Man the dog days of summer can't get here fast enough! The way things are looking I'll be back in my house sometime early summer and once I get a few things fixed up I'll be in the hunt for a roommate—Step 2 in my plan to reclaim my life in 2011. With a roommate on board to help with rent I'll have to work my part-time job less opening up more free time for the finer things in life. Things like more time with the kids more time with family and friends…
Things like playing and practicing Magic something I desperately need! Being good at Magic requires the lubrication of playing and when you go too long without you get a massive build-up of rust.
Apparently it was agony for some of my friends watching my matches finish this weekend at Regionals with my making an avalanche of mistakes even while I was winning. A big reason was the deck I ended up playing which had a lot going on and was not the G/W Monument deck I thought I was going to play when I wrote this column last week.
Late last week I was trying to think about what the Regionals metagame would be in the wake of GP Dallas. Stoneforge Mystic and Equipment are something that a lot of people are playing and it seemed to me that people would adjust their decks and sideboards to better be able to answer the Equipment. So I started worrying about artifact-hate splash damage incidentally nuking my Eldrazi Monuments. On the flip side Glissa the Traitor just happens to be freaking awesome at getting back artifacts from the graveyard. So I started thinking about running my own Stoneforge Mystic/Equipment package alongside Glissa to “next level” my opponents' artifact hate more or less a rad mashup of the two decks I wrote about last week. Here's what I ended up playing:
- 4 Perilous Myr
- 1 Sylvok Replica
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 4 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Sylvan Ranger
- 1 Vampire Hexmage
- 3 Vengevine
- 3 Glissa, the Traitor
One of the neat ideas from my Glissa deck last week was running deathtouch creatures alongside Mortarpod to just about kill any creature on the board that wasn't equipped with a Sword of Feast and Famine. Stoneforge Mystic lets us do the same thing by adding Basilisk Collar to the Equipment package.
Originally I was running -4 Squadron Hawks +1 Glissa and +3 Pilgrim's Eye. I liked the Eyes because they flew fixed mana blocked Sworded Hawks and came back from the graveyard with Glissa triggers. On the drive up to Washington my companions strongly urged me to add in Squadron Hawks and I have to admit it was hard to argue against that. I mean they're friggin' Squadron Hawks! They treated me very well on the day giving me a free Vengevine pitch on turn 2 one game and two Vengevine pitches on turn 2 in another game.
The downside was that it really made my artifact count pretty light and Glissa ended up being much less of a rock star than I had anticipated. Apparently I was too far “next level” because no one destroyed my Equipment all day long and unless I got Perilous Myr in the mix Glissa was just medium-decent. In retrospect I totally should have rocked the G/W Monument but I do like Glissa's Junk if the metagame shifts the right way.
Here's a quick recap of my day. The drive up to McLean Virginia was a miserable mess as I was driving in a steady downpour and half the trip was through Northern Virginia's perpetual road construction. Plus apparently half of Northern Virginia likes to get up on rainy Saturday mornings and hit the highway. Despite all that we made pretty good progress and after getting turned around a couple times finally found the venue in a comfortably large hotel conference room with plenty of time to register. Kudos to Dream Wizards for the space! We ended up with 181 players and eight rounds of Swiss with the final Top 8 qualifying for Regionals. I had hopes that—between the smaller store-level National Qs and the horrible weather—the turnout might have been a bit smaller but onward to battle!
Round 1 versus Zach Caw-Go with Black
I get the sweet "turn 2 Hawks pitch my Vengevine" start but then promptly stall at three lands until somewhere around turn 7 or 8. Fortunately for me my opponent doesn't get an aggro draw and while having three lands isn't optimal I do have a ton of two-drops that slowly populate the board. Once I get that fourth land and play two creatures to get Vengevine online things go well despite my making tons of mistakes—like getting our life totals confused thinking he was at nine when I was at nine and swinging through the air with a Bonehoard-equipped Hawk to deal ten points of damage when I could've also swung with another Hawk. He was actually at eleven. D'oh!
