"Wait, you can cast spells on my turn? And you have lands that can attack!?"
You thought your week already hit its Darby quota this past Monday with my article about Waste Not and the MTGO Cube, eh?
I'm back for a double dose of erratic thoughts and sorta good decklists!
It comes at a cost though: It's the last you're gonna hear from me for a while though (all good things, all good things). But before you know why, you've got to sit in for a couple more decklists!
"I killed everybody with Niv-Mizzet and Curiosity! Man I feel great!"
First up the competitive format I've had the most fun, success, and renown for: Legacy!
While I may have won an SCG Open (the last of the older Open format) with Maverick, U/R strategies are usually my thing. I was even casting Sneak Attack before Thalia's archnemesis, The Griselfather, broke out of his silver prison. Back in my day, we activated Sneak Attack putting Progenitus into play, only to do the exact same play again next turn. In the snow. Uphill both ways.
The Soul of the World has snuck up on ya again.
Flashforward a few years to current (Treasure Cruise absent) Legacy. People nowadays are wise to my antics. I rarely have trouble with decks that don't have counterspells. And there's no spell that makes Sneak Attack uncounterable. While our own counterspells and discard can help fight the good (evil?) fight, there's no surefire way to make Sneak Attack resolve.
Well, it's not that we've found a way to do it with our current resources, but that we've found a replacement. Cue appropriate discovery exclamation. Except sans bathtub.
While this lets us drop in Emrakul or Progenitus or what have you, it doesn't actually kill them. They are able to attack around our creatures sometimes. If you are dead set on killing them like this, that notion leads you down the Maelstrom Wanderer route, possibly with a Hypergenesis approach. But that's not me, I want to Eureka in a permanent that immediately makes it impossible for my opponent to win. Can you think of one? Maybe a colorless planeswalker that Nicol Bolas tried to kill. But you just can't keep a good dragon down. That's right. Eureka reads "any" permanent. Props to one of the few older cards that still plays nice with planeswalkers!
Since our two main combo cards can both be made uncounterable with Boseiju, Who Shelters All, I'd like to focus on that with this deck. We lose Sneak Attack but gain oh so more with this different spin on an old classic.
"Why is everybody cheering about that guy opening a Bayou? I don't even know what it does. And I can't believe I got a lousy 2/1 Snake. I just wanted that dragon!"
Like I said, I want to maximize finding a Boseiju. Unfortunately, the sinking of the S.S. Treasure Cruise means that mana denial strategies are back in a big way, so it's hard being a nonbasic land that enters the battlefield tapped. But even so, I've got three copies of Living Wish that can not only find the aforementioned land but a whole slew of hate cards that allow me to completely hose whatever I may come across.
Storm? Ethersworn Canonist does the trick, let's just hope I'm not dead.
Dredge? Go ahead and take a stroll in the Bojuka Bog.
Decks with creatures? The Tabernacle appreciates any donation you
must can donate.
Sneak and Show? Take a gander into Containment Priest's snow globe.
There are a couple other targets in the sideboard for your Living Wishes. I might be putting too much thought in my love of toolboxes. I doubt the need will ever arise for me to cast Intuition to find Living Wish to find Reclamation Sage to destroy an Ensnaring Bridge.
But you never know!
I only have six real sideboard cards. The Leylines are there purely for Storm (with some Burn splash hate), a deck that has been gathering in popularity, and the Spell Pierces are just a little more help against Stifle and other annoying spells.
If the occasion ever arises where I've put in an Omniscience with Show and Tell or Eureka, Living Wish can also find an Emrakul so I can get my Time Warp action on. I shall personally award you bonus flavor points if you Time Warp with an Ugin in play.
This deck will most likely frustrate some people after you use your Force of Wills to prevent their threats from resolving, since they're obviously just saving their countermagic for your threats. Then… Boom! Boseiju comes in like a Wrecking Ball and ruins their day.
They'll probably want to do to you what King Richard wants to do to Galavant.
To borrow a term from CVM, I think this deck is "very good," and I wouldn't hesitate to sling it in my next Legacy outing.
And now time for something completely different! Tiny Leaders!
While this format is a variant of Commander, I think a lot of people are approaching it like a variant of Legacy.
