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1  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Total time spent on TMD on: February 10, 2008, 06:46:06 pm
Me: 29 days, 4 hours and 15 minutes

But I believe Machinus still has the record:

94 days, 18 hours and 40 minutes

Quote from: Matt
I actually have a lot more posts than that, but someone decided not to count CCF posts. :<

Didn't you reset your postcount to 1,000 when Jacob dubbed thee admin for a weekend?
2  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: The Invitational on: October 20, 2007, 04:23:00 pm
One of my favorite lines from Hagon's coverage:

"And there you have it: Mr. Vintage goes with Elves!"
3  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Web troubles with mtgsalvation and on: October 14, 2007, 01:37:25 am
MTGSal is down for me too.
4  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / "Quiquid Latine Dictum Sit Altum Viditur" - A Threshold Report on: August 28, 2007, 07:04:33 pm
”Quiquid Latine Dictum Sit Altum Viditur”
A Threshold Report, Of Sorts
August, 26, 2007

Author’s Note
I went to a tournament today and did quite poorly, finishing a resoundingly mediocre 2-2-1. I haven’t played the game in months and haven’t been to an actual tournament in more than a year, so this much was expected. Nonetheless, I’m rather obsessive about tournament report writing, and if you have nothing better to read or do with the next ten or so minutes of your life, I welcome you to my first report in a very long time. And just so there’s no hard-feelings here, be aware that the fluff to MtG content ratio is roughly 2.5 : 1.

Okay, enough of that for now. Onto the “Tournament Report,” proper.


The bartender had his back to us, but I knew he was listening. How many times had he stood calmly behind the bar and listened to respectable-looking people talk about raping the hotel penguins? - The Curse of Lono


As soon as I answered the call from the one-armed midget, re: the Vantucky Legacy tourney, I knew what I'd be playing even before the phone rang. Against the insistence of my lawyers and the lamentations of my children, I decided to come out of "partial retirement" for one "last" rumble.

You see, I basically dropped out of the online and Magic world when I quit my SCG gig and handed the reigns to Mr. Nightmare. Thereafter, I’ve only existed in the periphery of the game, tuning my Elder Dragon Highlander decks and posting sporadically in various Adept Lounges. But the idea of attending a Legacy tournament was appealing, even if my chops have suffered as of late.


Rich Shay (aka TheAtogLord) gave me pause for some introspection on what I like about this game and what I enjoy playing from one of his excellent tournament reports. If you haven't read it before, I recommend that you do. Tournament reports are a proud part of MtG journalism, after all. In this case, I call particular attention to his thoughts under "A Reflection." Therein, Rich ruminates on the age-old "play-style conundrum," a topic which has caused much needless bloodshed.

Here's the nut of it:

"When you are thinking about which 60 cards to put in sleeves, there are two things to consider: which deck to play, and how to tune that deck. Both of these important considerations are going to be affected by how you as a player want to play this game. Sometimes a format has a best deck, and not playing that is a terrible mistake; however, this situation is rare. Most of the time, you are going to want to play a deck which is able to be played with your own playstyle. If you enjoy Mana Drain, don't play Ichorid. If you want to cast a Tendrils for 20 on the second turn of the game, then sleeving up a Fish deck might not be for you.

"This is, of course, fairly obvious. What is less obvious, however, is that you must also tune and adjust your deck to fit your playstyle. You need to make sure that you have enabled yourself to use your deck in a way that you are comfortable with. This is why, for example, Mike [Lydon] has done well with Jotun Grunt in his Bomberman list -- it brings it more in line with how he plays Magic."
(emphasis mine)

It should come as no surprise that I am an aggro-control enthusiast at heart. Upon reflection of my own, I have always played aggro-control decks even before that phrase was coined and before tempo-oriented game plans had been theorized, vis-à-vis “CounterSliver” decks (e.g. Flores’ ”Finding the Tinker Deck.”) My favorite home-brewed deck I used to play on those sweltering summer nights on the New Jersey shore, just after Mirage had just been released, featured every counter I could find, the maximum number of Swords to Plowshares the DCI would condone and, for the time anyway, the most efficient mid-range beatdown creatures available: Erhnam Djinn, Serra Angel, Mahamoti Djinn, usually powered out with Mana Drain or Sol Ring mana.

I don’t have much of an opinion of the so-called “Declared Blockers” Step, but Declaring Attackers is what I know. Storm combo? Bah, I’d rather lick my own perineum. Along with cheap threats, counterspells are pretty much a requisite for any deck I’ll consider, and the thought of registering a deck that doesn’t begin with 4 Brainstorm & 4 Force of Will boggles my mind. It will never happen, for as long as I play Legacy.

Aside from power and strategic flexibility, aggro-control is one of the few kinds of decks
I can play on auto-pilot. If necessary, I can pretty much turn off my frontal lobe and rely solely on my medulla oblongata in tournament settings.

As of August 1, Threshold is looking to be the ticket.


When I have a little too much time on my hands I get seized by The Fear—looking at a sea of Threshold and Sliver decks from the last Batcave tournament. I exchange a few PMs with Illissius after I find out he took second at the last MTS online tourney with a modified version of my MMUC a.k.a. “Vorosh-less Vorosh Control,” which typically mauls aggro-control and has a respectable game against most combo decks owing to its litany of counter-magic, including Chalice of the Void.

August 12, 2007.

So, pretty strung out on a foggy Sunday morning, I pull apart a version of Threshold that I found in the back of my closet and built the following:

’Mostly Monoblue Control’ (“MMUC”) a.k.a. “Vorosh”
by Bardo

4 Brainstorm
4 Standstill

4 Force of Will
4 Counterspell
3 Chalice of the Void
3 Spell Snare

3 Pernicious Deed
3 Vedalken Shackles
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Crucible of Worlds

2 Smother [Flexible slot]

4 Mishra’s Factory
2 Wasteland
3 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
3 Underground Sea
3 Tropical Island
4 Island
1 Faerie Conclave
1 Academy Ruins
1 Tolaria West
1 Maze of Ith

4 Engineered Plague
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Duress
3 Planar Void
1 Haunting Echoes

I throw it against Affinity and get a sound 2-1. Game 1 becomes very drawn out, but Pernicious Deed, along with recurring manlands, stall the game until Vorosh dominates the board with Shackles. Game 2, Vorosh goes down quickly to an aggressive Enforcer assault supported by double Disciples which makes the game nigh-unwinnable. Game 3 however was just a blow-out. Vorosh Forces Affinity’s first turn Vial, Snares its second turn Plating, and just demolishes Affinity’s land with Crucible/Wasteland. It was just an ungodly slaughter.

Still the deck just seems clunky. A deck like Threshold just “flows” better; effectively using its mana every turn to present threats, thwart opposing strategies or just drawing cards. Pulling off topdeck wins is also much easier—Landstill will usually just keep on drawing lands, when I want to draw action.


August 15, 2007.

On the train ride home from work today, I toss around a few ideas on other decks to play.

A. Tivadar's "Trinket Angel Stompy"

Pros: I own everything except for the Flagstones and Cataclysm and it's otherwise running my favorite creatures in a sleek shell: Silver Knight, Trinket Mage, Exalted Angel, Serendibs and my “All-time Favorite Magic Card, Ever.”

Problems: Not enough counter-power for my taste.

B. Team aYb's "Baseruption"

Holy sweet mother of fuck is that thing awesome. The three coolest Invitational Magi along with Tarmogoyf, Counter-Top and Shackles. Wow.

Problems: Serious lack of card-ownership on my part for like half the deck: Infiltrators, Counterbalance, Chrome Mox. Also, the manabase looks like a freight train ran over a pack of wild dogs.

C. My Mostly-Monoblue Control (MMUC) (see above)

Pros: I've played this thing a lot, it has elán, I own all of the cards and the cards that power it are awesome: Pernicious Deed, Shackles, maindeck Chalice of the Void, Crucible, Maze of Ith, Engineered Explosives, Academy Ruins, et al.

Cons: Simultaneously, boring and nerve-wracking to play; still, I’m leaning heavily toward Vorosh.

D. Tog!!!
by Bardo

4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
3 Intuition
2 Fact or Fiction
2 Cunning Wish

4 Force of Will
4 Counterspell
3 Chalice of the Void

4 Engineered Plague
3 Vedalken Shackles

3 Psychatog

4 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
4 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
3 Ancient Tomb
7 Island
1 Swamp

4 Tarmogoyf
3 Pernicious Deed
1 Chalice of the Void

1 Slaughter Pact
1 Shallow Grave
1 Misdirection
1 Hydroblast
1 Naturalize
1 Extirpate
1 Berserk

Pros: Duh.

