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By: Paul Leicht, Paul Emerson Leicht
Sep 25 2015 12:00pm
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 Magic Philosophy - Sowing Salt

by Paul Emerson Leicht - September, 2015

betrayers of kamigawa -- Sowing Salt art.

[Author's Note: I wrote this article after a long dry spell because I had something I wanted to communicate. At age 50 now, I find communication is both my worst lack and also my biggest hope. Also September is significant to me because this is the month my mom passed away of cancer (Sept 26th, 2007) and it also the month I chose sobriety over death (Sept 08, 1983). September is always the month of new beginnings and endings for me. So I wanted to be present here for you in this time of changes. I hope my messages are taken in that light.]

Introduction: For years now Magic Online has been a bone of contention for many players and so has the game of Magic: The Gathering itself. The target of much of our collective ire, Wizards of the Coast has made decision after decision that seems at best controversial to many of us. At worst some have abandoned parts or the whole of the game we love. Some in frustration, some because of principle and others in despair or temporary emotional fugue. In other words, Salt. We, Magic Players tend to be a salty group to begin with.

We don't like to be forced to discard cards. We hate when our lands get blown up unless we are the one doing the blowing up and if it advantages us somehow. We dislike it when our opponents don't allow us to cast stuff because they are playing filthy dirty blue control cards. We love to stop our opponents from playing anything significant. We dislike when our opponents have cards we can't even get access to and we love blinging out our decks (even when the difference in price between a cheap version and a pricy version is a new car.) 

We hate when we lose to "weaker" players. We hate when we fail to draw the correct cards in the correct order. We hate when our opponents make mistakes that only hurt us, and hate when our own mistakes are shoved in our faces. We hate losing and we hate sore losers. We despise filthy thieves and traders who are in it to fleece us of our good cards and we hate when we can't get value from our trades because our trade partners are too wary of machinations.

We hate when the rules change and really hate stagnation. When Standard rotates we bemoan the fates of our collections and when a format does not rotate we cry out for relief from the monotony of the current top tier decks. The tyranny of winning strategies has us seeking revolution yet we are too afraid to try new strategies on our own without confirmation from others that we are on the right track.

We hate when the entry fees are too high or the prizes lack value for us. We despise tie breakers that favor others and we thoroughly loath the intentional draws that get people we don't know into the top 8. We dislike being near odious people. We don't want to be considered odious ourselves. We dislike social interaction and yet we want to play with others. We want to crush our enemies and hear the lamentations of their families for generations to come.( We want a lot of things we will never experience.) And we really don't want to be on the receiving end of such a blowout.

We feel OK making fun of fat people (or even those who aren't fat but whose body shape we don't approve of) and people who seem less smart than us (or even just those who don't geek out the same way we do). We are comfortable with making snide remarks and being supercilious particularly towards the socially awkward and or inept. We think nothing of making the opposite sex (usually female) not want to be anywhere in our vicinity via our own subpar social skills.

We also hate when the Magic Online client slows our computer down or makes it crash. (Why on earth did WOTC choose .NET??? of all platforms?) We dislike waiting for queues to fire. In general if there is something to complain about in M:TG or MTGO we will find it and yammer on to whomever will pretend to be interested.

So we are whiners. And that's OK. The important thing is we love the game. Well it might not be that important to others but it is something WE have in common. If this is not true of you, then either I coerced you into reading this because you are a Facebook friend/or family member or I have no idea why you are reading this. Because this is an article about how we players and the company that makes the game we love, sow salt. And by salt I mean huge mounds of the stuff.

And I mean a lot of salt.

Let me start with the inspiration for this article: The Community forums are being removed.

For many years, we players have gone to Wizards.com and then visited the forums. Some of us may have not just visited the MTG or MTGO forum threads but also maybe ventured into D&D territory. Or one of the other areas on the site. All to the good and much rejoicing has been had. One of MTGO's stalwarts Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg was a big reason why the forums lasted as long as they did without severely imploding.

Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg

I didn't get involved in the forums myself until much later. During the Beta I only reported bugs and drafted. Then when the Beta ended I promptly forgot my beta account, my beta account password and that MTGO existed. I stopped playing MTG altogether having already stopped playing paper MTG a year+ before. 2009 is what my Forums account reads as my inaugural post (my current play account dates from 2007.) I missed much of the forums greatness. I did not get involved with the legendary BBSers or the Uncon or the myriad other fun things that came before my time. I did not have a special nickname given by an ORC (Moderator) after I'd been there for a while. By the time I started posting regularly (2009-2010ish) that practice  stopped. Several years ago when WOTC renovated the sites they took those nicknames away completely. Which was a shame because in a very minute manner, they made the forums fun and interesting, something that the game needs more of.

BubbaWhen I started posting, Bubba was the main man. (Volunteer Community Liaison (VCL) is the title he had and shared with Hammy and Natedawg if I recall correctly.) I remember thinking back then how wonderful it was that players were not merely allowed to moderate (to some degree) the forums of my favorite company, but also awesome that they were given responsibilities and bold purple ink to help make their posts clearer.

Over the years since I started posting regularly I have run into all kinds of posts there. I admit I have had huge swathes of time go by without really posting much of anything. Even though I have tried to be somewhat helpful to the people who have posted there sometimes I just got too busy with other things. Life. etc. Sometimes the fact that people were vastly upset about this change or that change (m2010 rules, vintage/power 9 not being implemented, vintage being implemented but not being kept in check, delayed redemptions, redemptions fees going up, and so on) kept me from being more involved and I regret that. I have tried to make it a daily habit to check whether there are any threads needing replies. If so I have added my own brand of what I think of as common sense as much as possible. Sometimes the outcome has been good. Sometimes maybe not so much. But it felt like a community. 

After Erik died, I had my own brand of salt on the forums. I nearly lost "it" when I received an email informing me that a post I wrote was being removed (or had been removed already) because someone complained it was not appropriate when that post was regarding Erik and mourning for his loss. I did not actually lose it because I am generally rational enough to avoid total meltdowns in public. We missed Erik and could have used his cool head on the forums then but things eventually sorted themselves out. It was a tempest in a teapot compared to the rest of the world.

Echoing Decay

I think I understand why WOTC is doing this. The forums have decayed from their former glory days of vibrant discussions into very little being said. And when someone of my lowly stature is one of the most frequent posters well that is saying something. There are so many people who were great posters that often I felt no need to comment at all because the best words had already been given voice. The forums as they are now are probably grim and sorry reminder of how badly the website and forums have been handled. Sure people defected because V4 is not as good as V3 and makes a lot of people salty just thinking about it and voicing that opinion on the forums became a tired tirade.

And sure some departed because Leagues. (Hey Leagues are back guys, though not in the form perhaps you'd hoped for.) Some disappeared because when they tried to login to post they lost their account information to the myriad glitches that plagued the forums for a while. (One that really irks me still is the account page meta redirect that takes you from a page like say a spoiler and forces you to the account page even if you are already logged in. The only fix is to hit the X next to the url when it starts to meta-redirect refresh.) 

Some defected because no one in the WOTC staff would respond to any threads anymore. Suddenly the pearly gates of the ivory towers shut tight. I remember when the WOTC employees from top down were highly approachable. I played games with Richard Garfield and Peter Adkison on the occasions they visited NGNY. I knew and chatted late into the night/morning with Steven Bishop (first DCI head) when we were at DexCon in the 90s. I had a game with Worth once in the Casual Play/Casual Decks room. Sadly it was interrupted because he had to leave to deal with a "fire" but it was fun. Heck I had a game with Worth and several other staffers in the Commander decks beta.

I remember seeing Maro several times at Pro Tours held in NYC and not knowing who he was at the time, just nodding and sharing a smile before moving on. I spoke with Aaron Forsythe in chat in 2009 or so. (We'd had a brief correspondence in the early 2ks but he didn't remember me. He was pretty polite about it though.) I've interacted with many of the ORCs on a positive level and I have a lot of respect for many of the people who work at the company. They are in general pretty terrific folks.

