Tag Archives: Garza Zol

He’s not dead, he’s restin’!!

(tap tap tap) This thing on?

Holy Mother of Pearl, can this be content? Well, I guess only you can tell me that…

Things have been… hectic… over the last year. I’ve missed posting on here though and have been tangentially keeping up with the EDH world, mostly through and I’ve just started playing EDH again, and have been teaching it to my girlfriend – it’s really interesting getting a new player’s perspective on the format, especially one who is (practically) new to Magic. I’ll be posting more about that – and may ask her to write a guest piece – sometime soon. (Update: I’ve asked her and she’s keen – upcoming post sometime in November after final exams)

What has finally pushed me over the edge though, and forced me to start posting here again, is this guy:

Where was this guy a couple of years ago? The last time the Commander Precons came out, a lovely little lady called Nin, The Pain Artist was released onto the unsuspecting world. I ended up choosing Nin as my R/U general for my Deck Building Challenge of Doom™ – one general of each (legal) colour combination. Nin’s general theme is “here, have some cards. Now HOW DARE YOU HAVE CARDS I KILL YOU” with Psychosis Crawler, Sudden Impact, Molten Psyche, and friends.

While making that deck I came across such fun cards as Phyrexian Tyranny and Spiteful Visions and Underworld Dreams and thought “Wow it would be great if there was a Black/Blue/Red General who cared about card draw…”


The problem (and it’s very much a “first world problem” problem) is that my Nin looks like this:

(Alter done by MTG Card Extensions on Facebook. Check out her work here)

Also, I already have a UBR deck – Tribal Vampires, headed by Garza Zol. It’s not a great deck, but it is fun to play and I was going to swap out Garza Zol for the other new hotness in the upcoming UBR deck, Jelava:

Now admittedly Jelava doesn’t have a lot to do with my deck other than her creature type, but she’s new and exciting and the art isn’t as bad as Garza Zol (hint: Nothing Is), and she’s considerably cheaper. However, I’m reasonably fond of the Vampire deck as it is. I could theoretically drop the blue out of it and run it as a B/R build, since I don’t have a B/R deck. The planned B/R deck was going to be a Wort, Boggart Auntie goblin tribal, but I haven’t actually started to build it yet, although I have a number of ideas and I’d quite like to build it.

Basically I can’t make my damn mind up. I really do want to add black to my Nin deck – do I just suck it up and have two (completely different) UBR decks? That would leave a hole in UR, plus I’d have an altered Nin who wouldn’t be the general. If I make the Nekusar deck do I retire Garza Zol? Do I make Garza Zol RB (probably with Olivia Voldaren at the helm) and forget the Goblin Plan?

Whoever said options are a good thing?!?

So, to the polls! (This is also a not-very-sneaky way of seeing if I can stimulate some interest in this blog again 😛 ) Vote for as many options as you like; Should I keep or change Nin? Should I have two UBR decks? If not, should I have to RB decks? Vote early and often!

Footnote: If anyone can tell me how to do those fancy mouseover card images on this site, I’d be mighty appreciative. As far as I can tell, it needs Javascript, and I can’t run Javascript on this (free) site, but can if I move to and host it on my own server – except I don’t have one of those, and have no intention of getting one. I’m pretty happy to stick with the links to for now, but if some clever clogs out there knows a better way, please do let me know!

Cheers all, good to be back 🙂



Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Permanent Links to my decklists

As some of you have discovered, I’ve been working on a set of pages for my decks, proposed or existing. It’s up there, and the main page has links to all my decks, what’s in them, and how they’re supposed to work. If you hover over the main page link, you’ll also get a dropdown showing the sub-pages (which hopefully will be self-explanatory).

I’ll be updating those pages every now and then, especially when cards go on or off the Wantlist and Watchlist (which will be available for each deck… eventually.) When I make changes to the decks I’ll still post here, but I’ll also update the decklists on these pages.

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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Next Up: Well, maybe….

It’s been a while since I posted anything – there are lots of reasons for that but the most relevant is that I’ve been internalising a really complictated situation in my ‘ead (Those of you who don’t get the reference – and most probably won’t – click here 😉 ). While building my last 3 or 4 decks, I keep running into cards and thinking “Hey that would work really well in Sek’Kuar!” I have tons of ideas for this deck and it will be one of the more syngergistic and therefore hopefully smoother and better decks that I have.