Cons: 25 mg of morphine dissolved in a jigger of Wild Turkey does not for a competent Tog player make. Trust me.

E. Threshold Variants

I write short-hand lists for a number of Threshold variations:

U/G/r: Pretty much the de-facto standard du jour, where burn replaces StP in the maindeck and red giving Threshold outstanding sideboard tools with REB/Pyroblast and Pyroclasm.

U/G/b: Plagues in the sideboard for Pinder, Volt, etc., along with Ghastly Demise, Dark Confidants and Tombstalkers in the main.

U/G/w/b: My beloved 'Witch-Maw Thresh,' a short of kitchen sink approach to Threshold deck-building with a manabase that smells worse than those dead dogs above, left to rot for a week under the hot Alabama sun, in the middle of August.

U/G: Diceman’s first place GenCon ’07 list. Congrats, Peter!

Of all of the non-White-splash builds, I find the U/G deck to be the most elegant and really dig the land destruction (LD) sub-theme (4 Wasteland and 4 Stifle). Unlike Landstill, and similar to Goblins, Threshold is one of those decks that can actually exploit and clobber opponents that stumble over their early-game mana production. Furthermore, LD-wise, Stifle is so much more of a beating than Wasteland, which at least lets you get a mana out of the land before going away. A well-timed Stifle, on occasion, and backed up with enough threats, can be game.


Re: Tarmogoyf. Thank you, Wizards of the Coast, Research & Development Department.

To whosoever designed this fucking monster: email a statement to that effect, including the Multiverse comments for this critter, from an appropriate email address to and I will send you a crisp $5 bill.


A totally 'random' selection of the next ten songs on my iPod:

Interpol - Stella Was a Diver and She's Always Down
Stereophonics - Dakota
Elliot Smith - Ballad of Big Nothing
Arctic Monkeys - 505
Nine Inch Nails - Ringfinger
Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
Modest Mouse - Bukowski
Sparklehorse - Don’t Take My Sunshine Away
New Order - Thieves Like Us
The Smiths - This Charming Man

Alright, to be honest, the first four songs were in order, then things took a turn to the shitter and I completed the "random selection" with some of the better songs I found in the next twenty titles.


August 25, 2007.

A Revelation.

Less than twenty-four hours before registration, I’m still planning on taking MMUC. But the night before, Sue, myself and the fam’ have dinner plans at this awesome Thai place in town (Typhoon). In the shower before heading off, it hits me: “LANDSTILL NEVER WINS!” I’m mean yeah, given its numbers, it will often make it to the Top 8, but therein it struggles to even survive the quarterfinals.

Going through Anwar’s Historical Top 8 Thread, I confirm that Landstill has never once made it to the finals in any of the serious US tournament since the format was created, let alone won a “Big Event.” (Incidentally, many thanks to Anwar for keeping that thread going.) The decks that win Legacy events, by and large, are/were Goblins, Threshold and combo—generally, hybrid strategies.

In the shower then, I decide to go with something tried, true and familiar: the Bardo Flagship, White-Splash Threshold. I'll bet you didn't see that coming.


As much as I appreciate the two-color and Red-Splash versions of the deck, I’m left wondering how these decks can confidently deal with opposing Tarmogoyfs--short of having Spell Snare or tapping one down for a turn with Ice. Otherwise, ‘Goyfs are likely to stand opposite one another, with their x/x+1 stats meaning each will bounce off one another unless someone achieves “’Goyf Advantage.” I might be wrong, but I’ll bet that’s the first time in the history of the English language those thirteen letters have been arranged in that particular order. Nonetheless, I’d feel a lot better having access to Swords to Plowshares to at least gain “’Goyf Parity” (there it is again) in case I fall behind. So, yeah, I want access to Swords to Plowshares.

Also, as I anticipate a few Landstill players at the Batcave, I’m even more drawn to white, where Armageddon is still Threshold’s best weapon against “big mana decks,” if I’m not mistaken. (ZillA later convinces me that Price of Progress is better, a sentiment I can get behind.)

So, watching Scorsese’s The Departed at 1 a.m., I unsleeve Vorosh and put together the following, which is basically the same thing I was playing at the end of May:

White-Splash Threshold
by Bardo

4 Brainstorm
4 Mental Note
4 Serum Visions

4 Force of Will
4 Daze
2 Spell Snare

4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Pithing Needle
1 Engineered Explosives

4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Meddling Mage
2 Mystic Enforcer

4 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Windswept Heath
3 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
2 Island
1 Forest
1 Plains

3 Armageddon
3 Hydroblast
3 Chill
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Krosan Grip
1 Meddling Mage
1 Pithing Needle

One minor change here is the addition of Enforcer #2 to the maindeck in place of Meddling Mage #4, since the field from last time was ripe for an evasive 6/6. In my last SCG article, I also found myself boarding in that lone Enforcer in the sideboard in almost every game. I don’t want to see him in my opening hand, but I’ll probably want to see one in almost every game I play.

Oh man, when did I last play this deck? As far as I can tell, MattH was the last person I played from Match #10 in the SCG article; but ‘In Real Life’ opponents? Damn, I think the last time I played this deck with real cards was against Don (“AngryTroll,”) when I swept that tournament at the ill-fated Mana Curve in Beaverton in July of ‘06. So, I haven’t taken this deck out in public in more than a year? Shit.


Before setting out for the tournament, I rummage one last time in my bag of Super Secret Technology and make some last minute changes for the anticipated metagame:

-1 Island (APAC, Red: Hong Kong)
-1 Island (APAC, Clear: Singapore)
-1 Forest (Beta)
-1 Plains (APAC, Clear: China)
+2 Island (Unglued)
+1 Forest (Unglued)
+1 Plains (Unglued)

That should do it.


I arrive at the site in time to register my list and play some Ms. Pacman, getting a respectable high score, which--I discover later--Volt will crush.

Seventeen players show, which is enough for four (or five?) Swiss rounds and then a Top 8.

Round 1: Justin with U/W Control (maindeck Counter-Top)

Game 1.
I win the roll and make my first tournament play in a long time: Windswept Heath. Justin leads with a dual into Diving Top; the following turn I Needle the thing. Shackles threatens to gum up the board, but I find my other Needle, a brief counter-war ensues, but Daze wins the day.

I eventually resolve Meddling Magi on “Swords to Plowshares” and “Wrath of God” and win the game with my Invitational wizards and a 6/7 Tarmogoyf (the first of many today).

The only damage I took this game was all self-inflicted, three fetchlands and a Force.

Sideboarding, I take out some combination of StP and Daze for ‘Geddons, Grips and Needle #3.

Game 2.
Our second game begins promisingly with my turn 2 4/5 Tarmogoyf. When Justin is at nine life, I resolve Mystic Enforcer with the hope of “combo-ing out,” i.e. Enforcer + Armageddon. Then an unfortunate series of plays ensues: Justin finds a Seal of Cleansing to disenchant another Needle on Top, Enlighten Tutors for Control Magic, kills the the Needle, activates the Top, steals my Enforcer and proceeds to beat me bloody with it. I draw the Force one turn too late.

Game 3.
Again, Justin leads with another Diving Top, I Needle it, but as our last game proceeds,  I play too conservatively with my fetchlands, fetching a basic Plains to avoid Wasteland, when my hand accumulates an awesome pile of green cards but no green mana. In my haste to finish the match on time, I did a very poor job of randomizing my deck, and after this match, I was always careful to pile shuffle. Anyway, a dozen turns go by and I can’t find any mana and we unintentionally draw when we realize there’s no way for either of us to win in the time remaining.

1-1-1 (cumulative, games)
0-0-1 (cumulative, matches)

Round 2: Randy with U/W Control (no Counter-Top that I saw)

My Round Two is nearly the polar opposite of Round One. Game one is over very quickly, with a Meddling Mage chanting against “Wrath of God” and a thresh’d Mongoose. His life total: 19, 18, 15, 10, 5/concede.

In our second game, I drop a quick Mongoose, resolve Armageddon on turn 4 or 5, which instantly gives the Mongoose threshold, who then goes on to clobber my opponent bloody. My opponent fails to recover in time and this match is over in 10-15 minutes.

3-1-1 (cumulative, games)
1-0-1 (cumulative, matches)

With time to spare, I walked across the street to a dingy biker bar, wherein I sipped a tall gin & tonic, wrote up my match notes, and made use of their restroom facilities which was too grim to recall, let alone commit to words.

