Lollective Effort

First-picked Collective Effort, ended up red-white with a trio of Brazen Wolvess.

Round 1 was not too rough, opponent had kind of a schizophrenic blue-white madness-emerge-fliers thing. Round 2, opponent had a very good black-red madness deck with Call the Bloodline, Olivia, Mobilized for War, Alchemist’s Greeting, Murderous Compulsion, on and on. I consider myself lucky to have gotten past him. Lunarch Mantle did good work, I have come around on that card and will almost always play one, especially if I can mitigate it a little with an Ironclad Slayer.

Round 3 was the real highlight, though. Opponent was black-red, but I can’t imagine the deck was better than the Olivia deck from round 2. Anyway, I won the die roll and my opening hand was 3 Plains and some red cards. I mulled to a terrible 6, a terrible 5 and then kept a 4 of 3 lands and Field Creeper. On my scry I left a Steadfast Cathar on top. For his part, opponent had also mulled but at least kept on 6.

Then he misses a bunch of land drops and dies to my crappy 2/1’s. That’ll do, Field Creeper, that’ll do.

He wins game 2, so I’m on the play for game 3. I have a good opening hand with Collective Effort. We go back and forth until I get a pretty big blowout:

On his turn 4, our boards are empty and he plays Accursed Witch. I “waste” Fiery Temper on it during his end step, so now I have an Infectious Curse draining me on my turn. I cast Gatstaf Arsonists and pass. Opponent has a Vildin-Pack Outcast as his 5-drop, pass back to me. I’ve made my land drops so on 6 mana I cast Brazen Wolves and then double-escalate Collective Effort to destroy both his Vildin-Pack Outcast and his Infectious Curse and also put +1/+1 counters on my two creatures.

I could have chosen to not escalate for the +1/+1 counters, and then attacked on that turn with the Gatstaf Arsonists but I thought getting them up above 4 toughness, and the Brazen Wolves above 3, would be worth it. From there, my large guys just kept crunching in there.

Got some delicious salt in the chat:


Skulkin’ on through

First-picked a Haunted Dead and settled into black-white early. I didn’t have any flashy bombs but I had 3x Desperate Sentry into 2x Abundant Maw so I made that play several times on turns 3-4. I also bought back those two cards with Macabre Waltz a few times for some grindin’. I never cast the Murderer’s Axe and always sided it out. That maybe didn’t belong in the deck, I dunno.

Round 1 vs Black-White: We shared some of the same cards, such as Haunted Dead but he also had a Subjugator Angel and a Bruna, the Fading Light. I think his deck was better than mine but I just ran well. (1-0)

Round 2 vs Blue-Red Spells: He had multiple Thermo-Alchemists and lots of good spells. Game 3 I sided in Peace of Mind and it really saved the day. Also I think I must have gotten a lucky misclick or something, because I attacked into his board of plenty of blockers and he just clicked past making any blocks and took lethal damage. He didn’t say anything in the chat window so I dunno what happened but, hey: I’ll take it. (2-0)

Round 3 culminated in a pretty sweet moment. Game 1, he utterly ranched me with Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, I was never in that game. Game 2 I had a good curve of Desperate Sentry into Abundant Maw and Humble the Brute right on time for Ulrich.

Game 3, he had a poor draw, whiffing on Foul Emissary, buying back Foul Emissary with Grapple with the Past and whiffing again while I kept smashing in. Eventually he’s down to 13 or so cards in library and I’m guessing something like 7 of those are lands based on the contents of his board and graveyard. I’ve attacked a few times with Faithbearer Paladin and done some Abundant Maw’ing so I’ve gained a bunch of life. I feel like I’m a million miles ahead.

Then he casts Emrakul, the Promised End.

When he steals my next turn, my hand is Murderous Compulsion, Haunted Dead, Abundant Maw and a land. He eats some of my guys in combat and then casts Murderous Compulsion on my Accursed Witch. He also emerges the Abundant Maw by sacrificing my Faithbearer Paladin.

While the Murderous Compulsion was my only in-hand answer to Emrakul (I could still hope to draw Choking Restraints) it was not really too devastating a sequence. I could survive two Emrakul attacks due to all the life I’d gained, while opponent’s life total was quite low and he was now on the Infectious Curse clock as well.

He did draw another blocker in the form of Swift Spinner but had to take at least one turn off of attacking with Emrakul so that he wouldn’t die on the backswing. I rebought Haunted Dead once, and also drew the lowly Rancid Rats.


