Posts tagged ‘MTG’

A self defeating gamble, that’s fun

So, This one is a Blue deck. It doesn’t always win, but the gamble is part of the fun. It is an Innistrad block self-mill deck. Kind of like performing a lobotomy on yourself more than a strategy. You really have to go against your natural instincts for self-preservation with this one. The idea behind this deck makes the Hellbent ability look like sunday school. Your not just emptying your hand and hoping you don’t fall from the tightrope here (like Hellbent does at adrenaline pace), you don’t get the safety net of maybe drawing a good card here and having a huge library waiting for you with a promise of victory. With this deck your closing your eyes and jumping off of a cliff you didn’t even look over first.

Your biggest concern with this deck will be Surgical extraction. Surgical extraction can hit you from the beginning to the end and will decimate this deck. This deck only has one win condition and it is in the four copies of Laboratory Maniac, which means it only takes one surgical extraction (that can be played for two life if their mana is tapped out) and they are probably running four copies of the DAMNED card.


  • Island x 20


  • Screeching Skaab x 4
  • *Laboratory Maniac x 4
  • Geralf’s Mindcrusher x 3
  • Deranged Assistant x 4
  • Armored Skaab x 4
  • Rotcrown Ghoul x 4
  • **Mirror-Mad Phantasm x 1


  • Thought Scour x 4
  • Chill of Foreboding x 4
  • Forbidden Alchemy x 4
  • Ghoulcaller’s Bell x 4

Sideboard (Creatures):

  • Mindshrieker x 3

Sideboard (Spells):

  • Dream Twist x 4
  • Curse of The Bloody Tome x 4
  • Dreadwaters x 4

#End of Deck list# 

* = Win condition card

** = Star player, using more than one will lessen it’s effect as it stops at the first one it comes across.

The Skaabs play defense and mill you a bit closer to your goal. The assistant provides mana acceleration with a steady mill effect. The Mirror-Mad can rush for the goal if your win condition is in place. The Laboratory maniac rewards your suicidal charge with a win once your library has imploded.

The spells let you sift through your library with cards like Forbidden Alchemy, to get your win condition while tossing all else to the side. Other spells let you mill yourself and your opponent at the same time in hopes of disrupting his/her plans while also hopefully dumping their surgical extractions into the graveyard (it only takes one to spoil your fun). The mill comes a bit slow at the cost of keeping the deck within one block. This keeps it interesting though.

The sideboard critter is for blocking flyers and providing a steady mill if you have the land left over. Do not let this one tie up your land for its ability though as you need to cast your way to oblivion. The sideboard spells help you concentrate more on mill and less on defense. The rush with this deck is in seeing if you can defeat yourself with a winning lose condition. If you don’t get a laboratory maniac out before you’ve milled away your hopes and dreams then you are in for a loss that you can’t blame on anyone else.  That is why I have named this deck “Self Defeat Blues”.

Another card that may have been overlooked. Increasing confusion. It costs 1&x, is at sorcery speed and has a flashback of 1&x. X translates to straight up mill. Dreadwaters is generally a better card at 1(blue) 3 colorless, and you mill equal too lands you have, while still keeping those remaining lands open for more spells. Increasing Confusion’s flashback is tempting however as it lets you make up for past mistakes a.k.a. if you mill it by accident you can always flashback it for the same cost and double the effect, making for a very powerful play. Also, you can play Increasing Confusion on the second and third turns and get some extra oomph out of/from your deranged assistants when those are in play (you don’t get to count them as land for your Dreadwaters). If you are going to go above 20 lands then consider cycling (best option) or land-cycling lands (if you are so set on getting a land) too further mill your deck; however this kills the block purity.

With card games the strategy isn’t just in the cards.

Recently I played in a tournament. It got me thinking of strategy again. It also, accidentally, had me using strategy again. I thought I was just pissing off someone, but it help me win the match.

So, what thoughts have been running through my head? …on strategy of course. What has been coming to mind when I try to get all strategic? Well, strategies that have been used against me come to mind right away.

