (which will now be referred to as "dickbutt" hereafter) do whatever it says on the card. If you get the Planechase symbol then you have some choices to make. "But I hate choices" Well what are you doing playing a game that is nothing but choices?

You now get to choose which plane you move to. Read all four, see which is your favorite and move to the best plane. "But even with a choice of four, they're all bad." Yes, that is Planechase for you. Buckle up and slide into a new plane for better or for worse!

Once you've nestled in to your new plane and you're all nice and cozy, reveal planes to fill any empty slots in the North, South, East, and West directions. As you can see you either need a big table or to go back to 3rd grade and just play on the floor. If you went with the crayon and construction paper idea, you can probably just hang them on a cork board on the wall or something. Your two biggest limitations are going to be table space and the amount of planes you have.

Now I would think I wouldn't have to say this, but I don't know about you Magic players sometimes. So you decide to move again and this time you moved down. You are on a new plane. This one is better. Congratulations. When you reveal new planes, you only fill in the blank spaces with the new planes. You don't put a new plane on top of an existing one. It seems pretty straight forward, but some people...some people just don't understand things.

So here you are on the best plane ever and you are trying to roll a dick butt when, Oh no! Instead you rolled a Planechase symbol and have to move. But somehow moving to any of the four available planes instantly kills you! Well we can't have that. Earlier when I said you only have four choices in moving, I lied right to your face. You have one other option.


As the diagram above demonstrates, if there is ever nothingness to any diagonal direction you can "hellride" into the nothingness. You're trading the safety net of knowing whats coming for moving two spaces. If you have revealed planes in the diagonal direction, you cannot "hellride" there. You have to go the long way and work your way through the planes.

Once you've hell ridden your way down south, you will  just reveal more planes like normal and just keep playing until everybody but one person loses. "Why didn't you just say play until somebody wins?" Because no body wins in Planechase really, there is just one person who maybe doesn't lose.

This art depicts my face when I heard about the Planechase announcement.
For those of you wondering about Phenomenon cards, here's how those work. When you move somewhere and have to reveal new plane, if you reveal a Phenomenon card, it just happens. Whatever that card does, happens. The above card says "each player draws four cards" so that's what you do. You then lay a plane card down where ever was flipped to take its place. There should be no Phenomenon cards layed down on the field.

Since you enter a plane before ever revealing new planes, any "enter this plane" effects would resolve before phenomenon. For example: If you enter a plane that says "When you enter this plane destroy all creatures" you would destroy all creature before revealing new planes. That way if you have a phenomenon that said "when you encounter whateverthehellplane each player may put a creature card from his hand onto the battlefield" those creatures hit the battlefield after the boardwipe and are not destroyed.

For those of you limited in table space or planar cards you can always have planes disappear off the board if you go to far in one direction so that the board doesn't just end when you run out of planes, or so that you can shift the board when you run out of table.

And as a final parting gift because I love you:

Here's a blank planar card so you can fulfill all of your planar dreams. "Why didn't you use this for your salami plane?" Well it wouldn't really have that true "Heavy Salami" flavor unless it was just a little bit janky. Rather than use this to make copies of planes, this is more for when you have obviously better planes ideas than Wizard's. Because you know you should be part of the Wizard's creative team. You're just looking for your "in".

Did you like this variant? Did you already know about this variant? Did you make a sweet custom plane that you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Budget Magic? NOT ON MY WATCH

Actual picture of my playmat.
Hey scrublords and scrubladies, it's Dan. So, as you guys may have noticed, budget decks are all the rage. If I had to speculate as to why this is the case, it's probably because no one wants to drop $1000 on a deck they're gonna play lose with thirty times, half the good shit is gonna rotate, and then you're left with the financial equivalent of 60 pokemon cards in Dragonsleeve matte blues.

This was a great investment.
And I can sympathize with that. I'm an Accountant/amateur writer with a drinking problem. Not exactly loaded. I can't just buy standard staples all willynillly like an Oil Tycoon.

