Paul Leicht's picture
By: Paul Leicht, Paul Emerson Leicht
Apr 20 2012 8:36am
Login or register to post comments

 Drawing by Paul Emerson Leicht

In Memorium
A year ago April 2nd, we lost Erik Friborg, a.k.a: Hamtastic to us on Magic Online. His brave wife, Tami, (on the anniversary of his death) through the auspices of the fine gents of Freed from the Real (Keya, Sebastian and AJ) gave us permission to discuss his death in the hopes of raising people's awareness for Erik's horrible affliction, chronic depression which led to his suicide. Last year when I wrote my Eulogy for Erik I desperately wanted to tell you all how much it affected me because I have often struggled with similar problems. I wanted to vent my frustration and express my concerns for those of us nearer to the fringe than anyone ever realizes. But I kept silent out of respect and feeling that it was not my place to share such intimate details And I hope this was for the best.. After all we shouldn't merely remember Erik for the final act, but the many wonderful things he did prior to that.

Furnace CelebrationAmbush PartyGather The Townsfolk

Ham on Wry
Rather than focus on the sad circumstances surrounding his departure from this plane of existence let's instead celebrate the day that would have been his birthday, May 4th. Erik was a guy who seemed to really enjoyed parties. He was always encouraging us to have a good time. I mentioned this in a post on the mothership and Blippy the Wonderslug picked up the idea and ran with it. He has set up an event on the evening of May 4th called Ham on Wry (a nod to Erik's sometimes dry sense of humor.)

My Dad is from Minnesota where Erik lived and I can tell you Minnesota humor is both wry and corny. As my Dad is fond of saying "Minnesota Corn is the best in the world."

Even knowing how loved Erik is, it amazes me how well people responded with sponsorship of this event and  how many in the community have come together to help with this. Including prize support from Wizards of the Coast. This is unprecedented in Player Run Event history on Magic Online so kudos to Blippy for managing that and also to WOTC for being involved! If you aren't excited yet you should be.

The event details are as follows: (Excerpted from Overdriven! 20 by BlippyTheSlug)

  Date: Friday, May 4th, 2012 Happy Birthday, Hammy!
  Start Times: 1800 GMT (Euro Event) and 9:30PM Eastern (US Event), "last minute" registration will open 90 minutes prior to start time. These Events are free to enter, and you may play both Events.
  Format: Constructed Classic
  Structure: 4 (or more**) rounds of Swiss pairing, followed by a T8 playoff (All pairings & standings will be generated by DCI-Reporter)
  Announcements and game chat: /join HAM
  Registration and results: /join HAMCOM (Please do not chat in this room)
  Decklists will not be required. We request no deck changes between games (sideboarding during matches is obviously ok), but the "honor system" will be used. You may pre-register by letting BlippyTheSlug (US Event), or _Kumagoro_ (Euro Event), know you want to play. Don't be shy. PM them in the MTGO client and say "I want to play!"
  Players, pairings, and standings for both Events, along with the current Prize Pool, can be found here

A Pledge is a Promise!
What I would love to see are more pledges by individuals as bounties for specific criteria during the event. Such as the one that I posted for the US portion and JustSin matched for the European portion of this event:
             - One Plateau to the highest placed player of a Red Deck Wins deck (with at least 1 match win.)

As Nushae pointed out on the mothership it is in the spirit of Erik's generous nature that prizes be given for things other than merely winning the event. I know many of you were touched by Hamtastic in various ways and his influence left us all richer than before we met him. To make a pledge/offer a bounty (such as the one above) just tell BlippyTheSlug in game via pm what your pledge is and what the condition is to win it.

Another way to contribute is to buy cards from Hammybot which will be online soon and pledge those cards as bounties for beating certain players or making certain achievements. (First player to play a forest from their hand. First person to lose to a 2 card combo. Or first player to beat Winter.Wolf (me), for example.) Have fun with it and be creative!

Oath of DruidsMishra's WorkshopBazaar of BaghdadForce of Will

Classic Classic
In the preparation for participating in this event which is in the Classic format (almost anything goes except for the restricted list and no gleemoxen), I started brewing some decks for the event. Of course one deck archetype which Erik loved and which I don't but am somewhat familiar with is Red Deck Wins. This deck archetype seeks to put the opponent on his back foot quickly and keep him there through direct damage and quick aggressive pressure. A tougher job to accomplish in Classic than Modern, it is not impossible and quite a few players have 4-0ed a Daily Event with such decks.