Round 3: Brent with U/B/g Psychatog

If I could replay any match from the day, this would be the one—a real heart-breaker.

Game 1.
The match starts off ominously with me mulling to five. From my poorly written notes, I think I kept a hand of Tropical Island, Mental Note, Daze, Mental Note, Nimble Mongoose.

I get Brent down to five life and am one or two turns from winning the thing, when his Berserked Tog takes me out from 18 life.

Game 2.
In our second game, a 3/3 Mongoose and 6/7 Tarmogoyf make short work of him. I have no notes and the life totals tell a tale of carnage.

Game 3.
This was the most painful game of the tournament. For one, I savagely mismanaged my fetchlands as I ended the game with double StP in hand, but no white mana, where my life total indicates three fetchland activations (one Tundra may have been hit with a Wasteland). In any case, I am again poised to win, having just hit Brent’s graveyard with a Tormod’s Crypt and looking at a weenie Tog when I’m at twelve life. A Shackle’d Tarmogoyf had hit me for four earlier in the game, but I found a Grip for it.

Within striking distance, and only a couple of cards in his ‘yard to feed Mr. Tog, I keep swinging with my 6/7 Tarmogoyf, reasonably sure that nothing ugly will happen. As it plays out, Justin topdecks Intuition, which fetches AK, which puts enough cards between his hand and yard to attack for lethal. Man, oh man, I can’t believe I lost this one. Still, Brent was a gentleman and a cool guy--I wish him well for the rest of the tournament.

Looking back, the correct play was to sit back with my Tarmogoyf as a blocker, waiting to draw a land that produced white man for StP. In this case, I erred on the side of aggression and lost because of it.

4-3-1 (cumulative, games)
1-1-1 (cumulative, matches)

At this point, things are bad, but they could be worse. I’ve been having a good time and I just need to win my next two matches to make Top 8.
Round 4: James with Sligh

Game 1.
James’ life total this game: 20, 17, 13, 7, 3, -7. Mystic Enforcer wins the day before James could accumulate a critical mass of burn. He also gripes about his useless Prices of Progress when he looks at my board and sees my only land as those four Unglued basics.

Sideboarding, I bring in Chills and Hydroblasts for some combination of StP, Pithing Needle and Daze; James tells me he’s boarding ten cards against me and I warn him not turn his deck into a pile of crap in an effort to hate mine.

Game 2.
Again, I begin beating down aggressively, drop a Chill, and Hydroblast anything otherwise annoying. Out of cards, at six life and looking at seven power of creatures on my side of the board, James rips his last topdeck, jumps out of his chair, slams down Ensnaring Bridge and yells at the top of his lungs:


(Well, it was something to that effect, if someone’s knows the exact quote, feel free to post it.) While clearly unsporting, I took no personal offense to his “enthusiasm” and was happy he wasn’t given a warning or anything.

I congratulate him on his good luck while staring at the Engineered Explosives in my hand. I only have blue and green mana available, but I find Chill #2 in short order and draw a Polluted Delta to fetch a Tundra about three turns later. I blow up the Bridge and send in the army.

6-3-1 (cumulative, games)
2-1-1 (cumulative, matches)

Round 5: Brett (LinkXwing with 4c Landstill)

These games, I just get clobbered, pure and simple. Brett draw a bazillion cards off Fact and broken Standstills, produces a never-ending stream of removal and beats me to a pulp with Monastery monks.

So far as I can tell, beating 4c Landstill with Threshold is like beating Goblins: do it quick or you won’t do it at all; the late game really favors the control deck here.

There is of course Plan B, Armageddon, which is basically an auto-win, assuming you can get it to resolve. In our second game, my two efforts to do so fail and that is that.

6-5-1 (cumulative, games)
2-2-1 (cumulative, matches)

The drive home was simply gorgeous. There are just summer nights, usually only a handful of them every year, which are just stunning. I suppose it’s because the summer is winding down and the nights are getting colder (it got down to 40 degrees F last night, I think) as the season are about to change. But the ride home and the time spent walking my dogs later was really sublime: “Good to be alive weather,” I call it.

So that’s my story. I left just as the Top 8 was being announced and was happy that Volt, playing White Thresh, was undefeated by that point, and that the Tog player that beat me earlier was also making the cut.

Obligatory Props & Slops.


- Chris (Volt) for helping to organize the event and sharing his yummie French fries when my body was sick of health food and needed grease.

- Engineered Explosives, how I love thee.


- That filthy fucking toilet across the street (creepier than anything seen in Trainspotting).

- Frogboy, for failing to show.

Doppeltes Slops:

- GodzillA, for not showing after I had written an awesome Epilogue, which I shall share anyway.

XI. Epilogue.

Then a fight broke out in the parking lot. ZillA took a nasty gunshot wound to the gut and bled out in my backseat going over the I-5 bridge. What a fucking pussy. I dropped his body off with a longshoreman I knew from my time in the Merchant Marines, where it was burned with rubbish from Gresham.

5  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: The Code on: July 05, 2007, 11:26:44 pm
Oh my god, that was one of the funniest tests I've taken on the Internet in years.

Fucking brilliant!

Edit - Men's piss-rooms are odd places indeed. Last summer I walked into the piss-shack on the way up to Mt Saint Helens and, I'm not kidding you, the "urinal" was a 3' high, 12' long stainless-steel trough. Too much for me. I just pissed in the bushes out back. Fuck "bathroom logistics" when you have to stand with your dick in your hand, surrounded by five other dudes. Bah.
6  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: The Code on: July 03, 2007, 01:04:26 am
#6 and #41.  I live and die by them.

Re: #41. In those cases, I'll just use the stall and not be forced to empty my bladder like some feral beast.

Re: #56. Actually, there are many shitty Simpsons episodes, and it doens't hurt anyone to point out the truth in these cases.
7  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: June 25, 2007, 10:40:04 pm
So, last Saturday night I turned on the old pc in our spare bedroom to log another blog entry and was sad to find that my dial-up Internet connection was finally cut off by my former employer. Frown town, indeed. Does MWS or APPR have a version for Mac (PM me, if so)? If not and given that I'm too much of a techno-newb to run a pc-emulator on Sue's iMac (this computer), my blog is going to langor in limbo for a bit (I hope no longer) while I figure out my Internet options.

All of this experience with MWS and logging my results here culminated in my last StarCityGames article that you can read here. While that was quite a labor to write, I'm happy with the way it came out and is basically a proxy for three-four days worth of posts here in early June.

You can see as far a I got with Vorsosh Control aka "Mostly Mono-Blue Control" in that article and where I ended up with U/G/w Threshold, which is sleeved up, card for card, in my closet at the moment:

White-Splash Threshold
by Bardo

4 Brainstorm
4 Mental Note
4 Serum Visions

4 Force of Will
4 Daze
3 Spell Snare

4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Pithing Needle

4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Meddling Mage
1 Mystic Enforcer

4 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
2 Windswept Heath
3 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
2 Island
1 Forest
1 Plains

3 Armageddon
3 Chill
3 Hydroblast
2 Loaming Shaman
2 Krosan Grip
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Mystic Enforcer

Try it out.

Ciao for now.
8  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: June 10, 2007, 01:21:02 pm
Sunday; June 10, 2007

While this blog got off to a good start, my trip to San Francisco really interrupted its flow. Suffice it to say, we all had a blast on vacation. I won't bore you with the details of my personal life, but our time in California was extremely awesome. Getting back to Oregon, I then received one of the best phone calls in my life when I was offered a fantastic job that I interviewed for just before leaving for San Fran. I've been kinda floaty since then.

MtG-wise, all of my spare time has been channeled into my SCG article that's coming out this Thursday. It's just about done and needs only a couple of read-throughs for style and grammatical tweaks. Otherwise, I'm quite proud of it.

Given the topic of said article, I'm thoroughly sick of playing Threshold am going back to my "Mostly Monoblue Standstill," which has always treated me right.

1-0 vs. Mobilization.dec

Yes, after [image] 49 freaking turns, a casual Soldier-theme decks succumbs to my creature-crushing juggernaut... Praise be!

(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's a Chalice of the Void for 4!)

Incindentally, Tabernacle + Shackles is a juicy mini-combo; Engineered Explosives plus Academy Ruins is rather silly too.

'Off to walk the dogs.
9  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Top 10 toys to kill your children with on: June 07, 2007, 04:33:40 pm
No shit, my dad through a lawn jart through my mom's foot when I was a kid--on "accident" no doubt.

