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1  Eternal Formats / Bazaar-Based Decks / Re: Bloodghasted Ichorid Primer- Looking to the future on: January 04, 2010, 08:14:29 pm
Unsurprisingly, I'm a big fan of both Firestorm and Gargadon. But due to mana requirements, I don't think that they can fit well in Manaless Ichorid.

What I have been running in the SB to shore up that slot is Drowned Rusalka. It's a pretty crappy card, I know. But it does have several benefits assuming that you side out the Sharuum package.

1. Pitches to FOW. Very relevant with the Blue card count.
2. Can be cast using Blue.
3. Basically negates Oath if you are careful.
4. Gives both a(weaker) draw, and discard outlet should Bazaar be removed/Needled.
5. An additional one-mana creature.
6. Can sac Bloodghasts to get tokens at instant speed.
7. Can activate at instant speed should you need to act EOT after bouncing something,
8. Can control what you bin, if you just need to drop a Bloodghast or Bridge and you suspect Trap.
9. Can act as dig instead of Dredging should you need a specific answer, or land.
10. Makes Lotus/LED live even without Fatestitcher or Coliseum.
11. Dodges both Thorn, and Spell Pierce.
12. Blocks Jailer ('shrug' He does.)

I run:
4 Force of Will
3 Unmask
4 Chain of Vapor
3 Drowned Rusalka
1 Echoing Truth

So I'm weaker to Leyline. But I think not only better against other hate cards, but also better against several decks that naturally take advantage of this deck's weaknesses. Especially of Bloodghast's issues post-board.
2  Eternal Formats / General Strategy Discussion / Re: Arcane Denial post Thirst's restriction on: August 07, 2009, 11:03:16 pm
Glad it's working well; it was sort of an off-the-cuff thought. Two would seem the right number. You don't want multiples, but also don't need to open with it. Although, of course, opening with one to flip is game. With the draw available, you should be able to get one as you need.

I don't see how he is an actual win condition though, however he may hurt your opponent. I just wouldn't cut those for him. I'd say Fact is the more losable since Erayo effectively gives you the free turns to draw cards. And he hurts Aggro so badly once flipped due to their weaker available draw, that Scrying can be even more effective.
3  Eternal Formats / General Strategy Discussion / Re: Arcane Denial post Thirst's restriction on: August 04, 2009, 04:19:37 pm
Pehaps with 20+ free or zero cost spells, and many one-costed, Errayo might be better than Cutpurse?
4  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: TMD Recipes on: June 09, 2007, 01:09:48 pm
Zherb: I cannot fathom how much I like Alton Brown. Best chef on the network.

I agree in about loving the show, but I can't watch it for too long. I think that it is the best show overall as it gives the reason and theory behind how and why we get certain results when cooking.

I can't watch it because he frickin' chews with his mouth open, and talks while eating; it drives me nuts.
5  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: TMD Recipes on: June 06, 2007, 02:29:38 pm
My recipe for a very healthy and and good light meal. Feeds four.

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 Portobello mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
8 oz. Angel Hair pasta
2 cloves garlic
4 slices prosciutto
1 lemon
fresh basil
olive oil

Pound the chicken breasts flat. Marinate for one half hour in lemon juice. Chop peppers, onion and mushrooms into large slices. Dice garlic. Peel asparagus.
Boil water for pasta. Preheat oven to 350.
Lay chicken breasts flat. Season with salt and pepper. Lay one fresh basil leaf and one slice of prosciutto on breasts and roll. Secure rolls with kitchen string.
Place large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and diced garlic.
Place oven-proof saucepan over very high heat. When hot, add one tbsp olive oil. Brown chicken rolls on all sides. No more than three minutes total.
Add to large saucepan in order: onion, peppers, mushrooms. Stir to coat with oil. After two minutes add salt and pepper to taste.
Place chicken rolls in pan into oven. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
Add pasta to water.
When translucent, but still firm, remove vegetables from saucepan, saving all remaining liquid in pan.
Increase heat in saucepan with vegatable liquid to high, after boiling, add asparagus for 4 minutes.
Remove chicken breasts when firm. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Place pan back on high heat.
Remove asparagus and set aside. Add remaining liquid to hot pan that chicken was cooked in. Scrape, reduce by half.
In individual pasta bowls, divide drained Angel Hair equally. It should only be enough to form a mound at the bottom. Divide vegetables on top of pasta.
Remove twine, and slice chicken in quarter-inch slices. Arrange atop vegetables. Arrange asparagus around rim of pasta bowls,
Pour remaining vegetable/chicken pan liquid over each dish.

Easy ingredients. A lot of cooking, a balancing act really. Very low calories and fat. High in vitamins.

Enjoy.
6  Eternal Formats / Miscellaneous / Re: The Long Awaited GWS Long Primer. on: May 28, 2007, 12:24:05 pm
My interest in the current Vintage format is limited, but I had to comment on how appreciative I am of this primer. It is both well-written and informative, even to a layman. With just enough information that it won't bore those familiar with the deck, but someone like myself can deduce the situations in which this knowledge can be applied.

A sincere thank you Mr. Becker.
7  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [Contest] Grand Prix: Columbus Predictions on: May 22, 2007, 03:59:03 pm
Im pretty sure that unless new information regarding lists comes in that themagicguy wins with 31 and LSD gets runner-up with 30.

And there was definitely no Deadguy. Neither deck was close. I even think the Threshold deck was borderline.
8  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: Tournament Results and the Impact of Hulk Flash on: May 16, 2007, 01:17:15 pm
Speaking of the Bizzaro world that Flash has created; Tom Smart, (yes of "Smart Goblins") a Mountains player if there ever was one, just won a GPT with of all things, frickin' BHWC Landstill.

The whole world's coming to an end.
9  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: Kudzu-Gro: Part II on: May 15, 2007, 01:28:25 pm
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

No argument in general, but this was one of those cases. I cast Mage turn two, with a Grunt ready to go turn three. I could cast both with double Force, and a Stifle backup, so I was fully intending to race the combo. After burning one on a Negator, I got greedy in Forcing his Brainstorm, which cost me the game. The fact that he cast two Bobs on turn four is irrelvant to what I would call with this opening to the game. At three life, he should have died during upkeep, as he let both Bobs resolve without attempting to go off, and had no knowledge of his top cards. He played against no Control prior to this, (We both only had two matches) and had not Fetched his single Tundra, so no one suspected Chant. Obviously if I knew he ran it, I would have assesed the situation differently.

Now that I think about it, I had another reason for running Wasteland, though it wouldn't have mattered that game. With only one Tundra in play, I can sac it to avoid worrying about Massacre. For some reason I drew all three every game, but it is still a possible use.

EDIT: A point for those playing Flash. We had three judges check it out, and Lim-Dul's Vault is not played as worded. You are allowed to alter the order of cards in a stack placed on the bottom of the library. I can't quote the exact ruling, but as written it was relevant if casting it at a high life total, as you could thoretically cycle your entire deck before shuffling. Turns out it doesn't apply.
10  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Kudzu-Gro: Part II on: May 15, 2007, 10:41:52 am
Man, the Legacy boards here are slow right now. Well, I'm not going to make it to Columbus, so I'll just throw up a mini-report with my observations of the current meta.

If you will remember in my last installment found here: http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=30688.0 I made up this deck on the eve of the last Duel for Duels out of a lone idea, and boredom. This time I played it intentionally.


"Dan Spero's Gramdmother's Panties". Decklist from Columbus GPT in Rockville, MD. on 5/12/2007

4 Vinelasher Kudzu
4 Meddling Mage
3 Waterspout Djiin

4 Brainstorm
4 Serum Visions
3 Predict
2 Portent

4 Force of Will
4 Daze
3 Stifle

4 Swords to Plowshares

2 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Engineered Explosives

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

4 Wasteland
4 Hydroblast
3 Jotun Grunt
2 Naturalize
2 Pithing Needle

Most of the choices and interactions are either obvious, or previously detailed so I won't bore you with them. The reasons I chose this deck is that it inherently has some advantages in the current meta. Leyline of the Void is currently one of the most commonly played Hate cards aimed at Hulk Flash, so Threshold was out. I tested Aluren for two months prior to this, expecting to run it at the Grand Prix. Unfortunately it has a 40-45% match win percentage against Hulk Flash that cannot be improved more without diluting it's own combo with sideboard cards to the point of ineffectiveness. While Thresh can deal with Leyline, it didn't make sense to fight through such a problematic card every round. Since I still felt that the archetype would be viable, I started to look for alternatives.

