Removed From Game - Conversations With Your Deck
You're all mad. Most of you, certainly. Wizards knows you're mad too, so much so that they even gave you all a "c'mon topdeck" button to satisfy your irrational cravings. Here's just a few choice ramblings I've heard lately:
"Okay deck, we're at 4-1, but we've got to play this last round. I can't ID, so it's just you and me! Us against the world. Give me the goods, baby."
"Just once, that's all I'm asking of you, you know what I want, don't make me spell it out, just one good mulligan-free hand, you can do it deck, you know you want to."
"You are such a pile of wasted former trees. I swear, if you don't start behaving, I'm going to set you on fire, and I'm not kidding, foil rares or no foil rares, so you'd just better behave."
I freely and regularly admit to some pretty debilitating mental issues (see Double Akroma last week for just the latest example), but I gotta tell you, players who treat their decks as if they're pets – words fail me. Last time I checked (3.17am), all Magic decks are:
- Without a heartbeat.
Ouch. That hurt!
Sorry readers, my wife thought I was talking about women.
So why do we spend so much time talking to our decks? And more importantly, why do we suppose that we will ever get an answer?!
In this article, I propose to show one way in which talking to our decks is a good thing. In fact, my decks talk right back, and that's just what we need. Here's the scenario:
You're playing Sealed Deck. For the purposes of this week's shenanigans, it's Time Spiral all the way. No PC, no FS, it's the set that's been around since last October. Why have I chosen this as our example? Because I want you to pretty much know what all the cards do and how powerful you think they are. We'll find the whole exercise goes much smoother that way. In reality, you actually start talking to your deck the moment you lay aside the Pro Player card in the starter with the basic land and look at the top card of your pool. "Ooh, you're a bit tasty / gash / Red." Some cards you greet like old friends as they reveal themselves. Some are as welcome as the taxman, head-lice, or Billy the card thief. But however you value them, chances are there's a running monologue in your head as you sort out the cards. Today, I'm going to take you to a very specific point in the Sealed Deck process. You've already built your deck. You've cut the last few cards that really need to be in the sideboard. You've worked out the manabase, and the basic land is now in your pile. In short, once you hand in the deck registration sheet, you're good to go. That's where we are, here's what we're going to do.
It's time to have a Conversation With Your Deck. Lay out your cards by converted mana cost so that the whole deck is in front of you. Then physically take the first card and read it very carefully. In musical theatre, I'll often sit through hundreds of auditions in order to find half a dozen actors or singers that we want in a production. Here, we're already down to the final 24 or so. With each card, you're looking for possible reasons to shift it out of the deck – it costs too much, doesn't do enough, is too situational, has no synergies within your deck – but you're also wanting it to succeed for you, so look for it's good points – it's cheap, it fits the curve, it's a powerful splash – remember, these cards got to this stage because you thought they were the best your card pool could offer.
You don't need to know about the card pool, or what excitement I've left kicking it's heels on the bench. Don't even bother with working out whether the deck is strong or not (it isn't). Getting to this point is the subject of many other articles. But learn to have a Conversation With Your Deck, and you can have a really clear idea of what your deck does, what you can expect from each individual card, and be a long way towards formulating and clarifying your plans for lots of potential situations. Here's the deck that I'm going to "audition" today:
1. Errant Doomsayers
2. Benalish Cavalry
3. Knight Of The Holy Nimbus
4. Withered Wretch
5. Deathspore Thallid
6. Basal Sliver
7. Faceless Devourer
8. Icatian Crier
9. Skulking Knight
10. Amrou Seekers
11. Essence Sliver
12. Watcher Sliver
13. Cyclopean Giant
14. Drudge Reavers
15. Evil Eye Of Urborg
16. Skittering Monstrosity
17. Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
18. Angel's Grace
19. Momentary Blink
20. Strangling Soot
23. Tendrils Of Corruption
24. Terramorphic Expanse
25. Molten Slagheap
26. Dreadship Reef
Plains x 7
Swamp x 7
NOTE: Readers will doubtless develop their own style as they start to have these Conversations. In real life, mine are slightly less florid, and, if humanly possible, even more/less (you choose) amusing than those presented here.
Number 1 – Errant Doomsayers
RH: Blimey, it's going to be one of those decks.
ED: Whadda ya mean, one of those decks? I'm hurt.
