Good morning, team!  Welcome to GDC this fine, cold-as-hell morning.  It’s nearly time for a coffee run, so let’s talk about proxies.

IT’S ALL GOOD

It seems like most of you are pretty even-keeled when it comes to proxies.  Almost 90% of you who voted in the recent proxy poll here were okay to some extent with proxies existing in your environment.  The most interesting result is this one in my eyes:

27% – As long as the person is testing a card or actively trying to get his/her hands on it

My initial vote was for “Make it legible!”, but I think I’d be voting in this category in retrospect.  Part of my reasoning is that I brew my decks in Excel, finalize my lists, and then put the deck together to shuffle up and test before ordering the cards I need to round it out.  As a result, any new deck I have is going to contain a handful of cards that fall directly into this category, and it certainly seems the most reasonable allowance of the bunch. 

I won’t discount any of these, though:

22% – One or two is fine
22% – Make it legible…Sharpie on a Revised forest gets the finger!
11% – Sure!  It’s a casual format, after all

I’m a card snob.  I’ll admit it.  I need the real-deal in front of me if I’m going to be playing with a card for any amount of time.  But I’m absolutely fine with other players doing what they want to as far as using proxies go.  I recognize that, as an adult(ish) person, I have access to more disposable income than I used to.  I certainly couldn’t have fielded the collection I have today when I was a starving college kid, so I’m fine with people doing what they need to to be able to sit down and play this format.  The caveat is the Sharpie-on-a-basic thing, though; I’m fine with a spur-of-the-moment include here and there, but I’ve lost games by attacking for what I assumed was lethal damage, having the defending player pull an Island out of his stack of lands that has “Mzphf org Iphrtn” roughly scribbled on it, tap it, and say, “Maze your guy.”  Seriously…download Magic Work Station and print out a respectable proxy for next week.  It won’t kill you, and if you do that again, I might…

5% – As long as the player owns the card

Again, it seems fine to me, although I won’t do it personally.  If you’ve got 50+ decks like some people I know, I’m not going to knock you for proxying up Sensei’s Divining Top number twenty-four, when I know you own twenty-three others.

I do admit I don’t get this personally, but I can respect the stance:

11% – Not at my table, thanks

I’d rather have someone be able to sit and play, rather than be unable to because they’re missing some cards.  I’d *really* rather not have to sit and wait while someone swaps out proxies for other cards before we can start the game.  But again…Magic is a collectable card game, so whatever works for you works for you.

For reference, there’s a good discussion or two on the subject on the Official Forums here.

Next up in poll-land – How do you get your hands on your EDH cards?  Go vote!

SWEET SOUL SISTERS

As promised, I wanted to unleash my current Sisters Of Stone Death list for your approval/perusal/insert your favorite “-al” word here.  Again, for those keeping score, the design constraint on this list is that it’s completely creature-less other than the general:

GENERAL – 1
Sisters Of Stone Death

LANDS – 37
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds
Strip Mine
Winding Canyons
Temple Of The False God
Command Tower
Barren Moor
Overgrown Tomb
Verdant Catacombs
Bayou
Okina, Temple To The Grandfathers
Cabal Coffers
Urborg, Tomb Of Yawgmoth
Yavimaya Hollow
High Market
Miren, The Moaning Well
Bojuka Bog
Tranquil Thicket
Mystifying Maze
Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
Vesuva
Woodland Cemetery
7 x Forest
6 x Swamp
Slippery Karst
Polluted Mire

SPELLS – 62
Phyrexian Arena
Sensei’s Divining Top
Sylvan Library
Harmonize
Promise Of Power
Skeletal Scrying
Sign In Blood
Syphon Mind
Night’s Whisper
Abundance
Praetor’s Council
Regrowth
Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Nostalgic Dreams
Insidious Dreams
Holistic Wisdom
Mimic Vat
Ashen Powder
Necromancy
Rise From The Grave
Reanimate
Beacon Of Unrest
Life From The Loam
Lightning Greaves
Swiftfoot Boots
Darksteel Plate
Pernicious Deed
Ashes To Ashes
Black Sun’s Zenith
Damnation
Decree of Pain
Dregs Of Sorrow
Maelstrom Pulse
Putrefy
Consuming Vapors
Beast Within
Relic Crush
Krosan Grip
Sickening Shoal
Dismember
Plague Wind
Cultivate
Kodama’s Reach
Explosive Vegetation
Hunting Wilds
Sol Ring
Darksteel Ingot
Coalition Relic
Mana Reflection
Black Market
Thran Dynamo
Profane Command
Exsanguinate
Drain Life
Consume Spirit
Corrupt
Bloodchief Ascension
Soul Burn
Nihil Spellbomb
Suffer The Past

.   .   .   .   .
There she is!  This one was a fun design constraint for me; I have a tendency to have a hard time designing dual-color decks around a specific strategy, because they can be so streamlined and effective that I end up with a massive amount of cards that are really cool or fun, but don’t make the cut.  Going creature-less let me run wild with stuff I couldn’t have been able to fit otherwise, had the usual suspects been included.
So we’re talking about a board-control theme for the most part, with a decent ramp element to allow ample general leverage.  There’s a soft reanimation theme to handle both cheating out Sisters if she dies off, or to leverage the goodies the deck is putting into the other graveyards, and there’s also a life-gain thing happening, which helps to handle the painful black draw spells and things like Ashes To Ashes.  It’s built to have a decent amount of instant-speed reactions, and can leverage the graveyard to gain a ton of re-use and draw with Holistic Wisdom and Life From The Loam synergies.
Thoughts?  Did I miss anything?  I’m trying to shoehorn a touch more enchantment/artifact removal, as well as some extra draw in Ancient Craving and Ambition’s Cost; I also realize that Life’s Finale is a perfect sweeper here due to the reanimation, so that needs a slot.  What else goes in a list like this?  Hit me up in the comments and let me have it. 
I’ll break down the playtest results and my thoughts on the deck next time.  I will say this – It’s a blast to play!
See y’all next time…
—>DJ