Round 2 versus Steven RUG
No Vengevines this time but I do start out with Squadron Hawks whittling his life away a point at a time. I draw my Collar but no Stoneforge Mystic for Mortarpod so I can't kill his Lotus Cobra before he powers out Inferno Titan.
Like a champ I draw my Mystic fetch up the Mortarpod equip the Germ with Collar and pitch it at the Titan. This buys me enough time to drop a Titan of my own and put the game away. The second game I have a Mortarpod in my hand to nuke his Cobra; he stalls on land a bit and I aid him with Acidic Slime buying enough time to finish him off.
At this point I'm feeling pretty good—faced off against the two Titan decks stuffed with Jace the Mind Sculptor and didn't drop a game!
Round 3 versus David U/B Control/Infect
Game 1 is a long slog with my eventually getting him down to three life before he poisons me out the long way with Contagion Clasp proliferation.
Game 2: I've got Phyrexian Revoker in hand and drop a Lotus Cobra to bait the Clasp; he drops it to kill the Cobra. I drop the Revoker to turn off the Clasp but of course he has a second Clasp. I play Glissa and he plays Phyrexian Crusader and holds back until he plays Sword of Feast and Famine and equips it. Ouch! That's four points of poison and I feel like I'm in big trouble. I rip a Perilous Myr and play it alongside Squadron Hawks. David makes a big oops worrying about the Myr: he activates his Inkmoth Nexus equipping it with the Sword and swings. I chump with the Hawks to prevent him from reequipping his Crusader. On my turn I rip a Mortarpod play it equip the Myr and sac it to kill off the Crusader and the Glissa trigger gets back the Revoker to turn off his Clasps next turn. He draws dead cards for a couple turns and I manage to put the game away with Glissa beatdown.
The first game went so long that we don't have much time to play but I draw a decent Vengevine start and manage to beat him down to eleven before we run out of time.
Round 4 versus James Mono Red Goblins
In the second game he gets a similar draw but I manage to draw two Perilous Myrs and bait his Bolt with Fauna Shaman before dropping Glissa to recur the Myrs and stall his offense. He still gets me down to three life before I rip Mystic tutor up Basilisk Collar and work my life back up to a slightly more comfortable seven before finishing him off.
The last game I mull away a slow hand and keep a passable six but with no Perilous Myr. He starts yet again with Goblin Guide and while it's not the absolute nut draw from game one it's fast enough. I'm on defense the whole time and he just burns me out.
The terrible irony of it all was that my last-round opponent was paired against Caw-Go and lost and with his maindeck pro-red Crusaders he likely would have fared well against my Goblin opponent. On the other hand I felt comfortable with his Caw-Go matchup. Since we'd drawn in the previous round that seemed like pretty cruel bad luck.
Round 5 versus Mark RUG
The first game is a blowout with his Cobra accelerating out Inferno Titans on turns 4 and 5. Not much I can do about that. The second game is a slog. I have Mortarpod for his turn 2 Cobra and he stalls out on land and colors while I whittle him down with Hawks and Mystics. Jace gives him a little life and a Titan eventually hits that I'm able to kill off with Mortarpod plus Basilisk Collar. Unfortunately that's my last creature and I proceed to draw nothing but land and Equipment and none of my infinite creatures until he drops Avenger of Zendikar and I'm quickly toast. I had him at five life and any creature over the course of several turns could have been Voltroned up to finish him. A pretty discouraging finish and I drop.
It was fun watching some of my friends do well making a run at Top 8 glory or a booster pack haul. Michael Rooks finished tenth with his Furnace Celebration deck new and improved with three Mortarpods main! His deck is capable of some sick stuff.