But then I look at poor old Doran, and Isperia, and the newer but no less disappointing Garza Zol and Damia – all of which could be fun and interesting and dangerous – but at the moment they’re definitely below the curve on power level, and some of them just aren’t that interesting.

So I have bit of a dilemma – do I build Sek’Kuar, or rebuild some of my less fun, less “good” decks?

I have some ideas for each of these poor suffering decks, and I think I’ve been a bit guilty (especially with Doran, Isperia and Garza Zol) of sticking too much to the theme at the expense of power. All of the decks mentioned can simply be ignored by the other players and taken out pretty much at leisure (with the odd exception – all the decks have won games except Damia and I’ve only played that twice), and that’s the sign of a bad deck, surely.

What do you folks think? All of my ideas for Sek’Kuar are more or less entrenched and I won’t forget about them soon, but I like putting decks together and giving them a play to see how they go. I also have a great dislike for decks I know should be better, and aren’t.

What to do, what to do….


Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Game Report: Garza Zol (again)

Made some small changes to the deck before taking it out for a whirl, since I was short on blue sources last time out:

-1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
-1 Forgotten Cave
-1 Altar’s Reap

+1 Halimar Depths
+1 Vivid Creek
+1 Urge to Feed

Ended up being a 6 person free-for-all – I was quite enjoying it, but I think most folks got sick of this one before the end, as you’ll see later on.

The Table:
Intet, (my) Nin, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Garza Zol, (my) Tolsimir, (my) Jaya Ballard

Intet: Land, go
Land, Sol Ring, Signet, go.
Rest of Table: Oh shit….
Me: How come I never get that start with my own decks!

As it turned out, Nin didn’t actually have a whole lot to do, and his turn two, with 5 mana (another land) was Kami of the Crescent Moon and Darksteel Myr. The Kami of the Big Buttcrack keeps everyone with full hands, and most of us end up discarding a few cards – I get a Crystal Ball into play, and I remember keeping a Condescend for something important but then forget to use it on Intet’s Scroll Rack, and instead keep the ultra important, uh, something from Scion (the player to my right) just to get the card out of my hand and scry before I draw my next two cards.

Highlights of the early-mid game:

  • Tolsimir gets an early Suture Priest
  • Jaya gets an early Spellshock
  • Intet gets Scroll Rack
  • Nin gets…. Nin. And by my count, four of the six counters which are in the whole deck, which he uses to counter most of Intet’s stuff.
  • Scion gets…. well it’s a Dragon deck. It doesn’t get much early on
  • I gets a Crystal Ball, and a Bloodlord of Vaasgoth, although that dies before it does anything.
  • Tolsimir discovers a very well hidden combo in Seed the Land and Suture Priest (bwahahaha)
  • Jaya starts throwing her weight around, for some reason latching onto Scion and attacking him with burny burn spells (like Meteor Shower), usually fueled by Mana Geyser. This turns into a bit of theme, for some unknown reason. The spellshock – which lasts for as long as Jaya does!!! – in conjuction with the Suture Priest is keeping everyone’s life down, so pretty much everyone is in the mid-20’s before anything really useful starts happening. Tolsimir is ahead of most people due to the Suture Priest working for him.
  • I gain some life from a Falkenrath Noble, when the inevitable happens and creatures die. For a 2/2 for 4, he’s surprisingly good.
  • Intet sticks a Body Double, choosing the Iona in Scion’s graveyard, naming blue. Luckily for me I only have one blue spell in my hand (Dream Leash), but it shuts Nin down for a while.

Eventually Scion casts Wrath of God, leaving the Spellshock and Seed the Land as the only important permanents remaining. There’s a little jockeying for position, but no one seems willing or able to do anything about the Spellshock, or it’s controller, and so it keeps chip chip chipping away at peoples life totals. I jump into the lead with a Malakir Bloodwitch (more to protect against a Yosei that just hit the table than anything else) which gains me 15 while draining everyone else for 3 (I also had a Viscera Seer and Garza Zol on the table). From that point on everyone starts getting picked off – I’m on close to 40, but Jaya keeps picking on Scion, and to cut a long and not particularly exciting story short, being on three times as much life as everyone else (who are mostly in single digits by now) is enough for me to win the game. Not a particularly satisfying win, but I’ll take it!