My own rather casual attempt is as follows:


This is certainly at least a starting off point. A well known classic player (in juff) TheSadisticBlackDoll mentioned that the decked needed more Grim Lavamancers and Fireblasts. She also recommended the white exile cards, Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares. To make this more in line with top tier versions replace the mana with regular mountains, take out the white splash and add in more browbeats, and rift bolts. And don't forget to replace the searing blazes with Fireblasts or at least Brimstone Volleys which are fairly decent as either Lava Axes or just plain removal.

The sideboard is a guess at best because I really don't know what to expect. Will it be all shops and oath decks? Should I put more artifact/land destruction in the sideboard? I did consider adding Pillage and Avalanche Riders but I think that's a different deck. Elixir is the real oddball here as I figured it would be decent vs the mirror.

Blood MoonBack To BasicsWastelandArmageddon

Those of you readers who actually play competitive classic and run RDW are more likely to be able to tell us what a good sideboard is though we can just google the top RDW winners of late. This one is an SGC legacy event winner but there is enough overlap between Classic and Legacy that the side could be viable or at least reasonable in Classic I think. The only weird thing is the 3x Volcanic Fallout as I expect very few decks to be running weenies, aside from maybe combo elves and they tend to be capable of defending against pyroclasm effects fairly well. Granted that Fallout is at least at instant speed and uncounterable but it still seems odd to me. Red Elemental Blast might be worth substituting for Pyroblasts. I would certainly consider running Blood moons since the non-basic land situation is often the deal breaker in classic decks. And perhaps more Price of Progress too.

The real upgrade to me is the 4x Faithless Looting but since this deck doesn't really want to be discarding at will that is more for excessive lands draws. This list is modified from an older RDW list I had so there are some oddities like the single Char, and Rift Bolt. Cards I own for EDH mainly and don't have more of offhand since I rarely play this format at all.

But then I realized that I was really thinking about Goblins and how great they are in Tribal Wars and how quickly they can win. I came up with the following list:


While this list is much more compact with lots of 4xs you still see a few oddities here because my ideas on the decks aren't solid yet. These are really just jumping off points. RDW and Goblin Deck Wins are both well explored archetypes but there is plenty of room for experimentation and clever ploys. You can of course replace the commanders with cheaper spells/creatures if you want to speed it up a tad. I prefer having some kind of power late game incase my opponent stymies the all-in approach. In the previous deck I added mountain/plains to splash white cards and here I did not, simply because I wanted to focus the deck a little more. The sideboards are really very tentative and for instance while I think Leyline of Punishment is a cool idea it probably wont make the final cut as it is slow (if you don't get it in the opening hand) and only is only really important vs white weenie style decks. Not that life gain doesn't happen in classic but rarely in the more cutthroat forms we see in Daily Events.

And lets be clear that while my deck lists here are mainly focused on the casual play aspect of the format I expect nothing less than the full panoply of high level Classic lists available to the venerable community members. I want people to play Erik's favorite archetype (RDW) but I also recognize that some pragmatists (spikes) will only bring the most broken deck they can manage budget-wise and collection-wise. I also expect there to be a ton of foilage. (If the premium card animation slows you down you can turn it off in your settings and I highly recommend you doing so.)

Sharks will be in the waters according to Blippy (and I concur) so these sideboards are mainly just placeholders. Bring what you know hoses Oath, Shops, Dredge, etc. Now for a couple more casual/not ready for prime time decks as this is my specialty. For example, I love toolbox decks and while I don't have the most excellent of toolbox cards Survival of the Fittest, I do have Birthing Pod which is also quite awesome. Here is my eldest birthing pod list updated for current sets:

This deck has no sideboard though mainly I think it would include more artifact/enchantment hate (perhaps in the form of Qasali Pridemage and Acidic Slime) and perhaps something like Chalice of the Void to shut down certain style decks. I am certain you all could improve upon this list for personal preferences as this deck does not include all of the most obvious monsters.

Emrakul, The Aeons Torn Elesh Norn, Grand CenobiteGaddock Teeg

No Emrakuls, No Elesh Norns, No Ionas, no Gaddock Teegs, etc. All of which are awesome sauce but don't my ideal of fun. Not that I would automatically exclude them from such a deck but I have chosen to not to acquire them since they are mostly for more serious decks. If you like the pod idea for classic and want to make it more competitive I would definitely consider some of these (though probably not Emrakul since there is no way to get her out in a timely fashion in this version.) Living Death is my idea of a great sweeper combined with a way to take advantage of all those sacrifices. In my experience most of the time Living Death properly resolves with guys in your graveyard it means the end of the game is nigh.

