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By: eotinb, Brad Bonnette
Feb 19 2008 4:28pm
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Untap: Introduction

ZOMG! I just stumbled on the best structure for a Magic article EVAR! Please don't bother to write in that Franklin Funnyface invented this like twenty years ago at www.StripmallTaekwondoStudio.net because: 1. There is no such website and it's not cool to make fun of the Dojo; B. Magic wasn't even invented twenty years ago, stupid imaginary complainer; and III. even if someone else did it first, I came up with it independently so I'm still at least as cool as Leibniz (and if you've read your Neal Stephenson, you'll know that Leibniz was way cooler than Newton anyway).

Upkeep: Unfinished Business

As of this writing, Combinatorics #1 has had over 400 views but only one comment by someone other than me. And even when I accounting for all the times I hit refresh, there are still a lot of you who read the peice but didn't bother to tell me how awesome it was. Despite what you may think, writers are fragile creatures who crave the admiration of others. Lurkers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your Chains of Mephistopheles!

But for every 300 silent admirers, there's always one vocal critic. My critic had several good points, chief among them that he wanted more gamelogs. In order to reward him for his thoughtful and useful comments, I tracked him down online and made him sit through me going off for twenty minutes while he just kept hitting "OK" repeatedly and then killed him with twenty four trampling goblin tokens and two trampling Candlemagi.

Magus of the Candelabra


Don't laugh or he'll get his buddies Magus of the Rope and Magus of the Lead Pipe and then you'll really be sorry!

Draw: Preview

In this second look at Null Profusion, I'll start with a few goldfish games to show what the deck is capable of and get a sense of when you can go off. Then I'll venture back out against other players and report on how I crushed them and made them go crying to their mothers (who are hopefully more supportive than my editor is). Then I'll consider revisions to the deck and discuss different ways my legions of followers can advance my groundbreaking work. Finally, I'll wrap everything up with a heartwarming anecdote from my childhood and drop some MaRo-style hints about the direction I plan to take with my Coalition Victory deck in Combinatorics #3.

First Main Phase: Gone Goldfishin'

For reference, here's the deck from last time:

 
Opening hand: Forest, Swamp, Null Profusion, Garruk Wildspeaker, Forest, Chromatic Star, Overgrowth

Analysis: Definitely a keeper. Depite the lack of T1 or T2 acceleration, we should be able to go nuts round about T5.

T1: Draw Forest. Play Forest and Chromatic Star.

T2: Draw Null Profusion. Play Swamp.

T3: Draw Fertile Ground. Play Forest. Overgrowth on Forest.

T4: Draw Forest. Play Forest. Tap unenchanted Forests to play Fertile Ground on Swamp. Tap overgrown Forest and fertile Swamp (adding G) and play Garruk, floating B. Use Garruk to untap enchanted lands. Tap both to play Null Profusion.

Analysis: Not a bad opening. We've got a Forest and another Profusion in hand.

T5: Skip draw step. Play Forest, drawing Rites of Flourishing. Play Rites drawing Swamp. Play Swamp drawing Fertile Ground. Play Fertile Ground drawing Forest. Sac Star for R drawing Swamp. Use Garruk to untap overgrown Forest and fertile Swamp and play Null Profusion drawing Forest. Discard Forest at EOT.

Analysis: Forest into Rites into Swamp was nice, but I paid for it with the land glut that ended the turn.

T6:

1:25pm:  eotinb plays Forest.
1:25pm:  eotinb plays Swamp.
1:25pm:  eotinb plays Overgrowth targeting Forest.
1:25pm:  eotinb plays Rites of Flourishing.
1:25pm:  eotinb plays Forest.
1:26pm:  eotinb plays Magus of the Candelabra.
1:26pm:  eotinb plays Emblem of the Warmind targeting Magus of the Candelabra.
1:27pm:  eotinb plays activated ability from Magus of the Candelabra targeting Forest, Forest, Forest, and Swamp.
1:27pm:  eotinb plays Fertile Ground targeting Forest.
1:27pm:  eotinb plays Search for Tomorrow.
1:28pm:  eotinb plays Overgrowth targeting Forest.
1:28pm:  eotinb plays Rites of Flourishing.
1:28pm:  eotinb plays Mountain.
1:28pm:  eotinb plays Magus of the Candelabra.
1:29pm:  eotinb plays activated ability from Garruk Wildspeaker targeting Forest, and Forest.
1:29pm:  eotinb plays activated ability from Magus of the Candelabra targeting Forest, Forest, Forest, Forest, and Swamp.
1:29pm:  eotinb plays Magus of the Candelabra.
1:30pm:  eotinb plays Magus of the Candelabra.
1:30pm:  eotinb plays Chromatic Star.
1:30pm:  eotinb plays Chromatic Star.
1:30pm:  eotinb plays Empty the Warrens.
1:30pm:  eotinb plays triggered ability from Empty the Warrens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.
1:30pm:  Creating 2 tokens.