One guy, who is a regular for MTG in this area, has an intimidation strategy. He does it very well. He is good at the game, and great at making decks, but that’s not part of the strategy, or even relevent to his success. For him success is in intimidation. First he hangs out with the best players in the area, as much as possible, while talking about the more complicated aspects of the game (loudly so all can hear). Second he has one strategy for his turn and one for your turn. His turn he takes as absolutely long as possible and acts as indecisive as he can, while making annoying noises. Your turn he keeps impatiently sighing, insulting your play choices (like saying “well that card sucks”), questions every move you make and stops every play you do to thoroughly read the card, and all while saying things like “oh come on, you’re taking forever”, “Make up your mind already”, “you gonna play a card sometime today?” and impatiently flipping his cards against each other making a loud distracting noise.

What are his weaknesses? When he says “well that card sucks” it means you have thrown him off and he is trying to fluster you so he can plan a new strategy around the card you just played. If you can remain calm then you probably can guess what about that card has caused him fear and capitalize on it. He also doesn’t really know as much about the rules as it seems. He actually concentrates so much on the obscure aspects of the game (to intimidate you with his game knowledge), that you can easily catch him on simple things and surprise him, especially if its a new game mechanic/card ability. Finally he has a huge ego, you can play to it and get him to underestimate you or destroy it and smash him, ending in a rage quit.

Ran into a couple people at the tournament that know the rules inside and out. That’s fine I know th rules well enough that it wasn’t a problem. They saw this and then went to constant babbling so that I would make simple mistakes, like using the wrong card. Stuff so obvious that the average player would have seen it was an obvious distracted mistake and said “No prob sorry I was talking so much redo that”, they, in both cases, were counting on it and quickly said “Well that’s gonna cost you the game”. Had I kept my cool I could have won 2/1 on those matches instead of lost 2/1. Even with those mistakes I could have easily adjusted my strategy, but I opted for getting pissed of, gritting my teeth, and losing. Didn’t blow up or even make verbal my anger. I know these two and found what they did to me funny. The anger was at myself.

The one I angered… He was hungry and wanted the match over fast so he could eat. I just grinned and said “Well you better lose quick then cause I am gonna drag this out as long as I can. I even went as far to look through a magazine while playing. I didn’t seem like I was paying attention to the game, but I played each card carefully and reacted perfectly to each of his plays. At one point he grabbed the magazine from my hand and threw it across the store (it was the stores magazine anyway), I just laughed and said all sarcastically “hey I was looking at that”, no I wasn’t really, just flipping pages and talking like I was interested in what was on them, with comments like “ahh that’s nice” or “hey that’s cool”. Under my shades my eyes were on the table not the magazine. I went on to win that match and upon my victory said “You know you should have let me keep the magazine and you would have won that easily”. I should probably mention that I had seen this guy show up without food and made sure to keep eating in front of him all day until just before our match when I had finished off all of my food. He likes to eat and I knew that so I even kept on eating in front of him long after I had gotten full.

So what strategy has this all lead too? Well someone had seen a gag/practical joke/whatever on some website and told me about it. They thought the looks it would get from people would be funny. I immediately thought of how absolutely distracting something that disgusting could be.

The idea… empty a jar of mayonnaise. Fill it with vanilla pudding. Eat it in front of people.

Just imagine how difficult it would be to play magic against someone eating mayo like it was his last meal. Nothing but a jar of that lard and a spoon. Maybe even get sloppy and get some on my cheeks. Wipe it onto the back of my hand and lick it off. I might even pull out a straw and noisily use it on the fatty jar of gross.

Anyway, went and bought some mayonnaise and pudding today. Cleaned out the jar and letting it air out a bit. I am gonna love this.

If I had perfected my blue @$$hole deck more I would use it with this idea. See I had this deck perfected once, but it got destroyed. I almost have it recreated.

Half the cards undo everything your opponent does, sometimes requiring just one or two mana more. Always making them think they were so frustratingly close. ruth is that even if they had the extra mana I would just play another card to undo whatever they did. Even returns lands to their hand. Not just boomerang, no there are plenty of blue cards for this effect.

The remaining half of the deck plays things that include the ability to untap the exact amount of lands it took to play them. That’s right you play your cards for free. Suddenly your side of the table is running out of room and theirs is barren. Barren as ….I don’t know insert some famous womans name and make this comically insulting.