Instead I managed to sneak in a Spiritmonger which is a monster more to my liking. He has regeneration, changes color almost at will and gets bigger when he kills stuff. What's not to love? Other gems include Baneslayer Angel (formerly known as the Wallet Slayer when a play set used to cost over $200.) and Obstinate Baloth. Yes there goes that life gain I was saying you wont see in the top levels of the game. There is plenty of it amongst the less good decks though. At 4cmc for a 4/4 body this as good as life gain gets at least until you get into the combo decks.

Riftsweeper and Pull from Eternity are quirky cards that help deal with those pesky white cards that exile things I mentioned earlier. Getting stuff back from exile is a slow trick at best but vs the many slow control decks this can be fruitful.

Another older deck that I enjoy playing every once in a while is a suspension deck featuring Jhoira of the Ghitu. She is only a 2/2 so is fragile and thus really not something to drop on turn 3 typically. You will want at least 2 mana up to be able to suspend 4 something big from your hand. Preferably a monster that eats the world when it enters play or at least scares all your opponent's weenies. The following list is a hybrid between two themes adding in a couple pods and featuring a more symmetrical mana curve:

Because the suspend theme is topped with Rift Elemental in this list I added in a few extra suspend cards such as Ancestral Vision, and Wheel of Fate for the hand refill and if timed right mass discard for your opponent. Rift Elemental can go quite far all by itself given a Greater Gargadon suspended and an empty or underwhelming board presence for your opponent.  False prophet is a card shared between the two decks above and serves the same purpose in both. Play it and sac it to exile an important beast or two that is menacing you. The bonus of what you get for the sacrifice is icing on the cake. Deranged Hermit is the oddball here as I included it because I admit I love this card. It isn't all that powerful considering what could be in it's place (Spiritmonger for example. *smirk*)

And below is yet another adoption of a hybrid into pod deck list:


Here I added in some twists in the form of (Tradewind Riders) and (Saw-tooth Loon) both only classic/legacy legal and generally hasbeens instead of hot cards. But I love them and find them to make the deck fun to play. This deck attempts to mix the Unburial Rites, Faithless Looting strategy that Raphael Levy brought to light (but which must by now be obvious to anyone who plays standard) with some good ole fashioned classic stuff. Flayer of the Hatebound is pretty nasty here with Unburial rites as I have found out by playing it in Modern. (cf  that deck below) I  had Sundial of the Infinite in this list but decided it was just not worth it since I am not also running Venser, the Sojourner or Glimmerpoint Stag or Oblivion Ring.

Again I opted to not include huge monsters in lieu of the FotHb devil. Though probably I should add at least one (Sheoldred, Whispered One) to the deck so that saccing Flayer makes more sense. I had one play with this deck where I cast living death with Flayer and a ton of other creatures in both graveyards along with Mikaeus. Of course nothing terrible happened when I cast the death and I think my opponent heaved a sigh of relief until I tapped the rest of my mana for a Wrath of God and thus put multiple Flayer of the hatebound damage triggers on the stack. It felt a little sneaky to do that but hey classic is full of odd tricks and shenanigans.

Helm of ObedienceLeyline of the VoidPainter's ServantGrindstone

You might see Helm of Obedience + Leyline of the Void. One game I played, my opponent brought Grindstone + Painter's Servant. Unfortunately for them I had time to deal with servant so they never got the opportunity to win with the combo. Still its the thought that counts right? There are so many 2 card combinations it would take a much longer article than this just to list them all and explain their mechanisms. I don't doubt we will see some variations on Friday the 4th of May. Along with I hope some Red Deck Wins variants.

Tribal Woes
I had a blast playing 2hg Tribal with AJ_Impy as my partner a few weeks ago and hope to do that again if the powers that be can figure out how to make that happen. As discussed in Kumagoro's series, there are a number of options for upcoming special weeks of the Tribal Apocalypse (run again by the energizer slug himself, Mr BlippyTheSlug.) My own view is 100 card singleton tribal could be fun as could milegyenanevem's double tribal take (using only creatures with 2 or more of the same types (probably banning Warriors in general and Shamans too)) or my version where you actually add two tribal decks together in a 120 card monstrosity.

