Monthly Archives: September 2011

Deck Building Exercise – The Marvellous Madam Nin

So finally we get to what I plan to actually use this blog for – discussion (well, it’s only a discussion if I get comments… hint hint!) on the building of future decks. As you can plainly see from the title, this time it’s Nin, the Pain Artist. Let’s have a look at her:

(image from, and presumably (c) Wizards of the Coast Gatherer search engine)

Well, we can tell straight away this isn’t a deck that’s reliant on the General getting through for the big damages. Despite stories around my playgroup of Kiku, Night’s Flower or Azusa, Lost but Seeking getting there for 21, a point at a time, this won’t be the focus of this deck. Nin is pleasantly cheap though (not like that 😉 ), and so will hopefully be having an effect on the board from as early as turn 2. Neither is her type particularly relevant; as much as I love tribal decks, this isn’t going to be a Vedalken or Wizard deck (although there may be a card or two that interact with those types). No, I chose this general because of her activated ability. As someone somewhere on the internets said, it turns every creature on the board into a Stroke of Genius. But how to break this? Can it be broken? Of course it can… there are some bits and pieces around this ability which aren’t immediately apparent:

 – The creature doesn’t have to die, to draw the cards
 – You can deal more damage to the creature than it has toughness, and get more cards out of it
 – Drawing cards can be a bad bad thing….

With those not-very-stunning revelations in mind, this is how I decided to build the deck:

1. Have a smattering of indestructible creatures of my own that I can ping to get cards
2. Make big amounts of mana to make a player (could be me, could be someone else) draw a ton of cards
3. Punish my opponents for drawing cards
4. Punish my opponents for me drawing cards
5. With a side order of “make sure my hand size is unlimited”

How to accomplish these things? Well, lets go through them in order

1. Indestructible Creatures to Target

When it comes to indesctructible creatures (in red and blue) the choice is actually pretty limited. We have:

 – Blightsteel and Darksteel Colossi: Too expensive
 – Creepy and Stuffy Doll: Definite potential, esp since Stuffy Doll helps me to kill somone deader than a doornail.
 – Darksteel Gargoyle, Juggernaut, Myr, and Sentinel: The only one I’d consider here is Darksteel Sentinel; the others don’t do enough (in my opinion) for their cost
 – Manor Gargoyle: This guy is interesting. He’s indestructible when you want it to be, and gets in there for 4 when you need him to.
 – Myojin of Infinite Rage: I don’t do mass land destruction. Pass.
 – Myojin of Infinite Drawing: This, on the other hand, is an absolute shoe-in.
 – Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre: See Collosi.

So from that list, I think I’m going to end up with Creepy Doll, Stuffy Doll, Manor Gargoyle, Myojin of Seeing Winds, and maybe Darksteel Sentinel. The only problem with that plan is that of those, I only own a Darksteel Sentinel. To the trading post! In the meantime, I’m going to run Sentinel, Darksteel Myr, and Darksteel Brute (not even a creature, really)

2. Make mana, for making the damage, for drawing the cards.

There are some very interesting one-shot effects in red which can net you a TON of mana. The two that fit into this deck particularly well are Mana Geyser (which, really, goes in any red multiplayer deck. This card is sick) and Inner Fire, which is usually not very good but in this deck could be fantastic. There’s also Koth of the Hammer, and Mana Seism, although that’s a pretty risky proposition. Blue gets, ah, shafted in the fast/lots of mana category. Other random thoughts on what should go in here:

 – Izzet Signet (Is It??!)
 – Dreamstone Hedron
 – Journeyer’s Kite
 – Darksteel Ingot
 – Gilded Lotus
 – Some variety of lands which tap for the manas (pity there’s no R/U storage land, but)
 – Braid of Fire. Yes, really. Now that the mana disappears in the upkeep, right after you’ve paid for it, I have to do it before I draw for the turn, but what else am I going to do with 1,342 mana in my upkeep? Besides, with no mana burn any more, this card is pure upside.