What I mean by that is that I'm playing it to win, because if you durdle around, you're just gonna die to a bunch of one and two-drop creatures. 25 Life is not a lot when everybody has a creature to cast every turn in the earlygame and has all of Legacy to try to kill you with.
But that doesn't mean I'm not going to do things my speed. This format is a thought exercise, and thankfully, that suits The Izzet League just fine. So what legendary creature that costs three or less is to be our Leader?
Jhoira loses a bit of "oomph" when all of your spells cost as much as her ability. Animar has a similar appetite for a CMC buffet. Tetsuo Umezawa, while he did what Ugin could not and defeated Nicol Bolas, can't be in foil, so that rules him out.
That leaves us with Nin, the Pain Artist (who at least has the potential to be a foil promo down the road).
She's curious if you know where her staff is.
Her art is amazing, her activated ability takes finesse, and she's the only legendary Vedalken in the game! Tomorrow Never Dies henchman Mr. Stamper ain't got nothing on this girl!
One of the interesting things about Tiny Leaders is that X spells are still fair game! It's balanced due to the aggressive nature of the format. Keeping that in mind, we don't have all the time in the world to play tons of ramp spells and fireballs. But I do have room for a couple.
Here are a couple of cheapo Flame Waves that let our tiny followers live while the enemy tiny followers don't. Comet Storm and Mindswipe are alluring spells to say the least, but I need action early on. My Commander can even lift (bro) in the lategame to refill my hand at the simple cost of one of our own creatures.
And here are a few willing test subjects! There are fewer things I enjoy more than getting a two-for-one from a cheap creature and then attacking with it. But how do we suit up these Wibbly Wobbly Wizards?
We're a fairly slow "control" deck, so lifegain is a much appreciated. Sword of Light and Shadow even pumps toughness, so that we can do some nonlethal probing with Nin. For research purposes, of course. Sword of Fire and Ice has to be included just on thematic reasons alone.
There are a lot of creatures in this format, so bring on the burn! That can also draw cards! And do other Izzety things that sacrifice efficiency for versatility. Of course, Cyclonic Rift and Mizzium Mortars may have a CMC of two, but we all know they are rarely cast as such. Take that Tiny Leaders restrictions! I'm not part of your system!
The best burn and cantrips mana can buy. All for the Vedalken girl that saves tons of mana by not having to go to the hair salon.
Blargh! I would never dream of playing this in Commander. But I don't want to die. So the various guildmages had to stay home and tinker while this rogue just blocks and holds equipment like no one else can. Don't hate me! Hate the merfolk.
So those, along with a couple of other cards, brings me to my first (and most likely last) Tiny Leaders deck!
- 1 Augur of Bolas
- 1 Dualcaster Mage
- 1 Snapcaster Mage
- 1 True-Name Nemesis
- 1 Young Pyromancer
- 1 Nin, the Pain Artist
- 1 Vendilion Clique
- 1 Izzet Signet
- 1 Loxodon Warhammer
- 1 Mind Stone
- 1 Sword of Fire and Ice
- 1 Sword of Light and Shadow
- 1 Brainstorm
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Electrolyze
- 1 Fire
- 1 Izzet Charm
- 1 Lightning Bolt
- 1 Mystical Tutor
- 1 Turn
- 1 Bonfire of the Damned
- 1 Chain Lightning
- 1 Flame Slash
- 1 Gitaxian Probe
- 1 Mizzium Mortars
- 1 Ponder
- 1 Preordain
- 1 Serum Visions
- 1 Sudden Demise
Why might you ask?
Well I just accepted a position as a Digital Events Coordinator for Wizards of the Coast. To say I was happy to hear that I actually got offered a job at Wizards of the Coast is about the most understated thing I've ever uttered in my life. So here ends my content for SCG (or anywhere) for the near future.
Dropping my life in Roanoke?
Driving across the country?
Living and breathing Magic to try to make something of it?
Of course, now's the part where I actually prove that I can actually perform the duties I'm tasked with.
But I've had lots of people help me along the way. So I'll make sure not to let them down.
If you've ever watched or read any of my Magic content or asked me to sign a card.
If you've ever invited me to a car trip to some far off tournament or just a draft down the street.
If you've ever helped me finish a deck or supported me in an event.
Thanks for making these past five years, well, what can I say? Magical.
Catch y'all on the flip side.