So I won’t lie, I reached a point during the taxi ride to the Indianapolis Airport where my cognitive functionality suddenly dropped to zero, and I became unable to string together a coherent sentence (although those of y’all who listened to our podcast may note that I struggle with this pretty much all the time.) I’m back now, but if this seems incoherent or rambling, it may be because I spent the last week having a good time all the time.
So anyways, GenCon was awesome. To me, the goal of anything is to enjoy the ride to the point that you feel completely destroyed and exhausted afterwards. Sleep is overrated. Hydration is easy to re-achieve. Scars tell us who we are. We went hard for the whole time we were there, and we get to keep that forever. Winning!
Cass has a bunch of stuff he wants to write about the experience, and I do to, but for today I just want to share a story. This is a story of something awesome that happened.
This is the story of how I won an EDH event with the coin-flips deck.
INTRO! There were “sit n’ go” style 4-person EDH events happening all weekend. I walked past one early on and saw a Maelstrom Wanderer deck in the process of going infinite on a Teferi, an Omnath, and another Maelstrom Wanderer with Temple Bell/Mind Over Matter, and I immediately decided that I was not going to play any EDH event for prizes, as “competitive EDH” is an abomination and no.
Cass played in one of the “three round” EDH events early on, and he had what seemed like a similar experience (which he mentioned in his Saturday article.) I was all set with ditching EDH for prizes, but then something funny happened: the “point system” that Pastimes instituted after last year’s debacle kinda sorta started working kind of.
I say it “started working” in that by the time the Saturday morning “three round” event fired, there were only seven people interested in playing in it. The “point system” did a nice job of driving away the combo players, and it also did a really nice job driving away the control players, aggro players, aggro-control players, competitive players, causal players, and new players. Good-ass points system, yo!
With this in mind, Cass successfully convinced me to play in the Sunday morning EDH event by pointing out that M14 2HG sucks, and I had noting better to do. Also, it seemed like there was a decent chance that it wouldn’t just be “lose to combo on turn four,” so there’s that.
STORY! The Sunday event (also with seven players!) started with me getting paired with Cass (awkward!), and two players I did not fly to the event with after spending two days at a casino with, so naturally when Cass played EOTFoF I gave him the 5-0 split and he untapped and comboed the table. EDH Mafia FL!
(I suppose everyone who reads this will realize I’m kidding, but in case you are new here, I’m kidding. Go over to the official forums and search for “EDH Mafia” if you want to better understand this joke, or if you want to see some really clear evidence of why EDH should not be played for prizes [and/or if you need a tutorial on being a giant douche.])
Anyways, the first table was Cass (playing Kresh), Ian (playing Brion Stoutarm) and Sean (playing Zur.) I agonized for a bit over whether to play My 1st EDH before deciding to go with the truth in my heart and play the coin-flips deck.
I’ma post the coin-flips list on the Deck tab at some point, but for now I’ll just tell you that it’s Ruhan of the Fomori (because he is random), and it runs a whole bunch of really terrible cards that either involve flipping coins, choosing things at random, or have effects that seem random (Heretic’s Punishment, for example FORESHADOWING). It also awkwardly runs like 15 tutors and/or recursion effects specifically to find Krark’s Thumb, or to recur it after it inevitable gets blown up by someone whose name rhymes with Assidy Dick Wallace.
[Right, so I should also point out here that, for reasons known only to him, Cass finds this deck to almost inconceivably annoying. I swear I did not choose it for this reason. I chose it because it’s silly, crazy, and stupid (just like me!)]
The other table was Asa (playing Yeva), a Thraximundar player (whose name I forgot, about which I feel really bad), and a Kaalia player (whose name I never got.)
There’s not a lot to this story that involves the first game, as it can pretty well be summed up with the words “Zur did its Zur thing.” Sean, the guy playing Zur, was a really nice guy who chose his deck to bring to GenCon based on the expectation of a “cuthroat” play environment. I don’t think he won as brutally or obnoxiously as he might have been able to, but really once Zur starts doing its thing, there’s not a lot of variance to it. I didn’t really have any problem with anything he did until he dug out Rule of Law and stopped me from playing my awful coin-flip spells, although he won a few turns after that so at least I don’t have to sit there doing not much for very long.
We all chatted for a bit after the game, and Sean explained that his playgroup is really cutthroat. I’m good with that. I have more to write about the social contract at some point, but the short version is that it’s good to talk to people about stuff. Sean was a cool guy.
After the first game, I had a hearty zero points, which means I got paired with Ian (again, still playing Brion) and the Thrax player (sorry I forgot your name, dude!). Apparently, during the other round one game, the Kaalia player had Armageddoned, and nothing crushes three-color non-green decks like mass LD.
So anyways, we shuffle up and draw, and Thrax immediately throws his hand back. I encourage him to take a free mull, Ian agrees, and we’re off. The first few turns are enough to know that this is going to be a “fair” game, as Thrax turn-2 tutors for Gem of Becoming to keep his land drops happening, Ian plays some Brion Stoutarmy stuff, and I’m playing the coin-flips deck. I get an early Eyes of the Watcher (everyone reads it), which it is helpful in the coin-flips deck because it means every time I cast an instant or sorcery, I can pay one mana to push the two terrible cards on top of my deck to the bottom, allowing me to draw a different terrible card next turn.