But now it seems like the closing of the forums is a silent and foreboding warning that WOTC employees are no longer approachable. I know, Twitter/Facebook/etc are the preferred methods now. And I have both of those. But I don't own a device that I carry around and type on with my thumbs in the hopes of finding useful and entertaining interactions with other people on. I just don't. My kindle when I use it is a life counter, or chess app or a book when I am traveling light. It is not my hub onto the internet. Maybe I am a dinosaur that I consider long form discussion venues (forums and the like) to be superior to 140 character max media. If that is the case I know I am not alone.

Personally I think this is a huge mistake. One that they will regret for a long time to come. The lore and culture of a forum older than some players is not something to be lightly tossed aside because one wishes to change the paradigm for how people interact with you. In fact it is an embarrassing and disastrous approach to public relations and will not be easily forgotten.

They are also by the way trashing the entire D&D forums as well that have DECADES of material on them. If you care about any of that I suggest you start delving for what you consider worth saving and do so. There are places to help with that. The Piazza (a sort of catchall of game forums) has offered space to the WOTC forums users and I can tell you they are great bunch. I am WinterWolf on there. MTGSalvation is probably going to be helpful in that regard as well.

Well I don't know about you, but this is one major reason I am feeling Salty at the moment. 

The Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg Community Cup

The Community Cup.

Doesn't it seem like every time I talk about WOTC I end up talking about the community cup? That can't be a coincidence. This year I am torn between salt and gratitude. I am grateful to the team that we did not get to select that they squeaked out a win. Thank you for not being worse than the WOTC team. I am salty because I did not get to help pick them. I have been right about many invitees in the past and feel like I have a deserved achievement of being a "Kingmaker" of sorts by the fact that many of the players I have recommended to get an invite have in fact either gotten one or made it impossible to get one (BlippyTheSlug) when reached out to.

So naturally I feel my prerogative as an average Joe (or Paul) player with only a little bit of glory to my name has been trampled on. Why didn't we get to help pick the players invited to Renton this year? We don't know. They didn't tell us and not only that but the interviews with WOTC employees that past CC events have precipitated were not available this year. We don't know why. Maybe Kenji and some of the other wonderful people invited will tell us.

I don't know about you but I am looking forward to digging into the podcasts (Magic, the Amaturing) by Marie and Meghan (who seem like decent players and funny to boot.) I don't listen to many podcasts. Freed from the Real is the only one I listen to regularly. But these two seem like they will be  hilarious or at least entertaining.

So I am not salty at all with the community cup team. Though if they lost -- and it was close -- the story might be different. I was worried that Ironroot Chef Judge Kimberly Kliene might have been a bit too partial to WOTC after certain remarks she made during her judging but she surprised me during the dessert segment, by marking WOTC's team down to 2 (I was sure she was going to give them a 3) and then giving the CC team a 5. I apologize for having misgivings. Was the guy in the forums here right? Did WotC (very carefully) rig the outcome? I don't think so. It looked like a natural and well balanced match. Perhaps that is why we didn't get to give input. Because they wanted a better chance to win. I am a little salty still that we were not given even the illusion of picking the team. But since we won and I am looking forward to the Unhinged lands (and Thalia I guess) I will consider this one water under the bridge.

unhinged plainsunhinged swampunhinged islandunhinged mountainunhinged forestthalia, guardian of thraben

Who would I have recommended? Well there are so many new puremtgo contributors I don't even need to leave this site to find nominees worthy of the invites. Joe Fiorini has done real yeoman's work making Vintage strategy more accessible especially since the Vintage community at large has not posted much on this site outside of YSO. And YSO has not posted a new cast in ages.

