Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wanna Win NOW (WWN) Deck

"Why haven't I won yet?!"
This is a completely untested but potentially scary basis for a RG Infect deck. I call it "Wanna Win Now", or WWN. The reason for that is because there are six combos (all requiring Assault Strobe) that can result in a turn three win.

4 x Spikeshot Elder
4 x Ichorclaw Myr
4 x Blight Mamba
4 x Necropede
4 x Putrefax

4 x Groundswell
4 x Vines of Vastwood
4 x Assault Strobe
3 x Grafted Exoskeleton
3 x Livewire Lash

4 x Rootbound Crag
6 x Mountain
12 x Forest

Assault Strobe is necessary for the turn three win. It must be combined with a two mana infect creature and an instant that gives it +4/+4. Assault Strobe is a sorcery, so the smart opponent will likely block it, but if they can't stop it, that's game over.

Turn 1: Play a land.
Turn 2: Play another land, cast Ichorclaw Myr, Blight Mamba, or Necropede
Turn 3: Play another land, cast Assault Strobe, and if unblocked, cast Groundswell or Vines of Vastwood. This will either cost RG or RGG depending on which boost is being used.

I'm not 100% certain how to calculate the cumulative probability on this (EDIT: though I give it a shot in the first comment and it MIGHT be about 21.8%), but those are the best odds I've ever seen for a potential turn three win. The linchpin of having to draw an Assault Strobe by turn three keeps the odds from being completely favorable, but the rest is drawing 1 of 12 creatures, 1 of 8 instants, and having 3 land in play by turn three (even if you use Groundswell, you need landfall for it to be +4/+4).

Of course, if you DON'T win on turn three, that horrible failure doesn't leave one with no options. The boost spells combined with infect are still potent, Grafted Exoskeleton on Spikeshot Elder means it can give an opponent 3 poison counters for each 1RR you have available each turn, the boost spells combined with Livewire Lash gives a way to put poison counters on the opponent even if they've got a good defense going, and casting Putrefax is roughly the equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum and saying "I should have won by now!"

As I've said, this deck is completely untested, and for all I know it would get slaughtered in tournaments. Nonetheless, I'm proud of it because it's a deck I haven't seen before. It may turn out to be a lame duck, but darn it, it's MY lame duck.

Of course, if it IS tournament viable, I suspect I'm going to be outvoted on what to call it, and WWN will fall by the wayside. They'll probably call it "Infection Assault", or something. BLEH.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Post-Scars Prerelease

Note: post prerelease, I consider nothing Scars-related to be spoilers. Click image for a larger view of my 40 card prerelease deck.

I either had an 80% or 72% victory rate at the prerelease tournament depending on whether you're going by rounds or games, respectively (best 2/3 games in a round). I won three packs and am suffering the sin of pride.

The round I lost was the first one. I was up against someone who had somehow managed to make a fully functional Black/Green Infect deck, complete with Putrefax. Not only that, but he had a Sword of Body and Mind. A well made deck by a good player with good cards and I don't recall making any particular blunders against him, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Well, I feel a LITTLE bad about it. If I had won every round, my prize would've been fifteen packs instead of three. But still, three extra packs is nice, and one had a Myr Battlesphere! Oh yes.

I am not going to link to every card in my deck just because it would take a while to do, but I will list it here and you can look any of them up yourselves with the Gatherer archives (apologies in advance if there are typos; they use weird words). Cards are ordered by color, then by casting cost from lowest to highest.

Blue - 7

1 Screeching Silcaw
1 Thrummingbird
1 Plated Seastrider
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Neurok Invisimancer
2 Lumengrid Drake

Artifact - 9

1 Origin Spellbomb
1 Infiltration Lens
1 Copper Myr
2 Silver Myr
2 Glint Hawk Idol
1 Snapsail Glider
1 Tumble Magnet

White - 9

1 Salvage Scout
2 Revoke Existence
1 Auriok Edgewright
1 Soul Parry
1 Myrsmith
1 Arrest
1 Tempered Steel
1 Razor Hippogriff

Land - 15

6 Island
1 Seachrome Coast
8 Plains

And yes, thanks to Origin Spellbomb and Myrsmith, I did get to use my Myr tokens! In fact, I don't recall a single game where I didn't get to use them. Not one person commented on them, however. It makes me wonder if anyone mistook them for the genuine article, which seems unlikely, but I guess it's possible given that nobody looked at them up close.