Edit - I just got to #9: "A spokesperson from the CPSC explained that 'the barrel shape of the toy seemed to invite children to put it in their mouths.' Something you could apparently say in 1979 without too much snickering."

I don't know how old I was, 4-5?, but I used to have that toy and that guy's totally right if you're a little kid going through and oral stage. :shrug: Kids are weird. Smile
10  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [report] Grand Prix Columbus - 6th place on: May 29, 2007, 11:04:09 am
Great report and well done! Congrats.

In retrospect, would you still cut -1 Daze for +1 Needle? Did you feel that 4 Stifle was the right amount?

I've been liking maindeck Spell Snare in the Stifle slot lately.
11  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 21, 2007, 08:39:34 pm
So, as I mentioned, the fam + I are taking a vacation down to California this week. We're leaving tomorrow morning to meet some friends and spend the night in Ashland, Oregon; on Wednesday we'll make it to a San Francisco and will be there to either Sunday or Monday. Luckily, Monday is a State holiday, so I'll have that day off.

Long story short, I'll be away from the keyboard for a the rest of the week. I might have sporadic internet use, but nothing serious.

Have a good week, all. Smile
12  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [Contest] Grand Prix: Columbus Predictions on: May 21, 2007, 08:22:58 pm
I'll argue that Red Blast = Pyroblast, for all intents and purposes. I know they're modally different, but that doesn't seem all that significant for our purposes.
13  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 20, 2007, 09:17:52 pm
Eventually, I land another Chalice for two and lock him out when he's under serious board pressure and I reveal triple C-Spell backup.
Heh what?

Love the screencaps.

I meant "C-Spell" as a class of counters. I believe I was holding 2x Force + 1 Spell Snare; not "Counterspell" (cmc 2).

Edit III.

Wow, a long day for MtG. I think it's called transference. It's also called a "weekend."

And so it finally happens...

2-0 Vorosh Control vs. Hulk Flash*

Game 1. Chalice of the Freaking Void @ 2. GG.

Game 2. I start the game with double Leyline. Yeah... I Spell Snare his Confidant. Drop a Standstill and my opponent "<System> Player Lost"s after I Wasteland his Underground Sea.

Cards left in my hand at this point:

Force of Will
Polluted Delta

Go, go Vorosh!

* I'm guessing this was the first place GP list, since it was so oddly techy. Though, honestly, I haven't looked at the final reports yet--being on dial-up and all.

Edit - It was indeed the Sadin list, after I've had the time to review the coverage.
14  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 20, 2007, 08:01:00 pm
Edit III - 5:45 PM (Pacific Daylight Time)

So, yeah, I'm out $20. I don't want to spend much time thinking about the meaning and value of the GP results right now. Though I can take a little solace knowing that I put GodzillA away, 2-0, a short while ago.

2-0 vs. U/W Fish

Game 1. Samurai of the Pale Curtain is a pain, but manageable. Pat concedes with Maze of Ith + Vedalken Shackles making the board a quagmire.

Game 2. Much more complex. You can see a pivotal battle when one of Pat's Pithing Needle's hits the stack:

[Image] Counter-War!

But I get a hold on the situation, Spell Snare is a monster, but Pernicious Deed is the real game winner in this match, turning a perilous 45-55 match, into something much closer to 2-98.

[Image] End Game.

(Note that the Brainstorm resolved before I played the Chalice. The board was so cluttered that I just missed it.)

But I'm still out $20.

Incidentally, this deck is awesome.

Current list: May 20, 2007:
"Vorosh Control"
by Bardo

// Spells
    4  Brainstorm
    4  Standstill
    4  Force of Will
    4  Counterspell
    4  Spell Snare
    3  Chalice of the Void
    3  Pernicious Deed
    3  Vedalken Shackles
    3  Crucible of Worlds
    1  Engineered Explosives

// Lands
    4  Mishra's Factory
    3  Wasteland
    3  Polluted Delta
    3  Flooded Strand
    3  Underground Sea
    3  Tropical Island
    3  Island
    1  Academy Ruins
    1  Faerie Conclave
    1  Tolaria West
    1  Maze of Ith
    1  The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

// Sideboard
SB: 4  Engineered Plague
SB: 4  Duress
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 2  Massacre
SB: 1  Chalice of the Void
15  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 20, 2007, 01:13:26 pm
Sunday; May 20, 2007

And so, Future Sight is now Legacy-legal. Cool set. I look forward to stomping much butt with Tarmogoyfs in the next year.

The Day 1 breakdown of GP Columbus is not well documented at the moment and I don't feel like speculating idly on it. Once we have some reports, a breakdown of the field and how it all shook out in the end, I'll begin to think about it. But even then, I'd probably save those thoughts for my June article on SCG.

Recent change in Vorosh Control:

SB: -2 Infest
SB: +2 Massascre

'Not sure how I missed that before... If I can reach 1BB, I might as well make it 2BB with the option to play it for free half of the time.

2-1 Vorosh Control vs. Bardo-GAT

A pleasant opponent is not to be taken for granted on MWS. I don't mind playing jerks, but would much, much rather play with someone friendly.

G1 is a nail-biter, playing against one of my own decks. I'm always poised to get the situation under control, but in a very critical turn when I need to chump with some of my Factories vs. Dryads, one factory is critically Smother'd and that is game. Otherwise, Maze of Ith is proving very, very awesome--Tog would have killed me long before.

G2 was peculiar. Working around Daze, I resolve the sacred "Chalice for 1," have Tabernacle, Maze of Ith, a nice assortment of lands, and my opponent "G3?s" me with about 10 cards in his hand--having drawn loads off double-Confidant. Maze is at the ready for Psychatog; and Factories on defense are able to hold off the Bobs.

G3 was squarely in my favor. I lead with a Duress, pluck a counter, nuke the board with Deed when things are looking grim, and my opponent eventually concedes facing my double Factories + a Shackle'd Bob when he's at six life. Cool games though.

Okay, off to check out the GP coverage.

A little later...

1-0 Vorosh Control vs. Goblins

I suffer some minor bleeding in the early turns from a Mogg Fanatic, but end up dominating the game in a way that only a screen capture could describe:

[Image] Pwnage.

I held onto a stray Stifle for Ringleader or SGC, which never materialized.

Edit II

Okay, today's going to be a Landstill vs. the World day; it's official. Wink

I'm not seeing a need to change anything in the 5/19 list just yet; though the 2/2 Spell Snare / Stifle split is obviously a consession for testing purposes.

The sideboard isn't going to win any metals either, but it's serviceable for the time being:


4 Leyline of the Void
4 Engineered Plague
4 Duress
2 Massacre
1 Chalice of the Void

I do contemplate a transformational Hulk Flash board for the next ten days:

4 Protean Hulk
4 Flash
1 Karmic Guide
1 Carrion Feeder
1 Kiki-Jiki
[4 other cards]

Meh. Odds are we won't be seeing Flash, post-6/1, so I'm not going to spend too much time thinking about. If it remains legal on June 2, I'll revisit the idea.

2-0 vs. B/W Control

Shit, these were hard. My opening hand game 1:

Crucible of Worlds
Tropical Island
Maze of Ith
Mishra's Factory

My opponent wins the roll and leads with a Swamp + Duress taking my Crucible. The game goes on forever. But I have my Maze holding off an Eternal Dragon long enough that I can finally get 5 Islands into play to steal the Dragon. He StP's it, but I eventually get Chalices on 2 and 3 and that's all she wrote.

Game 2 was equally epic, starting with him leading with a Swamp, Ritual, Duress (taking Crucible) plus Hymn. I couldn't look and shielded the monitor from everything but the menutbar: Action -> Discard a card at random.

Luckily, my Delta and a Standstill were intact, post-Hymn. Which I hid behind to rebuild my hand and periodically stripping his duals with Wasteland. Eventually, I land another Chalice for two and lock him out when he's under serious board pressure and I reveal triple C-Spell backup.

Great games.

For the time being:

-2 Stifle
+2 Spell Snare

2-0 vs. U/W Fish

Holy shit does Spell Snare own the living hell out of Fish. These were long but savage games. Game 1 was kind of text book. Chalice on 2. Vedalken Shackles. Crucible. Wasteland. GG.

Game 2 was much more complex. With an opposing Mage on Shackles, another on Chalice, plus a Scepter with imprint Counterspell, the battle lines looked complex, but I had a plan: Pernicious Fucking Deed. It took me a dozen turns to realize my plan, but once I finally landed the Deed and activating it; removing 2x SoFI, 2x Meddling Mage, 1x Isochron Scepter, that was game. Though my Parisian opponent insisted on playing it out and after dropping a Chalice on 2, so it went.

