Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quick Update

Gaige here. I just want to apologize for the lack of content. I was going to try to get you a shitty WtW post that would just be a shorter and condensed version but after looking at the article it was even shorter-er and condensed-er than I thought it would be. It was bad. Real bad. Me trying to play Magic bad. So rather than write something that tries to be an article but is really just letting you know I'm alive, I'm writing this. Yes I am alive, yes I am in Kentucky, yes I am stuck in a factory, no this state nor this factory does not have internet. I apologize, but if you really want more content get more people to read this so Dan and I can do this full time and make content for you non-stop. Check back next Wednesday. We'll at least have on article by then. Or we might not. Maybe by next week we'll at least get you some pictures to look at. We can find out together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

There's No Chaos Like Bro Chaos

My visual representation of chaos
What's up you Philistines? It's Gaige here to look up cards so you don't have to. Some Wednesday ago we talked about this super dope chaos list in this article. We're gonna continue on that list in this article. If you are lost on what we're talking about, check out here for our breakdown of how to play the best format in Magic. If you are physically lost call your parents to come get you and tell them you were kidnapped and not that you took a wrong turn while chasing after Pokemon. Now sit back, read on, and wait for your parents to show up with your tendies.

This is also a good time to say that although I try and make sure to not repeat cards, it's going to start happening. I try and provide you with the new cards you want to know about that you can throw in your tower, but I also have this direct conflict of me being lazy. We're gonna get to a point where I don't look through every card to make sure I don't repeat them. Maybe one day I'll make an excel sheet and can keep track of cards that way, but today is not that day. I think this week is all new cards.


"Cut the child in half and let both mother's have a piece" "But I'm a full grown man and my mother is dead" "IN HALF!"
This card is a bit hit or miss, but I'd hope you would have a fair amount of enchantments and artifacts in your deck to just always keep things interesting. This can get rid of terrible world enchantments, or you can make the table hate you by getting rid of the thing letting everyone draw. This is also a may ability so if you like everything on the field you can just chill until someone plays something you hate. If you really want you can play this for 3 and then just to use it to get rid of itself because you're a wild card. You be the judge on whether you have enough enchantments and artifacts to make it worth it. I vote yes. I vote if you say no then fix that. I vote for more Tibalt and less Jace. Shaughnessy 2016.

Turns out in the MTG universe, whispers is another word for arrows
This is one of those enchantments that is not only perfect as a card for Wizard's Tower but also a perfect target for the above mentioned card. This card not only makes creatures never truly die, but makes things super silly and weird and if there is one way to build a tower it's as silly and weird as possible. Imagine a fully stocked board and then a board wipe. Now get ready to groove as you do a the wizard shuffle and just start passing out creatures to whoever you want. I won't blame you if you pass out creatures by "making it rain" because we both know you won't ever get a chance to do that anywhere else.

This isn't a wave a genesis, but just a dude name Genesis waving
This is another card that could potentially be too good but if you try and tell me that I'll just tell you that you built your tower wrong. So let's say you hit this perfectly mid game, you can get 5 cards that cost 5 or less on the battlefield (assuming mid game is turn 8). That's annoying but you should have some ways to deal with that hopefully through a board wipe or by just flipping the table and giving your opponent the finger. If you get this late game you can potentially get 9 cards with converted mana cost 9 or less, which will be about anything in your deck, but that would be in a perfect situation. They also have the chance to whiff and get mostly instants or sorcerys, or get really shitty small things. If they play this too early maybe they don't get to keep some of the bigger things. No matter what it will be super fun and will pair great with this next card.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" "Shut up Kevin, we're all thinking the same thing"

This is another card that as I write about, I am purchasing a foil one from Amazon. This card is just so awesome. This card has some of the best Wizard's Tower elements: it gets everyone involved, it makes copies of things that will create horrifying situations, it makes you think twice before casting spells, and it lets you pick new targets. Kill spells become riskier, buff spells become more interesting, and things like Harmless Offering just become even more awesome. There are so many cards that would go so well with this I can't even begin to name them all. Just go get this. Go get it right now and slap in your tower. You won't regret it. Well you might one game. Maybe a couple of games, but even as you accidentally give everyone a kill spell, you'll be laughing at what people do with it. And that's what Wizard's Tower is really about: killing things with friends and laughing about it.

I just found out my worst fear is being melted by a lightning tornado

Oh look at that. It even has chaos right in the name, how fitting. Now if you just never want control over the game again, this and Hive Mind make the perfect combo. Everyone gets a copy of every instant and sorcery spell that is cast, however if it targets a single target no one gets to pick what their spell targets anymore. Just buff random things and hope one of them was yours. Pretend like you have a board wipe when you have a single kill spell. Play the hunger games and see who can survive a -x/-x spell. The possibilities are endless. Even alone the idea of every spell being re-directed to something random really tickles my fancy. I want to get a foil of this as well but I'm trying to show some self control.


Well I bought a foil one of these and a handful of expedition lands. I'll work on self control later and maybe with something like food. Considering I just ate like 300 chicken nuggets from Chic-Fil-a food may not be the best thing to practice self control with either. Now before you go correcting my spelling, know that I spell Chic-Fil-a like this because it sounds like a rich people clothing store that also sells nuggers. I'll find some way to practice self control. Maybe.

Well thanks for checking back in with us and seeing that we did in fact not forget about you and do have another article. Check back in a couple of days for somethings more relevant than Wizard's Tower. Maybe you'll find two somethings relevant. I would tell you how many things you can expect but I will also be checking back to find out myself. Good luck out there and just remember: Everyone is a good Magic player during Wizard's Tower.

Tired of seeing this every Wednesday? Want to tell us about your double triple copy redirect? Want to tell us about your recent chicken experience? Let us know in the comments or with a kindly worded message? Can't get enough salami? Check out our twitter over at...well...twitter.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Two Angels, One Body: Eldritch Moon Two Headed Giant Tips

Gaige and I at pre-release. You can decide who is who.
Hey there nerdburgers, it's Dan once again. Pre-release is this weekend! Huzzah! If there's one thing that team Heavy Salami truly enjoys, it's playing with other men, so this weekend we'll be entering several Two-Headed Giant (2HG) events for the pre-release. (Not sure what 2HG is? The start of this article gives you a basic outline. The rest of it just talks about how shitty we are.)