I have not been playing tribal wars legacy much lately and I stopped enjoying the Apocalypse a while ago. I have also been hearing lately from other players that they are not enjoying the event as much as they used to. I think this is inevitable. Unlike Classic, Legacy and Modern, Tribal Wars is a format without sideboarding. This means that broken strategies are hit or miss based on match ups and whether you are facing someone prepared for your deck. Also if you are playing a "fair" deck you will find unfair decks tend to wreck it. Life from the Loam/Seismic Assault was one of my favorites back in the day and I loved it in combination with (Swans of Bryn Argol) but it is a definitely unfair engine once it gets off the ground. Punishing Fires/Groves is another such engine that fits very nicely with Aggro Loam and gives any tribe better reach vs almost anything.

ConfluxDream HallsCruel UltimatumMystic Snake

One deck I refused to bring to the Apocalypse because I felt it was inherently an unfair experience for opponents is Dream Halls Snakes. Not only does it potentially combo off turn 3-4 (usually 4 and often 5)  it brings counters with it to make it completely unfair. The combination is play Dream Halls, then Conflux into 5 cards including 3 Cruel Ultimatums, Mystic Snake and another Conflux. Also in the deck to make it more unfair: Magister Sphinx, Eternal Witness. The snake tribals help get your mana early on and can provide alternative beatings in the form of Lorescale Coatl and Ohran Viper.

An idea Japa_ had which he was kind enough to share with me is Zedruu's Bulls:


This deck straddles the border between fair and unfair in that while it is unwieldy and potentially takes a while to operate when it does come online it is usually lethal. Didgeridoo is good for getting out fast Buills if you get it out turn 1-2 and by turn 5 it is possible to "donate" illusions of grandeur to your enemy via (Zedruu, The Greathearted). After testing it a little I realized it has very little game vs aggressive decks and thus it can't possibly be truly unfair. On the other hand it is creative and I give kudos to Japa_ for thinking of it. I added some refinements such as individual minotaurs to run and adding Trinket Mage + Elixir of Immortality to keep you alive a little longer as well as fetch a wayward top or Didgeridoo.

Modern Times

Some of you may have read KaraZorEl's excellent article on standard stompy which inspired me to think a bit more about Increasing Savagery. The increasing cycle from Dark Ascension has mostly been moderately underwhelming with Increasing Confusion, and Increasing Devotion gaining the most attention from casual players. But Increasing Savagery is actually quite a beating.  I came up with a modern deck using the card and some hexproof bodies.


There are plenty of ways to make this deck but I felt fast hexproof fellas that get bigger with savagery felt both thematic for and at least somewhat playable. Combining aggression with card draw, planeswalkers and combat tricks ((Snake Form) for example) makes this deck formidable in a format filled with players who don't seem to differentiate between fun and tourney ready. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And this is certainly not tourney ready though I think it has potential to be with a well sussed sideboard. Of the three Garruks available, Wildspeaker feels the most appropriate for this build. The overrun ability alone is going to win games.

Garruk WildspeakerGarruk, Primal Hunter

Silver-Inlaid Dagger has a 'sometimes bigger than the average sword' effect which seems entirely appropriate to me. After all, we are running its favorite carrier, Mr Invisible. The singleton Rites, kills off opposing legends and occasionally makes a swarm. It probably should be a fourth savagery.

Another fun concept I am still tinkering with is a monoblack version of Pod featuring 4x Tendrils of Corruption to offset the pain of not having any green.  The deck list I have is still tentative and I also made a standard version including many zombies for recursive fun. Meanwhile I did mention a Frites spin off for this format and here it is:


This version dumps big guys into the graveyard similarly to Standard format's Solar Flare and Frites decks (via Faithless Looting and Forbidden Alchemy) and uses Makeshift Mannequin and Unburial Rites to dig them out for the kill. I chose Magister Sphinx + Bogardan Hellkite here because between the two your opponent should be dead very shortly once they hit play. Also occasionally Magister brings you back from the bring occasionally which can be important in close games. Firemanes help a little vs the aggro game and the Snappys are in to speed up the flashbacks a little and help with Mannequins. Particularly casting it targeting a mannequin at the end of your opponent's turn to bring back a Flayer of the Hatebound. I have had several people target a mannequined flayer with exile removal only to concede when they realized their grave mistake. The ingots are a concession to the multicolored nature of the deck and the fact that even 40% mana is sometimes not enough to avoid mana screw.

Atypical Standard
 As I mentioned in the modern section I put together a black pod deck list and then realized it was all standard after I turned it into a zombies deck. Here is the list:


Sure, sure everyone is fawning over the Zombies cards and all but I happen to enjoy the purity of a mono black undead deck. Plus I don't own Havengul Lich though AJ was kind enough to lend me his set for a while so I could build a variety of  brok-- erm I mean fun piles. I do own the captains and could I suppose build a fair to middling zombies deck using blue but to be honest that seems about as exciting as watching dead grass not grow.

