Trying to count the weeks feels a bit futile, these days.

"Real mages play more than 40 though." —Mg, The Oldest School: A Wizards' Tournament Primer

It's been awhile since I updated the deck that this website was created to document. After hitting the initial milestone of forty cards, I eased way off on the gas, with my only subsequent changes being the addition of three Swamps to replace the Forests used as filler. Crafting the deck's first iteration was an exhausting feat, pressured by the rising alpha market during the first six months of the year. Finding good ways to add new cards at this point isn't easy.

That said, with Q4 underway and having gotten an inaugural online match under my belt (I lost to a red/green build packing Channel/Fireball, which comboed me out in game three after I managed to take game two on the back of an Evil Presence-fueled Bog Wraith), it's time to start bolstering my weapon heading into 2019, and the Wizards' Tournament at n00bcon. Next year's all-alpha event isn't to be taken lightly, given tweets like these from big names in the community:

In the games I've played so far, my greatest needs were additional fast mana and haymakers, ideally cards like Sol Ring and Mind Twist. Frozen Shades have lived up to my 25-year memory in power level, serving as must-block threats capable of netting real card economy in a battle of attrition. On the other hand, the hooded ones are slow and extremely mana-hungry. A solid piece of the puzzle, but not a reliable endgame when I can't consistently deploy my Nightmare.

Weighing the cost and availability of prospective cards, the sweet spot between price and play value felt like more Dark Rituals and at least one Hypnotic Specter. Ritual may be card disadvantage in a format that doesn't always reward speed (Lotus-Lotus-Channel-Fireball notwithstanding), but in the black deck it Giant Growths a Frozen Shade, tacks an extra Syphon Soul onto a Drain Life, and helps cast an early Nightmare on curve. That's good versatility already, but if I managed to add a Specter too, Ritual into Hyppie represents a devastating turn-one play that can put a game away on its own. A two-card haymaker is still worth vying for.

After moving a few cards around and buylisting old stacks of Lorwyn-era commons and uncommons, this beautiful pair found its way into my hands:

More iconic than Sonny and Cher, or even Bill and Tom.

Live life with no regrets.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of releasing slabbed cards back into the wild, but with Eternal Weekend coming up I wanted to hedge a little, in case there's a chance to trade into a raw Specter and net some value on the side. So the above Dark Ritual, my second, is officially card number 41. I deliberated what to cut to make room until I rediscovered Mg's quote at the top of this post. Trimming cards to optimize the most broken plays isn't the point of what we're doing; I just need to remember to pile on more Swamps as I add in extra spells. Pic of my deck as currently constructed, for reference:

This never gets tiresome to look at.

Pretty happy with the progress here, hopefully another update after next weekend. If anyone's planning to be in Pittsburgh and wants to get together to play or chat, hit me up! I'll likely only be around on Friday, regrettably missing the oldschool EC event. Later!


  1. Great looking deck! Always a pleasure to find a new post from you here.


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