We always have a ton of fun with 2HG sealed - it's an interesting format that always presents you with some unique deck building decisions. It's similar to regular sealed in that the format is typically slower and more bomb dependent, but a lot of times that can be blown wide open by a few innocuous cards that suddenly become heavy hitters in 2HG. Also, you get to fight with your teammate about who gets to play what colors and use what dope ass rares. If you're on my team, there's only one thing I have to say: DIBS ON BLUE.

For today's article, we're going to take a look at some Eldritch Moon cards that might be mediocre or just acceptable in regular sealed/draft, but get knocked up a few notches when thrown into 2HG. We'll explain to you what makes these cards so much better in this funky format, and ideally plant the seed in your mind for what types of cards to look for whenever you play 2HG with a new set.

Also, I highly recommend taking a peek through this article if you plan on attending a 2HG event. They explain some weird card interactions that are specific to this set, and they are definitely worth knowing in case you open up one of these cards, or in case someone casts it against you. Wizards: don't go into battle without a tome of knowledge - otherwise you're just an old dude in a bathrobe holding a stick.

General Advice:

Ok, so just some general shit. This applies to every set for 2HG, and it's worth keeping these tips in mind any time you sit down to build a deck.

  • Positive spells that say "target creature" get slightly better - For example, a simple +2/+2 pump spell or enchantment. Since you can target both yours and your teammate/life partner's creatures, the chances of you being able to make good use of the card go up. It's marginal, and not enough to make trash cards good, but it opens up some more options for you.
  • Spells that say "each opponent" get much, much stronger Tunneling Geopede from Battle for Zendikar is a perfect example of this. In a 1v1 game, it is a solid card, and will usually be included in a red deck. In 2HG though, the card is busted as fuck. Rather than pinging for one each turn, you smack them for two. In mine and Gaige's 2HG pool for that pre-release, I had two Geopedes, some Evolving Wilds, Blighted Woodland, and three Nettle Drones. So many double pings. Needless to say, we did insanely well at that event.
Suddenly bugs!
  • Aggro strategies generally get weaker - It's much harder to quickly burn through thirty life than it is to burn through twenty. Even though you get to deploy twice as many threats, they get twice as many blockers and twice as much removal. Also, the chances of opening the pieces for a fast enough aggro deck out of a sealed pool is just fairly low. That said, sometimes you get some sick packs, and it can indeed be done.
  • Fliers, reach, or flying removal is essential - In solo games, if you have a strong enough ground presence, you may be able to ignore fliers as you beat down. This isn't true in the durdly 2HG format. Typically at least one opponent in each match will have fliers, and they'll kill you if you can't handle them. In SoI, I main decked a Clip Wings, and it was never a totally dead card. One time I killed a Flameblade Angel and an Avacyn with it, and it felt like I cheated.
  • Counter magic is dope - In draft, counters are meh, but good ones are playable. In sealed, counter magic is reasonable. In 2HG, it's pretty stronk. With two opponents, chances are you're going to get to nab a good spell with it, and countering a bomb feels fuckin' goooood.
  • Some Artifact/Enchantment removal is necessary - Since there are no sideboarded games, you should have at least one main deck piece of artifact/enchantment removal. Something like Reclaiming Vines from BFZ is ideal, because it has the fallback of nuking a land. If the stars align and you can get something like Reclamation Sage, then you're in great shape.
Neat, that's out of the way. Now that you know some general bullshit, let's take a look at specific cards in this set that are gonna be the big ballers in EMN 2HG. Or at least medium ballers. Some of them might even be pygmy ballers.

I don't think there are enough tentacles in this set.
Common theme here, and I'm gonna get it out of the way before anyone complains: A lot of these cards are just going from "total shit" to "playable," not going from "bad" to "best card in the set." Mind's Dilation is a great example. With two opponents, you have a much higher chance to actually score something off of this card. It is also each turn, so if they play a creature on their turn they flip one up for you, and then if they play a counter or an instant on your turn, you get another chance. The format is generally slower as well, so getting a seven drop on board is more achievable.

All that said, this is still like a 5/10 at best. It's expensive and still has a chance of being useless, but whatever. If you're playing a controlling long game, this may be worth including. I know for a fact that I'm going to play it if I open it, and I'll let you all know if that makes me sad.

Coax from the Sideboard.
This card is for the most part totally unplayable in regular draft. In 2HG sealed however, you get 12 entire packs worth of cards, and there's a chance you won't be able to fit every Eldrazi you opened into your deck. If you manage to get a few in the right colors chillin' in your board, this is a nice flexible card that lets you grab what you need. Rather than shoving a crazy expensive emerge-drazi mainboard, you can leave it side and grab it with this when you need it, or if you don't have the mana, grab one of your lower cost durzi's to come out earlier. 

Like Mind's Dilation, this just goes from shit to decent. Only consider running this if you have three or more Eldrizzles in the right colors hanging out in your sideboard.

This is the most begrudged high-five I've ever seen.
Typically "opponent sacs a dude" effects aren't great in limited - especially so in this format, where there are a lot of 1/1 tokens and creatures that actually want to be sacrificed. But, as I said in the general advice section, having this hit each opponent makes it better. If this comes down turn three or four and they have to sacrifice their only two creatures on board, that is an absurd play, and you'll be way ahead. Later game, if only one of them sacs a real creature, and the other just flops a token, then that's totes acceptable. You can also play this along with your teammate's removal to make sure they sacrifice what you'd like them to.

Also, just open several planeswalkers and this card is great. Seems simple enough.

I dunno what that thing is, but why did they bury it in a regular graveyard?
This is simple. Rather than only getting yours and a single opponent's GY to choose from, you get yours, your teammate's/lover's, and both of your opponents'. Chances are you'll be able to snag something good with this. Your teammate can kill off the opposing bomb, and then you can steal it before they have much chance to do anything about it. Dope.