I honestly tried Quirion in a old Super-Gro shell, but I kept running into one problem. Once Flash got to the three-to four mana point, I coudn't effectively grow her as needed. The issue was that casting one spell a turn was not fast enough, and casting more left too many opportunities for them to go off against your limited resources. I went back to the Kudzu for exactly this reason. Easy to add two counters a turn, with much less vulnerability.

Stifle came in for Counterspell, which might be a mistake now(I'll get back to that). Brad, the other Gro player there, and I decided that Wasteland was much better than Armageddon currently. Flash is way too fast for 'Geddon, but runs very short on lands. Stifle is dead early, so you can easily burn one on a Fetchland. They will have play at least one dual land for you to Waste, so it makes it very easy to keep them down to 2-3 lands. I know, they can go off with two, but it is very difficult. The other good part of this is that they can be forced to use their search cards to look for lands. That really screws up their math, and slows them down greatly.

Grunt seems an odd choice with Leyline being so prevelant, but I used reverse psychology running him in the side, and it worked every time. Opponents realize that you are intentionally not running any creatures that Leyline can effect, so they don't bring it in. You then side Grunt for Djiin, and have a huge advantage. No one brought them in game three either, as with the restrictions on playing Leyline, it's not worth it to slow a three-of.

Anyway, only 16 players showed up. the field was something like:

9 Hulk Flash: 8 were the Kiki-Jiki version, but some ran the U/B/g version with ESG and Petal, and some were the more controlling build.
2 Gro (1 Super U/G/w, 1 Me)
1 U/W Landstill
1 Burn
1 White  Stax
1 Faeirie Stormy
1 Deadguy (Unfortunately for him, the anti-Aggro version with Decendant)

Round one: Dan (Hulk Flash U/B)

Game One: Dan is well known for playing Red Death, so I mulliganed my opener of Tropical, Serum, Force, Force, Stifle, Daze, Predict on the play (Drats!). The details are fuzzy, but I know he went off by turn three with counter backup.

+2 Pithing Needle, +4 Wasteland, +3 Grunt/ -3 Djiin, -2 Polluted Delta, -2 Jitte, -1 EE, -1 Plow

Game Two: I Stifle his first Fetch, and get attacking with a Kudzu. He eventually is forced to play an Underground as his third land, with a Wasteland on the table. According to spectators, when I killed the Sea, he Brainstormed in response. He could have gone off with Force backup, with me having a Daze, and a Force. He would have have the mana to pay, and I would have lost. Instead we let the Brainstorm resolve, and he passed the turn. He never got back into it.

Game three: I Stlfled another early Fetch, and he had immediate mana problems. I used Wasteland and Portent to continue these, and he never drew land even when a search spell resolved. He died with only one Island in play for the entire game.

Round two: Burn

Game one: I'm not particularly happy with this match, as with no real counters, and a much slower clock, he has a very good chance. However, his mistake lets me in the game. He has me down to seven when I cast a Meddling Mage. After thinking for a second, he Lightning Bolts me in response. He had yet to play one, so I guess it was the correct call. The problem was that the only other spells in his hand were "player only" and a Rift Bolt. I untapped, played and equipped Jitte, and basically the game was over from there. Jitte+Creature+one attack=Burn loses.

+4 Hydroblast, +2 Naturalize/ -4 Swords, -1 Force, -1 EE
(sidenote: The Naturalizes were a mistake. He correctly ran 4 Blasts main and 4 more SB, as Pyrostatic Pillar is a joke against Flash.)

Game two: Basically a repeat. He gets me to around seven when I play a Kudzu and equip and swing. Unfortunately, he had yet to grow up and a double Bolt kills him even through Jitte counters. Waterspout gets Fireblasted in response to an equip. But, the next Kudzu gets +2/+2 immediately, grabs the pointy stick, and swings for the win.

The Top 4 drew in round three, and the Top 8 drew in round four.

5 Flash
2 Gro
1 Landstill

Quarterfinal: Simon (U/B/w Flash)

Game one: Nothing to say. He went off turn two on the play with Force backup for my Daze. It's Flash. Sad

Game two: This one goes long enough for the remaining matches to finish. I keep stalling him out on lands, so he is forced to use search to find them. The problem for me is that the only creature I can find is a Grunt that dies before he does. Eventually, I get two Mages, one on Flash, and one on Massacre, and get him down to four life. He has a Bob that can save him for a turn, but my EOT he Brainstorms. I let it resolve, then cast Predict. He scoops.

Game Three: 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. Poop. I have to Force it, which lets him resolve two Confidants. So... Massacre was probably not the right call. I by this point still have double Force and a Stifle, so I'm not worried as he is at four after a Grunt joins the fray. He EOT Brainstorms, and I Force, looking for the Bob-kill. Unfortunately, he cracks a Fetch for a Tundra in response. Upkeep: Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta. Double Poop. He then shows me the reason for the Tundra with a Chant. If I Force, I am left with a lone Stifle, so I Brainstorm, and whiff. GG.

He ends up beating the other Gro player, then a Fast Flash version in the Final. So I guess his addition of Bob, Negator and Chant worked.

The Brainstorm was thoretically a mistake, as he could have had no counters, but I had to gamble for a Daze. Other than that, the deck did as expected, and is very good against the current field. I wish I had one more shot at it though. If Chant starts coming in, I would switch the Stifle back to Counterspell. Stifle is sick if you can resolve it, as it burns a Flash and a Hulk, but Chant beats it. This deck can easily support Counterspell though, since it can can grow with untapped lands. The Plains was also a mistake, as I only need single White, and that rarely. It screwed me up a couple of times when I needed the extra Blue. Explosives also can probably go. I did not expect, nor see TES or Belcher, and the third Needle would have helped against Flash.

Afterthought: I did see a first-turn win by Simon's Flash deck with no accellerants. He had a single Extract in the side as a tutor target. He drew it, and a Force in his opening hand, on the play, in the mirror. Surprised (better run 2 Carrion Feeders!) I also saw a Hulk mirror go to time, with both players having a Carrion Feeder in play for twenty+ turns. {Sigh} No one reads their cards anymore....
11  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: [Contest] Grand Prix: Lille Predictions on: May 06, 2007, 12:01:10 pm
1. What do you predict the turnout to be?: 411
2. How many Force of Wills do you expect to see in the Top 8?: 28
3. How many Wastelands in the Top 8?: 6
4. In the top 8, what will be the most popular:
a. Blue card: Brainstorm
b. White card: Orim's Chant
c. Green card: Protean Hulk
d. Red card: Red Elemental Blast
e. Black card: Leyline of the Void
f. Gold card: Lim-Dul's Vault
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?: Underground Sea
8. Goblins in the T8? (yes or no): Yes
9. Hulk Flash in the T8? (yes or no): Yes
10. Threshold (UWG) in the T8? (yes or no): No
11. Fish (UWB) 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): Yes
15. BW Deadguy Ale (Disruption) in the T8? (yes or no): No
16. Gamekeepers/Salvagers in the T8? (yes or no): No

BONUS
17. Hulk Flash will take first place.
18. Who will win: Pro or Not? Pro
19. The winner will be: Eugene Levy. (Specific player name)
12  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: How did you get into Magic? on: March 24, 2007, 09:52:12 am
I was going to the University of Maryland, and used to play Warhammer at the campus Games Workshop(how I got into that is another story).

And yes. I'm really old.

One of the Skate Punks who hung out there started bringing in shoeboxes of this new game he picked up at the local comic shop for us to play on Wednesday evenings, when the store stayed open until midnight.