Wappla has also done some very nice in-depth insightful work on Vintage strategy. Those two are at the top of my list but also long time puremtgo veteran CottonRhetoric has been providing high quality casual magic articles for us. Christopher Giovannagelo has been a  steady contributor as has been Blastodermman. But to me Adam "The mentat" Clayton (Aka Atomic Boosh) has done a great job stepping into Keya's boots, Sebastian's Sneakers and thus by proxy Erik's shoes and he also posts a nifty commander from a Johnny perspective article quite often. So the list is not short but it is high quality and if we leave the site the crowd of potential invitees gets larger.

Much, much larger. For instance, one time pro, Hogan Long is a guy who did incredible work for the community back in the day as Co-Creator (with Brian David-Marshall),  and Developer of neutralground.net which served the world news events about Neutral Ground NY (the world famous MTG NYC club where many a pro called home), pro tours and articles by awesome pros and illustrious writers. He is back in the community now, streaming on twitch.tv. I expect he would be a great candidate for future CC invites based on his history with the community and ongoing work, streaming. Unfortunately Hogan often has to work more than the average 9-5 (plus commute time) so his streams aren't as regular as he'd like them to be.

I can think of a dozen others like Hogan who deserve some acknowledgement and praise. And the CC has become the default way WOTC does this.  The point I am making is we should get some say in this community activity. Not be shut out by fiat. Not when so many great people are waiting in the wings. I don't begrudge those who went and performed a decent job of defending Erik's trophy. But I do begrudge the lack of say.

 

MTGO's slow rate of improvement.

I am the proud new owner of a "decent" box. It isn't a top gaming rig but it does alright and MTGO has improved dramatically because of that. But I am still reluctant to use it regularly. It is true that part of the reason is that having become accustomed to playing OTHER games instead of MTGO I have a large queue of games to play so that my MTGO time is somewhat limited.

And since I don't actually play Limited format very often I won't be breaking that habit to play Battle for Zendikar. I would not mind drafting it I guess, though I suspect I would do no better than I usually do (1-2 in swiss). Witness my (thankfully private) rating of 1600 or so (it might be a little lower right now.)

So this bit of "complaint" is ameliorated by the fact that I have not been really suffering through the lack of rapid improvements in the client. And what I am referring to in particular are the many features that were a part of the daily experience in version 3 that were just never included in version 4. Some (like the collection screen) were considered unimportant by the new designers and some were left out because functionality didn't require them (Chat symbols and emoticons that were restored a bit at a time, over time.) 

But I have to say it has been quite a while since version 3 bit the dust. Even longer since the basic form of the current iteration of version 4 came out of closed beta. It seems to me that at the very minimum the chat functionality should be worked on. Yes there are plenty of features and functions that could be implemented. The Collection/Editing scenes, Trading, etc. But for me the most important draw to playing on MTGO is being able to socialize online with other players while enjoying various forms of the game. If that isn't going to happen then I will just continue getting my fix by playing edh at local stores. And full disclosure, it certainly IS possible to do this without any intervention from WOTC but it the client is not conducive to chatting and it does not do anything to make it easier.

To not implement a fully functional chat leads me to wonder if the real goal behind all these moves of WOTC is to negate and nullify the whole concept of a MTG community in the first place and if so then I really would like to know why? I do not understand the cause behind these flagrant attacks on the communities cohesiveness but they seem as apparent to me as the fact that the emperor's new clothes do not exist. Intentional? Unintentional? This almost seems irrelevant. Or irrelephant as Adam might be inclined to say. 

Because regardless of whether there is intent or not behind this alarming trend, it is incumbent upon the players (you and me) to not let the trend continue. WE need to find a way to be a community despite the difficulties and honestly I am a lazy, good-for-very-little, slightly-worse-than-average magic player who thinks other people are great until you get to know them. So it may just be up to you. I kid about my personality. I am actually pretty gregarious despite a penchant for both being a pundit and a curmudgeon. I curb those urges as much as I can remember to.