Nice opponent. Good games.
16  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 19, 2007, 02:40:07 pm
Saturday; May 19, 2007

In the end, being 1500 miles from Columbus, Ohio is what made me skip the GP. Also, the travel expenses and that Sue, the girls and I are going down to San Francisco at the end of the weekend. All of these things conspired to keep me in Portland for the weekend. So it goes.

It's disappointing that GP: Strasbourg (Time Spiral Block Constructed) is also happening this weekend. Yet another thing that's going against the first Legacy Grand Prix in a very long time. I do wish I was there though, Flash and all.

Anyway, updates to several decks.

Tin_Mox5831 suggested a few solid suggestions for the Fish deck after I mentioned being underwhelmed with MoR and Grunt #3. His suggestions:

Quote from: Tin_Mox5831
If I were to build the deck today, I'd make the following tweaks:

-1 Jotun Grunt
-3 Mother Of Runes
+1 Serra Avenger
+2 Serendib Efreet
+1 Stifle (I firmly believe that Stifle's magic number is 3. It comes up just often enough.)

I can get behind this, but will trade +1 Efreet for +1 Jitte, which is such a nut-buster in and against a deck like this.

0-2 U/B/g Tarmo-Gro vs. R/G/w Survival.

Game 1. I mulligan a vaguely promising hand (multiple Bobs + Jittes) into a very sketchy hand with 1 Delta and several blue cards. I die to Viridian Zealot, Genesis and some other crappy cards-beatdown and a single Island in play.

Game 2. It goes long, I ramp up enough lands to drop and activate Deed, nuking his Survival, Vial, Birds, Witness and another permanent or two. Anyway, my opponent is very talented with the deck, rebuilds with another Survival (after I foolishly FoW a baited Rofellos) and I die to massive Survival-Squee powered army (FTKs, Hierarchs and stuff).

Ah well. I decide to take White Threshold out for a spin, with the following permanent change:

-4 Werebear
+4 Tarmogoyf

Otherwise, I'm still testing out the Spell Snares in the Stifle/Counterspell slots.

1-0 White Thresh vs. U/W Fish

He wins the roll, leads with Delta/Tundra -> Brainstorm.

On his second turn he plays a blind Meddling Mage on Flash. Heh.

On my next turn I drop a Mage on Jitte.

I eventually win with double-Tarmogoyfs (4/5s) with only 5 cards in my graveyard. I also Daze some stuff, Spell Snare a Jitte (my first Mage was RFG from Swords to Plowshares) and do some other boring stuff.

2-0 vs. Ankh Sligh

These were fast games. I win the first one with double-Goose + Goyf.

Game two was a bit more difficult, but I win at two life and Mystic Enforcer.

Oh, that was a recent change in the deck:

-1 Spell Snare (3 left)
+1 Mystic Enforcer

Increasing the threat density and having a mid/late game bomb helps in many matches.

Gonna take a break for now.

Edit - I'm back after walking the dogs and watching some Sprout with my kids

1-0 U/G/g Landstill vs. U/w Landstill

Recent changes to U/B/g Landstill:

-2 Smother
+1 Maze of Ith
+1 Stifle

For the first time I actually use the transmute ability on Tolaria West, fetching a Wasteland to kill an opposing Mishra's Factory. Most of the game is spent with us playing lands and not doing anything while his Standstill sits on the board. He eventually plays a morph, I Force (pitching Stifle), he Forces (pitching Mana Leak), I Force his Force (pitching another Stifle) and look in horror at the Deed in my hand. What a waste of good cards. Sad He eventually plays another morph and this time I Deed it for 0 and then play Crucible, the single most important card in the mirror. It's all downhill for him. Looking at my deck, I'd really like to squeeze in another basic Island, running 1 seems sketchy in a deck like this.

Re: GP Columbus. I'm very happy it has an attendance of nearly 900 people! That is fantastic and should show WotC there is enough support for Legacy to run these events more than once every year and a half. It indeed seems like it will be the Day of the Hulk and I see myself losing $20 to GodzillA. While I was trashed at the time, I made a 2-1 bet (his favor) that Flash would not make the cut to the Top 4--well, I'm pretty sure that's what our bet was, Pat can correct me if I'm wrong. I can only hope that several converging events occur to make me $10 richer: the Flash decks hit the top of the standings collectively and begin to weed each other out; 2) the Hulk Flash-hate decks (Fish and Thresh) keep them from getting enough points to make the cut to the Top 8 (though probably enough to make Day 2); 3) otherwise secret non-Flash tech has an important impact over the next two days to also keep Hulk manageable (admittedly, this is something of a long shot).

Looking back, I really shouldn't have given Pat any odds. C'est la vie.

Update - After Dinner

Without much data, I don't feel like speculating much on results of Day 1 of the GP. I'm more in the state of mind to just play some blokes on MWSPlay.

Going back to one of my favorite recent decks, Vorosh Control, I make a bunch of changes, starting with fitting in two more basic Islands in place of two duals, since the black and green demand in the deck is limited to Pernicious Deed at this point. Here's where I'm at right now:

// Lands
    4  Mishra's Factory
    3  Wasteland
    3  Polluted Delta
    3  Flooded Strand
    3  Underground Sea
    3  Tropical Island
    3  Island
    1  Faerie Conclave
    1  Academy Ruins
    1  Tolaria West
    1  The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    1  Maze of Ith

// Spells
    4  Brainstorm
    4  Standstill
    4  Force of Will
    4  Counterspell
    2  Spell Snare
    2  Stifle
    3  Chalice of the Void
    3  Pernicious Deed
    3  Vedalken Shackles
    3  Crucible of Worlds
    1  Engineered Explosives

// Sideboard
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 4  Engineered Plague
SB: 4  Duress
SB: 2  Massacre
SB: 1  Chalice of the Void

I dropped the Facts because they're just not that good in this format. I've made that point before and I stand by it. Fact provides solid CA at a slightly unreasonable cost (4 mana is a lot when it doesn't win you the game) and I dropped the Smothers since the format is moving away from a more aggro-centricity; enter Spell Snare, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite counters. It's only problem here is that it obviously conflicts with Chalice, which is another ball-buster.

On to the games.

2-0 vs. BardoGro

He said his deck was a lot like mine, but I didn't see any differences, down to the basic Plains, Mental Notes, maindeck Magi, etc.; I suggest he upgrade the Werebears to Tarmogoyfs.

G1 is a nail-biter. Many turns into the game he has a Needle on Shackles and a Mage on Deed, where my board is all Shackles and my hand is all Deed. Ugh. Eventually I find a Crucible and that's enough to solicit the GG, as my infinite army of Factories, always amazing on defense, is basically impregnable (sp?) to his Werebear + Mage. Eventually I would have found my EE to remove the Mage, Deed the Needle and take more authoritative control over the board, but it wasn't necessary.

G2 is pretty much a rout for him. On the play, he plays a Trop, I Wasteland it on my first turn, he cast Mental Note; next turn he plays a Tundra, Brainstorms and indicates he hasn't found any land ("ugh"). On my second turn, I play a Factory and foolishly drop a Standstill which falls prey to Daze. But this is fine, since I'm still keeping him far away from 'Geddon mana. I think he just replays the Tundra and passes the turn. After that I transmute Tolaria West into an Chalice and then play the Chalice after a brief counter-war. That's basically game, but I finish it up with a couple of Factories working him over.

I think I boarded in Chalice #4 + 4x Leylines for the Crucibles and a Stifle.

2-0 vs. Glimpse of Nature

What the fuck is it with people playing these shitty Glipse decks? They're way, way too fucking common on MWS. Game 1 I Waste his first non-basic right of the bat, then CSpell a Glipse, land Crucible and begin Wasteland recursion on his Cities of Brass. "gg" quickly ensues.

Game 2. On his first turn, he plays a land, removes two spirit guides from his hand to play Cloudstone Curio. I just drop a Chalice on 0, then another on 1. He says he can't beat Chalice and that is that.
17  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 16, 2007, 01:41:08 pm
Mother of Runes might be expendable, but I'd keep her around, as there's bound to be those Aggro decks who just thought they could add Leyline of the Void maindeck and have a decent Hulk Flash matchup.