While most sneered at the "D&D" type game, once we got enough cards to make real decks, we all pretty much got hooked. This was during Alpha and Beta, so we actually sold out the comic shop the moment he recieved each new shipment. Funny thing is, being Wargamers we sort of neglected the whole "collectable" aspect of the game, and basically just threw a rubber band on the decks and tossed them into a box when done. I can't imagine the amount of money we pissed away.
13  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Weird People on: March 15, 2007, 04:54:21 pm
Back on topic...


The weirdest I ever played against in mannerisms was Mike Long. His ass never actually was in his chair for the entirety of the match. Most of the time he sort of perched on it. He circled it multiple times, and I think stood on it once. He also kept it so far back from the table as to actually hop off to play a spell, as he couldn't reach. He also never shut up. Not once. No yelling, and no trash talk except the normal "Ok, here comes the X" predicting what you would play stuff. But constant chatter either to me, someone near, or just himself.

The worst I ever saw was Eric Froelich (yes, the WSOP winner) playing in a pre-release of all things. His opponent actually went into epileptic seizures during their match, and an ambulance was called. Though the seizure was mild, and he ended up being fine, Froelich actually stood up after they took his opponent away and shouted to the room "Who else want a piece of me?!! I'm a Killa!!!"  The irony here being the "weird" part was not the man with epilepsy.

To be honest, I think everyone was so aghast that it never was brought up. I just don't think anyone spoke to him again.
14  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Whats your favorite flavor???? on: March 14, 2007, 02:29:06 pm
Entertainment is always good.

I have a hard time conveying arrogance over the internet.

That line was meant to infer that any discussion over an non-Samuel L. quote would be a waste.
15  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Whats your favorite flavor???? on: March 14, 2007, 12:58:07 pm
I honestly can't believe there is a discussion on this.

Disrupt from Weatherlight.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?"

All quotes from Samuel L. Jackson are automatically the winnar.

16  Vintage Community Discussion / Non-Vintage / Re: Meandeck Open Results 3/4/07 on: March 06, 2007, 09:38:10 am
4 Portal
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Swords to Plowshares

That's a little confusing.

4 Hapless Researcher

That's really confusing.
17  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Decks that were. Post your favorite Vintage list from the days of yore. on: March 01, 2007, 10:00:17 am
Jeez, I thought this was for old lists. These are all relatively new.

This is an old list. My favorite.

The Bug Deck

4 Tropical Island
4 Tundra
1 Strip Mine
1 Island
3 Volcanic Island
3 Undergrond Sea
1 Library of Alexandria

1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Black Lotus
2 Icy Manipulator
1 Mirror Universe
1 Jayemdaye Tome

4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
2 Dissapate
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Braingeyser
4 Brainstorm
1 Time Walk

1 Mind Twist
1 Demonic Tutor

2 Disenchant
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Balance

3 Drop of Honey
3 Deadly Insect
1 Regrowth

2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Fireball

Forget Will and Tinker..... we didn't even have Wasteland back then.
18  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Story Time with Forcefieldyou; Don't despair... Get there! on: February 28, 2007, 03:29:09 pm
Sadly, Kevin, the Dojo is no longer with us. The site, with all its classic Magic glory, is no more.

I'm not sure what article you are looking for, or when it was printed so I'm not going to look for it.

But The Dojo is still available. Go to archive.org. Then in "the wayback machine" box enter thedojo.com.

It has monthly lists of the majority of The Dojo content. A great deal of the tournament reports and such didn't get archived, but pretty much all of the articles did.
19  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: The Baddest-Ass Legend Ever Printed on: February 07, 2007, 01:34:40 pm
If we can only choose from the list, I pick The Swamp King.

But, I remember in all the old-old-school Zoo decks, Stangg used to come in to totally destroy the mirror. He's my favorite.
20  Archives / Articles / [Primer] Salvager's Game (Golden Grahams) on: February 05, 2007, 12:20:52 pm
Salvager's Game (Golden Grahams)
by Parcher

Salvager's Game, or "Golden Grahams" is a deck for the Legacy format designed to win through the use of Lion's Eye Diamond with Auriok Salvagers to create infinite mana. It can then use Salvagers to recurse a 1 costed artifact cantrip and draw it's entire library, negating the drawback of LED. The options for a win condition are wide open at that point.

The deck is not called "The Game", as that moniker was claimed by it's predecessor. "The Game" used Gamekeeper to get a second or third turn Darksteel Colossus into play. The problem that it had in Legacy was that every deck able to run Swords to Plowshares does so. It is a creature heavy environment. In addition, several Blue based, and/or Combo decks run bounce spells.

Salvager's Game uses the same effect to get an Auriok Salvagers into play, and win immediately. While a Gamekeeper has the same converted mana cost as Salvagers, it is his milling effect in conjunction with his animation trigger that makes this so effective. The ability to win from cards in the graveyard instead of in hand or play gives this deck speed, flexibility, and versatility.

An optimal decklist will most likely never be set in stone. The amount of variation possible in both maindecked and sideboard cards allows the pilot to tailor it to both their preference, and individual metagame. Always remember that while it may seem there are an inordinate amount of cards that hurt Salvagers Game, the ability of it's user to navigate through almost any amount of these is where it has an advantage over any combo deck in the format.

The main reason for this is that it is almost impossible for your opponent to predict any singular path to victory for Salvager's Game. This deck will never have the potential speed of IGGy-Pop. It lacks the mana disruption, to go with it's discard like Deadguy Ale, and it certainly couldn't outrace the most ill-constructed Aggro deck in the format. It's beauty is that all of these elements are available at times during any game it plays. The deck is set up so that it is able to change gears to fit what deck, and in some cases, what opponent you are playing against. The ability to credibly bluff is extremely powerful in a Combo deck, and the two most successful in Legacy, Ill-Gotten Gains, and Reset High Tide, both lack the ability to use the attack phase. Since Storm is their only path to victory, their opponent knows if they have a True Believer, Meddling Mage, or Rule of Law in play that they will not be in danger unless it is removed. The ability to force them on the defensive with attackers while maintaining the threat of the combo finish is a feature unique to only Salvager's Game and the Aluren deck in Legacy.

Much like Aluren, Salvager's Game also has the advantage of not having to perform it's combo in a single turn. Unlike in a Storm deck, a Rule of Law or Arcane Lab cannot stop the deck from recursing a Pyrite for two damage a turn. Nor can it stop an Aether Spellbomb from bouncing most creatures capable of stopping the attackers this deck can field. The downside of this, is that this deck's very flexibility gives host to a great deal of problem cards for it. Of course, this variety is what attracts many players to the deck. You have a Pithing Needle on Salvagers? I'll just swing with them. Your Mage names Lion's Eye Diamond? Well can he block my Salvagers?  You're hiding behind Solitary Confinement? No, I won't remove it. We'll both just lose some life.

The one advantage Salvager's Game has over every other Combo deck in the format, is that against an Aggro deck it is a one card combo. With four LEDs, four Cabal Therapies, and four cantrip artifacts, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor to hit what you need after triggering a Gamekeeper. Even if you don't have access to both an LED and trinket after the resolution, you can most often sacrifice your creature to another milled Therapy to continue the process at no mana cost. Against decks that will not voluntarily rid you of your Gamekeeper, it does become at least necessary that you have some sacrifice outlet. But in comparison to Solidarity needing to get a Storm count of 15, or IGGy absolutely requiring to open a hand with Leyline of the Void against any deck packing Force of Will to cast Ill-Gotten Gains, this seems a meager difficulty to overcome. Not to mention that while you are doing this, you are using your Therapies (and Duress) to shred any chance your opponent may have of disrupting you. The obvious disadvantage is a having a heavy reliance on your graveyard, and all the vulnerabilities that entails.

The other advantage is that it's combo is guaranteed. Neither Solidarity nor Aluren's finish is 100% when going off (though with enough time, they are very close). Most of the Belcher and Ritual/Tendrils builds can fizzle regularly. IGGy-Pop does have a certain kill when completing the Ill-Gotten Gains loop, but is similarly slow when going off this way. The assurance you have, is that sans disruption, if you have a Salvagers on the board, an LED, and draw-artifact in hand, graveyard, or on the table....you win. When correctly played, it is impossible for this deck to internally fail at comboing out. This also leads to a time advantage. Solidarity and Aluren may have to perform 30-40 steps to succesfully win. While by this point, they most certainly will, it does take time. With having an endlessly repeatable combo, if you are certain that your opponent cannot disrupt it, it is a perfectly acceptable shortcut to allow "1,000 of each colored mana and draw my deck" in tournament play. Since an opponent is never required to concede, the time saved can greatly affect your tournament results.