But these budget articles aren't fair. Rich ass Movie Stars want to play Magic too. Probably in between travelling to exotic locations and bangin' supermodels, but I'm sure there's some downtime for card games. So this article is a deck tech for a deck that I've been wanting to try in standard, but I simply can't afford it. I'm hoping the CEO of some company sees this, builds the deck, and plays Magic way better than me, so he wins the pro tour with my shitty deck. And then maybe he'll take pity on this pleb, and hire me. Or something. I dunno, maybe you guys just have these cards lying around, and want to take a whack with it? Either way, let's check it out.

Coming in at a paltry $500 - wait, actually? Only like $500? First off, it's ridiculous that I'm saying only $500. That's a shitload. But that just goes to show how stupidly expensive last standard was.

I was running a fairly budgety Jeskai list before Khans rotated, and it was easily $600+, and now my self-proclaimed expensive deck actually costs less than my budget deck last season. Yikes. Luckily over 50% of that value was in Fetches, Ojutai, and the aforementioned dragon's command, so I didn't lose everything. Except my dignity, but I honestly lost most of that back in college.

Anyways, now that I've sort of convinced myself that this isn't as outrageously expensive as I thought, let's talk about the deck some.

The goal:

Shouldn't be too tough.
Ideally, get the opponent's life total to 0 before your own. That's not super easy, but this deck isn't too shabby at it. We use our strong walker suite - all of which can create their own creatures - to gum up the board and generally be insanely annoying with their incremental advantage. Eventually we crush them with our ceaseless bulk of dudes, and if they boardwipe, we just make more until they're sad.

The critters:

The creature list in this deck is simple, and quite short. But of course, god damn expensive. We have Jace, Vryn's Prodigy because looting is helpful when your curve goes this big, and because his flipside dumbs down their threats. We don't have a ton to flashback with his walker face, which is why we aren't running more, but occasionally you need a second shot at that Roast or Fall of the Titans to melt something.

Nissa, Sage Animist is first and foremost a neat little land tutor. Hooray, Forests! But once she flips, she fits along perfectly with our pile of walkers. Her plus draws us a card, which helps a lot when we go into long grindy games, and she can even make a dude with her minus 2. Walkers that make dudes to protect themselves end up sticking on board longer than they deserve, and when Nissa, Sage Animist sticks, you end up with a ton of cards.

Now I ain't no Hangarback gurrrl, but I love this card. And I am kind of a Hangarback girl. He's a spoopy token machine in this deck, and helps fill out our early game curve. Ideally we get to plop him on turn two, crank him maybe once or twice, and then explode him for some thopties. The more tokens, the better, which is why we also have some Dragonmaster Outcasts for later game ownage.

Sylvan Advocate is in there cause it's stupid. Early game, it puts on pressure and is a good blocker. Late, it puts on a lot of pressure and is a better blocker. We also have a singleton Dragonlord Atarka, because we want to go late, and she's a hell of a late threat, especially when coupled with the buffs our Arlinns toss out.

The enchanting side of Temur:

This deck has a few enchantments, and each plays an important role. Oath of Jace is wonderful filtering, which this deck desperately needs. At some point you don't need any more Arlinn Kords in hand, and Oath of Jace lets you trade them in for something else. The scry is insanely relevant too, as you should, ideally, have at least one planeswalker on board at all times. If you don't for a long period of time, something has gone horribly awry, and I don't mean that stupid counterspell.

Oath of Nissa is the best card in this deck. Looking at the top three lets you grab whatever you need next. That's assuming it's not a Fall of the Titans that you need, which it knowing my luck it will be. And, most importantly, the second bit of text on the card is super relevant!

"For the life of every plane, I will remember to read the entirety of my cards."
We have a lot of walkers, a lot of colors, and only so much land. Being able to cast Sarkhan Unbroken off of four forests and a mountain is insane, and helps us drop these powerhouses on curve.