I was able to make an attack that put him to 1 and passed the turn, he then died on his upkeep to the Infectious Curse. (3-0)

got 'em

All these Servos and I still lost

Drafted Kaladesh at the store near my house, I think my deck was pretty good but I died in round two. I was green-white featuring a Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, a Master Trinketeer and some Servo & +1/+1 counter synergies. Won’t type out a decklist but here’s a fuzzy cell phone pic:

another loser draft deck

Kaladesh has also hit Magic Online, I did a Prerelease Sealed and a Friendly Sealed, going a very mediocre 3-2 and 5-4, respectively. I just finished stage 1 of another Friendly Sealed where I have a Smuggler’s Copter and a Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. I dropped one match to a deck with a Demon of Dark Schemes, that card is even grosser than Skysovereign. At least I think so, maybe that opinion’s colored by having lost to the demon a few times now.



With the new set out, the EMN-EMN-SOI queues are now non-league 6222’s. EMN & SOI packs are also dirt cheap. As of this writing, at GoatBots, EMN is 1.76 & SOI is 0.80 so a draft is a smidge less than 7 tix. I hope to bang around in these queues for a while.

I was very happy with this first deck, largely because it had a foil Liliana, the Last Hope that I flipped for 30 tix. It did probably need a piece of hard removal, a Certain Death or whatever, but I still thought it was great.

I was a little buttsore to lose round one. Opponent was red-white and game 3 he had a good curve up into Subjugator Angel. Won my next two rounds, at least, to salvage the 2 packs. Plus ‘ol foil Lilly put me well ahead on the deal regardless.

Next draft I first-picked Elder Deep-Fiend and tried to force blue-green emerge. It worked out pretty well, but it would have been nice to have a Prey Upon, Rabid Bite or Sleep Paralysis, something like that.

I splashed the Nahiri’s Wrath but never cast it. I had it in hand once or twice but the board was never right for it. I often sided out the Cult of the Waxing Moon for Watcher in the Web, and sometimes brought in Turn Aside or the second Displace, and Mockery of Nature if they showed good Naturalize targets.

3-0’d this one. The giant flash emerge guys ruined many lives.


First two Kaladesh drafts. In the first one, I first-picked an Aetherstorm Roc and ended up with a pretty terrible-looking white-red deck.

Round 1, I was paired against Tim, who is very good. In game 1 he played out a handful of cards that were just better than what my deck was doing, and there was another pod on 7 people waiting to fire so I conceded to Tim and joined the next draft.

Specifically, Tim played a Speedway Fanatic, a card that I could have taken and that would have been good in my deck. I’m not saying Tim had *my* Speedway Fanatic specifically, of course. Right then I thought “Tim is a disciplined sort, he probably has a real deck and I have this pile, I’d rather not even try to grind this out.” This was not in any grumbly sort of way, just very matter-of-factly. Hi Tim! 🙂

I had taken a Spirebluff Canal over the Speedway Fanatic, so I’ll take this opportunity to describe my raredrafting philosophy. I am generally not interested in drafting a card that doesn’t go in my deck just because it’s a valuable rare, but if it’s a rare of some value (I think these new “fastlands” are in the $5-7 range currently) that I actively want for my constructed collection, I will take them over other more seriously playable cards for my draft deck. Rare lands like Spirebluff Canal are a perfect illustration because I’m usually interested in collecting playsets of those. But say I had opened, oh, maybe a foil Panharmonicon worth $10 or something in that range. I would take the Speedway Fanatic over that because I just don’t care about a foil Panharmonicon.

Now, you might say, “But Jeff, you could trade that $10 foil Panharmonicon for a valuable card that you do want so why not draft it if you are admitting that you will take cards for reasons other than playability?” It’s all about the effort required to turn those valuable cards into stuff you do want. I don’t maintain a trade binder at all anymore, I typically try to just sell my valuable cards in a big pile after accumulating a certain amount. Taking a Spirebluff Canal when it’s right there in my hand is worth it to me. Finding some durdle down at the LGS who wants to trade for the other $5 or $10 rares is just too hard. If we’re talking about a Kaladesh Masterpiece or a Zendikar Expedition, or some other card well over $10, then at that point I am going to take it based solely on value.

Hm, now that I read over all of that it’s probably a pretty typical behavior pattern. I dunno if I thought I was sharing anything profound there or not… anyhoo… on to Draft #2!

I first-picked an Aetherborn Marauder and got an early Unlicensed Disintegration. My deck turned out pretty great and I split 1st-2nd.