The singleton curse is my acknowledgement that people love tokens.dec. This doesn't shut that deck down obviously since there are Intangible Virtues and Honor of The Pures but it does cut them down to size a little. The fact is it probably is better as the newish zombie favoring "(Abyss)": Call to the Grave which was reprinted in 12th edition. However, I insist on keeping the singleton Zombie Apocalypse for that one in ten chance that it causes a rage quit or merely "Wow! nice play!"

Curse of Death's HoldCall To The GraveZombie Apocalypse

Well I kid, most people aren't likely to rage out for a mostly bad card that occasionally hits the jackpot. Now if only we could get all our opponents creatures to count as humans when we cast it I could see people being mad. Let's see, Donate , Zedruu or Bazaar Trader a Xenograft or Conspiracy set to humans? Nah too much work. But funny though. I guess one could cast an "of Velis Vel" card (there are 3 but the one we want is the one: Shields of Velis Vel.) Instant one-sided wrath and one-sided living death, what's not to like? Except that would take us out of standard and monocolored.

Sometime last year Acgabs was talking a lot about rage extractor and so I built a few variations using the nph mana cards. And then someone was asking me about it a few weeks ago and I was so sure I'd written an article about my extractor pod deck which is here:


As it turns out I didn't not in fact write about it as I suppose the list was absorbed into the plethora of other pod decks I did write about. Yes I love Birthing Pod. Great card is great, eh? The concept of taking a pod deck and adding Rage Extractor to it might be a little outré but it really appeals to me. Although this flipped it on its end. Vault Skirges early out of the gate can not only pay for themselves but lead to just enough life gain to make the life losses to nph mana not as dangerous as expected.

Rage Extractor

The biggest drawback aside from occasionally dragging my life down to the edge is that there is a tension between wanting to pod things into play and wanting to cast them to zap players and creatures with the extractors. The deck is surprisingly versatile and not really weak to anything but burn decks but it isn't really strong against anything either. Which probably explains why rage extractor never really hit it big. New Phyrexia despite its theme being appalling to me is one of my favorite sets of recent times. Since Alara Reborn really. This really bears fruit for me with decks like this. So much fun in one deck.

Hidden section ahead:

Some tips for improving your articles on (click to show them)

Puremtgo Article Tips
Lately on this site there has been frequent discussion over article quality and content. I would like to point out again for those who may not be aware of it, the way I get my deck lists to look the way they do is through the use of a simple application Jamuraa constructed for us here: This is an excellent way to get decorative lists that you can simply insert into your articles without a lot of effort. Alternatively you can try using tables the way some other writers do but those tend to be harder to read. You can also go way above and beyond the call of duty, the way Blippy does in his articles and seriously edit the code for the lists to reflect your own preferences for organization and presentation. I usually do a little more by adding the following to the plain text editor at the very top:


<style type="text/css" rel="stylesheet">
.deckList {position:relative;left:150px;}


Which creates a class for use later when you want to post a list. (The editor will surround the style tags with paragraph <p> tags but don't worry about that.) When you have a list ready from Jam's site, simply enter the plain text editor at the point you wish to insert the deck list code and type the following:

<div class="deckList">
paste the deck list html here.

For fancier effects, you can also do things like add a show/hide script to your articles. The method I recommend is to use jQuery which has its own dom manipulation techniques that make hiding and showing div tags (like the one above) relatively easy. Apparently jQuery is not usable within the confines of the editor so I chose an older slightly harder for you to follow method instead. Here is a breakdown of how to accomplish this step by step:
1) Add a line to your css style tag as follows:

<style type="text/css" rel="stylesheet">
.deckList {position:relative;left:150px;}
.hiddenDeckList {display:none;}

2)Then create a script tag right under the style tag as follows:

<script type="text/javascript">
    function toggleDiv(elemID)
          if (document.getElementById(elemID).className=="hiddenDeckList")
          else document.getElementById(elemID).className="hiddenDeckList";

 Note: I was going to do this with jquery but apparently there are problems with using jquery code on this site. So moving on we do it the old fashioned (read: 1990s) way.

3)Then where you made the div tag (as in the example above) above that add the following A tag: 

<a href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="toggleDiv('mydivID')">Show Deck List</a>

Note: Each div tag you want to show/hide this way needs its own id attribute which you use in the above line to create a toggle to show/hide it. The tag's ID goes between the single quotes (don't use double quotes there or you will break the code).

