So much to do, folks.  So much to do…

Last Thursday, I got up a second round of Market Research.  These are always a ton of fun for us; first off, there is simply nothing like getting responses when you are a blog writer.  Mr P. and I obsess over this stuff more than we probably should.

It’s also pretty awesome to learn more about who our readers are.  Sure, we know a few personally, but for the most part, you guys are spread out all over the world, and most of the time, you’re just being subjected to me complaining about things or Mr. P getting in with some real content, so it’s a treat to flip things around.  We like to know what makes you guys tick.  

Lastly, it’s like a get-together.  We get old friends dropping in, and new ones stopping by, and it really makes things feel like we’re a cool place to be, and not just an other blog out there on the internet.

So before we go any further, we’d like to thank you all.  We really appreciate it, everyone!

Patrick chimed in with his answers in the comments section; here are mine:

1. Back To Basics

My decks are one-hundred percent Zendikar full-art lands in the basics slots.  Not sure what it is…I think the full frame makes for a nice aesthetic touch for cards that don’t have any crazy functions and just provide mana.  (I’m looking at you, textless Player Rewards Cryptic Command…) 

They’re all regular, unless you’re talking my Momir Vig GenCon deck, in which case I’m in the process of foiling them out as well.

2. Snacks and Supplies

After parking behind the CVS in Amherst, I wander in the back door, grabbing a Diet Coke and a Vitamin Water or an Arnold Palmer Half & Half.  (Totally with you on this one, Eric.  Get back on the horse!)

From there, it’s off for pre-game dinner.  It could be Antonio’s for honey mustard chicken pizza and whatever the meat special of the day is, but lately it’s J. Gumbo’s for the Drunken Chicken over rice with garlic bread. 

And if I’m in a phase where I’m not dieting like I should, I’m stopping at the Dunkin Donuts off I-91 in Sunderland on the way home for a large French Vanilla (cream and sugar) and a sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin.  (Because sleep and proper dietary constraints are highly over-rated…)

3. Arm-Wrestling Sheldon Menery

This is a tough call.  I have a hard time wanting to change anything, because my group has already taken the liberty of modifying the rules to the way we like to play EDH anyway.  There’s not much left for us to do that I feel would be necessary. 

That said, I’m most on board with the poison threshold.  I’d likely take this to some number that is north of eleven to prevent Blightsteel Colossus from being a one-hit wonder.

4. Foil It Or Tear It In Half

-Azuza – Rip.  The only time I see this card being played is when it’s being abused. 

-Mana Drain – Foil.  Because Momir Vig needs one in foil, and because it’s the greatest counter ever printed.  (Yup..I said it.) 

-Boundless Realms – Rip.  See Azuza. 

-Wildfire – Foil.  I’m positive there’s a way for land destruction to have an impact on the format without making it un-fun.  I’m still looking, to be fair – but it’s gotta be out there.

-Identity Crisis – Rip and burn.  I’ve seen this card resolve in a game exactly once.  It was a long time ago, and the player targeted angrily scooped.  I’d do the same.

-Avenger of Zendikar – Foil.  Then, hand to the green ramp player.  Then, play Massacre Wurm.

-Sensei’s Divining Top – Foil.  Maybe our group is an anomaly, but we have zero time issues with this thing.  And yeah, Santo – Mono-white needs draw like you read about.

-Arcum Daggson – On the fence here.  I took my Arcum deck apart and sold my fil copy because it wasn’t much fun for people to play against.  I want to believe it’s possible to do good things with him, but I think he tends to breed decks that start looking very similar really quickly and that’s not very interesting.  There are only so many times that a turn four Darksteel Forge is exciting before it’s just dull.

-Exsanguinate – Rip.  I’ve written books on this one, so I’ll spare you all, but my reasons are out there.

5. If There’s One Card That Goes In Every Deck, It’s…

High Market.  Possibly WindingCanyons, but every deck needs a good sacrifice outlet.