I don’t have the exact sequence of every single play that happened (I’m not Sheldon), but suffice to say I found Krark’s Thumb fairly early, and I may or may not have cast Goblin Bomb.
Ha! Of course I cast Goblin Bomb! Look, here’s a picture!
The coin I dug out of my wallet to flip was one of the Alaska state quarters, meaning it had an awesome engraving of a bear on the back of it, which means I made my opponents call “heads or bear” whenever I had to flip it, which was a lot. And let me tell you, that coin was awesome for me; in terms of coin flips won, I was about 3 for 50 in winning coin flip, but in terms of amusement value gained from flipping it twice (instead of once) and losing both flips (thanks, Krark’s Thumb! You suck!), and laughing my ass off while high-fiving Ian and Thrax, I was batting 100%. EDH is awesome!
So anyways, Thrax digs out three duals with Gem of Becoming, hits his sixth land on turn six, and is all prepped to rip a seventh land and start getting down with his General. Brion is setting up a nice board, and I’m doing something, mostly involving losing coin flips and removing counters from Goblin Bomb. Eventually, I resolve Charmbreaker Devils, and it is pointed out that I can get a point by getting a Planeswalker into play, since I already have an artifact, creature, and enchantment. Score. The next turn Thrax plays Grimgrin (tapped), misses his seventh land drop (allowing me to not sacrifice my Devils), and I play Chandra Ablaze for the mad point farm. Since why not, I pitch Tide of War (look it up, I actually play that) to Fireblast Brion, play Desperate Ravings and attack Ian for eight. This allows me to activate Spinerock Knoll, playing Stitch in Time, and promptly losing both coin flips. I’m awesome!
A few turns later, Ian has rebuilt a bit and Thrax is still stuck on six land. Thrax had countered a few of Ian’s spells, as my spells aren’t good enough to counter. I untap, draw, and realize that Chandra has seven loyalty. Oh dang! I look though my yard, realize I’m awesome, and ultimately Chandra for Stitch in Time and Desperate Ravings. I cast both, win the flip, cast Amass the Components, and attack Ian with a 16/4 Charmbreaker Devils. Awesome awesome awesome!!!! We are all laughing our asses off as I pass the turn.
Ian does some stuff, Thrax misses his seventh land drop and casts O-Stone in frustration, and I suddenly realize that I was so excited about attacking Brion with a 16/4 Charmbreaker Devils that I forgot to actually take the extra turn from Stitch in Time. I’m awesome! We confer with the judge and determine that, yes, I do suck. We decide that it’s too late to go back, and really if I wanted to take an extra turn I would just play good cards that work all the time.
Word up! A few turns later, OStone happened, and a turn later Brion took out Thrax on the strength of a Scourge of Kher Ridges and an hasty Greater Gargadon. Thrax never got to his seventh land, which really hurt him; he had some nefarious plans that were thwarted by mana screw. Sorry, dude. Meanwhile, over in Coin-flips land, Sun Titan got back Krark’s Thumb and Goblin Bomb. Combo!
Here’s where it gets spicy…
Ian activates Scourge’s Rough ability three times to kill Sun Titan, and attacks me with Greater Gargadon, Scourge of Kher Ridges. As casually as possible, I tap five mana and cast the “Ends” half of Odds//Ends for pretty much the maximum value of all time. Score!
A turn or so later, after resolving Sphinx of FoF, I cast Replenish to get back Heretic’s Punishment, Martyr’s Bond, and some other crap with the words “flip a coin” on it. Ian reiterated my Replenish to get a Faith’s Fetters for my Sphinx of FoF. The next turn he plays Vengeful Archon, which makes my “Heretic’s Punishment to the face” plan less good. After some deliberation, I punish my Fetters-Ed Sphinx, hitting a six drop to bin it, forcing him to sac the Archon to the Martyr’s Bond trigger. My thinking here is that I had a better chance of hitting a six than a seven off of one activation. Ian passed the turn at fifteen life.
At this point, I have 14 mana after I untap. After some deliberation, decide to go for it and Punish him. The first Punishment hits Karplusian Minotaur for 4 damage. The next one shows me two lands and then Magmatic Force, which costs 8. Score. I activate the Punishment a third time, flipping over Noggle Ransacker as the first card for exactsies.
That was awesome.
Over at the other table, something happened that did not involve calling heads or bear, but may have involved Cass calling a player out for using offensive language and/or Detention Sphere for the life ruination. When the dust settled, I somehow had five points, which was tied with Ian (the Brion player) for first place.
That’s right, I won first place with the coin-flips deck. 9 packs of M14, baby!
The good news is I can now refer to the coin-flips deck as a “tournament winning deck”, which is accurate in the same way that saying Pabst Blue Ribbon is an “award winning beer” is accurate.
Overall, it was a great game that made up for the relatively uninteresting first one, and I threw Thrax a pack for being a good guy who got mana screwed but was a good sport about it. I believe he ripped a Chandra’s Phoenix in his pack and that card was worth like $4 once, so that’s something.
There’s a lot more to say about GenCon, and we will, but that’s my story for today. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know!
Mr. P was corresponding with a lady while he was writing this article, so if it seems choppy or incoherent, that’s why.