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By: JustSin, Dave
Apr 28 2010 1:15am
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April 15 - 21

Hey guys and welcome to the second of my weekly looks at what is being played in Legacy at the Tournament level.  There are a few additions this week as we take a look at (the first maybe?) Legacy Premier Event that took place on April 18th.  Also now that I'm getting into multiple weeks I can take a closer look at the attendance rates of these Events.  So read on to see what the past week of Legacy Events has meant to our tournament environment and at the end (in my Weekly Musings section) I'm going to clarify a mistake I made in last week's article by taking an in-depth look at the deck known as Death & Taxes.  There's a lot to get to so let's get started shall we??

If you haven't noticed not everything under this "News" label will be News as much as articles or information that make for great extended reading on the subject of Legacy.

RoE For Legacy-
We're already sitting at the starting gates for the full Zendikar block being playable for all formats.  This is one author's review of the set and what some of the cards could mean for the format.  A pretty nice read and perhaps not terribly far off in the assessment that "Rise of the Eldrazi was obviously not designed for Legacy".

Format Rumors-
Most of you have probably read this by now, but for those who may have missed it here's the link.

From Classic to Legacy-
This article takes a look at some of the differences we're seeing between Classic and Legacy.  While it may not all be valuable information it's still an interesting look at some of the deck differences between the two formats and even a glance at game time.  What I really did get most out of this was the well informed notion that "missing two thirds of Saga block, all of Masques and staples like Maze of Ith cripples major paper archetypes far more than the B&R list".

Each week has a number of Daily Legacy Events, the schedule can be found here, and can be entered for only 6 Tickets and a preconstructed deck of the players choice that is a minimum of 60 cards and a 15 card sideboard.  Prizes are rewarded based on the total match points at the end of the Event.  For every win you are rewarded with 3 points and each loss rewards you with 0.  The prize chart is as such...

 12 Points  11 Booster Packs  3 QPs
 9 Points  6 Booster Packs  1 QPs

Each event requires a minimum of 16 players to fire with a maximum of 128.  The tournament is four rounds with games playing best two out of three.

Here's a list of all the Legacy Daily Events that have taken place over this past week and all the decks that ended with a winning record.  The deck names seen in red are the decks that ended the event with a 4-0 record.

Legacy Daily Event #1133502 from April 15th.

Goblins (with a splash of green for Tin Street Hooligan)
UGr Faeries

Bant Order
ANT
Goblins (with a splash of black for Warren Weirding and Wort, Boggart Auntie)
Goblins (with a splash of black for Warren Weirding)
Merfolk (with a splash of green for Tarmogoyf)
Merfolk

Legacy Daily Event #1133503 from April 15th.

Zoo
ANT

ANT
Goblins
Sligh
Enchantress

Legacy Daily Event #1133504 from April 16th.

Death & Taxes
Reanimator

ANT
Bant Order
Goblins (with a splash of black for Warren Weirding and Wort, Boggart Auntie)
Enchantress
Survival ROCK
Mono Black Control
UW Control
Bant Order

Legacy Daily Event #1133506 from April 17th.

Reanimator
Reanimator

Mono Black Control
Enchantress
MUC
Zoo
Baseruption
Reanimator

Legacy Daily Event #1133508 from April 18th.

Ichorid
Sligh
Sligh
Merfolk (with a splash of green for Kitchen Finks and Tarmogoyf)
Goblins (with a splash of green and black for Tin Street Hooligan, Mirri's Guile, and Warren Weirding)

Legacy Daily Event #1133509 from April 18th.

RecSur
Reanimator
Zoo
Bant Order
Goblins
Elves!
Zoo
Mono Black Aggro
Astral Slide

Legacy Daily Event #1133510 from April 19th.

Elves!
Bant Control
Sligh
Bant Order
Aggro Loam

Legacy Daily Event #1133511 from April 20th.