Re: MoR. Even though she's been an annoyance on occasion when seeing her on the other side of the board, I still can't help fighting this "Really? There's got to be something better" kind of feeling. Power-wise she just seems out of whack with the rest of the deck, which is otherwise very strong. Also, she doesn't do squat to opposing Jitte counters / SoFI damage, Ravager and friends, though I won't deny that she's great against goblins and other aggro, where she can stall until you draw into Jitte or Avenger, etc. Otherwise, I don't know, I'm just not digging her.

Re: Avenger. She's so very good and I've thought about dropping a Grunt to +1 her. Grunt in multiples is pretty dissapointing, since you can only really support one at a time.
18  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 16, 2007, 12:53:41 am
The more I think about it, the more it's sinking in that Parcher is probably right, and Threshold is not the right deck for the Grand Prix. I'm not exactly sure what I'd play if I were going, and would probably just end up playing Threshold anyway--hoping that my experience with the thing would get me through many rounds.

Without having proven itself in the field, my #2 favorite deck, Vorosh Control, seems ill-advised as well. It's awesome, but also molassesly slow and I just have a warm spot in my heart for a solid aggro-control deck (hence, the Threshold thing).

Staying blue-based and getting away from the graveyard as an important resource seems to bring us to Fish, as so many things do. The thing about Fish is that it's amazingly plastic. The form has a certain reliable structure, as well as an enormous range of modular space to tweak for specific and over-bearing threats, such as, oh, let's just say combo.

So, tonight is going to be a Fish night and the Fish deck I'm using is Hanni's recent version with a few minor tweaks.


// Lands
    4  Flooded Strand
    4  Polluted Delta
    4  Tundra
    3  Underground Sea
    1  Scrubland
    1  Island
    1  Plains

// Creatures
    4  Meddling Mage
    4  Dark Confidant
    3  Jotun Grunt
    3  Mother of Runes
    2  Serra Avenger

// Spells
    4  Brainstorm
    4  Serum Visions
    4  Swords to Plowshares
    4  Force of Will
    3  Daze
    3  Duress
    2  Stifle
    2  Umezawa's Jitte

// Sideboard
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 4  Engineered Plague
SB: 2  Pithing Needle
SB: 2  Perish
SB: 1  Umezawa's Jitte
SB: 1  Duress
SB: 1  Stifle

Those Mothers of Runes are begging to be dropped, but they can stay for the time being. I'd rather not admit this publically, but I do like a good cup of tea...

1-0 vs. Threshold (?)

I have an otherwise awesome hand, but the game doesn't last long.

My opening hand:

Polluted Delta
Dark Confidant

I win the roll, drop the Delta and pass. My opponent plays an Island, casts Portent and passes. I draw Jitte, play the Scrubland, fetch a Tundra with Delta and drop Confidant on the board. My opponent fiddles with more cantrips and quits the game with my Jitte on the stack.

2-1 vs. Chalice Affinity

Not an easy match.

G1: My opponent scoops to Jitte with a Mage on Plating. (W)
G2: Plating + Thopter + Bob Damage + Myr Enforcer. (L)
G3: StP + Daze + Mage on Plating + cheap draw. (W)

Enough for now. Off to walk the dogs. Good deck. Incidentally, Mother of Runes is ass against Arcbound Ravager.


Mother of Runes, #1-3.
Jotun Grunt #3.
19  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: Kudzu-Gro: Part II on: May 15, 2007, 01:15:50 pm
I resolve a turn two Mage on Massacre, as I have double Force, and figure to race. This is all well and good until he EOT Flashes in a Negator to race back.

Barring highly unusual circumstances, it seems best to always name Flash with your first Meddling Mage. I'd even set extraneous copies to Flash again in game 1 (esp. when you don't know what kind of bounce they're using--CoV, E Truth, Wipe Away, etc). In game 2, Massacre (or maybe Chant, depending) is a good call for Mage #2--but regardless I'd still set Mage #1 on Flash (helps with the Chant-plan too).

And, uh, nice deck name. Wink
20  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 15, 2007, 12:25:58 am
Monday; May 14, 2007

Ah, what to play tonight? A part of me wants to keep on working on my new "Future Gro" deck (a retemplate of my U/B/g Gro-a-Tog with Tarmogoyf substituting for Quirion Dryad and Tomb Stalker filling in for Psychatog), but with the deck not tournament-legal for another week and with uncertainties on the awesomeness/crappiness of Spell Snare still unresolved, I feel it's best to pick up with Theshold for the time being. [Same list as above.]

0-1 vs. Mono-White Mobilization Stax

Ugh. That is all. At least the game went on for 30 fucking rounds before I threw in the 'gg' out of sheer boredom and no hope of winning after I dropped my Explosives from the main. I'll need to think about the Needle vs. EE, but not before another game.

0-2 vs. Affinity

Man, tonight is not my night. I should just throw in the towel, retool, or go to bed. Masochims, for the lose.

Spell Snaring a Cranial Plating was cool, but, jeez, not that cool.

1-0 vs. RectorFlash / Barren Glory-thing

Weird game. I did Spell Snare a Flash though. Props to me.

I think I'll quit while I'm ahead--I predict grim times ahead.

Unreal City
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet,
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying, "Stetson!
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
You! hypocrite lecteur!--mon semblable!--mon frère!"

21  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [Contest] Grand Prix: Columbus Predictions on: May 13, 2007, 03:02:25 pm
'Cleaned this thread of most non-entry posts. - Bardo
22  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 13, 2007, 01:07:35 pm
Saturday; May 12, 2007

(This was my entry from yesterday that I somehow forgot to post.)

So I keep on mulling the perfect Threshold list for the GP in my mind and thought that Spell Snare was in dire need of testing today:

What does Spell Snare hit?

Hulk Flash: All of the important cards (Flash, LDV, Daze, stuff, etc.)
B/W: The whole fucking deck; sans StP, Duress, Ritual.
Fish: Pretty much the whole deck.
Goblins: Piledriver; Chalice for 1.

I've also been missing Pithing Needle, so dropped the Explosives for a few hours.

Grand Prix Threshold - Test Deck (5/12/07)
by Bardo

// Creatures
    4 Meddling Mage
    4 Nimble Mongoose
    4 Werebear

// Spells
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Mental Note
    4 Serum Visions
    4 Force of Will
   4 Spell Snare
    4 Daze
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Pithing Needle

// Lands
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Polluted Delta
    2 Windswept Heath
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Tundra
    2 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Plains

// Sideboard
SB: 3  Hydroblast
SB: 3 Armageddon
SB: 3  Chill
SB: 1  Mystic Enforcer
SB: 2  Krosan Grip
SB: 2  Loaming Shaman
SB: 1  Engineered Explosives

I consider going down to 17 lands, since I only have eight freaking spells that cost 2 mana now. This is definitely the lowest the casting cost has ever been, but I'm worried about what my opening hands will look like, plus mulligans.

Anyway, how good is Spell Snare in Legacy at the moment? 'Only one way to find out.

1-1 vs. Budget Suicide Black
Spell Snare doesn't do much against Phyrexian Negator.

Spell Snare: Would be better, if his deck was better.

0-1 vs. BHWC Landstill
Pithing Needle stops Factory, but not Monastery. Spell Snare vs. Standstill was pretty cool though.

Spell Snare: Meh. Lots of targets, none of the game-breakers.

2-0 vs. Barren Glory Combo
Not sure what to say about this one... Um, yay! I won. Something to that effect...

Spell Snare: No comment.

2-1 vs. Tash in the U/G/w Threshold mirror
Long games, except for game 2, where my only fetchland gets trick-bound and I lose in wretched fashion. At least I win the other two.

Spell Snare: Better than Stifle in this match (Werebear, Counterspell, Mage).

2-1 vs. B/w Confidant

Never an easy match; not ever better than 50/50. But tight play wins me my games.

Spell Snare: Took down Hymns, Confidants and a Shade. Top shelf. Very, very good against a shitty match-up.

Overall, Spell Snare still needs a lot more testing but I prefer it over Counterspell in the current field. But you still run into the cases where your opener will contain a Spell Snare and a Serum Visions and you're not sure what to do. On the play and assuming Chalice=1 is not a consideration or you have Daze, SV is almost always going to be the right play.

But on the draw? At least Counterspell was never an option at that point in the game, so it was an irrelevant question. But when your Spell Snare is active, your options open up, but the lines of play become more complex.

If it stays, I'll probably settle on some 2/2 Spell Snare/Stifle configuration in the end, but for testing purposes, it's best to max the fucker out for the time being.
23  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 11, 2007, 11:54:50 pm
Meanwhile, back in the spare bedroom... (May 11, 2007)

Alright, I rebuilt my from Dredge/Gro deck--deemphasizing the dredge thing and adopting a more focused aggro-control shell. This definitely has that distinctive smell of the decks I instinctively build: lots of cheap/massive dudes, counters, disruption, draw and a very low overall casting cost per card.