Walkin' their way to victory:

As you can see, this deck runs a shit ton of planeswalkers. Surprising, how a planeswalker deck does that, isn't it? I assume you all knew that when I said "walker" I meant "planeswalker," and not the other walkers in standard. Although, we do have Hangarback Walker. Maybe we should force in the other walkers from this set?

So we start our swanky walker curve at Hangarback, as stated above, and then immediately roll into Nissa, Voice of Zendikar.

"Notice me, Ashaya!" - Nissa
Nissa is baller. Making a dude to defend herself as she slowly ticks up makes our later walkers that much more explosive. If you play her later in the game you also get the option to immediately pump your board, which you ideally have from Hangarbacks and all of your other walkers. Sometimes you ult her, and that feels as good as a gentle kiss on the lips from your highschool crush.

"Grandma came to bake cookies and kickass, and all the other Magic nerds ate all the cookies." - Arlinn
Arlinn, who probably isn't old enough to be a grandma, is a great card in this deck. If you follow Nissa up with an Arlinn, you get to flip Arlinn, make a wolf, and use Nissa to pump the wolf and plant from the previous turn. In fact, it's totally possible to have on board on turn four an Oath of Nissa, a 2/2 Hangarback, a 1/2 plant, a 3/3 wolf, and two planeswalkers. That's a boardstate that a lot of decks can just never recover from. Arlinn, Embraced by Orbital Bodies can then pop a defender the next turn, or threaten a wicked crackback with her +1 ability if they dare tap their goobers.

Also, Arlinn's front side is just comical with Dragonlord Atarka. Play Atarka, kill everything they have, +1 on Arlinn, swing with your 10/10 flying vigilance haste trample. Extract delicious salt.

"Does anyone remember me?" - Sarkhan
Sarkhan is actually the reason I built this deck. Card is dope as hell, and no one is using him at all. His rough mana requirements make him inaccessible to a lot of decks, but Oath of Nissa don't give a fuck. His +1 ability gives us some more steam, as at the point in the game when you can cast him, we start to run out of cards in hand. If you're doing alright and want to close out the game fast, he can make a huge flier, which Nissa can make even huge-er. His ult is largely irrelevant, but I guess sometimes you could use it to tutor up Atarka to finish the game.

"I like my men how I like my coffee - literally on fire" - Chandra
Chandra is a game ender when you need one, card advantage when you need it, or a boardwipe when you need it. Girl does it all, and is a wicked powerful walker. By this point in the game you'll likely have two mountains, or at least an Oath of Nissa, so she shouldn't be too hard to cast. Don't forget that sometimes to close out a game you'll need to +1 Chandra to make some flamers, and then -2 Nissa to make them 4/2s. I've had this come up every once in a while, and it can make a difference.

Other stuff:

Roast and Fall are for things that are trying to murder our walkers. Reality Smasher is a real beating against our deck, and sadly in these colors Roast is just about our best option to deal with him if we don't have a big enough butt to stop him. Fall is a nice follow-up to an Oath of Nissa, and useful for blowing up planeswalkers from anyone who thinks their deck also deserves to have some.

Sideboard shenanigans:

I didn't put together a sideboard for this, cause I was busy losing at Thursday night Standard. Sorry. But I know what things I would probably use. I'm gonna run it down by matchups against current meta decks.

Humans: You want boardwipes and removal. A 4th Roast, some Radiant Flames, and Rending Volley would all be great options to have.

Bant CoCo: Actually, a super sweet matchup for this deck. Dispel is a good card to have a copy or two of, as without CoCo they are just playing crappy creatures. They have Avacyn late, but you have dragons, so... whatever.

G/B Sac: This is not a great matchup, since they go fast, and our board takes a few turns to establish. Radiant Flames is still helpful here, but most importantly, you need to have Clip Wings to deal with Ormandude. That card just beats our deck.