Origin Spellbomb proved more useful than I thought it would be. I used Salvage Scout to retrieve and reuse it in multiple games just for card advantage, as it was common to reach a point of being stalemated and just looking for that one card to turn the tide, like Tempered Steel or Tumble Magnet.

Speaking of Tumble Magnet, it's VERY potent in limited. If you look at my deck list, none of the creatures are big finishers on their own, and there was the occasional fatty I had to stall in order to win. It combos well with Thrummingbird, which allowed me to get 4 uses out of it. Would've been more, but counters are removed from cards when exiled and my opponent cast a Glimmerpoint Stag that effectively removed the last charge counter, leaving me with nothing to proliferate.

EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that the Tumble Magnet should've gotten three new charge counters when it entered the battlefield again from exile, meaning I screwed up and should have actually had an easier time winning that game than I did. I blame being tired for the oversight, though I should probably also spin the wheel of blame... *spins* Paul Reubens! How could you, Pee-wee?!

Seachrome Coast was a very lucky draw. Most of the cards I got were actually red and blue, but white gave me better options even if I did wind up using almost every white card I got. I included Copper Myr in spite of having nothing green to cast simply for additional mana acceleration, and it worked out well.

Anyway, I could ramble on about this for pages, but it reaches a point where only I would care (assuming I didn't reach that point several paragraphs ago). Anyone have their own Scars of Mirrodin prerelease experiences / decks to share?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Makeshift Tokens

T-Rex! Noooooooooooo~!

As much as I wuv my Myr tokens and hope to use them tomorrow, I've been tempted to bring along my T-Rex to Magic tournaments to be used as a creature token for a while now. His mouth opens and closes, so there's an easy way to make if he's tapped or untapped, and it would be cool if he represented my Avatar should I get one out with Ajani Goldmane. So long as I didn't make an ass of myself by making it literally trample or otherwise interact with the cards themselves (i.e. nothing like what's pictured here), I don't think anyone would mind.

Sadly, there has rarely been a scenario where he'd actually work as a token. I mean, imagine if I used him to represent a Myr or a cat token. Not even his being inanimate would stop his biting me. Given that he most likely wouldn't get used and he effectively takes up more space than the box I carry cards in, I'll probably leave him behind. Or not. We'll see.

That said, what's the most interesting "token" you've ever used in a game?

Note: The above photo was carefully taken by a dude pretending he knew what he was doing. Exercise caution when taking stupid photos of your own cards, or they could easily become damaged. Thank you.

Prerelease Tomorrow

The Scars of Mirrodin pre-release is tomorrow! I have my Myr token proxies ready to go. I actually hope I can manage to make an infect-themed deck, but given how sealed works, I'm mostly hoping I can get any sort of theme going.

If you don't mind spoilers and are looking for some pre-release deck construction advice, I recommend this pre-release primer and this daily TMG article.

I've decided to only play in one tournament for a variety of reasons, one of which being that I'm usually ready to stop playing for a while after just one tournament. It will make my blogging about it later easier, at least.

Note: the links included below are to cards from Scars, so don't click if you don't want card spoilers.

My only real regret in regard to not playing more than one of these tournaments this weekend is that I do want four of the promo card being offered, but the fact that it's a promo card in addition to being a mythic rare in the set should help keep the cost relatively low as far as mythics go. I hope that'll be the case, anyway. I have a green deck that would love it.

In the meantime, however, I'm looking forward to making Myr and Infect decks. I'm making the Myr one first, as I know exactly what I'm doing with that, but I do have at least one brutal combo in mind for the Infect deck.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scars of Mirrodin: Saying "NI!" To Infect

"Shrubberies are a source of
many medicinal remedies."