Obviously, it still needs quite a lot of work.

May 11, 2007

4 Brainstorm
4 Mental Note
4 Serum Visions

4 Force of Will
4 Daze
3 Duress
2 Counterspell

3 Pernicious Deed

3 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Engineered Explosives

4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Tombstalker

4 Polluted Delta
4 Flooded Strand
4 Underground Sea
3 Tropical Island
2 Island
1 Swamp

// Sideboard
SB: 4 Engineered Plague
SB: 4 Leyline of the Void
SB: 3 Pithing Needle
SB: 2 Krosan Grip
SB: 2 Loaming Shaman

2-0 Dredge/GAT vs. Mono-Black Control

An early Extirpate robs me of my Deltas, but Confidants spits out of stream of awesomeness and I keep bashing away with a Goyf in game 1. Game 2 he Extirpates my Goyfs very early on (after that first turn Hymn), I Daze his Smallpox and quickly win with Tomb Stalker.

1-0 U/B/g Landstil vs. MBC

Hard to describe, though Crucible is really, really good here--as are the rest of the cards in my deck. I counter Negators when they come around. He Smothers my Conclave, then I drop Crucible and he scoops.

1-0 Dredge/GAT (above) vs. Angel Stax

He can't find enough lands, oddly; I strip the important stuff from his hand with Duress and beat him bloody with Tomb Stalker.
24  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 11, 2007, 08:57:48 pm
Actually, Tomb Stalker is considerably worse, vis-a-vis Bob. I ran the Wraiths primarily to give the dredge cards a hit of methamphetamine.

After testing and tinkering with ideas in my head on the train ride home:

-2 Wraith
-2 Darkblast
-1 Stinky
-1 Tomb Stalker (2 is enough; hell, 0 might be enough)
+1 Jitte
+5 Something else (possible Duress, Extirpate, Goose, Demise, CSpell, Stifle, Needle -- that's the short-list)

Incidentally, Tarmogoyf may be the new awesomeness that used to be Quirion Dryad, it is that fucking good in the right deck.
25  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 11, 2007, 05:14:05 pm
Friday; May 11, 2007

The Monday after the Future Sight prerelease, I ordered a pile of cards from StarCityGames, which arrived just last Monday. Unfortunately, their arrival coincided with coming home pretty drunk from that office party on Monday night too. I opened the SCG package, marvelled at those awesome cards and then somehow lost them. I realized this Tuesday morning when I wondered "hrm, where did I leave those cards, anyway?" I've been looking ever since.

Just last night I finally found them; how and why they were in some wicker basket thingy in the master bathroom will forever have to remain a mystery. Here's what came:

4 Tarmogoyf
4 Street Wraith
3 Tomb Stalker
3 Chill
2 Starstorm
1 Blind Phantasm

The Phantasm had awesome-looking art in the textless frame, so that was purchased for flavor reasons alone. I had plans for the rest and have looked forward to building a Dredge/Gro deck for sometime now. Chills were the new anti-Goblins plan for Threshold and wanted the Startstorms for my awful R/W Rifter deck.

After I found the cards, I broke down my IRL deck at my dining room table, my U/B/g Landstill--possibly the best deck I've constructed since I retooled my version of Threshold after GP: Lille.

It's still a little rough around the edges, but here's what I have in my backpack at the moment.

by Bardo

4 Tarmogoyf
3 Tomb Stalker
3 Dark Confidant (I only own 3)
2 Street Wraith *
1 Stinkweed Imp *

4 Brainstorm
4 Serum Visions
4 Mental Note

4 Force of Will
4 Daze
1 Counterspell *

3 Pernicious Deed
2 Darkblast *
2 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Engineered Explosives *

4 Underground Sea
4 Tropical Island
3 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Bayou
1 Swamp

* Test cards, +/- if they work or not.

Basically, it's Gro-a-Tog recast with Tomb Stalkers in the Tog slot and Goyfs in the Dryad slot. Both are a lot more robust, though I don't look forward to revealing Stalker with a Confidant.

For lunch, I got together with my buddy Dan (Belzebozo in the SCG forums) to test the thing out In Real Life, as they say. I don't know what Dan still likes to play me. I hope it's because I'm not an ass about winning, but I don't think I'd be exaggerating greatly if I said my lifetime record against Dan is somewhere in the range of 285-4. I think it's important to test against the known strong decks in any format, obvisoulsly, but especially in a format as wily and random as Legacy, it's also necessary to have a grasp and comfort level with things in the first round or x-1 bracket (if you get a bad first round pairing). I don't think Legacy is the kind of format that you can win with an aggressively metagamed deck that beats three particular decks, but loses to everything else. Because, there's a lot of "everything else" out there.

2-0 vs. U/W/B Slivers

Damn, that Crystalline Sliver is obnoxious. Still Deed + giant Goyfs go on to win game one for me. Game 2, pretty much the same. Sorry, I didn't take any notes. I did note that all through our games that Street Wraith and Stinkweed Imp were pretty lame. Darkblast was nothing to brag about either. Tarmogoyf, Jitte and Deed were champs though.

2-0 vs. G/B Survival

Our first game is the longest and most difficult. He gets the turn-2 Survival and I sit and twiddle my thumbs for long sections of the game. Opposing Survival is always a test of nerves and patience. I find a Deed but don't have enough mana to play and activate it. I'm dumb and it falls prey to some CIP enchantment buster. Luckily Bob reveals Deed #2 and I wipe the board clean, including the Confidant which was threatening to kill me. I eventually find a Tombstalker, remove a ton of my yard, but not so much that Tarmogoyf isn't a 6/7. He keeps dropping blockers, I keeping holding back counters for anything dangerous and bash him to -5 while I'm on 2 life. Toward the end I even have the dredge demon swinging with a Jitte.

Game 2 is much easier; no second turn Survival; I manage my resources tightly and win with a Jitte'd Confidant + another Tarmogoyf, 5/6 I think. Tarmogoyf is quickly becoming my favorite creature; well, not cooler than Meddling Mage--but pretty damn swell.

On the way back from the downtown library, I find a $10 bill on the sidewalk with no one around. Sweet. This $10 lets me buy some sushi from Safeway and I'm back to work.
26  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 11, 2007, 02:14:42 am
Thursday; May 10, 2007

After getting my girls to sleep, I took my "Hulk Slaying" Deck out for a spin, for lack of anything else better to play and enjoy.

"Hulk Slayer" aka White-Splash Threshold
by me

// Spells
    4 Mental Note
    4 Serum Visions
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Stifle
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Engineered Explosives

// Creatures
    4 Nimble Mongoose
    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Meddling Mage

// Lands
    4  Flooded Strand
    2 Polluted Delta
    2 Windswept Heath
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Tundra
    2 Island
    1 Forest
    1 Plains

// Sideboard
SB: 3 Hydroblast
SB: 3 Armageddon
SB: 3 Chill
SB: 2 Krosan Grip
SB: 2 Loaming Shaman
SB: 1 Mystic Enforcer
SB: 1 Pithing Needle

2-1 vs. Mono-Blue Control

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Fact or Fiction is just not very good in this format. Splitting a FoF pile 4-1 in game, he takes the four card pile and I lose out by a single turn with double Mongeese wailing away on my opponent. On one peculiar turn of the game, my opponent has seven mana on the board, taps five for Morphling, I remove the thing with triple StP (!), bash him down to 6, but he has Superman #2 in hand. With a Shackles on the board, I can't play my Tarmogoyfs or anything but Mongeese and I 'gg' it, seeing that I'll be dead in four or so turns. Man, I miss those Pithing Needles.

If I hadn't been tuning my deck to face Wasteland in Goblins and Landstill for the past two years, Back to Basics might have killed me alone. Luckily, fetchlands and basics are plentiful in my deck.

Games 2 & 3 are all about Krosan Grip (killing Chalice, Threads, Shackles), supported by the blowout card known as Armageddon. Even without Werebear, it wasn't much of an issue resolving the thing. And once it hit, that was game.

I think I boarded more or less this way:

+3 Armageddon
+2 Krosan Grip
+1 Pithing Needle
-4 Stifle
-2 Meddling Mage

My opponent, "Clown," chat for awhile about Mono-blue, Tog, Hulk, etc. but our chat is interrupted by the Grand Master of Atogs himself, Mr. Richard Shay. I make a note to build a mono-blue deck on MWS. It looked like a hell of a lot of fun to play.