The deck first gained recognition at Grand Prix Philly where it came in 5th. Here is Paul Seregnese's list from this tournament:

1  Savannah
1  Scrubland
1  Bayou
1  Bloodstained Mire
2  Polluted Delta
3  Windswept Heath
1  Plains
3  Snow-Covered Swamp
2  Snow-Covered Forest
2  Forest
2  Swamp

2  Auriok Salvagers
3  Gamekeeper

4  Lion's Eye Diamond
4  Chromatic Sphere
1  Pyrite Spellbomb
4  Dark Ritual
4  Duress
4  Cabal Therapy
4  Innocent Blood
4  Living Wish
4  Tainted Pact
2  Night's Whisper
1  Krosan Reclamation

1  Viridian Zealot
1  City of Brass
2  Darksteel Colossus
1  Ray of Revelation
4  Tsunami
1  Kjeldoran Dead
1  Trinket Mage
1  Gamekeeper
1  Auriok Salvagers
1  Kagemaro, First to Suffer
1  Uktabi Orangutan


Maximillian Bracht then had another Top 8 showing with this version a GP Lille:

1  Plains
1  Bloodstained Mire
2  Forest
2  Snow-Covered Forest
2  Swamp
2  Snow-Covered Swamp
3  Windswept Heath
2  Flooded Strand
2  Polluted Delta
1  Scrubland
1  Bayou
1  Savannah

2  Auriok Salvagers
3  Gamekeeper

4  Cabal Therapy
4  Tainted Pact
4  Lion's Eye Diamond
4  Chromatic Sphere
2  Chrome Mox
1  Pyrite Spellbomb
4  Living Wish
4  Innocent Blood
4  Dark Ritual
4  Duress
2  Night's Whisper

1  Kjeldoran Dead
1  Bone Shredder
1  Gamekeeper
1  Maga, Traitor to Mortals
1  Viridian Shaman
1  Auriok Salvagers
1  City of Brass
2  Darksteel Colossus
1  Elvish Piper
4  Tsunami
1  Viridian Zealot


It then placed in the top 2 at the 2006 Legacy Chmpionships. This is the list piloted by Thomas Lee:

2  Snow-Covered Swamp
2  Snow-Covered Forest
2  Windswept Heath
2  Polluted Delta
1  Bloodstained Mire
1  Flooded Strand
2  Bayou
1  Scrubland
1  Savannah
2  Swamp
2  Forest
1  Plains

3  Gamekeeper
2  Auriok Salvagers

4  Lion's Eye Diamond
4  Chromatic Sphere
1  Chrome Mox
1  Pyrite Spellbomb
4  Living Wish
4  Cabal Therapy
4  Tainted Pact
4  Duress
4  Dark Ritual
4  Innocent Blood
2  Night's Whisper

1  City of Brass
1  Kjeldoran Dead
1  Auriok Salvagers
1  Gamekeeper
2  Darksteel Colossus
1  Viridian Shaman
1  Viridian Zealot
2  Tsunami
4  Infest
1  Maga, Traitor to Mortals


These lists are very similar, but the Legacy format has gone through some changes since they were played. With the dissapearance of Tog and Landstill, Tsunami has gone from a four-of, to a two-of, to zero currently played. Kjeldorn Dead has been replaced with the still Wish-able, but uncounterable Phyrexian Tower, which can also provide a needed mana source. Maga is also commonly replaced by the cheaper Orzhov Guildmage, who can not only be easily hardcast without any combo pieces, he can also get around any effects that prevent you from targeting your opponent. Unlike Maga, Orzhov has no vulnerability to Stifle. The Darksteel Colossus, or Simic Sky Swallower plan is still a point of some debate. In a meta where you expect either a large amount of Control decks, or Hate cards such as Pithing Needle, Meddling Mage, and Chalice of the Void, I would definately include them. Serengese did not have access to Infernal Tutor, which gives the deck a potential first or second turn win that it lacked. It also adds redundancy to the deck by allowing a tutoring effect for cards not in the sideboard. Something the deck previously lacked outside of the randomness of Tainted Pact. Considering that this deck is well below the radar, it is unsuprising that the other two versions had yet to add Infernal Tutor by the time they were played. This actually becomes another advantage for this deck. It is quite easy to "hate" out, but is so sporadically played that know how to play against it, and less prepare their decks for it.

This list is what I currently run. The core cards explained below are fairly standardized, but there is a great deal of room in the main deck, and sideboard for personal and metagame choices.

2 Swamp
1 Snow Covered Swamp
1 Forest
2 Snow Covered Forest
1 Plains
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Polluted Delta
1 Windswept heath
2 Wooded Foothills
1 Scrubland
1 Bayou
1 Savannah
1 Badlands
1 Underground Sea

4 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
4 Dark Ritual
2 Infernal Tutor
4 Living Wish
4 Tainted Pact
4 Innocent Blood

1 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
2 Auriok Salvagers
3 Gamekeeper
1 Chromatic Star
1 Chromatic Sphere
1 Aether Spellbomb
2 Sylvan Library

SB
4 Pernicious Deed
1 Xantid Swarm
1 Gamekeeper
1 Auriok Salvagers
1 Orzhov Guildmage
1 City of Brass
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Gorilla Shaman
3 Massacre

The main focus of the deck is to get both Auriok Salvagers and Lion's Eye Diamond into play. Once this is done, you net one mana upon each recursion. Then you can recurse any cantrip artifact to draw your library. At this point you either recurse Pyrite Spellbomb for the win, or cast Living Wish for an alternate win condition.

The Wishboard has two main functions. It adds redundancy to your primary win conditions, Gamekeeper and Auriok Salvagers, and it also allows a great flexibility in cards to answer opponent's problematic permanents.

The discard suite is excellent at slowing down opposing Aggro and Combo decks, and removing disruption from Control decks. It is your main defensive weapon, and you need to know the most important cards to take from your opponent at all game stages. 

These are the cards that most feel must remain for the deck to be viable. The few innovators of the deck are in agreement on the number of these both in the deck, and it's sideboard.

3/1 Gamekeeper: The deck's greatest enabler. Not only does his trigger put an Auriok Salvagers into play, it has a good chance of placing both an LED, and a Spellbomb or Sphere into the graveyard where they can easily be retrieved. Against Aggro decks, chump blocking, Innocent Blood, and Massacre make it easy to fulfill his requirement. Against less aggressive decks, you have Cabal Therapy, Pernicious Deed and Phyrexian Tower to trigger him. He is the creature you most want to draw, so three in the main is manditory, with a fourth in the side to increase your virtual number.

2/1 Auriok Salvagers: The deck's other namesake. His ability in conjunction with Lion's Eye Diamond it the heart of the combo. He can also recurse Chromatic Sphere or Star to filter mana and draw cards. With Aether Spellbomb, not only can you draw, you can bounce most of your opponent's creatures. With Pyrite, you can deal effectively infinite damage. The fact that he is a 2/4 body should never be neglected either. In most instances you don't want to have to play one from your hand, so I only include two in the main.

4 Lion's Eye Diamond: The other card that makes the combo possible. The deck wins on LED's synergy with Salvagers, using Spellbombs from the graveyard to avoid the nuisance of discarding your hand. Both Living Wish and Infernal Tutor can avoid this as well, by sacrificing LED for mana while the tutor effect is still on the stack.

4 Living Wish: In addition to grabbing your two creatures that allow the combo, Wish can fetch both answers from the sideboard, and alternate win conditions. It can also retrieve creatures you or your opponent have removed from the game.The need for all of these options in certain matches has convinced me not to go below four.

4 Dark Ritual: Not much needs to be said. It allows faster starts, and can provide a way from under decks that hinder the land development of a three to four color deck.

