We’re away at the beach and we invited friends to join us for a weekend of gaming and beach shenanigans. I won’t talk about the beach, since this blog is about gaming, but I will talk about what my group was doing in Magic: The Gathering. The weekend went well for me, with my Modern format Red Deck Wins defeating all who tried. All up, it had six wins and zero losses. It’s a tweaked version of the Standard format ‘Turn 3’ deck I posted a couple of weeks ago. The problem with the deck has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with fun – or lack of it, in this case. Red Wins is a pretty much purely mathematic exercise in maximising damage output using as little mana as possible and ending the game as early as possible. There are ways to counter it, but in general I prefer mid-range games which allow all players to have a chance to play their decks. It’s more fun (and educational) to play longer games and to see how other players construct their decks.
Here is an example of a Modern version of Red Deck Wins:
We also played some trials of the next phase of the Animals Abound (version 2) decks, which I posted as my very first contribution to this blog. I’ve decided to change the tournament up a bit and make the next rounds into multiplayer events. Three of us played together, with a very dangerous snake deck versus an insect deck versus my unblockable squid deck. All performed quite well, and I’ve decided to tweak mine a little. Should be fun! More on this closer to the actual event.
Additionally, we played a very long round of Commander. I was using the stock store-bought 2014 blue deck with one change – my commander is now Arcanis the Omnipotent. This one change has significantly improved the deck for me, but I still lost handily to the others. One was playing a Voltron (commander damage) style deck with Uril, the Miststalker and the other was using Progenitus (purely to support his 5-colour pure hate deck). I hilariously managed to control Uril using Ixidron to turn all other creatures (including him) into 2/2 creatures with no special abilities. Ixidron is one of my favourite cards in a blue commander deck precisely because it is one of the few ways to take care of a commander – especially if the player is using the Voltron strategy. Ixidron’s ability sneaks past hexproof, shroud, indestructible and totem armours! The Progenitus deck, however, managed to win the game by casting Primal Surge. This resulted in the player putting 75% of his deck onto the battlefield in one shot. One of those cards was Iona, Shield of Emeria. He chose blue, which meant I could no longer cast any blue spells. The game ended very quickly after that.
Since we’re on holiday and we’ve some time on our hands, we are currently in the process of sorting our cards. One of the things we’re sorting out is ‘useless’ cards (although no card is actually useless, some are less useful than others). When I say ‘useless’, I mean cards which have little or no additional value for their cost. One example is the Bronze Sable artifact, a common card from M15. It costs 2 mana to cast, and in return I receive a 2/1 artifact creature with no special abilities. Torch Fiend is another common M15 card which costs 2 mana to cast and gives a 2/1 creature. The difference is that I can pay 1 mana to sacrifice it and destroy an artifact. Bronze Sable goes into a container along with other cards we’re unlikely to use. Torch Fiend stays in the ‘I may use this in a deck someday’ container.
We had a thought about what to do with that ‘useless’ container of cards, so I posited the idea to some friends – a ‘useless’ deck tournament. The idea is to build the worst deck possible (within certain playability guidelines), then exchange decks with your opponent. You play the decks your opponents have designed and they play the deck you designed. At the end, the deck with the most losses wins the tournament. We think this is sure to provide lots of hilarity within our group, so it’s up for a vote now on our forums.
One last thing – in the future if I post a deck build, I’ll add the deck format to the title.