Threshold
ThopterTop
Bant Order
Eva Green
ANT
Bant Order
Goblins (with a splash of black Earwig Squad and (Warren Weiding))
LandStill (4 colored)

Legacy Daily Event #1133512 from April 20th.

Bant Control
Zoo
Goblins
The ROCK
ANT

Legacy Daily Event #1133513 from April 21st.

Death & Taxes
Reanimator
ANT
Zoo
Bant Order
Goblins (with a splash of black for (Warren Weirding))
ThopterTop
Threshold

Legacy Daily Event #1109413 from April 21st.

Bant Control
Reanimator

The ROCK
ANT
Reanimator
Merfolk
Eva Depths
Goblins (with a splash of green and black for Tin Street Hooligan, Mirri's Guile, and Warren Weirding)
Zoo
Zoo

In addition to these Daily Events there are also Premier Events for Legacy that take place.  To join you only have to pay 10 Tickets and the number of rounds is determined by the player count for the Event.  In addition to the rounds of Swiss there is a Top 8, single elimination bracket that is formed at the end of those rounds.  Here is the prize break down...

1st Place  36 Booster Packs  6 QPs
 2nd Place  27 Booster Packs  5 QPs
 3rd & 4th  18 Booster Packs  4 QPs
 5th - 8th  9 Booster Packs  3 QPs

These events fire with a minimum of 33 players so they need everyone they can get.  The maximum player count is 256, but good luck hitting that.

Legacy Premier Event #1133674 from April 18th.

1st - Grgapm (playing Ichorid)
2nd - BootRus (playing Sligh)
3rd - AthosTheMusketeer (playing Merfolk)
4th - Condescend (playing ANT)
5th - savagebeatdown (playing LandStill)
6th - Koby (playing Death & Taxes)
7th - Calavera (playing Merfolk)
8th - NO_1 (playing Reanimator)

This chart illustrates the percentage of each deck type to come out of this week's Legacy Events.  There were a total of 89 decks in this tally from 12 different Events including the Premier Event. In taking my own advice this chart only shows decks that had three or more showings.

As you can see Goblins are still dominating the board, but things are starting to even out a bit.  There was quite the competition for them, ANT, and Reanimator for the top spot this week, but Goblins took the cake.  It's hard to resist the deck because the buy in cost is so much lower then that of other decks.  Here are the individual break downs of each deck type along with the number of appearances they had and the percent they made up...

The deck types that are listed in bold are the ones that had the most showings and appear on the Pie Chart above.  Those not in bold are the remaining decks that had showings in either the Top 8 for the Premier Event or had a winning (3-1 or 4-0) record from a Daily Event.  We've already seen the Top 8 bracket for this week's Premier Event so let's take a quick look at the players and decks that played to an undefeated record in the Daily Events.

There was a big showing this week again by Reanimator in the undefeated decks (not even mentioning the fact that they had a top 8 in the Premier Event as well).  The big gun here is perhaps lsv who didn't go 4 - 0 in one, but three different Events.  These are the people to watch out for when you're playing.  It is interesting to note some showings here.  First we have Death & Taxes finally breaking into 4 - 0 after having a lot of 3 - 1 showings last week.  Also we see Elves! not only making it's first showings this week, but also taking the undefeated record in one event.  It's always interesting to compare the two because the playing environment is very aggro heavy, but the deck that seems to be dominating is Reanimator.  Since I showed an example deck last week I won't put another one out there for you.  However, I do want to take a look at average attendance.

Ok so I know right now this chart looks a little lame, but I plan on continuing it over the weeks and we'll start to see a more comprehensive look at how many people are showing up for these Events.  When Wizards talked about starting Legacy online there was a lot of discussion about how it would do.  Would it be the death of Classic?  Would it fail because of cost of entry?  And so on, but this will give us a better idea of how many people (on average) are joining up for the Daily Events.  So far things don't look great, but you really cannot judge after two weeks.  We do know that the Legacy Premier Events have been struggling in their attempts to fire, but I (like many others) hope that things will pick up for Legacy as time continues.  As the weeks go on I also hope to show more comparisons between decks and their showings, but I really need a wider range of data or else you'll end up with a number of charts like this one.