RH: Exactly my point. Point a measly 1/1 at you and you're not just hurt, you're dead. Your performance in my last B/W Draft deck was nothing short of embarrassing.
ED: But I saved you lots of life when I chump-blocked that big Green fattie.
RH: Alright, make your case.
ED: I know I'm quite small, tiny really, but in a winningly charming way. At two mana you can't expect the Stars and Moon…
RH: Nice pub.
ED: Anyway, you don't want me for my body…
RH: That's certainly true.
ED: You want me for my ability, my mesmerising skill that means creatures even bigger than me can't attack.
RH: But it's only one monster out of commission, and they have to have toughness of two or less. That's not going to make you a major player in my deck. In fact, it feels like you're destined for more of an understudy role in the sideboard.
ED: No, wait! I know I'm situational, but situation comedy is situational, and it's still funny.
RH: No it isn't.
ED: See? Look, I'm a Rebel, that means you can search for me.
RH: I can't. Amrou Scout was looking for talent elsewhere today.
ED: That's not my fault!
RH: True. Alright then, I can't say this exactly inspires confidence, but if nothing else I can get you into Act One, Scene 1, and you might have a bit part to play before we get to the real story unfolding. You're lucky, but you're in.
Number 2 – Benalish Cavalry
RH: BC, how's things?
BC: Good thanks Rich, yeah (yawn), bit tired at the moment.
RH: Oh right, very artistic yawn, you're reminding me that you're so good you got rave reviews in Japan for your performances in Yokohama.
BC: And I've been touring Europe as well. Just come back from Strasbourg.
RH: Yeah. And how many performances did "The White Weenie" run in Strasbourg?
BC: Well, it was a run of performances on the Saturday, and then we mostly got binned Sunday. (sniff)
RH : Ah well, never mind. You've always been good to me in the largely improvisational world of Sealed.
BC: Thanks Rich, and don't forget, when it comes to a cheap fight, I won't let you down.
RH: Flankers of the world unite, eh? Good stuff. See you on Opening, er, Knight.
Number 3 – Knight Of The Holy Nimbus
RH: Don't think I've played with you before.
KN: Yah, BC pointed me in your direction. Said you were looking for a performer with uncommon class, presence, and ability to turn it on knight after knight. I am he.
RH: Luvvie, a little less "me, me, me" and a little more "‘text, text, text" if you could. It's all about the text.
KN: Well then, you should remember that I'm a little high maintenance. You can't just shack me up with any old manabase, I have to be treated right. WW is what gets me ready to play.
RH: Double White… okay.
KN: Like BC, I'm a trained Flanker, so I tend to upstage many of my opponents. Plus, even if they're bigger than me, I'm pretty resilient. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but only two mana gets to kill me.
RH: Yes, you really are hard to kill. Obviously I'm glad to have you onboard. Mostly your role will be in Act One, setting the tempo and putting the opposition on the back foot. But you might just have an important role to play in The Endgame. Very Chekov. Next.
Number 4 – Withered Wretch.
WW: BB or not BB, that is the question. Whether ‘tis Noble Templar in the Mindstab to suffer the Unerring Sling and Serrated Arrows of outrageous Final Fortune….
RH: Enough already. You can do Onulet at the end if the word-count isn't high enough.
WW: I prithee then Master Richard, allow me to list mine own accomplishments for your delectable ocular cavities to feast upon.
RH: What is it with you?
WW: Easy tiger, I'm timeshifted ain't I? We all talk like that, alright? Blimey, try to earn a crust….
RH: Yes, yes, but why do I need you in my company of merry men? For heaven's sake, you've got me at it now.
WW : I'm 2/2 for two. Now that's efficiency on a stick. I don't always work well with the last guy you saw, Knight of the Holy Nimbus. A summer season in Blackpool together told me that this manabase isn't big enough for the both of us.
RH: Let me worry about the mana, I know you need double Black, it's fine, this deck doesn't need splashes.
WW: Well, if you're sure. I would hate my role to be compromised by technical difficulties.
RH: Apart from hit for two, any specialist skills?
WW: Alas poor Yorick, I removed him from the graveyard for one mana.
RH: Ah, anti-recursion.
WW: That's what I said.
Number 5 – Deathspore Thallid
RH: Was all this cloak and dagger stuff really necessary? I don't see why you couldn't have just auditioned like every other card. Mr. Thallid, isn't it?
