Saturday, February 9, 2013

Brewing Tibalt

I'm in a bad place right now, readers.

A dark metaphorical hellhole from which there is no escape. A midnight black quagmire of despair and woe that threatens to consume my very sanity and leave me but a wretched husk of what I once was.

I want to brew a Tibalt deck.

I don't know why. Maybe it's because he's a Planeswalker that is cheap, affordable and easily acquirable because no one wants any. Maybe its exactly because no one wants any and some Magic players latch onto things that are unique and unappreciated. Maybe I want to satiate myself on someone's tears when I beat them with a deck built around the worst Planeswalker printed to date. Maybe I've fallen off my meds and you'd best call the police before I hurt someone.

Whatever the reason, I've had Tibalt on my mind a lot lately, and I'd like to share with you some ideas I've had.

First of all, I am in no way saying that Tibalt is good, merely that he is playable. That his downside is one that can be built around.

There are two ways that I can tell to build around that wretched line "discard at random".

Firstly, make sure that your deck is highly redundant. Have lots of cards in your deck that accomplish nigh identical functions. If you pitch a burn spell you want to have lots of other burn spells of similar scope to replace it with. Same with creatures, token makers, draw spells. Whatever you're filling your deck with.

Secondly, ideally, you want most anything Tibalt pitches to be something you would want to pitch. Things with madness that you cheat out with Tibalt. Things that you want in the graveyard in the firstplace like Unearthers, Flashbackers, reanimation targets, etc. Things that you can bring back with recursion outlets.

Or if you can manage, both.

Here's a list I came up with yesterday.

4 Stomping Ground
4 Rootbound Crag
2 Kessig Wolf Run
6 Mountain
6 Forest

4 Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

4 Wasteland Viper
4 Boneyard Wurm
4 Dawntreader Elk
4 Lightning Mauler
4 Splinterfright
4 Slaughterhorn
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Zhur-Taa Swine
3 Kessig Cagebreakers
1 Ghoultree
You see the battleplan, yes?
I get a Boneyard Wurm or Splinterfright, or if the game lasts long enough, a Cagebreakers into play, and go to town! The whole deck is creatures and most of them have ways of getting into the yard whether by saccing themselves, or being bloodrushed, or by way of Tibalt.
Then I bash face my my graveyard fueled monsters.

I have yet to test this and there's probably ways to optimize.
A green-based creature deck in standard usually wants to run Rancors.
This many creatures, maybe Domri is worth including.
That many things in the yard, Garruk Relentless' ultimate would be handy.
Faithless Looting or Mulch to help fill the yard?

I'm not sure, but I look forward to finding out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Sedemir fell to the ground clutching his chest. Correction: What was left of his chest. An sizable portion of it had been rather unceremoniously removed from him; rather, it had removed itself. His various cytoplasmic grafts had torn themselves off his body. He heaved, breathing was difficult. He was missing a lung and one of his hearts. It was only by the marvels of Simic biomancy that he had survived the ravages of Simic biomancy.
His sight was failing him, not because of his missing eye, but rather the blood loss and the not insignificant part of his brain that had left him. But he faintly heard some great and terrible beast rampaging in the distance. ‘The Eksperiment must have been successful’ he thought to himself ‘he looked down at the pool of fluids leaking from his mutilated form ‘not quite how I might have imagined it…’ The rest of his senses began to fail him. He rolled over on his back. He could not feel three of his arms and either of his legs below the knee, when he tried to breathe out of his gills he choked and blood spat out instead. This was Master Vig’s greatest work evidentially; birthing a guild of butchered cripples.

Despair and rage began to overwhelm the usually stoic vedalken mage. ‘How could he do this. To me? To all of us?’ he thought, speech was beyond question at the present. ‘How is this, any of this, what you promised?’ He choked on rage and blood ‘The years of service and dedication. The trials and experiments and surgeries. Crafting my body into a more appropriate form for your grand plans, and this is what I receive for my tribute?!’ Sedemir’s blood pressure was inching him ever closer to death. He gurgled a curse through his agony “YOU’VE RUINED ME!”

Sedemir’s sight gave out. As did his hearing, his touch, his taste and smell, and his other 37 senses. They gave way to madness. Colors swirled around him into smells that tasted unlike anything he had ever heard. Everything. Nothing. Nowhere. Anywhere. Too much. All at once. Sensory overload. And then nothing. Sedemir fell hard on his back. “What in the hell?!” Sedemir turned to see who had suddenly joined him. A human man, in simple leather tatters, a look of shock plastered across his face. With what he had left, Sedemir cast the strongest stasis spell he could manage upon the man, and lept upon his frozen form as it fell backwards, stiff as a statue.