6. Timing Is Everything

If I am Radiating something, it’s likely that I want to teach an opponent a lesson for playing something un-fun.  The difficulty is drawing the line between teaching an opponent a lesson and making everyone else hate you and blame you because the Radiate likely just amplified things instead.  To that end, it’s probably only targeted removal or card draw.

Although I’m kind of with Kaka on Chaos Warp/Beast Within…that is pretty awesome.

7. Red Vs. Blue

I think I’m going blue deck here.  Hopefully, I’m not a jerk and didn’t pack Palinchron/High Tide in my deck, so I’d much rather draw everything, have all my answers and options on the table, and see if I can still manage to win before I deck myself.  I think that’d be a blast to figure out, so long as there are no infinite combos around.

8. Down For Repairs

This is Staff of Domination all day long.  I simply remove the “ 1: Untap Staff of Domination.” Rules text.

MORE ON MOMIR VIG

I had a few chances to play Momir Vig in the current configuration over the past few weeks.  I have learned that this deck does not want Concentrate, or any non-instant card draw for that matter.  Currently, Stroke of Genius is in that slot, so we’ll see how that goes.

For now, here are the questions to consider:

Extract or Jester’s Cap?

I’ve gone back to Extract for now, since I think a single card exile effect will do what I need to do most of the time, and Jester’s Cap isn’t coming down and popping off quick enough.  However, I do hate to lose the extra card exiles, and Cap is much better if I can protect myself long enough to bring it to bear.  It also comes back with Academy Ruins.

Which is the better option?

Snapcaster Mage?  Auramancer Archaeomancer?  Neither?  Both?

Due mostly in part to the interaction with Mimic Vat, I think it would be worth it to be able to add to my ‘Regrowth on legs’ suite to make better use of my expended counters and other answers.  Which is better?  Snapcaster has the element of surprise, but Auramancer has the repeatable reusability in its favor. 

Are either worth a slot?

Relic Of Progenitus versus Tormod’s Crypt

Tolaria West is a really good reason to run Tormod’s Crypt.  Should I make this change?  Am I missing anything here?

More General Thoughts

I’m juggling three additional possibilities here:

Prime Speaker ZeganaThe more I think about it, the more I like what Prime Speaker offers.  Card draw from the command zone is not a bad thing to have on tap at all.  Is this better than Vig’s tutor effect?  I may need to rethink the creature inclusions, but it could be worth it.

 Animar, Soul of Elements – My friend John McCollum emailed me to suggest Animar.  I can stay in red and retain the utility of Wild Ricochet, Word of Seizing, and Counterflux, and Animar meets my criteria pretty well, in that it is cheap and passively makes it easier to cast my creatures.  Again, this requires a heavier creature suite and a third color, but it may be worth the trouble.

Something Bant-flavored…likely Angus Mackenzie – This is still something in the back of my mind as well, and Mr. P brought it back up when I asked his thoughts on Animar.  White brings a lot of proactive ‘hate-bear’-style threats to the table, which is great.  It also offers removal and more combo-breakers like Silence or Orim’s Chant.  Going Angus also gives me a cheap general who does have an effect on the boardstate later on in the game.  (This deck could use more help against aggro threats, after all.)  Again, though, the three-color thing…

Are any of these options better than Momir Vig?

TRAINING THE TRAINER – HELP WITH ANGUS MAC

Speaking of Angus, I picked one up on Ebay on the cheap, so I was thinking about rebuilding my old creature-control build to have on hand no matter what I end up doing with the GenCon deck. 

To give you the details, my old Angus deck was an “Enters The Battlefield” deck that took advantage of bounce creatures like Man-O’-War to abuse ETB triggers on other creatures.  The core of the deck stuck with two-and-three-cost creatures in order to take advantage of Aluren, and it splashed in Cloudstone Curio and Equilibrium to really get things moving.  Once it set up, it could abuse control elements like Harmonic Sliver, Fiend Hunter, Gilded Drake, and Mystic Snake, as well as card-draw like Wall of Omens and Carven Caryatid.  It eventually could get going with Tidespout Tyrant to just finish things, but it plays out like a full control deck.