Control Stuff: A Negate or two is nice against opposing planeswalkers decks. If it's a non-blue based deck you're playing against, Seasons Past is actually a reasonable sideboard. We can actually hit a shitload of cards with it (Evolving Wilds, Oath of Nissa, Hangarback, Nissa, Arlinn, Sarkhan, Chandra, Atarka), and if they're B/W removal tribal, then your graveyard is bound to be fairly full. Kalitas is an issue, so you either need to Roast him right away, or just keep chumping until you get enough dragons to outrace him.

G/W Tokens: Not a bad matchup at all. We basically durdle along with them the first few turns playing Hangarbacks and Nissa. Once we hit the five and six drop range though, our deck starts to take off. Dragonmaster, Chandra, and Sarkhan all make threats that can swing over top for too much for them to handle. They'll side in Linvala and Sigarda most likely, so I'd have some Tears of Valakut and Clip Wings ready to go.


So there's a deck. I've been testing it online and it's a ton of fun to play, and pairs well with Killian's. All of your cards just have so much gross value; you rarely topdeck something and think "WELL THIS CARD IS USELESS." Except when you topdeck like... 8 lands in a row. Which I am known to do.

Got any suggestions for the deck? Do you, too, love Sarkhan? Would you make out with a large bearded guy for $50? If yes to any of the preceding questions, drop a comment or send us a message!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bringing Super Friends to the Fight

Hello addicts, it's Gaige with your weekly unsolicited article for Wizard's Tower Wednesday! Hope you're not too excited because today's article is going to be a bit different. If you missed last week we talked about some silly cards that will probably make the game go longer but will definitely have fun effects. If you are real confused by anything I've said so far and don't know what Wizard's Tower is then good luck I guess. You could take a minute to check out our introduction article on Wizards Tower so you can be more in the loop on everything we're about to talk about, but you better do it fast because we've got things to discuss and we're not going to wait for you just because you didn't do your homework.

Today's topic of discussion is going to be about some of the most sought after cards in Magic: Planeswalkers. You might be thinking "Wow, planeswalkers in a Wizard's Tower? That can't end well." You'd be right. It can't end well.

According to her hands, Liliana is actually a red mage.
"Yeah no shit one of the best planeswalkers is going to be a bad idea in Wizard's Tower." Well let me play devil's advocate. Someone plays this card. No one has no way to deal with it because it's only turn 3. Everyone just starts discarding cards. Someone finally gets some steam to combat Liliana and WHAM she -6 and destroys half their permanents. "Gaige do you know what devil's advocate means?" If I'm not allowed to use words that I don't know what they mean then this is going to be a short article. As you can see, putting in one of the best planewalkers in Wizard's Tower is a bad idea. Also, why would you put this $100+ card in your Wizard's Tower rather than a real deck. If your response was "Well I have just a couple extra Lili's lying around," then my response to that is that I hate you.

Let's look at a lesser planeswalker to see how it would fair in Wizard's Tower.

According to his hands, he has never touched a woman.
Ok, so he doesn't look too bad. He can be silly maybe. Everyone draws a card or have one person in particular draw a card. How is this too good? Well look at that -10. That's just not fun for anybody. How does just milling everyone's deck make Wizard's Tower better? "But I would never use his ult. I would only make people draw cards for the sillies!" Sure, even if you don't one day you'll play a game with some new person and they'll think it will be hilarious to just -10 after he has 30+ loyalty counters on him since everyone has been ignoring him all game for the extra card draw. All it takes is one dick to ruin this card.

A better depiction of Vraska.
Her +1 may seem to do nothing but when she gets big enough and it takes a couple creatures to kill her, she can take out several of your creatures or several creatures across multiple opponents. That -3 is also super good if you can get her to anything above 6. That is just two kills spells that can get rid of anything on the board. When you have a super fun enchantment on the board like Dictate of Kruphix but Vraska's controller has decided that drawing cards is over he can get rid of it. What about this fun scenario? Vraska is at 8 and they have Hammer of Purphoros on the field. Boardwipe. -7. Vraska's controller has just eliminate 3 people. Maybe you're ok with this, but it seems like a really dumb way to end the game.

She is a mystical double mermaid where the bottom half is a fish and the top half is a fish.

