I feel like I still owe you three more Top Tens so I decided to come up with the rest. The first was suggested multiple times over the last week. The second popped into my head when I was reviewing some of those memories and the third—I'm actually not sure where the third came from.
After those three lists we'll get to the Farm Theme deck I mentioned from Gen Con. David shipped me his list so I thought it'd be fun to go over it.
Favorite Cards of All Time
There are easily fifty or a hundred cards that could go on this list. I didn't think so much about this list as felt about it. Instead of doing analysis I just went from the gut.
Bloodbraid Elf: Even in EDH where most of the casting costs are well higher than four getting two-for-one and spinning the wheel in the Cascade carnival are always fun. I wouldn't run him in Kresh (who wants a turn 4 Fling?) but I can see impact in other decks.
Goblin Bombardment: Mini-Fling that just sits there and dares you to Wrath the board.
Living Death: If I were to commission new art for it there would be Zombies kicking the crap out of Vampires (the tragically hip Emo kind).
Lurking Predators: How do you not love getting stuff for free?
Woodfall Primus: There are mean cards in Magic and Woodfall Primus blows up nearly all of them.
Favorite Cities Magic Has Taken Me To
Austin Texas (multiple events): Deep in the heart of conservatism lies this outpost of liberal thought that could just as easily be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest—it's cultured urbane upscale and simply interesting. Had a $32 margarita there once—it was not $32 well spent. On the other hand we found Lambert's Downtown Barbecue.
Bruxelles Belgium (multiple events but especially Worlds 2000): I lived in Belgium for six great years and the number of times the game took me to the capital city is in the dozens. A great memory unlisted from last week was Sunday night of that 2000 Worlds sitting on the veranda of the hotel smoking Cubans (hey they're not illegal here!) and singing Simpsons' songs (it was “See My Vest” that got it all started).
Essen Germany (multiple events): Gen Con is something every gamer needs to see. Spiel held annually in Essen is Gen Con on steroids. Every year we went to this great steakhouse just a few blocks from the convention center (and unlike the US great steakhouses aren't a dime a dozen in Europe). One of the last years we were there we went into the place and Babylon 5's Claudia Christian was in there dining with someone whom I assume was her agent. She said “cool you guys speak English; maybe we should hang out!”
London (multiple events): My first impression of London was that if you didn't pay attention to which side of the road they were driving on you'd think you were in New York. I give a fair amount of grief about New York City (especially in the presence of Brian David-Marshall) but it's one of the most interesting places in the world. Ditto for London. I think the food there is severely underestimated. I saw the premier of The Matrix at the Warner Village Cinema in Leicester Square.
Paris (Worlds 2006): The City of Lights brings out the sentimentalist in me. It is truly magical. Standing on any of those bridges on that river you can fall in love all over again.
Rome (Worlds 2009): We taught the world how to eat you know.
San Francisco (Worlds 2004): One of the fine bastions of American culture (that's not the bad stereotype of American culture). The site of the '04 (and this year's) event is the Fort Mason Center which is not far from Ghirardelli Square. The restaurants are world-class and it's near Napa Valley.
Seattle (multiple events): It's not just the fact that the WotC offices and many many friends are there. Seattle is just a great city where culture is deep and rich and the ballpark has Ichiro in it.
Toronto (Worlds 2001): Toronto seemed like the perfect blend of US and Canadian cities a laidback sensibility with all the trappings of upscale culture.
Zurich (GP Zurich 1997): Zurich was a 7-hour drive from where I was living in Mopertingen Belgium. The GP started Friday so naturally we left on Tuesday. We drove 2 hours to Trier Germany explored Roman ruins ate drank and stayed overnight. The next day we drove 2 hours to Strasbourg ate drank and stayed overnight. The following day we drove 2 hours to Basel rinsed lathered and repeated. The last day we drove the last hour to Zurich where the GP was kind of an afterthought.
Note that Baltimore probably would have made the list had I not grown up there. It didn't feel right to call it a place Magic took me to although the Baltimore I grew up in is rather different than the Baltimore of today.