Now in last week's article I had mentioned several times about the showing of the White Weenie decks, but even as I had submitted this article I was in question about what I had stated.  After spending a little more time looking at the deck lists I realized that these decks were in fact not White Weenie, but were instead a deck known as Death & Taxes (oddly yet another deck that got looked over during my Legacy Series).  So in order to make up for this error I'm going to give my best attempt at a primer and I've even managed to track down Blazelix (a player who has had a lot of success with the deck) and get his thoughts on the subject.

 

Ok so here is the deck that Blazelix has recently taken to a 4 - 0 record in a Legacy Daily Event.  As you can see the creature base is heavy on creatures that could be considered White Weenie creatures.  When I first took a look at the deck I just glanced and saw that and assumed it was White Weenie.  However, there are some big differences between the two.  With Death & Taxes you look to create a lot of fun interactions through creatures (especially Flickerwisp) and use them to control the game.  The deck brings in things like AEther Vial to cheat out creatures and Karakas to deal with Reanimator.  You'll notice that this deck is very Rogue and has a lot of things that are perfect for shutting down the meta that we're currently seeing.  Let's see a break down of the deck shall we?

The Breakdown

Ethersworn Canonist - This creature acts as a main decked answer to ANT or other Combo decks.  While it is usually found in the sideboard several people are moving it to their main deck in order to deal with these threats.
Flickerwisp - Flickerwisp is perhaps the backbone of this deck because it provides functionality to a bunch of your cards.  This creature can...

Stoneforge Mystic - This recent addition has made the aggro of the deck a lot harder to deal with.  This card almost single handedly balances out the control aspect of the deck with the aggro.
Mangara of Corondor -  This card is one of the key players for the interactions with Flickerwisp.
Jotun Grunt - Grave hate.
Burrenton Forge-Tender - A great addition to the deck especially because of all the Goblin and Sligh decks that are out there.  Even works well against Zoo, but some decks decide to substitute in Goldmeadow Harrier instead.

Here are some other creature's that have gotten consideration...

Hokori, Dust Drinker Aven Mindcensor Kataki, War's Wage

Obviously the equipment choices are there to accommodate the Stoneforge Mystic and AEther Vial is the perfect way to slip creatures past Counterspell decks not to mention all of the free Flickerwisp plays that you get.  Other spells that have been taken into consideration include Aura of Silence, Armageddon, and Cataclysm.

Deck Strengths
Merfolk - the key here is to control their AEther Vial because you can sneak around their counters with your own.
Threshold - this match is similar to Merfolk when it comes to their counters, you should be able to get damage in fast before they can really get established.
Goblins - if you're running Burrenton Forge-Tender you'll be pretty well off not to mention you'll have quick blockers of your own.
Bant - this is a favorable match if you can get things going fast early.
Reanimator - Jotun Grunt is helpful, but the real key here is 4x Karakas (not to mention AEther Vial laughs at Iona as well).

Weaknesses
Combo - the problem everyone has with Combo decks is that they can win on turn 2 and that's trouble for a deck like this.  Some people use Mindbreak Trap in their sideboard to help this match, but Runed Halo can also help (as you can see this was the choice Blazelix made).  The addition of Ethersworn Canonist is there to try and even things as well, but not everyone has those in their main list.
LandStill - most LandStill decks run multiples of both Pernicious Deed and Engineered Explosives.  This kind of mass board wipe is trouble for anyone running this deck.  Any deck that runs a lot of board control will be a hard match to win.

50 - 50s
Zoo - sometimes Zoo decks can get the damage in faster then you can get Oblivion Rings and Flickerwisps up and running, but sometimes they don't draw right and you can get established.
Aggro Loam - Seismic Assault is a big part of this deck and you can remove it with Oblivion Ring, but that's the only answer you have for it most of the time.