4) in the div itself add a new class name to the class attribute as follows:

<div class="hiddenDeckList">
paste the deck list html here.

Note: the function toggleDiv changes the class name of the div to "deckList" when showing it so that automatically gets the formating for the style associated with that class name. In this case it moves the whole thing 150 pixels (px) to the right.

5) Also in the same div tag add in an id tag (see my note in #3) with the same name you used in the A tag onclick attribute.

<div class="hiddenDeckList" id="mydivID">
paste the deck list html here.


Toggle Example

In addition to these things you can use the website to autolink your card names by surrounding the (correctly spelled) name in Parentheses. Like this Primeval Titan . Assuming the cards are coded properly on the site they will appear as a link and NOT in parentheses. If you want to create thumbnails you can type the following inside the parentheses (tmb=card name). To create a full card sized picture replace tmb with pic. To create the mana symbols surround the following with parentheses: mana=WRGBU which is equivelant to


 a thumbnail of Primeval Titan: primeval titan a full card picture of primeval titan primeval titan

mana=g mana=u mana=r mana=w mana=b

I also recommend that you customize your articles with images either that you have created or ones that wont get you in trouble for borrowing them or using them. One thing you would be well advised to do is credit art/photography. Nothing says "oops" like a cease & desist order because someone didn't get permission for using something. Not that this is a problem most of the time. But better safe than sorry and it is relatively easy compared to the "fix".

A couple more basic tips: use the <enter> key when typing. If a paragraph block looks huge then it probably needs to be cut in half. Also be wary of run on sentences. Periods do not hurt and can make text 100% more readable. Try to avoid using the same words over and over again. If you find yourself unable to think of a better replacement try looking up synonyms on a thesaurus site. Use headings for different topics. This makes them easier to parse and get back to later if someone needs to take a break from reading. This is especially important if you tend to be verbose as I am.

There have been myriad complaints by readers that articles are published without proper editing. I would like to take this time to note that the Content Editor ( is a busy man but if you send him an email he will be more likely to be responsive to those criticisms. How to avoid those comments being made about your articles? Either pick them apart carefully using Spell Checker or have someone else do that for you. In addition, if you have difficulties with writing or English in general be sure and ask a buddy to proof read it for you.

You can find free hosting on the internet almost anywhere you look if you don't mind dealing with the various stipulations that come with it. I bring this up to point out that you do not need to show them the article on this site. You can copy the html, paste it to notepad, save it as "myarticle.html" or some other html file and post it somewhere free so your friend can view it at their leisure and make comments as you update it. This may not solve all the difficulties you may run across in creating articles but it should help.

Embedding videos sound files is fairly simple if that is essential to your plan with your article. Just be sure to use, post the video there, get the embed code from their page and post it in the plain text editor where you want the video to appear. Take a care to choose which size screen you want. I recommend something between 500 and 700px width; The maximum size for articles here without stretching the page is round 900px total and you want room for margins.

Logo Banner Creation. I have made about 20 or so logos for my articles and other people as well. On this site: Freed From the Real, Overdriven! and Conqueror & Commander all sport my logos. I use Generic Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) which you can download for free from, to create the banner after downloading cards from I cut the images out using the crop tool, then copy them and paste as a new layer into a long (850px or so by 150px) banner and place them adjacent to each other. I then save and exit and load the image into photoshop 7.0 (old I know) for the easy to use lettering filters. After I add the logo to the banner (again done with layers) I save and bring back to gimp to create the borders I want. My banners tend to go with a thin contrasting border and then a thick black border.


The Final Section: On to Victory!
And now that is out of the way I'd like to remind you to pledge cards as prizes for the big event on May 4th. Enter the events and win big and share in the fun. Don't forget to preregister with BlippyTheSlug and _Kumagoro_. And as always thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you online in the coming weeks.

Paul Emerson Leicht
Aka Winter.Wolf on MTGO. 


So many decks! Cool to see by Leviathan at Fri, 04/20/2012 - 18:07
Leviathan's picture

So many decks! Cool to see my old clan mate Japa_ getting a shout out. Not many of us are active any more (what's up Treamayne!). The article writing tips were strong and all useful (you lost me on the code stuff though, but that's just cuz I have no idea about all that stuff). I bookmarked this article just in case I ever wanted to do videos too:

Thought that might be useful. Thanks again for doing the banner!

