Planar Chaos is legal, so I am obviously interested in building some decks with it. The thing is, none of my PC decks are as good as the Michigan Four-Color Red deck (which admittedly could stand some updatage).
At first glance, one may be inclined to view this as a beatdown deck, given the nature of its creature's power to casting cost ratios. A more accurate label would be mid-range, or quick aggro-control.
Of course the synergy with Bob is undeniable, but with twelve fetchlands, you have excellent library selection to find the right solution to whatever problem you may be facing, or creatures to start beating with, or burn to finish with if the board is cluttered with too many Green men.
Obviously the Top is not what you want on turn 1, but it gives the deck staying power and a plan going long.
The creature selection is fairly self-explanatory. These are the best men, and this deck is all about playing with the best (most efficient) cards. In fact, a more appropriate name for this deck / strategy might be “Efficiency.”
You don't need any specific combination of creatures. They all give incremental edges on account of their hyper-efficiency.
The burn suit is simply all about efficiency. Lightning Helix is obviously the best burn spell in a vacuum, and Tribal Flames is four damage for two mana, which is key versus Loxodons and Baloths, in addition to finishing opponents.
The Top engine makes the eleven burn spells feel like far more when it comes to burning opponents out.
The manabase is designed to maximize the ability to lead with your best dual, Stomping Ground, and follow with Godless Shrine, as that allows you to play any 1 or 2 drop in your deck. Any other combination of lands restricts you.
One thing to be weary of is that it is tempting (and often right) to follow with a basic land on turn 3 for your LD spell. However, if you do, Vindicate mana won't allow for Molten Rain, and vice versa. Still, with a little careful planning, the mana is very reliable in Four-Color Red, if hard to play.
In general against aggro decks, you play control. Against combo decks, you play aggro (with disruption for tempo). Against control you have to adapt given the context. With Four-Color Red, it is vital to understand who is the beatdown, as Michael Flores would say. It varies game to game.
So here are some post-PC deck ideas that might provide a little food for thought.
A slightly unorthodox B/W land destruction deck bent on the flawless victory (opponent left with no permanents or cards in hand), Profuse.dec plays relatively straightforward. Blow stuff up, and then disrupt opponent's manabase. Eventually, go crazy with the Black Recycle. Its biggest weakness is its inability to finish rounds. Slower mages will often be stuck in a winning position, but unable to seal the deal within time.
This lead to the idea of splashing a few colors to allow Etched Oracle to make his way into the (a) deck.
There is something wrong with this deck, I suspect. What? I am not sure. Too many things that cost four mana, and not enough things that cost one. Maybe it should use Spell Snare. That might be interesting. I just don't know.
See, the thing is, the Four-Color Red deck was perfect for the field... last month. It is still excellent, but as things move in a more Green direction, the Four-Color Red deck loses some of its natural edge. I mean, Green mages just don't fear the Molten Rain, in my experience (well, maybe Tooth and Nail players...). The inspiration behind the Four-Color Red deck was an aggressive deck with eight Stone Rains. What I need is some more inspiration.
How about we start with something safe? This concept is nothing outlandish, of course, but it is potentially very important and it is important to know if it is good at all. If it is, what is the proper direction to take it?
The sideboard would have to include an Extirpate, I think. In addition, I'd love some sort of Corpse Dance to Wish for so that late in the game you can fetch a kill card. I don't know if this is the right direction for this deck, but Spell Snare seems saucy. Also, I like Damnating as much as the next guy. Plus, Wish for Stifle is hot. The thing is, Tog is really easy to kill these days. Sudden Shock, Putrefy, Deed, Wrath, etc. Hrmm.
What about Wild Pair?
Well, what about Wild Pair, you say?
There is something about that card...
Perhaps this is not the format (likely not, in fact), but that card has serious potential. Aside from obvious stuff like your Sakura-Tribe Elder fetching Triskelion and Wall of Roots fetching Grand Arbiter Augustine, there are some subtle moves, like Cavern Harpy fetching Eternal Witness. Surely that is worth something!
I am quickly losing my ability to stay focused. At least I am still talking about Extended.
It sure would be nice if I could go to major tournaments. Aside from such benefits as getting to play competitive Magical cards and enjoy untold good times, they would surely provide me with plenty of material to write about.
Seriously, I just prefer writing about the “goings on” more than the technology. What can I say? I am in with the adventures.
What a great excuse to travel and spend time with friends! Gaming is such a fantabulous hobby. Of course, if you're reading this, this isn't news.
What is more likely news to you is that when I was 14, I had a crush on the captain of the Varsity Women's Basketball Team. She was so kind, so friendly, and beautiful, much the way the Grand Canyon is when you happen upon it without realizing it exists.