No matter my personal defects, or yours for that matter, if we don't stick together and make this work, we may find ourselves unable to in the future. The forums are going away...chat may go away too. Entirely. That would mean the end of a lot of important things. Like Player Run Events. And celebrations and Clans. OK I am not in a clan because I have a restless nature and am hard to pin down. But I know clans are important to some of you. Think about MTGO without any ability to chat. No trades, no commentary on decks, no inspirational conversations, no sudden friendships. True that also eliminates trolls, heart burn caused by chat aggravation, and the need to worry about whether an ORC is going to mute or warn you about your irregularities. (That latter has very rarely happened to me but I know some people just can't help themselves.)

No gunslinging with WOTC employees either. Well maybe that could still happen but it would not be much fun imho. Half the fun of playing WOTC employees is socializing with them (or trash talking with them if that's what they are into).

That's about all the salt I have at the moment and I am glad to get that off of my chest. Let's see if I can dig up a few decks for our mutual amusement below.

Deck Brewing -- Cotton Style!

I mentioned CottonRhetoric above because I wanted to point out that on our very own site we have a source of great untapped potential. Cotton is funny and articulate, yet he is an unsung hero of casual magic. His builds really dig deep into the realms of weird magic. Most Johnnies are not nearly as Johnny as Cotton is. Yet he wanted to give back to the people and could not get any interaction for the contest in his last article (or the one before that.) And that seems a shame.

I posted this silly brew: (Vintage/Legacy legal): 

Illusionist's Bracers -Vintage
A deck for CottonRhetoric
 


4
4
1
1
3
3
3
4
3
4
1
2
1
1
3
1
1
1
4
3
2
2
3
3
2
1
 

 

So this deck is all about the synergy of using Bracers on stuff.  And by Stuff I mean Necrotic Ooze. Ooze is a fun little guy that does broken things when other broken cards are in your graveyard. Pack Rat and Lol Troll help that happen (but remember its ability includes ALL graveyards. Equipping any of those guys with Bracers works by the way because you get double value out of each of them. King Macar isn't the most synergistic include and it probably should be something else but I liked the idea of using him as my removal as an instant effect with a bracered Kiora's follower. Staff of Domination helps reinforce the tap/untap things theme as does Chord of Calling. Thornbite Staff helps you kill stuff and Bloodflow Connoisseur (in the graveyard) gives your Necrotic Ooze the ability to add counters to it. Triskelion (in the graveyard) allows you to throw those counters at other targets.

Thanks for the inspiration Cotton! (Also thanks for awarding me those nifty prizes despite the fact that no one else entered.)

On to paper EDH (aka Commander).

As some of you may be aware from my mentioning it in the last Freed From the Real Episode guest spot I did (all 5 of you that listened I mean) I have been playing a lot more paper magic, in particular EDH. I have been playing with a variety of decks at a place called The Uncommons (west village on thompson street in NYC). When I first contemplated getting back into paper, I traded for a Reaper King but then quickly realized that the deck I wanted to build was Horde of Notions, Elementals tribal Commander. Not exactly a Tribal Wars legal deck of course because it doesn't have the requisite minimum 33% of a single creature type.

This is because building a deck like that in commander is asking to be steam rolled by more streamlined decks. But After I started that deck I got a few of the commander 2013 decks with Jeleva being among them. And I liked the cut of her jib. A deck that doesn't focus as much on creatures and permanents as it does on casting spells from everyone. That was nifty. But the stock deck was terrible and not very fun. It was torn between two different themes (reveal/exile cards and cast them, and punish drawing). So I shelved Jeleva, and got Thraximunder instead and that was fun to play with but didn't really work either with the cards I had available.