3. You drew cards! You’ve fallen into my trap!

Runeflare Trap, that is! Cards that perform a similar role:

 – Sudden Impact
 – Gaze of Adamaro (aka Sudden Impact mk II)
 – Cerebral Vortex
 – Molten Psyche
 – Adamaro, First to Desire (I’ve been looking for a deck for this guy for AGES)

4. You let me draw cards? What were you thinking?!

Simply letting me draw cards in the first place is a bad idea, but when I have these bad boys in play, you’re in for a world of hurtin’….

 – Sokenzen Spellblade (read his non-Bushido ability. Then read it again. Now imagine I’ve activated it four times. How much damage do you think you’re taking?)
 – Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
 – Psychosis Crawler

5. You know what they say about people with big hands…

Pretty standard set here, there aren’t many options and they all fit into this deck

 – Library of Leng
 – Reliquary Tower
 – Venser’s Journal
 – Spellbook (I’ll probably leave this one out)
 – Graceful Adept

 Other Stuff

Ill need a bunch of other stuff as well; burn spells, counters, creatures, recursion, bounce (having a dead opponent makes Stuffy Doll a sad little toy), and so on. A few thoughts I’ve had in regards to other bits ‘n pieces:

 – Looks like I’ll have a few wizards scattered through here, and I happen to have a Riptide Laboratory. Might throw it in here to see how well it works.
 – Nin’s a bit fragile, so Greaves/Boots/Helm (or combination thereof) should go in too
 – More draw spells. I don’t own either Stroke of Genius or Blue Sun’s Zenith, but will try to trade for some. In the meantime things like Jace’s Ingenuity, Concentrate, maybe Whispers of the Muse? Maybe Think Twice? When you start really looking, there’s an awful lot of blue spells that don’t actually use the word “draw” on them! Suggestions on the back of an envelope please, or in the comments section below
 – Thousand-Year Elixir, for the lols.
 – Random burn spells. Since I’m gonna be makin’ the mad mana, I think X spells will work ok in here. I’m particularly partial to Molten Disaster, Comet Storm, Demonfire, Banefire and Red Sun’s Zenith. Any other suggestions for decent burn spells?
 – Counters. I’ll probably start with my “standard” package of Hinder, Dream Fracture, Faerie Trickery and Draining Whelk. To add to that, Overwhelming Intellect obviously goes in this deck

Season to taste, and you’ve got yourself a Nin deck. What do you all (both of you 😉 ) think?


Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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My First EDH Deck: Mayael the Anima

I was introduced to EDH by some friends of mine about 2 years ago. At the time I wasn’t playing a lot of Magic, I had pretty much no interest in playing Magic competitively (and still don’t, really). About the only decks I had made up were EDH-like anyway; I had (and still have) a Singleton Sliver deck (one of every Sliver, and enough land to make it work some of the time), and a Highlander deck which was Black/Green/White.

“You should play EDH!” they exclaimed.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s awesome!” they cried.

“Whatevs.” I was unimpressed.*

However after reading a bit about that format, and how casual it was, and what sorts of cards you could run, and the flavour behind it, I discovered that it was in fact awesome, and ticked all my Johnny/Timmy boxes (If you don’t know who Johnny and Timmy are, read this article by Mark Rosewater.)

Like a lot of people, my first EDH deck involved lots of big stompy creatures. Like a lot of those people, I chose Mayael the Anima as my general, as dumping Akroma into play at the EOT or as a suprise blocker has to be some good, right?

The deck has evolved slightly from there, but at it’s heart it still wants to drop Atomic Bombs every turn after turn 5. Here’s a link to the decklist: Linky and also to the analysis of same: Linky2.

This deck is a BLAST to play, and does crazy things if left alone. I’ve attacked for well over 100 with this bad boy, and have (with the help of someone else’s Dream Halls and my own Greater Good) drawn near my whole deck and killed the table with Stalking Vengeance triggers. Fun times!

I highly recommend a deck like this one if you like attacking with Big Dumb Creatures (some of whom aren’t so Dumb, truth be told).

*I never actually said “Whatevs.” As if…

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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The Deck Building Challenge of DOOM! Pt 1: The Challenge of Doom

So I play a fair bit of EDH. I have somewhere in the region of 20,000 magic cards (most of them awful, naturally). I decided one day “wouldn’t it be great if I took all these cards and put them into decks?”