The strategy to the deck is to say “You didn’t ask my permission” every time you undo something that they did. Anytime they act anger or frustrated say “well the game is a lot funner if you play something” and finally when your side of the table is massively full of cards you played for free “wow are you gonna take a turn cause I am so many ahead I think I am just gonna go ahead and win if you don’t mind?.”

I might have to post that deck if I ever get it perfected again. They reprinted one of the cards in M13. It’s a blue counterspell called Rewind. It’s an instant and it costs 2 blue and 2 colorless and reads Counter target spell and untap up to four lands. So you get to undo something they did and it costs you nothing.

Sometime I should add more strategies onto this post…

What “Graveborn” Should Have Been

First get yourself one of that cool spin down life counter dice from the Graveborn set.  You will need it for this badassery. This deck seems low power at first, but if you keep at it you won’t lose, and shouldn’t have to worry about late game spells and creatures, as this deck should win by early to early mid game.

Second I should provide a link for the looking up of stuff. More specifically for looking up the cards I am about to mention. Favorite that addy and have it tabbed while you browse this.

I also suggest you get yourself a forty of Mickey’s, or a mini-keg of Grolsch, for when you play this. Chelada’s are also great for a night of MTG with a buddy. Snacks are not a good idea as you are going to be doing a lot with this deck. Therefore, some booz for a quick drink now and then is best.

The deck is primarily black, but has four blue critters. It uses, mostly, older cards. The “Graveborn” deck was more concentrated on discarding and graveyard recursion; it should have been called back from the grave. This deck concentrates on putting stuff into your graveyard and letting the creature’s own abilities bring them back fast and cheap. Free in most cases. From the grave you shall berth an army.

Lands (20):

  • Dakmor Salvage x 4 (dredge – fill grave, anti land destruction)
  • Crystal Vein x 4 (speed)
  • Swamp x 12

Creatures (20):

  • Gravecrawler x 4 (2/1 1st turn critter)
  • Nether Traitor x 4
  • Nether Shadow x 4
  • Bloodghast x 4
  • Ashen Ghoul x 4


  • Entomb x 4 (fill grave)
  • Buried Alive x 4 (fill grave)
  • Last Rites x 4 (control your opponent)
  • Dark Ritual x 4 (speed)
  • Chalner’s Edict x 4 (creature destruction)


  • Narcomoeba x 4 critter (the blue guy, sideboard it incase you need more speed)
  • Hidden Horror x 4 critter (sideboard it for its power, and for getting your creatures from your hand into your graveyard)
  • Distress x 3 spell (sideboard for control on you opponent)
  • One with Nothing x 4 spell (by suggestion of Mister Morn)

Playing The Deck:

This deck is all about getting your creatures into your graveyard as fast as possible. From there they do the work for you and pop back into play. None of the creatures are very big; however you will have a swarm, of mostly bigger than 1/1 creatures every turn after the first, or second turn.

You should be able to stay ahead of you opponent at all times. Attack en-mass. If you block consider blocking with more than one creature. After all your creatures will be right back on your next turn, theirs will not.

Chainer’s Edict (which has flashback for late game creature removal) and Last Rites will allow you to get rid of your opponents creatures, so that you can press the assault. Dark ritual will speed things up, so that your opponent is left in the dust. Entomb and Buried alive are your most important spells, as they fill your graveyard fast.

Dakmor Salvage helps against land destruction decks. It dredges to fill your graveyard. It doesn’t come into play tapped so you are not slowed by it. Finally it has a neat trick for getting a creature you drew into your graveyard; just dredge all of your Drakmor Salvages to take your hand above seven cards, this lets you just discards those critters straight to your graveyard at the end of your turn. The crystal vein gives you one colorless or two if you sacrifice it, this makes your deck speed up a bit when it really needs that little extra boost, and since it doesn’t come into play tapped it is not going to slow you down, like a lot of non-basic lands.

The sideboard has cards that allow you to control what you opponent can and can’t do (Distress). It also, gives you a little more speed. The Narcomoeba goes straight to the battlefield when you entomb, or buried alive it.