The preceding was edited a bit to remove some of the clutter from the log, but you get the idea. Key here was using hasty Candlemagi to untap multiple times during the turn and the fact that both copies of Empty the Warrens were in the last ten cards of my library. But I still get there with relative ease. I was hoping to not have to use Garruk's untap so I could make tramply goblins, but if Mick Jagger can't always get what he wants, what hope does little old me have? Twenty eight goblins and two Candlemagi did the trick just fine anyway.

I'll spare you the details of my other goldfish games other than to say that Turn six appears to be the magic number for this deck. Yes this is slow. If you don't like it, feel free to come up with your own janky combo deck. I'll be the first in line to point out its flaws to you.

Combat: Fight!

Game 5 vs. Squeemane

I'm on the draw and manage to drop Garruk on turn three while holding Empty the W arrens (thanks to Mind Stone), so I'm hoping for the mini-combo described in the previous article, but without any land enchantments, I can't build up a decent storm count. I go for four tokens off a hardcast Search for Tomorrow on turn four but he uses Cryptic Command to counter one of the copies and bounce Garruk. When he untaps and drops Razormane Masticore with Squee, Goblin Nabob already in the graveyard, it's only a matter of time. I play it out because I'm dedicated to my craft -- Masticore goes the distance. After the game I harangue him for playing Cryptic in Cas/Cas. I make sure to use all caps and use lots of misspellings and bad grammer. Alright, I didn't do those things, but this deck is pretty vulnerable to disruption, to the surpirse of absolutely no one.
Cryptic Command


I'm not angry because I think it's not casual, I'm angry because I got pwned.

 

Game 6 vs. RG hasty (feat. Ashling's Prerogative)

I keep a slow draw but might have had a chance if not for a stupid misplay. I have Rites and four lands (one with Fertile Ground) out and Null Profusion in hand. I draw two lands. Obviously the correct play is to drop one land, play Profusion, and then drop the other land. Obviously I drop both lands first. Obviously you should be reading articles written by better players than me. He kills me over a couple of turns with Browbeat damage, a couple of Uktabi Drakes and a Grapeshot for five. I didn't put up much of fight. But his real secret was getting under my skin from the get-go with the hideous white-with-scales tiled background -- dastardly.

Game 7 vs. Elemental Extravaganza

I saw every color except black but I'm guessing there were Shriekmaws in there somewhere. I accelerate into a turn four Profusion, which goes away on his turn thanks to Oblivion Ring. After I play out my hand and sac all my Mind Stones and Chromatic Stars wihout finding anything useful, he casts Austere Command set to destroy all artifacts and enchantments. Null Profusion returns to play with me having an empty hand and no draw effects on the board. Well played, Elemental guy.

Game 8 vs. Elves

I die to Essence Warden beats. Of course, there were a couple of Elvish Champions involved as well. My lands were all dressed up with no place to go (didn't see a Profusion or EtW in ~25 cards).

Time out! Emergency substitution.

Obviously things are not going swimingly. With a deck this poorly constructed, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what's going wrong. But Chromatic Star is definitely not making the grade. One of the approached I liked in the 9th/Rav/TSP incarnation of this deck was cost reduction, which I achieved through the use of Locket of Yesterdays. That would still work here, with Chromatic Stars, Mind Stones, and Search for Tomorrows in the 'yard to cheapen later copies of same. But I've always wanted to try out Cloud Key and that might work with all the enchantments in this deck. The dream is to use Cloud Key to reduce the cost of Rites in particular so I can drop those the turn I'm going off for the extra land drops and not have it give my opponents extra draws. So:

Out: 4x Chromatic Star

In: 4x Cloud Key

Cloud Key


Probably not going to work, but worth a shot. I mean it's not like things can get worse. Can they?