Erin was a truly remarkable blend of the mystique of a slightly (and by “slightly,” I mean “wholly, in every way”) wiser and more mature — worldly, even - young lady with which I had never had a meaningful conversation.
As well as the familiarity of a close friend that I spend hours and hours with on the bus to and from women's basketball games, as well as in the locker room (I was a reporter for the village (population 1537) newspaper. Women's basketball was big news. I had a VIP pass everywhere they went. Yes, a 14 year old, red-blooded American lad such as me was able to conjure up many a fantasy with this material to work with...)
In any event, Erin was always so nice to me, in the highest sense of the word. I was a bit of an awkward youth. I felt relaxed when she spoke (thought tied in knots when I thought of her, while she wasn't actually speaking). Did I mention she was a gorgeous 17-year old?
Valentines Day rolls around. Yeah, this can mean nothing but trouble. Just to provide a little context here, I had up until this point in my life, never so much as kissed a girl. Let's just say, the art of seduction was a format I had not yet broken.
Aside from seeing Erin with regards to basketball (and volleyball), she went to my church, mostly doing volunteer work, and she sat next to me in calculus. This only proved to fan the flames of my passion. What I desired, I was not particularly sure... what I do know is that I am Patrick Chapin. I go for effect.
I composed for her the following poem:
E is for every time I look in your eyes
R is for really being nice
I is for I, when I’m with you
N is for never, being without you
Erin _____, I like you.
Erin _____, I like you.
I attached it to an anonymous note asking her to be my valentine, and letting her know I would contact her about us “meeting.” Signed “Your Secret Admirer.”
The poem, letter, and a dozen roses were snuck into her locker while I was in stealth mode.
As a brief aside, it should be recognized at this point that I am a man of many words. I enjoy utilizing a vocabulary that allows me to express precisely what I want to convey.
In all my 14 years up until then, and the nearly as many since, I have never come upon a word or collection of words that could describe the emotions, thoughts, energy moving around inside me that day.
My entire life had been a 14-year effort to bring me to that exact place, that exact time, for that exact purpose. This was actually the culmination of my existence. There are some philosophies that argue that my entire lineage is a process designed to arrive at this particular moment. I tend to view them as extremists, but they make some valid points.
Now, as you can no doubt guess, I shook violently with anticipation of the object of my affections reaction. But I had to play it cool.
*Cue theme music — “Smooth Operator”
Valentine's had been on Friday that year. What a maddening weekend! I saw Erin only briefly Sunday. I had to play it cool.
She mentioned the flowers and note, and how she liked them. In retrospect, my reaction of “oh, that's cool. I wonder who they're from,” might have betrayed me. Then again, perhaps it was my handwriting.
Regardless, I was on top of the world. She liked the flowers, plus she didn't suspect a thing!
Monday follows Sunday, as it is wont to do on so many occasions. Calc, a.k.a. 6th period, arrives much the way news that your brother is pregnant does not. I take my seat...
Erika, captain of the cheerleading squad and Erin's close friend, asks me “So, you are Erin's secret admirer, huh?” Did I mention the entire class of juniors and seniors was listening?
Erin blushed, though what you might be tempted to refer to as blushing by me was much more akin to sheer horror. Erin told her to shut up. I denied everything. Erika countered with a very good point. “Patrick,” she replied, “we are in the same study group. That is your handwriting. Plus everyone knows you've had a crush on Erin for months.”
Five and a half years later, I had been interested in a particular girl (not Erin) off and on for over two years. Still, we had never hooked up. This girl was (and is) special, the kind you wait years for.
Finally, she had told me that she and I would never get together. “Find someone else,” she had said. She had said similar things before, but things finally fell into an arrangement where I decided to heed her advice.
This was, of course, made easier by the fact that a former Penthouse Pet, who's well deserved nickname of Kaleidoscope Eyes only described one facet of her beauty, was in town for a few weeks... and she dug me hardcore.
We had the time of our lives (though, admittedly, I was having the time of my life about five days a week in those days).
I hadn't known her prior, but now she skipped her flight home and we were attached to the hip. I was finally ready to move on.
All good things must come to an end, as anyone who has suffered post-football season depression (PFSD) can attest to. She told me she was in love, and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I told her to pack her bags and go home.
I had visions of flying down Lexington, or flying her up to Detroit. We wouldn't date or anything; we'd just get together sometimes and have some fun.
She told me that was not how things would play out. Her prediction? My close friend, who I had been interested in, who up until now had said “no, thanks” 1,317,544 times out of 1,317,544, would snatch me up immediately.
“Crazy talk,” I told her, “she is the one who told me to find someone else.”
My close friend and I began dating 48 hours later.
The Penthouse Pet's name was, coincidentally, Erin.