DT: Oh yah, first name terms, you can call me ‘Gus. Bit of a joker actually, tend to put little men in the bin when they least expect it, yah? Lot of fun actually. That's my nickname – fun. Fun ‘Gus, that's what they call me.
RH: And do they also want to kill you extremely rapidly for being an irritating bastard? Because that's what I'm feeling right now.
DT: Well, yah, bit of hot removal action does tend to come my way, now you mention it. Dying on stage is an occupational hazard when you're as talented and cheap as I am. Still, that takes the heat off your other players, right? And of course it's not just the 1/1s that go down in flames when I'm around. Even the big boys know when I'm in the building.
RH: Okay, you've made the cut. But one word of warning. Try that Fun ‘Gus joke one more time, and I'll sacrifice a Saproling to give you
Number 6 - Basal Sliver
RH: Sliver, sliver…"You like to watch, don't you?" Wasn't that one of your productions?
BS: Not really, that was the previous generation of performers. Crystalline, Muscle….
RH: Now those guys had some serious chops. They could go head to head with the best in the business. How about you?
BS: Well, that depends. How many of us are you looking for in this production of yours? Like, I can be fantastically good in carefully scripted shows. You know Noel Coward's "Wild Pair"…? I was in that. Very successful.
RH: Yes, yes, this may be a multi-cultural production, but I'm only looking for Blacks and Whites, no Commies, Eco-freaks, or Tories. What on Earth was that noise?
BS: It's the sound of the internal logic of your last sentence crashing and burning, that's what.
RH: Do you want a part in this deck or not?
BS: Here's the thing. You're seeing Watcher and Essence Sliver later aren't you? If you're going with them, there's no real reason not to go with me. I'm realistic about my abilities. I'm not going to get rave set reviews. But there's something noble about an on-stage sacrifice, and I'm a real team player. Oh, and one more thing…
BS: If you like Fawlty Towers, every time I come onstage you can mispronounce my name and yell ‘Basal' like Prunella Scales.
RH: Right. You. Get in the deck before I change my mind. And for God's sake, don't mention the war.
Number 7 – Faceless Devourer
RH: Come on, show yourself, it's not as if we haven't seen it all before.
FD: You want to watch it, you do. I have a habit of making people… disappear.
RH: Of course you do, that's why I'm hiring you. You don't really dispose of anything with much substance, though, do you?
FD: You won't be saying that when someone shoves Griffin Guide on their Soltari Priest…
FD: As long as you use me correctly, I start off as a one-for-none, and who wants to waste a full-on removal spell on a Looter Il-Kor if he can help it?
RH: But when is the best time to play you?
FD: Ideally you want some help from your opponent. They make a shadow man turn 2, and then I deal with it turn 3. Talk about a tempo swing, and then I'm powering away, chunking 2 life points a turn.
RH: And if they kill you a few turns later, I've got some damage through, a suspend-a-like on their shadow creature, and a removal spell out of their hand?
FD: You got it.
RH: Hmm, nice audition, ‘cos I'd heard you were pretty crap, but you sold yourself well. You're in.
Number 8 – Icatian Crier
IC: Good cards wanted. Good cards wanted. Join me in the deck. Fatties very welcome. Join me in the deck. Good cards wanted. Even basic land, I'll make your lives worthwhile. Just a bit of mana, just a bit of mana, discard your tat, ta da, two Citizens and Robert is your mother's brother, or as they say in these parts, Bob's your uncle. Only small, don't get involved, Citizens, now is the time, join me in the deck. Good cards wanted. Activate me end of turn. End of turn activation, Bob's your uncle, two Citizens, Citizens, two of, discard your tat, come one come all, join me in the deck. Good cards wanted. Good cards wanted.
RH: You can say that again…
IC: Good cards wanted.
Number 9 – Skulking Knight
RH: I love it.
SK: You mean Nick Lovett I think, Mr. H… he's the one who said at Worlds last year how highly he values me.
RH: Part of the Welsh team at Worlds Nick Lovett?
SK: The very same.
RH: Nick "third place at Worlds" Lovett?
RH: That's a pretty solid recommendation, seeing as he was on Table 1 when he said it. Aren't you a bit vulnerable though? That whole targeting business makes me think you're a wee bit unreliable.
SK: I can hardly argue with you, since it's written all over me. But think about how crucial I can be when your opponent doesn't have some random tap or ping effect. Then I am soooooo efficient, you won't believe the performance for the cost.