"Obviously she has to be ok. She enters on turn four at 2." Yeah dum dum but what about that ult? If they can defend it for 3 turns they probably just win. No matter how many boardwipes and kill spells your tower has, when they get a 9.9 every turn, it's going to be hard to deal with. Whoever has Kiora will just be Kraken skulls left and right and then the games over. Plus if they aren't going for the ult that extra land and card draw for a couple turns can be a bigger advantage in Wizard's Tower than any one person should have.

Goat Simulator: Theros
The mana can be a big advantage, and haste satyrs can also be annoying but once again the big no no is in the ult. We've talked before about how cards in Wizard's Tower need to be perfectly clear and his ult will not be. What is considered a land? Is nothing a land or is everything a land? This may seem straight forward to some, but having to explain this to every new person who tries to play this card is going to get old fast. 

Now I'm not your mom so I can't tell you what to do. If you think it'll be silly to put any of these cards in your tower then go for it. It may seem fun until you realize you have no way to deal with it and they have a huge board advantage. I will say that note we will leave you with


There are only two planeswalker that I would say are acceptable in a Wizard's Tower.

Sarkhan used reveal the top card, he hurt himself in confusion.
This angry dude is a pretty alright fit in a Tower. He is a planeswalker but he leaves the board faster than you can his first ability aloud. Since there is no way for Sarkhan to give himself more loyalty he isn't any sort of perpetual threat that makes you quit the game early because of how "lucky" your friend always gets in magic. His -4 will almost do nothing unless they happen to have some dragon's and his -2 and 0 will help you for a minute before he murders himself on the sharp edge of cardboard.

The planeswalker that was developed by a drunk R&D team.
As you might have guessed (or might not have because you are bad at guessing) Tibalt, the King of Planeswalkers, has found his home in the Wizard's Tower. Discarding a card at random is perfect for the tower. His -4 is severely underwhelming for a -4 and you need to randomly discard 2 cards to even get that online. His ult can be good if he manages to take a board full of creatures, but the likeliness of that happening is pretty slim. You can pretty much ignore Tibalt unless you really want him dead. He might help your opponent but he might not. He's in my tower and anytime someone gets to play him it's fun but not overbearing. He's a goddam wild card and he knows it.

Think other planeswalkers I didn't mention could work in a tower? Found another format for Tibalt? Want to show us your sweet Wizard's Tower you've built or started? Send us a message or leave a comment!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Mediocre Decks for Mediocre People

Pictured: A gigantic, unstoppable feat of modern engineering. Also, a train.
Choo choo! This is your captain speaking, here to let you know I'm riding Dan's caboose on the "neglected standard" train. "But Gaige if you're riding the caboose how are you the captain? Plus don't trains have conductors?" These are excellent questions. Obviously Dan is the conductor in this analogy and I'm just some guy who's sitting on top of the train with a boat paddle and a captains hat. What does this mean for you? It means I'm here to sing you a siren's song and lull you into building some new decks for standard.

If you've been regularly going 0-5 or 1-4 in FNM then these decks will get you to a solid 2-3. If you've been going 4-1 or 5-0 consistently then I think you're on the wrong website. Or maybe you are tired of winning all the time and you just want to humiliate your opponents. These decks will do that if you manage to win. And even if your opponent wins they won't be happy about it because they had to deal with your bullshit for 45 minutes.

Now I'm not going to call any of these budget decks because I don't feel like looking up prices of cards. According to the recommended age group of Magic you're 13+ so you can google them yourselves. I will say that most of these cards aren't seeing play in top 8 decks so they should be affordable. If you really need money, just stop buying deodorant to fund your gross addiction. You still won't be the cheesiest person at your LGS.