He cast a similar, though less dramatic spell upon himself, and held his remaining arm up to his remaining eye. He concentrated as hard as he could, channeling mana with all his might. His fingers elongated into blades. Transpecies organ transplants were tricky, especially without a proper lab, but Sedemir would not allow himself to be a victim of Momir’s deception. He got to work, removing organs from his patient and suturing them into place upon himself best he could. Doing this upon himself, in his condition, was beyond excruciating; but nothing he couldn’t handle.

After some amount of effort, Sedemir had himself a full body of organs again. He had managed to replace two of his missing arms and both of his legs. As luck would have it, his patient was of a similar build. The ham-looking flesh stood in stark contrast to his own turquoise hide, but pride meant nothing before his own survival. He fixed everything but his brain, he didn’t dare mix that with someone else. He would simply have to culture new tissue and program the missing data with what he had written in his logs.

He stood, tenderly upon his new legs. Human flesh was so unappealing looking. It resembled ham. Sedemir was not fond of ham. He wiggled his hammy toes and twisted his face in disgust. He looked at the grass between his toes and. Grass? It just dawned on him that he was most certainly not in the Simic science hall he had been in when his organs had revolted against him. He looked around. Very few buildings anywhere around, lots of rolling sandy hills, with tufts of grass growing upon rocks, simple stone huts with red banners flapping in the breeze. Sedemir did not get out of the lab as much as perhaps should have, but he was no fool. This was not Ravnica. It was simply not possible to stand anywhere on Ravnica and not see a skyscraper piercing the horizon in some direction. What had happened to him? How had he come here? Who was the man who had saved his life?

He looked down at the man who had saved his life. Correction: The remains of the man who had saved his life. He was still under the lingering effects of Sedemir’s stasis spell, but it was beginning to fade. Blood ever-so-slowly oozed from his body like tree sap. If at all possible, Sedemir would have attempted to save his life in return, he did not enjoy being indebted to another, but it did not seem possible. Without his lab or proper materials he did not have that which would be necessary to replace what he had taken, and he needed it more. A noble sacrifice. Sedemir applied an enzyme to the corpse. Nothing would be left in an hour but fillings and belt buckles.

Sedemir gazed upon the puddle that used to be the man who had saved his life. ‘What now?’ he thought to himself ‘What does a man do when everything he has ever built has become torn down? Pick up the pieces? Start over?’ What was the point, so much had been lost.’ He clenched his fists. ‘No.’ He had worked too hard to be an annotation on Momir’s journal. He would carry on. No longer a parasite to someone else’s vision, but the progenitor to his own. And it would be glorious.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gatecrash experiences

Real talk?

Return to Ravnica block limited is some of the most fun I've had playing limited. Each guild has lots of little nuances, synergies, strategies. Each guild has lots of ways to play, and cards that interact favorably not only with their own guild, but a bunch of other guilds as well.

I've played a lot of Gatecrash lately, so I'll highlite some nice interactions I've noticed.

Agoraphobia - A nice little card that's well worth the price because it renders a creature completely worthless as anything other than a blocker. But it has a few other nice tricks. It is an extort enabler. Becuase it can bounce itself, you can use it and an extort outlet to bleed your opponent out of a stalemate. It is also an evolve enabler. Stick it on one of your better evolve guys and let it get buffed up from a few other critters. Once it's sufficiently big enough, bounce the aura and go to town with your newly biggified beastie.

Gatecrash has tons of evasive things at lower rarities, things such as Way of the Thief. Now, I played a good deal of M13 limited, and let me tell you Tricks of the Trade was always a beating. Well worth it just for how badly it would screw up your opponent's calculations of your game clock. This does that, but even worse. How scary is an unblockable dude when you're in Bloodrush colors, or once you've stuck a cipher spell or two on it? Plenty.

Act of Treason - Clears a blocker, and gives you a third trooper for your Battalion battle plan.

Alpha Authority is in the same limited environment as Ripclaw Predator and Madcap Skills. Just sayin'

Encoded spells become cast, so you can extort off of them.

There's just so much to do, and there will be even more in Dragon's Maze when the guilds cross streams, so to speak.

Scavenging onto Dimir's multiple unblockable critters. Detaining blockers away for an enormous Bloodrush beating or another cipher trigger. Blistercoil Weird getting a free untap from those cipher triggers. Moving counters off of your Simic Fluxmage onto your opponent's Unleash dude.

I can't wait.
What's the coolest experience you've had so far playing Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash limited?