Maokai is now both my favorite champion and my favorite card.
Lol. Ok, so this is good regardless, but the idea of alpha shotting your opponents for 17 life is too funny not to mention. Then you also have a 0/30 defender.  Sure, it just kind of sits around and photosynthesizes, but c'mon. Is anyone not going to play this if they open it? If you don't play this, just go do your taxes or some shit because apparently you hate fun.

Thermo-bro is already set to be a solid card in every flavor of EMN limited, but in 2HG he's going to be one of the top dogs. Ping for two every turn is a fast clock that demands an answer immediately, and if you manage to sling a few spells with him on board, you're going to be pulling way ahead. If you open one of these and don't play it, you probably fucked up. It's a common, too, so there's a good chance you can end up with multiples, which is just absurd.

Why are you people throwing nets at her, she's not a fish. At least not yet.
Subjugator is already pretty damn bomby. It can let you close out a game in short order, or at least get a bunch of damage in. In 2HG, you're tapping down two players' creatures, and it lets you and your teammate swing in for a buttload. If the board has been stalled for a bit, there's a good chance that this angel allows you to one-shot your opponents.

"Fuck this hut in particular."
This is going to be a sweet card for 2HG. As I said earlier, incidental artifact/enchantment removal is very strong, and you'll want to come packing some in case your opponents drop something like Fevered Visions. Hardcasting this isn't very realistic, but even if you eat a three drop, this becomes a bigger Conclave Naturalist, and that isn't so bad.

The counterpart to the Great Aurora, this is just the OK Aurora.
The front side of this is acceptable - it ramps, fixes, and slaps both teams for two. If you can get this to flip, you probably win. It swings in for a mighty seven in the air, and six of it happens even if they block it. That's a two turn clock for those of you keeping score. If you're way behind this is a dangerous play, but it comes down early enough that you should be able to get some good advantage from it before you accidentally kill yourself and your teammate gets pissed at you.


There you have it peeps. Short, sweet, and simple. Sss. Like a snake. Those are the cards that you should take a bit of extra time to consider than you normally would. Pay particular attention to Thermo-Alchemist and Oath of Liliana, since they go up in value significantly in 2HG. In this set there really aren't any cards that become absolutely useless in 2HG compared to regular sealed (though I probably wouldn't reveal Providence if it's in my opening hand).

I hope you guys have fun this weekend, and I hope all of your pulls are bomb ass rares and mythics. Unless you're playing against us, in which case I hope there was a printing error and every one of your packs just has 15 copies of Peace of Mind.

"Well, we probably win, but it's going to take a while."

Excited for 2HG Pre-Release? Have questions about some specific interaction? Want to order me a pizza for lunch? Whatever the situation, leave us a comment or send us a message using the form on the right! 

You can also find Team Heavy Salami on the Twatter machine @Heavy_Salami, on, and Dan's MTGO account, HeavySalami!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WTW: Essential Effects for the Perfect Tower

All part of a well-balanced and nutritious Wizard's Tower.
Sup my fellow troglodytes. It's the okayest day of the week, Wednesday, and we all know what that means. Half off drinks at Applebees until 6! Oh, and WIZARD'S TOWER WEDNESDAY. *air horn sound* 

That's right, it's time to read more about the best format in the multiverse, and today we've got an article on the essentials. Do you need to know more about fundamentals before essentials? Well, read the original Wizard's Tower intro post right by clicking on these words. If you know your way around a tower already (heh) then press on, wizards.

"Essentials in a Wizard's Tower? I thought the point of this format was to just use the bulk I had laying around! Don't make me buy into another format, Dan!" Woah. Pull yourself together. You're wound tighter than a drum with an anxiety problem. Don't worry, you can and should still make your Wizard's Tower out of cards you already own to save cash. The essentials we're talking about today aren't necessarily essential cards, but just certain effects that every tower should have. We're going to look at four essentials, and give a few example cards for each one so you get some ideas of which style of cards you should include when starting any new Wizard's Tower.

Card Draw

Oh boy, this can get out of hand quickly. Or rather into hand. Cause drawing cards.
Every good tower will have a healthy amount of card draw, and ideally more interesting cards beyond just a Divination effect. Here's why:

Player A, B, and C are playing a game with their new tower. All three are topdecking, and the board is rather stalled. Let's pretend in the tower that these dumb idiots built, the only card draw comes from cards like Divination. Player C topdecks a draw spell. Hooray! He draws two cards, and amongst them is another card draw spell. Hooray! In the mean time, though, players A and B are just drawing a creature or a single spell per turn, and C has tons of options. Now the game is skewed in C's favor, C takes longer on his turn to decide which cards to play, and A and B are left to instantly play their one creature, then pass, and drink their beers in sullen silence as C decides how he's going to win.

Card draw in Wizard's Tower is a lot more fun and interactive if it's something symmetrical. If instead of Divination our player C had drawn something like Dictate of Kruphix, the game would be much more open. C still gets the advantage of being able to flash it in right before his turn, and therefore getting the extra card first, but then it sticks around for a while and helps everyone else stay in the game. It leads to a more fun experience for everyone, and you'll get to see more of your tower in more games. 

Good thing Kruphix has so many hands to hold all the cards he's gonna draw.
You can certainly include individual card draw, but try to include a couple symmetric ones as well to keep long games fresh. Dictate of Kruphix, Howling Mine, and Otherworldly Atlas are just a few examples. And, if I'm being honest, the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.


Just like in real life, sometimes in Wizard's Tower you just have to murder something. When that time comes, you don't want to be left without the tools to do the job.

The most aptly named card.
A lot of times just playing out your own creatures will be enough to defend yourself from attacks. Other times one player ends up with an Atarka, World Render on turn four, and you just have to kill it, otherwise the game is over in a few turns.

