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By: ArchGenius, Marcus Rehnberg
Mar 10 2010 2:33am
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In case you haven't heard yet, 100 classic singleton 2-man queues are an extremely good deal right now.  100 Classic Singleton queues are paying out in Exodus packs which are selling for a higher price than just about anything else.  I'm guessing this is because of the high number of very expensive rares in Exodus because it's certainly not because of the demand for Tempest block drafts.  Anyway, getting an Exodus pack which can be sold easily for 4 tickets is a much better deal than getting a Zendikar/Worldwake pack which can be bought for around 3.2 tickets. 

I have a family and a full time job, so I generally don't often have the time for long multi-round tournaments. So this means that I generally focus on the 2-man queues.  If your situation is anything like this, I encourage you to check the 100 classic singleton queues.  They are a blast and at least tied for the best payout around.  At least until Urza's Saga comes out.

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Why Scapeshift/Valakut?

Scapeshift and Valakut are cards that don't need a whole lot of support.  You can built an entire deck around them or you could simply play a deck designed to get a lot of lands into play very quickly and then use Scapeshift and Valakut as an "oops I win" type of card. 

Unlike other combo cards in 100 singleton, you don't have to worry about the "dead" cards in your deck.  With Dark Depths and Hexmage, you are going to run into plenty of situations where you have Dark Depths and not Hexmage.  In this case Dark Depths is pretty much a dead land.  Similarly Progenitus is a dead card if you draw it in a deck that tries to get it into play with Natural Order

Unlike Progenitus, Valakut doesn't care about Moat, Humility, or Form of the Dragon, Wrath of God, or Damnation.  It also doesn't care about Gaea's Blessing or instant speed Painter's Servant removal unlike Painter/Grindstone.  No, Valakut is a much more stream-lined combo victory.  So what does a Valakut deck care about?  Land, and lots of it.

So, let's start building our deck with the cards that will help us build up a land base quickly while slowing our opponent down.

Valakut Base
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Wood Elves
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
5 cards

Other Spells
1 Scapeshift
1 cards
 
Lands
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Taiga
1 Stomping Ground
1 Forest
1 Mountain
5 cards

 
Scapeshift

Obviously our deck is going to have to be heavy red and green in order to support the cost of Scapeshift and the Mountains needed for Valakut.  Beyond that there are the numerous green creatures that accelerate our mana.

 

Landfall Base
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Vinelasher Kudzu
1 Plated Geopede
1 Grazing Gladehart
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Rampaging Baloths
5 cards

Other Spells
0 cards
 
Lands
0 cards

 
Vinelasher Kudzu

As long as we're trying to ramp up the lands we're playing, we might as well add the creatures that care about lands coming into play from red and green.

Green Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Kitchen Finks
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Primal Command
2 cards
 
Lands
0 cards

 
Eternal Witness

Whenever I'm going to construct a green 100 singleton deck I look at these spells.  I may not include all of them in every green deck I make, but I usually need to have a reasonably good reason NOT to include any cards in a green 100 singleton deck.  In this case I think all of these cards deserve a slot.

Red - Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Arc-Slogger
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Grim Lavamancer
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Incinerate
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Fireblast
4 cards
 
Lands
0 cards

Sideboard
1 Pyroblast
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Vexing Shusher
3 cards
 
Lightning Bolt

Similar to the green staples, here are the red cards that are beyond compare. For the cost, these are the best of the best.  You may be wondering about Pyrite Spellbomb.  My main reason for including it as a staple is simply because there are a lot of protection from red creatures out there that die to this little spell.  Given the amount of anti-red hate out there, Pyrite Spellbomb is a must. 

 

Colorless - Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
0 cards

Other Spells
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 AEther Vial
2 cards
 
Lands
1 Wasteland
1 cards

Wasteland

I don't have a whole lot to say about these cards other than the fact that they are extremely good.  AEther Vial is not an auto-include in control decks, but it is simply amazing in many decks and an auto-include in almost every aggressive deck.  

 

Goblins - Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Goblin Recruiter
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin Ringleader
1 Sparksmith
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Goblin King
1 Goblin Ruinblaster
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Warren Instigator
14 cards

Other Spells
1 Goblin Lackey
1 AEther Vial
1 cards
 
Lands
0 cards

 
Goblin Recruiter

Goblin Lackey AEther Vial and Goblin Recruiter have stolen countless games in this format.  Especially in conjunction with each other, They are a deadly team.  If I'm going to play a heavy red deck, I'm going to want at least a partial Goblin ramp.

------------------------------------------

So far, this looks like a goblin deck with land grabbing elements.  Let's take a deeper look at the deck.

Here is the deck so far....

 

We have 42 non-land slots filled.  So we need roughly 18-20 more slots to fill along with land to finish up the deck.

Is there anything else in Red and Green that this deck would like to have?  Here are a couple of possibilities to keep in mind.

Changeling Berserker

This deck has a lot of creatures like Imperial Recruiter, Wood Elves, and Goblin Matron.  You basically play them for the effect.  Often the fact that they leave behind a 1/1 body is of little consequence.  Changeling Berserker can take that little 1/1 creature and turn him into a 4 turn clock.  He also gets another use out of that creature when your opponent finds a way to deal with the Berserker.  (Note:  He's especially good with AEther Vial and persist creatures. 

Tin Street Hooligan

I'm all in favor of having a versatile tutor chain.  Tin Street Hooligan adds artifact destruction to all goblin tutors along with Imperial Recruiter.  Therefore he probably deserves a spot in the deck.

Chameleon Colossus

Green creatures are especially useful in 100 singleton because they can block creatures that are wearing any type of protection sword.  Red decks have a weakness for Sword of Fire and Ice and this is one of those search-able creatures that can also block a Sword of Fire and Ice equipped creature and live to tell the tale.  He also benefits greatly from ramping up your lands.  

More Burn - FireboltMagma JetRift BoltTarfire

Right now this deck is rather short on burn.  There are plenty of burn options and some of them will most likely make the final version of this deck.

-------------------------------------------

Now here's the point of a command decision.  This is the kind of decision that will dictate the overall scope and focus of the deck. 

With just Red and Green, we don't have any other way to find Scapeshift if we have the lands to turn it into a victory.  It's always nice to add a little redundancy to the deck by adding a few more ways to get to Scapeshift.   White doesn't have any tutors that can find Scapeshift.  It does have Land Tax and Weathered Wayfarer in order to find Valakut, and Mountains, but this deck is all about Scapeshift.  If I was going the Land Tax route I would probably go for Seismic Assault and Armageddon which is an entirely different proposition.  So, for now I'm going to look at adding a few more colors.

So, let's look at adding a third or fourth color to our Scapeshift Deck.  What can we gain?  Will we spread our focus too thinly.  First let's look at our options....

     
  Support Cards  
     

-------------------------------

  Merchant Scroll  
Mystical Tutor Blue Support Mystical Teachings
  Personal Tutor  

Obviously Mystical Tutor is the key spell to find Scapeshift when we need it.  It also finds land searching cards, and a final burn spell when needed.  If I'm going to add blue to a Scapeshift deck, it's all about the tutoring. 

Blue also has access to Artifact land searchers such as Trinket Mage and Tezzeret.  Tezzeret is often a game winner on his own.  I especially like his ability to find Epocrasite.  However the only problem with Tezzeret is that he draws focus away from the main goal of winning with the Valakut combo.

Blue Support
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Trinket Mage
1 cards

Other Spells
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Personal Tutor
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
5 cards
 
Lands
1 Great Furnace
1 Tree of Tales
2 cards

 
Mystical Tutor

 

I think the cards we take away from this list are Mystical Tutor Personal Tutor Mystical Teachings Merchant Scroll, Trinket Mage and a (Tree of Tails)

-------------------------------------------

 

Dimir House Guard   Grim Tutor
  Black Support  
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen   Tainted Pact

Black gives us Dimir House Guard, which can search for Scapeshift and in turn can be searched out by Imperial Recruiter.  Black also gives us some other very powerful and versatile tutors.  Tainted Pact is one of the strongest tutors in the format, but it is also difficult to use in Valakut because it's hard to find enough Mountains for the deck when you can't use more than 2 basic mountains (Snow Covered and non-Snow Covered)  Finally Ob Nixilis was made for a land accelerating deck. 

Now we have to consider that if we are going to go with 4 colors, we have the problem that it's going to be very difficult to get two black mana to use Dimir House Guard or Ob Nixilis, the Fallen.

Black Support for Valakut
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
2 cards

Other Spells
1 Grim Tutor
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Diabolic Intent
1 Tainted Pact
5 cards
 
Lands
0 cards

 
Dimir House Guard

------------------------------
Now let's look at the staples for Black and Blue.  We've just looked at how black and blue help the Valakut
strategy, but how do black and blue benefit the deck in general.  To look at that we need to look at the
best cards in general for those colors.
------------------------------

     
  Format Staples  
     

 

Mind Twist   Thoughtseize
  Black Staples  
Animate Dead   Buried Alive


Mind Twist is a format defining card.  I have lost to this card more times than I can remember.
If you are going to play one black card, make it Mind Twist.  In general, black is good at discard, and reanimation.  Discard is usually pretty easy to splash in, Reanimation is a bit harder and usually one way in which our deck can loose focus.

Black - Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Shriekmaw
1 cards

Other Spells
1 Thoughtseize
1 Mind Twist
1 Living Death
1 Entomb
1 Buried Alive
1 Animate Dead
1 Necromancy
7 cards
 

Lands
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 cards
 

Sideboard
1 Perish
1 cards
 
Mind Twist

 

Fact or Fiction   Venser, Shaper Savant
  Blue Staples  
Mana Drain   Counterspell

Once you go back to classic formats, blue is king of the colors.  It has the most "must play" cards of any color.  The only issue is that many of these must play cards require 2 blue mana which is not so great when we're looking at splashing a color.  Still, there are lots of good options here.

Blue - Format Staples
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand

Creatures
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Mulldrifter
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
6 cards

Other Spells
1 Counterspell
1 Remand
1 Cryptic Command
1 Mana Leak
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Upheaval
1 Force of Will
1 Mana Drain
1 Jace Beleren 
1 Fact or Fiction
10 cards
 

Lands
0 cards
 

Sideboard
1 Hydroblast
1 Flashfreeze
1 Gainsay
3 cards
 
Counterspell

 

Blue has some of the best cards in the game.  It also requires a fairly large color commitment to get the full power of a blue mage.  Fact or Fiction is the blue equivalent of Mind Twist.  It is the blue card that is the first card you want to splash for.  Other than that we have a bunch of really powerful spells that require two blue mana or more.  That is going to be fairly difficult to do when we are already going for a heavy color commitment to green and red.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, it looks like blue can be a great asset to the Valakut combo plan.  Not only does it have tutors for the Valakut combo pieces but it also has card drawing and some needed counterspells.  Black also has some nice support cards, but outside of Mind Twist, most of black's real power lies with a heavy double color mana requirement. Therefore I think this deck is going to have a pretty heathy blue splash with a very small black splash just for Mind Twist and the flashback on Mystical Teachings 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now let's look at equipment.  It's not always easy to identify the best equipment in the format, because the best equipment varies with the creature.  Obviously Lightning Greaves is a lot better on a big creature than a small creature.  Before adding equipment to your deck, you really need to ask yourself, what do the creatures in my deck look like and what are the best pieces of equipment for the creatures in my deck. 

While we are playing for the Scapeshift combo, the shell of our deck is going to be goblins.  So what kind of equipment do we want for a goblins deck?

First let's look at some of the options we have for equipment.  See if you can match the equipment with the type of creature it works best with.

Match the creature with the equipment that is best for that creature.
Equipment Equipment Equipment Equipment Equipment
Adventuring Gear Basilisk Collar Lightning Greaves Loxodon Warhammer Sword of Fire and Ice
Creature Creature Creature Creature Creature
Baneslayer Angel Baneslayer Angel Meloku the Clouded Mirror Meloku the Clouded Mirror  
Birds of Paradise Birds of Paradise Mire Boa Mire Boa  
Bloodghast Bloodghast Mutavault Mutavault  
Boggart Ram-Gang Boggart Ram-Gang Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Ob Nixilis, the Fallen  
Doran, the Siege Tower Doran, the Siege Tower Rampaging Baloths Rampaging Baloths  
Genesis Genesis Silver Knight Silver Knight  
Grim Lavamancer Grim Lavamancer Sparksmith Sparksmith  
Imperial Recruiter Imperial Recruiter Spellstutter Sprite Spellstutter Sprite  
Kitchen Finks Kitchen Finks Tarmogoyf Tarmogoyf  
Kor Duelist Kor Duelist Vampire Nighthawk Vampire Nighthawk  
Kor Skyfisher Kor Skyfisher Warren Instigator Warren Instigator  
Krovikan Horror Krovikan Horror Wood Elves Wood Elves  

 

Basilisk Collar Advantages:  It's cheap and it works well with pingers and large creatures. Disadvantages:  It doesn't boost power and therefore is weak against creatureless decks.
Best Fit Creatures Sparksmith Sparksmith
Goblin Sharpshooter Goblin Sharpshooter
Krovikan Horror Krovikan Horror
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Doran, the Siege Tower Doran, the Siege Tower
Grim Lavamancer Grim Lavamancer

 

Lightning Greaves Advantages:  It's cheap and it's very good at boosting the value of large expensive threats. Disadvantages:  It doesn't boost power.
Best Fit Creatures Baneslayer Angel Baneslayer Angel
Rampaging Baloths Rampaging Baloths
Meloku the Clouded Mirror Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Vampire Nighthawk Vampire Nighthawk
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

 

Loxodon Warhammer Advantages: It boosts power a lot.  It's good on small creatures and large creatures without evasion. Disadvantages:  It's very very very slow, and it will often timewalk you when your opponent destroys the creature you were going to equip.
Best Fit Creatures Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Tarmogoyf Tarmogoyf
Wood Elves Wood Elves
Warren Instigator Warren Instigator
Kor Duelist Kor Duelist

 

Sword of Fire and Ice Advantages: It doubles as creature removal and it is better at racing just about any other piece of equipment.  Works best on evasion creatures and very cheap creatures Disadvantages:  It's very slow, and it often gets stopped by green walls.
Best Fit Creatures Birds of Paradise Birds of Paradise
Mire Boa Mire Boa
Vampire Nighthawk Vampire Nighthawk
Meloku the Clouded Mirror Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Spellstutter Sprite Spellstutter Sprite

 

Adventuring Gear Advantages: It's very cheap for the amount of damage it can deal, and it's less susceptible to instant speed artifact removal.  Adventuring Gear is good on small creatures, double strike creatures, and in decks that can reliably create landfall. Disadvantages:  It's somewhat unreliable.
Best Fit Creatures Meloku the Clouded Mirror Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Kor Duelist Kor Duelist
Vampire Nighthawk Vampire Nighthawk
Mutavault Mutavault
Kor Skyfisher Kor Skyfisher
Kitchen Finks Kitchen Finks

 

For a goblin deck, the best set of equipment is going to be Basilisk Collar and Sword of Fire and Ice.    Adding any more equipment than that is just going to dilute our deck's focus too much.

So, how can we finish this deck off?  First we'll add the tutors Mystical Tutor Mystical Teachings and Merchant Scroll.  Then to support those tutors with options, we'll add Fire/Ice Krosan Grip Kodama's Reach Fact or Fiction Remand Mana Leak Mind Twist and New Frontiers.  Then we add a few utility creatures and burn spells Chameleon Colossus Trygon Predator (Meloku, the Clouded Mirror) FireboltBanefire, and Magma Jet.  Lastly we add in our goblin specific equipment Basilisk Collar and Sword of Fire and Ice and we have the deck put together except for the lands.  

The lands for this deck are going to consist of the usual compliment of duals, fetchs, along with a steady supply of Mountains and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.

The sideboard consists of a mixture of the usual anti-color and anti-graveyard strategies that are meant to punish certain strategies and tactics that lean too heavily on one avenue of attack.  

So, without further introduction, here is my Valakut Deck. 

100 CS - Valakut - Scapeshift Combo Deck
by Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand
Creatures
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Wood Elves
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Vinelasher Kudzu
1 Plated Geopede
1 Grazing Gladehart
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Arc-Slogger
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Goblin Recruiter
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin Ringleader
1 Sparksmith
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Goblin King
1 Goblin Ruinblaster
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Warren Instigator
1 Goblin Lackey
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Trygon Predator
36 cards

Other Spells
1 Scapeshift
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Primal Command
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Incinerate
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Fireblast
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 AEther Vial
1 Firebolt
1 Magma Jet
1 Tarfire
1 Fire/Ice
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Remand
1 Mana Leak
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Mind Twist
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Krosan Grip
1 New Frontiers
1 Banefire
26 cards
 
Lands
1 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Arid Mesa
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Taiga
1 Stomping Ground
1 Breeding Pool
1 Tropical Island
1 Volcanic Island
1 Steam Vents
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Wasteland
1 Blood Crypt
1 Underground River
1 Watery Grave
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Swamp
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Overgrown Tomb
12 Mountain
38 cards

Scapeshift

Go ahead, give it a try, or try one of the many other 100 classic singleton decks out there.  It's a really fun and profitable format to design for and play with. 

Thanks for reading,

Marcus, "Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand" on Magic Online.

ArchGenius@aol.com

 

 

10 Comments

Unless I've got my by middleman35 (not verified) at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 02:56
middleman35's picture

Unless I've got my interactions wrong this deck should be running a Vesuva to enable the full Valakut kill.

Also, a section on gold staples (the RG ones at least) would have been nice. Deck needs more Bloodbraid Elf.

vesuva doesn't work with by rainin6 at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 03:27
rainin6's picture

vesuva doesn't work with scapeshift - vesuva needs to copy a land that's already in play, not one that's fetched alongside it from scapeshift.

a new staple to the colorless staple format (imo) should be tectonic edge - while it can't really screw someone over like an early wasteland, it does still destroy one of the many annoying lands that can be found in 100 cs decks.

nice article. interesting deck.

Two auto includes by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 06:24
Anonymous's picture

Two cards that I would have felt were auto includes are Tolaria West and Expedition Map as both can search for Valakut.

Two auto includes by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 06:26
Anonymous's picture

Two cards that I would have felt were auto includes are Tolaria West and Expedition Map as both can search for Valakut. Nice artilce though.

Two auto includes by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 06:28
Anonymous's picture

Two cards that I would have felt were auto includes are Tolaria West and Expedition Map as both can search for Valakut. Nice article though.

midrange by Morkje (not verified) at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 06:39
Morkje's picture

I think I would have gone for a more midrange approach instead op gobins to take more advantage of the mana accel.

Expedition Map and Reap and Sow seem good.
West is nice but double U makes it a little awkward on the mana perhaps.

Vesuva might not work with Scapeshift, but it works when you get the valakut into play first.
You could then fetch Vesuva with scapeshift and some mountains and get damage from it.

Expedition Map and Bloodbraid by ArchGenius at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 14:59
ArchGenius's picture

Expedition Map and Bloodbraid Elf are obvious oversights on my part and they should be in the deck.

Tolaria West and Vesuva are not in this deck because I'm really trying to streamline the mana to make an essentially 3 color deck work and still include enough Mountains to have a feasible chance of activiating Valakut.

I've tested Vesuva and most of the time Valakut is the last thing you want to copy with it. Most of the time Vesuva is little more than a Reflecting Pool that enters the battlefield tapped. I'm not sold on Tectonic Edge in a deck with more than 2 colors. I had too many games where I can't find my colored mana but I have plenty of colorless land in the form of Wasteland, Mutavault, and Mishra's Factory. This deck is very Mountain hungry as well.

I picked Goblins because it is a very reliable base for a red based deck. Also goblins have a reasonable good game against control decks, which are the decks that Valakut would fear the most as Scapeshift is easily countered.

great article, i really enjoy by JustSin at Wed, 03/10/2010 - 15:02
JustSin's picture
5

great article, i really enjoy seeing the thought process behind the deck as well as how it performs

There are 2 Siege-Gang by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 03/11/2010 - 13:39
Anonymous's picture

There are 2 Siege-Gang Commanders in the decklist. :)

I was thinking of trying to by Nicholas (not verified) at Sun, 03/14/2010 - 04:09
Nicholas's picture

I was thinking of trying to make a decklist for a hybrid Scapeshift/Tooth and Nail decklist a few days ago. I'm not sure if you would want to fit that into here, but since Valakut requires 7 mana, Tooth and Nail is only 2 mana more and can also win immediately. You'd probably go for something like Pestermite/Kiki with maybe another 2 creature plan. One other creature you may want to test out is Avenger of Zendikar. I know in Standard Valakut that guy can actually be really good, at least out of the sideboard.