4 Duress/4 Cabal Therapy: The deck's protection. Against Control you need to rid them of dangerous countermagic. Against opposing Combo, you want to slow down any chance they have of going off before you. Against all decks you want to be certain that they have no way to remove your Salvagers mid-way into your combo. Cabal Therapy has the added bonus of being an unstoppable way of sacrificing your Gamekeeper. On the chance your Gamekeeper triggers into another Gamekeeper, a Flashbacked Cabal Therapy can start the process over again. Since this deck has little in the way of protecting it's combo, it is important to use these (as well as pen and paper) to always track your opponent's hand.

4 Tainted Pact: This deck rarely has more than one or two cards you NEED at any given time. The two mana cost and instant speed makes Tainted Pact the best option for a selective tutor in this deck. The mana base is skewed to make your Pacts as effective as possible. The fact that it removes cards from the game is rarely a factor since most often you will only need the one piece you are searching for at the moment. In rare cases however, you will be forced to remove a part of the combo. This is the reason for both the additional creatures in the sideboard, and the diversity of cards in the main deck. I would avoid playing less than three. Even if you are searching for a specific card, be certain to evaluate each one before continuing the Pact. Often a secondary choice is better than getting nothing, or removing too many cards.

1 Pyrite Spellbomb: The deck's primary win condition. After recursing LED for enough White mana, you can then switch to Red to reuse Pyrite to kill your opponent. It can also draw any cards you might need to continue the combo with the same mana. In a pinch, it will kill the bane of the deck, Meddling Mage. I only run one as I prefer to have different options in cantrips for the deck. Living Wish can also get a different win condition if needed.

The rest of the deck has a greater variety in what may be played.

2 Infernal Tutor: A recent addition for it's raw power. In conjunction with LED, it can grab any card in the deck while having plenty of mana to cast what you fetch. It can also add redundancy in pulling additional discard spells when needed. The most broken play it allows is using a ritual an getting a second LED or Ritual. This is one of the few ways this deck can pull a second turn win. The card is a bit redundant with Living Wish so I only use two.

4 Innocent Blood: Now we get to the cards that flow in and out with a great regard to metagame concerns. In most games, I have found using an Innocent Blood early gives the deck enough time to combo off. It has the added benefit of triggering your Gamekeeper when needed. Infest is a common replacement, mainly because of it's effect against both Goblins and Meddling Mage. I find it overkill against Mage, and the ability of Goblins to disrupt your mana production can leave Infest stranded in your hand until it is too late.

1 Chromatic Star/1 Chromatic Sphere: The cards are basically interchangeable in this deck, and run as is simply to increase the power of Tainted Pact. Some eschew these entirely to run multiple copies of Spellbombs. I have found the color-fixing is often relevant, and that additional Spellbombs are unneeded.

1 Aether Spellbomb: Both Meddling Mage and Pithing Needle are common in the Legacy format. I added this to give the deck additional ways to remove Mage, especially if they have a Needle on Pyrite or Deed. It can also serve as a temporary answer to the larger creatures Reanimator decks power out. The third reason is for use against Aggro-Control decks that stymie your combo while attacking with one or two creatures.

2 Sylvan Library: The most controversial card. There are a great number of cards to fit this slot, most devoted to some form of card draw or deck manipulation. The majority of the time Night's Whisper fits nicely. The reason I use Sylvan is that it gets it's greatest use against the decks that are the most diffcult for Salvager's Game to beat.  Mid-range Control decks apply a decent clock with disruption. Sylvan not only increases card quality in conjunction with Fetchlands, you often can spare the life to draw your combo immediately. Against pure Control, you actually use it for more of a filter. You have many turns to load up on Discard, empty their hand, and combo off. In addition to it's use with Fetchlands, it can turn Tainted Pact into an instant Demonic Tutor with some foresight. Against decks where Gamekeeper's milling effect can be detrimental,(re:Solidarity) you can use it to stack the top of your library. I tend to replace it against Aggro for multiple reasons. With only two, it will rarely be played in a relevant amount of time. And you obviously can't afford to be losing life against most of these decks.

The mana base is odd at first glance, but the constraints of the deck make it necessary. Having as many different named lands as possible makes Tainted Pact much more powerful. Unlike most Ritual/LED-based Combo decks, we often require several lands in play to effectively win, so the reliance on non-basics is kept to the minimum one of each. The Fetchland configuration is obviously not optimal with the colors needed in the deck, but it is very close, and cannot be significantly altered without weakening your Tainted Pacts.

Sideboard Cards:

1 City of Brass: The deck runs very specific mana requirements, and often has to protect itself by only playing out basic lands. The single City can often get an answer in hand for the win next turn.

1 Xantid Swarm: While it is of use most against decks with countermagic, there are two other reasons to run him. Certain removal spells can halt you mid combo. Swarm forces them to use them before you lose your hand from LED, or baits them out on Swarm itself. It also is one of the few ways you can hinder Solidarity.

1 Phyrexian Tower: An uncounterable way to sacrifice your Gamekeeper, while netting you mana. Rarely, it will protect him from Swords. It can also come as simply an additional land if needed.

1 Gorilla Shaman: Three of the four worst threats against this deck are Chalice of the Void, Tormod's Crypt, and Pithing Needle. This guy kills two of them for 1 mana, and the third for 3.

3 Massacre: The fourth common problem is Meddling Mage. Massacre deals with him most effectively. It is a free sweeper against any deck running Plains, and is still castable against others.

1 Harmonic Sliver: A sort of catch-all. A Wish-able answer for any Artifact or Enchantments you find troublesome. If you have the extra slot you can run a Sex Monkey and Monk Realist for the easier casting costs.

1 Orzhov Gulidmage: Your secondary win condition. With the amount of mana the deck can produce, you can easily Wish for him, gain an absurd amount of life, and then have you both lose 20. Chosen also because his ability doesn't target, which is sometimes very important.

4 Pernicious Deed: The ultimate sweeper. Often brought in against decks with a large amount of "Hate" cards, as against most Aggro it is better to just outrace it.

Some notable exceptions:

Engineered Explosives: It is a great card in the Vintage version of this deck, "Bomberman". The difference is, they can run countermagic alongside it as Black Lotus doesn't have the same discard restriction that Lion's Eye Diamond does. If you get in a position that you can recur both LED and Explosives, you should just win anyway. Deed cannot be reused, but for a little more mana than Explosives, has a much greater effect.

Sensei's Divining Top: In a deck that needs to see very specific cards, has multiple deck shuffling effects, and can abuse cheap artifacts it would seem a natural choice. The problem is that it becomes a huge mana leech. The deck's creator called it "my personal Sphere of Resistance". This deck tends to tap out more often than not, so using Top's ability becomes difficult. The other problem is that you really have to have it within the first two turns for it to be better than other options. This requires running at least three. There just isn't enough room for something with this effect.

Trinket Mage: Another key element of Bomberman. Unfortunately, he is not in the deck's colors. Again, you would need either multiples to make him effective, or to run him in the sideboard. Usually the Gamekeeper plan gets an LED accessable quickly enough that Mage isn't worth the time and off-color mana.

Darksteel Colossus/Simic Sky Swallower: Several people like to have one or two of these in the sideboard. The plan then becomes to remove your Salvagers, and use the Gamekeeper trigger to get a fattie into play. This will dodge most of the hate cards your opponent can bring in. You can still use Living Wish to get a Salvagers if the opportunity presents itself. The problem I have with this, is that this deck runs little to no manipulation. So if you draw the SSS, you have no way of getting it into play save hardcasting it. Your Gamekeepers now are virtually useless. DSC can be Therapied back into your library, but is vulnerable to Swords and bounce. It's still not a bad plan against decks that focus on stopping your combo, but I dislike allowing luck to become that much of a factor. If you expect a large amount of Threshold and Fish-like decks, it may be worth it.

Krosan Reclaimation: Many included this once DSC was phased out as they feared decking themselves. While an unlucky chain of Gamekeeper sacrifices can still make this possible, I have found if you mill that many cards, you should easily have enough gas in your graveyard to win before you need to draw a card.

Cabal Pit: Unfortunately, this decks rarely reaches Threshold until it can win anyway. But against Threshold, (the deck) the games run long enough that you will reach it naturally. With Pit, Salvagers, and Deed, their Needles become almost useless. The problem is, that Pit is useless at doing anything but killing Meddling Mage or Gamekeeper. It's a good Wish target, but I prefer broader solutions.