Here’s the thing…I haven’t had this thing together since Innistrad.  There have been some solid new options since then, and I’d like to make sure I have the right list together to make this thing work.  There are also some out-dated cards still on the list.  (Turns out they banned Primeval Titan recently.  Who knew?)

I’m going to post the list today in hopes that some of you out there have a better feel for what I need to add and subtract than I do.  I’m wide open to suggestions on all fronts, but I do want to keep the strategy and the basic engine in place.  It’s also a bit ‘GoodStuffy’ at the moment, which doesn’t completely bother me.  I want this to have some bite and be able to stand up in a ‘casual/competetive’ game; that means I don’t want combos, but I’m okay with strong choices.  I want to optimize here.  Tidespout Tyrant as a primary win condition isn’t really cutting it, and it’s not particularly friendly either.  How is this winning?

I’m also out of duals/fetchlands/shocklands, and I don’t have some of the bigger dollar options available anymore.  This won’t really play in until later, but I’m going to try my hand at trading again to get what I need, instead of just placing an order with a dealer.  Angus is an old-school general, so I’m going to build the old-school way.  If I can’t get a specific card immediately or don’t have one on hand, I’ll make a substitution until I can.

Can any of you deck gurus out there give me a hand?

GENERAL: Angus Mackenzie

RECURSION

Genesis

Sun Titan

Eternal Witness

Riftsweeper

Reveillark

Karmic Guide

COUNTERS

Draining Whelk

Mystic Snake

REMOVAL

Harmonic Sliver

Fiend Hunter

Duplicant

Acidic Slime

PROTECTION

Blazing Archon

UTILITY

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Seedborn Muse

Phyrexian Metamorph

Saffi Eriksdotter

Brutalizer Exarch

Deciever Exarch

Loaming Shaman

COPY/STEAL

Gilded Drake

BOUNCE EFFECTS

Man-O-War

Stonecloaker

Aether Adept

Flickerwisp

Kederekt Leviathan

Tidespout Tyrant

Sawtooth Loon

DRAW

Consecrated Sphinx

Mulldrifter

Whirlpool Rider

Carven Carytid

Counsil Of Advisors

Primordial Sage

Wall Of Blossoms

Wall Of Omens

ACCEL

Primeval Titan

Solemn Simulacrum

Coiling Oracle

Wood Elves

Yavimaya Elder

Yavimaya Dryad

Sakura-Tribe Elder

TUTOR

Academy Rector

Fauna Shaman

SPELLS

Rhystic Study

Sylvan Library

Oblivion Stone

Aura Shards

Mirari’s Wake

Sol Ring

Darksteel Ingot

Crucible Of Worlds

Cloudstone Curio

Equilibrium

Crystal Shard

Erratic Portal

Aluren

Leyline of Anticipation

Lurking Predators

Survival Of The Fittest

Defense Of The heart

Sterling Grove

Birthing Pod

LANDS

Academy Ruins

Breeding Pool

Dust Bowl

Evolving Wilds

Flooded Strand

2 Forest

Glacial Fortress

Hallowed Fountain

High Market

HinterlandHarbor

2 Island

Kor Haven

Maze Of Ith

Minamo, School At Water’s Edge

Miren, The Moaning Well

Misty Rainforest

Mystifying Maze

2 Plains

Reflecting Pool

ReliquaryTower

Rupture Spire

Savannah

Seaside Citadel

Strip Mine

Sunpetal Grove

TempleGarden

Temple Of The False God

Terramorphic Expanse

Tolaria West

TropicalIsland

Tundra

Winding Canyons

Windswept Heath

CommandTower

 

Thanks again, everyone!

àCass