Lists I Didn't Do
Favorite Cheaters of all Time
The Rashad Miller Hotel Roommate Hall of Distinction Snorers Wing
Great Films by Michael Bay
Most Enjoyable DQs
Toby Elliott's Laundry (a Retrospective)
Why You Don't Understand Sorrow's Path He's Different When He's with Me
The Herberholz Diaries
DCI Judge Swimsuit Calendar
Kibler and Kaopectate: Nine Ways It Didn't Work
Things I Found in Yokohama Vending Machines
The Farm Theme Deck
When David suggested the deck in the forums some time back I told him that if he put it together I'd feature it. He did even better than that—he brought it to Gen Con. Here's the list:
Gruul War Plow
Crucible of Worlds
Avenger of Zendikar
LEGENDARY CREATURES (2)
Sekki Seasons' Guide
Heartbeat of Spring
Rites of Flourishing
Seed the Land
Reach of Branches
Swords to Plowshares
Clear the Land
Life from the Loam
Reap and Sow
Seeds of Innocence
BASIC LANDS (30)
- 1 Blazethorn Scarecrow
- 1 Grim Poppet
- 1 Scarecrone
- 1 Workhorse
- 1 Avenger of Zendikar
- 1 Budoka Gardener
- 1 Diligent Farmhand
- 1 Elvish Farmer
- 1 Goblin Gardener
- 1 Mistmeadow Skulk
- 1 Mycologist
- 1 Nantuko Cultivator
- 1 Noble Hierarch
- 1 Offalsnout
- 1 Orcish Farmer
- 1 Orcish Settlers
- 1 Pallid Mycoderm
- 1 Rampaging Baloths
- 1 Spike Tiller
- 1 Sporesower Thallid
- 1 Wispmare
- 1 Reaper King
- 1 Sapling of Colfenor
- 1 Sekki, Seasons' Guide
- 1 Crucible Of Worlds
- 1 Gruul War Plow
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Compost
- 1 Doubling Season
- 1 Earthcraft
- 1 Farmstead
- 1 Heartbeat of Spring
- 1 Night Soil
- 1 Rites of Flourishing
- 1 Rowen
- 1 Seed the Land
- 1 Shivan Harvest
- 1 Sterling Grove
- 1 Utopia Vow
- 1 Grim Harvest
- 1 Ovinize
- 1 Reap
- 1 Second Thoughts
- 1 Seed Spark
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Clear the Land
- 1 Cultivate
- 1 Diminishing Returns
- 1 Explosive Vegetation
- 1 Life from the Loam
- 1 Mulch
- 1 Reap and Sow
- 1 Regrowth
- 1 Seeds of Innocence
- 1 Weed Strangle
- 1 Worm Harvest
- 1 Reach of Branches
- 1 Rootgrapple
This is the first deck that actually has a thematic use for Sol Ring the sun being a necessary element in farming. Other ideas for bringing The Sun into play include Captured Sunlight Second Sunrise Serene Sunset Sun Titan and Sun's Bounty. There are other “sun” cards but they don't seem to fit.
Diminishing Returns is clearly David's commentary on the plight of the small American farmer. Clearly Plow Under deserves a spot but David said that it's not the kind of card that he wants to play. Abundance seems like it deserves a spot. The seasons could come into the equation: Harbinger of Spring Rites of Spring Midsummer Revel Summer Bloom Autumn's Veil and Edge of Autumn. I know Seedborn Muse is an overplayed card but it could get some serious consideration.
As far as animals go Workhorse was an inspired choice. Every farm needs goats so Springjack Pasture seems like a natural fit along with Springjack Shepherd to tend them though other Shepherds don't see to fit too well. It might be that Ovinomancer could go with that Ovinize. This is certainly a deck where I'd consider allowing Un-cards so that there could be chickens as well.