I like that you are throwing by GainsBanding at Fri, 04/20/2012 - 22:53
GainsBanding's picture

I like that you are throwing out casual deck ideas for the event to get people interested. The reality is that there will be tons of tier one decks playing and one of those will win it. But the prizes are so good and it's about getting together and having fun, I think casual players should be encouraged to play as well. First off, it's totally free. Second, you might win a door prize or "achievement" prize of some sort. Third, every now and then a casual deck can take down a tier one deck. Competitive decks are tuned to beat each other - they don't always have answers for unexpected strategies. Fourth, if enough casual players join up, they'll end up being paired against each other eventually and have some fun evenly-matched rounds.
Make no mistake, if you aren't prepared for Dredge or Oath or Shop, you will get beat by those decks very quickly. But those decks do have weaknesses that you can come prepared for with a good sideboard. Look up Penguin TV or Yawgmoth's Soap Opera on this site or to see the types of decks you'll be facing. I hope lots of people of all skill levels and experience join up. Maybe I'll have to donate a casual door prize to encourage that!

BlippyTheSlug's picture

We have over $2,500 in prize support now!

The odds are very good for picking up a prize, no matter how you finish! (Providing you finish, of course!) The first fifty players in each event are guaranteed at least 2 tickets bot credit, and the last twenty five players are guaranteed at least a PLC Booster. (These can overlap) Then, we have 25 Tickets to give away as door prizes to random people who didn't get anything else.

Right now, there are 49 players registered in the US Event, and 10 in the Euro Event. I can take registration information for the Euro Event, as well, if you can't find _Kumagoro_.

Shameless Plug: Updated Ham On Wry information will be presented in next week's Overdriven! article. :)

Thanks guys for your by Paul Leicht at Sat, 04/21/2012 - 09:13
Paul Leicht's picture

Thanks guys for your comments. :)

@Levi I've seen Trea a few times online but I think he pretty much has taken a break. If there is anything specific you or anyone else does not understand in the tips please let me know so I can help clarify the tips for you. Usually when I am online I am available so feel free to pm me with questions.

@Gains I think there will be a mixture (49 players in just the US event so far) of casual and cut throat. My hope is the rogue strategies help against the set decks. Thanks for pointing out that Whiffy's articles can be of use to us in our quest to find the right sideboards for this.

@Blippy $2500 just seems insane. From a germ to a seed to a frigging Red Wood eh? Good job! :D

sharks in the water may be an by JustSin at Sat, 04/21/2012 - 09:25
JustSin's picture

sharks in the water may be an understatement

Good article, some of these by grapplingfarang at Sat, 04/21/2012 - 12:39
grapplingfarang's picture

Good article, some of these decks look like a lot of fun. I worry a bit about the mix with casual decks and top of the line Classic decks, but as long as everybody remembers what the tournament is for and has fun it should be fine.

I wanted to add that I tried to look through some of Hamtastic's old articles for decks, but only came up with him liking RDW. If anyone that knew him well knows of a particular archetype that he enjoyed a lot, I would like to know to set a fun bounty.

The only other thing we by Paul Leicht at Sat, 04/21/2012 - 20:48
Paul Leicht's picture

The only other thing we talked about was his idea for the ascensions. Blue and Red working together. As it turned out we couldn't quite get that deck to work as we wanted though it did have moments. So I'd say maybe that whole style of deck combo/control via Blue/Red enchants and instants. (Ala Splinter Twin, etc)

Great stuff Paul, and you by Splendid Belt at Sun, 04/22/2012 - 02:55
Splendid Belt's picture

Great stuff Paul, and you used Browbeat and Snakeform in two of your decks, two of my all time favourite cards! Your Invisible Savagery deck is similar to one I've been tinkering with lately, although your list looks better. Incidentally, Rite of Replication + Overgrown Battlement for all the mana you could ever need (best I've managed is 45 mana by turn 6. Hardcast Emrakul, yum). But that's a different deck though, I just mention it because you added the Rite.

Hey Belt, thanks :) Yeah I by Paul Leicht at Sun, 04/22/2012 - 03:57
Paul Leicht's picture

Hey Belt, thanks :) Yeah I enjoy quirky cards like Snakeform. Unfortunately it is often overlooked but man when it is played it really changes the board. What baneslayer angel? nonflying snake 1/1 is more like it!

Battlement is ridiculous when you get 3-4 out, never had 45 mana worth out. :P Rite is in there for legend ruling stuff but also the occasional fun bit of stuff. :D Not quite the same as Spitting Image but certainly more powerful when kicked.