I made large Aetherborn Marauders a couple times in conjuction with Fretwork Colony and/or Thriving guys. Inventor’s Goggles was great to have around, even without any Artificer triggers. I played the Inventors’ Fair for the heck of it. The one game where I got the lifegain part of it online, I lost anyway. That might have been better as an on-color basic but I felt it was very nearly free to throw it in there.

This format seems capable of being quite aggressive. For example, in one game I curved Inventor’s Goggles into Thriving Grubs into equip, use energy ability, attack with a 4/4 on turn 3 on the play.


My Kaladesh prerelease pool produced a serviceable green-red deck, my promo foil was the oh-so-exciting Territorial Gorger. Yippie.

Round 1 vs Green-Red: Opponent was a younger guy, seemed pretty new. His deck was a bigger, better version of mine and he had a Masterpiece Chromatic Lantern to boot. He was quite cautious with his attacks, even on boardstates where my assessment was that he was firmly advantaged. To be frank, a savvier player with the same draws this gentleman had could probably have killed me but I will take my durdly prerelease wins however they come!

Round 2 vs White-Green: Similar to the previous round, the guy had powerful cards (e.g. Master Trinketeer) but he didn’t seem to understand he could do certain things on my turn, such as making the Servo tokens, instead of always tapping out on his own turn. The board got terribly clogged but then I started making enormous guys with Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter – my max was an 11/11 – and overwhelmed him.

Round 3 vs Black-Green: Now we were moving past the “small child lottery” rounds (no disrespect intended!) and were facing keener opponents. This guy had good removal and won the first game with a discounted Metalwork Colossus. Game 2, I got a combo of Deadlock Trap and Fabrication Module online and ground him out. Game 3, I just had a good aggro draw while he failed to build out a board.

Round 4 vs Blue-Red: Game one, he plays Skysovereign, Consul Flagship and I basically die upon resolution. I side in Demolish and cross my fingers. Luckily for me I don’t see the mythic boat again and I get the match.

Round 5: Split with the other undefeated and go home. Hooray! I won a few drafts’ worth of packs so I am pretty stoked.

Some observations: Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter was great, she needs to be killed on sight or things will get way out of hand. Fabrication Module was really good for me, I had a variety of energy outlets. I wonder if I should have considered Whirlermaker as well? I brought in Demolish a few times, although I never drew it to kill a Skysovereign or anything sexy like that. Deadlock Trap saved me from problematic vehicles over and over. Fateful Showdown was hard to make work. Biggest thing I ever did with it was kill a 5/4, discarding 4 real cards, and subsequently losing that game anyway.

Later that evening – this has nothing to do with Kaladesh – my friend Tony said he had seen this incredible movie, Night Train to Terror, on TCM. I ordered pizza and watched it myself, and holy cow this movie is utterly unhinged. Strongly recommend.

Tokens out for Harambe

I went through a phase where I was super into making custom tokens but have not done any for a little while. Somehow it came up in conversation that a Harambe Voice of Resurgence token would be a good idea. And, I mean, it makes sense because, like Voice of Resurgence, when Harambe died his elemental essence came back stronger, representing the cumulative power of us all.

I made up a few to give to the guys at the local store:

Harambe tokens

Here is a jpg of the token that you can print for yourself if you’d like. It should be sized correctly for printing:


I usually insert them into a Word doc and print them down at Kinko’s (or your office’s nice color printer when nobody’s looking). I then cut them out with scissors and paste them onto leftover commons. It is kind of tedious but nobody said having style was easy.

Up close you can see the zipper on the gorilla suit, so to speak, but in a sleeve in a typical play situation they look pretty legit, if I do say so myself.

Cryptic Cruisin’

I made an embarassing match-losing punt in the middle of my last EMN-SOI Sealed League and ended up going a scrubby 5-4. I needed a little change of pace so I joined an OGW-OGW-BFZ 6222 queue. I’m still a big fan of the format and it’ll be going away soon.

I first-picked Oblivion Strike into Cyclone Sire and ended up blue-black with a pair of Blinding Drones. The deck looked okay:

I 3-0’d but all the games were very close and I definitely had to fight for it, it was a lot of fun. Cryptic Cruiser was the MVP, I’ve never really gotten that card online before but it was great here, tapping problematic attackers and also clearing a path for my own dorky creatures. I sided in a Kozilek’s Pathfinder in every game 2 and he was always an important finisher. It’s not a flashy card but I just found that I needed some beef in the mix.

In round 2 during a bit of a board stall I cast Mire’s Malice, or maybe it was Witness the End out of the sideboard… in any case, opponent had 2 cards in hand at the time and they turned out to be Press into Service and Linvala, the Preserver, yikes! That was a pretty clutch Mind Rot.