RH: On the attack you're a virtual 4/4 with the whole flank knight thing going on. And I can always sideboard you out against decks that can kill you too easily.
SK: Sure thing, but don't forget, you can't target me either, so no creature enchantments for me thanks.
RH: No problem, I just see you turning sideways turn 4, and that's good enough for me.
Number 10 – Amrou Seekers
RH: I've got to be honest with you Mr, erm… Seekers, is it? There are a lot of great White guys around at the minute, and not that many of them cost three whole mana. That's a chunk out of my budget. Why should I play you?
AS: I'm a simple trade-off. I could be a straightforward Gray Ogre…
RH: Which would make you pretty much uncastable (no, no, I don't mean "unable to cast" as in mana issues, but uncastable as in "wouldn't want you in my cast of performers, dahling." If you think that explanation was unnecessary, trust me, I get e-mails over that kind of thing.)
AS: … but I could be an unblockable machine for you. There really aren't lots of artifact creatures on the scene at the moment, so it's the other White guys you need to consider.
RH: Yeah, trouble is that so many of them are good, and you're no Benalish Cavalry, let alone somebody as rare as Serra Avenger, and they just cost two mana.
AS: That extra mana could win you the game though. Even if they're running White monsters, you can always aim your removal at them, and then slip me in for the last couple of points. Any pump spells?
RH: Well, I'm keeping that under wraps for now, but I can't see myself turning you into a giant killing machine anytime soon.
AS: Sometimes two points is all you need.
RH: I've done some research into this, and I reckon White isn't all that popular. For the times that you're great, you get a spot on the roster.
RH: Okey dokey, ten names inked in. I'm almost halfway, so I probably need to find some performers with rather more substance. Some class, some weight to throw around the stage, the kind of performer that practically screams "look at me! I'm great! Can you deal with me, huh punk? Am I just too hot to handle? Am I? Am I, huh?" Let's see who's still knocking on the door…
Number 11 – Essence Sliver
RH: Hellooooo, nice to see you.
ES: Rich, glad to be here. I hope you're going to just surround me with my lovely sliver friends.
RH: Er, well ES, there's a little bit of a problem there, since most of them seem to be working on other projects.
RH: Yes it is rather, but it's not as if you'll be treading the boards alone. I know you sometimes feel a bit delicate, though at 3/3 I can't think why, but Watcher is going to join us, and I know you'll feel a whole lot tougher with him around. And if you're onstage with Basal Sliver, at least you can generate some mana.
ES: The idea of sacrificing myself to that grubby little 2/2 is hardly confidence-inspiring.
RH: Well, them's the breaks babe, and I don't think I have to remind you that I have you under contract for this tournament.
ES: When you put it like that, no.
RH: Don't be so downhearted. I wanted to give you lots of sliver friends too, but it wasn't to be.
WW : BB or not BB, that is the….
Number 12 – Watcher Sliver
RH: I've got good news for you. Let me start by saying you would probably have made the cut all on your own, although you might not have lasted all that long if the opposition was getting more use out of you than I was. Nonetheless, as it happens your colleagues Messrs. Basal and Essence are rather keen to have you swell the ranks, and I'm inclined to agree with them.
RH: Chances are that you're not going to be doing much attacking, because losing you would make the others weaker.
RH: You don't say much do you?
WS: I give +0/+2. What else is there to say?
Number 13 – Cyclopean Giant
RH: Ah, old One-Eye, keeping it peeled?
CG: There's no need to make offensive jokes.
RH: No, I thought you played a half-blinder last time I saw you.
CG: Ha ha. I know we haven't exactly seen eye to…er…socket in the past, but this time I think I can fill a role for you.
RH: Eye'll need convincing.
CG: It's a pity you haven't got old Viscid Lemures around. We're a great double act. But my abilities aren't so one-dimensional. If your opponent is playing a splash card or two, taking out their one source of that color can be pretty devastating. And if they're screwed, you can see it all the way through and make sure they never get double mana.
RH: You're stretching a little, but I understand you don't get the gig all that often. Anything else I should know?
CG: Sometimes people look at me the wrong way. Toughness of two? That's not the story, it's my power that's the story. Four power for four mana? That's better. When you're facing down some big dumb Green fatty, that's when I shine.
RH: I'm getting a sinking feeling about this, but we'll see won't we? Or at least, I will.