In an earlier post, I made a joke about Knight Exemplar being afraid of a new ability to be found in Scars of Mirrodin called Infect. Infect deals damage to players in the form of poison counters and creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters. If this reduces an indestructible creature to 0 toughness, it will be destructed nonetheless, so--

Wait, no wavy red underline? "Destructed" is a real word? AWESOME!

*erhem* Anyway, this has resulted in people at my local FNM speculating that knights will be far less potent once Scars comes out due to the Knight Exemplar becoming less reliable.

I'm about to get into card spoilers beyond the existence of the "infect" ability, so if it bothers you that much, flee like I just said ni.

Thing is, however, the Knight Exemplar's boons aren't the only thing knights have going for them. For one thing, every knight in my deck has, or quickly level up to having, first strike. With the exception of a particularly nasty looking 4/4 dragon and a 1/5 horror, my knights are pretty well equipped to block and kill anything with infect without having to deal with -1/-1 counters. White Knights offer significant protection, and they're in my main deck for being 2/2 first strikers for WW alone. The protection from black is a happy bonus.

Plague Stinger, the flying 1/1 black creature with Infect, is a considerable threat given that it's flying, but my knights are still equipped to deal with them via my own flying creatures and creature removal spells. It's possible the flying knights in my deck will lose first strike should I trade my current ones for the weaker-but-less-expensive Kemba's Skyguard (2/2 flying for 1WW, gain 2 life when it enters the battlefield), but it still beats the Plague Stinger.

I'm not saying things aren't going to get more difficult for knights. The themes of Scars means much more -1/-1 shenanigans, be they via infect or something like Grasp of Darkness, a black spell for BB that gives a creature -4/-4 until end of turn, so the knights are definitely more vulnerable.

My point, however, is that I don't think knight decks will suddenly become non-viable. They will still be effective against other decks and capable of holding their own against infect decks. In fact, I look forward to facing off against an infect deck with my knights. Assuming I'm right, those will be intense, fun games.

Of course, that probably won't happen for a while if I get all the cards I need for my Myr deck before the first October FNM. Tap and roll out, Myrs!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh Yes

I am ready for Saturday.

And now, let us gaze into a future blog post through the power of MAGIC....

I didn't get any Myr cards. At all. Not even a freakin' common. I mean, I figured I might not get to use the tokens, but COME ON!

It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. I was giddy when they handed out the packs, but as my hopes dwindled with the opening of each Myr-less pack, I knew what it was to experience despair.

You know what deck I had to make? A beaver deck. Yeah. Beavers. Turns out there are beavers in Scars. They're the primary creature race for red, and their gimmick is forest destruction. NONE OF MY OPPONENTS PLAYED GREEN! I had an army of wood chomping beavers, and all they could do is stand around bewildered in the plains, sink in the swamps, and wonder why the hell they were red creatures in the mountains!

They were cool with the islands, though. Swam around, made chit-chat with those four-armed dudes... That was okay.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

FNM September 17 - Wrath of The Stalemates

Knight Exemplar: "Knights know no
fear! Wait, what does that new
ability in Scars do? ...Son of a..."

Last night was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at Friday Night Magic (FNM). I had a 50/50 win/loss record over five rounds, but for most of the games I lost, I went down swinging. Or, more accurately, went down sitting with a solid defense that my opponents simply couldn’t get through.

I was playing mono-white knights. Strangely for a white deck, it has zero life gain in it, but it can still be very difficult to kill off. Between Knight Exemplar, Brave The Elements, Day of Judgment, Condemn, and Journey to Nowhere, I could set up a defensive position that could keep me alive via stalemate long past my opponent’s will to live, particularly if I managed to get two Knight Exemplars into play.

These stalemates resulted in some fun “I just won’t die” scenarios. One stalemate against an ally deck with life gain lasted long enough for my opponent to reach 142 life. It would have been more, but I kept fruitlessly clawing away at him with a Cloud Crusader.

My last game lasted 32 turns, over two-thirds of which was spent with me effectively untouchable while at 4 life. A Day of Judgment would have ended the stalemate in my favor, but he managed to give a twice-pumped Steppe Lynx protection from white with Emerge Unscathed first, dealing just enough damage to finish me.

