Morning, readers!  Welcome to Thursday here at GDC.  I hope this post finds you all in good health, and with all of your holiday shopping complete and sanity reasonably intact. 

Emphesis on ‘good health’.  Sadly, I was en route last night to hit up the mall, finish a last bit of shopping, and then swing by Worlds Apart to catch a few games of EDH before everyone dispersed to points elsewhere for Christmas, but ’twas not to be; instead, I found myself at Rite Aid, trying to decide if my son would prefer the “Mixed Fruit” or “Grape” Pedialite that would hopefully be replacing some of the electralites and general hydration that seem to be literally erupting from him at an alarming pace.  Good times.

And this morning, my wife is home with him, now equally sick.  We’re set to leave tonight for Syracuse for the Christmas weekend.  That’s a five-hour drive.  Happy holidays!

A SHORT SISTERS INTERLUDE

Hopefully, you’ve read up on my Sisters Of Stone Death decklist by now.  I’ve had this list pieced together more or less for a few weeks now, so I’ve managed a few games with it so far.  Sadly, last night was supposed to feed a play-by-play breakdown, so that’ll have to wait for obvious reasons.  What I will do is offer up some overall impressions, good/bad notes, and plans for the future of this beast.  (Er…gorgon.  Whatever.)

I said this thing was a blast to play, and I meant it.  One of the things that I’m coming around on as of late is the reality that big, splashy sorceries never end up being nearly as fun as the interactions that instants and abilities provide.  (I know…it’s a shocking revelation; the game is far more fun when you play it.  Is there a Nobel Prize for Magic theorycrafting?  I’m writing my acceptance speech as we speak…)  When I decided to go creatureless, I also decided to do what I could to leverage reactionary spells, rather than my usual prediliction towards proactive choices.  The result is a deck that is all about interjecting itself into other peoples’ game-plans.  The deck-crafters in the audience will have noticed that there’s really not much of a win condition in the deck, besides an occasional Exsanguinate or general beats, and you’d be right; this is all about the journey, and not the destination.  I’d be stoked even if it never wins a game, so long as it keeps me active.

For those of you looking for a fresh way to play the game, build a deck that focuses on interacting.  Go heavy on instants, and think about reacting to plays, rather than making them.  It’s so refreshing, and you won’t regret it.  I’m in the process of revamping nearly all of my decks to include more interactive elements because of my experience with Sisters.

THE GOOD

-So far, it seems to do what I expected it to.  I’ve been able to treat the whole deck like a big Swiss-army knife; last week, I enjoyed popping off a Decree Of Pain in order to use Beacon Of Unrest on an opposing player’s Indrik Stomphowler; this was aimed at the Sigil Of The Empty Throne of an opposing “enchantments matter’ deck that was threatening to run away with the game, followed up with a Bojuka Bog to make sure it wasn’t Replenish-ed back into play.  Plays like this are what the deck seems to want to do; it’s less about executing a gameplan as it is using the tutors and card draw to piece together puzzles.

-To that end, those of you who aren’t playing Holistic Wisdom should be.  Trust me.

-This deck is helping me discover life-gain in EDH.  I’ve always discounted this as a valid strategy, and I’m starting to enjoy cards that handle creatures (Corrupt) and graveyards (Suffer The Past) while offering a little pad of life at the same time.

-Sisters herself is a beast.  And this deck has no issues casting and re-casting her.  The mana base is rock-solid.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

-…Sisters herself is a beast. (Heh!)  I have yet to actually be able to use anything more than her lure ability, because she just scares the crap out of people.  As a result, the downside is that she soaks up removal like a sponge.  I’m sure eventually I’ll live the dream and wreck an opposing Ulamog with her, but I’m thinking I need to run more protection for her to make that happen. 

-In order for Sisters to really be able to withstand a full game, it needs more enchantment/artifact sweepers.  My losses with her at this point have been solely on the back of being overwhelmed by board position late-game, which is to be expected…but I’m thinking it isn’t an insurmountable problem.  I’m looking at fitting in options like Multani’s Decree, Primeval Light, and Creeping Corrosion.

All in all, this is turning into one of my favorite decks to play.  I’ll return soon with a play-by-play to try to share the wealth a bit.

LOOKING FORWARD – EDH AT GENCON

I know there’s a strong feeling in the EDH community that tournaments and EDH do not mix.  As soon as you introduce prizes to a casual format, you open the door to competetive behavior that runs at odds with what the format is about.  Sadly, this is pretty much an accepted truth:

*If you haven’t seen it, please check out my experience at GenCon ’11 here.

*Sheldon Menery speaks to the problem this week in his regular Star City Games article here.  Specifically:

“…The thing that’s most troubling to me right now is the four-man collusion-fests run at big events. I’d love to figure out a way for the TOs to still be able to run EDH pods without a significant number of players walking away with bad experiences, which I think is happening.”

It’s a very real problem.  To that end, GDC is very interested in examining this issue to see if there’s a way to move towards a fix.  I know the system is broken; there’s no debate there.  What I’m interested in is what can be done about it. 

I have a few simple questions for the EDH community:

1) What element(s) would make it more likely for you to play in a constructed EDH tournament at a large event?  (GenCon, SCG Open, etc)

2) What element(s) would make it less likely for you to be interested in playing in a constructed EDH tournament at a large event?

Please…hit me up in the comments, or send me an e-mail.  I really want to hear what you think on this; something is in the works. 

.   .   .   .   .

That’s it for today, folks.  Just a note – I’ll be returning from our Christmas trip next Monday, so the regular Monday update next week may be pushed off until Tuesday instead.  (This is assuming that I don’t also end up getting the plague from my wife and/or son, which might change the game a bit.  Did I mention ‘happy holidays’ yet?)

I know…y’all miss me already.  I’m touched!

Merry Christmas, everyone-

—>DJ