Ok so I hope that information helps you understand the deck a bit more.  When I first started researching decks for the beginning of Legacy online I had come across the deck list and laughed at it, but now that I've seen such a strong showing from the deck my mind has been changed.  I tracked down Blazelix who agreed to answer a few questions for me about the deck.  Over the last two weeks Blazelix has managed to make 6 showings with this deck out of the 10 total daily showings for Death & Taxes including his first 4 - 0 this past week.

Sin: Well first I'd like to congratulate you, I noticed you finally hit 4 - 0 this week.
Blaze: Thank you. I am happy that I finally got a 4 - 0.  I had been getting 3-1s all week and had to beat ANT in the final round to make 4 - 0.

Sin: Does this mean you're going to change decks now?  Or will you follow more of a "if it isn't broke don't fix it" route?
Blaze: I am going to continue to play Death and Taxes because it is my pet deck.  I will be changing a few cards and my sideboard as the metagame changes.

Sin: And why did you choose to play Death & Taxes out of all the decks Legacy has to offer?
Blaze: I picked Death and Taxes because I have previous experience with the deck.  I built and piloted a Wg version for the old Classic DEs earlier this year.  The deck has become one of my favorites for over 2 years now.  I enjoy the interactions the deck provides, these are the tricks and synergy between the cards.

Sin: Oh wow that's quite a history, did you ever consider running anything else or did you always know this was your deck?
Blaze: I do feel that I understand Death and Taxes very well.  I am very comfortable with the deck.  If I could be running another deck, it would be Bant Survival.  I love Survival of the Fittest and the decks remind me of Commander decks.

Sin: So I made an error earlier in assuming Death & Taxes was White Weenie.  I know we talked briefly before about the differences, but would you mind telling me again (for the sake of the interview) what do you consider the differences to be?
Blaze: I personally consider Death and Taxes to be a White Weenie deck with tricks.  Compared to WW, both decks run aggressive creatures with removal.  The differences I see are how the decks finish mid to late game.  White Weenie can run enchantments that increase their creature's p/t or board sweepers.  Death and Taxes runs combat tricks, fliers, and some disruption.  The cards may look similar, but the game plan varies.  Death and Taxes can protect and gain board advantage fast.  This is especially true with the inclusion of Stoneforge Mystic in the deck.  I know White Weenie can accomplish the same feat with cards like Enlistment Officer and Ranger of Eos.  Both decks also run Karakas, but Mangara makes Death and Taxes a better late game deck.

Sin: Much better then I stated it thanks lol.  So last week Death & Taxes had a winning record in 8 out of 10 Daily Events.  This week it only showed up 2 times out of 10.  Do you think this is because people now have a better idea of how to handle the deck?
Blaze: Yes.  More players have figured how to play around the deck and the metagame shifts ever so slightly.  I am continually facing combo or super aggro matchups.  A few of the very good match ups for Death and Taxes have decreased in number, but I expect them to show up again soon.

Sin: You have to love how the metagame shifts, keeps things interesting.  Any advice for someone who is considering playing Death and Taxes in future Events?
Blaze: For those considering running Death and Taxes in a future Event, get to know your deck and know it well.  The deck is built around interactions that you can use to keep your opponents guessing.  I've found it hard to make my bad matchups into good matchups and have to play smart to get around this hurdle.  Basically, don't get frustrated with the deck and practice as much as you can.

Sin: Great stuff; I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.  Do you have any last comments you'd like to make?
Blaze: I'd just like to say I'm very happy Legacy is online now.  Eternal formats are seeing more support these days.  This includes Commander, one of my other favorite formats.
Sin: Great thanks, really appreciate it.
Blaze: No problem.  Glad I could help you out.