We will start with by far the worst deck idea. When I said these decks will get you to 2-3, this one will not. If we stick with transportation analogies, this deck is like if you were driving a car without a gas pedal or brakes. Well honestly it's more like if you just held a steering wheel and ran while making car noises. You probably won't even finish the race unless every other car somehow manages to crash. I present to you:

(W)inne(R) Winner Lifegain Dinner

I'm sure anyone who's made it this far into the article read that first deck title and either just scrolled on down or exited this site all together. But for you lucky few I have a delicious treat. In life gain you have two win conditions. Win condition one: 

I CAN HAZ LIVEZ? (I'm not proud of this but it was just there)
This Felidankness is here to not only win you some Magics but also crush your opponent's will to play. Look at this glorious horn cat standing atop that rock, pretending he doesn't want your attention when he really does. If you show him some love, he'll show you some wins.

We'll get to win condition two later, first lets talk how to pilot this deck. 

Now I'm no math scientist but twice seems to be better than once. It's like those witches say "Double, double toil and trouble. Lifegain, card draw, pit stains, and stubble" Or something like that. I am also not a literature scientist. Anyways, use this card to get you double life to hit that feli-target of 40 life.

Jimmy the Overly Touchy Orderly
Pair this card with Alhamm's Archive and you have Healing Hands Gum by Wrigley....because double the lifegain double the card double mint gum, but for Magic. This useless card now becomes a gain 8, draw 2 for 3, and that is pretty neato.

Shh bby is ok
Here we have another card that would never see play in any format ever but all of a sudden becomes gain 10 for 1. With minimal life loss and 2 or 3 of these you can win pretty easy.

At least you can feel like a mad scientist when you play this since everyone will think you're crazy.
Use this card to fulfill your decks wet dream: you have Archive on the field with this, you cast chaplain's blessing for 1 and gain 10. You cast a second chaplain's blessing and gain another 10 triggering harness the storm and re-casting your first one for an additional 10. For 3 mana (and some mana in previous turns to set this up) you just gained thirty life. Do this with combinations of the blessing and the hands and you'll have that 40 life in no time. Just fill the rest of your deck with chump blockers, removal, and maybe some ETB life gain creatures and you can take this straight to the top...or like to 1-4. "But what about the other win condition?" I thought you'd never ask. "I've been asking this whole time." Well then you're the dumb one who's been talking to a computer. The second win condition is that your opponent will eventually just concede since they can't beat you and you'll win the war of attrition. Get ready to report 5 draws the night you play this.

Before we go on to this next deck I need to take a shower because even just talking about that last deck makes me feel disgusting.




WB Misty

Looks like I' you by the balls...
I don't want to say this deck is better than the WR life gain, but it's a little more flexible and a little more "actually has a win condition."

The sequel to the hit Stephen King movie
This card is pretty easy to understand. Pay 1, transform, swing in for 0, after blockers, pay 3 and transform back and deal 4. But...what if....what if you didn't flip it back? What if you just let it be that gassy monstrosity forever? "Yeah I definitely want to just keep this as an 0/1 so I can do no damage." Well listen up stupid because I need to introduce you to equipment.

I'm not sure how mist is going to wear armor but I guess that's why they call it Magic.
If you manage to equip a couple of these or some Chitinous Cloaks, you can just start swinging in with Mr. All you need this deck to do is get Insidious Mist's above 4 toughness and have gobs of removal. Since it's both indestructible and hexproof there are only three major threats: Languish, Tragic Arrogance, and Descend Upon the Fisherman. If you get it's toughness above 4 Languish no longer becomes a threat, and if this is your only creature then Tragic Arrogance is also no longer a threat. This means that your opponents 6 drop removal spell will more than likely only take out your one creature while killing their whole board. If they do manage to kill your creature just drop another one and re-equip everything.

"But what about me? I hate removal and just want to turn things sideways!"

The Sean Connery of Innistrad.
Thish ish by no meansh now an aggro deck, but you can lean more towardsh creaturesh and lessh towardsh control and pair Mishter Connery with your misht to make all of your creaturesh Hekshproof and Indeshtructible at each combat, plush whatever other keywordsh you have jusht lying around. 