When I started trading on pucatrade.com and getting cards from Cape Fear Games (capefeargames.com) my options opened quite a bit and I rethought Jeleva, coming up with this pile:

Jeleva, Eater of Decks
A paper EDH deck by Winter.Wolf

1 Breaking/Entering
5 Swamp
1 Blasphemous Act
6 Island
1 Plagued Rusalka
1 Grave Titan
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Underground River
5 Mountain
1 Enhanced Awareness
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Clone Legion
1 Monastery Loremaster
1 Burnished Hart
1 Archaeomancer
1 Blood Crypt
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dreadbore
1 Slice and Dice
1 Melek, Izzet Paragon
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Generator Servant
1 Command Tower
1 Ghitu Encampment
1 Smoldering Crater
1 Call to Mind
1 Gild
1 Aeon Chronicler
1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Control Magic
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Blatant Thievery
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Word of Seizing
1 Spelltwine
1 Promise of Power
1 Praetor's Grasp
1 Frost Titan
1 Ruthless Deathfang
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Mob Rule
1 Nightscape Familiar
1 Pristine Talisman
1 Jhoira of the Ghitu
1 Disciple of the Ring
1 Sol Ring
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Gravedigger
1 Confiscate
1 Fallen Angel
1 Izzet Signet
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Elemental Augury
1 Wayfarer's Bauble
1 Howl of the Horde
1 Temple of the False God
1 Stuffy Doll
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Blast of Genius
1 Brainstorm
1 Rescue from the Underworld
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Living Lore
1 Uyo, Silent Prophet
1 Whispering Madness
1 Diabolic Vision
1 Ashen Powder
1 Chandra's Ignition
1 Great Furnace
1 Dormant Volcano
1 Mass Mutiny
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Telling Time
1 Douse in Gloom
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Azami, Lady of Scrolls
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Tymaret, the Murder King
1 Tempt with Immortality
1 Firemind's Foresight
1 Steam Augury
1 Temporal Aperture

Sideboard:
1 Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge

 

This deck is geared towards playing the fun game without being too concerned about "Winning". It isn't that I don't want to win with this deck but I don't want to be "that guy" who everyone hates because they know he is bringing infinite time walk combo backed up by serious control and counters. I could certainly build it that way but that seems to not be fun to me. I want to have a decent chance of winning without spoiling everyone else's fun. That said this deck does some harsh things. I might steal your permanents with Blatant Thievery, or Zealous Conscripts, or I might blow up the board with Blasphemous Act. I might Tempt you with Immortality or I might just Rescue something from the Underworld.

Jhoira might see play. She will not be suspending Eldrazi Uniques though. Her role is to keep it fun and interesting. Clone Legion is something I look forward to casting with Jeleva when my opponents have a full board of sweet creatures. There are many powerful cards I could include instead but I feel like this deck in its current iteration is at the power level I like and feel comfortable with.

Reap what you sow
After playing with Horde of Notions for a while I started feeling sad that I had Reaper King but no scarecrows. So I spent some credit on Cape Fear games and had those folks in North Carolina send me a whole bunch of scarecrows and changelings. Thankfully the changeling keyword actually works in paper since there is no rules engine to get that one inexplicably and forever wrong.  In many ways after playing paper again I am doubly grateful for the work that MTGO does in saving me headaches. The missing functionality of the changeling keyword however fills me with the desire to throw bricks at WOTC. Sadly virtual bricks are too expensive and physical bricks won't reach Renton from here. (I kid, I would make it pillows irl.) 

Anyway Scarecrows can now be a thing I play:

 