What an amazing effort! So by deluxeicoff at Sun, 04/22/2012 - 11:27
deluxeicoff's picture

What an amazing effort! So many decklists to ponder...true, some may be a bit Tier 2, but the spark is there to improve upon if your readers wish. I've been having sucess with Jacob's Pox deck, if you haven't seen it, it's VERY fun to play and feels rogueish but is very powerful and has an answer for everything:

Wow that is an excellent by Paul Leicht at Sun, 04/22/2012 - 20:34
Paul Leicht's picture

Wow that is an excellent article by Jacob. In the past Ive found some of his efforts to be less than impressive but this is quite an insight into that deck and yeah Pox looks pretty cool. I am not a huge fan of the Rack strategy as it seems quite defeat-able with certain cards and just careful play but the rest of the deck is pretty solid looking and if The Rack fits the niche given it then great! :)

That spark is mainly what I am interested in. The rest is a matter of style, costs and planning.

Thanks for the comments. :D

If you want to beat classic by Tarmotog at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 09:28
Tarmotog's picture

If you want to beat classic decks, it is not impossible but your approach is wrong because you're under the mindset that you autolose to the good classic decks and immediately go for "i'm playing my casual deck route".
Like any other format, you need to first identify what the decks to beat are and where their weaknesses lie.
If you ignore the key matchups and play an odd deck, you could as well scoop since the opp would more likely than not be playing the entire game by themselves with your gameplay experience limited to clicking oks, especially since Classic is Classic afterall.
Following the flow of running goblins, here is what i have to say:
Use cards that overlap your win condition with cards that are good against the big decks.
For example, dredge is a beast. If you play sac goblins like mogg fanatic, goblin sledder, you Immediately have an advantage over their bridge from belows.
As long as you can keep the opp's creature count below 3 or run a sharpshooter together with the sac gobs, it is possible to run them over with good play.
You can also run a playset of grafdigger's cage in the sb to make life more difficult and also buy some time vs oath.
If you run vials you can have a strong game vs blue control decks, as you would if you run skullclamp).
If you run the goblin with echo that bounces creatures, you can make it difficult for a tinkered bs colossus to do its thing. You also gain some value vs an active oath cos if u have 2 in han and your opp naturally oaths (instead of channel emrakul) without dragon breath, you can stall them very significantly (show n tell and bounce gob is so brutal). Even more so with vial.
If you run some artifact smashing cards in the sb like the replicate card, your odds vs workshops immediately goes up.
Running bad decks means you are a sitting duck vs combo.

It is not impossible for a cheap crappy deck like what i'm describing to win but you must respect the classic decks before you can expect to take games in the format.
Classic is not as unwinnable as people believe it to be. It's just that it is not a format where people want to run crappy decks.
If all the above text is too much, just take home the idea that if you run enough playable hates with a semi decent gameplan, winning is not that much a faraway dream.

(i hope everyone does make an effort to bring proper classic decks. It's quite demoralizing to get beaten by wierd decks and no I'm not encouraging that. )

I can add a bit to this. I by KaraZorEl at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 09:45
KaraZorEl's picture

I can add a bit to this. I once played a Project Melira deck with the Persist without counters combo, and I beat a Tinker/Time Vault deck 2-1. I was very excited.

Hey Tarmo long time no blog! by Paul Leicht at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 10:40
Paul Leicht's picture

Hey Tarmo long time no blog! Anyway yeah the point of my classic deck ideas isn't to encourage people to play crappy decks lol. However everyone needs a starting off point.

Those are certainly some great pointers (though cage might be a bit obvious :D) and I hope people building for the event take notice. As far as being demoralized by losing to "crappy" or "weird" decks...well thats the + side of rogue building. Your one slim advantage is your opponent won't see what's coming necessarily based on your first turn play.

I would like to reinforce the not unwinnable comment as I would never say it was considering some of the weird games Ive seen and played vs tried and true decks. On the other hand once a turn 2 combo starts going off all that careful planning can just go right out the window. :D So while not unwinnable some match ups are just bad. It helps as you said to plan for the most likely to be relevant match ups and hope for the best with the rest.

Thanks for commenting.

2x post :( Nothing of value by Tarmotog at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 09:32
Tarmotog's picture

2x post :(
Nothing of value to add

Remembering Baneslayer by caterpillar at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 09:46
caterpillar's picture

I liked the little side comment about Baneslayer Angel. TAFKAW does have a nice ring to it. I may start calling her that from now on.
Also very cool and interesting to see a (semi-) competitive deck based around Didgeridoo. Props to the author.