"Maybe I shouldn't have played this..."
If your tower is light on removal, you're fucked. Most towers don't just happen to have fliers that can come out early that can rumble with a 6/4 flying doublestrike. I mean, my collection probably doesn't even have that. Making sure you have a healthy pile of removal spells keeps this at bay, and I'd want at least fifteen spot-removal spells in any tower. In addition to that, don't forget to also add in boardwipes, creature locks (like Pacifism), and other conditional removal like fight and mind control effects. Trust me, it gets boring when all your removal is just "kill target thing."

Tower-Specific Answers

So I recently made a tower with an Enchantment and Artifact theme to it. You know what would quickly make this less fun? No Enchantment removal.

"Welp, I guess we just wait till we die now."
First off, never put that card in your tower, because the Khans option is busted as fuck. Anyways, my point still stands. In a tower playing 50+ enchantments and enchantment creatures, I need to make sure there are plenty of ways to deal with them. Reclamation Sage, Back to Nature, Naturalize, and all that jazz. Without them the boardstate quickly gets out of hand with extremely powerful effects that can't be interacted with.

On the other side of the coin, what's the point of having all of these stupid enchantments if there's just a hundred things to kill every creature that hits the field?

This will make half of the table hate you.
Obviously not everything in the deck is an enchantment, so a card like Extinguish presents an interesting choice. Do you blow up half of your creatures to kill all of theirs? Should you hang onto it until you can land some enchantment creatures of your own? Do you order your fourth chicken tendie basket? Look for cards like this that are specific for your tower, but might not be that interesting in others. Extinguish would just be a 6 mana board wipe in Gaige's tower, because he has no enchantment creatures. That's no fun.


I'm really not proud of how often I end up googling for images of this guy.
This is the most important part of every tower, and I'm sure most people reading this realize that fact. If your tower is just a bunch of vanilla creatures and boring effects, it's going to be as boring as your social life. You gotta spice it up - put in that cool mythic that never saw any standard play. The janky sorcery that doesn't actually win you the game, or even help a lot of the time? You bet it has a home in the Wizard's Tower.

My muse.
Honestly, the deck doesn't even have to be a high power level. A pile of shitty card that do funny things is plenty good, and you'll have a great time playing it.


That's it for today folks - nice and simple. Any time you start putting a tower together, this gives you a good baseline to start with. Get a pile of card draw so your games can go late, a pile of removal so nothing gets out of hand, and finally look to spice up your tower. Maybe that consists of giving it a theme, maybe it's just putting in your favorite few cards, or maybe it's making your tower mono-colored. Whatever floats your boat. But be sure you also add things to sink that boat. Otherwise we just have a giant boat and I dunno. That analogy kind of got off track. Anyways, cya next time!


There is now a HeavySalami MTGO account! Dan is using this account to mine for salt, and Gaige will be making one soon™. It'll probably be like HeavySalami_G, and in retrospect mine should have been HeavySalami_D. Ah, well, you win some you lose some. Mostly lose. Like, for real. My decks are shit and I'm not very good.

Building a tower and want some tips? Dunno if a card will be too busto to include? Want to thrash my shitty MTGO account? Whatever the case, send us a message or leave a comment below! You can also reach us on the Twitter machine @Heavy_Salami!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

And We'll Never be Roils

The look your opponent will give you if you play this deck
So now that everything for EMN has been spoiled, Wizard's is giving me the final piece I need to make probably one of the worst decks I will create. Gaige here to tell you I don't have a full deck list for this yet so you'll have to fill some of the gaps on your own but that allows you to put a little bit of yourself in the deck. I don't mean that in a gross way so don't get any ideas. I just mean you can add some cards that fit your play style a little more. My play style? Make my opponent so uncomfortable that they just scoop so they can stop sitting across from me. Every time I turn lands sideways I just say "I'd tap that" and wink at them. If I'm lucky they'll forget to counter whatever I play and if they don't just scoop I end up with a better board state. If you want a better more playable deck idea go on over to Dan's article to check out his zombie deck. Maybe check it out regardless, but keep reading if you want a deck that's hard to pilot and almost impossible to win with.

So here is the amazing EMN spoiler that allows all of my shitty dreams to be realized:

An adorable face but a horrifying everything else
Now there are going to be so many ways to use this card to effectively, but we will use this card ineffectively in order to struggle our way to victory. You can now just give your opponent a card you have on the field. "So we're gonna give them Demonic Pact right?" Wrongo! We're going to give them something better. Or worse. It depends on who you ask. "I'm asking you." Well better for them worse for you. So both really. The card you want to give your opponent is this little gem:

"I've never seen a hedron in the flesh"
Give them your roils and watch their brain break in utter confusion. They have no idea where you're going with this, and to be fair neither do you. Just hand this over to them because more than likely they'll only be able to get one 2/2 out of it and if you play it right, you might be able to get a 2/2 out of it first so they can just bump face. Another card you might want to just hand over to them is this friendly little fellow:

Play this, maybe get a 5/5 and then you must part with your sweet four armed lover. Hand him over. Just trust me. You have some 2/2's that you can chump him with while you wait for the big payoff. Now it's not necessary that you hand over both Omnath and the roil so if you want to hang on to this big guy so you get 5/5's while your opponent get's 2/2's that might be ok. "So what do I do now that I'm just giving all my cards away?" You get rid of them.

If I can't have it no one can
As you can see Wizard's was clever enough to not allow you to exile your own things so you have to give it away first. It's an extra step and it's annoying but if you ever get this deck to function the payoff should be pretty decent. At least decent in the sense that it is wearing clothes and it's okay for you to enter the room. Hopefully you have some lands on the field and were able to get some baby locusts with Omnath. You also have an isolation zone which either got rid of their Zendikar's Roil or their Omnath that you so kindly let them borrow. The last and final piece to this horrible misshapen puzzle:

So hopefully you have a fair amount of land and some cards in hand. If you built this deck correctly (which is hard to do because the only correct way to build this deck is to not build this deck) you've got Tamiyo's Journal in here and/or Tireless Tracker for an absolute absurd amount of clues. Total up all your permanents and cards in hand and draw that many cards. Now since your Isolation zone is leaving the battlefield, either Omnath or Zendikar's Roil hit the battlefield before all of your lands come into play. Now you have an army of either 2/2's or 5/5's. If your opponent got really land stuck maybe you managed to get some combination of both. You also now have a ton of land to just play whatever is in your hand to help assure your victory.