Matchups and Metagame concerns

I tend to keep about 95% of the deck intact regardless of what I expect to face. But, I do switch cards in the main deck and sideboard in and out frequently. Without a heavy Goblins presence, Innocent Blood becomes less of a need. Those metas tend to evolve into variations of Board Control decks that cannot flourish otherwise. Namely Stax, Aluren, and Landstill. This is when I maindeck the Pernicious Deeds. When I don't expect Meddling Mage, either from Fish, or Threshold, I tend to switch Massacre in the sideboard back to Infest simply for the lowered cost against Goblins. When there are a plethora of creatures causing difficulty in addition to Mage, such as Burning-Tree Shaman, and True Believer, you may want a Bone Shredder to Wish for. In artifact heavy environments, when you expect Stax, and Faerie and Angel Stompy varients, a Viridian Shaman would be a warranted addition to the Shaman and Sliver already in the board.

There is nothing that this deck can't answer, even if that answer is swinging with men. Your focus should always be first on the combo. The main reactive cards you must watch for during this are:

Stifle/Trickbind: Both can stop your Gamekeeper trigger. Trickbind can actually set you back a full turn by stopping Salvager's completely.

Abeyance/Orim's Chant: Both stop the combo for a turn. Only relevant if they can kill you next turn, or if they cast it mid-combo. If you expect these, only produce enough mana for one cycle of LED and Pyrite at a time, otherwise they will mana burn you out.

Counterspells: Naturally.

Swords to Plowshares(or any instant that can rid you of Salvagers): Swords will stop the Gamekeeper trigger as well as getting rid of him. You can't use the Therapy you sacrifice him with to remove Swords, as the trigger will resolve before you name the card. If you have a Wish in hand, sometimes it is allowable to get your Salvagers Plowed, as it is easy to get them right back. The only burn that might kill Salvagers is Fireblast, so it's not much of a worry, but there may be a few Black removal spells to watch out for.

Extirpate: It has yet to hit play, but if they get a chance to target LED with it, that's obvious trouble. More info as determined.

If both cards in hand, and available mana leave the possibility of one of these, always use your discard to clear the way first. Color is very important in these cases. Be aware of what mana is available to the enemy, as it is the key indicator of which of these cards they are holding. Or bluffing...

The proactive cards that most concern you should be:

Tormod's Crypt: Can remove Gamekeeper from the graveyard in response to his trigger. They will wait until you activate Salvagers to use it in response, so if you cannot remove Crypt, be certain to have enough mana to activate multiple times. Also can remove an early Spellbomb to reduce your win conditions.

Meddling Mage: Lion's Eye Diamond is usually the best option for him to chant against. Most decks that use him will have no way to remove LED from play, so cast them any chance you can. If he is around mid-combo, you should be able to recurse a Spellbomb to remove him. Make certain to Fetch either your Badlands or Underground early to allow this. Decks with Mage rarely run Wasteland in Legacy.

Pithing Needle: There are only two cards that it can hurt; Auriok Salvagers and Pernicious Deed. A major reason to bring Deed in against any deck playing Needle. You force them to a difficult decision. If they Needle Salvagers and you have a Deed, you win. But, if they Needle Deed, and you can Wish for removal, you still win. Technically it can stop Guildmage as well, but that will almost never happen. Overall, one of the easier cards to get around.

Chalice of the Void: Set a Zero stops the combo cold. You can still recurse a Spellbomb using regular mana though. Chalice set at one shuts down half your deck, but if you can get a Guildmage in play, you can still combo out. Mox Monkey wrecks Chalice, so try to get one down early if you suspect it. Otherwise, Harmonic Sliver should take care of it.

Rule of Law/Pyrostatic Pillar/Arcane Lab: These are the most generic anti-combo measures, usually decided by whichever color the deck is. They all stop you from going infinite with the combo, but not from attacking, or using the Spellbombs once a turn. Pillar is actually the most dangerous, as decks packing it usually will have a fast clock to back it up. The other two you leave until you either have an opening, or absolutely have to go off that turn. Since no deck runs these Game one, leaving a Deed in play until you go off is the best way to get around them.

It is very difficult to give any direct lines of play with Salvager's Game. This deck's strength is it's flexibility, and as such, the way it is played against every deck must also vary. I am listing both the most prominent matchups, as well as gameplay and sideboarding strategies against them below.

Goblins:

Goblins is one of our better matchups. We have both discard and removal to slow them down, and have the same essential clock. They often can't even attack into a Gamekeeper unless the resulting damage would be lethal.

There are three widely-played variations; Mono-Red, White-splash, and Green-splash. The Green splash is overall the easiest of the three, as they run no relevant sideboard cards, and have no maindeck advantages over the other two.

Against Goblins you want to get the combo as quickly as possible. Your opening hand should include a Wish or Gamekeeper, at least two lands, and either an LED or a Ritual. Secondary cards being Innocent Blood and Tainted Pact. All you care about is getting the Gamekeeper to trigger, but use Innocent Blood as soon as you can. The Goblins will kill him for you. They have no way to stop the combo once it hits except for a Gempalm cycled for four or more damage. Always either Fetch basics, or save your Fetchlands until you can go off as both Port and Wasteland can seriously set you back. Cabal Therapy should name first Warchief, then Ringleader on the draw, and Lackey on the play unless you hold an Innocent Blood.
 
Mono-Red Sideboarding: -4 Duress, -2 Sylvan, +4 Pernicious Deed, +1 Gorilla Shaman, +1 Massacre.

The Mono red versions most often have some combination of Pyrostatic Pillar, Chalice of the Void, and Tormod's Crypt in their sideboard. All very dangerous cards when backed by such a fast clock. The bright spot is that these slow Goblins down long enough to make Deed very good; Sweeping both their hate cards, and their Goblins. Goblins is the reason we don't see Duress more in Legacy, and Sylvan is too slow and dangerous. The Shaman is an extra one-drop that rids you of Chalice and Crypt, and Massacre is just better than Duress or Sylvan. You actually play the same game post-board, you just have more options. Deed and Ritual become the cards you most want to open with.

White-splash Sideboarding: -2 Sylvan, -4 Innocent Blood, +3 Massacre, +3 Pernicious Deed.

White Goblins has an entire different set of issues. Swords to Plowshares being the worst of them. You must keep your discard in, as your best chance of winning is still to combo out quickly. But you need to rid them of Swords first. The advantage here is that their Plateaus make them wide open for Massacre. I bring in Deed for Innocent Blood in this matchup, as I have found that these versions tend to overdilute themsleves bringing in answers. This slows their clock down to the point where it is often easy to combo off before they can amass enough damage. Or at least to the point where Deed can severly stymie them. They may include Disenchant for Deed though, so watch for it when you Therapy them.

Threshold:

Threshold on the other hand, it a difficult matchup. Not just because Threshold is so good against Combo decks; It is. But because you have to play against them in a way far removed the norm. I'm only going to focus on the U/G/w version, as the Red version sees very little play and can't run Meddling Mage.They have the ability to hinder you through countermagic, board control with Needles, and a 2/2 board controller in Meddling Mage. Fortunately, doing this slows down their clock greatly, as they usually end up burning their cantrips to find these cards instead of creatures. If you can use discard to premptively remove these problems, you should be able to squeek out a win. Most often though, they will use their countermagic to protect them, and swing in with a large threat once they find one.

Game one against Threshold is generally bad, especially if the have maindecked Magi. Your best plan is to mulligan into either an extremely quick combo hand, or one that has multiple discard spells. When used wisely, Sylvan can keep handing you threats and discard if you can resolve it. Don't waste life drawing extra cards unless you can win that turn; The game often comes down to a damage race. Threshold will counter Living Wish if they can Daze it, so this is the one time you have to play around that card.

Sideboarding: -2 Infernal Tutor, -2 Innocent Blood, -1 Chromatic Sphere, +2 Massacre, +3 Pernicious Deed.