In one game his opponent had countered Furnace Celebration and cast Day of Judgment Gideon then eventually Day of Judgment again before dropping Sun Titan and equipping it with Sword of Feast and Famine. Rooks had Awakening Zone and Mortarpod; he ripped Mark of Mutiny took the Sun Titan swung into Gideon to kill the planeswalker got back Furnace Celebration from the Titan trigger then equipped the Titan to Mortarpod and sacrificed it to deal a point to his opponent. He then finished his opponent off over the course of the next two turns with Awakening Zone Furnace Celebration and Mortarpod.
In another game he played against U/G Genesis Wave he played Mark of Mutiny on his opponent's Primeval Titan and attacked tutoring up two fetchlands which he used with Furnace Celebration to finish his opponent off the next turn.
Joey Page got thirteenth place with a more controlling version of U/W Caw-Blade and continued his hot-streak after winning a StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifier. Josh Adams with his Goblin deck played it out for packs but finished just outside of Top 32.
On the way home (again through epic rain traffic and road construction) Josh started talking about Steak 'n Shake a fast food place of legend among some of my Magic friends. There's one in Fredericksburg that we drive past on the way home so he convinced us to stop in. We turned off at the wrong exit drove around a while got back on the highway in the rain and into traffic and got off at the next exit. In the dark and soggy night Steak 'n Shake shone like a beacon surrounded by a heavenly glow offering respite to weary and hungry travelers. We were literally overwhelmed by the insane choices available each sounding as delicious as the next but I eventually settled on the Royale Burger (a steak burger with bacon and a fried egg) a guacamole hotdog and a caramel Turtle shake to top things off. The place was packed so we took it to go and sat in the van consuming food fit for angels. The only sound was chewing and the sighs borne from ecstatic taste buds.
Unfortunately for me I didn't realize that I was sitting there with my engine idling and the defrost on something my ancient Dodge Caravan's engine isn't particularly fond of so once we got back on the highway my temperature gauge went buck wild. We pulled off to find that the coolant chamber was completely empty. Luckily I had coolant on hand and filled up the reservoir let it sit a bit and then got back on the road.
Unfortunately we went maybe a hundred yards and the temperature gauge went buck wild again which had me wondering if there was a massive coolant leak. When I checked though the coolant reservoir was still full.
As we pondered the mystery I wondered aloud whether the radiator was maybe not getting the coolant from the reservoir and Josh suddenly remembered that if you run out of coolant in the radiator and the reservoir you can't just fill up the reservoir; you have to fill up the radiator too. Once the engine cooled I checked the radiator. It was empty and so I poured the remaining coolant in the radiator crossed fingers and got back on the highway making it back to Richmond without further incident. Whew!
One thing I was hoping to do if I scrubbed out of Regionals was to play some Commander and while Dream Wizards did run some Commander pods by the time I was ready to play in them they had stopped. Sad face! I had hoped to play a few more games with my Brion Stoutarm Myr deck before I shared it with you but what the heck—I've teased it a few times already so I'll give you the scoop.
The deck came out of a couple ideas I wanted to work into a Commander deck:
1. Aggravated Assault + Sword of Feast and Famine: with enough lands out this combo could generate infinite attacks which seemed like fun! Aggravated Assault also nicely untaps all your creatures so any creatures you have that tap to produce mana can benefit as well.
Of course to pull off that second combo I'd need to have lots of Myr which got me heavily working the Myr themes from both Mirrodin blocks. Myr Galvanizer was enough like Aggravated Assault that I quickly realized I could easily toss that combo in here too. I knew I wanted red and with the cards I wanted Enlightened Tutor was a natural fit so it seemed I'd at least want red and white. White also brings some pinpoint removal (Path Swords) Tempered Steel Leonin Abuna and Sun Titan.
Here are the Myr cards I eventually settled on: Runed Stalactite Plague Myr Myr Sire Coretapper Genesis Chamber Iron Myr Gold Myr Perilous Myr Ichorclaw Myr Myrsmith Myr Galvanizer Myr Propagator Scarecrone Shimmer Myr Myr Welder Mirror Entity Urza's Incubator Palladium Myr Myr Reservoir Darksteel Myr Door of Destinies Myr Turbine Myr Matrix and Myr Battlesphere.
