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Magical Darwinism, Part 4

July 9, 2012

Okay, so I admit it.  I’ve been cheating on the articles.  I put in a few games with the deck without writing up the games.  I didn’t do this out of malice; I did it out of love!  I wanted to get in a couple more games where I was more concerned about how the game played than I was about making the “optimal” play every time.  So, I did, and I came to a rather stunning conclusion at the end of the unlogged games.   Please remember that my level of excitement for Bonehoard when I first thought of putting it into the deck was around 9 or 10.

From Magical Darwinism, Part 2:

Bonehoard - MBS

Bonehoard could go great in a deck like this as well.  I’m already interested in killing as many creatures as I can for fun and profit (In Las Vegas!) so why not have something that rewards me for a well stocked graveyard.  As just a Llurgoyf, it would be decent to run in the deck as a late game finisher.  However, it’s not just a creature.  It’s not a creature at all!  Living weapon was one of the best ideas to come around in a long time, and turning any/every creature I have into a late game threat with an equip cost sounds excellent to me.  Skeletor has plenty of uses in this deck as fodder, but Skeletor with +1/+1 for each creature in all (ALL!!!!!) graveyards on him means that business is about to pick up, if you follow my meaning.

Editor’s note: examine the number of exclamation marks in the previous paragraph.  That is the sign of an unbalanced mind.

Bonehoard sucks in this deck.  Absolutely sucks.

By the time that it comes out, I’ve either already lost the game or there aren’t enough creatures in my graveyard to make it the type of threat that I really want.  Also, it doesn’t do ANYTHING for morbid.  It’s just a stick.  Granted, it’s a BOOMstick, but it’s still a stick.  I decided that I wanted something else in that slot, so…

-2 Bonehoard       +2 Demonmail Hauberks

Ahh…much better.  Now, on to some games!  But first, for reference, here’s my current decklist, ver 1.2

Lands                                                Artifacts

13 Forest                                           3 Demonmail Hauberk

11 Swamp                                          Enchantments 

Creatures                                       2 Dead Weight

2 Ambush Viper                             Instants  

1 Brain Weevil                                 3 Altar’s Reap

1 Devouring Swarm                      3 Doom Blade

2 Disciple of Griselbrand            1 Naturalize

2 Festerhide Boar                          Sorceries  

2 Hollowhenge Scavengers       2 Caravan Vigil

2 Morkrut Banshee                       2 Rampant Growth

2 Reassembling Skeleton           1 Life’s Finale

2 Bloodgift Demon

1 Somberwalk Spider

1 Typhoid Rats

1 Jade Mage

Game 16:  Blue/White Recursion/Hexproof

Too bad so sad

What did I learn in this game?  That my deck still needs ways to kill flyers, and that Sun Titan returning Geists, Solemn’s, and Phantasmal Images tends to win games.  On the plus side here, I was able to stay in the game even after mulliganing down to 5 cards and being stuck on 1 land for the first five turns.  Demonmail (the world’s worst shipping service) showed up, but I was never really able to play it, due to playing defensively.  Ambush Viper showed up in FORCE, as did Typhoid Rats.  The deathtouch provided enough of a rattlesnake effect that I was able to stall for a turn or two, enough to get lands and start actually playing magic.  Also, Ambush Viper kills Geist of St. Traft.  Sun Titan brings back the Geist, though, too bad so sad for me.

Game 17:  Zombie Flare

2 for 1 Bargain with Phyrexian Metamorphs

Cool deck, Skinrenders and Phyrexian Metamorphs copying those skinrenders.  Look ma!  That’s what my banshee wants to be when she grows up!  I’d play a creature, he’d kill it and swing with ever increasing amounts of damage.  I was the overwhelmed.

Game 18:  Blue/Red DrawBurn

Tellah's been in a firefight before.  Well, he's been in a fire.  Okay, he was fired once, from a fry cook opportunity.

Fried Face 1/2 off

Enjoyed the whipping like few others that I’ve received.  Blue and Red is a great combo, and pairing card draw with burn your face seems like it’s a fun way to win the game.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get and keep any threats on the board.  He kept burning my creatures away!  Eventually, he stops killing creatures and starts to fry my face.  Game.  Over.

Game 19:  Mono Blue Titan Forge

This is where the Sun Titan works during the day, I guess.