The tactics change considerably post-board. Infernal is removed as you almost never use it without responding with an LED crack. This is suicidally dangerous versus Threshold unless you know what is in their hand. Innocent Blood is cut down because you don't need it early, and it rarely helps without Deed or Massacre as well. If they run either the Red version, or do not have Meddling Mage, leave the Innocent Bloods instead of Massacre. Blood is devastating against a deck running ten creatures at most.

You have to play now as a sort of Aggro-Combo. They will have geared their deck to maximize countermagic, Mage, and Needle. Some versions also bring in Stifle to stop the Gamekeeper trigger. You need to force their hand at every opportunity. If they Needle Salvagers, you sweep with Deed. If they name LED with Mage, you cast Massacre with mana open; They will be loathe to Counterspell. Use your discard to remove countermagic early, Swords to Plowshares midgame, and Mystic Enforcer lategame. Pacts should stop at either Discard or land, whichever you need at the moment.

You need to be certain to swing for damage every chance you get. If they concentrate on stopping your combo, you use Deed to clear the way to attack. If they start dropping creatures to go on the offensive, store discard to empty their hand, and combo out. If you can keep a Salvagers in play you should win. Remember that Aether Spellbomb can be recursed to bounce every creature except Mongoose, which can be blocked. Use Pyrite to keep Mage off the table, or combine it with Massacre to kill Bears. Massacre can also be combined with their blocking to kill any of their creatures. They are almost required to drop creatures early to put pressure on, so you may be able to kill some before they reach Threshold. Killing Mage is important enough to include it regardless.

Your best friend in this matchup is Orzhov Guildmage. Threshold tends to side Enforcer out against this deck. That leaves just Mongoose and Werebear as attackers, since they won't trade with Mage. They tend to only get one of these in play, as they both want to keep mana open, and use their cantrips to find Mage, Needle, etc. This allows you to both swing with Guildmage, and EOT gain life. Since in a stall like this the game tend to run long, you often have a good deal of mana to do so. Your discard removes countermagic or Plow. They have to prepare for a Salvagers, so they will only use Plow in response to a Discard spell. This leaves you to take countermagic away, and open a door for a Salvagers. This also often leaves Guildmage active for several turns. Unless they have a Threshed Werebear, you will get ahead in the damage race in this instance. Worst case, you can use Massacre to even the trade. Deed also will allow you to swing with him, as they won't counter him when you have 5-6 mana available. Empty the board with it EOT, then Wish for him.

Solidarity (Reset High Tide):

This is the third key deck you must prepare for, and it's a very odd matchup. Given the chance, they can easily hijack your Storm, and win on your turn. Left unmolested, they can do it without your help by turn four. However, you do run 8+ discard spells that make it very difficult for them to do so. Thus the key card for you becomes Xantid Swarm.

Sideboarding: -3 Innocent Blood, +1 Gorilla Shaman, +1 Orzhov Guildmage, +1 City of Brass.

Innocent Blood is obviously only good for triggering your Gamkeeper. The Shaman and Guildmage only come in as extra beats or Cabal Therapy fodder.The City is there just to increase your chances of having mana early, and to save your Living Wishes. In contrast, you want the Tower where you can Wish for it since you remove half your sacrifice cards. It seems odd to board in creatures you don't want Gamekeeper to put into play, but against Solidarity, you only want to use Gamekeeper's trigger if a Swarm has aready attacked. It is far too easy for them to Brain Freeze you for a small amount after you mill twenty cards. I mainly just attack with whatever creatures I have unless: 1) I have discarded enough of their hand to insure they can't go off, or 2) I have an active Xantid Swarm. Both of these should be decided by turn four, as after that they can control the stack too well. You also want additional creeatures in play if you determine it neccessary to Flashback a Cabal Therapy to neuter them for additional time.

Your best weapon against Solidarity is obviously discard. If you know what you are playing against, you only keep an opening hand with at least one Duress or Therapy. Making them use a Force is actually good, as they cannot afford the card loss. But against Ritual and spells cast from LED, Remand is amazing. So after turn two, only cast spells off lands unless you know their hand. Turns 1-3 you want to remove countermagic, and manipulation spells. Your best play is to name Brainstorm with Therapy if they don't use it in response. Your first offensive play should be to Wish for, and cast a Swarm. Later in the game, or if you can't find a Wish, you aim to discard High Tide, Reset and Meditate, their best enablers. Use both Pact and Infernal to fetch additional discard regardless of what your hand may need. If they stop Swarm, you want to get some creature on the board; Keep attacking, and use every resource to throw discard at them. Without a clock, no deck runs enough discard to matter though, so alway keep at least one in play.

This is all worst case of course. If you get a Swarm active third or fourth turn, just win then. Even so, they will board in bouce spells, so declare your attack before casting anything. You also have the ability to recur a Pyrite once a turn while swinging with Salvagers if you don't want a Storm count to accumulate. Sylvan is the second-best card in this match, as your life total is irrelevant. If you get one early, there is no way for them to match the card advantage. Solidarity only runs eight counters, so if you can get the rare possibility of a turn one or two winning hand, your odds are much better than waiting.

There are many other prominent decks in Legacy that you must prepare for, but these three both comprise the major players, and the most popular archetypes. Your main weapon must always be composure.

The strength and appeal that Salvager's Game has, is that while it is neither as fast as some Combo, as reliable as some, or able to dish out damage as fast as an Aggro deck, it can use any of these elements. It only requires a knowlege of the deck, of what your opponent may try to do to stop you, and the ability to take whichever route is available to get the win.

21  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Pre-Sideboarding for your Metagame? on: February 03, 2007, 05:27:11 pm
No, no. It makes the bad matchups closer to 60% game one, but reduces the good ones to 50/50. It also allows my opponents to sideboard for it in both games two and three, which is easy to do for most decks. Also, it hurts the consistancy of the combo as it is a "Hate" card, and does nothing to advance the deck's gameplan, only to hinder my opponent's.

This question was also intended to be somewhat theoretical. As in "Do you pre-sideboard hate for a known meta, even though it may hurt the consistancy of your deck?"

Like people running maindecked Misdirection in Vintage Fish when they expect Control, or Maindecked Swords to Plowshares in Legacy Goblins when the expect big Aggro. Cards that normally should be sideboard, but you know you will face a great deal of the decks they are good against.
22  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Pre-Sideboarding for your Metagame? on: February 03, 2007, 12:43:38 pm
I need an opinion on my current situation.

I am playing a deck that has certain very good matchups, and certain very bad ones. There are little to no mediocre ones. This is all pre-sideboard.

I have room to play a card in the main that does a lot to shore up the bad matchups, but is fairly usesless in the good ones. While there is nothing relevant that needs be removed to add it, it would still be a dead card in these.

The problem I have is that my local meta is heavily populated by the decks I have a good matchup against(hence my deck selection)

I can run the card in the sideboard, but I actually have less flexibility there, and end up around 40-45% against certain decks in game one.

Figuring about 25-30% of the field will be the more difficult matchups, is it worth running this card maindecked to shore those up? It's probably a 20% increase in win percentages compared to a 5% decrease in wins against my better matchups. But the better matchups will be 55-60% of the field.

EDIT: I neglected to mention that it is a combo deck. While it has tutors, it's deck manipulation is minimal. I would need to run 2-3 of the card to see it in an effective timeframe.

23  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Where do you feel you can do better, Vintage or PTQ's? on: January 17, 2007, 05:31:11 pm
I think that the skill level at PTQs is as a whole, less than that you will find at major Vintage events. I think the reason that some might find that environment more difficult is what I cal the "WTF!?" factor.
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In the Eternal formats, you can quite quickly diagnose what your opponent is playing, and therefore what your optimal lines of play should be. As illustrated in Demar's latest report, even something as minor as a maindecked Misdirection in Fish can elicit the "WTF!?", and cause your previous plays to be sub-optimal.

In the newer formats, this happens far more often. In my opinion this is for two reasons. One, there are a larger number of players who might favor what the majority construe as "jank" cards in established decks. Either this, or play decks that are far from the mainstream. This makes it very difficult for those in the Eternal community to adjust, as it is a format they are unfamilair with, and now they have no idea what to expect from their opponent.