Fill the rest of your deck with land searching cards like this. Use lots of Jaddi Offshoots to keep you in the game longer so that even though you won't win, you will at least go to time every game and make the matchups weird for everyone. Since you should have other options, maybe throw in one copy each of Bruna and Gisela as an alternate win condition or be a true champion and just ride this out every time.

This deck gets like an 8 on the Salami Scale. It is full of jank and hardly playable. The best part about this deck is just the clever name for it. Will you win with it? Almost never. Will it feel good when you pull it off? You've never known things could feel this good. Honestly this would probably be better as a Naya Landfall EDH deck but all the pieces are in standard right now so play it while it's hot. And when I say hot I mean in the sense that no one wants to touch it.

Are you going to try this deck? Think there are better uses for The Great Aurora? Did you somehow manage to actually win even a single game with this deck? Let us know in the comments or with a hand written letter!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A Full Moon for a Full Tower

In darkest day, in moonest night, beware spaghetti of Sailor's might
Although all of Eldritch Moon has yet to be spoiled, Gaige is here to tell you what's up and what cards from this beautiful new set you should add to your tower when you pull them and don't know what else to do with them. Some of these might see play in some other formats for a bit but ultimately may do nothing. I will try and force all of these cards at some point but end game these will all find their way into my tower as well. I already have a favorite for every color so get ready for some moons over my hammy and some cards over your body. Oh yeah, if you don't know what Wizard's Tower is check here to learn about how you can slowly lose skill in Magic overtime. If you don't know what Magic is then I'm sorry you have become so cynical that there are no longer unicorns or narwhals in your life.

Innistrad needs a Smoky the Bear to prevent things like this
I like this card and it's silly but as far as a card in Wizard's Tower, it's pretty situational if it will become a land or be played. If it's in the starting hand someone will reveal it for that sweet 26 life but may turn it down as a land immediately after. It's not that getting to seven mana is any sort of difficult feat, but some people may want to keep other things in their hand over this. If it's pulled late game, there is little reason to not play it. Who doesn't like just jumping up to above your starting life total? I know I don't, but that's because I will be running a triskaidekaphobia deck where I get myself to 13 life so that I have the satisfaction of knowing that my opponent didn't actually kill me. Also, I like the flavor of this card too because it references that old 80's movie 26 candles. "Do you mean 16 candles?" I might mean that. I haven't seen it, but who would want to watch a movie about a 16 year old? The 80's were a weird time I guess.

"I think it's best we leaf this place"
Ignoring this card's ability for a second, a 0/13 is pretty silly on it's own. It's hard to get any damage in early when this card can just block everything you have other than that 1/2 flyer. You can poke them every turn but if you do that they'll just put you at 13 life and make their tree a 0/20. I don't really have a lot to say on this one. It's pretty straight forward. The concept is, but that tree is in no way straight or forward. It's a giant tree that blocks small to medium sized things. It can make itself bigger and your opponent's life smaller. These are all hilarious things that enforce the fact that it should be in your Wizard's Tower. Also it's a tree and whenever trees are cards it makes me smile because I like to picture a bunch of creatures just fighting a tree and losing. I got in a fight with a tree once and I lost that fight. Turns out trees have a mean roundhouse.

How can wings be real if mirrors aren't real?
If there are dragons on Innistrad why the hell do the people have issues with any other creature? Just grab the dragon and be all "Hey yo, dragon, I've got some treasure you can sit on but first light all those zombies and other spooky things on fire." Plus his wings are made of mirrors so he can see how awesome he looks as he destroys all the undead. I get that people like dragons and people like Innistrad but this is the wrong flavor for me. "What flavor is it?" It's whatever flavor that co-worker eats who has awful breath and insists on standing right in your face when he talks to you. This can make for some real interesting interactions. I target this to destroy it and wipe my board. I give this trample, and all my guys get trample. If you have any form of single target spells (which if you don't, start over from square one on your tower) this card will be awesome for someone. Hopefully it's awesome for you.

Is infinite wisdom worth becoming part spaghetti?
Since there are no lands in your tower, this is right on the edge of being too good, but I give it the official Heavy Salami seal of approval. Although you get a free spell anytime an opponent plays their first spell, you are now everyone's number one target. If no one has any way to deal with this card directly, then they will just deal with you and make sure you die so that this card also dies. Plus even with this on board, what's to say that you want to cast everything that is revealed. Like any other good science, Magicology will need some testing and recorded results to theorize hypothetically about cards. What I'm saying is that when I get my hands on this I will try to force it in Standard and after that doesn't work I will try it in Wizard's Tower and see how it plays out. Feel free to try it in Wizard's Tower first and let us know your results, for science.

Me after eating
Now this card was spoiled today and this is already my favorite card of the set. It's a 1 drop 1/3 which is like a more annoying Jaddi Offshoot, with the added bonus that anything that accidentally touches it also becomes it. Use combinations of fight spells, flying spells, and pump spells to make it big enough and flying enough to block anything and everything. Turn the board into a giant stalemate as everyone has 1/3 spirits that turns anything else into a 1/3 spirit. Now you have to hope that someone has a board wipe not because someone has a scary board state, but because everyone has the same board state and at this point it's just better to start over. It reminds me of that time where a girl at a party made out with everyone there and everyone got sick. I mean she didn't make out with me but I still got sick because she just sneezed in my face.

Well I hope you enjoyed this weeks edition of "Bad cards finding a home." Dan and I both will have some more articles coming up with some more silly ideas for decks and bad advice for Magic in general.