Again, a really cool deck.  I’m running GOOD tonight with playing good decks as opposed to tournament winning decks.  His deck is all about Titan Forge and different ways to put more counters on it besides just paying the three mana that it comes with.  Surge Node was in there, there was an alternate win of Mindcrank in case he needs to mill me out…pretty cool deck.  Well, I won by keeping killing his titan tokens to survive and then having a Bloodgift Demon willing to sacrifice Skeletor in his Younger Years to the worst postal service ever, Demonmail Hauberk.  (You know, I don’t think I could ask for a more nickname filled sentence than that one.)

Game 20:  Blue White Humans

If you can say his name 5 times fast, he gets a +3/+3 counter until end of turn.

Remember what I said about running good at playing decks that aren’t tournament caliber?  I didn’t mean to foreshadow it, but I guess you can’t hand the universe a straight line of that quality.  At least the game was quick.

So, lessons to be learned from these games?  I think that the main lesson for me to take away from this particular deck evolution is that I both a) am not a great deckbuilder by any stretch and b) I picked a pretty bad deck to start evolving with.  But that’s not the lesson I need to learn here.  Let’s take a look at my deck and see if I can see any large scale issues with what I’ve got going on.

The first issue I see is that I have 17 creatures currently in the deck, and I’d like that number to be significantly higher.  It doesn’t seem appropriate that a deck that uses creatures to win, and is based around a creature mechanic, can’t seem to put enough creatures on the battlefield in order to do what it needs to do.  Some (read ALL) of this is my fault, as I got very happy with trying to speed my deck up to instant speed and didn’t mind at all getting rid of creatures in order to do so.  I still love the instant speed answers, and think that some of them definitely have a place in my deck, but 21 non creatures in a CREATURE deck seems not right.  I think that I should look again at creatures that bring added utility to the party, with an emphasis on replacement effects for spells that I currently have in the deck.

The second issue is still triggering morbid.  Although I have to admit, if I weren’t worried about keeping the theme of the deck, I’d drop it and play a green/black midrange control deck.  Since I’m keeping the theme, I have to make it a point of emphasis to play UP the sacrifice for better things aspect of the deck.  More creatures will tie into it by being more stuff to use, but I still have to have a way to get rid of the creature for cheap/free so I can activate morbid.

So, a quick perusal of gatherer (that’s at just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about) reveals that there’s a lot of options to work with for sacrificing a creature.  Birthing Pod is an AWESOME card, and would probably do very well in this deck, except that at 6.60 per card at the time of this writing seems like it would blow my cover from a budget standpoint.  So no dice there.

Fume Spitter pops his ugly little head up…and I’m digging it.  It’s a strict replacement for dead weight, but since most/all of the cards that I want to kill with that card are x/1 critters anyway, that’s a strict upgrade for the deck, since it wants as much as possible as creatures.  I don’t even sacrifice speed, as Dead Weight being an enchantment means that I’m tragically slipping that card at sorcery speed.

Let’s blow some stuff up, preferably my own stuff for morbid

Mortarpod is also a good candidate: gives me a token creature, cheap to equip and sacrifice, hangs around after the first use, can be use the same turn.  Not a bad idea, and I’m personally surprised I haven’t seen it earlier.  Aaaaand…that’s all the good ideas I see for how to sacrifice stuff on demand.  A critter that offs itself and an artifact that turns the biggest creature into a Gut Shot…not the best ideas that I’ve ever had…but certainly not bad ideas for what I’m trying to do.

So…what’s a poor Tellah to do?  Well, let’s start with removing 7 spells and adding in seven creatures.  I know that it’s breaking my guidelines, and I kind of feel bad.  But in his original articles, JMS usually spent three weeks on a deck, evolving it up and then starting again.  So…we’ll do this:

-2 Rampant Growth        -2 Caravan Vigil                 -1 Spider Spawning         -2 Dead Weight

+4 Viridian Emissary        +1 Acidic Slime                  +2 Fume Spitter

Seven spells out, seven creatures in, all of which look GOOD carrying the Demonmail and they all add value besides what their power/toughness say.  And oh look!  The Emissary’s and the Fume Spitter trigger morbid when they die, like all creatures, but they also give additional gifts!  The Spitter even triggers all by himself, without having to use anything else to sacrifice him.  Pretty spicy.  Of course, I say that every time I make some changes before I play games.  So, next time, on to more games!

Follow me @RodneyHines, or e-mail me at, or (best) talk to me on the forums!  I’m “Tellah,” in honor of the greatest mage to ever wear purple robes.

See you next time, you spoony bards!



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