Monday Night Gamer and Armada EDH League regular Keith Bogart mentioned that he thought the idea cool enough to piggyback on it and build the Grocery Store deck—the Butchers (Butcher Orgg Butcher of Malakir Faceless Butcher Kozilek Butcher of Truth Rustrazor Butcher and Smoldering Butcher) being the start. We'll see if he comes up with enough for a deck out of it.
A few weeks into League 11 the gang really seems to like the new flatter prize structure. Everyone who shows up gets a booster of the latest set then we use the points system for determining table winners in each round. Top two (each round) get a pick from the Binder of Promos. Attendance has gone up even more but the best consequence has been a much friendlier series of games. “Let's play the whole 2 hours” has been the mantra instead of “let's kill the table quickly.” There's still some rough play but the feeling of the room has improved over what was already pretty good. I like that there is less administrative overhead for the already-overworked Armada staff and I don't think we could have a better atmosphere.
Side Note Card That Kept People Alive In A Casual Game Edition: Equal Treatment.
I continued with the idea that I had at Gen Con having whomever I was sitting with choose which deck I play. This past week in Round 1 I sat with Josh (Teneb the Harvester) Markus (Momir Vig Simic Visionary) Todd (Glissa the Traitor) and Keith (Kresh the Bloodbraided). They wanted me to play Animar Soul of Elements a deck that I definitely have some fun with (but could use Lightning Greaves!).
Todd's Glissa deck is 100% Standard legal and it's still very good. He got Glissa and those cheap artifacts going and was the early threat.
Keith's deck is all about giving other people token creatures so that Kresh gets giant when they die. He played Turn 2 Varchild's War-Riders and kept it going until someone Wrathed.
Starting Turn 3 I cast Animar Fertilid Mindless Automaton and Novijen Sages but my big Animar couldn't get through the token weenie hordes. I get Garruk's Horde going but only cast a couple of things off of it. Josh who is mana-stalled fortunately gains insane amounts of life from Grim Feast which probably goes on a Hidden Gems list somewhere.
The game lasts the whole 2 hours and finishes in a fashion fitting with the mindset of the players in the League. On the very last turn Josh casts Exsanguinate for enough to kill only Todd—giving Todd the point for being the first one out which was enough to tie him with me for tops at the table. There was nothing in it for Josh since the kill didn't catch him up (and there are no compiled League standings this time) so he did it just to even out things.
In round 2 Nate (a definite Gets-the-Format-Guy) asked me to play Kresh since he'd read about it but never played against it in any of our games. Nate has Zedruu the Greathearted; Josh is again at my table and Wayne has Vorosh the Hunter.
Nate's fast start of land Sol Ring Fellwar Stone gets undone several turns in by a board wipe although I've had the chance (and need) to cast Kresh three times before that happens. It's again a friendly-but-no-pulled-punches game. Wayne gets a little threatening with Zombie Infestation and Slithermuse and gets killed for it by Josh about an hour in.
Josh then gets Painful Quandary and Wound Reflection going not to mention No Mercy to keep creatures off his back. He's at 56 but I think I might be able to kill him with my 16/16 Hamletback Goliath since Stalking Vengeance and Kresh are on the battlefield as well: attack for 16 No Mercy kills it dealing 16 more buffing up Kresh for a repeat of the same move.
Unfortunately for me he drops Mystifying Maze wrecking that whole plan. Nate tries to help by stealing the Maze but Josh follows that up with setting him to 10 with Sorin Markov (which kills him at end of turn with Wound Reflection). I pull no answers and die a few minutes before time expires. Nate is a little miffed with the Sorin/Wound Reflection kill (I'll admit that it is kind of anti-climactic to an otherwise good back-and-forth game) and I suspect that he'll remember Josh for a while. Finishing tied at each table I get my picks from the binder taking Bloodlord of Vaasgoth and Syphon Mind which I don't seem to have a foil of.
I'm not sure if I'll get to it in the next week but I haven't forgotten promising Amber (of the cool Elder Dragon Lord playmat) that I'd build the “Your Tears Sustain Me” deck. It will be Grixis colors so if you have ideas on how I might Embrace that Chaos to include who to command such an army ship them.