Think I should have waited for full spoilers before talking about EMN? Think other EMN cards would be better? Have you too suffered a case of permeating mass? Let us know with a comment or message.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Fun Deck Friday: The Zombie Zamboni

I never thought I'd hit a point in my life where I'd need this image.
Sup nerds, this is Dan. I'm just a glowing ball of super heated hype right now thanks to the combination of delicious Spoiler season and binge listening to Direct Hit!'s new album, but I'm taking time away from my staunch erection to share my sick new Standard FNM deck with you guys.

This is my jam. Literally.
So, as the Zombie sitting on a Zamboni probably tipped you off, my deck is a Zombie deck. I wish it was a Zamboni deck, but I only have so much to work with. I initially got the idea for Zombies while I was writing an article about how to make budget decks; check out that link if you like saving money and brewin' up decks! But maybe you just like saving money and copying decks. Whatever, you do you. I just said that I was sexually aroused over new Magic cards, so clearly I am not in a position to judge. Anyways, here's a deck. We're gonna go a bit in depth as we talk about the new budget hotness:

This is a fairly straightforward tempo deck. You play low-impact creatures, back it up with cheap removal and efficient bounce, and then get a small amount of card draw and plenty of delicious creature recurrence to carry you late. It's funsies to the max, and decently competitive, but like most of our budget decks, don't expect to win the Pro Tour with it. FNM, though? Hell yeah - throw a million Zombies at those goobers and walk away with a few packs. Obviously this current standard is almost over, but we still have a few weeks left before Eldritch Moon gives us more dudes to play with. This deck will also stay relevant since nothing rotates, and gives us a sturdy base to add to with the next set. Let's take a look at the cards in the deck and see how each one of them is going to make your opponents feel bad about themselves.

The Zombie Army:

Without the Zombies, this deck is just a Zamboni, and I don't live in Canada so that's not super useful to me. So we need Zombies. Don't worry - we got 'em. Let's look through each of them in alphabetical order, cause that makes sense. This section is a bit lengthy since there are quite a few creatures, and each of them have several technicalities and niche functions. Feel free to skim through this to get the general gist of it, but if you plan on piloting this deck, I highly recommend reading the details for each so that you know of every possible interaction and can maximize the fun at your monster mash.

Gonna hit you with a pile of dead people.
Diregraf is stupid in this deck. He is essentially the black Thalia's Lieutenant, but rather than more counters, he gives you more dudes. He presents the player with some interesting decisions, and knowing when to run him out will make a staggering difference in how successful your Zamboni is. Sometimes, when you have a hand full of dudes, you run him out on turn three as a 2/2, and then dump your hand to get maximum value from his cast trigger. Late game you may have a yard full of zumbers, but nothing in hand, so you just play him as a three cost 10/10. Worse things have happened.

Be mindful of what deck your playing against, and what kind of removal they have. If you're playing against a bunch of Reflector Mages, he's probably best saved for when you have more mana and can immediately follow up with a zombie to get the token. Against Languish and Grasp of Dankness you'll want to save him until he comes down as at least a 5/5. Diregraf is a key card in this deck, and he is not easy to use. Playing him correctly will separate the boy/girl Zombies from the man/woman Zombies. Or... something. Yeah.

I used this image so new players would recognize it, but the fat art is much more doper.
Hey look, this guy is much easier to use. They have a dude and you want it dead? Plop this guy on board. Yay, you did it! Fleshfat is basically a removal spell for us. Reanimating him with Relentless Dead is the strongest thing our deck can do, but there's much more than that. A more subtle interaction is how outrageously well Fleshbag pairs with Diregraf Colossus.

Say you have a Diregraf only on the field, they have a 4/5 Sylvan Advocate, and you have a Fleshbag in hand. You don't want to just blow up your own Fleshbag for it - even though that isn't a terrible trade - since you'd rather keep three power. Well, good news, fellow Zamboni pilots (drivers?). Diregraf Colossus gives you a 2/2 Zombie token when you cast a zombie spell, and then Fleshbag Marauder has you sacrifice a creature when he enters the battlefield. Therefore, you cast Fleshbag, get a token, and then can sac that token to the Fleshbag trigger! Nice play bruh. Now you're ready for the Pro Tour.
I don't think he has enough sword-arms.
The Masterpiece is our big fat finisher. We only have him as a one-of, since he isn't necessary, but he does feel fuckin' good. Ideally he'll land in our GY thanks to Screeching Skaab or Epiphany, then we can pitch crap to bring him and all of our Amalgams back. More on that in a moment.

I promise that I will never pronounce this correctly.
Amalgam is probably the second most important card in this deck, and provides most of our punch. The first one we play is just a 3/3 for three, which isn't terrible, but once they start dying off they get better and better.

Relentless Dead reanimating zomething, Stitchwing Skaab or Geralf's Masterpiece, or even casting Risen Executioner from the yard will bring all of your Alamgams from GY to the battlefield. Against non-exile based control, these are absolutely backbreaking. As long as you have three mana up and a Relentless on the field, you have the threat of bringing back a boatload of Amalgams. Sure, they enter tapped on end step, but if you chump block with Relentless and return something, then these guys are ready to rumble on your turn.

Breaking both windows and hopes and dreams.
This card is insane. Like absolutely, without a doubt, stupid. I cannot believe I bought these a week or two ago for $4 a pop. Thanks to EMN (still think it should have been called EDM so I could make terrible Eldrazi Dance Music jokes all standard) having more Zoombies, they're already up to $8 each as I type this out, and I think it's totally justified. This card just does so much. A 2/2 menace for two may not seem like much, but it puts early pressure on Nissas and Gideons, or can chip away at your opponent directly until they set up a board. It makes blocking annoying as well, and since no one plays this, I guarantee your opponents always forget about Menace when deploying creatures. But who cards about the damage he does, the rest of him is the cool part.

So his first ability earns him the "relentless" title. Any time he dies, pay B, and you can just replay him. "Urrggghh but Daaan, then I have to pay BB to play him again!" Yeah well Diregraf Colossus says no fuckin' problem man. Once you have spare mana laying around, you can swing for the fences, let Relentless die, redeploy him for another zombie token, and then have him up to block, return to hand again, and repeat until your opponent drowns in dead people. He also makes a fun blocker, since you can just yell "AY YO DJ ROLL THAT BACK" and play him out again. Be sure to leave up B if you think your opponent has removal, because it's sad when one plops into the GY.