So there you have it all I can offer you about Death & Taxes.  I'm sure others may have more to add, but I think that's a great introduction to the deck.  I'd like to once again offer thanks to Blazelix who took the time to answer my questions.  I hope to bring you more next week (hopefully including more Premier Event information if they fire).  Thanks for reading!

-JustSin

23 Comments

Tivader of Thorn? by grapplingfarang at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 04:19
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I just wanted to ask what he thought of Tivader of Thorn in the goblin matchup? Is it to slow? Seems like if anything can happen to slow down game, can destroy an army with Karakas and Vial backing it up.

re: Tivader of Thorn? by Blazelix at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 18:59
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I sideboard Tivadar in and board Mangara out when playing against Goblins. I have always found the card useful with and without an active vial. Early stps and Ethersworns slow goblins down enough to keep them from building a strong board. Burrenton Forge-Tender can block goblins all day but Tivadar kills multiple goblins when needed.

Also has tricks with by menace13 at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 05:14
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Also has tricks with Flickerwisp as well, he is not sold on Wingshards yet mostly from not testing them. They seem good and and should warrant 2 slots, day 1 gp Madrid had Zoo use them to bring in vs NO/Pro Bant. I see tehm as good against Zoo,Gobs,Merf,Reanimator,Mirror and anything with DuDers that doesnt have Sifle.

The green splash he played in the Classic events was suggested by me and Rukcus helped out on the card selection. Mainly to Battle Oath it also increased the Pox mu as a result and Teeg helped a slight bit vs Tendril and Ichorid.

I still advocate that over the mono white version even in legacy as Goyf Trumps mirror and increases your Zoo(less than 50/50) MU and that is w/o Pridemage. There is currently a Living Wish splash being used and that is something i find very solid in the deck, in fact i think it is stronger than the E. Tutor SB silverbullet package being played if only for finding relevant cards like duders/wastes/karakas/Bog etc directly into hand while also being a color Iona will not name.

Excellent! by Raddman at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 10:36
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Well done from beginning to end. Keep up the great work! I agree with menace here, Tarmo just seems to good to pass up. Hard to argue with the results though.

thanks all for the by JustSin at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 11:25
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thanks all for the comments.... but what does it say about a card when every mono-colored deck is splashing for it?

inneutral by inneutral at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 13:04
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Jotun Grunts + Tarmogoyf doesn't exactly seem like a match made in heaven.

Cpa'n Obvious is obvious by menace13 at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 14:21
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Cap'n Obvious is obvious..Obviously Grunt doesnt make it when compared to Goyf....

"but what does it say about a by dunkle_stille at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 18:27
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"but what does it say about a card when every mono-colored deck is splashing for it?"

That the card is good :)

At the end of day it's just a generic good creature, though. Against creature decks of course. Against combo creatures that cost more than 1 mana are usually... weak. Take Gaddock as an example, if the Ant player is on the play chances are high that Gaddock will never enter the battlefield!

lol I know, but I'm by JustSin at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 19:32
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lol I know, but I'm suggesting perhaps a bit too strong when every deck wants to make sure it has green for Tarmo, however you're right it is just a creature in a lot of matches, key is that its a fatty for cheap, I just feel its a very interesting point

Actually it says that the by Paul Leicht at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 22:35
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Actually it says that the card is TOO good.

I'm a little confused by your by Doctor Anime at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 23:20
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I'm a little confused by your analysis of Flickerwisp interactions. I can see the Mangara + Flicker trick and some others, but some of the things that you say it can do would require it to have Flash, like O-ring + Flicker or removing attacking creatures.

Otherwise good article!

well technically it does... by JustSin at Wed, 04/28/2010 - 23:30
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well technically it does... I'm sorry if I didn't make this clear, but those interactions are done through AEther Vial, it's a big part of the deck though it may not be obvious at first.. it allows you to play the creatures around Counter magic as well as enable a lot of those tricks with Flickerwisp

Oh, I get it now. I didn't by Doctor Anime at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 01:19
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Oh, I get it now. I didn't even look at that vial card. Looks insane!