Speaking of Steppe Lynx, I might have to make a cat deck after the release of Scars. Granted, some of these cats would have to be humanoid, but I’ve wanted to make a cat deck for a while and this could be my chance. Assuming there are enough white cat creatures for it, it will be a white-blue deck. The reason for this is a suggestion from that last opponent who said that Diminish should be included for its artwork alone.

Many minutes later, long after the discussion regarding my cat deck had supposedly ended, I commented that Mighty Leap would also be mandatory. You can't have a kitty deck without cats jumping around and getting where they're not supposed to be, darn it!

I won’t be playing FNM next week, as the Scars Prerelease is that Saturday and Sunday. I only plot to play one day, but I might play in as many as two tournaments on Saturday just because I already have a deck in mind based on spoilers and it’s almost exclusively stuff from the new set. Crafty Wizards…

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fan Card - Tedd Verres

Click image for full size

In the interest of proving my nerdiness, I have created this fan-card of my El Goonish Shive character, Tedd Verres. This card is obviously a fan-work not intended for sale or tournament play and is just for fun, but I'm paranoid so I'm going to say it for the record anyway

For those not familiar with the comic, Tedd is a teenage mad scientist with a gun that can transform people. A... transformation gun... if you will (/Shatner). While I could have made an equipment card for the gun, and may yet do so, I felt it appropriate for Tedd to have the TF Gun permanently accessible to him.

As for the card itself, I honestly don't know if it's balanced. His ability is powerful, particularly if you have a 0 cost creature like Ornithopter in your hand, but short of transforming himself, he is fairly fragile at 0/2. There's also the fact that morphing inexpensive creatures into expensive ones can really tie up one's mana, especially if zapping more than one.

I suspect if he was a real card, there would be several changes made for balance. That, or they'd just make him a 3/3 Mythic Rare. ZING!

The reason he costs 2U instead of 1UU or even UUU is because I can't imagine Tedd not being able to work in the same deck as Grace, and there's no way Grace isn't at least part Green. I know it's just for funzies and I'm unlikely to ever play an actual game with these fake cards, but I like the idea of a Blue-Green Tedd-Grace deck.

Most ruling questions that might come up if actually playing Tedd in casual can likely be resolved by checking the rulings on Vesuvan Doppleganger. Beyond that, if X is in the casting cost of the revealed creature, THAT X should be treated as 0, and a creature becoming a copy wouldn't trigger "enters the battlefield" effects.

If you'd like to see a larger, not cropped version of the card's art, click here to visit the EGS website.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Myr Tokens!

I gave into an impulse to practice digital "painting" in photoshop that has resulted in the creation of three Myr tokens, the image for the third one pictured to the right.

Myr Token 1.0
Myr Token 2.0
Myr Token 3.0

The progression of quality (from "ew" to "I'll admit to drawing this) is the result of listening to feedback and experimenting in PhotoShop, and it's tempting to just stop everything else and keep on experimenting. I've gots comics to make, however, so that will have to wait. I am hoping to make more Myr tokens before the Scars of Mirrodin pre-release, however.

You can find all of these together and more in my Magic Cards and Tokens folder on DA. Just don't hurt me after you've seen the custom Birds of Paradise proxy.

A Magic Blog? What The...

So I've decided to make a blog specifically for Magic-centric posts. A while back, I made, and subsequently UN-made, a blog specifically for my sketches upon deciding it wasn't necessary, as it was needlessly splitting up my blog posts.

So why do I think this blog is a good idea when that one was redundant? Because I have been tempted to post a LOT about Magic in my blog. Seriously, you have no idea. I didn't however, because only a portion of my readership would care about Magic-related posts, and I didn't want my blog to turn into something only accessible to Magic: The Gathering players.

Not wanting to do that to my blog but still wanting to be able to blog about the nerdy subject, I have decided to make this blog. ...Blog.

Speaking of things Magic-related one might post about, I have a few comics and funny images associated with Magic on Deviant Art. You should check them out.