 

Game 9 vs. Giants

Cloud Key shows up and is not bad. Not sure if I played it correctly. I had two and set the first one to artifacts to make the second one cheaper, and set that one to enchantments. I eventually ramped up to lots of mana and Empty the Warrens in hand but no access to red. He finishes me on turn six, and since I was on the draw, it's not like I can reasonably expect to win that game anyway given how slow my combo is. He kills me with one of my favorite janky block decks -- Blind-Spot Giant and Fire-Belly Changeling.


Game 10 vs. BR control

He kills me with Pit Keeper and eventually Shriekmaw beats. I do get a discounted Profusion thanks to two Cloud Keys but it's too little too late.

Second Main Phase: The Aftermath

Well, I know when I've had enough. I considered a match-up analysis, but decided against it since it would look something like this:

vs. Goldfish 80-20
vs. Mana Screw 60-40
vs. Actual Decks with some access to Mana 0.1-99.9

And that's being generous to myself. But all is not lost! In order to salvage some shred of my self-esteem, I've come up with a solitaire game for this deck. The goal is to kill the goldfish in as few turns as possible, doing as much damage as possible, and (here's the challenge) with as few cards left in the library as possible. Here's how you score:

For every turn less than 10 +10 pts.
For every turn after 10 -20 pts.

For every point of damage beyond 20

(not counting self-inflicted damage, sorry pain lands)

+5 pts.
For every card in library at end of game -1 pt.

Don't bother posting your scores in the comments, since I don't actually care.

End of Turn: What's Next

So I've got two ideas for the Coalition Victory deck I promised. My initial thought was Green/White. Green to accelerate and find basics; White to fend off the bad guys; and this gives me access to Glittering Wish for Coalition Victory and my five-color creature of choice in the sideboard. This would also allow me a wish toolbox in the sidebaord as well -- Harmonic Sliver, Teferi's Moat, maybe Void -- although that would be harder to cast if i'm only running one or two each Swamps and Mountains to complete the domain. This might include a Blue splash for card draw and/or counters -- a Victory deck really needs protection since the opponent can see what you're doing a mile away. Since I don't care about my opponents life total, Wall of Shards and Condemn are obvious inclusions. For fun, I thought Arbiter of Knollridge would be cute with those two cards -- especially the wall.

The other approach I am considering is Red/Blue elementals. I think I actually like this one better, since of the three five-color creatures in Standard, Horde of Notions sucks the least for a deck like this. This deck would have obvious inclusions like Smokebraider and Mulldrifter. AEthersnipe and Flamekin Harbinger would be useful as well. For finding lands, in this deck I'd go Terramorphic Expanse, Wanderer's Twig, and possibly Dreamscape Artist and Tideshaper Mystic to be really cute. And check this out -- get a significant discount on Coalition Victory and have mana up to protect it when it's cast by suspending it with Jhoira of the Ghitu.

Sliver Legion
Scion of the Ur-Dragon
Horde of Notions
Maybe if the Coalition Victory deck doesn't work out I can develop an online version of three card monty with these guys.

 

I don't actually have an anecdote, I was just trying to get you to stay until the end of the article. If you have any thoughts on which direction I should go with the Victory deck, you know what to do.* Oh, and since I promised a MaRo-style hint: Join me next time when I consider every weapon in my five-color arsenal.

 

*Several people apparently misread what I said last week, since they called my mom to brag about their mad Candlemagus knowledge skills. So I'll be explicit -- leave a note in the comments. Please stop calling my mom.

1 Comments

Sliver Legion by GregAndThenSome (Unregistered) 211.18.204.251 (not verified) at Tue, 02/19/2008 - 21:30
GregAndThenSome (Unregistered) 211.18.204.251's picture

Personally, for a Coalition Victory deck I would use Sliver Legion. Like you said, you're opponent can see what you're doing from a mile away. So instead, act as though you have a five color Sliver deck, use fetch spells to get domain, drop the Sliver Legion and then you just need a single 1/1 sliver in play to pop CV out from under the green Hideaway land. I know similar decks have been done before, but it's just a thought.