Reaper Crows
A paper EDH Deck by Winter.Wolf

4 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Pili-Pala
1 Lockjaw Snapper
1 Chief Engineer
1 Amoeboid Changeling
1 Swiftwater Cliffs
3 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Journeyer's Kite
1 Scuttlemutt
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Coalition Relic
1 Chainbreaker
1 Grim Poppet
1 Scarecrone
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Rite of Replication
1 Proteus Staff
3 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Sprouting Vines
1 Cairn Wanderer
1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Duneblast
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Shapesharer
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Spreading Plague
1 Heidar, Rimewind Master
1 Vesuvan Doppelganger
1 Clone
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Commander's Sphere
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Evil Twin
1 Mystic Monastery
1 Tranquil Cove
1 Conspiracy
1 Sol Ring
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Mind Stone
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Goblin Welder
1 Animist's Awakening
1 Sakashima's Student
1 Sakashima the Impostor
1 Thelonite Hermit
1 Nyx Weaver
1 Viridian Emissary
1 Peregrination
1 Harrow
1 Firewild Borderpost
1 Mistvein Borderpost
1 Wildfield Borderpost
1 Wall of Roots
1 Argentum Armor
1 Patriarch's Bidding
1 Obzedat's Aid
1 Desolation Giant
1 Predator, Flagship
1 Unburial Rites
1 Aura Shards
1 Rampant Growth
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Junk Diver
1 Etched Oracle
1 Villainous Wealth
1 Borderland Ranger
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
3 Snow-Covered Island
1 Blossoming Sands
1 Temple of the False God
1 Windswept Heath
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Opulent Palace
1 Scoured Barrens
1 Underground River
1 Rupture Spire
1 Transguild Promenade
1 Mirrodin's Core
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Wind-Scarred Crag
1 Jungle Hollow
1 Yavimaya Hollow
1 Krosan Verge
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Sandsteppe Citadel
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Opal Palace

Sideboard:
1 Reaper King

 

Thanks to AJ and Adam and some of my Facebook friends for helping me tune this a little bit. I now have an Animist's Awakening instead of Weird Harvest (which turned out to bite me several times before I managed a game where it was good) and I intend to slip a Scrapbasket in here as soon as I can get one. Sadly no one seemed to want to send me one on pucatrade (which is one major drawback to that site.) So the next time I get credit on CFG I will hopefully be ordering one from there.

Some fun interactions: Since this is an artifacts based deck I expect sweepers to put my artifacts in the graveyard. Therefore I have some cards that help with that: Sanctum Gargoyle, Goblin, Welder and Daretti for example. Beacon of Unrest can also help there as can Obzedat's Aid. The deck is quite slow but is resilient to destruction and disruption once it gets over a certain mana point. I had one game where my opponents killed Reaper King multiple times and I still won off the back of having superior creatures and the ability to destroy permanents at will. Which is one of the sub themes of this deck. Sakashima and his student plus, clone, Vesuvan Doppleganger and Shapeshifter, and Rite of Replication are all about copying Reaper King but they can also do double duty (pardon the pun) copying opponent's major threats.

Patriarch's Bidding is also my mass reanimator of choice. Even against other tribal decks this card is very good. Typically I get 3+ triggers off Reaper King when I cast it but even without that, bringing back pro-black Colossus, Grim Poppet and others can be handy. The deck initially had the pickles combo in it (Vesuvan Shapeshifter + Brine Elemental) but decided this was just opening myself up for someone else getting the advantage with the elemental if they had a way to Bribery it out or otherwise steal it. And it isn't very fun. On the other hand making 4 saproling tokens (am I the only one who thinks they should be squirrel tokens?) with Thelonite Hermit is the very definition of fun imho. Doing so again and again by copying it with Vesuvan Shapeshifter is just magnitudes more fun.

Conclusions
It is easy to be angry and bitter, aka salty. There are so many reasons why. And it seems like every time I turn around and try to feel happy WOTC is doing something else which adds salt to the wounds. Time does heal most wounds but with salt they take longer and hurt more. Salt which in tiny amounts is life giving, can be a deadly poison in large amounts and imho your intake of both the physical and metaphysical forms should be limited.

So I am going to work on being less salty and less inclined to cast Sowing Salt just because my opponent thinks Eldrazi Post is a fair deck to play. I am looking forward to BFZ even though my offline budget for it will be very limited. I don't expect to get any expeditions out of packs but I am excited for those who do. Especially if they then give those awesome full art lands to me. Just kidding.

I am also looking forward to filling out my collections (online and off) with more spectacular lands. I will be torn between playing with the unhinged lands (which I have multiples of) and the new Zendikar lands. How about you?

Until next time,
Magically,
Paul Emerson Leicht, aka Winter.Wolf or Telir online , Winter.Wolf at Pucatrade, and if you see me on the street "hey Paul" will do.