You're kidding right? Whole by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 01:38
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You're kidding right? Whole metagames have been built around it. Landstill, Fish, Goblinsvile etc.

Nope. When I got "serious" by Doctor Anime at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 15:26
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Nope. When I got "serious" into Magic I did some ALA block with 5cc charm, and then it was straight into Pauper for me. I know some tidbits here and there, but at least online I've never played in other formats.

When I got serious Sengir by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 18:12
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When I got serious Sengir Vampire was still a well played card. When I stopped being serious was before Aether Vial was even printed. However, I still keep up with the major magic news lol. Yes I know pauper ignores all the nifty rares but it is hard not to pay attention.

If it is hard not to pay by Raddman at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 18:20
Raddman's picture

If it is hard not to pay attention then why exactly does it matter if the author mentioned it. According to that logic everyone should know Flickerwisp could be abused via Vial. I just think you are being a little harsh on poor Anime here and I don't even know the guy. Anyone who remotely follows Legacy should know the ability of Vial to cheat things into play and work around Counters. The only people who wouldn't be aware of this are novice players with no Legacy experience, but according to your logic they should be aware of vial anyways.

Not everyone follows all formats, personally I pay very minimal amounts of attention to standard as I prefer to focus on eternal formats. I have a friend who doesn't know much about Legacy other than what I tell him because he will probably never be able to afford the cards needed to play it.

I think you missed my point. by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 20:23
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I think you missed my point. I was not criticizing Anime for not knowing something. I often am lacking knowledge so that would be silly. I was commenting on how hard it was for me to believe that particular instance of his lack because even though I do not play Classic/Legacy or care about it, except where it impacts other formats, I am quite aware of Vial. Nothing wrong with NOT being aware of it. Just didn't quite believe it, as Anime comes off as being extremely knowledgeable in general.

I can see people being mono-focused on a format such as pauper and not knowing anything about classic (the former eternal king online) and I can see that this is the case here. (Also stated that I believe.) It has been hard for ME not to pay attention to the goings on with vial since this site posts an article about Classic once a week (or it used to before everyone went haywire for Legacy.)

Also while I was aware of Vial shennigans in general I had heard nothing of the Flickerwisp goings ons. And this article did not do much to clarify that. As per Just Sin's comments below. Not a big deal, as eventually I did con to the theme, and knew immediately there was something going on.

I don't really read up about by Doctor Anime at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 18:29
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I don't really read up about Magic stuff. Only know the names of a handful of pro players and never follow PTQs. I've started to read articles about different formats on puremtgo and I spectate standard games, but classic / legacy / extended still boggles me. I've only actually played standard once, and it was with Faeries. Easily the most awesome deck I've ever played.

You are better off not by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 20:26
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You are better off not flooding your brain with useless information. Classic is really not that mindboggling because the meta is some what flat (or so I understand it) but I can see Legacy and Ext being crazy. In fact I am never sure how the ext season is going shape up until it is half way into it and only then I get a clue because of site reports. I recommend the fringe formats until you are fully comfortable with your collection but watching eternal format games can be fun if you know the people playing and can commentate/ask questions.

Yeah, watching eternal by Doctor Anime at Sun, 05/02/2010 - 16:01
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Yeah, watching eternal formats duke it out with the most powerful combos in the game is always fun. It also lets me learn a bit more of non-Pauper stuff bit by bit. I likely won't make a real attempt into non-pauper formats just because I don't want to spend more than $50 on a competitive deck (I'm a rogue Spike), but it still lets me pick up lessons.

Indeed you did not make it by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 01:37
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Indeed you did not make it clear. It took me 2/3 of the article to get it.

Well like I said sorry for by JustSin at Thu, 04/29/2010 - 09:48
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Well like I said sorry for not making it clear, when writing it I didn't want to be redundant and keep saying it over and over in those bullets, but it seems in that attempt I totally left it out instead