Eye of Ugin seemed like a nice way to tutor up Myr given enough mana. Nim Deathmantle and Mana Echoes seemed like too much fun to pass up. Given the tap/untap nature of the deck (between Aggravated Assault and Galvanize) I thought Furystoke Giant might be fun as well. To round out the deck I recruited many usual suspects for fast mana and utility.
I tried to make sure the power level was high without having to branch into other colors which would allow access to a few more mana Myr but might bring color screw into the equation. Luckily I think I got a pretty good mix of cards here and while I don't think it's totally degenerate I think it turned out pretty strong. Of the R/W legends available I think Brion Stoutarm fits perfectly considering how large my Myr could get and the recursion available for the sacrificed Myr… and heck Brion can become a Myr himself!
- 1 Coretapper
- 1 Darksteel Myr
- 1 Gold Myr
- 1 Ichorclaw Myr
- 1 Iron Myr
- 1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Myr Battlesphere
- 1 Myr Galvanizer
- 1 Myr Propagator
- 1 Myr Sire
- 1 Myr Welder
- 1 Palladium Myr
- 1 Perilous Myr
- 1 Plague Myr
- 1 Scarecrone
- 1 Shimmer Myr
- 1 Anger
- 1 Devout Witness
- 1 Furystoke Giant
- 1 Karmic Guide
- 1 Leonin Abunas
- 1 Mirror Entity
- 1 Myrsmith
- 1 Reveillark
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Brion Stoutarm
- 1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
- 1 Boros Signet
- 1 Contagion Clasp
- 1 Dispeller's Capsule
- 1 Door of Destinies
- 1 Dreamstone Hedron
- 1 Everflowing Chalice
- 1 Genesis Chamber
- 1 Lux Cannon
- 1 Mana Vault
- 1 Myr Matrix
- 1 Myr Reservoir
- 1 Myr Turbine
- 1 Nim Deathmantle
- 1 Power Matrix
- 1 Rings of Brighthearth
- 1 Runed Stalactite
- 1 Sculpting Steel
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Sun Droplet
- 1 Sword of Feast and Famine
- 1 Thousand-Year Elixir
- 1 Throne of Geth
- 1 Urza's Incubator
- 1 Voltaic Key
- 1 Aggravated Assault
- 1 Goblin Bombardment
- 1 Mana Echoes
- 1 Tempered Steel
- 1 Enlightened Tutor
- 1 Path to Exile
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Wheel of Fortune
- 1 All Is Dust
If you have any questions about some of my other card choices or suggestions for the deck I'd love to hear from you. Hit me up in the forums Twitter or email.
- “Infect me with your lovin' / fill me with your poison.” Katy Perry is clearly New Phyrexian – @moxymtg
- “Looking for Commander events near you? Search www.wizards.com/locator for Magic multiplayer events.” – @dlaugel
- “look at your planeswalker then at Koth then back at your planeswalker now back at Koth...” – my response to @moxymtg and Sunie_FDC talking about Koth looking like the Old Spice Man
- Tally Heilke is making a plushy Scaled Wurm check it out!
“The names of characters in Inception are: Dom Robert Eames Arthur Mal Saito. Note the first letters. Mind = Inceptionally blown.” – @ FreddyAmazin (my mind is blown too)
I hope y'all have a great Easter weekend filled with quality family time and that the Easter Bunny brings you goodies!
starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com
New to Commander?
If you're just curious about the format building your first deck or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch here are some handy links:
- Commander Primer Part 1 (Why play Commander? Rules Overview Picking your Commander)
- Commander Primer Part 2(Mana Requirements Randomness Card Advantage)
- Commander Primer Part 3 (Power vs. Synergy Griefing Staples Building a Doran Deck)
My current Commander decks (and links to decklists):
- Savra Queen of the Golgari Demons)
Previous Commander decks currently on hiatus: