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By: GoblinLackeyIsBlue, Richie
Sep 24 2008 3:50am
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So after a long day at the office, or you’re tired of playing competitive magic and need a break. You begin looking on the client for something to do. The auction room is always appealing, but you don’t need to buy any cards, and let’s say you’re not one who sells them either. You’re in the mood for something different from a one vs. one in the other rooms, or you just want to make some new friends. You look around on your client, and you see the multiplayer room. At first you feel timid, but the idea of playing against more than one player intrigues you. Perhaps you’re just not sure of how or what to play.

Well, that’s what we’re here for. To those who know us, we’re probably not exactly the most casual players, but that doesn’t mean we don’t play casually. This is FatManInALittleCoat and _Shaddai_ here to help you along with navigating the complexities of the multi diverse gaming zone known as the multiplayer room. Now we know about Two-Headed Giant, and I’m sure you’ve all sat down in paper and played some Free-For-All “FFA”, Emperor, or perhaps Elder Dragon Highlander “EDH” matches. Well I’m here to say, unlike paper, you’re not going to be playing with any familiarity. The rules differ online, than in paper, as do the play conditions. We’re here to guide you through this multi-verse of magic to hopefully answer your questions.
Basic Differences
Now let’s say you want to play a Two-Headed Giant “2HG” game. First off, unless the game isn’t timed, your starting life totals will be 40 combined, not 30. Another difference is you can both play four times of the same card in your deck. In paper, you’re only allowed to only have four copies of a card between both of your decks. Another big difference is you both don’t have to lose at the same time. Let’s say some one plays (Phage, The Untouchable), the almighty hated seven drop. They throw
Lightning Greaves on it, bash at your face, and connect. In paper, you and your partner would be dead where as online only you would lose, while your partner is there to fend for himself.                

The biggest differential besides the fact it’s online is you both don’t share a turn. Instead, you each have your own turn. Why is this a key point you say? Well the reason why this one difference deserves its own paragraph? You’ve got four turns to complete one turn cycle, while in paper it’s only two. A lot of players use this to their advantage. A card like Seedborn Muse now becomes more useful by taking advantage of three extra untap steps, and allowing amazing synergy of cards that require costs to be more productive.
Seedborn Muse

Take into consideration something like
Legacy Weapon, or even the new card (Pinnacle Helix). With the three extra untap steps you get, you can use the Legacy Weapon’s ability three times more then you normally would, or add three times the amount of counters on Pinnacle Helix. You will always have that feared double blue mana open for a Counterspell on their turns as well! There are more in-depth scenarios that pop up with there being four turns that we’ll get to in a different article.
Team Work is a Must
Now you hopefully understand some of the basic rules of Two-Headed Giant, but now you need to understand the different formats. A lot of times you’ll normally see 2HG Extended. Be prepared to play a much slower game then you’d normally play in a one vs. one. Certain decks may not work as well due to them having a point 40 life total and the ability to have mass removal that is commonly seen. Also, make sure you have a solid partner that you know, or I suggest you find one. There are many teams out there who play together. I’m here to say, that it is Two-Headed Giant. There will be a great deal of team work involved. Remember you and your partner are a team trying to achieve the goal of winning the game.
Watch Out for Teamed Decks

There is a main difference though between team work and an actual team deck. Team decks are considered to be competitive that share amazing synergy such as a combo deck with counter support from a partner. Their kill condition is based on the combo player winning the game. Though, people tend to frown upon team decking in the environment, it still happens. Unless specified before the game begins, it does provide an unfair advantage. Anytime two players sit down with decks that are considered Two Headed Giant competitive without mentioning are said to be playing unannounced team decks. I’m here to say sadly this happens quite a bit.
Here are some signs to watch out for unannounced team decks so you don’t run into them.
1. If you’re unsure, then watch their game.
2. Their games will sometimes be unwatchable.
3. You see those playing games that end soon on a regular basis.
4. Always listen for a reputation of the player!
5. Make a table first, as they generally won’t join other games.
Using these tips you should hopefully be able to avoid any problems with team decks. Now, we must find you a comfort level of playing! There are a lot of key things to watch for that are right in front of you. First off is the description. Commonly, you will see in the description the level of competition they’re looking for or simply the type of format they’re looking to play. The most common ones are:
1. A clan’s name
2. Gents Rules
3. What isn’t wanted to be played in the game
4. Team Decks
There are countless others, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Now, I will give a brief description of each of these. A clan’s name is usually what they choose as their colors followed by the name of the clan. This normally represents they want a competitive game, or simply they are bringing slightly better decks than a normal casual player may want to play against. Gents Rules is more of a casual atmosphere with many restrictions. Milling, counters, land destruction (LD), discarding, thievery, and taking extra turns are strictly prohibited. Direct damage to the player is also frowned upon in this format, but is allowed if it is to kill an opponent’s creature. This format is geared toward players playing their cards in a non-competitive atmosphere. Originally thought of as soft, it has become a rather notable format people enjoying playing Emperor in. Also, players will announce things they don’t agree are casual. For example, they’ll put in the games description no counters, no discard, no tribal based decks, or no LD. It usually is pretty clear what they want excluded, but sometimes the description is too broad. Team decks are the upper tier of competitive multiplayer. Unless you and your partner have suitable decks, I’d suggest staying away from team deck play.
Two and Two Make Four
Another format similar to 2HG is two vs. two. It’s just as it sounds. The difference in this format compared to 2HG is you don’t share life totals. You each have a twenty life total. A lot of times you will see more of the one vs. one decks. It allows people to focus on their opponent more often than focusing on both at the same time. Since the life totals aren’t shared, it is much easier to kill one opposing player. This allows the game to give you an advantage afterwards allowing you and your partner to focus on the remaining player. This format may be a good format to teach you a little team work and the world of two headed giant.
Starting a Game
Now once you’ve found a partner, established the format you want to play, and are ready to play; there is one final thing you need to find. What level of competition are you looking for? There are some useful tools to help you find the competition you’re seeking out to play. Let’s go over it together. For this you want to select the Two Headed Giant option. Now do you want to play a timed game or not? Well there are many advantages and disadvantages. For instance in a timed game, if someone loses connection for any reason, there is a ten minute rule the server uses that will be put into effect. This means that if a player does return after ten minutes, that player will be forced to concede the match and the game can continue. In an un-timed game, the remaining players will be forced to eject that player to continue the game. Also in an un-timed game, you can use wishes outside of the game to grab cards from your collection, whereas in a timed game it only applies to cards removed from the game and cards in your sideboard. Also the life totals differ depending on the timer. If it is timed, each team will have a 40 life point total. If not, you will be reduced to a 30 life point total. You don’t necessarily have to play at a faster pace in an un-timed game, but the same applies for your opponents so game play could extend a bit more. Now keep in mind when you do set a time, the timer currently will set that time selected to each player. For example, you want your game to be rather swift, so you put 60 minutes on the clock. Each player will start the game with 60 minutes a piece on their own clocks. The next option is handicaps. Would you rather player with the standard rules or change it up a bit. You can decide to play with a larger or smaller hand size and the same goes for life totals. You will choose at the beginning of the game what you would like to start with. It’s there for you to decide. Finally, do you want your game to be for your friends only? If so, then check the box. If you’d like your game to be watchable, then make sure the box is checked, if not then set it to private. There are also other buttons and settings that you can use to adjust the game to your liking. It is all up to you; just make sure if you change something from the standard game play, you notify the other players sitting at your table that you have done so.
Deck Discussion
So now that we’ve hopefully guided you through the land of 2HG you’ll be able to figure out what makes sense and what you’d like to try out.  Here is a cheap example deck list of what you could do with Seedborn Muse.


Mr. Muse and His Friends
Basic 5 colored Seedborn Muse decklist
Seedborn Muse
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Transguild Courier
Mystic Snake
11 cards

Other Spells
Austere Command
Kodama's Reach
Allied Strategies
All Suns' Dawn
Coalition Victory
Last Stand
Orim's Thunder
Gifts Ungiven
Evasive Action
Vedalken Orrery
Legacy Weapon
27 cards
22 cards

0 cards
Seedborn Muse
At just over 30 tickets, here is a deck list that is not only wallet friendly but fun and competitive in the casual environment. We bring to you the Seedborn Muse/Legacy Weapon combo. Now let’s review this deck. You’ve got early game tempo in the form of Sakura Tribe-Elder and Kodama’s Reach. Mana acceleration is just as equally important as mana fixation in this deck as you may note, many of the cards are more than a single color. Green is the predominant color in the deck, as all the mana acceleration and our all-star are both in that color. The curve in the deck is rather high but the acceleration not only gives you ample opportunity to have a stable mana but it also acts as a two for one. How so? Well simply put, not only do you thin your deck out of lands, but your chances of drawing Mr. Muse and his friend the feared Legacy Weapon increase. This entire deck has amazing synergy between all the cards as they all are connect in some way or another. Evasive Action becomes a pay 2 counter unless they pay 5? Who has five mana available after a spell?!

The gifts package is unique. You’ve got many choices depending on where you are in the game. A quick out is the team of Transguild Courier and Coalition Victory. Bam! You won the game on a two card combo?! No way! How cool is that one?

Now beside Legacy Weapon, Mr. Muse has other friends that do some really cool things. Vedalken Orrery for instance, now you not only get to play sorceries and creatures on your turn, but you get to play them on everyone’s turn. Mystic Snake can slither his way in and do a very effective two for one. You now have mana to play Evasive action on one turn, and play your gifts the next turn. There are a few other nice cards in here for the environment. Orim’s Thunder is a great two for one. You’ll be able to play it with ease as you’ll have the mana available with the fixing.
Legacy Weapon


Let’s now look at Austere Command. Why not Akroma’s Vengeance you say? I mean they both do the same thing practically and vengeance is never a dead card. Well, wrong! Command allows you and your partner to play more flexibly. Instead of blowing up everything, you and your partner can lay down creature while blowing theirs up. The great feature of this card is the Solar Tide like effect. While your Seedborn Muse will live, their early game won’t. This lets you avoid the early mass militia of all those new tribal decks popping up everywhere it seems. Those pesky elves and silvers will be begging for mercy! 
Austere Command

Next week, we will take a look at some other cheap deck lists and a competitive one as well. We will even show what you can do to improve this deck list if your wallet fits the budget. Until then, make your rounds in the multiplayer room and show them what you got.