A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: August 2013

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Turn it and Burn it

Turn // Burn is such a complex card.

I had so many oops moments that I have decide to write something about it, both to clarify my thoughts as well as to ... well, add junk to the internet i guess =)

One recent "oops" moment was when i realized I totally misunderstood fused cards!

Apparently Turn // Burn, if you play both halfs, is counted as one spell (hence the keyword fused)


Its the left half first, then the right half.

I always had this misunderstanding that it is two mini cards and I can play either and stack them which ever way  I like. I was wrong =)

Hence there are no "response to turn, but before burn" shenanigans. (This discussion involved whether a restoration angel can save a critter from turn, flickering the creature in response to burn. It cannot be done as the turn and burn resolves as one spell. You can only flicker in response to the fused "turn and burn" spell, which does'nt safe the creature)

The next few "oops" moments involved layer 7B rules.

I am still not very fluent with layers, so I will have a disclaimer that I am no authority on rules =)

But in a nutshell, it means effects that affect base stats (e.g. creature becomes a 5/5, 0/0 1/1) are applied before effects that modify base stats (e.g. creature gets +3/+3, -1/-1 etc) if there are multiple modifiers on the stack.

My previous encounters with layer 7B are largely because I was messing with the Izzet Blitz decks. I was mostly messing with Travis Woo's version. But there were other versions that use Dragonshift shenanigans.

How the "combo" works is that when you play a spell that targets Nivix Cyclops, Nivix Cyclops get +3/+0. However Dragonshift turns the creature into a 4/4 flyer with no other abilities. However how it works is. Dragonshift is applied first, turning the Cyclops into a 4/4. THEN the other modifier (+3/+0) triggers are applied.

Layer 7B has some weird effects with Turn // Burn

Did you know Turn // Burn cannot kill a Kalonian Hydra? or any thing with more than 2 +1/+1 counters on it?

With the Hydra, it actually turns it into a 0/1, then the counters apply and its actually a 4/5 !!! You just grew it!!

Another interesting interaction is that: Against a RESOLVED giant growth. Turn // Burn cannot kill the creature.

Say the creature is a 1/1
You play and resolved Giant Growth.
Turn and Burn is played by your opponent.

Turn turns the creature from 1/1 to 0/1 (notice, its the base stats) THEN Giant Growth's +3/+3 effect kicks in, turning the creature into a 3/4

Burn is not enough to kill it.


Its really weird, but if you remember that Giant Growth is until end of turn, its a bit easier to grok it.

Now Turn // Burn in response to Giant Growth will still kill the creature, as the Giant Growth is as yet unresolved.

Giant Growth in response to Turn // Burn however will STILL save the creature despite of Turn. because of the sequence of how the modifiers are applied as described above (as the Giant Growth will resolve before Turn \\ Burn).

Now don't get me wrong, I am not pissing all over Turn \\ Burn. I like it ALOT! It works in many situations where there is nothing else that works!

In fact it is my crutch removal in my decks with blue and red. But being my go to removal, I needed to know how it works and what it works against and more importantly what it does'nt work against. So I don't get caught flat footed =)

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lions Tigers and Bears! Oh My! M14 Games Day

Lions Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

Thats what I entered for the name of the deck I played at Games Day for COreset 2014.

Mostly because thats my reaction whenever there are many different kinds of creatures.

In this case it was beasts (Kalonian Tusker), Elves (Elvish Mystic), Slivers (megantic, predatory, manaweft) and Hydras (kalonian and Vastwood).

The Decklist:

19 Forests
4 Mutavaults
4 Predatory Slivers
4 Kalonian Hydras
4 kalonian Tusker
4 Elvish Mystic
3 Manaweft Sliver
2 Megantic Sliver
2 Vastwood Hydras
1 Primeval Bounty
3 Scavenging Ooze
3 Garruk Relentless
3 lay of the Land
4 Predator Ooze


4 burning Earth
3 Acidic Slime
2 Windstorm
3 Witchstalkers
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Selesnya Charm

The deck was built on the premise that Mono Green is likely to be viewed as underdog and most people will have their guard down +)

That said, it recently won something I think, but it involved elf ramping (arch druid --- most notoriously the winner of some PTQ had 6 in deck at one point) in Behemoth? was it. However this is not that deck. It was also inspired because in a local GPT (for Kitayashu?) some one did relatively well with it and hey the French played it at the World Cup =) granted it was unified standard so the meta might be a little warped with some decks nerfed.

So most people would expect the standard fare I guess, more shock advantage for me then ;)

The other tenet the deck relies on (as with any other mono chrome deck), is the implicit advantages of being mono coloured.

The deck will likely be more consistent and usually thats only a minor advantage, but with M14, another advantage has surfaced. That is of asymmetric damage from Burning Earth.

Up to rotation with Theros coming in, decks will likely be mana greedy (that was the premise of my other deck, the NolanD deck, but that one is harder to pilot and depends alot on the run of the gameflow and your reading of it and besides, LD is heavily nerfed at this point =/) Dual coloured decks will already have eight lands at least begging to burn their masters for you. It gets kinkier with tri-coloured lands like Jund and Junk.

Burning Earth does double duty in this deck. For one, it is asymmetric (you can avoid using mutavaults for mana, its colourless anyways). So it is winning you the damage race. Secondly, it really screws with your opponents mind, he really needs to consider when is the burn from his lands worth it. This results in play errors. More win ;)

Another minor advantage of mono green is mutavaults do not hurt you (too much anyways). So you have critters that cannot be wiped by sorceries (the creature part should actually be used sparingly if you have not stabilised mana and your opponent has cheap instant removal once you have sufficient mana resoource though, mutavaults are nice beats. Any removal it eats is just mutavault taking one for the team, no biggie).