I need to stop using this card in articles because I'm out of funny things to say about it.
If you have money or were lucky enough to pull a couple of these then you can pair this with Odric and the Mist for a nice "this is really hard to deal with" after taste. Also, feel free to use "Odric and the Mist" as the name for your sweet metal band. You don't even have to give me credit.

The final deck for today has a bit of a budget range. You can build it with minimal budget, but like all things Magic, if you have a bigger budget you can get this deck to give you a little more. It won't give you good things, just more.

G. R. R. Token

This is the college drop out equivalent of GW tokens. It's less successful, worth much less, and no matter how hard it tries, it will never make it's parents happy. "Gaige you're really bad at analogies." Yes I am, but if you get a kick out of them check out my blog:

See card below for joke.

See card above for joke.

At this deck's barest boner you'll be running these two devil's spawns. I'm sure there is some political joke in here about calling some candidate satan but I don't want to hear your stupid political opinions anyways. On the other hand, if you have stupid Magic opinions I'm all ears.

Both cards are fairly affordable and probably not hard to come by. As the deck title suggests, you want to flood the board with tokens/devils. You can then use them to chump block everything on the ground and when they die blow up and throw up the devils at their face. 

If plain old poke and prod devil's aren't enough for you, use From Beyond to summon spaghetti devils. . What more is there to say about this card? It makes tokens every turn. Use the tokens for ramp and chump blockers or however you see fit. If you aren't catching on to how this deck works yet maybe you should stick to just playing Crazy 8's.

Are they harvesting people or does everyone just have a twin to split the work with?
Once the board is filled with so many token cards that you can't find your lands, play this. The cornsfolk will duplicate everything you have on the board. Any board space that was remaining has now disappeared. You don't even remember what your play mat looks like because your new play mat is just more tokens. If you're anything like me you didn't actually read this card. Or also like me you read this card hundreds of times but still forgot that it's instant speed. Just play it whenever it's gonna make you feel the best.

After you have all of those key pieces together, just start jamming in red kill spells and green Eldrizzles that make ETB tokens, like the one pictured above. There are plenty of Eldurggles to choose from so I'll leave that part up to you. The more scions you can get from ETB effects the more scions you can get with Second Harvest.

"Hey look at me! I have more money than the current budget of this deck!"

If you have more money to spend on cards and for some reason are investing money in this deck these are some additional higher value cards you can add to make your deck balling-er.

Also useful for protecting your eyes while viewing the eclipse.
Use this to go all Devil May Cry on your opponent. Getting four pokey devils is pretty scary but using this to get eight is slightly more startling. This means you now have eight blockers that will each do 1 damage when they die. If you have nothing to block or aren't afraid for your life total start swinging in with everything. Anything that gets through does damage and anything that gets blocked and dies still does damage. 

She may be embraced by the moon but she just wants to be embraced by your arms.
I get it. You have more money you need to spend and have planeswalkers dripping out of every part of your body. That works out because Arlinn has found a home in this deck. Use Arlinn to diversify your investments by making wolves. After she flips make all tokens slightly more annoying with +1/+1 and trample. The trample part is kind of like that condom you carry in your wallet: you'll almost certainly never use it but if you manage to, it'll be the best day you've had in a long time.

More like Chandra Lame caller.
If you can throw a Chandra in and she can live past the turn she hits the board, you can +1 her and before combat play Second Harvest. This now gives you a total of 4 3/1 elementals with haste plus whatever other tokens you have just lying around. If you decided not to +1 her, instead swing in with all your little devil's and -X Chandra to kill whatever is left and deal damage to whatever you are the angriest at.

Yes you can throw Nissa in here for plants too if you have one. She is green after all. And green is a color in this deck.

Well that's all the decks I have so far. Next week I may have a couple other decks you can try out. If I don't have more decks ready just do what everyone else does and build something in the top 8 list. Then when you ultimately lose just tell your opponent that they got super lucky. That'll really let them know that although you lost you are still the alpha dog.

Want more deck ideas? Did you decide to try run of these? Were you, through some miracle, successful? Send us a decklist and a story in a comment or message. We'd love to hear from you!