The Hidden Horror prevents those pesky back ups of the decks flow when you have a creature in your hand instead of your graveyard. Plus his power and low-cost will give you something to make your opponent panick, I suggest saving him for a blocker as at 4/4 he can take care of most early and mid game creatures. With a dark ritual, you can have that hidden horror out on first turn (and a creature in your graveyard) paving the way for a win.

One with Nothing gives you a little Zen moment when you have a hand full of critters. Drop a land and then dump those critters into the graveyard to set things off on turn one. A huge speed boost in this sideboard card. (Someone should make a haiku for me to insert here).

There is the full 60 card deck and 15 card sideboard.

The Official “Graveborn Deck” was not what it should have been. I did get a copy and here is what I have done with my copy. It is closer to what it should have been.

Lands (20):

  • Swamp x 14
  • Polluted Mire x 2
  • Ebon Stronghold x 2
  • Crystal Vein x 2

Creatures (16):

  • Sheoldred, Whispering One x 1 (Does what the deck is all about)
  • Teneb, The Harvester x 1 (A much better themed fit than Crosis)
  • Chancellor of the Dross  x 1 (Lifelink, and opening hand benefits)
  • Visara the Dreadful  x 1 (Creature Destruction)
  • Scion of Darkness x 2 (Cycle and does what the deck is all about)
  • Rune-Scarred Demon x 4 (Gets you what you need)
  • Avatar of Woe x 2 (Creature Destruction)
  • Putrid Imp x 4 (All about, and only used for, Getting creatures from hand to graveyard)

Spells (24):

  • Entomb x 2 (For those not so fresh empty hands)
  • Buried Alive x 4 (For those embarassing moments when the graveyard just wont perform)
  • Reanimate x 2 (When you need that early game sheoldred fix. Better consider Chancellor if you use the second one)
  • Animate Dead x 4 (The classic back for more retrival card)
  • Exhume x 4 (when you want to give your enemy a fighting chance)
  • Dread Return x 4 (A solid card for this deck, with flashback)
  • Diabolic Servitude x 4 (A bit wordy, but works)


  • Cabal Therapy x 3 spell (Rockin artwork)
  • Sickening Dreams x 4 spell
  • Last Rites x 4 spell
  • Crosis, the Purger x 1 critter (To limit your enemy’s options and get more into their graveyard for you to bring back)
  • Avatar of Woe x 1  critter (incase the other 2 are not enough)
  • Scion of Darkness x 2 critter  (when you really want to gut punch them)

Playing The Deck:

An imp in the opening hand is heavily needed. Entomb and buried alive can do the trick in the imps absence. You only need two land to get this deck running well, so a one land hand isn’t a death sentence and you don’t want more than three in your opening hand.

Do whatever it takes to get Sheoldred out fast. From there Teneb or a Scion will have things working as they should and the deck playing itself. Rune-Scars will get you to speed things up and chancellor will fix that life total of yours if you found yourself playing reanimate. With my take on Graveborn your enemy is giving you a helping hand. Why settle for your own graveyard when you can use both. Sheol, Vis, Avats all help you keep your opponent’s grave full of critter options for Graveborn’s unique take on summoning.

My sideboard is mostly for show. Never really use it. The critters give you more of what you need and the spells help you control your opponent by limiting their options. Take away their best spell options to stop you, or put their best critter where it can easily be accessed by your Graveborn.

If you really want to lose some friends consider adding “Iona, Shield of Emeria” x 1 critter. This Zendikar Angel will shut down mono colored decks. A solid first creature from the grave play. She is also a large flyer. She is mythic rare for a reason.

4 copies of Twisted Abomination are also worth considering. Swamp cycling, regenerating, high power creatures with enough toughness to withstand the early game. Cycling in this deck is great for dumping a large creature in your graveyard and drawing a spell to play it. Land cycling speeds things up in this already fast deck by getting the swamps into your hand so you are more likely to draw something you really need. A good start if you are considering this card is to take out one copy of ‘Sickening Dreams’ and one copy of ‘Last Rites’ from your sideboard and put in two of this card to kind of test it out.

Other than the Scions; you should be able to get this deck in all foils. My Scions and Teneb are not foil. It feels a bit off whenever I play those particular cards with this deck.