I had already made a Mayael the Anima EDH deck, so I decided to do the only logical thing; make one deck of every possible colour combination. There are 27 of them, for those of you counting at home (since there are no four-colour legends…. yet!)

These are the decks I have built so far:


White: Kitsune Mystic (yes, this is not legendary. My playgroup OK’ed it, and I have Rune-Tail in the deck which I can pull out if anyone seriously objects)
Red: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
Green: Omnath, Locus of Mana

Allied Two-Colour

Green-White: Tolsimir Wolfblood
White-Blue: Isperia the Inscrutable

Enemy Two-Colour

Black-White: Ghost Council of Orzhova
Black-Green: Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Shard (Three allied colours)

Red-Green-White: Mayael the Anima

Wedge (Two Allied colours and a shared enemy)

White-Blue-Red: Zedruu, the Greathearted
Black-Red-White: Kaalia of the Vast
Red-Green-Blue: Animar, Soul of Elements
Green-White-Black: Doran, the Siege Tower

Over the next little while I’ll be putting links to these decklists up, using the excellent deck analysis tool. I highly recommend this, it’s fantastically easy to use and very useful!

What about the rest, you clamour?! Don’t leave us in the lurch, you say! Well all right then:

As-Yet Unbuilt Decks


Black: Geth, Lord of the Vault
Blue: Ixidor, Reality Sculptor (or Patron of the Moon. Or possibly Mistform Ultimus tribal everything Voltron)

Allied Two-Colour

Blue-Black: Ramses Overdark
Black-Red: Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Red-Green: Radha, Heir to Keld

Enemy Two-Colour

Blue-Red: Nin, the Pain Artist (this is the next deck I’m building)
Red-White: Razia, Boros Archangel
Green-Blue: Edric, Spymaster of Trest


White-Blue-Black: Merieke Ri Berit
Blue-Black-Red: Garza Zol, Plague Queen
Black-Red-Green: Sek’Kuar, Deathkeeper
Green-White-Blue: Rafiq of the Many


Blue-Black-Green: Damia, Sage of Stone


No Colours: Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Five Colour: Scion of the Ur-Dragon

None of these choices are really locked in stone, but I don’t want to play “another <insert overused general here> deck” either (which is to say, no I’m not going to make Karn, Silver G0lem my colourless general. Boring!!) If you have any suggestions, post in the comments section, especially for Mono-blue (which I haven’t decided on yet) and GWU, which is the “everyone is running him” Rafiq….

But wait, that’s not all! There’ll be two super bonus EXTRA decks! Mostly because they’ve sprung me fancy 🙂

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo (no creatures in the 99, all general damage), and
Child of Alara, 98 Lands + Life from the Loam (no, it won’t be really, but I aim to have between 70 and 80 lands in the deck)

So there we are. 29 decks later, and I hope to be playing some cards people have never even thought about considering before 🙂 I’ll start posting links to decklists and the strategies and theories behind the decks, sometime in the future! Stay tuned, gentle reader!

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Innistrad Pre-Release, parts 1 and 2

I went to the Innistrad prerelease both Saturday and Sunday; it looks to be a very interesting set. You can’t often get much of an idea about it from sealed, but having opened quite a few boosters now (12 for the two pre-re’s, and 6 prize boosters) I think I’ve got an idea about what’s going on with it.

Humans (Mostly white, but also in green, with the occasional showing in the other colours) definitely seem to be the strongest type straight out of the gate – I’m assuming the set is going to follow the typical “trilogy” structure, where the scene is set in Act 1, everything goes pear-shaped in Act 2, and all is set right again in Act 3. Following that, I’m thinking that although White and Green (and possibly Black) are the colours to focus on in a triple-ISD draft, the next set will do a lot for Red and Blue and Black.

Have a go at this format; it’s going to be very interesting!

Pro Tips, or What I Done Learned from the Pre-release:

 – Rotting Fensnake dies to anything with First Strike
Village Ironsmith has First Strike when he’s NOT transformed, as well as when he is (facepalm)

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Game Report, Standard


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