Oh man. His second ability. This is the disgusting engine that makes this deck so much fun to play. If you've seen my Jund Molten Frog Tornado deck tech, then you may be starting to realize that I'm a big fan of janky engines, and this one registers about a 4 of 10 on the Salami Scale, since it actually does some things. When Relentless dies, you pay B to return him, then X to return any zombie with cost X. You know what is fun to bring to the battlefield? Fleshbag Marauder. Or wait, maybe you just want infinite chumps? Bring back another Relentless. Or, for next level tactics, bring back a Diregraf Colossus!

Thanks to smart layering of triggers, you can make Colossus a prime resurrect target. Relentless Dead dies. You pay B and 3 to return him and Colossus. If you let the Colossus return trigger go off first, it sees Relentless Dead in the graveyard still, so he gets an extra counter for another zombie in the GY, and then Relentless returns to your hand. Pretty sick. Not to mention, no matter what you resurrect, you then get all of your Amalgams back at the next end step. So ballin', yo. It feels so good when you chump, bring back a Fleshbag to kill one of their dudes, and then untap with three 3/3s. Fuck, I love you, Relentless Dead.

There must be a ton of cake in the afterlife, cause a lot of these Zombies are super fat.
Similar to Geralf's Masterpiece, Executioner is also a one-of. He can be played from the yard, albeit at a hefty cost late game, or resurrected by Relentless. Typically you don't need his buff until later, so it's no big issue if you don't find him right away. Feel free to up your count of him to two or three if you'd like to go for a faster game, and you can cut out come Epiphanies or Stitchwing Skaabs.

He always smooches with tongue. Like, 6 tongue.
I hate that we have to play this card, but you know, desperate times. He mills you a bit, he's a cheap target for Relentless Dead, comes down cheap for Diregraf triggers, and puts a little bit of early pressure. Ideally we'll get something better in EMN (in my dreams we get a black or blue Satyr Wayfinder), but for the time being, we have this dumb idiot. Later edit: Wailing Ghoul was spoiled today - hooray! That will easily replace this. Three toughness is much better to block Advocates and such, and being black rather than blue means it'll be easier to curve out into Relentless Dead and Diregraf. Thx Wizurds.

Definitely not Gravecrawler.
I obviously wish this Gravecrawler, but zombie beggars can't be zombie choosers. Shambling Goblin is actually quite strong in some match ups, and the extremely low cost makes him an ace with Relentless Dead and Diregraf Colossus. He's also handy with Fleshbag since you can sac him to ping out plant tokens or shrink a guy. If your shop runs a lot of white Human decks, I highly recommend upping the count of these guys, since he's an insane turn 1 play against that deck.

This flavor text is actually a great description of every deck I build.
This is probably my least favorite card in the deck. A 3/1 flier for four does not a strong card make. Ideally he gets milled, because having him in your hand is extremely low power, but in the yard he's a fine card. You can pay two to get him out early if you hit a lucky Screeching Skaab, and if you discard Amalgams or another Stitchwing, this guy is money. If you discard Amalgams, they actually hit the yard before this guy returns to the battlefield, and then you get an extra three power for extremely cheap. If EMN gives us a sick one or two cost mill zombie, this guy goes up in value quite a bit.

Spooky spells:

The spell suite in this deck is very focused and effective. Ultimate Price, Grasp of Dankness, and Ruinous Path need very little explanation. You kill things with them. Ideally, the opponent's things. But the other two spells are a bit more fancy.

Maybe you shouldn't have moved in next door to a four armed abomination?
Deterrence is an extremely powerful card. You almost always have a zumber in play, so this is a strong tempo play that doesn't even set you back in card advantage. Against a deck like white weenies, BR vamps, or whatever flavor of "dump your hand on the field" agro, this becomes a removal spell. You bounce whatever threat, and then if that's the only card in their hand, they discard it. I've also used this (not happily) on my own creatures to dodge Declaration in Stone. You have to discard a card, which puts you way behind on card advantage, but if you can pitch an Amalgam, Stitchwing, or Geralf's Masterpiece, it might be worth it to save a field full of Zombie tokens or Relentless Dead from going into exile.

"I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling Planeswalkers!" - Nahiri
Did you know this card was created to make the Zombie deck dope as fuck? I didn't either until I played with it. Honestly I want to make this a four of, because it is just that insane. A lot of times you'll flip this over for four cards, and you don't gives a single shit which ones go in hand and which go into the graveyard. Oh, you're making me keep a Shambling Goblin and a land? Guess I'll put this Stitchwing Skaab and Amalgam in the value pile graveyard. This card is excellent early or late, too. Don't feel bad snapping this off for two mana to just put one card in hand and one in the yard; that's still a strong play a lot of the time. Late game this is huge, since seeing six or seven cards is spectacular, and you'll often be able to craft your piles so that there isn't a good choice for the opponent.


This is very simple. You want four of each dual, and then slightly more swamps than islands so you have plenty of black sources for Relentless Dead. You could also run Submerged Boneyard (incidentally, that is what I'm going to name my underwater sex parlour) if you want more fixing or would like to go for a later-game strategy. If on a budget, basics, four Boneyards, and Evolving Wilds will function just fine, though may hinder your ability to get out an early Relentless Dead. I'd recommend going a more controlling route with more Epiphanies, more removal, and fewer Screeching Skaabs if you need to save money on lands.

Bow-chicka bow wowwww


This deck has a crazy versatile sideboard. You can get more aggressive, you can slow it down, you could add planeswalkers, removal, card draw, counterspells, boardwipes, etc. Because of this, I don't have a defined board for it yet. I recommend tailoring your own to whatever the current meta at your shop is. I'll give you a quick rundown of the matchups and how I'd recommend boarding against them, and just throw out a few suggestions.