3-1 vs. Hulk Flash

Rich and I talk tech and about school and life and stuff, before hopping into our games and realizing just how punishing Meddling Mage, Stifle, Daze, Force of Will and a quick clock can be for any degenerate combo deck. Two games were close, two were not. In the game that I lost, I somehow forgot who and what I was playing against, and went the beatdown route (green beaters, Mental Note) after casting a turn one or two Serum Visions. I forgot that Flash is usually the beatdown, not me: misassignment of roles and all that. Three games he even hit me with the turn 1 Duress, but it mattered not.

Then I'm off to walk my dogs, the battery in my iPod finally dies, took out the trash, off to bed. Man, I'm beat.

Song of the day: "Xtal," by Aphex Twin.
27  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [Contest] Grand Prix: Columbus Predictions on: May 10, 2007, 02:11:54 pm
1. What do you predict the turnout to be? 580
2. How many Force of Wills do you expect to see in the Top 8? 24
3. How many Wastelands in the Top 8? 12
4. In the top 8, what will be the most popular:
a. Blue card: Brainstorm
b. White card: Swords to Plowshares
c. Green card: Nimble Mongoose
d. Red card: Goblin Lackey, Goblin Ringleader, etc. - the Goblin 4-ofs
e. Black card: Duress
f. Gold card: Meddling Mage
g. artifact: Pithing Needle
h. non-land card (most popular of 4a-g): Brainstorm
5. What's going to be the highest placing combination deck? Hulk Flash
6. What's the most common basic land type in the Top 8? Island
7. What's the most common dual land in the Top 8? Tropical Island!
8. Goblins in the T8? (yes or no) Yes
9. Hulk Flash in the T8? (yes or no) Yes
10. Threshold in the T8? (yes or no) Yes
11. Fish in the T8? (yes or no) Yes
12. Survival.dec in the T8? (yes or no) No
13. High Tide in the T8? (yes or no) No
14. Landstill in the T8? (yes or no) No
15. BW Deadguy Ale (Disruption) in the T8? (yes or no) Yes
16. Gamekeepers/Salvagers in the T8? (yes or no) No

17. Threshold [deck] will take first place.
18. Who will win: Pro or Not? Pro
19. The winner will be: Pat Chapin. (Specific player name)
28  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 08, 2007, 03:14:56 pm
Tuesday; May 8, 2007

I've been pretty busy the last couple of days and haven't had much time for Magic. Sue and I helped some friends move to a new apartment on Sunday, and there isn't much that I find crappier than moving stuff. Last night, I went to Sue's office party. The booze was free (thankfully) but as a vegetarian the chow options were awfully sparse: basically some Thai-themed wilted salad. While my tolerance for wilted lettuce is better than my affection for moving furniture and other people's crap, that wasn’t much consolation. Still, given the choice between a cash bar and crisp salad and an open bar with wilted salad, I would not hesitate to choose the latter, ten times out of ten.

MtG-wise, my only pleasure has been to watch, with amused curiosity, how the Legacy format is responding to the Hulk Flash bomb after the WoTC Rules Team dropped it on the format a few weeks ago.

While I'm not exactly sure why, I'm reminded of one of my favorite bedtime stories that I like to read to my twin girls:

"Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

"Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage."

- Ogden Nash, ”The Tale of Custard the Dragon”

Some people are running for cover, others are crying for a nice safe cage. Me? It rains a lot here in Portland--usually not very hard, but there's the occasional torrential downpour. On these occasions, I like to walk outside and instead of ducking for cover, just stand with my face fixed on the grey sky above and get very, very wet.

29  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: MEANDECK OPEN - SANCTIONED LEGACY, SUNDAY, May. 6, 2007 on: May 07, 2007, 01:05:02 pm
Lists would be nice too. Smile
30  Archives / Adept Chronicles / Re: The Magic Workstation Diaries of Bardo Trout on: May 05, 2007, 05:10:36 pm
Saturday; Cinco de Mayo, 2007

After dropping the mini-van off for servicing (yes, I have a mini-van; and so will you, if the Universe determines that you should have identical twin children in your life), I hop on on MWS after tweaking my 3c Fish deck into a Hulk stomper; aka 'Hulk Flash Mauler.' ("HFM")

"Hulk Flash Mauler"
by Bardo

4  Underground Sea
4  Tundra
4  Flooded Strand
3  Polluted Delta
1  Scrubland
1  Island
1  Plains

4  Meddling Mage
4  Samurai of the Pale Curtain
4  Dark Confidant
2  Serendib Efreet

4  Brainstorm
4  Force of Will
4  Daze
4  Duress
4  Swords to Plowshares
3  Extirpate
3  Stifle
2  Pithing Needle

// Sideboard
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 4  Engineered Plague
SB: 4  Umezawas' Jitte
SB: 2  Pithing Needle
SB: 1  Stifle

2-0 Hulk Flash Mauler vs. Hulk Flash

Meddling Magi on Flash both games with some counter back-up. GGs.

I contemplate some way to speed the deck up with 2 or 3 Chrome Moxen, for the turn-1 Meddling Mage...

1-0 Hulk Flash Mauler vs. U/G/r Threshold

Samurai of the Pale Curtain holds off an unthreshed Mongoose. My opponent then drops an Isochron Scepter with only one land untapped, I let it resolve and then set a Meddling Mage on it a turn later. The following turn I deploy a Serra Avenger. My opponent draws a card off AK #1 then the usual "<DDD> gg / <System> Player Lost" after I Force his Fire/Ice (probably aimed at my Mage).

Realizing my blue card count is painfully low: MD -2 Serra Avenger, +2 Serendib Efreet.

0-1 Hulk Flash Mauler vs. HanniFish

An opposing Dark Confidant goes unanswered for too long, generates enormous card advantage and I go down with a Grunt, Avenger and the Confidant beating me down.

Alright, more tinkering. Back to an old project with some recent retooling, Witch-Maw Threshold (as in the Nephhilim) tuned for Hulk Flash:

Witch-Maw Threshold
by Bardo

// Lands
    4  Flooded Strand
    4  Polluted Delta
    3  Tropical Island
    3  Tundra
    3  Underground Sea
    1  Island

// Creatures
    4  Meddling Mage
    4  Nimble Mongoose
    4  Tarmogoyf
    3  Dark Confidant

// Spells
    4  Brainstorm
    4  Mental Note
    4  Serum Visions
    4  Swords to Plowshares
    4  Force of Will
    4  Daze
    2  Pithing Needle
    1  Engineered Explosives

// Sideboard
SB: 4  Engineered Plague
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 3  Umezawa's Jitte
SB: 3  Pithing Needle
SB: 1  Anaba Ancestor

Yikes, the mana makes me want to vomit with fear and loathing. And we're off!

1-0 Witch-Maw Threshold vs. Burninator

Tarmogoyf and counters for the win.

And another...

1-0 Witch-Maw Threshold vs. Reanminator

He's under too much pressure, succumbs to double 4/5 Tarmogoyfs pummeling on his face and throat. Too much. I win with four cards in my GY: two fechlands, a Duress and a Daze.

By this point, I'm thinking that Tarmogoyf will almost certainly replace the inimitable Werebear--a mainstay in this deck for years. I've always hated his flavor text and the idea of lycanthropic bears is just lame, flavor-wise. The ability to Goyf to be such an aggressive creature so early on--usually a 3/4 on turn 2 in this deck overcompensates for Werebear's ability to tap for Green. The bear's mana ability is very useful in a lot of situations and I'll be sad to see it go; but honestly, we've never played Werebear because he tapped for mana; we played him because he was usually a 4/4 for 1G and included him solely on the pure efficiency of his power/toughtness to mana cost. His mana ability was gravy.

In testing these past few weeks, I've been able to win most games with the Goyf with only have 3-6 cards in my graveyard and he can start beating with savage efficiency as early as turn 3, usually inflicting 6-9 damage before I'd reach threshold. That alone tells me Werebear's writing is on the wall.

Also, Crypt, Leyline and the like are far less scary now. A Crypt activation, always a source of anxiety, automatically makes him no less than a 1/2, safely out of Fanatic range; and usually bigger than that, since the Goyf is counting cards types in your opponent's graveyard too. Last night I even got the thing up to 6/7 against Aggro Loam and he quickly took down a 6/6 wurm token. Wow.

In short, the Goyf is here to stay. So long Werebear.
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