MVP: Malakir Bloodwitch
LVP: Crossway Vampire, who I had to discard because I couldn’t find two red sources (obviously still haven’t got the mana right; I think I’ll drop a Swamp and put Shinka back in – it doesn’t come into play tapped, and I have three targets for the First Strike ability)
Close, yet so far away: Crown of Empires in play, Throne of Empires in my hand when the game ended. One day…..


Posted by on November 16, 2011 in EDH/Commander, Game Report


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Game Report – Garza Zol; epic game is epic

Got a game in with the Garza Zol deck last night – but before the game started I managed to trade for two of the cards I really wanted for the deck:

– Blight Sickle
– Aura of Dominion

+ Death Pits of Rath
+ Thornbite Staff

Thanks Sam 😉

A big game this time – 5 player free-for-all, involving:

Ghave, Ruhan, Garza Zol, (my) Tolsimir, and Intet

The action starts pretty much straight away when Tolsimir drops a Soul Warden and Ruhan an Auriok Champion, although they don’t get much value out of them immediately as we all have a pretty slow start. I only have the Thornbite Staff and Crown of Empires on the board. Much comment about the Crown is made, and about how bad it is… but it did its job nicely, and is one of those things (apparently) that no one can be bothered destroying because there are other more important things to get. The first real significant play is when Ruhan plays Callous Oppressor – and then we can’t figure out who gets to choose the creature type. As it turns out, having now checked, it’s the Oppressor’s controller:

Q: In a multiplayer game, I play Callous Oppressor. Who chooses the creature type?

A: An opponent of your choice gets to choose. The choice of opponent isn’t targeted.

StarCityGames Ask the Judge, 25 May 2004

 In the end I think that’s how we did it anyway; the Ruhan player chooses the Intet player who names….. Goblin. Apparently he likes his Kiki-Jiki 😉 Thus begins my uphill battle to get rid of the stupid thing, before it keeps taking my best Vampires away from me – something I forget when I get to 7 mana, cast Garza Zol, and he grabs it before he finds out who I’m attacking (it would have been him anyway).

It’s about now that the game really starts going, and the Ruhan player with the aid of his Auriok Champion and a Wall of Reverence is hovering around 80 or so life. As it turns out he has quite a theme of stealing other people’s stuff going on, between Callous Oppressor (targeting me), Evangelize (with buyback, targeting me) and Insurrection (targeting everyone, natch). Maybe I should point him at my Threat Analysis article… By the time all that dust clears (this is pretty far into the game) the Insurrection takes out Intet (who had Scroll Rack active, and had used Praetor’s Counsel a few turns earlier, and had an Avenger of Zendikar, a Phyrexian Avenger of Zendikar, 20 2/3 plant tokens, and various other nasties. I had Chancellor of the Dross and Nicol Bolas, Tolsimir had a bunch of Saprolings, and Ghave had goodAkroma and Skullbriar. (Ruhan had Auriok Champion – still!! he was pretty happy with the double Avenger shenanigans – Callous Oppressor and bugger all else.) It wasn’t enough to kill everyone so he killed off Intet and made Ghave discard his hand with my Nicol Bolas. After that it was open season on Ruhan and he got knocked out fairly easily.

By this stage I’d got Bloodchief Ascension active and that plus Chancellor of the Dross had got me to 51 life. I got knocked down to 45 and then Tolsimir dropped his general and Overrun on the same turn and took me out, before I did the same to him (he was on 5). However, for a few turns before that I got to live the dream (a little) – I had Death Pits of Rath and Chancellor of the Dross with Thornbite Staff and got to ping creatures away (for two mana a time, unfortunately. If I’d drawn one of my Fire Whip variants I would have been very happy indeed 🙂 )

So it was down to Tolsimir and Ghave, and after a lot of back and forth, Ghave was dead (from 20-odd) on Tolsimir’s next turn. “I have a card in my graveyard that will finish this..” he says, and then flips the top card of his library – without knowing what it was – onto the table…. (see here —>)

And the card in his graveyard: Bond of Agony


Stealth Addendum: This was the swingiest, funnest, and also longest game of EDH I’ve played in quite some time. It took about 2 1/2 hours to play, and involved exactly one Wrath of God variant: Desolation Giant. Coincidence? I don’t believe so. Creatures die in combat, but not having Wraths means people actually get to play their stuff and build a board presence. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. More of the same, please!