CG: Could those puns get any cornea?
Number 14 – Drudge Reavers
DR: Flash. Ah-ah. He'll save every one of you.
RH: Alright Mr. Reavers, it's not a musical. Four mana? Are you kidding me? I'm amazed you're ever in work.
DR: I'm kinda hard to kill, see?
RH: At four mana, you'd better be.
DR: Look, I can keep some big fat guy off your case for ages, just for one black mana. That's a bargain. I know it looks like you have to plan ahead a bit to actually get me into proceedings, but think how good it would be if I got to kill a guy, regenerate, and then sit staring and laughing at their Spectral Force.
RH: Spectral Force has trample. Spectral Force has 6 more power than you. Spectral Force has 7 more toughness than you. Spectral Force won Mike Hron a Pro Tour.
DR: But it can't regenerate.
RH: Shut up and get out. I pray I never see you again. God this deck needs some serious talent. Drudge Reavers, pur-leeze.
Number 15 – Evil Eye Of Urborg
RH: Tell you what, Cyclopean Giant could do with an eye like yours.
RH: That six power, you've really got it going on in the smash department.
RH: And as for getting in your way, that's definitely not a good plan. You're a comprehensive killing machine aren't you?
RH: That whole "non-Eye" thing though. That seems a bit of a drawback doesn't it?
RH: And a toughness of three, even a reasonable Grapeshot can deal with that.
RH: For an Evil Eye, you're not actually all that bright, are you…
Number 16 – Skittering Monstrosity
SM: Uh, hi. Is it, like, okay?
RH: Is it, like, ok what exactly?
SM: To, er, like, come in?
RH: Of course it's okay to come in. How else are you going to audition?
SM: Uh, right, yeah, sure, good point. Er, listen, before I start, have you got anyone else coming along?
RH: I think there's one more to see. Why?
SM : Oh, er, no reason, it's just I, er, don't do, er, all that well with, er, you know, other people.
RH: You're shy?
SM: Not exactly shy. What it is, right, is that, once I'm onstage I like to really, like, focus. I can't cope with anyone else turning up unexpectedly in the middle of me creating carnage. I tend to just, you know, die.
RH: Don't be such an unmitigated wuss. Feeble. Pathetic. You are a FIVE-FIVE monster. Get your act together, and let's go kick some ass. Damnit kid, you're my enforcer, my endgame annihilator, my Totem understudy, my cure-all kill-all. Let's go let's go let's go.
SM: Ah, okay then, well, if you're sure, I'll see you late-game then. Bye.
RH: The people I have to work with. I could be in insurance.
Number 17 – Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder.
ES: I am the Master.
RH: Of course you are dear, I'm very pleased for you. Frankly, I'm pinning an awful lot of my hopes on you.
ES: This is fine, because I am the Master.
RH: God, you're as bad as Evil Eye. Look, I'd like to get the best out of you. Any tips?
ES: What comes after six?
RH: Ah, right, yes.
ES: You would do well to remember it. Reach seven Thrulls and I must perforce depart.
RH: But the great thing about that is that I can always hurl a few paltry Thrulls into battle, chump-block here and there, and then I can cast my next spell. I guess the big problem is keeping you around. At 2/2, you're not exactly in the best possible shape for an MVP of my deck.
ES: Such are the whims of R & D. If you have the time, why not wait until you can cast me and another spell in the same turn?
RH: That seems a bit greedy. Still, I could certainly draw out some of their removal before putting you up there.
ES: That seems optimal.
RH: To be honest, I wish there was a way to search for you.
ES: With Future Sight there is. Wizardcycling….
RH: Not much good here though. Still, I'm glad you've agreed to take on the role of "Bomb Rare."
ES: You are welcome, I'm sure.
RH: Thank God for that, if I had to look at another power and toughness I think I'd go insane. Seventeen monsters, that's six spells to go, three non-basic land, and a bunch of trade-folder wannabe Plains and Swamps.
Number 18 – Angel's Grace
RH: Who's that?
AG: Fantasticnewsforyourdeckthat'swho! It'smeangel'sgraceandI'mheretototallyscrewupthemath. Youropponentthinksthey'vewona
ndalphastrikewitheverything. IturnupandgolalalalalanowinningforyoutodayMr. Andtheygohomeandcrybecauseyoubeatthem.