G/W Tokens - Ok, let's be realistic here, people. This isn't a good matchup, because the tokens deck is bonkers. Sylvan Advocate is the best creature in Standard, and the only card that can compete with it even a little it is Avacyn. Both are four ofs. If you just want "most raw power by card", you'd end up at this deck.

Its power level is through the fucking roof, and any match you beat them with a budget deck you should offer up a silent thank you to Vishnu for your good fortune. But anyways, I'd recommend going more controlling against them, and leverage your recurring threats to chump early, then swarm them late. Cards like Liliana, Ob Nixilis, SoI Jace, and extra Epiphanies can help a lot here, though they aren't exactly budget. When in doubt, more Ruinous Paths to deal with Gideons and Nissas are quite nice, and Negate and Clash of Wills can also help prevent huge bombs like walkers or Tragic Arrogance.

Bant Coco - Again, this is one of the strongest decks in the format. It is not easy to beat, and there's a reason that at GP Pittsburgh in the seven matches I played, I had over 40 Collected Companies cast against me. It's strong. Boardwipes like Languish are quite good here, because who cares if your creatures die? Just bring them back! Dispel and Negate help to shut down Coco, and Clash of Wills might be good too as a flexible early game creature counter, or a late game bomb counter.

White Humans - This isn't a bad matchup depending on how you've decided to construct your zambies. If you have Shambling Goblin, you're in good shape game one, since he's just so annoying for Humans to deal with the first couple of turns. Post-board bring in your Languishes, any additional spot removal, and any flip Liliana's you might have for a bit of lifelink. The key here will be chumping with Relentless, Shambling Goblin, and using Fleshbag and Compelling Deterrence as profitably as possible. Deterrence in response to a Gryff's Boon is a massive swing in your favor, so look for opportunities like that. This will also be how you board against basically any agro deck.

Control - If they are B/G like the popular control flavors at the moment, you don't have a terrible matchup, since their removal isn't optimal. B/W is more of an issue since they can exile our stuff. Bring in cards like Duress, Negate, and Clash of Wills to counter annoying stuff. If you can, be sure to counter or strip any Transgress the Mind or Infinite Obliteration, since those are a bummer. I've also had a lot of success bringing in Vampiric Rites as well.

Replace that vampire on the table with like 800 zombies.
In response to their removal, saccing your guy and drawing a card feels great. You can also just repeatedly sac your Relentless Dead and return him to hand to get some card advantage if the board is mucked up, or you have nothing else to do. This also is spectacular against Declaration in Stone, since this safely drops our creatures into the graveyard rather than having them exiled.

Flier-based decks - Bring in all of your board wipes, because you do not have many fliers. Any spot removal is also essential here. Clash of Wills will help you counter problematic dudes like Avacyn or Goldnight Castigator. If you own them, Ob Nixilis is also pretty effective since he removes a guy and then draws their attention for a turn, giving you breathing room to try and find another answer.

G/B + whatever other colors Rites - Boardwipes! Languish wipes their board, and as we've learned, we don't care if our guys die. Ultimate Price isn't great here, but Clash of Wills is a good way to prevent your reality from being smashed post-board, and if they are running the Coco variety, some Negates aren't bad either.

Rogue decks and things you don't understand - When in doubt, switch to a more controlling role. Bring in Clash of Wills, more removal (if creature-based), Duress or Transgress to strip their hand of difficult cards, and Vampiric Rites to make sure you get value out of your guys. Even though your duders aren't super impactful, getting minor advantage through smart sacrificing will let you grind out a lot of decks that aren't as efficient as yours.


Well, that about sums it up. Zombies is a tempo deck with a very fun play style, and a wealth of situational sideboard options lets you craft your deck to be effective against a variety of strategies. Even the main deck itself is quite flexible, and switching out some removal for creatures or vice versa lets you speed up or slow down the deck depending on your local meta. Now the part we actually care about - how expensive is this thing?

For the deck I just laid out (again, quite flexible), it'll run you something around $70. Too much? Risen Executioner is a great card, but since he's only a one of, he can be dropped to save you $5. Dropping the dual lands for cheaper options like Submerged Boneyard, Evolving Wilds, and basics can easily drop another $20-$30 from the total deck price without totally crippling it. As I mentioned in the Lands section of this article, I'd craft your deck to be a bit slower if this is the case, since you won't be able to reliably have the strong turns one two and three that the deck dreams of.

Relentless Dead makes up almost half the price of the deck, but sadly he is not at all replaceable. If you'd like to try this particular Zombie build, or are hoping that some new EMN stuff comes out to make it a more competitive archetype, I'd recommend picking them up ASAP. All it's going to take is a kick ass one or two drop Zumbler being spoiled to make this guy's price go to the double digits. We've already seen Gisa and Geralf get spoiled, and that's probably why he shot up from $4 to $8.

Speaking of G & G, they seem sweet, and will definitely have two or three copies added to this deck once they drop. Unsubstantiate seems like another very flexible tempo card as well, and I would probably try to find a place to squeeze in a copy or two, even if it's in the board to delay boardwipes and planeswalkers, or even bounce an animated Gideon or pumped-up Kalitas. Here's to hoping spoiler season gives us some more sick tech for this!

Wizards pls

P.S.: HeavySalami now has a MTGO account. Hooray! Our name is HeavySalami, because that makes sense. We plan on losing a bunch due to not understanding the interface, which I've already done twice.When I installed it, the user agreement and such read a lot like "target user discards his or her wallet". RIP.  Also, this weekend there is no GP/tournament coverage, cause Wizards hates us, so maybe we'll stream something? I dunno man. We'll see if I have enough beer. Let us know if you're interested!

Like the idea of drowning your opponent in corpses? Tried out your own Zombie brew and have some better ideas? Are you drunk on spoiler hype? Whatever your current situation, tell us about it by leaving a comment or sending us a message with the email form on the right! We also tweet things too: Follow us for updates, bad jokes, and shitty memes. Let's be honest - it's mostly the last one.