So the cue for me was mostly, elves to ramp into Predator Oozes. Plus burning earth. Well and I get to use Timmy's Kalelonian Hydras ;)

Kalonian Hydra

I think its a good card. Its just not going to be an auto "I win cuz I played itz" card. Hence the mono green aggro shell is a nice fit. If the kalonian Hydra is the going to be the lightning rod, its still alright cause you do have the rest of the deck ;)

With that in mind I went for fatness in my critters, hence Kalonian Tusker was a shoo in. The original Mono green aggros used elves and arch druids to power out. Partly because I shoot elves on sight myself and partly because Arch druids are a single point of failure, I decided to look for a different mana ramp source.

Farseek was too passive, my late game is average only, so fast and hard damage is important. 4 Elves were kept to provide turn one ramp.

I went for silvers to get mana ramp. Silvers had two advantages.

1. Mana of any colour
2. Surprise surprise, (drop a manaweft, any silver online can produce any colour, oh mutavaults are silvers too ;))
3. Silvers can become threats (well there is some surprise factor as well but Megantic is like 6 mana ... a little slow)

So in the end I felt it was a fair substitute for the 8 one mana elf + 4 arch druid package. (That package has more redundency of course)

The multicolour package had the advantage of giving me access to almost any coloured card without the use of non-basic lands myself. i cannot be as greedy as true multicoloured decks, but anything splashable (i.e. only one single off coloured mana, e.g. burning earth is 3R) is fair game.

Well so long as my opponent don't know what the manaweft is for anyways, but thats where the sliver advantage comes in, a fresh manaweft will still empower predatories and mutavaults to produce any coloured mana, so its still cool.

My original plan with the deck was to try to use sliver synergy to spread out my combat threats, hence the use of predatory sliver and megantic sliver. Vastwood was to to do cute stuff with Garruk Relentless. Mostly along the same lines of spreading Hydra love to everyone.

The deck went 3-0 at an FNM and 2-2 at the games day and seriously on hindsight it has serious gaps =P

The two losses on games day revealed that the deck had serious problems removing creatures. I'll have to admit with this deck I was mostly going Timmy. Ramp in Kalonian Hydra and w00t for the win. Overload, Overwhelm. It was a simple plan.

Too simple apparently. =) One of the losses was against Junk. Which was totally weird. I sided in all my hate. Witchstalker, Acidic Slime, wind storm, Burning Earth. And took him down to 3 land. And I still lost.

How? To a single Lifebane Zombie. It was at that time I realized why moving from 4 to 3 Garruk Relentless was totally n00b on my part. I locked him yes. So he was'nt making any board progress. But he had a life bane zombie that I could'nt deal, and since I moved to control mode, my offense was too slow (no, my lions tigers and bears did not show up to the party).

My second loss was to a mono white deck seeking to abuse Brave the Elements. I really had nothing on that deck in my sideboard. Or so I thought. I did'nt board in Witchstalkers (which was really n00b since it sidesteps oblivion ring) and I did'nt board in windstorm. First game he was faster than me and exiled my threats. Second game, I died to airforce one (comprising of 2  2/1 Falcons ... it was a sad day lol)

The two wins I had?

1 was against zombie, I think my Hydras lived so my opponent did'nt. Though the second game of that round I think I lucked out as my opponent actually boarded in Falkenrath Aristocrat. I die to air strikes remember?

The other win, lost first game, boarded in and second game, the burning earth plus enough pressure, did the trick. third game my opponent was unlucky and was stuck on 3 land non basics. I had burning earth, some pressure and I might have acidic slimed to excabate the problem. It was not a fair game that time  ;/

The big gap to me was that I had no removal and I had nothing in the air. Lay of the land was doing too little (but I think I might return to it post rotation, when the predator oozes are gone and the impetus to splash becomes greater). In hindsight I should have looked at the world cup's mono-green deck's sideboard more carefully. Voila! fights are there and so is mass removal. I don't really agree with ratchet bomb as my bigger fear is Olivia Voldaren. I think the french deck does not fear it because it is faster and more aggressive. Whereas I am trying to kill with more .... Phatness I guess. maybe I am being too cute with the Hydras =)

Things to change (that are kinda definite)
1) Lay of the Land, that frees 3 slots main deck
2) 1 less Vastwood hydra (I don;t have enough mana to abuse it early)
3) Definite addition of 1 more Garruk Relentless (will be sad to see him go, hopefully some other kind of removal will come in)
4) Sideboard? Most of the hate was directed at Jund. But Acidic Slimes were just okay. I was really afraid of Esper for some reason. but 3? I dunno.

Other iffy stuff, the slivers? gotta tweak it abit, probably 1 less Megantic at least as its a little slow.

And thats it for this deck I guess. The mono white deck was interesting actually. Maybe I was too interested and was'nt focused lol. But it was interesting as it was actually primarily a humans monowhite deck. With Champion of the Parish and all. It was'nt blitz fast but it had more removal. The falcons were his sideboard I think.

And currently in GP Warsaw there is a mono red deck! How cool is that =) I love seeing the mono-chrome decks become viable. (Tho I guess I am cheating with the coloured mana =))

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