Posted by on November 9, 2011 in EDH/Commander, Game Report


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My Decks: Power Rankings

Just made this post over on, thought I may as well post it here too.

Starting from the bottom in the power stakes:

Fun: 7
Power: 3

There’s something about this deck; it just never seems to fire. I have some quality fliers in here now (Baneslayer, Yosei, Glen Elendra Archmage) and a biggish suite of counters (about 9 in total, counting things like Draining Whelk) but I have yet to even get close to winning a game with it. I may have to look at a few other lists to see what they’re running differently, but I’ve been trying to avoid that (to me, it would feel too much like someone else’s deck. Yeah I know, I should get over myself 😉 )

Fun: 6
Power: 4

This is the deck of mine that really needs the most work. It’s basically the Political Puppets precon with a few changes thrown in. I have some ideas for this, but it’ll have to wait until I take a break from actual deck building. Occasionally I’ll trade for some cards for it and chuck them in, but really I should basically redo the whole deck from the word go.

Fun: 6
Power: 6

Treefolk Tribal. If I’m honest I went a bit overboard with the theme on this one – too many Treefolk, not enough stuff that deals with other peoples things – I have a Lignify, a Rootgrapple…… and that may be it. I have a Solar Tide that REALLY should go in here, but again this is a deck that needs 15-odd cards taken out, and 15-odd “destroy/exile target X” cards thrown in. Can attack for stupid amounts of damage fairly early on though.

Fun: 7
Power: 7

Token deck. Somewhat Wrath-resistant given Fecundity, Cobra Trap, and Fresh Meat, but it needs upgrading for things like Dauntless Escort and/or Concordant Crossroads… basically things that let my “little” 3/3 or 4/4 Saproling army actually attack 🙂

Kitsune Mystic
Fun: 8
Power: 6

Mono-White enchantments. I loving playing this deck, but if the the rest of the table is playing “properly” the whole thing is a 2-for-1 waiting to happen. When it goes off (usually with an Open the Vaults or Retether) the board state gets awesome 🙂

Fun: 7
Power: 7

Savra is all about sacrificing my guys to keep your guys off the table – it’s not a slow grinding control deck (I can’t build – or play – those types of deck properly) but it intends to get massive Lord of Extinctions and Golgari Grave-Trolls and beat face. I’m listing this after KMystic even though it’s less fun to play because it is more powerful. The groans when Mindslicer hits the table make this deck worth playing all by itself 🙂

Fun: 8
Power: 7

My latest complete deck that I’ve actually played a game or two with. Nin can do some stupid good stuff, and is lots of fun to play. It plays the political game quite well as it can let other people draw a ton of cards, then when it’s time to pounce it can take those players out quite quickly. In theory 😉

Fun: 9
Power: 7

I think – when it works – this is by far the most fun deck I have. I guess that speaks more about my inner Timmyness than anything else, but when I’m smashing peoples faces in with Demons, Dragons and Angels it make me very big happy 🙂 Truth be told though, it’s not very powerful and without Kaalia it’s just an overpriced Fatty deck

Fun: 8
Power 8

Another fun deck, this one can also take the rest of the table out pretty quickly – very low on creatures so not affected too much by boardwipes. Burn baby, Burn! 😉

There’s a fairly major gap between the previous decks and the other 4 – All of the ones below here are capable of winning pretty consistently, although (as always) there are always improvements to be made

Ghost Council
Fun: 7
Power: 9

This deck more than any of my others has the late game sewn up. It’s all about controlling the board, and plinking away for 5 or 10 or so per combat phase. It has a “blink” theme in it, but I’ve made sure that the creatures that it can blink want to be either leaving or entering the battlefield, like Skeletal Vampire or Cloudgoat Ranger.