Two, with the as Anusien stated, "unsolved" nature  of these formats, it is difficult for someone who does not play in them regularly to have any significant amount of testing against every deck in them. This also can lead to a "WTF!?" moment. For someone who has never played against Dirty Kitty, you see first turn Skirk Prospector, second turn Goblin Piledriver, you expect a Goblin rush. Then when they drop Fecundity on turn three, and cast Empty the Warrens for ten, you are caught off guard.

While I agree that there are certain deck archetypes that any good player will recognize, and have a good idea of how to play against, this doesn't alway translate during a tournament. The fact that PTQs have always held some degree of randomness is uncontested. You add in the diversity of the "unevolved" metagame, and the fact that most Eternal players have neither the time, nor the inclination to thoroughly investigate all of said formats, I am unsuprised that one would find this a more difficult environment to play well in than the more established formats.
24  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: [Primer] The Meandeck ˘☺θβ0 Stax Solution X © a.k.a. “Snuffleupagus” (censored) on: January 13, 2007, 12:04:56 pm
I am sorry, I did not understand the combo.


Which Combo? There are infinite variations and lines of play, all which lead to this deck winning. The question is hopelessly vague.
25  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Playtesting: Learning a new deck on: January 11, 2007, 07:27:38 pm
Another thread got hijacked by this topic, so I felt it needed to have it's own.

When first learning a completely new deck, that for whatever reason you are reasonably sure you would like to devote enough time and energy to seriously consider taking to a tournament, how do you go about it?

I'll start off with some of the previously presented ideas:

Godder: For what it's worth, we've found takebacks while testing to be a key part of improving my team's performance. It's critical to know the right thing to do in common situations, and also to avoid silly mistakes, and making bad plays just reinforces making bad plays. If we spot a bad play while testing, we stop, examine the play and the board, and then take it back and continue with the right play. If you're continually spotting the right play immediately after making the wrong play, I suggest testing more, and playing slowly to force yourself to think about what you're doing

andrewpate: I think that if losing games due to stupid mistakes in playtesting makes you upset and causes you to play better, you are not approaching your testing correctly, at least in the early stages (developing a deck or learning to play a new netdeck).  At that in point testing, you are more concerned with learning what the deck does and how it works than with winning; it does not upset me if I take a new deck off the PT coverage and lose 20 games in a row with it; I simply look back over the list, look at some coverage, and attempt to determine why my approach to using it is incorrect.  If I continue to lose, I may look for a different deck.  But if I lose due to mistakes, I might get the wrong idea about things, and those mistakes can be ironed out in the tuning stages later on.  Also, it can be assumed that a person will make few mistakes with a deck by the time he or she gets to a tournament with it if he or she is someone worth taking seriously, and that means that if you lose several games due to repeated mistakes you make playing Stax, your playtest partners will not have a good idea about how to play against Stax.  They will get used to winning because you play lock parts in the wrong order or forget to ramp up your Smokestack.  My team always allows takebacks during early testing, and we have gotten good results from this.  You simply have to maintain the maturity level to internalize your errors and commit to eliminating them even when you take them back.

freakish777: To make it more clear, Flores states that while developing decks (particularly with the use of proxies) you should allow take-backs to get a clearer view of what the deck you're tweaking/building is capable of (I imagine to increase the speed of making the deck the best it can be in the shortest amount of time, and not short-changing yourself in the short run by saying "Oh it doesn't win" when in fact it's the player's fault for various misplays.

In contrast in the long run for one's own personal technical playskill, I feel (and have had reinforced) that not allowing takebacks negatively reinforces mistakes (ie, "I won't do that again") and that allowing them positively reinforces them (although not to the same degree, more on a subliminal level).  Practice makes Permanent.  If you allow yourself to make mistakes in practice, you will subconsciously allow yourself to make mistakes when it's on the line.  Your team may have hit a short run increase in skill (or in deckbuilding), but I would be interested to see the results with the same people over a longer period of time testing without mistakes.  As a side note I also think it'd be interesting to see just how much the deck you're playing vs. playskill matters (assuming you're talking about becoming better deckbuilders) against an opponent with better playskill.

Anusien: One of the things I love to do in testing is at a critical juncture, ask my opponent for advice on the correct play.  I'll be playing versus Josh, and I'll show him my hand and say, "Help me make the correct play here."  I think while it's useful to remember that opponents make mistakes, when you want to test a matchup you want perfect play.

As for myself, I agree with all of these to some degree. In Anusien's example, I know doing things this way has helped immensely. We have played test games where you honestly ask your opponent "Cast Meddling Mage. What should I name at this point?" Or "Do I try and go off in response?" Having someone who will give you the best answer in these situations can be invauable. Especially when they are familiar with a deck that you are not. You just have to check your egos.

I think that not allowing mistakes is correct, but I also believe in takebacks, as long as the game has not advanced from there. Forcing someone to commit to an incorrect block, or Fetch will make them play closer attention to the game state. Not allowing someone to re-think their Gifts Pile, or sequence thier accelleration spells in a Storm deck actually does them a disservice. When new with a deck, you need to figure out what the best plays are. It's not a mistake if you have never faced the situation, it's ignorance. Not only should you be able to backtrack, your partner should assist you.

This can, of course only be continued for a short time. If after this you are still unable to make, or even see the correct plays, then that particular deck may not be your friend.

Please post your ideas, theories, and experiences. There is so little room for players to make sweeping deck changes in the Eternal formats, I'm certain that everyone could benefit.
26  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: NFL Playoffs on: January 08, 2007, 12:25:07 pm
I grew up in Seattle, so I must say that I loved watching Dallas lose. Seattle didn't win

Romo was the Seahawk's MVP in that game. Or maybe Tatupu.

Hassleback had an awful game himself, and that will not continue. He should pick the Bears apart. Alexander will play, and it really doesn't matter if he doesn't. Hasslebeck has had his best games without Alexander (see the Playoff game v. the Redskins last year). Neither Alexander, nor Morris has been able to run against the Bears anyway.

Having said all this, if the Bears score over 13 points, they cannot lose this game.

27  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: What Book Would You Base a Set off? on: December 26, 2006, 02:49:00 pm
Detta.  All I have to say.

While I think the card would be cool, "Tap: Destroy target Honky MahFah." is probably not that useful an ability Very Happy
28  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: What Book Would You Base a Set off? on: December 26, 2006, 11:40:09 am
Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series.

The amount of cool creature cards available from that boggles the mind. I would put Gasher and the Tick-Tock man in every deck.
29  Vintage Community Discussion / General Community Discussion / Re: Magic circa 1995 on: December 20, 2006, 01:06:32 pm
You also have to modify your settings to allow the game to play correctly. It is not set up to run on more modern computers, so make certain in Settings that it is running a GUI compatable with Shandalar.
30  Vintage Community Discussion / Rules Q&A / Re: What exactly qualifies as stalling on: December 16, 2006, 02:08:19 pm
I'm not certain if it will help, but I'll give an example where I could have feasably had Stalling called on myself, and a Judge decided against it due to my actually taking him aside.

It was the final round of an Invasion Sealed PTQ. I was in the Top 8 on a win or draw, my opponent had to win. Down 0-1, we had a land stall, with time running out. I drew the third Blue source to cast my Waterspout Elemental with Kicker. A judge has already been called by my opponent to watch for slowplay at the start of the game, though no accusations were made.

He had lethal on the table, but I had blockers, and many smaller flyers that could get through, although at least one would die to his blocker. I took a long time calculating how much damage I could do, then how much my opponent could do considering cards in hand, creatures he had in play, what he could draw (with my knowledge of the first game), and mana available to play them in the two turns he would get. Obviously, I wanted to cast it with Kicker to slow down any possible offence he could mount. And yes, I was aware of the time. He started to freak out.

I took the judge aside, and explained that I had to determine whether to attack at all, what to attack with, and whether I should even cast the Waterspout this turn. He looked over everything, confirmed that I had made my decision, and agreed that I had acted in an appropriate amount of time.

Now this is obviously no help to those looking for a concrete rule. But it does confirm that if you give the judge all information before they are forced to make a ruling, that in a situation where you deserve the benefit of the doubt, most of the time you will get it.
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