RH: I beg your pardon? Oh wait, you've got split second haven't you? Calm down, and start again. Nobody will understand you if you gabble your lines all the time. Okay?
AG: Sorry, really, I simply get carried away with the excitement of watching people lose when they think they've got the game won.
RH: You're a marginally better performer than Chameleon Blur or Dawn Charm, but at least the Charm's versatile.
AG: I'm going to get a lot better soon. I'm joining forces for some Greek drama with the Titan. We've made a Pact for a Red and White show in June. Short but sweet.
RH: I can't believe I'm letting tat like you anywhere near my production, but I've got to find some way of letting my guys in for the win. If Noah Weil could see me now…
Number 19 – Momentary Blink
MB: So what did you think?
RH: Think? Of what?
MB: My audition, silly.
RH: What audition?
MB: Just then, oh right, you didn't see it did you? Thought it wasn't real? Probably just a flashback?
RH: Something like that yes.
MB: Well I know I get the cameo role, no sooner there than I'm gone, but I can have a real impact on the plot. Bang – it's gone, boom – it's back, but if there were counters on it, they reset, because the game loses track of the guy when it leaves play. Or something. Hell, I don't really know how my Magic works, I just know it does.
RH: I'm not sure I know either, but I'm more than happy to have you amongst this company.
MB: Seriously though, don't forget to look for any comes into play abilities that I might be able to trigger for you. And remember, I only work on your guys, not theirs. And one more thing…
MB: I can save your Master Breeder in a crisis. Twice is nice is, so make sure you have some Blue mana to activate me the second time.
RH: Are you telling me how to do my job?
MB: No, just telling you how to use me at my best.
RH: I think I liked them better when they were just cardboard.
Number 20 – Strangling Soot
RH: At last, somebody with a straightforward CV. Don't say a word, you can go straight on in and join the others.
SS: You've seen my work?
RH: Twice. And that's how often I expect to see it here. I've arranged to have some Red mana for you.
SS: Really? Great, an encore.
SS: Flash, Flashback, it'll save every one of you.
RH: Not another one…
Number 21 – Assassinate
RH: There were times when casting removal for productions like this was really easy. Sure, sometimes Terror and Dark Banishing didn't get the job done when conditions weren't right, but Red had plenty to take up the slack. And these days we get…
ASS: Wassup, keeping it real?
RH: See what I mean? Okay, you've some limited experience of destroying things in the past, I guess that means I don't have much choice.
ASS: Tappity-tap and BAM! In da bin, MOFO.
RH: Shouldn't that be MODO? You know, this is a family show.
ASS: What. Ever. You know what I'm saying?
RH: They have to be tapped. You're a sorcery. You're pretty narrow really. Still, beggars can't be choosers…
ASS: Wicked. You da man, my dirty-assedpimphocrackrunninghomey.
RH: What. Ever.
Number 22 – Fortify
FOR: Go Richie, Go Richie, Go Richie, Go Richie….
RH: Thanks. I appreciate the vote of confidence. Tell me about yourself.
FOR: Fortify's how you spell me,
+2/+0 is spelled "gg"
+0/+2 saves all your guys,
I'm versatile, don't tell no lies,
A combat trick, I'm instant speed,
At two-and-White I'm what you need,
Your guys are lame, won't stand the test,
With me in hand you're really blessed!
Go Richie, go Richie, go Richie, go Richie!
RH: I think the whole cheerleader thing is a little over the top, but you make a lot of sense. I don't mind saying I can't ever imagine not squeezing you into the team if I've got White available. Good job.
Number 23 – Tendrils Of Corruption
RH: Hey, what's up TC?
TC: I suppose I'm alright. Listen, how many Swamps are you running?
RH: Not sure yet, why?
TC: Well, you know I'm not that good without Swamps, right? The whole skulking in the shadows flavor doesn't really work in broad daylight. I mean, even Swamps need sustenance, right?
RH: Listen, I'll do what I can, because I'd like you to have a big part at some stage in the show, but I'm not sure how many resources I can devote to you. This might come as a Shock to you, but that's what you might turn out to be, a two-damage spell for pots of mana.
TC: That would be a waste of my considerable gifts.
RH: It's all about the bigger picture, matey. I've got a lot of egos to consider, not to mention WW two-drops.
TC: And no Urborg I suppose?
RH: A rare appearance would have been delightful… alas not.
TC: We will do our best as we always do.
RH: I expect no less from you, TC.