Fun: 9
Power: 9

One member of our playgroup got to live the dream with Omnath last week; he managed to kill the table by turn 6, using General Damage. Essentially this is a very linear deck – make mana, make Omnath huge, give him trample/make him unblockable (Trailblazer’s Boots is tech!) and SMASH. Add mana doublers, Seedborn Muse and Patron of the Orochi for the huge lol’s. It does have the big dumb green spells like Terastodon and GWave in here, but this deck, more than any of the others is all about the General Damage. Tons of fun, and my fastest deck by quite some margin.

Fun: 10
Power: 9

My first EDH deck, and still my favourite. What’s not to like about putting all the bestest creatures in the world in one deck (Blue and Black creatures need not apply)? Mana Mana Mana, big dude, big dude, 2 big dudes…. Love it.

Fun: 8
Power: 10

Easily my most powerful deck, I built Animar to be flat-out good while at the same time fun. It’s the only deck I purposefully built an infinite combo into (Cloudstone Curio + Animar + two Eldrazi/morphs, for an infinitely large Animar.. add Tidespout Tyrant to bounce every (targetable) permanent on the board), and it’s designed to be able to do it’s thing under duress. Having said that, you can still make a lot of crazy, silly, fun plays with this deck.

I’ve just finished a Garza Zol deck, and I’m now building Damia. From looking at it I’d say Garza is about 7 fun/6 power, and the way I’m thinking about building Damia will make it about 6 fun/8 power.

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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Garza Zol, Plague Queen: Finished List, Mk I

As I threatened to earlier, I’ve put this together with the cards I can find, and will give it a whirl in the next few days. I mananged to squeeze in all the themes I wanted (Vampires, Royalty, Mind Control, and just a touch of plague, er Pestilence).

You can see a breakdown of the deck here

The decklist:

// Chief Bloodsucker and Queen of the Damned
1 Garza Zol, Plague Queen

1 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
1 Blood Seeker
1 Blood Tyrant
1 Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Chancellor of the Dross
1 Crossway Vampire
1 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
1 Falkenrath Marauders
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Kalastria Highborn
1 Malakir Bloodwitch
1 Rakish Heir
1 Screeching Bat
1 Sengir Nosferatu
1 Sengir Vampire
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Vampire Outcasts
1 Viscera Seer

//Sucking the Blood
1 Barter in Blood
1 Blood Tribute
1 Bloodchief Ascension
1 Corrupt
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Sign in Blood
1 Pestilence
1 Vampiric Fury

//The Machines that go “PING”
1 Arcane Teachings
1 Fire Whip
1 Flame Fusillade
1 Hypervolt Grasp
1 Lavamancer’s Skill
1 Viridian Longbow

//Your mind is weak…
1 Dream Leash
1 Enslave
1 Mind Control
1 Persuasion
1 Ray of Command
1 Traitorous Blood
1 Word of Seizing

//I say what is allowed in my domain
1 Condescend
1 Hinder
1 Rewind
1 Spell Crumple

//The Royal Court
1 Aura of Dominion
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Crown of Empires
1 Scepter of Empires
1 Throne of Empires
1 Royal Assassin

//Minions, Schemes and Tricks
1 Altar’s Reap
1 Avatar of Woe
1 Blight Sickle
1 Clone
1 Crystal Ball
1 Dimir Signet
1 Garza’s Assassin
1 Nicol Bolas
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Terminate
1 Traitor’s Roar
1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter

//Making the Mana
1 Barren Moor
1 Steam Vents
1 Blood Crypt
1 Temple of the False God
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Tresserhorn Sinks
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Lonely Sandbar
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Frost Marsh
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Graven Cairns
1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
1 Stensia Bloodhall
12 Swamp
2 Island
1 Mountain

There are a number of changes I’d make immediately if I had the cards/could be bothered moving them from other decks, most notably Basilisk Collar, Death Pits of Rath, and Thornbite Staff. But in the meantime I’ll play it like this and see how it goes. I was a little worried that the curve for this deck would be too high and I’d spend the first few turns doing nothing, but I was surprised at how many playable vampires there are in CMC 1-3, so I may be able to put early pressure on. After I’ve played a couple of games I’ll give all y’all my impression of it.


Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander


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