 

 

6 Comments

Nice job on the article, I'm by Joe Fiorini at Sat, 09/26/2015 - 05:48
Joe Fiorini's picture
5

Nice job on the article, I'm glad to see you published something. I feel the same way about the community cup for the most part. I don't play the lottery, but I imagine that it gives people the feeling that they have some small chance of getting lucky. Not having a vote is the equivalent of not allowing someone to even purchase that ticket. The illusion that any of us had a chance has been shattered.

As far as being a salty opponent, I've found that reaching out to players helps a lot. Losing to someone you see as a friend or acquaintance is much more palatable (for me) than losing to a faceless opponent. It's sort of like being upset at the CPU opponent, only it's actually a real person.

So, if you beat someone, and they send you a GG and try to engage, try to notice and avoid appearing to ignore them. That's something that also can be infuriating. I've had some particularly mean opponents before that made the experience worse, don't be that dude.

Hey those prizes were well by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 09/26/2015 - 09:20
CottonRhetoric's picture
5

Hey those prizes were well earned.
& Thanks for the callout!

Chat by Felorin at Sat, 09/26/2015 - 11:24
Felorin's picture

I think many professional game developers and game companies fail to understand how important chat is for an online game. In The Sims Online, a title that had great potential but just wasn't built right & failed instead... They built a chat function while in development, but they disabled it before launch because "it covered up some of the gameplay & graphics". Bless his heart, online community pioneer Randy Farmer, when he was hired as producer to try and save the doomed product, said in his job interview "Well either you're turning that chat feature back on, or don't even bother hiring me."

Anyway as for why chat is so abysmally bad in MTGO V4, I would say never attribute to malice that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

I am sure the vast majority of people who have ever worked at Wizards of the Coast have meant well, and tried to deliver quality games, websites, etc. They just aren't always equal to the task. I'm glad they're doing a great job with the paper product, in any case. That's mostly how I play Magic these days, though I hope to see MTGO 4 get as good as (and better than) 3.0 / 3.5 were at their peak. Some year.

I appreciate making it onto by Procrastination at Sun, 09/27/2015 - 22:32
Procrastination's picture
5

I appreciate making it onto your "PureMTGO Nominee list". :) Not gonna' lie, the idea of being on the Community Team always floated in the back of my mind. I saw several other writers from this site go and have an awesome time, so it seemed like something that could possibly happen someday if I kept writing. Since I didn't get to maintain a steady stream of articles, I felt those odds slip away, but hey, nobody seems to know what gets a person chosen now, so I can continue to daydream. :)

If I had to choose from the current site, I'd go with Adam, for his enthusiasm, exceptional article presentation, banner creation for other writers and helping re-invigorate FFTR. A close runner up; my second pick would be Joe, who has really made some solid stuff now that he has found his format niche.

Seconded on Adam. He has been by AJ_Impy at Mon, 09/28/2015 - 11:51
AJ_Impy's picture

Seconded on Adam. He has been absolutely invaluable for FFtR and would make an excellent addition to our record of Community Cup attendees and invitees.

Thanks all for your comments. by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/28/2015 - 03:23
Paul Leicht's picture

Thanks all for your comments.

@Felorin, I truly think this is a blind spot. Like not being able to see behind one. It is as if the WOTC employees who were involved in the design and testing of the current client never experienced a problem with chat because of how they use it. (2 screens, using the Twitter-verse as opposed to in game to chat, etc.) As to why it hasn't changed even after people have been very vocal about the need, well I dunno. Incompetence is tempting. We have joked a bit about that on Freed from the Real and in the forums. "Not their wheelhouse...", etc but lets face it. At some point incompetence does not cover the refusal to even acknowledge the complaints. That strikes me as willful denial.

And I agree with you about the intent of the average WOTC employee. They are almost uniformly nice people. There have been a few notable exceptions but they are thankfully very rare. The reason v3 became more acceptable is because they hired an outsider to come in and do some redesign and smoothing and that helped tremendously. Sadly then they had to reinvent the wheel using a t-square, rather than a protractor.