RH: Thank God for that. No more monsters, no more spells. Just the scenery to put in place and we can get this show on the road.
RH: Hurry up there please, I've got a lot of basic land still to see. Make your case.
DR: I'm your go-to guy for Blue mana. Don't waste your time on putting Islands into your deck, that's a real waste of a card. You only have one Blue activation in your entire cast, and that's for the encore of Momentary Blink. So what if I'm not around to make it happen? Blink already did a good job for you, and I'm not going to put too many holes in your manabase. Versatile, wholesome, even an accelerant, I'm obviously what you need.
MS: I'm your go-to guy for Red mana. Don't waste your time putting Mountains into your deck, that's a real waste of a card. You only have one Red activation in your entire cast, and that's for the encore of Strangling Soot. So what if I'm not around to make it happen? Soot already did a good job for you, and I'm not going to put too many holes in your manabase. Versatile, wholesome, even an accelerant, I'm obviously what you need.
RH: Are you two identical twins?
MS / DR: No, but we're from the same cycle.
TE: I'm your go-to guy for any color of mana at all. All you have to do is put a Mountain and an Island in your deck, and I can go search them for you. It's like having two of them, not just one. Plus, I can fetch that second Plains or Swamp if you're having problems. Yes, there's a little tempo drawback, but I'm well worth it. I'm obviously what you need.
RH: You non-basics have been rehearsing for this. Alright, Dreadship, Molten, no problem, I've seen you in action and like your work. Expanse, you're lucky to be here. Frankly, I don't like you, but all the Pros seem to think you're pretty passable, so I'll let you in this time. But I've got my eye on you…
RH: Miss Philips? I want seven Plains, as close to identical as you can manage. See if there are any John Avon Ravnica-likes out there. I'll take those. And while you're there, the first seven Swamps that look vaguely the same. By which I mean exactly the same. No point in giving anything away before we have to. Right then, let's see what we've got. Hmm, a few good weenies, mostly sub-optimal bodies, a semi-bomb rare, a few bits of removal, and a game-winning combat trick. Not exactly the stuff that dream pools are made of, or even PTQ-winning decks. Still, nobody ever said that storytelling was easy…
WW: Master Richard?
RH: Who? Oh it's you, back again.
WW: Mayhap? Perchance? Hey nonnie nonnie?
RH: Alright. Go on then. You can finish the article.
WW: And now my lords, ladies and gentlemen, I shall give you my rendition of the famous soliloquy from Onulet, Act 3, Scene 1. I thank you.
BB or not BB : that is the Question Elemental:
Whether 'tis Noble Templar in the Mindstab to suffer
The Unerring Sling and Serrated Arrows of outrageous Final Fortune,
Or to take To Arms! against a High Seas of troubles,
And by Opposition Wit's End them? To Do Or Die: to Sigil Of Sleep;
Time Stop; and by a sleep to say we end
The Coldsteel Heart-ache and the thousand Natural Order Shocks
That Betrayal Of Flesh is Radha, Heir To Keld, 'tis a Consume Spirit
Devout Harpist to be Glittering Wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to Dream Halls : ay, there's the Muck Drubb;
For in that sleep of death what Restless Dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this Ring Of Immortals Wurmweaver Coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so Longbow Archer Drain Life;
For who would Ashcoat Bear the Bullwhips and Scornful Egotists of Time Walk,
The Callous Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The Pangosaurs of despised Beloved Chaplain, the Lawbringer's Delay,
The Insolence of Enlistment Officer and the Spurnmage Advocate
That patient Marit Lage of the Unworthy Dead takes,
When he himself Might Of Oaks his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would Grizzly Bear,
To Jotun Grunt and sweat under a Wear Away Life Burst,
But that the Dread Return of something after Death Grasp,
The Undiscover'd Paradise from whose bourn
No Traveler's Cloak Diminshing Returns, Teferi's Puzzles Box the Willbender
And makes us rather Bearscape those Wooded Foothills we have
Than Bayou Dragonfly to Brothers of Fire that we know not of?
Thus Boldwyr Intimidator does make Cowards of us all;
And thus the native stack of resolution
Is Sick And Tired o'er with the Pale Moon Thoughtcast,
And enterprises of great Pithing Needle and Momentary Blink
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And Lose Hope the name of Evasive Action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophidian! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my Sins Of The Past remember'd.
RH: As ever, thanks for reading.